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-   -   Sudden Arbitrary Boundary (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22631)

Kemie 03-26-2012 11:14 PM

Sudden Arbitrary Boundary
 
Background:
I occasionally (say a couple times a month perhaps) seek extracurricular dates with new men. Sometimes I choose to sleep with them; sometimes not. Sometimes I see them again; sometimes not.

Legs and Wolf of course know about this arrangement. Wolf does similar things, but generally does them a lot more. Legs has little to no interest in recreational dating/sex, although he has recently started a new emotional LDR, contrary to his observed mono status.

Recently, Legs came to me and said he had a problem with the "open" quality of our relationship. He wants me to stop having any sort of one-on-one sexual encounters outside of himself or Wolf. However, I can still involve myself in threesomes or swinging experiences with Wolf.

He originally staged this as an ultimatum/demand, but it seems to be more of a request now. I feel as if it is arbitrary, because I am still sleeping with people he doesn't know under his stated constraints... I also feel like this stems from some sort of insecurity, but I'm not sure how to handle it. I want to take his feelings into account to help him, but I also feel as if just giving into the request won't make me happy. We've been together under our open system for the last year.

Thoughts and Advice?

km34 03-26-2012 11:36 PM

I have a few random, somewhat coherent thoughts on this... Maybe you can get something from one or more of them.

-It doesn't seem arbitrary to me. Why? Because threesomes/swinging is something that you do WITH YOUR PARTNER, so it could seem more like a hobby or a pastime than casual sex.

-You meeting men on your own and sleeping with them on the first date could potentially pose a safety issue. For yourself if a man has a side to him that you didn't expect, and for you AND all of your current and future sexual partners if the man isn't upfront about any potential STDs he may have. Herpes and HPV are two from which condoms can't properly protect you. The physical danger could easily be discounted in the swinging setting since you have Wolf with you.

-If you think it stems from insecurity, have you tried to figure out what he has to be insecure about or why he suddenly feels insecure?

-What were his thoughts when you first started the open relationship with him? Was it that way from the beginning or something that was negotiated after you two had been together for a while? Is it possible he's been uncomfortable with it for a while but has just now felt comfortable enough enough to voice his discomfort?

Kemie 03-27-2012 12:14 AM

Thanks for the perspective km34, I know that Legs couldn't possibly feel like his request is arbitrary, so it's good to hear reasons why he thinks it's important. Casual sex sort of IS a hobby/pastime; whether it's with Wolf or not.

The danger of said hobby wasn't brought up at all in the discussion, which leads me to believe that that is not what this is stemming from.

I was with Wolf when I started seeing Legs; and there have been no changes to the structure of our open relationship since th beginning. He has always had some discomfort with it; but this has gradually improved (in both of our opinions.) I'm not sure why this has suddenly come up.

km34 03-27-2012 12:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kemie (Post 130425)
Thanks for the perspective km34, I know that Legs couldn't possibly feel like his request is arbitrary, so it's good to hear reasons why he thinks it's important. Casual sex sort of IS a hobby/pastime; whether it's with Wolf or not.

The danger of said hobby wasn't brought up at all in the discussion, which leads me to believe that that is not what this is stemming from.

I was with Wolf when I started seeing Legs; and there have been no changes to the structure of our open relationship since th beginning. He has always had some discomfort with it; but this has gradually improved (in both of our opinions.) I'm not sure why this has suddenly come up.


Umm.. Is it possible that he didn't think the casual sex would continue once the relationship reached a certain level OR that the relationship WOULDN'T reach a certain level? I'd be more willing to overlook or ignore behavior that made me uncomfortable in a partner that I didn't expect to be with for long or be with in a serious way as opposed to a partner that I expected to be very close to for a very long time. Could his expectations have changed?

Like I said.. Kind of random thoughts as to where he COULD be coming from, applicable or not. lol I'm obviously trying to think of any reason that would make this request come up in an established relationship. The only way you'll really understand is by just asking him why he's uncomfortable with it (to the point of asking you to stop) all of the sudden. :)

Anneintherain 03-27-2012 08:50 PM

Well whether he means it as an ultimatum or a request, I would tell him that I wouldn't feel comfortable negotiating about it until he was able to be clear about why he was making this request. Once you understand this, you are both in a better position to agree on changes, or to state that you are not going to make that change.

I don't know if he wants this temporarily or permanently. I have seen so often when people ask for something to be temporary while they learn to deal with something - if they don't even know why they are uncomfortable with something in the first place, 6 months or a year later, they aren't any more comfortable with it because they haven't been working to change it because they've been operating in the "out of sight out of mind" way. This isn't always true, but it seems to be pretty common.

I hope he is able to explain why he is making this request, I know I'd be very reluctant to agree even temporarily to a request like this if somebody wasn't in touch with why they were making it. I think you know that you wouldn't be happy with this permanently, from what you said.

I'd also be wondering if it is just the casual sex or if its other relationships (or the POTENTIAL for other relationships) at all. If you gave up casual partners but found yourself interested in a more serious relationship with somebody, on the level you have with Wolf or him, would he be uncomfortable with that as well? Always possible if he really thinks on it that could be one of his main discomforts.

Kemie 03-28-2012 04:00 AM

Anne, you're probably right. Legs does not separate sex from love in his mind. I'm sure he would be even more concerned if a more serious relationship developed with someone else. I will ask him what he thinks the real issue is; and if he doesn't know, then I'll try to help him figure it out.

opalescent 03-28-2012 04:30 AM

Yes, asking him directly what's going on behind his desire for you to end casual sexual encounters is the way to go. But it's on him to figure out what's going on in his noggin and communicate that to you. You should be supportive and a sounding board if he wants that. (It's possible you may be too close to the situation for him to talk openly at first- he may need to have someone else be that sounding board.) But be wary of trying to do too much of his emotional heavy lifting for him. I see many women, often young women, take on this task, often for the men in their lives. It does neither of you any favors in the long term.

Good luck! I think you are approaching this smartly!


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