Mono to Poly: Advice?
Hopefully I've done this right......
So, the main reason I'm on these forums is because I've realized I'm poly. Shocker, I know. The thing is I'm in a serious mono relationship. My boyfriend of two years today is the best person I could ever consider being with. We know each other well and love each other deeply but I still can't help longing to multiply the love I feel by having another partner.
We've always had an interesting relationship. He's very understanding and introverted while I'm more outgoing and the more proactive one. I can't lie to him, we know all of each others intimate secrets and he's actually been really open minded and has allowed me to flirt and even be sexually involved with girls (Slowly warming up to the idea of me with other guys) while we're at college and away from each other more often then not.
So it wasn't surprising to either of us when I finally admitted I'm poly. It doesn't bother him that I am, but it bothers him that I've hinted at making our relationship more poly accepting. He says the reason he's ok with the open sexual relationship is because he knows we are totally loyal to one another and that another person couldn't split that up. He can accept lust but he's not ok with love.
I'm not about to break up with him over it, but it hurts. I've finally discovered why one relationship just never felt enough for me and thought he'd be at least a little more willing to learn about it like I've been trying to but he seems firm and when I tried to talk to him about it more he quickly went to a new subject.
I don't mind staying mono if that's what he wishes but I need to know should I bring it up again? Will having the open sexual relationship harm my trying to get him to understand what poly means to me, and in general? And will going to poly things help or hurt the situation if I'm just going to get more comfortable with who I am instead of going to find someone else? Really just anything would help.
I personally couldn't be in a relationship where I was asked to hide a major part of who I am just because it makes the other person uncomfortable.
He also needs to realize that it's contradictory to say "I don't mind if you ARE poly, but I don't want you to ACT poly." Either he accepts it or he doesn't. It's like those parents who say "I don't mind if my son is gay, as long as he marries a nice girl one day." Translation: "I don't accept what you are."
The other ingredient is that sex can lead to emotions. He accepts that you have sex with other people, but a natural consequence of that behaviour may be that you fall in love with someone as a result.
However, he has given you that go-ahead, so it may work out to stay with that for now, and just give him time for the poly-idea to gel in his head. Meanwhile, you can have your sexual encounters. Then if you fall for someone, you can deal with that as a real situation, not some "maybe some day in the future" scary possibility.
What it comes down to is whether you really are willing to give up your nature just for him to avoid icky feelings. Sure, polyamory is not what he signed up for, but things change. If he's not even willing to entertain the idea enough to learn about it, is it fair for him to say that he loves and respects you as an individual?
I recommend that you and he read Tristan Taormino's Opening Up. It will give both of you a better understanding of the different forms of non-monogamy, as well as some strategies to apply in your own life.
In many ways, I can empathise with your boyfriend.
The being able to deal with lust but not love was a situation I was in at the start of my polyship.
I would suggest giving him time. Don't let it go, still mention it but don't push too hard. Let him know this is something that you feel you need and would make you happy but don't expect him to accept it right away.
Also, I would suggest that being sexual with others in the mean time could possibly make things more difficult for the both of you. If you have a sexual relationship with someone and develop feelings for them you will be hurting (as your boyfriend is not ready for that yet) and your boyfriend may feel rushed and have a more difficult time if you develop strong feelings before he has emotionally equipped himself to deal with them.
I think it's usually easier to get someone used to Poly theory before you dive into Poly practice.
However, you may develop feelings for someone anyway but at this stage, if you did and you acted upon it, it would be considered cheating by your partner and would make it more difficult for him to accept.
Of course there is also the possibility that he'll never accept it but I think it's worth giving him time to mull it over first. Some people need to really think these things over.
I took my time at first. I also needed to have several tantrums before I felt okay with it, but now, a year and half into the relationship and my boyfriend says he thinks I've taken to poly like a fish to water - in fact I'm more active in the dating scene than he is.
If you want to be understood, you could communicate MORE with your BF rather than start a new lover thing elsewhere. Could ask him directly something like...
"BF, I am ok being monogamous to you even though I am polyamorous. But to do that, I need to be able to share my inner life with you -- my thoughts, my feelings, poly things I read, want to look at or go visit.Get that sorted out FIRST. And if he cannot provide that, then perhaps best to end it gently and both be free to seek the relationship model that most resonates in the romantic department.
You can still be friends. You don't have to lose each other.
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