Am I capable?
We have been together six years; monogamous for the first 4 ½, and open for the last 1 ½. We started off in the swinging scene; it felt like a safe way to explore having sexual variety as we could do it together. We still date couples together, but it is a smaller portion of our relationship now.
We met K&J after a couple months. I did not click well with J, but he clicked well with K. That’s when we started negotiating separate relationships. He really wanted to have a separate relationship with K, and it was really overwhelming for me because it felt like he wanted everything to move a lot more quickly than I was ready for. We had a first really big fight over this, and that was traumatizing. I thought we were breaking up. He ended up losing his interest in her and having a relationship with her because of all of the drama it caused for us.
We worked though all of that, and I thought I had come up with some better parameters for expressing my needs and ways of coping with this different style of relationship. Then, a few months later we met L&J. The same situation happened: we met them in a couple-to-couple situation, and I didn’t click well with J. We both clicked really well with L, but she was much more into being with him than into being with me. It was really difficult for me to get over those feelings of not having my attraction to her returned. He started seeing her separately, for casual sexual encounters. The first few times were difficult for me, and consequently difficult for him because he was worried about my emotional reaction. The last few times were much easier, because I began to figure out ways of distracting myself by being with other people while he was gone and doing other things I wanted to do. He eventually also lost some interest in her as a partner, partly due to those first few times I had a hard time and also partly due to the fact that he craves a deeper emotional relationship and she is only willing to give so much emotionally.
Most recently, he became very intimate with a girl I was dating (discussed in more depth in the thread I started a couple of weeks ago “sharing my girlfriend went wrong”). After I requested that he turn the volume down on his computer and phone when we are together so I am not triggered by knowing they are talking, he decided it just wasn’t worth it anymore to talk to her and he broke it off. He is furious that it ended that way because he feels like he is not allowed to have the separate relationships that he wants. But I didn’t ask him to stop talking to her. I asked him to accommodate a very strong trigger point I have right now.
I want him to have the emotional relationships in his life with the people that he wants to have them with. But he has concerns that I have too many hang-ups about him having these separate relationships and that is a deal breaker for him. Adjusting to having separate relationships as an option within our relationship has been difficult for me, and for reasons that I know very well and am working on by myself and with a counselor. I have a tendency to feel dependent on him and our relationship, and to feel excluded when he does something that I am not a part of. I see how those things are unhealthy. I own that, and I am working on all of it. I don’t think of myself as static, and I don’t think of our relationship as static. I feel like I have learned from each of these experiences, and I am really sad for him that I had difficulty with each relationship that he wanted.
We have realized since opening up that claiming the poly identity has to be done as individuals, not as a couple. He feels poly. I feel like I am in a weird gray zone. I don’t ever see myself as monogamous again, just by virtue of being bi. And I have felt in love with a couple of people since we have opened up, and I have experienced how I can love multiple people at once. But I don’t feel this innate draw toward the label “poly.” Maybe I just need to steer clear of labels, and live how it feels right, regardless of what other people might call it.
I am not sure what I am hoping to gain from posting this. I think some understanding or other perspective would be helpful. We are young (24 & 23), and I know a lot of the people on here are older than that. It has been extremely rewarding to read about other people’s experiences with poly, and the advice and comfort that are shared here. I would appreciate advice and comfort about our journey.
I identify strongly as poly.
But, my husband doesn't.
However, he is capable of loving more than one and is interested in having another full-time partner. He just doesn't feel comfortable with the label so much.
Which sounds somewhat similar to what you are saying. I think it's perfectly ok and reasonable to feel that the label doesn't "quite fit me" and so not claim it.
For the Pride Parade this year, we had a float, it was "I am JUST me". Sometimes we get so caught up in finding our "label" that we forget, the most important label we have is ME.
It's great that you are working on yourself-that's important. Try to be understanding that he now has difficult emotions to work through too-trust issues, based upon your previous actions. That also happens to all of us, there's an ebb and flow. It's part of life-but it's important that you realize it, so you can avoid getting caught in the "wtf is your problem NOW?!?" attitude. His problem is that he has to witness a significant enough change in you that he can regain trust that what has happened (several times) won't happen again-AND he has to gain enough momentum to want to risk it again. That's a tough step. ;)
You are doing good work in writing thoughts out to help sort yourself out. Kudos on that part! :)
What does swinging have to do with this poly arena? Nothing. What does using labels mean? Nothing, shy of giving things a handle. There's MANY types of polyship configurations. The bottom line? How do YOU play and can you play well in all your buckets?
I feel each one of us is mind, heart, body, and soul. The smaller buckets that make up the Whole Person and their Whole Well Being.
Opening to swing is one thing. You can take each other along to swing as a safety/security blanket thing because it's one offs of casual, recreational sex. You only tend the body bucket for the most part -- you physical safety and physical health. A bit of the other buckets to look out for since they are all always interconnected. But the main deal is the body bucket.
Opening to polyamory is another thing. There your main deal is the Heart bucket -- emotional health and well being. The other buckets come into play -- mental health, spiritual health, physical health. But really? Heart bucket is the main stage. Polyamory = ability to love more than one. You have the capacity. Yay. You have some equipment.
NOW how will you play?
Over here? Believing this?
I think maybe you guys have come to find that you Opened to poly without doing enough homework in the Heart Bucket. You don't sound sure you are in the right arena to begin with. You want to play....something.
I'd suggest temporarily Closing to catch that up. Learn what poly is and is not for your INDIVIDUAL selves. You will see that "doing poly" is as varied as there are poly people. (Ex: I have no interest in a poly tangle. I want a poly V. I'm also a married. And I don't want to mix children in there.) This is figuring out your wants from your needs.
Then reality test it to see if poly works for you as a COUPLE. Playground some common situations – not just the ones you have already tasted. So if you bump into any others, you go in better prepared. This is knowing your limits as individuals and what the couple can take. Keep in mind once you Open, you are not longer only you two. The other person has their feelings and their heart too.
In kinkytown? Whether your flavor twist is rope or knives or whatever? To play well in that edge play? You have to know your materials well and the materials tolerance/breaking points. You also have to know yourself well, and how you handle yourself when things are cool and how you handle yourself when things hit crisis/emergency. As a top, bottom, or switch. Also negotiate with your play partner(s) where their wants, needs, limits are for the scene. Then you determine if you can be in business together or not.
This is similar – call poly edge play of the Heart.
You have to know your materials – emotions, emotional management, emotional articulation, emotional limits, emotional wants, emotional needs.
You have to know yourself. You have to negotiate with your existing partner. You have to decide your scene (poly configuration) and then write a job desc -- the job of being your poly person partner. (Looking for a single? married? Older? Younger? Bi? Something else?)
You have to interview your applicants. (Dating that ones that seem interested in what you have to offer them and you find interested. do not date anyone who comes alone who is merely poly. Be picky). Then you have to decide if you want to hire or not. And what to do if this person sucks at the job.
So homework time. That is my advice to you.
Decide were you want to go, how to best get there, then get in the car and drive over there with intent. Stop getting in the car, starting it, putting gas pedal down, and takings hands off steering wheel to cover eyes and hope you get.... somewhere ding free.
It sounds to me like what you're saying is: "This is my relationship situation right now. What do you think is going on?" One thing steps out front and center. Your boyfriend chooses women who trigger your fears.
The reason I point this out to you (other than the fact that I see it) is to ask you if you're interested in taking a closer look at this. Are you willing to consider the possibility that one of the reasons you are attracted to your boyfriend in the first place is the fact that he is attracted to women who trigger your fears?
Whenever someone "triggers" you, you have the opportunity to feel the emotions that are triggered within you. That is always an opportunity to get to know yourself better. Those who have the courage to look right into that experience, and therefore look right at themselves (instead of looking at the person who did the triggering), usually come away from that experience knowing themselves better.
A big part of happiness is knowing yourself really well. I see problems in life as opportunities in disguise. Part of my happiness is the feeling of curiosity I get when I'm looking through the problem to find the opportunity. It's like a treasure hunt. The opportunity is always there. Most of the time it's something I hadn't even thought of. Going with the opportunity I find usually feels like an adventure.
I'm telling you this because I know from my own experience, and talking to others I know who are genuinely happy with their lives, one of the things we have in common is we each know ourselves very well. The reason we do is because life gave us lots of opportunities to look at our unresolved emotional stuff. A lot of those opportunities included feeling fears that were triggered by the behavior of others. We each grabbed as many of those experiences as our courage and energy could handle, and used them to get to know ourselves better. You can too.
The women your boyfriend is attracted to are giving you the opportunity to look at yourself and the emotional pain that is inside of you each time they do something that causes your boyfriend to do something you don't like. As long as you're experiencing those triggers, use them to get to know yourself better. Look at the things "she" does that cause him to do something that triggers a fear in you like she is literally pointing you in the direction you need to look to understand yourself better - because she is.
What do all of the things you feel when you are triggered have in common?
What is the common fear?
|All times are GMT. The time now is 11:55 PM.|