I guess I'm poly. Hi, everyone.
I originally found this forum while searching for some insight that I could use in my day-to-day life; I didn't intend to register until I realized that there's no one in my "real life" I can talk to yet, and some company might be nice.
So, about me and my situation: I'm a 22-year-old, gay-with-occassionally-heterosexual-tendencies female. I'm currently in a monogamous relationship with a girl I am crazy about.
Meh. I often hate long monologues about myself, but I'm just gonna go for it. Basically, when I was 15 I met another girl (we'll call her 'L') who I feel madly in love with. I've never really clicked so intensely with anyone before or even since. We were together for four years before breaking up pretty badly. We had a cluster of issues; a major one was her growing distance from me and my growing jealousy toward her relationships with other girls. After we broke up, I was determined not to feel that sort of jealousy every again, or to ever make anyone feel like I was stifling or limiting them. I was determined to love myself to the point where someone COULD cheat on me, and I'd be okay.
So, flash forward almost 2 years, I haven't talked to L at ALL in that whole time, I'm with a new amazing girl who we'll call 'B', whom I adore. Well, L walks back in to my life and my feelings for her haven't diminished one bit. She confesses her undying love for me and I spend the next few months feeling like a jerk, feeling like I must feeling more strongly for ONE of them, but it's not true. Finally, I decide not to see either of them. I break up with B and tell L that I'm willing to see her casually but that I'm not sure of my feelings for her, as I thought I loved B, too.
Usually in this situation, normal mono people say, "if you think you love both of them, you must not REALLY love either of them." Well, I think this is total bullish*t now, but at the time I wasn't seriously considering polyamory so I kind of accepted it.
Anyway, L and I broke off all contact AGAIN for nearly another two years. In this time I start a relationship with yet another girl (let's call her 'Z'!), my current gf, who in many ways is the most satisfying partner I've ever had. I can trust this girl completely, she's so genuine and sensual and I truly adore her. We've been together about a year and a half and, big surprise, L gets a hold of me again. I'm led to believe she's interested in being friends, and that excites me. Honestly, I've always seen her as my best friend who I happen to be highly attracted to. However, just having her in my life totally trumps any desire for sex with her so a "friendship" is preferable at this point.
Shit, this is way too long...if I were more considerate I'd edit it, but that's happening.
Anyway, I visit L (she lives about 3 hours away), we have a fantastic time, share some drinks, and at the end of the night she kisses me for a minute or so, we stop, and drama drama. She tells me she's never been happy with anyone else, that she can't stop thinking about me, that in the NINE freaking years we've known each other, she's never truly wanted anyone else.
Needless to say, I'm pretty speechless at that point. Here's the thing: I basically realized a while ago that I don't believe that monogamy is the most superior form human relationship, nor even the healthiest. I'm not interested in serial monogamy. I'm not interested in loving someone completely, only for it to end somehow and convince myself that the next one will turn out "better", or that I somehow didn't truly "love" the previous people. I think that of you can love more than one person in the course of a lifetime, there's no reason you can't love more than one person at the SAME time.
Honestly, I see monogamy as more a product of cultural conditioning than any biological necessity or "higher purpose" (as many religions might have you believe). But I'm sure I don't need to tell you guys that. :P
But I still have my doubts. I wonder if all this is my excuse to be selfish. I what a polyamorous life looks like, if I can handle the consequences and implications of my own evolving philosophy. I don't know that I can overcome feelings of jealousy. I can picture my girlfriend with some people, and actually feel pretty aroused, happy for her; picture her with others and I feel myself getting jealous. Worse, I'm not sure our relationship could even survive me "coming out" as polyamorous; it would devastate her. I only just told the truth to L via email, whom I haven't heard back from yet.
Whew. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read and respond to that. I swear I don't normally write stuff like this, I just feel like my mind is reeling and don't know how to cope. It's like, I want to love authentically, which I know would involve multiple relationships, recognizing my own and others capacity to love and have unique relationships. At the same time I just dot know if I'm emotionally mature enough, or how to gain that maturity.
I read it all. :)
Sounds, to me, like you made all the right calls except right there at the end. You have a responsibility to your current partner and telling someone else before you talked to her about it could potentially go badly. Deal with the people you're in a relationship with first and everyone else second.
Otherwise, good read. :)
I read it, I hear you. To me it sounds like you have recognized that you have poly tendencies while trying to operate in a mono world.
Take a step back and breathe. Think about what would really make you happy. Think about if the decisions that you are making now take you further along that road to happiness.
When you found yourself having feeling for both L and B you broke it off with both of them. Did you give each of them the option of staying with you? Is that terribly different from the situation you find yourself in now?
From an outside perspective - being honest with the people that are important to you is vital. If someone is going to be in a "real" relationship with you they need to know the "real" you. Otherwise they are in a relationship with an imaginary fictional persona. Which isn't fair to them (or to you).
Just because you think you may be jealous if your partner is with another doesn't mean that you can't let them know that you can envision situations where you wouldn't be. What if they have been having the same thoughts but don't know how to express them? (PS. don't count on this, many never have considered poly as a possibility)
Again, step back. 5 years from now how do you want your life to look? Do you want to be having the conversation with your current GF that 5 years ago you had these feelings and you never voiced them and NOW (5 years later) you feel the need to explore your poly tendancies that you have kept bottled up and secret for all this time?
Just askin'. (You don't have to answer - just giving you some food for thought). I didn't share my growing attraction to Dude with MrS - I did it wrong (you can read about it in my blog). Luckily for me it worked out - it has worked out for others - it has failed miserably for many. Ultimately, this is YOUR life - how do you want to live it?
Random thoughts from...
Thank you both for getting back to me. Sorry again about the ramble.
Jane, I think you're right about "recognizing poly tendencies while trying operate in a mono world."
I feel so cowardly because I do not want to hurt anyone and I don't want to lose anyone either. I know it's a risk I need to take in order to Jane honesty and happiness down the road, but it doesn't make it any easier. I can't help but wonder if I'll ever find people that are not only accepting of this lifestyle, but that I truly adore as much as the people in my life now. I know that sounds naive ("waaahh I'll never find love again!!") but I don't know, I guess it's just really hard and counter-intuitive to tell someone you love so deeply "sorry, but we just can't can't be together if you can't accept this accept of me that I don't fully understand myself and haven't truly explored".
Bah. F*cking relationships. I hate having to devote mental and emotional energy to shit like this when there are so many other things worth devoting my attention to. Scientific pursuit, for one. Structural in equality. Gendered oppression. The plight of the panda. I would almost rather being an ignorant serial monogamist and float around alternatively in states of bliss or boredom or angst. At least then I could approach people with an assumption of both or us wanting the "status quo" rather than me having to pitch some "radical" shit in order to be "honest" and "authentic". Blech.
I appreciate all your hypothetical questions. The thing is, the major reason I even feel the need to "come clean" about my feelings and beliefs is so I can pursue relationships with BOTH these woman I love, and perhaps others I may meet in the future. However, I know neither of these people will be okay with "sharing" me, and I'll just lose both of them - at the same time I know the only right thing to so is be honest. I just find it so hard to explain to people - I think they think of it "having your cake and eating it too" wanting the best of everything without having to be responsible and commit.
I don't know how a conversation with my partner would even start. I told my ex-girlfriend first only because she professed really intense emotions for me (of the sort, "I've never wanted anyone but you, I think about you and my chest hurts, etc.") and she's not the emotional type normally, making what she says that much more poignant. My partner is a whole different matter - me saying this could potentially disrupt my entire life with her.
Okay, here's really why it's hard: I'm not the sort of person who likes to sleep around and I don't grow fond of people frivolously. If I give you my time and energy, it means I love you on some level. I don't even know how I'd begin to explore this life if I lose the people I love. I guess I'd just be like your average single person, except with the added baggage that I have to let people that I dont even deeply care about know that being in relationship with me is not traditional.
I know what I WANT to happen; I want A and S to come to terms with it, accept it, and be open to pursuing it. I want to continue seeing both of them on a level they are both comfortable with. I want them to meet each other and grow really fond of one another, everybody happy with the arrangement. Thing is, that's not happening. So I don't know how to envision my life in five years. There's what -or rather, who - I want, and reality.
Maybe skulking around this forum and reading about people who are really happy will make me feel better.
Scratch that about skulking around this forum "making me feel better" - if anything it's made me feel more anxious. I just have no idea how to begin approaching a potential lifestyle. All these different rules and shedules and sleeping arrangements and ahhh. It's like it seems so right in theory and yet the practicalities of everything are just beyond me.
And as part of my whole "honesty routine", is it fair for me to have told my ex that I still feel as deeply for her as I ever have after she told her about her intense feelings for me, while suspecting she wouldn't be accepting of the whole poly thing? Should I have lied about my feelings so she can just move on with her life? That didn't seem right at the time, but since then or ruminated and felt doubts. I guess my logic is that I have to face my gf eventually, and either a) she'll be open to it and I can pursue this other relationship or b) she is not okay with it, we break up, and the other person would need to know ahead of time what she is getting into with me.
Damn, I should have just journaled all this shit. I guess it comes out differently when you intend for others to read it though.
If some mod wants to move this to the relationship advice section, feel free to do that; doesn't really feel much like an intro. :P
Welcome to our forum.
Even if looking around on our various threads and boards has made you more nervous, you may find that your nerves calm down after awhile. Polyamory is a whole new lifestyle. There's a lot to learn.
I wouldn't rush into anything too fast; also I would advise keeping things at the friendship level with L (as much as possible) unless/until you get around to the difficult poly discussion with Z. I don't see any problem with being honest about your feelings, and if I'm understanding right, you've already told L about your poly inclinations, and are just waiting back for her response.
Just don't feel like you need to make any big decisions before you start to feel a little more comfortable about things. Right now, the status quo is adequate for you. What you need to figure out now is, would you rather travel the "safer path" in life and risk losing out on the possibilities polyamory offers, or would you rather risk losing one or more relationships in order for polyamory to become a possibility for you? It won't be an easy choice, either way, and I just think you should invest considerable thought and time into it before making it.
That's my advice anyway, based on my impressions from reading your posts here. It shouldn't be about "what you're supposed to do;" it should be about "what your heart tells you to do."
Don't know if any of that helps. Anyway, I'm glad you could join our online community.
That actually helps a lot. Very sensible advice. Genuinely, thank you.
Kevin does have sensible advice, doesn't he? :)
I'm not sure what you're reading that's making you nervous, but you might want to start with a tag search on something like 'coming out' or I'm not sure what it's called, but there are a few good threads on how to have that conversation.
I didn't find this forum until after I started falling into this vee I'm in. My 'new' bf is also my ex, who has maintained close friendship with both me and my 'current' bf throughout our relationship.
I'm just sayin, I totally understand about an ex, and still having feelings. I kinda skated on 'the conversation.' CBF had often joked about being okay with me having sex with FBF. So my conversation was 'remember how you said you'd be okay with that? were you for real, or was it really a joke?' And he said it was for real.
I would ask you to think about it as, 'I'll present it to my partner and see what happens.' Rather than, 'it's not happening,' because you're shooting yourself down before you begin. It's often said around here, that we go at the pace of the slowest. It's not just 'here's how it is, take it or get out.' It doesn't have to be like that. (and it might go a whole lot better when it isn't that)
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