Tell the truth?
Hi guys, I have a question regarding communication styles and poly. My GF and I are doing pretty well, but there is a continuous stumbling block around one issue. (ack, long as always!)
I believe in open, honest, regular communication. No blame crap - just "this is how I feel, I'm working on it, I wanted to be honest, you don't have to change anything" OR "I'd find it really helpful if you altered (x) behaviour/situation" If I feel like crying, I'll cry. If something's on my mind, I'll bring it up. If I need something, I'll put it out there. // My GF, in contrast, believes in filtering information/communication. She does not believe that we always have to be entirely honest about how we feel - we should internalise our emotions and work through them solo; only asking for help when it is absolutely necessary, if at all. She will often say she is happy about something, i.e. a date of mine, when in reality, she is struggling. I'll find out the truth much later.
This leads to the following problems:
The obvious problem is that I never know how she really feels; therefore, I can never congratulate her on overcoming something, or reassure her if she's struggling. It has also led to her belief that I struggle much more with poly than she does. I find this destructive, because it leads me to feel like a failure, or a burden.
blame and apologies
I believe in both parties saying sorry after most arguments; sorry for any miscommunication and upset. GF has a hard time saying sorry. The communication part comes in because it seems that because she internalises a lot, issues get raked up that I had no idea about and then I end up feeling as if I am to blame, even if it was me that raised an issue initially.
For example, I identify as a Domme, but experimented with some bottom play with her over the summer. This was highly personal for me and caused a lot of confusion in my mind. She shared this information with a woman I'm interested in and I expressed my upset. Instead of simply apologising, she launched into a big talk about how pride is hampering my sexual growth. This then spiralled off into remark about how she's spent two years dealing with my "mountains of issues" with her partners. (Such comments are damaging, because I go to great lengths to promote her freedom and happiness in poly). When I bring up an issue with her, she dredges up issues that I didn't even know she was having. Sometimes she goes the complete opposite way and sarcastically says that she is obviously 'the bad guy', or, occasionally, really takes it to heart and beats herself up. This leaves me feeling that I should not express my issues at all.
one person needing something at a time
Finally, the communication issue manifests in another way. GF believes that in many situations, small or large, one person is more hurt than the other. GF is currently going through a breakup with her submissive of two years. She has been very withdrawn for the past month. This partner of hers was a best friend of mine, so I am sad too. But, I acknowledge that she is suffering much more, so I have tried to offer my full support. I got upset a few days ago, broke down in tears, because I'm exhausted from a month of her being withdrawn, depressed and lashing out. I wasn't asking for anything - I just got tearful when we were talking about their breakup. She became very upset with me, saying that I was being self-centered and need to learn to filter my emotions.
Lots of information here, but I'm looking for outside perspectives on how this kind of things works in your relationship. I'm not perfect and I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you just accept communication differences? Does it generally feel better for you to have all feelings out in the open, or is filtering necessary? Is saying sorry important? How do you balance who needs care and who needs to provide it?
Me: (30f) open poly
GF: (40f) My long-term, long-distance partner
Hubby (37m): GF's husband
Garcon (26m): GF's submissive/third partner
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
Last edited by sparklepop; 01-30-2013 at 05:31 PM.