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  #21  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol View Post
A couple of random thoughts that I had after reading more of your thread...

I understand that you're super into this couple, and that's a fantastic experience in itself already. I'm just wondering if you're aware of how many couples there are out there that would bend over backwards just to take you out on a date - did you know that you're called a "unicorn" in poly terminology? Just thought it might be worth mentioning, as so far it seems like both of your serious attractions have been to couples, and meeting a couple that has no authority over you, or responsibility (other than to treat you with love/respect, of course) over your life might be a more plausible set up to pursue relationship without societal encumbrances looming over your potential love. I definitely can see that now may not the time for this, as you've developed feelings for this particular couple, but I do think that it's worth mentioning as food for thought.
Yeah, I've actually been looking online for someones... I have an okcupid account, there's actually quite a few unicorn-seekers on there but none that have caught my attention yet... I posted on here in the dating forum but only heard from one couple... I've joined a local poly group- everyone there seems to be much older, but I figured I could make friends and out of the mysterious 400+ members that don't post much, maybe I'd meet someone to date- but I haven't managed to get to any of the meet-ups yet.

The problem is, if I don't have an immediate attraction to someone, I pretty much never will. Especially with online dating, where everything is out there to start out- it's not that I really know someone, but I know enough to say I'm not attracted to them- and then I've tried chatting with a few couples, but the attraction doesn't grow. So I'm still waiting to see if someone does pop up to catch my eye, but in the meantime... this has happened.


The other thing is, a lot of couples looking for "unicorns" are new to poly, which isn't necessarily bad, but a huge percentage of them seem to have unrealistic expectations. They want to "add a person to their relationship"... like, they're not looking for me, they're just looking for a girlfriend, and I could be that if I wanted! Or acting as if it's one three-person relationship, rather than consider that it's a bunch of two-person relationships mixed together... I'm still looking, but it's more than a bit off-putting.

And my attraction to A and E- it's not just a crush on some nice people- I like the way they raise their kids, I like their garden and how they eat lots of veggies, I like that they share a lot of things without the gender stereotypes... my life would fit really well with their lives, I think. And of course that's not a foundation for a relationship, but it is a really good hint that it could work.

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Another thought I had was: If the three of you end up pursuing a relationship with each other, and it grows serious, do you think that you would be willing to change schools to protect A's professional status? I totally blanked on what km pointed out: He's already married, so said form would probably not do a lot of good. Sorry for not putting 2 and 2 together in regards to that/giving you false hope. This is kind of putting the cart before the horse, but it might be worth giving some thought to.
It's actually a community college, so that would be no-problem. I should be transferring by this time next year. Now, going to a different college over this year? Very inconvenient but I'd definitely be open to trying to work it out.

EDIT: Oh and I forgot to type this at first, but... I'd still be interested in finding that form. It seems like a good thing to know about, even if the extra-marital part throws us for a loop.

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I can totally understand the fear of rejection, but I also think that there is a lot of power in having all the information, and the only way to have that information is to be honest and communicate your feelings to them.
Yes... first thing, I kinda would rather talk to them in person. Even though that could make it more scary/embarrassing/awkward, it seems like email would be a sort of cop-out... and, like I posted somewhere in my above musings: everything just seems to make more sense when I'm around them. The more time/space distance there is, the more I over-think things and lose track of the actual people involved.

Second- it still feels like I'm waiting for something. I dunno quite what...
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Last edited by samines; 05-24-2012 at 04:20 PM.
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  #22  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BrigidsDaughter View Post
Personally, I'm glad that there are some teenagers who are becoming adults with the idea that there is not one right way to do relationships.
I'm with you there. I agree that it's a great actualization that there is more than one way to experience relationships.

I guess, where I sit, as the mother of a pre-teen girl, if my 14-16 year old daughter started having fantasies about a relationship with 30-something godparents, I'd have a reason to worry. There's a pattern establishing here. That's the unhealthy part I'm concerned about.

But, to each their own.

Good luck!
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  #23  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:01 PM
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I'll start out saying, you seem to have a very inflexible opinion on the student/professor relationship, and I don't quite agree- but I take it that's because of your position as a professor, and I do really appreciate that you're part of the discussion.

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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
It does change things - very slightly - that A is not in a direct supervisory role over you.

Even so, the power imbalance exists, and it is real, because of the institutional context in which you interact.

You see, conflict of interest isn't just something that can be worked out between the individuals in a relationship. It's a matter of context.

To be a member of a college or university faculty is to take on a particular role, one that has many benefits, but one that also brings with it serious responsibilities. Other people - students, parents, colleagues, the administration, and the broader public - have certain reasonable expectations of people who fill those particular roles.
Yes, it is about the context to a large degree- but the context of my college seems to be different than the context of yours. I was actually a little surprised at first, but it's just the way it is here. Students and faculty are friends, they share details of their personal lives, they interact out of school... certain faculty consider some students to be like their "children"- not in a special-exception way, but almost as a rule- my adviser has that relationship with most of the people she advises.

I can't say that they'd be excited, or even particularly tolerant, to have a teacher dating a student... but it's less far-fetched than it might be in another, stricter, context.

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One of those is that I not allow outside relationships - personal, financial, or whatever - to cloud, or potentially cloud, or even seem to cloud my professional judgment. If I come across to students, parents, colleagues, etc., as the kind of person who would pursue a sexual relationship with an undergraduate student - any undergraduate student, not just the ones currently in my classes! - then I will seem less worthy of the trust placed in me, and my department and my institution would be tarnished accordingly.

Why should parents allow their children - whose arrival at "the age of consent" is a mere legal convention unconnected to the reality of neurological development - to attend a university at which lecherous old profs are to be found?

It doesn't even matter if the prof really is lecherous. Where professional ethics is concerned, the appearance of wrongdoing can be as serious as the reality.
Here's where I'm going to argue. Doing something bad, and doing something people see as bad- they might have a lot of the same consequences, but they are *not* the same thing. You seem to be treating them as equal offences, as almost interchangeable... I would be prone to do what I want, if it's not bad, and to stand up and simply say that I think I did nothing wrong. (Well, better to go through the proper channels and *then* do it.) And talk through the why. And hopefully, have the powers that be accept it as such.
I'm willing to do that, to administration or the community or my family or whoever it is that gets worked up.

But of course, most of this is a decision A has to make, and I'm trying to figure out how I can help him slow down and think through it, if that's what I have to do, without pressuring him to follow my (obviously very strong) convictions.

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In my case, I work at a state university, so I am in effect an officer of the state in which I reside. The chain of command runs from me, to my department head, to the dean, through the provost, and from there all the way up to the Governor himself! I have obligations to my institution, the state, and even my profession in addition to my obligation to my students to treat them each fairly and equally, without playing favorites (or even seeming to be the sort of person who could play favorites)!

My own desires, the promptings of my heart, don't even enter into it, let alone any deal I might privately try to work out with a particular student.
There is no way for A to play favorites! And of course A will have an opinion for himself... and it might be closer to yours, I don't know... but it seems to me that making a personal decision about a relationship does not betray the obligation even to a governor, unless it's actually effecting those responsibilities. Maybe the Governor would get upset about it, yeah, but it's not actually any of his beeswax.

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You brought up the parent/child relationship in connection with the teacher/student relationship. The two really are quite different, and the obligations of each can easily come into conflict. I would not allow one of my children to take a class I was teaching, because there is a conflict in the way I would think about "their best interests" in the two different roles.

As a parent, I may be expected to place my child's interest ahead of the interests of other children; that's what parents do. As a teacher, I am reasonably expected to treat all my students equally, and not even appear to do otherwise, and also to take into account my institution's interest in having meaningful grades attached to meaningful degrees.
I was responding directly to what km said. Yes, there is a difference between student/teacher and child/parent relationships, but I understand how it could be one thing to have that overlap (like it does at my school, where faculty often consider certain students their children) and a totally different thing to have a partnership, like dating, overlap with the student/teacher relationship. It's the idea that the power rests differently in each situation, and it could be hard or impossible to keep that separated.

Quote:
Finally, even if A has no direct supervisory role over you, he still has authority where you are concerned. Suppose he ended up on a faculty committee that considers petitions from students, and you need to file a petition. Or suppose he is involved in developing curricular policies that would have a direct affect on your course of study. Or, given the times, suppose he was involved in a decision to cut one or more programs from the academic offerings of your school, and your degree program was on the block. Or, suppose he ends up becoming Dean of Students, or even Provost.

Et, voila! Full-blown conflict of interest!
First- it is a community college, and I'll only be here for one more year. I know it doesn't fix things, but it does help limit the damage anything could do. For example, I expect he would already know if he was about to be promoted to something more all-encompassing.

The other thing is- I really don't intend to sneak around on this. If he was assigned to a committee that had to decide something he was uncomfortable deciding, or something that would be inappropriate, I expect there would be a way to go to the next person on the chain of command and work around it.

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In the end, all these words come down to a simple point: It's not just about you, not even about you and him; it's about the context.
Yes... and I'll go ahead and re-read that in an attempt to let it sink in... obviously, I don't want it to be the reality, but it is.
Still, I think it's about our particular context, and about what exactly A understands as his responsibilities- which may be different than the way you see yours.
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  #24  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:35 PM
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Yes, I got that when I went back and reread the post. I missed two words "New Couple" at the end of a rambling paragraph. Thanks.
Yeah, I tend to ramble... lol

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I still don't agree that someone who is 18 needs to be involved in the potential drama of 30-something's that teach at the school she attends.

Nobody wins if that goes south.
I think it sounds worse than it is. We assume that any 30-something that's willing to date an 18-year-old is... not the best person to begin with.

This could be a healthy relationship, that goes where it will, and even if it ends in the near future- if we're handling problems the way we should in a relationship, it doesn't have to affect anything extra just because of the age gap or being at the school. The idea is that we could actually "handle it like grown-ups"...

Quote:
I'm with you there km34. I purposely separated myself from it too in high school, university and throughout my adult life. Seeking it and expecting it is asking for trouble.
Again, just to clarify- I'm not actually surrounded by drama. In fact, the social-taboo of this is really just a "large-ish inconvenience", it's all the stuff that's going through my mind that's chaotic.
Maybe drama isn't the word I should be using for it?

Quote:
I am not so quick to offer congrats to her on being poly. Is it really a realization at 18 that you are ploy? Isn't it more a function of being young and exploring what the world has to offer you? When I was 18, I dated multiple people too, but not because I was poly, it was just what we did when we were young. I now consider myself to be predominantly mono.
Actually, it was a realization at 15 that I am poly.
I know for some people there's that questioning, experimenting time... but I think that although poly can be a lifestyle choice, for a lot (most?) people it's a sort of natural orientation. Some kids know they're gay at 5, or the wrong gender by 6... why would it be so far-fetched to think I've found my groove by 18?

When I was 12-13 I was falling in love, for the first time, with a woman, and pretty soon with her husband... I didn't understand it, but I loved them, and trusted them, and rightly judged that they would not take advantage of me... and I accepted that on some level, it was natural for me. I have been attracted to singletons, and I'm sure I will in the future. But my happily-ever-after involves more than one love.

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I just think that she could do better and have much more fun in the meantime.
Now, why would dating a single person my own age be more fun than dating *two* people I already like? You "normal" people make no sense sometimes...
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  #25  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:50 PM
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I'm with you there. I agree that it's a great actualization that there is more than one way to experience relationships.

I guess, where I sit, as the mother of a pre-teen girl, if my 14-16 year old daughter started having fantasies about a relationship with 30-something godparents, I'd have a reason to worry. There's a pattern establishing here. That's the unhealthy part I'm concerned about.
Yeah, I had to wonder myself, about the pattern thing... I think it's just natural for me, it's not based on anything in particular I want or am scared of.

You know what's funny? It's my mom that helped me accept it, in a way. Long story but basically, she heard about my attraction to my godparents (after they had already oh-so-responsibly turned me down)... she was the less freaked out than the three of us (godmother was having major issues, thinking she did something wrong, compounded by the fact that she was sexually abused as a child; godfather was feeling really guilty because he didn't intend to "tattle", but he told the wrong person and it got out to our whole circle of friends, plus he was feeling betrayed by the former best-friend-of-10-years that he told it to; I was drowning in guilt for causing so much guilt, and insecurity cause "why would I ever think they could want me")... but my mom basically said, she saw nothing wrong with it. "Everyone handled their emotions in a very mature way" or something along those lines.

And I haven't been particularly subtle letting her know I like A & E, although I'm saving an actual conversation until I know if they like me.

Quote:
But, to each their own.

Good luck!
Thank you! And... I promise, I am being careful. There's something odd about my attractions, no doubt, but I wouldn't trust my heart in just anybody's hands
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  #26  
Old 05-24-2012, 06:21 PM
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Just to support the "ok to know that you're poly at 18 camp" - I knew I was poly (or some version of ethical-nonmonogamist) since before the word was invented. I was in my teens - that was over 2 decades ago.

I, personally, have more issues with the age discrepancy - but I recognize that that is MY issue. (I thought it was creepy at 14 that a 26 year old was calling me...my parents handled it very well - they gave me the option of handling it myself or having them pull the "parent" card. I decided to handle it myself with the option of asking them to step in if I felt overwhelmed. I, basically, gently pointed out to him that we were at two very different places in our lives, and asked him to look at himself and see if there was any reason he felt more comfortable talking to a barely-teenager than to women his own age - he might have some "issues" he needed to address.)

Samines, it seems you recognize that, at this point in your life, you are attracted to couples. Nothing wrong with that. There is no reason that you have to date a bunch of people in the "normal" way first before you can come to that realization. From what you have written you seem to bring a lot of maturity, if not a whole lot of "relationship experience", to the table. I can relate to that - I've had exactly TWO "serious" relationships in my life - the two that I am in now with MrS and Dude. You don't necessarily have to practice a lot first - some people get lucky and get it "right" the first time (not saying it's common - just saying it can happen). But you are definitely giving the situation the kind of thought and consideration that it deserves.

Although I am not a professor I do work in a field where relationships with other people in the workplace or clients would be ethically problematic due to perceived (and real) "power-dynamic" issues. I won't do it...period. There have been staff and clients that I have found myself attracted to - if any of them ceased to be employed by us or ceased to be our clients ONLY then would I ever even consider acting on that attraction in any way (even letting them know such an attraction existed before that point would be a huge issue) - and I STILL probably wouldn't due to the extreme fall-out possible if things went south.

Just my accumulated 2 cents worth of thoughts having followed this thread.

JaneQ
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  #27  
Old 05-24-2012, 07:02 PM
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Just to support the "ok to know that you're poly at 18 camp" - I knew I was poly (or some version of ethical-nonmonogamist) since before the word was invented. I was in my teens - that was over 2 decades ago.
Yay! I like this camp.

Quote:
I, personally, have more issues with the age discrepancy - but I recognize that that is MY issue. (I thought it was creepy at 14 that a 26 year old was calling me...my parents handled it very well - they gave me the option of handling it myself or having them pull the "parent" card. I decided to handle it myself with the option of asking them to step in if I felt overwhelmed. I, basically, gently pointed out to him that we were at two very different places in our lives, and asked him to look at himself and see if there was any reason he felt more comfortable talking to a barely-teenager than to women his own age - he might have some "issues" he needed to address.)
It's funny... even at 18, it seems a little creepy when a 26 year old wants to chat with me on okc... and I am a little hesistant- even though I am a fairly stereotypical unicorn!- when I see a couple in their 20's-30's looking for a gf. There's a pretty deeply instilled thing in our culture that tells us, anyone who is interested in someone 10 years younger than them? There is something wrong with them.

It's getting to know someone, and I think it's as soon as I start to trust them- at that point I "know" that any interest they show is in *me*, and not in my age.

Quote:
Samines, it seems you recognize that, at this point in your life, you are attracted to couples. Nothing wrong with that. There is no reason that you have to date a bunch of people in the "normal" way first before you can come to that realization. From what you have written you seem to bring a lot of maturity, if not a whole lot of "relationship experience", to the table. I can relate to that - I've had exactly TWO "serious" relationships in my life - the two that I am in now with MrS and Dude. You don't necessarily have to practice a lot first - some people get lucky and get it "right" the first time (not saying it's common - just saying it can happen). But you are definitely giving the situation the kind of thought and consideration that it deserves.
And... I'm even willing to make this relationship one of the practice ones. Not to sound harsh, I mean, I'd love if it really worked out and I was with these people for the rest of my life... but I understand sometimes it does take a lot of kissing frogs. I just want to give it a real try, ya know?

As far as giving it the thought it deserves... I'm definitely trying. I'm glad it looks that way to you, too

Quote:
Although I am not a professor I do work in a field where relationships with other people in the workplace or clients would be ethically problematic due to perceived (and real) "power-dynamic" issues. I won't do it...period. There have been staff and clients that I have found myself attracted to - if any of them ceased to be employed by us or ceased to be our clients ONLY then would I ever even consider acting on that attraction in any way (even letting them know such an attraction existed before that point would be a huge issue) - and I STILL probably wouldn't due to the extreme fall-out possible if things went south.
I know, I know... that's what I was originally thinking... I don't think I would have done anything if I didn't get the impression they were pursuing me.

Of course... now I've gotten all worked up, I've really thought about my feelings for them, I've started figuring out how to make it work... and it doesn't seem like they're pursuing me any more. I'm confused, and suddenly I just don't know what to do!

Quote:
Just my accumulated 2 cents worth of thoughts having followed this thread.

JaneQ
I think that counts as more than 2 cents! Thank you
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  #28  
Old 05-24-2012, 07:18 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Samines - Even if it doesn't work out with this particular couple (if they are "pulling back" because of some of the issues that have been brought up in this thread), you still have the benefit of having thought through and discussed this all here, it's not a complete loss, you have learned something about yourself and given some weighty issues a lot of consideration.

Best of luck!

janeQ
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Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (together 3 yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS; married to TT, poly male
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


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  #29  
Old 05-24-2012, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Samines - Even if it doesn't work out with this particular couple (if they are "pulling back" because of some of the issues that have been brought up in this thread), you still have the benefit of having thought through and discussed this all here, it's not a complete loss, you have learned something about yourself and given some weighty issues a lot of consideration.

Best of luck!

janeQ
I know! And I'm glad I've taken the time to think through it.

But...

Out of the blue. It's not like we've been talking about any of this, and I have no clue what's going on in A or E's heads right now of course, but I thought we were flirting, it was so obvious, almost impossible to ignore, and suddenly it's... quite... not. Huh???
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:21 PM
km34 km34 is offline
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I know! And I'm glad I've taken the time to think through it.

But...

Out of the blue. It's not like we've been talking about any of this, and I have no clue what's going on in A or E's heads right now of course, but I thought we were flirting, it was so obvious, almost impossible to ignore, and suddenly it's... quite... not. Huh???
Could this be where they realized that they are in a different place in life than you are, realized they could possibly be sending you signals they didn't want to send you, and backed off?

I'm a flirtatious person. Naturally. I flirt with almost everyone, regardless of relationship status, age (okay, too young and I don't), gender, sex, orientation, etc. I flirt. The only times that I reel it in are when 1) I know the person or that person's SO(s) would be upset or made uncomfortable by it, 2) I see my flirting causing any real interest when I know I have none, 3) it would affect the professional standing of myself or the person with whom I'm interacting, and then there are probably a couple of other situations, but you get the drift. It has to be obvious that it is inappropriate to get me to stop flirting.

Just an idea.

Also, I found it really funny when you said you're usually not interested in 30-somethings on OKC, but in real life you are. I am kind of like that with people in their upper 30s and 40-somethings. lol (I'm 23, by the way, to give you an idea of the age difference for me vs. you as an 18 year old )
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