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-   -   Advice on how to proceed (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23156)

mostlyclueless 04-19-2012 04:12 PM

Advice on how to proceed
 
After a very rocky and unpleasant start to dating other people, my partner agreed to a brief moratorium. It will be up soon.

We agreed previously that if we found someone to date together, casually, it would be a better approach that what we tried before (him finding a secondary).

But right now I feel less than zero interest in dating. And I think it would be unfair to ask for an extension on the break, and it would probably cause a massive conflict.

I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, trying to "fix" myself and deal with my jealousy/insecurity issues.

But when I think about going back to the arrangement we had before, with my partner dating someone else, I get panicky and terrified.

I feel so stuck. Any advice would be welcome.

opalescent 04-19-2012 05:04 PM

MC,

I cannot recall if you said you are interested in a sexual or romantic relationship with a woman. Forgive me if you've said already. Are you bi or queer?

If you are not, or just a bit attracted to women, then why in the world would you try and date a woman with your partner?

Also if you are truly uninterested in looking for other partners either just for you or as a couple then don't date anyone right now. It would be a disservice to all involved. Just because your partner wants other partners doesn't mean you need to date too. You could be a poly person who is not dating or looking right now. Lots of people do that. Or you can be a mono person in a relationship with a poly partner.

Adding another person to your dynamic with your partner will not result in less jealousy or unhappiness for you. Dating the same person is no magic bullet against jealousy or other painful emotions. You will have to deal with jealousy and similar problems anyway.

Do you feel like you've made progress in understanding the causes of your jealousy? Does your partner? Do you feel like you have some tools to help you understand? You can certainly ask for more time from your partner, especially if you are working on jealousy issues. There is no timeline where at the end you are suddenly totally ok with poly. But that should not be an indefinite time where you and he do not address your concerns and his.

Finally, maybe you are not meant to be poly. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also no timeline to figure that out either but it may be you two are not suited to each other.

mostlyclueless 04-19-2012 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by opalescent (Post 133180)
MC,

I cannot recall if you said you are interested in a sexual or romantic relationship with a woman. Forgive me if you've said already. Are you bi or queer?

If you are not, or just a bit attracted to women, then why in the world would you try and date a woman with your partner?

I have had some but not a lot of experience dating women, but I am probably more interested in that than dating men right now.

Quote:

Also if you are truly uninterested in looking for other partners either just for you or as a couple then don't date anyone right now. It would be a disservice to all involved. Just because your partner wants other partners doesn't mean you need to date too. You could be a poly person who is not dating or looking right now. Lots of people do that. Or you can be a mono person in a relationship with a poly partner.
Agreed. But I also don't think I would be doing anyone any favors if he started dating someone while I was completely miserable and hating both of them for it.

I don't see myself as a mono person and that's not really what I want in the long term. I am positive that it is just a matter of time until I also want to be dating other people, so leaving this relationship and trying to find a mono arrangement seems counterproductive. Dealing with the underlying jealousy issues seems to be the only way out. I should also mention that there are some huge trust issues due to how the last poly attempt played out; my partner acknowledges this and seems to feel a little embarrassed about how he behaved, but he seems to think that I need to just get over it.

Quote:


Adding another person to your dynamic with your partner will not result in less jealousy or unhappiness for you. Dating the same person is no magic bullet against jealousy or other painful emotions. You will have to deal with jealousy and similar problems anyway.

Do you feel like you've made progress in understanding the causes of your jealousy? Does your partner? Do you feel like you have some tools to help you understand? You can certainly ask for more time from your partner, especially if you are working on jealousy issues. There is no timeline where at the end you are suddenly totally ok with poly. But that should not be an indefinite time where you and he do not address your concerns and his.

Finally, maybe you are not meant to be poly. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also no timeline to figure that out either but it may be you two are not suited to each other.
I really felt like I was making progress. I thought I had identified a lot of the root issues, which felt like it was helpful, even though that didn't magically fix them. And then I found myself crying at work this morning because I am so fucking terrified of what is going to happen when the break period is up. And I feel really sad and isolated, because I can't talk about it with most of my friends; they pretty much think I brought this on myself. Which I am inclined to agree with.

SNeacail 04-19-2012 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mostlyclueless (Post 133182)
I should also mention that there are some huge trust issues due to how the last poly attempt played out; my partner acknowledges this and seems to feel a little embarrassed about how he behaved, but he seems to think that I need to just get over it.

You don't "just get over" trust issues! It takes time, a lot of time, it's taken me over a year and I still have panic attacks every now and again. Then again, he has to have the opportunity to prove that he can be trustworthy again.

Quote:

I really felt like I was making progress. I thought I had identified a lot of the root issues, which felt like it was helpful, even though that didn't magically fix them. And then I found myself crying at work this morning because I am so fucking terrified of what is going to happen when the break period is up.
What about taking small baby steps back into things instead of just opening all the flood gates at once. Talk to your partner, tell him what your imagining might happen, etc that way he can assure you he won't do that and take the extra effort to prove it when the chance arrives.

redpepper 04-19-2012 09:38 PM

It seems you have three options; ask for more time being monogamous(with another end date), date with him (which quite frankly will give you time because very rarely works for couples to find dates), or decide to be okay with him dating other women. Maybe one more; date guys while he dates women. Which one is the one that feels most comfortable is where to start I think. Ask for that first.

If he blows up, he blows up. That's a valid emotional response, but not helpful to sorting it out. Figuring out what option is next is the next step and so on. Until you have a mutually agreed upon boundary. Or, you might just find that you have to discuss who is going to be most damaged in a comproimse and one of you decide to be considerate enough to suck it up and compromise so the other can have more freedom. I did this with Mono for a number of years (I didn't date any other men) and am now finding that the time paid off, because there has been a shift and he trusts "us" more than when we started out on this road. Some things just take time... Like years!

mostlyclueless 04-20-2012 04:22 PM

Thanks for the advice. I think I just stumbled into a dark place yesterday. Nothing even happened, but I was crying all day worrying about what might happen in the future.

We talked and I feel a bit better today. As much as I want to ask for more time, I think the fact that I am crying over literally nothing probably means that we need to dip our toes in again, and hope it goes better this time.

Sometimes I think it would be better if I just left my partner so he could find someone who was better at this. I feel terrible for being so difficult. If our positions were reversed I'd be totally fed up.

AnnabelMore 04-20-2012 04:42 PM

I don't see what's so wrong with along for more time if you're actively using that time to get more comfortable? I mean, why not get on the firest possible footing before moving forward... that could spare everyone's feelings versus if you move forward because it's supposed to be time to but aren't really ready and end up having to ask him and some new flame to break it off. On the other hand if you don't think you can get any more ready than you are now, you probably do just need to take the plunge.

NakedEarth 04-20-2012 04:45 PM

Mostlyclueless, it sounds like you are having a hard time. You will get through this. If it feels right to stay with your partner, than do that, and you can work through anything. Humans are very strong and we have the ability to think positively or negatively. Try to think positively about yourself and the situation and not to be so hard on yourself. Life feels difficult, but its really not. If you have air to breath, food to eat, love and shelter then you are in the most perfect situation.


We can always improve, but I think saying to fix yourself implies that something is wrong or bad and I think everyone is who they are and thats not good or bad. I am sorry that I don't have any sound advice about your particular situation, but I truly believe that if you look out for yourself, love yourself and love others... that you will be happy in any situation.

I send you my hugs and love from Canada.

mostlyclueless 04-21-2012 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore (Post 133282)
I don't see what's so wrong with along for more time if you're actively using that time to get more comfortable? I mean, why not get on the firest possible footing before moving forward... that could spare everyone's feelings versus if you move forward because it's supposed to be time to but aren't really ready and end up having to ask him and some new flame to break it off. On the other hand if you don't think you can get any more ready than you are now, you probably do just need to take the plunge.

I wish I knew what else to do. Even thought I definitely don't feel on sure footing, at all, I don't know how to make any more progress. My partner has given me everything I've asked for, and I know he's impatient and frustrated. I feel like maybe I have to give a little instead of taking.

NakedEarth, thank you for the kind words, it means a lot. I know in the wrinkly parts of my brain that you're right, and I have so much to be grateful for -- it can be hard to break out of these cycles of sadness and negativity, so your reminder is much appreciated :)

drtalon 04-21-2012 03:47 PM

It's self-deception to believe that your issues with self-esteem and insecurity are made to be better or worse by your partner dating or not dating other people. Those issues are there regardless. IMO, "taking breaks" is about whether the insecure person gets to ignore their insecurity or not.

If you've got a lot of other emotional issues you're working through, I think it's valid to ask for time to work through them before adding more emotional stuff to deal with. But, if life and your emotional state are good apart from this one issue, there will never be a better time to deal with it.


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