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  #11  
Old 02-28-2012, 11:44 PM
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Default More reflections...

So yeah, this is kinda turning into bloggy #2 for me, I can admit it that it's happened.

I read all these posts out loud to my boyfriend the other day and he was really touched. It helped us a lot. It also helped me to reflect in a more positive light on some of our experiences.

I think I've been really overwhelmed by guilty feelings. What we're doing is so outside of the normal and so often labelled as horrible and wrong that it's easy for me to super overly scrutinise all my actions and worry that I haven't been perfect. What I've sort of started to see from lots of people's posts on here is that triads, ESPECIALLY when they break down into vees, get very complicated.

For us, when our tryad broke down into a vee, everything got very messy. The hierarchy issue of "primary" vs "secondary" partner came up. Because of social pressures and the newness of everything we were doing (and probably doing too fast, I can admit in retrospect!) R essentially withdrew her sense of building a relationship with me and building an ally with me and then pretty much focused on trying to push away the equality that we'd established as a baseline normal for our relationship, and re-establish herself as the primary partner. That did not go well for any of us, because T wouldn't let that happen, for better or for worse. I can finally understand now the complexity of the situation; T wanted equality, I certainly wanted equality, R wanted equality for a while... then R wanted her and T's relationship to be primary, and mine to be secondary to theirs. But I had already TOTALLY thrown in my lot with theirs, sharing with them literally everything I had; my time, my finances, and my love. Yikes! Not a great time to backpedal on the whole equality thing! Because I was certainly sharing in equal of the responsibilities... so not having equality in the emotional and decision making aspects of our household would have been really terrible.

The moral judgements of others have NOT helped at all in this situation. Essentially, the only way to keep society happy with all of this would have been...
1. to never have tried
2. For T to leave R and then date me a respectable year later
3. to have remained very much the outside partner, long-suffering in my patience and waiting for a relationship to open up and give the equality and commitment I so deeply craved and needed.

And to give credit where credit is due, T really was quite insistent on equality for all partners from the very beginning; I think the difficult part of all of this, is that when walking into an established relationship, how does a person create equality while still affirming the vibrancy, the feelings, and the strength of the existing relationship? And reassuring both partners of the security of their love?

The only real "answer" I have for this is that it takes time. But for a secondary partner, how much time is too much time to be reasonably stomached? The only real model I have for this to follow is that of a monogamous relationship. That model seems to tell me that "as things get serious, and you can trust each other more and more, you can start to talk about sharing the big things" and then once you get to the level where you've declared long-term commitment to each other, that's when equality comes in. (To me, equality really means equality of responsibilities and care for one another; therefore, "sharing the big things.)

But what happens when some partners feel committed and the other partner isn't ready yet for that level of commitment?

My boyfriend was recently dating another woman. I did have some pretty firm boundaries (ie no sex without us talking about it first) with him. I wanted to feel like my relationship with him was being respected and valued. Also, I didn't feel like him casually dated her gave them a high level of commitment to each other that sex implies for me. So that wasn't "equality" because I can have sex with my boyfriend whenever we both want, I didn't have to ask her permission. As the relationship continued, I realised that I might have to modify or change my boundaries to accommodate their growing relationship. Ie, their commitment to each other needed some space to grow, and to be reflected in changing boundaries as they could share more. And I wasn't opposed to that; I just felt that it would take time, conversation between my boyfriend and I, and lots of visioning of what our relationship would look like with her in the picture, and what he wanted out of that relationship before I was ready to give him that "free reign" of go ahead, share sex and emotions and all those other really highly important things that signify a deeper commitment.

Eventually, the two of them realised that they preferred to be friends rather than anything else, so I really didn't have to re-examine those boundaries too much; but it did go on long enough for me to at least sit down and think to myself "I'm going to have to reconsider my boundaries so their relationship can grow".

Anyway, I have so many more reflections, but who wants to read a super long post anyway? lol. So those are my thoughts on boundaries, triads, vees... and trying to negotiate some of those different aspects of polyamorous relationships.
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  #12  
Old 02-29-2012, 12:48 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Default NRE and decision making.

triads are a mine field. poly-fi triads quadruple those mines, and create a breeding ground for upset and alienation for whoever is not in NRE. The "unicorn" is gunna win, hands down, as the nre is going to be between him/her and one of the couple - the left out couple, if unprepared for what's coming, is going to end up pretty dang unhappy. This seems to be the truth that i've seen, both in my experience, and in the experiences of other reading that i've done. a lot of relationships end because of attempting to have a poly fi triad, and the two people in nre often end up giving things a go. It's a surprisingly common & bizarre conclusion to an idealistic mission!!

Once you've been 'round the block, you know what to expect (often, peeps don't listen to advice, which is all over this board, lord knows i didn't!). When you're starting out, it's quite a wake up call, and an unstable relationship can go south in a hurry.

My hubbo and i were rock solid, and our poly-fi triad was ripping us apart - same thing happened, xgf and i started having distance despite our budding love, and it went sideways from there. lucky for us, my hubbo and i are both super committed to each other, because there were some mega complications in our sitch too. Whatever steps we take to move forward from here will be after time, therapy and self-examination. if we'd kept moving forward, it would have destroyed our marriage.

ideals vs. realities - there can be a big discrepancy. the reality of your sich is that the poly-fi triad ended in divorce - not quite all equal in the end as the ideal was, but it seems like the reality is that they rarely, if ever are. I think it's pretty awesome that you're able to self reflect on the part that you played in that relationship ending - sounds like agreements and boundaries were needed between all of you that weren't there - too much, too soon on every front, for everyone, and that the impending explosion could have been navigated differently or even avoided with alternate/hard-won perspectives/experiences. All you can do is take those lessons and move forward.

These things aren't anyone's "fault" though! everyone played a part in this, and no one person can step up and take full responsibility.
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  #13  
Old 03-01-2012, 03:39 AM
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Default

Thanks for the response! I know this is getting awfully long, lol, so I'm pleasantly surprised when someone reads it all.

Quote:
My hubbo and i were rock solid, and our poly-fi triad was ripping us apart - same thing happened, xgf and i started having distance despite our budding love, and it went sideways from there. [...] if we'd kept moving forward, it would have destroyed our marriage.
I read this to my boyfriend and he said something I thought was pretty important to mention, actually. That is, the three of us being in a triad relationship didn't cause his divorce. He said he thinks it accelerated it, but certainly didn't cause it. Looking back, I honestly can see that their divorce was not inevitable... but, sadly, what the divorce represents to me is the most healthy resolution to an unhappy and unstable situation.

Ultimately, I believe that responsible adults seek divorce not because it's the easier solution than working through the problems, but because it's the healthier solution for them that they feel will ultimately offer them more peace of mind and spirit than their marriage. (Irresponsible adults probably seek divorce for other reasons!) Sadly, this ending has certainly enabled my boyfriend to begin healing from years of incredible stress and emotional turmoil.

Quote:
poly-fi triads quadruple those mines,
I haven't mentioned this before but actually, R was also dating a man. Their relationship was very emotionally meaningful to her, but the man she was involved with wasn't/isn't ready to commit to her because he is also poly and in a committed relationship with a woman. It has been difficult for R to be the "secondary" in that relationship in terms of commitment levels, when actually he loves R very much, and seems emotionally and physically very attached to her. Hard to know if that's just NRE, but nonetheless, he does seem to genuinely care for her. I think if that couple was more in a place to open up to her, the two of them would likely become much more serious. At least the man and R seem to be better matched than R and T.

Quote:
sounds like agreements and boundaries were needed between all of you that weren't there - too much, too soon on every front, for everyone
Definitely. It's funny, because we tried to have certain boundaries in place, ie we started doing alternating date nights where T and R would have that much needed alone time together. However, almost inevitably, their dates would fall apart. They would start to argue. For the first couple of months, I tried to help them sort through their issues, playing a referee to their arguments. We would stay up to 3-4 in the morning trying to work through emotions. Well, that was clearly a poor boundary on my part. So then, I said "f this, I'm staying out of it" and I'd go back to my place. That's when T would eventually leave the house and come to my place, obviously making the situation worse. He told me there was two options; either sleep over at my place, or sleep on someone else's couch, because he wasn't sleeping at his own home! (Hence I should've told him to find a couch and leave me out of it!) Anyway. Could that situation have been any crazier? I'm telling you, BP, poly triads may degrade, but nothing degrades faster or worse than an already f'd up relationship!

I'm sure you'e probably thinking to yourself "omg how wrong of T to leave the house..." but that would be underestimating the amount of emotional wreckage that R and T were dealing with. I know R was hurting in those times, but the problem was, R and T's marriage didn't have a time when R wasn't hurting. R's incredibly unstable emotions were always the clock to which their relationship ran... T comforting R and stabilising her, comforting her, helping her... for many, many years, T lacked the appropriate boundaries to know when to say, "I'm sorry honey, but I can't help you with this. I've done the best I can." So when he finally began to find those boundaries, there was so much stuff already built up from their past that R interpreted this as him withdrawing his support, which, of course, only led her to further freak out.

So yeah, having healthy boundaries definitely applies to both monogamous and polyamorous relationships! And I think having those boundaries and the ability to both comfort one another and to have methods of self-calming in a way that mutually builds each other up instead of draining one partner is a pre-requisite to anything polyamorous!
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  #14  
Old 03-13-2012, 05:30 AM
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Smile Why divorce sucks

Why am I up at 2am writing a blog post you ask? Because divorce sucks. It just really, really sucks.

I truly, strongly believe that a child does best when both his/her parents are in his/her life, provided both those parents are stable, of course. Well. Apparently not every judge agrees with that sentiment. We just got a ruling that says we have to move cities to be closer to our little girls mother and until then we only have occasional access rights. It's crazy making. I can understand an order saying we should move within three months or something but this is beyond stressful. My boyfriend has to find a new job, we have to find a new place, and somehow find the money for moving expenses, first and last, and all as soon as we possibly can; our darling little girl will barely see us until we do.

R is doing her very best to get full custody. It's sickening. I helped to pay for her first months hydro at the place she's at now,T. Helped her pay for the first months rent... NEITHER of us were living with her at the time, but we just wanted to support her and help her because obviously getting a divorce is Hard and she didn't have much money. None of us did; I'm a student for gods sake! But I sacrificed what little I had to help her. So did T. And no, T and I don't live together, so it's not like we were somehow getting the better deal out of the separation financially. We gave her that money because it was the right thing to do. Now she's. Using the fact that she's renting a house (that I found for her through a connection of mine) against T. In court because he only has an apartment. It's truly sickening.

I really believe kids shouldn't have to suffer just because their parents can't get along anymore. I really believe that children should be automatically be granted 50/50 access to both their parents, if both parents are loving and competent parents who want their children in their lives. I think these policies could be made to be fair; ie a parent who makes significantly more money than the other parent could still be required to pay child support. That way any parent who was trying to get out of paying child support by getting joint custody would lose the financial motivation to take joint custody just for the money.

Family law clearly needs reform!

Last edited by trescool; 03-13-2012 at 05:32 AM. Reason: Trying to get rid of the smiley icon and failing... Here's a sad face for your empathic needs. :( :(
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  #15  
Old 04-06-2012, 03:16 AM
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Default Oh, love

This year has had so many learning experiences I hardly know where to begin.

Most topically, I've fallen in love, head over heels for my partner's best friend. It's been quite the experience. I certainly didn't expect to fall for a man given all the angst I've been experiencing around being in a long term relationship with a man already. When I met T. I thought I would marry a woman. I had zero intentions of starting a relationship with a man, and described myself as a Lesbian, gay or bisexuals interchangeably, but always with the assumption that I was so queer I'd be married to a woman within a couple of years so who cared anyway? I honestly thought that falling for T was more or less a fluke. I even was annoyed that I'd fallen in love with a man rather than a woman, feeling that if only I could have ignored my impulsive emotions and stayed true to the path of searching for the Right Woman, I'd have avoided a lot of angst and pain. Falling in Love with my partners friend- let's call him Gentleman shall we?- made me realize this whole bi thing ain't a fluke, it's here to stay, whether or not I like it.

Gentleman is a dear friend to both my partner and I. I found myself wondering what my life would've been like if I would've met him five years ago, and married him. Thinking all those thoughts and reflecting for days on end helped me to learn some very important things:

1 I can't be in the closet to my extended family for any longer if I plan on having a stable, long term relationship with a man, and simultaneously not going crazy. If I'm going to make this work, it's because I'm going to have the same courage to be myself that I'd have to have if I was going to marry a woman. I can't continue to hide my identity anymore from my extended family, no matter how much my parents just want me to continue sweeping it all under the rug so that they don't have to face discrimination for having a gay daughter.

Being able to live openly as a bi woman even while I'm dating a man is a really big deal to me. The bi community apparently suffers from poorer rates of Mental health than the gay or Lesbian community and I believe itnis due to the invisibility we feel, always assumed to be straight if we're with someone of the opposite sec,.or gay if we're with someone of the same sex. Even in queer circles, I face so much discrimination and feelings of isolation as people assume I'm straight or complain about how bi girls are heart breakers who leave them for men in the end- and if her last girlfriend left her for another woman she won't complain about it, mind you!

So this new love has really given me so many beautiful gifts despite the fact that I'm choosing not to do anything about it other than let the feelings fade into something more platonic, and for a very good reason; he's poly, his wife is mono, and oh, Dear Lord does that ever sound like a way to ruin a good friendship. So here's to falling for your partner's best friend! The experience of longing for the unattainable has helped me.to realize the changes I need to make in my life to live happier and healthier life, and continue building a strong relationship with my partner.
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  #16  
Old 04-07-2012, 09:55 AM
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Default Get over it!

OK, my crush on Gentleman is getting to be annoying. I can't seem to follow my own advice and get over it. I can't sleep and have been thinking of him all day. Ugh, talk about nre and the stupid part is we aren't even in a new relationship!

All right I need some advice! What do ya'al do when you have incredibly strong feelings for someone you either can't be with or choose not to be with because you know better?

So far, I've done the following:
-talk extensively with my partner about it, discussing the emotional needs and desires Gentleman has brought up for me.
-written a long letter to myself and burned it
-indulged in all kinds of wild sex with my partner
-expressed my feelings through painting
-pour my heart out to God daily
-reflected on why these feelings are coming up for me and journalled about it
-I haven't talked with Gentleman since I started to feel this way, to avoid complicating my feelings further!

I know that this is coming up so strongly for me because my partner and I face so many difficulties in our life right now- his family and mine are totally pissed about his divorce and our relationship, he has temporarily lost custody until he can get back into the same city as his ex, therefore he needs to move, find a new job (slow progress is being made) and a new place- but knowing that these stresses are why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling is not helping me get over my feelings!

Help?
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  #17  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:14 AM
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Why stay away? It sounds like adding a romantic dimension to your friendship with him would be lovely and very satisfying, not to mention fulfilling some lusty urges. I don't think that just because you had made up your mind not to be with men should mean you need to avoid any entanglements with this man. He might be perfect for you!
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  #18  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:46 AM
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Thanks, ncyndie. . This is what I love about this forum; my needs are actually acknowledged instead of assumed to be wrong! The issue is Gentleman's wife is not down for poly at ALL. She nearly bit his head off the one time he brought it up with her and made it very clear to him it was in no way even close to acceptable to her. I think she believes poly would destroy her marriage and cause Gentleman to not provide her with all she needs.

So when I said she's mono and he's poly I meant in orientation not action; they have chosen a monogamous marriage.

Also, to be completely honest with myself I think I'm attracted to him as a (for lack of a better word) husband and father of potential children rather than what is actually remotely possible; which is to be his loved and friend. I think I look at all that he's built in his home life and it represents to me all that T e and I so deeply lack, and so deeply crave; stability, social support, social approval, family support, family approval.

These things are especially hard around family holidays, when T and I are faced with our family's disapproval and lack of support all the more.

I honestly faced way less discrimination in my Lesbian relationships than I do in this (failed) poly one.

And just think; T and I aren't even in a multiple relationship right now! People are mad at us because of his divorce not because of our current actions! .

Last edited by trescool; 04-07-2012 at 04:08 PM.
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  #19  
Old 04-08-2012, 05:09 PM
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Default Yikes

I've really come to emotionally know that Gentleman and I can't be together.

Certainly not in the way I want. Instead of making peace with that though I find myself setting in to a kind of hopeless despair. I am having trouble seeing happiness in T and my future; mostly due to the huge family strain and pressure T and I are facing. I think my feelings for Gentleman exploded inside me with such urgency and strength because of the depth of difficulties T and I are facing; Gentleman represents a happy family life to me, something T and I so deeply lack right now. T and I have so much repair work to do, as we pick up the pieces of his failed marriage, attempt to repair relationships with our families and friends who disapproved of poly and pay off the literal debts acquired in the course of his marriage and our poly experience.

I'm having trouble seeing the good parts of our future and our present, and having to give up on 'what I wish could be' and accept instead what is has kinda made me feel deeply sad.

I apologize for the depressing post. I'm gonna take a nap, then go for a walk so I can try and force my brain into reflecting on more positive thoughts. I know I need to reorganize the way I'm thinking about this but for the moment I'm going to just give myself a break from thinking at all and just let myself 'be' with whatever it is I'm feeling.

I'm sure I'll pull myself out of this but for now I guess I need to mourn for what I wish could be.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:45 AM
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Default Family and social pressure

I feel much better after leaving my parents place, where I was visiting for Easter. My parents more or less know I was with T while he was still married; I think they suspect I was "having an emotional affair" with T. That's why they're so against me being with T; they see my decisions as being morally questionable and are also afraid I'm biting off more they I can chew by being with a man who's in the middle of a divorce and worse yet, custody dispute.

Telling them the truth, ie that R and T and I were in a poly relationship together while R and T were still married is not likely to put our relationship in a better view in their eyes, so I haven't told them that as of yet. Perhaps one day I will have to but I honestly believe they don't really want to know that many of the details.

Anyway, I've slowly come to realize that sadly, every time I spend an extended period of time with my family I get kinda grumpy and sad because they're actively ignoring and discouraging such a huge part of my life right now; my relationship with T. My parents have actually told me he isn't welcome in their house because they're not comfortable with this relationship. So, needless to say, holidays are really difficult. T and I usually celebrate a bit with each other and then leave to go to our family events separately, since neither his family nor mine want us around.

So when I say we've got bridges to build and relationships to heal, that's what I mean. We have sooo much work to do in order to try and re-build or social supports. It can be overwhelming at times.

Like I said, way more discrimination in this failed poly relationship than i've ever faced in a Lesbian relationship!
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