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Old 08-01-2012, 03:04 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Default This forever thing

I've been seeing BF for 9 months now. Keep in mind that, although I've heard of open marriages, the whole concept of polyamory was brand new to me. Moreover, he was more of a swinger, and up until now, his actual relationships have always been online. This is a first for him in a number of ways, too.

Right now, I like things exactly as they are. But, I struggle with the idea that relationships should 'go somewhere,' grow toward something bigger, and this really won't. I'm happy with it now...but I realize in a year or five, I may want a whole lot more...more time, sharing a house, knowing if one of us moves, we'd move together, planning for retirement, supporting each other financially, the things a normal couple eventually does.

He has long been talking about how he wants it to go on forever. He started the relationship saying he knows it has to end someday, that I'll find someone who can give me all of the above. He hasn't said that in a long time.

A month ago, he said if, god forbid, anything happened to his wife, he'd give up his many years of swinging 'for the right person.' More recently, this 'forever' thing came up again, and he said: Once two people get married, how does their relationship continue to grow and change?

I said children being born, growing, milestones, careers changes, moving together, expecting to grow old together, knowing someone is going to be there if you're in the hospital. His answer was that he and I can go through career changes and milestones together. He asked, "Don't you know I'd be there with you if you were in the hospital?"

But the fact is, he can't be there for major events with my children and barring, as he said, something happening to his wife, we're not going to have a home together or support one another financially. And at the same time he's talking about forever with me, he's talking about making changes that would move him across the country.

So what does any of this mean to those in the polyamory lifestyle? Is there ever really any forever and what does it look like? Is he just living in a fantasy world without really thinking this through--for instance telling me he wants forever with me while he's talking about trying to move away?

I don't really have a specific question; I just find it bewildering and would like input from others' experiences on 'forever.'
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:18 PM
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It sounds like he's sad about moving away from you.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:28 PM
mv1976 mv1976 is offline
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I'd say that it seems like at least part of him has grown attached to the idea of something longer term with you. It might be worth talking about to figure out where his feelings lie in that regard, and where yours do. What about his wife? Is she involved in any conversations of this nature? What is their agreement (if they have an explicit agreement) about relationships outside their own? Is there any possibility that you might be able to have something more permanent with him without him ending his marriage?

Having been on the other side of something like this (as the wife of a man with a girlfriend, until recently...) I can say that it may be threatening to her if these feelings / ideas of something more long term between her husband and you are in contradiction to agreements or expectations they might have. After you talk about it with him, assuming you're interested in exploring something longer term, or just getting on the same page about this, I'd talk with her, also.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:51 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by mv1976 View Post
I'd say that it seems like at least part of him has grown attached to the idea of something longer term with you. It might be worth talking about to figure out where his feelings lie in that regard, and where yours do.
I'm overwhelmed by the depth of his feelings. He's said outright he wants it to last forever as it is now. My feelings are not so clear. I enjoy every minute with him. I don't want my time with him to be over at the end of the evening. But he's married. I refuse to let myself fall in love with him. Right now, I'm VERY content with the situation--with having plenty of free time for a job I love and my children who need me, I LIKE having my own home and my own bed and don't have a desire to change that right now. If I knew I'd feel this way forever, I think I'd feel the same way he does. But realistically, I know I'm not likely to feel this way forever. I'm less than a year out of a divorce and never went looking for a boyfriend or to date. Five years from now, I expect I'll feel differently.


Quote:
What about his wife? Is she involved in any conversations of this nature? What is their agreement (if they have an explicit agreement) about relationships outside their own? Is there any possibility that you might be able to have something more permanent with him without him ending his marriage?
She is more polyamory than he is. She has a boyfriend of 4 years and I believe all of them (she, the boyfriend, her husband) are very happy with the situation and hope it's a lifetime thing. I think more permanent for he and I would really only mean continuing as we are. Our lifestyles are far too different to ever consider a thing like moving in together.

Quote:
Having been on the other side of something like this (as the wife of a man with a girlfriend, until recently...) I can say that it may be threatening to her if these feelings / ideas of something more long term between her husband and you are in contradiction to agreements or expectations they might have. After you talk about it with him, assuming you're interested in exploring something longer term, or just getting on the same page about this, I'd talk with her, also.
I don't think it's an contradiction of their agreements. They've had an open marriage for nearly two decades.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:44 PM
mv1976 mv1976 is offline
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Quote:
I'm overwhelmed by the depth of his feelings. He's said outright he wants it to last forever as it is now. My feelings are not so clear. I enjoy every minute with him. I don't want my time with him to be over at the end of the evening. But he's married. I refuse to let myself fall in love with him.
From this it seems like you're not sure what you want from him beyond the present. It's okay not to know that yet, as long as you let him know that's how you're feeling. Maybe you don't need to make any decisions about this. As long as he's not moving away tomorrow, you can perhaps keep things as they are, since you are both enjoying it? If he does move, then you should discuss whether you're going to end the relationship or perhaps do an LDR? Not sure how feasible that would be.

I'm not sure what you mean about the last part about him being married and your refusing to let yourself fall in love with him. Is this because you're not comfortable with his situation? Would you prefer a monogamous relationship with someone you're in love with?

Sorry I perhaps projected too much about the relationship with his wife. Since you didn't specify, I wasn't sure what the barrier might be to your having a longer-term relationship with him. Seems like your lifestyle differences are the barrier, so there's not much to be done about that, except enjoy the relationship as it is for now, and keep looking for someone better suited to you in the long term if that's what you want. Your boyfriend will need to understand that he can't be that for you because of these differences.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:57 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mv1976 View Post
From this it seems like you're not sure what you want from him beyond the present. It's okay not to know that yet, as long as you let him know that's how you're feeling. Maybe you don't need to make any decisions about this. As long as he's not moving away tomorrow, you can perhaps keep things as they are, since you are both enjoying it? If he does move, then you should discuss whether you're going to end the relationship or perhaps do an LDR? Not sure how feasible that would be.
I guess I know that I would feel bad if I knew it were suddenly over right now, today. I guess part of my question revolves around the fact that I can't even visualize what such a future would look like. I could always 'see' what my future looked like in other instances--I could imagine going to college, earning a degree, having a job, having children, owning a home. This is like looking into a thick fog, not even sure what 'forever' looks like or means in such a situation.

Quote:
I'm not sure what you mean about the last part about him being married and your refusing to let yourself fall in love with him. Is this because you're not comfortable with his situation? Would you prefer a monogamous relationship with someone you're in love with?
It's because I don't want to be sitting around home desperately wanting to be with someone I love, wanting the standard-issue things, and being unhappy because I can't have them. I don't want to become clingy and needy (which I think would really be unfair terms in this situation, since it would only be wanting the normal things that people normally get out of a relationship--yet compared to what he is able to give, I would feel clingy.) I think I would begin to resent him for it.

Yes, it probably is partly that I'm just not comfortable with the whole situation. I'm seeing a married man and this goes against everything I've ever considered or believed in. I'm well aware that his wife knowing and approving changes everything. She's happy, he's happy, she's happy for him, I'm happy, her boyfriend is happy, as he's also good friends with BF, all his friends are happy.

...yet my intellectual and my deeply-ingrained emotional responses are at war.

I think maybe I refuse to fall in love because to me, he's 'available' for dating, but he's not available for the kind of relationship I would presumably one day want.

Quote:
Sorry I perhaps projected too much about the relationship with his wife. Since you didn't specify, I wasn't sure what the barrier might be to your having a longer-term relationship with him. Seems like your lifestyle differences are the barrier, so there's not much to be done about that, except enjoy the relationship as it is for now, and keep looking for someone better suited to you in the long term if that's what you want. Your boyfriend will need to understand that he can't be that for you because of these differences.
I guess I'm not sure if there's a barrier. I just can't envision what it even looks like or means to have a long-term relationship in a poly situation.

The more I think about it, I think a lot of it, for me, is the question of whether I'll continue to feel as I do now, LIKING my own space, or whether I'll one day want marriage again. And I guess there's really no way of knowing that.
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:40 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is online now
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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Right now, I like things exactly as they are. But, I struggle with the idea that relationships should 'go somewhere,' grow toward something bigger
I think that relationships change and grow in their own time and their own fashion if you let them. Trying to force a relationship into a pre-set pattern because that is how it "should" go, to me, seems to add an unnecessary stress that could be avoided (and may be harmful to the current relationship). My relationships with friends are allowed to stay "just friendships" without pressure to be "more" - yet those relationships also change and grow.

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
I'm happy with it now...but I realize in a year or five, I may want a whole lot more...
You have something NOW that makes you happy but you are worrying about something you are not even sure that you WILL want. Why spoil one bit of today for an uncertain future possibility of a desire?

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
He started the relationship saying he knows it has to end someday, that I'll find someone who can give me all of the above. He hasn't said that in a long time.
I did the same thing when I got together with Dude. I woudn't "let" myself fall in love with him and kept reminding myself that this was "only temporary" and that he would find a "real girl" - one that he could have all to himself.

After we had been together for some months he would ask me about the walls that he was running into (emotionally) and I disclosed the above. While initially I think he may have felt the same way (if he thought about it at all) - he told me that I am a "real girl" and any other "real girl" that he came across would have to be okay with us if she wanted to be in a relationship with him.


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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
...more time, sharing a house, knowing if one of us moves, we'd move together, planning for retirement, supporting each other financially, the things a normal couple eventually does.

...children being born, growing, milestones, careers changes, moving together, expecting to grow old together, knowing someone is going to be there if you're in the hospital.

...But the fact is, he can't be there for major events with my children and barring, as he said, something happening to his wife, we're not going to have a home together or support one another financially.

So what does any of this mean to those in the polyamory lifestyle?
I'm with LR - I don't think that these things are not possible in a poly relationship if this is what the participants want. Many poly folks (like, I believe, NYCindie) are NOT looking for the "cohabitating poly family" type model. But plenty of us are (me, LR, Phy, Redpepper to name a few) and seem to be making a good job of it.

Dude has been living with us "unofficially" for a year. A few months ago his grandmother died - she was the reason he was living in the area in the first place. Just as my "oh, no...now his reason for being here is gone...and he will leave" insecurities were kicking in - he tells me/us that he has no intention of going anywhere, that he wants to be with me/us for a long, long, long time - years/decades/"forever" - he loves what we all have together and do we feel the same way?

It's only been a year - we're not at the point of ceremonies and announcements (although we have told our immediate families that he is now "officially" living with us - not that they know the true nature of our relationship...). We are, however, to the point of making longer-term plans. Looking at living together indefinately, planning for retirement, financial planning, growing old together etc. - but as three rather than two (I've shared our "having children" struggles elsewhere - I won't repeat it here). The boys are making long-term plans for gardens, property modifications, shared projects that extend over years.

We've talked about possible ways it could look if one of us found another "real girl/real boy" (even though none of us are actively looking) and how that could be incorporated depending on their wants/needs. For instance, if Dude found another "real girl" but she didn't want to live with all of us - they could build a house somewhere on the property and we could visit each other. Or we could add onto the current house with each of us having our own room to which others could be invited (right now we have one bedroom/one bed - new girlfriends/boyfriends, I think, would want more privacy than that). All kinds of options depending on how the relationships branch and intertwine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Is there ever really any forever and what does it look like?
For me "forever" is a tricky concept. The only time we are certain of is the NOW, but we work and plan for the possible futures - which may end up looking drastically different from what we think, but we commit ourselves to working on it together...to sharing the journey.

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TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:37 AM
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Another "answering the question without reading the thread" response:

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
I'm happy with it now...but I realize in a year or five, I may want a whole lot more...more time, sharing a house, knowing if one of us moves, we'd move together, planning for retirement, supporting each other financially, the things a normal couple eventually does.
FWIW, I went into polyamory wanting a lot of that, too. We did realise that living together and combining finances would be impractical, but the rest of it is all there. We were talking about his retirement as early as two or three dates in, and I had that "Don't leave me!" moment.

To which he replied that he wouldn't. Because he is awesome that way. And after a lot of reassurance, I realised he meant it. I have a hard time trusting that people will stay; assume there was a LOT of reassurance in that picture.

Quote:
He started the relationship saying he knows it has to end someday, that I'll find someone who can give me all of the above. He hasn't said that in a long time.
See, we never said that first part about what we have. I don't think either of us would've bothered if we weren't in it for the long haul. We are also both avowedly poly, and his partner is monogamous but a great sport.

Quote:
A month ago, he said if, god forbid, anything happened to his wife, he'd give up his many years of swinging 'for the right person.'
Also something I have to admit was never on the table for us, precisely because we're both poly.

Quote:
I said children being born, growing, milestones, careers changes, moving together, expecting to grow old together, knowing someone is going to be there if you're in the hospital. His answer was that he and I can go through career changes and milestones together. He asked, "Don't you know I'd be there with you if you were in the hospital?"
Yup, we had that talk, too. Pretty formally. The three of us sat down and discussed the possibility that two of us would end up in hospital at once, and what to do if it's the two ends of the V? (In case you were wondering: God forbid this happen, she'd like him to consider her first, but if one of us is drastically worse . . . )

There won't be children. We've chosen that. If I want them with someone down the line, fine, but not the three of us. As for the rest, he's there and helping.

Is there a reason he can't be there for the kids? And has he said he's not interested in making decisions to move with your input? You might want to discuss those things instead of assuming them.

Our forever is as solid and as foggy as anyone else's forever. We don't know what will happen. We plan for what we know and we stay ready to cope with the rest. Isn't that all anyone can do? What matters more is intent. We intend to make it a damn long time. (They will go first. I have to deal. So forever is shortish for us.) We've sat down and discussed how our goals mesh, so we don't need to wonder about that part. You might find a similar discussion helps you.
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2012, 02:47 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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I like what other posters have said. (especially Jane Q, I'm a rabid fan

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Keep in mind that, although I've heard of open marriages, the whole concept of polyamory was brand new to me. Moreover, he was more of a swinger, and up until now, his actual relationships have always been online. This is a first for him in a number of ways, too.
I wanted to point out that this could have a lot to do with it. Having lived in marriage, with whatever ghosts of expectations live in one's soul, no matter how dedicated to poly one might be, can have an effect. To have a real girlfriend, and to experience the joys of someone who enjoys you ALL the time, and doesn't have huge expectations, has a very different effect.

I dated a lovely, lovely boy once. I knew that he and I were absolutely not 'forever' material. We were just too different. But he was brilliant and pretty, and loved me a lot (still does actually, just has a different girlfriend). I was having such a fabulous time, and I was amazed that I was able to be into it, and that I was able to not be attached to turning him into a 'forever' sort of partner. He ended it, (well, it's a good story for another day, he expressed a condition and I couldn't abide, so we ended it) and I was so sad and disappointed because I was having such a great time. It was a very different experience for me than most of my relationships.

At nine months, you're likely still very much in NRE, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Right now, I like things exactly as they are. But, I struggle with the idea that relationships should 'go somewhere,' grow toward something bigger, and this really won't. I'm happy with it now...but I realize in a year or five, I may want a whole lot more...more time, sharing a house, knowing if one of us moves, we'd move together, planning for retirement, supporting each other financially, the things a normal couple eventually does.
But you're not a normal couple (and that's a large part of why it's fabulous ~ you don't have to deal with some 'normal' couple guy pressuring you into all those normal couple things while you're still not there). You're a polyship, or a poly tangle or whatever.


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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
So what does any of this mean to those in the polyamory lifestyle? Is there ever really any forever and what does it look like?
There are likely lots of polyfidelitous 'forever' tangles. We may not hear much about them on a forum like this, because they're busy diapering kids and tutoring or volunteering or whatever they do in life.

But even forever isn't forever. Nobody gets out alive.

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Is he just living in a fantasy world without really thinking this through--for instance telling me he wants forever with me while he's talking about trying to move away?
Again, could be NRE. All that yummy stuff you want and your brain naturally goes to, without considering practical realities. Lots of people just out with thoughts and feelings before wondering at the effect of the words, or the actual possibilities. I remembering expressing my embarrassment at thinking on babies to a wonderful man, who completely reassured me that it would be very odd if I weren't thinking about babies. It's oxytocin's fault.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:56 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Thank you for so many thoughtful replies. I just re-read and am embarrassed to admit I didn't even see some answers before, making it appear I ignored them. It's been a hectic week here with major home projects going on.

I'm thinking a lot more about why this is causing upheaval in my mind. To put this in perspective, I'm usually pretty clear-minded. I know my path, I can look at possible futures and know what I want, I set goals, I pursue them. My emotions, too, are usually quite clear to me. To me, it's very unusual--and very unsettling--to not even know what I want.

And I realized I don't really know what I want. I do know I don't want it to end. Not right now. Not next week. But I'm seeing there's a big leap from "I don't want it to end any time soon" to "I want it to last forever." I'm pretty happy with it exactly as it is, but I have no idea if I'd want it to stay like this forever, become something more traditional and/or lives more deeply entwined, or just be a temporary thing until (cough) 'a real boy' comes along.

Quote:
You have something NOW that makes you happy but you are worrying about something you are not even sure that you WILL want. Why spoil one bit of today for an uncertain future possibility of a desire?
Yes, you're right. Is there any point in psychoanalyzing ourselves and understanding where some of this stuff comes from? I was raised by a power-career type father to always be very action-oriented, always pursuing a goal, something bigger and more. For what it's worth, I've always gone my own way in life regardless, and really pissed my dad off by doing it, but maybe this is something I still came away with too big a dose of. I have long thought that BF may have a lot to teach me about enjoying the moment. In many ways, I do, but I'm always looking to the future as I do, and this time, I can't. I can only enjoy the moment.

Regardless, it bothers me to--for possibly the first time in my life--not even know what it is I really do want.

Quote:
At nine months, you're likely still very much in NRE, too.
I think this is part of what bothers me. I talked about it more in the thread I started about love. When I first knew BF years ago, I knew there would be an attraction between us if we were both available. He's told me he noticed me immediately, too. Being who we are, we weren't available, that was that, neither of us pursued so much as thoughts about it. Now that I'm divorced and it turns out he is available, I'm not feeling what I expected to. I don't feel that head over heels 'in love' stuff, although I like him, respect him, admire him, am amazed by him, love every single minute I spend with him, never want to leave, and am already counting the minutes till I see him again.

But I don't have that I'm going to die if I can't be with you feeling.

It may be that I'm older, as suggested in the thread. I think it has a lot, possibly even everything, to do with him being married and being afraid to really feel too much for him.

It makes it hard to know what I want.

Quote:
Is there a reason he can't be there for the kids?
He's very worried about how my kids would react to me seeing a married man, what kind of trouble my family would make over it, if it would cause my kids to get upset with me. Also, he has virtually no experience of any sort with children and jokes (though I think he means it) that his swinger lifestyle and all the things he's done make him a little unsuitable to be around children.

By contrast, I see a person who's kind to and thoughtful of my kids in many ways: in thinking about how the presence of a married man in my life would affect them; in respecting my time with them (I just had a friend tell me how her boyfriend was always pressuring her to leave her kids alone to go out with him--BF has NEVER done that); in the way he treats them the few times he's been around them (they've all met him a few times, before he and I were seeing each other, and a couple of times since, but without knowing he's anything more than a friend.)

I actually can see him as a very good mentor, and friend to my kids sometime in the future. I think the real stumbling block, apart from his own beliefs about himself, is that they would not know how to handle the concept of their mother seeing a married man.

Quote:
I think that relationships change and grow in their own time and their own fashion if you let them. Trying to force a relationship into a pre-set pattern because that is how it "should" go, to me, seems to add an unnecessary stress that could be avoided (and may be harmful to the current relationship). My relationships with friends are allowed to stay "just friendships" without pressure to be "more" - yet those relationships also change and grow.
Thank you. Wise words. I have thought about the fact that I don't expect platonic friendships to grow into anything in particular. Of course, we live in a society that has very different understandings and expectations of platonic and romantic relationships.

Quote:
Again, could be NRE. All that yummy stuff you want and your brain naturally goes to, without considering practical realities.
I think maybe this is part of what is beginning to scare me--afraid that it is NRE on his part, afraid that he'll wake up one morning, see all my flaws, come to his senses, and suddenly not be that into me after all. I think some things that happened with my ex-husband particularly make me fear this.

Again, thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I can't tell you how much I appreciate having someone (many someones!) to talk to about this.
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