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  #121  
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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  #122  
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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  #123  
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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  #124  
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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  #125  
Old 03-20-2012, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beginninglove View Post
sex with alex has never been extraordinary...
Why not?
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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/
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  #126  
Old 03-20-2012, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Why not?
good question. i'm going to be brutally honest about this. there are a few reasons.

1) in the beginning it was better, but we quickly fell into more of a comfortable place with each other that was more secure and less sexy. i think this is somewhat typical in long term relationships and there is a reason there is that stereotype about "lesbian bed death".

2) she has a history of sexual trauma that makes her less open to certain types of sexual acts and experiences. there are a lot of rules around what we can and can't do sexually that feel limiting to my own sexual expression (this is one of the main reasons she was open to poly) and she gets triggered if i'm too sexually aggressive (which i often enjoy being and have to really watch myself during sex with her, especially if i've had a glass of wine)

3) she is a big person and is much larger than me physically, almost twice my body size. this limits the positions we can be in and also limits her physical stamina quite a bit. both partners i have chosen to have sex with since we opened up our relationship have incidentally been very physically fit people and it has really made for a completely different quality (and quantity!) of sexual activity. i do find alex physically attractive, but our sex is very limited by her size and fitness level.

4) this one is harder to articulate, but the neediness i experience from her and the high levels of emotionality seem to make me less interested in sex with her. this may be loosely related to #1, where maybe its just typical that higher levels of emotional intimacy sometimes don't provide enough space for the sexual energy to breathe.

i would love to read any and all feedback on this stuff!!
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  #127  
Old 03-27-2012, 01:38 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I've been trying to think of any feedback to offer, and I really don't have much. This is a tough situation.

1) My only experience with "lesbian bed death" comes from a Queer as Folk episode where the lesbian couple revamped their sex life by having a hot threesome with an ex. I guess that won't work here

More seriously, I do have experience with (hetero) sexual activity declining as the relationship progressed. It turned out to be a sign that there were serious problems between us (or rather, problems for him that he wouldn't tell me about). I had no idea at the time, and kept trying to do things to vamp up our sex life--the last resort of which was for us to try seeing other people to gain more experience. (Worked for me, didn't work for him, but again, he didn't tell me what was bothering him. The end result was the worst break-up I have ever gone through. The post-end result was my realization that we had never been sexually compatible to begin with).

That's just my experience. I'm not sure what would apply here, except maybe the lesson that problems with sexual connection have deeper roots and are much harder to solve than one would think.

2) Alex's history of sexual trauma is a BIG issue, I think. Any reason why you didn't mention it sooner? It seems like an important factor from her point of view.

She can't meet all your sexual needs because of her triggers, so she gave you permission to seek sexual fulfillment elsewhere. But since then she's had to struggle with knowing you must have better sex with people other than her. I can see how hard that must be.

On the other hand: is she actively getting treatment for her trauma? Has she made any progress? What is the extent of her trauma--long-term childhood abuse, an isolated incident in adulthood, etc? It matters.

It does sound like it's remarkably easy to trigger her. All you have to do is drink a glass of wine and act like a normal, amorous partner? And that's too aggressive for her?

I don't have personal experience with sexual abuse/trauma. But I do know how YOU feel--guilty for the way you express sexual feelings, rejected every time you touch her too "aggressively," and FRUSTRATED.

Also, it seems to me like Alex must have been at least partly drawn to you because of you being sexually aggressive--I mean it seems like she must be a little attracted to that. Or else why would she be with you? Is there any way for her to make progress in therapy with the end result of becoming more comfortable with more passionate sex?

(My college boyfriend would flinch away and accuse me of being too "aggressive" if I merely put my tongue in his mouth. He claimed to have experienced a traumatic childhood, but wouldn't talk about it or seek treatment. I would be more sympathetic to him if he had not been an emotionally abuse liar. It took me years to become comfortable with my own sexuality because I felt like such a pervert when I was with him).

And, I'm a little confused by something you mentioned earlier about you being the one with a dysfunctional history, which made you feel like the "damaged" one while Alex was the stable one. (Yes? Am I remembering that right?) So you felt guilty for being poly because you feared maybe you were just dysfunctional with relationships?

But how does that fit with Alex being the one with a history of sexual trauma? Isn't she the one with more emotional issues in that sense? I guess I'm assuming the trauma is from her childhood; maybe it's not.

I don't know what to say, except that it must be really painful for Alex to know she can't fulfill you sexually because of something that already deeply impacted her life in a horrible way.

3) Ah. She's heavy. Honestly, I could guess that from reading between the lines.

I dated an overweight man once. I was WILDLY attracted to him despite the weight. But yeah, what you can do in bed is really limited. And he was really insecure about his body. So I hear you.

A lot of sexual abuse survivors become overweight as a subconscious way to hide themselves and their bodies. Did that happen here? Again, is she pursuing treatment for the trauma?

So Alex probably hates her body, feels physically unwell a lot because of her weight, and has to accept the fact that you have fantastic sex with other, much thinner women? That's a lot to deal with.

(And I don't think you "incidentally" chose physically fit women for your new partners. Nothing wrong with it, but there it is.)

4) Neediness. Yeah, this is where I really sympathize with you. I am also turned off by neediness.

Possibly, however, I might be turned off by normal emotions that I interpret as neediness, when in fact I'm the one with the problem. I haven't figured that out yet.

Is Alex excessively needy, or are her feelings normal but YOU have a hard time with feelings?

She does sound needy in an unhealthy way, but I can also see how someone in her position would feel that way.

I totally understand how sex can be WAY more fun when there aren't desperate & deep feelings involved. It's such a relief to be able to focus on the physical, to feel friendship & affection for a partner without the feeling that you and you alone are responsible for their happiness.

I don't have any good advice here. Except this: it is a BIG problem that you are flinching away from her, not wanting to make out, etc.

I think this goes back to your original question, the reason you started this thread. You wanted to know if it was okay to be so subsumed in NRE that you were losing interest in your primary partner.

I think the answer is no. Polyamory is supposed to be about knowing that having feelings for someone else does NOT diminish your feelings for your other partner(s).

I mean, I think it's okay to get caught up in NRE for a little while. But then it should blossom into a renewal of feelings for your primary.

When I sought (and found) better sex with men other than my boyfriend, my feelings for my boyfriend skyrocketed. Both emotionally (because he gave me permission to date others) and physically (because the good sex I was having with others gave me FANTASTIC ideas for things I wanted to try with him).

And the good sex, as well as the different type of emotions I had with others, took the pressure off my boyfriend to meet all my needs. Being with him was no longer frustrating because I could appreciate him more, instead of longing for things he wasn't comfortable doing with me.

As a caveat, the situation totally did not work for my (ex) boyfriend, so I can't claim that my perspective is a success story. But I think it would have worked if he'd been genuinely poly.

So I feel like that's what's missing in your story here: the feeling that seeing others should be HELPING your relationship with Alex.

I mean, I think you are progressing toward that point, but are not there yet.
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Last edited by MeeraReed; 03-27-2012 at 01:43 AM.
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  #128  
Old 04-15-2012, 09:32 PM
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Thanks so much for all the good questions, MeeraReed. The day after you posted that I wrote out this long, thoughtful response to each part of your questions and then of course something happened and the site asked me to log in a bunch of times and i lost the whole thing. i was so frustrated i couldn't even visit the site for awhile. well, AND i've been very busy.

alex and i are taking some space and i am subletting a friend's apartment for the month of april. taking this space has felt AMAZING. i feel so...myself. i have been spending time with both alex and K also (no sex with alex and almost nothing BUT sex with K) so i've been busier than usual, given that the logistics of not staying home sometimes make my life feel a little more complicated, but i have also felt free, liberated, true to myself. i love the quiet time. i have decided i am a true introvert in many ways.

i have been taking things day by day, really truly practicing being in the moment and not trying to figure anything out or make any big proclamations about what i am going to do with the rest of my life (relationship-wise). i ahve been questioning everything, all the things i have taken for granted about what my life would look like or "should" look like. the notion of marriage, the ideal of a life-long partner (even in the context of poly), the assumption that someday i will have a kid of my own.

i've been reading a book called "sex at dawn" that argues that we have seriously distorted evolutionary history to support our current narrative of human sexuality where pair-bonding, monogamy, and the nuclear family are "natural" and even "instinctive". the authors argue that we are actually more naturally a communal, sharing social species where it is more adaptive to share everything: resources, sexual partners, child-raising duties, etc. i was kind of bored by the historical review of all the evidence that supports this argument, mainly because i already bought it from the beginning. nothing shocking there. it makes a lot of sense, and i've been thinking a lot more about this in terms of helping my friends raise their babies instead of having my own.

sex with k just keeps getting better and better. my practice now is to be a good communicator and keep things clear. just take things day by day. it is still hard for me to find the line between "processing" or saying too much and not saying enough.

sam actually called me this week (she was my most recent ex-lover who moved cross-country for a in-town, monogamous relationship with her LDR) and told me that things weren't working out with her relationship, and if she came to visit, could we hook up? i said no, i am currently maxed out in that department. it feels good to be in touch with what i want and be able to assert my boundaries with no guilt or afterthought.
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  #129  
Old 04-23-2012, 04:32 AM
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feeling sad tonight. even though i am so grateful for this poly framework, this way of thinking about myself that is not pathologizing, sometimes i wonder why i can't just be more like other people who seem to have found THAT person, the ONE that makes them sure about how they want to spend their lives. even if they are poly. what is wrong with me that i can't just give myself that, or give myself to other people like that?

i am constantly running away. alex loves me so much, she is practically bursting with it and has supported me through so much that has been so hard for her, most of the time all she wants is just to spend time with me. but i recoil from her, her kiss, her touch. i enjoy spending time with her but only for contained periods of time. it mostly feels like i am taking care of her.

and then there is K, where the NRE is just bubbling over. i am constantly distracted by thoughts of her, the sex is incredible, i love the way she smells, tastes, feels. and i also keep thinking about all the reasons it wouldn't be okay to fall in love with her. well, maybe falling in love with her would be okay but i can't see myself in a relationship with her. she's got such a wild past that she is still recovering from. her life is so different from mine, sort of like lovers from different sides of the tracks.

alex and i are pretty clearly from the same side of the tracks in many ways. its why our relationship "makes sense". our families, friends, shared interests, all make perfect sense. so why do i want to pull away when she kisses me? why do i not like the way her mouth tastes anymore? am i supposed to try harder, or stop trying??

i have already asked these questions many times here on this blog. you all gave me permission to stop trying, and its was a huge relief to read that. maybe what i need to do is to tell alex to stop trying. that scares me, and that probably means its because i am on to something.
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  #130  
Old 04-23-2012, 09:03 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I meant to say earlier, I was glad to hear you turned down Sam's offer of hooking up. Seems like the right decision.

As for the other stuff...

Your questions always resonate with me...because I don't know the answers either.

I too struggle with the feeling that other people are able to be with someone, to feel purely happy and to know that they want to spend their life with that person...and moreover, that poly people can have that feeling for more than one person.

But I don't experience that feeling. I've figured out that I'm happiest, most in tune with myself, most sure of myself, most content with my life, and most clear about my future path, when I'm single.

I don't want to be celibate or totally alone, and I don't want to not care about other people and their feelings, so I'm slowing figuring out alternative forms of dating/sex/friendships that work for me.

Unlike you, I'm not living with a partner who loves me desperately, so I never had to make the choice to give that up.

Like you, I spent a long time in a situation where I was involved with two people of totally contrasting personality & relationship types. One was a boyfriend I cared deeply for, considered my best friend, and would have moved mountains before hurting. We had a million things in common, including professional and social spheres. But we also had poor sexual chemistry, and he had his own sexual issues which I thought he needed to explore on his own.

The other guy was just pure sexual chemistry, not at all "relationship material," hardly had anything in common with me. He made me feel amazing and I liked him immensely. He was also a complete moron who was stoned a lot.

Neither guy was right for me, but my instinct to be single was.
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