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  #381  
Old 03-20-2012, 09:21 PM
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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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  #382  
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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  #383  
Old 04-15-2012, 09:32 PM
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beginninglove beginninglove is offline
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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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  #384  
Old 04-18-2012, 01:03 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Default How long does NRE last?

It's been a roller coast year since I got to know, fell in love with, and worked out boundaries (with my mono husband) for my relationship with C, and I've been very much looking forward to the end of our NRE so things can start to feel steady and peaceful. At long last I feel like I am there, but he seems to have more stars in his eyes now than ever. How long do people tend to experience this new relationship phase? Ours is long distance and I think that's why it is taking so long. Have other people experienced moving out of it before (or after) their partner?

Partly I'm bothered because I can't offer as much as he wants in a partner, and I feel like he will never find anyone else while he's this smitten with me. (He doesn't think it's a problem.) Partly it feels uneven now, when I am finally in a place where I am content to enjoy him when he is with me and not worry about it when we are apart, and he's starting to use words like "yearning" for the first time. Lately I've been sick and moody and gaining weight and we've been trying to spend less time interacting on a sexual level, all of which you'd think might bring him down to earth, but no. Do I just have to keep waiting?
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  #385  
Old 04-18-2012, 02:04 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I keep hearing 6-18 months, but I did have it with my first husband most of the time for the first decade so...I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
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  #386  
Old 04-18-2012, 09:16 AM
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Alleycat Alleycat is offline
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Think I'm missing a point here somewhere.
For me NRE is the high one gets from being with another person, it's the most intense and exciting phase of the relationship.

Why not enjoy it or try to prolong it?
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  #387  
Old 04-18-2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post
Think I'm missing a point here somewhere.
For me NRE is the high one gets from being with another person, it's the most intense and exciting phase of the relationship.

Why not enjoy it or try to prolong it?
I can't answer for the OP. However, to me NRE was fun and scary... I was taking risks... driving, working and such. I was distracted with feelings... intense feelings. It really is like a drug.

I enjoyed the feelings.. but was also very aware of the damage it was doing.. at work, and to my friends.

For us, the NRE is subtle. We've been dating for 18 months, living together for 11 and 9 months.

In July of last year, I wrote this in my blog:
"I stunned my boyfriend by recently saying the NRE (New Relationship Energy) is wearing off.. He seemed surprised that I was happy with the decrease in NRE.

I like it-- too much. I can see how people keep wanting more and more. The NRE made me giddy, and a bit careless. I was forgetting items on my shopping list, and forgetting to buy groceries completely. At work, I'd get lost in daydreams about my lovers. I felt bullet proof... I could accomplish anything, and was lost in my own life.

I don't remember the NRE the last time.. it was over 20 years ago. This is a new feeling, and quite shocking to me.. So I'm glad it has died into a warm bed of embers. With NRE, I didn't see any flaws in my lovers. Recently I've seen the flaws... and still love them.

So I'm glad to get my responsible, adult life back. The sexual energy remains, and regenerates me. The NRE is not a major distraction. I still tingle when we touch, I still smile when I think of my couple. But I'm glad the responsible, logical functions are back online. I'm looking forward to the growth of ORE... you know, Old Relationship Energy."
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  #388  
Old 04-18-2012, 04:51 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Yes, clairegoad puts it well. I want us seeing each other for who we are, flaws and all, and I don't want giddiness being a drug-like distraction. This is especially important to me because this is my first significant extramarital relationship and it's been a tough adjustment for my husband of 13 years, so I don't like being all caught up in excitement over C at the expense of my marriage. I am feeling more balanced in my life now as I come out of it. Without NRE goggles on now I'm almost feeling annoyed when C treats me like every little thing I say or do is wonderful and all my bad habits are cute, so I really want him to come down to earth with me!
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  #389  
Old 04-18-2012, 05:32 PM
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AC, why harsh C's NRE buzz? He'll settle into a less intense frame of mind eventually. As long as you are aware of the pitfalls and he is willing to talk about pitfalls if needed, let the guy enjoy you and NRE until he moves out of it on his own. I understand you want more stability and rationality especially as this has been hard on your spouse. But, I dunno, edging into 'be careful what you wish for, you might get it' territory.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:35 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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let the guy enjoy you and NRE until he moves out of it on his own.
Yes, I know. I haven't said a word to him about it. It feels unequal though! Sometimes I feel like he has me up on a pedestal so high I can't reach him. He's someone who doesn't really recognize his own self worth, and really seems to believe I am out of his league, which is ridiculous. I feel like he's selling himself short, and shouldn't "settle" for a secondary-type relationship with me when he wants a full primary partner. I'd love for him to have both, but since he's mono I think the next best thing for him is to move on from me when he finds someone who can be more for him. I don't think he's going to be able to recognize the potential in any other woman as long as he still believes I am the personification of beauty and wisdom. (Ha!) It would be nice if we could settle into a steady relationship without NRE for a while before he starts dating anyone else, in hopes of having a strong foundation for a continuing friendship down the road.

I guess I see this relationship as having a beginning (NRE) and middle (ORE) and an end (when he finds a primary partner) and I want to make sure we get enough middle. I wasn't really meaning to complain about things the way they are now, but I was curious how long I should expect it to last, and if anyone else had experienced getting to the end of NRE before their partner.
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