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Old 02-25-2013, 03:35 AM
confusedandsuch confusedandsuch is offline
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Default might not be cut out for normality - long =/

heh, actually, I've always known normal isn't really my thing, but I am only recently realizing I might not be able to hack a normal relationship, either.

Let's see... I'm a 29 year old female, but I'm one of the guys. Always have been. I'm currently in my second long term relationship - the first one ended poorly at 25 after ten mostly wasted years - and my BF is a wonderful man who I love very much. We are both pretty flawed people in a gazillion ways, but are both goodhearted and I don't think either of us have ever done anything to intentionally hurt the other any time in our relationship. We have never had any serious discussions on opening our relationship up in any fashion. I don't really anticipate it, either.


Which means I'm probably in the wrong place, but I don't know where else to seek advice.

My BF and I live together, have since before we started dating, actually. He is my best friend - I only ever date / have sex with friends. I am mildly autistic, and think I might have some trouble separating friendlove from partnerlove from sexual attraction. They're all very tied together for me. Anyway...

I have recently realized I'm engaged in a platonic 'emotional affair' with a dear friend of mine - male. Life has been tough recently, and I've found a lot of comfort in spending time and texting with him. It's probably not even fair to say it's platonic, because he's an old friend who was the first guy I was really hormonally attracted to, and we have had sex in the (distant) past. And, as with all my friends, our conversations are filled with double entendres and inappropriate humor and, well, it's just how me and mine make conversation. Sometimes attraction is involved, but not acted upon. This is all well known to my BF - who has similarly grey conversations with his friends - but somehow I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

If I were single, I'd have jumped my old friend months ago. Especially because my BF and I are getting very little time alone these days. There are times when I realize I am particularly attracted to old friend, and it's disconcerting and makes me question things. Unfortunately I don't rightly know what it is I'm questioning. I think I'm here for a sympathetic sounding board more than anything - if I'm in the wrong place, send me packing kindly, please =P


I want to stay with my boyfriend. Things are tough right now for a million reasons, but he is being particularly amazing through it all. We love each other very much and see a permanent future together. I don't want to give up the relationship I have with my old friend - part because I very much depend on him for emotional support right now, and part because if I stopped being friends with my guy friends who I have a questionable relationship with, I'd have no friends. Think I might be a perv (kidding, of course) Pretty sure that if this relationship doesn't work, I won't entertain the notion of a closed relationship again. Not sure what that realization means for this relationship. Pretty much just confused.

Not sure what I'm asking of you guys - my apologies. Think I just want to know if I'm doing my BF a disservice here. If so, how I go about fixing that in a fashion that doesn't ignore my wants/needs - which I know from experience ends poorly for everyone involved. I appreciate your reading this - I'm sorry it was so long. Any advice anyone has to offer would be appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:09 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hello confusedandsuch,
Welcome to our forum.

I would encourage you to try to have a positive outlook about this situation. Just because bad things have happened in the past, doesn't mean things will go badly now. There is extra love going around. That's a good thing. Love is a limitless resource. You are being honest with each other. That's paramount. You are thinking about opening up your relationship. That's the beginning of an exciting journey.

I highly recommend the book "Opening Up," by Tristan Taormino. It covers a lot about polyamory and other forms of responsible non-monogamy.

Get the book and read it yourself, or perhaps consider asking your boyfriend to read it aloud with you. Ask him eventually to read it in any case. Talk about what's in there. Exchange thoughts and ideas.

If polyamory isn't what you want, you're under no obligation to practice it, and you're still welcome here no matter what. I just get the impression that having an open relationship is something you really, really want.

Re:
Quote:
"This is all well known to my BF -- who has similarly grey conversations with his friends -- but somehow I feel like I'm doing something wrong."
Sounds like conditioned guilt to me. Don't let it rule over you. Follow your heart.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:44 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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You're in the right place! Questioning is a perfectly great reason to be here.

You might start with a very gentle, generic conversation with your boyfriend, to find out what he knows and/or thinks about openness or polyamory in general. Some folks have never heard of it, and some folks have tons of friends who are poly. I didn't realize, but CBF had many people he worked with who are poly. I knew one couple, but I didn't realize there were so many in his community. Also, apparently lots of gamers are poly (who knew?), and so he knows from there too. He joked with me so often about me and my ex, FBF (who was his best friend), that I was pretty comfortable when I asked, 'so would you be okay with it for real?'

But I recommend beginning with a very generic and gentle opener. Like, 'I read this article on the 'net today, about polyamory. What do you think about it?' Or even send him a link, and say 'I saw this today, what do you think of it?'

And then all that lovely stuff what Kevin said.
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Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
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Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:48 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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I will also add, I recommend that if you're starting an adventure, to share it with your partner, if they have an interest. Or at least let them know, 'hey, I'm learning about this new thing. It really interests me.'

I see a lot of folks come in to polyamory.com and they've read everything, and spent months or years thinking on it, and the partner has no clue. Then they don't want to wait, to give their partner the months and years to think on it, and to come to it gradually, in the same way the originally did. It seems painful to do it that way, which is why I recommend including a partner in the beginning.

I've recently seen some come here who are exploring with their partners. They're spending a long time talking and learning before they even decide if they want to open up. It's inspiring to me.

I hope you find lots of interesting new stuff in here, and out there, to enlighten your journey.
__________________
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein

Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:54 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Welcome.

Here's what I'm hearing... correct me if I am wrong ok?
  • I have a BF and were are in a long term relationship. We plan a future together. Right now though, BF and I are getting very little time alone these days. I would like to correct that. (?)
  • I have a close friend, who I'm sharing a lot of emotional intimacy, tight, closeness with right now. He's an ex lover, but I also have dbl entendre banter type convo with other friends. (BF is aware of my relationship and conversation style with my friend. He does not object. He has his own friends who interact in similar ways.)
  • I am attracted romantically to my friend though, and am having trouble digesting that.

You also articulate this:
  • I don't want to give up my BF.
  • I do not want to give up my friendship with my guy friend.

So... who is making you do either? Nothing is happening that cannot be. Nobody is fussing. Or is the guilt from this?

I feel guilty because I know something is lacking in my romance with BF -- we do not spend quality time together right now. I am putting more energy into that relationship with my friend than dealing with the "lack of time" need in my romance with BF. I feel guilty about this.

I do not know your circumstances but if your BF is an astronaut and off in space, you CANNOT spend time with him right now. It cannot be helped. So hanging out with your friend is not a biggie. But if you CAN tend to that need and are ignoring/neglecting to be present with the friend... that's another thing.

You do not articulate your need or circumstances. But I think your need could be this:
  • I need the reassure from my BF that my being this tight with the friend is ok and not neglecting his wants, needs, or limits any.
  • I need the reassure from my friend that our friendship isn't crossing lines with any of his wants, needs, or limits
  • I need to share with someone (the bf? the friend) that I am experiencing romantic attraction to the friend and I need help digesting it. (it's been shared. You posted about it. You are fine, alive and well, to notice people and feel attraction.)

FWIW, I crush all the time. DH knows it and is amused. Just because I feel an attraction doesn't mean I am in a place where I want to pursue.

That goes into another area. If your WANT is that you want to talk to BF about pursuing with his goodwill on board -- that's another thing. Do you want that?

But just generally admiring your friends and feeling an attraction -- you are human. You will feel things. But you choose how to want to behave. You can feel all kinds of things and still choose to do ... nothing.

Could sit with yourself and determine where your own wants, needs, and limits lie at this time so you gain some clarity.

HTH!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-26-2013 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:02 PM
confusedandsuch confusedandsuch is offline
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Firstly, thanks for the welcome =)

Next... I should say that 'turning poly' would likely be the simplest and maybe even the optimal solution to my situation - but I would be equally happy to figure out a way to slow down my 'vagina heartbeat' where my old friend is concerned. My priority is maintaining this relationship with the best man I've ever know, with a close second priority of maintaining my friendship with one of my oldest friends. How that gets accomplished is still VERY much in the air =/


To Kevin: Thanks for reminding me that at the end of the day the problem here is too much love, and that's never really a problem. I also appreciate the book recommendation quite a lot - I am significantly 'better' with written text than any other medium. I don't know if I'm ready to bring it to my BF yet, but at least I'll have a better handle on what I'm considering.

I'd also like to say again that I am not yet sure I 'really want' a poly relationship - only that I feel rather, uhm, connected? to the idea.


To NovemberRain: I really just don't know if I'm there yet. Ideally, we'd be in a situation where we were meeting each others needs satisfactorily BEFORE we started courting this concept rolling around in my head. I am not yet sure that a time of trouble is the time I'd want to bring these thoughts to the table.

Which, of course, makes your second message especially pertinent. I assure you I'll be thinking on it quite a lot.


And GalaGirl, who apparently not only crawled inside my head but appears to have a lot of experience thinking the way people like me think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Welcome.

Here's what I'm hearing... correct me if I am wrong ok?
  • I have a BF and were are in a long term relationship. We plan a future together. Right now though, BF and I are getting very little time alone these days. I would like to correct that. (?)
  • I have a close friend, who I'm sharing a lot of emotional intimacy, tight, closeness with right now. He's an ex lover, but I also have dbl entendre banter type convo with other friends. (BF is aware of my relationship and conversation style with my friend. He does not object. He has his own friends who interact in similar ways.)
  • I am attracted romantically to my friend though, and am having trouble digesting that.
Spot on, actually. Except that I'm not sure I'm romantically attracted to my friend, at least in the typical sense. I am definitely sexually attracted to him. Sometimes especially so, which is what's giving my conscience fits. Kevin nailed it - I am good at feeling bad. It's something I consistently try to work on but usually have to address by logicing out individual situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
You also articulate this:
  • I don't want to give up my BF.
  • I do not want to give up my friendship with my guy friend.

So... who is making you do either? Nothing is happening that cannot be. Nobody is fussing. Or is the guilt from this?

I feel guilty because I know something is lacking in my romance with BF -- we do not spend quality time together right now. I am putting more energy into that relationship with my friend than dealing with the "lack of time" need in my romance with BF. I feel guilty about this.

I do not know your circumstances but if your BF is an astronaut and off in space, you CANNOT spend time with him right now. It cannot be helped. So hanging out with your friend is not a biggie. But if you CAN tend to that need and are ignoring/neglecting to be present with the friend... that's another thing.
Heh, the situation just plain sucks. My BF is not an astronaut, but my disabled father lost his wife last year and we have moved in to take care of him. It is physically and emotionally taxing. That is seriously the caliber of man I have in my life - I cannot overemphasize how large a burden he's chosen to help me bear. He's amazing. Unfortunately, the things we've found ourselves having to do are NOT really the sorts of things that makes a person want to hop in bed, even if we had any time to ourselves. We're trying to make time, but it is difficult. Being a socially awkward freak, I have 'safe' places and groups for every night of the week - if he's off and my dad is having a good night, we have somewhere to go with people we love. Unfortunately, it's not nearly often enough, and when we return my dad is there and often needs attention. We spend a lot of time together, very little of which is quality private time.

I visit my friend some evenings while my boyfriend is at work. We typically watch a movie, have some snacks and some beers, and I'm usually home before my BF gets off work. He does know I go, and has even said he's grateful to my friend for giving me something of a distraction. I don't think my time with my friend interferes in a limited resources kind of way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
You do not articulate your need or circumstances. But I think your need could be this:
  • I need the reassure from my BF that my being this tight with the friend is ok and not neglecting his wants, needs, or limits any.
  • I need the reassure from my friend that our friendship isn't crossing lines with any of his wants, needs, or limits
  • I need to share with someone (the bf? the friend) that I am experiencing romantic attraction to the friend and I need help digesting it. (it's been shared. You posted about it. You are fine, alive and well, to notice people and feel attraction.)
I am still not sure what I need, what I want, or much of anything, it seems. Those are essentially good starting points, though. I do know my primary concern right now is that I feel like my having, essentially, a platonic affair with my old friend is about the crappiest reward for being an amazing boyfriend I can think of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
FWIW, I crush all the time. DH knows it and is amused. Just because I feel an attraction doesn't mean I am in a place where I want to pursue.

That goes into another area. If your WANT is that you want to talk to BF about pursuing with his goodwill on board -- that's another thing. Do you want that?

But just generally admiring your friends and feeling an attraction -- you are human. You will feel things. But you choose how to want to behave. You can feel all kinds of things and still choose to do ... nothing.

Could sit with yourself and determine where your own wants, needs, and limits lie at this time so you gain some clarity.

HTH!
Galagirl
I've long since realized that part of the way I build sexual energy is through interactions with friends I find attractive in some way. I have said many times that I believe unresolved sexual tension is good for my sex life. I am now realizing that this might only apply when there's actually time to have sex with my boyfriend on a regular basis!

It's a little embarassing to put it all out here like this, but... Normally, we flirt and enjoy our friends' company and go home and have good sex. I like nights he dances with hot chicks all night long, he likes nights I'm all dolled up and my boys buy me shots all night long =P I know it's a little atypical, but it's always worked for us.

Right now, though, the time is limited and feels forced when we find it. Our sex life isn't nonexistant, but it's worse than it's been through any of our 'slower' patches in the past. Enter old friend, with whom I get a few hours of privacy with at least once a week. My social anxiety is ugly sometimes, and being alone - no costume to don for anyone - is bliss. I'm attracted to him, of course, which isn't really the problem in and of itself. It's that circumstances have produced a situation where I have caught myself thinking about my friend sexually with more intensity than I often feel for my boyfriend these days.


I'm here, though, because I have come to the realization that if this relationship doesn't work out - I still believe it will if we make it so - I won't even try to be a typical mono in future relationships. Sometimes life sucks! We can't always fill every need for a partner, much less wants! I can't help but wonder if that concept should be applied to our current relationship - and to what degree - or if for now, we need to concentrate on us as a pair.


gah, sorry so long. again.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:42 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I do know my primary concern right now is that I feel like my having, essentially, a platonic affair with my old friend is about the crappiest reward for being an amazing boyfriend I can think of.
AGAIN... you could ask the BF how he feels. If he's feeling fine, then it isn't him having a "crap reward." You are not betraying him any.

Or do you subscribe to the belief that to feel a thing is the same as to do a thing?

It could be YOU coming to terms with being a very human person with sexual attraction, and dealing with caregiver burn out. (I'm in those shoes now actually, I sympathize on eldercare wacky.)

In terms of being "normal?" YES. You have sexual desire. I have that too. So do others. I'm sexually turned on by my friends. Sure I fantasize. DH knows it. Hell, he likes to yank my chain about it. He likes watching me flirt with other people.

So? The world has not imploded. I have a marriage and DH and I are good. My friends and I are still only friends. Some know I crush on them, some do not. I enjoy the sexual frisson in my head. I enjoy the flirting. Friends are still friends. Cupcakes for all. Where is problem?

If you want to be free of this worry/guilt thing, you could talk to BF about it and ask for his reassure that he is secure and unthreatened by it.

And you could give yourself permission to be human, and relax and allow yourself to be secure and unthreatened by it too. Trust yourself to behave in ethical, appropriate ways.

And if later down the road you want to change arrangements and pursue a polyship later, you could trust yourself to behave ethically. You could talk to yourself within about it to assess your own willing/readiness, and talk with your BF to check on his willing/readiness. Then your potential poly dating partner to check on THEIR willing/readiness. When you are at THAT point in time.

Figure out where all the wants, needs, and limits are... THEN.

Do not "pre worry." That is not constructive or helpful. It just feeds anxiety.

If you notice your inner voice talks to you with too many "SHOULD this and thats" and this also increases the guilty/anxiety factor? Could consider changing the vocab to "COULD this and that" and see if you feel better inside your inner world there.

Quote:
I can't help but wonder if that concept should be applied to our current relationship - and to what degree - or if for now, we need to concentrate on us as a pair.
I would gently suggest that if you are smack in caregiver burnout?
  • Short Term: Get a babysitter for your patient and go out as a couple with some quality time spent on a couple date for just YOURSELVES. (It is the same thing I deal in -- only I also get to find kid care for the kid.)
  • LongTerm: Reevaluate if THIS is the best living arrangement to meet MOST of ALL the people's needs. Have you hit a stage where you need other people's help here? Relatives? Professionals? Move your patient to live elsewhere? What are the limits of time/ money / disease progression that you deal in?

ADDING the stress of poly dating/adding new people to your polymath is not wise at this time. Could call it "familymath" -- it is the same. All the people you tend to on your plate. Be it familyships or romanceships -- relationships are relationships. That THESE are your people. The people you deal with and in.

Opening while doing eldercare TOO? That's a great way to drive yourselves crazier trying to meet yet another person's wants, needs, and limits.
It's crazy enough in eldercare land.

Remember even while you take care of dad -- you can take care of YOU too. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Meet your OWN needs first so you can be a better, healthier caregiver for your dad. It will be ok.

Namaste,
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-27-2013 at 04:51 AM.
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