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-   -   When is it right to discuss other potential partners and how? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62708)

LondonGuy 11-05-2013 03:15 PM

When is it right to discuss other potential partners and how?
I could do with speaking with the forum about something... I'm still quite new to Polyamory and I'm kinda struggling with something.

When do most people think it is right to discuss taking on another partner with your existing partners? I'm just so confused and flat out depressed right now...

I met a girl called J last night who I have seen out and about a few times and realised I quite liked, last night I realised I did want to take it further so while talking to her I clearly said "I am going to speak with S (my existing partner)". Nothing further happened, nor had anything other than talking happened up until that point. I thought I'd played everything by the book.

When I spoke to S she saw that as me having spoken with the other girl BEFORE speaking to her and is furious with me. I agree that we should always talk before anything develops but that's precisely why I backed off when I did. In reality things can't work in such a linear way; I can't be expected to drop out of the middle of an evening out and say "excuse me, I'm just going to phone for permission to carry on with this conversation".

I know generally speaking this sort of thing involves getting the boundaries set up correctly and making sure everything is clear, but last night I felt I was approaching a boundary wall backed off, and was blamed for even looking at the wall and wondering if I could cross it.

Anyway S and I argued all last night, I learnt a lot about where our misscommunications were happening and when we calmed down I learnt a lot more about the way she see's things. She's still really annoyed that I even spoke with J even though all we really discussed was that we both needed to speak with our other partners. I'm gutted that I've hurt her and sorry for myself that I may have potentially lost her. I love her to bits and would never do anything I thought might jeopardise that.

I just can't work out how I could have handled this better and it's cutting me to shreds. I really do love her.

PolyinPractice 11-05-2013 04:00 PM

Sorry, but I think your girlfriend is kind of crazy :) I mean, seriously, what does she want from you? I'd be pissed if I were in your position.

YouAreHere 11-05-2013 04:11 PM

Sounds like S wants to know that J (or any new person) has crossed from "friendship" into "dating potential" in your mind before you talk to the new person about changing the state of that relationship.

Is she worried about being blindsided or railroaded into something that she feels she needs time to prepare for?

Sounds like you both had different ideas of where that "I need to speak to my partner first" boundary really was, and I'm sorry this turned into an argument rather than a discussion point to figure out where that line REALLY exists for each of you (and determine a compromise that works for the both of you). Hopefully, you and S can talk about it with clearer heads and try to iron out the details now that you know it wasn't completely clear.

LondonGuy 11-05-2013 04:18 PM

Well she's not crazy - in true Sheldon style her mother had her tested ;)

I probably should have fleshed it out a bit more to give a more balanced opening thread... we had discussed J before and she had said that it was a boundary. The reason for this is that I had met them both around the same time, a little too closely for comfort for S. We hadn't communicated it well and were I guess misscommunicating on the definition of a boundary for starters.

I see boundaries falling into 2 categories... those that are fixed, will never change and are hard limits... and those which could be open to negotiation, maybe they might require certain reassurances to overcome insecurities etc.

Given that this was the case and we were also misscommunicating on whether we were even ready to involve others yet (we're still new as we've only been together 3 months).... well, with all that it's easy to see why things weren't clear.

When we discussed J about 1 month ago it was identified as a boundary, but we discussed polyamory more generally a lot more since then and I wasn't sure if this boundary was negotiable. I tried opening up that discussion but was told I clearly hadn't listened the last time.

I just feel empty right now. I love S to bits. She says she's happy with me being poly but I'm struggling to see who with and how, I don't want to date just anyone just for the sake of being poly... but to me it means that when I find someone I like I am free to explore it unless there is a very good reason not to. I wanted to open that dialogue and find out with regards to J how flexible the given reasons were, but in doing so I'm scared I've hurt her.

I really do love her so much, even with her alleged craziness :P

LovingRadiance 11-05-2013 04:26 PM

I would have been upset as well.
Because you said something to the new person first.

NOT EVERYONE see's it this way.

But it sounds like your gf does-and I understand, because I do as well.

If one of my guys says "I met this lady, we had a great conversation and I'm interested in pursuing her as a possible potential" all lights green.

THEN they can tell said person they are interested in dating.

When I met someone I was interested in last October; I told both of the guys before I ever made plans. We met at a convention and exchanged numbers for business purposes. I didn't even follow through with the business stuff before talking to the guys. (I quite literally talked to both of them THAT day)
After several dates, it became obvious that we weren't couple material. So-I never actually told HER that I was interested in pursuing a potential relationship. But I had ALREADY told both guys.

I think your gf may be wanting something more along those lines. (guessing obviously based upon your post)

Inyourendo 11-05-2013 04:48 PM

If I'm.open and looking I mention it before I start looking. If I'm not looking but meet someone I like and want to pursue then I mention it when I realize I like someone else. I'm not a psychic and can't predict when ill meet someone I like.

Inyourendo 11-05-2013 04:51 PM

I also.don't think this would warrant 8 hours of argument. I would not.be on a polyship with someone clearly so jealous. It wouldn't be worth all the drama. If I loved them and wanted to be with them, then id just be mono with them and be sure my next partner. Isn't unreasonable and wants the same thing I do.

london 11-05-2013 05:03 PM

My view on this is the following:

When one agrees to a polyamorous relationship, they are agreeing to allow their partners to love other people. Love is an organic thing, so is lesser forms of romantic attachment and the minute you start letting others control how you form this kind of attachment, you're moving away from polyamory. Simply because it isn't about loving people the way someone else wants you to. Any potential relationship you had with J was/is between the two of you and so before you spoke to (or more like sought permission from) S, you absolutely needed to see how J felt first. S seems to want to practice a form of ethical non monogamy where she will have the ultimate say over who you date and when. She feels that as you're existing partner, she should know how you feel about someone before they do. What this means for other relationships is that nothing can develop or progress spontaneously. Anytime you wish a relationship to progress to a new stage, emotionally or practically, you'll be expected to seek her approval first and wait for her to be comfortable with it before it can go ahead. Now, she might have good reason for requiring this from you. Maybe you're flakey or she is accustomed to people treating her unethically but it might not work for you. Some people are fine with this relationship style but others want the freedom to let relationships develop organically. Personally, my only rule is that my partner should keep me informed of game changing situations as soon as they can. If they expect that something new in their life will affect how or when we see one another, then I think I'm entitled to know so I can decide if it works for me or not. So, I don't have to know about someone new until s/he is a fixture on his general schedule. We are comfortable with being poly though, and like to hear what the other has been up to, so we gossip. It isn't disclosing though, it's general chit chat.
Just because I was his partner first, it does not give me the right to have agency over who he interacts with and how he interacts with them. I trust that he wants to be with me and will continue to maintain our relationship as long as it's beneficial and healthy for us both. That trust lessens my need to control his other relationships.

LondonGuy 11-05-2013 05:08 PM

I do love her and would be perfectly happy being mono... I've honestly always considered myself situationally poly. By that I mean to say I recognise that some people can't have all their needs met by one person and in those instances I am happy for them to date others.

This is the first time for me exploring polyamory. S has another boyfriend who she has been with for nearly 3 years. For what it's worth J has another boyfriend, I'm not sure how long they have been together. Both other couples have been open before and always been curious about allowing something more substantial to develop.

I would be perfectly happy identifying as monogamous and dating someone who is polyamorous. The point where it get's a bit difficult for me to process in my head is that I am being told that S is fine with me identifying as poly, yet the only other person I'm interested in is a boundary (one which I previously thought was negotiable and have since learnt will never be negotiable). What I'm trying to say is that if I identify as mono I don't feel anything is missing from my life, but if I identify as poly then I don't want this to happen when I meet someone.

For what it's worth I said last night that for now I think it's best if I do identify as mono, it helps me process where the boundaries are in my head and I honestly don't feel like I'm missing anything by identifying this way. What I'm scared about though is that the damage may already have been done. I'm feeling pretty f###ing empty and heartbroken about that right now

LondonGuy 11-05-2013 05:13 PM

London - When you talk about things developing organically that's exactly what I was meaning above when I said that in reality things don't always work in a linear way

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