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-   -   Coming Out as a Poly to Your Mono Partner (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22271)

HotPepper 03-14-2012 09:59 PM

Coming Out as a Poly to Your Mono Partner
 
Did you start out your life not realising you were Poly? Or not admitting to yourself and your mono partners that you were poly (ie., maybe because you felt too guilty about being poly and could not bring yourself to tell them)?

Have you been in long-term mono relationships, and let them go because they were not fulfilling your needs to love and be loved by more then one person?

Did you decide, at some point, that you needed to open yourself up to your mono partner and explain that in fact, you were poly?


I'm asking these questions of everyone because I am at that point in my life.

I have been in 2 long term mono relationships. The first I ended because I wanted to experience lasting, long-term relationships with other people but did not know how to go about explaining it to my partner. So I ended it rather then admit to what I was. At that time, I had never heard of polyamory and thought there was something wrong with me.

My 2nd relationship, which I have been in for 13 years now, is going the same way as the first. I can see myself leaving in order to pursue what I now have to admit is my real personality. I can not cure myself of polyamory. And quite frankly, after studying for some time now, I can tell you I no longer feel polyamory to be an disease and no longer feel guilty. That's been a big step for me, and as a lurker on this forum for some time, I know I will find like-minds here who can relate to my story.

If you answered yes to my questions above, can you please tell me your experiences? I'm not looking for advice on how to tell my partner that I'm poly, but I am wondering if there are approaches people have used that maybe I haven't thought of.

My mono partner is a very vulnerable person, an understanding soul but very nervous about non-traditional beliefs. Hence just "coming out" and being honest may in fact be very painful to them. And yet hiding who I am to them seems dishonest. It's a bit of a catch-22.

Thanks for reading my post and my thanks to everyone in this community who have given me the power to say This Is Who I Am. Being poly IS who I am, I have always been polyamorous in theory, just never in practice.

Somegeezer 03-14-2012 10:50 PM

"My mono partner is a very vulnerable person, an understanding soul but very nervous about non-traditional beliefs. Hence just "coming out" and being honest may in fact be very painful to them. And yet hiding who I am to them seems dishonest. It's a bit of a catch-22."

Just come out with it. Straight up. It's bad enough to hide from yourself for so long. It will hurt more if they find out you are dishonest. Coming straight out with it is best for all.

HotPepper 03-14-2012 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somegeezer (Post 128822)
Just come out with it. Straight up. It's bad enough to hide from yourself for so long. It will hurt more if they find out you are dishonest. Coming straight out with it is best for all.

Well, that sounds great, I do hear you. But, as I'm sure you're won't be surprised, my situation has it's own particular circumstances.

She knows I've been visiting poly sites, I also have been downloading the Polyamory Weekly PODcast for some time (Minx's podcast). And she borrows my phone quite often, so I think she would know about this podcast.

About 3 months ago I revealed to her a deep belief I have about my view on religion, and I told her at the time that there were other things I believed in regarding relationships. She told me she did not wish to discuss anything further along those lines. And that was that.

So it's very hard for me to know where her limits are, or what I can safely reveal to her about who I am.

I know this sounds wacky, we've been together for 13yrs, have a child together, etc. But she's a VERY closed person, whereas I'm much more open, but I''m open with her only to the point where it makes her uncomfortable, which is where I am right now.

Hence the reason why I'm not looking for advice, I'm certain there's no one exactly in my shoes (isn't that true for everyone really?). So I'm seeking knowledge about your experiences, and others, to help broaden my outlook.

Shannanigan 03-15-2012 02:33 AM

I was fortunate in that my partner was very realistic, and we were very in love, and always had been very open and honest with each other. When I realized that I was having feelings that didn't mesh with a monogamous setup, I was able to talk to him with little hesitation. It was scary, and required a day or two of thought, but I'm so glad I did it because it started me down a great path of being more honest with myself and others. I'd always vote for talking, even with a sensitive partner, rather than suffering silently indefinitely.

Somegeezer 03-15-2012 02:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HotPepper (Post 128824)
Well, that sounds great, I do hear you. But, as I'm sure you're won't be surprised, my situation has it's own particular circumstances.

She knows I've been visiting poly sites, I also have been downloading the Polyamory Weekly PODcast for some time (Minx's podcast). And she borrows my phone quite often, so I think she would know about this podcast.

About 3 months ago I revealed to her a deep belief I have about my view on religion, and I told her at the time that there were other things I believed in regarding relationships. She told me she did not wish to discuss anything further along those lines. And that was that.

So it's very hard for me to know where her limits are, or what I can safely reveal to her about who I am.

I know this sounds wacky, we've been together for 13yrs, have a child together, etc. But she's a VERY closed person, whereas I'm much more open, but I''m open with her only to the point where it makes her uncomfortable, which is where I am right now.

Hence the reason why I'm not looking for advice, I'm certain there's no one exactly in my shoes (isn't that true for everyone really?). So I'm seeking knowledge about your experiences, and others, to help broaden my outlook.

Keep hiding who you are, and see how much better it makes you feel. Not being able to be yourself. It will hurt. That's what my experiences say. I had enough control to change that and just be out with myself. To BE myself... and I really can't describe the relief and freedom I feel from it.

You have that control too.

Yes, it can be difficult, if you make it difficult. Or you can just be out with it. Your wife is obviously not communicating AT ALL if her response was "did not wish to discuss anything further along those lines"... If you can't communicate, as harsh as this is, but you're just in a miserable relationship.

Get communication sorted.

Understand how important that is and find happiness, or just wallow in your own misery, being someone you're not.

It's harsh, but true. Sugarcoating this obviously would not help you at all... and even then, I doubt you give a shit about what I just typed out. But it's your choice in the end.

EDIT:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shannanigan (Post 128844)
I was fortunate in that my partner was very realistic, and we were very in love, and always had been very open and honest with each other. When I realized that I was having feelings that didn't mesh with a monogamous setup, I was able to talk to him with little hesitation. It was scary, and required a day or two of thought, but I'm so glad I did it because it started me down a great path of being more honest with myself and others. I'd always vote for talking, even with a sensitive partner, rather than suffering silently indefinitely.

and a big +1 to that.

NovemberRain 03-15-2012 03:05 AM

You say 'safely reveal.' It might help us to know what you fear. Are you afraid of her leaving, her head exploding, hurting her? My father is fond of the saying, 'soft surgeons make stinking wounds.' I don't like it, but I know I've always preferred laser-clarity from folks when I've been dealt unpleasant news.


I can't say that I've been where you are. I have been a serial monogamist for a long time. :D

I can say that my boyfriends are fairly uncommunicative. They don't share much more than they have to. One of them is exceedingly (okay, that's my judgment) private. It's odd.

However, they are personally private. They're both pretty open to whatever I want/need to talk about; they just don't often have much to say for themselves. I have had to become more clear on when I need to talk, and I have had to learn that my happiness and well-being don't have much to do with whether or not they offer some part of themselves to the conversation. ach, I'm not being very clear. (maybe that's why they don't talk ~ they can't follow me!)

I guess what I'm trying to convey is that private doesn't have to mean uncomfortable. I can't imagine how painful it must be to have your partner not want to know your deepest self. I know other people in relationships like that. I don't know whether or not my partners *want* to know that, but what I do know is that they don't reject me when I offer it up.

It took us eight (nine?) years to get to our poly vee (and we weren't consciously aiming at it). I dated one first, the three of us were friends, broke up; dated the other; three of us continued friends, broke up with the second, and here we are in a vee. (just background so you know where I stand)

Wishing you best of luck.

HotPepper 03-15-2012 07:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somegeezer (Post 128845)

.

Get communication sorted.

Understand how important that is and find happiness, or just wallow in your own misery, being someone you're not.

It's harsh, but true. Sugarcoating this obviously would not help you at all... and even then, I doubt you give a shit about what I just typed out. But it's your choice in the end.

EDIT:

and a big +1 to that.

There is a very important emphasis on communication with partners that I have seen over and over in this forum, and books and blogs on polyamory. This argument is a powerful tool for any relationship - and a necessity when first introducing polyamory to a SO. But equally important is timing. How often have we read about going slowly, not rushing, taking time to allow one's SO to realize that this isn't about losing her mate, but more about not claiming me as a possession. This won't go well if I just unload on her when she has indicated she's not ready yet to hear what I have to say.

You are right with what you say - but she's not as free of our cultures restraints yet to be in the right frame of mind to hear what I am going to tell her.

HotPepper 03-15-2012 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NovemberRain (Post 128849)
You say 'safely reveal.' It might help us to know what you fear. Are you afraid of her leaving, her head exploding, hurting her? My father is fond of the saying, 'soft surgeons make stinking wounds.' I don't like it, but I know I've always preferred laser-clarity from folks when I've been dealt unpleasant news.

Yes, its about Hurting her. I hate putting people in any type of pain. I'm not here on this planet to cause suffering. When I left my first wife she was hurt - I thought that it wasn't going to be as bad as it was as she was working in another city and we really weren't seeing each other that much. But I was wrong. She was badly affected, and I found out years later she still had no one in her life.

And I saw the look in my current SO's eyes when I was planning on leaving her 2 yrs ago, I was already starting to see someone else (bottom line - I cheated on her) but she was devastated and I couldn't stand myself for hurting her. I went back to her. I always think of myself as tougher then everyone else. But that's not true. I know that i need to lead my life on my terms and have like-minded people with me on the journey.

Quote:


I can't say that I've been where you are. I have been a serial monogamist for a long time. :D

I can say that my boyfriends are fairly uncommunicative. They don't share much more than they have to. One of them is exceedingly (okay, that's my judgment) private. It's odd.

However, they are personally private. They're both pretty open to whatever I want/need to talk about; they just don't often have much to say for themselves. I have had to become more clear on when I need to talk, and I have had to learn that my happiness and well-being don't have much to do with whether or not they offer some part of themselves to the conversation. ach, I'm not being very clear. (maybe that's why they don't talk ~ they can't follow me!)

I guess what I'm trying to convey is that private doesn't have to mean uncomfortable. I can't imagine how painful it must be to have your partner not want to know your deepest self. I know other people in relationships like that. I don't know whether or not my partners *want* to know that, but what I do know is that they don't reject me when I offer it up.

It took us eight (nine?) years to get to our poly vee (and we weren't consciously aiming at it). I dated one first, the three of us were friends, broke up; dated the other; three of us continued friends, broke up with the second, and here we are in a vee. (just background so you know where I stand)

Wishing you best of luck.
Thank you, just talking about it has made a huge difference. I can't believe how much of a load off my soul it has been writing my words and reading the words from everyone who replied. Thanks.

nycindie 03-15-2012 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HotPepper (Post 128820)
I'm not looking for advice on how to tell my partner that I'm poly, but I am wondering if there are approaches people have used that maybe I haven't thought of.

Pop out of a cake? Singing telegram? Seriously, I don't mean to be facetious, but what other approaches could there be to sitting someone down and telling the truth, sharing your feelings, asking for what you need?

Quote:

Originally Posted by HotPepper (Post 128824)
...I told her at the time that there were other things I believed in regarding relationships. She told me she did not wish to discuss anything further along those lines. And that was that.

So it's very hard for me to know where her limits are, or what I can safely reveal to her about who I am... I'm open with her only to the point where it makes her uncomfortable, which is where I am right now.

I am always puzzled when people come here and share that a partner doesn't want to discuss something and so they feel that that is the final word and now it can never be discussed. Sure, I can respect a partner's hesitancy to hear something or discomfort with certain topics, but... ??? There were times in my marriage when my ex-husband told me he didn't want to talk about something that was extremely important to me, and my response was always, "But I need to talk about this, and I need you to listen." And he did, and always thanked me for not letting him get away with shutting down the conversation. So, I can't really see a reason to give up on expressing yourself and making your needs known just because a partner doesn't want to hear it.

My ex, even though he knew that he could talk to me about anything, waited three years to tell me he wanted a divorce. He was afraid of that kind of conversation, and during that three years started pulling away from me until it reached the point for him when he had to tell me. What broke my heart was all that wasted time. We both suffered from the distance he created by not talking to me. Had he told me what was going on for him, we could have done something about it together, either trying to repair the marriage or agreeing to end it together. But what he did was wait and wait and wait until he couldn't take it anymore and then he dropped a bomb on my lap because by that time it was too late to work on it (from his perspective) and he just announced that he was moving out. So, in the end, I was definitely more devastated by his NOT talking to me about wanting to split up than I ever could have been by his talking to me in the first place, when things were still salvageable.

Quote:

Originally Posted by HotPepper (Post 128876)
This won't go well if I just unload on her when she has indicated she's not ready yet to hear what I have to say.

I wasn't ready to hear that my mother had passed away, but someone had to make that phone call and tell me. Sometimes the people we love will just never be ready to hear difficult communications. Must we then always pussyfoot around them, at our own expense? We can still deliver difficult and painful communications compassionately and lovingly. All we can ask is that the receiver listen to us, but we have no control over what they do with the information. So, avoiding saying what needs to be said doesn't really protect anyone.

What is the "this" that won't go well? The telling her part? Or what comes afterward? I think you need to get really clear on what you want out of this if you do talk to her about it. Is the goal to open up the marriage so both of you can have additional love relationships, or do you just want her to know what is going on in your heart of hearts first and foremost, to bring you closer? What do you fear about having this discussion with her and being honest about your true self and deepest desires?

HotPepper 03-15-2012 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 128885)
Pop out of a cake? Singing telegram? Seriously, I don't mean to be facetious, but what other approaches could there be to sitting someone down and telling the truth, sharing your feelings, asking for what you need?

I don't know. Wishful thinking on my part. I'm not used to asking for what I need, I love giving instead. But I've hit a wall, I can continue to be a giving person, but I need to tend to myself first.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 128885)
I am always puzzled when people come here and share that a partner doesn't want to discuss something and so they feel that that is the final word and now it can never be discussed. Sure, I can respect a partner's hesitancy to hear something or discomfort with certain topics, but... ??? There were times in my marriage when my ex-husband told me he didn't want to talk about something that was extremely important to me, and my response was always, "But I need to talk about this, and I need you to listen." And he did, and always thanked me for not letting him get away with shutting down the conversation. So, I can't really see a reason to give up on expressing yourself and making your needs known just because a partner doesn't want to hear it.

I can't think of anything to say here, other then to agree. I find that my non-traditional views on love and relationships have taken me many many years to be comfortable with. And really I've only found comfort after finding a community that shares my beliefs (this one). I can't even begin to explain why it took me so long. So I think to myself - if it took me so long to understand who I am, just how long will it take me to explain it to someone else?

As a guy, I have always felt that I'm fighting a society that says men are pigs, especially sexually. I have heard from so many quarters around me that we're insensitive, ignorant, sexual deviants that must be taught to approach relationships more like women do. That was the message I saw, and as ridiculous as it sounds, I have always taken it upon myself to prove that I'm not like other men. Look, it's martyrdom on a small scale - that's what I've been practicing. That's why I have suffered instead of spoken. Now, if that was some masochistic turn-on for me, then everything would be ok. But it doesn't. I hate playing the 'good man' example. I am a good man, I don't need to constantly prove it anymore. And I'm done sacrificing my persona to make anyone else happy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 128885)
What is the "this" that won't go well? The telling her part? Or what comes afterward? I think you need to get really clear on what you want out of this if you do talk to her about it. Is the goal to open up the marriage so both of you can have additional love relationships, or do you just want her to know what is going on in your heart of hearts first and foremost, to bring you closer? What do you fear about having this discussion with her and being honest about your true self and deepest desires?

This is the part I'm certain about. What I want. There is no question about what I want anymore. I want intimate relationships with other people, men and women. This is how I grow as a person. Being intimate, close, one-on-one. I learn from people, and the closer I am to them the more I learn. But it hasn't been about what I want for a long time, it's been about what she wants. And it's about my fears concerning her well-being after I tell her. As I said, she's vulnerable. Men have abandoned her before. And she will see this as yet another attempt, by yet another man, to leave her.

I have to create a setting that conveys security to her. I have to do more then tell her I'm not leaving her, I have to show her. Which means I need to tell her that I'm polyamorous, then hold her hand, and show her over time that I'm not going anywhere.


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