Fear my new partner might decide he's mono
I searched for this topic but didn't find it - I know there are similar topics but none of the ones I read seemed to hit on it. Please point me to it if there is one! :)
So... here's a summary of my situation, and I'll be happy to give more information if anything is unclear.
I'm 21 and currently exploring polyamory for the first time. In the past I've been monogamous, but I would always feel trapped after about three months. I now realize that three months or so was when the NRE started to wear off and I started wanting other people. I thought I just hadn't found the right person yet.
I took a year off university and worked through some problems I had. Through CBT, a technique which teaches rationality, I kicked depression's ass. :) Damn proud of that, too!
I started casually dating multiple people. Then I fell for one of them, A, but we kept seeing others when I went back to school out-of-state.
REALIZING I'M POLY
I'm in a semi-serious long-distance relationship of eleven months with A. I only see him every few months, and I'm not in love with him, but I love him very much and could see myself falling in love if we are ever able to spend more time together. He's an incredible, special person whom I value very highly. This has never been exclusive and I feel completely secure with him. He's 26 and has a pretty good grasp on who he is and what he wants. He's reasonably sure he's poly and we're exploring it on our own ends (he's seeing perhaps four girls in addition to me).
I thought I was more or less romantically "monoamorous" and "polysexual" by orientation. I made out with many people (close to forty), many of them friends; I hooked up with people (again, mostly friends); I felt close to many of these people and even felt giddy and happy to be around them. But it wasn't romantic feelings, not like with A.
Then I met C. He is sexy and sweet and makes me laugh, and he's playful and so smart. He challenges me in different ways than A does. We're intensely sexually compatible.
At first I thought it would be sex friends, but then I began to develop feelings for him that were clearly romantic, the first romantic feelings since I met A.
ABOUT C AND D
Just before C and I started hooking up, before I realized I was romantically attracted to him, we met D at a scifi convention.
C likes both me and D, and D and I have become warm friends. (D identifies as homoromantic but is sexually bicurious - for me! :D So we're makeout buddies in addition to friends.)
When I realized I had feelings for C, I told him almost immediately. His actions and words both say he cares about me (like when he biked 12 miles in 40 minutes to come to an impromptu birthday party for me). I wish we had more time to spend with each other (gah school), but since we live in the same dorm it's easier to drop by and hang out whenever we have time.
But C is also exploring his bisexuality, and D is the first guy he's had a crush on. The novelty of it, combined with the fact that D is adorable and sweet (and a good kisser!) has C very much into D. They're really cute together.
D is mono. I know he wants monogamy with C because he's told me he's more or less "putting up with" this situation, even though he very much likes me and doesn't have a problem with C and I together. He just wants C for himself. Part of this may be insecurity.
C isn't sure he's poly. He's just exploring this, too. (He's 19 and from the South. Poly and bisexual aren't "allowed," so he's only now realizing this.)
So here I am, first exploring poly and trying to rewrite all this conditioning about "you must be the favorite or they'll leave you." And I'm using my CBT skills to remind myself using rationality that it doesn't matter if I'm "the favorite" as long as my needs are met.
But I'm afraid. I'm afraid that C will decide to be mono with D and drop me.
And though being "the favorite" doesn't matter in a poly relationship (though there are article after article about jealousy), it does if you're mono.
If C were sure he was poly, I would only have my own irrational conditioning to calmly think through and reframe using CBT. That's a big enough task.
But this fear of C turning out mono has me afraid to open up.
So much of this is new for all of us. I wish I had solid ground (other than A - I can always count on my sweet A - but as you know, people are unique and each connection irreplaceable).
It feels good to say this to people who won't ask what poly is.
Please help me? Advice or even just e-hugs for a new friend would be really helpful.
C is special. I'm only sorry all these feelings coincided for all of us in such a vulnerable time!
Welcome to the forum!
'fraid I haven't any advice, but I think you're awfully brave for living your life full out. You've come to the right place I think.
(and I love your nick)
At first I was just going to offer virtual *hugs* and link to this thread because I thought it might help to know that others have had the problem of "I want to be with X but they aren't poly!" I totally understand that not knowing what people are going to discover about themselves and what decisions they're going to make is scary, but one thing you might want to try to keep in mind is that yes, he could decide he's mono but choose YOU, rather than D (even if he's mono and only wants one relationship for himself he could still be supportive of/okay with you being poly!). You have a chance even if it turns out he's NOT poly, so it kind of goes back to dating rules that always apply: someone you want to be with might not want to be with you, and that can suck, but that's the way it is regardless of whether someone is mono or poly. *more hugs* It does seem like there's a LOT going on with you all right now, lots of different directions things can go, and that's unsettling even if it's exciting. I hope everyone continues to handle it all well, with honesty and communication!
As I'm sure you can imagine, already this early in my poly exploration I've come to expect confusion or even morally shocked reactions from people I come to.
Some people don't understand why it hurts to lose someone when I "already have someone" (A). Sometimes mono people don't understand that people aren't interchangeable to me (or to any truly poly person). Of course, if people were interchangeable, poly wouldn't be necessary because one relationship would be exactly like several! It would be like having one huge piece of cherry pie instead of many smaller pieces. But poly, to me, is like a piece of cherry pie, and a piece of apple pie, and maybe a dollop of whipped cream. And a slice of pie you didn't even know existed. And maybe some meat pie or something. And they're overflowing the pie tin, you know? And other people eat from the pie but it never disappears because there's plenty of it.
But I'm off track. :D
Thank you, is what I'm saying. For understanding. I think I'll like it here.
(Re: My username. Thanks! :D It's a reference to my favorite fruit, the video game Portal, and the new Battlestar Galactica (33 is the number of minutes between Cylon attacks in one of the first episodes :3).)
In addition to that, we go to a top-ten technological university (he's majoring in electrical engineering and I in cognitive neuroscience), and having just finished the second day of Spring classes he now knows his workload will be INTENSE.
He says what distinguishes very close friends and romantic interests, for him, is whether he allows himself to spend the mental time thinking about them or just shuts it off.
Basically, he could be friends (or at least deny romantic feelings). I couldn't.
He asked what all this would mean for us. I told him that my feelings for him won't be easily turned off.
I have a strict rule: it's okay to be friends if you're in lust. It's not okay to be friends if you want someone romantically and not just sexually.
That ache - that deep, piercing pain below my sternum - that's not okay to feel for a friend. So it's best not to be friends. The only ache I should feel for a just-friend is in my loins! ;)
I could just stop contact with him, which would be smart - but we live fifty feet away on the same hall. It would be rough to see him daily and not be able to be more than friends. It would be rough not to be able to kiss him or stroke his cheek softly or cuddle with him all tangled up. I told him all the sexual stuff isn't even important to me (never mind that he's the best I've had so far). My feelings for him go so far beyond sexual. They'll still be there without the sexual, and I made that clear to him. He did say he could have lots of sex with no feelings - I think perhaps it's the two together that are further confusing him? So that's on hold for now, for both our sakes.
I've been making arrangements to stay with some sorority sisters for a few days at a time. He has his fraternity to stay at if necessary. So we can be apart if absolutely necessary. If we're not, and if I can't be with him in any romantic sense, I'll just hurt and yearn.
I said, "I'm pre-missing you."
He said, "Why? Why do you think I won't choose you?"
I said, "I know how much you like him. I know that if it comes down to me or him, it will be him."
"What?" he said. Then, in an affectionate tone: "You're a dumbass."
By then I was laughing / crying a bit harder. "You can't tell me you don't like him more. It doesn't matter if it's poly, but if it's monogamous it does."
At this he looked confused and conflicted at the whole situation. "I like him differently," he explained earnestly. "It's a different interaction."
I thanked him for being clear about how he felt. I hadn't realized he liked me to a similar degree as D because he's more physically affectionate with D (this is probably because D is 6'4" and C is 6'8", so they're well matched when it comes to horseplay).
I said, "I like you a lot. I didn't realize you liked me a lot, too."
He said, "No shit." Basically, he wouldn't be so upset if it were clear to him about whom to choose.
If he chooses me we take things very slowly because he doesn't have much time. He may still be friends with D (or whatever D wants.)
If he chooses D, I choose not to cause myself unnecessary pain by trying to be friends. I choose to contact my sisters and stay with them for awhile, in order to let my feelings fade until the ache isn't so piercing.
I just wish D weren't forcing the issue! :/ I was so happy!
I'm so thankful for you kids already! (kids being my favorite gender-neutral term of endearment) It's too complicated a situation to explain it AND polyamory at the same time to people. So it's good to have a base level of knowledge with you folks.
I meant to add - when I was crying, C choked up a little and said, "Please don't act like you've already lost me when no decisions have been made. I'm going to start crying because you are! I don't cry."
It was sweet to know he does care a lot about me enough to be really affected by this. It snapped me out of it.
She was upset at how long it was taking me to be comfortable with all of this and I was sad and confused because I wasn't talking to anyone about it except my bf. They cut things off for the time being and he told me that in the end he'd rather not lose me by pushing me to make decisions. As soon as he said that it was like a veil had been lifted and I could see that he really did love me and he wasn't going to just push me aside in favor of her. And I felt at peace and happy with the situation. Unfortunately the situation my be irreparable now.
Good luck LemonCake! If it doesn't work out, it's not the right time and/or person. There are so many other beautiful people out there waiting for you. ;)
It is definitely a mono mindset to think that a partner who wants poly will choose one person over the other. One of the points of being poly is to have both... or more... so it takes tossing away your old frames of reference in order to wrap your brain around the fact that most truly poly peeps aren't gonna go anywhere. Having more than one relationship means having more than one -- it's not about auditioning people to be the top pick and leaving the other(s).
The key phrase is "true poly peeps." In the past in my relationships with monos, I've sometimes been afraid of not being "the favorite" - because in a mono relationship that means you lose the person romantically.
In a poly relationship with another poly, I don't have to fear that. It's deeply, deeply ingrained so chipping at it bit by bit, rationally reminding myself why it's incorrect. And things are going well on that front.
It's just a matter of not knowing whether C is poly. However... for now it doesn't matter.
I talked more with C. He said he realized he didn't have time for monogamy right now - or even for anything serious, with me or with D. He's going to talk to D soon about it.
We got a bit hung up on the definition of "dating" - he defines it how a mono does (and how I used to define it), where you're either friends or dating, and the latter is the same as "in a relationship" and implies commitment. I explained that I actively don't want commitment right now, with him or anyone. My life is too hectic. What I call "dating" he calls "close friends" (which he distinguishes from "platonic friends" - apparently to him close friends are often what I'd define as people he dates).
I do like him very much, and he likes me. We have, as he put it, a romantic inclination toward each other.
He wants to build a strong friendship base and leave sexuality out of it for now, but touching and kissing is okay (I think - we'll clarify boundaries more soon) as long as it's emotional and not sexual (i.e., no making out).
This all makes me happy. I find him sexy and I really want to have sex with him, but he seems to feel more relaxed, and anyway - the slow burn is sexy. :) It'll just be better if/when we do get to that point.
We'll feel it out slowly. I really like him and it's good to feel secure again.
I'm still a bit tense about what will happen with D. I know he thought they'd be mono together, and this is going to hurt him, and it sucks.
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