February 17, 2011
Love in Abundance by Kathy Labriola introduced me to a new term for something that I already do. And you should too!
You always hear in poly relationships how important communication is, but the type of communication is just as important. If you say “I am uncomfortable with the amount of time you’re spending with your new girlfriend.” (factual) But you mean “I feel left out and I need some love and validation.” (emotional) and your guy hears “I don’t want you to date her anymore!” (problem solving), then the three of you have a big problem! It isn’t that you aren’t communicating, it is that you’re not being clear about what you want to get out of your communication.
Hence, metacommunication. If you start that conversation off instead with “I’m going to tell you something because I need some emotional support,” your guy isn’t going to jump into problem solving mode and think you want him to take a certain action. Other than giving you a hug, I mean.
Communicating about communicating might seem like overkill, but when you are clear about your intentions or needs or desires before the actual “meat” of the conversation, you can save yourself and your partner(s) a lot of pain and frustration as you talk circles around each other or misinterpret things. If your partner wants help solving a problem, and he says so, he’ll get what he needs rather than a hug and a “good luck”.
So, do you metacommunicate?