What is alone time for, anyway?
Ok, I have a new issue that I have no idea how to handle. :confused:
(Hopefully, this links to my first post about my triad here.)
Michael, my new boyfriend and close friend of Danny, my husband, has asked me for our first "alone time" overnight this weekend. In the past, it has always been both Danny and I visiting Michael's house, and I might go spend a few hours alone with Michael (with Danny's blessing, of course). Michael is now requesting that I come alone for one overnight stay.
I understand his request. He's into the NRE, and all mushy. :) (So am I, really, but I'm trying to keep sane here!) Though there's nothing we can't do when Danny IS around, maybe Michael feels uncomfortable being mushy around Danny?
As I'm typing this, I'm starting to wonder what it is that alone time gives a couple who claim to be poly? Sure, it's romantic, but how much of it is selfishness? What are we doing that someone else shouldn't see? WHY does it need to be "private"?
Danny says he's okay with the overnight, but not thrilled. He says he sees it as his two friends needing to be "without him." That certainly isn't true in my case because I love having Danny around. It's why I married him! So it's really Michael that wants the alone time, and that makes me think he's moving away from poly and feeling this is more a one-on-one ONLY kinda thing.
I don't know -- I'm too close to this to see clearly, so this is why I'm asking all of you! What do you think is going on, and am I missing anything?
Thanks in advance!
Being poly doesn't dictate how all of the myriad of relationships in the "polyship" have to function. Look for some of Galagirl's excellent posts on "polymath" for an explanation of ALL of the relationships at play.
Just because someone is poly doesn't mean that the individual relationships between people don't need their own care and feeding. For a lot of people, this means that each "couple" in the configuration (whatever it is) needs "couple time" to focus on and nurture THAT relationship. The nature and amount of that "couple time" is determined by the people involved. As is the nature and amount of the "all together" time - which nurtures THAT relationship (the one between all three of you). In addition, many people (especially introverts) also require "alone time" by themselves - to foster THAT relationship (the one that you have with yourself). In our case the boys also get plenty of time together (without me) which fosters THAT relationship (friend-friend, metamour-metamour).
To me, this doesn't raise any red flags at all indicating that he (the boyfriend) has issues with poly, any more than preferring to see each of my friends one-on-one rather than at a big party EVERY TIME means that I have issues with friendship. It means that I enjoy being able to focus on ONE person at a time and go deep, rather than everyone at once and go broad. It's not that anything is a "secret" in particular (although you may like to read some of the excellent threads/posts here concerning privacy) - its a matter of having someone's FULL ATTENTION for a period of time.
Hope any of that makes sense.
Do you and your husband have alone time? Do you consider that time important to your marriage? Would it limit the depth and meaning of your marriage if you *always* had friends over and never felt like it was only just you and your husband? Is it selfish to want to be alone with him?
Why should it be different with your boyfriend?
I love hanging out with my gf and her husband. But the three-person dynamic is always going to be different from the two-person dynamic, if nothing else because with three people you're keeping everyone engaged while hanging out (or else its pretty dang rude!), but one on one you can explore interests and thoughts that only relate to the two of you. When she and I have just-us dates, we have conversations we never would have had if other people were around. Not because we're keeping secrets, but because it's just a different space. It's a safer space for me to be vulnerable, because she and I share a relationship that her husband and I don't share... he's a great friend, but he's not my boyfriend, and the level of intimacy is different than that I have with her, not just physically but in terms of the extent to which I feel I can truly relax and open up.
Wanting alone time with my gf isn't about not being poly. It's about having a real relationship with her. It may not be nearly as time intensive or as committed as her relationship with her husband, but just like that relationship it deserves its own space to grow and evolve. And sometimes that can only happen when we're alone.
So, I guess I would end by saying, do you want a real relationship with your bf, one with depth, that's a special thing in your lives, or do you want a fwb? Nothing wrong with the latter, but if that's the case then perhaps you and he have different ideas about what's happening here .
I immediately thought of my kids. I love all of them and usually spend time with them as a group.
But, I treasure my one on one time with each because its during that one on one time that we get to know each other more intimately ( not sexually of course).
The same is true with my grandson. I love spending time with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson altogether. But I treasure my time with grandson alone as it is this alone time that fosters the personal intimate love and trust between he and I.
The same is true of my siblings. I adore them and family time activities together are a blast. But driving to Seward with my brother allows us to delve into more personal topics and bond more closely. Drives to Fairbaks with my sister, the same.
My beloveds this is true as well. I love each of them as individuals and while family time altogether is great-its in the one-on-one moments that we cement our trust in each other, delve deeper into our more intimate selves and share together.
In each of my examples, the one on one time creates a stronger more solid bond and in turn makes joint times better for all.
I think every "mini relationship" inside a larger one (be it a polyship or familyship or whatever) benefits from alone time. I sometimes write it out in posts - here's one time I wrote it out for a V. All those polymath tiers.
I need alone time as a solo or I get driven bonkers by too much togetherness -- shoo, kid! Shoo, DH! Go to school! Go to work! People need rest from the larger network. Couples need rest from the larger network.
You don't get to MISS the other ones til you are alone. That helps you appreciate when they are present more and what they bring to the table. If you are always together -- what is there to talk about that is interesting that the other person was not there for? Risk going into a conversational rut.
(My parents struggle with this in retirement. )
There are things my kid will only tell me without Dad around -- like how she's feeling about Dad, and asking for advice. Not that he doesn't anything horrible but there was this whole Christmas present thing recently.
As a couple, DH and I need time away from the kid. There is nothing we do (apart from sex) she could not witness. Dinner out is dinner out, right? But we get to go to the places she does not like and we do, see adult movies, etc.
It's going to be the same in a romance as in a family -- everyone has different tastes, interests, and different needs for quantity of alone time. But mere asking for some -- doesn't seen unusual to me. Alone time opens the door to opportunities for sharing deeper intimacy -- mind share, heart share, etc.
Each little relationship tier needs tending and care on its own tier. Then all the puzzle pieces that make up the larger polyship (since your case is a romance thing) can fly well together. Serolynne does a good job explaining it and how ONE mini tier being wonky can trickle over ugh feelings on to the other tiers.
I just add the ghost layer of "how we want to be when we break up" to it because I think that is important convo to have and that's a tier sometimes people forget to think out.
One on one time can be an important part of fostering a healthy relationship for some people (as pretty much everyone has already said). It sounds like it isn't something you connect with, which is what it is.
In my world, possessiveness over time with someone I care about is not healthy. I like to compare how I feel about my lovers to how I feel about my friends. If I'm being envious about how much time one of my friends is spending with someone else, that's immature on my part and something I need to deal with. If there is some kind of gathering with my friends to which I am not invited, that's their choice; not every event is perfect for every dynamic of guests. I don't own my friends, they don't owe me anything, and they are grown humans who live their own lives (why would I want it any other way?).
Your husband, of course, can be "not thrilled" with you spending time with someone that doesn't include him. This is, however, his own issue to deal with. Grown ups spend time in different groupings depending on what they are doing. This is a good thing.
I Get It Now
All of you, THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH for your input! This is the first forum I've ever been on where my actual questions were answered. What a concept! :D
When thinking about this "alone time" issue, I kept deferring to Danny (hubby) because I couldn't justify (yeah, I know) why spending time with Michael would be a Good Thing. Or maybe not even "justify," but to simply explain it! I had NO idea why I wanted this!
So, many of you have used something similar to the term "nurturance," and that the one-on-one dynamic is needed for that. I can see that, if for nothing other than the simple process of getting to know one another better. And I admit that it happens differently when there are only two people in the room than when there are more. I just didn't know how to make it easier for Danny.
Both of us (Danny and I) believe that feelings of jealousy and insecurity are to be dealt with and worked through. We believe these feelings are a product of dysfunctional social programming that teaches us that love has to be contained and shared only with one person for the rest of your life. We really do believe that being "poly" is an "advanced" or "awakened" way to love, but getting there can sometimes be painful, depending upon the baggage we've been given. I'm doing my best to tread lightly. :)
Again, thank you all for your support and encouragement. I'm honored to be among such a courageous group of people! My Love to ALL.
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