I've been a serial monogamist forever. I've never had any sort of open relationship, until I recently started seeing a poly woman who has a couple of other partners. I found this out a couple of weeks in, and was, honestly, disappointed. I really like the girl and we get along fantastically. Suddenly I was staring down the fact that she and I had no "real" future, as I knew it.
Knowing this fact early on helped me place this relationship in the proper light, and so far I've avoided the kind of squeamish jealousy I've felt when dealing with the concept of lovers "straying" in the past. I've just lived in the moment with her, and had a ton of fun and closeness. It's been great. She knows I am not poly at heart, and she's done her best to assure me that she can be "there for me" and "emotionally available" in any way I need her to be.
The other night, she called me, clearly upset about what sounded like a friend of hers suddenly shunning her friendship. I helped her calm down and gave her support. It was only after 10 minutes of this that I realized she was complaining about a lover having dumped her.
I froze up, kind of got my perfunctory empathizing out of the way, and ended the call so I could collect myself. It just really struck me wrong- she, this person with two or three (or more?) partners, calling her totally mono, poly-neophyte boy to kvetch about troubles with her girlfriend?
Suddenly I got that sick, squicked-out feeling I'd been staving off so well all this time. It sort of threw the whole situation into perspective and made me re-confront the fact that in my current mindset, I see no future with this person. This bummed me the f*** out, because I'm growing to realize that I really love her.
Normally, I'd just bow out, but she's amazing, and our connection is deeply simpatico. I just wish I could get past the feeling that what I have with her can't be "real" if it's not monogamous. I worry that I'll feel compelled to get some more lovers of my own, so I don't feel like a sucker sitting on the sidelines while my girl goes off and satisfies her needs.
This came out less focused than I intended, the emotions are running high right now. Any insight from pollies who've run with monos or vice versa would be appreciated.
Consider it a sign of trust that she turned to you. Also consider the idea of supporting her as a long term friend as opposed to a short term lover. Does this seem possible?
Instead of bowing out, is there a possibility you can express your love in a way that is healthy for both of you? Better to be close friends than nothing I would guess.
Your worries are not unique. Keep sharing my friend :)
I'm sorry you're hurting.
My partner is monogamous and trying to come to terms with having a poly girlfriend. Unfortunately for him I didn't make it clear how important that part of myself was when we first started dating (because I didn't actually realise how vital it was and that I couldn't just ignore it) which has complicated things for him hugely.
I'm no expert on mono/poly relationships at all. I'm still trying to learn how not to hurt my man by doing things which I feel are normal but hurt him deeply. I think that might have been what happened with your lady-friend. She didn't realise that talking to you about her relationship troubles with another lover would upset or hurt you.
Right now, my partner and I are working on boundaries (more coping strategies really) to help him feel more reassured and secure in our relationship when we do get to the stage of me getting another partner. I'm not in love with anyone else right now so it gives us time. There are people I do love and could easily form deeper relationships but I'm putting building this one with him first. I know it's most likely harder for you because she wasn't single when you met.
Do you know if you two have the same goals? House, family/kids or lack thereof? I think when looking at the "future" of a relationship, even if it's mono/poly, it's important to evaluate the relationship on it's own merits. That said, mono/poly relationships are hard (I've only just really started mine, been with him 1.5 years long distance) so it's important to explore if you feel you can ever be comfortable or happy in one. I wish you all the best.
Thanks for the thoughts, all. I'm sure that she and I will remain good friends even if I do need to break things off, in fact we talked about that when her poly status first came up.
I think what my heart is telling me is that I should not treat this as a serious relationship but as a fun thing that happens every so often. If she makes a move to commit things further, then I'll give it some thought, but in the meantime, if it's an LTR I want, I need to find someone who matches my personal ideal of what that means.
My squeamishness about this stuff likely stems from having been cheated on fairly heinously toward the end of a couple of LTRs. Both instances were handled awfully and in one case, with considerable malice. This was when I was younger and had that "I've found THE ONE" concept of love.
At the time, it killed me to think that the "love of my life" would do that to me, even though it was an artifact of both of these relationships being poor matches and far past their expiration dates.
So even now, the concept of my lover sharing herself with somebody else just makes me feel small, vulnerable, and unloved, which it clearly shouldn't. At the moment, this poly girl is treating me in a fabulously loving, caring, passionate manner, for the most part, and seems to be growing quite attached to me.
I suppose I should work this out with my therapist. ;)
you should be working this out with her too. If she is treating you well, being honest, trusting you, then things are going well in my book. Make sure she she knows your feelings... all of them! keep your self as open as possible. It won't be fair to her if she is being a good poly person, that you suddenly leave to be with another that suits you better. That does not compute in the poly world and she will be very hurt. We do not leave, we morph. Mono's leave. Very different. Does that make sense to you?
Really, you can drop your fear in regards to your cheating ex's, it sounds like this woman is a fabulous poly lady. She is doing it all right so far... the joy of her honesty is that you will never find her cheating. Why should she, she has her freedom, is keeping it honest and upfront with you and you will never be left wondering. This could be the benefit of this relationship if you allow it.
I would suggest doing a lot of reading on here. There is tons of stuff written on your situation. I am sure that some of it will be useful. Do a search for what you are looking for and see what you come up with.
Thanks for your thoughts on this, this site has helped me quite a bit in my past few days of mulling this over.
I think what was lost on me about polyamorists is that they truly are able to love more than one person, not just sleep with multiple people. When I feel a loving connection growing with her, it's not necessarily cheapened by the fact that I'm not the only one.
It was easy to feel that if I wasn't her only love or at least classed in some "primary" way, that what we were building was just an extended f-buddy relationship, but I was confused by how open, trusting and supportive she's been, if I'm just a "piece on the side."
I also hadn't given much credence to how hurt she might be if I just continued, planning to skip out when I found another person to be mono with. Of course, if she really is loving me, then losing me will sting like it normally would, rather than just "oh, well, there goes one of my lovers. Ho hum." So I need to be honest with both her and myself.
One of my lingering worries is, my circle of friends are mostly married, or committed. They want me to have a wonderful partner, and those who know about this aren't thrilled to hear I'm with someone who "can't make up their mind", or doesn't value me they way they think she should.
I wonder how to make it clear to people that I treat this relationship like something "real", without seeming like a weak, cuckolded guy.
Thanks again for opening my mind to the possibilities of the situation. I hope to go forward with a healthier viewpoint.
You do get those looks and people will judge you just as you said. I certainly have felt this and continue to struggle with this at some times. There are several ways to deal with this although there are many more I'm sure:
a) debate - where you end up defending something you don't understand completely (which is never very convincing),
b) physical threats (one reason I chose not to be open around some people who would push beyond the effectiveness of verbal communication; I have very tough skin and could care less what some one says about me, but threaten my family and I can't seem to maintain composure),
c) introducing your partner to them....This has worked for me personally because Redepper and Polynerdist are amazing people,
d) Say good bye to a lot of people you knew and start over in a new social circle - I have lost most of the people from my old social circle. Luckily I was in transition towards a new me and having Redpepper by my side was incredibly supporting.
This is a tough one. The judgement that you are less of a man and a pushover is very real. A lot of this has to do with our upbringing and social background. My parents still think Polynerdist could shoot me at anytime LOL! This is where social conditioning comes into play...not in how you love some one.
Right on, monopepper! (hope you don't mind being portmanteau'd) I'm off to spend the weekend with the poly girl and her other boy, somewhat randomly, at an annual gathering of our friend circle.
He and I were friends before this relationship started, he knows about it and supports 100%, and we've spend some time together already. Apparently another of his girlfriends will be there as well. Ha ha, I am in for some poly-dynamic-observing funtimes. Will report back. :)
Thanks again, rethinking this via this forum has taken considerable weight off my shoulders and even awakened a tenacious little spark of poly-curiosity in me, it seems.
thanks for posting this, and thanks to all that replied. I can empathize with a lot of what you're feeling, being in a similar situation, and just wanted to say hi and tell you you're not alone. Be proud of yourself for making the progress you've made in your understanding of your partner's desires; it's no easy thing to do.
I also suspect you're pretty rad. I have a soft spot for anyone who bandies about words like "portmanteau'd".
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