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Old 07-12-2011, 11:48 PM
prommat prommat is offline
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Default Relatively New Poly/Mono Challenges...

Hello Everybody,

I have been somewhat of a lurker for quite a while and have learned so much from what I have read on here over the last year or so. I have never posted here before. In fact I am not much of a writer usually, but I was inspired today. As I write this I feel a little insecure about what responses or feedback I may get, but here goes anyways

To give everybody a little context of our relationship, I am a poly male and I am in a relationship with a mono female. We have been together now in some form for around 5 years. We started dating first somewhat casually and then things progressed to us being monogamous for about 2 of those years. This phase ended in my cheating on her. We really worked hard on our relationship and in that time we took a step back and started dating other people. Eventually things got a lot more serious and we decided to be monogamous again. By the time we got to this place was about year 3 and my beliefs had changed dramatically from before. I identified much more with being poly than before and so our second monogamous phase only lasted 3 months and we were both miserable.

This time however I we had a long talk about what needs were not being met and set up a more clear agreement to open up our relationship with integrity and honesty. We have been in this phase of our relationship for the last 2 years. Once this happened our relationship got much stronger. Stronger than it has ever been in fact in my opinion. We didn't have the same exact vision, but we were working towards a mutual vision and things felt great for a while. We even set up a monthly tradition that we called the "bill or rights" talk which is where we wrote down all of our agreements based on our needs and how to navigate through situations as they occur and as we get triggered. Then we challenge each agreement each month to see if anything has changed and needs to be re-negotiated. This seemed to make things stronger for a while. One thing I am sure of is that I deeply in love with her and I see her being in my life for a very long time if not for life.

She says she is monogamous and wants to get to a place where she lets it be "ok" with herself to be poly, but just hasn't been able to get there. This is really frustrating for her and as a result "I think" I have noticed more and more of her trying to control my behavior. Here are an example:

Recently I have scheduled a date with another woman who has been around for a while. It's not a serious relationship by any means, but it is fun to hang out with her every once in a while. I set it up the way she prefers me to. I checked in to make sure that she was ok with it, was in alignment with all of our agreements in our BOR, and planned it a week in advance so she wasn't caught off guard.

The night before she was overly sexual and I was tired (I had sex with her 2 times the night before and worked all day the next day.) When I didn't comply she started a fight, said things that she says she didn't mean that were pretty hurtful and then said since we just had a fight she is not ok with me going out with the other woman anymore. Now I am usually pretty considerate of her feelings and typically if she gives me enough notice about her feelings, I will tailor my behavior to make it easier on her. However, this particular time she waited until the morning of the date to tell me this which is unfair to the other woman. It also feels to me like she is using my sense of being considerate as a way to punish me for the argument that we had.

I have noticed that lately the night before the date she will pick a fight with me or find a "loop hole" in our agreements to compel me to re-schedule the date. She says that even if we clear up an argument if I go out with another woman, she views it as me running away from the relationship which is primary. To a degree I understand where she is coming from and I could be wrong, but I do not think that is what I am doing.

This type of thing although the situations are different still bring up the same concern with me. After about the 3rd or 4th time this happened I tried to have a conversation about whether she is ok and can handle our relationship or has something changed, and she always seems to say that she is. She has admitted to have a challenge around it and I have offer to close off our relationship for a while to make it easier for her, which she has declined numerous times.

I have been as patient as I can be to move at her pace, but I am a person who needs to see progress or growth or at least be told when she is trying. We have had many conversations around this and it always ends on her saying that I just need to trust her and trust that she is growing. This is really challenging for me to deal with as I am not asking her to tailor her behavior to meet my needs as she is asking me.

So here is what I would love to receive feedback on....

1. Am I looking at this the wrong way? If so I would love to get some perspective of how I can be looking at this differently.

2. How would I approach the challenge of hearing someone saying that they are making progress when I don't (with exception of a few times) see much at all. Of could it be that she is moving sooo slow that I can see it and am just getting impatient?

Thanks everybody for your feedback in advance!
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:23 AM
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sagency sagency is offline
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In reading your story one line popped out for me. It was the part about her getting to a place where it's ok to be poly. I read that as ok for her to be poly. In which case, you have an obvious issue.

If I read that right, I'd ask why she needs to be poly? There are many happy mono-poly relationships. The pressure of her adopting your nature may be a major stressor.

If you mean she wants to be ok with you being poly, that's a different issue. Either way, I sense that your patience and her reluctance are producing a lot of stress.

In talking to mono friends, they often have real difficulty understanding that someone can have two or more loves without diminishing them all. Your woman may feel that the OSOs are taking something that is hers. Or she may feel that you are putting more effort into them than her. Or she may be angry at herself because she wants to be supportive, but the adjust is hard, and she thought she was more understanding than that.

On the taking issue, that's a jealousy / possessiveness thing that is covered well in these forums. Look for relevent tags.

The effort issue is easier to deal with. It means that you need to remember that she's an attractive and special girl that needs to be wooed, too. Surprising her with stuff is nice but may seem like you feel guilty. Instead, focus on making sure that you give her as much if not more attention than the OSO. Shave, dress well, and generally primp yourself as though you're going on a date even if you are staying in for the night.

The issue of anger at not adjusting better is much like a self-esteem issue. Be supportive. Comfort her when she struggles. Reassure her when she fears. And most of all celebrate with her when she improves. She may feel you're examining her or judging her for not moving fast enough. Instead, use your observations to find good things. Tell her when you think she's doing well--cheer your partner on.

Your frustration is a you thing. Spilling it on her can be toxic. From some of what you wrote, it sounds like you have a lot of you work to do as well. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say she's feeling pressure to change, and that pressure is making things worse. The only suggestion I can offer there is that sometimes we have to release the grip and have faith.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:24 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Ditto the above, and as far as I can see you're doing a pretty good job overall.

You might want to suggest something like - ehh, I had something about offering to cancel a date with 24 hour hours notice if something important happens, or saying if you've canceled on a person once because she's asked last minute, you won't cancel a second time, but that is probably just catering to her if she is being manipulative (knowingly or subconsciously) and probably would cause other problems.

In your place I guess I would just say that these people have feelings too, and barring an emergency, you won't cancel plans with them because it would be rude and they deserve better. If you stick to that kindly but firmly, hopefully she will stop requesting you cancel.

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Old 07-13-2011, 08:31 PM
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Snowdancer Snowdancer is offline
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[QUOTE=Anneintherain;91661]In your place I guess I would just say that these people have feelings too, and barring an emergency, you won't cancel plans with them because it would be rude and they deserve better. If you stick to that kindly but firmly, hopefully she will stop requesting you cancel.

I thought that was pretty darned good!
55 y.o. unmarried straight male w/straight GF wishing to meet women for dating and relationships. Also interested in just meeting people for fun and friendships. Blog and email buddies welcome!
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:34 PM
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Snowdancer Snowdancer is offline
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OK, here is what I'm seeing. There is every possibility she may be mono. That is the way people are groomed in the USA. Don't push her to be poly. Reward her for allowing you your poly lifestyle. Be patient with her as she is trying to adjust.

Thanks for your post. It may help me to deal with some of my own issues.
55 y.o. unmarried straight male w/straight GF wishing to meet women for dating and relationships. Also interested in just meeting people for fun and friendships. Blog and email buddies welcome!
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:43 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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A lot has happened in the short time you have been together... monogamous, cheating, poly, monogamy again and now poly again... that is a lot of roller coaster rides. I think you are being impatient.

You cheated on her, I would think there is a certain amount of trust issues there that would make this process longer than perhaps it would of been for starters. Secondly, she might of played at poly because your relationship with her wasn't that stable at the time and meh, why not get affection elsewhere? Thirdly, it sounds to me like she is monogamous and thinks that in order to keep you she needs to be a super star girlfriend and learn to be okay with your dates (the sex the night before etc makes me wonder about that).

My experience with mono/poly dynamics is there is never a boundary that is nicely placed and feels good for all.... I am always compromising and so is Mono. We have just learned to feel uncomfortable sometimes and that it is what it is. Neither of us have been able to figure the other out around the issue of me needing more closeness and connection to others in the form of sex so that is where my relationships stop growing. I haven't been able to understand that he doesn't get that it has nothing to do with my love for him.

On this note, maybe you need to realize that you might never get to a place where you feel entirely free to walk out the door without a struggle and she needs to realize that she might never reach the place where she feel comfortable with you going off to date other women. It might just be that you have to both live in that and see it for what it is. We don't always get our way in life, but if you can get close to it, then that is the best you can do.... that's been my experience anyway.

You might want to do a search in the tags for "mono/poly." There is a lot here on that topic that might help... "cheating" might help also.
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