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Old 06-10-2010, 02:11 AM
saudade saudade is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 139
Default Short answer is: been there, done that, hated it. Read on for a long answer...

I've heard it said that in poly you can try to "move at the speed of the one who is struggling the most" as a way to help all relationships involved grow healthy and steady.
but tell me this, when moving slow becomes standing still and holding... is that a good thing or a bad thing when that holding still means you've put your dreams and hopes for a relationship's future on hold...indefinitely?
Is there such a thing as going too slow so that you are hindering emotional growth and consequently the growth of all relationships ?
I had been in a monogamous relationship for almost two years. We'd been talking for a year about some kind of open relationship, and my boyfriend had been extremely reluctant and uncomfortable. I started college, making our relationship long distance, and basically told him that I felt poly by nature and wanted to try it. He freaked out, cried, and offered to try it... That should have been my first clue.

I started dating another guy a few months later. We started out with what seemed like a reasonable moratorium on physical affection-- nothing more than kissing with the new bf... Two and a half years later, it wasn't reasonable anymore, and I got myself single. (You can only imagine the awful, horrible drama in between.)

and if you find yourself at such a point, what do you do? keep holding or take a step forward and deal with the emotional aftermath?
For two and a half years, because I was in love with both of them, I kept trying and I kept giving. Once in awhile I'd snap, and threaten to leave the boyfriend with seniority because it was all so ridiculous, and then he'd cry, and I'd cry, and he'd beg for another chance and promise he'd really try to make it work, and I'd believe him... Finally, things crashed to the point where I thought I didn't love either of them anymore, and I walked away.

Happy ending: five years later, the second guy and I are finally rebuilding our friendship, and looking to see where it leads without all the insanity standing between us anymore.

I can't tell you when to hold or when to retreat. If you're not ready to retreat, and nothing abusive is happening, that's okay. Sometimes we need to work through things that way, and be sure...

and on another kind of related note... consider the following....
if for some reason the relationship you were in ended badly
and you find yourself being asked to wait or doing it of your own accord, holding so to speak, to find out is there was a possibility the relationship could be mended either in friendship only or romantically in a poly relationship ... would you? or would you let go, walk away, cut off all ties, and never look back?
I tried the first way a bunch of times, and then I 'let go'. Honestly, after all that hurting, it felt good-- but mine was an extreme case.

and if you did decide to wait or "hold" how do you know when "holding" or waiting is more damaging then good? how long is too long to wait for an answer? when is it time to say enough, and just walk away?
the same question applies to when you are in a relationship, when is it time to say we need to take a step ahead because we are going so slow it is hindering the emotional growth of all of the relationships.
Here's the rule I use these days, after walking through that shitstorm once and never wanting to do so again:

It's actually my policy not to move at the pace of the slowest person even in an 'existing relationship with an issue' situation, wherein the 'issue' is the involvement of a third person. The rule of thumb I go by instead is: what's reasonable in this situation for the parties directly involved?

For example: one of my partners, Z, has had trouble adjusting to me taking on a friend with benefits. There are parts of my having a friend with benefits in which Z is an involved party: who I sleep with at night; how much time this friend spends with both of us (he's actually friends with the whole constellation, not just me); who I sit next to when they both are in the living room; PDAs in front of Z; the degree to which a new love brings everyone an STD risk; etc. In those issues, Z is directly affected, and how he's doing with the thought of sharing me with this friend in this particular way is a major part of any decision on the topic. However, there are other parts of my relationship with this friend that have nothing to do with Z (like whether we talk online, what we do sexually --once we've agreed on STD issues--, and how we celebrate his birthday), and so we're not going to move at Z's pace on those issues, even if he's the one struggling the most in our constellation with the whole thing.

I hope all of that helps!

In cahoots,
"I was thorough when I looked for you, and I feel justified lying in your arms." - Chasing Amy
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