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-   -   Relationship changing on me (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55979)

qwair 09-18-2013 09:52 PM

Relationship changing on me
 
Hi guys,

So I'm new to these forums, but not to poly, and I'd like to vent a little and maybe get your guys' advice and opinion about my situation. I'm sorry in advance for the length.

I've been in a relationship with A for going on 9 years, which has been poly from the start. We've always communicated pretty well and had what I consider to be a pretty good relationship.

Last year we had to go live in separate cities, having been accepted to 2 separate schools. We have tried to see each other, but I don't think I need to tell you that transitioning from a close relationship to an LTR is hard.

Anyway, A is in the new city, all alone and miserable, and she considers starting something with her roommate N. When she asks for my advice, I advise against it because I didn't feel roommate romances are a good idea in general. She didn't listen to my advice and, to my positive surprise, started a relationship with N that has been going strong for about 8 months now.. I was, and still am, very happy for her for finding someone who cares for her in that city.

As far as I understand, N is not very happy about A's poly situation and is very uncomfortable with me being around. A goes along with that, to the point that she asked me not to travel to her, but only for her to travel to me. I was uncomfortable about that, didn't really like it and told her so, but she's an adult and if she doesn't want me to come then it's her choice.

Last Saturday for her birthday, I was granted an exception and travelled to her city to be with her and participate in her birthday party. However, once there I was introduced to her friends as 'R from another city', without any mention of our relationship. I slept with other guests in the guest room (which was okay), but when they asked me how I know A, I felt too awkward to come out to them and cause a scene on her birthday. In the entire situation I felt like my relationship turned from a poly situation to a don't ask -- don't tell situation, with me being the third wheel or the 'outsider'.

Of course, after the event I told A how I was feeling. She claims, that she is perfectly all right with the status quo and that I 'took a chance' of the relationship style changing when we chose to be poly.

So my questions to you guys:
1. Where was I wrong, and what should I have done differently?

2. Is A right? Does everyone who chooses to practice poly take a chance that they might find themselves suddenly in a non-poly arrangement?

3. Setting rules and limiting my partner in any way is against every poly bone in my body. However, should I have insisted on us dating only other poly people? Is that limitation okay in your view?

4. What would you do in my situation, assuming you want to keep the relationship going.

Thanks for reading this all, if you've come this far, you deserve a cookie!

Marcus 09-18-2013 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231924)
and she considers starting something with her roommate N. When she asks for my advice, I advise against it because I didn't feel roommate romances are a good idea in general.

Why? Just curious.

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231924)
I slept with other guests in the guest room (which was okay), but when they asked me how I know A, I felt too awkward to come out to them and cause a scene on her birthday. In the entire situation I felt like my relationship turned from a poly situation to a don't ask -- don't tell situation, with me being the third wheel or the 'outsider'.

Did you guys discuss being "out" about being poly? What is her current stance? Are you ok with her current stance?

What is *your* stance about being "out"? Are you happy with the way this turned out?

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231924)
2. Is A right? Does everyone who chooses to practice poly take a chance that they might find themselves suddenly in a non-poly arrangement?

Everyone who chooses to be in a relationship should come to terms with the reality that relationships change over time. Further, when confronted with abrupt environmental changes (like being separated by a couple 100 miles) relationships can change extremely fast. This is a fact in monogamous relationships as well as non-monogamous relationships.

But, does she want a monogamous situation? If she's in love with you and her Roomie, then she's still poly... even if she clearly plans for you to be on the outside looking in.

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231924)
However, should I have insisted on us dating only other poly people? Is that limitation okay in your view?

If you are her life-boss and are in charge of what she does with her time, then absolutely. Are you in charge of her life decisions? Do you really want to be? It doesn't sound like that's the kind of association you are looking for.

She has made her stance very clear.
He has made his stance very clear.
You want to stay in this relationship anyway.

... learn to love it, I guess?

qwair 09-18-2013 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 231929)
Why? Just curious.

I guess I felt that a co-habitation environment is pretty intense and might cause drama, when normal roommate friction collides with the beginnings of a relationship. I'll admit to being extremely drama-averse -- I try my best to avoid it, even on the expense of potential good relationships. In this case A proved me wrong, and I admit that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 231929)
Did you guys discuss being "out" about being poly? What is her current stance? Are you ok with her current stance? What is *your* stance about being "out"? Are you happy with the way this turned out?

Yes, we did. She tells anyone who she deems 'needs to know' and I am of course free to do the same.

I could have told those guys at the guest room, in fact, a year ago I probably would, The reasons I didn't were:
1. I didn't feel confident that our relationship is poly, or how to define it any more.
2. I didn't want to explain N's relation to this, especially when I don't really communicate with him directly on the matter and all I hear is through A.
3. They were people A knows but I don't. I didn't know if she wanted them to know, and I didn't want to accidentally cause a scene.

I don't care that I'm not out to these people. I do care that this is the first time in a long time I've felt ashamed or awkward about my relationship choices.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 231929)
But, does she want a monogamous situation? If she's in love with you and her Roomie, then she's still poly... even if she clearly plans for you to be on the outside looking in.

We must have a very different definition of poly then :) As far as her future plans go, she wants him to be her official relationship, monogamous to the outside world, and wants to see me in a don't ask don't tell arrangement. At best I would call that non-monogamous, but I sure wouldn't call it poly, because it really goes against some values I associate with poly which I though she and I shared.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 231929)
If you are her life-boss and are in charge of what she does with her time, then absolutely. Are you in charge of her life decisions? Do you really want to be? It doesn't sound like that's the kind of association you are looking for.

There's no need to be mean. I do not intend to police her actions in any way, or be anyone's 'life boss'. I do intend to take this, like all life experiences, as a learning experience and to try and understand how I can communicate better so that this doesn't happen again, in this relationship if it lasts or in the next one. If it teaches me that I have more issues and deal-breakers than I thought I have, then that's also something worth learning, and worth telling.

Thanks for reading my post and for your advice.

Dagferi 09-19-2013 12:00 AM

My life is poly..

But I do not advertise my personal life. My relationships arw run like completely separate entities . Rarely do they overlap. When they do for example at kid events the guys are introduced by their names. If people ask directly I answer honestly .

Doesn't make me less poly.

qwair 09-19-2013 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dagferi (Post 231939)
My life is poly..

But I do not advertise my personal life. My relationships arw run like completely separate entities . Rarely do they overlap. When they do for example at kid events the guys are introduced by their names. If people ask directly I answer honestly .

Doesn't make me less poly.

Of course you are poly, I never claimed otherwise. If, however, you had a DADT arrangement with one of the guys, that would make it not poly in my opinion, because you aren't honest with at least one of them, albeit consensually. But that's just my personal definition and it could be that people in this forum define poly differently than I do. That's fine and I don't want to step on any toes, or force my view on anybody else.

I'm not in any position to tell people what poly is. I can only tell them what poly is for me.

Marcus 09-19-2013 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231931)
We must have a very different definition of poly then :)

Whenever possible I prefer to use words for what they actually mean.

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231931)
and wants to see me in a don't ask don't tell arrangement. At best I would call that non-monogamous, but I sure wouldn't call it poly, because it really goes against some values I associate with poly which I though she and I shared.

The fact that polyamory has more criteria *to you* does nothing to the definition of the word. What you have a problem with is polyamorous arrangements (or any non-monogamous arrangement, I presume) which functions with a DADT policy.

As it happens, that is also not my style of polyamory and I don't involve myself in those kinds of relationships.

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231931)
There's no need to be mean.

You thought I was being mean? I was actually going out of my way to be nice because you seem like a level headed enough person who is just having some issues.

If you think *that* was mean, you should probably skip past my posts because I don't make a habit of coddling.

Marcus 09-19-2013 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231931)
As far as her future plans go, she wants him to be her official relationship, monogamous to the outside world, and wants to see me in a don't ask don't tell arrangement.

Definitions aside, I'm pretty sure that this particular arrangement qualifies as shit-tacular. From that Latin: some-buuuuullshit.

Even as just a booty call I couldn't imagine wanting to be in that for long.

CreativeDoll 09-19-2013 01:30 AM

It seems like what she wants out of the relationship is pretty clear, and that you aren't going to have the same kind of relationship you did before again.

It sounds to me like you are hurting, because you were made to feel like your relationship is no longer as important to her as you would like it to be. I'm sorry to hear that it worked out like that *hug*

Long distance relationships can be difficult even for mono couples, and often end up being deal breakers. I don't think there is anything you can do but decide if this new relationship model is something that you are willing to participate in. There is no "correct" answer, because it's about what meets your needs.

BigGuy 09-19-2013 01:49 AM

Sorry to hear you didn't have a good time at the party.

To answer your questions:

1. Where was I wrong, and what should I have done differently?

Doesn't look to me that you did anything wrong.


2. Is A right? Does everyone who chooses to practice poly take a chance that they might find themselves suddenly in a non-poly arrangement?

Marcus is right, anybody in any relationship takes the chance that their relationship will change at any time. Relationships are sets of agreements. It really sucks that she chose to change the nature of your relationship without negotiating with you. But it happens. Since she doesn't seem interested in negotiating your relationship agreements, your only recourse is to accept her changes, or not accept them and end the relationship.


3. Setting rules and limiting my partner in any way is against every poly bone in my body. However, should I have insisted on us dating only other poly people? Is that limitation okay in your view?

You are within your rights to request any limitations you want in your relationship. It's within her rights to agree to them or not. This is not a limitation I would request of my partner. Instead, I would trust my partner to not do things that hurt me. If that is not important to them, then I would have to reconsider my choice of partners.

4. What would you do in my situation, assuming you want to keep the relationship going.

I would empathize as best as I could with their situation. Express what I desire from them, and see if we are able to come up with a solution that works for both.

Eponine 09-19-2013 02:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwair (Post 231931)
As far as her future plans go, she wants him to be her official relationship, monogamous to the outside world, and wants to see me in a don't ask don't tell arrangement. At best I would call that non-monogamous, but I sure wouldn't call it poly, because it really goes against some values I associate with poly which I though she and I shared.

I'd still call that poly (but it might be DADT between her and N). A lot of hierarchical poly people have that kind of agreement, i.e. they present as monogamous in public with their primary partner, and all their secondary partners have to be in the dark or pretend to be platonic friends. But that's not my ideal poly relationship, and I can understand that you don't consider it poly.

It seems she's neglecting your feelings for the sake of protecting N's feelings. Does she think his feelings are more important than yours?

I'm also kind of curious about her future plan: Right now it seems to work because she lives with N and you're in another city, but what if all three of you move to the same city in the future? Would she still want to pass as monogamous with N? Would it be practical to do so? What if she started to date yet another guy, especially another one like N?

Maybe you can talk to her about the sustainability of her plan, and maybe she'll realize she has to come out sooner or later. I don't know if it's a good idea though.

As for the limitation of dating poly people only, I personally feel iffy about dating non-poly (especially mono) people, unless they really agree with poly philosophy in theory. But I don't want to make it a rule. I think it should be out of mutual understanding and trust: I trust my partners to be aware of the potential problems of dating non-polys and make the right decision when considering a potential relationship. And if any conflict arises, I trust them to take my feelings into consideration. But I know it's easier said than done.


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