Transitions crib sheet

These are the not-very edited notes from the event. I will try to write down some useable “recipes” soon.

Note: when I’ve no idea what the note means, I it’s marked with (???). I hope other people present will chime in and remind me…

Topics covered, and ideas proposed (at least, what I managed to write down, I am generally trying to participate and look around too):

Success stories: transitions that worked well, whatever it means for us

  • not accepting at face value the connotation of “breaking up” or changing definitions
    • it doesn’t mean we don’t talk anymore, it’s (just?) a label/a story
    • trying to see if there is goodwill from the other side to do things
    • “want to do X together?”
  • not accepting the narrative of “we break up and we don’t talk”
    • keeping on seeing each other
    • “hey, want to hang out?”
    • “want to have sex?”
    • not getting caught in the “we’re not together anymore” narrative
  • success in staying friends
    • sometime after a while
  • is “friends after a 3 months break” a success?
  • increasing commitment gently, before “being together”

The effect of labels: being/not being together

  • ending up with being “only partner” after having joined a polycule
    • “I hadn’t signed up for that”
    • “I was one of the many & I don’t want a relationship
  • good non-monogamous labels? (this could become a full cookbook)
    • lovers, play partners, adventure partners…
  • “according to my definitions, we’re in a relationship”
    • “according to mine, we aren’t”
    • monogamous/non-monogamous attitude
    • using ≠ labels
    • finding out together what labels mean for us
  • “6 months without labels”
    • then we see what we are
  • losing definitions more and more
    • “the woman I love”
    • “the beloved”
    • struggling with using “my”
  • discussing labels together
    • ≠ labels/meaning with ≠ people
  • “there is a strong connection that will probably last”
    • “there is a bench with your name engraved in my internal landscape, and it will always be there”
    • “even if we maybe never sit there together again”
  • friends for a long time that decide to be partners
    • it was a happy decision, a “success story”
  • making up silly labels (together)
    • cuddle buddies with mumble mumble (Alex got distracted)
  • judging existing labels
    • joining a polycule/existing constellation, understanding our place/the labels/constellations/roles
    • “new boy”, “fresh meat”, “the newby” (we were joking)

Moving in together (we had a cookbook on this recently)

  • both people poly with kids
    • it would be easier
    • kids aged 7, 6, 5, 3, 2 (I think)
  • starting with a trial is better
  • living separately
    • not feeling you’re entering someone’s territory
    • builds up longing
    • allows to reset between partners/experiences
    • “you don’t wake up and the other person is there”
      • (that some people like, some don’t)
  • moving together after 6 weeks, and it worked
    • not just for convenience
    • but ALSO for convenience, the convenience helped
  • remove the idea that is HAS to work
    • or else we fail
  • place is the territory (???)
  • think about how the children would react/prefer

Transitioning between lover bubbles

  • when we move from one person/lover to another
    • a night alone?
    • no same room?
    • a ritual?
  • “I never managed more than 3 people in a day”
  • some people need 2 nights between them and someone else
    • some a full week
  • “no rules”
    • sometime they arrive from a different story, and that’s who they are in that moment
    • sobbing from a crisis, etc: it happens
  • figure out your own boundaries/needs…
  • different with primaries and secondaries, feeling primary or secondary
  • some people ARE compatible as “energies”
    • you can take one (???)

Transition domino effect

  • one relationship in a constellation changes, others are affected
    • eg: A dates B and C, B and C date too; it fails with A and B, A wants to spend more time with C, C doesn’t want to “use the available space”; B is afraid C will get farther, they don’t
    • example of not-really-domino (but C stopped dating A in the end, also because they wanted more now)
    • “I can offer more space but it’s not being taken”
    • fearing that someone will get farther, but don’t, can strengthen a relationship
  • can a relationship end up strengthened?
  • exploring the constellation of lovers/relationships using plastic farm animals, like in a “family constellation”
    • “this is how I see the structure”
      • (it could be different from people to people)
    • “and this is my ideal constellation”
      • (and this can really be different)
    • then discuss
  • knowing in advance that something is imaginable helps
    • “tell me you can imagine something happening, even if you don’t want it now”
    • “I could imagine moving in with this new person” is better digested with lots of time ahead

The “Aufstellungs Idée” of all the partners/metamours… On both sides of the relationship to see where each partner places the people… And why… Shows/maps – gives insight in to how the constellation is for each partner among all those people involved.

Gender roles in approaching

  • “I love when women make the first step, there are still not enough of them, even with emancipation”
    • “I tried twice, got rejected, was horrible, I stopped”
  • women getting tired of playing the “I look pretty, come to me” game
  • but when doing it, and making the first steps, sometime thinking “but it should be him doing this! This is a man’s job”
  • “if I want someone, I will make a move”
    • “if I realize I don’t want to make a move, I will rethink if I like that person that much”
  • having friends playing matchmakers help
  • see tinder:
    • it helps knowing the other person likes you a bit
    • reciprocal interest
    • if not, we need “courage”
  • it’s harder for women
  • “Selbsbestätigende Intimität” (thanks to Rena for the spelling)
    • feeling what’s right for us, going first with “I love you”, “I want to date you”…
      • Ich zeige mich so, wie es mir entspricht. Dabei nehme ich eine nicht-bestätigende (angstvolle, wütende) Reaktion des Partners in Kauf. Ich mache damit mein Identitätsempfinden und mein Selbstwertgefühl nicht vom Partner abhängig. Diese selbstbestätigende Intimität ist ein greifbarer Ausdruck einer tragfähigen Beziehung zu sich selbst.” (D. Schnarch)


  • what happens when you don’t follow the normal “relationship escalator”:
    • is it automatically “going backward” or can we “go sideways”?
  • “if we’re not progressing, are we going backwards?”
    • escalator
  • “I always want to grow, if we don’t grow, we’re not good/stuck”
    • “Nature grows”
    • life/career/body…
  • ambitious: not in practical things, but in connections/authenticity/depth
    • “no goal to achieve…”
    • “get to the core of a person”
  • “I want truth”
    • “more truth”
  • “do I feel we’re growing?”
  • “I’m moving to another country nut it’s not a step back”
    • (with another partner)
  • “but I feel you’re rejecting me”
    • “I don’t”
  • “coming to the truth” can actually make things closer
    • “I feel you’re distant, but we both acknowledge it”
  • “not having the standard escalator, but visions of what can be”
  • how to express visions?
    • what if they’re not shared?
    • “could you also see this?”
      • Yes! (great)
      • No, never!
      • “Now now, maybe”
        • well, OK?
  • how to notice/propose/express?
    • expressing it too late can be bad
    • noticing it late
    • not PUSHING visions on others, but being tentative…

Changing-discovering-adapting (shared) models

  • negotiate/express desires
  • explore dreams/desires
    • meditate
    • design thinking
    • (shared or not)
  • easier to express shared visions in the long term or short term?
    • and why?
    • different for different people
  • “6 months is a good block of time for planning/imagining the future”

Gold nuggets

At the end of the event, we tried to collect the practical bits that people noticed/planned to take home.

  • farm animals constellation exercise
    • what I see/you see/what’s my ideal
  • sharing a vision together
  • a clear timeframe to experiment/renegotiate/not-label/live together/etc (6 months is a good one, but not magical)
  • “according to MY definition, we’re in a relationship”
  • a break up as a continuation
    • “we moved forward by separating”
    • “breaking up brought us closer”
  • “a bench in my inner landscape with your name engraved on it”

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