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  #261  
Old 10-29-2011, 11:07 AM
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rory rory is offline
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Originally Posted by beginninglove View Post
As an aside, this morning when Alex was feeling testy about me making requests to spend more time with Sam, she said she thinks I might be a "sex and love addict".
Others have already commented one possibility: that she's wrong and wants to make you feel bad (unconsciously or consciously). There's another option though: that you are (or she thinks you're) a NRE addict and she's trying to point that out. Or maybe not an addict, but that you're letting NRE cloud your judgement.

I don't know if there is truth to that, but this makes me feel that there might be
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Here's another aspect of what is coming up for me... I have been seeing Sam and having this really mind-blowing sex, and often I tell Alex beforehand "I won't see Sam for such-and-such amount of time after this" but then I find it REALLY hard to stick to that. Am I being selfish and just need to suck it up and not see Sam for the period of time I said I wouldn't?? Or is it fair for me to say, wow, I thought I could go that long without seeing her but I really want to see her again sooner.
I agree with the comments others made about your way of communication here. But I wonder if you're really just making unrealistic promises and want to see Sam, or if NRE makes you feel you'd like to spend every waking moment with her, and Alex is worried that's what you'd do if she gives up the control.

How long do you promise to spend apart and how much time would you like to spend with Sam? Are you keeping a clear head with the NRE (i.e. evaluating whether how you want to act is reasonable towards everybody), or do you think your every feeling is justified and you should follow it? If NRE was making you feel like you want to spend pretty much all your free time with Sam (and she was available), would you stop yourself and take Alex into consideration?

I'm not saying you're being inconsiderate in NRE: I don't know what's going on. I'm just saying you may be, and that maybe you should consider that option, too.
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  #262  
Old 10-30-2011, 06:37 PM
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Couple of things; your gf would do better to talk different people, not the friends who are giving her negative advice and making unhelpful comments. Some mono people like to get together and find ways to degrade what poly people are working towards... some poly people like to get together and bash monogamy. Neither is helpful. All is damaging. I think she needs to find friends that are willing to investigate and wonder about poly in order to be helpful. It sounds like none of them are knowledgeable about poly... maybe she should read here. Our biggest tag here is "mono/poly." She would be in good company.

I think if someone were to say what she did to you about being addicted to love, sex, whatever I would wonder what is going on for them. I think I would let her know how it made you feel to be accused of that and ask her what is going on for her. You are not addicted to anything, as others have said. You are in NRE.... maybe she could find out more about that. You could also ask her to use different words when she is frustrated, feeling left out, feeling threatened. I find that giving people the words that I understand and can hear without feeling defensive and hurt really helps.

I would say something like, "you know, I am having a really great time with so-and-so and I would feel much better about it if you were happy for me, but if you aren't and are going through some stuff about it, I would much rather know what that is like for you so I can support you rather than hear words that seem to be coming from a place of you wanting me to feel ashamed. What's going on for you? Tell me how you are feeling rather than putting it on me please. I would like to work on this with you."

I don't think getting pissed off with her is compassionate towards the negative feelings that to me, she quite obviously has. Communication becomes better when one empathizes I find. It means you will have to put your feelings aside in order to get at the bottom of hers, but the end result, I have found in doing that, is that I feel better than I would of if I hadn't of considered my partner above my self first.
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  #263  
Old 10-31-2011, 08:08 PM
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thanks for the solid words of advice. i do think it is just NRE and i don't think i am "addicted" to it, whatever that means. i've thought a lot about this over the weekend and realized i would not spend all my time with Sam even if Alex was not in the picture. which brings me back to something i said in an earlier post, which is that i realize i am just feeling ambivalent about my relationship with Alex in general. i was feeling this before i met Sam and this is not about wanting to be with Sam, its about me not wanting to be in a committed relationship at all. i have been feeling this for about a year now, and i'm terrified to do anything about it. i have a ton going on in my life right now, and i'm generally feeling pretty stressed out. but everytime i sit with my feelings about Alex, i feel like i want to get out. and i keep convincing myself to stay. i thought that if i had someone like Sam in my life I would feel happier with Alex, because I would be getting those needs met elsewhere. but Sam is perfectly meeting those needs, and i still feel unhappy in my realtionship with Alex. i realize that it was naive to think that just I could get certain needs met elsewhere and then *poof* my relationship with Alex would be great again. it was better for a minute, but now its just hard and stressful again. i don't want to have sex with her. we have been in couples therapy for four years with a really amazing therapist, who i know is part of the reason we are still together, because she helped us with our communication so much. i want to leave but i don't know how. i'm afraid of hurting her, i'm afraid of the gauntlet i feel i am going to have to endure from our friends and community and just generally the shitstorm i imagine will ensue. i keep telling myself maybe i should stick it out just a little longer, maybe things will get better. but i just keep feeling stuck and unhappy.
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  #264  
Old 10-31-2011, 08:30 PM
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Mmmm. The problem with hoping things will get better is that they don't get better all by themselves. Believe me, I know from experience. So, I think, even though you have been in therapy for four years together, it's still not working either because you two haven't gotten to the core issues, or it's done and time to walk away. If you "always feel like you want out," that should tell you something. But it's not anyone else's place to judge you if you do end the relationship. I hate when people get like that.

Another thing to consider (and address in therapy) is whether your feeling stuck and unhappy has to do with Alex, or if it's something you bring with you to every relationship. Maybe that has nothing to do with your current situation, and is a learned pattern you've habituated yourself toward. Look back at past relationships and if they had a similar downward spiral, that may be something to look at.

I think you should also acknowledge yourself for connecting the dots and making this realization. Some people go 20 years in shitty situations always hoping it will get better, and it goes nowhere. Also, it's really fucking awesome, I think, that you have seen it's not about being poly or mono that will make your relationship or life rewarding, and that it's not necessarily having multiple partners in your life that will bring you happiness, peace, or satisfaction. It's all about being honest and true to yourself first.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-31-2011 at 09:06 PM.
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  #265  
Old 10-31-2011, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Mmmm. The problem with hoping things will get better is that they don't get better all by themselves.
good advice...
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  #266  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:24 PM
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thanks, nycindie. (you are really good at this! i feel so grateful.) it's completely true, i do have a pattern of feeling this way in relationships. i end up feeling suffocated, compromised, trapped, and guilty. it is totally familiar. i have been looking at this and trying to just acknowledge my urge to leave and stay anyway. every single day. is knowing that this is a pattern a good enough reason to stay? or maybe my pattern of serial monogamy has not given me a chance to find out who i really am, learn how to know and assert m own boundaries, and choose relationships that are good and healthy for me, with people that also have good boundaries? i feel like i could make a great case for both staying and leaving, and i can't decide if the fact that i want to leave is evidence that I should or should not leave.

many of my fantasies around leaving have to do with having a period of time to be single (which i have never had since i started dating 20 years ago) and to be slutty without a primary commitment, all while practicing knowing and asserting my boundaries and improving my communication skills. i know its hard to plan these things in advance (who knows what the universe really has in store?) but is just wanting to be single enough to end a pretty good relationship? how does one know when something is "good enough" to try and keep working on versus when to stop dragging something out due to fear?
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  #267  
Old 11-01-2011, 11:05 AM
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Hi BL, I have been following your thread since you started it but feel interested in commenting now that you have revealed more about your ambivalence around commitment and NRE.

Maybe Alex has hit on something, mentioning the idea you are a sex/love/NRE addict. (BTW, my current gf once suggested I might have that issue, and I was hurt by it as well).

At first I was wondering if you were a young person, in your early or mid 20s, but now youve revealed youve been dating for 20 years and so I am guessing you must be in your late 30s.

So, you've had lots of partners and quite a bit of experience. It's great you and Alex have been in therapy for 4 years. What kind of insight has that given you around your issues with commitment in relationships? After all, being poly does not preclude commitment. In fact, it can mean committing fully to more than one person at a time.

However, if you feel like you need space for now, to be single and in more casual relationships (if any) for a while to get to know yourself better, there is nothing wrong with that! It seems healthy, in fact, and more fair to lovers who might be looking for the commitment you don't feel you can provide right now.

Lots of people spend their lives in serial monogamy, getting off on the NRE and bailing when that wears off, after a few months or 3 or so years. Someone new, bright and shiny comes along, and they just go, wow, that person is so much cooler than my current partner. Wham bam, breakup time.

These people miss out on established relationship intimacy (ERI), with all its attendant benefits. Long love can bring richness and joy to one's life that is deep and more ... interesting, than the flash and sparkle of a new love or infatuation. Kind of like the difference between a fire made out of dry kindling (big and blazing hot, but soon going out) as opposed to a fire made of large logs (with the depth of heat you can see in the heart of the fire, glowing white, blue and orange, with lots of texture and embers). You can really cook on a warm long lasting fire. A fire of kindling will just burn the surface of the food and leave it raw on the inside.

Me, I am loyal to a fault, maybe too loyal (Leo trait). I was with the same guy for 33 years, married to him for 30. We broke up about 10 years later than we should have. Once I was finally free, I did spend a year or 2 swept up in NRE with my gf and several other lovers, having lots of different experiences in intimacy and sex which I felt I needed after 30+ years with the same person. However, I didn't shy away from commitment. I like commitment. I like the security of knowing my partner really well and being known by her, our tastes in sex, kink, food, hobbies, the rhythm of our days matching, etc. I don't have another steady partner right now, but it is what I would like, instead of a stream of not quite right people.

So... yeah. Maybe you do need a period of being single for a while, working on the relationship you have with yourself, and not getting distracted from this introspection by the thrill of NRE. Eventually you will have more to offer a partner when you know yourself better!
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  #268  
Old 11-01-2011, 05:41 PM
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beginninglove beginninglove is offline
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Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, Magdlyn. You have given me a lot to think about. I love you analogy of the slow burning fire, and I have certainly felt those benefits of LTRs in my varied experiences with partners (you are right about my age). Even with exes who turned into my closest friends. I also love the quote that you have as your signature, and I see that I feel controlled by Alex. I have played a huge role in this dynamic, no doubt, due to my own passivity and guilt. Certainly my fear is that I am making a mistake in ending a pretty darn good relationship, that somehow I should just keep plugging away at it until I find the ease and contentment I imagine I should be feeling. Through therapy we have come to understand this dance that we do, where I am the distancer and she is the persuer. She tries to grip me and I react by withdrawing. Seeing the dance has not necessarily made anything easier though. It helps to read your words, telling me that it is okay to just want to have time for myself, to get to know myself better and thus be a better partner in the future. It feels so selfish, and silly that I even somehow look to a stranger on a message board to give me permission to have and own my feelings. I have work to do on that front, no doubt.
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  #269  
Old 11-01-2011, 05:59 PM
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Maybe what you need is to state what you want , and find ways to create that. Even if it's just in exercises you give yourself, so that you feel empowered and not passive. Perhaps if you would take charge more, you won't feel like Alex is controlling, or that any relationship means you have to give up all control.

Ultimately, you do have a say in how you live your life, even if it seems like you're not in control. That's because, essentially, you're the one who's stepping back from making decisions, expressing yourself, etc.

Here's an exercise that I was taught and found to be an eye-opener:
For three days, every time you find yourself grumbling and complaining about something or someone, or blaming others for things you don't like in your life, whether out loud or in your head to yourself, add this to the end of your sentence: "and this is what I want." So, for example, next time you feel things are closing in around you, you find yourself thinking, "God, I never have any time to myself!" then say, "and this is what I want." Alex gets snippy with you and it's "That's a shitty thing for her to say... and this is what I want." Or "Wow, she can be such a bitch... and this is what I want." You have a moment where you feel like you're being a pushover, then it's "Oh, why do I have to be so wishy-washy and passive... and this is what I want." Standing on a long line at the grocery store becomes, "Ugh, this cashier is so slow, I hate this store... and this is what I want."
It may not always make sense. It's not about others not being responsible for their actions, but it is about how you construct your world-view and relate to others. Do that for three days and you might learn something really important about how you interact with the world and make choices for yourself.
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"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; 11-01-2011 at 06:03 PM.
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  #270  
Old 11-01-2011, 08:16 PM
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Hmmm let's see...

I have felt anxiously ambivalent about my relationship with Alex for almost a year and this feeling is intensifying...and this is what I want.
I am terrified to leave her yet feel depressed and suffocated when I think about staying...and this is what I want.
I feel controlled by Alex when she does not grant my requests for freedom and independence...and this is what I want.
I have a lot of work to do in terms of knowing and accepting my feelings and communicating them to others in a direct yet compassionate way...and this is what I want.
I am completely distracted by all of this at work and feel relatively incapable of being productive right now...and this is what I want.

Interesting exercise. It definitely helps me tap into a sense that I DO have some agency in all of this, in terms of choosing to accept what is, or think about what my role is in changing it.
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