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Old 03-19-2012, 02:32 AM
sealace sealace is offline
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Default Attachment in secondary 'ships

Hi all,

I've written a couple of times about my ventures into secondary dating (for want of better term). To refresh, I'm a a long-distance long-term relationship that we recently opened up after I moved to another state (temporarily, most likely) for work.

My question is this: It seems like in a perfect world I could date people I liked "on the side" and see them casually but consistently for indefinite periods of time, all the while maintaining a safe emotional distance that would allow me to not feel too attached or demand too much of them. My reality is, that while this seems to work for a while, sooner or later I get emotionally (and physiologically if we're sleeping together) attached which doesn't really fit into the "plan" of a casual sex relationship. I don't want to ruin the casual vibe by bringing this up, as I dont know what good ti would do anyway.

There's one dude in particular I've been out with about 14 times since July when we met. He has a primary live-in g.f, and as I said mine is long distance so my need may be greater. He told me early on that he wasn't capable of handling more than one "serious" relationship. Talk and titles are all well and good, but the fact is the more time we spend together (mind you this man is simply one of the most gorgeous, sexy men ever) the more I can't help but feel closer to him, like him more, and get attached. And not only do I rarely see my b.f. these days but we are not having much sex.

Anyone have experience in the attachement/detachment dept? I seem to have found a couple of very attractive young men with primaries who are nonmono but for whom casual seems to be their m.o. Thoughts and insights, please? My emotions and attachment feel like a slippery slope.
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2012, 02:43 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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Where are you afraid of landing if you fall down that slippery slope?

It took me awhile to learn that I did not like casual sex, but now that I've learned it, that knowledge helps me in making decisions.

I am very, very attached to both of my men, and can't imagine it otherwise.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2012, 02:51 AM
sealace sealace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
Where are you afraid of landing if you fall down that slippery slope?

It took me awhile to learn that I did not like casual sex, but now that I've learned it, that knowledge helps me in making decisions.

I am very, very attached to both of my men, and can't imagine it otherwise.
I am not any good at casual sex! I am afraid of my feelings/attachments growing stronger if my partner's do not, and then feeling very let down and hurt as a result. Guess most of the men I've come across in poly/open 'ships seem to want casual on the side.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:46 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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Perhaps you simply are not cut out for "casual." I'm not. I don't think I could share one of the most intimate physical experiences with someone and not form some sort of special feelings for the person. But perhaps that is because I need emotional/mental intimacy to find someone else attractive in the first place. Sure I recognize when someone is physically attractive ~ both men and women ~ but to me it's more like recognizing a particularly nice piece of art. If they can't do anything for my mind, then I don't want them in my body.

Now, I realize that not everyone operates the way I do, I simply mention my viewpoint / experience so that you can determine whether you relate to this in some way. You may need to re-think your poly strategy.

Additionally, you might want to check out this link: http://www.reuniting.info/resources/exchange_of_the_day Certain behaviors tend to stimulate bonding, whether we intend them to or not.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:50 AM
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Alleycat Alleycat is offline
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With me, casual sex is casual, until the sex part.

That's when my attachment seems to surge a bit, and in many cases their attachment to me.

Frankly I believe that when sex becomes involved its expected that there should be some growth of personal and intellectual attachment occurring as a result.

For the record, I'm terrible at casual sex, usually attempts on keeping things casual with a partner that states that they don't want anything serious ends up in some kind of non-titled but equally personally intimate friends-with-benefits-including-kinda-sorta-romance-but-not-really-technically-unless type thing.

Really its much too complicated keeping it "casual", I prefer "girlfriends".

I'd advise not to worry about it, have fun, get good and stuck on the secondary, and enjoy it.

And if you find that the other person involved seriously can not or will not invest the same in the non-bedroom aspects, or worse begins pulling away when you being to show overt signs of strong attachment, then look for someone who is comfortable with that inevitably.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:44 AM
sealace sealace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbug View Post
Perhaps you simply are not cut out for "casual." I'm not. I don't think I could share one of the most intimate physical experiences with someone and not form some sort of special feelings for the person. But perhaps that is because I need emotional/mental intimacy to find someone else attractive in the first place. Sure I recognize when someone is physically attractive ~ both men and women ~ but to me it's more like recognizing a particularly nice piece of art. If they can't do anything for my mind, then I don't want them in my body.

Now, I realize that not everyone operates the way I do, I simply mention my viewpoint / experience so that you can determine whether you relate to this in some way. You may need to re-think your poly strategy.

Additionally, you might want to check out this link: http://www.reuniting.info/resources/exchange_of_the_day Certain behaviors tend to stimulate bonding, whether we intend them to or not.
thanks, bookbug. wise words.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:22 PM
strixish strixish is offline
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I can't really do casual sex. I know that sex will release all kinds of oxytocin in my system, and I will attach whether I want to or not. So, I don't have sex now unless I'm already having feelings for someone, and feel safe letting those feelings develop.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:36 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealace View Post
Thoughts and insights, please? My emotions and attachment feel like a slippery slope.
Hmmm. I found some gems in several articles and blog posts that might be helpful (links to the articles are in bold):

Love, sex, and non-attachment
The author, a Buddhist, writes:
"So then what is non-attachment in a loving, committed relationship? My understanding of attachment is that it’s not about what we have or don’t have, but what our expectations of them are. As unenlightened people, we live with a persistent delusion that people and things will provide us with more happiness and satisfaction than they really can. And this is where we get tripped up.

So for example, how much am I using my partner’s love to fill a void in my own love and acceptance of myself? A truly healthy individual is one who is complete by herself, and doesn’t need to depend on anything or anyone else to feel whole and content. I don’t mean we should go it alone and isolate ourselves from others. I mean simply not to depend on someone or something external to me as a necessary condition for my happiness.

But the fact is I’m not enlightened. Sure, it’s great to know what the ideal is, but very few people are actually there. I’m sure not. We all have times when we come up against feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, or insecurity. It’s a very normal human response to try to compensate for these unpleasant feelings by using a partner’s love to cover them over. But the truth is, real contentment can only come from within ourselves. A partner can’t provide that for us, and to expect it will only lead to disappointment. "
Love and Attachment
This author is a therapist. Her ideas on "moving from attachment to love" begin with:
"How do we move from attachment to love, from enmeshment to differentiation? How do we, peel the vine that we have become off the wall? To be completely free of attachment to our partner is an ideal. This is something we can work on throughout our lives.

The first thing we can do is study ourselves and become aware of the attachments we have to our partner. A clue for our attachment is the feeling of pain. We can watch how we react, how we have high expectations, how we no longer treat our partner like a respected friend. We can watch our motivation for saying and doing what we do and get clear how fear drives us."
Letting go (non-attachment & love)
River shares his experience of letting go:
"What I am actually experiencing, and practicing, is the letting go of myself, while allowing the fullness of my value / worth / essence to emerge in my life. Holding onto myself has caused me nothing but pain and suffering, and I'm so tired of it that I want to let myself go, entirely.

Paradoxically, letting myself go doesn't mean that I'm becoming more boundary-diffuse in an unhealthy way. It's true that we need good "boundaries" in order to function well in relationships of every kind. I'm becoming no less assertive -- though my assertiveness is much more tender than it used to be. I'm becoming no less committed to things. I'm not really losing anything of what I am in letting myself go. Rather, what I am is emerging as a joyful, growing freedom. By letting myself go I am becoming who and what I am."
Codependency Guide: Attachment And Detachment
This is a good article, I think. I especially like the author's description of healthy and non-healthy relationships.
"Within a healthy relationship the following elements exist:
  • Freedom to grow outside that relationship
  • Freedom to expand your own interests
  • A desire for the best for your partner and for them to be able to grow
  • The ability to have separate interests
  • A wide variety of friends; some may be shared while others may not be shared.
  • Feeling secure in your own worth
  • Openness
  • Trust
  • Mutual integrity
  • Free to talk about your feelings
  • The ability to enjoy having time on your own
  • Respect for privacy; not secrets
  • The ability to accept an end to the relationship without feeling as though you have lost your own adequacy.
In an unhealthy relationship the following elements may exist:
  • Living in a fantasy world
  • Denial
  • Overestimating the commitment of the other person
  • Seeking solutions outside your own self such as a new lover, alcohol, drugs, etc.
  • Becoming totally involved in the relationship to the exclusion of everything else.
  • Limited social life
  • Neglecting other relationships
  • Neglecting other interests
  • Becoming preoccupied with the behavior of another person
  • Being dependent upon another’s approval for your self-worth and identity
  • Experiencing fear, possessiveness, jealousy, competition, etc."
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-19-2012 at 02:46 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2012, 02:16 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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thanks for those links nycindie, they're very helpful and made me realize that the things I'm dealing with right now have more to do with attachment issues than I thought.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:46 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealace View Post
My question is this: It seems like in a perfect world I could date people I liked "on the side" and see them casually but consistently for indefinite periods of time, all the while maintaining a safe emotional distance that would allow me to not feel too attached or demand too much of them. My reality is, that while this seems to work for a while, sooner or later I get emotionally (and physiologically if we're sleeping together) attached which doesn't really fit into the "plan" of a casual sex relationship.
Hmm, I see "casual relationships" and "casual sex" as two different things.

For me, casual sex is having a romp without any, or much, emotional investment. It's purely lust and fun and I may never see the person again. One night stands, screwing that hot neighbor, etc. The focus is on pleasuring each other and getting off, but not necessarily remembering their name, LOL.

A casual relationship is something more than that. There is sex, but it isn't devoid of feelings. It can be sweet, tender, and friendly, with genuine caring. I don't have to be in love with everyone I have sex with, but I can care for them and feel great fondness and affection. It's the relationship that is casual, not the sex, and what that means to me is that there is just no commitment to be life partners, and it could be very loose regarding amount and frequency of time spent together. We can go out and do social things together, but I can cancel seeing a casual lover without much guilt if something else comes up. But it can still be ongoing and have enormous value in my life. It's a friendship with sex. I don't think casual relationship are so bad.

As far as attachment goes, that is something different. That is all about expectations and hopes for something more. I think if people have their eyes open, they can feel the fondness and affection without letting themselves get attached and needy. But it takes a certain discipline not to get sucked into the euphoria that clouds our judgment.
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"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein
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