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-   -   Zen Bonobo (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44990)

Zed 04-18-2013 09:25 AM

Zen Bonobo
Hello everybody,

I'm new around here and many of these things are new to me. I stumbled upon this site today, looking for some specific solution to a problem and instead found a whole lot more. There's so much information here, I spent a good part of today morning reading blogs and people's experiences. It made me realise I wasn't alone. It helped me step outside of myself and see things more clearly.

I'd like to share my story. There are some good parts and some bad parts but I want to share them all. Reading other's experiences here has helped me. I need some advice and I've seen how people who share their experiences gain from it. And I hope that sharing mine might perhaps help somebody too even though I'm no pro at this, we've only just started being poly about two years ago.

I'm not much of a talker when it comes to sharing close emotional feelings, expectations, desires or boundaries. I've been trying to change that for a long time and I have made some serious progress, but I also still have difficulty doing it. It's more difficult if I have to talk to my primary partner about what I want from another partner or talk to my other partner about my boundaries. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Why? Because I think I will hurt their feelings? Because I'm afraid of being denied what I want? Or because I'm not sure of what I want in the first place and think it's better to just 'see what happens'? I think it's cocktail of reasons. But I've realised time and again, that not talking makes it worse. I like the way somebody described these talks in a post I read today: "Kinda like putting up warning signs and detour routes for the the road that washed away 1 mile ahead. If all the warnings are ignored, you find your self in need of a tow truck to get your self out of the mess." True.

I think I should start the story from the beginning. Since the beginning was around 11 years ago, I'm afraid this is going to be a long post.

I'm 27 now. I've only been in love twice. My first relationship went on for 4 years before we split because we moved to different countries. My second one, seven years and counting. I'm not married, but the girl I'm with now is the one I want to spend my life with. I went from one relationship to the next pretty quickly, in a matter of three or so months and during which I wasn't seeing/dating/having sex with any body else. It started simple enough, flirting, fooling about. And before we knew it, we were in love.

That's about 11 years combined. I cheated on my girlfriends many times. Yes, I lied and I cheated. I'm not proud of it. My ex girlfriend still doesn't know everything. I had cheated on and lied to my current girlfriend Nisha too. Every time I did it I felt weak, guilty, like a terrible person. But I couldn't control myself. I loved Nisha then and love her now. And I love sex. I want it from her and others. I want it so much that I'm week when offered. I had affairs. I wanted to and tried to treat everybody respectfully. But sometimes I failed. Sometimes I lied to get into bed or out of trouble. Sometimes I did things I regretted very heavily the next day. The guilt was terrible.

I love sex, I'm a slut and I'm not ashamed of it. Not anymore. Once I considered being a slut a bad thing, I felt guilty and wrong. I don't anymore. Now what I am ashamed of is being an unethical one.

When Nisha and I were together, we wanted to see/fuck new people. Which we thought was only possible if we broke up. So we broke up. But then we couldn't bear not being together so we got back. And it went like this, off and on, again and again, breaking and patching. The last time I cheated on her and confessed, I finally confessed to everything, all the past times that I had lied about, the whole truth and I was very ashamed of what I had done and very, very, scared. I had never seen her that hurt and angry before. Her trust was shattered. She left me and it was an very horrible time. Things seemed irreparable.

But something happened after that. While we weren't together, Nisha met someone who was poly and married. I won't get into the details here because it involves other people's privacy but what matters is that this led to a series of events which opened our minds to whole new possibilities. Polyamory. At first we weren't sure of how it would work, but we gave it a try. It was amazing. Instead of taking us further apart, it brought us closer together than we'd ever been before. Our love grew immensely.

We spoke openly, me for the first time without shame or guilt. We had long conversations. Her insecurities gradually lessened. My fears of not being accepted slowly lessened. It was hard at first and we had a tough time getting through it. But we stuck to it, we were brutally honest and accepted each other. We voiced our desires and respected each others boundaries. Our trust slowly mended and our love grew incredibly. She trusted me, my love. She knew that I would always be there for her and I knew she would be there for me. We were very happy together again. We had passionate sex again, together, with others and together with others.

But things aren't always so easy going. Things aren't always so easy to do. Emotions aren't easy to control and somethings, things get out of hand. And things did go out of hand very recently, when Nisha and I stayed over at my other partner's house while on holiday. Initially it's something that I didn't want to do but we didn't have a hotel booked and it was convenient. But I guess we bit off more than we could chew. A lot of things went wrong. I guess I got caught up in what they call NRE and that made me blind to how Nisha was feeling or being treated. We hit bumps we didn't see coming. Insecurities and fears resumed. And our holiday pretty much feels like just a waste of time, money and energy right now.

In fact, this holiday is the reason why I started looking online for help. And what I wanted to share here was what happened during this holiday but I couldn't do so without first explaining how we got there. I'll share the rest of my story soon but I've written a lot for now and need to take some time to process things first…


Zed 04-18-2013 10:26 AM

So many questions...
I didn't know what NRE was before reading it in this blog. I'm not being sexist when I ask this, I'm just confused and curious. Does NRE affect men and women in the same way? Or do you think men are more prone to going gaga when they experience it? I ask because both Nisha and I have had other partners, not really long term ones, but she seems to be so much more in control of her relationship than I am with mine. But its not just this one case. I've seen other guys go bonkers when they first start a new relationship, it's like they have horse blinds on. I always thought this ridiculous until it happened to me. I don't think I went so far as to neglect Nisha or not notice her, but I just didn't realise how much I was hurting her or how I wasn't giving her all the attention she needed. I'm just confused as to what happened to me and how things went wrong and how I could prevent them happening again..

P.S.: I realised later that Zen Bonobo sounds dam pretentious... I'm not that. But that's what I want to be. A peaceful fun loving chimpanzee.

Magdlyn 04-18-2013 04:26 PM

I like the name Zen Bonobo, I get it!

NRE is a wash of hormones that affects men and women equally. Either gender can even become a NRE junkie, leaving one person as soon as the NRE wears off, to get it again with the next partner. (I think of Hollywood celebs who meet, date, have expensive fabulous weddings, honeymoons, even a baby, then break up and get a new partner when the newness wears off!)

In poly, it's just something you have to get used to, and hopefully see yourself subjectively enough to regulate it so you don't neglect or hurt your other partner(s) while all twitterpated. Likewise, your experienced poly partners will know to look out for their partner's NRE, make some allowances and know it will start to fade after some months have gone by.

Zed 04-19-2013 08:31 AM

Thanks Magdlyn! Hahaha, your comparison to hollywood stars really simplified understanding NRE for me. It's something I do want to keep under control, at least so that no one gets hurt.

I've got to say I'm really learning a lot from reading this forum. It's helping me formulate thoughts, realise what I want and what I don't want. I never could figure out what I want. But now I'm narrowing it down by realising what I don't want. At least not for now. Does that make sense?

I was reading BaggagePatrol's blog and found some useful advice on it. Particularly the advice her sister and sister's partner shared. Thank you so much for sharing that BaggagePatrol, I think it these tips/advice will help a lot in the future.

InAndOut 04-19-2013 11:59 AM

Your blog caught my attention. The name pulls you in, and I dig your writing style. Totes get it. I just saw a bonobos at our zoo. I loved watching them.

NRE makes your peripherals fade and no one outside of that tunnel vision matters. You can keep it under control by not letting it control you. It's like a happy cocktail. The high is high. It feels super good. You prevent neglect from happening by checking in with Nisha and asking if there's anything she needs. You know that the trip was a bust, and we all lose our heads. You correct it and learn what to do. It's not forever, and that's a good thing.

Poly takes practice and time to master. I like making flubs so I can say doh like Homer. I've learned many things. I like growing and being able to take something from every experience. That's worth making a couple of mistakes.

♡ Bella

CherryBlossomGirl 04-19-2013 03:11 PM

Fabulous Start.
I think those that have some reluctance around sharing their emotional world have a great deal to offer. So glad that you're posting on here, and glad that you are connecting with what you don't want - that's largely how I navigate through life as well. Be open, and discover what doesn't work for you, while getting closer to what you do want.

It sounds like you're aware of your NRE, and in my experience that goes a LONG way to finding the path that will create the most happiness for everyone in the face of some very exciting and new emotions.

I wonder about your query - do men respond in a more immersed way to NRE? That is very interesting question. I wonder if it has more to do with one's Meyer's Brigg's - the psychological and emotional style in which we process interior and exterior worlds. I have watched members of both gender succumb to the almost drugged state of NRE while inadventantly trodding all over other people's hearts. Perhaps it's a tendency towards escapism? A tendency towards addiction? This will have me thinking all day.

Welcome, and am looking forward to reading more about your experience!

Zed 04-23-2013 12:08 PM

Dropped in to say thanks and that I'm still around
Hi guys. Thank you for reading my story and sharing your thoughts. I was happy to read them and at the same time, they also made me nervous.

On one hand, this is kind of uncomfortable for me now because now I don't feel so anonymous anymore. I guess it's easier confessing in the dark. Something unrelated (or is it), but I just remembered this incident when I was tripping on acid with some friends and I felt so uncomfortable around them I couldn't speak to anyone. So I went for a walk in the garden by myself and I spoke to the trees instead. A friend caught up with me and I was trying to explain to him how I couldn't talk to people but I could talk to the trees. He asked me what I spoke to the trees about and I just couldn't get myself to open up and tell/talk to him. So I just stood there in awkward silence for what felt like ages. I don't remember what happened after that. It makes me very uncomfortable to remember this incident. My back muscles are actually tensing up right now.

On the other hand, getting feedback on this forum is amazing. It's helped me stop seeing my self as a helpless horrible person. I'm taking responsibility and I realise that I'm not a malicious asshole, but sometimes I make some stupid horrible choices that can really hurt someone. And that I can change about myself.

To change that, I need to continue sharing this story. Because not expressing my self is how this mess started in the first place. I read a bit of this forum everyday, it's been really helpful. But I haven't written anything in days, I haven't had the time to. When I'm at home, I spend time with Nisha and we talk. It's been going really well actually. When I'm not at home, I'm at work and I have some crazy deadlines to meet so… no time there either.

Actually, I'm at work right now, it's late and I was just about to leave. I want to continue writing my experience. I will try to do some when I get home. I just wanted to drop in and say a big thank you and that I'm still around. I appreciate your feedback very much. See you soon!

@Bella - Do you really say 'DOH!' out loud? I do that sometimes! :) I agree that mistakes can be the best way to learn, it just sucks when someone else has to suffer for it. :(

@BP - Thank you for the support. What you said about NRE has now got me thinking about it all day. I'm going to look into this Meyers Briggs you speak of, I don't think I've come across this term before or if I have, I don't remember what it is.

Zed 05-07-2013 12:10 PM

On with it...
A couple of years ago, I quit my job and left Singapore to travel alone for a few months. I needed to get away from it all and do some soul searching. Nisha didn't come with me, but we knew we'd see each other again after my travels. Leaving wasn't easy for either of us but she supported me and helped me take that first step. Without her push, I'd probably still be contemplating my journey instead of doing it. And so I left...

We agreed that we didn't need to check in with each other before "meeting" new people while I was away. That would have been difficult, with us not knowing when we'd be reachable. So I left and Nisha stayed and at first we kept in touch daily. But Nisha needed her space, so she eventually asked me to stop contacting her for a while (or at least until I had finished my travels). Even though she supported my decision to leave, she felt lonely and she needed her space and time to deal with the newness of things.

At that time, our poly relationship meant something different to me. To me it meant being in ONLY ONE real relationship and ONLY having casual sex on the side. While I was travelling, I had a one night stand and Nisha started having a fling with someone. She saw this guy for weeks on end and they spent a lot of time together. It was also the first time she was having (one on one) sex with someone else since we'd been dating. They started to get friendly, close, it was more than just sex, it was getting emotional.

That really made me jealous. And uncomfortable. And angry. I suddenly felt alone out there, in a new country surrounded by strangers. Nisha knew that I was hurting but she didn't want to stop what she was doing. She didn't see the need to specially after all the affairs I had during our relationship. I didn't want to ask her to stop either. I didn't want to be a hypocrite who only takes and never gives.

I was very disturbed by the whole thing, even more so because I felt like I had no one to talk to at the time. I was angry at Nisha, I was hurting and I was alone. I couldn't understand how Nisha could do something like this to me.

I finished my travels a month later but didn't return to Singapore, I went back to my home town in India. Nisha visited me for the Christmas holidays and we tried to speak about what happened but I was so hurt and still angry that I couldn't have a proper conversation with her. It always led to a shouting fight and she never seemed sorry for what she did. After the holidays, Nisha returned to Singapore.

A month or two later I met Greta, a friend of a friend who was travelling through my town. My friend asked me if I'd like to show her around and I accepted. We drove to many places and spoke a lot about our different cultures, interests and eventually started flirting and got close. We started to become good friends and I began wanting to sleep with her. The difference between this situation and previous ones is, for the first time in my life I was honest from the start.

I told her that I loved Nisha but I also wanted to enjoy the moment with Greta. I explained to her that I was poly but there was only one girl for me. At first I was scared to speak up, I was worried she'd get angry or feel used. But she listened and instead of trying to trick her into bed, I gave her the choice of leaving if she felt uncomfortable or staying if she wanted to.

She decided to stay. We spent the next few days talking a lot and getting very friendly.

In many ways, Greta helped me with my relationship with Nisha. She helped me realise that there's no need to lie to get laid. That in fact, getting laid was so much better when done honestly. She helped me realise that I could still be in love with Nisha while I felt warm with somebody else. She helped me come out a little more, of a paranoid shell I had built for myself. I was grateful to her.

And all this made me realise the reverse was possible too. I realised that it was possible for Nisha to still love me while seeing someone else. Perhaps her fling could positively influence our relationship too. If it was, I didn't want to stop it. I wasn't angry at her anymore. I wasn't hurt. I finally understood the beauty of it.

The next time Nisha and I met, we spoke to each other without fighting. We weren't jealous, we just wanted each other to be happy. It was wonderful. And again, we got closer than we'd ever been. And it's been beautiful ever since.

And then we messed things up by biting off more than we could chew. We went on vacation to Berlin, a place I always wanted to visit before I met Greta. The place that Greta coincidentally lived in. And we stayed at her place as guests and even went to visit her hometown with her parents the second day after Nisha and Greta met each other for the first time…

Magdlyn 05-07-2013 01:15 PM

I'm glad that Greta and a few others have opened your eyes to the possibility of polyamory, ethical slutdom, as opposed to lying and cheating.

Just want to point out that polyamory means many loves. It's perfectly OK if, right now, you feel Nisha is your one true love and for others you will only feel lust, "enjoy the moment," or at most, have "warm feelings."

But perhaps you're feeling more than that for Greta? What if warm feelings and lust develop into love? Does Nisha love her OSO?

And what happened on your Berlin holiday? Do go on!

Zed 05-08-2013 03:27 AM

Thanks Magdlyn. Yes, Greta did help me open my eyes to possibilities and I suppose at the time I did feel a wuv for her, but it wasn't as strong as love.

I'm not sure how Nisha feels for her OSO (I just found out what OSO meant on urban dictionary!). I should probably ask her about it.

I take a while to write down my experience because every time I read what I've written, I need to rewrite it. It's a long story because it starts so long ago and I need to get all that out before I can go on. But sometimes I write too much and what I mean to say gets diluted in the text. Sometimes too little and my point is week. But I feel I'm getting better at expressing myself writing here, and I will continue to. Though it might take me a while...


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