when to stick to your guns?
so, I have a question for all of you lovely folks out there
when is it ok to stick to your guns, and when is it ok to bend? The girlfriend and I made a deal several months ago that at the end of august I could start dating etc. After talking about being poly for six months, we agreed upon another six to fully become poly/open. Now, coming up on that time, she says she needs more.
so there's my question, when is it ok to lay down the law, and when is it ok to bend?
here are a few things to take into consideration: she is actively working on her issues in therapy (so proud of her for that!). I told her several months ago, I wanted her to be with other people, even if I couldn't yet, so she has been pursuing a girl (and another guy to a small extent).
is there a middle ground? Or should I have to even try to find one, after all we did make a deal/promise. Am I being selfish in sticking to my guns?
That's up to you guys.
I would say if she's doing some heavy work in therapy right now with feelings, and your starting to date could add to her emotional load, it's reasonable for her to come to you as her partner and go
You could grant that or negotiate.
"Alright. I hear you. I get that and can respect that need not to have too much emotional brouhaha at the same time. But if I agree to no in person dates, can I at least post a profile on OKC and start just computer chatting? Can we negotiate a bit here? Cuz I been waiting. Talk to me. "I mean... it really is on you guys to sort it out.
But you feeling like "Aw, man! I've been waiting!" That's normal to feel.
We feel what we feel when we feel it. It just burbles up. We don't choose when it happens.
We CHOOSE how to react in response. Just REACT to the emotion or ACT with INTENTION.
Where's the happy medium? Talk to you partner.
I agree with GG, there's probably some middle ground that you two could reach if you're both willing to negotiate a bit.
Do I think it's wrong for you to hold her to her promise? Not really, but you have to recognize the harm it could do in the long run if she has an emotional overload and decides she can't handle poly EVER because of the speed it progressed.
Do I think it's wrong for you to complete give in and agree to wait on everything until she's "ready"? Kind of. I mean, she's working on it and that's great, but it's not really fair to you to have to deny your identity for longer than absolutely necessary.
So.. I would agree that finding some sort of middle space that you both are comfortable with (online dating profile, casual dating but no serious relationships or sex, you being able to date but agreeing to avoid romantic entanglement with people you both know or that she is in social situations with regularly, or something else that fits you two better) would be the best option.
Supporting her while she works through her issues is great - necessary, even, for the health of your relationship. Letting resentment build up because you get NOTHING during that time would negate all of that growth, though, and hopefully she is able to realize that and compromise a bit to find some ways to let you feel a bit freer and able to express yourself.
Do you have an idea of what kind of time frame you would be looking at if you did decide to just give her whatever time she needs? I mean, is she thinking she would be pretty much completely fine with everything if you would just give her some more time (a relatively small amount of time, I would think 3-6 months) or is she trying to push it off indefinitely?
For what it's worth, I think your situation is tough. I mean, mistakes have been made in the past which hasn't made this whole process easy for either of you. She really is working and trying, so how do you decide when to be selfish? It's difficult to say what is going to cause the most stress in the long run since you're both struggling right now. Finding a way to keep that stress somewhat balanced between the both of you so neither feels overwhelmed is going to take some give-and-take from both of you.
Curiously - what was your motivation in telling her you want her to be with others, even if you couldn't yet?
There are no altruistic acts in life. There are kind, wonderful, genuinely thoughtful acts - but it always has some sort of positive effect on us. I've noticed that my lady, for example, declares "I say f*ck her! Yeah! I'm cool with it! It doesn't bother me!" whenever she is threatened. Why? Because she's thinking of my happiness (altruistic), fighting her fears (self-orientated with altruistic knock-on effect), and giving herself an element of control to the situation (i.e. "I told you to do it" - self-orientated).
Your lady might not even be ready to date others yet? (I don't know - I'm not her girlfriend, hehe).
Poly isn't just about dating other people and not feeling jealous. For me personally, it has three main components:
So... does your lady actively want to be poly? Does she want to date other people? Does she want you to? Could you have 'guided' this relationship into something you want - or is she of complete free will?
Have you sat down and said... perhaps we could each write a list of what we like about the idea of poly? What will be good about it and what will be bad? That can be an effective way of unpicking your motivations behind it. If she's only in it to make you happy, that could lead to problems down the line.
What's your breaking point?
Ultimately, I feel that relationships come down to needs vs wants. I think it was actually GalaGirl that told me in a previous post - it's not about how quickly something happens, but it's about how *important* it is that it happens.
What does this 6 month transition period involve? What was it meant to involve, after your initial 6 months of talking prep?
The only flip side of long prep work, even though it does need to be done, is that it almost feels like revision for the scariest exam in the world.
Your girlfriend is scared. She's digging her heels in because she's afraid it's all going to blow up over your relationship and over her mental health.
In terms of your deal
Things to think about are:
The thing with deals and promises is that we lose sight of what's really important sometimes. Yes.. she agreed to your proposed deal... so she shouldn't manipulatively try to deny you of something she knows you want/need. However, you shouldn't manipulatively try to deny her of something she wants/needs (i.e. time and emotional stability).
Ultimately, it's going to come down to a decision on breaking points in your mind. There's no right or wrong.
My girlfriend was married for 11 years monogamously. It built up and up and up... and in the end she decided "It's poly or divorce". But that's after 11 years of poly repression.
She knew that although she loved her husband, it had gone from the point of "want" to "need". Her breaking point. Wanting is hormonal. Needing is emotional. Are you horny and bored waiting? Or are you unhappy emotionally, sexually and not feeling fulfilled? How long can you go on?
So... if you want to stay in the relationship... discuss a new time frame. Try not to resent her. If you want to stay in the relationship but you force the poly - it will cause bigger problems. If you're a breaking point now, if you need poly, with or without her, you have to tell her. Ultimately, if she is worried about her emotional stability, she's also probably thinking about the health of your relationship - she wants to make sure the sea is smooth before all the bodies start jumping in.
Give and take is tricky in poly. If you feel like you've done all the giving by waiting, how much do you have left to give? Only you can decide that.
am I capable of being involved with others, whilst not losing interest in my primary?
can I nurture my partner effectively whilst I am active with others? can I maintain our emotional relationship? can I balance it all?
can I face my own insecurities well enough to cope with her being active with others?
I love this. Definitely food for thought to be in the back of the mind all the time when considering a poly relationship. I worry about nurturing my partners all the time. Right now, I am not involved sexually with my other. We are discussing it though. I think I am handling the emotional nurturing well. They both definitely are doing a wonderful job with me. I love them both so much.
I'm glad that you liked it! I would definitely not call myself a poly expert. It's just how I see things in the stage I'm at of my poly adventure.
It sounds like you are having a wonderful poly relationship and wanting to be considerate of your lovers.
If there's one major thing I've learnt recently? My GF and I spent so much time nurturing after the event that we forgot to consider damage control! How can we make something better before it happens, so that it's smoother sailing when it happens?
A simple conversation involving "I'm ready to sleep with this person. Are you ready for me to do that? How do you feel? What do you need from me to ease it? How will we go about this?" should make them feel important and valued = less trauma.
Thank you all very much, there is some excellent advice here.
We talked it out last night, and i told her it was not "all or nothing." I told her i was willing to renegotiate some boundaries, and in doing so, break down borders. But most of all, I let her know i love and respect her, and where she is at is OK.
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