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-   -   Communication (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69104)

Snic85 02-28-2014 01:19 AM

Communication
 
How does communication work in your relationship? Does it seem one sided?

With my husband and boyfriend it seems like I do most of the work and it's frustrating. I'm the one that comes up with rules/boundaries. They just don't seem to have much input about our relationship. I'll come up with something and they basically say if they agree or not. I feel like I'm putting words into their mouth. My husband insists that it's a "guy" thing. So, is it or is it them?

I wish for once they would bring up a relationship topic and discuss it. I'm always the one that brings up concerns. I tend to think out loud.

Vixtoria 02-28-2014 02:42 AM

Welcome to being the hinge! :D

Seriously, people see it as getting to have two relationships, I've even been told I have the best of both worlds. What they don't realize is that it means you are doing TWICE the work.

Now, communication is hard and sometimes yes it feels one sided. I do sometimes feel that while I have two people to support me, that also means I'm supporting two people, so that means if they are both feeling low, I am splitting time. I am doing more listening at times, and sometimes I'm doing more talking.

I suggest you look into some Non Violent Communication, it has a lot of good examples on how to make sure that communication is going well. Sometimes, yes, I get the 'guy thing' from boyfriend especially. So I use some NVC to make sure I am completely hearing and understanding what he DOES say and ask questions for clarification on things I think need to be discussed.

juber 02-28-2014 12:52 PM

Speaking as a man just entering the multiple partner phase of a relationship with my wife of 15 years. (She is the one who initiated our path into Polyamory).

I absolutely HATE the "It's a guy thing." trope and I hate even more when guys buy into it!

It completely dismisses the fact that we as guys DO have emotions beyond our favorite sports teams and it encourages guys to just "tough it out".

I have watched a number of friendships and romantic relationships between other people disintegrate because of one reason. People don't talk and when they do they do not say what they really feel.

Now, my marriage has had it's ups and downs but throughout it all we have both striven to be as open about how we feel as possible. My wife is the person I trust above ALL others in my life and I know that I can tell her anything with honesty and no matter what it will be heard and an honest attempt at understanding will be made. She knows the same.

We have not really entered into the multiple partner phase yet. She has found another woman whom she can meet up with within a few hours drive. They have become emotionally connected through internet contact. They are meeting up in a couple weekends for their first meeting. I think that we will be okay because she shares her concerns and fears about this new relationship with me and I actually feel supportive in this.

Having a long distance relationship like this is not the same as what you are experiencing. My wife does not need to act the "hinge" because this other woman is not (yet) physically present in our daily or even weekly lives.

I like to think that once she is (I am assuming something will happen to make this possible if their relationship deepens as they hope it will), I will be just as communicative with my wife's friend as I am with my wife.

Marcus 02-28-2014 01:33 PM

Gender and Position
 
I don't think this topic should be reduced to a gender issue or a matter of positioning within the relationship structure. Personally I think it has very little to do with either.

If you find that you are constantly "coming up with rules and boundaries" for their approval that would suggest to me that you are not comfortable with the way things are and are attempting to salvage some sense of control through rule structure. That is how you manage your insecurities and it would seem that the problem you are having is that they don't manage their insecurities in the same way.

You wanting to talk about "the relationship" and they never seem to bring it up is a similar issue. I doubt it's because of genital plumbing. It is entirely likely that you have found yourself in two relationships with people who are not interested in discussing "the relationship" and would prefer to go with the flow unless something comes up which needs to be addressed... and then stop talking about it. They might view this "work" you are saddled with as an unnecessary exercise which would be fine if you'd just leave it alone.

These are two styles of addressing issues or potential issues within a relationship. Discussion is good, but if you find that you are the only one having the conversation that might tell you more about *you* than it does about *them*.

GalaGirl 02-28-2014 04:01 PM

Quote:

How does communication work in your relationship? Does it seem one sided?
2 way street. No, not one sided. When I have something to say, I say it. When he has something to say, he says it. If nobody is not saying anything it means nobody has anything to say right now. Doesn't mean anything is amiss or "wrong."

Quote:

With my husband and boyfriend it seems like I do most of the work and it's frustrating.
What work? To have a conversation about (?) and engage?

What is it you want from them? Companionship and conversation? More considerateness? Be more present? Something else? :confused:

Quote:

I'll come up with something and they basically say if they agree or not
.

This is bad how? :confused: You don't like them answering you?

Quote:

I feel like I'm putting words into their mouth.
Because you express something and they answer? :confused: Are they good at articulating? Are you talking about relationship management talk and feeling frustrated they don't want to do it when it needs doing?

Quote:

I wish for once they would bring up a relationship topic and discuss it. I'm always the one that brings up concerns. I tend to think out loud.
Maybe they don't have any concerns, so don't feel the need to discuss.

You are all different people. Stands to reason you will have different needs.

Is it that you want feedback on how YOU are doing in the relationship? Want to know if you are meeting their needs, and don't know how to ask them for this input? And they don't volunteer it? :confused:

I am sorry you are frustrated. :( I can see that you are. But I am not sure what it is you are frustrated about or what you desired outcome is because you do not articulate that clearly.

Hang in there,
Galagirl

SchrodingersCat 03-01-2014 09:36 AM

Yes. And no. :)

Gralson grew up in a "Don't talk about your feelings, it's weak. Don't talk about your needs, it's selfish." family. Actually, I believe the message was more along the lines of "Don't even have feelings and needs, they're not important." He's come a long way, but he'll always struggle to express himself. He understand, at least in principle, that talking about your feelings and needs is the only way to get them met. So when something's really bothering him, he'll bring it up eventually. It just might take him a week to figure out how to say it (shorter if I catch on that he's brooding and urge him to stop worrying about hurting my feelings merely by having feelings of his own).

Auto has a background in Psychology and she's naturally emotive and a talker. She's blunt and she says it how it is. She's really good at checking-in, i.e. "This is how I'm feeling. I don't expect you to change what you're doing, I just wanted you to know."

I agree that it's not entirely a male/female thing. I know lots of people who grew up in both kinds of homes and I think that has more to do with it than anything. If you learn young how to express yourself, it just comes naturally. If you don't, it's a tough skill to learn.

With Gralson, I also found that learning when to shut the fuck up went a long way towards getting him to talk more. I think out loud too, and it often overwhelms him and he retreats inside. When I repress the urge to fill in every silence and instead give him room to think and speak, he's a lot more likely to express himself.

SchrodingersCat 03-01-2014 09:42 AM

I'm reminded of a conversation we had just today, actually. Someone started a discussion in a poly group on facebook. Long story short, it was about disclosing personal information on or before the first date. One person commented that they would be "surprised" if someone they were dating wasn't comfortable disclosing the info. Gralson read that over my shoulder and was surprised. Then he scrolled up and noticed it was a poly group, asked me if that person was poly. I confirmed and he said "ahh, that explains it."

He figured poly people would be more likely to "talk about everything" in relationships. I pointed out that this isn't a poly-thing, there are plenty of monos who also avoid dating people ("like you") who aren't expressive about their thoughts and feelings. I made it personal but he wasn't offended. I just mentioned that lots of people wouldn't have taken the time and effort to build the relationship we have with someone who's so non-communicative, because it's a lot of work.

He found that really interesting because he had never thought about the possibility that people wouldn't just put up with non-communicative partners. For me, I see it as the price of admission. And if he wasn't at all willing to work on developing those skills, that price would be too high. Because he's willing to work on it (we're even going to a week-long NVC retreat in April), I'm content to take it day by day.


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