how our polyamorous clients build thriving relationships

The Relationship Mirror

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You may think that you can’t heal a polyamorous relationship on your own. But you have more power than you know. 

When you ignore that power, you let your relationships happen to you. You look at the jealousy and fighting and unhappiness, all the while wondering when your partner will change.

But when you embrace your power, you can transform your relationship. Even if your partner isn’t willing to do the work.

Want to learn how?

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Josh F 0:02
Alright, so today we're talking about how you can embrace your power and grow who you are to transform a relationship. Even if your partner is checked out, doesn't want to do the work, isn't on the same page. So stay tuned.

Cassie 0:18
Here at Touch of flavor, we teach non-monogamous folks how to overcome their obstacles and build thriving relationships.

Josh F 0:21
This podcast is about answering one question-- how do you create loving, passionate, secure relationships outside the box? Even if nothing has ever worked before? If you want to know the answer, you're in the right place.

Cassie 0:25
All of this information is 100% free. So please subscribe to and review our podcast.

Josh F 0:33
All right.

Josh F 0:33
So today, we wanted to spend some time talking about embracing your power and the power that you have, even though you probably, or may not, realize it, to transform your relationship, and to transform your life. And this has been on my mind a lot recently. Because, you know, we've had an increasing number of clients come through, who are in a space where they're coming through our program on their own, and they're working to heal their relationships on their own. And I think we're up right now to about a third of our clients are coming through the course on their own. And we're seeing an increasing number of those-- it's people where some of them are separated, we're having a lot more people who are like, actually separated, coming through. So we're seeing more and more of that, like, you notice that trend yourself?

Cassie 1:31
Oh, yeah, we've definitely, you know, we've always worked with folks on their own. But we have seen more and more. And especially, I would say, in the last several months, we've had, like double what we usually have come through, and these people are taking sort of the reins on things and are like, Okay, I'm going to make change, regardless of where my partner is at. And they're seeing really, really amazing and awesome results for themselves in their relationships.

Josh F 2:02
You know, when you say for several months, that is now the normal. You can't say it's been double the norm for several months, if it's been double for several months, that is now the new normal.

Cassie 2:12
I could see the look on your face. And I was like, I know, this is one of those things. What I'm saying is that prior to a few months ago, we had less folks who came in through it on their own. And over the last couple of months, it has just been increasing and increasing.

Josh F 2:26
I don't know if you realize, but it's been since the end of last year.

Cassie 2:28
Yeah, it's been it's been a while.

Josh F 2:30
That's when we really started having more people come through. And this is really important. And the reason I want to talk about this is because we see all of these people come through and work as superheroes to change their relationships and to take these huge steps. And yet, I know that outside of our-- I was gonna say community, but that gives the impression about like the broader community-- but outside of like our community, our clients, the people we work with, and their community with each other. It's actually really strange for people to think about changing their relationship on their own. And in fact, most of the time, it's something where people don't think they can work, they think they have to work as a couple. Most therapists will tell people that they have to be working on things as a couple to really make a change.

Cassie 3:27
Yeah, it's one of those things that it seems like the common knowledge that if you want to save a relationship, both people have to be in on saving it at the same time together, you know, they have to work together in order for there to be any change. And as you said, it's things that therapists say. It is what a lot of authors as far as relationship books say. It's this idea that in order to have a changed relationship, both people have to be on board for change.

Josh F 4:00
And that's an enormous problem, because so much of the time, couples are not on the same page, either about doing the work to fix a relationship or giving things a try or getting help. What are some of the biggest reasons you see why couples are in a place where they aren't both going to work on things on their own?

Cassie 4:30
So I'm just gonna name some out in no particular order, because there's there's a lot of reasons but one of the reasons is, we don't see the same problem. Like we recognize there's problems but you know, I think it's this thing, you think it's that thing, so I'm not listening to what you're saying needs to happen, right? Like maybe you think it's the communication. Maybe I think it's the jealousy, whatever. And, you know, I think you need to go do something, right or I think I need to go off and do my own thing. So there's this idea that we're not on the same page about even what needs to be fixed, right. So that can happen. Sometimes it's the partner who is kind of washed out from trying to work on things. Like there's somebody who, maybe for years, they had done a lot of work on trying to improve themselves work on the relationship, and the other partner didn't. And now they don't have it in them to put the effort in. Like, they would like to see that change, they would love to see the relationship work, but they just don't have the energy anymore.

Cassie 5:29
Sometimes it really is the other person, right? Sometimes it isn't.There's always challenges that come from both people, but maybe the primary problems aren't both people, right. And maybe it is a partner who is like, I've got to wait and see that you're making any change before, I'm willing to, like, put that effort in anymore. And a lot of times, it's just hopelessness, you know, a partner gets to a place where they love their partner. And again, they would love to see it work, but they just don't believe it. And they just don't have that internal motivation anymore. You know, they get to that place where they're just tapped out because they don't have any kind of belief that things can change.

Josh F 6:16
Yeah, those are all reasons. A couple other ones that I've run into. One is, sometimes you have a partner who isn't really suffering, I see this a lot with...I mean, this can happen a few different ways. But I see this a lot with partners where one person's in NRE, and the other person isn't, and the partner who's in NRE, is like, "I'm fine, what the hell's wrong with you?" "I know, you're like crying yourself to sleep at night, and you haven't eaten in three days. But like, Get over yourself, like, everything's pretty good. Right now, I don't know what your problem is." So there's that.

Cassie 6:56
" I don't get jealous when you go out with your partner. I don't get it."

Josh F 7:00
Maybe you don't even have a partner, but still. So there's that. I see that happen quite a bit. Sometimes it has to do with a poly-mono thing. And that can be on either side. But for whatever reason, the other partner just doesn't think it can work in a poly-mono relationship. And so somebody's going to try or not. The other thing that I see is a lot of times you have one partner, who is either more open to growth, or more open to help. And they know they need help. They know that they've been sitting here struggling in this for however long and it's really bad. And this isn't something that they're going to do on their own. But they also know that their partner is not going to be open to outside help, whether it's because they had a bad experience before with therapy, which we're not therapists, that's a whole other discussion, or whether it is that they're just the kind of person who doesn't like anybody knowing what they're-- like any kind of anybody ever telling them that they're wrong.

Josh F 8:09
You know, so you see a lot of that too. And, you know, at the end of the day, there's 100 reasons for it. But the end result of it is that so often you have people who are in a relationship that is perfectly salvageable. I mean, it could go from this place of divorce and losing the family and, you know, getting to houses and figuring out who's getting the kids and like I said, crying yourself to sleep every night and people being depressed, and it can go from that place to something truly beautiful. And it doesn't purely because somebody-- like both people aren't willing to get help, and one person just won't seek it out without their partner. So what you wind up with is all of these relationships that are destroyed, and these families that are like really devastated. And it's completely unnecessary. I mean, anything else you want to say about that, but that's why I've been thinking a lot about this lately.

Cassie 9:14
Um, I think you know, and this really comes back to and I just want to reiterate this is that just because one person isn't open to getting support or getting help, doesn't mean that they're not open to positive change-- doesn't mean that they're not open to seeing, you know, they still want to see the relationship work.

Josh F 9:39
Well, you know, it's interesting, because when we've talked about this in the past, we do say that, you know, just because your partner doesn't want to get help or is hopeless, like doesn't mean they wouldn't love to see the relationship fixed. And you know, as we've worked with this more, I think I've started to realize that sometimes it doesn't even matter. Like that doesn't even matter. Because they may be in a spot where right now, they wouldn't love to see the relationship fixed, like the relationships crap, and they don't care anymore. But when they can start to see the possibility for something better, then they start looking to bring things back. I think we actually did an episode recently on being separated. And this isn't that episode, but there's definitely some crossover.

Josh F 10:27
Anything else you want to add into that, before we start talking about why one person can make a change?

Cassie 10:32
No, I think that's it.

Josh F 10:37
So this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. And what I think is really important for people to understand for a number of reasons, but this included, is that at the end of the day, more than anything else, our relationships, and the quality of our relationships are really just a mirror, right? They're a place that you can look into the relationship that you have with your partner, or your other partner, or your kids even, or the other people in your life. And you can use those relationships and look into the mirror that those bring to you, to really see who you are.

Josh F 11:41
And when a relationship is suffering, and struggling, an enormous part of that is because of who you are showing up in this relationship as. The things that you're doing, the things that you're not doing-- who you are. What do you think about that? We've, we've talked about this a little bit, but this is more something I've been kind of dialing in for myself here lately.

Cassie 12:18
I think it's, you know, I can use a very baseline example. Right? So you have two spouses, right. And the one spouse is upset because they're not getting, you know, the touch needs met and the time that they wanted. But part of the reason why their partner isn't touching them or making the time is because well, they haven't been showing up on time when they have date nights. They argue instead of cuddling, right? So some of these things are a reflection back. Your partner might be shutting down because when you have conversations, you're not really providing a space, right? So there's these things of like, the way that we see our partner show up in our relationships. It's because of the feedback that we're getting that mirror right of this is this is what's coming back from my actions, my way of expression, right. These things come back at us that we've also put in the space. So is that what you're talking about? For the most part?

Josh F 13:27
Yeah, because-- look, you don't ever have control over your partner. None of us ever have control over our partners. At most we have-- you shouldn't have--this is getting into a really deep conversation about DS now. Dramatic examples excluded, I'm talking about outside of power dynamics, right? Consensual power dynamics and unhealthy relationships-- and those are two very separate things. But outside of those, we don't have-- honestly, even in power dynamics to a certain extent-- we don't ever have control over our partners ever. Right? At the most, we have influence.

Josh F 14:15
So if your idea is that for you to change a relationship, your partner has to do X, Y, and Z, you're really kind of screwed. You're giving up all of your power because you're now putting the security of your family and your future on something that you have no control over. But when you talk about this idea that our relationship is really a mirror. So it's interesting because I said that a relationship is a mirror that you can look into and see who you really are and how you're really showing up but it's also-- the opposite is also true-- the inverse. Which is, really our relationships are a reflection of us. And what's amazing about realizing that is that you always do have the power to change yourself.

Josh F 15:23
So when you realize that the relationships that you have with people are just a reflection of who you are, and how you're showing up in the relationship, then all of a sudden, you realize it isn't about having to control your partner. You can change the relationship merely by changing yourself. And that is something that you always have power over. That's something that you always have control of, and that you're always able to do.

Cassie 16:04
And with changing yourself and changing that situation, and how you're showing up, you then change the relationship, right? Because the changes that you have, as you said, it's a mirror, change the relationship and the way that you and your partner interact.

Josh F 16:22
Well, the thing is, when you show up differently, the relationship has to change. It can't stay stagnant, right? Your partner has to respond to the changes in you. And they respond by either raising the level of how they're showing up. Or they don't. They don't rise to the level, right, and they kind of fail out. But most of the time, the fact of the matter is-- this gets back to what you said earlier-- our partners would like to see the relationship work, right, or at least, they would like to see the relationship work when they start seeing a better version of us. Then they would like the relationship to work. And so when you give people the opportunity to rise to the occasion, most people will.

Josh F 17:15
But here's the other thing that I put out, which is even when they don't, you still can make enormous shifts in a relationship on your own. It might not get exactly to where you want at the end of it if somebody isn't willing to come with you. But that isn't to say that regardless, you can't make enormous shifts. And a really easy example of this that I give is that it's hard for one person to argue with themselves.

Josh F 17:42
I mean, at the end of the day, and listen, this is a good thought experiment. But if you just showed up, and just refused to argue with your partner and use great communication, and I know it's easier said than done. But if you were actually able to do that, well, you would have a whole lot less arguing in your life, regardless of if your partner changed one tiny bit.

Cassie 18:05
There'd be 50% less of the problem.

Josh F 18:08
There would be way more than that, though. Because there's just no space for an argument. Like, how are you going to argue with me if I'm not arguing back? I mean, you might get pissed off and say some nasty crap and then storm off when I'm not engaging with you. Right? I mean, but again, like there's big shifts that can be made. And the truth of the matter is, we talked to our clients about this, but it doesn't matter, actually, whether it's one people or two people that we're working with a three or four, you know, at the end of the day, most of the time we have one person or we have a couple-- occasionally we'll have a group, but it doesn't matter. The process is always the same in that that kind of change only ever comes from the people in a relationship changing themselves, period. And we talk to folks about that all the time.

Cassie 18:57
Yeah, a changed relationship comes from changed individuals, right? Like a relationship is not going to get better on its own-- you have to be the person who changes it. And the thing is, is that when there's challenges in your relationship, right, you really have two options with it. You can own those challenges and be like, I'm going to own this, I'm going to fix this, I'm going to work on this. Or you can sit back and say "these are challenges that are my partner's problems," or "I'm not going to work on it unless my partner is." And you're not really owning the challenge. And when you don't own those challenges, or the problems that come into the relationship and say, "You know what, I'm going to handle this, I'm going to do that." You don't really get to own the result either. Right? So when you don't take charge of that and say, "I'm going to step forward. I'm going to make that shift," right, because you're talking about how one person can change a relationship. Well, if neither of you are stepping forward, if you don't step forward, well then you don't get to own the positive change that can be there that could be there. If you did.

Josh F 20:05
It isn't just that you don't get to own it, this really gets to the crux of it. And I know this may be a little difficult to hear. But the fact of the matter is, if you're in a situation where your relationship is spiraling downhill, and it isn't working, and you know, I have to say most of the time, I think by the time only one person is willing to make a change, things have gotten pretty bad to get to that place. Not always, but I'd say most of the time, if you're in a spot where only one person is willing to make a change, it's because things have gotten pretty far downhill to begin with. And when you're in a place where you know, your spouse is already tapped out, and your relationship is heading downhill, and you're heading towards a breakup or a divorce, and losing this person that you've sacrificed and built a life with. And you're the only one who's willing to make a change. I mean, you have two options, which is you step up and become the kind of person who can have amazing relationships and take the lead in that way and be that superhero or you pack your bags.

Josh F 21:10
Because if nobody's willing to step up and make that change, the relationship is doomed, and the family is doomed. And whatever life you've built, is coming to an end. And you can just go ahead and start drawing up the divorce papers now and drawing up your spreadsheet of who's getting what. We actually had a client who did that before they came to us. And you might as well just do it. Because there's no hope. And I want you to hear what I'm saying. If there's no hope, because if one person doesn't want to change, and the only person who does want to change isn't willing to step up and make a decision. You're in a Mexican standoff until the relationship implodes. Nothing's gonna happen. It's impossible.

Josh F 22:00
So again, I want you to hear this. And I'm saying this with all the love in the world. And I'm not saying it's fair, or anything, but you know what, life isn't particularly fair. At the end of the day, if you're in a place where your partner isn't willing to make a change, you have two choices, which is you step up and become that person and you change your relationship. Or like I said, instead of just standing there in a Mexican standoff, you might as well save all of you some trouble and pack your bags and leave. I mean, you're just delaying the inevitable, you're just kicking the can down the road, torturing each other. Otherwise. I mean, if you think I'm being a little harsh, feel free to say, but--

Cassie 22:39
No, I don't think you're being harsh. And I think that the challenge is definitely when you get to a place where one isn't willing to, and the other one isn't willing to and isn't going to, and you have the choice of making change or doing nothing... doing nothing just prolongs the inevitable. Right. It prolongs the problems and the stress. So I wouldn't quite word it as like, "you might as well just pack up your stuff and leave." But that's the inevitable-- the inevitable is going to happen if you're in a place where you're suffering and you're miserable. Like that's the reality of it, is that we all have a breaking point at some point. Right? And if you're not going to do something to prevent that breaking point, then why hang in there doing nothing and just being miserable until that breaking point? Make the make the decision of like, "Alright, I'm out," or the decision to actually step forward and do something and make positive change.

Josh F 23:44
And what I encourage all of you to do, you know, if you are finding yourself in this place, and I always work with people on this, when I'm first talking to them, is you have to find your "Why." Why are you willing to step up and be the person who takes a leadership role to save your relationship? And it's different for everybody. Right? Maybe it's just because you know, you can and if you do step up, the relationship will change. Maybe it's because you're not willing to give up without trying everything. Maybe it's for the sake of your kids. Maybe it's so that if this doesn't work, you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you did everything instead of carrying that regret around for your whole life. Maybe it's so that if God forbid, this doesn't work, at least you're prepared and you're not going to make the same mistakes again in another relationship. But you have to find your "why." Like, what is your "why?" Why are you willing to step up and make a change? But here's what's awesome about this.

Josh F 24:53
If you're willing to do this if you are willing to make a decision to step up to be-- we talk about like that relationship superhero-- to take that hard look in the mirror and see what your relationship is showing you and to change yourself, that now your relationships can reflect the new you, then you can make a change, even in circumstances that would otherwise be hopeless. And there's a lot of them, because like I said, a lot of times only one person is willing. So if you're in that spot where your partner is hopeless, or you are separated-- I will say when people are separated, I don't ever see that work unless one person steps up-- I don't know if we've had any clients yet where it's like, well, we're separated. But we both want to work on this, usually, you're separated, because somebody's done, right?

Cassie 25:46
I can think of one couple.

Josh F 25:47
one cup.

Josh F 25:49
Or, like I said, your partner just doesn't wanna get help, or they are caught up in that NRE, and they're wondering what's wrong with you-- if you're willing to step up, and you're willing, and committed enough to grow yourself, to become a better partner to change the way that you're showing up in this relationship, then again, your relationship has to change. And you can get to a point where you're able to get back to the relationship of love and peace and security that you want. And you're able to build that future for yourself and your family. And not just that, and maybe this is your "why." But you're able to be in a place where your partner is able to look at you and see that you've changed.

Josh F 26:38
Right, your kids are able to look at you and see how you're showing up. And the example that you're setting and your partner is able to see that growth and fall in love with the new you and not just fall in love with the new you, but be proud of the way that you've changed and how you stepped up, and how you showed up when they were tapped out and everything was on the line. And that's incredibly powerful, not just for them. But that's incredibly powerful for you to see and notice in yourself. And I think that gets back to what you were talking about with owning the result. Right?

Josh F 27:16
So listen, if you're in a place where you're feeling stuck in the spot where your partner doesn't want to make a change, and you are willing to, obviously that's a very difficult place to operate out of. And of course, you're stuck because you don't know how to make those shifts, because that changing of yourself, showing up in this relationship as a different person. And leading change is not an easy process. But it's one that we work people through all the time. And I know we actually have a client right now who was separated when they came in, and they're like four weeks later, and he's about to join her in the course and talking about moving back in. Right.

Cassie 27:58
Yeah.

Cassie 27:59
Yeah, you know, she came in, right, as a place where, you know, her partner did not believe that their relationship could work. Like not only did he have had the hurts and the healing that needed to happen. But because he's polyamorous and she's monogamous, he flat out like just did not believe that this is even workable at all, right? And they're now to a point where he is going to be joining her in the course. They're having really deep connective conversations. And yeah, it's still like a new place and a new journey for them with the opening up of the relationship. But there is finally that hope, right?

Cassie 28:46
And it took her being like, "you know what, he's hopeless. He's moved out or separated, we're in two different houses. We're not even together. We're just talking going, like we're meeting up at the house, and we're doing a couple things, and we're having some chats. But I'm not ready to just throw in the towel. I can see the potential of this relationship. And I know if I step up, and I do the thing, that I can make change." And yes, it took that work, and it took that dedication, but that's what she's seeing.

Josh F 29:19
And so if you are in a place where you're ready to do that for yourself, we can help. Right, so let's hop on the phone, you can go to atouchofflavor.com/talk. And it'll take you to our calendar. Grab up a time, hop on. We'll talk about what's going on in your relationship, where you're at, where your partner is at, and how you can show up in this relationship differently. How you can show up in this relationship as a different partner-- as a better person,. How you can take the lead and create a change and embrace your power to raise the level and heal your relationship. Even if you are the only one who is willing to try right now for whatever reasons. Like I said, atouchofflavor.com/talk will help you out. Okay. Is there anything else that you want to throw in here, Cassie?

Cassie 30:08
No, just never underestimate your own power to make change. That it is so important to recognize that you are far more powerful than you think you are.

Josh F 30:18
Alright. So like I said, go there, you'll see that-- grab up time on our calendar to chat. Take you to a little form, fill that out. We'll talk through this with all you and help you come up with a plan for how you can create a change and get the help that you need, support that you need to make that happen. Okay, everybody, it's great chatting with you. It's good to be back. Have a great week, and we will see you all here very soon.

Josh F 30:46
Thanks for tuning into today's show. We release new episodes every week. So make sure to subscribe.

Cassie 30:51
If you're ready to transform your relationship and you'd like to see if you're a fit to work with us, here's what I want you to do next. Head over to atouchofflavor.com/talk and book an appointment to speak with our team. We'll get on the phone with you for about an hour and we'll get you crystal clear on three things: What's really not working in your relationships, what your dream relationships would look like and a step by step plan to close the gap and save your family even if nothing has worked before.

Josh F 30:57
We talk with hundreds of non-monogamous folks like you every year. And here's the truth: building loving, thriving relationships-- that doesn't happen on its own. You need expert guidance to make that happen. And unfortunately, when you're building relationships outside the box, that's impossible to find, and we get it. But that's exactly what we do. We've helped clients all over the world save their families, get the passion back and become best friends again.

Cassie 30:57
So if you want to see if we can help you do the same head over to atouchofflavor.com/talk. I'm Cassie.

Josh F 30:57
And I'm Josh. Let's talk soon.