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Redefining Our Relationships by Wendy O Matik

Redefining Our Relationships by Wendy O Matik

Redefining Our Relationships is an inspiring and comprehensive guide for those curious about, new to, or already involved in polyamorous relationships. Under a hundred pages long, it's the type of book one can easily refer back to amidst a difficult time in a relationship, or when one feels they have lost faith in the extraordinary possibilities of love.

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Subtitled Guidelines For Responsible Open Relationships, “Don't let the title fool you. This IS a serious, thoughtful (and thought-provoking) comprehensive introduction to, and examination of, a much misunderstood and misused practice. But more than that, it is a witty, provocative, damn fine read, with as much to offer to the faithfully monogamous as to those looking for a bit more out of life, love, and relationships. Go on. Dive in. "Wendy-O tackles a touchy subject with clarity and creativity. She is wise beyond her years. This guide teaches you how you can have it all. I gave the jealousy tips to my lover immediately." —Annie Sprinkle”

 

Put together your own version of an ideal relationship, embrace the full capacity of your heart to express love, redefine the potential of a friendship, imagine a thousand ways to make love to yourself and to anyone else you care about. Radicalize your relationship by imagining your wildest ideal partnership together. Avoid stagnancy by challenging your old familiar routine and re-inventing new levels of commitment. Face your true desires in life by asking yourself what you really want from all of your connections.

 

"The most vital right is the right to love and be loved." -Emma Goldman I happened to acquire Wendy O Matik's Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships from a friend and finished the slim book in two nights. Since reading it, my knowledge of polyamory has been broadened, and I have attained a new found respect for the author, Wendy O Matik.

Wendy is a published poet, performance artist, and freelance author working out of the Bay Area with a certain radical slant infusing her work. Within the last fifteen years, she has performed her work at high schools, radical art demonstrations, musical events, art openings, and bookstores in the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Described as a "revolutionary activist of the heart," Wendy O Matik has taught over thirty "Radical Love and Relationship" workshops globally since the release of Redefining Our Relationships. In addition to pushing the boundaries of love, sex, and gender for a living, she also runs her own publishing company, Defiant Times Press.

Wendy opens the book with a list of helpful definitions such as "Making Love = Being Loving," establishing a necessary common vocabulary between the reader and the author. In the opening section subtitled as "Why An Alternative Relationship?," Wendy explains she wrote the book due to lack of discussion and knowledge on the topic of polyamorous relationships. Her motive? "...Merely to incite an inner revolution in the hearts and minds of those who will dare to read this." Wendy explains her choice to have open relationships due to her inability to constrict her love to one person and to have that one person attempt to fulfill all of her desires. In this introductory section she makes sure the reader understands that she hasn't written a book about the pros and cons of monogamy versus non-monogamy, but instead has written a book based on her own experiences with open relationships. Not only challenging us to confront our possessiveness and jealousy, Wendy says polyamorous relationships also break down the status quo and conformity built by society, our parents, and Hollywood. Even on page four, Wendy already has asked her readers to re-sculpt their belief systems and imagine a thousand ways to make love to themselves and others they care about. "And while you're at it, re-invent gender, sexual preferences and orientation." She claims open relationships make us better lovers and also open our perceptions regarding the "reality of human nature," which is inherently desirous of love and to be loved.

There is a stereotype that exists which claims all polyamorists are solely sex-focused. To address and downplay this misconception, Wendy, in her "Intimacy" chapter, announces (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one's motives) that she has intentionally deemphasized the topic of the sexual component of open relationships in her book. Instead, she asks her readers to re-invent their ideas of sex, to go beyond the physical aspects of sex and to surpass the boundaries of intercourse. In the "Open Relationships" chapter, Wendy woes those who may be skeptical of open relationships by writing, "No matter how monogamous one may claim to be, many of us at some point in our life have been non-monogamous in either a one-night stand or a non-committal relationship for any length of time." Her "Misconceptions" chapter is helpful for fending off those who may antagonistically confront polyamorous folk by saying open relationships are only about open sex. Wendy says, "An open relationship has less to do with sex and everything to do with consent, honesty, consequences, dispelling of feelings of possessiveness, being supportive and communicative." Instead of marathon sex or sport-fucking, "responsible non-monogamy is an expression of the true desires of your heart and a calling in your soul."

Wendy also writes many helpful hints on how to successfully confront jealousy and manage a "jealousy attack," such as truly acknowledging feelings of jealousy and describing what one needs for reassurance from one's partner. She elaborates on how to build solid relationships by being honest and communicating one's true desires in the early stages of an open relationship. Since new relationships have the ability to take many directions, she advises that it's crucial to be introspective on want you want from the person, and what you would be capable of giving. She also suggests employing the time-tested "buddy system," having a friend outside of one's lovers in order to ensure one has someone to talk to during difficult emotional situations and experiences. In the "Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships," some guidelines listed are: practice safe sex, respect space boundaries, the "24-hour" rule (no sex within the first 24 hours of meeting someone), honesty, and the bed- hopping rule (providing time for reflection of one's feelings and also for a shower in between lovers). She also has a practical "Conflict" chapter, along with a chapter guest-written by her friend Famous regarding having children in open relationships. She closes her book with a section about facing the fear of being misunderstood, and a poetic free-writing piece on love.

Wendy O Matik's book is both pragmatic and poetic. Redefining Our Relationships is an inspiring and comprehensive guide for those curious about, new to, or already involved in polyamorous relationships. Under a hundred pages long, it's the type of book one can easily refer back to amidst a difficult time in a relationship, or when one feels they have lost faith in the extraordinary possibilities of love. Because Wendy O Matik does just that: reassures the reader of the unmapped transformations love can engender if we only liberate our minds and our hearts to be open to the adventure.

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