I used to have some less than nice thoughts about one of my partners partners. I thought they were slimy at best. But my partner loved this person, so was I supposed to share it? Stuff it? How would feel if someone told me that my choice in a romantic partner was poor?
One of the most common things Poly people say is ‘You must communicate!’. But sometimes, they just leave it at that and assume that everything from how much you envy a new guys great physical shape to how much you hate a metamor is something you just randomly jump into.
We developed a tool sometime back which has been a polyamory lifesaver for those “tough conversations”. It is called Porch Time. It is for those times you need to talk really openly without worry about offending the other person and is valid for anything from the heavy earth shaking topics to just something you need to vent about. To start off, you tell the person you want to talk to that you want “Porch time”. For this tool to work, the other person only responds with ‘Ok’. It is preferable that you talk right then, although it isn’t always possible. If you need to set a date and time, do so. Otherwise, find a spot away from others and away you go
At its minimum, Porch Time is a chance to vent without fear of reprisal. It is a neutral space where we can express ourselves without any role, preconceived notion of our relationship, or previously defined label. This is the place where when other communication methods didn’t work, we had a ‘free space’ to fall back on where everything – bitching, whining, yelling, complain, screaming, and crying are all fair game. We could call each other names if that was the emotional need. And the key was for us all was the core understanding that humans are emotional creatures and sometimes it is the act of verbalizing fear or frustration that allows us to get to where we need to process it. And the ability of our partners to honor that and to not hold it against us later.
Continued in Polyamory Toolkit as chapter Porch Time