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  #371  
Old 02-23-2012, 09:52 AM
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The problem is, though, that until you make your own boundaries, it is impossible to say if you and Alex are really incompatible or if you just cannot appreciate her because you don't take the independence and space that you need. Then again, breaking up is the healthy thing to do if you can't break the pattern of co-dependency while in the relationship.
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  #372  
Old 02-24-2012, 04:19 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I don't think it's quite so obvious that you ought to just leave her already...I have no idea what I would do in your place...it's so sad.

Especially since it sounds like Alex has really been trying lately, reading "Opening Up" and meeting your lover. But I sort of wish she were doing more things to gain her own independence and to find herself, rather than putting all her energy into the relationship with you.

Such a tough situation. When monogamous people want more space and freedom, they break up with their partner and date other people. But because we're poly we don't have to do to that...so it's much harder to figure out when / why we SHOULD leave.

Is Alex not giving you enough independence, or do you feel claustrophobic even though Alex gives you a reasonable amount of independence? Is it the dynamics of this relationship that don't work for you, or would you feel smothered in any relationship?

So confusing
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  #373  
Old 02-28-2012, 04:15 AM
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I think I'm going to start using "New Situation Energy" instead of "New Relationship Energy" because yes, I do feel it outside of relationships and friendships, whether it's a new (to me!) car or a career change or what-have-you.

TGIB and I have been trying to figure out if we're still in NRE (oops, I mean NSE! :P) or not. We do enjoy spending an AWFUL lot of time together, and since we are currently a LDR it makes sense that NSE could still be affecting us. (15+ months dating total, but only 5 months since making a commitment to each other that we're in this for better or for worse.)

Whether we are affected by NSE right now or not, I'm pretty sure we will be when he moves out here in June. It will be a new situation AND a new relationship as we figure out what is the same from our LDR and what has changed being around each other every day. In some ways, as excited as I am to have him here and to watch him create the life he wants, I'm even MORE excited for the chance to be completely over/out of NSE with him. I want so much to have that comfortable, "yes, I love you but I don't have to satisfy my craving RIGHT NOW because we have all the time in the world" feeling.
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  #374  
Old 03-08-2012, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
I don't think it's quite so obvious that you ought to just leave her already...I have no idea what I would do in your place...it's so sad.

Especially since it sounds like Alex has really been trying lately, reading "Opening Up" and meeting your lover. But I sort of wish she were doing more things to gain her own independence and to find herself, rather than putting all her energy into the relationship with you.

Such a tough situation. When monogamous people want more space and freedom, they break up with their partner and date other people. But because we're poly we don't have to do to that...so it's much harder to figure out when / why we SHOULD leave.

Is Alex not giving you enough independence, or do you feel claustrophobic even though Alex gives you a reasonable amount of independence? Is it the dynamics of this relationship that don't work for you, or would you feel smothered in any relationship?

So confusing
I agree! So confusing. Which is why I have not committed to leaving even when everything in me was saying "Run out the door and save yourself...now!!" The fact that Alex continues to try so hard really does inspire me about our relationship and help me to feel really committed to doing the same. Its just that the way we are trying is so different. For me, I have to continually struggle to ask for the freedom I want and need and be honest about my feelings and experiences with other people (right now, that is K), and also to be willing to examine my impulses to leave when things get hard. For Alex, her struggle is really about letting go and examining her expectations that she should be able to fulfill all my needs and the jealousy that arises when I choose to get my needs met elsewhere. Even though we still have a long way to go, we really have come so much farther than I ever thought possible when we began this journey just 8 short months ago.

One fantastic development is that Alex did go out on a limb and have her own sexual experience at a play party recently. I think it did a world of good for her to have an experience outside of our relationship and see that different experiences are just that...different. I was really proud of her for being willing to try something that stretched her comfort zone just a bit and she ended up really enjoying it and even finding out about a side of herself (an interest in BDSM) that she is potentially interested in exploring more outside of our relationship. For now she's not really actively pursuing that but as opportunities arise I think she will be more and more willing to explore that without me, and I am encouraging her to do so.

I have been asking for more freedom to see K as often as I can, which lately is not much due to a hectic travel schedule. It is hard on Alex when I want to take what little time I have at home and devote some of it to seeing K. But I have been trying to remind myself that I need to ask for what I want and let Alex have whatever reaction she is going to have. I have been able to be patient and supportive as she works through her initial anger and discomfort with my requests, without trying to rush in and fix anything or withdraw my request and then harbor resentment about it (which I did often when I was seeing Sam). She has been able to work through a great deal of jealousy and insecurity this way, which is so reassuring for me to see.

I think what is still coming up a lot for me is dealing with my intensifying feelings for K and just letting them be what they are. I notice myself having impulses that I think are related to a leftover serial monogamy mentality of "wow, i am totally falling for this person so i need to drop everything to be with them!" No pressure is coming from K who, even though this is her first experience with poly, has been incredibly patient and understanding and reassuring that she is totally happy with the way things are and wants to "simply be there for me". Wow. Things are still very new with us and we are still working out our communication style, which right now mostly consists of texting between time spent together, and our visits tend to be very fun and sexual with not a lot of time devoted to processing emotions. Which is great, but sometimes I find myself with questions in my mind that I do not voice to her, or things I want to say that I never seem to find the courage to say. Partially its because its all so new (we've been seeing each other for a little over 2 months now) and I don't want to get too deep too fast, and partially its because it is my tendency to hold back a bit when I'm uncertain. Definitely its clear that we are both really into each other, but we haven't spent a lot of time exploring what that means or what our intentions are with each other.

Managing the NRE without that "tortured" feeling is still a challenge for me. I get surprised at how easy it seems for other people to deal with, and even put up boundaries around it when needed. It seems that this, I am not so good at.
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  #375  
Old 03-12-2012, 04:05 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beginninglove View Post

One fantastic development is that Alex did go out on a limb and have her own sexual experience at a play party recently. I think it did a world of good for her to have an experience outside of our relationship and see that different experiences are just that...different. I was really proud of her for being willing to try something that stretched her comfort zone just a bit and she ended up really enjoying it and even finding out about a side of herself (an interest in BDSM) that she is potentially interested in exploring more outside of our relationship. For now she's not really actively pursuing that but as opportunities arise I think she will be more and more willing to explore that without me, and I am encouraging her to do so.
I'm really glad to hear this!

Don't forget that Alex's new interest in BDSM might be something you can explore WITH her, IN your relationship with her, rather than just sending her to seek it elsewhere.

If I had a primary partner, I would want our outside experiences to feed into improving the sexual chemistry between the two of us...especially if there were an initial problem with the sexual connection.

I guess what I mean is, don't get so caught up in K that you forget that Alex might be an extremely sexual person (not just good for cuddling!) underneath the issues and insecurities she may have.

Thanks for the update! Glad to hear things are going well.
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  #376  
Old 03-12-2012, 07:18 PM
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Default the torture part of the NRE

okay, i am promising myself right now that i am going to post this and then i am getting RIGHT to work and am not going to be distracted for the rest of the day!!

thanks for the comment, MeeraReed. its so great to get feedback here. good to be reminded that Alex is a sexual person too, because she definitely is. in fact, this past weekend i was away at a meditation retreat and got so filled up with appreciation for how attentive and responsive she is to me, so when i got home i made sure we had some sexy time together even though i was exhausted. its not the intensely passionate kind of sexy time that k and i have, but its a different relationship altogether and i get that different is okay and good and even necessary. there is no comparison. things with Alex are pretty great right now.

still struggling with the NRE with k. trying to just sit with it, breathe through it, not indulge my crazy obsessive tendencies. but it is SO HARD. while i was away this weekend i obsessively checked my phone to see if she had texted. i sent her some pictures of the beautiful grounds at the retreat center along with a note about some of the things i was thinking about and was disappointed when her response was sweet but brief. last time i was away at a meditation retreat, we ended up texting a lot on my last day there about a lot of the things i had been thinking and feeling all weekend (its an intense spiritual program). i was disappointed that we didn't do that this time, even though there is a very good reason for this as she is away taking care of her daughter and is very busy i am sure. also, last time i was away i was planning to come straight to her house after i got back, but this time i won't see her until later this week.

i don't know why i am obsessing on this and trying to figure it all out in my head. i think is hard for me that the vast majority of our communication is over text, and that even in person we don't talk about our feelings a lot, because i am left with all these questions. even though her actions say so much (she is so thoughtful and playful with creating fun surprises for me and cooking meals, giving me little gifts, etc), a big part of me wants to hear in words what is on her mind too. i stop myself from asking because i don't want to come off as needy or demanding or too emotional or like i'm rushing things. but i suppose since the feeling is there in me i need to honor it in some way. i just need to find the right way. i go over and over different strategies in my mind, should i back off, just give her space and let things unfold without pushing? should i ask for reassurance? should i just tell her how i feel? should i wait it out, try to learn how to soothe myself, and just see what happens?

ugh, this is the torturous part of the NRE... and the worst part is knowing that i do this to myself. the trick is figuring out how to STOP. you'd think the meditation practice would help, and it does, but as soon as i am not meditating my mind just goes right back to these frustrating circles.
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  #377  
Old 03-16-2012, 08:11 PM
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had an amazing night with k last night. the energy between us is just so sexy and sweet and fun and addictive! ahhh the serotonin bath of NRE...

the other day alex asked me if i thought i might be falling in love with k, and i didn't know what to say. what does "falling in love" really mean? it certainly feels that way if you count all the swirling emotions that go along with NRE as "falling in love". but since k and i have only been hanging out for 3 months, can you really justify calling anything that we are feeling now "love"? its maybe a certain type of love, I suppose. But maybe I can't tell whether we are "falling in love" for real until we get to know each other better? all i know is that i love spending time with her, and the sex is mind-blowingly phenomenal!!
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  #378  
Old 03-17-2012, 02:14 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I wonder if you can "diffuse" the obsessive excitement of NRE by spreading it toward Alex too. Like, if you find yourself checking obsessively for a text from K, could you text Alex to tell her you love her or to send her some random picture or whatever? Maybe that will help.

I also struggle to know what "falling in love" means and how that is different from new-great-sex-energy and from the "I want to be with you and only you forever" feeling that seems to be how most people experience love. I don't trust the former and I don't experience the latter, so...?

How did you respond to Alex's question about your feelings for K? How did she respond to your response? How would Alex feel if you really did fall in love with K?

Sounds like things are going really well. Keep at it.
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  #379  
Old 03-20-2012, 07:57 PM
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thanks for your good questions and feedback again, MeeraReed. very helpful.

i've been trying to be extra attentive to alex, doing things with her that i know she enjoys. the sex between us has not been going well though, as i am feeling it even less than usual with alex lately. i remember seeing something about "the top 10 lies of polyamory" or something like that at one point and one of the statements was "sex with outside partners does not change my sex life with my primary at all" or something along those lines. so i wonder if this extra big dip in my sex drive with alex is normal since things with K are in such overdrive right now, or if its really a red flag or maybe just something that will come back after things with K even out a bit. sex with alex has never been extraordinary, as i have mentioned before, so maybe this is to be expected. however, sometimes i find myself wanting to pull back even when she just wants to make out, which is something relatively new.

even though i am not clear about my answer to the "what is love?" question and whether or not i want to use that term to define what i am feeling for K, its pretty clear to me that the situation with k is not and never will be a situation where she would supplant my primary partnership with alex. she is such an adventurous soul with a tremendous history of being a "wild child" which makes for great stories and excitement but also makes me appreciate the stability and dependability that alex brings as a primary partner with whom i share a mortgage and a car payment, etc.
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  #380  
Old 03-20-2012, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
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sex with alex has never been extraordinary...
Why not?
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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