Hello and Advice
I am openly poly, living in London and 33 year old bi female. I have been openly poly since late 2008 but have more recently been seeing a number of other poly folks. There is a whole sort of sub community of young poly people here who are meeting each other and hooking up who are involved in political activism, LGBT activism and the like.
Given this I am considered to be one of the older knowledgeable poly folks and often get asked for advice (which usually consists of advising people to communicate!) In any case, I am currently seeing three women, 2 more casually and 1 more seriously. All of them have other relationships. The woman that I am into a lot has a long term male partner of about 3 years and they live together. I've been seeing her for about 3 and a half months. I decided to ask her out formally, saying I wanted to be girlfriends officially. She then said she wasn't sure she had enough time and couldn't commit to see me often enough to be a "good girlfriend".
This is the second time this has happened to me recently. I was seeing another woman for about the same time and she was also in a long term relationship. As things started to get more serious, she suddenly decided that me wanting to see her a few times a week was not possible and she ended the relationship.
I should make it clear that neither one has said I was in any way demanding, just that realistically they don't have the time. I am somewhat cynical about this response as I think if you really like someone you will make the time to spend time with them.
Needless to say I am finding this all rather confusing. One of the things I like about poly is that it is about relationships and not just about sex, and I am having really lovely sexual encounters with a number of great people, but it seems like any time I try to take things further I get met with brick walls. Am I doing something wrong or is it just bad luck?
That said, if you're exclusively dating people who already have other partners, that is going to make finding someone who wants to have a more serious relationship a little more challenging, simply due to time commitments if for no other reason.
I have a girlfriend that I don't get to see very often. We are both married and I have another boyfriend as well who is now a part of my family. I totally get the time quandary.
Because of her busy life and mine, we don't get to spend time together as often as perhaps one or both of us would like but we are committed to just leaving it alone for now. It is what it is. If we need more and the other can't give more, then we will have to address the issue, but that's just how it is.
Perhaps that is just how it is for these partners of yours and they have been finding you too demanding. That can be very trying if they are already trying to balance their life already. It could of put them off and they decided that either you are needing too much or that they really can't handle more on their plate and feel that they are doing you a dis-service.
It's a shame they haven't given it a chance and taken your advice to communicate all that... but then maybe you were just not a good fit and they decided they weren't interested...
I would also suggest that the age difference was a struggle here. Perhaps they see you as being in a different time in your life that isn't compatible to theirs? I don't know anything about you so it's just a guess. Age difference doesn't seem to make a difference if the ones involved are in the relationship for similar reasons and they can adjust to the gap... maybe your reasons are differing in some way? Just a thought.
This might just be a difference in approaches to poly. Perhaps the community you are involved in is more of the network of "very friendly friends" type and don't want as deep of relationships.
Just a thought
I don't think it's either !
"Time" is one of the least acknowledged problems we face in poly relationships ! Those who have been involved for any length of time have hit this wall head on. Despite all the other advantages, time can be a real burden ! Especially if the relationship is a V or other similar arrangement where time division is a big component.
This is why triads, quads, etc are more desirable and (from a time perspective) easier to navigate.
It's a crazy world we live in right now with demands on our time. Between job commitments, social engagements, family for those that applies to it can get too stressful. The MO of the boyfriend/girlfriend model just doesn't lend itself well to poly unless you all have loads of uncommitted time.
Seems your potentials are aware of this. Nothing to do with you so much as maybe the particular model you are trying to construct. It has it's limitations.
If you can look into more triad/quad etc type possibilities it may be that you'll find it easier.
So lack of time is very much a concern. It's a concern among older peeps, too, whose lives have slowed down a bit.
It appears you're getting caught between the whirlpool of time and the rocks of differing expectations. They don't have much time available and they're not really expecting an increase in time spent on relationships.
I'll suggest finding folks who aren't involved in other relationships, or folks who are actively looking for additional serious relationships or folks who truly do have more time available in their schedules. Part of gauging compatibility involves looking at how lives are likely to mesh or not--and busy folks already in serious relationships and not really looking for another aren't the most compatible for somebody wanting a serious relationship.
I'll also suggest letting the relationships grow more naturally. If you want to see more of a person, ask for another date one week and see how that works. It may take a bit of time before somebody's ready to juggle things around in a schedule to fit in another date. Dropping a change in relationship on them as a formal request for more time spent together coupled with a declaration of things suddenly getting Serious(tm) is likely to prove jarring and off-putting. Allowing that more serious bond to develop on its own works so much better, in my experience.
As for how much time...well, I'm not certain a woman is serious about dating at all until she's been around 8 or 9 months. I'm not convinced she's serious about a relationship with me until she's been around for at least twice that. I tend to take a longer view of matters than most people seem to do, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend using my reckoning of these things. 3 months sounds really rushed to me, though--more importantly, it doesn't appear to be working out well for you.
There's also that problem of differing expectations. Have these women ever expressed a desire for a serious relationship beyond their primary? Is what they consider a serious relationship what you consider a serious relationship? Have you ever discussed with them what they wanted on a long-term basis?
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