I have just chosen poly over a potential monogamous life mate. Whoa.
Hi. I am new here and new to poly. Wow, that sounds crazy to say. Well, new in that I am finally taking action. I have struggled with the monogamous approach to relationships my entire life. It has been a long road that in the past two years of self-searching and educating has led me to where I am now. I haven't found a community in my area yet and so I turn to the ever embracing internet for like minded people to support this challenging decision I have made. Thank you for being here.
Not an hour ago, I told a girl I have been seeing very seriously that I finally knew what I wanted. I felt clear and steady. Poly is how I love. It is how I am wired. I have known this for a long time. I am only now putting it into practice. I knew I might lose her. I knew I had to do it anyway. I would have explored this with her, but she also knows what she wants and it isn't this. It really brings the weight of your choices to reality when someone you love walks away from you because of it. In the past I would have faltered when a lover did not see things my way. This time, I did not. It is an entirely new experience for me to choose what I really want over what my lover wants me to want.
Now, she is gone and I am struggling to embody what I feel I must explore in my life. If I do not do that, my losing her will be for naught. I am optimistic and in a large way relieved. I know that I need to act to manifest what my heart and brain are very clearly saying to me. That feels daunting right now. I hope that when I do, my actions of today will feel totally worth it. I am trying to be strong. There is fear of loss there, fear of having made a mistake (the world is screaming this at me), but they are fainter than ever before. I accept that they are there. She asked, "Why would you invite this pain?" I said, "It is joy that I seek. And self-alignment. Any pain that comes along with it is at least that of my own choosing."
I have lost someone dear to me and I am instead moving toward something that seems like it can't even exist sometimes it has to be a fantasy. I won't know until I experience it for myself. I trust there are others out there. I trust you are those others.
It is hard not to question choosing a belief in something I have not experienced as real over something I do know exists. It is hard not to second guess myself knowing the pain she is feeling and the infinitely appealing story I could believe in instead. Were I to accept monogamy, I could have married this girl someday. Tell me I am not crazy to have done this.
My boyfriend and I went through a similar crossroads and while it turned out we both wanted to explore the polyamorous route, things could have been different, and nearly were a few times. I commend your bravery and strength in sticking with what you know is going to be best for you; and it's going to make you extremely happy in the future. Best of luck with everything, and you are NOT crazy, you're healthy. :)
There are countless varieties of approaches to relationships once you realize that the possibility is there. Deciding that monogamy isn't your bag is a step but only just that. What you do with that information is up to you. I suggest you continue to look at how you relate to people from a principled approach. Most people just react based on social tradition and never look deeper into their though process, unlike you and some of the members of a forum like this one.
Thank you for sharing your story. I was in your place several years ago. I lost the man I considered my best friend in the world because he had no interest in non-exclusive relationships [and did not bother to tell me until he had met someone monogamous and wanted nothing more to do with me].
I was so broken up by the way things ended that I did not date again for almost 18 months. I felt so guilty for being the way I am--for wanting more than just one relationship.
Now, I have been seeing the most delightful man for the past 14 months. I am continually amazed by how well our non-monogamous relationship / lover-friendship is working and how bizarrely compatible we are--much more so than I was with my ex.
Just this past weekend, my guy offered to drive me IN A HUGE SNOWSTORM to my date with another man. I ended up having to postpone the date because it was a freakin' blizzard, but boy, do I appreciate my amazing guy! (He dates other people too, incidentally).
Two years ago, I never imagined that I would have reached this place, but here I am. I trusted myself and my instincts. I ignored people who told me I was crazy (including one therapist!) and that it wouldn't work (including ALL of my own friends). I focused on making peace with myself and on meeting new people.
And I learned everything I could about ethical non-monogamy, polyamory, dating, communication, and myself.
Thank you everyone for your advice and reassurance.
Meera, your guy sounds awesome. A story like that is really inspiring as was your line about trusting your instincts. I very much feel it is important for me to trust myself these days.
Marcus, it sounds like I am in the right place. I will take your advice on the principled approach.
Rhaenes, it feels good to hear someone call me healthy particularly after the conversation I just had.
It was a great support to come back and read those replies because right after I wrote the post I got a call from the girl I wrote about. Partly I was glad for this as it gave me a chance to further explain where I was coming from and perhaps dispel some of the assumptions she may have made about my choice. However, the other side of the conversation (the longer side) was her explaining to me how she saw this as a mistake and that I was giving up something special for something selfish and naive. At various intervals she communicated pain, disappointment, disgust and judgement. She told me I was a little boy and didn't have enough life experiences to know better. She apologized when I called her out on it, however. I know she is hurting so I don't take it too personally. I tried to communicate the same to her several times: that this isn't personal, with little effect. In the end, she doesn't understand what is to be gained from opening yourself up to "such complications and pain." I tried to convey to her the beauty and sense of it for me but she didn't seem to listen. I feel a little limp in doing that because my hypothesis is, as of yet, untested.
I have cheated in every one of my relationships and I told her that is why I decided I needed to make friends with this part of myself so that I would not keep repeating the pattern that made me feel like shit and ruined my relationships in the end anyway. I told her that I would be willing to continue with her but that it would require opening up eventually. She just kept talking about how I was the love of her life (we have been dating for 3 months) and that what I was doing was foolish and sad. That I didn't understand what mattered in life, apparently.
At times, her words started to make me think I had imagined this whole thing and obviously what I wanted wasn't what I really needed. That maybe I was delusional and had talked myself into this. That somehow, [I]this time, [I]love would be enough to overcome what I have felt in every relationship I have ever had. She made it sound like it was something I could get over and would once I started thinking like an adult. It started to weave its spell on me and I found myself feeling dazed and unconvincing. This has been a problem for me in the past with lovers. Their perspectives overtake my own. I am trying to regain my ground again after this assault on what had felt like a very clear and confident conviction.
We are going to talk again in a few days. I am afraid of losing her and finding out that she was right and that I was just confused about all of this. Before this conversation I had been feeling a deep sense of self-assurance and trust about my desire to be polyamorous. Will this really be worth it? How can I know?
Any help is immensely appreciated. Thanks for listening.
It sounds like you need to find yourself.
I have struggled with this process for years while living with my husband, whom I loved dearly. I didn't speak up because I was afraid of hurting him, because I was still processing my wants and needs and finally I found that I couldn't stay my 'old self' any longer and I tested my feelings out and talked to him and we began our 'poly journey'. He choose to stay with me. He still is mostly mono (even though I guess he started thinking poly already himself). My other partner is clearly mono (body and mind). Different relationship approaches can exist side by side, so stay open to the possibilities and start searching for the right way for yourself.
I commend you for knowing what you want in your romances in general and sticking with that. This is A Good Thing. I am sad for your grieving the end of THIS romance, but let it be the end. In this situation it seems best to NOT be romance partners. Just be friends.
You greive, and she will experience her own stages of grief. She's struggling to understand why this is ending (because you have different wants, and your want is alien to her) but she's also being less than stellar in her hurtness.
Step away from the emotions and what do you have? 3 months dating. Come to find it's not a runner. That's alright. That's what dating is FOR.
Her calling you the love of her life after only 3 mos? A bit premature.
Her unable to handle disappointment in dating? Well, she has to learn to come to terms. That's part of "dating risk." That some of them are not gonna be runners! The only way to not risk that is to not date. If she wants to date people, that comes with the territory.
Putting down your wants, your values as "less than" because they are different from her wants, her values? She's could develop a better sense of dating and handling her own emotions when disappointed. But philosophical maturity is not one of the freebies -- it is developed over time. Could be generous and let it slide and not let that get you all cranked up. People grow at their own rates.
For myself... I wouldn't even be "going steady" (forgive old fashioned term) at 3 mos much less declaring someone "the love of my life." Beginning to love, maybe. A major love of my life? No. Certainly not THE love of my life when I'm still getting to know them. And my life isn't over or nearing finality for me to be able to make that call. Too fast of attachment could be something to look out for. I'm not saying she's unhealthy, but some people get really CLING ON too soon in dating. That's sometimes a red flag.
Pay her no mind in her upset. Be compassionate but remember to lift this up to yourself and to her when necessary:
That she is handling her disappointed in this way... well, nobody is perfect when upset and some people need time and experience to learn to navigate the stages of grief. It is part of knowing oneself.
Her belittling your maturity in her upset is not kind.
That your wants, needs, and limits are different than hers? She is a unique individual and so are you. You both have the right to have healthy relationships that you can thrive in. You both have the right to have your romances in the shape that you hope for. That is Life.
(She could be willing to be an appropriate friend back. That is separate issue. Only she controls her own behavior and state her own willingness. You control your own behavior and state your own willingness.)
You could lift these up to yourself and to her too:
If you stay in relationship with her when she wants to be exclusive and you do not, you are not being true to your own want to be free to explore. Compromising your own want to know yourself better to give her hers is not you taking care of you.
I see that you don't want to hurt her. Let me repeat... You are NOT hurting her. You are being honest. There is disappointment in the situation not being a runner, sure. But this is not maliciously hurting her out of being MEAN. This is just Life and a part of DATING. You both want different things. Could accept that. That is why people DATE -- to seek the ones who are compatible.
You are responsible for your own best healths -- mental , emotional, physical and spiritual healths. Take good care of you. Could use this quiet time post break up to NOT date but to heal. And in the healing, think about reading resources.
I am hoping that once she is past her grief she will come to be your friend.
But if it turns out not, and she wants to just part on good terms that is ok too. Breaking up is not fun, but if it must be had, I like having them with good grace. I don't like having a big ol' hooha crazy thing. That's no good to anyone! :eek:
Hang in there.
Welcome to the forum, Silas. :)
My offering to you is simply about how to regain yourself. When I break up with someone, I like to take 40 days of no-contact with them. A very wise teacher recommended this to me once, and every time I've done, I've been able to maintain a friendship. With those whom I neglected this, I am, sadly, not friends.
I am currently in a no-contact, after breaking up with one in my first, functional poly relationship.
This is not easy. It protects both of you from conversations like the one you're reeling from just now. I often write letters full of things I want to say to that person. I recently found some of those old letters, and I was extra grateful I had never said those things (now, with the perspective of years).
Three months? Love of her life? Sounds like she's got a little growing up to do herself. That seems awfully quick.
I'm sorry you're hurting; and happy that you seem to be making your way to more solid ground for yourself.
Not her fault, and not yours either. Unfortunately human brains are wired to look for blame and assign guilt. So you've imagined, or been force fed, the old tired line that you're selfish, or hedonistic, or uncaring for choosing a poly life rather then the self-denying, sacrificial life of artificial monogamy.
To date, there is no evidence for any long history of monogamy in human cultures, and actually some indicative evidence for just the opposite. It's also natural to have self-doubt about the choice you've made, but when you look at the evidence, just the evidence, monogamy starts to take on the appearance of a death sentence rather then some fairy-tale story (at least for some).
If you want to explore more about the subject their are books like Sex Before Dawn which, for me, was the nail in the coffin for monogamy. So armed with all that, you shouldn't feel a shred of doubt about who you are. And don't let anyone make you feel guilty for being who you are. If anything, get angry. Works a lot better then guilt.
Feeling battered and bruised here for coming out, too. So, thank you for this thread.
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