How do you start off new relationships from a place of integrity? What about if you’re nonmonogamous? How do you integrate integrity into existing relationships? What is the difference between nondisclosure and dishonestly? Is people pleasing manipulative? Hear it all on this episode of the Queer Joy Podcast; where two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
Leave us a voice message at 503-660-4409
FB & IG: @queer_relationships_queer_joy
Keely: [00:00:00] (Intro - 00:20Topic Pt 1 - 02:10Topic Pt 2 - 09:53Topic Pt 3 - 13:01Topic Pt 4 - 21:12Topic Pt 5 - 30:15Queer Joy - 37:54) There is something about language when we're talking about how do we communicate within our relationships?
Melisa: How do you start off relationships, new relationships from a place of integrity?
Keely: Hello everyone. Welcome back to Queer Relationships, Queer Joy.
Melisa: Here we are.
Keely: Here we are.
Melisa: Back again.
Keely: Oh, you know that the song that just came into my mind, it's a generation. Here we go back again. , uh, We're your host. I am Keely. C. Helmick.
Melisa: And I'm Melisa DeSegiurant.
Keely: And we are, it's the, it's just the two of us today. After a nice interview, we have a couple, couple weeks with just us and then get back on the interview train with some other great guests. So updates, [00:01:00] Melisa.
Melisa: Let's do our full intros for anyone new, so that they know who is talking at them.
Keely: Melisa, keep me in line. I always need someone to keep me in line cuz I'll just go all over the place. Well, my name is Keely C. Helmick. I'm a licensed professional counselor. I am the owner of Connective Therapy Collective. I'm also a certified sex therapist. I'm a white queer, non-binary fem. Currently right now dating somewhat non monogamously and just hanging out. Feeling the feeling the February, February in Portland, Oregon
Melisa: And I'm Melisa DeSegiurant, I'm licensed as a marriage and family therapist and professional counselor working at Connective Therapy Collective. I am white. I am able bodied. I'm bisexual and polyamorous, and I'm gender fluid. I use she and they pronoun.
Keely: Awesome. That was fast.
Melisa: That was, we're getting there. We just have to remember to do it. That's all.
Keely: [00:02:00] I feel like there's something I wanna mention, and maybe we should have recorded something and maybe we will, but I just wanna mention on the episode before this, when we talk about, um, , we talk about pain and chronic pain and, and sex. And I feel like we didn't, I wanted to give more of a shout out to, uh, touch me not tops, and this combination of how people can find their, like no matter where they're at in their bodies and gender, sexuality, all these pieces like we got, I wanted to give some kudos to like people who express their sexuality. And I don't know, I just, after the sh after the episode I recorded it. I wanted like, just mention touch me not tops as well.
Melisa: Like a shoutout.
Keely: Yeah, we were claiming pillow princesses. Let's talk about our, you know, touch me not tops. Back in the day they were called stone, um, stone butch blues, like stone butches or the, like the book Stone butch blues [00:03:00] or stone butches. So I don't know. And that puts me, old school style. But I will say, I think that's the lingo. And if there's another lingo, someone tell me, but I was thinking a lot about the touch me not tops.
Melisa: Love that. That's what happens. We'll record an episode and then go, wait, oh man, we didn't talk about this, which is why we're gonna keep talking about it all. Of course.
Keely: What is interesting, I think this is a generational thing with sex, what I'm hearing is there's, well, why do we have to categorize and this, do I wanna say shaming or just saying, Hey, not really feeling the categorizations of like top bottom switch. Mm-hmm. , um, or giving, receiving these term, these terms people just aren't jiving with.
Melisa: Yeah. Right.
Keely: And I find it interesting, it seems to fall in line with these, these thoughts of, you know, whether or not we have labels for ourselves and are they helpful? Are they restrictive?
Melisa: Yes, and both, it's both. And [00:04:00] I think even the best label will not necessarily stand the test of time, language changes. And that's part of the creativity of it. You know, I think when we get a little too ingrained in like, no, this is what this means, and then we start using that to categorize other people. It's where a lot of problems happen, you know.
Keely: Yeah. I mean, I, I'm sure I've said this before, but I am in the camp. I, I always want more language to explain something and whereas there's other folks who talk about not having, not having to describe something, just being human, being who we are.
Melisa: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Keely: And how does that translate to the dating apps, by the way, I mean, I know we talk about the dating apps a lot. That's not what this episode is about today but if we don't have these, this language. I don't know. Do you wanna argue the other side, Melisa, about not having labels and not using these terms anymore?
Melisa: Yeah, I mean, I, I do feel like any language is inherently limiting. You know that J by [00:05:00] nature it is defining something right? And that's sort of the point of it. But I think when you forget that it is limiting inherently, and then, again, you get glued to labels and you don't give yourself fluidity to try out other words or try not using words for a while and see how that helps you grow.
Like that to me is the point. It's, it's allowing flexibility and fluidity.
Keely: Can we have the language and labels and still allow for flexibility within that?
Melisa: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's also valid if people don't want to have the language in labels. You know, I, I think we just don't get to. Control how other people use or don't use language.
Keely: Yeah, and you know, I will say that I've heard this from more than one person. Where someone might in general identify a certain way, but then with different people will be different sexually. And so, you know, sometimes someone who identifies as a top may be more of a switch with a certain person.
Melisa: Right. [00:06:00] Yeah, absolutely. And I just, um, again, with language, we get so fixed on these definitions, and it can be, I've seen it be used to label people in ways that they're not comfortable with, and I'm like, very not okay with that , you know? Um, and, And here's, here's just a, an example. This hasn't happened to me, but it could be said. I think from a technical definition standpoint, the way most people understand the word pansexual would apply to me. Um, However, that word has no meaning to me at all. It has no history with me. It doesn't feel good for me to say it doesn't make sense to how I experience my own attraction, even though by definition you could argue that that is a label that I quote unquote should use.
But again, I'm a therapist. I don't believe in should statements, you know.
Keely: Don't shit on yourself.
Melisa: Yeah. So I mean, quite frankly, I don't give a fuck if that's like the word that people, that makes sense to people. For me, that's not a word that I choose, you know, and I, I've heard somebody before, actually this did come from an interview, um, on Elena [00:07:00] Joy's, uh, YouTube, and I'm trying to remember. I'll have to add in later if I can remember who she was interviewing. But the conversation was around gender and they were talking about even pronouns. And to your point, how people will use different language or different pronouns in this scenario, uh, with different people. And they were talking about it like nicknames.
Like there are some people who call me Melisa, and there's some people who call me Mel. But if you call me Mel and you're not one of the people who's allowed to use that name, I'm gonna look at you funny. Like that's not a name that everyone is allowed to use, you know? And, and I would say, yes, I am Mel, right? By definition, that is a nickname that is active in the, you know, my friends use it, but it's not okay for someone to decide to use that with me, if that makes sense.
Keely: Oh yeah, that makes total sense. I really. My kids call me mom, still our mother. And, but other people, when I hear people say like my child's name's mother, I'm like, Ooh, like, I get kind of cringey, but the label of [00:08:00] like mother and auntie with my nibbling and with my children work for me. Yeah. So, yeah, I think I, I can definitely jive with that and how that fits with my gender and yeah, we get to reclaim names or we get to talk about how we want to use those words.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, I think as we're having this conversation too, part of my current frustration with like the need to overuse language or use a lot of language for me right now is it goes against like this trying to pin down and define goes against my energy right now, which is much more expansive and creative and defying definition and like that's just the, that's what I'm embodying right now in my life. And so that's why I say like, we don't get to choose whether other people are like really into labels or not, you know, we don't know what's right for them in the particular moment of their life they're in. Sometimes it is, I need definition. I need to feel pinned down. I need to feel like I understand, or that I fit in [00:09:00] somewhere. That's valid. It's just not where I'm at right now.
Keely: Yeah, that makes sense. And I do think that on this topic, thinking about generationally more and more, I'm hearing folks like high schoolers, people in college and then early twenties a lot more just saying any pronouns, for instance.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Um,
Keely: And that doesn't mean that's what everyone. This is very much Portland, Oregon, very much Pacific Northwest. pacific , Northwest queers, but that is seems to be more of what's catching on, which fits in with this, this less labeling or more fluidity like you're saying.
Keely: And I wonder with this conversation, I do think it lends itself to our topic that we talk wanted to talk about today, because there is something about language when we're talking [00:10:00] about how we talk about our relationship and how do we communicate within our relationships? And Melisa, you used the term relationship integrity. Mm-hmm. , . I, I don't know if you have a different definition. When I think about the word integrity, the basic definition I work with is, What you are doing when no one else is looking. Mm-hmm. , what's going on when no one else is looking?
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. That's, I mean, the conversation does have to start with, as we talk about definitions of how do you define integrity, what does that mean? And actually, if you like, just Google it. Everyone's gonna have a slightly different definition. So I do think like there's your first takeaway of a talking point with new partners is like, Hey, what does integrity mean to you? How do you show integrity in relationships? Like, how, let's define this together.
Keely: Oh, of course. You know, if you look at values and, and on that, any kind of business you know, you wanna be, um, a person that leads with integrity or a very common word. [00:11:00]
Keely: And do people actually have a true definition for that?
Keely: What is your definition, Melisa? What are you looking up online?
Melisa: You know, I don't have just one, but when I think about relationship integrity, for me, the way I can be in integrity or show integrity in relationships is, by saying what I mean and doing what I say, when things are congruent, when what I, what I say and what I do are matching up, you know, um, I think a broader, another word you can use is ethical.
Like, I would argue that when we're talking about ethical, non monogamy, we're talking about integrity versus other kinds of non monogamy that are not ethical, um, so I think those are big parts of it. I think honesty, but with that, this is where it also comes into the relationship with self because honesty about feelings, for example, requires us to know for ourselves what is happening in our internal landscape and, and what we are feeling to be able to communicate that in any sort of an honest way.
So it is, it's a big term. It's really broad, but I think it's important [00:12:00] because we've done a good job of getting. I guess ticky tacky about like the smaller relationship things. Like we've referenced things like using I statements, taking breaks, you know, uh, all these different tools. But what I'm seeing with my clients is, they're like trying to track all of these tools simultaneously while starting new relationships, and it feels like doing a million things at once,
So sometimes backing up and having a word like integrity almost as your mantra is like that can help orient like your decision making,
Keely: yeah, that makes sense. It's kind of like when you're starting out with your values, you're starting out with your mission statement, like if you were.
Keely: You're introducing yourself to somebody.
Hey, Hey, it's Cardinal. You're behind the scenes buddy. Episode 69 is coming up. And I want to invite you to add your queer joy to the show. Leave us a voice message [00:13:00] at five oh. 3 6, 6 0 4, 4 0 9 with anything that's brought you queer joy recently remain anonymous or share your name totally up to you.
I can't wait to hear your joys numbers in the episode description. All right back to the show.
Keely: So, this, this aligns, or this makes me think about other pieces we've talked about when we're talking about boundaries, when we're talking about how much we choose to tell somebody, and it does really, that honesty piece really gets into word play about what is the truth, how honest is someone being, are we respecting or thinking about what someone else really wants to hear, wants to know about?
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. And really, like you said, being honest with yourself. Like what, what is it? What is honesty to you? What is integrity to you? And how do [00:14:00] you want to communicate that with a partner or with people in your life?
Melisa: Right. And how do you, how do you start off relationships, new relationships from a place of integrity?
I think that can be a valuable question, and sometimes that's the legitimate format of the relationship. You know, some of the questions and conversations I've been exposed to recently is about, um, in situations where it's, it's a monogamous structure, but someone is cheating. Do you have sex with someone who you know is married, for example, and their partner doesn't know?
And as a clinician, if I'm faced with that, I do not get to, um, promote my morals and force my ethics on someone else. That's just, that's part of the, the ethics of being a therapist. I don't get to say what other people do, and I'm not gonna sit there and shame people for doing something that I don't personally agree with.
What I will say in this format, and I and I have said this in [00:15:00] different words to clients, be aware of the relationship you're in and if this is a relationship that's founded on dishonesty and lying, that's not a relationship that's founded on integrity. Mm-hmm. Even if it feels like, but they, they, you know, they connect with me and we really just, and, this is a person who is lying to a person they've made a commitment with.
That's the foundation for this relationship. It's based on a lie. Right. Again, we don't, we can pass judgment or not on that, but what we can say is that's the breeding ground for future issues of trust. Right. It's just, it, it, it, be aware of how those dynamics can then impact the longevity of your relationship together.
Keely: Yeah, Yeah. And, and and engaging with somebody. Non monogamously, non non-consensual non-monogamy, cuz that's, that's, that's another term we use. I mean, the word cheating and [00:16:00] again, speaking of language, there's so many labels that can come into play
Keely: Around that. And there, at the end of the day, it's about being really honest with yourself and like you said, okay.
This is the relationship dynamic that I'm choosing to engage in. Mm-hmm. .
Melisa: Right, exactly. Just be aware. You know?
Keely: Yeah. Yeah. And I will say, I think, I mean, the last statistic that I had heard was, I don't know, like 70% of people have had non, um, um, non-consensual nonmonogamy or cheating the, I think the term in the research, in the statistics, it was the term, you know, have you ever cheated on a partner?
Keely: Very, very monogamous, very monogamous terminology. And so yeah, there's things that we as humans do. And so that's one example of looking at your, at what you're doing [00:17:00] clearly and making choices. And the other thing worth looking or talking about within this dynamic, Framing relationship integrity, starting from the beginning can be a little confusing because we're looking at how much do you wanna talk about yourself, how much do you wanna reveal about yourself? How much What is considered ethical? What is something, someone deserves to know or should know, and that's gonna differ for everybody.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. And I, I've seen people get trapped in that. Am I just supposed to tell someone everything? And like, no, that's not the takeaway. Again, honesty doesn't mean every single thing you ever thought or felt. You know? I mean, sometimes it's easier to look at it the opposite way. Are you saying things that are untrue, you know, and if you're talking about integrity and relationships, think about in that the Evelyn, um, STARS you know, acronym the relationship intentions. Are you telling someone you're available for something that you're not available for? [00:18:00] Are you saying something untrue? You know, I mean, we can talk about integrity with dating, dating profiles. Does your dating profile match what you're offering? you know, know, are you, Are you telling somebody you're available for? I've still, oh my god, I've seen this with a unicorn hunting, right? Especially as a bisexual person.
I sit there and get matched with some cute girl, and all of a sudden, like a day later, it's like, oh, actually I'm looking for me and my partner. Okay, well that's not the conversation and that's not whoops on your profile. That, to me, that's an example of somebody not acting with integrity. Yeah,
Keely: Yeah. Yeah, and if what you're looking for, obviously, like we're saying, it can change. We just said, you know, there's a fluidity within it. And how much, do you know what you're actually looking for? Or does it match?
Melisa: Yeah, I'm the person and, and I, you know, we use ourself as examples, I think on the podcast. I hesitate sometimes. I don't want it to come across as like, here's the right way, just cuz this is what works for me.
But like, for, you know, for the sake of illustrating this example, [00:19:00] I have been on first dates before where they've said, what are you looking for? And I've said, I have to be honest, I don't really know right now.
Melisa: Here's what's happening in my life. Here's what I'm feeling, here's what I'm interested in. Here's what I'm afraid of. I don't know what I'm looking for, but what I can, you know, do is I can communicate to you along the way how things are going. You know?
Keely: Yeah, that's a really good point. Melisa is that you have those check-ins or you can let people know as it comes, because there is also this pressure.
I do think that there is this pressure right now on dating apps or in dating in general to know what you want.
Keely: And that kind of feels, even with the non monogamy mindset, it feels kind of monogamous. Like, oh, are you ready to, are you looking to settle down? Are you ready to be in a quote unquote, real relationship.
Mm. What are you looking for? And it is interesting. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of [00:20:00] fluidity within what I'm seeing anyway. Maybe it's just my age group that I have. I don't know. But I'm hearing from there's this essence of, okay, wanting to, you know, be an ethical slut right now in a slut phase. Just trying things out, wanting to be really casual or, okay, I'm full on, ready to go, full relationship, and I'm like, where is the fluidity within that?
Melisa: Where is where's in between?
Keely: Yeah. Where is just dating and just existing and seeing what happens.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: So even within this opening of these different options and being more clear, oh yeah. I'm just in a friends with benefits phase or just wanting to make connections with people. Even within that, it seems really restricted that people have, that there is this challenge to be fluid around it and just see what happens.
And within that, it comes back to, like you said, knowing ourselves and the integrity [00:21:00] piece is meeting somebody where they're at. And I think that's the, that's one of the biggest skills that I think as a therapist that translates into my connections and interactions with people wherever I'm meeting them, is that idea of meeting people where they're at.
Melisa: Yeah. And with that, and, and you've referenced this before Keely, but that like radical acceptance of where they're at.
Melisa: You know, to me that's another piece of integrity of, gosh, God, us people pleasers can get in this trap. You know, where it's, I see where you're at and I know that you can change and so I, I don't wanna cause any waves now cuz I wanna keep you around , you know?
Um, But, If you've got any of that, maybe you don't have to be a people pleaser, certainly to be in relationship thinking someone's going to change or hoping they're going [00:22:00] to change. But are you sitting like in a place of integrity if you are, you know, telling someone I'm eating you, or, yeah, I love you the way you are, but really in the back of your mind you're saying, but, but you have to change. You have to change to really earn my love. To me, that's not, that's not integrity.
Keely: No. I mean, so there's that piece that you're saying. There's the idea of someone looking at someone to change. But I think there's another piece of this which can phase into sometimes what we talk about with codependency is this idea of, oh, I'm learning what this PE person likes and doesn't like.
Keely: And I'm gonna shift and just talk about these pieces, or another term that's used quite a bit now is Fawn, you know, is
Keely: To act in a way that you think that person wants what they want. And so when they're in these first couple dates, or you're meeting somebody and you're learning what they like, what they [00:23:00] want, and then you start.
Shifting to please that person.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Melisa: There's the dishonesty there, right?
Keely: Yes. That is not an integrity with ourselves.
Keely: That isn't, that's, that is, that's a really good way to put it, Melisa. It's, it's an opposition to integrity. It's right. It's trying to appear as somebody that you're not
Keely: To please someone or to gain the attention.
Keely: And we know that's not what's going to. Really produce a long-term relationship.
Melisa: Right. I think that's a brilliant example too, Keely, because that's one where it, it, it gives you the understanding that when we talk about integrity, it does have different feelings, you know, like, or, or a different tone to it. Like in that example with that people pleasing or shifting and changing oneself to try and be what we think someone else wants. I don't necessarily have the immediate like, oh, that's a terrible, I don't have a judgment the way, and I'm owning this for myself, that I may have a [00:24:00] judgment around, um, somebody engaging in non-consensual, you know, relationships.
Um, . So we're, we're not saying that like if somebody's acting out of integrity, that like they're a terrible person or that it's, you know, judge them or whatnot, it can happen in like these really appearingly sweet ways of like, for example, like I, the, the person who goes, oh, no problem, sure, whatever. Sure, anything you want, no problem.
Right? It's like, hmm, okay, there again, that might be dishonest, you know, but that person might also not be aware. I can't remember who it was, who hit, uh, we had, uh, somebody we interviewed recently. Um, . I think it may have been Foster actually, who had talked about when somebody says, oh, I'm up for anything sexually, and it's like, no, you're not, no you're not. That's not the answer. There's more work to do there. It's okay if you're not sure.
Melisa: I don't know is a valid answer, but I'm just up for whatever. No, that's not true.
Keely: Well, I love the tr- I took a BDSM training, um, BDSM for therapist. And I mm, I need to [00:25:00] post this person's name cuz she's awesome.
But she, she said that, and she's also a prodom when she has someone come in and, and she asks, what do you want? And they're like, oh, whatever you want. She's like out . Yeah, yeah. That's the no for her.
Melisa: We're done.
Keely: Yeah. She won't engage with them if you don't know what you want. Because think about that. If you can't describe what you actually want, it's not informed. Mm-hmm.
Keely: Because there has to be something. And so along this idea of integrity, can there be a conversation with somebody around figuring out what works for the two of you? Does that Is, Is there a middle ground? Can you come to a place where, okay, like I think about, I like going on a hike, and someone doesn't like hiking, are they willing to go on a walk with me that, you know, you can walk around Mount Tabor where it's flat?
Mm-hmm. ? Or do they not wanna be outside at all? If I like to camp, or, I dunno why, that's an example coming to my mind. Mm-hmm. . But this idea, it doesn't really give [00:26:00] the other person opportunity to actually get to know you either.
Keely: And. . It's not intentional, but there is actually some, this is was one of the things that took me so much, so long to really catch and understand and learn, but that this response, being a people pleaser and saying those phrases like, oh, whatever you want, or I'm open to anything, is actually slightly manipulative.
Melisa: And it's this covert manipulation.
Keely: It's covert, yes, but it's manipulation cuz you're saying, oh, you are changing something to try to get a certain result from someone else. And so you're using this, this way to be like, oh, well I'm gonna do what you want to do so that I can appear this way. Versus showing up as yourself being like, no, I actually don't like hot dogs. I don't want to go to a hotdog stand, I dunno where they, I dunno. These examples are [00:27:00] coming from, I dunno,
Melisa: I'm like wanting to like analyze all these examples now. Like these are fun
Keely: Well I do have a, it's interesting cuz there's this great example we we're just talking about non monogamy and how this plays in. The person I'm dating is having a birthday coming up and it's like a layered birthday, you know, three or four different things going on. And the old me, they're going to like some big meat place and the old me, or like years ago, I would've been like, oh yeah, of course I'll go.
But I was like, wait a minute. I'm like, no, I don't wanna six. Just like this bunch of meat in front of me. I mean, it's like big time. Like making the meat in front of you.
Keely: And it's just like any, yeah, I'm a mostly vegetarian person. That's just like not my thing. And I was like, oh, this is so great. I had an honest conversation with them and I was like, is it cool if I don't go, like, your partner's gonna be there, I can join later.
Blah, blah, blah. Mm-hmm. , and it was so lovely [00:28:00] because I was really honest and upfront with them. And they knew that I probably wouldn't wanna go to that.
Keely: That felt like integrity to me and in my body. That's another piece about integrity is like when it lines up energetically.
Keely: You can feel that when someone is people pleasing or holding back parts of themselves or holding, not using their voice. Not really putting themselves out there. It's, that's, That's a lot of where anxiety comes in, right? Yeah. And we don't always talk about anxiety in that energetic form, where when interactions with other humans.
Keely: And this we're talking specifically about romantic relationships and dating. This can come up in any relationship. Friendships if you're always the easygoing one or like do whatever the other person wants to do.
Melisa: Yeah, I love that point though, Keely. It's, it's, it's, I think in [00:29:00] that last example, it shows that honoring one's boundaries can be a form of acting in integrity, you know? Um, But you're right, it can happen in any sort of relationship.
It can happen in, you know, professional relationships. It can happen with friendships. Um, . Yeah, but it always comes back to relationship with self to me, because again, we have to know, what our needs are, what our boundaries are, what's happening in our internal world. When somebody makes a request and we go to react right away, rather than pausing, noticing what comes up and then wanting to respond.
You know, those are the, if we're in that reactive mode in any scenario, likely that we, we could be being dishonest or disingenuous.
Keely: Yeah. That takes it, it takes a little bit more time. It takes a little bit more communication, but I think that's the piece that upfront work or that upfront discussions and curiosity.
Also, there's a lot more, what's the word I'm trying to say? May, maybe patience. [00:30:00] I think that in the beginning you ha when you have the NRE going on, you're like, oh yeah. There's more energy, there's more beginner's mind. There's more curiosity, like that's one of the things with longer term relationships, I'll talk about people bringing that curiosity back.
Keely: Well at the beginning stages of meeting somebody new and dating somebody, there is so much curiosity. And how cool is that to get to share who you are and things you like, preferences, dislikes. Really getting to talk about that. And then that's like true informed consent. Mm-hmm. . Okay. You're bringing, you're talking about yourself.
This other person's talking about their selves, you're learning about each other's desires, [00:31:00] goals. Does this align?
Melisa: Yeah. Right, right.
Keely: And not trying to appear to be something. Now the difference is we can want to show certain parts of ourselves and are those things true things about ourselves or are we just trying to appear a certain way?
And I think that's a really fine line. Yeah. Like I'm not sure how much we can differentiate that.
Keely: But that again is that integrity piece, like you said.
Melisa: Totally. Yeah. And, and And, and you're right, because sometimes other people bring out new parts of ourselves that we didn't know were there. Right. That's like the point of being in relationship with people, you know?
So again, it could be like, I don't know. I think that that leads into. Me wanting to really like debunk the idea that any of this conversation is about perfectionism, you know, we are not going to, most likely, we are not going to act like from a place of integrity at all times, we are human, we have triggers, we have [00:32:00] wounds, we have needs, we have attachment, we have egos. You know, there's so much stuff at play. Um, but I think this is where really healthy repair. Can restore integrity in relationships. And sometimes that's saying, wow, you know what? I was totally trying to impress you, but I really, I fucking hate this movie. Can we turn it off? You know, like, I like, no, not everyone's gonna receive that with like a warm hug, but like, if a partner said that to me, I would burst out laughing and be like, thank you for being honest, that's fucking refreshing.
Like, actually I hate this movie too. I was just watching it cause I thought you would like it.
Keely: You know? Uh, I, I mean, yeah, I do think. And I'm curious. I feel like this has been an age thing for me, and I've heard so often, and this is, this is kind of like why it's cis hetero land, but I'm not cis hetero, but the phrase, um, that's tossed her out of like being in your forties and not giving a fuck anymore or forties, no fuck to give.
Keely: I do [00:33:00] feel that, and I don't know, it's, it's hard for me to delineate between it covid stuff and mm-hmm. in my forties because I turned 40 in 2020 during the thick of the lockdown. And so I will say though, something does shift. I do feel a shift as I get older, and I do think that's consistent with what a lot of humans will say getting older and, and just kind of caring less, but not caring less. It's not holding up the appearance as much.
Melisa: Right. Caring less about the mask that you present to someone when you first meet them.
Keely: But it's still, and then there's another side to that, which then you start getting this like scarcity.
You're like, oh my God, I'm, I'm like getting older and, I'm gonna, I'm gonna die alone. So I'm not saying, this is not, doesn't come without its own
Keely: Things that pop up. But I do think there's something, yeah, there's some middle ground. And like you said, so starting off and being [00:34:00] honest, but also like having your own boundaries of not saying doesn't mean that you tell your whole life story on the first or second date.
Melisa: Right? Yeah.
Keely: There's certain things you may not talk about for quite some time.
Melisa: Yeah, absolutely or ever. There's certain things that may not ever be spoken and that's okay. You know, this is where, again, I know I'm talking kind of about the energy behind terms, which is a weird concept for some people perhaps, but there's a difference in the feel of secrecy versus discretion, you know?
And there are things that may maybe true to you that not everyone needs to know, and that's okay. But that may be different than holding a secret like information that is actually really relevant and important to somebody to be able to consent in the relationship.
Melisa: That's different, right? That's very different.
Keely: Yeah. And the, the different, you know, do you talk about traumatic events from your childhood? [00:35:00] Well, you may wanna talk about that, if that's something that's pops up during, in relationships or pop pops up. You know, I have folks talk a lot about different things that come up when they're having sex with somebody.
So that's an important thing to talk to someone if you're gonna be sexual with them. STI and STD, you know, disclosing that. Disclosing, yeah. You know, I think this is where it's interesting with non-monogamy. and dating and sometimes people dating, not monogamously, but then being more of a monogamous relationship person.
Keely: How do you talk about whether you're sexually active with someone or not? For me, that's, that's a very clear line to me, which then I know, and we've talked about this, it's, it gets, gets squeaky around, um, non-consensual, non monogamy, but I, you know, how can someone give true informed consent about sex if they're not knowledgeable about you engaging with other people.
Melisa: Right, right. Exactly.
Keely: Now what [00:36:00] you say about that may be different, mm-hmm. like you may just say, oh, you know, yeah, I am dating other people. I'm sexual with other people and it could just be like a bat. My last time I was tested was blank.
Melisa: Right? And you two can create, or three or however many in the system can create the agreements around that.
There's not a right or wrong agreement. It's what the system decides. The integrity pieces that everyone gets to be a part of that decision. And it is an agreement, you know.
Keely: Because some people are going to choose, some people are gonna wanna be sexually monogamous mm-hmm. off the bat maybe. They, they get to have the information to then choose what they want to do with that, right?
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: So that's, that's what I got for today. As always. There's much more to talk about and I will be curious to hear what people think about this relationship integrity and how that ties in with what we talk about and privacy and [00:37:00] honestly some of the past episodes talking about what we communicate to Meta Moores or you know, what other partners, other people, how much we talk about things.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like this will be the concept we reference a bit as we move forward. It is, admittedly, it's very broad, but I do think it's a core piece of healthy relationships. That doesn't get talked about directly.
Keely: No, it doesn't. Not in that way with that word, integrity.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. And if, if your head is spinning after today, , um, with this concept, I think kind of back to what you initially said, Keeley, like start with values, start with just figuring out what are my top three personal values, and can I behave and act and make decisions and communicate in ways that are in alignment with those values? That's, that to me is, that's a really good start into how do I act with integrity.
Keely: It's like an emotional chiropractor.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Totally.
Keely: Emotionally aligned.
Melisa: Yes. Yes, exactly. I love [00:38:00] it.
Keely: All right. Well, speaking of moving from integrity and relationships, uh, we get to talk about queer joy and joy. What has been going on? I do have one. Do you wanna start north or do you want me to start?
Melisa: I would love for you to start.
Keely: Okay. Well, speaking and we were talking about forties. Okay. So definitely have so many aquariuses in my life. I don't know if I've mentioned this before or not on an episode, but I know I've talked to you about it probably Melisa. And I've been talking to a lot of people, and actually yesterday someone was talking about Aquariuses and they don't get along with Aquariuses. Mm-hmm. , but, went to a for 40th party and it was the sweetest queerest, like sober party birthday party. And like [00:39:00] basically the premise was it was in this house, rented out basement and there was this screen.
It was a hybrid. I mean, how, how's this for, you know, post 2020. A hybrid birthday. So there are people on Zoom that were like projected and there's people in the room and we all did introductions and introductions with pronouns, how we knew the person. And I was like, oh, I know that's
Melisa: Very involved.
Keely: Well, I'm friends with them from Tinder. I haven't, we are totally not, non-sexual for many, many, many months. But when we first started hanging out, it was like with the premise of dating. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. And so I met their partner and it was just so beautiful, and then everyone was part of what the, the person who was having the birthday, they wanted to have people perform.
So you would love this Melisa. Um, oh my gosh. So I'm sitting there and I don't know what to expect that the performance is, uh, this person full on [00:40:00] burlesque, like
Keely: Uh, And like really good. Like they, it was, they had their medicine, which is like all referencing like weed. Mm-hmm. But it was this whole, whole show and I was like, whoa, like, talk about surprise.
It's like five o'clock in the afternoon, basement. But it is like everyone's queer. I think there was maybe like out of the like 30 or 40 people there, maybe five were cis folks. Mm-hmm. , um, super fun, super queer. It was, I really loved that it was no alcohol, um, and still have this underlying of like sweetness and sexiness and so fun. So much fun. Um, major queer joy. So that's where, that's where my head was yesterday.
Melisa: That sounds like some good entertainment.
Keely: Yeah. Oh yeah. And then people like dancing and lip syncing and Yeah. So much stuff. So much stuff.
Melisa: Amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Well man, my, we didn't really do updates and that's okay. Cause I don't [00:41:00] feel like I have a ton of updates necessarily, but I will name, it's just been a very heavy several weeks for me. There's been a lot of diagnoses and death and just a lot of grief that just kind of keeps seeming to happen in my extended community. So with that, with, you know, winter, um, Everything just where I'm at in this part of the season, I've really gone very quiet.
I would say I've really been off of social media a lot more than I usually have been. I haven't even been streaming shows. I've just needed to be away from screens for the most part. Um, And so the queer joy is like, I guess my recognition of that and then acting accordingly. Um, I mean, y'all know I like to introvert and so I've really been, I have been cooking myself these amazing meals, which is just awesome. I and part of the queer joy for me there is, um, I have the time to learn how to make myself really delicious stuff. That's not true of my childhood. I was [00:42:00] really, really, really busy as a kid. I had two parents who both worked full-time and so I had every after school care and activity and extracurricular, you can imagine, just to keep me busy.
So I never learned how to like, make myself delicious food. So it's a real, it's a, it feels like a real privilege and a real joy. Um, and especially when I get to like, garnish it with something from the herbs that I grew, like that feels real special. Very magical. So,
Melisa: Yeah. So that's, that's my queer joy. It's just being able to nourish myself, um, and do what feels right for me.
Keely: Awesome. Well, y'all know how to find us. Please write in or check out our, uh, telephone. Leave a message on the hotline. Hot hotline. That's not right. Our telephone. It's not a hot-
Melisa: The voicemail.
Keely: Voicemail. Leave a message on the voicemail, ask questions. Share with us your queer joy and pay atten- um, lookout, we are having, we are gonna be having some workshops coming up, both for general [00:43:00] public and for therapists.
And the next one coming up, we have something in April. If you listen to the episode, Lucy Fielding, they will be here in April to hang out with us folks in Portland, Oregon, doing a couple great workshops and check it out. Otherwise, Yeah, check us out. You know where to find us on Instagram and Facebook and all those social media, and I hope you all have a queer and joyful week.
Thanks for listening to queer relationships, queer joy. A [00:44:00] podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective. Hosted by Keely C. Helmick Melissa DeSegiurant with audio edited by me and Ley Supapo Bernido. I'm your producer, Cardinal marking. Inter music is by bad snacks. If this episode made you smile or think, tell us about it. If you hated it.
Tell us about that. Review us on iTunes or Spotify, or send us an email at media at Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. For more queer joy, visit our Instagram at queer relationships, queer joy, or our website www dot Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. Love ya. Bye.