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-   -   How long do you give a new relationship? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22995)

PolyCurious4 04-11-2012 04:30 PM

How long do you give a new relationship?
 
How long do you give a new relationship to blossom?

As I've posted Hubby & I are in our first semi-poly relationship. We met via a swinger website & were thrilled to find a couple interested in poly.

Initially it was very one sided in that the male partner & I communicated often and the female partner and Hubby's communication was lacking. That's improved somewhat on Hubby's end after a few heart to hearts and she assured him she does like him and is overwhelmed with her busy schedule.

My side of things the last couple of weeks has reduced immensely. When we're together (1-2 times a week) we have very interesting conversations. Previously we would talk in the evenings when his Mrs wasn't home with the understanding if she's home he would spend time with her as they have conflicting schedules & try to make the most if their time.

It was the fact that we had "real" conversations that attracted me to begin with. I had not been interested in meeting anyone in the swinger scene for some time because the talk was all about sex & felt shallow. So to have normal conversation (extra bonus points that he's an intellectual - he's a grad student) was what drew my interest. Had it been very limited I would probably not have agreed to meet them.

A couple of weeks ago they cancelled a date night & he got very quiet. They rescheduled for a few days later & we ended up seeing them two days that week do no worries there. But the communication part dropping off concerned me. I talked about it with him. He apologized and said he had been in a 'funk' and had gotten behind on school and needed to catch up. I completely understand and felt bad that because we had gotten a but carried away had effected his school work. So I did expect things would tone down a bit from then on.

He does sends me a message every single morning. But other than that we haven't been talking except when we meet. And while we do have very interesting & intellectual conversations there is always sex involved. I enjoy the sex part and to leave it out would be disappointing but when you only have a little conversation the night we see each other it's beginning to feel like that's the goal and for me it's not.

He does make the effort to contact me daily and tells me he thinks of me often etc but a few one liners does not a relationship make. We've each tried talking to them and we're beginning to wonder if poly is really what their wanting. What they describe and what they do in action is very different. Hubby and I realize we tend to like to move maybe quicker than their comfort level but not communicating to us doesn't feel like a relationship is being built. It feels like they want to swing and it be ok to feel fondly for the other partner and also they prefer to get together separately which isnt what most couples in the swinger scene prefer. That is not poly by my definition. And when ever we try to communicate more about their expectations, wanting to communicate more or where we'd like to see this go etc... we don't get a straight answer. By that I mean they often respond that they don't want to look too much into the future & just enjoy today. I'm trying to articulate that 'today' is what I'm talking about. They are both very big on not being cornered or tied down. I don't want a commitment but do want to talk to the person I'm involved with. It kind of annoys me because it's very contrary to what we discussed initially.

So, back to my original question...how long do you give to allow a true relationship to blossom? In Hubby's case were he single he may have already called it quits because it seems like a lot of frustration on our part. But at the same time I want to allow things to blossom. If I were single I wouldn't want to know certainty where things were going but I would want to know if we in general wanted the same things. I've done the sex only thing and it's not what I want. Also I think I would have been more assertive were I single. I actually when dating Hubby had a come to Jesus meeting in which I informed him there are certain things I wouldn't accept and he may do certain things with others but I expected xyz. At the time I figured I needed to be clear of what I wanted (in that case it was returning phone calls) and didn't care if it meant he ran for the door. Maybe that's what I need to do here. I tend to be more timid in my communicating so far. I have inquired what's going on by haven't said "I need xyz"

I am beginning to wonder if it may be better to start a relationship out without sex. Have we been involved in swinging so long we don't know how to build a real relationship? In an ideal world of poly we'd like love and companionship with the sex - to share all of ourselves with anither partner and fir them to truly be a partner in life. We're not 100% sure about this part but the thought of sharing households appeals to us. Maybe it's not feasible for what started out essentially as a swinging relationship can build into a real relationship especially without communication.

nycindie 04-11-2012 05:27 PM

I only have time to comment on one point...

If I were you, I would have a night together where you say, "Let's just hang out or cuddle," and not have sex. Don't "warn" him in advance. Just schedule your regular get-together and after he arrives, in a very relaxed way tell him you'd rather just connect with him without sex tonight.

Do something else, go out for the evening, take a walk, play cards, watch a movie, whatever.

nouryia 04-11-2012 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 132259)
Do something else, go out for the evening, take a walk, play cards, watch a movie, whatever.


If it's a bone fide relationship you want and not just casual swinging, I totally agree with that. My boyfriend and I made a point to develop over a period of months the non sexual parts of our relationship even though we started with the sex, lol. And now, like nycindie, sometimes we have sex and sometimes we don't...and it doesn't matter. We still enjoy each other's company.

Jade 04-11-2012 10:32 PM

What do you want that is not being given? I'm reading thinking, "Wow, two nights a week. That's a lot of time. Probably can't keep that up indefinitely if they're maintaining separate households."

Short communication, I agree, does not a relationship make, but you do see each other regularly. That is what makes the relationship. Some people are low level communicators when not face to face with someone. I think that's more personality than interest level sometimes.

If you're hearing the words "don't want to look too far into the future," then, my opinion, you're getting a clear message. They don't want to disappoint you, but already realize they might. Your vision of poly may very well not match theirs, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're not poly. Try not to view it through that lens. When you find yourself facing those differences in relationship style, personality, communication levels, etc., then the question, I think, you really need to ask is, "Are we receiving enough benefit in the relationship to make it worth the effort?" If the answer is yes, then you may want to ease up on your vision and let the relationship be what it will be. If the answer is no, you can try easing up on your efforts or even let the relationship go. There is no shame in that. Every relationship risks failure. Polyamory doesn't make every relationship viable, and sometimes love isn't enough to make up for differences. But how long you give it really depends on how you answer that question.

nycindie 04-12-2012 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PolyCurious4 (Post 132254)
A couple of weeks ago they cancelled a date night & he got very quiet. They rescheduled for a few days later & we ended up seeing them two days that week do no worries there. But the communication part dropping off concerned me.

Are all your dates always group dates for the four of you? If so, why?

If you feel like it's always about sex when you get together, and you're not each of you dating separately, in order to get to know each other well and deepen your bonds with emotional and intellectual intimacy as well as physical, then I don't know how the relationships can become more than just for sexual activity. Package deals seem to wrap the whole situation up in a kind of superficial veneer, don't you think?

PolyCurious4 04-12-2012 01:34 AM

Jade thank you for your feedback and food for thought.

We primarily see each other one night a week and ocassinally spend and an additional night. Typically we see each other for about 3 hours. Ocassionally we may all four get together for a movie or game night. Maybe I am asking for too much but a few hours 1 x a week with zero communication the rest of the week beyond the morning one liners seems limited. When we do see each other 30-45 minutes is visiting & the rest is physical time. So for instance not enough time for a movie and physical time. I think the suggestions of spending time to connect without the physical are excellent suggestions. Because so much of our time is dedicated to the physical of our relationship the communication throughout the week has been important to me.

He is a communicator. He talks a lot and prior to recently we talked often. I expected that would taper off some because maintaining the new excitement isn't sustainable and because he had let his studies slide but didn't expect to go down to zero.

You're right, it may be their version of poly may just be different. Maybe we're asking for too much too soon. Maybe we're asking for too much in general. Maybe we're over thinking this. I don't want it to turn into a sexual relationship only and the drop off in communication is concerning for me.

There have been other areas that Hubby had concerns about as well but because we had such a good connection I was willing to go with the flow. I've posted about the difference between the communication with Hubby. We've learned she truly doesn't communicate the same and isn't a big talker do completely understand. There have been the issues that when trying to schedule it felt like at their whim. We, at the advice here, invited them to join us at an event we intended to attended. They never got back to us and have made plans with others (the joys of FB let's you know what others are doing when maybe you'd rather not know). Recently we got a date night free with babysitter and we were excited to go out and instead they took all day to get to us if they'd like to get together (we invited to go out with us and she had to ask him and so we didn't make other plans & ended up not getting back to us late so we didn't end up getting together until 9pm and they only wanted to stay in). We've talked about doing vanilla out of the house things (often their suggestions) but nothing comes to fruition and with things being limited to the house & majority of that to the bedroom the communication part was very important to me.

Jade 04-12-2012 01:36 AM

Can't agree with that more, nycindie. Never heard it put so well.

PolyCurious4 04-12-2012 01:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 132304)
Are all your dates always group dates for the four of you? If so, why?

If you feel like it's always about sex when you get together, and you're not each of you dating separately, in order to get to know each other well and deepen your bonds with emotional and intellectual intimacy as well as physical, then I don't know how the relationships can become more than just for sexual activity. Package deals seem to wrap the whole situation up in a kind of superficial veneer, don't you think?

No, our dates are not group. We've had the ocassional four of us get togethers. But the standard is that he comes to visit me and Hubby goes to their house. It began with seeing one another separately so we're all comfortable there. Our date nights are only when all four are available. Hubby and I are comfortable having completely separate date nights. They are not.

kdt26417 04-12-2012 03:00 AM

Re (from PolyCurious4, Post #6):
Quote:

"There have been other areas that Hubby had concerns about as well but because we had such a good connection I was willing to go with the flow ... There have been the issues that when trying to schedule it felt like at their whim."
It sounds like you'll eventually need to discuss some of your other concerns with them. Maybe you don't need them to do things totally your way, but you still need them to negotiate some kind of middle ground with you, where there is give and take on both sides.

I think it's a good idea to have some "platonic date nights," so you can develop that part of the relationship (which is important to you). Are you also feeling that the one (maybe two) nights a week just isn't satisfying you as far as a relationship is concerned? Maybe something can be worked out where you always get together twice a week, once for "platonic relations," and once for "romantic relations." It depends on what they're willing to do, but you'll probably have to be the one to bring it up with them; they probably won't bring it up.

It seems to me that it's not so much a matter of how long a relationship should be given to develop, as much as it is getting what you need from this specific relationship, and coming up with a compromise that all four of you can live with.

I hope you all get a good chance to work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.

Windstar 04-12-2012 02:47 PM

Hi Polycurious4

You wrote two things that stick out to me:

"What they describe and what they do in action is very different."

"You're right, it may be their version of poly may just be different. Maybe we're asking for too much too soon. Maybe we're asking for too much in general. Maybe we're over thinking this. I don't want it to turn into a sexual relationship only and the drop off in communication is concerning for me."

It sounds like it is clear that they want something different than you. So if we were to take that at face value and nothing more, then you have two simple options. You can let go of your wants/needs/desires and enjoy what they are comfortable giving in the way that they want to give it or you can state clearly what you want and need and then let the "chips fall where they may."

I run the risk of over-simplifying all of this, and I do not intend to demean its subtleties and complexities. However, you can control your actions and not theirs.

Spending time together without sex is a fast-track way to determine if the spark of chemistry that you feel is "sustainable" without regular hot sex. I have known many people who had fantastic chemistry on the dance floor, but when they took it to the real world it fizzled quickly. As such, you could have fantastic chemistry when regular sex is involved but not when real world concerns are addressed.

For instance, will he still be interested if you have to talk regularly about "mundane" things like work or family or chores or _____?

It may be that just meeting him where he is and letting go of your bigger longer term dreams or ideal version of your relationship for now is what would let him settle into a relationship with you.

Or it could turn out that you feel like you are prostituting yourself--selling part of your soul that you really need to be recognized and responded to.

Only you can know that, of course.

Keep us in the loop. I will be interested to hear your process and what happens.


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