the poly way of lasting connections...help a mono out?
Hi. I have been reading and lurking around this board for awhile now, but finally made an account today. Poly is not my current mode, but I am very delighted to see how so many of you work hard and make multiple loves work. While my question is not directly poly-related, I do think, from what I have read here, and in other poly forums, that you wonderful, loving folks may have some insights for me, if you would be so kind to consider sharing them. I thank you for your time in advance. This site has opened my eyes to new horizons that I had not even considered before, who knows! And maybe your words will help others going through this sort of thing within poly relationships, too.
Why I think I can get a unique, and valued set of opinions here is that I feel that those in the poly world are more open minded to how relationships can begin and end.
I'm in one now that from the get-go, has been defined as perhaps temporary, as a lovers relationship. We were friends first, for a long time, and before we even entered into this as more, his main concern was not losing the friendship as a result. He loves me, but feels we are here to perhaps help each other, heal each other to be ready for what lies ahead for each of us, with others. I have learned a lot from him and do enjoy opening up his world, too. He admits he has a lot of work to do, to find himself, and that he is open to discovering one day that I am someone long, long term for him, but he can easily see what we move from lovers to friends again. This seems most likely how it will go. This would be a step forward, to what we are next if we are not meant to be romantically and sexually linked for years to come, an evolving, not a going back. He says he wants to be a part of my tribe, my life, permanently, but is open and honest that if "the one" for him comes along, then we would have to shift what we are, especially if she demanded exclusivity.
I can find almost no information online about successfully transitioning from "lovers" to really good friends. No one expects their relationship to end, or starts one with an honest realization that this isn't forever, or goes into it seeing it as a thing to enjoy in the moment, for what it is, unless it's FWB and this is more than that. It's love, and true respect and companionship, with the understanding that most likely, eventually, the physical and romantic aspect will end, but that that doesn't mean it is the end for us as humans who care for each other.
I am having a harder time in my head and heart seeing how it works than him, since it's he who has seen it this way from the beginning. I wonder if I am a total doormat, even though I know he really DOES care for me, we were friends first, for a long time. He's never been dishonest about this, and is always open to discuss it, but I don't want to make him endlessly analyze me and where I fit in for him. The ultimate goal is not to lose each other. Why we took the risk, I felt I just HAD to, I had to experience him this way,and it is wonderful, and joyful, and fun, and so connected and deep (and probably some of this is NRE, I'm well aware) and yet...it does sadden me, to know I won't be able to touch him, share with him, be with him the way I am now at some point in the future, almost as a given. I don't want walls to come up between us, and maybe they won't, in terms of what we can share with each other in terms of ideas, dreams, thoughts.... but as long as we DO stay connected, and this was his concern from the beginning, then this isn't a bad place to be. But I worry about how to make it beyond, when the time comes. I have told him that he will have to be the one to ditch me, but I wonder if I will actually be the one, before he potentially finds her, because I don't want to watch myself get replaced in the moment.
I have read here about lovers that come and go, and come back again, or can make that transition to friends much more easily, with the respect and connection remaining intact. It seems to me that part of poly can be the desire to love and the honest, open right to have as much of it as one wants to seems to make things not as cut and dried for the marriage, monogamy, my one-and-only system. Which is why I ask here how you have done it, how it has worked, and what it feels like. I'd need to find compersion for him when/if he finds her, and work through seeing them together in the future, if I want to remain a core part of his tribe, and he mine. That will take work, but right now, it feels worth it. But nowhere can I find good info on how to do this, but it seems many here have the faculties, experience, knowledge and love to make it happen.
So forgive me, please, for not being poly atm, but your healthy attitude about love, connection to others (with sex or without), and the ability to see beyond society's status quo of what is possible, and joyful, and doable, gives me hope that somehow he and I can remain special to each other, and valid as friends, if some aspects of the relationship must shift and end.
Do you have any advice or personal insight to give me, and therefore, us, the best shot of keeping this powerful friendship, and more, alive for years to come, even if I must grieve the ending of being his most intimate partner, which I am.....for now...and rejoice in what comes next?