birds of a feather, flocking, etc.
I'm Chicken, I'm about 25, I've been in a relationship with a guy I'll call Salt for three years, we had been friends since we were in high school and I knew he'd always been interested in me, even though I was adamant about women up until I broke up with my last girlfriend. After that it probably went too fast, I moved in with him mostly because I didn't have anywhere to go and he's helped me in a lot of ways, like getting on my own two feet which I had trouble with from the start. I feel really secure with him but the way I love him feels desperate. Over the summer we went from a closed relationship to an open one when he cheated on me with a guy we'll call MiniTruck or MT. There were tears and all that but we just moved in to a new place on a one year lease and neither of us really want to break up, but he's basically told him I don't do for him sexually or emotionally what MT does. Salt is extremely kinky and I'm vanilla as ice so I knew that already, but the emotional stuff is recent and harder to get in to.
Since I agreed to this though MT has been hanging around our house way too much. I see this guy when I get home from school or work and I immediately want to knock his teeth in. He's smug and stupid and I have no idea what Salt gets out of a relationship with a rock that can't even collect algae in the quick stream of bullshit that rushes over him constantly.
This is not even my poly dilemma and probably useless information, but I'm trying to be honest because I expect to get a certain answer that I don't want to hear. Whether I want to or not, I probably need to. I haven't been single since I was twenty, and that's two relationships in five years, which was one too many for me because I am dying to settle down with someone(s?) who's as dedicated to certain things as I am.
Which is where Pigeon and Finch really get me. They are together, I knew them both briefly before they were, but they've been together about as long as Salt and me. Pigeon's about my age and Finch's a little younger than us but not significantly.
I have a lot in common with Pigeon. We grew up in the same area in California, with similar backgrounds, in to our mid twenties, but mostly our goals are eerily identical. We both want to roost in the same loft, and we're just a few years out from having the means and money to do so. This is big for me, because Salt has always poo-pooed my ideas about the future, and finding someone like Pigeon who not only wants the same but has told me he wants me to be a part of it has me bursting with excitement. We talk in depth about this shared interest like it could really happen, and it's not just a pipe dream.
Finch is more flighty, but still down to earth. I don't think her goals align exactly with Pigeon's but they make a lot of compromise with eachother. I know no one has a perfect relationship, but they seem pretty close. She's kind of behind us in terms of her future timeline, but we have five-plus years on her too. I think she has a pretty great head on her shoulders though. She's smart, proactive, and compassionate. Last weekend I spent some time with just her, which isn't uncommon because we go to college together and have similar schedules, but we biked over to the beach and hung out almost til night time when Pigeon came with some wine and it was just a really interesting night involving fire and too much touching for people who are just friends. It wasn't sexual just intimate. And it's not the first time I've felt like that. I spend so much time in their house we're up all night sometimes squeezed on their tiny couch just talking and drinking.
This Friday I drank too much and spent the night. Usually I sleep on the floor of the living room but we all crashed on the bed on Pigeon's suggestion. I don't know what that means. In the morning Pigeon had to leave early for work but he took a picture of Finch and me passed out spooned together with their dog on top of us. When he got back and showed us and made some joke about Finch getting drunk and sleeping with another man, I didn't know how to take that. On one hand it seemed like an underhanded comment about him being hurt but on the other they both honestly laughed about it.
Maybe this is all useless information, sorry about that.
But I've spent so many Sunday mornings wondering what it'd be like if it was just the three of us. At first the idea weirded me out. Or not the idea, but that I was thinking it, because I've always had a negative view on poly relationships in terms of what they would mean to me. It's a pain to walk home in the mornings I spend there and come back to Salt, not because he's unbearable though, but because I'm still thinking about them.
I have no idea how to broach this subject with anyone.
I'm scared about losing my friends if I ever talked about it, but I'm always crossing my fingers behind my back hoping somehow they'll bring it up first.
I'd never want to damage their relationship and I worry a lot that they're just not telling me to fuck off because they're too nice.
I'm mostly stuck here.
There wasn't really a question in there, I wrote it before I went to sleep sorry.
I'm hoping for some advice on how you would ever even bring this up to someone?
And then how to get over the fear of asking?
Just be straightforward. If they're real friends they won't drop you, even if they're not interested. I would start by asking if they know anything about open relationships, explaining that you're in one now, asking if they've ever considered it for themselves and then, if things seem right from there, just put it all on the table, tell them that you really like them and might consider being more than friends if they're interested too.
Be warned, dating both members of a couple can be really tricky. Don't go into anything with a set idea of how it has to look. Maybe you'll develop a strong connection with one but not so much the other. That can still be a very viable situation, as long as you can maintain a decent friendship with the other.
Good advice here: www.morethantwo.com/coupledating.html
Thanks for the link Annabel, it was very insiteful. I can already see where I was going wrong with my way of thinking. I have some difficulties imaging them as anything besides a couple, though I consciously know they're individuals, I had all these plans about starting conversations with them as a unit, I guess. But the more I do read the more hopeless it seems.
I've talked about my relationship with them since they don't have any real connection to my boyfriend and I've been trying not to alienate any of his and my mutual friends with the garbage. I'm worried maybe I gave them the wrong idea now, though. I'm sure they have thoughts they don't share with me like I obviously do with them, but I think they generally understand my open relationship is something that doesn't work. Which is true. I didn't know much about poly and open relationships before MT because even though I sincerely dislike him I've been subjected to enough time with him, and he has enough experience with this, that I sort of understand how it could work. Doesn't mean it's working.
Which is scary because I thought I had a good relationship with Salt that could overcome a lot but I've been proven horribly wrong. I'm jealous, and it's offputting to think that either of them could get jealous, because it's a terrible feeling and a shitty state of mind.
I haven't even had an open talk about sexuality with them. I wasn't even thinking about that until now. I'm pretty sure Finch thinks I'm gay and I'm starting to wonder if maybe that's why she's been affectionate with me. And Pigeon's a really nice guy, but I have no idea how broad his actual likes are, I just know he's comfortable enough to touch and share a bed and hold hands but that's nothing, and come to think of it, we're always drinking at these times.
I know I'm working on a lot of assumptions. It does nothing to speculate even though I REALLY want to speculate, and I want to speculate for the best, that'll surely end badly. I need a checklist or something.
1. Comprehension of poly relations
3, 4, 5, etc.
It's good that you're aware of how alcohol can alter people's behaviour. You can't spend your life getting drunk every time you want to be intimate.
It sounds like you've never really been on your own. I personally feel that a person needs to know how to be single before they can be an equal partner in a relationship. Salt has a hold on you because you "need" him.
It sounds like a very dysfunctional relationship, and I'm not sure I would classify it as polyamory. It sounds like he cheated on you, and then "informed" you that this was now an open relationship, because he wasn't willing to give up his new toy, but nor was he willing to give up the comfort of having you around. Where was your say in all of this? How were your needs being met by this arrangement?
Even though you don't consider that your "poly dilemma," it's very central to your current situation. It's going to taint everything you look at. You see these two friends with their great relationship and think "I want that too" so you figure, why not join theirs? The problem is, you haven't dealt with yourself yet.
My advice is that first you need to leave Salt and learn to be single for a while. Don't just jump from one relationship to another. There's no rush. You're not even 30, you're just a pup. At 25, your brain is just now finishing to grow.
For 20-25, two relationships is about 3 too few, not 1 too many! How do you figure you even know what you like and dislike in a partner, with such a small sample size?
Yeah. As I write it out I realize most things have been liquor influenced, not just between me and them.
As far as being on my own, no I haven't really. Not successfully.
This is the answer I was expecting though. I'm not going to try to write it off because it's glaring. You're probably right.
I fully accept that he cheated on me, and I'll be the first to admit that it was his suggestion to open our relationship only after I found out. I fucked up the part where I got to have my say, which was early on when I could have made the decision to go, by being stupid and desperate and wanting to stay together. I still feel like I want to stay together but I get more bitter every time he does something that hurts me. I've told him what bothers me specifically (or tried to) but he says I'm petty and being unsupportive, I agreed to open the relationship, going back on my word, etc.. It's not his fault I get jealous and defensive. We have problems that predate MT.
Last week I didn't want to leave him, I don't want to break up if this is just a bump we could fix. Not just because I don't want to be alone but because I love him and I'd even like to go back to before this summer when we just argued about insignificant nothing.
I think Finch and Pigeon have their issues but yeah it makes sense I suppose, to be jealous of their relationship too.
30 is so old.
The end of relationships hurts so much, why would you want so many? I know I've heard it before though, that it's better to date around. But I also heard it takes more than a few years to know who you're with, really. If I had a minimum of three more relationships, that lasted 3+ years each, I'd be grey before it was over, and it seems like such a setback to spend time alone. Anyway, maybe I'm too stupid to get along without someone.
Why are you being so hard on yourself? You deserve to be happy.
It's a dirty trick that unfortunately isn't that uncommon, when the cheating partner turns around and tries to make you feel guilty about what happened. I'm talking about him calling you unsupportive when it's he who's being unsupportive.
This very well could be just a "bump" you need to fix, but that requires him being on board with fixing it. Right now, it sounds like what you need from him to fix this relationship, is to let go of this guy he cheated on you with, or at least put it on hold until your relationship is solid again. If he's not even willing to entertain that idea, then he's not interested in you and the relationship, but only in himself.
I agree that it takes years to really get to know someone... but only a couple months to realize that you can't stand them :) Basically, as soon as the "honeymoon phase" wears off (on here, we call it NRE or New Relationship Energy), you start to see someone for who they really are. Then you decide in a matter of days or weeks that you like who they really are, or else you move on.
Now, I'm not saying it's impossible to meet someone in high school, marry them, and live happily ever after. But it's not at all common, and most people who try are really just afraid to be alone and settling for less than they deserve.
The way I see it, in every happy & healthy relationship, the good should outweigh the bad. The bad should be things that you're both trying to work on improving and eventually eliminating, where possible. By your description, it sounds like the bad outweighs the good. Staying with that is selling yourself short.
Hon, it sounds like he's using you. He knows you have low self-esteem and that you're not going to stand up for yourself, so he's just doing whatever the fuck he wants, regardless of how you feel. That shit just ain't right!
That leads to my other concern: Do you think you're healthy and happy enough right now that you would have something positive to bring to the other couple? Or are you just looking to escape your current situation, and hoping that they'll swoop in and save you? It's not fair to them to put that kind of expectation in their lap. Only you have the ability to make yourself happy, no one else can do it for you. And until you make yourself happy, you can't be part of a happy, healthy relationship.
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