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Thriving Beyond Traditional Boundaries: Insights from a Polyamorous Triad

Thriving Beyond Traditional Boundaries: Insights from a Polyamorous Triad

In the diverse spectrum of relationships, polyamory remains a misunderstood path. Yet, for some, like Eugene, Erica, and James, it is a fulfilling and successful lifestyle. This triad has cultivated a relationship built on deep communication, mutual respect, and clear boundaries, offering a fresh perspective on love and partnership that challenges conventional norms.

The Journey to Polyamory

Eugene and Erica began their journey over two decades ago, initially embracing monogamy. As immigrants from the Soviet Union and Ukraine respectively, their early life experiences shaped their adaptable and open-minded approach to relationships. The transition to polyamory was gradual and marked by a commitment to mutual growth and understanding. About eight years ago, James joined the relationship, enriching the dynamic with his intentional approach to partnerships.

Key Principles of a Successful Polyamorous Relationship

Communication: The cornerstone of their success lies in making the implicit explicit. Every member of this polyamorous triad stresses the importance of continuous, honest dialogue to navigate the complexities of their relationship structure.

Boundaries and Agreements: Contrary to popular belief, polyamorous relationships require stringent boundaries. For instance, a simple yet profound rule like coming home at night, regardless of other engagements, reinforces security and reassurance among the partners.

Commitment to Personal and Joint Growth: All three partners engage in personal development and mutual nurturing, which solidifies their bond. They also participate in shared activities like building a house together, symbolizing their long-term commitment.

Overcoming Challenges and Misconceptions

Eugene, Erica, and James confront common misconceptions about polyamory, especially the notion that it lacks depth or commitment. They emphasize that polyamory, like any relationship, involves navigating attachments and emotions responsibly. It’s not an escape from relationship issues but a different framework for addressing personal needs and desires.

Insights for Monogamous and Polyamorous Individuals

This triad’s experience provides valuable lessons for both monogamous and polyamorous relationships:

  • The importance of clear communication: Understanding and articulating needs and boundaries are crucial in all relationships.
  • The role of commitment: Commitment in polyamory isn’t about exclusivity but about maintaining the agreed-upon terms of the relationship with integrity.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: The ability to adapt agreements over time as partners grow and change is vital for sustaining long-term relationships.


Eugene, Erica, and James’s story is a testament to the viability and richness of polyamorous relationships. It challenges us to reconsider our preconceptions about love and commitment. Whether you’re monogamous or considering non-monogamy, the fundamental principles they practice—deep communication, clear boundaries, and mutual respect—offer valuable insights for healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

Polyamory isn’t for everyone, but for those like this triad who find it aligns with their needs and values, it’s a profound and enriching path to interpersonal harmony and personal growth.


How to Move on After Being Ghosted

Being ghosted sucks. And it can be a difficult thing to move on from when you’re the one who’s been ghosted. 

It’s frustrating…and it hurts. But just like everything else, you can get through it, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. 

So when you’re in this situation, what’s the best way to move on after getting ghosted? 

Make the Pain Your Neutral Companion

You’re going to feel a lot of things over time after you’ve been ghosted.

You’ll feel anger—maybe even rage. Frustration. Pain, loss, and of course, hurt. You might freak out, feel scared, and possibly even beat yourself up. 

All of your feelings are okay; it’s normal to feel all of it. It’s a hurtful thing the other person did, and you’re allowed to feel that hurt. 

And the best thing you can do in that situation is to accept whatever pain you feel. Be with it—your experience, your anger, all of it. Get comfortable with it and don’t resist it or run away from it. 

When someone ghosts you, it’s an opportunity to get stronger. 

It’s a vital thing for you to be with yourself and your experience, whatever you’re feeling at the time. That’s part of getting stronger.

Pain is a part of life, and it can always be used as a growth opportunity. It may be hard to think of at the time, but it’ll help you develop your relational chops the next time you start a relationship. 

So feel the hurt, be with it, and accept it—and tell yourself it’s okay, because it is. 

Get in Touch with Your Past 

Amidst your pain, there’s another thing you can do that will help you move forward after being ghosted. 

You can think of this ghosting experience as an opportunity for you to heal something from your past that’s triggering the pain.  

Think about your history…maybe you had another relationship that ended with getting ghosted—or a parent who wasn’t in your life, left, or just wasn’t really there for you. 

The key thing to do is to reflect on your history and think about whether this has happened to you before. I find that most people who have been ghosted by someone have a historical instance in their life that needs to be healed. 

Acknowledging that event in your history is the first step toward healing and using the experiences to empower yourself for the future. 

Check out this short video on moving on from ghosting:

Change Your Outlook on Relationships

This ghosting experience is a good time to recognize the importance of communication in relationships. 

The truth is, ghosting and lack of communication are disrespectful. And even though you might want to talk to that person again, to try to give them another chance, do you really want to be in a relationship with someone who won’t even give you the respect of good communication? 

I know you may desperately want to hear from that person. But try to tell yourself that they don’t deserve your time. 

You want a relationship where communication is mutual—and if it’s reciprocal, you won’t have to be the one reaching out to them all the time and feeling ignored. 

Tell yourself that you want—and deserve—something better. Once you feel empowered and realize you want the respect of mutual communication, you’ll be better prepared for that next relationship where you’ve made progress toward healing and receiving the kind of communication you’re willing to give.    

Progress Is Crucial

So cut yourself some slack because as you know, we’re all works in progress. Remember that every experience can be turned into a growth opportunity when you have the right mindset. 

Allow your ghosting experience to be a learning and healing one, and you just might find yourself in a better position than before.

Want more support? Join our free Facebook group here and get a couple of awesome videos, too.
Photo Credit: Thom Holmes Unsplash

How to Deal with Relationship Burnout

What exactly is relationship burnout? 

A lot of people feel burned out in their relationships because high-stakes relationships are downright hard.

Burnout happens to a certain group of people. Who are these people…and why do they experience relationship burnout?

Reasons Relationship Burnout Happens 

Here’s the group of people I’m talking about: overfunctioners.

What is an overfunctioner? Someone who is doing the emotional labor in the relationship and someone who tracks and prioritizes the relationship. Overfunctioners are often strangely paired with underfunctioners. 

When you’re carrying the relationship for both of you, you’re probably holding on to some resentment and frustration. Even if you haven’t admitted it to yourself, you probably resent the fact that your partner, friend, family member—whoever the other person is in the relationship—isn’t doing something. They just aren’t pulling their weight.

Maybe that person isn’t doing their part in the relationship, or maybe they aren’t doing what you would like them to do. 

Either way, that’s where the marriage or relationship burnout stems from: resentment. In fact, the two are pretty much interchangeable.

How to Tell If You Have Relationship Burnout 

Take a look at yourself and your relationship(s). Are you feeling exhausted, frayed, spent? Showing signs of emotional detachment? 

Do you feel like you’re tired of working so hard on things all the time and you feel like it’s one-sided, that you’re putting all the effort into it? Do you think, “My relationship is stressing me out” often? These are sure signs of resentment and burnout

It’s great that you’ve tried for a long time to improve your relationship—awesome, actually. It means you’re committed and that you want the best for the relationship. 

You’re also stuck in a pattern of overfunctioning, and that’s not what’s best for you. It’s making things harder on you and wearing you out. 

So what’s the solution in this situation? 

Take a Break

Once you recognize your overfunctioning habit, it’s a good idea to take a break from it.

Before you try to change the other person or decide to leave your relationship, try to stop the pattern of overfunctioning. Do your best to let it go.

Try to practice breathing or setting a timer before you jump to what you usually do. Instead of making suggestions or requests, take that deep breath (or several of them) and set aside whatever you want to say.

It might feel difficult breaking the habit, but just like anything, you can train yourself to practice it.

Let the other person know that you’re going to take some time to focus on yourself instead—and that you’re not going to continue to ask them to be different than they are.

When you do that, it opens the door for you to love the person for who they truly are. 

Here’s a quick video about relationship burnout:

Avoid Burnout in Your Relationships

So, if you’re feeling like you’re tired of being in a relationship or you might be on (or over) the edge of burnout in any relationships you’re in, it might be time to ask yourself some questions. 

If you feel like you’re an overfunctioner, try to take these recommendations into account and see what happens. The best outcome would be that you feel more free, and that’s always a positive thing. 

Also, you’ll have the opportunity to appreciate the other person for their personality instead of focusing on what they aren’t doing. That can be freeing for your relationship, and you’ll start to look at things differently.

When YOU finally change, instead of asking them to change, the whole relationship dynamic will change and you’ll feel empowered to co-create a new relational dynamic—or to leave the relationship entirely. 

To learn three keys to working through conflict and improving communication, check out our free training here.
Photo Credit: The HK Photo Company Unsplash


Why It’s Okay to Be an Asshole Sometimes

I want you to know that it’s okay to be an asshole sometimes. 

“But I’m a nice person!” you say. And that’s great…good for you. But there are still times you just can’t be nice, kind, caring, or pleasant. 

No one is perfect, and that includes you. When people push us too far, it’s time for the part of us that we’d rather hide to come out. 

All of us have an inner asshole and once in a while, it’s critical to have this part of us lead. 

“Nice” and “Mean” Are Relative

Keep in mind that “being an asshole” covers a wide range and means different things to different people. 

To someone who’s extra nice and accommodating, it may mean just saying “no, thank you” when someone wants you to do something. Or maybe it’s setting a fierce boundary with your child over their chores. 

And guess what? You might disappoint someone—and that’s okay if you’re making that choice for your own well-being. (Besides, you’re not responsible for their well-being.) 

Being an asshole might mean blocking someone on social media or setting a boundary with a family member who tends to overstep. 

Regardless, there are times in your life when you can allow yourself to be an asshole. YES!

You Decide Who Gets the Front Row

Remember that not every person who comes into your life is going to have a front-row seat. That’s reserved for a special few. That is your inner circle. 

Other people may try to push their way in when you don’t really want them to be that close. In fact, it’s a sure thing that someone besides those few will want that front-row seat at some point. It’s up to you to decide who you allow in there. In other words, you’re the bouncer. 

If you feel uncomfortable with someone or you just don’t want to let them get too close, that’s okay. If they don’t listen, you might need to turn up the heat.

It’s your life—and you do not have to be nice all the time. In fact, it’s not possible to be. 

It doesn’t matter how relationally skilled you are or how much you pride yourself on being a nice person. At times, you’re going to have to be an asshole on some level.   

Here’s a quick video about letting yourself be an asshole sometimes:

Get in Touch with Your Inner Jerk

We all have one—that inner jerk who wants to say no, or block that person, or tell your needy and narcissistic ex to back off. 

It’s okay to admit it. And if you’re going to allow yourself to be an asshole occasionally, you’re going to have to channel that inner jerk.   

See, the thing is…no matter how nice, how accommodating, how friendly you are…someone at some point is going to think you’re a jerk anyway. 

So why not allow yourself those moments of being judged as a jerk or an asshole? 

You can’t change anyone else’s thoughts no matter how hard you try. Instead, allow yourself to be imperfect and to have the boundaries you need.

Boundaries Are Healthy

If you haven’t learned yet just how healthy boundaries can be, here’s your chance. Boundaries aren’t just healthy…they’re necessary for great relationships.

Think of the guardrails that prevent cars from going over the edge of a mountain or cliff. Those are there for our own good. 

When you set boundaries with certain people and at certain times, your mental and physical well-being will improve. You’ll be better off, and you’ll also learn who your true friends and allies are.

Not only that, but you’ll be able to relax into your true self rather than pretending to be someone you aren’t. Because you know what? 

Everyone can be an asshole at times. The question is, are you willing to “go there” in service of your deepest self?

To learn more about relationships and how to navigate them, check out this free class.
Photo Credit: Pixabay from Pexels


One Tool to Help Coaches and Therapists Work with Clients

If you’re someone who works with people on a regular basis—like a therapist or coach—I have one tool I’d like to suggest for you.

You’ve probably noticed as you’ve worked with a wide range of clients that people tend to prefer someone authentic. 

Especially when a person is working on themselves and their relationships, they’re generally trying to be authentic—and they’re looking for that authenticity in you.

They don’t want a blank screen or mindless nodding in response to their problems. 

They want a real person, one who’s human just like they are, to sit and listen to them, support them, and travel with them on their growth path.

This type of authentic person is the kind of guide most people want. 

With that in mind, I’d like to share this tool with you.

Sharing Impact

It’s called sharing impact. This is how it works.

Let’s say a client shares something with you that’s going on in their relationship and you feel like it’s pretty messed up and unfair.

A neutral therapist might just say, “Hmm, that’s interesting,” and leave it at that. 

Yes, that therapist is trying to stay unbiased and keep from sharing their opinion, which can be skillful.

But a real person might say, “What? That feels super unfair,” or “Hey, that’s messed up.”

“Why are you letting your partner treat you that way? That would feel pretty bad to me.”

Why do this? Why not just listen, nod, and stay neutral?

The Relationship Coach Difference

This is where the relationship coach approach comes in. As relationship coaches, we focus on tracking relational dynamics and teaching our clients how to improve their relational skills in each moment. 

So we can tell the client, “Hey, it’s not cool that you’re being treated this way,” because it can be a big wake-up call for them. 

They might realize they haven’t been true to themselves or that they’ve been living in some alternate reality where they let a person treat them in a way they don’t want or that doesn’t feel right.

See, it’s our job as relationship coaches to study all the dynamics of relationships and to share what we learn with our clients. That’s the reason they’re coming to us. 

So we can teach them to be fair and treat each other right, like a team, just as we’ve been learning. 

For these reasons, I think it’s important for you as a relationship coach to let your client know when something seems off. 

It’s Okay to Be Biased Sometimes

A lot of times, coaches and therapists think they should have a hands-off approach. “Hey, it’s their life. They can make their own choices.”

You think you’re unbiased, but you’re not. 

If a person comes to you and they’re in an abusive relationship, you don’t want to just sit there, listen, and say, “Oh, that’s interesting.”

No, it should be, “Get out! How can we help you get out of this relationship?”

Tell the client they deserve to be in a relationship with someone who meets them halfway. It’s supposed to be a mutual relationship, so they need to know they can ask for that. 

They’re coming to you for help because they want to grow and move forward. They don’t have all the tools you have, so that’s why I encourage you to share the ones you have with them. 

Here’s a quick video about sharing impact:

Stay Authentic

At The Relationship School, we want to encourage you to be a real, authentic person with your clients. 

That doesn’t mean you put yourself on moral high ground, telling them what to believe or feel. You really aren’t even giving them a bunch of advice.  

You’re just sharing impact, such as “Listening to you talk about your ex, I feel really defensive.” 

Or, “That doesn’t feel very good to me.” 

“I feel angry when I hear you describing the way you’re being treated in your relationship.”

“It sounds unfair to me.”

When your client hears that real, human response from you, it might prompt them to go, “Maybe I need to make some different choices.” 

And that’s going to be more impactful than just saying, “I understand,” or “That’s interesting.”

There are two very important podcasts on sharing impact and how to do it well. Listen to both here: 

Sharing Impact

Sharing Impact 2.0

Our style of relationship coaching is called Present Centered Relationship Coaching and helps clients learn how to do better in their relationships by using the here and now between coach and client. Check out our description here

If you’re interested in finding out more about helping others through becoming a coach, check out our free training here.
Photo Credit: Dylan Ferreira Unsplash

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Do you consider yourself a people pleaser? Or has someone told you you’re one?

What is a people pleaser, anyway? 

Maybe you’ve been told often how “nice” you are. You might find it hard to say no…and you put the needs of others before your own happiness. 

Being “nice” isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. 

But people pleasing is a symptom. 

Most of the time, you can usually trace people pleasing back to your childhood. It’s typically a habit you picked up or created for yourself as a way to keep connection and avoid pain.

And people pleasing does have a function for those who do it. But is it a problem?  

How People Pleasing Can Be a Problem

While people pleasing does serve a purpose, it can become a problem if you want to have authentic relationships in your life. Ask yourself, “Why am I a people pleaser?” 

Take inventory of the relationships you currently have and think about their authenticity.

If you’re a people pleaser, you probably have people who like you and think you’re awesome because you’re just “so nice.” You’re accommodating, agreeable, and very much a “yes” person.

And if that’s the kind of relationships you want, then that’s where people pleasing is serving its purpose for you. 

But here’s the thing. 

I’m guessing that people pleasing is at the expense of a deeper connection—with yourself and the other person. 

It’s probably also leaving you lacking in deeper intimacy…the more gritty and raw kind. That’s the kind of relationship that may be missing in your life. 

My Advice for People Pleasers

I want to encourage you to be a little messier. 

Get to that gritty intimacy by letting go a bit. Loosen your grip on the energy you’ve invested in people pleasing. Try pissing people off—or saying “no” more.

Here’s where it might get a little tough for you, too:

You’re going to have to be willing to upset people. You might feel judged and criticized. 

You may even lose some of the relationships in your life. 

Sure, it sounds a little scary. But this is the point where you’ll find out which relationships in your life are truly authentic. 

Keep in mind that even when you’re doing your best to please them, people are going to get upset with you and criticize you at times. So to some degree, you might be engaging in the people pleasing for nothing. 

Think about the energy you’re expending holding on so tightly to making that other person happy—while you aren’t. Is it worth it? 

Here’s a short video about people pleasers:

You Can’t Please Others Forever

Let’s say you continue your people-pleasing habit and you enter into a long-term partnership—a marriage or even a business partnership, for example.  

At some point in that relationship, your people pleasing is going to hit a ceiling. It’ll get to a point where it can go no further.

Then, you’ll find yourself in an “Oh sh*t!” kinda moment—when the light bulb kicks on and you see everything clearly.

And you know what? I celebrate that moment for you and with you.

It means you’re probably ready for a change—to learn how not to be a people pleaser. Hopefully you’re ready for more authenticity in every area of your life. 

It’s okay to recognize that sometimes you’re nice—and sometimes you’re not so nice. You’re caring and accommodating, but you don’t always have to be.

When you reach that realization point in your life, that’s the point you’ll grow from.

Take Responsibility for Your Happiness

It’s pretty cliche, but it’s true—you’re responsible for your happiness. Likewise, so is everyone else. 

No one is going to take on the responsibility of making you happy. 

So consider this: why would you want to continue trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of yourself, your connections, and your own happiness? 

Personally, I don’t think it’s a great solution.

I urge you again to allow yourself to let go. Let that other person get mad. They’ll either get over it or they won’t be in your life any longer. 

And you’ll be left with true, authentic, and deep relationships with those who like you for you and not for what you do for them. 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can experience breakthrough in your relationships, check out our certification program.
Photo Credit: Yanapi Senaud Unsplash