In person or over the phone?
A little bit of context. I'm currently in a monosexual relationship with R, who is comfortable with me being poly. About two months ago R went off into the great north to tree plant. We get to speak on the phone once every five days and occasionally in between we get to send the odd text message. His contract will be up in two weeks from today and I will be going out to Edmonton to visit him and then we will go to Vancouver to spend a month together.
Very shortly after he left I met G. We started talking and I developed a crush on G and found out it was reciprocated. I told this to R who was alright with it even to the point where he was comfortable with G and I sleeping the same bed, however R is not comfortable with anything going on beyond that. He hasn't forbidden me from doing it but has stated that it is outside of his comfort zone.
Since the last time R and I spoke about it my feelings for G have developed further and I feel like I need to update R on this for the sake of honesty. Especially because G and I have been a lot more affectionate and I'm not sure whether that is crossing a boundary too.
So my question is...would it be better to tell R now over the phone and give him two weeks to think things through and process it? Or, would this be better to do in person?
Although I would love the freedom to be intimate with G this conversation wouldn't be about asking for anything like that. I just want to keep R updated.
Tell him exactly what you are telling us. You want to be intimate with G and you do not want to wait another two weeks. Human nature is not going to allow you to wait two weeks if you are sleeping next to G already.
I would think telling him over the phone would be okay so that he can process everything and you two can talk in depth about what is and isn't okay (and possibly expanding boundaries a bit) when you do see each other.
You know him, though. Will he react well to the new information without you being there to help him process it? Does he value time to think things over on his own or is he a person who prefers to discuss and come to a decision quickly? Because whether or not you are outright asking for the boundaries to be renegotiated a bit, he's probably going to (rightly) assume that's what you want so whatever process he needs to go through to deal with that is what you need to think about when considering how to tell him.
What are yours? That is where I think this is at. That right now there's a person named G in the world this applies to is moot. It could be him with A, B, C. Or you in A, B, C. Whatever.
But you can't be plunging in with G without some ground rules and agreement for how to handle conflict when (notice I do not say IF, I say WHEN) it crops up. Life is life. There's always a curve ball it flings at ya.
Because if he prefers some kind of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" thing, you telling him puts him in am emotionally awkward place and then you are not guarding his emotional safety. But then you aren't a mind reader either so... back to framework talk first! (And who knows what framework G wants to play by. There's talk on that side to happen eventually too.)
It's too much of a drag to come to find in stormy emotional weather that OOPS! Forgot to lay out some basic framework! Damn! Now have to do it under duress and cope with the storm on top if it all!
It's too much of a drag to not be realistic and come to find that OOPS! We made too rigid a structure that did not allow for life changes or development! (What worked for me and then BF/now DH in our dating life is NOT the plan we'd fly with now as long term marrieds if/when we open up again. Totally other stage of life here!)
Esp in a new polyship thing -- you don't have benefit of PAST polyship experience. You say have been monosexual and R has been comfortable with your polyamorous identity. But he's not actually been living in polyship with you has he?
I can read a recipe to bake bread. But that's not actually baking bread is it? We can hope for yummy loaf, but we accept it could take a few tries, deal with strange half baked things, cope with flour mess on the floor... it is process. Could luck out and execute beauty loaf on first try. But it is skill to do it time and again and enjoy our baking experience together.
So if I'm gonna bake bread here with you, I want to know you are gluten free, man. From the start. We might not know the yummy recipe for us yet in dinner rolls or sandwich loaf or cookies, but let's cut out the chapters that won't ever even fly here from the start! Where are the limits?
Get your framework started, and know your wants, needs, soft/hard limits. Then state them to your partner. Get theirs. Find the happy medium on framework and make room for going back to the drawing board and sorting out probs when they pop up in a sane way.
First of all, if you are unsure if you are crossing a boundary (i.e. being more affectionate) then stop. This conversation will go a lot better with less emotional baggage if it turns out that you ARE crossing a boundary if you can report - "We had been doing this and this but then I realized that it might be a boundary for you and we stopped until you and I could have this conversation." Better to err on the side of caution, I think.
For me I would need have this conversation in person. I am very, very bad at talking to people on the telephone - I literally have a hard time even understanding people if I can't see their faces and non-verbal communication. But I tend to over-think things and get anxious so even ASKING me (on the phone) whether I would prefer to have the conversation in person or on the phone would be bad for me. I would answer that we should have it in person and then spend the next two weeks working myself into a tizzy thinking about what you could possible want to talk about.
If it were ME in R's position the best course of action would be to stop any activity you were uncertain of, pausing things with G at a level you KNOW is ok. On the first day you guys see each other again - get caught up and cuddly-close again. Then after a few hours bring up the relationship/whatever with G that he already knows about and say - "I know that we talked about stuff before and you are ok with x/y/z. Now that we are actually trying this out I have some more questions about how you feel/what you are ok with to help me decide how to proceed. Is now a good time to talk about it or do you want to schedule a conversation in a few days?"
Once you have the conversation I would need a day or so to "process" and work on my answer/response so I wouldn't plan any major activities/visiting for the next day but schedule the next time to talk about it.
Now this is just ME and what I would need in R's position. Other people process information differently (and can apparently talk on the phone without saying "What?" every 5 seconds).
PS. This phone thing is why I could never envision being in a LDR - I rarely even talk to my friends unless they are physically present.
I know I'm a bit late to the game but to add my 2 cents, I prefer to know things ASAP. Recently my spouse and I had an issue where he met somebody he hit it off with on a work trip and did not tell me until he came home, after spending time with her for several days. In my case I've made it really clear that I'd like to know as soon as he realizes he is interested in somebody, and he's agreed to do so. We were talking regularly so it would've been convenient to mention. He decided it would be "better for me" if he waited to get home to talk to me in person. And it wasn't. I don't like other people deciding things for me (let alone when I've clearly stated what I do want) but I want as much time to noodle on an idea as they have, not be made aware of it after they've already had lots of time to think and process and make decisions. I immediately chat with my partners if I like somebody & it feels like I can trust them more if they let me know when they do too without trying to "stage" how they present the information.
On the off chance R liked to be informed so he doesn't feel like he's being manipulated, I'd say either tell R so he can ponder it and cease all questionable activity with G until things are clearly understood and agreed to, or don't tell R until you see him and cease all questionable activity with G until things are clearly understood and agreed to. I'd go with plan A, myself.
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