Sharing your initial confusions and realizations
Hey all. I'm trying to figure out where I am and really what I want. If people don't mind sharing some of their early thoughts and debates when they began to wonder if polyamory was right for them. I'm especially interested in talking to people who were in long term relationships when they learned about polyamory and how you felt and reacted initially. Also, is anyone here choosing to stay in a monogamous relationship even though you feel like polyamory would be more you?
I'm married and I have been wondering if I am even built for this. It's funny that when we weren't married things seemed better. I'm sure I have other issues too, lol. I have these attractions and close friendships with male friends, not flirtatious at all. For example, a friend I can talk to about emotional issues when my husband isn't so good to talk to in that department (he's a fixer not a listener). I am aware some of these friends were or had been attracted to me in the past or present. I am perhaps overly cautious and careful not to cross any lines that I would consider flirting. Now, on the other hand, I can get jealous too. I consider myself extremely open with him, but he is not with me. When he hides things and I find out, it really bothers me. He does this less now, which is good. But, yeah I get jealous even if I ask for the information. I think that has more to do with my lack of self confidence more than anything. Anyway, these are some of my thoughts right now.
Can't answer your specific question. I knew I was SOMETHING, I found poly and finally had a WORD for it. It was a "no-brainer" that I had to tell my husband and he would stay or leave as he needed, either way I would continue to love and honor him as a person. He choose to stay-though with MUCH education required for him to do so. (you can read HIS thoughts, login is Maca).
As for what you NEED.
I HIGHLY advise that you go read "www.xeromag.com". Great articles. Also-start asking yourself questions and REALLY think about the answers.
WHAT is love?
WHO do you love?
WHY do you love?
WHEN do you love?
WHAT is relationship?
WHAT is marriage?
WHAT is "good" about you?
What is "BAD" about you?
How can YOU change the parts you think are "bad"?
Most people who are struggling to decide where to go with "poly" from a mono relationship are REALLY concerned about the SEX end of things.
Imho-that is the LEAST of the concerns. ANY healthy relationship requires GOOD communication skills (link to good thread in "golden nuggets" check it out too) AND honesty. But more then that healthy relationships require that both parties be CLEAR with THEMSELVES and each other about WHAT they believe and WHAT they want in their lives.
A mono person and a poly person CAN make a functional relationship, but ONLY if both of them are CLEAR about what they need and can find a middle ground.
Two people who are mono can "fake it" a bit easier-as there are less people involved to "catch on" to the b.s., but there is a reason why so many mono-marriages end in divorce, I would say it's got a LOT to do with them NOT identifying THEMSELF before they say "I do". (how can you say you WILL do these things if you haven't established the MEANING of these things, who you REALLY are deep down inside and where you intend to go with your life?)....
You're right, I really do need to sit down and really think about these questions, and then with him. I would say I'm just on the surface of these thoughts and have been for awhile, because of my own fears of the possible changes if I really do go there. Last year I just told myself, "Well, I'm having enough trouble with one relationship so I certainty couldn't handle another." Although, true to an extent it allowed me to push these thoughts to the back of my mind without really exploring them. I will try to push further with these questions, but part of me isn't quite ready to fully dive into this yet and I recognize that too. I wish it was as clear cut for me as it was for you early on.
Do you read? I mean do you LIKE to read. ;)
Check out some books.
Some of the "thinking" has NOTHING to do with romantic relationships PER SE. Its just growing.
I only JUST started it, but there is one page on my blog you might look at (it's my muffled thoughts on what we believe). It's messy-disorganized, as I said, I just started AND am teaching myself how to set it up.
But it can't hurt you to look at it www.lovingradiance.com, look at.. it's concepts we can live by... then polyamory I believe (I'm going from memory as I'm not logged in to that right now).
It's not too long either.
Also-just use the search feature here, type out a word that you have in your mind, see what threads pop up.
There is a GREAT thread on communication-link in the "golden nuggets" section. There are actually A LOT of links in there (thanks to Ygirl) for different VERY interesting and helpful threads. :)
Just browse it-might help get you thinking "outside of the box". :)
I have known that I "wasn't like the other children" since I was a teenager. Trying to explain to my girlfriend that yes, I had this very good female friend and yes we would cuddle and kiss, but that was all, and yes, I cared for her and that this was perfectly normal... well, let's just say that it didn't go over very convincingly...
I struggled for many, many years trying to reconcile what I felt with the idea of being monogamous - you know the stunning wife, 2.3 kids, dogs, living in a nice cottage in England somewhere..... that was what was expected of me - hell, that's what I expected of myself. But I didn't feel it. Skip years forward and I had all sorts of eye-opening experiences on the relationship front, both personally and witnessing things with my friends. I became very disillusioned with a whole bunch of things, and turned some of it on myself.
I did some foolish things in what was pretty much self-loathing - self-destructive things (like job, relationships). Discovering the word was the keystone for me that opened up doors. It was found by my partner (who is still my partner, over 15 years later!), and it made me realise that maybe this wasn't me bring "wrong", and that maybe, just maybe, I might have found something that I could feel was me. I had to make some pretty hard decisions about the fact that I wasn't going to be conforming to anybody else's norms any more, and we had to spend a lot of time repairing the damage that I had done to our relationship.
But we have come through, due in great part to the commitment that we both feel towards each other and our relationship.
So I never really sat down to work out if it was "right for me", it was more a "Heck, so THAT'S what I've been feeling all these years! Can we really make this work?"
I'm a little worried that you might be looking for another relationship because your marriage isn't working, just because of some of the things you said. You definitely need to be clear before you move on. Also, if you intend to keep your current relationship, I **highly** recommend that it be stable and everyone comfortable before you do **anything** else. We found cracks in our marriages that we didn't even suspect were there after stepping into polyamory. Of course, the up side is that poly teaches you methods of communicating and looking at yourself that are highly beneficial to any marriage, or even any individual who's interested in self-growth.
Hey, thanks for the new responses. I'm a student, so honestly reading is not my favorite thing right now. But, I read through some of the suggested links you mentioned LovingRadiance. I read some of them with my husband too and we're re-opened the discussion about this. Although, he said the cat was probably thinking "Are they really having this crazy conversation?" and I'm pretty sure that's more what he was thinking.
Lemondrop, I do feel like he and I have a solid relationship. I can't imagine my life without him and if he cannot come down this road with me then I would stop. He is 5x's any other man I've ever met in my entire life and the only person to ever really get me and appreciate me. Even discussing some of the ideals in polyamory, they do match with how we think. Like truly wanting the other person to be happy.
It's interesting to hear people say they just knew when they heard about polyamory that it was them. Honestly, I fought against the concept and still do to some extent. I put the idea of a monogamous partner on a pedestal, the one and only knight in shining armor come to rescue me for all eternity. I still like the ring of that, but it's not the reality. I find myself searching mentally outside our relationship for connections with others. At first, I thought someone was wrong with me. I wonder if I'm not built for monogamy. I question whether or not I ever want to have children too. All these things that go against everything I've been taught as a woman. I've never been anything but monogamous. This is my only real and serious relationship I've ever had. I get the sense that I need something more. But, I don't really know what I'm missing. Before this my longest relationship was two months and that was serious at all. Anyway, rambling my thoughts away more. I still have more to read, more questions to come, and more to discuss with him. Thanks for the responses so far, it helps me process my own thoughts and helps to hear what others experienced and are experiencing.
I keep thinking (while reading your posts) that maybe the issue isn't "polyamory" vs "monogomy" so much as a need to re-identify what rules make a relationship.
For instance, having close friends who fill a need...
That isn't "against the rules" of a monogomous relationship. Each friend I have fills a different role in my life. I trust Em when it comes to issues with the kids, or health, I would ask MS if it were about ADD issues, I would confide in S when it came to religious or spiritual feelings/thoughts/issues...
My husband is a CRITICAL component in my life, but even as such, he can't be EVERYTHING. He's not an "expert" in EVERYTHING. :)
Much as you don't expect to call on one professor about EVERY class you have (you would contact the professor of each class-as they are the expert in that topic yes?),
well likewise you can't expect one person to fill every single roll in your life either.
You sound like your MORE looking to find "permission" to have fulfilling, dynamic, close meaningful relationships to fill the different interests in your life.
That CAN be polyamorous, but it doesn't have to be per se.
Do you see what I mean?
I wonder if you really need to work on figuring out who YOU are?
See-Maca, one of the struggles he had/has sounds similar to what you are saying (if only you aren't saying it quite so point blank). He was so worried about what everyone else would think, that he created a whole life around "doing it right".
But "right" is "in the eyes of the beholder" just as beauty is. It's subjective. Depends on who you are, where you are and what the circumstances are.
Polynerdist suggested Maca read a book (which I read out of sheer curiosity and interest) called "Living Happily Ever After" by Marsha Sinetar (not a poly book, just a book). Anyway-one of the key points she makes is that in order to be TRULY happy and fulfilled in our lives we have to reach that level of maturity where we seek ourself instead of trying to hide our self behind a facade that meets someone else's standards.
The "having kids" part really got me. Who says you have to want to have kids? That is such a personal choice. My sister LOVES LOVES LOVES children, but has none of her own. I have four and she is a HUGE part of their life. She's a second mother to them (by their words). But she found the HAVING of children so disgusting and disturbing, the changes in her body (not size, but lactating and internal changes) so disturbing and upsetting, she really just doesn't want to go there. It freaks her out (no she's not a "young-un, she's 34).
Is there anything wrong with that choice? HELL NO. She's a WONDERFUL "mother" to my children, it makes her happy, it makes them happy and it makes the world a better place for all of that happiness.
You sounds so confused about what YOU want vs what you think you SHOULD want.
This is your ONLY LIFE. You're an adult now, it's time to figure out who you want to be instead of focusing on what someone else might prefer you to be.
You don't want your headstone to say "here lies a person who fulfilled all of someone else's dreams."
You know what I mean?
You're right, you're words are ones that I have often thought about. I had some negative brainwashing, lol or internalizing negative views of myself as a child. There are some things I struggle separating "Is this me? Or is this someone else?" Relationships are one of those, and I think some things are deeply ingrained in me and some things I'm beginning to wonder if they are really working for me. I don't think I will just know what is right for me immediately. I am also the type of person to tolerate life, even if it's not exactly what I want. I have quite a lot of patience and willpower to do that(probably not a good thing). I probably sounds sad to say, but I don't know for sure what will make me the happiest right now. Mono vs. Poly. I just know that I feel constrained in my current role and a desire to explore new ideas. For me, this is a long time work in progress to even be here and questioning. I guess I'm just saying this continues to be a struggle to know what I want and myself in these regards. I truly have been working on this, but it's not so quick and easy for me to just know. I don't know why.
You sound as though I think it should be easy for you.
Ah but if that was how my message read-my deepest apologies.
This is NOT an easy path for ANY of us.
Can I give you a suggestion if I might? Well-maybe for both of you?
Check out this whole thread. I KNOW its long. Don't try to read it in a day. ;) It sure as heck wasn't written in a day-but it's been a HUGE inspiration to me and I've only managed to read pieces and parts of it!
Anyone who suggests to you that finding ourselves, changing ourselves is FAST or EASY-is full of crap.
I've always been quite blunt and very strong-willed. In point of fact I have never been shy or the kind to "give in" (at least if you ask my friends).
But the DEEPER truth is that I STILL felt as though I were in bondage in my life in many ways.
I was taught to "do your best no matter what" and "never give up" and "always do what's right". Those are great in THEORY. But our lives aren't theory.
What is right in a situation where it's only two shitty options? Heck if I know!
The truth is we are all on a long road, and we all struggle. Even those people you look at that seem to KNOW they are in the right place, right time etc. "on top of their game", even those people have moments where they are just LOST.
IF I were in your shoes, in ALL HONESTY,
I would just make a personal (and you could do this with your husband too) commitment to learn more about the things that you wonder about in yourself.
For example, the kid thing. What is it about having kids that DOES interest you. What is it that DOES NOT interest you. What about it makes you think "God I NEVER want to deal with that.".
Just sit down in the tub (my husband and I have taken to doing this don't know exactly why-but I sit with my back to him between his legs, lean my head back on his chest and we talk. It seems to be less... intimidating for lack of a better word and we tend to be more open) and start thinking out loud.
Maybe see if you can think up 30 good things and 30 bad things about it (each). That will give you "ammunition" with yourself to start considering. :)
Don't worry about "mono/poly". You don't "have someone waiting in the wings" who you already know one or the other of you is already ALSO madly in love with.
Start thinking about this... you say you are missing something in your life, you feel like there is SOME part that isn't quite right. GREAT-that for sure means you aren't dead! :) Seriously-it means you still have something to learn, to experience. That's awesome. SO-create a "bucket list" (another great thing to do together).
What are some things (no matter HOW outrageous) that you would like to do before you die? If you need ideas, check out this thread...
It's a list of bucketlist items a bunch of posters submitted.
This will give you more ammunition in your fight to "find out what it is you are missing". Ideas for you to peruse in your mind (little reading too).
Like I said before, what you may need is more DEEPER and meaningful relationships. MANY people do-but never know it. That may or may not include sexual things, but you don't need to define that yet, you don't yet know what you are looking for! ;)
Take your time, work together, figure out what the REAL bottom things are that you need AND WANT in life. Because even if you ARE poly and DO need a polyamorous life-you'll need to do this stuff ANYWAY because it's the key to healthy full relationships.
Mono relationships are hard enough, but having poly relationships without doing your "dirt work" is like tossing a grenade in your oven when it's on.
You may actually find that if you work on this together you will both find things you never knew about yourselves that you have in common and your relationship will blossom to even greater levels of wonderment. (sounds crazy and flowery, but that happened with maca and I).
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