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  #1  
Old 12-15-2012, 08:35 PM
FreeSpirit FreeSpirit is offline
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Default Comfort with particular people...

Hi. I've been with my girlfriend almost a year, living with her, and we're dabbling into polyamory. My views have been back and forth on the mono/poly spectrum for a long time, and believe I've settled into something that works for me (single committed partnership with emotional and sometimes physical freedom to explore closeness with others.)

Onto the issue I'm seeking input on: My girlfriend expressed interest in getting closer to a mutual friend of ours (who I'd known years before she did). The interest wasn't "serious" and seemed more on the physical side. I was uneasy with it, and told her as much, but told her she was free to do what she wanted, not wanting to restrict her freedom.

So the two of them got together, which made me feel even more uncomfortable with the situation. After seeing how much it affected me, she decided to call off the physical aspect of that, just remaining friends, despite me insisting that she shouldn't let my emotions interfere with her bonds with others.

Now, I'm not normally a very jealous person, so it struck me unusual that this incident bothered me as much as it did. After quite a few hours of introspection, considering various things that could have caused me to be so bothered, I settled on my discomfort with him in particular as the primary issue. I didn't find the thought of her being with other friends, or even strangers, nearly as upsetting.

I do have some good reasons for being uncomfortable with this particular friend...he's proven repeatedly irresponsible and dishonest in the past. Though I enjoy his company most of the time, he grates on my nerves a lot, and I just don't feel physically comfortable with him. Beyond that though, I know he's a good person.

Which brings me to my question...what to do about situations which one is uncomfortable with just certain individuals? Is "I'm just not comfortable with him" an acceptable reason to dissuade one's partner from pursuing something with that person? I find myself wondering if I should listen to my instincts and past experiences or just "get over it" and try to cope with the discomfort.

She's assured me that it's not the sort of situation where it's a big deal for her to just not be close to him like that, but I'd still like to get my stance on this sort of thing sorted out in case it comes up in the future.

I'd really appreciate any input that people more experienced with this sort of thing have to share.
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  #2  
Old 12-16-2012, 06:20 AM
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LilacViolin LilacViolin is offline
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I think there is a difference between "I feel jealous because this relationship is happening" and "I feel uncomfortable because it is happening with a specific person." If you are uncomfortable with a potential lover of your girlfriend, I think you should voice your concern. It is her decision. But I trust my partner's instincts well enough to consider their knee-jerk reactions about a person.

I think the most basic principal in any relationship is the ability and willingness to communicate with each other. Be kind and clear, tell her why you feel that way, and then see how she responds.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2012, 08:13 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Does "get together with him" mean have a date or have sex in this context? I'm guessing sex?

Quote:
I was uneasy with it, and told her as much, but told her she was free to do what she wanted, not wanting to restrict her freedom.
Could it have been more honest/accurate for you to say "That guy? I'm not crazy about it. He's not been honest and he is irresponsible so I would just prefer you date someone else other than him who is more trustworthy. I'd worry about your well being with him."

If so, why not just state your preference from the start? You are partner to your GF. She's responsible to herself, of course. But you are also obligated to help watch out for her emotional health, mental health, physical health, and spiritual health.

You could be giving full clear information about how you feel and information about him that you know -- he's not an honest guy. Be aware, and be careful of your emotional and mental health, GF! -- so she could make her own choices from a place of full information.

And if this person is irresponsible and dishonest, why do you remain friends with him?

Sometimes it's not about "learning to get ok with something" but rather "accepting I am just NOT ok with this and won't ever be!"

Be pickier about who you enter into friendship or polyship with. (You and GF.)

HTH!
Galagirl
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  #4  
Old 12-16-2012, 09:12 PM
FreeSpirit FreeSpirit is offline
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Thank you both for the input!

Yes, by "getting together with" I meant sex. Apologies for the vagueness.

I did communicate my concerns about him pretty thoroughly, and she did decide to not pursue it further, though I think it was more out of concern for my desires than out of my caution about the person himself.

I remain friends with him because he's not a bad person at all, he can just be immature. His irresponsibility and dishonesty in the past mostly came from depression and fear, and I try to be forgiving and understanding about such things. He's a good friend, and I don't give up on my friends easily. I've elected to just be wary about letting him TOO close.

Sometimes I think I feel too obligated to accept things I dislike and get used to them rather than trying to keep them out of my life.

The conflict that this particular situation caused is resolved I think. I just wonder how people in the community tended to deal with stuff like this. I know I might potentially be bothered by a partner interfering with who I wanted to be close to, and I don't want to be a hypocrite about it.

Thanks again for your thoughts on things.
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  #5  
Old 12-17-2012, 05:05 AM
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Personally-I would rather be told if my partners have a 'sinking feeling' about a specific person.
I consider that warning for me to be a lottle extra cautious.
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  #6  
Old 12-17-2012, 03:53 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
Sometimes I think I feel too obligated to accept things I dislike and get used to them rather than trying to keep them out of my life.
Why?
Quote:
The conflict that this particular situation caused is resolved I think. I just wonder how people in the community tended to deal with stuff like this. I know I might potentially be bothered by a partner interfering with who I wanted to be close to, and I don't want to be a hypocrite about it.
For me I would want feedback. For me to be able to date, my spouse would have to be on board. Because time is a resource. If I'm spending time elsewhere with someone else, I need to know his needs are met in the relationship tier of (me + Him) -- otherwise I'm spending time with another while neglecting him.

I also would value his feedback if I'm too NRE drunk to see the character flaws of another person I'm dating.

If he's feeling jealous about it -- I want to know. Jealousy is a flag emotion that some need is not met.

Galagirl
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  #7  
Old 12-20-2012, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeSpirit View Post
I did communicate my concerns about him pretty thoroughly, and she did decide to not pursue it further, though I think it was more out of concern for my desires than out of my caution about the person himself.

I remain friends with him because he's not a bad person at all, he can just be immature . . . I've elected to just be wary about letting him TOO close.

Sometimes I think I feel too obligated to accept things I dislike and get used to them rather than trying to keep them out of my life.

The conflict that this particular situation caused is resolved I think. I just wonder how people in the community tended to deal with stuff like this. I know I might potentially be bothered by a partner interfering with who I wanted to be close to, and I don't want to be a hypocrite about it.
Hmm, that's too bad. I wonder if she didn't feel empowered enough to pursue it with him anyway and make her own choice about whether or not he was a good fit for her. Do you think she listened to you and dropped it out of fear of reprisals from you, or of making you unhappy, thereby having forfeited her own agency in the matter?

I am a solo, so I'm not entangled with a partner, but to my mind, nobody is required to like or get along with their metamour, nor expect that their partner relate to the person in the same way they do. I would hate to be involved with someone who couldn't stand on their own two feet with their partner and stick up for being with me, if a guy I was going out with had an SO who objected for some reason.

The fact is, even though his personality clashes with yours or some behaviors of his bugged you, you have no idea how enriching, inspiring, or fun a relationship with him could have been for her -- and now she'll never know that either. Perhaps she would have handled issues with him, that you see as problematic, in ways that would have been good for both him and her. You and she are two different people, you know. Can you trust that she can make her own decisions and see things from her own perspective, which is just as valid as yours? Were you, perhaps, being a bit too over-protective of her?
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 12-20-2012 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:43 PM
paradigm paradigm is offline
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Thoughtful words. I'm working tooth and nail to adjust my personality sufficiently for poly, and its working. But I want it! So its is a pleasant labor, difficult, but welcome.

No one thinks or understands the same. You are not obligated to be any more accepting of things than your partner. People have limits, and boundaries, we may strive to change them, but you should have them respected based on where they are right now.

If you are working or want to work on loosening them, you need to let her know it. Make a plan, and stick to it, there will be compromise, you will both need compassion, and restraint. But you mustn't sit idle if you plan to change things. If you don't, then you need to be very clear about your feelings, and limits. It's no affront to anyone for you to want to do things how you like, but relationships always require cooperation. Your sharing each others lives requires an agreement to bend for each other. Or you will surely break.

Expect stubbed toes, try to avoid serious hurt. Talking, lots and truthfully, does that best.
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  #9  
Old 12-22-2012, 03:20 AM
FreeSpirit FreeSpirit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Hmm, that's too bad. I wonder if she didn't feel empowered enough to pursue it with him anyway and make her own choice about whether or not he was a good fit for her. Do you think she listened to you and dropped it out of fear of reprisals from you, or of making you unhappy, thereby having forfeited her own agency in the matter?

I am a solo, so I'm not entangled with a partner, but to my mind, nobody is required to like or get along with their metamour, nor expect that their partner relate to the person in the same way they do. I would hate to be involved with someone who couldn't stand on their own two feet with their partner and stick up for being with me, if a guy I was going out with had an SO who objected for some reason.

The fact is, even though his personality clashes with yours or some behaviors of his bugged you, you have no idea how enriching, inspiring, or fun a relationship with him could have been for her -- and now she'll never know that either. Perhaps she would have handled issues with him, that you see as problematic, in ways that would have been good for both him and her. You and she are two different people, you know. Can you trust that she can make her own decisions and see things from her own perspective, which is just as valid as yours? Were you, perhaps, being a bit too over-protective of her?
Ha ha, I think you've got the wrong idea of the situation. Perhaps I explained it poorly. He's still a very good mutual friend to both of us, and we hang out with him often. I'm certainly doing nothing to stand in the way of them communicating or being close. And her interest in him was pretty mild, and not even really romantic. She had no intention of pursuing a partnership with him.

I appreciate the input, and agree with you on some parts of what you said, but your advice comes off as a bit accusatory. I believe I mentioned earlier in the thread that I told her to go ahead with it despite my discomfort, saying I didn't want my own feelings rational or not, to interfere with their closeness. She refused since she was on the fence about whether to get closer to him at all, and she didn't want to make me uncomfortable.

You saying "and now she'll never know that" implies that I had somehow cut off their contact with each other, which is not at all the case.

I'm sure you meant well, but I feel as though my description of the situation was sorely misunderstood. Perhaps it was pointless to post details of a specific situation on a forum to begin with. It's very difficult for people to understand what's going on in a situation without being there and only being given a brief summary of certain points.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2012, 02:32 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I just think this is interesting. You said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeSpirit View Post
After seeing how much it affected me, she decided to call off the physical aspect of that, just remaining friends, despite me insisting that she shouldn't let my emotions interfere with her bonds with others.

Now, I'm not normally a very jealous person, so it struck me unusual that this incident bothered me as much as it did. After quite a few hours of introspection, considering various things that could have caused me to be so bothered, I settled on my discomfort with him in particular as the primary issue. I didn't find the thought of her being with other friends, or even strangers, nearly as upsetting.

I do have some good reasons for being uncomfortable with this particular friend...he's proven repeatedly irresponsible and dishonest in the past. Though I enjoy his company most of the time, he grates on my nerves a lot, and I just don't feel physically comfortable with him. Beyond that though, I know he's a good person.
So, you did not like the idea of your gf being involved with this man who is a friend of yours, pondered why it made you uncomfortable, and concluded it was because in the past he was "proven" irresponsible and dishonest, and he gets on your nerves. You let her know and made it clear it was her decision, but she saw how icky it was for you, ended the sex with him, and you feel relieved.

My question (not just for you in this situation but for anyone) is: are these reasons enough to voice concerns and possibly put the kabosh on your partner's potential relationship? Sure, you knew him longer and better than she does, but were you assuming he had not changed his "irresponsible" and "dishonest" ways? Did you think she couldn't handle that? Did you discuss your concerns with him as well? Why is your discomfort a factor in who she should be with? I am not asking these questions as a judgment of you, but to further the discussion because, as a solo who may possibly run into situations where a SO might not approve of me, I do find the issue compelling. This is a murky area where it isn't really a veto but is pretty darn close to being a veto. How much sway should a primary partner have when their SO wants to date or fuck someone else, I wonder?
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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