I learned about this concept from my partner M last night. We were talking about processing emotions and how to talk to about them with our partners. M said he’d learned a concept early on in his poly journey and it was emotional currency. He said emotional currency is having enough emotional energy stored up to deal with emotional or difficult situations. That hit me square in the face because I generally have emotional currency when I talk and deal with emotions with my partners, but several times I’ve discussed really difficult situations and I literally had zero dollars in my emotional bank.
On a personal level dealing with hard situations and arguing with a partner depletes all of my emotional currency. Talking with M last night made me realize how many times I’ve done this and just how harmful it can be to me and my psyche. On the flip side, I can say that there are a few things that fill up my emotional bank. For instance, when a partner shares with me and shows vulnerability it increases my emotional currency bank or when my partners remember my love languages and does something in response to them such as spending quality time with me All these things fill me up on an emotional level.
I can also say that I fill up my emotional bank by processing old situations that I may not have gotten over. I would be lying if I told you that I don’t have past issues that I have yet to address. Of course I do! Processing those emotions surrounding those situations can take away from my emotional currency as well “credit” my emotional account. I didn’t like my accounting classes while I was in college, but the idea of debits and credits when talking about an emotional bank rings true for me. I’ve been “debiting” from my emotional bank account and very little “credits” have been deposited. My emotional account has been in the negative for awhile and now I have to do a bit of bookkeeping to figure out where I went wrong and how I can get back into good standing. So far,writing in my journal and being good to myself has been what has been helping me.
Writing in my journal gives me the opportunity to write without the fear of judgement or the fear of having to explain myself or my actions to anyone. Being good to myself is a concept that’s a bit more hard to describe. Being good to myself means being a bit more understanding and not so hard on myself constantly. Not blaming myself for everything, and realizing that I’m human and that I make mistakes is a way that I’m being good to myself. I also have to accept that relationships, just like life, has it’s ups and downs and it’s not the end of the world if I have a disagreement with my partner(s). How do you feel about emotional currency as a poly concept? Are you adding to your bank or are you depleting it?
This post originally appeared at The Adventures of a Black Poly Bae.