In June of 2020, Jenni Lynn presented the topic “Finding Your Way in Nonmonogamy” for Dating Kinky’s weekend event, ‘It’s Not Cheating (It’s Ethical and Consensual Nonmonogamy)!’ The original presentation was free to all who joined us live, and was recorded for Dating Kinky’s PLUS members to access through the Dating Kinky Library (over 400 videos and 550 hours of content!).
Here is a clip from that hour-long show, where Jenni Lynn talks about the benefits of ‘Relationship Retrospectives.’
So as I mentioned in the last slide, it’s important to set your boundaries and associated expectations.
That does not mean one person dictates an expectation with no room for compromise or discussion. Setting boundaries and expectations should always be a compromise and defining it early will help clear the way for that open communication and potentially avoid problems around uncomfortable situations.
So I also say revisit those those on a regular basis. My ex-husband and his
ex-girlfriend did it quarterly.
They called it a ‘Relationship Retrospective,’ which if anybody’s in IT, it’s an agile term, but that’s what he called it.
My triad and I do it twice a year.
So…and we actually just did ours again. I want to say two weeks ago.
And being able to do that check in is really great. Especially if you don’t have a specific thing weighing on your mind, you just want to have the conversation.
You like, you know, “Hey, let’s just check in on our relationship. Just make sure everything’s good. And maybe we need to adjust our boundaries and expectations.”
So regular check-ins are really fantastic, and I have found them…
Honestly my ex-husband and I still kind of do relationship check ins because we are such good friends and we do co-parent.
So I find it to be super helpful.
Just a couple days ago, I was talking with a friend about their nonmonogamous relationship, and they mentioned an agreement they had. Something they had said at the beginning of their relationship, and felt was sacrosanct.
But that agreement had been broken by their partner.
And, they were hurt.
Which is valid.
On the other side of things, though, their relationship had changed a lot over more than half a decade. They had new dynamics, new cities, new growth…so much had changed over that time.
Now, I’m not excusing anything. I don’t know the full story, and I don’t really care, because I’m not interested in assigning blame.
I’m interested in the idea of setting my partner(s) up for success by regularly checking in on agreements and boundaries.
ESPECIALLY when the relationship changes, the dynamics change, new people are added, existing people have gone away, major life changes happen and more.
But at least twice a year.
In this clip, Jenni Lynn calls it a ‘Relationship Retrospective.’
I have called it a ‘State of the Dynamic,’ a ‘Check-In,’ a ‘Get-Right-With-Us Talk,’ and more. But it all means the same thing:
That people grow and change over time, and what worked six years or even six months ago may not work as well, now, and I want to have those conversations (as often as possible) BEFORE they trip us up. Before a mistake is made.
And, frankly, I want to give my partner(s) the chance to renegotiate if they need to. Or if they want to.
Because I want our relationships and dynamics and agreements to grow with us, who we are, now and moving towards the future.
What are your thoughts?
Do you believe that relationship agreements should be revisited regularly? How often? Is there a set schedule, or mile markers that you think are best?
Do you invite change and growth into your relationship, and make conscious room for it?
Or, do you believe that a relationship, once negotiated, should remain in force as-is, until and unless a major renegotiation happens?