Falling more in love with Sec than Prim?
Hi. So I'm about to head of to a lecture, but I'm feeling really emotionally unstable about something right now, so I'm going to try and sum this up real quick.
Basically, I'm in a V relationship with two mono's. My primary is my fiancÚ, who I've been with for 20 months, and been engaged to for 4 months. My secondary is my boyfriend who I've been dating for just over 4 months.
Everyone is pretty happy with the relationship setup at the moment, though my primary does want it to be just us after another couple of years, when we move away. My secondary and I are very much in love with each other too, and everything is great until we end up thinking about our future (or lack-thereof).
Oh, P.S. I'm a 21 year old gay male...
So. This post has come about because I spent the weekend away with my secondary, and we had the most amazing time, and then when I got back last night, I started worrying that I might be falling more in love with him than my primary (something I didn't think could happen, let alone would...). Now, I only just started thinking this, and it could just be me coming down from a high at the weekend, I really don't know. However, my fiancÚ was my first proper relationship and (don't get me wrong, I really, really love him, so much), but I'm beginning to worry that I got engaged too early, and that I'm closing myself off from what could possibly be a relationship that will make my life a happier one?
This is really difficult for me (I just burst into tears for the 3rd time this morning, wooo!) and I'm really scared that I do love Sec more than Prim... The thing is, I feel like they are both my soul mates in different ways, and that I want to split into two people and spend the rest of my life with both of them (but obviously I can't...) and neither of them would be happy with a long term poly relationship...
I'm sorry this was all kind of blurted out, and I don't have time to go over it and check for errors or ambiguity, because I have to run off to my lecture now. But I'll be checking for responses throughout the day, so absolutely any advice you guys could give me would really really help (though I'm not really sure what advice can be given in this situation :()
If you have any clarifying questions about my relationships that you need to ask to get a better idea of what's going on, please don't hesitate to ask!
First of all: breathe :) You are in a relationship with two men who seem to have some kind of tolerance for the current situation as long as the end is foreseeable. That should be the main issue you need to discuss with both of them. Because as it seems, you three have very different needs and wishes for your future. If you want to live up to your feelings, you need to come clear that this isn't some phase of your life, even if you may fall out of love with one of them now, you may find other loves in your future who could cause the same kind of situation. Talk about this and try to find an answer to what everyone is ultimately looking for for his life or what his expectations for this relationship are.
The second point that could be of interest here is the term NRE. New Relationship Energy seems to be high in your secondary relationship right now and that's the reason why you recognize a different intensity in coparison with your primary one, as that one is already more settled and more every day stuff like. Search for this term, you will find many threats about it.
Finally I want to adress your point about not being able to live with both partners. You are right, in this case it seems to be problematic to achieve this with your current partners. But in general it is possible to maintain more than one happy and healthy relationship in which everyone is satisfied and content with the relationship structure at hand. I am even living with my two men and we are happy ;) But, you need to clarify what you are looking for. And you should think about putting that engagement on hold until you found what you want to live with for your life. It would be fair to talk to your partner about the first point, maybe he is up for this for the wrong reasons (thinking you will change as soon as you are married and so on). Try to bring everyone at a table and talk about your problems right there.
2) Probably NRE and the high of a great weekend.
3) Listen to yourself -- you are worried about being too LOVING? The world should have these problems! *hug* There is nothing wrong with love.
4) This is the crux of your stressy, I think:
You know... to ENGAGE in serious thinking about a pending life choice. To commit to talks about it, visiting with each other's people, etc.
You don't have to break it off because you have concern or doubt. So what? You just have to THINK. How long did you set your engagement for? Mine had an initial check point to start (a year) and then the soft limit got adjusted as we learned what we learned as engaged people.
Will you be attending any "before you get married" classes at your house of worship, your county extension office, online, wherever? These are set up to help you engage in serious conversations with your intended -- esp if your family of origin(s) are not especially great at giving young adults guidance.
If it turns out not to be the right fit -- well, then you announce at the end of your engagement period that no, you guys decided together that you do not want to take the next step and commit to marriage at this time. Committing to engagement was as far as you wanted to go right now.
Disappointing, but the engagement is to make space for talks and serious thinking and arriving at a conclusion. People tend to just RUSH on to setting a date for the wedding and don't use the engagement period like it is meant to be used, IMHO. (Are we ready for marriage commitment? Do we understand the realities of being married? Is this the partner I want to be married to? Is this the right TIME to change to marriage?)
I mean, it isn't like you can't keep on dating each other and engage again later if this first engagement period turns up as "No... not quite done baking! Needs more time in the oven! Need to try other recipes!"
MY ENGAGEMENT STORY
Me? My engagement was planned and deliberate. By ME.
I lived with my then BF for a year. We told our parents we wanted to see a lease through and the goal was at the end of the lease announce a formal engagement or not. Other than his dad who lives far away they were "unofficially told" in person that we were "unoffically engaged." In old fashioned words -- "we had an understanding."
His Dad was told by phone because of the distance. We told them that as the parents we let them know first what to expect, what our plan was, but wanted them to keep it quiet. Did not tell siblings or anything like that formally or informally. (Knowing full well the parents would leak it when they felt like it. And siblings are not blind. They see us shacking up. But nobody knew "officially." )
At then at the end of the first year lease I told him I wanted to break up because he was great but not meeting all deliverables. He was great BF material but not husband material. His peter pan ways made me nuts. I was moving out. We could still date. I liked him as a bf, but he wasn't husband.
He told me he had no right to ask, he agreed he did not meet deliverables. Then he asked for another lease and second try. I said ok after thinking about it for a week -- then he really buckled down to it. We were handfasted to mark this point. He really did change his thinking and behavior from bf/to spouse. Goodbye Peter Pan. Hello, Mr Offcial Fiancee.
I proposed to him. He cried. Then I told him to go ask my dad for my hand. He said that made no sense because I proposed. I told him I knew, but throw the elder a bone so he can feel satisfied and included because that is the expectation in my family of origin. So he asked my dad for my hand. Then I asked his mother for his hand because well, I proposed! To her amusement (and satisfaction because while not a custom in his family of origin, I'm the young silverback and she's the old silverback. Who needs to START with MIL issues?) We also drove to visit his father to announce our formal engagement to him in person (his folks are divorced.)
These things can seem silly -- because who does it matter to but the couple in question? But these things help pave the way to good future family ties -- so why NOT? It's a way to pay respect, and it's a way to ease transitions and promote good will. (and you go round to see in your partner's family who is a wacko and how closely they will be in your future life or not. THAT could be a reason to say NO to marriage! You marry your partner and marry into their family. What is the package you are getting here? What does your partner expect from you in participating in their family culture? Is it reasonable? Can you deliver?)
At the end of that lease we were formally engaged, and moved. That period marked with a change in home. All family customs and gestures made, ALL relatives and friends told. Then we spent another 2 years together with relatives viewing us as "the intended couple." They could now stop treating partner as a "guest" or "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" and more like a "permanent relative." Build to it gently. Then finally we were legally wed.
By THAT time people were all "Finally! You guys are getting married! Yay!" Gave ourselves and the relatives plenty of time to adjust to a new relative joining the ongoing party, build relationships, think seriously, etc.
If I ever get to the place of a poly-engagement? It would be same. I am a big fan of looong engagement. :)
When you finally do get married you have seen aaaaallllll there is to see about your intended and your intended's family of origin. Their strengths, their weakness, and you can decide to join that family or not from a place of full information. I've never had an in-law problem. I think largely for that reason -- long engagement wisely used toward building new bonds not just with him but his people. My people like DH in general, his people like me in general. It just like polymath -- call it family-math if you want. ;)
YOU ARE OK
So there is NOTHING wrong going here. All is as it should be.
If later it turns out you do not want to move, you do not want to end it with the secondary -- well, you do not want to move and you do not want to end it with the secondary.
Have the "what if" talks now with your poly peeps so you all know where everyone stands, what everyone is and is not open to (their limits) and then just enjoy the experience of the here and now. Get into the habit of monthly (?) talks in trio just to take the "where is everyone at?" temperature. Give both joys and concerns time to be celebrate and aired out. Keep the polyship healthy with maintenance. Take the car in for checks and oil change right? Take the polyship you all fly in for checks too.
You can learn from past and plan some for future, but you do need to spent some of your life living in the here and now too. And your here and now sounds loving. In fact -- you worry you have too much love!
Good problem to have. Just BREATHE. :)
Thanks for sharing your "Engagement Story" and your views on the purpose of engagement, I enjoyed reading this post very much.
MrS and I went through what sounds like similar stages, although we framed them differently:
We started out as casual-then-closer friends who had sex while seeing other people. (Immediate family knew we were "friends", extended family not in the loop)
After six months of deepening friendship and developing feelings, we had a "big talk" and determined that we were, in fact, a "couple" (i.e. BF/GF) and we talked about expectations and boundaries. (Immediate family knew we were "dating", extended family knew we were friends)
After six months of "couplehood" we made the transition to "cohabitating couplehood." (we also had roommates) (Immediate family knew we were cohabitating, extended family knew we were "dating")
After two years of "cohabitating" I was moving across the state to pursue further schooling - MrS elected to come with me. This, to me, marked another level of commitment - the "making life decisions on the basis of furthering the relationship" level. We discussed engagement at this point, but I asked to defer this at least another year - to see what living together alone, away from friends/family and pursuing a rigorous course of study would mean to our relationship. (Immediate family knew that engagement was on the table, extended family knew we were "cohabitating" - i.e. he gets invited to Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's house as "guest").
After 1.5 years of "pre-engagement cohabitation" he proposes, I accept, we set a date, we announce our engagement to all. (Immediate family says "Finally!", extended family transitions from "guest" to "future relative")
6 mos later we are married. (...and a good time was had by all :p) - That was 16 years ago.
OP - I agree with the others, I don't know that I would make too much of your rush of emotion after a great weekend while you are still in NRE phase. No need to be making any sweeping statements or rash decisions. Keep doing what you are doing - exploring your relationships and enjoying the love you are experiencing in the here-and-now.
You should talk to your fiance about what engagement means to each of you and how you both see your future together unfolding - keeping in mind that as each of you and your relationships grow and change, you might be in a very different place in a few years.
Your early 20's is still a time of flux and change - you explore yourself and start figuring out who you are and what you want out of life. You start to make choices that shape your future - but these choices should be flexible, to allow for continued growth.
PS. MrS was MY "first proper relationship" as well - we met when I was 18 and married at 22. Dude is technically my "second proper relationship" - this time around I seem to be moving through my "stages" a little faster :D
JaneQSmythe -- Sounds pretty much the same to me! :)
We were FWB for a year living apart, then a couple living apart, then a living together couple with a roomie (informally engaged), then living together as a couple without roomie (formally engaged), then living as married couple, then living as a married couple with a kid.
Really no matter how it is done or called, there IS a period of reflection and engagement before marriage. Just that people that I know in RL seem to skimp out and RUSH through it rather than giving it its due to use the reflection time to their own best benefit.
Feeling that engagement is a big serious thing? Well... it IS. A person ought to be congratulated on achieving this big step! How many times in life is one going to be Engaged in Contemplating Marriage? Not many.
Congrats to you, YoungPoly, on your engagement. I was coming back to post that since I had forgotten to earlier. It is indeed a big deal, as marriage is a big deal. Kudos to you for taking it seriously, and for doing the hard work it requires - to really THINK out for yourself "Is this for me? Now? With this person?"
Your thoughts and feelings are appropriate for the place you are at. There is nothing wrong with you.
I commend you on your emotional maturity and your values. I love seeing people with hot ethics! Shine on! :)
My input - I got engaged at 18, married at 19. But that is because I grew up with the "do-not-have-sex-before-you-get-married" idea, and I also wanted kids asap. I now have a kid and am getting divorced.
If I had to do it over again, I would have had sex sooner and not gotten married. I only got married because I thought it was a prerequisite to the things I DID want. Also because my husband really wanted to get married.
I personally don't see why you would get married young if you're poly.
Maybe I am just the odd one out, but I would not agree to become engaged unless I actually was ready to get married. We didn't view it as a time to think about getting married; we took that time to plan the wedding!
But we talked about things before getting engaged so we knew we were both ready. In fact, we went ring shopping together although he bought it later on his own.
We did live together for 3 years prior to getting engaged, but we met very young. Granted, though; it's a lot easier to recover from a broken engagement than a broken marriage.
Basically, he said that while, of course, it was better to wait until you were married to have sex (token acknowledgement of what parents are supposed to say to their teenage daughters)...at the same time he thought that many people (him perhaps? I wonder...) ending up getting married for the sole reason that they wanted to have sex with a particular person, and that he felt that that was not a good reason to get married. That, although sex had potential negative consequences that should be considered seriously, it would be better to have sex outside of the context of marriage than to get married just so you could have sex and wind up in an unhappy marriage for the rest of your life. (Apparently, divorce does not happen in our family...and, if it does, we talk about it, in hushed tones, even once all of the people involved are long- DEAD...Jeesh!)
(Fast Forward) Twenty years later we are having a conversation at a family gathering and he comes out with the statement that he was somewhat worried that all three of his daughters got married "too young" and may have "missed out" and that he feels guilty for not giving us better guidance. Meanwhile, all three of us got married at 22-26 and have been happily married for 10+ years. I assured him that I have not "missed out" on anything! (...I didn't elaborate:p) (I can't vouch for my sisters - I know that one sister had at least one other sexual partner before she got married - her long-term college boyfriend. I would bet money that the other was a virgin on her wedding day. On the other hand, they seem happy enough with their choices...:rolleyes:)
Benefit to a long engagement...this is what the "wedding industry" is now geared up for. We got engaged in December, and elected to get married in June (six months later). Around February I started looking for a wedding dress, after we had decided what kind of ceremony etc. we wanted - "four months", I thought, "plenty of time" I thought...I started looking for a wedding dress (having, of course, never done this before). So I started at a "Bridal Shop"...they asked when the wedding was, I said June, they asked what year, I said "this one", they said it couldn't be ready by then without a WHOLE LOT of money, I left.
I ended up finding an awesome dress at a fabulous private wedding/formal consignment shop in Philly. My dress cost (wait, let me look at the receipt) $401.25 with another $125 in alterations (from a size 12 down to a size 2 - with a permanent bustle of the train - because I was getting married outside on the grass - and a dress-bust modification which meant that I didn't have to wear a bra, which took...two weeks with ONE fitting). With never a raised eyebrow (even when my then-fiance accompanied me, solo, to the dress-choosing)...I think I lucked out...
PS. Don't get me started on my wedding, it was perfect...for us. Everything and everyone conspired to make me feel...so happy, so cherished, so...us.
Actually, since we were so young we planned an 18 month engagement. Then we realized it was just too stressful. We'd decided we wanted to get married, so let's get married, dammit! Chopped a year off our engagement. I'm sure lots of people thought I was pregnant and that's why we moved the date (we got married just after I turned 22), but wonder of wonders, no baby appeared until years later. Guess it was just a really long gestation!
So IMO- long engagements suck!
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