might not be cut out for normality - long =/
heh, actually, I've always known normal isn't really my thing, but I am only recently realizing I might not be able to hack a normal relationship, either.
Let's see... I'm a 29 year old female, but I'm one of the guys. Always have been. I'm currently in my second long term relationship - the first one ended poorly at 25 after ten mostly wasted years - and my BF is a wonderful man who I love very much. We are both pretty flawed people in a gazillion ways, but are both goodhearted and I don't think either of us have ever done anything to intentionally hurt the other any time in our relationship. We have never had any serious discussions on opening our relationship up in any fashion. I don't really anticipate it, either.
Which means I'm probably in the wrong place, but I don't know where else to seek advice.
My BF and I live together, have since before we started dating, actually. He is my best friend - I only ever date / have sex with friends. I am mildly autistic, and think I might have some trouble separating friendlove from partnerlove from sexual attraction. They're all very tied together for me. Anyway...
I have recently realized I'm engaged in a platonic 'emotional affair' with a dear friend of mine - male. Life has been tough recently, and I've found a lot of comfort in spending time and texting with him. It's probably not even fair to say it's platonic, because he's an old friend who was the first guy I was really hormonally attracted to, and we have had sex in the (distant) past. And, as with all my friends, our conversations are filled with double entendres and inappropriate humor and, well, it's just how me and mine make conversation. Sometimes attraction is involved, but not acted upon. This is all well known to my BF - who has similarly grey conversations with his friends - but somehow I feel like I'm doing something wrong.
If I were single, I'd have jumped my old friend months ago. Especially because my BF and I are getting very little time alone these days. There are times when I realize I am particularly attracted to old friend, and it's disconcerting and makes me question things. Unfortunately I don't rightly know what it is I'm questioning. I think I'm here for a sympathetic sounding board more than anything - if I'm in the wrong place, send me packing kindly, please =P
I want to stay with my boyfriend. Things are tough right now for a million reasons, but he is being particularly amazing through it all. We love each other very much and see a permanent future together. I don't want to give up the relationship I have with my old friend - part because I very much depend on him for emotional support right now, and part because if I stopped being friends with my guy friends who I have a questionable relationship with, I'd have no friends. Think I might be a perv (kidding, of course) Pretty sure that if this relationship doesn't work, I won't entertain the notion of a closed relationship again. Not sure what that realization means for this relationship. Pretty much just confused.
Not sure what I'm asking of you guys - my apologies. Think I just want to know if I'm doing my BF a disservice here. If so, how I go about fixing that in a fashion that doesn't ignore my wants/needs - which I know from experience ends poorly for everyone involved. I appreciate your reading this - I'm sorry it was so long. Any advice anyone has to offer would be appreciated.
Welcome to our forum.
I would encourage you to try to have a positive outlook about this situation. Just because bad things have happened in the past, doesn't mean things will go badly now. There is extra love going around. That's a good thing. Love is a limitless resource. You are being honest with each other. That's paramount. You are thinking about opening up your relationship. That's the beginning of an exciting journey.
I highly recommend the book "Opening Up," by Tristan Taormino. It covers a lot about polyamory and other forms of responsible non-monogamy.
Get the book and read it yourself, or perhaps consider asking your boyfriend to read it aloud with you. Ask him eventually to read it in any case. Talk about what's in there. Exchange thoughts and ideas.
If polyamory isn't what you want, you're under no obligation to practice it, and you're still welcome here no matter what. I just get the impression that having an open relationship is something you really, really want.
You're in the right place! Questioning is a perfectly great reason to be here.
You might start with a very gentle, generic conversation with your boyfriend, to find out what he knows and/or thinks about openness or polyamory in general. Some folks have never heard of it, and some folks have tons of friends who are poly. I didn't realize, but CBF had many people he worked with who are poly. I knew one couple, but I didn't realize there were so many in his community. Also, apparently lots of gamers are poly (who knew?), and so he knows from there too. He joked with me so often about me and my ex, FBF (who was his best friend), that I was pretty comfortable when I asked, 'so would you be okay with it for real?'
But I recommend beginning with a very generic and gentle opener. Like, 'I read this article on the 'net today, about polyamory. What do you think about it?' Or even send him a link, and say 'I saw this today, what do you think of it?'
And then all that lovely stuff what Kevin said. :D
I will also add, I recommend that if you're starting an adventure, to share it with your partner, if they have an interest. Or at least let them know, 'hey, I'm learning about this new thing. It really interests me.'
I see a lot of folks come in to polyamory.com and they've read everything, and spent months or years thinking on it, and the partner has no clue. Then they don't want to wait, to give their partner the months and years to think on it, and to come to it gradually, in the same way the originally did. It seems painful to do it that way, which is why I recommend including a partner in the beginning.
I've recently seen some come here who are exploring with their partners. They're spending a long time talking and learning before they even decide if they want to open up. It's inspiring to me.
I hope you find lots of interesting new stuff in here, and out there, to enlighten your journey.
Here's what I'm hearing... correct me if I am wrong ok?
You also articulate this:
So... who is making you do either? :confused: Nothing is happening that cannot be. Nobody is fussing. Or is the guilt from this?
I feel guilty because I know something is lacking in my romance with BF -- we do not spend quality time together right now. I am putting more energy into that relationship with my friend than dealing with the "lack of time" need in my romance with BF. I feel guilty about this.
I do not know your circumstances but if your BF is an astronaut and off in space, you CANNOT spend time with him right now. It cannot be helped. So hanging out with your friend is not a biggie. But if you CAN tend to that need and are ignoring/neglecting to be present with the friend... that's another thing.
You do not articulate your need or circumstances. But I think your need could be this:
FWIW, I crush all the time. DH knows it and is amused. Just because I feel an attraction doesn't mean I am in a place where I want to pursue.
That goes into another area. If your WANT is that you want to talk to BF about pursuing with his goodwill on board -- that's another thing. Do you want that?
But just generally admiring your friends and feeling an attraction -- you are human. You will feel things. But you choose how to want to behave. You can feel all kinds of things and still choose to do ... nothing.
Could sit with yourself and determine where your own wants, needs, and limits lie at this time so you gain some clarity.
Firstly, thanks for the welcome =)
Next... I should say that 'turning poly' would likely be the simplest and maybe even the optimal solution to my situation - but I would be equally happy to figure out a way to slow down my 'vagina heartbeat' where my old friend is concerned. My priority is maintaining this relationship with the best man I've ever know, with a close second priority of maintaining my friendship with one of my oldest friends. How that gets accomplished is still VERY much in the air =/
To Kevin: Thanks for reminding me that at the end of the day the problem here is too much love, and that's never really a problem. I also appreciate the book recommendation quite a lot - I am significantly 'better' with written text than any other medium. I don't know if I'm ready to bring it to my BF yet, but at least I'll have a better handle on what I'm considering.
I'd also like to say again that I am not yet sure I 'really want' a poly relationship - only that I feel rather, uhm, connected? to the idea.
To NovemberRain: I really just don't know if I'm there yet. Ideally, we'd be in a situation where we were meeting each others needs satisfactorily BEFORE we started courting this concept rolling around in my head. I am not yet sure that a time of trouble is the time I'd want to bring these thoughts to the table.
Which, of course, makes your second message especially pertinent. I assure you I'll be thinking on it quite a lot.
And GalaGirl, who apparently not only crawled inside my head but appears to have a lot of experience thinking the way people like me think.
I visit my friend some evenings while my boyfriend is at work. We typically watch a movie, have some snacks and some beers, and I'm usually home before my BF gets off work. He does know I go, and has even said he's grateful to my friend for giving me something of a distraction. I don't think my time with my friend interferes in a limited resources kind of way.
It's a little embarassing to put it all out here like this, but... Normally, we flirt and enjoy our friends' company and go home and have good sex. I like nights he dances with hot chicks all night long, he likes nights I'm all dolled up and my boys buy me shots all night long =P I know it's a little atypical, but it's always worked for us.
Right now, though, the time is limited and feels forced when we find it. Our sex life isn't nonexistant, but it's worse than it's been through any of our 'slower' patches in the past. Enter old friend, with whom I get a few hours of privacy with at least once a week. My social anxiety is ugly sometimes, and being alone - no costume to don for anyone - is bliss. I'm attracted to him, of course, which isn't really the problem in and of itself. It's that circumstances have produced a situation where I have caught myself thinking about my friend sexually with more intensity than I often feel for my boyfriend these days.
I'm here, though, because I have come to the realization that if this relationship doesn't work out - I still believe it will if we make it so - I won't even try to be a typical mono in future relationships. Sometimes life sucks! We can't always fill every need for a partner, much less wants! I can't help but wonder if that concept should be applied to our current relationship - and to what degree - or if for now, we need to concentrate on us as a pair.
gah, sorry so long. again.
Or do you subscribe to the belief that to feel a thing is the same as to do a thing? :confused:
It could be YOU coming to terms with being a very human person with sexual attraction, and dealing with caregiver burn out. (I'm in those shoes now actually, I sympathize on eldercare wacky.)
In terms of being "normal?" YES. You have sexual desire. I have that too. So do others. I'm sexually turned on by my friends. Sure I fantasize. DH knows it. Hell, he likes to yank my chain about it. He likes watching me flirt with other people. :D
So? The world has not imploded. I have a marriage and DH and I are good. My friends and I are still only friends. Some know I crush on them, some do not. I enjoy the sexual frisson in my head. I enjoy the flirting. Friends are still friends. Cupcakes for all. Where is problem? :confused:
If you want to be free of this worry/guilt thing, you could talk to BF about it and ask for his reassure that he is secure and unthreatened by it.
And you could give yourself permission to be human, and relax and allow yourself to be secure and unthreatened by it too. Trust yourself to behave in ethical, appropriate ways.
And if later down the road you want to change arrangements and pursue a polyship later, you could trust yourself to behave ethically. You could talk to yourself within about it to assess your own willing/readiness, and talk with your BF to check on his willing/readiness. Then your potential poly dating partner to check on THEIR willing/readiness. When you are at THAT point in time.
Figure out where all the wants, needs, and limits are... THEN.
Do not "pre worry." That is not constructive or helpful. It just feeds anxiety.
If you notice your inner voice talks to you with too many "SHOULD this and thats" and this also increases the guilty/anxiety factor? Could consider changing the vocab to "COULD this and that" and see if you feel better inside your inner world there.
ADDING the stress of poly dating/adding new people to your polymath is not wise at this time. Could call it "familymath" -- it is the same. All the people you tend to on your plate. Be it familyships or romanceships -- relationships are relationships. That THESE are your people. The people you deal with and in.
Opening while doing eldercare TOO? That's a great way to drive yourselves crazier trying to meet yet another person's wants, needs, and limits.
It's crazy enough in eldercare land.
Remember even while you take care of dad -- you can take care of YOU too. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Meet your OWN needs first so you can be a better, healthier caregiver for your dad. It will be ok.
In concert with what GalaGirl is saying, I believe that the core of your difficulties right now is the challenges of taking care of your disabled father. Nothing is wrong with your relationship with your boyfriend, except that you and your boyfriend are not getting a fair chance to spend quality time together, without the burden of caregiving. Of course it is not your father's fault, but it is not your fault either.
I would still go ahead and get that book and have a look at it. But in the meantime, I would have serious talks with your boyfriend (and father too I suppose) about what can be done to allow you and your boyfriend to have a little more of the life that you had before. Again as GalaGirl said, this means, at the least, finding someone to care for your father for periods of time while you and your boyfriend go out on a date.
I think another thing you have lost is a special, private space to share with just you and your boyfriend alone. Your home and your father now come as a package. This is a serious loss to what you and your boyfriend need and deserve to be with one another as a boyfriend and girlfriend should. At the very least, you need some "motel time" (either in the day or at night, depending on what you can arrange).
Above all, you need time away from your father. You need a break. It is not your father's fault. But it is not your fault either.
Is it time to consider longterm care for your father, at a facility that specializes in such care? Can Medicare/Medicaid help? These are only questions, and you need not tell me the answers if you don't want. But the questions need to be asked. Your primary relationship is being damaged by the situation, from what I can so far tell.
It's no wonder at all that your sexual drive for your boyfriend isn't what it used to be. Of course you are feeling more sexual drive for your old-time friend. When you are with him, it's in a pleasant environment where you and he can spend some quality time together. That's what you and your boyfriend don't have. So in my opinion, you shouldn't have to feel guilty that your sexual feelings are "going in the wrong direction." All's that's going on is that you (and your boyfriend both) are going through a period of intense stress, without the advantages that a romantic couple naturally needs.
I hope I do not hurt your feelings or offend in speaking so forthrightly. I just feel really bad for you, having heard more about your situation. I know there are no easy answers. You'll just have to figure out what you can do as you go along.
Whatever you decide in the "short term," the interesting twist in the story, that you're now contemplating an open and/or poly relationship, will probably remain a part of your life in mind, long after you "solve the father problems" as well as you can. This is a good thing. Even if you decide not to open up your relationship, you will have still opened up your mind to a new thing, and learned about "a new world out there." Knowledge is always beneficial. If nothing else, it will give you an appreciation for people who are poly.
And, it has already given us, on this website, a new appreciation for you. You are a strong person. You have undertaken a great burden. Take care of yourself too. Take care of your relationship with your boyfriend. And please continue to keep us posted here, and talk to us about your thoughts, questions, and/or how things are going.
With respects and regards,
I'm not going to actually respond to details in those right now, because I just came home early from a date and found my father on the floor. I have just - for the first time - convinced him to go to a doctor in another country. He has dealt with his issues for a long time, and that's probably what contributed to his wife giving up and taking her own life. *Yeah, seriously.* Life is tough. He just agreed to let me get him real insurance and let some doctors to tell him what he's dealing with, and then he can decide if he'd like to deal with it medically upon our return. I don't know how well I (we) will deal with the fallout, but I handle all situations better with more data.
Thank you guys for your understanding and lack of judgement. It means a lot. I'll be back tomorrow with more of my brain to devote to the discussion.
EDIT: I don't really believe any offense can be taken from people speaking their minds, especially in the kind sense you all have shown. I cannot describe the relief I feel tonight, for a multitude of reasons. Thank you again.
:eek: -- def go take care of dad and get him to the doc! And take care of you in this process.
Will hope for the best in this situation.
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