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Old 02-23-2012, 07:01 AM
kaleidescope kaleidescope is offline
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Default My boyfriends are about to meet for the first time, any advice?

Hi :-) Before I get into my question, I just wanted to say how great I think these boards are, and how grateful I am for all the information and wisdom I'm found here :-)

My partners are both attending an event next week (in full knowledge that the other is going of course!), and it will be the first time they've ever met. Apologies for being quite long here, but I'm not sure how much information to put in!

One of my boyfriends was my monogamous partner for 5 years - I'll call him X for the sake of clarity. We broke up over the issue of polyamory - it was my first mono relationship, and I went into it with a lot of baggage about being 'slutty' and thinking there was something wrong with me. Those days are behind me now, but I bring it up to explain how our relationship started. After 3 years together I came across polyamory online, started realising there was nothing wrong with me, and raised it as an option for us. We talked about it on and off for about 2 years, read a lot, met some poly couples (platonically), but in the end he said he couldn't see it working for him and we ended our relationship. It was pretty devastating for me, as I loved him very deeply, and apart from this issue we were tremendously well suited and very happy together. After we broke up I was single for about 18 months, and we kept our distance from each other in the hope that it would mean we could get past the breakup and become friends. When we started seeing each other as friends (about 6 months ago), it was clear to both of us that the deep loving bond was still there. We started talking about poly again, and he said that in the time we'd been apart he'd changed his mind and wanted to give it a go.

My other boyfriend (Y) I've only been seeing about 3 months. We met on a dating site and had been talking online for a few weeks when the prospect of polyamory came up with X. I explained the situation to both of them, so that they both knew what was going on, and both seemed ok to proceed.

So, things are going really beautifully so far. Reconnecting with X and discovering that time has only made our bond deeper has been very beautiful, and getting to know Y has been tremendously exciting - I have very strong feelings for both, spend an equal amount of time with the two, and hope very much that this is the beginning of something long term with both of them.

I had a lot of anxiety about the situation when it began, particularly to do with X's change of heart re: polyamory, but he seems very comfortable and happy (so does Y). But now they are going to meet, and again I am feeling very anxious.

They are both very introverted people who struggle with social situations in their own particular ways. Both have expressed a desire to meet each other, and the event next week will be very casual (gallery opening), which I hope will help. I fear it going badly, though I can't really say why. I've been trying to see it from X and Y's perspectives, but I feel like I'm getting into weird territory where I'm trying to micro-manage other people's interactions, which is creepy and also impossible.

So maybe this question is as much about their own anxiety as it is asking for advice about how to support them both and help the night go well. If I were Y I probably would feel intimidated by meeting someone that my partner had all this history with. If I were X I'd worry that the reality of poly - actually meeting the other boyfriend - might change my mind about the whole situation. Can anyone offer me any insights? Thank you for reading :-)
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:32 PM
roxylion roxylion is offline
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just let them be themselves act like its any other day that you're with them but now you'll be together smile talk and stay calm it will work out if its meant to. guys are different when it comes to polyamory they just need to know you wont have favorites and love them. i hope all goes well for you best wishes.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:54 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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I don't know if my situation is at all similar, but I have a mono husband who has gradually become more comfortable with my polyamory. He explicitly asked that we don't have discussions with my other loves about our relationships. He only wants casual interactions in group social situations where he isn't forced to think about my involvement with them. (He doesn't want to have any social interactions with the one I'm physically intimate with.) I guess if I were you I would keep the conversations light unless it seemed like they were both comfortable talking about relationship stuff.

I'd also go easy on expressing affection to one in front of the other. I have a primary/secondary situation and it sounds like you have two primaries so I don't know how you might do this, but my secondaries understand that in my husband's presence I am not going to give them the same attention I do otherwise. We discuss it in advance so they don't feel slighted (and so I don't feel slighted when they keep a little distance from me). But maybe your men will feel happy seeing you loved by another, and jealousy won't figure in.

Hope it goes swimmingly!
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:29 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I imagine it's more pressure on you for a first meeting if you already are feeling that they are equally awesome to you. I only have experience meeting metamours as the "new person" somebody is dating, or with them being a "new person" in my partner's life.

I would talk about it ahead of time, not how they will interact, but certainly the PDA/attention split. If you are going as one of their dates, I'd make sure they other one knows that you are there as that. If you plan on slipping off to snuggle with the other partner at some point, mention that to your official date to make sure they won't be surprised. Maybe you will find out that they are both OK with whatever you choose to do, but if either of them would be would be upset by certain things, if you know ahead of time you can either negotiate for what you want, or avoid those triggers for the primary meeting.

Hell, if you're lucky you could ask them ahead of time if they'd mind at some point if you can hold both their hands as you wander through the gallery, and they'll both be game for that (I'm overcautious so I'd let them know I planned on taking frequent breaks from all being together to give them a chance in private to say if they are feeling weird). Seven years ago I still remember when my bf came up to visit me and meet my husband for the first time to watch a movie at our place. I asked ahead of time if it was OK to hold both their hands and I swear, that was really just an awesome experience for me to sit there between them feeling so damn happy.

Good luck, don't be nervous! I am pretty sure I rarely hear of these things going anything other than better than expected.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:51 PM
kaleidescope kaleidescope is offline
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Thank you for wishing me luck, I do appreciate it :-)

I think the advice about discussing PDAs in advance is really helpful - I won't be arriving with either or them, or leaving with either of them and I've already made that clear - it seemed a lot more neutral to do things that way. I don't think I'd be comfortable with many PDAs myself, aside from taking their feelings into consideration, I'd also feel a bit exposed by putting our situation 'on display'. I'm not going to lie about being poly if someone asks me, but I'm generally a pretty reserved sort of person when it comes to my personal life, and being low key about it seems normal to me anyway.

As far as the conversation goes, I'm not going to bring up any relationship stuff, though I'd discuss it if they wanted to. I was hoping it would just be a chance for them to meet, realise that the other one is intelligent and reasonable, and be reassured to have put a face to the name. If they get talking on their shared interests (other than me) that would be even better! Because there will be some mingling involved, I will have time with each of them one on one, some time with both of them together, and they'll get some time alone if they want it. The whole thing will be pretty brief (2ish hours), which I hope will take the pressure off as well.

It's a little bit scary when you get what you want, I think a lot of my anxiety is coming from feeling like something has to go wrong, because right now things are so good. I really want to nip that in the bud before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fear I keep coming back to is that X will change his mind when poly becomes 'real' to him - i.e meeting the other person, and/or that Y (for whom this is also his first poly relationship) will have a similar change of heart. Deep breaths!
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:09 PM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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I'm so grateful you brought this up. I do hope to hear how it went, hope you'll come back and let us know.

My situation is a bit different, but I share the nerves. I have two boyfriends. I dated First BF 8 (9?) years ago, for about two years. He met Current BF and they became friends back then; then the three of us were good friends. I broke up with First BF, and Current BF talked us both through it. Then Current BF and I started dating, after a year moved in together. The three of us continued as good friends. We lived together five years (longer than I had previously lived with anyone). I asked him to move last spring, and it was a breakup (though First BF commented that it was the most insincere breakup he'd ever witnessed). I think details are in my blog, but now I'm seeing both of them (since December).

I don't think they've spoken (but I'm not sure) since this started. I know the three of us have not been together since this started. First BF is about 3 hours away, so that's not unusual for us. I'm very nervous about the three of us being together. I would hate for this to spoil our friendship, it's very precious. It feels like an emotional triad to me. They are both not spectacular emotional communicators.

When Current BF and I lived together, and First BF would come to visit, I was 'cuddly' with him. I would stroke his hair (ghods, he has fabulous hair), or have extra hugs, or whatever. I knew the Current BF was secure and didn't mind. However, Current BF and I limited our PDAs in front of First BF, because he was slightly uncomfortable with it. He had a limit to my expressions of affection to. Current BF and I cannot be in the same room without touching ~ what we do best is snuggling. He leans into my touch, always. First BF is only open to it when he's open to it, and I'm not always able to tell ~ so sometime he's flinched, and then I'm sad ~ it's hard to touch somebody who flinches. So, now that I'm seeing both of them, I'm nervous about how that will go.

We don't have any plans to hang out together anytime soon, but I know it will arrive eventually. I'm trying to learn to move more slowly, and be okay. Perhaps it's more 'moving at the pace of the most uncomfortable' (what's that called? that's not right) ~ it's not that they're uncomfortable so much, but they move glacially, relationship-wise, and I speed-skate. *sigh*
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Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
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