Looking for advice/perspective
We are very new to the polyamorous world.
We have been together for 8 years, married for 6 of those. In complete honesty, we have dealt with a ton of jealousy and controlling behavior on both our parts in the past, but seemed to get ahead of that in the last couple years.
Recently we started talking about poly as an option for us. I probably even lead the discussion. After some discussion we decided that we were going to give this a try.
Now there seems to be several roadblocks, at least for me right now, and I am having a hard time working towards this.
Some of the problems for me moving into this is that, for lack of a better word, the rules keep changing. Originally he just wanted me to date girls - and this kind of worked because he was talking about wanting us to find a person to love together. We do know that this is not always possible, and often not even probable. He was not sure how comfortable I was with sleeping with guys.
In the change of moving from one spectrum to the other, he found a girl. Which is fine. And when I really think about it, I am happy for him. In many ways it was good, because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to find someone else. And, just because, I knew it would stress him out if I was dating someone and he wasn't. But, in all these changes of what we wanted they seemed to be changing to match the relationship he wants with this girl. Which is honestly, almost opposed to what I wanted, but I am still trying to work with it.
The relationship with her is brand new. They have exchanged emails for about 3 weeks and gone on two dates. During the dates, I actually have found that I have no issues. I am not worried or upset or anything like that. But, each time he has done some stupid little lack of respect thing that really gets to me - for example being late without telling me (and then saying it was because she didn't tell him what time it is).
I have some issues with her, I think. And I don't know if those issues I have with her are her, or because I am frustrated with him.
The end result to all this is me feeling extremely vulnerable and hurt. I have asked him to take (particularly the emotional aspect) of this new relationship slowly so that I can get my balance and be okay. I am aware that for this to work, I have to catch my breath with all these changes. But the NRE he is feeling is not allowing for that. I am so afraid that if I can't get balanced with this, that I am not going to be able to do this, and this in the end will end up hurting not only us, but her as well.
Any thoughts, perspective or advice would be greatly appreciated.
I don't function with rules on how I can behave (you have to pay me for that) but I understand that many people do. I suggest taking a look at what rules you have in place and whittle them down to the most absolutely essential. Which are the rules that are in place to keep you from real harm? I'd say if any of *those* rules get broken then speak up and say it like you mean it.
Otherwise, chasing him around with the tedium of rules is probably going to fall on deaf ears - certainly while he's got some NRE pumping.
Rules to sate your personal comfort might seem like a good idea at the time, but restricting someones behavior is bound to breed resentment and rebellion. Most people don't like being told what to do with their personal lives and this includes lovers.
It's good to look at your initial expectations and rules and give them a critical and adult look. Don't let pride or fear get in the way of making reasonable changes to your expectations and resulting "rules".
"Take it slow" might seem like a perfectly reasonable request from your perspective, but you might be trying to explain how to set the clock on the VCR to a guy who dropped too much X. There's no harm in saying it, if it's something important to you, but if your expectation is for him to snap out of it and be perfectly rational then you might need to revisit your expectation.
You'll note that pretty much everything you talked about was concerning him, and everything I've talked about is mainly about you. This is the big shift that will help you grow in polyamory (and relationships in general). It's important to realize that we are the masters of our own destiny; that our feelings and actions are entirely of our own design and responsibility. So focus on changing *your* actions in order to grow and mature instead of changing *his* actions to facilitate your growth.
I think you are doing fine
A lot of people try to date another person as a couple, it's only a problem when you are not flexible and willing to let go of that when things don't turn out that way. And you did, so luckily you won't get attacked for hunting.
It all sounds like standard insecurities that you would likely find no problem dealing with if your boyfriend was acting like an adult.
I don't know anybody that would seriously try something like this
(and then saying it was because she didn't tell him what time it is).
I know 13 year-olds that are more mature than that
Everybody makes mistakes, it's what you after that counts, and that is pretty disrespectful.
If that was your first time with him out on a date and he said he would call by a certain time, and hours later he doesn't , it is little things like that which can make your first attempts at opening up a nightmare.
Yes, you should eventually be able to make it through all these little hardships, but there really isn't any point in trying it if he isn't going to be respectful. Disrespecting your lovers will burn even a poly veteran, and getting way to caught up in NRE does ruin relationships, but it's too early to even know if he is going to go all NRE crazy.
Sounds like it's just him being irresponsible and people like that can be impossible to be in a relationship with, even for monogamists, disrespect is disrespect is disrespect.
It could be on accident, so you are going to have to tell him that he needs to follow through with the little things like checking in as it makes life much easier for you.
Why put yourself through crap that could easily be taken care of with minimal effort on his part
The Poly learning Curve
Here's a graphic for a game, but from what I have read here it fits with figuring out Poly as well.
The Poly Learning Curve.
The issues you have talked about can often be worked out through educating yourself.
I would suggest you check out the "golden Nuggets" collection of threads (Some times call the master thread).
Then read about "poly hell things" I suggest you share this with your husband, and talk about how you each feel about these things. And what it might take to reduce the stress NRE can cause.
Then check out Jealousy things: one, two, three
And Secondary/third things: one, two, three
Other good reading in the interest of keeping things smooth, and drama free. One, Two, [URL="http://sexgeek.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/ooh-baby-let-me-get-out-my-agenda-the-logist
Most of these link (if not all) can be found in the "golden nuggets" thread. Along with Many many more.
First, I want to thank everybody for their response.
It gave me some perspective and some thinking points which is what I needed. I am much more at ease with what I need to do and where I need to be headed :)
Marcus, I do really appreciate the reminder that I can only control me. And I am aware of what points I do need to think about and work through.
Dirt, thank you for giving me some "talking points". I think in my frustration I might not have been able to explain my issues as clearly.
Murasaki, Those resources are awesome! Thank you.
Beware puppy love and boundaries and I am so bad at these.
I second what the person said about new love. When puppy love starts it can be from mild yeah to obsessive. I tend to be the latter. I am head over and want to be with the person 24/7 and if on a date loose track of time.
I have set alarms, had friends call me at a certain point and just said the date will end at x. However when you are with a person (new or not) and enjoying their company time gets away from you.
Now having said that I have a live in partner who knows my ways. When we look for a new partner he goes and buys new video games he wants and stashes them for my date nights. This works for us.
When he dates I just go online, read, hang with other friends. If I am not on the date I relish in my ME time. We love each other however I am not loved less if he is out with a friend (or girlfriend).
WE both do have a time out button. If things are getting to intense (for anyone) or the new partner starts throwing out "keywords to trouble", or we wind up with someone who is "attached and now needs rescuing" (financial or emotional) or we have not spent any time together in a few days (we never let it get over a week. ) Then that is the time to say. Step back, reflect and see where this goes.
We also will not date others who are not into Poly. Period.
Ps this is also where OUR boundaries are enforced upfront is in the puppy love time.
You guys will figure it out. Trust me I have a 20 year and a 10 year co relationship that worked but not without alot of work. Being a widow now for 2 years of one of my guys and now redating we had to start the finding us and our boundaries again. And our 2nd go at it tanked spectacularly... Flames everywhere. We took a little off and are now dating others again. Now with lessons learned.
Here is something to consider for perspective: For the things like being late, ask yourself, if he were late getting back from the grocery store what would your emotional reaction be? Personally, it irks me when people are late and fail to inform me of it - even if it is just what time I can expect the person to return from the grocery store. If you feel as I do about such an issue then use that as a baseline, and any other emotions you piled on top of it relating to your guys behavior is probably the polyamory experience. You don't need to feel any more disrespected for his failure to check in than you would under ordinary circumstances - and given the fascination with the newness of everything, it might be somewhat understandable.
In such a case - if it were true - I would probably point out to him that you would be irked for failing to at least let you know he was going to be late regardless of where he was, and then ask him how he would feel if your positions were reversed. A lot of successful relationships - polyamorous or not - are based on good communication, and mutual understanding that comes from being able to put yourself in the other person's shoes.
Now, Marcus does have a point that perhaps the best way to deal with it would be not to make rules that set everybody up for failure. The thing of it is, if you chuck the check in at a certain time rule (or come home in this case), then your guy needs to be willing to live by it when you are the one out on a date. If he's not, then he needs to act like an adult and abide by it. (Seriously, it is the new girl's responsibility to make sure he meets his agreed upon responsibilities with you?)
The late thing is not a "rule" thing. It was a matter of when he said he would be home. In this case, I don't think what someone say is a rule, just the what they are going to do.
The best way to explain this is... if he had just been out with his friends, I would have called and been annoyed. I don't want to call when on a date, especially a new girl. I think that sets up wrong impressions of... well both of us to his new girl. And honestly, if they had been together for a longer period of time, I probably would have just called.
I guess the irritating point on that is that I felt that the initial actions was completely disrespectful, followed by a dumb statement (and I don't think he actually believed it, I think that was just what came out of his mouth when I said something thought about when he said it - their date was set around her schedule and she had to be somewhere, and I think she blew it off).
I felt like my hands were tied in what I would have normally done. Compounding the issue.
And it is not this particular issue only, it is just the... if you say you are going to do something - do it. So it isn't specifically that he was late, it was that he told me one thing and didn't do it. I think the part that relates to the actual relationship that is getting to me is that I don't want stupid stuff like this to be the norm. I could lower my expectation, but that is hard when these little things seem to be an issue of respect. BTW - none of these things were things I asked him, they were things that he said.
I get what you are saying about this not being a rule, but rather an expectation that he himself set. It sounds to me that while this occurred in a poly situation you are miffed about the simple lack of common courtesy - coupled with the fact that you were prevented from dealing with it in the way you normally would.
I guess I would ask him what he would like you to do in the future when he tells you he is going to do something and doesn't follow through. Should you be able to call and confirm all is well? That he is just running late?
And again, I would ask him how he would feel if the situation was reversed.
(I am a very laid back person in general, but when someone fails to show as expected and I don't hear from them, it always crosses my mind that something may have happened to them, like a car wreck. No that has never actually been the case, but the point is you don't know.)
Or was it "I'll be home at 8" and he wasn't home right at 8?
I don't know your situation and I'm sure there is lots to it, but it sounds like you are getting yourself worked up for no apparent reason. Now, if I have an agreement with someone that they'll be home at 7:30 so that we can go catch the 7:45 showing of a movie... I'm waiting at home... they show up at 7:45... that means we can't do the thing planned and I would be mildly irritated. BUT, if they said they'll be home at 7:30, I'm sitting around watching re-runs and figuring out what I want to eat and they show up at 8:30... who cares? Why get all worked up over it if there was no harm done?
The issue of "what if they are dead in a ditch" has always been a weak argument imo. If they are out with their friends and are late... why are they late? Obviously because they are out with their friends and they are, god forbid, having a good time and lost track of the hour. If he's on a date and running late... what do you imagine happened? I'm sure he doesn't need his pissed off wife/girlfriend calling him and griping at him like he's a little kid. "The street lights are on and YOU SAID YOU'D BE HOME"
If you are just looking for a reason to put the hammer down on this guy then I'd say your irritation is your own fault.
It sounds like something is definitely going on, but I'm skeptical that his being later than he said is really grounds for this much frustration.
Do you know what is actually bothering you?
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