In need of help :(
I am new here, as you can probably guess. The reason I am here is because I have been together with my dear boyfriend for 2 years and for the latest part of it he has insisted on polyamory. For the past week, however, this has turned ugly. Sad, heart-breaking and ugly. :(
When we got together he did not know about polyamory, but discovered it later. I was shocked and lost it everytime we talked about it. Otherwise, our relationship was very good, we are close, talk about everything, want to be together for the rest of our lives, talk about having kids and getting married and I have never doubted in those plans. However, polyamory still was and has been the topic that makes me yell, scream, cry, break stuff. And makes him be annoyed with me. I must say that I do not like the idea of having multiple partners, it actually scares me tremendously. BUT it is not so much that I yell because of polyamory, I yell because it seems that my boyfriend think only about polyamory and his polyamorous future. He has made me feel worthless, disposable, being replaced, not enough and I feel I am bound to get hurt, so how in the hell could I support it?
This past week has been the worst in our relationship. It all started with him finding some article on polyamory and wanting to post it on his Facebook profile. I immediately felt threatened. The problem is that he talks openly about what he wants, but for some reason he tends to emphasise things that are not that pleasant to me, while I would sometimes just like to hear good things about this all idea. I know the bad things, so when I am sad and losing it, I would like him to support me and I want to feel that I am important. It is almost as if polyamory has turned into a person who I need to compete with and who is sitting in the corner all the time laughing at me and wishing me to have a horrible future.
However, I had two breaking points yesterday. We seemed to have made up and were close again and friendly. I really felt hopeful towards the future after a long time. Firstly, when my boyfriend wanted me to listen to his reasoning that polyamory is good for US, not him, that there are so many monogamous relationships that go to waste and he wants to be with me forever, so we should try something else, but only up to the point that it makes everyone happy, no forcing. This made me laugh at him. I was all "sure, we were happy before this polyamory and we would be so close without it, so no way could we benefit from it in the future". However, yesterday, for the first time I understood him. I did not necessarily agree 100%, but understood him and felt glad that he cares about our happy future.
Secondly, for the first time I really felt that I don't care if he talks about polyamory or monogamy or whatever, I just want to be with him and want him to want to be with me. Polyamory should not be the reason to break up with the love of your life, cheating, hurting the other and so on should be. I want to support him, not 100% on this, but I do not want him to have extra problems beacuse of me. I am just so sick of this fighting and not being close to him. :(
However, even after those progress-points we ended up fighting again and he claims that he needs to be away from me for a while and has decided to start spending a lot of time at the library. I am not sure about this. I mean for the 2 years of our relationship we have been together almost literally 24/7 and sure, we don't have many hobbies or jobs outside our home, so maybe this has added to the tension, but I think it is mostly because of the polyamory burden we both have been carrying. I mean if I have to be scared all the time that maybe he really does not love me and wants to replace me then I do not feel safe and close up and don't want to be as close as I could be. And we both feel distance because of it. But we almost solved it now, so why does he have to be away from me? Ok, I must admit that I would like some "my time" as well, but it still scares me. I just want us to be us, loving each other and happy, I am sick of this polyamory bullshit, all I have been doing is reading about it and I feel it never ends, I want acknowledgement for my progress, not him leaving me alone at home. :(
I have been reading KatTails' blog and it really touched me and I felt EXACTLY the same. The situation is different, but the emotions are not. I did not know whether to make this post here, or should I start my own blog here? Or are there some rules as to who can do it? I really need help. My relationship is not what it used to be but I want it back, I want my close, loving boyfriend back, but what should I do? What about this him being away from me more than we usually have been? Oh my. :(
If you haven't already, search for 'mono/poly' and read the many, many threads about this topic. You can be mono and he can be poly and both of you together can be happy. But it is hard.
What you are describing is not uncommon for many folks exposed to the idea of polyamory recently. Many people who are more inclined to be mono feel as you do - he will love you less, you are replaceable, you should be all he needs and so on. It is totally ok to feel these things! You need to feel them in order to understand what is going with you. Ask why you are feeling these feelings. Why do you feel replaceable? Why do you feel unlovable? After all, he is still with you - obviously he values you. Otherwise, he would just leave.
You may find that the answers to these questions have nothing to do with him, or with poly, or your relationship at all. We all bring baggage from our prior experiences, from growing up. That baggage is often not all bad either. You may be telling him that you feel unloveable and replaceable because he wants poly when what may be going on is that you are telling yourself a story that you are fundamentally unloveable and replaceable. I use 'telling a story' to illustrate that these things that go through our heads are often what we tell ourselves - but that they are not factually true. You are lovable. You are not replaceable. Your boyfriend's suggestion of poly cannot change that basic fact. Nothing can change it.
However, after examining your feelings and after reflecting, you may be fundamentally incompatible with him if he is serious about wanting poly relationships and you ultimately want a monogamous relationship. If this is how things shake out, it doesn't make you a bad person. There is nothing wrong with wanting monogamy if that is what feels right and best for you. People can make relationships where one person is mono and the other poly work. But it is not easy and it may not be what either one of you want. Let each other go in that case, and be grateful for the lessons each of you learned from the other.
But it is not ok to throw things around him because of what you are feeling. It is not ok to yell at him because of what you are feeling. It is ok to have different styles of fighting. That's really common too. You may not feel that yelling is a big deal, especially if it is something that your family did. But for someone like me, who did not grow up in a family that yelled or even had loud discussions, yelling is incredibly painful and disturbing. I have no idea if your boyfriend is similar to me. But if he is, then that may help explain his desire to be around you less. This is a very bad sign.
Contrary to popular mythology, you need a lot more than love to keep a relationship together.
"back in the day" I talked frequently (off this site) with Kattails and the girlfriend.
My husband felt similar to Kattails when the topic of poly was... Dumped on his head by me.
Its been 3 years 6 months since that.
In the last 6 months we have actually found a peaceful camaraderie IN our poly dyynamic together.
I will say-a mono-poly relationship can't work unless BOTH of you let go of trying to get your way. You need to each let go of the other person. Re-connect with your individuality and learn to identify what you (as individuals) NEED vs what you want.
I like to use the comparison to BDSM contracts, hard limits and soft limits. Hard limits are non-negotiable needs. Soft limits are negotiable wants.
Things can be one and later become the other. But you need to be able to separate them in your mind AND express to each other clearly what those hard limits are.
If the hard limits are incompatible, there's no option for remaining together.
My bf is mono. He's clear on his hard limits. But-he also is clear on mine. There's no room in our relationship for power and manipulation games. If he needs my attention, he says "I need attention." if he feels insecure, he says he feels insecure. But he doesnt guilt trip me for "making" him feel that way. They are feelings and they are his. I love him. I am devoted to him as much as I am devoted to my husband and my kids (feel free to read my blog if you want details). But, I am not responsible for his feelings and he is not responsible for mine. We are responsible to care for and support one another-which means reassuring that yes I love him when insecurity hits. But, it doesn't mean pretending I am anything but a polyamorous, bisexual woman. It definitely does not mean NOT being who I am or doing what I *need* to care for me.
You need to do some serious soul searching. Can you accept him as he is? Whoever he is? Accepting meaning that you dont use who he is against him, you don't demand he be someone he is not? Can you be happy with who he has expressed he is, doing what he's told you he intends to do?
The only thing that I could ever come up with was...I didn't EXPECT him to meet each and every one of my "needs/wants/desires" - I thought that that was an unrealistic expectation. SO, I would never leave him for not living up to that. Finally, when push came to shove, he actually realized that for himself - but, it wasn't something that I could realize FOR him.
For the poly person - THEY are NOT looking for a "replacement", so I think that it is hard for them (me) to see that it may look like that from the other side. The (potential) new person is not "better" but different - a complement to the existing partner, not a competitor. Not an "OR" but an "AND".
BUT, if YOU want a partner who only wants YOU - then there are plenty of mono-minded people in this world. YOU deserve to be in a relationship that fulfills YOU and makes you happy - as does your current partner. It is no more fair to expect him to change to be the person you want him to be (i.e. a monogamous one), than it is for him to expect you to change to be the person he wants you to be (i.e. someone who is ok with him pursuing polyamorous relationships).
If what you want out of a relationship is fundamentally different...then, it is different. And if you truly "love" each other, then you will let each other free to seek the life path that will make you happy - rather than stay together for "love" and be miserable but together.
Woah... well, let me say something.
I have a feeling that he wants some alone time, not only because it's not healthy to be with someone 24/7 as you claim, but because (not trying to be mean here) you don't sound very mentally stable.
I wasn't very happy when my mate told me about it the first time either, but I didn't throw a fit. I was thankful that he was trusting enough to tell me about that stuff. We've had some conflicts lately, but I'm still trying to keep an open mind. Hell, even my two closest relatives and some friends (yes, they know) have told me that he's a good guy and I should trust him.
If you react so violently whenever he's trying to be honest with you, you will cause him not to tell you anything anymore, he's going to feel that you don't trust him and you're going to drift apart. Honesty is a good trait, keep that in mind.
If you are feeling so insecure, try asking a counselor or a psychologist. They will be able to help you cope better.
There is NOTHING wrong with you. You are totally enough and totally fine.
But this is like marriage or kids. Some people want to be married. Some not. Some people want kids in their future. Some people want to be child free. It's a "basic incompatible" -- that is nobody's fault. Everyone has the right to have their future shaped the way they hope/want it. Some things you could be ok compromising on. The color of the couch. Some things -- NO. It is a dealbreaker. You could be on different points in the spectrum of how closed and how open:
Another "basic incompatible" issue could be where you each lie on the spectrum of
independent <---> interdependent <---> dependentNone is wrong, but each has a flavor. If independent is (1) and dependent is (10)... A (2) and an (8) are going to have a hard time being together. The (2) will feel suffocated if they try to meet the "togetherness" factor for the (8). The (8) will feel neglected and lonely going the other way.
But a (4) and a (6) don't have to bridge a gap that wide so they could function ok together.
Polyamory IS a reason to break up if it is a basic incompatability issue. Take his name out of it for a minute.
Do YOU want your romances to come in a polyamorous shape? Or are you happier/can better thrive in a monoamorous AND monogamous shape?
Could you be happy being monoamorous in a polyship with someone? Where your partner is the shared hinge person in the "V?"
If the answer is "no -- totally unappealing to me!" then as painful as it is... you are dealing with a basic incompatible. You could be coming to terms with that and dealing with the stages of grief. It is disappointing to think about, but remember YOU are responsible for your own well being. You HAVE to consider these things in the name of your own LONG TERM well being.
Don't be afraid of some short term break up suffering to gain LONG TERM well being here. You may not want it or like it -- but it could be healthier for you to end the romance and be friends instead. You don't have to lose each other. Be friends and you could lose all these yucky feelings though trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.
If you need more materials to read to determine where your willingness lies:
But as a general temperature check on yourself? Answer these super honestly --
1) Are you willing to go there?
2) Do you go there with joy in your heart and spirit?
3) Is it healthy for you (mental health, emotional health, physical health and spiritual health?) and healthy for others?
4) Do ALL THREE of those things have "yes" answers?
If not? Don't go there. Some things in life are not "win or lose" but "this stinks and that stinks. So which choices stinks the least for me?"
So sorry you're in this predicament. I do hope you can get ahold of your violent outbursts. They're counterproductive, and make it almost impossible to have any kind of civilized discussion.
So you want monogamy, and he wants polyamory. I'm guessing he already has someone in mind, based on what you told us in your initial post. Since he does not yet have your blessing, that would be cheating. I'm REALLY hoping that's not the case, but I've been in your shoes before. Can you account for his time "at the library"? Does he keep his texting and emails carefully guarded? Has he made any changes in his apperance, clothing, etc.? Sometimes people become "converts" to the idea of polyamory retroactively, to justify an affair. If this is the case, hold his feet to the fire and make him accountable for his betrayal of trust. In this case you'd have some important decisions to make. Polaymory must come from a place of trust and honesty. Openness. Do you guys have that?
In any event, you guys are going to have to have some long, intense discussions. In an adult, civilized fashion. Have you guys considered marriage counselling? Sometimes that third party can force couples to have better, more focused, less antagonistic, discussions.
My all purpose "relationship problem" cure:
1. Get a hobby that does not involve your partner. Carve out time in the week for "whatever" time. Treat this alone time as if it is just as important as couple time. Spend some time experiencing the world as an individual.
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