Advice for a newbie?...
I have been in a committed, long-term relationship (strictly monogamous) for over 6 years and I am engaged to be married (since January of 2012)...
I was under the fantasy that love was love and I had it and it was perfect and blah blah blah blah blah--you've heard it a ton of times.
I have never, ever, ever cheated or acted on any of my impulses. There has been a few. Literally like two or three people I've felt a strong attraction to over these years but suppressed the temptation and remained loyal to my relationship.
I have been in one other relationship before (4 years) with a girl. Same thing; I never, ever, ever cheated and I felt like we had perfection.
I want to also point out I wasn't really influenced a ton by the religion I was brought up in (southern baptist... I am atheist now and have been for the last 4 or 5 years of my life after I went through my agnostic duration..Anyway) I was loyal for so long because of my own free-will and not of any kind of religious obligation--I just thought it was important to be monogamous because I saw through rose-tinted glasses.
Back in July of 2012 I had plastic surgery because I have issues with body image and I battled with depression and a PCOS diagnosis and have been working hard to lose the 90 lbs I gained over the course of a year after losing my father to cancer.
Now that you know a little bit about me, I'd like to tell you what sparked my interest in this lifestyle choice...
When I went through this major surgery (breast reduction and liposuction) I found out my fiance had been watching porn for years and years. I know, laugh away. haha but to me, at the time, I was personally destroyed for a while. My fantasy had been shattered. I had lived my life without really looking at porn because I felt like suppressing that urge was somehow beneficial to my lover. I was REALLY offended that he didn't live up to the same warped standard I had for myself and I was crushed.. Especially since I was going through such a difficult time emotionally and physically through surgery and trying to help my self-esteem and physical health.
Anyway... Devastated. For months.
I've been doing a lot of soul-searching and I think that polyamory is the way to go. I have only been with these two people and I feel this part of me that wants to explore!
I've talked to my fiance about it and he seems somewhat comfortable with it in theory but when we talk about potentially practicing it, we both get unjustifiably possessive! I do not like it! I want to conquer this jealousy habit we have... I want to see what's out there. I feel like there's a new me under this old layer and it's getting closer to busting out!!!
Please! I'd love to hear your advice or questions or stories.. I just want someone to talk to about this...!! I live in a smaller town and everyone knows that we've been together since high school and we're engaged and the majority of people here are close-minded... I do not want to damage any relationships (including his family) or be demonized (like I was for dating a girl in this town)
Anyone out there have similar struggles that can lend some advice??
Thanks for reading! It feels good to vent!
Could slow this down and organize the many problem layers in order radiating out from you, then to you+partner, then the family, then the town, etc. You have a lot going on there all mixed up.
Could not jump into polyshipping before sorting out your other things first-- like the unstated standard for the relationship that he broke somehow by watching porn. What relationship standard was it? Was he aware of it? Or was it unstated expectations? (Not a standard if he did not agree/sign off to up hold that standard.)
If your 2 people relationship is not up to standard, how can you run a 3 or 4 people polyship to standard? Could work on communication skills a bit first.
What need was not met at home? Were you needing more support in a "dealing with health issues" time of your life that you did not get? Did you ask for support from him and how you wanted him to provide it?
Because to me? Right now you are two people in a relationship where you are upset over needs not met triggered by watching some TV media thing. If you stumble there? Not able to articulate your needs so they could be met and making it be about the trigger (porn watching)?
Your intrapersonal and interpersonal skills can't hack relating to 1 partner? How can you hack relating to 2 partners, or 2 partners and a metamour?
Because the TV can be turned off and neglected for a while as you sort yourselves out when it's just 2 of you and some TV trigger.
When it becomes a polymath problem with more people on the line? That's a whole other kettle of fish. People cannot be "turned off" and neglected and spring right back up how you left it when you want it again like a TV can.
If you have cancer grief from uncle, other upsets from PCOS/surgeries... that's already two things to have to sort and process inside yourself before entering healthy polyshipping. 2 bags. Then you have this relationship standard thing with the partner to sort out with him. 3rd bag.
It's fine to be atheist and not believe in any God(s)... but how do you tend to your spirit as an atheist? You do tend it right? Even if you do not subscribe to any notions of God(s) or organized religion you still have a soul to care for. So are you in good spiritual health? Because poly can be intense. If you are not in good spirits and you enter polyshipping in low in spiritual health? Poly can ding you up some more. Maybe you have a 4th bag then -- with maintaining spiritual health as an atheist. Just the uncle cancer and your own health things -- those can drain you in your spirit / spiritual health bucket.
In short -- you do not sound prepared for poly. Could prepare more to avoid potential pitfalls.
I'm not saying "do not do it." Just saying "sort your other stuff out so you can do it WELL." Enter into polyshipping with less baggage weighing you down. Increase the odds for success -- YKWIM?
Ah, let me clear a few things up! I know there was a lot to read… a lot of layers, as you said.
First, thank you for responding in such detail! It means a lot to be able to vent about this stuff to someone.
Second, what is polyshipping? Is that like… a transitional period? I’m sorry. Lol
Third, my father passed away, not my uncle. It was extremely painful and still is. So there is always baggage there, I think. It’s getting much better and doesn’t really affect my daily life or anything like it did for a while so I don’t know what to do to improve that.
Another thing, I am fine with porn now. I have changed immensely since I discovered he was watching it. I am so thankful it happened now! I realize how crazy I was and how warped and possessive I was and I feel like I’ve shed that baggage for good! He is his own person, I am my own person. We have something very special together but it was doing no good for either of us to be so strict and weird about something so silly.
We definitely did not “spring back up like a TV can” from this incident though. I’m telling you, I was seriously heartbroken, inconsolable, and ridiculous. This resentment lasted for a good few months as I was trying to figure out why I had any right to be upset and why I was upset in the first place? So … anyway… Things have permanently changed for us as a couple and as individuals (or at least myself) because of this porn thing but I see now that it’s for the better.
Our communication skills are sometimes lacking, yes. He comes from a family with the mentality of, “the more important the matter, the more reason to cover it up and not talk about it.” They are all just a little crazy… Obviously a lot of issues there. Lol But he is much better about it but he still has a tendency to let things build up and not talk about what bothers him so conversations about this kind of thing are hard because he isn’t sincere about what bothers him to me, at first.
Needs that are not met at home? There are a few things. We are pretty opposite people: which is why we were attracted to each other really. We have a lot of things in common fundamentally and additionally—we like a lot of the same kinds of things and we share many important perspectives but we also miss each other on a lot of fundamentally important things like the communication thing. Bottling things up. Relationships with people and what they “should” be, what value people have and can have, introvert vs extrovert, etc etc… So you can see how these things combined can make a pretty weird scenario for both of us when it comes to relationship issues. Other than the intellectual/philosophical/interest desires not being met, I can say that comforting me when I’m upset has always been a problem. I think he has a problem with empathizing a lot of the time and when I’m troubled he cannot come up with solutions or even what to say. This is stressful for me and it creates a snowball effect, as I’m sure you could imagine. Things like this are not being met. Some sexual pleasures/desires are not being met either really.
As for spirituality; I don’t really know how to define this concept of a “soul” or “spirit” besides just defining myself so it’s difficult to translate how I may be lacking in spiritual health. How do I know? I think I’m in great health mentally… There are a few things I could definitely see a psychiatrist about but they are minor and could use improvement accordingly. I’m not depressed or anxious as far as I know but I do feel really bad for the stress I may be putting on my partner… He is definitely stressed out about everything. He’s worried he’ll lose me and he just hones in on that fear and ache and is blinded by it. I don’t know. I just feel bad about making him uncomfortable but this is so important to me. I feel like I need to go out and experience life and I feel like he may be scared of what that could entail and isn’t really interested. I do love him! I do not want to lose him either. What we have is great but… there are imperfections and I feel like there is nothing wrong with connecting with other people to fulfill those needs and desires. So there is a problem. =[
I am definitely not prepared for polyamory, I know! Haha that is why I’m getting out of my head about it and asking people who do it. It’s so new to me… What do you suggest we/I do in order to become more prepared?
Again, thank you so much for reading and responding! This is so helpful!
I'll be succinct here (by my standards at least) - its up to you and your partner to do the legwork here.
read http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1096 for a lot of web links.
Buy Opening Up and read it with your partner, discuss. If there are still things not settled by that, read some more books.
(on not polyshipping yet - you can probably define that as a very wise suggestion to not get involved with other relationships before having a handle on all the stuff GG suggested above, and really having a clear idea what both you and your partner hope to seek from additional relationships, so other people don't get screwed over or have their hearts broken when it turns out you guys arent on the same page)
Thanks for the clarify! Much appreciated! I was a bit muddled trying to keep the story straight. It was hard for me to read without paragraph breaks. The text blobs together. Tired eyes. :)
Let me take the liberty there of splitting the needs not met at home into a bullet list so I can read it better, ok? If I get it wrong please correct!
NOT IN COMMON OR NEED NOT MET
Maybe cleaning the lists up and printing it would help serve as talking points? Maybe some of the needs could be met once he's aware of them? Like comforting you -- do you tell him HOW you want to be comforted when upset?
You state that BOTH are worried about "losing" the other one.
If you guys end up talking and come to find that over time have become no longer compatible in a romance, is neither one comfortable changing the relationship to "exes who are good friends?" Nobody has to "lose" anyone even if the relationship shape changes.
Talk it out. Sort out the established relationship issues before embarking on building new relationships.
He has the right to want his romance shapes to be the shapes that resonate with him just like you have the right to want the shapes you want for yourself.
If it turns out this just NOT his cup of tea? And you DO want this?
You guys may need to change the subject of the conversation from "Are we both willing/ready to try polyshipping?" to "We both are after different things. We are not compatible any more. How do we end the romance with grace and still be friends after?"
I know it is serious talks, but that is part of loving behavior. To communicate honestly with each other about each of your wants, needs, limits in relationship so you both can be happy and preserve your LONG TERM healths.
Hang in there!
Thank you, guys, for helping me! This is definitely a tough issue for us right now... we are in an interesting place... I am sorry I type walls of text haha I am trying to get better at it. I actually typed up the last post in a word document and it had the breaks in it but they disappeared I guess lol
He is trying to rush to a conclusion and shut his mind off to it and right now that's an ugly picture to him (and it may always be, I realize. I hope not but... I have to acknowledge it.)
We had a little bit of a sad day the other day when we both kind of ended up at the "Well if it's something you cannot live with and it's something I cannot live without... that can only mean that we... can't have both of those ideas in the same relationship..." And we both got very sad and needed to take the evening to ourselves to cool off and think about it separately for a bit... We've never really had that kind of sadness before the porn thing.
Anyway... Today he came to me and told me he agreed we should read some books together and he said he wants to try to give it a fair shot in a purely abstract sense right now. I think it's a great idea... We'll be ordering a few of those books your guys recommended very soon and I will update this post as we explore... I am sure I'll need some more guidance. I like the list idea, too. I think we'll do that as well.
Thank you so much for listening and giving me advice.
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