HELP! Im the mono in a mono/poly relationship
Hi all! Im DD123. Im a male age 21 and I have a gf my age who is poly. We are both bisexual and go to the same college (we met in class). At the start of our relationship she wanted an open relationship and I agreed because I like to test the waters before I jump in. Since then our relationship and our feelings for each other have grown. I will not hesitate to call her my closest and best friend. Now Ive jumped in.
Im in AA and have been sober for 2 years. I tell you this for a couple reasons:
A) I have to be open, honest, willing, loving and accepting or I will drink and for me to drink is to die, so I do these things without hesitation to the best of my ability.
B) I have learned that I cant control other people and I can only control myself and how I react to other people.
C) She has come to a couple AA meetings with me and read some AA literature to better understand me and my alcoholism and I want to show her the same respect by doing what I can to learn about her and poly.
D) When she goes out drinking I say "Ok have fun" and do not feel jealous or angry or anything like that (I will cite this later).
E) I have learned how to ask for help when I need it, and that is what Im doing with this post.
F) I like my AA support group - is there some kind of support group or something for poly?
We have spent time at coffee shops and walking down the street looking at people and rating them; like he/shes cute or Id do him/her, and we both would have fun. But this is all talk and my thought process is: "I have a gf that I really care about and enjoy being with, so why would I seek another relationship?" We would talk about it, but personally I would not act on it.
This past week she tells me shes going on a date with another girl. Now its not just talk its actually happening, and Im full of fear. My head goes: "whats wrong with me?" "am I not enough?" "If it starts with 1 where is it going to end?" "Does this mean she doesnt care about me like I care about her?" and other insecure thoughts like these.
We are both open and honest, I Ive told her my thoughts and how I feel and shes told me that its just her and it has nothing to do with me, and that it does not mean that she doesnt care for me, because she does. I understand it intellectually, but I cant seem to grasp it emotionally (you know what I mean?). Part of the reason for this is because I have been in open relationships before, but only because I did not care for the person I was with at that time. I really care for my current gf and I relate being in more than 1 intimate relationship means that you dont care for the other person, thats just my experience.
I accept her being poly like I accept that Im alcoholic; I dont mean to say that poly is a disease like alcoholism, I mean to say that it is part of who we are and its something that we cant change. She told me that she was in a relationship where she was asked to be mono, but she felt as if she was denying who she is, I cant and wont ask her to do that. I dont understand why I cant just say "Ok have fun" like I do when she goes drinking (like I said in D). Maybe because I have spent 2 years learning about my alcoholism, but the whole poly thing is still new to me.
We've tried to come up with some ideas on how to work this out. One was for her to be mono, but shes done that before and it didnt work and I wont ask her to do that again. Another was to just not tell me about her other relationships, but that opens up the door to secretes and lies, and thats not a healthy relationship. We both cried together at the thought of our relationship ending due to a lack of understanding and acceptance on my part. We both want this relationship to work, but we cant ask each other to change who we are and how we feel.
So Im writing this because I need some help, guidance, support, experience, and understanding. I told her about my efforts to learn and understand and she said that she has yet to meet a mono that has changed their mind; So of course I want to be the first. So please, any feedback, experience, strength, hope, links, other threads, etc. is all greatly appreciated.
Hello and welcome.
I would like to suggest http://www.xeromag.com. It is a totally awesome site which has helped me through some rough patches.
When my Primary (don't like the term but can't figure out what else to call him atm) has a date with someone else he does tell me that he's going. I just make sure that I have something else to do at that time--quality time with my kids, my own date, girl's night out, work, etc.
Keep talking, it really does help.
I totally feel your situation here. I've been in the same boat, and now that I'm in an officially-declared poly relationship, the soul-searching and work really hit me. It takes some time, some patience (with yourself above all parties involved, but all-around patience is necessary), and dedication, and love...there is a lot to be done.
I, too, indulged in the "for play" conversations about who we'd do, keeping the relationship open for testing purposes, etc. and I, too felt seriously threatened by her interest in finding other mates. I, too felt serious insecurities and self-doubt spring up. It helped me a lot to talk about how I was feeling with my wife and make sure she knows how important our communication, clarity, and her support are to me. Without her constant reminders of how much she loves me and how she's really not "going anywhere" without me (leaving me), I would be pretty lost, I will admit.
Unfortunately, many poly people get comfortable with the idea of an open relationship and don't realise that when monogamous people live in a monogamous relationship for long enough, they start to expect that it will always be that way. It seems to me that even though we say "yeah, we're cool with it," a proper serious conversation needs to be a standard thing that all poly people do when introducing the topic. To make sure that we really *understand* that they are *actually* poly and *always* will be. And they need to remind us from time to time, too, especially if there isn't another partner in the picture for a long enough stretch of time. I got caught by this, and it seems to be the major falling point in mono/poly relationships. I'm sorry it seems that you got hit by this, too...but it's almost unavoidable. All you can do about it now is catch up, and we're here to help you with that.
The important part to remember is to talk, to breathe, and to relax. It's not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it sometimes. Open communication is absolutely necessary, as you already know, so talking about your feelings, owning them, using "I" language, and being very careful and clear in explaining how you're feeling or thinking to your partner will absolutely save the relationship from the stress that will build due to any perceived threat. Just remember that oftentimes the path one takes to avoid something often brings them to meet it instead. Act out of love, not fear, and you will make it through this just fine.
Have a serious talk with her about it, about her being poly, about how you feel, and don't feel bad about asking for some more time to get used to things. Ask her to take her new relationship a bit slow, so you have time to grow into it and adjust...unless she's already jumped in (in which case, the communication is not just important, it is now mandatory).
You're not alone. This can be a support group of sorts, but there are also area poly groups in various places around the world. Try and find one near you, they do exist.
I agree with Breathesgirl. Xeromag is fantastic. There are a lot of good articles and a lot of good links. Polycat (it's a blog) led me to a few great articles too, though I just lost the bookmark for it, so Google is your friend there.
Remember that while you might be hard-wired for monogamy, it's more likely that Mother Culture has simply taught you that monogamy is the only way to be, and that is most likely the cause of the majority of your discomfort. Screw society, follow what actually feels right. Don't think too much, because that's when societal influence comes into play. Just feel. Be in the moment, be present in your body, and don't get lost in self-destructive thought cycles.
Also, remember, you don't have to be the "mono who changed his mind," so to speak. You don't have to become poly, you just have to come to an understanding that she has multiple parts of her that she needs to fulfill with different people, and you fulfill a very important part of her. Asking her to be fulfilled only by you would be asking her to change who she is, so the only stumbling point should really be accepting that she is fulfilled by you, that you don't mean any less to her, and that she will probably even feel her love for you more strongly due to her feeling love for another as well. My relationship with my wife got much stronger once I relaxed to the idea of her dating other people, because she was able to energize herself rather than holding back and only loving me. Love in poly people seems to defy any laws of physics or science: the more love a person expresses, the more love they generate, and the more love they have to give. It kind of just grows like that. It's pretty cool to be in on such a fountain of love / love generator. We're lucky to be with people who can generate love like that. That means there's that much more for us. Not less, but more.
Welcome to the forums. Welcome to polyamory. If you need somebody to talk to on a personal level, feel free to PM me. I'm most certainly not going to be the only member here who will offer that. :)
Hopefully I can be so bold as to point out that you are young my friend....roll with it! Exploring the relationship and the dynamic that may unfold could be a great learning experience as well as lead to a wonderful relationship.
It's not as if you and your girlfriend are signing a contract for life, your learning about each other and human connections in general.
This is a very good point. Redpepepper has a tertiary lover who is a great guy but the sexual aspect of thier relationship has been suspended while he explores a relationship with a mono partner (damn monos LOL).
I don't have the same level of compersion/comfort for thier relationship that I do with her and Polynerdist which makes the idea of them having a break in the sexual aspect of worrisome to me. How long of a break would it take to make me struggle severely with thier relationship resuming sexually? How long would it take before I see it as a "new" relationship?
To avoid this I simply do not consider them having a break in intimacy. That way I will hopefully not get all weirded out the first time she says she's hanging out with him for an evening when they do resume sexual intimacy.
Yeah, I know this is not a very enlightened way of dealing with this particular issue, but I play mind games with myself in other areas to bridge the mono - poly differences as well....sooo sneaky :eek:
You make a great point that reminders of realistic expectations should be a part of a mono-poly relationship so neither partner gets lulled into a false sense of what the relationship is all about. I also agree that people really need to get deep when they discuss different approaches to relationships. It's not enough to say "I am monogamous"..you need to explain what that means as far as your expectations on a broad spectrum. It's also not enough to just listen to a partner say "I am poly"...you need to live in the moment of "they are going to spend nights snuggled into the arms of another person the way they do with you and are going to have sex with them".
Great advice my friend :)
Wow SS. Awesome post! So enlightened. You seem to be on a positive streak! I'm so happy for you! *compersion glow*
There is one thing I would add from a poly perspective and that is for me I hold some guilt and can be apologetic for being poly sometimes. While you might be feeling fear about her possibly falling in love with someone else, I wonder if she is feeling scared about that too and feeling guilty and apologetic also for being a burden and for having different needs?
Our culture in north America has raised me to be mono, and I go against that. While it makes me whole and complete to have the priveledge of many lovers that love me in return, I will always feel on the outside because of how I have been raised. All I would suggest is to be aware of that and be the one that is the warm arms of acceptance and understanding. As much as you can be anyway. Your gf is not necessarily having an awesome time with all this as she loves you and still feels compelled to act on loving others also. Please keep that in mind.
As for how many? I find that two is plenty for any kind of quality and quantity time. After that it gets tricky and it really depends on the circumstance. I have time for a girlfriend who has an active life of her own with a husband and her kids and we both know our time is limited because of it. We are resigned to that and okay with it.
Just as I divide my time between friends and family I do with lovers also. Actually, I am better at negotiating time with people than most people I know. Especially mono people it seems sometimes. I see many friends and family where as many of my mono friends feel guilty about not getting in touch more often with people they care about. I have become an incredible organizer and time manager. I'm feeling proud of that today :)
You seem to be on a good track to making this all work. Keep breathing, talking, remember that this is the time in your life to explore things. Later in life it gets complicated and is not as socially acceptable. Not to mention there isn't as many people as willing to explore with you. Your time usnow to figure this out regardless. Enjoy the ride and make sure you keep holding on to what is healthy and for everyones best interest. Communicating and honesty are most definitely the ways to do that at the start.
Best of luck.
Thank you all for your support! I found a guy friend who is poly and we've been talking about it and its wonderful getting a perspective thats different from all of the hard-wired monos Ive been talking to. lol. my gf also gave me a copy of the ethical slut and Ive been reading that among checking out other sites and stuff.
I pat you on the back for trying to LEARN about poly before turning tail and running. I am poly and one of my significant others is not. He knew nothing about poly when we met (and I told him about my being so right away), but he wanted to get to know me and learn about poly before making a hasty decision. It hasn't been easy for him, but he admits it was worth it. I wish you luck in your discoveries about poly and in your relationship with your girlfriend.
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