Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-30-2012, 05:00 PM
BlueDragonfly BlueDragonfly is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: MA
Posts: 21
Default How to be mono when you are poly...

Hello,

I came out as poly to my husband about 8 months ago. We went through several emotions at first, as expected. We began to communicate better than we ever had and it felt so good to be able to talk about how I felt. He is mono, through and through, which I respect greatly. However, I don't think he accepts me as poly. We have a closed relationship, which I am doing for him. I don't want to force my lifestyle choices on him.

But now, we never talk about it anymore, I bring it up and he changes the subject, sweeps it right under the rug. I know he felt hurt at first, I get that, but what I don't get is how, if he loves me, he wouldn't want to at least learn about it, to better understand me.

I have tried not to push the subject, I have tried to let him comes to terms with it but now it's just the elephant in the room....

I am just not sure if I can do this... for me, I am stuck, trapped, unable to be me, especially since I feel like I have to hide who I am. And I am sure, if he were to allow the relationship to be open, then he woud feel the same way I am feeling right now... stuck, trapped.

I am just not sure where to go from here.... either way someone gets hurt.. where is their a happy medium? Is there? Or is one of us going to be secretly miserable...

Any advice would be great, I am sure some of you have been where I am. I truly don't feel like I can be mono for the rest of my life, it is not who I am. I don't want to just give up on my marriage, I love him very much, but if I can never be me then I am afraid I will grow to resent our relationship....

Help? I just feel like I can't breathe anymore...
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-30-2012, 05:14 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,222
Default

If you will forgive me taking the liberty of trimming some of your post... here's the nub:

Quote:
We began to communicate better than we ever had and it felt so good to be able to talk about how I felt.

But now, we never talk about it anymore, I bring it up and he changes the subject, sweeps it right under the rug.

If he loves me, he wouldn't want to at least learn about it, to better understand me?
The only thing I express different?
Quote:
I truly don't feel like I can be mono for the rest of my life, it is not who I am.
That I express as

Quote:
I am not monoamorous. I am polyamorous. But I can choose to be in a monogamous relationship if my partner will allow me poly expression, and listen/talk with me about my inner life. I don't need other lovers, I need to be understood.
Here's how I feel about all that if you want to read the longer version. It's a series on the first page of my blog thread starting with post #6.

Could ask your husband who you are supposed to go to for emotional intimacy if not him? You close down to one person in a monogamous structure for his benefit. What's he going to be willing to put in for your polyamorous benefit?

Ask him if he's willing to keep TALKING to you about your inner life and thoughts so you can feel well fed and benefit from being in a monogamous relationship with him.

The problem here is not you being poly and him being mono. The problem is him seeming to avoid honest heart to heart communication with you when you crave this.

Does he understand how vital it is to you? Could try again to let him know this is important to you -- the ability to talk to him about your inner life and poly feelings without him appearing to be brushing it off. And if this is not the best time when you bring it up, HOW he could let you know.
"This sounds like a bigger heart to heart conversation, and we have to get the kid at the soccer game in 15 min. How about a date on Sunday night from 8 - 10 PM for just us and no interruptions?"
Would hearing something like that help you feel better listened to/valued?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-30-2012 at 05:19 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-30-2012, 05:41 PM
BlueDragonfly BlueDragonfly is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: MA
Posts: 21
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Could ask your husband who you are supposed to go to for emotional intimacy if not him? You close down to one person in a monogamous structure for his benefit. What's he going to be willing to put in for your polyamorous benefit?
My husband has always had difficulty expressing and talking. He just shuts down. I on the other hand am very honest and open. I have always said that we are polar opposites. I have asked him what you have said above, in similarity to how you have said it, and I get nothing, he becomes a wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Ask him if he's willing to keep TALKING to you about your inner life and thoughts so you can feel well fed and benefit from being in a monogamous relationship with him.
I think, it makes him very insecure, to hear how I feel. He thinks that he is not enough for me, etc. Which I can understand and I try to explain to him that it is not that way but he just doesn't choose to hear it. All he thinks is that polyamory means that I want to sleep with other men. I told him that is not the case and I have never said I wanted to sleep with anyone else, I said that I don't know what the future holds and I can't say that someday down the line that may be different, but at this point I just want to be accepted as who I am and to be able to express myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
The problem here is not you being poly and him being mono. The problem is him seeming to avoid honest heart to heart communication with you when you crave this.
True, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, the poly/mono is just the icing on the cake... I can't fathom the fact that he doesn't want to at least try to understand and accept me, when I do it for him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Does he understand how vital it is to you? Could try again to let him know this is important to you -- the ability to talk to him about your inner life and poly feelings without him appearing to be brushing it off. And if this is not the best time when you bring it up, HOW he could let you know.
I usually bring it up on a good night, when we are quietly sitting together and he seems talkative. I have expressed how I feel and I honestly feel like he just doesn't care if I am miserable. Our relationship, to me, has been broken for quite sometime... Add that to me feeling like I can't be me and I feel like it is a ticking time bomb...

So maybe, all in all, poly/mono is only half of the issue... But to me, it's the biggest issue... I have accepted him for being quiet, passive aggressive and for several indiscretions in the past (he has a hard time being honest and after counseling, we moved past that and I CHOSE to forgive him)... So why can't he accept me?

I feel like I have sacrificed so much in the relationship and in return he just sweeps my needs under the rug.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-30-2012, 06:00 PM
River's Avatar
River River is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NM, USA
Posts: 1,894
Default

Having experienced, thought about, discussed and inquired into monogamy and non-monogamy (particularly polyamory) over many years, I've concluded that the main, core issue where there is difficulty or strife around the convergence of monogamy and non-monogamy/polyamory in many various contexts is the presence of a sort of Default Belief System which is nearly ubiquitous in our culture/s. This Belief System generally dwells and lives in darkness, because it generally never gets directly examined and questioned at all.

By "default" I'm deliberately using a computer metaphor, as in "default settings" in a computer. In a default computer setting, the computer has been instructed to select from among a variety of setting options automatically. Our culture/s do this for us with regard to how we think and talk and believe ... feel and act ... in relation to relationships. The culture has a largely unquestioned set of beliefs which generally go examined and which are set as "default" choices -- the choice we make because we don't ultimately choose at all, because we basically accept the Code as written.

Oddly enough, most people in The Culture are completely unaware of The Code they are opperating by, because it operates as a kind of automatic pilot ... from the darkness where it lives in un-examination. So most people in The Culture are unaware of the fact -- for example -- that they believe that "True Love Must Be Exclusive In Order For It To Be True Love". So -- for example -- when their lover/partner/husband/wife says they'd like to be free to explore Other Loves while retaining the Present Love ... this sounds like nonsense and poppycock. It also tends to sound like rejection, or like offering less than a Whole Love (since to love two people at the same time must -- it is assumed -- to be divide the love into two halves).

These examples of The Code are just a couple from among dozens or hundreds of intertwined beliefs -- or lines of code.

My purpose in pointing out some features of the life of this Code here is not to say that everything about the Code is wrong or false. Nor is it to say that the Code is a prison or should be abandoned or refuted.... My purpose is to encourage us all to become familiar with The Code, to bring it out of "darkness" into the light, so it can be discussed and examined -- in order that we can consciously decide or choose for ourselves how we wish to live.

So I'm echoing GalaGirl's above post ... by saying (to paraphrase) it isn't necessary that you change your relationship structure in order to explore and share your thoughts and feelings with your husband, BlueDragonfly. But to do that with your husband, he'd be sharing with you the experience of bringing The Code from darkness into light. This is as delicate a task as any archaology. And one does not exhume and study burried artifacts unless one hungers for understanding, longs for truth, loves the truth, seeks wisdom. The hunger for wisdom has to be greater than the fear of inquiry.
__________________
bi, partnered, available

River's Blog

Last edited by River; 12-30-2012 at 06:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-30-2012, 06:33 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,222
Default

Quote:
My husband has always had difficulty expressing and talking. He just shuts down. I have asked him what you have said above, in similarity to how you have said it, and I get nothing, he becomes a wall.
Ok, so he cannot receive it in this manner at this time. Does "shut down" mean "emotional flooding?"

If so, could find ways to communicate that help him get past the flood, help him feel emotionally safe, and YOU get what you need for your emotional health too.

Quote:
I think, it makes him very insecure, to hear how I feel. He thinks that he is not enough for me, etc.
You THINK? Or you KNOW because he told you so? (Sorry if it sounds nitpicky.)

He thinks he's not enough?

Or he knows he's being neglectful in his marital duties?

Quote:
Which I can understand and I try to explain to him that it is not that way but he just doesn't choose to hear it.
He fails to hear you? Or he hears but does not BELIEVE you?

Again, sorry if it seems nitpicky, but if you are digging for where the root problem is, being very specific could help shine a light in dark corners and hint at possible solutions. It's hard to screw a nail with a hammer. Right solution for the problem. What IS the problem? And if there's several, take it one at a time.

If he's not hearing you, it's about communication. If he's hearing but not able to believe, it's about willingness to change beliefs. Or it could be both -- communication problems and belief problems because one is affecting the other.

Quote:
All he thinks is that polyamory means that I want to sleep with other men. I told him that is not the case and I have never said I wanted to sleep with anyone else, I said that I don't know what the future holds and I can't say that someday down the line that may be different, but at this point I just want to be accepted as who I am and to be able to express myself.
Could he be insecure right now and wants some "There, there, poor baby." Could you "there, there" him a bit?" to soothe ruffled feathers? Some of that could be your track record -- you have been monogamous and faithful all this time and aren't going anywhere. You do not want to REPLACE him.

Rather than him getting all twiddly on feelings and thoughts, he could focus on your behavior and how to you behave towards him. Remind himself of this when he's in the "Aaaaah!" place.

Could you just keep that other part to yourself for the time being? That seems to be the scary thing for him -- fear of the unknown future. Which could include you "suddenly betraying him." Reassure you would NEVER betray, would never cheat on him. That's true isn't it? Even if you end up in polyship way down the road it wouldn't be because of a cheating start? (Don't promise him things you cannot keep, but do promise the ones you can if it helps calm him down.)

You could focus it on what you want more of -- TALKING. Heart to hearts. If hearing scary things about future like that shuts off the talking... well, it's on you not to bring it up at this time til he's stronger in his "I feel safe and secure" bucket. THEN you can talk about future dreams when he can handle hearing more at a time.
  • What kinds of things would you like to get back? What kinds of things do you want to share?
  • What is he willing to listen to in that sharing that doesn't trigger him? Could ask him what he needs to feel emotionally safe or LEARN to feel emotionally safe.

But behaving like "I want to talk about nothing ever so I can feel emotionally safe and never have to experience feeling yucky" is not reasonable solution. It's not even really safe. It's fear of the bogeyman outside the door but not wanting to look outside to KNOW.

If he fears losing you, what does that behavior do for him? Does it help him fill up his "I can handle emotional things" and his "I feel secure in my marriage" buckets? Does is help empty his "I feel fearful" bucket? Nope.

What does it do for you? Alienates you and creates emotional distance.

Even if NO other person EVER uses his car, he still puts gas and takes it in for oil changes, right? Maintenance to keep the car running well? Even if NO OTHER partner ever shows up in your relationship (currently monogamous marriage shape car), isn't he responsible for helping the marriage "gas fill ups and oil changes? "

His behavior of closing you off from heart-to-heart talking is doing what then for the "marriage car maintenance?" Is it constructive in keeping car in good running shape for many future years of enjoyment? Or destructive by being neglectful of the car needs and it's going to be run into the ground and fall apart? Just because of the people in the car not tending to it right?

You are not asking for new passengers. You are asking for gas and oil changes at regular intervals you can enjoy riding around in the car with him. Can he do that? Is he willing? Gas and oil?

Since he's not great at talking about feelings "direct" could finding a metaphor he can get a handle on and understand help move this forward? In a way that is non-triggering for him (his need) and emotionally satisfying (your need?)

I'm guessing on the needs there. Could check those are actually it.

Also guessing on metaphors I just picked "marriage car" from the air. Could ask him what COULD work for him... and then stop there. Revisit later.

Sometimes being part of the process can feed the "I am safe and secure" bucket, if you do it in little bites. I know you feel starved but outsource some of that til he gets up to speed. If the goal is getting him more comfy with emotional talk, overwhelming him at the starting gate isn't feeding the "I can handle this" bucket in him.

Hope that helps some. Sorry it's rambly.

Hang in there.
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-30-2012 at 07:09 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-30-2012, 06:49 PM
NovemberRain's Avatar
NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 699
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDragonfly View Post
My husband has always had difficulty expressing and talking. He just shuts down. I on the other hand am very honest and open. I have always said that we are polar opposites.
...
... I can't fathom the fact that he doesn't want to at least try to understand and accept me, when I do it for him.
...
I have expressed how I feel and I honestly feel like he just doesn't care if I am miserable. Our relationship, to me, has been broken for quite sometime...
...
I have accepted him for being quiet, passive aggressive and for several indiscretions in the past (he has a hard time being honest and after counseling, we moved past that and I CHOSE to forgive him)... So why can't he accept me?

I feel like I have sacrificed so much in the relationship and in return he just sweeps my needs under the rug.
I have very similar issues with both my partners; oddly enough, it's not about the poly thing, but other things.

Have you seen The Five Love Languages? Somewhere online there's a test you can take, to figure out your love languages. The deal is that people want to be shown love in different ways, and most people assume that everyone else wants to be shown love in the same way they do; when in fact, we often have partners who want to be loved in a different way than we do.

No surprise, my two highest love languages are provided by each partner. One satisfies my high need for physical touch (we're like velcro), and the other one does stuff for me. Some people need presents to feel loved (while I love presents, the lack of them doesn't leave me feeling unloved).

I do feel so much reading your words. I have said very similar things about one of my partners. It really does seem as though he has zero concern for my state of being. 'You don't like that I do x? suck it' That's no fun to hear. But when my battery dies two hours before he gets up (we don't live together), he will get up, dress, and come jump my battery without a single complaint or resentment.

He has also expressed to me that he gets 'stupid' in my presence because he's so in love with me. I haven't decided if I exactly believe that, because he never loses his words. He speaks, and spins bullshit, for a living, and he's damn good at it. But I remember the first time we were alone together, we were mere acquaintances, and he was being so stupid. I'd never heard him be quite so goofy. Many years later, when I found out he liked me, and always had, that conversation made much more sense.

So all that leads me to wonder if perhaps your man is so completely freaked out about losing you that he 'can't' talk about it. Maybe that's why it's so hard for him? Yes, you've said that...

Anyway, perhaps his love language needs reassurance in some different way than you explaining/telling him that you're not gonna leave and what you really need is to talk.
__________________
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein

Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-05-2013, 08:09 PM
BreatheDeeply's Avatar
BreatheDeeply BreatheDeeply is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NewSouthWales&California
Posts: 62
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDragonfly View Post

I am just not sure where to go from here.... either way someone gets hurt.. where is their a happy medium? Is there? Or is one of us going to be secretly miserable...
Just looking at that one paragraph summed it up for me - this is how I feel as well. I'm married to Aquarius and my revelation (10 months ago) that I was poly was met with more communication then yours, but no less pain. For now, she's the one that's trying to her head around all this.

Really what I feel is guilt that I'm putting her through this. I should have known this about myself before getting married.

But that's not your fault, there is no one to blame here. Some of us don't fully understand ourselves until later in life. And when we do, it should be a wonderful discovery! But it's not. It's cause for shame, self doubt and guilt. That's not his fault for making you feel that way. We do that to ourselves.

But if you choose to be the miserable one, then I think you are suppressing your identity - and that's going to be unbearable after a while. If you don't want to be miserable, then continue revealing your thoughts and feelings to him, every day if necessary, because you're not asking him to suppress his identity, you're asking him to deal with some serious relationship issues, with the messiness of a long term relationship. You're asking him to be a bigger person.

The only thing in the above that you can't control is his reaction. But just like you changed over time, he may also find new depths in his own character given enough time and accept you for who you have become.
__________________
Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way. - C. Hitchens


Me: Male, bi, 48, flexible
Husbanding Aquarius
Dating MsX
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:04 AM.