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-   -   Misperceptions of others/how to be candid w/o turning ppl off? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11492)

stargazer23 06-27-2011 10:41 AM

Misperceptions of others/how to be candid w/o turning ppl off?
 
This weekend, I spent time at a party/electronic music event and had planned on meeting one of my interests there. We've been texting like crazy for weeks now and it was finally a good chance to talk in a little more one-on-one way over drinks in a casual setting

He showed up an hour or so after I did and we sat down together and started to talk over drinks. At one point we started kissing and things felt really really good.

Things were going well until I told point blank that I'm poly...and something in his face changed. The tone went instantly from being sort of intimate and sweet to him being sort of hyper. He suddenly turned UBER excitable and silly and jokey. Then he sort of...pulled from me. He got very social and distracted and sort of stopped paying attention to me in favor of other friends. I figured I'd just let him greet his friends and come back to him later so I drifted off for awhile.

When I found him again, I tried to break the ice by kissing him again but it was weird, felt dark. Not warm like before. He became sort of...rude. He made some innuendo-type jokes that made me feel a little demeaned. Then he flat out told me: "Don't worry about me, I'm undateable. But that's okay, you are too, right? I mean, that's what you are, you don't want to commit to anybody right?"

I tried to explain that he had it wrong, that's not what that means at all. Tried to explain, explain, explain... I asked him "Why are you acting like this all the sudden?"

He said "Like what? I act like this all the time. Don't worry about me, let's just be friends, okay?"

Ouch.

I'm doin it wrong.

GroundedSpirit 06-27-2011 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stargazer23 (Post 88797)
He said "Like what? I act like this all the time. Don't worry about me, let's just be friends, okay?"

Ouch.

I'm doin it wrong.

Hi Stargazer,

Ouch is right <<grin>>

The world is what it is. Knowledge of poly is still uncommon and there's a LOT of mis-perceptions associated with it.
It's a topic you have to kind of sneak up on - and avoid stereotyped terms/phrases. Like "poly" lol

At some point in an early relationship - but not (in my experience anyway) in the first date or two - the topic will drift around to views on "fidelity". And usually sexual preference too. At this point, tossing out a comment like " I don't believe monogamy is natural to humans - or necessarily the best model" is enough to launch the discussion - OR - draw the reaction you got from this guy.

Then you take it from there :)

GS

MonoVCPHG 06-27-2011 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stargazer23 (Post 88797)
I mean, that's what you are, you don't want to commit to anybody right?"

And there is the crux of probably the hardest concept to overcome with non-monogamy. Until people can wrap there head around the idea of commitment without exclusivity, the battle for understanding will continue.

Why am I so sure of this? Because after over two and a half years of a loving relationship and being amongst the poly poly community, I still don't really understand it myself. Redpepper is more committed to me than anyone and yet I still cannot explain what the concept of commitment in an open poly relationship is. I see it with her and PN. They are like a life team, working together to achieve goals and face the challenges of living together and yet I struggle with the concept of poly marriages. I know there are already threads on this topic. But I felt this particular statement really points out a huge hurdle for poly acceptance.

AutumnalTone 06-27-2011 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stargazer23 (Post 88797)

I'm doin it wrong.

Nope.

Isn't your problem--it's his. The initial ignorance can be easily forgiven, the refusal to consider your explanations just means he's got issues.

nycindie 06-27-2011 05:38 PM

I never use any form of the word "poly" when I first tell someone about me. I talk about exclusivity and non-exclusivity, and if the convo continues, I mention "cultivating multiple committed loving relationships." I have been surprised that several guys do know the word poly, but yes, I still had to explain to some that it does not preclude love and commitment.

If there was any mistake made, perhaps this should have been brought up much earlier, during your texting, etc., to make sure he understood before meeting you, what you are into. Ah well, maybe you can still get through to him, maybe not. Consider it a learning experience and move on!

MonoVCPHG 06-27-2011 07:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 88866)
"cultivating multiple committed loving relationships."

This is nicely put NYC. How would you explain "committed" if asked what it meant? How would you distinguish these types of relationships from simply friends with benefits?

I guess I struggle with the actual differences myself. I see lots of people locally who are in poly relationships but sometimes wonder if there is anything other than sex or saying I love you that distinguishes them from mere friendships. Maybe there is no tangible differences...maybe it is just an emotional sense of connection?

sorry to ramble..I go on these cycles of bewilderment :o I think I am so ingrained with the traditional idea of commitment that it's hard for me to see passed that conditioning. It's like I almost get it and then it slips away.

nycindie 06-27-2011 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG (Post 88875)
Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 88866)
"cultivating multiple committed loving relationships."

This is nicely put NYC. How would you explain "committed" if asked what it meant? How would you distinguish these types of relationships from simply friends with benefits?

Jeez, I'm figuring it out as I go along! LOL.

But seriously, when I think of the word "commitment" I think of people aligning themselves toward the same goal. Basically, it's like a contract or agreement, and the commitment will mean whatever the people involved want it to mean, depending on what they're committing to.

They can be in an open relationship and committed to honesty and safer sex; they can be poly-fi and committed to being faithful to each other; they can be monogamous and committed to growing old together. Of course, these are just a few scenarios off the top of my head, but you get the idea. It can be any combination of whatever the people want. But I do think progression toward deeper understanding and knowledge of each other, and self-growth, is a part of being committed.

I think that, simply, the act of committing to/with someone is a form of allegiance and a promise to work toward something and support each other in that endeavor.

The difference between that and FWB? I would say FWB is recreational, more spontaneous thing, no kind of "contract" to work toward something or see the relationship progress. It's just about satisfaction in the moment and knowing that it could be set aside at any time for something more pressing or important -- although that does not preclude respectful treatment and honesty as well.

MonoVCPHG 06-27-2011 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 88881)

They can be in an open relationship and committed to honesty and safer sex; they can be poly-fi and committed to being faithful to each other; they can be monogamous and committed to growing old together. Of course, these are just a few scenarios off the top of my head, but you get the idea. .

I do get the idea actually:) I always see commitment from the standard mono take of "intended" lifelong partnership. But commitment can be defined any way that suits us really. Hmmm, things to think about :)

BlackUnicorn 06-28-2011 06:23 AM

Hmm, I still think of commitment as an intended life-long partnerships. Just with potentially more people.

Or more likely, commitment to me is the promise to stay together through thick and thin, to work out problems and not to give up.

Tonberry 06-28-2011 02:26 PM

My definition of commitment is similar to BlackUnicorn's.

I went to check an example of wedding vows to analyze with that in mind:

Quote:

In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
Now, unless you think of "faithful" as meaning "not poly", the rest is all the same. For me, committed means you vow to be there for that person if they get sick, if they lose their job, but also in happy times such as happy times with other partners they might have, and to include them in your happiness with others.
You will support them in their goals, as well, and give them your respect.

All of that applies. To me, the "till death do us part" section does not apply, and yet it does. What I mean by that is that for instance Raga and I broke up and I believe it's a good decision. But because we committed to one another I still feel committed to him in supporting him and being there for him and being part of each other's lives, even though we're not in a relationship anymore.

So I would replace the "till death do us part" with "if we were to break up, that part of my life would always remain part of me, and you would always remain someone who has been important to me and remain a part of my life". Or something to that effect.

I also believe that in poly relationships, committing to a partner also means committing to their existing partners (although in a different way) and committing to help them in their future dating, wooing and other such things.


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