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-   -   How to Raise the Issue of Polyamory (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15669)

CamInGA 10-11-2011 02:29 PM

How to Raise the Issue of Polyamory
 
I need some advice from you seasoned pros. I have been in a lesbian relationship with the same woman for 14 years. She has always been gay, I have never been with a woman prior to this relationship, but I have been married to a man before. The past 2-3 years, I have been craving the attention and affections of a man again. I love "Jean" with all my heart, but there is a certain emotional, sexual, psychological dynamic between opposite sexes that I miss.

We have a very close friend, Danny, who we call our husband. The three of us are best of friends, hang out together, are in the same business, etc. There is definately some sexual chemistry between Danny and myself. Jean has told me during our recent trials that if we break up, she would date Danny. He seems like he likes both of us for different reasons - I am adventurous, girly-girl, charismatic social butterfly while Jean is pragmatic, introverted and a workaholic. I see that he is attracted to both of us and respects our differences.

I really want to have a conversation with Jean about the possibility of us both dating Danny - but this is not the kind of conversation you have every day and I really don't what to say or where to begin. I am afraid she will feel threatened and just want to break up. However, I do feel a real need to spend time with a man. Part of that is because Jean works nights and I spend alot of time alone, and I would love the company of someone on those lonely nights.

Please feel free to offer any and all advice on how to proceed, or maybe you suggest I drop it entirely and just learn to be happy in my present circumstance. Whatever you have to say, I want to hear it!

BlackUnicorn 10-11-2011 03:51 PM

Hullo and welcome!

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamInGA (Post 105990)
...I have never been with a woman prior to this relationship, but I have been married to a man before. The past 2-3 years, I have been craving the attention and affections of a man again.

Do you self-ID as bi/pansexual? Have you communicated about the change in your feelings with Jean?

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamInGA (Post 105990)
Jean has told me during our recent trials that if we break up, she would date Danny.

Seems Jean is okay with the concept of sexual fluidity herself. However, what have those recent trials been about? Are you solid again, or is there some lingering uncertainty or resentment there?

As anyone will tell you, a couple needs to have a solid foundation from where to explore poly (check tags for 'foundation' and maybe 'couples', too).

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamInGA (Post 105990)
I really want to have a conversation with Jean about the possibility of us both dating Danny...

Why do you both need to date Danny? Couples dating single individuals is one of the hardest poly configs out there, and forcing your relationship into that mould before having any real poly experience is not a wise solution, especially if motivated by thoughts 'It's only fair', 'It will seem less threatening', etc.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamInGA (Post 105990)
However, I do feel a real need to spend time with a man. Part of that is because Jean works nights and I spend alot of time alone, and I would love the company of someone on those lonely nights.

These are two distinct motivations. 1. You want to explore your bisexual side. 2. You want more company to complement your and Jean's relationship. Without knowing anything much about your situation, I have to question if there are easier fixes to situation 2 than getting a new lover. If it's not Jean's company in specific you crave, but any company, why won't new friends or I dunno, volunteering activities do? If you live in a small town, I guess the nightlife is less active there.

All in all, there really is nothing bad about wanting more love and romance in your life. It doesn't signal anything's wrong or unfulfilling in your present relationship. Tons of bisexual folks are drawn to poly precisely because you don't have to choose.

nycindie 10-11-2011 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn (Post 106000)
Why do you both need to date Danny? Couples dating single individuals is one of the hardest poly configs out there, and forcing your relationship into that mould before having any real poly experience is not a wise solution, especially if motivated by thoughts 'It's only fair', 'It will seem less threatening', etc.

They already have a loving friendship with him, though just not sexual (yet ;)). Since that is there already, I think this situation has more potential to succeed than other couples who go out unicorn-hunting and hoping to find a complete stranger to make their fantasies come true.

My first reaction was the thought "how nice," when you described having a best friend like Danny in your life.

Have you searched in the forum much for similar threads? There are a number of ways to find stuff here, and there have been many threads on how to broach the subject of poly with a partner. You may want to look at the "sticky" topics. At the top of the Golden Nuggets forum is a thread called Master Threads Worth Reading. I did a search once for threads about how to bring up the topic of poly and related issues, which I posted there. Here it is:
Threads about determining if polyamory is for you, and how to discuss it .

The rest of that "Master Threads" topic has some other gems, too. Also do a tag search by either using the Advanced Search page and selecting Tags, or clicking on the Search button above where you will see a little drop-down box with a link to "Tag Search." That will take you to a page where the popular tags are listed (and a search box below).

CamInGA 10-11-2011 06:59 PM

Great Info
 
Thanks so much for the help.....since this is my first time on, I am still mastering what to do, etc. I will definately search past threads.

In answer to some of Black Unicorns questions - I would actually consider myself straight, but I happened to experiment one time with a woman and fell in love with her. But I have never been attracted to any other woman besides her, and don't really care to have a sexual relationship with any other woman. I prefer men.

I was troubled that you felt the couple dating a single has the worst chance for success of any option. But on the other hand, I can see how jealousies would arise out of this situation.

Recent trials have been about me wanting to date, and have a relationship with, a man. Plus, we rarely spend time together due to her work schedule and workaholism, and I get lonely and bored and seek out the company of others. Sometimes this is friends, but I have also gone out with guys I met online and tried to keep it secret, but she found out about it......big mess.

The company I am seeking is definately one of romance and affection. I have lots of friends, a job, etc. but I want someone to share my dreams with and have him want to help me fulfill them, and vice versa.

The more I think about this, the more I think it is a bad idea. I just have a feeling that even bringing up the subject will cause Jean tremendous insecurity since she already knows I am interested in seeing men. And I have not family and I am not ready to be all alone in the world, so I think I should let sleeping dogs lie and just suck it up.

nycindie 10-11-2011 07:29 PM

I don't think anyone should have to "suck it up" and tolerate unhappiness just because someone else might choose to feel hurt about something that is important to them. You won't be doing anyone any good to hide out, and sublimate your true wants and needs, as it could just lead to your feeling sorry for yourself -- which, in turn, leads to resentment and possibly more cheating.

And the thing that BU was referring to about triads not working, was mostly about the idea that you and Jean have to be involved with Danny together. The reason that these sorts of situations don't usually work out is because there is usually an expectation that everyone will all love and be attracted to each other equally. Couples come here and at other poly sites and gatherings, to go "unicorn hunting." They expect to "bring in a girl" to be their "third" and add zip to their marriage, like some random car part that is expected to make their car run better or something. Obviously, that is unrealistic. There are good, healthy, working triads, but it take a dose of realism to make them that way. From reading other people's stories, it just never (okay, very rarely) pops into place automatically or very easily.

Your situation could work, and I believe I said why. You already know Danny and are best friends with him. Furthermore, Jean has expressed some sort of interest or fantasy about his potential as a partner. BUT if that's not really something she wants, and it is something Danny and you want, then consider being in a Vee. That is where three people are connected but not all having sex with each other. You would be the hinge of the Vee, and Danny and Jean would be the arms.

It sounds like you're pretty unhappy and dissatisfied, but you would rather hurt yourself by staying that way than risk going for your own happiness and possibly hurting Jean. But really, if you're not happy now, what do you have to lose by asking for what you want?

Have you ever talked about your attraction to Danny with him?

CamInGA 10-11-2011 07:57 PM

Nycindie - GREAT insight!!!
 
Thanks for so patiently talking with me about this and offering your insights. You know, I think you are right about the V structure - I cannot imagine Jean with any man, because she is a lifelong lesbian, shes never had sex with a man and says she never wants to. And I don't see Danny being attracted to her, because she is butch and he likes girly girls like me, though they are clearly very close friends. The V structure would definately work out better for all of us, and if Jean wants to be in a V with another woman, I'm OK with that, too.

I have not talked to Danny about my attraction to him. My underlying fear in all of this is losing people who I value so much - I have been with Jean for 14 years, we have alot of history, support, co-mingled business dealings, etc. and I worry about throwing all that away. Danny and Jean and I are in the process of buying another business together, so I am scared about not only losing my dearest friends, but also my livlihood.

I fear that if Danny and I verbalize what we are feeling through our flirting, phone conversations, etc. he will feel forced to choose between his incredibly close friendship with Jean and me. He tends to deal with stressful situation through joking, so the few times I have kind of steered the conversation toward that general ball park, he has made some kind of a joke about it and changed the subject. Clearly he does not want to discuss it and put these relationships at risk.

But he did tell me that he used to go to swing parties with one of his old girlfriends, and I know he is very open to whatever - we have all manner of friends gay, straight, bi, etc. and his attitude has always been live and let live. He's dated strippers, models, etc. and he is fine with all of it, anything goes. He has not had a steady girl in the 3 years I have known him. He has this one friend Karen he sleeps with from time to time when they go camping, which is about twice a year, and that's it. Karen is moving to NC this weekend so that will put an end to that.

I don't know why I feel like I'm being so selfish about my feelings about all of this....I think that is the root of my fears. I am putting my needs ahead of Jean's and Danny's, and ruining what is currently a workable situation - a super close friendship and business alliance.

River 10-11-2011 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamInGA (Post 106034)
I would actually consider myself straight, but I happened to experiment one time with a woman and fell in love with her. But I have never been attracted to any other woman besides her, and don't really care to have a sexual relationship with any other woman. I prefer men.

Wow. And yet you've been with this woman for 14 years! That's quite something.

nycindie 10-11-2011 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by River (Post 106046)
Wow. And yet you've been with this woman for 14 years! That's quite something.

Says a lot about the use of labels, right?

BlackUnicorn 10-11-2011 09:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamInGA (Post 106034)
Recent trials have been about me wanting to date, and have a relationship with, a man. Plus, we rarely spend time together due to her work schedule and workaholism, and I get lonely and bored and seek out the company of others. Sometimes this is friends, but I have also gone out with guys I met online and tried to keep it secret, but she found out about it......big mess.

One of the forum moderators, redpepper, went through something similar with her ex-wife - they are still friends, but the relationship as such didn't survive. Which might be very well what you are headed towards. Or not.

Is the specific problem that Jean fears she can't compete with a man, or that since you are actually straight, you will walk out on her? Would she be more open to the idea of you being with another woman? If her objection is both to polyamory and to you being with a man, you have a rough road in front of you.

How is your relationship with Jean at the moment? Is there sex, affection, intimacy? I think that before going to pursue anything further, you really need to ask her to cut her hours or get some other help for her workaholism. Otherwise you spending time with another partner could work only to distance the two of you further, since initially, you would suffer from a heady hormone rush that makes existing relationships, especially if there's little quality time spent together, pale in comparison.

Your history with cheating will make it very difficult for Jean to work through her insecurities if and when you decide to pursue another relationship. There's tons of resources on jealousy management available, but she will need feel secure enough to even want to work through this with you.

I wouldn't advice you to bring this up with Danny before you've discussed it with her. If she later finds out, it will be hard for her not to see it as the two of you going behind her back and ganging up on her with an ultimatum that she either sucks it up or loses you both.

Many couples have faced the same situation and come out on the other side, together or separately. If you do feel this overpowering desire for male companionship and have already cheated in the past, I think it's actually more unwise if you continue keeping this under wraps for much longer. Chances are another opportunity will arise and you will cheat again, and everyone will end up heart-broken.

Good luck to you all!

AnnabelMore 10-11-2011 09:36 PM

If you and Jean have a strong relationship, shouldn't it be able to survive you bringing up something unconventional and maybe even a little threatening, as long as you let her know that you love her and that she's your first priority, and that if she's open to considering the idea then you'll go slow and act with respect and honesty?

Just talk to her first, let her know you haven't said a word to Danny and won't until you and she have reached some sort of agreement. You've gotta start with trust. Find some good essays you like that she could read. www.MoreThanTwo.com is a great resource for that.


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