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-   -   New to polyamory - Did I screw up? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7556)

Nymf 03-07-2011 11:49 PM

New to polyamory - Did I screw up?
Dear all,
I have a relationship of two and a half years with my boyfriend whom I love very very much.. When we started out I had an interest in polyamory, read about it and felt it was my cup of tea.. The first halfyear I told him about it and he was very interested, but we were more like friends with benefits than really in love and having a committed relationship.. I experimented with other people and told him about it, because I wanted to be honest and he also wanted to be open and honest with me.. even though I was the only one sleeping with other people..

A lot has happened. We fell in love and the NRE sweeped me off my feet. As a new polyamory-fledling I didn't know better and declared our relationship exclusive.. We were exclusive for around a year, then I went abroad and our relationship turned into a LDR for (only) three months. Before I left we talked about being open or not. He told me to do what my heart told me to do, a very vague agreement ofcourse. And when I developed a crush on someone while I was there, he said that I could do anything I wanted to do. This touched me so much that I wasn't interested in the guy I had the crush on anymore..

But then I met a man who was very sexually attractive to me and we slept together ( no penetration) . Then I got home in between and immediately told my boyfriend about it, he didn't like it, was hurt by it and said I shouldn't do it anymore. Because of my love for my boyfriend and a lack of assertive communication I just went along with it and said I wouldn't... So when I got back there I -cheated-, went against our agreement, because I had already built up this attraction and felt overwhelmed by it...

After I told him that upon my final return he got very angry and slept with my best friend once, behind my back. (we're both bisexual) He did not tell me this, lied about it for a few months and slept with him because he was angry with me! The intentions and the lying hurt me much more than the act itself... Even though that was also defiled because of the intentions.. I thought of breaking up, but I loved him so much and we had a very good relationship on other parts. So I chose to forgive his lying because I understood he did it because he was afraid of losing me and we made amends.

We love being together, share this beautiful deep love and I do feel that we could be together for a long, long time. I feel very commited to him as my primary relationship, as my lover and my friend. After both our 'cheating' (lying and not doing what we agreed upon) we rebuild our relationship and started to trust each other again...

Now we had a very romantic time before he left abroad for a few months, I felt like I didn't desire anyone else, but because I know this part of myself well: I proposed to have a more open relationship while he was away.

The agreement was that we would attempt to warn eachother beforehand when something sexual or romantic was brewing, but when it would happen in the heat of the moment we would tell eachother as soon as we saw fit, either through skype or in real life. He was relieved by this agreement, because of the openness even though he said he wanted to stay clear of anything close to 'cheating' and I didn't feel like I would want to be with anyone else than him in the weeks to come either..

But when he was away I quickly slipped back into my nature, where I love to make love to people. I slept with a girlfriend of mine, without planning or knowing really in advance ( I did have a little bit of a clue, but telling beforehand is so difficult in a way.. I didn't know it could happen).. I told him this soon after and he was not hurt or angry and actually thought it was cute..

Then about two weeks later I noticed that I was thinking about an old friend of mine in a sexual way, and I was quite shocked/afraid about this.. I have felt attracted to him before and I really like him genuinely as a friend, but he has done quite some nasty things. He has a very loving side but also quite a dark side and he has hurt some friends of mine by being verbally mean to them. Also I was afraid I was spinning out of control in some sex-craze so I didn't want to give in.. Still it happened and I did it safely and it was very intense and loving and kind.. I didn't feel like I was cheating. I was thinking about my boyfriend all the time, cursing myself for not asking him beforehand but also assuring myself that I was really in love with him, my love whom I want to have children with and start a family with some day.... The love I shared with the old friend did not mean that I loved my boyfriend any less..

I told my boyfriend today online and he was very hurt, angry and sad.. He had to cry and went away in a hurry. Is it my fault? I am guessing we are victims of a misunderstanding here, I thought we were consensual non-monogamous and he told me today that he thought, at the moment when we talked about it, that a more open relationship would be a good idea.
I'm going abroad for almost half a year soon, I thought our love was growing unconditional, like really being open for eachother and allowing eachother to enjoy other people.. But I guess I should've seen it coming and be more open when I sensed this attraction? I just didn't take this attraction seriously, but when it happened it was so natural... Should I feel horribly guilty? I am so confused, how the hell could I have ""cheated"" again? I did not want to cheat and it didn't feel like it. I thought I was operating within the borders of our relationship, but I might as well have started to destroy it..

I am so confused.. How can I heal this? Should I just stop polyamory altogether and notice that my boyfriend "cannot handle it"? I don't want to hurt his feelings anymore, I cannot... I asked him "What is it that hurts you?" and he didn't have an answer immediately but will tell me.. It's so horrible that something that feels so good to me hurts other people... How can I find a healing way to get out of this mess... I love this other friend too, that I am talking with a lot now. I am not sure if he should be my "secondary relationship", considering my boyfriend's reaction, but I would like to continu seeing him and if my boyfriend would allow it (which probably will not be the case) I wouldn't mind continuing a sexual relationship... But my relationship with my boyfriend is the most important to me..


FlameKat 03-08-2011 12:02 AM

my two cents...

Your boyfriend finds it easier to hear about you being with another woman, than being with another man.

your boyfriend needs time to adjust to you having a relationship with another man. give him that time.

you are not being upfront and honest about doing things with other men - prior to doing them. this would help with point 2 i made above.

what you have at the moment seems to be an open relationship with an "i'll tell you when i get around to it' policy... not really a fair way to do things IMO.

it sounds like you guys really need to sit down and hash out some more detailed boundaries, and really find out where each of you stand on different issues.

*boundaries may be the wrong word - you guys seem okay with the openness - it may simply be that communication is lacking, and understanding of your boyfriends feelings. I would also question why you only feel the need to be with someone else when you and your boyfriend are physically separated.

This to me is not truly polyamory - but an open relationship... you didn't mention being in love with any of the people you slept with and also didn't mention love between your boyfriend and your best friend...

apologies: I just reread the last paragraph. you do feel you love the last person you mentioned and wish to continue your relationship. this is where it gets messy :D read my threads - one is below in my signature, it can get really messy. most important is to talk openly and honestly to your partner... and to respect his feelings, really respect them... put them first, but also do not deny how you feel and work out a compromise with a date to renegotiate how things are going.

redpepper 03-08-2011 01:10 AM

It seems that there has been much going on and no real time to settle in. I suggest you slow down and figure out what you are both doing. What are your goals with this? What kind of future is in store?

I also suggest creating a foundation that is stable. Cheating adds instability far beyond make up sex and nice feelings for each other. Allow that time to happen to heal more and pace yourself.

You might want to do a tag search for "lessons" and "foundations." Read around a bit here and educate yourself, "open" is different from "poly" and finding out how might help. Reading up on "jealousy" and "cheating" too. Lots of good stuff.

BlackUnicorn 03-08-2011 09:15 AM

Hullo and warm welcome!

One thing that immediately came to my mind is that when you say you are both bisexual, is that something you have worked through? Although as a bi girl who has dated straight men I would LOVE to have someone who gets me at that level and doesn't hold my orientation against me or transform it to a world of insecurity, it seems you have established a pattern where you are not really comfortable with bisexual non-monogamy. I mean, he chooses not only to sleep with you best friend but with your best friend who is also male? And as FlameKat already pointed out, he might feel more comfortable with a one-penis-policy (do a tag search on that if the term is not familiar).

nycindie 03-08-2011 09:47 AM

Hi Nymf,
You make it sound as if having sex with these other people just happens to you. "It felt so natural... we just wound up doing it, what's wrong with that?" Just thinking sexual thoughts about an old friend doesn't need to mean that you will follow up on those thoughts. "I didn't think I desired anyone else, but then I did!" Whoops! Attractions don't always need to be acted upon sexually. I am sure you know that.

There is nothing wrong with casual sex if you are comfortable with that, but you make it sound like breaking your agreements occurs of their own accord, without any forethought by you. But there was a choice you made to have sex with these other people, and a choice you made to break your promises to your boyfriend. You can also choose not to have sex and to keep your promises. It's rather silly to pretend that you have no responsibility to your relationship, agreements, and what you do with your body -- don't you think?

It certainly seems like what you really want is just a loose arrangement for you to have casual sex with others, not really polyamory. Are you telling yourself you love your friend that you had sex with just so you can call what you're doing "polyamory?" Or is it really love? It sounded like it's a fairly recent thing, so it's a bit unclear.

It also seems that you and your boyfriend might have different ways of defining what you want. It would be beneficial for you to discuss everything in detail, and when one of you makes a statement about what you want or need, you both need to keep asking questions and to get clear on what your agreements mean.

Good luck & welcome.

preciselove 03-08-2011 01:33 PM


Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 70020)
Hi Nymf,
You make it sound as if having sex with these other people just happens to you. "It felt so natural... we just wound up doing it, what's wrong with that?" Just thinking sexual thoughts about an old friend doesn't need to mean that you will follow up on those thoughts. "I didn't think I desired anyone else, but then I did!" Whoops! Attractions don't always need to be acted upon sexually. I am sure you know that.


What does having sex with someone you've known for a few weeks/months give you vs a multi year relationship? I don't know how people can so easily wrong their supposed loved ones.

If it's too hard for you to be honest and committed with people you love I don't see how adding more people into the mix (polyamory) is a good idea at all. It's very predatory really.

Nymf 03-08-2011 06:07 PM

Thank you a lot forthe replies. I really have a lot to learn and am willing to do so. I did have a choice in sleeping with this friend whom I have known for seven year but on a platonic level. The thing that pushed me to make that decision was that I had somehow interpreted our agreement to be that we were allowed to sleep with others.. This was a misunderstanding and I see now it was a foolish decision. Shortterm pleasure does not stand against the relationship I have with my boyfriend. I just wanted to believe that he would be ok with it and actually did, but the mind can be misleading? Our agreement was not clear enough and I took signs that he gave me like saying ' I will love you whatever you do, wherever you are' literal and stretched our agreement jb my mind. But you are right FlameKat it's not a very fair one! I:confused:

It is all a very recent thing and I know I acted rash and impulsively. I allowed my body to call the shots and let my mind find philosophies and parts of the agreement that would make following the wish of my body for intimacy and closeness. Foolish, because sex changes everything. I am a Taoist and have read alot about it, I enjoy other perspectives on sexuality and definitions of faithfulness. In this way I might make up a philosophy that allows me 'to act like an animal', but I dislike suppressing my sexual feelings. I really honestly want to learn how to be 'an ethical slut' and how to treat my boyfriends feelings with respect. With all the traveling we are both doing separately in this period of our lives, I believed being more open to others would not hurt. I am leaving for more than half a year to the other side of the world soon. Sigh.

Especially when he is not with me, then I have this need. in our relationship I have more sexual desire than him. Maybe that explains why I am feel more need to be intimate when we are not together.

I thought I was honest and committed, that was the problem. I defintaly should read up on what you have suggested, hopefully me and my boyfriend can find a way to moe it work.

Nymf 03-08-2011 07:24 PM

I feel awful that I've just hurt the person who is the most dear to me through acting foolishly. I am realizing that I have actually "cheated", even though I thought for some stupid reason we were more or less in an open relationship. A terrible misunderstanding and I feel so guilty about appearantly breaking my promise of telling before.. I remember reading in an open relationship guide book (more for open relationships) that it's difficult to say you will tell each other beforehand, because sometimes when you have a very romantic evening with someone you have to call it off to check with your SO. But I guess that was the tacitly understood deal, that I didn't feel the boundaries so well because he is away and I just filled in the blanks...

I cannot reach him now, but I will visit him soon. I hope so much I can make amends.. Cheating hurts a lot and I didn't mean to cheat.. I feel so stupid!

redpepper 03-08-2011 09:14 PM

Nymf, life is for living and learning. I do hope this can be resolved and you can find some boundaries that are healthy for both of you. I suggest using what you have learned and next time, hopefully, you will remember what your priorities are and what boundaries you have agrred on. A healthy dose of being hard on your self is a good thing, but be careful that you don't agree to things that don't represent your core values. You could run into feeling resentful along the line when if you had stayed true to yourself at the beginning you would be able to rest on your agreements.

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