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-   -   tangled web of poly? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3534)

ray 08-22-2010 06:46 AM

tangled web of poly?
So I am currently in a V (fmf) with a couple and I am free to date others. Tonight, I took advantage of that as a guy that i know from my university asked me out. Turned out that my couple and their friends had been planning on going to the same movie theater so I had him come along with us. Now, my date is one of the close childhood friends of my SO's wife but neither he nor any of my couple's friends know that we're dating. After the movie, he and I hung out for a little while and he expressed to me that he had a good time and wanted to hang out again. I feel awkward because while I do enjoy hanging out with him, I'm not sure that I have romantic feelings for him and I don't wish to stop dating O. I don't think that any of us would feel comfortable sharing our relationship with him given his connection to her family. I don't really know what to do. I mean, even if I do hang out more with him, when would I express the situation and how do I explain it w.o sounding psychotic given that I can't tell him who it is that i'm dating. And I hate telling guys that I don't want to date them period. He's a cool person and I do think I'd enjoy a friendship with him. Who knows, maybe feelings could develop organically? What to do....

Mohegan 08-22-2010 08:23 AM

There's an interesting article on xeromag, about that. It says something along the line of not having to date everyone that shows interest, just b/c you're poly. You're not required to be interested in everyone who looks your way. There is no obligation to have feelings for everyone you go on a date with. If a friendship is a better dynamic for the two of you, just let him. I've learned it is so much easier on all involved to just be honest from the begining.

Quath 08-23-2010 02:12 AM

I think you should have fun with it. It doesn't sound psychotic unless you act defensive when you say it.

jkelly 08-23-2010 05:05 AM


Originally Posted by ray (Post 41181)
I'm not sure that I have romantic feelings for him and I don't wish to stop dating O.

If you don't have romantic feelings for him, you can let him know that, and then continue to hang out from time to time. There's no reason to discuss your love life with him if there's no interest on your part.


Originally Posted by ray (Post 41181)
I don't think that any of us would feel comfortable sharing our relationship with him given his connection to her family. I don't really know what to do. I mean, even if I do hang out more with him, when would I express the situation and how do I explain it w.o sounding psychotic given that I can't tell him who it is that i'm dating.

So... your partner is in the closet and you are therefor constrained from going into the details of your love life with this person. I think just not talking about your love life at all is both saner and safer than saying "There's someone but I can't tell you who" which is indeed going to sound pretty weird. Just change the subject, or say that you're not comfortable with the topic, if it comes up.

ray 08-23-2010 05:24 AM

I often have a difficult time expressing to other people that I am not interested in them because a) it's always a little awkward and b) I do this thing where I feel like I need to make myself like them. As if it's my last chance and I'd better hop on board quick before I end up an old cat lady. Silly I know. But I accept that it's something I need to do in life and even though it is awkward in the short term, it saves grief in the long run. I suppose if you have to think really hard about whether or not you're interested in some one, there's a good chance you're not. And can I just take a sentence to vent and say that it is very hard sometimes, not being out. It's necessary for now but I wish I didn't have to pretend. Rant complete. Rough weekend. Lots to figure out.

redpepper 08-23-2010 05:40 AM

I agree with jkelly in that you could tell him that you don't have romantic feelings. I think it very important to tell anyone those sort of things. It's just plain respectful to be up front.... on that note, you didn't tell him you are dating a couple and are poly? Hmmmm.... also not very up front and can lead to worlds of trouble. Total honesty is always the best policy and practice for me personally. Anyone I meet who is dateworthy needs to know everything now... in the first sentence after "hi, do you want to go out with me." Otheriwise I have to keep tabs on what I have said and when and what I need to catch them up on when something comes up. Nope, for me it has definitely been better to just tell them and be on the same page.

There is no reason to say who you are dating, just that you are. That is respectful and shows integrity I think. I would hope that you told the couple that you went on a date? They need respecting also.

I know these things are hard to do, but you are right I think, "short term pain for long term gain" is the way to go.

If it were me I would tell him that he is a lovely man and you enjoy his company and would love to hang out again, but that you don't have feelings for him that are anything other than friendship. After that I would add that you already have some people you am dating and you are satisfied with dating just them for now.

short, to the point and hopefully he will be happy with a friend :)

ray 08-23-2010 05:56 AM

I am worried that if I mention that I am dating a couple he will connect the dots and guess who. He happens to be a close friend of A's brother and they have decided that they don't wish her family to know. I am not entirely sure if I am poly yet. I'm certainly poly-curious but I ended up in poly bc I care about O and I don't yet know if later I will pursue other poly relationships. I might be happy just being mono. I'm on the young side and haven't dated very much so I'm still discovering what I like/am. If he and I hang out again, we will certainly have to talk about our expectations since I don't see it going further than a friendship. As for the couple, they are very supportive of me dating other people and they were actually present for a good portion of the date. I think that they are assuming that if I begin to seriously date someone else, I will then stop dating O. We haven't really broached the topic of maintaining the secondary relationship if I happpened to gain a primary. I think they would be open to it but I can't be sure. Ah, another talk to have!

redpepper 08-23-2010 07:40 AM

you don't have to say you're poly necessarily, if it isn't comfortable. Especially if this is not going to be a romantic relationship... if it were, that would be different. You can just say you are dating already and that your life is fine the way it is... you are just looking for friends right now. He probably wouldn't suspect then and if he has his ideas? Who cares? It's not his business anyways. It might be wise to talk to your couple about what they would approve of if he or anyone else asks direct questions. THAT is a discussion worth having and thinking about, because it could very well come up!

SchrodingersCat 08-25-2010 08:01 AM

When I was single/dating, I always liked the somewhat vague expression "I'm seeing some other people but I haven't really settled down with anyone." It leaves room for feelings to develop between you and him, and it tips him off that you've got some things on your plate that may push him out of the running.

As for "figuring out" if you have feelings for him, you hit the nail on the head. In the past, I dated some people who "seemed" like they should be perfect for me: same interests, they were attractive, similar politics etc, good conversation... but nothing "clicked" and it was really hard to admit that they just didn't "do it for me."

You also want to be careful of being too presumptuous. It would be embarrassing to say "I don't have romantic feelings for you, but I'd like us to be friends" only to find out he was only asking you out as friends to begin with.

In my past, there's always been a very clear point where things started moving into "more than just friends" and you don't want to get much past that before making up your mind and letting him know how you feel.

It's 2010 and you're in university. IMO, there's an unspoken rule there that everyone is just dipping their toes in the waters and experimenting, and that all relationships are pretty much friendly and casual until declared otherwise. I don't see any reason to jump right into a decision or announcement. RP's rule definitely works for her life: she's a married parent with other partners. She's not looking for that university-casual dating thing, she wants close emotional connections. You may long for those also, but you have your triad plus all the time in the world to settle down :)

As for your triad getting back to her family, I would feel out his trustworthiness and tell him before it gets serious. If you think he would spill the beans, then he probably isn't someone you want to be with anyway: trust is important and if you don't have that, you don't have much.

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