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-   -   Partner Disagrees on "Allowed" Levels of Romantic Intensity? What to do? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51983)

LovelyFuture 08-10-2013 01:36 AM

Partner Disagrees on "Allowed" Levels of Romantic Intensity? What to do?
Hello there. It's so awesome to ask this question here...I don't know that many poly people :rolleyes: Here goes:

I (female) am in an open relationship with my boyfriend of a few years. We've always considered ourselves "open", but haven't dated outside too much, except for a few small flings here and there.

A little history: A few months ago, while Boyfriend was out of town for the weekend, I connected with someone, & began an intense relationship with them, which almost resulted in a breakup with Boyfriend. I ended up having to break up the intense relationship.

Recently, I've begun seeing a new man, let's call him 'NewGuy'. Boyfriend went out of town again a few days ago, & I started hanging out with NewGuy almost everyday.

Boyfriend gets upset that I'm seeing NewGuy so much, & says "It's not cool to see NewGuy everyday - you're setting up expectations. I want you to have fun, I want you to see other people, but you're my girl, you're not somebody else's girl. I am not going to be one of your two boyfriends. We can have friends that we have sex with, & have romantic feelings with, but it can't go beyond friends. Once I have grown & developed as a person, I can see us being closer with people, or living with them, but right now I'm not capable of sharing you that way with somebody. You are my life, and I'm not ready to give a giant chunk of my life away to somebody like that. We don't own each other, but we can share each other a little bit, like here, borrow my girlfriend, but don't take her away for weeks and weeks." [edit: I don't actually go away for weeks - in the last relationship, I wanted to see the other guy every 1-3 days.]

So in essence, he wants us to have fun & see other people, but he doesn't want it to be to intense.

On the other hand, I like my relationships to be intense, I like being in love, & I enjoy spending time with other people.

Advice? Last time this happened, I ended up breaking off the other relationship, b/c Boyfriend was going crazy & feeling very depressed, & I couldn't stand to come home to see him in tears all the time.

I don't want to upset him, I want to honor his feelings, but I also feel that his preferences limit me, & my real desire for a deep connection with someone. What to do?

idealist 08-10-2013 01:57 AM

Hello and welcome to the forum!

I am hearing two things in your post. "Intensity" and "the amount of time spent with a new partner" and I'm not sure if they are the same issue.

What does "intensity" mean to you? Does it mean getting swept away in an emotional tornado of feelings and getting so obsessed with the new partner that you don't even desire your SO at all any more or at least for a while? And if it is for a while, then how long would it take for you to return to your SO with feelings of desire?

It sounds like your SO is setting some clear boundaries and you feel these to be restrictive.

I guess it would be good to become really clear about what you want. It sounds like you want to have the freedom to get involved with anyone at any time and to get caught up in the experience without having to worry about anything else.

If that is the case, do you think you would do better as a single poly person?

Or do you want to have a SO that is okay with you disappearing from time to time into intense relationships while they "hold down the fort" so to speak until you decide to come back?

Just throwing out some things to hopefully help you get really clear about what it is you want!

london 08-10-2013 01:59 AM

You might have to accept your needs are incompatible. I mean, sure, you could try and identify his insecurities and work on them but he might not have any. This might just be what works for him. Asking you to limit your emotional and physical availability with others might be too hard for you in a dating context and the only way to keep within his boundaries is non monogamous activity like swinging that inherently restricts those things. Swinging might not work for you though, and it comes back down to incompatibility. You want different things.

LovelyFuture 08-10-2013 02:19 AM

Thanks so much for your very thoughtful replies, idealist & london - I am so appreciative!

I modified the original post; I don't actually disappear for weeks, that was just Boyfriend's words/feelings. In the last intense relationship, I simply wanted to see the new guy every 1-3 days, spend the night, etc., and that was a bit too much for Boyfriend, who prefers me to see someone once every 1-2 weeks.

Great point on "time vs intensity". I wouldn't say that I lost desire for my SO when seeing someone else, but perhaps I was paying him less attention than usual (esp. seeing as we are usually together almost 'all the time'.) This time around, I want to try harder to please my SO & make him feel loved & wanted.

Honestly, sometimes I think I would do better being a single poly person. It's just hard to even think about that when my SO says he will never speak to me again if I move out of the house we share. He's not willing to see me if I become a single poly. Sigh. :(

london 08-10-2013 02:26 AM

What you could try, just to see, is seeing your new guy as often as you please but working doubly hard to ensure New Relationship Energy doesn't affect your existing relationship. You don't see your boyfriend less, or seem distracted, value and honour your tine with him etc. If that isn't good enough, then accepting that you are incompatible is the only other viable option. If he chooses to be angry and resentful about that, there isn't much you can do.

Ariakas 08-10-2013 02:49 AM

He sounds more akin to swinging. Maybe ever closed swinging.
You sound more in line with poly..

Doesnt sound like your (collective).. Expectations of an open relationship are in line with each other.

LovelyFuture 08-10-2013 03:06 AM

london: Good ideas, all of them. I asked him, & he says it's mainly the time I spend away, but also the intensity that bothers him. So I don't think he'd be happy unless I saw the outside person less. Incompatibility may be the conclusion, but SO is my best friend, lover, and I'm his only family, so it's hard to think about that :-/

Ariakas: Yes, it does sound like he's more into something like swinging. (which is not my thing, really.)

And yes, our open relationship expectations should have been aligned, but when we got together, all we said was "we're in an open relationship, don't own each other, and are into seeing other people." It's pretty wild that it took some years for us to run into situations that required defining that further! @__@

london 08-10-2013 03:11 AM

So if you saw them less but still felt as intensely about them, then what? Say you saw a guy three times a week for NSA sex, and another guy who you didnt have sex with, saw once month, but was head over heels in love with, who would bother him more?

Emm 08-10-2013 03:13 AM


Originally Posted by LovelyFuture (Post 220965)
I asked him, & he says it's mainly the time I spend away, but also the intensity that bothers him. So I don't think he'd be happy unless I saw the outside person less.

From your OP:

Originally Posted by LovelyFuture (Post 220951)
A few months ago, while Boyfriend was out of town for the weekend, I connected with someone...

Boyfriend went out of town again a few days ago, & I started hanging out with NewGuy...

It appears that it's your BF who's the one going away, so I don't buy the "it's mainly the time I spend away" argument. If BF isn't in town when you're out on a date then it's not as if your dating is taking away from time you could be spending with him. It sounds more like a control or ownership issue.

london 08-10-2013 03:18 AM

I resent the reframing of a need for something closer to monogamy as a control or ownership issue. The only thing it definitely is in this case is an incompatibility. Poly people can be too quick too negatively label the symptoms of one being monogamous and turn them into character flaws.

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