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  #151  
Old 12-11-2011, 07:47 PM
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I wrote this elsewhere and while I did so I realized that perhaps the discussion of vetos and the lessons learned by them has not been discussed here.So I am re-posting. Please feel free to add thoughts and comments.
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Vetos are not really advised. They are very tricky. On the outside they appear to create some stability and control of emotions and what happens but when it comes down to actually using them they cause more damage than good.

My experience with them has taught me that I prefer to trust my partners that they will consider my boundaries and opinions and make a decision that is good for all of us rather than for just themselves. There have been times where I have had the need to point out different ways of seeing my partners love interest that have meant they have ended a relationship because they hadn't noticed, but I have never said flat out that they cannot see them because I said so. Because we trusted each other and had each others best interest in mind, including the other person involved, a choice was made out of that, not out of an imbalance of control.

I have found that vetos create deception. Communication goes well until the one that has veto rights decides they don't want their partner to see a person, put their foot down and then the communication stops and feelings, thoughts, negotiating boundaries are not discussed any more. The idea is to keep talking. Vetos keep that from happening in my experience.

There is also the other persons feelings to consider. How would it feel to know that someone has vetoed you? Very hurtful. Poly to me is about creating more love and connection, not leaving people wounded and more damaged. Sure, maybe the person is considered to be less than perfect by the partner that has veto power but that doesn't give them a right to express that openly to them by saying, "sorry sucker, you're out!"

I would suggest that you create boundaries that address your wife's need to take things slowly, be involved enough to know who you are interested in, what she would like considered if she is struggling and how to make sure anyone you are interested in spending time with is treated with respect regardless if they are a good match for you.

Dating other people is a group effort between all involved, not a couple calling all the shots and the new person just sucking it up and taking the dregs of what they get in my opinion. People deserve and are entitled to love, support, caring, consideration and respect for who they are and what their life experience has brought them. Honouring them right from the beginning in this way means that in turn that is given back. Its a good foot to stand on when starting a new relationship I think. Its served me well any how.
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  #152  
Old 12-12-2011, 03:49 AM
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In the same boat as RP, I posted this elsewhere and realized it could be applicable to more people. The subject is not putting constraints on what a relationship is allowed to become, written to a married woman who was afraid of saying "I love you" to her new female lover because she had no intention of committing to the woman in the same way as to her husband and didn't want her husband to feel replaced.

* * *

The key thing here is communication, which, luckily, it seems like you all are quite good at. As long as your husband knows that "I love her" doesn't mean "I am planning to run off with her" or "You are no longer as pivotally important to my emotional and practical life as you once were" and as long as she knows that "I love you" doesn't mean "I am going to forsake other commitments to be with you" or even "I am capable of committing to you beyond the commitments I've already made", then you should be just fine.

Of course, the idea that love can be fine doesn't mean you should rush it. It may well be that what you have right now is a very close, loving friendship of the kind you might have with a "best friend", that also happens to involve sex. If it's not "romantic" that is perfectly fine and that sort of loving friendship is wonderful in my book. But that doesn't mean that at some point you won't find yourself doodling her name in the margins of your notebook with a heart in place of a dot over the "i", if you get what I'm saying... it might evolve into something that feels romantic, something that makes you burn to hold her close and whisper "I love you" and take her out to a fancy restaurant and hold hands all night and stare deeply into each other's eyes.

If the day comes that you realize you feel that and you want that, and your reaction is gut-wrenching fear, you may do something you'll deeply regret later, like cut her out of your life.

And the thing is, that fear is completely unnecessary. My gf and I first traded ILU's about 6 months into our relationship. It was spontaneous and really special and I won't ever forget it... and it didn't change one single thing about her relationship with her husband. He is still her life partner, they're still on track with the life they planned. I am not her life partner, and we have no plans for that to change (though neither have we closed the door on it some day being a possibility... more on that later).

What does love mean in that sort of context, what does commitment mean?

To me, loving her as "more than a friend" means I have a strong emotional reaction to her joy and her distress, I delight in surprising her and caring for her, I consider her before I consider most people in my life, I think of time with her as something that I won't do without if there's any alternative at all, and I wanna kiss her and hold her and touch her and such.

Commitment for us actually means something very similar to what you posted regarding your agreements with your friend/lover, that we tell each other about things and consider each other carefully. For me it also goes beyond that into having made a personal commitment to sticking with this and supporting her until/unless she wants to end it or life events should push us apart (somebody gets a dream job in Australia, for example). We have also both demonstrated a commitment to making time for each other in our lives (including alone time, which is no mean feat for her with a job, husband, new baby, and an active social life!). We haven't expressed much in the way of concrete commitments (x evenings together per month for example) because it hasn't seemed necessary and because our lives are a bit too chaotic for that right now.

Our relationship is still quite young to my mind... 2+ years, but unlike a mono couple might have done by now we haven't moved in together or spent exorbitant amounts of time together, so I feel like it's taken longer for the relationship to evolve than it otherwise might... I'm ok with this, it is what it is, but what I mean to say by pointing it out is that we truly don't know where things are going and are in no rush to figure it out. What with her new child, I doubt we'll take any major steps forward together soon. However, we have set no limits on what steps we *could* some day discuss taking.

If we decided it would make us both happy we could set a concrete date night each week plus a long weekend of vacation for just the two of us once per year, or we could get handfasted, or if/when I buy a house I could choose a place near hers, or we could work out some kind of legal contract that would allow me to take care of her child if she and her husband were to die, or I could actually move in with her and her family and be a co-primary partner to her along with her husband (I hope this never seems like a good option because it would pretty much have to mean my bf and I, who are discussing moving in together, had split up, but who knows what the future will bring). All of this would need to be ok with her husband, of course, but he and I get along very well so I don't see that as prohibitive.

I've made this very personal, I realize, and your relationship by no means needs to look anything like this in order to be healthy. That's the amazing thing about poly... the part of it that in some ways can be the most challenging to societal norms and which can be scary if you need certainty in your life... any given relationship can be allowed to develop into exactly what it wants to be with no script.

Which brings us to this question -- "How do you think I should consider approaching things differently?" I would suggest letting go of preconceptions and fears as much as you can and embracing the exciting unknown of what you and this woman could feel and could be to each other.

Why do this?

1) Because it could be amazing and bring things to your life you never imagined. For instance, if I was trying to keep myself from loving my gf "too much" or being too deeply involved in her life, I probably would never have gotten close enough to fall in love with her child, and loving a brand new person has been a unique and delightful experience.

2) Because there's no reason not to. It goes against traditional mono thinking, but it really is possible to fall in love and yet keep your head on straight and keep on loving and being committed to your other partner(s) just as much as before. Your relationship with your husband by no means needs to be in any peril over this as long as you show him you're still there with him and he trusts you. On her end, it's not bad for her to have your love and perhaps some degree of commitment even if you never can give her more. She's an adult, if she says she's fine and happy you have to trust her, and if a primary partnership ends up being what she wants and isn't something she can get from you, she can stay with you while seeking it elsewhere (she'd be limited to someone poly-friendly, who preferably doesn't hate your guts, but this is by no means impossible to find). Or she can leave if she decides this isn't right for her. There's no reason at all for you to feel guilty.

3) If you set limits now, before you have a clue what this relationship wants to become, there's every chance you'll end up butting up against them later. If in your mind it's acceptable for this to become something more than a caring friendship, even if neither of you expect it to, if it some day does go in that direction it'll be a surprise, not a disaster. Whereas if it's NOT ok for anything deeper to develop, if you realize some day that you want more than anything to do something that wouldn't cause any harm to other pieces of your life per se but that is more serious than is acceptable (giving each other special pieces of jewelry to wear as a symbol of your relationship, for example) you'll be faced with the choice of changing the boundary (in which case why was it there in the first place?), surpressing that desire (which could badly impact your relationship with her), or ending things. Why set up that situation?
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  #153  
Old 12-14-2011, 08:34 PM
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Something I have discovered over time is that monogamy is societally based on monoamoury. By its nature it creates this relationship dynamic. Really though, most people develop feelings for others all the time. Its what is done with those feelings that is the question really in terms of the difference between poly and mono.

Sometimes poly indicates a lifestyle choice and sometimes an orientation. For example my Mono is monoamourous. Its tested and true to this point. It makes him monogamous as an idnetity, not as a lifestyle choice.

I think people can be monogamous and be polyamourous depending on stage and choice in life as a lifestyle choice. They can also be monoamorous and be monogamous as an identity, but it stands to reason that they wouldn't be monoamourous and in a polyamorous. They could be in a poly relationship dynamic maybe, as Mono is.
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  #154  
Old 01-18-2012, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
There generally seem to be two camps. One is the type of person who identifies as being poly, like it's a gender or sexual orientation. Those tend to be the people who say, "I've always known I was poly" or "Finally, I have a word for what I am." They see poly as integral to who they are, and part of their nature.

The other camp sees polyamory as a structure for relationships, a practice, an approach, without feeling like it's who they are. These people (I include myself in this camp) tend to view poly not as an identity, but simply as a way of life we can choose or not. If poly seems to be the right fit for now, we embrace it, and leave room for the possibility of monogamy if that feels right at some point.

There are so many ways to live polyamorously. Don't worry about what others are doing, other than looking to someone with experience for some advice. But there's no one single way to "do poly," so just make sure it feels right for you.
I thought this a really useful description of this theory. Hope its helpful.
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  #155  
Old 01-22-2012, 05:31 PM
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I looked through my journal to see what I've learned last year since we started a poly relationship in the spring. I didn't think the list would be this long, though... Sorry about that. No wonder I feel like it's been an eventful year! I am writing this all from the perspective from opening up an existing relationship to start a poly relationship, since that's my experience.

a. I need to give a lot of thought to my own wants and needs, and work on making my own boundaries. I am responsible for that, and it will benefit not only me but my partners as well.

b1. The concept of 'wanting the relationships to be equal' can perhaps be a useful approach to make sure there is consideration for the new partner/relationship and for enabling changes that are necessary in the beginning of a poly relationship. However, at some point you need to move from "fair" to "what everybody involved wants and needs" in order to create relationships that bring the most satisfaction for everybody involved. (And the point a. is important in this process: you need to know what you want and need to do this.) Also, equality is not sameness or symmetry.

b2. Related to that one. Equality/fairness perspective has an inherent assumption of entitlement. I.e. because my partner has x my other partner should have x, too, otherwise it's not fair. There is a problem with that, because really it comes down not to what the other person has, but what all involved want.

b3. Opening up and starting a poly relationship, you cannot be opposed to change in your original relationship. You will no longer be 'a couple' but three, or more people. However, you also shouldn't strive for equality right off the bat. It is useful to think about the time it takes in a new monogamous relationship to entwine lives. It will take more time in a poly relationship, because there are more people and lives involved. You should let things develop in a pace that feels comfortable to the direction they want to take.

c. It is ok to feel odd and awkward with things. Those feelings will come up with poly since we are socially conditioned to monogamy, but they will always pass with time, and poly becomes the new 'normal'. The feelings also must not keep you from communicating.

d. I am good at taking into account and balancing my partners' needs, even in NRE. I need to work on is recognising and taking into account my own needs just as much.

e. The importance of living and being present in the moment cannot be overstated. I want to concentrate fully on whatever it is I am doing at the moment to enjoy it. For this again the point a. is important: I need to have boundaries and decide to engage with things when I have the energy to be present doing them. E.g. I need to have enough time for myself to be able to be present and enjoy the company of a partner.

f. No matter how long you have been together with your partner, there are sides to them that are new and interesting. Everybody changes and evolves. If you feel like you already know everything there is to somebody, make the effort to get to know more of them.

g. A monogamous person can be completely happy and satisfied in a polyamorous relationship where their partner has other partner(s). There can be total acceptance of each other, and it doesn't always require tons of painful work to get there. There will be some uncomfortable feelings to work through, though. (I am not trying to disregard the experiences of the people who find the transition extremely difficult, or never get to a comfortable place in a mono/poly relationship. Just saying that mono/poly can work just fine for all involved.)

h. It is good to ask for what you want. If you want a hug, you can ask for it. If you want to hear "I love you" more often, you can ask for that. The fact that your partner didn't read your mind and spontaneously do what you wished for in no way lessens the value of the sentiment. If you can let go of the belief that people in love should read each others minds, you can communicate what you want to feel loved and truly enjoy it when you get it from your partner.

i. I need to trust other people to communicate their feelings to me. It creates huge amounts of stress to try to guess. Also, if I do guess, it creates a disincentive for them to talk to me, since I seem to be able to read their mind. I do not want to be responsible for the communication alone, therefore I need to wait for my partners to choose to talk to me, even if I do have a feeling there is something going on.

j. When your partner feels jealous, insecure or other negative emotion, you may feel hopeless. It is important you don't let that emotion to take over, so that you can be there and support them. You should also remind yourself that the feeling of hopelessness is not based on reality. Even if you feel like, at that moment, no progress is being made, that is not necessarily/likely true. Just because your partner feels hurt doesn't mean they will keep feeling it. It will pass, and likely become less intense and come up less and less often in time, as they are working through it.

k. Metamours need to be able to communicate directly. The importance of this cannot be overstated! It is ok if some information is passed on by the shared partner, but there needs to be a shared understanding and commitment to direct communication when it is needed. I addition to communication, it is helpful if metamours can get along and care about each other's well being. That is all you need in a metamour relationship. If there's more, that's great, but you should let it develop on its own and to the level that feels natural to all involved.

l. When a partner expresses hurt feelings to me, they need support, not for me to fix it. I need to set aside my rational responses to their possibly irrational feelings, and be there for support. I can bring up the rational later if it seems it could help, but not before they are ready for that. (I am so bad at this, but I'm trying.)

m. No matter how much thinking you've done about poly, and how much your partner tells you they are ok, there is likely to be guilt when you first start a relationship with somebody else. You shouldn't let that guilt dictate your behaviour. You need to trust that your partner will tell you if something is bothering them.

n. I've always approached my friendships as an individual, not as a couple. Thus, it has felt natural to do the same when it comes to romantic relationships. I think this has helped me in poly. I don't change my approach around how I make plans or what I do. For example, I always schedule meetings with friends alone and just inform my husband about the fact that I wont be home at the time; similarly I schedule meetings with mygirlfriend and inform my husband about that. I don't think the nature of the relationship should make a difference in terms of control, in that I would suddenly start asking for permission to go on a date or something like that.
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  #156  
Old 01-23-2012, 12:16 AM
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It's not poly if you're not being honest and trying to maintain it. That includes honesty with yourself and everyone you're in relationships with.
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:15 AM
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Poly people don't have the right to say, "I am going to do what I want when I want to and if you don't like it, tough shit." They can say that, but that is not being responsible to the agreement made with others to be considerate, consensual, respectful of their feelings. It isn't ethical. Therefore, to me, it is just selfishness and not poly.
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  #158  
Old 01-29-2012, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Here is a great clip that I find representative of the overwhelming feeling we get when a new paradigm finally clicks in - makes sense.........
...................
but I wasn't open to him being poly then. I didn't even really know it was an option. So, I had fought them, and he gave her up for me. It's been tearing them both up, because they really do love one another. She completes a part of him that I can't and I complete a part of him that she can't. When he had us both last year, before I found out and ruined it, he was the happiest I had seen him in a long time. So, we will be talking to A. I will be the one to break the ice on that subject, so that she knows where everything stands. She and I have been rebuilding our friendship (I love her like a sister!!) for a few months now. I am actually EXTREMELY excited to talk to her. Even when they had their affair, she would always tell my hubby, "This can't ruin your marriage. You love your wife too much, she loves you too much, and I love you both too much." Oh, if I had only been wiser then!! I really can't wait to bring A in as a partner in the ultimate goal of happiness and love. I miss her and her kids so badly!!



We spend a lot of time on the board discussing the complications & struggles of moving towards poly understanding & living.

What I think we don't talk enough about is that elation we (if lucky) find when we finally "get there". I've borrowed the above snippet from a thread I was participating in that really illustrates how wonderful and releasing it is when we realize we CAN build something where everyone wins ! When we're all on the same page working towards the same goal and outcome. And how beautiful that feels.

I think for those who have 'gotten there' you know it's a feeling that's hard to describe.

I would encourage any of you who do understand that to contribute YOUR stories and feelings to this thread.

Thanks in advance to the OP who I borrowed from. I hope this was acceptable because as I say, stories like this are SO important for everyone to hear - especially those who question whether they can ever truly "get there".

The answer as you point out is a resounding YES !

GS
That response was so beautiful it nearly made me cry! I just wanted to cry out "yes!" as I read her realizations...

As a poly married to a mostly mono who is flirting with trying things, yet struggling with my forming other relationships, it gives me hope...

Thank you so much for sharing!
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:02 PM
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If there is one thing I have learned being the gf and wife of many its that I need to weigh up every ones feelings and my own, decide on a course of action that considers everyone's feelings and then wade into it very slowly, looking for pitfalls all the way. I find it better to wade in more slowly than any of my loves think is necessary because something seems to come up every time.

That and that jealousy tends to be a newbie thing. Really, once people get through figuring out what they feel so threatened by. What their fear is and start working towards their own relationship goals, the only thing that lingers in poly, generally speaking, is time management and consideration of others.
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