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-   -   Big issue, little time (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3331)

jbird 07-28-2010 02:17 PM

Big issue, little time
 
Hello,

I'm completely new to this forum, but since it seems to be populated with some thoughtful people, and I am suddenly in way over my head, I thought I'd try for some advice.

So, long story short: My ex-girlfriend, with whom I lived for 3 years - until one year ago - and I have recently reconciled, although we live 800 miles apart. We were planning to move in together Sunday. I am supposed to hit the road today.

So last night she decides to tell me that she is "poly." Now, everything I know about polyamory I learned from Dan Savage. He seems to regard it as being almost as immutable as sexual orientation. In other words, I think he would tell me, this will never change. We are sexually incompatible. But she says she wants to "work on it."

I know she has been in only abusive relationships in the past, and only with incompetent lovers. And she was a cheater. She says she never cheated on me, but sometimes wants to sleep with other people. When I asked her how often this comes up, she said, a few times a year, and it's usually mild and easy to let go of. My response was, "that's funny. I want to fuck about 20 different people a day." But I am definitely monogamous. I have always been clear about that. Maybe people on here think that makes me insecure, or whatever. It's just not a taboo I'm interested in exploring. Anyway, I've been very clear and emphatic about my position.

Now, as I said, she has never cheated on me. But I still feel there has been a great betrayal in not telling me about this. We have talked about these issues a lot, which means she has been actively dishonest. That, and given the timing, makes this a great strain on whatever trust we had.

So, I guess, my questions are: What is the difference between the average monogamous person who foregoes acting on their sexual impulses, and chooses to remain monogamous, and a polyamorous person? Is it a choice? Is it a hard-coded fact of someone's psychological make-up?

She seems to want to own polyamory as an identity, but says she also wants to 'work on it,' meaning learn to get past it. What do i say to this? I said, you have to change your language. If you're polyamorous, you're not monogamous. If you're simply attracted to other people, you're human. Am I missing something?

I don't know if I'm making sense right now. Until a few days ago, our conversations were about marriage and children. I signed an employment contract. I signed a lease. I donated most of my belongings. I don't want to sweep this under the rug. I would love some perspective from someone a little more clearheaded than me right now. Many thanks.

NeonKaos 07-28-2010 02:27 PM

To begin with, polyamory is not about "wanting to fuck 20 people a day" and/or "acting on sexual impulses". These are more like symptoms of nymphomania. Nymphomania is a psychiatric disorder, polyamory is a relationship style.

It sounds like your girlfriend wants to be with you but still wants to be able to pursue romantic relationships with other people. Perhaps she has someone in mind already, perhaps she just wants to keep the possibilities open for the future. You need to ask these things of her; all we can do is guess.

jbird 07-28-2010 02:30 PM

I don't think it's nymphomania, it's human nature. People think about sex a lot.

She doesn't have someone in mind, she says.

So my question is, is polyamory an immutable sexual orientation, or is it a choice?

DazednConfused 07-28-2010 02:36 PM

JBird I'm kind of going through this revelation with my wife, whom I've been with for 6 years, I understand alot of the processes your mind must be reeling in. You seem to feel betrayed she didn't tell you sooner; is it possible, giving her the benefit of the doubt, that maybe she is just now realizing or coming to terms with the fact she is poly? Perhaps she didn't tell you sooner because she didn't herself know/understand?

redpepper 07-28-2010 02:57 PM

have a look around these forums, there is a lot of information given by lots of different people. There is a lot on mono/poly relationships too. Do a search for what you are interested in and start educating yourself. Better yet, do it with you girlfriend! I'm sure she will gain from the experience also. It can be a journey you take together if you decide to embrace it as such.

jbird 07-28-2010 02:58 PM

DazedNconfused, Yes, that is possible. I do feel we can get past the trust thing. But I need to make a decision about the direction my life will take TODAY, and the basic question seems to be, is polyamory a philosophy and a choice, or an innate orientation that will never change?

jbird 07-28-2010 03:10 PM

Here's a comment a found from an interview with Dossie Easton, coauthor of The Ethical Slut:

"I donít tend to believe that itís something innate in the individual. I think that people have choices and that many of the polyamorous choices are really valid choices. I think when people say, well, they have no choice, they canít help themselves, then that sort of takes the factor of how could you make a choice that I disapprove of out of it, right?"

She should know, right?

DazednConfused 07-28-2010 03:17 PM

wow, we're on the same issues at the same time. I actually posed the orientation here a few dadys ago in another thread (forgive me Im not sure where). I saw 3 basic answers, some say lifestyle, others orientation, and others both. My intrepreation has since become, it is probably an all-of-the above for my wife; but it may differ from person to person. The only way I am making any progress gaining any understanding, is through lots of long, emotional, painful, candid conversations with my wife.

Oddly, Im currently half-way through Ethical SLut.

I understand your under time pressure here with the move in. Is there any way to perhaps postpone it until the two of you can REALLY talk, or perhaps co-habititate with the knowledge that its a trial kind of thing, that you may not be able to deal with this part of her in the long run?

From what I can tell, time is your biggest enemy right now, I don't know you, but that's what I'm seeing. Any way to buy more of it?

jbird 07-28-2010 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DazednConfused (Post 37732)
From what I can tell, time is your biggest enemy right now, I don't know you, but that's what I'm seeing. Any way to buy more of it?

Not really, with leases, and jobs and such. I can't just tell my new boss, hey, the love of my life wants to sleep with other people, so I might be in in a month or so. Or not.

I feel like I'm walking into a giant trap.

DazednConfused 07-28-2010 03:27 PM

Oh, so you're moving in with her, not she with you! I see that as kind of better. If you are moving there, and the new job is adequate (considering today's economy) why not go for it? What's the worst case scenario? You're in a new place with a new job? If you're working, than, I'm guessing, financially you'll be ok if you need to go find somewhere else to stay?


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