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Old 09-27-2009, 04:25 PM
Chase Chase is offline
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Default Chicken and egg problem

Hi. I'm new here, just registered.

So, I think I need help. And I think this might be the best place to ask.

I've been with my current girlfriend for over 3 years now. I love her, she loves me. So far so good.

I had read about polyamory a few years ago, thought it was a nice idea, and left it sit on a shelf. Then, a few months ago, a good friend of mine brought the subject, and i told him that I had always felt that monogamy was something I didn't fit it. I love my girlfriend, but keep beeing attracted to other girls.

Anyway after reading quite a lot about it, I introduced the whole idea of poly to my girlfriend. It wasn't easy, a few tears where shed but we talked, and talked, and talked some more. And then we talked again, and came to an agreement that both of us were free to do what they wanted provided they didn't hurt the other one.

And, this being agreed, nothing happened about it.

Now, this is where it's starts getting messy.

She recently moved quite far away (a day or so worth of travel). She'll be staying there a few years, and I probably will go and join her there once I'm done with college. We're keeping in touch with IM, and are going to physically meet once a month or less until then.

I recently re-discovered a girl I knew. I've known her for a few years now, but she only recently attracted my attention. She's cute, fun, and we share quite a few interests. Long story short, I'd like her to become my "secondary" girlfriend.

The question is : how do I do that ? Seriously ?
She knows I already have a girlfriend who's far away.


If I go and tell her straight forward that I have a girlfriend, that we have an "unusual" relationship, and that I would like to start and build something new with her, I feel like it would blow everything. From my (little) experience, going to a girl saying "hey, wanna be my girlfriend ?" never works. Let alone if it's on complex terms.

On the other hand, if I wait until we get together to explain to her that I still love my girlfriend, I fear she would feel betrayed. Or at least I would if that happened to me.

Basically, it seems like starting a poly relationship with someone new to it has two levels of complexity :
- make that person be willing to start a romantic relationship with you
- make that person accept the idea of polyamory

I suppose some of you have some experience on that matter. In what order should I tackle these two obstacles ? Gain her trust, see how she reacts to the idea of poly, and finally seduce her ? Or try to seduce her, and then explain that I'm willing to build with her, but under specific conditions ?
In the latter case, won't the fact she knows I have a girlfriend keep her from ... Well, you get the point. This looks like an egg and chicken problem to me, and I've no idea how to start.

Also, since I'm posting, does anyone have feedback on long-distance + poly relationships ? I can handle long-distance (I have before), but is poly something that increases the chances of everything blowing up, and if so, how do I make sure it doesn't ?
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2009, 05:20 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase View Post
Basically, it seems like starting a poly relationship with someone new to it has two levels of complexity :
- make that person be willing to start a romantic relationship with you
- make that person accept the idea of polyamory

Actually, you don't *make* anyone do anything. Everyone makes their own decisions. Now you can be honest about what you're feeling and what your situation is, but it's her decision if she wants a relationship or if she's ok with poly. If she's not ready to handle that, then chances are it's not a relationship that would be good for either of you.

Just be honest from the get-go and don't be so attached to the outcome of her being your "secondary" girlfriend (which can have a whole lotta baggage that many poly people wouldn't want to partake in). If she's not cool with it, then good. You can find someone better suited for such a relationship. If she is cool with it, then good. You can start exploring that relationship.

Either way, don't start it off with lies. That's just pulling the rug out under your own feet.
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:17 PM
Fidelia Fidelia is offline
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Hello, Chase, and welcome to the forum. I think you'll find many wise, witty, loving and compassionate people here, as I have.

I'm sure there will be more experienced poly-folk who will weigh in with better, deeper advice on how to proceed in your transition to a poly lifestyle, but there are a few points I'd like to address, if I may.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase View Post
Basically, it seems like starting a poly relationship with someone new to it has two levels of complexity :
- make that person be willing to start a romantic relationship with you
- make that person accept the idea of polyamory
BrotherMan, not to put too fine a point on it, but you cannot make anyone do or be or accept anything, especially when it comes to something as far outside the cultural mainstream as polyamory. And the sooner you stop thinking in those terms, the happier and more successful you will be.

The key to successful polyamorous relationships, IMO, is honesty, compassion, personal integrity and open communication. Lots and lots of communication.

As for when to broach the topic of poly with a potential new lover, my opinion is earlier is better than later, but only you can know when the time is right for you. I have enormous respect for those members of the forum who can walk up to an attractive stranger in a public place and open with, "Hi, I'm Janet and I'm polyamorous." Puts it right out there and opens the door for either acceptance, rejection or exploration and discussion. I myself am not that bold.

But I am currently developing a friendship that has romantic possibilities. Should those possibilities continue to develop, before I/we cross any lines that would create jealousy or insecurity, I will summon up my courage and talk it out with both my friend and my husband. My friend may be perfectly appalled by the idea of poly, or he may be enthusiastic about it, or he may be curious to learn more. Obviously, what happens next depends on his response. But assuming he doesn't run screaming away, we keep talking. In an open, honest and loving way, so that everything is out in the open, everyone involved is clear about what's going on, all necessary boundaries are discussed and agreed on, and all three of us know that we are loved, valued and supported. If it all works out, we three will be off to a good start toward poly-happiness together. If it doesn't, so be it; nothing ventured, nothing gained, and everyone will have been treated with respect and love.

Some of the things you write deeply concern me that you are not coming from a place of respect and love, but rather selfishness and deception. For instance, you wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase View Post
In what order should I tackle these two obstacles ? Gain her trust, see how she reacts to the idea of poly, and finally seduce her ? Or try to seduce her, and then explain that I'm willing to build with her, but under specific conditions ?
Why would you approach the beginning of a potential relationship as a series of obstacles to be conquered? If everything works out, you'll be in an ongoing relationship with this girl. Wouldn't it be healthier to start out by sharing with her who you really are and what you really want, rather than devising a gameplan to "make her" go along with your plan? The fact that you are even considering the option of winning this girl's confidence to the point of seduction and then giving her an ultimatum to "accept polyamory or I'm out" shows that you do not care at all about hurting her. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to take that option off the table and re-think your priorities.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:21 PM
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River River is offline
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Are you friends with the new gal, Chase, or just aquaintances?

Although all of my lasting "romantic" involvements, thus far, have moved rather quickly from new friendship status to romantic involvement, I'd still recommend cultivating a friendship before even considering "romantic" involvment. I'd approach the new gal with the offer of friendship, and as your friendship begins to develop, and trust and rapport is established, then you can let her know that you're polyamorous. Then you can see how she feels about polyamory. Then, if you're still "romantically" interested in her after some time of being friends, with her knowledge of your polyamory, you can see if maybe she'd be interested in exploring a more "romantic" connection with you.

We're very fortunate to live at a time when guys and gals can be friends -- "just" friends. And if the friendship wants to later include kisses, it can include kisses, and if it wants to... -- well it can include that, too. And at some point you find that you're still friends, but not "just" friends.
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  #5  
Old 09-27-2009, 11:26 PM
Chase Chase is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

English is not my main language, and I've had quite a hard time expressing what I felt. I'm pretty good in technical english, but I don't have many opportunities to express feelings and such. Apparently, I have been misunderstood, but I'll take the blame and try and detail more.

Quote:
Actually, you don't *make* anyone do anything.
Indeed, the verb "make" was poorly chosen. What I meant was rather "hope that X might happen".

Quote:
Some of the things you write deeply concern me that you are not coming from a place of respect and love, but rather selfishness and deception.
This is true. And it wasn't from my doing. And it sucked. And it hurt a lot. And I'm not going back there. Ever, ever, ever. I'm done with lies and hiding the truth.

Quote:
Why would you approach the beginning of a potential relationship as a series of obstacles to be conquered?
How can I explain ... I don't see this relationship as a series of obstacles. I see this relationship as love, trust, and ... well, you all know this warm and fuzzy feeling we all have for someone we love. The thing is, I see obstacles against all this love happening, and I fear them being too hard for me. So I try to think of a way that could make these obstacles look less intimidating. It's not about conquering anything. I'd be more than glad if the obstacles weren't there. There's no plan that I want her to follow. It's hard to express. Imagine you're looking at this huge wild montain, and you would like to get to the other side. And you look at this montain and you have no map. You don't see any roads, only small, barely visible footpaths. So you start thinking "This one looks like it might turn the wrong way further. Maybe this other one is better".
Once you've decided on one, the rest just follows. But if you picked the wrong things start getting bad.

I'm a situation where it looks like all the paths I can see look bad, and I can't figure out one that might be the right one.

Quote:
The fact that you are even considering the option of winning this girl's confidence to the point of seduction and then giving her an ultimatum to "accept polyamory or I'm out" shows that you do not care at all about hurting her.
Of course I care about her. And this is exactly why I am not at all satisfied with this idea, which in turns is why I'm posting here. Any kind of thinking I do about the issue seems to lead to the dead end of somebody being hurt, or things being done in a manner I don't like. If I was OK wis lies and deception, I'd just cheat on my girlfriend.

Quote:
I have enormous respect for those members of the forum who can walk up to an attractive stranger in a public place and open with, "Hi, I'm Janet and I'm polyamorous." Puts it right out there and opens the door for either acceptance, rejection or exploration and discussion. I myself am not that bold.
I have to push myself for a few days before I can even ask a girl out. I suppose you could call me shy, although I'm not shy at all when things don't involve romance.

The thing is, I'm afraid (like really, really, really afraid) that if I go to her and tell her I'm poly, it'll just blow everything. I'm so afraid that this totally rules out that option. I'm afraid she'll freak out and just never talk to me again.

Also, when I talked about gaining her trust, it had nothing to do with manipulation. It was all about deserving her trust. About getting her to know me and me to know her. About building a friendship.

Ok, I hope I've made myself clearer. It's just ... I'm not that much a people person, and when thinking about relationships, I tend to be way too logical.



Now, back to the topic.
There are a few sentences in your answers that bring me hope. Sentences that say : "look at this small game trail you missed. It goes straight towards the top of the mountain.
Maybe it turns back, or simply stops in the middle of nowhere, but hey, at least it starts the right way." Those are the sentences about friendship.

I'm from a very scientific background. And in science, when you want to solve a problem, you start off by cutting your problem into smaller problems. By solving those smaller problems, you solve the big one. And i think I've tried to push that too far. And I missed the one thing that was important : those two problems can't be solved separetely.

To actually tell someone how i feel about monogamy requires that I have a huge amount of trust in that person. It's all pretty new to me, and I'm rather uncomfortable with, you know, what other people may say or do that could hurt me.

The only way I can talk to her about poly is if I trust her enough. And the only way I can accept the idea of... damn, words are missing again.
The precondition for me to start anything romantic with her is that she knows, and that my girlfriend knows, and that everybody is OK with what is going on.

Damn, I'm doing math again

So, anyway, I need to cultivate our current friendship, until I feel close to her enough to tell her about who I am. I'm not quite sure how or if this will happen, but it's the only possible way.

By the way River, I'd say we're slightly more than just acquaintances. Not close friends though. And thanks a lot for your answer. You've connected the dots, so to say.


PS : I'm not sure all this really had to be written down, but writing helps me think and get my ideas straight.
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:45 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Step back. Take a breath.

You have a relationship now. Let it grow into the relationship it wants to be. Try not to get too attached to a specific outcome for this. Each choice you make should be based on the relationship here and now.

I've been mountain climbing and one thing that holds true is that you can't decide your next step based upon what's at the top of the mountain. You can only decide your next step based upon what's under your feet.

Grow and nurture the relationship you have now. Then see where it goes. Take any and all chances to be honest and open. For people who may not be familiar with it, it's a lot easier to learn that someone is poly without the added pressure of trying to accept it in a romantic relationship context. But don't force it into a desired outcome. Relationships and feelings rarely follow directions.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:08 AM
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gator gator is offline
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Question chicken and egg

chase, did you say you were in college? if you don't mind my asking, what is your age?
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:33 AM
Fidelia Fidelia is offline
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Thanks for clarifying your thoughts, Chase. If I came across as being harsh to you, please forgive me. I got some wrong impressions of what you wanted and were willing to do, and I apologize.

Now that I understand a little better where you're coming from, I have some ideas you may wish to consider.

I am naturally shy myself, so I know how difficult it can be to open up to someone in a way that is new and unfamiliar. It is a risk: the person could reject you, or see you in an unfavorable light, etc. I completely understand; I feel ya, Bro. Here's the thing: you can never know what might be until you take the leap. And you cannot reach out for a new future and simultaneously hold on to the present.

But you don't have to do it all at once. In most friendships, including romantic ones, people get to know each other gradually, bit by bit. And it is natural that as the friendship deepens, so does one's knowledge and understanding of the other person. For example: I have a friend who has a skin condition most people don't know about as she wears long sleeves and pants, and a hat when she's outside. I learned about the condition one day after I had known her several months, because I was at her house hanging out and she wore short sleeves. By then she knew me well enough to be comfortable with me and that she could trust me not to freak out or be weird about it. I did ask her some questions, which she answered. And then we moved on. No big deal. She told me, much MUCH later, that it had been a really big deal to her at the time.

The fact that you are drawn to polyamory is just one of the many things that the people who grow to know you well will learn about you, if/when you choose to open up that part of yourself.

My best advice is to be yourself, honestly and authentically. Don't hide who you are and what you want, but don't feel like you have to blurt out sensitive information all at once. Go slow. Breathe. Be who you really are. That's plenty good enough for anyone!
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