Not so much new..but new to this situation
I have always been Poly. I didn't know it in High School, but at the same time, I knew there was something different. Those friends who I came out to later weren't surprised in the least. I could have GREAT relationships. In my relationships, I truly gave that person my all. I would give of anything I could, I would be the sweetest, most supportive, most involved girlfriend I could be.
The problem was, I always cheated. And I'm not talking about a fling here and there, I'm talking full on other relationships. I would be in love, or really "in like" if you want to be realistic about High School relationships, with two or three people at once. I never felt like I loved any one of them less than the others. I just felt love for more people than just one usually. And I didn't feel the same jealousy my friends did over their boyfriends/girlfriends. I always felt like if someone I was with was sleeping around/fooling around/getting a crush on/whatever-ing someone else, then if there were still feelings between the two of us as well, I could work around it.
Of course, like most Poly people, I dabbled in triad relationships and all that and always found it so...real! I loved the idea, all the love that was involved, the lack of anger and jealousy that went along with a traditional monogamous relationship.
Then, when I was about 18, I met a guy online, I don't really remember how we started talking, but he was living with two girls and called himself polyamorous. I was floored. I asked him about a billion questions about how it worked, how they lived, how they dealt with jealousy, etc. His original girlfriend eventually left and he and the girl who had entered the relationship later decided to continue their relationship and after awhile, they invited me in. While I was interested, I didn't feel like I was ready to be in an openly Poly relationship and declined, although we remained friends for a few years after that.
I started having "open" relationships, in that we weren't monogamous, but we weren't exactly inviting our "extra-curriculars" home either, except maybe for a drunken kinky night after bar-hopping! ;) It still didn't feel right. I longed for what my friend had been able to experience. I just didn't know if I could do it.
Eventually, I followed the traditional path and found someone I loved and decided to get married. We were monogamous at first, but both of us felt like we were lacking something. Shortly after our child was born, we realized we wanted a big family, but not with a bunch of kids. With a bunch of adults. We wanted to have a "nest" family. We started talking about it more seriously as time went on and he decided he wanted to do a "don't ask, don't tell" at first, because he wasn't sure he was ready for the jealousy. So we tried that, it didn't work. We were too open with each other and had to tell each other. So we became open. Eventually I had my boyfriend, he had his girlfriend, and we were all very happy together. It was a very healthy place for us and, amazingly, for our child. She was so happy to have such an open, strong family. It was by far the happiest time of my life.
My husband left us one night when he realized he had grown up too fast. It all fell apart. It wasn't the same without him and my boyfriend and I broke up very soon afterwards.
Fast forward to today. I am in a wonderful relationship with a wonderful man who loves me and my child very much and who we feel the same way about. However, he is monogamous. Unfortunately, he is not open to my polyamory at all. He feels that since his is more the "norm" I should conform to him. To him it is simple, don't sleep with other people. To me, being Poly has nothing to do with sex. It's about love, it's about family. Yes, sex is one way to express that love, but it's not the focus. I'm not a swinger, I'm truly a lover. I have agreed to try to be monogamous for him, but I feel like I'm taking a huge step backwards. I want to be with this man, but I feel like I'm giving up a huge part of me to be with him. How can a Poly person become monogamous? Is it healthy? Is it right? Will I end up feeling like I'm lacking some essential part of me one day? Will I end up miserable?
I am empathizing with you right now as I try and put myself there and imagine not being free to allow my love to shine. I don't think I could for anyone. I feel for you. I really do.
I hope that this man decides to look at it differently eventually. I hope that you don't see it as "conforming to him" at some point. I hope you are able to get back to what you know in your heart to be your true path...
I really can't see any point in carrying it on if there is no change in this situation. What is the point of living if one is not free to follow the path that has been given them. What will that teach your child? That mummy chose a man over her true passion in life.
I think I would give him a good shot, talk a lot about poly, send him on here, give him books, find a poly group, whatever it takes to educate him. Then, if he seems receptive, move very slowly into allowing yourself to go to that lovely love space that fills you. All the while holding his hand and telling him how much you love him. Listening and talking about every emotion that comes up. Reassuring him all the way of how much he is important in your life. Who knows, one day it may just all be "normal" in the sense that you have made it "normal" for the two of you, not what society dictates.
There is no right or wrong here and there is no fair judgement that he loves you any less if he doesn't want you having sex with other people just like you love him any less because you may want to. There is probably only a difference in criteria for the same type of commitment you both are seeking. I am specifically mentioning sex because, in my experience, that is what the vast majority of mono types see as the difference between platonic and poly relationships. (I can even say this from my own perspective).
Perhaps explaining the benefits to him in opening up the relationship with respect to his own ability to explore new loves might help him accept the idea? Perhaps he is more conditioned mono, than wired.
This is a very tough position to be in. Perhaps, as Redpepper said, give him a a chance to learn, and you may have to use your own leverage to achieve this. The choice is not a one way responsibility. Perhaps in order to be with you he has to choose to be with someone who is open to more relationships or lose you from his life.
Both of you have control. He can try it your way and see what happens, you can try it his way and see what happens. Or you can find some middle ground of understanding that is mutually healthy.
There is no ultimatum in relationships IMO.....only choices that affect the outcome.
Take care and hope you find your way..both of you
Thank you both so much for your insight. It really helps. I've decided to sit down with him and have a discussion about the whole thing and see where it goes. I'm not extremely hopeful that it will go in the direction I'd ultimately like it to, but maybe we can move toward something that will feel like more of a compromise than a sacrifice.
In answer to your question, Mono, yes he knew that I was poly. He and I have been friends for a long time and he knew of the situation when I was married and how happy it made me. However, while he hasn't said this exactly, I think that he felt that it was something that was caused by what he feels was an unhappy marriage as opposed to something that was part of me. Unfortunately, I don't feel like there is any chance of him warming up to the idea. He said the idea of me being with someone else made him feel physically ill and he could never imagine being with anyone else. I don't think he's programmed so much as just naturally monogamous. Of course, sometimes the programming towards monogamy can be stronger than people want to believe...
Thanks again. *crosses fingers* I hope...I hope...I hope...that the discussion goes well.
Good luck and thanks for taking the time to answer :)
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