Exploring the Myths
I've wanted some space to get my thoughts down, and since I wouldn't mind feedback, I think I'll do it here rather than in a paper journal or a private blog.
Mr. Unicorn and I have been slowly discussing the changes that a poly view would bring (is bringing?) into our lives. I've been so surprised by his openness and willingness to learn. I directed him to the xeromag discussions in case he was interested in reading on his own, and he has been reading and bringing up topics that concern him, or points of view he finds interesting.
We hadn't discussed much about the shape that other relationships could take, but I was relieved when I heard him say, "I don't like the idea of us having secret people on the side. If it happens, I want them to be known to both of us, someone who can come over and everyone's okay with that."
I assured him that having people who had nothing to do with the other important parts of my life was not appealing to me, and that the sense of community and family were a very big part of what I was looking for. Isolated relationships would just feel like a failure and a distraction to the sorts of things I am interested in building.
I also pointed out that we needn't be the best of friends with one another's partners, simply that we would be able to find things to relate to them. I said that I would love to be able to cook special meals with his potential SOs, and enjoy having them over for the weekend, or maybe longer.
I brought up the example of my friend (sticking with the theme, we'll call him Griffin), whom Mr. Unicorn thinks is a bit strange, but likes well enough to, in his words, "find interesting things to speak about whenever we get together." I told Mr. Unicorn that my ideal is that this would be the baseline for how we should see each other's SOs, and hopefully on better terms than this.
All in all it was a great talk.
This has been an area of much discussion in our house as well. Much of what you're talking about is already 'normal' around here - Violet has been downrigh pushy in the past about me meeting other girls, even if it's just 'hooking up', and she loves to meet them and set them at ease. Finding one that fits into the relationship in a larger way has been the challenge. As it stands now, that's no longer an issue, but time will tell. Anyway - on topic...
We're now into the 'outside' issues. What the rest of the world thinks and how they act toward us. We all have different takes on this, but it's an issue for all of us.
Myself - meh. How to explain it. When we all go out together, there is this THING. The Hugh Heffner effect. Even my close freinds say "Dude - you're THE MAN. I wish I could be you" kinda stuff. I hate it, because that's not at all what it's about. Frankly, the ego boosting side of the image makes me uncomfortable. I just want to spend time with my girls and enjoy our amazing interconnections.
And making it worse - but in a commical sense - is the people that think Im a pimp and they're working. Or that I'm a customer and they're all paid escorts. Etc. It can be funny, but again - it's annoying.
The girls for the most part get a kick out of it, and even feed into it. They think it's fun to make me look like a stud and they play it up a lot. I appreciate what's behind it, but it really does make me uncomfortable most of the time.
And then there's the odd perceptions and comments and missives directed their way. Moving past the sometimes funny 'working girls' image, once people are aware that we're all together and in a real relationship, they just can't help themselves. People will pull one of us aside and say things that nobody in their right mind would say to a complete stranger or barely aquainted person about their relationship! The nerve of some of these people! The girls hear about how they're being taken advantage of, how wrong this is, how they're being used, and much worse. And the way these people react when the girls argue their side - astounding! Anger more often than you'd think, almost always some form of indignation at the least. Judgement almost without exception.
Why can't people let other people be themselves and be happy? Anyone watching us and simply seeing without questioning can see how happy everyone involved is - you can't possibly miss it, lol. Is that a PROBLEM?
Unicorn-Karma and I in the stage of talking about things. Even though he does have g/f. I am having a hard time relating to her and it makes our time together uncomfortable. This really bothers me. When My wifes husband left for afgahnistan, she pretty much loved with us while adjusting. I loved the ease of it all. We've never slept together, but are very close and physical in other ways, the same with her and my husband Karma. I loved the ease of all of snuggling together at night. Him coming home to us cooking dinner, or at times still cuddled in bed. We were so at ease and ourselves and it was an amazing time.
I don't have that with his g/f. And I wish I did. I hope you can find it. It's a great feeling. Even if it is just being able to talk. Karma's g/f and I just have long stretches of awkward silence. I hate it.
HM-I so understand!!! I hate the comments. Karma doesn't come off as very appoachable so I end catching it all. "How could you let him do that? Don't you have any respect for yourself?" Telling their SO's "If you do that I'll kill you" It is so frustrating!! We came into this particular V out of an affair, but we had discussed poly several times. I know what goes on in our home and our relationship and no one else. Honestly aside from the 3 of us, my wife is the only one I listen to on this topic as she is so involved with us (we call it an emotional marriage) that she is only looking for the over all health of all involved. Karma doesn't do it to be "cool". We go out together to be out together. I don't understand why people suddenly feel my life is a soap opera for their entertainment. Feeling I am in an unsafe situation and having concern as a friend is one thing, attacking us simply because you can't take the time to step out of your own bubble and see the love the is there is another. Take the time to try to understand before you judge and make comments. It is all really frustrating.
Be patient with the world.
Thirty years ago, a MM or FF couple couldn't kiss in public. Even holding hands was considered Too much by some people. The first interracial kiss was on Star Trek in 1967 (I know, I should look it up).
Realize that the average person needs to see things they don't understand. And they will make assumptions. And if it is not their lifestyle, it must be wrong. After they learn more... see the stability in poly relationships, meet the people, read about the challenges, they will accept it.
Give them time... and realize their first reaction... may not be how they finally believe. (you don't want to know my first reaction to poly in real life!)
There are a lot of opinions out there that will change over time... We just need to give them good examples... heck, even bad examples... and in time, there will be changes. (those MM FF couples can now marry in some states, in many countries. We're making progress.)
Be patient with the world... They're confused enough as it is.
HMA-I remember that sort of questioning whenever I would go out in public with my married couples. It was irritating, especially since in both of them the wife and I looked like we could be related. You can imagine the horror on people's faces the moment they understand the level of intimacy of the triad and then try to wrap their brain around the assumed family connection. :D
Mohegan- I would have a very hard time if I didn't relate to my husband's potential SOs, or if I felt uncomfortable with them on a personal level. In fact we had a discussion on this fact last night. I don't have enough time to get into it before I have to leave for work, but it will be my next topic.
Claire- Thanks for visiting my OKC site! It was nice to get a note from you.
Sorry I didn't leave a note FU (wait - better not abbreviate your name anymore, LOL), but you'll see me on your visitors list. :)
OK - gotta rant, because this is on topic and happened early this morning and I hate how it makes me feel.
Violet and Lana and I have a local bar we love and spend an inordinate amount of time in because of their schedules. We're usually there on graveyard shift or very early, and it's usually empty or very nearly so. We also know all the employees on a very personal level, and over time it's become a comfortable place for us to chill becuase the staff know our relationship, have been through the various stages of asking and wondering and learning about us - a couple of the cute bartenders have even gone on dates with us (didn't go anywhere, but was fun).
This is a HUGE help, because - well, please don't take this as bragging, but we're a very pretty little group and the girls draw a LOT of attention in a place like that; and since there's only one guy sitting with them, it MUST be okay to move in... The staff is awesome at running interference for us. In fact, we didn't even realize they were doing it at first, until we overheard it once. Guys see that the gals behind the bar know us, and ask which girl is single or some such leading question, and they get shut down before they approach.
In one month, our three favorite bartenders all ended up moving, quitting, and getting fired, respectively, the new people don't know us well at all yet, and we added a 4th to our group, who also happens to stand out in a crowd (well, if the crowd is sitting that is, she's 4'9" and 85 lbs, LMAO). Adding a 3rd lady to our grouping makes it look - well, I cant' fault people for wondering when we are all out together, lol. Still - what happened today really got my goat, and I can see that as time goes on and it happens more, my attitude toward these poor unsuspecting folk is going to deteriorate quickly.
So the 4 of us are sitting in our corner being us, and a group of English rugby types walk in. Rowdy but nice enough guys. Since there are only 3 other people there besides us, it doesn't take them long to notice the girls, especially since Violet and Adrian are being rather publicly affectionate when one of the them isn't in my lap. After maybe 30 minutes, one of them approaches. He's freindly, not a douchebag, and generally just trying to break the ice - not a problem. As soon as he introduces himself and we see him scoping out the crowd as it were, the two girls closest to me slide in closer, Violet eying him directly and Adrian (very shy) just turning her back and nuzzling into me. He then says his mates and he are having a drinking contest (at 5 a.m., lol - gotta love Vegas) and would like the ladies to participate. Violet responds that we're winding our day down and getting ready for bed, politely dismissive, he should get the point. He begins laying on the charm. Lana finally looks him straight in the eye and says bluntly - "Maybe you should ask OUR boyfriend what he thinks of your idea". He laughs, then looks at the three of them, then at me (who he has pointedly ignored up till now). Then puts his hand on my shoulder in a comradely fashion and makes a joke about this guy being THE MAN! - and unabashedly continues hitting on all three girls like it was never said.
Now - the proper etiquette for this situation were I in a monogamous relationship is well established. First off, he'd have had to be quite a douchebag to even approach. If he did, a polite dismissal should have an instant effect. That failing, a strong word from the male should put him away and get him some unimpressed looks from other people. And were he to continue pushing, the man in the relationship is almost required to punch him squarely in the nose, and nobody would blame him for doing so.
So how am I supposed to react? Clearly he does not know how to take her statement, and treats it as either a joke or a smokescreen. But even when Violet reiterates, he ignores it - it can't be true, right? Further complicating the issue is - well, my girls are certainly "allowed" to meet other people if they so desire, and though they've all informed me individually and together that at this time none of them are looking for male companionship outside of our group, I find it hard and borderline hypocritical to be possessive even if they don't mind. What's more, the disapproving looks he would have received from others would he have approached a traditional couple - and the unspoken support I would have received as well - isn't there now; it's replaced by anyone watching this wondering WTF is going on with these people to much to care.
So I didn't know what to do. I just looked at him funny with a blank expression on my face, hugging Adrian and with a hand on Violets knee, while Violet and Lana wordlessly stared him down long enough that he left.
And I felt really, really, REALLY, uncomfortable for a few minutes. Talked about it with the girls, who all insist that I needn't do anything, they kind of think it's fun to watch people blow gaskets in their perception when they say those things, and that I don't need to worry. But as a guy, I'm obligated to think that someday he might be more belligerent, the situation might be a little more complicated, and that I should know how to handle it.
Input? PLEASE? :(
Hell, I'm not a guy, but I've run interference for people many times. I think the main point here is that being confronted with pushy guys can be very overwhelming for a woman (just speaking from my gender experience here).
In this case, it sounds like you didn't back your girls up. They all crowded closer to you, were trying to shut him out, even redirecting the conversation your way, and it sounds like you just looked at the guy and let him go on. I find it hard to believe that they were really okay with it at the time, even though they may have dismissed it later on.
I would stand up for a friend at the point they became uncomfortable, let alone a significant other.
Honestly, if it was me there as one of your women I would have told the guy politely to piss off, and then proceed to body block him from the rest of the group. If he was persistent then I would quickly demand his compliance--but I'm just aggressive like that.
The same approach would NOT go over well if I were the man. It would indeed come to blows, quickly and often.
It doesn't sound like any of the women in your circle is happy acting as an alpha bitch in situations like this. Assuming that I was uncomfortable and feeling more passive, I would have looked to you to step up and defend us as a group. I wouldn't want you to get in his face or anything, but I would feel lost if you stayed in a passive role.
This sounds like a scenario that's not likely to stop coming up, so I would discuss it with the women, decide what you all want to do. If they want you to step up and be firm or to let it slide. You should decide as a group some signal to say "that's it, we've had enough, and it needs to stop, even if we have to move away from the guy ourselves." Your uncomfortableness with the situation is an incredibly important topic, and the consequences of these confrontations (you possibly getting injured by an offended party) are much more serious than them simply being uncomfortable for a brief time until a guy gets the hint.
1) It makes perfect sense to be uncomfortable. Some men are violently aggressive, and there's no good way to be sure that the strange man you're dealing with won't be. Brainstorm with your partners about this worst-case scenario and what the best thing to do would be.
2) Listen to your partners, because they're correct. I've had a really hard time coming to terms with this myself, but the truth is that they are grown adults (not "girls", right?) perfectly capable of handling themselves in social situations and, on top of that, have had several more years of experience than you have in dealing with unwelcome advances from pushy straight guys.
As a side note, I would... worry less about the social scene. People will read a pushy guy as a pushy guy, and won't care if you're the target's friend, lover, brother or whatever. Going around punching people in the nose is probably not a great idea, but other than that I doubt that the people around you are going to react all that differently to your actions in these situations than they would if you weren't sleeping with all three women. That's been my experience, at least.
Thanks for the replies, and sorry to steer the thred in this direction - my rant maybe should've been a new thread. :(
They're all substantially youger than I, but adults yes. And as they've all worked or work in the trip clubs here, they can handle themselves very well indeed. Still, I just sometimes feel that I don't understand the dynamic and get lost Because of my "condition", this is very, VERY stressful for me.
Anyway - myths about poly. Let's get it back to that, ignore the guy ranting in the corner, lol.
I married my best friend. Other relationships I may have will also be based on friendship as well. :D
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