Are Some People Just Not Built For Polyamory?
I have been dating a polyamorous man for about a year and a half. Recently we transitioned our relationship from a poly/mono arrangement to an open LDR due to my move to Syracuse, NY.
I have noticed, in the 3 weeks that I have been gone from my boyfriend, that there is a stark difference between how we have both been responding to the change. He has met several girls on OkCupid/work and is going on dates with all of them. It is clear he's missing me but overall he seems to be handling the transition pretty well.
I on the other hand have put all of my romantic energy toward one man, completely and exclusively. As this person is currently in a monogamous relationship himself and thus unable to return my affections, I have tried to find other people to be with instead but to no avail. Try as I might, I cannot "get over" him.
Worse still, I'm now beginning to lose my attraction to my boyfriend due to this obsession. Perhaps this is just due to the distance, but I also worry that this may suggest that the whole "infinite love" thing isn't true for me, as a monogamous person.
I have found that I cannot defend my open relationship with my monogamous friends. While they respect me as a person, they say very judgmental things about it. The reason why I am having trouble is because I feel like I can only answer them in hypotheticals. When they ask things like "how can you still love your boyfriend?" or "are you just breaking up with him in another form" it's difficult for me to answer for myself.
If it is true that I am a mono-wired person who can only form deep attractions with one person at a time, then what does this mean about life with my boyfriend. I do not think that I can continue a poly/mono arrangement for the rest of my life after seeing how difficult it is.
Is it normal to question how poly you are?
I really need to figure myself out.
If you're wanting a more substantial and committed loving relationship, you can find that with mono or poly folk. Being polyamorous does NOT mean one must be slippery and casual to the point of mashed potatos and gravy. Not all poly (or mono) folk treat their partners as disposable playthings.
T-shirt & Bumper Sticker:
Want to make a solid heart connection?
Start with your own.
Around here, people will stuff your ass down your throat if you assume anything because of their age. And before I get my ass stuffed down my throat, that was the general "you" and not "you" as in a specific individual or individuals on this forum. Also, it was an exaggeration. But it is good communication style to not assume that people are assuming anything because of someone's age.
Are you asking them why they seem so limited in their ability to love others? Does that sound like a rude question? It is--and it's the flipside of what they're asking you. Why do you tolerate that? Are you desperate for their approval?
Nothing anybody says here is going to help you with anything until you begin to deal with those personal issues of yours. When you decide to stand up and enforce reasonable boundaries and assert your rights to decide how you will live your life, then somebody can provide help by suggesting possible approaches to the challenges present in your situation.
at the risk of sounding too sensitive.....
your first question said a lot about you, and the answer is simple. yes, just like some people are built for it, others are not.
what i would say about your friends reactions.... you are not alone, poly is not for everyone, in fact... it is actually for very few of us. our best friends just shake their head and call us insane. most of our other friends just dont get it. they think we are crazy too. the way we handle it, is not to take it personally, we accept that very few people will get it, jealousy runs through our veins by nature and evolution. it helps if you understand why you can be poly, not why anybody can be poly, we are all different. for us the primary reason is we believe that love itself is boundless, we both hare a large capacity for love, caring and compassion. when you care that deeply about someone, well romantic attraction happens and runs hand in hand. ha ha, my friends still dont get it. i wont go into the whole philosophy we have that usually gets them to understand the concept, though they could never do it themselves.
the above statement also hints at what you might be going through with your romantic interest. unfortunately you have been drawn romantically to an attached monogamous person, who will more than likely be completely unavailable, and cause additional drama, and heartache for you or someone else. i know, its messy and not easy. the other clue is your romantic withdraw from your boyfriend, which can be common during nre, or for people who are wired for mono.
you my dear need to do a bit of soul searching, self reflection, and see if poly is really right for you, or even what version of poly is for you. oh yes, everyone has their own method and madness, boundaries, etc....
my intent is not to sway you one way or the other, i wish you the best in your romantic future.
The long distance thing can be an issue in and of itself. Some people just can't do LDR. Nothing else to add that hasn't already been said.
The worst thing about being 18 is that older people tell you don't know anything yet and that all your problems are because you are young, which belittles and minimizes your feelings.
The problem is, EVERYONE who used to be 18 and is now much has realized that, indeed, we DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING when we were 18.
(This seems pretty obvious now that I'm 30, but not when I was 18. Everything was agonizing at 18, for no particular reason).
Being 18 and in college is for figuring things out. Things about yourself, your views on the world, and how/why/what you want to date.
So your problems seem mostly like normal college problems, regardless of mono/poly issues. It is normal to try to continue a relationship with a high school boyfriend who is at another school, and it is normal to have difficulty doing that.
It's normal to have difficulty with long-distance relationships, and with poly relationships, and with mono/poly relationships, no matter what age you are. But because you are 18 and (I assume) less than one month into your first semester of college, the advice I will give you is not the same I would give if you were 28 or 38.
You're having the questions you have because you don't know yourself yet. You don't yet know if long-distance relationships aren't right for you. You don't yet know if polyamory isn't right for you. You don't yet know if your boyfriend is right for you, or if someone is would be more right for you.
There isn't any way to figure all this out except by trying things, being open-minded, being honest, and accepting that getting hurt is something that happens to everyone at any age, and that you will recover from whatever happens.
Everyone says being young is awesome, but I didn't think so. I absolutely HATED being 18. I hated not knowing myself, not knowing what I wanted, not being sure of anything, feeling like everything was the end of the world, feeling like no one understood me. My college years were NOT AT ALL the best years of my life. (And there's no reason they have to be).
What you should be doing right now is ENJOYING COLLEGE. Not fretting about your boyfriend dating girls on OK Cupid, not pining for an unrequited love [who you've known for less than a month?], not agonizing about whether or not you are poly.
Make new friends. Flirt with guys in your chem lab. Join new clubs. Figure out what classes you like. Get a part-time job so you can afford to go abroad someday. (Oh, and study every once in a while).
It's definitely a challenge to try to figure out whether to keep seeing your boyfriend. But I don't think that's a poly issue so much as a COLLEGE issue. You'll be having new experiences and meeting new people and becoming a new person. Very few relationships survive that--and the ones that do usually underwent a period of being-broken-up through the college years so that each person can grow on his/her own.
I would suggest you talk to your boyfriend about having a period of not contacting each other (say, for the rest of the semester) so you can each grow without thinking about who he is dating on OK Cupid. But make definite plans to see each other and talk during winter break, so you can decide how you feel about each other and the relationship.
Or, if you've already lost interest in your boyfriend, break up with him.
Then meet a bunch of new people to distract yourself from your unrequited crush. Don't worry about needing to "get over" the crush or beating yourself up for not getting over it. Accept that you're NOT over it. Maybe next year, he'll be single. But in the meanwhile, you need to figure out more about yourself.
Here's the poly issue that you DO have: your friends' unhelpful comments about how you're just delaying a break-up.
I really sympathize with your frustration about your friends' comments. I have been told the same thing, when I was much older than you, and it is really hurtful.
You should try seeking out some poly communities (in real life, I mean, not just here) so you can meet sympathetic people. An open or poly relationship is tough enough even with supportive friends.
And, an open or poly relationship is tough enough for people much older than you. I can't imagine having a poly relationship in high school and early college. Most people just aren't ready, because they don't have enough experience with relationships, with communication, OR WITH THEMSELVES.
Best of luck. Life gets easier--I do promise you that!
Paschendale, when i hear about an attraction or loving connexion "decreasing", i see how much social conditioning works still: somewhere we think to know that it is not allowed to love more than one and, what's more, many times humans feel guilty of feeling attracted or in love with more than one; so the previous (the first in terms of time) falls as humans "normally" seek for new, above all when very young -but not only. the components i'm talking about work usually "underground", as every old sticking conditioning.
i add: it seems that after one year and a half of relationship, the woman changes her attitude as some hormones and chemical substances giving the "being in love state" get lower; at that moment the "man" is requested to make his partner fall in love again, or she'll get some new falling in love with someone else.
it seems from the same research that men' falling in love works on/with other chemical stuff that makes them to fall in love for 20 years or more (but i do not agree so much with this last thing, especially if the man is B...)
take care and love yourself, everything is perfect indeed. :)
I agree with going out and finding poly friends... or at least more like minded friends... the questions they have are not necessarily hurtful and judgemental though. It depends on how they asked them. Asking questions with a concerned and loving manner is different than asking with an attitude that they already know the answer and are just waiting for you to fuck it all up so they can say I told you so... perhaps telling them that you are exploring your own path and that you would appreciate they support you in that rather than judge you for it (if that is in fact what is going on here).
Sitting at my life stage of almost 42 I would have to say that I would wonder if you know yet that partnerships in a romantic sense are not always swooning and feeling bonded to your very core with someone. That dies out into a nice mellow feeling of common love and concern for one another... kind of a familial bond of shared interest in supporting what one another does in their life. Its more of a friendship than the passion that once was...
Does this LDR bf of yours conjure up affection and love when you think of him? Or is he kinda just there? Do you think about him with a heavy heart that longs to be free of him? Or do you just simply wait to be together, content to go about your own life? If your answer to yourself is that there is love and caring there of some kind and that you are just content to go about your life and see what happens when you are together, then stay together... there is no harm there and who knows what will come of it later... if you would rather be on your own because you don't want to consider him any more, then break up. That would be what I would be looking at if I were you anyway.
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