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Old 04-20-2012, 08:21 PM
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lovefromgirl lovefromgirl is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Great Soggy Northeast
Posts: 353

"Wouldn't this be like me saying I was ok with poly to manipulate him into the relationship in the first place, then deciding I wasn't ok with it after we were deeply involved and demanded we give it up?" That's... actually not a bad comparison. Nobody likes to be tricked, but it sounds like you have been, despite not feeling like you were.

You're here and you're asking questions. I'm not going to think your mind is closed. I am going to do my best to give you answers from my perspective (poly woman, mid-twenties).

"[W]hat is it that a person can get from multiple partners that is worth the overall difficulty and drama that you can't from a single partner?"

I personally have found polyamory to be less drama-filled than monogamy, possibly because I was dating the wrong people, possibly because I'm just made this way and understand it better than I do monogamy. I appreciate that in polyamory, I'm not a possession. I have the right to love whoever I love, and this is okay with my partner(s). In monogamy, there's the concept of "emotional infidelity", which to me is a fancy way of saying "You can love me and only me, even if you never go beyond wishing, wanting, and very close friendship". I don't have to trade in love for love; I can add love to love and have more love! This is a difficult concept for a lot of people, and that's okay. It's not the dominant social narrative. You won't have encountered that very often or been told it's not wrong.

"[W]hy does this feel extremely selfish of my partner and like a way for them to not really deal with our issues?" Because the way he is handling it is to try and keep you at all costs, the very essence of codependency. He thinks you will both be happier if he denies something that is a part of himself. He isn't hearing you say that you can be happy as his go-to girl (typically described as "primary" in polyamory).

A question for you, though: could you be happy to be his primary partner if he were seeing others? Could you take him at his word if he said he loved you and another person? You can't change that you're monogamous; what you can do is trust him. Or not, if that's a hard limit for you. You don't have to say "Sure, go be poly". You can say "You said we were going to be monogamous together. If you want to be poly, you can do it without me". This is where boundaries come in. You two sit down and discuss what you each need, want, and would like. You find ways to accommodate both of your needs, and then the wants, and then the likes--and then you stick to it or renegotiate together.

People who decide that they can date all they like, but who forbid their partners to do the same, are not so much poly as hypocrites. Your partner has run into a lot of hypocrites who have treated him badly.

Commitment means different things to different people. What does commitment mean to you? I take it to mean my partner will not leave me without just cause, the same as if we were married, but without lawyers involved. We decide each day that we will stay, and to me, that's the strongest commitment of all. It's not enforced by outsiders; we're the ones who are choosing. We have to be strong enough not to run from each other. It's four years next month and so far, we've covered "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health". The two of us gain nothing by making vows in front of a community; you may feel differently, and that's okay. I would be better off if I were legally his spouse, but only because of the health insurance. I am, by the way, never the just-for-fun. We don't clean litter boxes together, but we shop for dinner, we (all three) negotiate boundaries, and he has taken care of me on more than one occasion. He had to make sure I ate while I was pounding out my final exams one semester; he made sure I wasn't alone in the house when my uncle died and I was too ill to attend the funeral. I went to him when their dog was on her way out; I went to his partner when she was injured and he couldn't get off work to look after her.

I don't do relationships-on-a-whim, personally. I feel what I feel, I contemplate whether there's room in our lives for someone else, and then he and I talk. Only after those steps are taken do we consider meeting the person (I don't do first dates alone; experience has taught me it's smarter to bring my partner). This is how I came into his life: he and I got to know each other, he and his partner (who is monogamous) worked it through, the three of us had dinner and a long talk, and then we had solo dates, to include the First Kiss. This may seem hilarious to some, but the three of us operate best this way. To me, there's just too much at stake. I have a disabling illness, so I have to consider where I spend my energy. Do I want to spend it on a dozen possibles or one or two yes-pleases?

I hope this helps, and if you need to talk about something private, please don't hesitate to PM me. Best of luck!
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