Is this even possible for me?
I've looked over some similar threads hoping to glean some insight without having to post a lengthy entry, but though I found some help, I'm not sure it's enough just yet.
I am a monogamous male feeling like something in me is broken because poly just doesn't seem to gel with my relationship wants. I've read about the power of 'mine' and NRE and the adjustments periods which doesn't mean I understand it completely, but I'm invested in this thing enough to try. Now, on to the relationship in question...
As stated, I'm monogamous. I want to share all of life's experience with another. I want a diving partner. I love putting my energy and focus into growing and nurturing a mate, a term that seems frowned upon somewhat, and receiving that. I've always been of the mind that if the one I'm with wants to be with someone else, please be free. No animosity felt. Heartache, of course, but not anger. I don't seem to be wired to share something like a relationship. Did I miss a crucial lesson in kindergarten? Do I not know how to share? But, I've asked myself, would I want to be the one being shared and loved by two, and the answer is still no. To be fair, I've never been in that position, so never say never I guess. I also don't seek to control someone else. I just genuinely want to grow alongside another person and share life. I'm not a fused at the hip guy and I respect my partner's independence and want some of my own. I also don't expect a partner to meet every possible need I might have but I don't desire to spread my need across more partners. Platonic relationships can be enriching as well.
I feel like I've found my twin flame (a term I found on this forum). She, I believe feels the same. She is married and sort of poly. I say sort of because She has friends that are poly and her and her husband decided to give it a try. So I'm her first poly experience and we're all trying to make sense of it all. Up to this point my relationship with her has evolved completely separate from her husband though he knows everything. Communication has been lacking in that way, but aside from hefty denial it's been honest. She has essentially found herself in two monogamous relationships and exhausted. She wants things to be more poly although she has expressed that part of her wants to be mono with me as well. I've admittedly been in denial, as has she, but now it's time to get real. I love her more than I ever thought myself capable but I find myself falling back into that 'let her go' mentality even though she doesn't want to be let go and her husband has all but rolled out the red carpet for me. I've never been married. Up until this point, I've never thought much about marriage. But this girl, I can see all manner of scenarios of growing old with her.
I've read a few different takes on this relationship style and feasibly we could grow old together in a 'V'. But, honestly, I'd not choose poly for myself, probably ever. I do choose her, however. I feel like I'm between the rock of trying to force poly on myself and hope for the best or the hard place of walking away from the deepest, most passionate bond I've ever felt with another human being.
Is this relationship doomed to failure? Her husband embraces me into their family which would be perfect if I didn't feel like the square peg pushing and squeezing himself into the triangular hole. Please help. And thank you.
You have answered yourself you know.
Is that about where this is at?
Then to spare YOU more pain and get your out of gridlock? A decision must be made. BY YOU.
These are your two choices.
1) You must break up if you value your core desire to be in a monogamous relationship structure more than you value being in relationship with her.
If you want monogamous relationship structure and it isn't to be had here -- GET OUT. There is nothing wrong with wanting that monogamous structure for yourself. And yes, it will hurt to break up -- but there are MANY Right Ones out there. They do not all come at the Right Time or in the right structure for you. Tell your family/friends network you will need support going through the stages of grief as you mourn the loss of a major relationship since you just broke up with someone.
(I think you lean here and you are feeling sad about this. I am sorry you are sad.)
2) If you value being in relationship with her more than the monogamous relationship structure, you must choose to abandon that belief.
Be be fully present in your "V" without adding emotional mess on the side wishing for things you cannot have and will never have in this V structure. Giving up a long treasured belief is painful too -- but beliefs can be changed. If that is the approach you will take -- get your beliefs and actions reconciled so you can be a good "V" partner then. Tell your polypeeps you will need support going through the stages of grief as you mourn the loss of a major belief.
Life choices are not always picking between the "win/lose" thing. Sometimes it is "this choice stinks" and "this choice stinks too." So it becomes a case of "Pick the least stinky thing" here. Whatever it is.
But stop creating angsty gridlock over it within yourself. Do the job in front of you and DECIDE already. Endless emotional stinkage for all is no good and the reason is what? That everyone wants to be shirky about deciding things? Do not want to sit down to have hard conversation?
Well...pressure cooker time will sort it for you then. One of you or several of you will simply blow up fed up with the chronic brewing stinky and things could get ugly.
What is the goal when the polyship changes?
Choose wisely. I already think you are leaning to the bold there. But you really must DECIDE and inform them of your decision.
You have the responsibility to KNOW and STATE your wants, needs, and limits to yourself and to your people.
What GG said.
That said... I'm Mono, but in a Poly relationship because I value my relationship with my partner more, but I had to (painfully) let go of my desires for a traditional Mono relationship with him. I had to let go of what my future may look like (how do I envision retirement, how do I envision growing old with him).
What helped me was time and openness in communicating this all with him and his OSO, and being excruciatingly, painfully, honest (I had a LOT of resentment toward his OSO for "changing" him, when I should have also harbored some anger toward him at dangling the "marriage" carrot, and at myself for clinging so tightly to it). It was like mourning a death, to be honest, and it was NOT easy. I still find vestigial remnants of it here and there, as well, and those have to be dealt with as they come up.
What also helped me was pulling back and looking at things from the "30,000 foot level". Being married was no guarantee of what my future would look like, either (says the divorced girl who had no idea what to do with herself afterward).
One thing that is a continual issue for me (and your mileage may vary, but I want to give you a heads-up) is time. I need a certain amount of time with my partner in order to feel like I *am* building a future with him, or that I have a home with him. Due to various circumstances, we're not there yet, and it still feels like "dating" or "he's coming over" to me, rather than "he's coming home". One of my concerns is that it may never feel like "home", even when we're able to spend half-time together. If that happens, I'll need to honestly evaluate the relationship and see where we need to go. In the meantime, it's a good relationship, and I have hope, so onward and upward we go... :)
Good luck to you and all involved!
A difficult situation, and I am not going to contradict the advice you have been given so far.
I understand that this woman is fantastic and that you are in love with her. I understand that you are monogamous and don't want more than one person in your life. You also are sure that you don't want to share anyone - you want a monogamous relationship.
She is not going to change her nature for you - if she is truly poly, and she left her husband, chances are she wouldn't be able to be monogamous with you - if she has the capacity to fall in love with multiple folks at once and want that simultaneous relationship, then she is going to want that while in a relationship with you, too.
So I think that you have to ask yourself if you are happy accepting this the way it is, and things not changing. It's not a "best of all possible worlds" happy, it is more of a "net happy" - does the happiness you get from this outweigh the pain you sometimes feel that she isn't only just with you? If it does, then carry on, knowing the decision you made. If it doesn't then this really has no future and why are you putting yourself through this?
I'm not a big fan of the advice that there are "plenty of other fish in the sea" - some people really struggle to find folks that are compatible. I just think you need to look at the here-and-now and make a very honest self-assessment.
This was invaluable support. Sometimes the internet, when not tearing people down, really does show the network of positive energy we are capable of. Thank you.
GalaGirl: You have it all in order. The choice has been given to me, which is why I made my way here to find assistance. The weight of that choice was starting to close in around me. Thank you sincerely for breaking things down for me in such a digestible way that I can more clearly see the facts of this thing. Especially the reminder that choices can be made between two stinky options rather than good and bad.
I'm not completely sure which way I'm leaning. I go back and forth. The old me would cut losses and try to be friends, but this past year has been an overwhelming opportunity for change in my life outside of this relationship, so I'm trying to figure out if these pains are, perhaps, growing pains. I'm willing to buck my trend for the sake of my own evolution as well as this girl being so incredibly dear to me.
CielDuMatin: Your description of happy vs net happy makes a lot of sense. Sense that's hard to come by when you're mired in the thick of it. Thank you.
YouAreHere: How did you let go of that desire? It is absolutely like mourning a death. What was your grieving process for something like that? And the fear if it will ever feel like coming home is in perfect line with my own. How do you resolve that feeling when it comes up?
A side note that is funny in that having to laugh through the pain sort of way... On my desktop is a letter that I wrote to her on Valentine's day and for whatever reason (maybe just laziness, or fated laziness) I titled it 'V'. I discovered this directly after posting at 2am when I closed my browser and it was in my direct line of vision. I just had to stop for a moment and let the tumultuous soup of emotions (anger, sadness, confusion, loneliness, etc.) sit down with perspective and have a nice picnic.
Amusing side note.
Definitely some good, solid advice.
One other piece would be for you to define what exactly it is that you want from a relationship-in concrete action form.
Make a list of concrete actions that you need and ones you want in a relationship.
One thing that came to light for us (one mono and two polys) is that what we each THOUGHT we wanted, wasn't really what we wanted in our individual relationships.
For example, my mono actually sleeps best alone. He THOUGHT he wanted to be able to sleep with me frequently. But, he figured out that what he REALLY wanted was the cuddle time. So, he sleeps alone, but I go to his room and cuddle with him for the last couple of hours of his sleep time.
I thought I wanted everyone to live together-which is what we are doing. But, honestly, it feels claustrophobic at times and I think I would be much happier if we could own a large piece of property with a couple houses on it so we could each get away to some private-no family space more frequently.
Poly DH thought he wanted to have 2 nights a week to go date. But, he found out that he actually doesn't like that. It riles HIS insecurities. What works better if he has one evening and one morning-so he doesn't end up losing out on the "family time" that happens in the evenings (we have kids too).
So, really consider for yourself-you would prefer mono-TOTALLY GET THAT. But, what are the concrete actions that you correlate with a mono relationship?
Redpepper has a mono boyfriend. He lives with them-but he has a separate apartment with a locking door in their home. Because he needs a "place of his own" and some space and privacy.
Figure out what your hard line concrete needs are-which you correlate with monogamy-and then figure out if they can be met in a poly dynamic.
If for example-one is your partner not being in love with another person-that would be a NO WAY-can't mke that work in a poly dynamic.
But if one is having your own home-that is do-able.
Good luck either way!
BREATHE. If you are currently emotionally flooded, do not decide anything major just yet.
But perhaps make a small decision for yourself such as
Then go read things about emotional flooding and how to cope. Here's 2 places to start:
You can't make a good sound decision when overwhelmed.
So after you do your self care, if this is still the choice you are simmering on the back burner? And you are going to really invest in it and put it on the front burner?
Spend some time with yourself. You can google "change belief" and get all kinds of things for how to change core beliefs in a step by step fashion if you are not used to doing that kind of inner work.
You also spend time with yourself to KNOW you wants, needs, and limits from this harmonious "V" thing. Get them in order you can then STATE them to your polypeeps and enter the conversation of discernments so everyone steps up to the negotiation table with their cards and you work out what is best for all. You prob have to set an appt date so they have time to gather their thoughts in order. Figure something out that takes ALL of your wants, needs, and limits into reasonable consideration that is fair. The happy medium you can all be good with.
What do you want out of it? What do you need to feel safe in it? (Mental, emotional, physical, spiritual health buckets)
For instance -- do you need your open relationship model to come in a polyfidelitious shape -- where it is just the three of you and only the three of you? Is that a soft limit (for a time of X months/years and then open to change to deal with the others dating) or a hard limit (No WAY, Jose! NEVER more than the 3!)
Do you all communicate well in all your polymath tiers of this configuration? Deal with conflict resolution ok? How flexible are you as people grow, age, etc? Do you check in often enough with "state of the union" talks to get the temperature checks on how all feel/are doing along the way?
Have you done enough reading and learning on polyamory and common situations like jealousy? Division of labor/money/time?
You do not have to be perfect. You do not have to know all the answers before going there. You just have to know enough to feel ok enough / safe enough flying in a polyship and feel like when Life Happens, you and your polyship can roll with it with some confidence/grace and will help each other through it. Some of that comes with preparation, some of that comes with experience over time. Can't rush the experience over time, but CAN do some prep.
Where are your "enoughness" lines at? Some places will feel comfortable. Some won't. Do you have a place that is COMFORTABLY uncomfortable?
Figure it out.
Hang in there! Personal growth is challenging.
However, another thing that helps is seeing that my relationship with my partner is a good one, regardless of whether or not there'll be a marriage or 24/7 living arrangement, and that's the important part. :)
How do I resolve the feelings about it potentially not feeling like "home" with him? I haven't gotten there yet, unfortunately. Given that my ex has primary custody during the week, and I have my kids on weekends, *and* I don't yet feel comfortable with my partner spending the night when the kids are there, we haven't yet been able to spend as much time together as we potentially have (his OSO and I have a schedule, goofy as it sounds, and we basically split time with him - he'll spend two days with me, then two days with her, etc.). Once we're there, and we're spending as much time together as we have, if it STILL doesn't feel that way, then that's going to have to be a serious topic for discussion.
I used to let it worry me more than it does, but it distracted me from enjoying what I currently DO have, and that became a problem. The worry won't help things in the long run, and it detracts from what I have now, so I try to just keep telling myself I'm not there yet. And for the most part, it seems to be working.
Gotta run (late for work? Oooooops!), but I hope this helps! :)
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