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Old 07-12-2010, 12:13 PM
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Erato Erato is offline
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Hi guys,

So I've been doing my best to put talk of poly-amorous relationships with my monogamous boyfriend on the back burner while he is recovering from his panic disorder, for which he is receiving treatment presently, but it seems to keep cropping up.

We were talking about something completely unrelated today and he ended up bring it up (to do with how hurt he would be if I happened to flirt with someone else in his presence).

I'm just going to put this out there: I don't understand monogamy or people who desire it. For me, monogamous relationships have just been me trying to fit myself in a position which I was unsuitable for - letting myself and others down because I either cheated, almost cheated, feared cheating or wanted to cheat the majority of the time. Now, I call it cheating because that's how I considered it! I didn't know poly existed. When I found out it did, well, once I understood a bit about it on an ethical level at least, then I was very relieved to know that I wasn't just faithless and evil. Just poly.

But that's just my experience of relationships.

In the conversation with my boyfriend today he asked if I would be willing to try to adapt to monogamy. This confused me so much that I realised that I haven't been really working with him, I've just been watering down my desires to try to get it to a level he can be comfortable with. To him, relationships are exclusive. And he feels that he would be denying a part of himself to accept a relationship with me which was not exclusive.

But if I can't adapt to being completely exclusive and he's willing to try to adapt to a vague form of slight polyamory then is he just sacrificing himself or am I being selfish? He seems to think the latter is the case.

Honestly, I don't want the version of poly which we have been negotiating (shared girlfriend, for example) and I feel like I would be just repeating history futilely trying to go back to exclusive relationships. He feels that perhaps, because I have said before that our relationship is very different from those from my past, that if we are local I will feel fulfilled enough with just him. I have tried explaining that it's not that my partners in the past were not enough, it was not that I was unhappy with them, but that I can/am/have/will fall for people other than him and want to have them as lovers.

I know everyone is different but I would really appreciate anyone who is monogamous, or feels that they understand a monogamous lover/friend/family member, could please share with me their understanding of it.

I want to try to see things from his view point better so that I can get out of the selfish mindset that I have been falling into every time we talk about this.

I'd be especially interested in hearing from monogamous people with poly-amorous partners (especially especially any monogamous people who are the primary).

I just wanted to add a bit about how he's explained his feelings on poly to me even though I don't really grasp it very well.

He talked about it in terms of hearts.

He gave his heart to me to carefully hold and he has mine.

If we introduce someone else into the equation it would have to be someone who he could trust because he feels he would be opening up to them in some way by sharing me as a lover (even if they have no sexual contact).

So, in that case, I would be holding his heart and someone else's. He'd need reassurance that I could be just as careful and gentle with his heart while holding another's as I would be with just his.

To quote him: "I gave you my heart to handle carefully, and I need to trust they won't make you drop it while handing mine, for one"

Which is slightly ambiguous but I gather that he means that if they hurt me that it will hurt him. And that he needs reassurance that I won't leave him for them, perhaps? I'll have to clarify later.

He also said: "they [my other lover(s)] have to know me emotionally and be close to me" - which I can't understand. I understand him wanting to be on good terms with them and trust them, he's trusting them to care for the love of his life after all, but to know him emotionally and be close to him is a strange idea to me.
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Last edited by NeonKaos; 07-12-2010 at 07:55 PM. Reason: merge posts
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Mendalla Mendalla is offline
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Keeping in mind that monos can be as diverse as polys, here's my take on it. I tend to feel that focussing on one person (at a time, mind you) is what gives depth and intimacy in a relationship. If we start having other people involved in a relationship both emotionally and physically, then that seems like it will reduce the depth and intimacy by dividing it up or, more accurately, spreading it out. This may not be as much of a problem if the multiple relationships are primarily physical, since I can accept the idea that physical pleasure can be focussed on a per occasion basis. However, it is very hard to see how one's love, affection, etc. can be spread across multiple partners in the longterm without somehow reducing the depth. Love may be infinite (not convinced of that, though), but there's a strong impulse in my mono heart to see it as on some way finite. If you pour 1 litre of water into a 1 litre glass, it is deeper than if you spread it over 4 250ml glasses type of thing assuming that the glasses are same shape, base area, etc. (And maybe that's the difference that I'm missing in the analogy. Maybe the 4 250ml glasses are very narrow so that they are still the same depth as the 1 litre, just a different shape). Once you lose that depth, the relationship changes and my mono heart feels that this change isn't necessarily going to be for the better; that "less depth of love" = "less relationship". This may be a wrong view to a poly, but it is one way that a mono might look at a poly relationship and find it lacking. I'm a mono who's trying to fathom my own growing sense that polyamory might be a more valid way of approaching relationships than I've given it credit for in the past, by the way.

Mendalla

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erato View Post
I just wanted to add a bit about how he's explained his feelings on poly to me even though I don't really grasp it very well.

He talked about it in terms of hearts.

He gave his heart to me to carefully hold and he has mine.

If we introduce someone else into the equation it would have to be someone who he could trust because he feels he would be opening up to them in some way by sharing me as a lover (even if they have no sexual contact).

So, in that case, I would be holding his heart and someone else's. He'd need reassurance that I could be just as careful and gentle with his heart while holding another's as I would be with just his.

To quote him: "I gave you my heart to handle carefully, and I need to trust they won't make you drop it while handing mine, for one"

Which is slightly ambiguous but I gather that he means that if they hurt me that it will hurt him. And that he needs reassurance that I won't leave him for them, perhaps? I'll have to clarify later.

He also said: "they [my other lover(s)] have to know me emotionally and be close to me" - which I can't understand. I understand him wanting to be on good terms with them and trust them, he's trusting them to care for the love of his life after all, but to know him emotionally and be close to him is a strange idea to me.
BTW, I do like his explanation. I think it can mean several things to me, probably all simutaneously:

- if they hurt you, it will hurt me

- will you still want to hold my heart after holding theirs for a while? Will two hearts be too much for you to hold?

- what if something that happens in that relationship causes you "drop" or otherwise injure my heart? IOW, what if that relationship affects ours in a negative way, even if it doesn't end it?

Mendalla

Last edited by NeonKaos; 07-12-2010 at 07:51 PM. Reason: merge posts
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:20 PM
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[QUOTE=Mendalla;35580] Love may be infinite (not convinced of that, though)

The foundation of my polyamorous mindset and lifestyle is the perception that love is infinitely existing and unlimited. The limited ability to experience love is our human shortcoming. If I doubted the infinate supply of love, I would not be able to embrace this lifestyle.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:56 PM
Mendalla Mendalla is offline
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[QUOTE=idealist;35772]
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Originally Posted by Mendalla View Post
Love may be infinite (not convinced of that, though)

The foundation of my polyamorous mindset and lifestyle is the perception that love is infinitely existing and unlimited. The limited ability to experience love is our human shortcoming. If I doubted the infinate supply of love, I would not be able to embrace this lifestyle.
And that's why you're poly and I'm still thinking about it. One of the things I need to grok is that romantic/sexual love isn't something finite. I know I can love both my wife and my son equally, but those are different kinds of love. "Can I love both my wife and some other woman in a romantic and sexual way without diluting both?" is one of the questions that I need to explore. And this board is helping, believe me. Reading the lifestories threads in particular fills in a lot of blanks for me.

Mendalla

Last edited by Mendalla; 07-13-2010 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:26 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendalla View Post
I tend to feel that focussing on one person (at a time, mind you) is what gives depth and intimacy in a relationship. If we start having other people involved in a relationship both emotionally and physically, then that seems like it will reduce the depth and intimacy by dividing it up or, more accurately, spreading it out. This may not be as much of a problem if the multiple relationships are primarily physical, since I can accept the idea that physical pleasure can be focussed on a per occasion basis. However, it is very hard to see how one's love, affection, etc. can be spread across multiple partners in the longterm without somehow reducing the depth. Love may be infinite (not convinced of that, though), but there's a strong impulse in my mono heart to see it as on some way finite.
My bold.

There's the rub, right there. Love is infinite. One can deeply love more than one person at once. Can't you deeply love your sister and your mother? Doesnt a parent (ideally) love each child as deeply as if it was her only child?

To continue the child metaphor...

Many mothers who become pregnant a second time do wonder if they can possibly love the 2nd child as much as they do the first. Once the baby comes, they do. Then of course, at first there is NRE between the mother and the newborn, and she must make an effort to pay enough attention to the older child. But once the dust settles, this become effortless.

It can seem like more work parenting/loving 2 children, but in the long run, having 2 (or more) kids, is actually good for everyone... the siblings entertain each other, learn from each other, and the parents get to see the first child is her own person (as is the 2nd child), born w unique qualities, and not just a product of their (im)perfect parenting.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
My bold.

There's the rub, right there. Love is infinite. One can deeply love more than one person at once. Can't you deeply love your sister and your mother? Doesnt a parent (ideally) love each child as deeply as if it was her only child?

To continue the child metaphor...

Many mothers who become pregnant a second time do wonder if they can possibly love the 2nd child as much as they do the first. Once the baby comes, they do. Then of course, at first there is NRE between the mother and the newborn, and she must make an effort to pay enough attention to the older child. But once the dust settles, this become effortless.

It can seem like more work parenting/loving 2 children, but in the long run, having 2 (or more) kids, is actually good for everyone... the siblings entertain each other, learn from each other, and the parents get to see the first child is her own person (as is the 2nd child), born w unique qualities, and not just a product of their (im)perfect parenting.
Well...

I totally respect that you think that. But, as I'm still trying to make sense of things, I noticed a difference between myself and Erato. Her love is infinite in that she can expand it for multiple people, partake in it completely. I think mine is infinite in that I feel no need or even want to expand on it with any other person. Being with her, I'm happy with everyone in my life as being just friends. I fulfill her needs in our relationship completely, but I don't fill them in others, yet she's able to pursue those others to fulfill them while I'm not able. However, she fulfills my needs as well as my needs around every other woman I could be interested in.

So, I guess she spreads her own infinite love to other people, I spread mine in a different way. I spread it to fill gaps with other people, without spreading it to the other people. Because I don't want it, I'm not interested in the extra work/risks/energy spent involved in having multiple partners (both balancing them and just the normal work for maintaining any relationship) for something I feel I already have with Erato. If that makes sense?
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:04 AM
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The loving more than one child thing is true. I have two children and love them both. Not one more than the other. But the love for my wife is different than love for my children. I think you need a new metaphor. I love my parents but its different from my K. I love my friends, again its different. I have infinite love for all, just different levels.
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Old 08-03-2010, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bold View Post
I'm not interested in the extra work/risks/energy spent involved in having multiple partners (both balancing them and just the normal work for maintaining any relationship) for something I feel I already have with Erato. If that makes sense?

Sure, it's work. I didnt have time for poly relationships when my kids were younger. I am impressed w ppl who combine mult love relationships w intensive parenting of younger kids. Mine are all young adults now, and one of them is poly too!
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bold View Post
So, I guess she spreads her own infinite love to other people, I spread mine in a different way. I spread it to fill gaps with other people, without spreading it to the other people. Because I don't want it, I'm not interested in the extra work/risks/energy spent involved in having multiple partners (both balancing them and just the normal work for maintaining any relationship) for something I feel I already have with Erato. If that makes sense?
I don't mean to simplify things, but one of the factors that could contribute to whether or not a person desires multiple partners could be whether they are an introvert or an extrovert. An extrovert takes pleasure in multiple relationships (friendships and acquaintances) and in fact could feel unfulfilled when not able to participate in this type of multiple relationships. For some extroverts (especially if a person is an extreme extrovert) the desire for several intimate partners just seems natural.

On the other hand, and introvert (especially an extreme introvert) could be overwhelmed just by the thought of having to maintain multiple relationships. Rather than being something that enhances their life, it would feel like a burden if they were expected to develop and maintain multiple relationships.

Just a thought !!
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:48 AM
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I'm introverted and poly. Just sayin'.
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