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all1legs 04-27-2010 03:22 AM

Poly dating advice
Hi all!

Thanks in advance for letting me draw upon your experiences and knowledge. Let me give you a little background on myself, and then I'll get to the issue I'd love some input/advice on.

I am in a non-monogomous relationship with my boyfriend of 2 years. Our exploration of non-monogomy to this point has mostly involved swinging i.e. sexual experiences with other couples/singles/groups that we participated in as a couple. While we both find the sexual novelty really fun and an invigorating part of our sex lives, I have found myself missing the emotional side of the equation. I love the experience of having a crush, developing an attraction, flirtation... these things turn me on way more than just a straightforward swinger's "play date".

Recently my boyfriend asked me if I was attracted to a friend of his who we have recently been spending a lot of time with. He expressed a thrill at thinking of me with this friend. Since he brought this up, I have felt a real surge of attraction for this friend, whose personality and company I had always enjoyed platonically before this. Our friendship has become increasingly flirtatious, and I am pretty confident that he also has similar feelings for me. I am really interested in moving this beyond a friendship and pursuing some sort of poly relationship with this guy.

My boyfriend helped to pave the way a little by telling his friend about some of our past non-monogamous sexual exploration, but I'm not sure what the next step should be. If I were single, I would feel comfortable steering this friendship into romantic territory, but I don't quite know what is appropriate here. Do I need to sit him down and give him some sort of exposition on my relationship with my boyfriend? Or do I subtly plant hints that my boyfriend and I have some openness in our relationship, and hope he'll make a move?

Has anyone been in a situation like this before? Would love any thoughts/experiences/advice that you have!

xoxo L

idealist 04-27-2010 04:16 AM

Since your boyfriend brought it up, it sounds like things are moving in the right direction already. You could start out with a date- just the three of you and see how things go. I'm sure you'll get a lot of good feeback here!! Welcome!!

redpepper 04-27-2010 07:49 AM

Speaking from my own experience and from what I have noticed, starting with swinging can sometimes make a person forget about the *relationship* part of relationships, rather than thinking about the sex part. I found that I had forgotten what it is like to actually love someone and work on that love together. I went right for the sex every time when I dated because that is where I thought my worth was to others. Not that I am a worthwhile person, but I am worth fucking. Swinging caused that in me.

I'm not saying this is you, as you have said that you like romance, have known the guy for awhile, miss the crush part etc. All good, but I wonder if you have a turn off button for sexual encounters. I didn't for a very long time after swinging. I could fuck anyone (within some reason)and think they cared about me. I would hate to see this potential partner use the information he has about you swinging as a means to get laid. How much did your boyfriend tell him in order to convince him that you would be a good lay. How much did he sat about you being a wonderful person that deserves love, respect, caring for and to be happy.

The language behind swinging is vastly different than poly language I find. Poly is not so much about fucking as it is about making love with someone we hold dear. I'm sure you and your partner have made love and know that it is different. This is the feeling of which I speak. This feeling is what poly is all about.

I think I would move very slowly on this. Test the waters to see if you can remember your off button to swinging and turn your on button to loving and caring for another partner. I think I would also go on a date just the two of you and tell him yourself what swinging means to you and how this feels different and how you want something different from him. If in fact you really do. My worry about all three of you going on a date is that it will turn into a threesome fuck fest and may just defeat the purpose. That is all good if its what you decide is better for you, but if it isn't I would wager you end up feeling used, disappointed and disrespected. I have felt this way in the past when I didn't realize I had a swingers off button to turn off. Its turned off entirely now for me as I only desire sex with those I love. I have found, after a long and difficult journey that swinging damaged something very sacred about sex and connection for me and have done a lot of work to get that sacredness , self worth, self respect and integrity back for myself. I know for some swinging makes them feel empowering, it makes them feel sexy and wanted. I had that at the time, but now I understand that it also was a quick fix to my need for self love and I invested in my own damage.

All I can say other than that is to take it slow. There is a lot of time and no rush to *make* it work. Rome wasn't built in a day. It sounds like you all have some research to do, even the man you are considering as a partner. Do that work and start communicating. This is the first step and SO important. More so than first dates and sex. You all need to know if you can survive the huge change that will occur once its decided to go ahead with a relationship between you all in a poly manner.

GroundedSpirit 04-27-2010 12:57 PM

Hi Legs - and welcome !

Have you and boyfriend even discussed the difference between pure sexual encounters/friendships and ones including emotional involvement ?

I think I'd start there before I opened myself up to that. There's a pretty significant difference in how that plays out, the levels of communication necessary etc.

Don't "assume" your BF is prepared (or knowledgeable enough) to share you emotionally as well as physically.


all1legs 06-14-2010 12:59 AM

Thanks for your responses! Some thoughts/updates...

I wouldn't say I have had enough time as a "swinger" to have the strictly-sexual aspect of that lifestyle programmed into me. In fact, I would say that is why I have found myself dissatisfied with it. I also think that, when you start "dating" (I guess by which I mean exploring a beyond-platonic relationship with anyone), you don't know yet if it is going to evolve into love or if it will move past a a certain level of connection. So I am slightly skeptical about the clear cut difference between the "swinging" mode (ie sexual approach) and the "poly" mode (ie loving approach). I think all non-platonic relationships fall on a spectrum between love and sexual connection. I mean, when I think about all of the serious, emotionally committed relationships I have had - they often started off as a more straightforward instinct of attraction. That is what made the relationships move past friendship, the sexual element. And sometimes it fizzled out, and the emotional depth didn't develop, and sometimes it became very deep and serious. But its hard to start off any relationship with the knowledge of "I want to love you" versus "I just want to fuck you". I start with an instinct, and follow it to find out what the potential of that particular relationship is.

ANYHOW, I have a real update on my story! My primary partner had been away for work for many weeks (with a few weekend visits in there), and this past weekend, knowing I was going to be seeing this friend who I have been developing this connection to, he encouraged me to make a move with him. So I did! We had a really great night together, that felt really open and honest and passionate and intimate, though still taking things somewhat slowly. Unfortunately, I am going to be away for quite some time on a job, so we have to put this on hold until I return. My boyfriend and I have been talking about it, and he is comfortable with me pursuing this more when I return home. I want to take it slow, and am sort of glad we have this time apart to think things over and not get totally overwhelmed by these feelings now that we are able to act on them.

Phew! Any new wisdom for me now that I have taken one step down this path? It has been really helpful to get my mind working in new ways reading your past responses.


Quath 06-14-2010 01:53 PM

It sounds like things are going well. I would suggest that you make sure the new boyfriend gets a little Polyamory 101. Make sure he knows that he can not "win" you away from your current boyfriend. And let him know how he can deal with his jealousy (ok to feel, but treat it more as a sympton than a problem). Other than that, just keep the lines of communication between all of you.

idealist 06-15-2010 01:19 AM

Sounds like things are going pretty good for you! I know it must be scary, though. I decided to pursue the polyamorous lifestyle in January of this year. On Saturday night, I slept in between two of the guys I am in love with....one on each side of me. It's been a process of talking to them about how I wanted to continue to see each of them (and a few more people that I've known for a while) and being present with each of them when we are together. It helps that they like one another too!! Guys can be almost like kids and when the three of us are together, there are several different dynamics which take place.

One is where I'm the mother figure and they are brothers competing for my attention. As long as I validate both of them and show them each affection, they are fine!!

The other is where I'm the lover and they are each the man that is going to satisfy me intimately and sexually.

Another dynamic is where I'm the wife and they are there to assist me around the house and yard etc.

And another is that we are all friends and we are just having fun!!!

So....it's all good.......good luck!!! and keep us posted !!!

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