ok, so part two of how i ended up exploring poly...
i was not happy with the living situation my boyfriend and i were having, but i was not yet at a point where i saw it as a serious problem or could find a way to voice my concerns in a clear way. but i could sense that he was thinking of things and pulling away from me. after a little more than six months of living together i thought i must ask him what is going on in his mind. he said that he was worried about us. one thing was that he thought we did not have great communication, we are both not very used to expressing when we have a problem with something (as the sentences above may have shown!). i agreed and finally started expressing my problems with our living situation. we started having regular talks about what we were feeling. he thought this helped. we also made efforts to do more things together outside of the home.
after a few months however, he came to me again with the same concerns. he was "worried about us". i became frustrated that he was so vague about what it was that was wrong, what he wanted. it seemed to have something to do with expectations. i was angry because i thought if anything i had not had ENOUGH expectations on him, such as contributing to the home. i had never had any problems with him seeing friends etc, only at one time had i expressed feeling a bit sad that he was taking on so much extra work when it was already difficult for us to hang out because of our different schedules. he was concerned that our sex life was not as spontaneous. not an uncommon problem for people living together i guess...when it happened it was really great but i agreed with him that we had lost some spontaneity. i asked him "so what have YOU done to make this better?" and he agreed that he had done nothing to try and make it more spontaneous. i felt blamed and i don't think that was his intention, he was just very confused. for some reason, he had conflicted feelings toward me. he said that he thought he might be polyamorous...but he wasn't sure and he didn't know how much of his feelings were because of that, if any.
we talked a bit about polyamory. i had several friends who were having relationships this way so i was aware of the concept but i just thought it wasn't for me. i wanted to be "the one", feel like the most special person in my partner's life and like i explained in my previous post i was extremely jealous in this relationship because i was so afraid of losing him, losing the way he made me feel. he was never saying "it's polyamory or nothing" but he was being very vague and did not know what he was feeling. he said he felt pressure from us living together and i said "then i don't think you should live here". i was very angry because i felt that he was the one who had suggested he should move in, then not contributing much and not feeling happy. i felt like "hey don't put this on me, you put yourself in this situation dude"! so he moved out and we both sighed a sigh of relief and felt it was a good decision. we started visiting each other in each other's homes instead and got a lot of spark and love back. meanwhile, the discussions about polyamory continued.
i was very curious about polyamory, i still did not think it was for me but i wanted to understand the mindset. so i read tons of blog posts and articles about it. for me, it had never been much of a struggle to be monogamous. i am a pretty private person and have limited body contact and sharing private information to close friends or the person i'm in a relationship with. i felt that i was giving a special gift to my partner if i poured most of my love on them and fought my attraction to others. so that part of poly did not resonate with me, the feeling that you would suddenly be in love with two people. i would have kept that feeling in check long before it became serious! in past relationships where i had started to feel like i could be physical with someone else i always took it as a sign that the relationship was beyond repair and it was time to break up. it probably WAS time to break up, but it seems strange to me now looking back that those were my thoughts on attraction towards others.
but then i came across one blog post, and later other articles, that spoke more about "relationship anarchy" and with a queer feminist approach. it really blew my mind! suddenly i found myself nodding along, thinking "i recognize this! i have felt these restrictions in relationships!". i really liked the idea of seeing romantic relationships more like friendships, not forcing them into a set mold according to the norm, where we have to feel a certain way and do certain things together. but instead make a specific agreement for that relationship, what we want it to be. and let ourselves be individuals, not melt together in some kind of couple blob.
ok, so that's all fine and dandy, but how about sleeping with others?? just the thought of it had initially given me a feeling of fear and being sick to my stomach. but i was confused and annoyed by my feelings of jealousy. i wanted to understand, what IS jealousy, why do i fear my own feelings? it didn't make any sense. so i started looking into that dark corner, little by little. quickly looking at that monster, then running away, then looking again. little by little i was facing my fears. i found that the best way of approaching it was thinking about how i myself would feel towards my partner if i were to, say make out with someone else. now like i said i had not really allowed myself to feel these feelings before, but now i brought to mind a cute guy i had seen at a club some months before. for some reason i was instanly drawn to this guy, although i never approached him since i was "taken". i visualized what i would feel if we hade made out. would that suddenly have made his "meter" go up (like in a video game) while my partner's would have diminished? no. i could see that they were two different people, and my attraction for one did not change my feelings for the other. i realized that there is no competition, we are all unique. also, my partner's image of me does not define who i am. he has an image of me in his head, depending on his personality and past experiences, and may like or dislike that image. but that does not make me a better/worse person.
it was through thoughts like these that i came to the conclusion that poly might be worth giving a try. of course wanting to keep a romantic attachment to my boyfriend was part of me wanting to know more about it, but it was for my own reasons of what would be good for ME that i decided i might go along with it. when i told my boyfriend all these thoughts he was SO happy! he felt we could finally be honest and open with each other, and that brought us closer. so, the adventure begins...? i'll tell more in my next post!