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The Other Guy's Moccasins

Has anyone heard the saying, "Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his moccasins."?

Okay, yeah, I know you have.

This is one of those sayings that is particularly applicable to polyamory.

Here's how the situation can go. Jeff and Mary have been living together for ten years. Jeff never ever puts the toilet seat down. Typical male thing and no big deal, right?

Well, Mary once tried to use the bathroom one dark night and because she's not the most graceful of souls, she slipped, fell in and wound up not only with a cold, wet behind, but an injured back.

Jeff still doesn't replace the seat every time and it sends Mary through the roof.

Now, when Lisa moves in with Jeff and Mary, she doesn't understand why in the world Mary gets so very upset about a toilet seat. One day, as she is walking through the grass of their lovely summer lawn, she steps on an old fashioned garden rake and WHAM! She's hit right between the eyes.

She sees stars and sits down, feeling a little woozy. Turns out Jeff had been working on the lawn and had not replaced the rake in the shed where it belonged.

The next time Jeff commits a Toilet Seat Offense, Lisa still thinks Mary is overreacting, but doesn't comfort Jeff quite so much when he comes to her about Mary's temper.

Over the months, little incidents happen. Lisa cuts herself on an improperly stored knife, Mary's favorite rayon dress is now the size of doll clothes because Jeff put it in the dryer.

One day, about six months later, a friend is visiting and Lisa comes storming out of the bathroom to fuss at Jeff because he left the toilet seat up. The friend chastises Lisa for being "too hard on Jeff for such a trivial thing".

It wasn't the toilet seat itself that annoyed Lisa, of course. Remember, there was a time when it was not a peeve of hers at all. Only being seen in the context of Jeff's behavior over time can it be understood.

This kind of thing is known to happen in a poly relationship, too. When you meet that perfect someone and cannot understand why your new love's SO is so hard on her, remember, unless you have lived with this person, there's probably stuff you don't know.

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