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-   -   Boyfriend abhors the idea, can't understand (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5868)

Shebang 01-24-2011 03:25 AM

Boyfriend abhors the idea, can't understand
Hello, I'm new to this forum and I joined because I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to accept the fact that I am capable of, and desire to, love more than one person romantically and sexually at the same time. I love the idea of having a community of like minded people to discuss this stuff with, yay!

Unfortunately the man I've been with for 4 years and who I want to be with for the rest of my life is in no way open to any form of polyamory. He doesn't "believe" in it, he says, and the overall impression I get from our conversations is that it's too messy, time consuming, and he thinks I'm just fooling myself and I'm not really able to be poly because I have insecurity issues. However, in a previous relationship I had experience with sharing a girlfriend between my (then) husband and I, also while he had another long-distance girlfriend. This experience, while not healthy for other reasons, opened me up and made me realize that I wanted more of it in my life. Now that I have been with someone who is monogamous I have realized that it feels wrong and untrue to myself to close my heart to people I would normally be open to.

Here is our background: during the first 6 months of relationship I told him I was interested in exploring polyamory and he never really said much, but generally made the impression that he might be open it; but then one night he had a few to drink and told me what he REALLY thought, which was that it's perverse and shallow and an excuse to maintain a facade of integrity while destroying self worth and a true bond. I was extremely hurt, felt betrayed and misunderstood, like I had already invested my heart into a doomed partnership. I took his words to heart and really looked at myself for months following in case maybe I was really just being selfish and immature like he claimed. About 2 months after this conversation the topic came up again, I showed him some websites and couple books, and he seemed to suddenly be ok with it since there was a girl we were acquaintances with that was obviously into both of us. Long story short we talked about possibly exploring something with her, set boundaries, and a week later he tells me that he slept with her. This crossed all the boundaries especially about honesty and all parties involved knowing and stuff, and totally upset and shocked me that he would cheat on me. So I gave up on the poly thing because I truly knew he didn't understand despite his claims. 6 month later I find out that he cheated on my again, a one night stand about 3 months after the first infidelity. At this point I was numb with shock from him hiding this from me for so long, and I didn't care if he stayed or went anymore so I told him if he stays with me I am going to explore being with another person (I know, totally horrible, definitely immature, but I was hurt and dumb). So for a few months I was intimate with a woman who had been a friend for a while, we were totally into eachother and it was great and I felt like my heart opened towards my boyfriend so much through that experience with her that I was able to forgive him and totally feel in love with him all over again. He also dated and slept with another woman during these months. Both of these relationships ended around the same time and it's been over 2 years since, we've both been monogomous because of all the pain and hurt it brings up for him from my being with the woman for those few months (it really destroyed him, he says, and at the time he kind of expressed this but I was really mean and told him it was my turn since he had cheated on me twice).

Ok so I know this is long, and thanks to anyone who is still reading, haha.
During these two years the poly topic hasn't even been brought up because of working out the feelings from our 'experiments' in the beginning of our relationship. A few weeks ago I brought it up again though because it's been killing me, not being able to feel free and be myself totally with him... He reacted the same way he did during our first real convo about it: very hurt and upset and not open to it. It threw him off I think because it brought up old emotions for him about trust and stuff.

Other than this mono/poly thing we are perfect for eachother, I am very content with him and he is so good to my daughter (from previous marriage) and he is amazing.

I am so subjective about this whole thing that I have no idea what to think and really need some objective viewpoints.
Should I give up? Does it sound like he's utterly monogamous and there's no hope?
Does it sound like he just misunderstands and has relationship/trust issues that need to be worked out and then he might be open to being open?

I think I just want some hope that it's possible to stay with him but I know that when I bring up the topic he feels threatened and bites my head off. I know what I need to do for myself and I know I'll have to end it if he can't accept ALL of me. But it's so very sad to think that I might have to do that.

Am I just going about this all wrong? What should I do?

redpepper 01-24-2011 04:07 AM

It sounds like you have been flying by the seat of your pants and not done any prep work. I don't know, might be wrong there, so let us know if I am...

I think the two of you have done your bit of getting back at one another and have come to a place where you could carry on being mono or try again. This time it sounds like the boundaries need to be set and KEPT. If there is any cause to waver I think that should be it and you or he move on. It doesn't sound like he gets it and neither do you. Working on a foundation is the only way of doing it I think....

On that note, check the lessons learned thread and the poly foundations thread and see if that helps at all. You can find them by doing a tag search for "lessons" and "foundations" please add to them from your own experience as they are not meant to be sacred documents, but for everyone to share and help each other... it sounds like you have some lessons you have learned ;)

Shebang 01-24-2011 04:24 AM

Thanks redpepper I will do that :)

What kind of prep work do you mean? I definitely have several years of research into the poly lifestyle and know a few people who are happily involved in multiple partner relationships. As for my guy, he obviously doesn't have much prep work since he's basically not open to really discuss it in depth and gets very upset about it. I understand my actions earlier in our relationship ('getting back', ultimatums, etc) were totally the wrong way to go about it, and unfortunately that's the only 'prep work' he's had.

Shebang 01-24-2011 04:31 AM

Also, how should I go about building a foundation?

redpepper 01-24-2011 04:51 AM


Originally Posted by Shebang (Post 62920)
Also, how should I go about building a foundation?

read the thread and see if it resonates with you and then share your thoughts with him... it sounds like he has to open up and BELIEVE in the process again... that is the prep work.

Fidelia 01-24-2011 05:13 AM

Your boyfriend has told you in clear and uncertain terms that he is not interested in pursuing polyamory in any form.

You're pretty sure you're poly.

These two mindsets are mutually exclusive. Sorry to be blunt, but it seems to me like its time for you to decide whether you want him and monogamy or polyamory with like minded partners.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

Shebang 01-24-2011 05:17 AM

Actually Fidelia, bluntness and an outsiders view were exactly what I was looking for, thank you :)

TruckerPete 01-24-2011 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by Fidelia (Post 62927)
Your boyfriend has told you in clear and uncertain terms that he is not interested in pursuing polyamory in any form.

You're pretty sure you're poly.

These two mindsets are mutually exclusive. Sorry to be blunt, but it seems to me like its time for you to decide whether you want him and monogamy or polyamory with like minded partners.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

My thoughts, exactly.

Magdlyn 01-24-2011 03:01 PM

Hi newbie!

background: I am a 55 year old woman, married but separated and divorcing after a 30 year relationship.

I was always poly in my heart. I'd get crushes on others, but I never cheated on my soon to be ex.

It was always the elephant in the room. He was always jealous of anyone I got a crush on, friend, neighbor or even celebrities.

Like you, in oh so many other ways we were really compatible.

For various reasons, not just the poly factor, we split in fall of '08, and soon afterwards I met my current partner, who is poly and always has been. I have a secondary I also met in early '09. I've never been happier. It's great to be able to be free and my fully authentic self. Great to be emotionally and sexually satisfied by my lovers and any other person I wish to date and try on for size! I feel loved, accepted and supported for my entire self.

Senga 01-24-2011 03:16 PM

hey! I had two really great boyfriends once. This experience helped me to understand ways they think and that there IS emotional vulnerability for men as well. My boyfriend, Ryan, was also hesitant about the polyamory thing when we first started. From my experience men often feel threatened when they are forced into a corner to immediately "choose" yes or no by someone they are emotionally tied to. Therefore I would encourage you to create an environment that has the lowest amount of pressure and emotional clutter. This will probably mean making yourself less forceful about your needs and encourage him to think about his. This way he will be able to actually Consider things rationally. I think since you know a few people who are actively polyamorous, then a really good idea is to ask Him and them out for lunch- just to say hello and say that they are happy in their relationship and their needs are not ignored in the relationship.
Clarify with him that you understand that things in poly can go wrong. An example that I can give you: My boyfriend and I were involved with my other boyfriend but things didnt go as planned. I assured him that we would work together to continue looking for common things we both wanted and keep each others needs in mind when choosing others. I think that probably all he is hearing when you bring it up is "wahhhhhh wah wahh I'm not getting what I need and im going to leave you all alone" therefore he is clinging to what he knows and is comfortable with very tightly because he is unsure what else to do. He is probably scared that if he opens up even a little, then you will take things too far, too fast.
He probably wants some assurance that you are willing to take the process slowly and work with him to incorporate his needs as well. I think that you probably feel this is obvious, but sometimes just restating this will open up the conversation. However, although this worked to alleviate Ryan's fears, it did not work for my other boyfriend. He honestly felt that he wanted a more traditional relationship. He chose monogamy, even though he loved me as a person, and I had to respect that. Best wishes for you two!

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