I mentioned in a previous post that the book, More Than Two, has made me think - and it has. Its reading resurrected thoughts about my many past mistakes and failures: about the early jealous years when I lived in fear of loss, about my possessiveness when I tried to change my partner's behavior to meet my needs, about how futile and ugly this strategy played out, and looking back in amazement, about how I behaved at times like an insensitive jerk. In short, I failed to own my shit until many hard lessons were learned.
Is it possible to avoid, or at least mitigate, these mistakes through a thorough reading of the book? Can a poly newbie absorb so much of the valuable information conveyed to overcome a lifetime of cultural conditioning and successfully navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of multiple relationships? In my case, I would have to say "no" to both questions. In large part, the book is meaningful to me because I can relate to the issues raised through personal experience. If I had read it as a newbie, I would likely have failed to completely grasp its truth, considering it more applicable to other people, because - well, you know - I am too smart to mismanage all of that relationship shit.
I think someone new to poly or considering poly for the first time should build a strong knowledge base about the basics of polyamory, then tackle the subtleties often only thoroughly understood through personal experience. My advice to newbies would be to read Opening Up by Tristan Taormino, Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships by Wendy-O Matik and More Than Two, by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert in that order.
However, the best advice of all is found in the close of More Than Two: "Love more and be awesome."