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Old 07-08-2012, 06:52 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Default missing monogamy, wondering how to proceed

I think I prefer the closeness of being monogamous with one person (and having them be monogamous with me), but am seeing right now if the chance to have access to the divided energy of multiple people can be enough for me (I'd like to find a way for it to work out for my wife to stay with her boyfriend). I don't feel bothered by the idea of sharing someone physically, but the emotional/commitment part still gets to me even after a year+. Maybe it's because I don't seem to feel compersion, even though I get along with my metamours.

I've tried dating other people but have yet to feel like it's worthwhile in comparison to spending time with friends and my wife. Ginko (my wife) has put in a massive amount of effort to help me be happy with things as they are, and she's willing to stop dating her boyfriend J if that's what I need, but she loves him, he loves her, and I'd feel like crap to require that. J is a good guy, he goes to a lot of effort to get along with me and help me be okay with things, but I'm just not sure I ever will be, and wonder if I'm wasting everyone's time to have it go on as it is any longer.

Ginko's boyfriend suggested she and I brainstorm solutions, and the two of them also said we could set a deadline, perhaps 6 months, to either figuring out how to make things work or go back to being monogamous. She needs some kind of resolution because it hurts her to have something that makes her happy make me sad to, at best, indifferent. Meanwhile J is in the midst of looking for a primary and had already mentioned before all this came up that he might have to switch to just being friends with Ginko if the person he finds needs monogamy, and she's supportive of that change if necessary since she knows he needs a primary. Any thoughts?

Last edited by turtleHeart; 07-08-2012 at 07:44 AM. Reason: to make it concise enough to read
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2012, 02:06 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Well, it's a tricky situation, but my first thought was... you're not going to like it, but here goes:

Your wife is polyamorous. You have trouble with the emotional aspect, not the sexual one. How is closing the relationship going to help?
Think about it: she will STILL be in love with the other guy, which is what hurts you. And if she finally gets over him, she will fall in love with others. Won't that hurt you just as much? And won't it hurt you more to see her miserable because she can't do anything about it? It seems to me, if you need emotional monogamy, you need someone who is able to provide it to you. Another monogamous partner. You'd need to break up with her.
If you want to stay with her, which I assume is the case, I don't think telling her she can't see the people she loves is going to help you much. You'll always know she loves them. If you ask her not to tell you about who she has feelings for, you'll keep wondering if she's in love with so and so. She'll be sad about not being with them, she'll feel guilty that she has feelings for them in the first place and that it's hurting you, and you'll probably feel just as bad as you do now.

If your problem was with sexual non-exclusivity, then it would be easier. No sex, and she can love whoever she wants, you wouldn't care, and maybe you could do things in the bedroom that would make it easier for her not to have sex with others. But here, it's feelings, not actions, that bother you. And feelings are not something she can control.

Now, if you think about what bothers you more specifically, maybe you can come up with actions, not feelings, that make you uncomfortable. And maybe you can work with her so that these actions happen less or stop happening.
Alternately, you might come up with actions that she can do with you so that you feel better. Spend more time with you, have regular dates, go on weekends or vacations together... I don't know, but there might be things that would help.

But ultimately, if the problem is that it hurts you to know she loves others, well you already know she does, and chances are she always will, whether she has boyfriends or not.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2012, 04:11 PM
apophis apophis is offline
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Tonberry: I disagree that his wife being in love with the other guy is what hurts him. I think the lack of the full emotional commitment (committing all your emotional energy to one person) is what hurts him.

turtleHeart: You seem like a very mature individual, but I agree with Tonberry in the sense that I think you're not looking at yourself enough. Mono vs. Poly, as I've been exploring in my thread, is not about one or the other being correct. It's not that your wife shouldn't want anyone else, and it's not that you should be ok with your wife pursuing relationships with others.

Within the mature mono relationship it's well-acknowledged that love is not an exclusive feeling that you feel only for some magical one true love who shows up one day and everything is perfect. I don't think for a second that that's how you're looking at this which is why I don't think your wife loving someone other than you is what necessarily bothers you. It seems that what bothers you is that you've taken every available option to enjoy there being multiple relationships, but it doesn't work for you.

To be totally honest, I agree with Tonberry again in that your desire to be with your wife is likely coloring your answer. It seems likely to me that based on what you're saying here (and said in my other thread), your personal choice lies towards monogamy. You've obviously thought it out. You've tried dating other people. You've tried being accepting of your partner dating someone else. It's not some immature feeling of jealousy that has made you unhappy with that. You've tried dealing with every emotional and intellectual avenue to make sure that this is not just you being immature about something, and you're still unhappy.

I think you're a very mature individual. I think the amount of effort you've put into exploring this thoroughly and checking out every avenue is wonderful, but I think now it's time to consider yourself. You're considering your wife and the fact that she loves and wants to be with her boyfriend. I think that if you really examine this and decide that what you want (regardless of anyone else) is what comes with a monogamous relationship then you're going to need to sit down with your wife to communicate that. You have to find out how she feels about monogamy and if she would be genuinely happy in a monogamous relationship. It seems that you might only be genuinely happy in a monogamous relationship so if your wife would be genuinely happy either way then maybe monogamy could work for both of you.

If your wife would only be genuinely happy in poly and you would only be genuinely happy in mono then it may be time to face the tough decision. If that were the case, would it really be worth it for either of you to sacrifice your personal happiness to allow the relationship to continue? Even if one of you could sacrifice what would make you happy for the other (which it seems you're already doing), will that really result in the most fulfilling relationship that either of you could be in?

So my advice is make the personal decision about whether you're mono, poly, or some variant thereof as well as what you want from a relationship. One of the smartest pieces of advice I've seen is that being poly is not a couple decision. It's an individual one. Each individual has to decide what they want from a relationship and then a couple can potentially go from there. What's most important here then is that you and your wife both evaluate individually what you want from a relationship and then decide how you want to proceed.
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2012, 07:49 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Ginko thinks she'd be happy being monogamous again once her relationship with J ends, however/whenever that comes about, though that could be years from now if we continue to adapt to the situation. She'd only tried being otherwise because she thought that was what I wanted, as addressed in another thread. Given all the effort she put into adapting to non-monogamy over 3+ years, I feel it's worth me trying to do the same a while longer. Ultimately we'll settle on whatever feels best for our relationship.

This past weekend Ginko had time with J while I worked and saw friends, while still making sure she and I had plenty of time with each other, and for once no one seemed to feel shortchanged. It restored my hope a bit, and I'm looking forward to seeing how we do next week as we continue trying new ways that may help her see J while losing little time with me.

I'm fine with her loving other people, it's mostly that I miss the focus we used be able to give each other, the freedom we had to do whatever we wanted outside of work without having to take anyone else into account, no one else feeling like they had a claim on her time due to any sort of commitment, and no one distracting her from what time she had with me, aside from friends that largely focus on both of us.

Last edited by turtleHeart; 07-09-2012 at 07:57 AM.
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2012, 09:13 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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What was the reason or reasons for opening up your marriage ?

Does it have the same value today ...or do the corresponding negatives have a greater value today.


Did the brainstorming work?....what did you come up with?
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2012, 12:12 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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I was the one that initially proposed to my wife that we be non-monogamous, on our first date 4.5+ years ago. She initially wasn't interested, but was willing to try and find out what she'd be comfortable with. Over the next 3+ years she (Ginko on here) helped build a polyamorous network of friends, listened to Dan Savage and Polyamory Weekly podcasts, and read much of the materials I introduced her to, along with setting guidelines with me on what we were each comfortable with over time. She was excellent and very supportive, while I at times was impatient and not very good at showing my appreciation for all the effort she was putting into becoming ok with something that was not in line with what she'd grown up wanting. She loved the idea of monogamy, two people focused on each other and their family.

Confusion came up due in part to my lack of proper terminology. I mistakenly used polyamory as an umbrella term, while I'd just been asking for the ability to be more physically affectionate with friends as I had been when single in college, soft swinging, not even going to the point of sex, and she'd said she could potentially become ok with that but not the prospect of developing other romantic relationships. Then after a while a poly male friend, J, began pursuing her, and every step of the way Ginko and the friend were great in asking me what I was ok with. Given that we'd always just focused on what could be done physically, and Ginko had said romantic relationships would never be up for discussion, it didn't enter my mind that I was being asked if I'd be ok with them becoming romantic, while I was totally fine with them doing whatever they wanted physically as long as they were safe, which I knew they would be given their temperaments, so I simply said to do whatever she'd be ok with me doing. She begged for specific rules so that she could feel secure that she wasn't going too far but I didn't know what to say beyond that.

I was so happy that she was seeing that being physical with someone else didn't hurt her feelings with me. Then she informed me he'd asked her to be his girlfriend and she'd said yes. She thought I'd been supportive of them dating, while I thought she'd been clear that wasn't an option, so I had never really addressed it. Still, I was so happy with the rapid change in her feelings about what could be ok that I wanted to see if I could adapt, given that she'd put in so much effort to adapt for me. She'd always asked me what the benefit to what I wanted would be for her. In her experience the answer came in dating someone else, while for me if I'd known that'd be the necessary change, I'd have preferred to stay monogamous and limit affection with others to hugs. The transition from monogamy to our current status has probably been the center of ~95+% of our arguments, so if either us had known how it'd go we wouldn't have tried, but now that we're here it's more manageable, if not yet ideal.

For brainstorming, part of my problem has been that when J is around he kind of takes over Ginko's attention, at least in my perception, and he likes to drop in for a day or two at a time (often at a moment's notice) whenever he can, leaving me suddenly feeling like I've lost my weekend with her. He doesn't do planning well, but this past weekend we managed to make it work a bit better with me guiding when she saw him to some degree (I know that sounds controlling, but everyone actually seemed happy with the result), and this upcoming weekend we're going to try visiting him Friday night through Sunday mid afternoon, but often be in a separate room doing our own thing like when we're home, as he thinks he'd be happy simply to have her around even if they're not focusing on each other, as he works from home. They'll have Friday night through Saturday afternoon to themselves as I'll be working and then sleeping at home, then I'll join them and have a bit more time of my own with her, and she and I will sleep Saturday night in a spare bedroom. It's an experiment to see if we can feel more at home at his place, which would let us enjoy being there more often.
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2012, 04:42 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleHeart View Post
I think I prefer the closeness of being monogamous with one person (and having them be monogamous with me), but am seeing right now if the chance to have access to the divided energy of multiple people can be enough for me....
Why don't you try the closeness of being polyamorous with multiple partners?

I enjoy just as much intimacy with my wife when I have another partner as I did when it was just the two of us without any other partners. I also enjoy that deep intimacy with my bestie (with whom I'm in love and not involved) and with my amorata. I have three ladies with whom I share a close bond.

There's no divided energy involved. I have multiple close, caring, supportive relationships.

You may want to try it sometime.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2012, 05:10 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
Why don't you try the closeness of being polyamorous with multiple partners?
I've been open to the possibility of becoming closer to multiple people, having tried it for the past year, and maybe it just needs more work and possibly different partners (other than my wife). So far I have a number of friends I'm cuddly with as a group, but few people I'd see one on one, and none as often as I'd need to in order to really build something.

I generally think that for a romantic relationship to be fulfilling (to me) I'd need to regularly see them at least once or twice a week, no matter how busy or hectic life may be, and my life will be rather busy for the next couple years with school and work, meaning a lot of effort will go into even just having enough quality time with Ginko. It's possible that I'm mostly bothered by flakiness, as many of my challenges have come from things not going according to schedule, with dates starting/ending late, or not happening at all. Nothing unique to polyamory in that regard, except that it can be experienced with more people.

My wife's new work schedule will be leaving a number of evenings open for me to be on my own, so I may have more motive to venture out again and see who I meet (when I'm not busy studying).

Last edited by turtleHeart; 08-03-2012 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:52 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is online now
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Turtle-

I just wanted to tell you that I think it's awesome that you are working on things. I have enjoyed reading your posts.
(I admit to skipping most of the other commentary).

I don't have any specific advice or suggestions, I just wanted to say that I appreciated reading about someone proactively addressing the complications and issues that arose from a poly situation.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:51 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
Turtle-

I just wanted to tell you that I think it's awesome that you are working on things. I have enjoyed reading your posts.
Thank you :-) I consistently look forward to and enjoy your posts.
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