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Old 11-24-2012, 02:56 PM
AlixDomme AlixDomme is offline
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Default Need Advice: collecting people to have what you need?

I am new (in the last 6 months) to poly after being monogamous in marriage for 4 yrs. My husband and I started dating a woman and are now in a triad. Husband and I are both on the needy side, while our gf enjoys her alone time and privacy. In a way this is great--she will never want to move in with us (we have kids and dont want another person to parent them). And we have plwnty of time just hubby and me together. But personally I like to feel needed and wanted and I don't feel that way with Gf. She has a 9-5 job and doesnt text or call or email from work which is completely understandable. But if we send her a message or text even after work hours she doesnt even always write back. She is fine with not talking to us for days at a time. She says she thinks of us all the time and she has even used the L word (we haven't!) but she just doesnt always show it. This drives me nuts.

So my big question is...since she is not fulfilling my needs, do I seek out another partner on the side who would be more communicative bc that is something I need, and if so, won't this start a massive "No One is Good Enough--Keep Collecting" type mindset? I worry that with poly I will never just accept someone bc I will always be finding flaws and then looking elsewhere for my needs that are not fulfilled. Why can't I just be happy *enough* with what I have??

And yes we have talked to our gf about how we like to stay in contact. She says she will work on it but things don't really change. She is happy just spending 2 evenings a week with us and then doing her own thing/not talking to us much the rest of the week. I am considering saying "I really need contact daily and I need responses to emails I write...I know that's not how you are so I need permission to date someone else who can fulfill these needs" but in reality I am not very good at saying these things. (She is terrified of STDs and has asked us not to have sex with other people except in bdsm scenes/gloves/no oral so that is why I have to *ask* permission).
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:13 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Hi Alix,

This is a really interesting thread and you've posed one question that I've been asking myself lately - where does poly end? How much is too much?

But anyway... I digress very slightly...

I've only been poly for two years and I can definitely says it's a huge learning experience and a steep curve. What you think you want now can change over time, but if there's one important thing I've picked up along the way, it's that we are responsible for getting our own needs met.

It's easier said than done. You meet someone you really click with and you hope that they can fit the specification of what you need in a partner. Sometimes communication, growth and time can alter things to a level playing field and a very happy compromise is formed. However, sometimes you just cannot get what you need from a person.

In terms of your GF, I can understand both sides of the coin. On one hand, I can see where you are coming from and it's absolutely reasonable to want the things that you want from a partner. On the other hand, with the exception of my primary GF who I could talk to all day long, I am like your GF in the sense that I would be happy talking to others on a less intense basis. I can understand her need for time alone.

A few questions come to my mind about your GF. Does she have any other partners that take up her time? Where do you all see each other in terms of a relationship fit? Do you think of your husband as a primary and her as a secondary, or do you not believe in hierarchy? What does she feel and believe?

Being a person that does not need or want daily contact from someone who isn't my primary... I am wondering about one thing. I truly do not mean this rudely and your GF may not even find this an issue - but, if I feel like I don't need much contact and another partner of mine keeps texting or messaging me, I feel claustrophobic... then I want to get in touch less and less. Typically, when they don't get in touch, I find myself missing them and am much more likely to want to contact them more often. Strange way that the brain works.

Is there any chance that your GF doesn't want to get too close and is keeping herself at a distance, or does this really not seem to be the case?

Moving on to your thoughts about dating other people.... I think this is very fair. Poly dating is like any other dating and therefore, why settle for something that isn't completely fulfilling you?

As for the STD/no sex thing... I understand her fear of STDs and I understand the no-oral rule, since we have the same guideline in our relationship, unless protection is used. But... if protection is used and everybody is honest... and they request proof of STD testing before sleeping with new partners, plus getting regular tests themselves... then really, there should be no reason not to sleep with others, unless you all agree to a closed poly triad.

I also understand your fear that you will keep wanting to 'collect' because of flaws. Sometimes it can work the other way around... i.e. I accept people as secondary partners that I wouldn't choose as primaries, because they take less of an active role in my life. For example, my last secondary is a bit self-obsessed and jabbers on incessantly... it would drive me mad in a life partner, but I find it entertaining in a more casual secondary.

I think that you should definitely have a talk with both your girlfriend and your husband and get your thoughts out on the table again. You've gotten this far with figuring out what you want, so all you need to do now is communicate it. Experience will help you find out exactly what you are looking for, what fits and feels right and how many partners you can balance.
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Me: (30f) open poly
GF: (40f) My long-term, long-distance partner

Metamours:
Hubby (37m): GF's husband
Garcon (27m): GF's submissive



“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2012, 04:22 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlixDomme View Post
So my big question is...since she is not fulfilling my needs, do I seek out another partner on the side who would be more communicative bc that is something I need, and if so, won't this start a massive "No One is Good Enough--Keep Collecting" type mindset? I worry that with poly I will never just accept someone bc I will always be finding flaws and then looking elsewhere for my needs that are not fulfilled. Why can't I just be happy *enough* with what I have??
I don't think what you're describing are "needs". Those are "preferences". And yes, it does seem needy and co-dependent to keep "collecting" people to fill some kind of void or insecurity about how often people reply to your text messages, etc. I have a partner who replies to about 1/10th of the messages I send them, mainly because most of my messages do not REQUIRE a response. I would say the only time this is a NEED is when the messages are ABOUT something and/or have a specific question that needs answering. However, "collecting" other people is not going to make THIS PERSON different with regard to their pattern of communication. Personally, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who sees me as just another way to fulfill their needs. I get in relationships with people because we enjoy each other's company. I don't have a list of "needs" and try to go finding other people to meet those needs. That's more like looking for an employee or a mechanic than for a relationship or partner.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:57 PM
AlixDomme AlixDomme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklepop View Post

A few questions come to my mind about your GF. Does she have any other partners that take up her time? Where do you all see each other in terms of a relationship fit? Do you think of your husband as a primary and her as a secondary, or do you not believe in hierarchy? What does she feel and believe?

Is there any chance that your GF doesn't want to get too close and is keeping herself at a distance, or does this really not seem to be the case?
Thanks for your response. I found it very helpful. To answer questions, no she doesnt have (or want) additional relationships. She hasnt dated since her divorce 4-5 yrs ago and two new partners is enough for her now. Yes my husband is my primary and I am his, and gf is secondary. Gf knows this and is glad bc that's less attention on her. Yes there is a good chance she doesnt want to be close bc she was soooo hurt in her marriage. She admits she has a lot to process about her divorce that she did not process in the past few years so she definitely has some issues from that.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:02 AM
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Emm Emm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlixDomme View Post
Why can't I just be happy *enough* with what I have??
Have you tried?

If you rely on others to provide your emotional foundation you'll always be at risk of having it unexpectedly pulled out from under you. If you work on fulfilling your own needs you reduce that risk and place a lot less pressure on those around you. I've seen people on here describing it as "being your own Primary".
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:08 AM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlixDomme View Post
Thanks for your response. I found it very helpful. To answer questions, no she doesnt have (or want) additional relationships. She hasnt dated since her divorce 4-5 yrs ago and two new partners is enough for her now. Yes my husband is my primary and I am his, and gf is secondary. Gf knows this and is glad bc that's less attention on her. Yes there is a good chance she doesnt want to be close bc she was soooo hurt in her marriage. She admits she has a lot to process about her divorce that she did not process in the past few years so she definitely has some issues from that.
I'm glad you found my response helpful

Ahh... it sounds to me then, that she is basically trying to say that she wants a relationship with the two of you, but nothing too 'heavy', because she has issues to work through.

I'd suggest giving her time to work through those issues, rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, so to speak. Relationships can change into all sorts of things and perhaps down the road, with a little space right now, she'll want to become closer.

In the meantime, yes, I'd definitely have a chat about dating other people, if that is what you feel you need.
__________________

Me: (30f) open poly
GF: (40f) My long-term, long-distance partner

Metamours:
Hubby (37m): GF's husband
Garcon (27m): GF's submissive



“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:45 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I would suggest you think about what you really want and need - you think 2 nights a week isn't enough but you want her to be keeping in contact every day - but you don't want a full time partner who is in your space all the time. Just what IF she had other partners, she'd probably be too busy to chat daily, so would that be a difference? Do you think that since she isn't dating anybody else she should be available to talk to you all the time? If you don't want another "primary" partner, to most people 1-2x a week of interaction with a partner can easily be sufficient.

Should you seek out more? Well how about this - if it's causing you stress to not have daily interaction, maybe you should break up with her and just be friends - if you are hoping the distraction of another partner will somehow make you not want her attention, I'm pretty sure that won't quell those issues. I'd either work through whatever is causing me to be unhappy with the awesome partners I have, or figure out if it was going to be happy>hours spent wondering why it wasn't causing me more happy. If unhappy thoughts>happy ones, then the relationship probably isn't working for anybody.

(Just to say, I have a partner, I see them once a week, and I'd LOVE to chat with them every day, but our only interactions outside of that one date a week is a brief "what time and where" sentence or two. It is a struggle to reconcile what I wanted (communicative bff partner) with the reality, so I do get where you are coming from, but learning to accept what is - well if you cant figure out a way to do that (reading, counseling, whatever), I do think seeking out relationships that can give you what you want is probably the best way to go.)
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Last edited by Anneintherain; 11-25-2012 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:28 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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I have a couple of book suggestions for you. The first is the 5 Love Languages. (That's not the exact title but close enough to google.) People express love and receive love for others in very different ways. If partners have very different ways of showing and understanding love, that can cause hurt feelings and feeling lacking or even not loved. The author has proposed that most people fall into one of 5 basic ways of expressing and receiving love. Most people have one or two 'languages' they they are strongest in. If you google five love languages there are several free tests on the Internet you can take to see which love language is most prevalent for you. The book is also easy to buy used or get from a library. So for example, I am highest in 'Quality Time' meaning I will spend time with someone to show love, and it's how I feel most loved when my loved ones spend time doing something with me. My ex's strongest love language is 'Touch' - she needs to touch and be touched to feel loved and valued.

It sounds like you, your husband and your GF have strong feelings for each other. It also reads like you express and receive love differently. The book can help each of you 'translate' your love languages for each other. Sometimes just understanding how each of us feel and show love is incredibly powerful. It won't solve everything but I've found it super useful in all of my close relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Also from reading your post I get the feeling that your GF may be more introverted than you or your husband. You 'read' to me as someone more extroverted as in you get energy from interacting with other people. It's also possible that she is more into introspection and alone time right now as she heals from what sounds like a difficult divorce. But I would bet that she needs more time to herself than you do because introverts are drained by interacting with people, even beloved ones, and need time to recharge. If this is an accurate read, I suggest the 'Power of Introverts' by Susan Cain which is in libraries, Amazon etc. Cain explains clearly why introverts do what they do ad how it is normal and necessary for them. It should be required reading for anyone dealing with an introvert - which is almost everyone.

Two final thoughts. First there is nothing wrong with you and nothing wrong with her. You just experience love differently and you communicate differently. Do your best not to approach this as she is failing you, or doing things wrong. That can be very corrosive. Second, you have the power to decide to take this as an opportunity for some $&@*%# personal growth and learn how to be in a relationship with someone who does not match up with your preferred ways of showing love or communication style or extroversion level. Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:40 AM
AlixDomme AlixDomme is offline
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Opal: you are awesome! Thank you soooo much. I appreciate the non-judgmental tone of your message.

My library has that book so I will pick it up tomorrow. Sounds right on!

As for me, I'm an introvert actually but I do like one person with me...meaning I hate parties and gathering and social events but I like one on one interaction. And I do like to feel connected to others

Anyway thanks!!
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Last edited by AlixDomme; 11-26-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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