mono gf offering me poly but dreading it...
Hi, I've been in a monogamous relationship for the last three years. Though I wanted us to try poly my girlfriend has been very much against it. This has been an issue between us through a lot of very good intimate conversations, more so as she has a much lower sex drive than me.
Then recently she suggested that I did go and "do what I need to do." That while she still didn't like the idea she felt it could work between us. Again much discussion, both of us scared of screwing up our relationship but also, for me at least feelings of excitement and huge gratitude that she loves me enough to let me do this.
After talking in detail I made a date with an ex lover (for tomorrow...) and all seemed well but a couple of days ago my girlfriend told me she felt like "she'd been kicked in the stomach" and I've been in turmoil since then; she isn't asking me to stop but I don't want to cause her this kind of hurt and it has taken away my excitement and enjoyment. I don't know if this is a temporary part of acclimatising to the shift in our boundaries or something that will seriously undermine our trust. We've agreed that I will keep the date but probably not have sex for now and see how she feels then about me taking it further.
This has all been a long time coming and important to me. I want honour my partner's feelings and be caring of her without denying myself or dishonouring what I want.
Transitioning to poly takes time but one suggestion... Perhaps it would be easier for her if you started something with some one who isn't your ex. I can see how that could make it harder. And are you looking for purely sexual outside relationships or something more romantic?
What many men forget, or don't realize in the first place, is that most of the time women feel the need to express what's going on with them without wanting or needing a response or action from the guy. They just want to have the freedom to say, "I feel X about this," and know they are being heard. Quite often men think they have to do something about it, remedy things or rescue them in some way, instead of just listening and trying to understand.
In other words, believe her when she says you don't have to cancel your date or change what you want to do, but do be receptive to hearing what she has to say regarding her feelings. Listen, process, talk. But don't beat yourself up because she's letting you know how uncomfortable she is. She is giving you a gift by confiding in you and being upfront with her feelings.
I find it kind of funny that you say, "We've agreed that I will keep the date but probably not have sex for now and see how she feels then about me taking it further." Well, why would it have been any different? :confused:
Did you expect that getting the go-ahead for polyamory meant you were going to jump into bed with someone right away? That you had to go out and find someone to have sex with? Even though she is an ex, why wouldn't you naturally take it one small step at a time before having sex? I'm sure you know already that polyamory is not about just having a bunch of sex partners. You've been mono for three years, it is common sense that you would just dip a toe in the water first by having dates, and then seeing how it goes with slowly incorporating physical intimacy into any new relationships (if it feels like that's how it's going and the new person wants that). Having sex right away, now that your gf says she thinks she can live with it if you see other people, is a huge leap from where you've been.
Consider that one common piece of advice is to go at the pace of the one who is struggling most. So, to my mind, your gf said yes to a date, but you may have to wait a while before she says yes to you having sex with someone else. She might want to first see how she feels about you holding hands, then kissing, and so on, and you would take things in small increments before you ever have intercourse with someone else. It will likely be a good process to go through, so you can also take inventory of your feelings and thought processes through each step along the way.
You are absolutely doing the right thing by slowing down.
What nycindie said.
That punch in the gut feeling is common and does either pass or end a relationship. Time will tell which I think. Please let your gf know that she is welcome to find support here. There is a good bit of reading that could help and we are all here to listen and strategize with.
Thanks, good advice/food for thought from all three of you:
Ray, yes I've heard before that ex's tend to be a loaded situation but I think not particularly in this case. She was more a lover/"fuck buddy" than "partner" which was why I chose her now ie she wouldn't be felt as a threat to our primary relationship. What am I looking for? Well sex is a big part of it but hopefully in the context of a meaningful friendship, though I wouldn't say romance (whatever the difference is...)
nycindie, good to be reminded that being heard is the most important thing and thanks for saying I'm doing the right thing. That really reassured me! And the advice re. going at the slower one's pace.
redpepper again thanks, I'll let her know about the site and possibility of support. I don't think she would join here but you never know.
My date went ahead nicely and "innocently" on Sunday and had a really good intimate talk with my girlfriend afterwards and again last night. It's very much up in the air where we go from here, I feel uneasy she might think that's the end of it (being poly) but it's up to me to have the courage to keep talking openly about my hopes and aspirations.
I really appreciate your thoughtful responses, Nic
PolyMono · Polyamorous/Monogamous Support
"This is a support group for monogamous people in a committed relationship with someone who is polyamorous."
livingpolymono · Polyamorists with Monogamous Partners
"This list supports all people concerned with the challenges of poly/mono relating. However, it exists primarily to provide support to polyamorous people with monogamous partners."
I suggest you invite her to join PolyMono, while you don't join it. That gives her space to talk to others without you listening in.
Both lists have message archives and resource files.
I would also recommend doing a search here for "mono/poly." The tag cloud has it. :)
yup good idea to give her the polymono link, she could do with the kind of discussion and support that I've got here and better if it's private (ie me not reading it)
So far I'm still holding back, both wanting to give us time to reflect on what has happened and what we want but also kind of losing my nerve over the punch in the gut that "either passes or ends a relationship" (gulp!) We have a young family-20 month toddler and hoping for more and I'm more committed to making that work than exploring poly at the moment.
We are also about to start some couple therapy that uses David Schnarch's perspective and Tantra, I'm hoping that will also be an arena we can look at my poly desires. Has anyone come across him? I found his book Passionate Marriage really interesting-it'd be good to hear feedback if any of you has experienced it
I read Schnarch's book on when partners have differing desires for sex (he argues that there is ALWAYS lower desire partner and a higher desire partner - that this is completely normal and it can be addressed in ways that can bring people closer). I thought it would have helped my relationship with Beloved but she did not want to try anymore. So I don't know if his ideas would have helped us or not. But I found them compelling and useful and will try to apply them in my next serious relationship(s). Do be aware that he does believe that monogamy is the only real way to develop intimacy. He sees no value in ethical non-monogamy or polyamory. I have not read Passionate Marriage but I believe his ideas have not changed.
Hi all, just wanting to update and touch base; we've been going to the couple therapy since Jan which has been quite a journey (!!!) and a very good experience for both of us. We are now talking about opening our relationship to agree to me having other sexual partners, gf still doesn't like the idea but feels it is a legitimate desire of mine.
I'm excited, concerned, scared, etc. (and pleased that I am all of them) wanting to be there for my sweet lovely gf in all this [I]and[I] true to myself... We are looking at how to negotiate it: what we each want; what we need in terms of agreements/boundaries (eg time, honesty/privacy etc).
I expect this will be an ongoing process that will be very challenging and potentially wonderful or disasterous for us. I know I'll find it hard to be open with her when I fear disapproval or rejection, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to explore all kinds of issues that have haunted me all my life and I'm so grateful to her for her courage and love in coming down this path with me (Oh God, I am getting soppy ;) )
I don't know am I looking for any specific advice right now, just want to share what's happening with people who probably understand, thanks
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