I could use some help understanding my partner.
Hello everyone, this thread may seem long winded but I feel that I should share everything so that I may paint a better picture for you to understand.
My partner is my bestfriend, he is my soulmate, my world. I would do anything to make him happy. I put his happiness before I put my own and I strive to make sure he receives all of the attention, love and support that he deserves.
First off, we both have OCD. Mine being much worse then his, and I put him through a lot. I really do. Between my compulsions and insecurities - how he deals with it is beyond me. He loves me just as much as I love him, this is evident in his patience and support.
Before I met him, I thought I would be alone forever. I think that if I am without him, I will be alone forever. The chances of finding someone with that connection and chemistry who also has OCD is just nigh impossible. Not only that, I don't want anyone else. I cannot imagine a world where I do not fall asleep at his side and wake next to him. I cannot imagine a world without his parents, his family. I cannot, I don't want to. I love him so much.
Here is what's going on.
He has recently told me he is polyamorous in that he can love / be with more then one person at one time.
I am not like that, although I certainly wish I was so all of this stress and heartache could just end.
I accept him for who he is, in fact I don't even have anything to accept. I love him and all of his qualities, and I would never change a thing about him.
But again, I am not polyamorous. So, here's the situation. I'm conflicted. My stomach is turning, my heart is sinking and I don't want to lose him. I would never leave him. I wouldn't. Whatever happens will be his choice to make. But I won't make that choice, I can't - I wont.
So now my OCD is going apeshit on me. How am I supposed to live... Just live and go on continuing our life knowing that he could one day love someone else and want to be with them because of his sexuality. My OCD is so terrible right now. I had to ask him, what would you do - What would you do if you did fall for someone else. You would have to choose, to be with me or to be with them, and he said he wouldn't choose.
He said he would be himself, he would be true to himself - so what does that mean?
He said, if he loved someone else and they were okay with his being polyamorous he would be with them. So I said you would choose them then, and he said no. He said he wouldnt be choosing anyone.
It makes no sense.
I am confused.
I am conflicted.
I don't want to lose the man I love with all of who I am.
Eko, thanks for coming here and telling your story. We'll do what we can to talk you through this.
Your situation is quite typical - one member of a previously monogamous couple suddenly realises that they are poly, either due to a revelation, or due to meeting someone. The other partner knows for sure that they aren't poly and that this person is their "one and only".
You don't understand how his mind is working, and the stuff he is saying sometimes makes it sound like it's in a foreign language - except you understand the words but they don't make sense. Am I on the right track?
Some couples go through the immense pressure of trying to keep things "equal" by pressuring the monogamous person into being poly. That very, very rarely works, and often causes a lot of resentment and pain.
So, if you are certain that you are monogamous (and it sounds like you are), and he is polyamorous (and he is at the start of this journey, so he may not know everything about what he wants), then you need to start by accepting that fact about each other, and understanding that sometimes stuff just won't make sense, but because you love and care about each other and because you are committed to your relationship, that the other person is telling the truth of their heart.
Being poly means not having to choose simply because they acknowledge that they are in love and want to be in a relationship with more than one person - and you are one of them! it in no way means that he wants to leave you, or "upgrade", or that he is unhappy with your relationship - quite the opposite, maybe.
The main idea that poly folk have that is hard to grasp is the concept of a capacity for infinite love. Some people say that for poly folk, love isn't a "zero-sum game". Put in English, it means that just because he loves someone else, doesn't mean he loves you any less - the heart has a capacity for infinite love.
I don't want to write any more right now, because I could ramble on and on, and it may not be stuff that you want to hear. So how about some feedback - am I on the right track with some of the stuff you are saying?
If you want credentials - one of my relationships is a mono/poly relationship - I am the poly part. We went through the transition from monogamy to mono/poly and had many hours of discussion. You are far from alone - there are plenty of folks who have been through similar can can talk with you about this on this forum.
I strongly agree with what CielDuMatin has stated, which I surmise is in accordance with what others in the community would say.
Now, I'm no wise elder of said community. I'm fresh off the boat in this strange new land, but my wife and I have done some deep, deep conversing about what our relationship is, and what it would be with others.
Most of the fear of loss comes from our societal programming that we can only love one person at a time. If this were true, our children would be in a tough spot...
Hey there, welcome.
First of all: sorry you are in between a rock and a hard place. I love my partner and want to be his 'one and only' and I love my partner and want to love him for who he is … This is your side of the deal. The problem here is: Your way of loving him is making demands of the way he should love you. And I don't intend to be mean, but this concept can't work. I am in a relationship with two men, who are/live monogamously with me. Both of them. You may ask how this can work. Maybe it will help to hear, what we talked about, when things began.
I myself have been quite mono-amorous in the beginning. I was married and I was happy. But I was just seeing myself as 'mono' as long as no other love interest came along. Eventually I met my (at that time) best friend. And I fell in love. And I struggled to combine the way I regarded love and myself with this paradox new happening: Being in love with my husband, kind of waiting for this love to decline, because the love for my friend was growing. It never happened.
When I tried to explain what was going on in my head, I had a hard time. I couldn't really understand myself. I just knew, that I loved both of them. My husband asked me the same questions you have just voiced. He was afraid that I could leave him, that he would become unimportant, that I would fall out of love with him. The only thing I could do to assure him, was to show to him that nothing changed. That I stilled loved him the way I did before. It was no easy task but it worked for him.
What both of them understood, was the sentiment about what your partner said.
Both, my husband and my best friend, immediately said, that even if they didn't understand how this may work for me emotionally wise, that 'it was just who I am'. Because I am me. I can't be someone else and I am me with all my spleens and quirks and whatever good or bad trait there may is to be found. And I am me with my capacity to love more than one. To lose one of my loves would be the same as for you loosing your 'one and only' love. It would hurt, there wouldn't be a scale, were you can measure how much it hurt more or less than for a person loving only one.
As you have already been told: love isn't finite. You yourself have so much feelings to spend, you never run 'out' of them. For some this includes love. And you would never choose how much feelings are appropriate. 'I can't help myself, I am in love', 'I feel so much joy, it's overflowing', 'I am outraged, I hardly know what I am doing' – emotions seldom have a 'this is the right amount' scale. If you hurt, you haven't chosen to hurt if you feel joy you haven't chosen to feel it. If he falls in love he won't have had a say in it generally. I am convinced that you can't choose to feel love. You just feel it. He could choose to act on it or not. But you can never dictate how he feels.
Things that are measurable are time, money, resources of any kind. Those thing would become important as soon as there is a new person in his life. But this isn't the case right now. I don't know if this helped. Those are the basics we discovered when things got started. I hope you will be able to get a hold on this concept and are able to wrap your mind around it a bit more. I promise, it will bring you even closer to your partner :)
You mention OCD is a factor - When were you diagnosed and are you being treated? Actively receiving treatment can make you more able to deal with the challenges life throws at us, especially if you were diagnosed more than 10 years ago. Treatment has come a long way for OCD. :)
Being polyamorous does not mean he'd change a single thing about you. He's with you because you are appealing in a variety of ways.
If I say anything else, I'll just be saying the same stuff already said, but welcome, and hope you'll stay.
Thank you everyone for your responses, I am sorry I have been away from the computer and unable to reply until just now.
I value all of your input and support.
Let me start by saying I have been doing a lot of thinking. My mind has been nowhere else but this subject since the day he told me. Nothing else has been on my mind. It's overwhelming, and I am trying my best to understand - I want to understand and I believe that one day I may be able to.
I have been doing a lot of thinking in the regards of if this ever happened -
What would I do?
Would I ever get over this?
Could I stand to see him with someone else and also be with me?
What about a love triangle? Could I be in one of those?
I do not have all of the answers set in stone, but I will start with what I am currently leaning towards -
If he fell in love with someone else, I would try to understand. I mean, I understand how he could fall in love with someone else, this could happen to anyone regardless of their sexuality. What I mean to say is, how would I deal with that? I believe... It would hurt. I believe it would hurt me, I really do, the idea of him going out on a date with someone else and leaving me behind to stay at home... Would be painful. How can I separate my feelings of jealousy in this situation?
I don't know the answer to that. I do know that I would support him, however. I do know, that I would deal with the pain because the pain of him being with someone else may be so dark to me - but the idea of not being in a relationship with him is... Well I don't even want to think about it, to be honest. There are no words to describe the sadness that would forever be in my heart.
He is a piece of who I am, I love him. I am in love with him, I love his soul. I would endure the pain because the alternative is worse. I just want him to be happy. I don't know. Perhaps one day it wouldn't be so painful. Maybe one day I could separate my feelings of jealousy from loving more then one person. And maybe, I couldn't. I don't know the answer to this question. My hope would be that I would be able to get over it. If I could not however, I would just endure.
As far as love triangles go... I think I could be in one. I really do.
I mean, certain aspects of it would be hard... Actually, I guess there wouldn't be anything too difficult about a love triangle. If we all love eachother there would be no problems.
I mean, if I wasn't 'in the mood' and the two of them were, I wouldn't get upset if they had intercourse, I honestly wouldn't care, because I would love both of them and they would both love me. I'm sure I might has insecurities about 'playing favorites' but I think those would come to pass.
Just the other day while working on set of a film (I'm an actor) I met a very attractive guy and I think I was a little infatuated! This of course upset me, so I talked to my partner about it. I felt guilty, I felt like I was betraying him for well, having a little crush on this guy. So i distanced myself from him.
So I will use him for an example. If it is possible to like someone else in that way, why would it then not be possible to fall for that said person. If that said person was okay with a poly love triagle, if he developed love for my partner and my partner for him, why not? I see nothing wrong with this.
My problem comes when I am not involved. Like I said, maybe I could get over it. Maybe I couldn't. All I know is I would endure, because I need my partner. I love him. I just want him to be happy.
I have also set up an email for him.
he is having a very difficult time right now, and if any of you want to offer your support I am sure he would appreciate it.
The email address is email@example.com
I will not read any of the mail you send him, I will simply give him the email and password.
Again, thank you all for your support.
Are you of compatible sexualities to be in a triad? That is, are you both male, or is at least one of you bisexual if you're an opposite-sex couple?
From what you're saying, it seems to me the worst part for you would be feeling excluded and rejected. Therefore I would suggest trying to get close to any partner he might meet. Become friends with them, get to know them. Even if you don't end up being involved sexually, emotional connections would be important, as it's less threatening to know "he's out with so and so" than "he's out with this person I don't know and who I'm therefore picturing as threatening to me".
He doesn't want to leave you. He wants to be with you. He is being honest and letting you know that he might fall in love while still loving you. He's also letting you know that he wouldn't feel true to himself if he ignored one of the people he loves.
It's not choosing, to a poly person. Choosing would mean being with only you, or only the other person. That's the way it feels for him, I'm sure. To you, it probably seems like anything short of rejecting anyone who isn't you is choosing them over you. But that's not the way it feels for him and it doesn't mean he loves you any less. It's probably hard to understand on an emotional level, but if you manage to, you should feel better.
Make sure to be honest with him about your feelings. It's one thing to be willing to sacrifice in order to stay with him, it's another to keep quiet about the efforts you're making. He does need to know if it is hard for you, he can do his best to make it less hard. He could seriously hurt you by accident, simply for not knowing how you feel. He doesn't understand how you work anymore that you understand how he does. He knows the basics on an intellectual level but won't relate, won't realise he might be hurting you. Be very open about it, without being reproachful.
Just let him know "I feel this way, I want to stop feeling this way, let's work on it together".
I wish you the best of luck, feel free to come back often for advice on specific situations as they arise.
Look, you are "what iffing" this to pieces just because he announced that yeah, he is poly. This may be hard to hear, but here's how it seems to me, a stranger. I mean it kindly, ok? :)
So WHAT? He's announced he's poly. That is all. And?
If he's a decent person, he's not just going to RUN OFF with some other poly like a thief in the night. Why would you date a guy that would be so low to do that to you? You wouldn't. Of course not. So he is a decent person. And a decent poly person would come to you first and go "I feel like I would like to we renegotiate our boundaries to open up the relationship. What are your feelings on this? "
And you would be given the chance to state your wants, needs, and feelings about all this and take it one thing at a time. If you are open to that or not open to that when the time comes IF IT EVER COMES AT ALL.
Anyway, that's all service to one possible FUTURE that isn't even here. It hasn't happened. He's only shared the announcement he's polywired. Not that he is poly and wants to open up and start dating. Get a grip.
But why is just thinking about it getting you all ants in the pants? What do you fear?
You stay home anyway right, when he's out with the guys doing pal things right? Maybe they get a coffee. And if you do not do that already, why don't you? Doesn't he stay home when you go out with the gals for coffee? And if you don't do that why don't you?
He cannot be your whole universe.
What about what YOUR needs and wants to be happy? If shooshing all your own wants and needs aside "to make him happy" is causing you all this distress, what is that telling you? You aren't really happy, are you? You are distressed.
You have some needs/wants going unmet and unvocalized. Cuz you worry more about being alone than being happy and put your happiness aside. Why do that?
Why don't you feel safe and secure being alone? Why don't you feel safe and secure in this relationship? What has he done to make you not trust him?
And this business setting aside all your wants and needs so that his comes first might sound all noble but it is actually awful. Why burden him like that? So he's suddenly having to shoosh all his needs aside to tend you yours then out of some tit-for-tat obligation? You SHARE happiness with him. You CREATE happiness for you. You do not outsource all your happiness needs on to him and expect him to fill your happy meter up.
Making him your whole universe is suffocating him. Is that how you treat loved ones?
Is he happy being the perpetual propper-upper? Or is he burning out under the burden? Get him out from under there by standing on your OWN. Close beside, sure but on your OWN feet. Learn to meet your OWN needs.
Get stable and secure on your end of the deal. Be two partners like a letter "H" -- everyone standing on their own two feet and hold hands in partnership. A real team. Communicating back and forth. Solid.
Do not be like the letter "A" where you leeeeeaaaannn all your stuff on him and hold hands and expect him to be your perpetual propper-upper. That's a burden. If you love him so, why would you burden him so forever? Having to constantly reassure and prop up and stuff.
It's not what he needs to do so you feel secure if he's already doing all he can. Are YOU doing what you need to do to get secure?
If you are not, and you overlean on to him? You get afraid to lose your propper-upper, and afraid you go splat. No wonder you worry so much about him "running off" then. Stop leaning and stand on your own feet. Then you don't fear falling!
Work on yourself to be more like an "H" -- whether he stays or goes isn't the point here. (He's not going anywhere. He loves you.) But even you recognize you are overburdening and over-leaning.
Be you growing more secure in your own skin, more sturdy on your own two feet. Do what you need to do to be that stable secure partner for him, since you love him so. You will both enjoy each other more when you are in better balance -- in yourself and in the partnership.
What you focus on you get more of.
STOP focusing on all this fear talk. Cuz none of that is actually happening right now, is it? He's here.
Focus on this:
That other stuff you are doing? That's what-iffing stuff out of the air. That is NOT your reality right now. That's making stress for both. That you could STOP.
Stop the what-iffing yourself into upset. If this is a solid rship, it's a solid rship. Whatever Life might throw your way you will face it together like solid partnership. Not rickety lean-to letter A's.
Stop feeding your bad dog. Feed the good one.
That would be a good place to start. Stop talking inside your head to yourself like that feeding the nasty dog. Feed the other one. :)
Now if you are honestly confused ask for clarification. (But do not zoom off into whatiffing doom and gloom. Pause that, and just get it straight from him. )
It would mean he'd not choose because in his main rship with YOU. The rship is CLOSED and not open. So there isn't any choosing to do. Because he would not cheat.
He's with you. There. End of story.
The love would fade for that other person because there's nothing going on. Just because you feel a feeling? Doesn't mean you have to ACT on it, you know.
This is going to become more and more important if he starts exploring polyamory. You'll need to stay on top of your own emotional health, and you'll need to ask him to slow down when you need to slow down, and you'll need to be good to yourself.
It's a common misconception that people can deal with jealousy by going out and getting their own relationship, but that's just avoidance and does nothing to address the core issues.
Obviously I'm being somewhat fecitious, but nobody loves absolutely all of their partner's qualities. That's not to say you don't accept him how he is, or that you want him to change... but no one is perfect, including your man.
Oh, I only asked that because one of the posts said "I'd feel better if we were both with the same person" which got me thinking, is it even an option at all? Sometimes it isn't.
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