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  #31  
Old 12-20-2012, 07:24 PM
AJ1 AJ1 is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
That's why I don't get involved with people like that. The people I choose to spend my life with accept that I'm selfish with my time and that I only do things on my terms. As was mentioned earlier, this means that when they do get to spend time with me, they know without a doubt that it's because I truly want to be there, and not because I feel obligated.

I think that all comes down to self-esteem. I don't worry that people will get upset if I choose me first. I'm not saying that people won't get upset if I choose me first... just that I don't worry about it
You can't choose your parents or grandparents. And even if I could, I prefer more give and take in relationships. When I love someone, I want them to be happy - and all the better if I can be the cause of that happiness. Yes, occasionally that means setting aside what I might want in this very instance. That's not the worst thing in the world. I know they would do the same for me.

And I disagree that it comes down to self-esteem. I can see where it might in some cases (someone co-dependent *needing* to be liked), but sometimes love means not being selfish every minute of the day. *Needing* to have everything on your own terms all the time can be caused by low self-esteem as well.

I'd rather put it in my own words, but Abed said it best:

"Britta, I've got self-esteem falling out of my butt. That's why I was willing to change for you guys. Because, when you really know who you are and what you like about yourself, changing for other people isn't such a big deal."


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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
And yeah... SOMEONE is always disappointed and/or offended. Always. You can't please everyone. Ever. And if you always try to please everyone else, you guarantee exactly one thing: that you yourself won't be pleased. So why try?
Because trying gets better results than not, and at the very least expresses that you care. We'll never fully eliminate crime, does that mean there is no value in trying?

Last edited by AJ1; 12-20-2012 at 07:25 PM. Reason: fixing punctuation
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  #32  
Old 12-20-2012, 07:54 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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You can't choose your parents or grandparents. And even if I could, I prefer more give and take in relationships.
You can't choose your family. But if your family is toxic, you can choose to distance yourself from them. I fully endorse this. If your parents are selfish and uncaring, then you can and should break that relationship. You grow up and form your own family.

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When I love someone, I want them to be happy - and all the better if I can be the cause of that happiness.
Oh, me too. I want my loved ones to be happy. But I'm under no delusions that I'm doing that selflessly. If it didn't bring you joy to see them happy, can you sincerely say your choices would be the same?

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Yes, occasionally that means setting aside what I might want in this very instance. That's not the worst thing in the world. I know they would do the same for me.

And I disagree that it comes down to self-esteem. I can see where it might in some cases (someone co-dependent *needing* to be liked), but sometimes love means not being selfish every minute of the day. *Needing* to have everything on your own terms all the time can be caused by low self-esteem as well.
Good point; I was referring more to people who feel they need to make everyone happy at the cost of their own happiness. In your case (and mine), the happiness of your loved ones brings you happiness. But I maintain that there's still an element of selfishness to that. If you didn't care about them, you wouldn't care if they were happy, and it wouldn't be worth your trouble to cater to their whims just because they want it.

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Because trying gets better results than not, and at the very least expresses that you care. We'll never fully eliminate crime, does that mean there is no value in trying?
In my experience, trying to please everyone does not get better results. It gets an exhausted me, and a whole bunch of people who are unsatisfied that I didn't try hard enough. So rather, in each situation, I pick who I'm going to satisfy. Then I satisfy them to the best of my ability. I satiate the others by telling them that there will be another situation where it will be them who I satisfy. Sure, if possible, I'll satisfy as many people as possible. But sometimes that's just impossible. You can't be in three places at once. So pick one place, and be fully present there.

Myself, I would rather have someone's full and undivided attention one third of the time, than 1/3 of their attention all the time.
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  #33  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:15 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Originally Posted by PolyLinguist View Post
Another poly friend then? Presumably she is poly, after all.
Pretty big presumption, there. And even if she IS poly, how on earth is that relevant to who is available to spend time with one on a holiday? Whether poly or mono, other lovers or just friends might have their time already scheduled. Assuming that the gf could find someone to spend the holiday with (with the implication of "if she really wanted to") is a false assumption and does not help the OP. It doesn't take away from the fact that the gf wants to spend time WITH THE OP, or help the OP figure out how to schedule their time.

I agree with everyone else that said that you need to figure out what you want and go from there. There may still need to be compromises (though hopefully everyone who cares about you is respectful of your need to get work done) but at least you wouldn't be coming at it from a perspective of, "How do I make everyone happy?". Rather, you'd have the attitude of, "How can we all work together to make each other the happiest?" Because it should be a two-way street- they should be working towards your happiness as much as you work towards theirs.
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  #34  
Old 12-20-2012, 08:42 PM
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Pretty big presumption, there. And even if she IS poly, how on earth is that relevant to who is available to spend time with one on a holiday? Whether poly or mono, other lovers or just friends might have their time already scheduled. Assuming that the gf could find someone to spend the holiday with (with the implication of "if she really wanted to") is a false assumption and does not help the OP. It doesn't take away from the fact that the gf wants to spend time WITH THE OP
If she is not poly, and does not want to "suffer" from time-sharing issues, why did she enter a relationship with someone already attached? Oh, I get it, it was love and she couldn't help it. You know, it's not as if such things haven't happened to me. I was once desperately in love with someone who had a solid boyfriend. She even reciprocated to a certain extent - who could resist my fervour, after all! But it was clear who had priority, so after a while I said to myself, enough of this craziness, and I forced myself to fall out of love. Just because she was prepared to spend some mutually enjoyable time with me didn't oblige her to spend Christmas day (or its equivalent) with me. My needs did not impose obligations on her.

And if she is poly, occasional loneliness is part of the price. Even on Christmas Day.

--------------

By and large, I detect a lack of equity in this kind of discussion. Certainty of togetherness at some key times (holidays, birthdays, common vacations, events involving children) is part of the benefit of lasting relationships (AKA marriage, even if not certified by a piece of paper). Such lasting relationships have corresponding obligations as well, fair is fair.

If someone does not want such relationships because of the fear of obligations, I don't see why they should have the benefits either.

And if someone enters an informal poly relationship hoping that it will evolve into something else, it is a bit like playing roulette. I did it too in my time, and lost. Too bad, but not the fault of the other person.
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  #35  
Old 12-21-2012, 12:55 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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If she is not poly, and does not want to "suffer" from time-sharing issues, why did she enter a relationship with someone already attached? Oh, I get it, it was love and she couldn't help it.
First of all, some people choose to participate in a poly relationship but, while poly-accepting, even poly-friendly, are monoamorous themselves. The point is you don't know and are making baseless assumptions. Second, do not put words in my mouth. Perhaps that's acceptable to some people you communicate with, but not to me.

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By and large, I detect a lack of equity in this kind of discussion. Certainty of togetherness at some key times (holidays, birthdays, common vacations, events involving children) is part of the benefit of lasting relationships (AKA marriage, even if not certified by a piece of paper). Such lasting relationships have corresponding obligations as well, fair is fair.
By and large, you have shown yourself over multiple threads to have a problem with the ideas of non-hierarchical poly and solo poly. Not everyone enters into a relationship thinking that a longer relationship has precedence just because it is longer. A lasting relationship may or may not involve living together. It may or may not involve shared finances. You do not know the degree to which the individuals have chosen to entangle their lives; only that one relationship is newer than the other. You are, again, making assumptions. Just because YOU cannot imagine such a scenario for yourself does not mean such scenarios don't exist, and work well. YOU are the one bringing in the lack of equity into this discussion, because to you it seems impossible that the two relationships could be treated equally by the OP. I don't know if they are or not, but I at least recognize the possibility.

The concerning part of the OP's post is the guilt trips. If her partners can't have mature relationships where they can work out what works best for everyone without passive-aggressive behavior, guilt trips, and emotional blackmail, then the OP has way bigger problems than how to schedule Christmas Eve and Day.
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  #36  
Old 12-21-2012, 10:16 AM
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^Agree with everything, and particularly the last sentence.

hellokitty, I feel bad that your partners are acting so selfish. It's cool that they really really want to spend time with you, but you need to let them know how the pressure affects you. Ideally, your partners would be interested in your happiness as well as their own. They are acting from a mentality of entitlement and competition, which is so destructive for a happy poly relationship.

I would like to ask you, does this kind of competitive view prevail in other situations, too, or is it just the holidays that is bringing it out of them?

I had been with Alec for 7 years when I started a relationship with Mya. Over the last 1,5 years, I've become very familiar with hinge guilt. That guilt will tell you that anything bad either of your partner feels - loneliness, jealousy, insecurity - is your fault, because you have multiple partners/are getting more out of it/should know how to balance their needs/etc. It's an understandable feeling, because the whole culture and society is telling us that, firstly, we are incredibly selfish for being with several people and, secondly, that partnerships are about making each other happy (usually to a pretty worrisome, unhealthy degree of self-sacrifice).

But the guilt is just a feeling. It's not true, if you understand what I mean. Even if you feel like you're the one "making them feel lonely/abandoned/whatever", it is not true. Even if you feel like it's your fault, that is not true. When all of you decided to form a poly relationship, all of you agreed on that, all of you consented. Whatever consequences that decision has, are the responsibility of all of you, not just yours alone even if it is you who is the one with multiple partners. It was not your decision alone, it was a mutual decision, and if they feel bad about something, they need to recognise that they chose to be here. I.e. they consented. Also, as important is the fact that both of them are consenting every day. Because when you enter poly, you can't foresee what will happen and how you will feel. In the end, everybody is responsible for their own happiness, and that means they are free to leave the relationship if they are not happy.

So, if your partners feel bad, you are not making them feel bad. You need to know that, and they need to know that.

It's enough to fight the internalised crap without your partners guilt-tripping you: they need to stop that immediately. You should ask, making it clear how important it is. If they do not stop, you may want to reconsider the relationships.

Think about what you want. Don't balance what your partners want (because it is not a competition and your time is yours to give), balance all the things you want. My suggestions:

- the guilt-tripping to stop
- time for work (with people acting like adults, i.e. understanding you need to work)
- time for yourself, to relax and unwind, doing things you want to do
- some time with one or both of your partners, spent enjoyably (again, not going over why they are not getting more)

It is not your responsibility to make them both happy. It is not your responsibility to make your bf happy and do everything he wants or everything you've usually done simply because you've been with him longer. It is not your responsibility to spend all your time with your gf just because she has nobody else to spend the holidays with.

Also, if they view poly from the place of entitlement and competition, as they are doing now, there really can only be bad feelings: they will not appreciate the time you choose to spend with them, only thinking about how you should be with them more. It will not be enjoyable for either of you. And even if one of them "wins", i.e. you choose to do what s/he wanted, s/he also looses, because you will resent the fact that you are under pressure and cannot freely choose how to spend your time.

I guess my basic advice is the same as many have given you: figure out what you want to do, and do that. My broader advice is to start learning to manage feelings of guilt. That will help you anyway, but it is particularly important if you have loved ones who will guilt-trip you. Good luck!
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  #37  
Old 12-21-2012, 01:03 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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Op I feel your pain.. My husband has one hard line rule in our relationship my boyfriend does not spend time at our house other than brief moments.

My husband has to work Christmas eve, and so do I. He works 3-11pm Christmas Eve I am working 10a-1p. The kids and I are going to my boyfriends house for Christmas Eve where I will make a big meal and etc.

Christmas day is the stickler. My boyfriend gave several options none which work for my husband. My boyfriend wants me to spend Christmas eve night with him over night. My husband wants the kids home so he can see them open their gifts. Christmas day is being spent with my boyfriends family. (My closest family is 10 hours away in Cincinnati. My husband's family is in Chicago) So it looks like I will be driving all over God's green earth Christmas day. My boyfriend and I live 25 miles apart.
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  #38  
Old 12-21-2012, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
First of all, some people choose to participate in a poly relationship but, while poly-accepting, even poly-friendly, are monoamorous themselves. The point is you don't know and are making baseless assumptions. Second, do not put words in my mouth. Perhaps that's acceptable to some people you communicate with, but not to me.

By and large, you have shown yourself over multiple threads to have a problem with the ideas of non-hierarchical poly and solo poly. Not everyone enters into a relationship thinking that a longer relationship has precedence just because it is longer. A lasting relationship may or may not involve living together. It may or may not involve shared finances. You do not know the degree to which the individuals have chosen to entangle their lives; only that one relationship is newer than the other. You are, again, making assumptions. Just because YOU cannot imagine such a scenario for yourself does not mean such scenarios don't exist, and work well. YOU are the one bringing in the lack of equity into this discussion, because to you it seems impossible that the two relationships could be treated equally by the OP. I don't know if they are or not, but I at least recognize the possibility.

The concerning part of the OP's post is the guilt trips. If her partners can't have mature relationships where they can work out what works best for everyone without passive-aggressive behavior, guilt trips, and emotional blackmail, then the OP has way bigger problems than how to schedule Christmas Eve and Day.
OK, OK, let's lower the tone. I am sorry if I offended anyone, and I agree that I made assumptions I shouldn't have.

It is clear that non-hierarchical polyamory is not for me. It simply couldn't work unless I downgraded my present relationships (not only with my wife but also with my children), and I am not willing to do that.

Now, if I started today with a blank slate, who knows? But, on the whole, it would be unlikely, given my temperament.

I do, however, have one question aimed at anyone in such relationships: how do you find the time? Or rather, since you obviously do, do you also find time for other things in life, things that (for me) are essential for the good life? Hobbies, music, maintaining a web site, engaging in sports, getting together with non-relationship friends, or just sitting around reading a book? All this in addition to necessities like work, shopping, raising children (if you have them) and simply maintaining a home in running order. I don't have a poly partner, and am retired - even so, I don't have the time for everything I would like to do.
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  #39  
Old 12-21-2012, 05:19 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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The thing is, if OP should ask for what she wants, stressing how important it is to her, and expect to receive what she wants...doesn't the same apply to the various partners?

Are they on another forum somewhere being told to ask for what they want, stress how important it is to them, refuse to let anyone make them feel guilty, and possibly end the relationship if it continues to be a problem for them?
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  #40  
Old 12-21-2012, 07:27 PM
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The thing is, if OP should ask for what she wants, stressing how important it is to her, and expect to receive what she wants...doesn't the same apply to the various partners?

Are they on another forum somewhere being told to ask for what they want, stress how important it is to them, refuse to let anyone make them feel guilty, and possibly end the relationship if it continues to be a problem for them?
In my view, this is essentially correct except for one big thing. When you ask for what you want, it's not a given to get it. You get to ask for anything, but your lovers have a choice in whether they are able/willing to do that. That is where active consent comes in: you don't always get what you want in a relationship, but you do have the choice on whether that is something you want to live with or not.

For me, holiday celebrations with my love is a nice thing, but not a huge deal. I get that to some people that is. Then again, something that is a huge deal for me is having my time and autonomy respected by my partners. That is why pressuring/guilt tripping would be something that would make me seriously evaluate my relationship. Also, for me it is more important that my loves do what they really want to do than for them to be with me. That is also what I expect in return, support for my happiness and satisfaction. But, in the end, everybody gets to decide that for themselves, what is important and what is not. All we can offer is some advice, views and experiences; a sounding board in trying to figure out what is the outcome wanted.
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