How solve open relation with mono insecurity?
This is my first post. I will give a little background and describe my thoughts..
Am a woman in mid-20s. After a long and in the end unsuccessful monogamous relationship a few years ago, I tried first avoiding love for the rules and norms I felt that it implied and the negative impact it had had on me, but eventually I started redefining my ideas about relating to others.
I fell in love and was introduced to relationship anarchy and it made me realize that I could develop deep relations not neccessarily meaning the negative sides of traditional relationship. This made me more secure in actually having relations and following my feelings, without setting up boundaries for myself or others. It was not always easy but it was logical and made sense to me. Since then I've had a number of different relations, spontanous one-time experiences, continuous dating and also longer and deeper connections to people.
For about half a year I've had a relation with someone who has been aware of my thoughts from well before he fell in love with me, and eventually I fell in love with him, but he is not experienced in RA/poly, and has endured a lot of insecurity and confusion about this. He expresses that I am the centre of everything for him, that he is not interested in anything else, but that he is open to the theory of it and wanting me to be free and happy. Still the feeling that he might not be the centre of my feelings makes him freak out and he has gotten very insecure.
Although he is basically my primary relation when it comes to both feelings and everyday life, his doubts and insecurity has gotten us in an assymetry, where I need take most responsibility and initiative, which does not make the relation better, since this has established these roles more solidly. And I am not all-knowing and solid in my beliefs myself, I need constructive work both together and individually. It also gives me bad conscience in the way that I sometimes feel like cheating or acting unethical when it comes to having other relations, which is not an original feeling for myself but I feel it because I'm afraid of hurting him. I feel selfhish, at the same time as I know that a monogamous relation would not work out for me and would thus not solve anything.
It is a dilemma in the way that I do feel so much more secure from not having a strict relationship, whereas this makes him insecure. We try to communicate but I am not really sure about how we are to understand each other fully and find a solution, and also about what, how and how much I should tell about my other relations. I don't mind telling anything really, but I want to do it right. Maybe we need to define things more clearly, but at the same time avoiding setting boundaries was how I found my way into this, and I am not sure how to define things and how to make them still work out, or work better.
I've read some threads around the forum and find it very interesting, but I felt I wanted to make this post to see if there are any thoughts or ideas considering my situation?
It got quite long, but hopefully someone managed to get through it and might have some advice?
First, welcome to the forum!
Second, would mind telling me more about what relationship anarchy is, how you conceive and practice it? I've heard the term before but do not have a grasp of what it is. Without a better understanding of how you 'do' relationships, I'm a bit hesitant to offer suggestions.
Also without some RA background, your concerns are a little unclear to me. Are you worried about you cheating (from your bf's POV) because he is not into relationship anarchy and doesn't get how it works? Or is his insecurity being caused by your practice of RA? A combination? Or other concerns that I've not picked up on?
There is so much on this forum about managing one's own insecurities, and trying to ease a partner's insecurity. Peruse the Relationship Corner threads or do a search on insecurity, jealousy. These are also good tag search terms. Search for relationship anarchy too. That may have come up before too.
I would suggest reading the threads tagged "mono/poly." It seems that what you have is a relationship based on someone being monogamous in relationship identity and a person who identifies as polyamorous. In my belief people are born on a scale between only loving one at a time and open sexualyl and loving many. Where you fit and where your partner fits is really important to know.
You say you don't want to set boundaries. Its all fine and dandy for people who are experienced in poly (RA) and know themselves well in that they don't need boundaries (I would argue that it is still a good idea to express what ones bottom line is and ones requests just the same however... we all have a bottom line and need certain things) but I would suggest that you DO set boundaries with someone that is not experienced.
Setting boundaries would mean sitting down and talking out all the things that are okay with you both and just not for both of you; seeing if you can find common ground on some of it. On the issues that you can't find common ground I would see about how close you can get to being comfortable without exploding due to extreme discomfort (traumatizing) and then work your way back.
It might be that there is a huge gap between what you feel comfortable with and need and what he feels comfortable and needs. Such is the case with most mono/poly relationships. This is where a compromise comes in. Compromise is a land where one sits and feels uncomfortable all the time because an agreement just can't be reached right now. It sucks, and sometimes last a REALLY long time, but if you love someone, it is sometimes a better feeling than what it feels like to not be with that person. Its up to you to decide what is best for you on that one and who gets to be uncomfortable. I have noticed that sitting in that place makes everyone feel uncomfortable as its not a nice feeling to know that you are restricting someone just as much as it isn't nice to feel constricted.
I have a mono/poly relationship and there is lots that I and my partner have written here. Have a look at my blog from early Dec 2010 on and you will see most of that journey. And, as I said, look at the mono/poly tagged threads.
Thank you! I know very few poly/RA persons IRL, so I find these forums very interesting.
My perception of RA is based on the ideas that Andie describes really well: http://www.polyamory.org.uk/relationship_anarchy.html
But I am a bit unsure of my actual standpoint, I guess between this and a somewhat poly-relation view, because I do make a bit of hierarchy and there has mostly been a primary person in my life and a few other relations.
Regarding your question, it is mainly that his insecurity comes out of the idea of RA/poly, and thus I am feeling guilty and selfish by inflicting this on him. It is not that I actually "cheat".
Yes, to put it simply I identify as polyamorous and he as monogamous.
I guess you're actually very right about the boundaries, I tend to see it as a restricting and negative thing but as you say, there are always bottom lines, and even in RA it is important to find out what that is, and then ofcourse even more so for his sake. I will really try to work with this.
Is there any communication guide or like a short list of some topics to discuss or such? It maybe sounds like a ridiculous thing, and of course the issues to discuss depend on the individuals, but it could be good to have some template or start, because I am not entirely sure where to start off.
Thank you both very much for your quick responses, advice and tips of further reading. Very appreciated!
I think a list of boundaries or requests of partners is very individual. There are some really good lessons learned on this thread. And some really good stuff if you look at the tag "foundations" or "boundaries." A tag search for "lessons" might bring up something interesting too.
In my experience there is usually one of two concerns going on for a mono partner (or anyone really). The first is that there is a threat of others becoming emotionally connected and the other is the threat of others connecting sexually. Finding out which your partner is worried about is a good place to start because lets face it, mono people are concerned about us being connected in some way to others in the form of love. Find out what that is about and there is a chance to work on boundaries in regards to this.
The other things that come up in terms of boundaries and requests are agreements to check in, come home at a certain time from dates, not say too much about dates, don't say too little, meeting other people that are partner potential, holiday time, etc... usually it boils down to a persons "love languages (another thing to search in the tags)," and time management.
Hope that gives you somewhere to start. :)
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