Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Shiny New Toy Syndrome aka SNT

So your partner has or is talking about having another relationship. Maybe they have already started dating.  Either way you are going to have to deal with what Polys call the New Relationship Energy (NRE).  I, as a Mono, would like to call it the Shiny New Toy Syndrome (SNT). 

You know that syndrome.  You get something new and it’s all cute and no one can tell you anything bad about it or their concerns about it.  You just have to ride it out and let them figure it out for themselves.  Sometimes it’s all good, and other times you have to sit back and watch the show while saying to yourself “I told you so; but nooooo!”  The Poly community talks about how wonderful NRE is and that’s all well and good, but even they don’t take into account what their partner - Poly or not – has to deal with.  It’s kind of like watching a toddler running around the house saying how wonderful their new toy is and then becoming upset when someone tells them that it’s their bedtime and that the new toy has to be put away for the night. 

Some people handle the SNT better than others.  There are partners who say that they’ve been through this many times and it’ll pass, while there are others who have to have all the sharp pointy objects hidden until it passes.  Then there are partners who are in-between the two and are trying hard to deal with it.  Polys handle the SNT in different ways too.  Some Polys have it so severe that it affects their hearing and logic.  They become deaf and their logic ceases to exist until the SNT clears. No matter what their partner says or feels is of no consequence to them. Then they get the “Oh shit!” syndrome when it clears.  Some Polys get a moderate case of the SNT.  While they do listen to their partner; they do what they want anyway because their logic is semi affected. They then get the lesser “Shit!  What now?” syndrome.  Then there are other Polys that while having the SNT, they do listen and take what their partner says and feels into consideration.

So what do you do when your partner gets this syndrome?  No matter what degree your partner has it, I believe the way to handle it is still the same.  First and foremost, talk to your partner about your fears and concerns. If you see red flags in the new relationship, tell them about it; but in a nice way. Go over your rules/boundaries list together.  It’s not restrictions; they’re a show of respect to each other.  Be prepared that if your honey has a really bad case of the SNT, they will defend themselves, and probably defend the new OSO too, as to why they are doing what they want.  For them it’s like they don’t care if they fall off the cliff just as long they get to do it. There may be times that they appear that they are not listening to you, but actually they really are. If your partner breaks one of the rules/boundaries have a civil (or as close to one) discussion as to why it was broken.  If it’s a big one – like unprotected sex – then there should be consequences like you will now have protected sex with me until you get tested and the results come back clean because you are now messing with my life without my consent.  Yes, that’s one of our rules/boundaries that has never been broken and I love M even more for respecting me by doing this.

Second, put on your friend hat and listen about their date plans and how it went.  No, you don’t have to listen to every detail and if it starts getting Ouchy you have the right to say that it’s Ouchy and move on.  I feel that 1) you are friends with your partner so by listening, as a friend, you can see it from a different angle; and 2) you want to share your partner’s experience so you both can grow from it. There have been times where I have said to M that I’m asking this question as a friend because this is what I would ask any other friend if they were in this position.  I feel that this strengthens the bond between us and makes us more solid.  Hey, you could even help plan a date if you want to!  I asked M what he was going to wear on a first date and encouraged him to follow through with his suggestion for them to have a second date.

Lastly, you have to let the SNT run its course.  Consider it like a cold.  The more it happens, the more the both of you will be able to handle it.  Being able to communicate your concerns with your honey helps.  Open dialog is the most important thing when dealing with this.  To quote don Miguel Ruiz, “It is because we respect others that we allow them to be the dreamers they want to be.  It is because we love them that we let them make their own choices, whether we understand those choices or not.”


21 comments:

  1. Dear Scarlet, is your SNT terminology respecting your partner and his new love?
    PS BTW, I have moved out from my poly partner on good terms and do not miss him at all. We had been together for a little less than three years.

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  2. Honestly, yes it does. M sees all the posts before I publish them; and gives his views, comments, and suggestions to them. When I wrote this post, I did give the SNT another name. M said that it was very snarky and that I shouldn't do that. So I waited a few days, re-read what I wrote, and changed the wording.

    I don't feel that it comes across as disrespect to M or to anyone. I feel that SNT is a normal response but that people go through different degrees of it.

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  3. Dear Scarlett. Interesting that they call it NRE. In high school I learnt a Physics Law that energy can not be created or destroyed but it can be transformed (solar energy to electical energy to heat energy etc). I know that is inconsistant with everyone's romantic notion that the chemistry felt when two people who are attracted to each other embrace is something brand new that they have created from nothing but that appears to be against the laws of physics. I can recognize this transfer of when think back to my previous relationships(all mono,on my part any way). I can see that I would take something from my previous relationship, even if it ended badly and try and transform it into something positive to add to my SNT (a sometimes challenging process called growing up). Even my very first very naive romantic relationship was very much influenced by what we had both picked up from our families. The impact of our relationships with our parents on our romantic relationships is well documented and generally acknowledged by even poly relationship experts.

    My wife is going through NRE now (again) and I do feel drained. It is really painful to see her transforming our ORE which was something I was just learning to enjoy and appreciate when we were "poly bombed". It is just awful to see our marriage(my only romantic relationship) tranformed into BFF status. I feel like I am imposing when I come home from work after a tough day and all I want is simple hug from by very caring wife and I can see that she, even though I know she cares that I have a lot of tough days, she is totally distracted. It really hurts when asks to swap our Saturday "date night" to Monday because that means instead of a relaxed pre dinner drink there is a mad rush to get from work in time and it has to be an early night because Tuesday is a work day.
    To get a sense that my wife is spending time with me because she feels she has to - like a 1950's housewife performing her "wifely duty" is the biggest turn-off i have ever experienced.
    When I ask my wife about color selections for our house renovations (a two year project that was my wife idea for us to do together) my wife responds with"you choose honey,you're so good at it. Which is total BS because I am a straight male who liked playing rugby with ony medical degrees(totally useless in interior design emergencies) and has no idea when it come to the 36 different shade of white.

    I know i need to talk to my wife about this and perhaps even her two lovers (so looking forward to that discussion) but to be honest after all of the talking since being poly bombed I am bit tired of talking about relationships and would really like to be able to enjoy just being in one again.

    BTW for the benefit of all the poly folk reading - what I am feeling now is NOT jealousy. I am not jealous of my wife's other relationships or her SNT. I do not have a jealous bone in my body and learnt how to best deal that male competition thing playing rugby at 15 (ITS ONLY A GAME YOU IDIOT). It not even envy - I don't want the relationships that my wife has with her lovers and I do not want to be the kind of men that they are. What am feeling now is pain - real adult hurt not some minor adolescent emotional drama that I can deal with by "digging deep inside myself" and twisting my language around to point where even I don't understand what I am saying.

    I know that the only way for us to get through this pain is for me "to suck it up",learn to live with the pain, acknowledge it and accept it.

    In the meantime venting here seems to help ease that pain and hopefully I am causing pain to anyone. Thankyou.

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    1. First, let me apologize for not answering sooner; but things have been hectic on my end. You should not "suck it up" because it will fester and it'll turn into resentment. You have the right to speak up in a relationship ( I learned this - thank you M for showing me this).
      Being in a mono/poly relationship means that you have to step outside of the box and talk until you're blue in the face and then some! Even though your wife is in the SNT stage, she still has to talk to you and be a part of your life - even discuss colour themes for the house that you guys live in.
      My suggestion is that you two sit and talk about where her head is at, come up with rules/boundaries, and when YOUR date night is. Yes, you can change it from time to time, but it's your night and that shouldn't change.

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    2. As a poly person, my heart goes out to you. You don't deserve to be ignored, you do have the right to be considered.

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  4. This is just all so painful and so much work. A relationship should enrich you and help you face the rest of the world. I am so glad to have chosen an affectionate friendship over polyamorous cohabitation. And I do feel that my former partner's, now friend, polyamory had a lot to do with fear of commitment. Why would anyone choose to hurt their love with what is nothing but an SNT? I rather invest my energy and time into enriching friendships with interesting men and women than into SNTs. And what with all those complicated rules and regulations? I love my freedom way too much than wanting to be caught in a web of far more strings than one simple rule of trying not to act on every sexual frisson!

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  5. All relationships take work in order for them to work and grow. A mono/poly relationship can also enrich you, and can help you and your partner grow both separately and together! I don't understand your statement of "affectionate friendship or polyamorous cohabitation". My relationship with M is VERY affectionate, caring, and loving; and I am certain that there are many other mono/poly relationships that are too.
    What complicated rules and regulations? Every relationship has them: "This night is my boys/girls night out. Ok dear, but don't come home at 3 in the morning." "Please text me when you get to where you are going so that I know that you got there safe." This are not rules and regulations - these are agreements that are made out of respect for each other. It seems that your relationship with a poly person has left a bad taste for you and I'm sorry that you had to experience that. A mono/poly relationship is not for everyone.

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  6. Scarlett, how are you able to be okay with your partner having an OSO?? I really would like to know. I am mono, and am possibly getting back together with a poly partner. I get panicked thinking of him with someone else. I truly wish I could be more mellow and accepting, I just feel like I am constantly on the chopping block, which makes me extremely anxious. That anxiety creeps into the rest of my life and I feel like a crazy person. Clearly, it seems that a mono/poly relationship won't work for me. It pains me that i have such strong feeling for this person and that I'm unable to be okay with their poly. Whats worse, is he is okay with me being promiscuous, and loves to hear about it (I am currently single), but I just cannot be okay with the idea of him treating another female the way he treats me. Do you have any advice? Thank you! I'm glad I found your blog.

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    1. As I'm typing, M is having dinner/time with his OSO. Honestly yes it still bothers me; but not to the same degree that it was 5 years ago.
      I don't understand what you mean when you say that you feel that you are "constantly on the chopping block".
      Have you talked to your poly partner about how you feel? Is your partner supportive of your feelings, or just says to you to "suck it up".
      M and I talk about how his OSO kind of bothers me (I'm the one who kept nudging M to ask his OSO on a date) even though she is a great person.
      My suggestion would be to talk to your partner about how you feel. If your partner is supportive, then the only thing is time and trust.

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  7. Hey Scarlett! I wanted to get your opinion on my particular situation, because I am currently in a Mono/Poly relationship and although your blog has been incredibly insightful and helpful, I was wondering if I could get your thoughts and opinion on what I should do or steps I should take to deal with my problem.

    So my partner and I have been together for around a year and a half, and they recently decided they were going to give Polygamy a try for the first time ever. So this is new for the both of us. My problem, however, is that we have had a friend for around a year now. I knew very early on in our relationship that my partner had feelings for this friend in the past, and I suspected she still did. This lead to around a years worth of jealousy and dread. I wasn't able to establish a proper friendship with this person because I always feared that they would end up with my partner, and now that they've decided to start seeing one another, I've been going through a very hard time accepting it. I'm fully supportive of my partner being Poly, and I would never leave them just because I don't like who they're seeing besides me, but a years worth of tension and jealousy and hatred building up for this person is finally starting to come to the surface and I'm struggling with it deeply.

    If you were (maybe you have been, who knows) in my situation, what steps would you take to get through these feelings?

    Thank you very much and I hope dearly to hear back from you. You're a role model to me as I haven't found anything as personal about what I'm going through.

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    1. Sorry, I meant Polyamory, not Polygamy. My mistake!

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  8. Hi Justin!
    Sorry that I haven't replied sooner. Yeah, it's hard when those feelings of "they're my friend, but now they're my partner's love" start showing up and it doesn't matter how long you're in the relationship. What I do (or at least try to do) is when those feelings come up, remember that it's between them and not you. Yes, there are things like date scheduling that affects you, and trusting that your rules/boundaries are being followed because again, that affects you; but the time between your partner and that friend is just that - their time. If you say that every time that those feelings show up, your mind will stop going forward with those feeling because you are not feeding it.
    Easier said than done, mind you, but it does work.

    Another thing that I have tried (it was rough) was to go out for dinner with your partner and friend. It's WAY out of the box for us monos, but by doing so you can see that the person is not an evil monster that our mind has created. Ask them not to hold hands and such, and they should respect that.
    Hope that this all helps you.

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  9. Hi, wondering if you're gonna write anything soon. Your blog has helped me so much with my relationship.

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    1. Hi there! Yes, I am planning to write more soon. Life has kept me busy. Glad that you like the blog and that it has helped you.

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  10. What a wonderful blog! I'm poly and my wife is mono and I came across your blog while I was looking for resources to help both of us maintain a healthy relationship while we manage my relatively newly discovered identity.

    I did love your perspectives on cheating vs polyamory. - I've always held myself to a 'no secrets' policy.

    I don't find your SNT offensive at all. It's perfectly descriptive and accurate for me and I can well understand how irritating it would be for the mono partner.

    - Paul

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  11. hi there- just checking in to see if you are still around and planning to continue this blog.

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    1. Yes, I'm still here; and yes I will be blogging more in the (hopefully) near future. M has had some health issues and big life changes for both of us has kept us busy.
      I do have topics to write about in my head, so they will be put to paper real soon!

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  12. Scarlett! I recently found your blog and I'm so glad I did! I'm currently in a relationship with a poly person, and it's a totally new thing. I was starting to think I was crazy, but thanks to you, I've been learning how to understand my feelings. I hope you keep writing!

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    1. Thanks so much for finding me! Life has been keeping me busy, but I promise that I will start writing again soon.

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  13. These tips are awesome. I will definitely be using these. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Happy Marriage Life

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