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Qarzan 03-14-2012 05:53 PM

New to polyamory
 
Ok, so this is my first post, after my self-introduction post. Didn't think I'd be posting so soon. I'm seeking some advice and opinions about whether or not I'm handling this situation well.

I am a dancer, and I go dancing 3-4 times per week. It's a great way to meet people, and it definitely makes me social, and therefore happy. There's one woman, R, that I've been trying to get closer to. She's timid and shy, but has been reacting well to my advances. The thing is, I'm just not very practiced with being the hunter, and much prefer being the prey.

We carpooled to a dance on Saturday night, and suprisingly the dance instructor, H, started advancing on me very aggressively. I've always admired and respected her, and I couldn't resist at all. I don't think I even wanted to. We ended up kissing out on the dance floor, a few people saw, but R was in the lounge area and I don't think she saw.

R and I have been hanging out recently, but it hasn't escalated to dating yet, so I haven't told her that I'm considering polyamory.

I called H the following day, we went out for dinner. It went really, really well; probably the best first date of my entire life. She's affectionate, positive, our philosophies and religious views are near identical... we went back to her place and hung out with her roommates. We all got along pretty well, but then again, I already knew most of them from before.

It got really late, and I didn't want to make the drive back home at 2am, so I stayed at H's place. We agreed to "keep our clothes on", and it actually helped relieve some of the anxiety and helped us relax more together. Topless makeout sessions ensued. :D We didn't get much sleep that night.

She mentioned that she was polyamorous before, in her previous marriage, but that she feels it was likely because she was no longer attracted to her husband. She now identifies as monogamous (says that when things get serious, her radar "turns off"), but has 3 other men she's seeing right now. Surprisingly, I wasn't jealous or upset at all.

One other thing: H lives in NYC (I live in the Bay Area). She used to live here, which is how we initially met each other, but then she moved to NYC with (now ex-) boyfriend. She comes by once a month for a little over a week to help run her venue, and the other men she's seeing are in NYC.

Then the following evening, she was running a venue and had asked me to help her teach the class (my first time teaching!). We shared a few dances, but otherwise we stuck to the pre-discussed boundaries for when we were at events together, since she has her professional reputation to consider (I brought up the topic during our date).

Before I left the dance, we talked for a bit, and I asked if it was ok if I continued to "hang out" with R. She said it was fine, and thanked me for asking. I told her that if it ever made her uncomfortable, that she should just let me know. I also said I would tell R that there's someone else as well, and if R asks, I will tell her the name.

Now the plan is, to continue seeing R and see where that leads. The thing is, I don't like the feeling that I'm making all the advances, all the time, which it definitely seems like with R, and is why my encounter with H went so much more smoothly and passionately: H and I both advanced towards each other.

I think the challenge for me is to love R completely and fully, the way that she deserves, without feeling that she's just holding H's place when she's away.

My question is, do you think I'm handling the situation well so far? What advice would you have for someone new to polyamory?

redpepper 03-14-2012 08:35 PM

It seems to be going just fine so far. Everyone you date will be different so why try and box them in? Why worry about who gets more and who gets less? Its just different. Different stages and different approaches for different people. I don't get why you have an issue with making the first moves. What does it matter? Sounds good to me.

Qarzan 03-14-2012 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 128814)
It seems to be going just fine so far. Everyone you date will be different so why try and box them in? Why worry about who gets more and who gets less? Its just different. Different stages and different approaches for different people. I don't get why you have an issue with making the first moves. What does it matter? Sounds good to me.

I guess I should say, I don't mind making the first move, but don't like it when I have to make ALL the moves. I like it when there are alternating advances. This gives me confirmation and feedback at every step. Otherwise, I feel like I'm just being a creepy asshole, going somewhere I'm not invited.

Does this make sense?

NovemberRain 03-15-2012 04:18 AM

It makes sense to me. It wouldn't work for me, so much, but it makes sense. If it's not something you prefer, it's not something you prefer.

It's been an issue for me, in my life, who makes advances and who doesn't. I was shocked to arrive in the world of other people and discover the ones with penises weren't much receptive to my openness (or 'advances').

I dated a boy in college who was a big pothead. He was always after me to try it, and I kept trying, but it did nothing for me. Finally, one day, I actually was high, and horny as hell. He got all bent out of shape because I was being sexual with him. (coincidentally, I spent the next 10 years living as a lesbian)

I discovered my relationships are much more successful if I step back, just a little, and let men make advances. I'm quite receptive, however. I wouldn't dream of turning down a date without offering an alternative ('would you like to go to dinner on Thursday?' 'oh, not on thursday, but I'm available next Tuesday' or whatever).

So, I'm not sure if you mean advances, or just confirmation that you're welcome ~ because I see those as completely different.

Maybe the difference in western swing and tango? (I'm not much of a dancer, but I've spent my share of time...) ;) My teacher of western swing said, 'it's the man's job to make the space and direct her and get outta the way' whereas I see tango as each partner having a part to do, it's not *just* about the leading.

Qarzan 03-15-2012 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NovemberRain (Post 128867)
It makes sense to me. It wouldn't work for me, so much, but it makes sense. If it's not something you prefer, it's not something you prefer.

It's been an issue for me, in my life, who makes advances and who doesn't. I was shocked to arrive in the world of other people and discover the ones with penises weren't much receptive to my openness (or 'advances').

I dated a boy in college who was a big pothead. He was always after me to try it, and I kept trying, but it did nothing for me. Finally, one day, I actually was high, and horny as hell. He got all bent out of shape because I was being sexual with him. (coincidentally, I spent the next 10 years living as a lesbian)

I discovered my relationships are much more successful if I step back, just a little, and let men make advances. I'm quite receptive, however. I wouldn't dream of turning down a date without offering an alternative ('would you like to go to dinner on Thursday?' 'oh, not on thursday, but I'm available next Tuesday' or whatever).

So, I'm not sure if you mean advances, or just confirmation that you're welcome ~ because I see those as completely different.

Maybe the difference in western swing and tango? (I'm not much of a dancer, but I've spent my share of time...) ;) My teacher of western swing said, 'it's the man's job to make the space and direct her and get outta the way' whereas I see tango as each partner having a part to do, it's not *just* about the leading.

I suppose I meant more along the line of advances. R is good at giving confirmation that my advances are welcome, but doesn't make any advances herself. H has made nearly all the advances, and I feel like I was just bowled over (which I really like).

As an update to my situation, I sent H a text on Tuesday, facebook message on Wednesday, both of which she replied to. Both messages I sent were upbeat and flirty. Then I felt really depressed last night because I really missed her. I didn't really want to tell her because I didn't want her to think I was desperate or needy. Then I thought, "What the hell, I should feel free to express myself how I want."

So I texted her this morning, "Hi, [H]. I miss you [broken heart emoticon]. Can I call today?" She hasn't responded, and it's been about 8 hours. I assume she's busy, but the unresponsiveness is eating me up inside. She has been posting on facebook, so I know she at least has time for that...

On the other hand, R has texted me. She is sick today, and I felt the need to take care of her, so I asked if she needed anything. She said she's fine and doesn't need anything. R might just be the right thing to keep my head straight while H is away.

Please let me know what you think of what I'm doing. Anything glaringly wrong that sticks out to you?

Anneintherain 03-16-2012 01:02 AM

Well I would say that you are living too much in the comparison mindset. That usually doesn't end well. It is something I am more used to seeing as bluntly as you put it in your posts, in a monogamous person trying to choose who to date.

Considering H is only there once a month, and...does not seem to be as eager for connection as you do, I think it does frankly come across that you might put up with R as a "placeholder" while your lovely assertive H isn't in town. Or I should say if I were R and came and read this, I'd not be interested in talking to you again.

If you note in your first post you say
I think the challenge for me is to love R completely and fully, the way that she deserves, without feeling that she's just holding H's place when she's away

In the last post
R might just be the right thing to keep my head straight while H is away

You should date R if you want to date R, and H if you want to date H, not because you need your partners to balance out the "issues" you see in the other of availability, sexual aggressiveness, apparent interest/willingness to respond to your texts, or anything else in the other.

And I may be reading this wrong but...it seems you still haven't told R that you are poly, or that you are dating H. Hopefully if not you will, as you say you aren't actually dating R yet, but on that note, it seems odd you are talking about "Loving R completely and fully" when...you know... you aren't dating yet.

Qarzan 03-16-2012 01:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anneintherain (Post 128938)
Well I would say that you are living too much in the comparison mindset. That usually doesn't end well. It is something I am more used to seeing as bluntly as you put it in your posts, in a monogamous person trying to choose who to date.

Considering H is only there once a month, and...does not seem to be as eager for connection as you do, I think it does frankly come across that you might put up with R as a "placeholder" while your lovely assertive H isn't in town. Or I should say if I were R and came and read this, I'd not be interested in talking to you again.

If you note in your first post you say
I think the challenge for me is to love R completely and fully, the way that she deserves, without feeling that she's just holding H's place when she's away

In the last post
R might just be the right thing to keep my head straight while H is away

You should date R if you want to date R, and H if you want to date H, not because you need your partners to balance out the "issues" you see in the other of availability, sexual aggressiveness, apparent interest/willingness to respond to your texts, or anything else in the other. I find it

And I may be reading this wrong but...it seems you still haven't told R that you are poly, or that you are dating H. Hopefully if not you will, as you say you aren't actually dating R yet, but on that note, it seems odd you are talking about "Loving R completely and fully" when...you know... you aren't dating yet.

Thanks for pointing out the inconsistencies. This is what I need from this thread and forum.

I haven't actually started dating R, although we've hung out a few times. Each of our intents is quite clear, but it hasn't been formally expressed. I'm just trying to clear my head and make sure it starts correctly, because it's usually easier to prevent anything wrong from happening in the first place, than to fix a problem that has already happened.

Anneintherain 03-16-2012 01:30 AM

I do find it unusual that you are so focused on who is making "the moves"
Is there anything that has been keeping you from actually...asking R out for a date? Or tell R you want to be asked out on a date?

Might be totally off based but from here, one thing I thought was "Qarzan kinda likes R but has gotten distracted by H who is shinier (assertive), so has used that as a reason to not bother to get things moving with R. Maybe Q doesn't like R as much as they think they do."

Anyway, sounds like maybe both of you are procrastinating if you and R know that you have intent to date, I'd get to that poly conversation and ask them out.

Qarzan 03-16-2012 12:23 PM

Anne,

Thanks for the advice. I have a dinner date with R on Sunday. :) I'm actually pretty happy about it.

As a reply to your post, I'd say I'm not exactly focused on who is making the moves, more like analyzing why things happened so fast with H, and are going so slow with R.

I've come up with a metaphor that will help explain how I feel towards H. She hasn't replied to my text at all, and I don't really blame her. We did discuss boundaries in terms of when we were teaching together, or when she was running her venue, but we didn't discuss boundaries for when she leaves. It was partly what I was getting at when I brought up expectations, to which she replied, "I don't really know what I want." So it went undefined.

The metaphor is: my emotions aren't a light switch that can be turned on and off at will; it's a bonfire. Over the past weekend, H and I gathered the kindling on Thursday, lit the kindling on Saturday, and piled on more wood on Sunday. The fire was big and bright, and burned hot.

Then on Monday, we tried to hide and contain it. But, how do you hide a 12-foot flame? Somehow we managed, but I'm sure there were quite a few people who could tell there was a fire that we were trying to hide.

On Tuesday, she was gone, and I was left with this huge bonfire, burning bright and hot. I was expected to snuff it out, or at least contain it to a manageable size. But that's the thing: bonfires cannot be suddenly shrunk or snuffed (we'll assume this metaphor does not contain fire extinguishers); it must be allowed to slowly die down as it burns the last of the wood that was put on it.

Over the next few days, I was left to deal with the bonfire as it created light and heat. I felt that there was really no one I could talk to about it, that wouldn't jeopardize H's reputation. So I tried to contain it on my own.

It felt like I was in a pressure cooker, and I needed some kind of release, some kind of outlet, for the heat from this fire I was trying to snuff. It manifested in the form of the texts and messages. I needed help in managing these feelings, until they shrunk to a more manageable size.

I find it unreasonable that H expect to come by, start a bonfire, and leave me by myself to deal with the aftermath. I need some kind of contact, especially right after a visit from her, to ease us off of that high. Then we can place the remaining embers into a container, slowly feed it bits of paper or twigs to keep it going, so that it can be re-lit into a bonfire at our will.

Does this metaphor make sense? Do you think it gives a clear idea of what I felt I was dealing with after H left?

Anneintherain 03-16-2012 04:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Qarzan (Post 128985)
I find it unreasonable that H expect to come by, start a bonfire, and leave me by myself to deal with the aftermath. I need some kind of contact, especially right after a visit from her, to ease us off of that high. Then we can place the remaining embers into a container, slowly feed it bits of paper or twigs to keep it going, so that it can be re-lit into a bonfire at our will.

The bonfire is a great metaphor, and I think it really gets across what you are feeling. However I will also point out that above quote is what will get you in trouble. H is seeing other people, and she lives somewhere else. You are hoping she will be focused on tending your bonfire with you, as is common with monogamy. Maybe she won't want to be thinking about you too much when she's not there, some people find that frustrating. Maybe she just doesn't have the desire to focus on a partner when she isn't with them. It sounds like she doesn't know what you and her are going to become, and it's really too early to tell. You seem to have expectations of these two relationships at least, that are causing you stress because you're over-thinking why they are progressing the way they are.

I don't know how emotionally involved she is with the other people she sees, but it wouldn't be fair for her to neglect them over exciting new feelings with you, even if she wanted to would it? If you haven't read some of the threads on LDR's, you should search for that tag, as they carry so many problems of their own, especially when newly established.

And that quote above is quite poetic, and very romantic. You also want to keep in mind that to you what was a 12 foot flame might only be a 6 foot flame for her and she's not sharing quite the intensity you feel, and so she is managing quite well. She might find it easy to come back into town and re-ignite flames without any tending in between at all. That's one of those things people in LDR's have to figure out. You finding it unreasonable for her to not start texting and emailing you because it's want you expect/hope for from her will not be your benefit if she doesn't operate that way. Ask for what you want, but if H doesn't want to do it, you'll just have to accept it the way it is and decide if it will work for you in a relationship.


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