Musings of Erato
So, I've been thinking about writing something here for a while now. I'll just recap what has happened before I move onto the time since I last posted here and the present.
When I introduced myself here I wasn't sure if I was poly or not, just that I was poly-curious/had tendencies toward that, but felt no urgency to figure things out.
Then I fell in lust/unresolved dregs of love with an Ex boyfriend who is as far from me physically as my current boyfriend is. After a lot of miscommunication on the subject I stopped being a defensive jerk about it and listened to what he had to say, and he felt he could share honestly, when I realised that he had a point about how my Ex was treating me and disrespecting my partner and our relationship. I subsequently fell out of Lust with the Ex.
But not before one last cry for help to help me 'understand' monogamy (like it was a foreign language I could buy a dictionary for! Haha...) Which helped me to realise that I couldn't understand my partner's feelings on this subject, nor talk him into understanding mine, and I would just have to accept them.
And then something unexpected happened.
This was early to mid August (I think), and I was due to meet my boyfriend ('Bold' on the forums) at the end of that month, and I don't really know how to accurately explain it. I was scared to try to explain it until now, honestly, because I didn't want to feel like I was going back on what I had said before and start contradicting myself. Well, anyway, to get to the point: I suddenly started to enjoy monogamy. The point is something major shifted for me.
Poly enjoying Mono...?
This might not be strange to some people (one poster commented on one of my threads that they were poly but in a mono relationship and had no problem with it) but to me it was extremely strange! I can't explain the change other than vague guesses about needing to feel that my being poly was validated and coming to realise that I didn't have to date more than one person to be poly (just like having a boyfriend doesn't make me straight) and that it was okay for me to be poly and my simply being poly wasn't hurting anyone or in any way wrong or depraved. Probably also more trust in my partner that he wasn't trying to be as controlling as my previous boyfriend had been - my current boyfriend is in no way controlling actually! - and that he wasn't trying to stop me from being happy; I was plenty good at doing that for myself.
Anyway, to detail the feeling itself more: I felt giddy at the idea of monogamy, like I had NRE with it, and I was very wary of this feeling (as was my boyfriend!) because I was sure it would disappear and leave me heart broken again soon enough. The very idea of only being intimate with him is...dare I say...kinky to me? It's bizarre but I can't think of how else to describe it. He made me see how monogamy can be beautiful and pleasurable without being restrictive and suffocating.
It's mid-November now, we've had our visit (which was lovely, by the way), and I still feel the same way. The feeling has faded ever so slightly but when I focus on the idea of the closed circuit (careful, Erato, your computer-geek is showing) that we make together I still get a huge kick out of it. I now know that this doesn't make me mono but I feel like, well, I've learnt to enjoy it, basically. Perhaps this was a process for me in overcoming damage done by jealous and possessive partners past (my reactions to their behaviours are what I really had to overcome more than anything else) and now I can see that just because it's the same set-up this relationship doesn't have to have the same result.
So, after 3.5 months I'm still in love with Bold (perhaps more than ever before) and still excited to spend my life with only him - romantically and sexually speaking. I think he's still a lil wary of this, understandably after 1.5 years of debate on the topic, but I think it has been a load off for both of us. I never expected this to happen and I don't expect it to last forever but I am certainly enjoying having the same goals and similiar feelings about our relationship as my partner.
Thanks for this update Erato..it's truly heart warming :)
Does this maybe underscore how labels of any type can be illusions and distracting ?
Love is about feeling good, feeling fulfilled with our connection with someone. That fact that one person seems to be all we need/can handle at a given moment isn't about changing labels I think. And the fact that that's 'enough' for you - for now - doesn't change the fact that you acknowledge this connection could appear again at some future time. If/when that does happen, it won't be a source of confusion and turmoil for you (hopefully).
And it seems THAT is what poly is really about. It's as much understanding & philosophy as action.
Selene: Yeah, I think it's valuable for me to be able to focus on him now and not worry about what might happen the next time I get distracted by feelings for someone else and the whole dance starts over. Part of why he struggled with it so much is that he wants me to be happy and fulfilled in our relationship, even if that means having to invite someone else into it, but I was rushing ahead while he was still trying to figure out if he could live with anything other than total exclusivity.
We have the luxury of time, now, and I guess eventually we'll talk about poly again if it comes up. I almost wonder if we should talk about it, more calmly now that I don't have the urgency, ahead of time. But it's been not the most enjoyable topic in the past, due to the way I approached it partly, so I'm a little hesitant to talk about it since it's not relevant right now.
That's so sad about not having time for yourself! From your signature I can see why you might find it difficult, you seem to live in a very full house! Hehe, I bet that has it's positives but I can imagine lack of 'me time' would be a down side. Still, I hope you can make some time for yourself. One thing I have to remind myself a lot is that if I don't take care of me then I can't take care of anyone else. I'm not my best self when I haven't had time to just ride my motorbike or read a book in bed alone.
MonoVCPHG: Thank you! Many of your posts on this site, not only replies to me but just the general sharing of your journey, have really helped me. I appreciate it so much. Between you and Bold I've been able to debunk my demonised version of 'Evil Monogamy'! And also realise that you're not all cookie-cut-outs of each other, hehe, I had some strange ideas that I didn't even consciously recognise before I really took a hard look at them.
GroundedSpirit: Labels certainly can be distracting, yes! And misleading as words hold different meanings to different people. My parents never had very healthy relationships when I was growing up (not blaming them for my dysfunctional view point on things, just noting that I lacked positive relationship role models) and I went on to have very dysfunctional relationships where I ended up letting myself be controlled and controlling my partner in turn. I associated Monogamous relationships with that type of dysfunction in my life, at first, and thought that my problem was that I was a misunderstood poly, I think.
Love was a trap, to me, and not a positive or enjoyable thing. Well, it was either incredibly enjoyable or it was immensely horrible. Balance was never my strong suit. So yes, I think you make a good point. Perhaps it was less about my fear of monogamy was it was about my fear of loving and being loved without control/rejection/abuse/etc.
So it's been about 5 months since I lasted posted here and I thought it was about time for an update.
Bold's mother passed away in her sleep suddenly in mid January very unexpectedly and it hit him extremely hard. She was his support person through years of panic attacks, tutoring the last few years of high school at home and help with his phobias and depression. We had a bit of a rocky period as we both learnt to deal with the new situation and getting through it but we're getting much better at it now, I think.
In early March I proposed marriage and he agreed! His father has generously offered to pay for flights for us both so I'm visiting him in the States again in mid May then Bold is coming back to Aotearoa/New Zealand with me for 3 months while I finish up my diploma and then at the end of August we're moving back together to get married and live in the States. Fingers crossed that immigration approves my permanent resident application in time.
My feelings haven't really changed since my last post: I'm still deeply in love with him and want to be with him for the length of time I have in this world. I guess monogamy has lost a little of the novelty I felt with it at the end of last year but I think that's more of a settling of feelings and I still feel good about us being exclusive for now.
There is a little bit of discomfort in the pit of my stomach at the thought of how we'd deal with it if I do become interested/fall in love with someone else in future but I think that's just because I feel I handled it quite poorly last time and I don't want to hurt myself or him that way again.
I also feel a little sceptical about the idea that I could find another person that I'd want to make the effort to relate to romantically, who also accepted my existing relationship, and I honestly can't see any other relationship being long term. But! I'm trying not to close my mind to the idea of it. Anything is possible; even if it's highly implausible.
2 Year Marriage Anniversary Update
Well, tomorrow it will be 2 years since Bold and I married to begin our life together in the US. I'm not really sure how to continue this post so I'll start with a common question I am asked.
Do you like living in the US?
No. That's the short answer.
The longer answer is: I had a lot of preconceived (mostly negative) ideas about the USA before I moved here but I tried to put them aside and take an "it can't be as bad as I think" attitude toward it. I tried to be open minded.
It was much worse than I thought. Of course this is just my experience, I know there are many immigrants who adore the US and would only want to go home to visit, and there have been some experiences that are not uniquely US American in there too. And to be fair, many of the things I find difficult about the US are also challenges for people who were born and raised here. But, over all, I would say that I would much rather live in New Zealand and I am thinking about how to eventually move back there but that's a complicated topic in and of itself.
The main negative experience I had moving here was that Bold's father, who offered to pay ("No Strings Attached" to quote him) for our flights back and forth, my immigration fees and to put us up in his house (Bold was already living with him) until we both had jobs, and how he ended up treating me. This was in return for my helping Bold cope with the sudden loss of his mother and to help with his rehabilitation.
Without going into specifics: I felt extremely unsafe living with him. After finally moving out, since I had saved enough money (Bold is still unable to work due to mental health problems) and landed a permanent job, I realised how much it had effected me and how serious it was. I actually could have grounds for a restraining order against him (though Bold would have to testify as a witness, since that's how they do it in this state, and he would not be willing to do so and I couldn't ask him to) but there isn't really a need since Bold has told him to leave me well alone and he is mostly doing so. I still have nightmares about the guy.
I was very angry with Bold for not standing up to his father for me but I have since realised that he has also been a target of his father's rage and dysfunction for his entire life. He treated his late wife much the same way.
At points in living with Bold and his father I seriously considered going to a women's shelter (Bold asked me not to because he wouldn't be able to handle me leaving him alone with his father or coming along with me to a space shared with strangers) or simply returning back to New Zealand and abandoning my case to immigrate to the US along with physically leaving Bold since he couldn't immigrate to NZ due to his inability to work.
So, needless to say, that has all had an impact on our relationship and my ability to trust Bold.
Now to the part more relevant to poly and why I am posting this here:
About 9 months ago, I met someone who I developed feelings for. I made the mistake of assuming that revealing these feelings to said person would be harmless enough. Bold found it extremely harmful.
The someone I met, we'll call him M for now, is interested in and willing to have a poly relationship with me. M is also respectful of my current relationship and wouldn't dare make any move that would upset Bold or the current balance. M does, however, have a fear that M himself has some deep emotional issues around jealousy and rage (his father abused his mother for this reason which is why they broke up when he was a toddler so he fears he has inherited this trait from his father) but he tells me that he has yet to feel any such feelings about me. Potentially, this is because we're no more than friends - albeit friends who would like to be more under the correct circumstances. M is interested in experiencing the personal growth that poly often demands.
I also have trust issues in general so just the idea of another relationship, let alone my current one, makes me very wary. I feel like a starving woman staring at a loaf of freshly baked bread that I strongly suspect is poisoned. I also still feel deep mistrust in my marriage due to the experiences we have been through and also the difficult situation we are in financially. I have to work a lot to make ends meet and Bold is still unable to work. I have been in the situation of supporting a partner who was unwilling to work before so I have a feeling of being taken advantage of now that is very hard to shake. I also do the majority (Bold can help out inconsistently) of the chores at home and take care of all the financial details - insurance, bills, taxes, car registration and etc.
I know that Bold wants to be able to work and help around the house but I think perhaps he has talked himself into a corner and convinced himself that he is much less capable than he is. Such is the tricky thing about anxiety disorders.
So, where I am now is that I am seeing a therapist about my past trauma and everything that is going on now. It has recently started to surface, and I have been expecting it to eventually for years, in quite dramatic ways.
I've set myself a goal of working more actively on meeting people with similar interests because it would be nice to have more than 2 friends (one of whom is M and Bold is uncomfortable me even having lunch with in public alone).
And in October I will have to apply to remove the conditions from my Permanent Resident status in the US (the conditions being that I remain genuinely married to and live with Bold for 2 years after receiving my conditional status) so my immigration status will no longer have any bearing over any decision I make about my relationship(s) after about a year from now (if I am being realistic, it will take at least a few months - maybe 5 - to have the adjustment of status go through).
I feel like this was sort of an aimless post but that's the end of the update. Thanks for taking the time to read. If you have any comments you think might be helpful then please leave them below or PM me. I'm well overdue for breakfast now.
Before you start another relationship, perhaps get somewhere safe and stable and tie up the mess you are in. Sounds like you have a penchant for making huge, life changing decisions for relationships without thinking them through. That shit could kill you.
I will give you the benefit of the doubt and consider that maybe (hopefully) you didn't intend for that to come across as judgemental as it sounded.
It seems I wasn't clear enough on the fact that I know I am not ready for another relationship right now and that I am working through my issues as hard as I can while still remaining functional.
As for not thinking relationship decisions through: if you are referring to me moving to the US and marrying then, actually, that decision was years in the making and I thought a lot about it. If I could do it over then I'd go about it a different way (avoiding my in-law) but I know why I did what I did and it made sense for me at the time. I had no way of knowing that I would be so mistreated.
Moved to US from civilized country despite reservations.
Reliant on person with mental health issues and others you don't know.
Nobody to aid or contribute financially. No welfare system for you.
Now being abused and understandably hating US.
Despite desperate situation, had the presence of mind to evaluate additional. relationship.
Sorry, imo, thinking it through would involve acknowledging how many shades of wrong this could go and either not going or setting provisions for disasters. Sounds like you were in love and went with it.
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