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-   -   Being a mono secondary (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2633)

Eni 04-25-2010 05:11 AM

Being a mono secondary
 
First, the background; I got ennui with the dating scene and at some point managed to snare myself a girl (I'm gay) who was interested in being a Domme. I'm not sure what I was really thinking, considering I'm not exactly the casual sex type, but I just needed something good to happen for once. Anyway, she's poly and has a primary boyfriend.

We spent a lot of time emailing, and a while back we finally met and had dinner together. The thing that freaked me out about this was how much it felt like a date. This lady is extremely respectful of me, and I really appreciate that, but it does mean that even though the idea was a BDSM type deal some form of courtship is going to happen first, with some form of intimate relationship coming afterwards if said courtship is successful.

We're meeting again soon, and I've kind of gotten past the self-deception of "oh no, this isn't dating, this isn't relationship, this is something other". I mean, seriously, who am I kidding? This is dating. It may not be the monogamous kind of dating I'm used to, but it is. And it's not exactly unlikely that during the courtship more emotions start happening besides just trust and physical and platonic affection and intimacy.

Is there any way this can end besides in tears? I don't think I'm cut out for being poly, and I'm certainly not going to be completely fulfilled being a secondary. Maybe it's better to pull the plug on this whole thing before it can go somewhere bad, because even though this could work out great for me - getting intimacy while I'm "single" to the world - what would happen to her if I did find a partner? I don't want to treat her as disposable, just like I wouldn't want to be treated that way, but my dating life is complicated enough already without adding "...oh yeah and I have a Domme partner on the side, I hope that's okay?".

Thoughts?

kamala 04-25-2010 09:42 AM

I think sometimes you just have to take the love and affection that you get from this world in the form it comes to you...?

You seem to be hesitant to go down this road with this new woman, because it will threaten an imagined possible (monogamous) future... but there's something in you that's brought you this far already :)

Will it end in tears? I like to think the possibility of that is as high or maybe only slightly higher than if it was a more conventional setup. Why not give the whole thing a try, and if in a while your intuition is still telling you to run, then at least you know you tried :)

EugenePoet 04-25-2010 01:47 PM

Quote:

...what would happen to her if I did find a partner?
If you met another partner who was open to poly, then your current potential partner ought to be good with sharing you. Fairness is pretty important to poly relationships: if she gets other partners, then her partners have that possibility too.

If you mean that you would become monogamous, then it would be possible that she would be hurt. It's also possible that she would wish you well, hope for your happiness, and remain a friend. Isn't that true?

Why don't you ask her?!? It's great when people show they're thoughtful enough to consider their potential partner's future and their happiness!

Rather than over-think the issue on your own, I might tentatively suggest you open up to the girl and her primary. Ask them what they think, how they would feel if you became involved with them and then later fell in love with someone else.

I'm a secondary and my poly GF is very sweet about this issue. When I talk about meeting a particular woman and needing to manage the friendship so that no one gets unrealistic expectations and hence gets hurt, she says "Well, Don, but you can't control your feelings. If you fall in love with her you can't just shut that down." So what she's saying is, if I fall in love with someone else she will understand. Of course she is a rare gem :D but really I think many poly people have that kind of understanding.

Don't burn your bridges before you even cross them! Good luck.

GroundedSpirit 04-25-2010 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EugenePoet (Post 27579)
.....................
I'm a secondary and my poly GF is very sweet about this issue. When I talk about meeting a particular woman and needing to manage the friendship so that no one gets unrealistic expectations and hence gets hurt, she says "Well, Don, but you can't control your feelings. If you fall in love with her you can't just shut that down." So what she's saying is, if I fall in love with someone else she will understand. Of course she is a rare gem :D but really I think many poly people have that kind of understanding.

Don't burn your bridges before you even cross them! Good luck.

I think this is well said !

Although it's NOT always the case (because of inexperience etc), one hopes that people who have done some serious work studying poly concepts and have made a conscious choice to live that life are somewhat better prepared for the realities involved.
Better, more open communication
The acknowledged going in that shit can happen.
Emotions ARE involved.

Like jumping into water we don't know the depth of. We know there's risk involved. We MAY get busted up some. We may not. But if we do, it may not hurt less, but we're likely to heal faster. It was an informed choice we made.

GS

Eni 04-25-2010 11:51 PM

Thanks for the replies. It's nice to actually hear some encouraging words on the subject. After I met her I started getting quite a bit of not-quite-outright-stated disapproval from my friends. Unavoidable, since I had a friend with me when I met her for safety.
Quote:

Originally Posted by kamala (Post 27568)
You seem to be hesitant to go down this road with this new woman, because it will threaten an imagined possible (monogamous) future... but there's something in you that's brought you this far already :)

This is definitely true. I knew about this from the beginning and I still pursued it this far. I guess a lot of it is that I've never been the person to dodge the unconventional or even hazardous if it could give me a shot at being a happier person. So I don't really want to pull the plug, but I can only take so much peer negativity before it starts affecting me.
Quote:

Originally Posted by EugenePoet (Post 27579)
If you mean that you would become monogamous, then it would be possible that she would be hurt. It's also possible that she would wish you well, hope for your happiness, and remain a friend. Isn't that true?

That's kinda what I was going for. I suppose her being understanding is a possibility, but it'd still be pretty hurtful. On the other hand I guess I can't exactly exclude meeting someone who'd be okay with me continuing with her. But being gay certainly makes the pond smaller enough without adding "poly" to the list of requirements.

Discussing this with her seems like it'd be too early to the point of being offputting. I did mention that I'm mono and if emotions got involved that could get complicated, she said if that happened we'd have to have a long talk. Which I suppose is good enough for me for now.

So I have an additional question. If the thought of a hypothetical future where I have some form of relationship with this lady and also a primary partner of my own doesn't sound that bad to me, does that mean I might be less mono than I thought? :confused:

EugenePoet 04-26-2010 01:55 AM

"I did mention that I'm mono and if emotions got involved that could get complicated, she said if that happened we'd have to have a long talk."

Do you think it might be possible she thought you meant that as a mono-oriented guy it would be her relationship with her primary partner which would complicate emotions? It may be she was misunderstanding why you were making the comment. Or not. I wasn't there... ;)

I can see your point about jumping in with questions before the friendship is even fledged, let alone before it takes wing. Your judgment is best.

Imagining how it might be... It's hard to know how that relates to reality, isn't it? I think that in fantasies our emotions are under control but in the real world they do not stay under our thumb.

So that you can imagine being in a poly relationship is a sign that it might be possible for you. But if the situation becomes real, then emotions you had not imagined may appear. Or you may find that the relationships feel natural and normal. I suppose no one can guess how your shoes will fit. You are the only one to know.

SchrodingersCat 04-29-2010 04:38 AM

All I can think of is...

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Eni 06-11-2010 12:11 AM

Welp, figured I'd post an update on the situation.

I went ahead and went on my date with her to the zoo. I had a great time and our styles of interacting really mesh incredibly well. She loves being able to decide what to do and where to go, and I like not having to make those kinds of decisions. But she's still very thoughtful, so when I have something to say I say it and she's more than happy to accommodate me.

Physically though? Nothing. But it was our second meeting so I wasn't expecting a whole lot. At the end however I worked up the nerve to ask her where she saw this going. The answer was basically that she wanted to try and pursue the BDSM angle, and from there we went back to emailing to set that up. She said it was good I asked the question because when she's excited about something she has a tendency to take one step then stall out, and me asking helped give her momentum again.

So, I figured that's all she wanted, and I was sort of okay with that. Eventually we managed to schedule a meet which was last sunday, and my was it awkward. It was the most platonic bondage session ever. I don't even need to skimp on the details to avoid TMI! She tied some knots onto me and that was basically it, aside from what little physical contact was required to do that, she didn't touch me at all. During or after.

Unfortunately when I got on the train home and was away from her company propping up my mood I crashed pretty hard emotionally. I felt she had to know, so I managed to schedule a phonecall with her tuesday night to tell her what had happened.

She was so nice and accepting, and told me repeatedly how happy she was that I was finally opening up to her and telling her what was going on in my head. She explained she wasn't sure if she really wanted to pursue the BDSM thing, but that she really liked me outside of that, too, and was really glad I was expressing myself with her. That me not expressing myself made things really hard for her during our contact, and that although we talked about tons of stuff I never expressed how I was feeling about things.

She sounds so pained about me not letting her in. I feel so terrible, knowing I'd been hurting her all along by being so reluctant and uncommunicative and afraid, when she's been nothing but nice and accepting to me, always making sure not to do anything I wasn't ready for. And I realized that she wasn't being reserved, I was! And she was picking up on that and keeping a respectful distance!

We wanted to keep talking more, but a friend of her's had already been waiting for her for 5 minutes by the end of it, so we agreed since we were both busy to email for now. She added that she wanted me to use whatever medium of communication I found easier to express myself to her.

I think I'm going to lay my cards out on the table and trust her, cause she's given me every reason to. Tell her that I really like her, enjoy spending time with her, find her attractive and I want to keep seeing her, but I'm scared because she's poly. Maybe I misinterpreted, and she doesn't like me that way. But she deserves my honesty, to know where I stand. I don't want to hurt her anymore by keeping her out.

Should I feel terrified?

jkelly 06-11-2010 01:25 AM

First of all, thanks for the story. "I'm gay and think of myself as monogamous, but am actually sort-of kind-of dating a poly- domme" sounds a lot more like my life and circle of friends than a lot of questions that we get around here.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eni (Post 27634)
But being gay certainly makes the pond smaller enough without adding "poly" to the list of requirements...

So I have an additional question. If the thought of a hypothetical future where I have some form of relationship with this lady and also a primary partner of my own doesn't sound that bad to me, does that mean I might be less mono than I thought? :confused:

Yes, that means that you're less mono- than you thought. And some gay guys are, in fact, going to be sort of squicked by the idea. But, really, this story is actually kind of sweet, and says something about who you are and how your sexuality works, and do you really want to date guys who are squicked by that?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eni (Post 32376)
I think I'm going to lay my cards out on the table and trust her, cause she's given me every reason to. Tell her that I really like her, enjoy spending time with her, find her attractive and I want to keep seeing her, but I'm scared because she's poly. Maybe I misinterpreted, and she doesn't like me that way. But she deserves my honesty, to know where I stand. I don't want to hurt her anymore by keeping her out.

Should I feel terrified?

I suspect that the terror is coming from learning even more outside-of-the-mainstream things about how your sexuality works, and what you'd like in your life than it is about jitters because you're crushing on someone. Might be wrong, though; crushing on someone is sometimes pretty scary.

Anyways, yes; have that conversation. I'd be willing to bet that it's going to go well. A bad first scene, just like bad first sex, isn't really a predictor of how a relationship can develop. Further, I wouldn't be surprised that the poly- thing turns out to be less of a big deal for you than you think it will be.

Eni 06-11-2010 01:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jkelly (Post 32384)
Yes, that means that you're less mono- than you thought. And some gay guys are, in fact, going to be sort of squicked by the idea. But, really, this story is actually kind of sweet, and says something about who you are and how your sexuality works, and do you really want to date guys who are squicked by that?

I don't want to date guys. ;) I guess I should've pointed out that I'm a lesbian instead of saying I'm gay, that would've made it a bit clearer I suppose!
Quote:

Originally Posted by jkelly (Post 32384)
I suspect that the terror is coming from learning even more outside-of-the-mainstream things about how your sexuality works, and what you'd like in your life than it is about jitters because you're crushing on someone. Might be wrong, though; crushing on someone is sometimes pretty scary.

Anyways, yes; have that conversation. I'd be willing to bet that it's going to go well. A bad first scene, just like bad first sex, isn't really a predictor of how a relationship can develop. Further, I wouldn't be surprised that the poly- thing turns out to be less of a big deal for you than you think it will be.

Well I know part of the terror comes from engaging something that is so far out of my realm of experience, for sure. Probably amplified by the duration it took to get here. I've had a fear of falling for her since day one and 95% of the scenarios I dreamt up during the next year or so weren't exactly happy ones.

And yet here I am, like some sort of crazy person.

Of course the other part is being afraid I totally misinterpreted her relief at me opening up to her and she has no feelings for me whatsoever beyond the platonic. It's not like she spelled it out for me, after all. I guess I will know the answer to that one soon enough...

I do think I may have less issues with the poly thing than I previously though, assuming this develops into a relationship. The more I think about it the more I think I could be okay being her secondary cause... hey, I can still find my own primary. The biggest fears I have relate to me finding someone I feel strongly about who will then go "okay I'll be with you but you can't be with this other lady anymore", and having to deal with the fact that her primary exists.

I don't in fact mind hearing about her boyfriend, and I've actually listened to her talk to me about him a bit. It's just that I don't think if I will ever be able to meet the guy.


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