A month ago I had a boyfriend who said he wanted to marry me and have kids with me someday. Now everything is upside down and I'm really scared.
I posted here a while back saying that I thought I was poly and that I was really scared about it.
Eventually, in part thanks to the advice I got, I worked up the courage to talk to my boyfriend, J, about it. He wasn't exactly thrilled, but wasn't surprised either and was initially very supportive. He was fairly certain he wasn't poly and didn't feel any need for anyone else, and wasn't exactly excited about the idea of sharing me, but mostly was worried about me being happy and thought this was something that might help me. Part of what set off the whole thing, although it had been building for months previously, was meeting a guy, C, and really liking him. He was poly and had been in a seven year really close relationship with his girlfriend. Him telling me their story 1, gave me a word for something that had been eating at me for the last several months, and 2, gave me hope that the whole poly thing might not be the end of the world for me if I turned out to be.
Since talking to J initially, we've talked about it a lot, I actually wound up having a conversation with C's SO, who he said was way better at explaining things, done a lot more reading, and am not pretty sure that I am poly. I had not told C that I liked him, although I did tell J, who kept on pushing me to tell C, as did another mutual friend. Tomorrow I'm leaving the country for a month so I figured it was as good a time as any, if things went badly I'd have a bit of an out, so I finally worked up the courage to tell C that I liked him. The feeling turned out to be mutual. The initial conversation was pretty short but we wound up talking a lot later over chat, about it vaguely, not really making any plans or anything, aside from talking about how it was a relief to have it out in the open, and that we were both really committed to our SO's and that those relationships came first etc. etc.
Tonight I told J, because the whole communication thing seems important and all, and he had seemed at least cautiously in favor of the whole thing. As the night went on it became clearer and clearer that he wasn't as okay as he thought he'd been. I eventually wound up breaking down, and telling him how terrified I was, because more then anything I am afraid of losing him. I told him that I would back off things, try to limit things, that I wanted to set boundaries to make sure he was okay. Part of the reason that I am cautiously okay with something happening with C is because he also has someone who is first in his life. But J just said that wasn't fair and that he couldn't ask me to do that, and that it would prevent me from being happy, and no matter how much I tried to tell him that he was a huge part of my happy, that he wouldn't be making me give anything up that I'd be making a choice to compromise, or step back, he just kept saying that he couldn't do that to me.
He doesn't plan on leaving, he says he wanted to try to work things out, try to give things at least a year, but I'm so scared. I don't want to lose him and I don't know what to do.
So here I am, gone in a month from having a guy who wanted to marry me someday to a rocky unsteady relationship and it's not even something someone else did to me, its something that I did myself, or at least that happened to me.
It doesn't help that J is trying to get used to school and a new country and a lot of other stress. I've felt so much better since telling him, and every step has made me feel better about myself, my life and my relationship with him, but I would give it all up for him to be happy again.
Silia, isn't it reasonably well established that you have a tendency to panic?
As such, you drop the announcement on J that you have informed voodoo zen poly master C that you're hot for him, and sensei guru poly man says he's hot for you, too. (Your earlier posts and this one made C seem like a dreamboat of sorts.) And J had a little more trouble dealing with this than expected?
Is this really a surprise?
And so you sensed his trepidation and immediately began backpedaling and offering up all sort of assurances that C would be contained or disposed of?
It sounds like you laid this thing out to J and then tried to take it all back when he didn't fart rainbows and glitter with excitement. Poly life is a change from mono life. There is a lot of mono programming that has to be disconnected and unlearned before someone really transitions into poly life. Even then there's all sorts of realities of poly life that take effort and practice.
Step 1: Realize that you're poly
Step 2: Freak out a little
Step 3: Stumble into a poly thing
Step 4: Run away?
Step 4: Give it a little while to let J adjust. You're not the only one that's having to change.
Poly adjustment syndrome affects everyone a little differently, but until you actually face real situations, it's hard to tell how someone will be affected.
So let's imagine I'm J...
If I were J--a seemingly nice, mono dude--and my partner told me that she wanted to love others, that would need some adjustment. If the first person my partner brought home as a new partner interest was a seasoned poly veteran who happened to also be the person to introduced my partner to poly life and happens to be in a seemingly successful long-term poly relationship, I might shit my mono-britches. Virtual J is wondering if swami saint poly priest C will add his beloved to his ever-growing stable of poly princesses, and once the indoctrination is complete, maybe beloved won't want old J anymore.
Can you see how this might cause a little freak out? The concept that a poly will not run away and abandon a mono can be a really hard notion for monos to accept (MonoVCHPG-RQWHGJNetc. chime in if you want).
Rather than call his freak out and raise him a emo breakdown, reassure him of his wonderfulness and then give it time. A lot of poly life is improved by giving things time to properly simmer. You need a night out and a nice dress to bring yourself to a boil. Maybe J could use a day or three to cook off some excess worry.
Keep the communication lines open, but don't tie them up with a lot of, "ok, are you ok now, ok?"
Thanks, it is a bit of a reality check.
Well, as for the dreamboat thing, I don't consider him in any way better then J, just really different and we connect in a very different way.
As for the day or three, I'm leaving the country for a month, which was probably part of the reason for the breakdown. I haven't been away from J for this long since the really early days of us dating, and I hated the idea of leaving it on bad terms. I guess I just wanted to get everything out in the open before I left, so everyone would have time to think, and then freaked out when things with J went kind of badly.
In a lot of ways I'm still scared about this whole thing myself, it kind of snuck up on me and part of me resents it a little because it majorly rocked the boat for me. I don't want to rush into anything with C or anyone else, I just also didn't want to spend the next month wondering and worrying and getting it out in the open did make me feel much better.
I just really don't want to do anything to hurt J, he's my number one priority and for the foreseeable future as long as he'll have me he will be. He also has a bit of a martyrdom complex. I just really want him to understand that I am willing to work towards something we can both deal with because he's worth more to me then any potential relationship.
It's funny, I think I could deal with him not being able to compromise and deal with me seeing someone else more then him not being willing to let me compromise for him.
I really want him to get the chance to talk about the whole poly/poly girlfriend thing with someone other then me, but the only people we really know with that kind of experience are C and his girlfriend and a random friend from college neither of us has really talked to in over a year.
Just sayin'. ;)
Yeah, I know, it is helpful.
I wound up talking to C's SO who kicked him off his chat to be reassuring at me, and basically being like no, this isn't going to be fixed in a day, but it's also very highly unlikely to have been ruined in one. Take a step back, breathe, talk, and don't panic.
I think I really need to try to tell him, because he might have misunderstood, that just because C and I are glad that us liking each other is out in the open, doesn't mean we're going to rush into anything, even if both our SO's were 100% okay with it. Even for our own sakes taking things slow is important, and we're both okay with the idea of just being friends for a while. Whatever else we just enjoy hanging out, I guess we're more friends who have acknowledged that there is the potential for something else.
Does that make sense?
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