in need of reassurance
I seem to have put myself in between a rock in a hard place in my mind. The good part is that other than my own thoughts, there is no imminent pressing drama or change to my reality, only what goes on in my mind, so I have all the time in the world to work it out. Despite this, it still won't leave me alone and let me be, so I have sought out someone in hopes that all of you may be able to think in a way that I cannot.
I’d like to warn you, this is a relatively long story (I had to put half in a reply-post) because I have a lot of necessary context in order to even begin to show you my consternation, and also because I simply need to say it. That being said, there is no urgency, or rush, so do not feel obligated to respond or even to read it all in one sitting. But if you do have the time and the interest, I am grateful.
I have never been so sure of something in my life as I am about this. I am meant to be with this person. My partner is my other half, my raison d'etre, my best friend in every way, my witness to my life, my inspiration and my mentor and the other half of my heart.
I spent years working out in my mind exactly what kind of person I wanted to be with in my life. I spent years observing myself and my thoughts with the attention of a scientist and a psychologist put together figuring out who I am and truly coming into myself. I made long lists in my head that could rival even the most lengthy and arduous job description that detailed the qualities and minimum expectations I had about a life partner. They were more than words, but feelings and ideas. I needed someone who was wise beyond their years, introspective, someone who had dedicated huge portions of their lives to soul search so they were whole before we become a couple, instead of trying to find themselves during a relationship. I also needed someone crazy enough and strong enough to be able to handle my personality. Upon meeting my partner, I remember remarking how uncanny it was that she seemed to fit every check box that I had.
Indeed, shortly after our friendship blossomed into our relationship, I read her my journal that I had written prior to meeting in which I had attempted to describe this unique person, and not only did she fit every quality to a 'T', but she actually remarked that some of those were the same words people had used to describe her. Indeed, she has amazed me in how impossibly perfectly she fits into my fantasy of a prince charming on a noble stead. We fit together like threads of a tapestry, each of our traits complimenting each-other, but of the same kind, alike where it was most important, in beliefs about people’s true selves, the value of sincerity and open, honest communication and loving so openly and affectionately. I see everyday how she is all that I have ever dreamed of in ways I couldn't have ever articulated to even myself. And the fabulous part? She has said the very same thing about me on a regular basis. I could not be convinced. I searched in a happy disbelief for a flaw, and found none. Maybe I am somewhere over the Rainbow where my dreams really do come true.
As someone who was raised by a father who believed whole-heartedly in the ways of ‘loving more,’ I thought long and heard about polyamorous relationships. I clung to the ideas that said loving another only meant loving more, not less, that loving two or three did not mean that the first was not good enough. I read magazines and books and even did a project on polyamoury for a class. My first two real relationships that I had in high school were at the same time with people who had previously never heard of polyamory. And I made it work. (It was a lot of work, especially as my two firsts, but I managed and learned a lot too) Later in life, after several relationships, the development of my ‘perfect partner’ idea seemed to become unrealistic. Could I really find someone with all these traits? I was most torn by gender. I couldn’t imagine committing myself to one man, and yet I cringed at the thought of being only with a woman for the rest of my life. I just had such an even combination of masculinity and femininity that it seemed impossible to find a “life partner” with whom I would not get tired of either gender role. In addition, my list seemed more like a job application for a god. Who could have ALL of these qualities? And how in the world would I know that this was them if I saw them?
My father had always said that people expect god of their lovers because that is what our expressions of love is – a connection to god, essentially, and so if we don’t realize the human nature of our lovers – that they are not, and can never be god and therefore cannot fulfill everything we truly need – we are bound to be disappointed. With this, I came to the conclusion that I would likely be destined into a poly family, not a “one true soul mate.” (and further decided even numbers would be better so specified that to a nice little quad family. I knew that this would NOT be easy, but I have never opted for easy, or even normal. I have always taken the complicated route. ) This is how I saw my future. People, of course thought I was nutso, upon giving this explanation to those who asked me if I wanted to get married.
continued...in need of reassurance
(continued from above)
This, of course made meeting my partner even more of a shocker. “You can’t possibly be this perfect and be one person and find me so easily and so soon in my life!!!” I thought to myself. I had given up on this fantasy. It was too perfect. And so she was too perfect. And to top it off, she knew about poly. Lord, god had granted me an angel itself. She had never been poly per se, but had read about it, believed in the theory’s validity, value and truth. The first friend I had ever had who didn’t find it very strange. And she turned out to be my other half.
So what is the problem? Well, things change when someone grows into your heart and becomes part of it. While my partner has always believed in poly, understanding something intellectually is far far removed from feeling it with your heart. This topic is a very tender topic. She believes it is important for us to talk about, because after all “you are my best friend” she says, and “I don’t ever want you to keep something from me.” And neither do I. We share everything with each-other, why should I keep this to myself, even if it is only in theory? But it is difficult and painful for both of us. It is a discussion that can go on for several hours to several days, and has one of us in tears almost the whole time.
I do not consider anything but my whole life with this person an option. I do not fear worst torture or death or spiders or snakes, but simply being alive when she is not. I am engaged to the most amazing person on the planet, and I would not change this for anything, but I can’t stand the idea that this means giving up courting any other soul for the rest of my life. I love courting! I love the soft dynamic that happens just after friendship develops chemistry but before it is kissed into confession to one-another. I love the rising fire in my belly when you realize you are quite giddy about cuddling your friend and that you both may want it to lead to other things. I love the idea of falling in love with a dear friend (and in truth, most of my friends and I have had it in for one-another at some stage or another of our lives) but not having the expectation that it is the exclusive-steady-romantic-type deal, rather, just part of that friendship.
However, my partner does not share this view at all. The mention of me with any other person tears her heart out. I cannot whip out my handful of reasons in my theories of polyamory because she already knows them – knowing does no good. In attempt to get me to understand how hurtful it is for her to think about, she asked me to turn it around. “How would you feel about being home knowing I was at my friends house, making love to them. How does it make you feel knowing I would come home to you after being with someone else?” And truthfully, I think it would be interesting. I think it would bring a new dynamic. I would be fascinated to hear how it went and how it was different and what it made her think and feel to be with that person (granted that I met them and they were an all-around good person and safe, respectful and honest and all that). I shrugged my shoulders and said that I wouldn’t mind. This hit her worse – she absolutely bowled. It made her feel so hurt to think that I would not be jealous, that the idea doesn’t tear at my heart like it does hers.
We have had this discussion on three occasions so far. It is important to her that we talk about it, which I am grateful for, because that is so healing to know. I, too, believe that is the only healthy way for us to live – to talk about it. I reassure her that there is nothing to worry about, I have no one in mind or anything, and I would never make a decision about anything without her 100% consent. But this does not console her. She says she doubts she could ever change, so how could she ever be ok with it at all, let alone 100%.
I feel so guilty, at these times. It pains me to see something that I have always identified with hurt her so immensely. After comforting her for hours to no avail it drives me to think I should just swear to monogamy right then and there so that I can stop the pain. But I know better. I should never promise something so outright untrue. I would regret it the very next day. It makes me feel so sleazy, so greedy, so selfish that I have something so amazing and godly in a person, more than I could have ever imagined, and yet I want more? There are plenty of people on this earth throughout time who have loved as deeply as I have loved, and that was enough. Many people get married and commit to monogamy every day! Shouldn’t I? My internal poly-righteous side combats these kinds of thoughts, but it is against the tears of my beloved, and it is weak compared to my guilt.
It is at these times that I think. Is it worth it? Is one little fling with a friend worth all this? Especially when said friend is a theoretical idea? Why don’t I just give it up, cross that bridge when we come to it? For the most part, it doesn’t interfere with our lives. I am wonderfully in love with her and I do not spend my time fantasizing about being with someone else. I have realized that it is not about this fictitious secondary that is such a big deal. It is the threat to giving up the option to love another, the reasoning that says that marriage equals monogamy for life that shakes me and leaves me hung on it for days. I have many reoccurring dreams in which I am courting someone new, and every time the dream person goes to make the first move, or suggests it, I stop dead in my tracks “I can’t. I haven’t told her yet.” It is stark and the dream ends there.
She is the only person on the planet who can endure me continuously, and indeed likes being with me even on my most bitchy days. When merely the mention of me being with another person makes this very person, my love, say that this thought makes her feel so betrayed that if it were true, she would want to distance herself as far as possible from me – run to Africa without a trace – I want to grab her and hold her forever so that she could not run from me. I was so struck by this statement. It made me completely question my entire structure of ideas. She provoked my thoughts when she talked about how sacred to her anything we share that is sexual, how someone else sharing that with me would completely spoil and ruin it, dishonor it. I try so hard to stand where she sees our world the way she does, and though I am beginning to genuinely understand it, I still cannot feel that way.
The only thing she has to hang onto in all this is the hope that she will one day sway me and I will change. When I do not agree with her, when I am not swayed, she looks at me pleadingly and I can merely say that maybe we will change. She says that she cannot ever change – not on this, it is too sacred. And yet my only hope is that she can change.
She does not ask me to promise anything. She does not ask me to give it up. Instead she asks me to talk about it when it bothers me. But what is there left to say? I can’t bear to hurt her so badly again and again on a moot point. But she sees it in my face and my voice when it is bothering me. I ask her if it would be better if sometimes I just don’t say anything, be less painful, and she replies strongly “No. Not knowing it will always hurt more than whatever it is that will hurt.”
Half of our relationship is long-distance across continents and an ocean. Relying on skype and cheap plane fairs, our lives are conducted by hourly updates and endless “I miss you”s. Though we live together in our house in between, my semester abroad, and her year abroad were already planned long ago, and we refused to abandon our lives and pursuing our dreams for each-other. However, this is the last time we will ever live apart for so long. Long distance relationships are tough, but manageable, but discussions about poly are unbearable over web-calls for I cannot soothe her and hold her and comfort her, and that makes it ten times more painful and disconnected. I can only tell her I will love her forever. But at least we talk about it.
For the most part, this is not a focus of our life, and indeed, the majority of the time I don’t even think about it. But when it does wriggle its way back to the front of my mind, it will not leave me alone. I don’t want to stress her more by bringing it up yet again when nothing has changed since the last time, and I don’t know anyone who has any experience whatsoever who can offer anything to say about it. I have nowhere to turn in my mind, and nowhere to turn outside of it. I just run around like a hamster in a wheel in my head.
After reading all this, you are probably quite surprised at how long it took. Thank you so much for reading them, it is consoling just to be heard. I hesitate to use the word “advice” here, because I am not asking you “help! What do I do?” for I don’t feel there is anything to DO. Instead, I welcome any words of wisdom that I may begin to chew on. I have a whole lifetime to chew and swallow and digest. Though I have full faith that everything will work out, I would deeply appreciate a more convincing voice of assurance than my own.
Again, thank you for listening.
I don't know that I can reassure. I did read your whole post and it was such an echo of a life I have lived. Painful to say the least (please don't take that as blaming you).
I suggest you look up another poster... luvnwonder I think-or something long those lines. PM them. It's a couple married 22 years. I think he may comprehend your pain as well. I won't share their story-not mine to share.
What is mine to share is that I have known my current husband for roughly 20 years as well. We've been together for 11 and married for 10.
I tried to "live mono" for all but the last 2 months of that. I broke his heart-not once or twice, but repeatedly. I broke my own heart more often then that. He's a wonderful man. I believe I am probably a wonderful woman-but I certainly don't FEEL that way anymore (well at least until the last few months).
When a person tries to live a lie-by living as something other than what they are... it's like smoking-at first it just makes you cough, then you stop coughing and you like it. But all the while you are sucking in that deadly smoke-and you think it makes you calmer, feels good-it's actually killing you slowly, but surely.
I think it's GREAT that the two of you are talking. But if neither of you can change your lifeview-this is going to be a VERY painful road for both of you...
As I said-no reassurance, but I do have understanding and hope that you can sense my care from my post.
So I read the whole thing and wrote you.
Then I read it all again-outloud to my husband. He saw the look on MY face and asked what was wrong.
I told him-this post, it's heartbreaking. He asked me "for you or just in general".
And so instead of trying to explain-I simply read it again.
I hope some others have helpful things to say-for I know I sure could have used it before.
In September I finally broke and told Maca that I can't pretend to be that which I am not any longer. I was SURE he would leave.
But he didn't. He stayed and I am forever greatful, thankful and blessed.
I wish you the best with ALL of my heart.
I probably shouldn't respond immediately after spending three whole days consoling and even counseling two wonderfully cherished friends whose life together of 20 years is coming to an end because one is committed to poly heart mind and soul and one is firmly opposed. Obviously there is more to it than that, but right now I have to say do not live a lie. Do not lie to your self or your loved one. What you thought was perfect simply...isn't. Either disavow poly and live with the stultifying effect of being someone you are not until your soul feels rotten inside of you and you build for yourself and your loved one your own personal hell of life built on that lie or - if they are as vehemently and completely opposed as you describe - release them.
A faerytale in chains is a horror story.
I wish for you strength and wisdom.
Well, reading your thoughtful post completely a couple times, it brings to mind a couple thoughts and concepts.
I know I and others have commented on these in the past - at least in a general way.
1> The concept of "the other half", "singular soulmate", "completion of our-SELVES" etc
2> The concept of what seems to be commonly referred to these days as "synchronicity"
1. Myself, from observing and thinking for many years, I cannot feel any other way than that this 'quest' so many seem to be on for this 'other' part of them-SELVES is a false and unattainable quest for most people. The concept that we need to discover our true "selves" and that other people may play a part in that I believe IS valid. But humans are multifaceted beings and collecting those pieces seems to require a lot of different sources. Not speaking here even of only 'people'.
From reading your writing, it seems to me that there's a part of you that already understands this. So it's highlighted the conflict with what you know inside. That knowledge does NOT seem to be present in your partner. Yet.
One this note, I also think that everyone is unique and different and that some people, maybe because of (karma?), life circumstances etc, have had their 'pieces' more scattered and will have to broaden their lives to recollect them. It's been spoken of here about the concept of "fullness" which I define as that point we reach when we feel complete - that it seems we've collected all that was hidden or lost to us. And I think those needs are just simpler for some people. They reach that state almost effortlessly.
So I think that this whole concept of "other half" can be a dangerous illusion for a majority of people and a common cause of a lot of heartbreak in the world.
2. There is this concept that's becoming more well know these days I think (not new - only more visible) that we attract what we 'need' into our lives. Most times without even searching for it (consciously). When it comes to "people", I feel that these attractions are very much of a reciprocal nature. People come into our lives because they are carriers of some wisdom WE need, but in most cases it also seems they we have something THEY need. Sometimes this wisdom or knowledge - this "piece" is not real obvious at first. But I think if everyone was aware of this dynamic and would take the time to just sit back and ask the question "Why", or at least be open to that, it will often shed light on the connection and may even expose that it was not at all what we first "assumed". Sometimes we go fishing for bass and catch a tuna !
Hope that makes some sense ?
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it may be most beneficial for you both to just "flow" with it. Try not to force rigid frameworks around it or fit it into preconceived "boxes". When we look back years from now we often see things that we've "broken", and therefore lost the value of, because we insisted on fitting them into a space that they just wouldn't go.
Hope this helps............
From mrs LuvNWonder
Be true to yourself. She needs to know that it is a possibility. It's part of who you are and it doesn't threaten your relationship at all. Separation by distance can be effecting her ability to understand it and support you. Mr LNW and I are apart right now due to his job. It isn't easy and it amplifies all your of ones insecurities. Keep commnication lines open, don't hide it but I would suggest you reassure her that you are not looking right now and that you will be completely honest with her no matter what.
Fortunately I haven't experienced this but I wanted to say that I was touched by your words.
I feel for your lady. I feel for you. She seems to be what you were looking for yet there is one huge rift between you that will either be bridged or not. It sounds like its just too early to tell. I hope that you spend the time (possibly years) it will take to settle into your dynamic and develope the trust it takes to make poly work. I hope you do this before getting married, having babies, becoming in debit etc.
It is possible to have a mono/poly relationship but you will both need to work harder at it than most I would think. I know I do in mine. Ours was a different experience. My husband and I met in a nonmonogamous relationship and married after my girlfriend left us. Now my husband and I are in a poly fi family that includes my OSO another boyfriend we share and his boyfriend.
I had had many mono relationships with men and women that were soulmates. To me soulmates are endless and I have found many when I open my heart and let love in. There is not just one. They were all good for me for different reasons and my love for them has created who I am today. I still love everyone I have ever been in a relationship with. All my relationships in my distant past ended with me feeling unfillfilled and trapped because I can not be monogamous. How different my life would of been if I had been able to bring myself to understand myself and to talk about it. I just thought I was a bad partner and lover. I understand your guilt feelings all to well.
Good luck to you. It seems others here have had more to say and I would suggest to both of you to have a look around these forums for support, understanding and to help you ease your guilt.
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