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Old 04-22-2010, 12:07 AM
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southerndreams southerndreams is offline
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Default questions that I'm not sure how to ask him

I'm really really new to this. I met a guy and he and his wife live a polyamorous lifestyle. He was very open about this and I agreed to try. I'm just wondering if there are any pointers anyone can give to help me find my way in this. Do I have a right to demand things from him as his secondary partner? Am I obligated to meet his wife? are certain things off limits? I'm trying to do my research but I know that most of this will be learn as I go. Help?
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:57 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by southerndreams View Post
I'm really really new to this. I met a guy and he and his wife live a polyamorous lifestyle. He was very open about this and I agreed to try. I'm just wondering if there are any pointers anyone can give to help me find my way in this. Do I have a right to demand things from him as his secondary partner? Am I obligated to meet his wife? are certain things off limits? I'm trying to do my research but I know that most of this will be learn as I go. Help?
Well, I guess the first thing to consider is this: have you sat down and asked him any questions? The single most important thing to keep in mind is that communication is the key to most everything.

Are you obligated to meet his wife? I dunno...did you ask? For me, nobody is obligated to meet my wife, though I'm unlikely to get involved with anybody who refuses to meet her. If I give several opportunities for a potential partner to meet my wife and every one gets refused, I figure there's an underlying problem of a sort I don't want to deal with, so I'll pass on the relationship.

Do you have a right to demand things of him? Well...have you asked him about that? I have to wonder why anybody would expect to be able to demand anything of a partner, though I realize there are people who think such is a normal part of a relationship.

Are certain things off limits? Have you asked him?

He's the person you're wanting to build a relationship with. He's the person you have to negotiate all of that with. There's nobody else who can speak to what will work and what won't in that relationship except for the two of you. You either come to an accord and it works, or you can't work it out and you move on without each other--just like any other relationship you've ever had.

Really, poly relationships require the very same things that mono relationships require. The only difference is that you have to keep communicating and negotiating with multiple people, if you have multiple relationships. You also have to consider that a partner may have other relationships that also require time and attention. The basics are still the same, though, whether you have one partner or six.
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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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Old 04-22-2010, 01:14 AM
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southerndreams southerndreams is offline
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you're right and I do need to ask him. I'm just not really all that great at asking in a clear consice manner. I get emotional and I know that being emotional when discussing this will not help either of us. I think I'm most scared of overstepping. I have so many questions going through my head and I'm just trying to figure out if there are any commonalities in poly relationships.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by southerndreams View Post
you're right and I do need to ask him. I'm just not really all that great at asking in a clear consice manner. I get emotional and I know that being emotional when discussing this will not help either of us. I think I'm most scared of overstepping. I have so many questions going through my head and I'm just trying to figure out if there are any commonalities in poly relationships.
Sometimes it can be very hard to push through emotions when discussing these things especially at the beginning when there are so many unknowns. One thing that has helped my partner and I is when emotions start to interfere with our reasoning we ask each other if we can have a moment and go off and do something else (I play Solitaire or come onto this forum) for a little while until we feel calmer and then come back and continue with the discussion. Something else that might help is make sure you're hearing your partner's words and not interpreting them at anything other than what they are. If you have questions about what something means, ask him about it but you need to trust that he is telling you the truth.

Would it help if you e-mailed him the questions in a neutral tone instead of speaking them aloud? He can respond and then the two of you can meet a day or two after to discuss the questions and answers. I know this sounds cold but it's a good way to remove the immediate emotional response and lets you think before you talk.

In regards to commonalities what sort are you looking for? Do you mean basic guidelines that most groups seem to follow or do you mean things that happen in the course of courtship, dating etc?
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:39 AM
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southerndreams southerndreams is offline
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I'm not really sure as to the commonalities. I've ordered a few books and I'm hoping that they will help a bit. emailing may just be the best course of action. That way I can make sure that my questions are as clear as possible. thanks
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:56 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by southerndreams View Post
I'm not really sure as to the commonalities. I've ordered a few books and I'm hoping that they will help a bit. emailing may just be the best course of action. That way I can make sure that my questions are as clear as possible. thanks
I think that's a very good suggestion. You asked several questions clearly here on the board, so I'm guessing you'll be able to ask questions clearly in email without getting all tangled up inside when wrassling with feelings.

I can sit here and point out that it's not really much different than asking about where to go to dinner and that won't necessarily help you; I've been doing it for some time, so it's routine for me and a completely different experience. The first time (for most anything) almost always feels kinda scary, though I can promise that repetition will quickly reduce the stress levels associated with asking questions.
__________________
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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Old 04-22-2010, 01:45 AM
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vandalin vandalin is offline
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Originally Posted by southerndreams View Post
you're right and I do need to ask him. I'm just not really all that great at asking in a clear consice manner. I get emotional and I know that being emotional when discussing this will not help either of us. I think I'm most scared of overstepping. I have so many questions going through my head and I'm just trying to figure out if there are any commonalities in poly relationships.
I have the same problems at times, where my emotions get the better of me and I just can't talk. So I write. Sure, it's only semi-legible, but it's important to get as much as you can and if you can't speak with your mouth, speak with a pencil and paper or keyboard. I spent almost an entire conversation with my husband just writing after Elric broke my heart because I just could not speak.

You can even start by writing. Write down your questions. I wouldn't "practice" what you want to say as you might lose your "place" easily and then get even more frustrated. Start with the questions, if you feel the need to elaborate on the questions in print, do so. Then when you sit down with him, explain what and why you are doing it this way. The first time I had to do this I simply wrote "When I can't speak, I write."

Asking questions is in no way overstepping anything. Lying and saying you have no questions when you do, can be the biggest mistake and can cause so many problems and much heartache. Never be afraid to ask a question.

Good luck!
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:57 AM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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I'm involved with a woman in a poly marriage, the gender-mirror image of what you are doing.

----

She asked if I would be willing to meet her husband. Right from our first date she had told me about his personality, so I had a sense of what to expect (intelligence, charm, generosity). As it turned out, I like him a lot.

The sense I got was that, as Autumnal wrote, it was very important to her that I meet her husband. And I've come to recognize that it was very useful for me, too: when I run into him coming and going I can greet him with genuine pleasure and friendship. Knowing him makes EVERYTHING easier.

----

Yes, as a secondary partner you have "rights." You should not be asked to do things which make you uncomfortable or frightened. Your needs should be considered: for instance, your BF should not cancel dates at the last second because his wife changed her plans.

On the other hand, a considerate secondary should not do things which disrupt the primary relationship except in dire need. You should recognize that he loves her, and her love for him is one of the things which allows him to care for you as well.

Be gentle and thoughtful of both the other people in the relationship and you will have a better chance of helping it successful for everyone.

----

Some things may be off-limits to you, and that must be respected by the others. They may also have things that are off-limits, but they're going to have to make you aware of those. For instance, the couple I'm involved with avoids smooching when I'm around, and I honor that by not being physical with her when he's around either. That was never spelled out; it's just something picked up along the way.

----

These are just examples from the relationship I'm most familiar with. I know that many people on this board have very different ones, with different boundaries and different shapes. But as Autumnal wrote, if you don't know then you need to ask.

Good luck!
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:21 PM
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southerndreams southerndreams is offline
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So I asked and he just kinda looked at me. I don't know if they even spoke about rules when this came up in their marriage. He talks about her a lot and I think I would like her. She seems sweet. I think for now I'll just go with the safer mode. No texting when he's not on his way to see me, things like that. it's hard because I don;t even know physically what's ok with him. he runs so hot and cold. The fact that I'm very tactile may not be helping. I'm attempting to respect his personal space and let him go at his own pace. Wish me luck and thanks so much for the help
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:03 PM
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vandalin vandalin is offline
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Originally Posted by southerndreams View Post
So I asked and he just kinda looked at me. I don't know if they even spoke about rules when this came up in their marriage. He talks about her a lot and I think I would like her. She seems sweet. I think for now I'll just go with the safer mode. No texting when he's not on his way to see me, things like that. it's hard because I don;t even know physically what's ok with him. he runs so hot and cold. The fact that I'm very tactile may not be helping. I'm attempting to respect his personal space and let him go at his own pace. Wish me luck and thanks so much for the help
Did he say anything or just look at you funny? You said in your first post that he straight out said that they lived a poly lifestyle, have they not been living it long because I can't believe that they hadn't talked about rules at some point, especially when dating someone new.

*puts on Devil's advocate horns* You might want to make sure that his wife DOES know about you. There are a lot of people who cheat using the guise of poly and a spouse/SO who doesn't want to meet the partners "others".
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