Searching for advice, experience sharing, poly or polyfriendly people, etc
I just wanted to share my experience with you.
If someone has a similar experience it would be great to hear about it, but even if not, it is still great to have found this space to share thoughts with people who will understand and sympathize (I have never met or talked to any poly before joining this forum).
Did I say ´share my experience´? I must have meant my lack of experience... :)
I have dated my girlfriend for 3 and a half years now. We love each other and the relationship has many good things (confidence, etc). Still, there is always something ´missing´.
After reflecting on it, I have found signs, almost evidence, that something like polyamory is what I need to find harmony in my affective and sexual life.
There is something in the background.
Before starting this serious relationship with me, my girlfriend enjoyed a quite active sexual/affective life. She, so to say, enjoyed her ´single life´ years in a way that ´prepared´her for engaging in a serious relationship and loving only one person.
I myself didn´t have such experiences. I had only one previous relationship but it was very serious from the beginning too and.. long story short, now I have a lack of ´single life experiences´behind.
A doctor I have met (for different reasons) said this lack of previous experiences probably accounts for my current ´unpreparedness´, my interest for other people, and my anxiety about moving forward into a more serious relationship with my girlfriend (living together, getting married, etc.)
Apart from that, there is this girl, a common friend of us. She caught my eye long time ago, before I started dating my girlfriend, then I apparently defined my feelings for that girl as just friendship... but over the last weeks or months she has reappeared and is continuously in my mind . The feeling is very similar to what I felt for my girlfriend when we started dating, 3 years and a half ago.
To make things worse (or better, who knows), my girlfriend accidentally came to know about this necessities of mine. She´s not angry, but has suggested me trying new things to "reactivate" the relationship/covering my lack of previous experiences with new activities and ´exercises´within the couple.
And then, not long ago, I was incidentally reading something about polyamory when the feeling popped up: what if what we are calling a "lack of single life experiences at the right time of my life" is simply a sign of my poly nature?
As a mental exercise, I imagined being in a poly relationship with my girlfriend and other people... and all the impressions were nice. Of course, I can´t be sure before I try but... that´s probably the problem. That´s why I have approached polyamory groups, found some readings, joined this forum, etc.
My girlfriend is most probably (I´d say 95% probability) a ´mono´ and will be shocked when I tell her about polyamory. She is very flexible in many things and loves me a lot so maybe she could feel compersion for me, even become interested in this ´new world´... but, as you know, polyamory is still a taboo in society and maybe I am asking her for too much.
What I want to suggest my girlfriend is that we remain a couple, continue doing the same things, go to live together, eventually get married, etc. but both being able to meet other people not only to have sex but also with the affective part and both having knowledge of what the other is doing (only, maybe not talking about it).
Let´s face it: there is a real risk that she dumps me when I open my mouth to tell her about this.
Anyway, since I find no alternative, I am now ´preparing´: I have approached the topic in recent conversations but...always in circles.
Maybe I should start by passing her some readings about polyamory (the concept of polyamory, overcoming jealousy, primary and secondary relationship degrees, etc). There may be some chance that she at least agrees to approach the matter with a flexible mind, since she has recently concerned (and reading books) about topics such as non possessive love, overcoming jealousy, preserving each one´s individuality within the relationship, etc.
I don´t really want to finish the relationship since we do have lots of things in common and love each other. But I probably should assume the possibility that she dumps me when I suggest her my meeting other people.
I don´t want to cheat her or leaving my needs unattended. Neither sounds to me like good ideas.
If you have had a similar experience it would be great to know.
Thanks a lot for reading
lots of love and harmony!
I did want to talk about those quotes above though. I don't know if you and your girlfriend already plan on moving in together, or have talked about marriage, but if not, I would caution bringing them up in this conversation in the way you suggest it.
I'm just going to use this friend you like as an example. Because you say that the feelings you have for her are similar to what you felt when you started dating your girlfriend, you don't know that you might not end up loving them both equally, or realize at some point you would prefer to live with both of them, or marry the other girl or any other variety of surprises (I suggest that as you've been with your partner for quite awhile, so if you're not already sure you're going to marry her (and even if you ARE) you never know just what is going to happen in the future)
Lots of unexpected feelings can come up in situations like this, and if she decides she is OK with you dating, and some months from now it seems more sensible for you to move in with the other girl for some reason or one of those other above scenarios happen...well your girlfriend could feel quite betrayed at you portraying your intention to follow the path of moving in together and getting married, and having plans change. Maybe I'm just a fan of not making assurances that you cant be sure about. I would just reassure your girlfriend that you love her and that she's important and you don't want to be without her in your life. I have just seen a lot of people post about expectations of how poly will be emotionally vs how it actually turns out, so I have the urge to throw this warning out there.
There have been some really good threads about how to tell partners about the desire for polyamory, if you haven't looked around and found them you should do so. Hopefully this post made some sense, I think I could've been more succinct.
And certainly do have some stuff ready for her to read. I wouldn't suggest directing her towards anything related to jealousy right off though... that kind of hints "I think if you say you aren't OK iwth this it is because you're jealous" It can trigger the same response as telling somebody to "calm down" There is plenty of time to talk about jealousy after digesting the other stuff you suggested.
Thanks a lot for your detailed reply! Everything makes a lot of sense.
I agree: unexpected things can probably happen when a poly relationship is started in the circumstances we are now (with a particular person out there, etc.) I think it´s probable that I love them equally some day.
I told her yesterday. This is what has happened:
I was carefully planning the way to tell her, had even prepared a selection of readings...
but things are moving on rapidly these days in the relationship with the moving in together things, etc. (we have been searching for an apartment to rent for a couple of weeks already) and then I got so impatient about telling her about my (hypothetical) poly desire -as well as other things i have very recently become aware of, such as my desire to move to an ecovillage or similar place some day- that I mentioned a couple of things like "I´d like to talk to you about a couple of things before we move in together." Wrong strategy, I guess..but she got impatient and so was I (I am terrible at stifling news, etc) so I told her in the most careful way I could. I remembered your advice not to mention anything about jealous and also avoided stuff I had found in a "polyamory manifesto" out there (the poly philosophy condensed sounded very interesting to me but must sound "agressive" towards mono persons). think I was sensitive and affectionate ("this doesn´t mean I love you less", etc.) I made sure of being connected with her emotionally all the time. But you know, polyamory is a taboo for most people... Her first reaction was like "what are you talking about?", "if you have such ideas we´d better break off", and this one: "I don´t even want to imagine being with other guys!". etc.
In an awkward attempt of reconnecting with her, I said some things that are probably not very recommendable:
"Don´t take it too seriously; it´s just something that has occurred to me but it doesn´t mean I am going to do it".
"Maybe after all it´s just a craving for affection and what i need is just more friends" (that´s truth, but probably unconnected with my polyamorous desire).
She had one reaction I thing is common in this situation: she thought I was talking about infidelity.
I answered "wait a minute; I understand you thing like that but if you think twise, you´ll see that polyamory is rather the opposite of infidelity..."
"I don´t mean there aren´t couples who are happy in a lifelong mono relationship but... in many cases, infidelity happens because of repressed polyamorous desires".
When I had reconnected with her, so I could take perspective again, I went on with some useful ideas I had read.
Later she was like sorry for my reaction, sorry for your sincerity and confidence, I understand you and feel
Anyway, we of course are now in a crossroad. Things are now more clear than yesterday, but it´s still complicated.
I don´t know what is going to happen, to be honest. Maybe we visit a couple consellor pychologist.
She is not angry and is open to keep talking about this. She has agreed to read the stuff I had prepared for her. I think the probability that she finds polyamory interesting is very low, though.
At least, I don´t regret having told her and I think I have dealt well with the guilty feeling of being a "selfish guy asking my girlfriend to do something wrong". I mean, I only felt that during the first minute of the conversation and the feeling reattacked later but it was not very strong.
Your advice has been very helpful.
I didn´t mention this friend of us whom I like. I thought my girlfriend would maybe feel like "he´s not a poly, he just likes her more than me only doesn´t want to break off."
Thanks a lot.
Lots of love and harmony
It sounds like it could have gone worse. I will throw out that if you keep talking, you might want to address those things with her you said that you know aren't really helpful. I assume you DO want her to take you seriously, so suck it up and say you said that stuff because you could tell she was uncomfortable, but if you don't think this is just a passing fancy, don't try to downplay it.
"Don´t take it too seriously; it´s just something that has occurred to me but it doesn´t mean I am going to do it".
"Maybe after all it´s just a craving for affection and what i need is just more friends"
I think it's great that you know just where you were hedging the truth, and the fact that she apologized for her (normal) reaction seems like you two will have pretty good success communicating, even if the outcome doesn't end up being you staying together and being polyamorous.
If she is willing to read a book about it after she reads the information you are presenting her with, I would recommend "Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships" by Tristan Taormino - I DO recommend previewing the first couple pages on amazon, if you think she'd be put off by how the book opens (which I was a bit) then I'd suggest "Love In Abundance: A Counselor's Advice On Open Relationships" by Kathy Labriola.
I like the fact that most poly books were both written by women, it imagine it's easier for women to hear new ideas that way if they are wondering if poly is all about men just wanting to have more sex partners. I know other people have favorite books, it's been awhile since I read Ethical Slut or Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits which are ones I also hear a lot should be the first one to read. I think reading books with her and picking and choosing the ideas that do or don't work to build the infrastructure of what poly could look like for both of you by choosing together, instead of you just saying "I want this" is often easier on all parties.
Good luck, I hope the conversations continue to go in an OK direction, and that there's some poly friendly counselors in your area on the resource guides!
What a nice list of book recommendations. Sounds very interesting.
I'll find the books and have them ready in case we have the opportunity to take up the poly topic again. Right now we are a bit entangled in broader talks about whether we are compatible in terms of lifestyles, projects, etc. :confused: I´ll try to focus in the good things such as having good communication- as you observed- and confidence. In the middle of this mess, I have thought I should meet this f
riend of ours as soon as possible and try to find out whether she has any feeling for me.I think having that unsolved is the main "interference" at the moment. If she doesn´t like me, it will be sad to know of course but at the same time I will feel relieved and be able to keep everything within the couple. I most likely will still have poly desires, but will be able to deal with it in a much more serene way than now. On the other hand, if she likes me... we are in trouble, but probably not more in trouble than now.
Thanks a lot! have a great day
There is also the "book and website recommendations" sticky.
Thanks, I'll have a look at it
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