Talking to SO about being Poly
How do I do it?! I don't know if he'll be into it or not. I think he will be after I give him the positives, or he'll at least 'let me' be poly.
But really, tell me your stories. How did you bring it up? How'd it go? Has anyone left a partner because they wouldn't 'let' you be yourself be being poly? What's the best way to bring it up with a dude who has trouble saying what he actually thinks at times...?
My only experience of this is when I asked to be poly, without even knowing what poly was.
I'd been with my boyfriend, of the time, for 5 years. I met a girl and felt an intense attraction. I met her whilst I was away on a work thing for two weeks. I didn't act on it. I came home and cried to my best friend because I was so into this girl. ~laughs~ I behaved strangely around my boyfriend for a few days. Then I just basically told him I liked this girl so much and felt so guilty for liking her that I had to get it off my chest. I didn't expect anything more from it. Then he said "why don't you explore that then?"
And my poly world opened up.
My GF's story was different. She basically left it so long that she couldn't take it any more. After about 8 years of marriage, she gave him the ultimatum of poly or divorce. Nice. ~looks left to right~
So basically... I think that the actual talk isn't the hard part.
All the talk does is shows whether or not you are on the same page.
Once the talk is out of the way, it's time to explore it and make lots of silly, selfish mistakes ;)
Have you done any reading about poly? Read The Ethical Slut, or anything like that? I think there is a sticky thread on here with resources. There's a good website too.... I think it's called More Than Two.
We made up all of our poly theory as we went along and ran into a lot of problems in the beginning. We caused each other needless hurt because we were acting like wild single people instead of committed poly people.
Ultimately.... I don't know how to best put this advice.... but it just comes down to having the talk. Not when he's drunk or stoned. Yes, perhaps if you both go out to the pub and have some time together, that would be ok, because it's relaxed.
Be as sensitive as you can and give him space if he needs it.
If he does actually go for it, for the love of God, don't just dive in a few days later. Take it slow.
The most important thing to remember is that it doesn't matter what his response is. What matters is that you are putting your need across, if this is something that you need. It's important that it's out there. There is no point in being with someone you are not compatible with, regardless of poly.
Well, one way to not be completely surprised by their reaction when you bring it up is to talk about someone else (specific not made-up) that you have encountered who is poly - preferably someone who is making it work.
See what sort of reaction that gets. If you get a reaction like "These people are going to burn in the fieriest pits of hell, not only that I wouldn't want to even socialise with them", then you're subsequent conversation about YOU and your feelings would be very different that if they said "Wow, that's a cool concept, we should find out more!"
Obviously the true reaction is going to be something in between this, so you are going to need to read the non-verbal stuff carefully.
I'm not saying don't have the discussion, but maybe you need to do it in stages, not far apart....
But really, tell me your stories.
How did you bring it up? How'd it go?
"I like you. I want to date you. Here's some things you need to know about dating me though..."
And I gave the run down I gave at the time as a single young woman:
Over the years it's become this. But it is much the same style.
Some were intimidated, and nixed right off. Found it too scary/bizarre/new concept.
Some signed up and then bailed when reality hit.
Some wanted to play DESPITE the fact they were looking for something totally other -- like a WIFE. When I was looking for poly (though at the time I did not know the word so I just used "not exclusive."
For some reason they thought it meant I was automatically what? I was not into swinging, and honest, good swinging also carries ethics! I was not nookie for all. Sheesh. Shoo from here. You are weird, I changed my mind. Do NOT want to date you.
Some signed on and I had lovely experiences. One of 'em I married. :)
DH and I are closed for now -- raising kids, eldercare for parents, plates are full. We started talking about it again lately and it was easy as pie because... well, I was honest when I met him decades ago! He's not surprised.
"So, babe. I've been thinking on the poly thing again. I know we agreed to be closed for this time of life. I'm still on board with that. But can we just talk about what it MIGHT be like if/when we get to another place and want to reassess? Cuz I was thinking... man. NO WAY it could be like when I was a footloose single. The married approach would have to take tweakies, no? Talk to me. What would the new plan be like?"And we've been talking and enjoying it. There's stuff here there wasn't before. Like a kid, a home, financial entanglements, if it sours, what an amicable divorce would be like, and so on. We keep it real, and in doing so, it fosters great emotional intimacy/security.
Has anyone left a partner because they wouldn't 'let' you be yourself be being poly?
Sure, but it was dating partner, not married person. I have not had the experience of "realize I'm poly after already being married and signed up for THIS type rship."
In my case it was like "Dude... I was honest from the get go. I am not seeking exclusive. I warned you all about me, my wants, needs, limits. Did you think I was KIDDING when I said do not date me if this is not what ye seek and we can just be friends? You cannot get mad at me for false advertising. You have to be mad at YOU for not listening. This is not my bag to hold."
And I left him because he did not want to own that he did not listen, because he wanted to mold me into something I am not rather than loving just me as I was and accepting me as I was. This was not soft limit stuff I could negotiate. This was hard limit stuff like denying me my personhood even after I laid it out in the front window, so to speak! I didn't want to sign up for THAT so I checked out. It takes two to tango and I decided I didn't want to dance there.
What's the best way to bring it up with a dude who has trouble saying what he actually thinks at times...?
Ask him first how he wants to communicate on big talks. Set the appointment.
Do it by person, by phone, by email in written word, etc. Being in a space/place where both feel safe, both feel respected, both aren't being interrupted by dogs, kids, flying aliens, TV, under work pressure, etc.
Then when appt comes? Float it honest and speak your truth.
"So I wanted to talk without interruption. This is me talking only, I am seeking your thoughts and feedback. I am not doing anything horrible, right? So I've been thinking/reading about polyamory. I'm curious to know your feeling(s) if any on that? "
Though honestly I cannot see me marrying a person who cannot communicate and get their thoughts across. I talk a LOT. :) It's a major love language thing -- words. I wouldn't make it past dating because I'm not into the "silent type" -- I need to be with another yammerer.
So... I'm just gonna go in there and speak my truth whether it's hard to hear or it is hard to get out and I can only manage to say it in a whisper. It must be out there for clear communication to exist. BOTH have to lay it out on the table for any kind of interaction to be going on. I don't want a one sided relationship. I want a two sided back and forth thing going on.
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