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-   -   Dilemma of the heart, of course (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3212)

EugenePoet 07-13-2010 04:00 AM

Dilemma of the heart, of course
Well, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, I thought that it would never happen, but love sho' has done called me by my name.

So. Many of you know I date a married poly woman, L, and adore her, but only see her one evening a week. No sleepovers, no full days together.

I was getting pretty lonely on the 6 other days, went on OkCupid, found some woman friends to do a few things with. Recently had coffee with a woman, liked her a lot, she invited me to go camping with her. Did that last week (which is why this is my first post in 10 days). Spent 4 days solo backpacking and then 4 days camping with her.

NRE big time. But behind it is an awfully solid sense of honesty, openness, and -- most important -- a feeling of absolutely being on the same page with her. Someone delightful, smart, loving, and just my type. Emotionally as well as physically. She's attracted to me, and I to her.

But you guessed it: she said that any relationship between us would need to be between the two of us and not her-and-me-and-L. She's not jealous or even very possessive, and she's certainly no uptight bitch -- she's just monogamous. She's said explicitly that being close emotional friends with ex-lovers is wonderful; she has an ex-lover who is one of her best friends. So staying emotionally close to L is not a problem. Having sex with her is.

("Son, you better go home and make up your mind" -- the Lovin' Spoonful, 1966.)

I already talked some to L about it. She's unhappy, but I hope I can make it work for her. After all, the way our V is structured she gets to go to sleep beside someone and wake up with him, and have morning coffee together, and be with him all day -- and I don't have any of that. Not ever. Unless I find someone like this new person. I hope I can make her understand why, and how to proceed as close friends.

So I guess I'm not really asking what I should do. Ya either try for something you think might be special, or ya live with the knowledge that you weren't brave enough when it might have mattered. Probably I'll end up losing both women, but -- hey, I'm alive and trying.

Anyone got any advice or comments, fire away.

MonoVCPHG 07-13-2010 04:20 AM

I wish I had time to respond more. Following your heart based on your own needs is sometimes very difficult. You are a strong man. Take care and I hope you maintain your friendship.

Derbylicious 07-13-2010 04:37 AM

My question to you would be are you willing or able to remain monogamous after the NRE has worn off? If this is a requirement of being in a relationship with this woman that you have met and you aren't going to be able to fufill it long term it may be better to walk away now before you both become more emotionally involved. She's being upfront in letting you know what her needs are and it's important that you honestly look at yourself to see if her needs are something that you can fufill.


redpepper 07-13-2010 06:49 AM

this is a tricky one. hmmm.... you aren't getting what you want out of relationship one, but can have a world more out of relationship two... have a primary, but will not be able to add to that.

I honestly think I would go for it. As long as she knows that eventually you are going to require more and that it could end then if she is not willing to look at that, then why not! After all, it is quite often a good idea to work on a primary relationship first before searching for more anyways.

MonoVCPHG 07-13-2010 07:08 AM

One question..are you Poly for sure? Maybe one could be "the one"?

I agree with Redpepper, go for it. Regardless what happens you will learn about yourself and relationships:)

EugenePoet 07-13-2010 12:10 PM

Thanks, all.

No, Mono, I'm not poly for sure. I've known for quite a while now that I'm comfortable loving a woman who has other lovers but that it makes me feel disloyal and sneaky to have more than one lover myself. So I'm poly-friendly but I have no personal drive to love many.

Which is a partial answer to Derby's excellent question too, I guess. I've gone on several dates with women other than L in an effort to find friends, and at one time I thought maybe I'd find a lover. But when it came down to it I always felt wrong.

Something else: L and I have always known that we're lifestyle-incompatible. Even if she was single we could never live together, and I wouldn't be on her list of eligible males. But J and I are great: we both like to sleep in the dirt, throw together nutritious stuff and eat it without any thought for cuisine or style; we are hikers by inclination and outdoor people by nature. What made me curious about her in the first place is that she's the only woman I ever met who goes camping alone. And who puts cayenne pepper in her coffee. We match.

So, monogamy once the NRE wears off? The best chance of it I've ever had in my life, that's all! My life is 54 years, incidentally, and J's my age, so cumulatively we have over a century of life experience. During our four days of living together I felt like a happy twelve-year-old with her (exploring a lookout on top of Dutchman Peak) but also like a liberated adult male in the company of an aware and forthright adult female.

But, I rave.

My fantasy: sitting down to dinner with L and her husband D and introducing J to them, and letting her see why I care for those people, why I was L's lover and why I want to remain emotionally close to her. I think that's possible from J's side; I don't know if L will be able to accept meeting her or not. L is pretty upset at the moment. Maybe someday.

I guess my role right now will be to take whatever emotional punches L needs to throw and not punch back. Cohen again: "And if you want to strike me down in anger, here I stand." Sure hope we come out the other side better friends than we went in -- that would be something to strive for with L.

Thanks yet again for your wisdom -- you guys are great.

MonoVCPHG 07-13-2010 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by EugenePoet (Post 35726)

I guess my role right now will be to take whatever emotional punches L needs to throw and not punch back. .

Beautiful awareness my friend :)
I think this is how Redpepper's parents were won over with regards to me being in their lives. They punched very hard but through patience and responding with openness and understanding, as opposed to retaliation, they stopped focusing on the negatives.

Take care

Honestheart 07-16-2010 12:29 AM

hey, listen the part about one night a week, no overnights, waking up alone, living alone... you know the part time relationship basically... i know what that is like.
i deeply, truly, honestly, feel for you loneliness... i think the worst kind of loneliness is the loneliness you feel in this type of situation...
Mono is right tho,
follow your heart and what yer heart needs.... it can be the most fucking difficult thing you will ever do and it will be full of confusion and could even get very messy...but in the end... it is worth the pain to have followed your heart.
I had a friend who told me that i was brave for trying poly because i never had to wonder "what if" .... i appreciated it but by the same token, i lived with the what if every day. like you said, you don't get any of those little things that a lot of ppl take for granted like morning coffee, dinner, hell even a "hunny i'm home" kinda thing....
again tho, follow your heart. it wont lead you astray. you may find that the one day with your poly significant other is worth so much more and so much more filling then those other 6days with somebody else
or you may find otherwise....
i especially feelt for your poly significant other too.. they love you so much i bet and here you are saying that you need something which they cannot give....
so hard...
i feel for you both, been through it ....although in my case i didn't get another involved....
good luck
follow yer hearts (that's to both of you! )

i hope you can work this out.... cus to be honest, after i left my significant other i wish i hadn't. you know, talk it out. maybe there's a way you and yer poly significant other to compromise? cus yer monogamous partner has made it clear they aren't able to compromise... so maybe the answer is not to change to a friendship and go fer the monogamous partner but instead to work out the issues of loneliness and such with yer poly significant other and the feelings of loneliness and outsider-ship that u feel rather then calling it quits and going after sumone who is monogamous?

or maybe... i'm just pushing my hopes for my last lost poly relationship that went thru extremely similar on your relationship...sorry.

EugenePoet 07-16-2010 05:15 AM

Thanks for the good thoughts, Honestheart.

I understand your sorrow for a lost poly relationship, I think. What might have been. It's sad.

And I have some of that. No matter what's said and done, I'll remember my relationship with L as beautiful.

But it's always been very clear that she loves her husband most and that she puts that relationship before all others. That is as it should be in this case. I have never challenged that and I never would, because that's where her true happiness is. Period. I need her to be secure in that, because I need her to be happy.

For myself, I've always been a bit solitary. My late marriage made me more so, and by the end of it I was sure I would never want to live closely with anyone again.

So my thought was that L would be enough. She would go home at 11:00 and I would go to sleep, and that would be that.

Well, I was wrong. I spent 4 days living in a campground with J -- not all idyllic, as her car broke down and had to be towed, and she had to do online work 2 hours a day, and so forth. Real-life stuff, spending nearly all our waking hours together. And it turns out I might really, really like living with someone. Just takes the right person. OK, there's a lot of NRE involved. :) I realize that. But still, to find out that I'm not limited to a mostly solitary life is a revelation.

I've talked with L three times now after telling her I wanted us to have a non-sexual friendship. The first two conversations were pretty rough, the third seemed like maybe she could get past anger and relate to me a little bit. Or maybe not -- she's more insecure than I realized and of course insecurity feels weak. She's using anger to make herself feel strong, I understand the psychology of it, but I'm not entirely sure that I can completely forget the things she's said to me.

There's a sense of guardedness now. I edit what I say to her because I no longer trust her to understand. C'est la amor, eh? It ain't never too easy.

There is a sense, Honestheart, in which this particular poly couple tacitly expects their lovers to live half-lives for their benefit, perhaps. For instance, L has disparaged her husband's GF for dating another man...but really, what do they expect?

Ah, well. It's a choice. As I wrote, the relationship was beautiful, it helped me find my way out of a rather strange place, and whatever happens next I'll remember it fondly.

immaterial 07-17-2010 02:00 AM

It's so beautiful when we find a partner with whom we click. That NRE is the greatest drug in the world sometimes. J sounds great for you.

I have completely tossed aside my poly leanings and my definite non-monogamy over and over again because I really wanted to make a monogamous relationship work, or I felt I had to, or something. (see other threads, haha). So I would only caution you to just not throw the baby out with the bath water. Keep being honest with J. She knows with certainty she is mono. Do you know with certainty you are? I read your explanation above, but it's not clear you can really abandon yourself to her honestly.

I do agree you should follow your heart, totally. But the cautionary note would be to not let the NRE wipe out a commitment to honesty.


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