Sorry if this topic has already been covered!
So I just need some advice I guess..I have been with my girlfriend for just over a year & I know she's 'the one'. The other day she came out to me as being poly. She said it's something she's been struggling over all summer & that she was terrified of telling me in case it's too much & I finish with her.
I just don't know what to do. I don't have a problem with her being poly, but it's something I'm finding hard to accept into my own relationship. She's explained it to me and I can see her thinking behind it, but as I told her I would still be absolutley gutted if she was with someone else, and I would consider it cheating.
I can't not be with her...she's my everything, but at the same time I don't know how I can accept this, or how long it's going to take me to get used to it.
I don't know if I'm explaining this very well, but it's because I am literally in two minds about it and I keep flitting between different thoughts about this so it's so hard to make any sense of it!
Basically I would do anything for her and I want so much to be able to accept this because it's part of her, but at the same time I just can't help but think why am I not enough?! She's said that it's the physical intimacy she wants from other people and that it wouldn't even come close to the type of relationship we have. But then that makes me think why can't she just wait until I'm with her (we live apart as she is at uni & i had to move back home).
I just want to know if anyone's been in a similar situation - either from my point of view or from the same point of view as my gf. Sorry for the slightly confused post and sorry again if this has been covered already or is in the wrong place...if it is I'll remove it! Thanks in advance for any advice.
I'm no expert, definitely new myself...
Is it possible to work out a relationship that you are both comfortable with. Not either she dates multiples while you only date her or you two just date each other... Would you feel better if you both dated someone else?
I know that can be tricky (especially with genders, we can't help what we're attracted to), but maybe it would be easier if you felt attracted to someone she did as well?
That's the only thing I'm comfortable with in my relationship... I wouldn't be okay with my husband dating someone that I wasn't also involved with. That's just where my boundary is and he agrees.
I'm sure someone with more experience will be in this thread soon to help. :)
If any of them is not having sex with other people, than a person who is going to have sex with other people doesn't qualify.
Is she prepared to repress herself? Are you prepared to share her sexually with others? (The places you kiss will be kissed by others). Are you prepared for the feelings of guilt in not being able to give her everything she wants?
Are you prepared to hold her if her heart is broken by another person she loves?
These are tough questions, but anyone in a mono/poly relationship dynamic is going to have to face them. (You sound mono inclined)
Do lots of reading and really find out what she wants from life...because when you use words like "the one" it implies a long term commitment. If she wants more than "the one" you'll have to be able to support her and still maintain your own personal health. She'll have to support you as well.
Poly relationships are a lot of work...mono/poly relationships are arguably even more.
As MonoVCPHG wrote, do lots of reading about polyamory.
After that, the next step is probably to decide if you're going to try opening the relationship or not. Know ahead of time that you will face fear and jealousy. The decision you have to make is to decide to try to overcome the jealousy. It can be overcome.
Today in an old issue of Loving More magazine I read an article about jealousy. The author, who is a counselor suggested using the phobia model as one of two methods that she recommends to overcome jealousy. It is basically a method of slowly and gradually being exposed to what triggers fear in you. Over time the triggers should have less and less of an impact on you.
Before working at overcoming jealousy, communicate all of your feelings to your partner. I can not stress the importance of open communication enough. In fact, I'm still working on this myself.
If it is physical intimacy she is looking for and not a relationship that is similar to yours yet different, then it isn't poly she is looking for. Maybe an open relationship or swinging would work better for her. Poly is about loving several people at one time and enjoying the differences and similarities of them all... sure, sex is a part of that, but it is the loving nature of relationships that comes first.
I would wonder what your goals are in life. and what are hers? I don't know anything about you, so here are some questions to ask your self and discuss with her.
What do you see the future together to look like, kids, house, marriage? Are these things that you would feel fine about doing just the two of you or could you foresee doing this with many people and forming a large chosen family?
Do you want to base your future on working on career, traveling, doing something that drives you? How will that fit in to the amount of work two or more partners would entail? It's a struggle to balance, and have time. How does that factor in to what you want to do with your life down the line?
Are you interested in being alone and having a lot of your own time? Would that work for you or do you prefer to always be with your loved ones and know they are available when you need them to be? Are you okay with spending your time with other people that your partner has a relationship with? Would you want to be involved in their lives? Would you want to share someone?
These are all based on her wanting to be poly... as I said earlier I would wonder if it is in fact poly she thinks she wants. If it is this might be a good place to start discussions on what she wants and needs and what you want and need. Stay as honest as possible, stay open to her thoughts and be respectful to one another... you might be surprised that there is something in it for you or you might find that this woman is not going to work out for you in this way and you need to move on... that will be reveled.
Agreed that you and her should get reading along with your discussion. There is lots to read on here. Do a tag search or search for what interests you... read the threads that have been posted in the nuggets and stickies provided. There is lots to do and lots of time to do it...
Thanks everyone for the answers...you all gave me alot of things to think about that would never have even crossed my mind so I really appreciate being able to get advice from people who know what they're talking about!
Think im going to wait until I go visit her next time & have a chat about it then. That gives me time to think about what I want/where my boundaries can be, so hopefully we'll be able to come to some middle ground! Also don't really want to be having this conversation over the phone lol.
Thanks again for all the advice & different perspectives, it's really appreciated.
Yes, you probably need to do a lot of talking. Make sure you know where you stand.
The way I see it, she's told you how she stands, you need to figure out your place now.
You seem to be of two minds: one, you don't want to live without her, and you want her to be happy and be herself. Two, you don't think you could share her without being unhappy yourself.
The important thing would probably be to know what you have a problem with. Is it the idea of other people having sex with her? If so, do you know why? Would it be better with some limitations, for instance specific acts, or meeting the other people first, or the opposite, not hearing about it?
Are you more afraid that it would diminish you? As in "why am I not enough?" If so, that's probably going to be rather hard, but it's possible to work through. See, if you're mono-wired, as seemed to be the case, you work in a drastically different way. It is hard to think about things from her perspective, but I assure you wanting to be with other people doesn't take away from what she has with you any more than wanting to have more than one friend.
There IS the possibility that you don't fill her needs, that you are "not enough". Why? Because you're a single person. Imagine having just one friend. No other friends. Surely that person would be "not enough". They wouldn't fill all of your needs, because it's good to have several friends who are all different in many ways, be it personality, tastes, activities they like, etc. This is similar.
Now, another thing that people have raised is whether she is a swinger, or polyamorous (or I guess both). Is she looking for just sex? Or is she looking for things that include but aren't limited to sex?
I find it's easier to say "I want to have sex with other people" than "I might fall in love with someone else... But I'll still love you". Because people often can accept the idea of having sex with other people more easily than the idea of loving other people in a romantic way, so it hurts them less.
As a result, it's hard to be sure if she said it that way because she feels you'll understand it better, or if she isn't interested in other romantic relationships and is simply pursuing sex.
In which case, said sex wouldn't be the same as the one she'd have with you, due to the connection she has with you. It would be casual or recreational sex, and quite different, and therefore it also makes sense that you wouldn't be able to provide that.
Please keep us informed after you get to talk to her. And good luck, I realise it must be hard for you, since it's not something people tend to expect so it must have been quite a shock.
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