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Old 01-06-2011, 07:11 AM
monolicious monolicious is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 20
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I think it is a common occurrence in mono-turned-poly relationships for the original opener to feel fine from their end, but to have trouble when the tables are turned. I don't see this so much as a double standard as the fact that thinking about things is not the same as feeling them when they actually happen to you. If she continues to uphold those feelings and acts from them, that would be a problem, but just having them and needing time to navigate them seems perfectly reasonable to me. It may also be a real chance for her to understand some of the things you have been feeling and gain that much more empathy for you. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job of being a loving, understanding partner.

One thing I would caution you on though is the temptation and desire to find your own SO just to balance things out or keep up with your wife's poly. I tried to do this at first myself and found it to NOT be the best motivation for relationship. You feel vulnerable because your wife has someone else. One way to alleviate that sense of vulnerability is to find someone else for yourself. You see how happy she is and you think you might be able to find that, and you might. I think it is a VERY IMPORTANT question to ask why you are suddenly seeking another relationship when you never have before, when you identify as mono, and you haven't fallen in love with anyone. etc.

You have also run into another division of poly. There are people who believe you "fall into" poly, just like you fall into love. It isn't something you choose or seek out, it is something that chooses you. You discover and manifest poly when you fall in love with more than one person at a time. This is how your wife found poly so she believes that it should work that way for you.

Then there is the poly camp that approach poly very intentionally (my husband is one of these). These people fall in love with the idea and ideal of the poly model, and go about making it work for them and their lives. They seek out a poly community, poly friends, poly relationships. This seems to be how you are approaching it. Your wife brought poly into your life and now you are falling in love with the idea (not a person) and wanting to manifest it in your own life.

Both these approaches are valid, and can work.

However, with the intentional approach, my husband took 18 months from the time he fell into poly before he ever acted on it. If you are taking the thoughtful approach, it really needs to be thoughtful (not just reactionary).

As for how much info/access your wife is asking for when you resume dating. That is pretty much what I ask of my husband. In our marriage we always share everything and that was one aspect I didn't want to lose when he became poly.

That being said, I started out needing that kind of close/detail/constantly informed but have begun to move away from needing that lately. I've just become more comfortable and my need for it has lessened. I suspect that this might be true of your wife as well. Once the newness wears off and her fears have been consistently addressed and processed, she may be able to loosen her hold. Just be prepared that each new relationship (and step) comes with its own new issues though.

As for it being a double standard (ie- you didn't or don't keep those tight tabs on her), I don't see that as the real issue. She is asking for what she needs to feel safe. You could ask for the same things, and expect to get them, if that is what made you feel safe. I know my husband would never keep the close tags on me that I do on him because he doesn't feel the need. We are different people and have different needs in different relationships.

Relationships are not about everyone having the exact same equal treatment or stuff. Relationships are about everyone having what they need and some/most of what they want.

I had trouble with the comparison thing at first as well-a default gender issue that I am beginning to overcome. Just keep telling her that you love her for who she is, and you don't compare her to anyone. She is unique and loved. One thing my husband said to me was, "Honestly honey, no one CAN compare to you. There is just no comparison." I treasure that statement whenever I feel insecure.

Your questions to this group are:

1. How much transparency in dating is good vs. excessive / too-much-information?

My answer: As much as the people involved need to navigate the changes and feel safe. Your wife needs a chance to find out what that is for her, and she wants to start at the most informed she can get. I would guess that later, she won't need so much.

2. When is the appropriate time to tell my wife about someone I'm interested in talking to (as a potential date): (a) before I even meet/speak to the person, (b) after I've said "Hello" but before she responds with her own "Hello", (c) after we've both said "Hello" to each other but before we actually carry on a conversation, (d) once we've officially met but before we know each other, (e) once we've established a rapport with each other and want to start getting to know one another, (f) once we've had kids together, etc.

My answer: My husband tells me as soon as he has an inkling of interest, or sometimes I even point someone out and say, "Oh, she looks interesting and your type." I love being included at the very beginning and along the way, makes me feel very special and invested in the relationship for my husband.
And he has also told me that he values and trusts my intuition about people, and he seeks my input from the get go. That means the world to me.

3. Is it reasonable for me to have my own space, at least in the early stages of dating / getting to know people without my wife being involved at every step? Or is it important that she knows everything about everyone at all times, even in the earliest stages of meeting someone, so that she feels comfortable, empowered, and we can address any issues of fear, jealousy, concern, etc. that may arise right away, head on?

My answer: If you hadn't been married for so many years as mono, I think it would be perfectly reasonable. Maybe it still is. You and your wife will have to navigate and negotiate your desire for personal space. Because my husband didn't demand space and let me in on all aspects of his poly, I was eventually able to "give" him space. I have a personality where when I am told something, I balk, but if I am asked, or allowed to give it, I give freely.

4. What other advise do you have for me in starting the dating process?

My answer: Many others have said this (or hinted at it), but I'll say it again. SLOW DOWN. Poly is not a sprint, it is a marathon. In many of your threads I feel concerned at how quickly you are moving on many levels. Humans have a limited capacity for change over time. They need time to adjust and process. Feeling comfortable or happy is not the same as fully processing something. Just because you don't feel terrible doesn't mean you have dealt with it. If you don't take the time to fully process now, it WILL happen later, long after decisions have been made that will hurt deeply to undo.
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