Episode 215: Dealing With Differences In Relationships

August 15, 2023 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 215: Dealing With Differences In Relationships

We tend to be attracted to partners who are similar to us—and that makes sense. But no matter how similar you and your partner are, there are always going to be some areas where you differ. And while those differences have the potential to help a relationship thrive, they can also drive you apart. So let’s talk about navigating differences in relationships. In this episode, we’re going to focus on dealing with differences when you’re in a consensually non-monogamous relationship, but a lot of the information is applicable no matter what kind of relationship you’re in.

My guests today are Jessica Fern and David Cooley, the co-authors of the new book, Polywise: A Deeper Dive Into Navigating Open Relationships. Jessica is a Psychotherapist, Coach, and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She is also author of the book Polysecure, which we spoke about previously on the show. David is a professional Restorative Justice facilitator, who created the Restorative Relationship Conversations Model, a process that transforms interpersonal conflict into deeper connection, intimacy and repair.

Some of the specific questions we discuss in this episode include:

  • How important is similarity in relationships?
  • How can opening up a relationship amplify differences between partners?
  • How do you navigate communication differences in relationships?
  • Why is it important for partners to do an inventory of their similarities and differences?
  • How can non-monogamy help relationships thrive when big differences exist between partners?

To learn more, you can visit Jessica and David’s websites, and preorder Polywise here.

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Credits: Precision Podcasting (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.


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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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