Thanks to everyone for their time and input. So many questions! Iíll do my best to answer them all. If I have overlooked your question, prod me and Iíll go back and answer it. **I see there have been more responses while I was composing this one. Yay. I'll post this now then see if I need to do some catching up.**
@Geminigirl, I hear you that a primary partner is not the solution in and of itself. Heaven knows, Iíve had my share of bad primary partners (and a few good ones along the way, too). Even now, Iím not done looking for someone to share much more of my life with.
My partner and I have been discussing where Iím stuck and heís helping me to work it out. He wants me - - to be happy, whether that means I am staying or going. Itís one of the reasons I love him. Iíd be crazy to leave, right?
@redpepper, I do have a busy life and surround myself with lots of friends. Outside of work, I play team sports 2-3 times a week, I sit on a Board, Iíve got what I would consider 3 circles of friends outside of the poly community and they keep me up to date on the latest food, art, movies, you name it. Theyíre great. I do rely on them at times, as they rely on me.
@ShrodingersCat, youíre right, it is not that different from being unfulfilled and single and thatís certainly a reason to stay in the relationship. Since I am in a relationship, it does take work to not wrap up this relationship with my additional needs. I donít want to drag down a good relationship because Iím lonely. Itís not his fault and itís not his responsibility to fix me, itís mine. On the flip side, pretending to be energetic when Iím feeling down and want more seems false and not fair to either of us.
I will say that Iíve been single before, and Iím pretty good at it. However, I canít get used to being single again when Iím not. I would love to be able to just get used to the new normal of a ďpartialĒ relationship. I am familiar with all or nothing. Maybe these are poly growing pains. Itís a new normal Iíve never seen in a tv show or read about in a book. I do wish the adjustment was going more smoothly.
@dingedheart, about 2 years ago, I joined a community in which there is a sizably poly population. Because of this, I gained poly friends and learned about poly. It was a lifestyle that made a lot of sense to me. I do believe that love it plentiful, Iím not possessive about my love or my partners, I donít believe in ďThe One,Ē just in varying levels of compatibility, and I can see each relationship in itís own context. That said, I didnít specifically seek out a poly relationship. I donít feel I am hardwired for either monogamy or polyamory. I just want to be happy. Anyway, I met my SO as a play partner and we clicked on a deeper level. I have no illusions of trying to make my partner into my primary, heís got a great life and itís in nobodyís best interest to mess it up.
As above, I have not stopped looking for other partners. Where are the guys who are my perfect match?!? (Tongue stuffed firmly in cheek.)
As for time, each of the 3 girlfriends gets an evening/overnight during the week. I keep to a more regular schedule. His other girlfriends have tougher schedules to work around, but the ideal is a night for each of us. The rest of the time defaults (for lack of a better word) to his live-in primary. There are weekend days and evenings that his primary prefers to reserve with him and we respect that. Sometimes weíre all together, as we were at Thanksgiving. He certainly values his overlap time with us, and I can see why!
I am 38 years old and I donít have kids. Because of this, my freedom is something I am valuing less and less, and regular companionship and a foreseeable future have moved up in the relationship needs column. Some of my loneliness may very well be what I jokingly call my Pre-menopausal Mid-life Crisis.
@bookbug and BigGuy, my SO is not stopping me from dating others. The only way this relationship would prevent me from starting another is if the new guy isnít poly. How to explain that one? But thatís another thread and Iím pretty sure Iíve read it.
A number of you have talked about being a better primary to myself. That is fantastic advice and I will work on it. Itís been rough going lately. Whereís my happiness, dang it?
@AnnabelMore, In the realm of intimate relationships, I am getting love and affection from a partner, but am left wanting more. I wonder if whatís lacking is more salient, in part because of the other pieces I am getting. (I can have a slice of pie, but not more, even if Iím still hungry Ė sort of) I ask myself if it would be easier to just go back to being single. Seems crazy, but at least that I have some experience in. I get that these are emotional, not logical arguments. (At least, right now I get a slice of pie.) I thought most of the poly work would be done by the persons with multiple relationships. I only have one and itís work right now! (I donít know how my SO manages!)
Itís not fair to my SO to treat him like heís a stop gap along the way to getting all of my wishes fulfilled. Thatís certainly not how I feel about him. I love him and want to respect his feelings as best I can. I want to appreciate this relationship for what it is and not resent it for what itís not. Itís not easy compartmentalize like that Ė which has led me to wonder as Geminigirl said, if poly is right for me. Or maybe I just need to work harder at feeling good about this new normal.
If only The Facts Of Life had had an episode about thisÖ
Thanks guys. Again, if I missed your question, point me back to it.