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-   -   Finding out what being Poly is really like (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21900)

texaschick 02-29-2012 02:58 AM

Finding out what being Poly is really like
Hello all! I've been a lurker here for a few years. I just wanted to share/vent my first experience of knowing what it's like to be in a true poly relationship.

A little background first. I am a 41 yr old married female. My husband is mostly mono , although he is totally understanding and sympathetic to the poly lifestyle. I've been involved with a good friend of ours for the last three years. He is supportive of the relationship , we have very few issues regarding the situation.

My secondary (hate that word) is a twice divorced man who is definitely not mono, nor will he ever be. He was involved with the swinging lifestyle for several years ,but the past several years has been more poly than anything.

We live 1.5 hours from each other and see other 2-3 times a month depending on circumstances. He has had a long term girlfriend or two off/on during most of our relationship. However, these women were/are women who are not part of my social group. I do not have interaction with them. The first long term girlfriend did not even know of my existance. His current girlfriend knows about me, knows that we have a sexual relationship and that we are best friends. She does not know the depth of our feelings for each other. So basically I have never been jealous of these women. They are not a threat to me. They are companionship I can not give him. There has never been any jealousy ,period.

Over New Years he was introduced to a friend of mine from high school at a party. This friend and I were out of touch for many years and just started hanging out again. He acted mildly interested in her, but nothing over the top. Eventually he asked me if I minded if they persued a sexual relationship.

I thought about it , and decided it really wouldn't bother me. I actually doubted he would follow through because he didn't seem overly attracted to her.

Last weekend we had a party at our house and he was staying the weekend (as he does at least once a month). He basically asked me to be his 'wingwomen' and convince my friend to sleep with him.

I was a little taken back, but decided what the heck.. Being poly is about sharing and making the other person happy. I paved the way for them to sleep together (in my home, on the same bed we regularly use). However, after the fact, I had feelings of insecurity and jealousy even though all three of us talked openly.

He told her he wanted a 'friends with benefits' relationship only and nothing else. He has told her and his current girlfriend that he is not giving up the relationship he and I have. He says I'm number #1 in his heart and he loves me. He tells me if I'm not okay with the scenario of him sleeping with my friend he will stop. Yet I'm not sure if he means it or is just saying it to keep me pacified.

I feel so horrendous. I am the one who spouts how poly I am , and how I understand the need for multiple relationships. Yet I can't get past these feelings of insecurity. It is so bad that some days I just want to walk away from what he and I have. However, I know I never could because our lives are too intertwined among our group of friends. Not to mention he is one of my best friends, and I wouldn't want to lose that. Even though it's not the most traditional of relationships I am in love with him.

I fear one day he will find someone he wants to be mono with ,and I will tossed to the wayside, or stuck in the platonic friend category. He has told me he will never be mono because he likes being 'bad'.

Is this what being poly is about?

I need advice from you seasoned veterans on how to handle these feelings.

AnnabelMore 02-29-2012 03:19 AM

His first long term gf didn't know about you, which shows he's willing to hide something huge from someone with whom he's in an intimate relationship. And his second long term gf didn't know about the depth of his feelings for you, which shows that even when he tells some of the truth he doesn't feel obligated to tell all of it... I imagine she would be shocked and hurt, maybe even devastated, to hear that you're #1 in his heart. I bet SHE thinks she's #1 in his heart... and who's to say who's getting the truth, if either of you are. He says that to him poly is about being "bad", which seems to further imply that he considers unethical behavior an acceptable, even necessary part of his lifestyle.

Poly isn't about lying. I'd feel insecure too if I were you.

nycindie 02-29-2012 05:46 AM

It seems you agreed to something you didn't really want. For some reason, you acquiesced because you had a judgment about your own feelings -- the part where you were taken aback. But then told yourself "poly is about sharing and making him happy." It sounds like you thought you were supposed to be more easy-going or open-minded (or whatever) about him wanting to fuck your friend than you were actually feeling at the time. You didn't want him to think you were holding him back, and you didn't want to restrict him or deal with the fallout of restricting him.

I think it might've been different if you'd discussed it and let it sink in ahead of time. Granted, he did bring it up with a "hey do you mind if I..." but then you shrugged it off and didn't think about it. I wonder how much of your feelings of insecurity, and thoughts that he will discard you for someone else, is connected to a sense of betrayal - not that he betrayed you, but you betrayed yourself by going along with something you weren't fully on board with. And maybe him being with her in the same bed that you usually share with him was just a little too much intrusion into your personal/special space. Perhaps it wouldn't have bothered you if it wasn't so much in your face, if you'd had more quality time with him beforehand, or if you had some time to process it all before they went ahead with it.

You've been with him three years. I would think you know each other well enough to be able to talk about these things, and confess that the situation has brought up insecurities in you, that you sense your relationship is changing and you need to get grounded within it again. I don't really think he's done much wrong here. I think this is mostly an issue of knowing where your boundaries are, communicating well, and being honest with yourself about what feels "right" to you. I also wonder about this old friend of yours. Maybe there are old unresolved issues surrounding your friendship with her that are lingering - have you talked to her about it?

texaschick 02-29-2012 07:53 PM

You both have some very valid points.

I honestly don't think he means to be dishonest. He is just not very good at communicating what he wants. He and I both also hate confrontation. This has been an issue for us the whole time.

That being said, we are miles further down the road than we were even a year ago. He is much more open with me than he has ever been. He has told me repeatedly that he has never communicated like this in any of his previous relationships, so it's new to him.

We did talk about it after the fact, and I did relay my fears and problems I had with the situation. My fears: That he will replace me.. My problem with the situation .. that it was too in my face and in my territory.

He absolutely did nothing wrong. He checked with me first to make sure I was comfy with it. I think you are right Cindi. It definitely was a boundries thing, not a problem with him sleeping with her in general. I did relay that to him and he understood. We are making progress, which is why I'm willing to keep going.

As far as my friend, I don't think their are any issues there that are unresolved. She did come to me the next day and ask me was it going to come between us. I told her it honestly was not, because she was unaware of the situation behind all this.

She just assumed when it happened that he and I are just close friends;therefore, there was nothing to stop her . He and I are not open about our relationship, although most people who hang out with us can usually figure it out without us having to make an announcement. We have only actually told a handful of people (although most of our close friends most likely know).

I think after more thinking and reading both your posts, I have come to the conclusion to speak to him next time we are together about boundries. I have no problem with him being with any women.. as many women as wants. I just have a problem with it seeping over into 'my time'. While I don't really endorse us having a 'don't ask don't tell policy'. I don't want it up in my face either.

ThatGirlInGray 02-29-2012 08:08 PM


Originally Posted by texaschick (Post 127127)
My problem with the situation .. that it was too in my face and in my territory.

This reminded me of an conversation TGIB and I had. We were joking around about something, and he made a comment about me providing "references" to future dates. I laughed but told him, "Nope, that ain't happening! I draw the line at providing references!" And then I stuck my tongue out at him. It was all very lighthearted, but ultimately I feel the same way as I think you've realized you feel: I'm okay with him having other relationships and sleeping with other people, but I'm not going to be his "wingwoman", as you put it, and help him close the deal. He's on his own there as that's not a role I want to fill!

So, no advice, sorry, but you're not alone if I'm reading your conclusion correctly!

texaschick 03-01-2012 02:32 AM

I think the whole 'wingwoman' thing threw me too. I invited my friend fully knowing something could happen between them. However, I wasn't prepared to push her into his arms. LOL!

The more I think about it though, the less it bothers me. I just need the boundries and I'll be good to go. I'm actually adapting to it much better than I ever dreamed I would.

This is the first time in 3 years we've came to this, and I'd say overall except for a few weak moments on my part we weathered my first bit of jealousy.


It took some outside perspective to see things clearly.

nycindie 03-01-2012 02:57 AM


Originally Posted by texaschick (Post 127187)
This is the first time in 3 years we've came to this, and I'd say overall except for a few weak moments on my part we weathered my first bit of jealousy.


It took some outside perspective to see things clearly.

It sounds like you have a pretty secure, healthy arrangement. Glad to hear you're feeling much better about it now.

Anneintherain 03-01-2012 04:59 AM


Originally Posted by texaschick (Post 127037)
My secondary (hate that word)

Being poly is about sharing and making the other person happy.

Call him your boyfriend if you hate that word ;)

I am glad you are feeling better now.

No poly isn't going to be about sharing and making the other person happy for a lot of people. I mean I hope to bring happiness into my partner's lives, but that doesn't involve finding (or sharing) sex partners for them, or putting their desires ahead of my ability to feel good about myself and my actions.

edit: I wouldn't mind providing "references" for a partner as being awesome or good relationship material, but I would never do that if the person I was talking to did not realize I was dating them. I can't imagine how squicky I'd feel if somebody told me how great a person was and encouraged me to date them and I didn't know they were more than friends than after I got involved with him/her.

ThatGirlInGray 03-01-2012 05:10 AM

*koff* at the time the joke was about providing references regarding bedroom skills. :p

I would certainly encourage people to get to know TGIB, as I think he's fantastic, but I ain't his pimp! ;)

texaschick 03-03-2012 05:44 AM

He and I had a marathon phone conversation tonight. It was not specifically aimed at what happened last weekend. As a matter of fact, I didn't even bring it up, he did. He told me that what happened between him and my friend does not subtract from what he feels for me. We were able to be totally honest about things.

He told me that even though he needs multiple relationships it will never change my role in his life.

WOW! That totally made my week. I think that is what polyamory is about.. THose few sentences. The ability to have multiple relationships and not have it detract from each individual relationship. Most people couldn't handle that statement, they would feel like they failed. However, I totally don't see it like that. I see it as I have progressed past that jealous stage and into the next level.

Woohoo! patting myself on the back for jumping my first big poly hurdle.

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