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  #1  
Old 01-16-2013, 04:10 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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Default Subconsciously poly?

So in the middle of a conversation with my wife the other day, I said in passing, "You're the poly one here." And she said to me, "You only think you're not."

That's an interesting idea, as much for what it may say about me as it says about the one who said it. She seems to think I could meet and fall for someone else much like she did. I can't rule that remote possibility out, but I can't see myself opening myself up to it either. I'm physically attracted to other women, no doubt. But I've only ever been in love with this woman, starting as freshmen in high school and continuing through a decade of marriage and the parenting of two kids now in grade school.

Even when we weren't together or even speaking for those three years after college, I pined for her. I had other relationships during that period, but they were disasters. I thought I had gotten over her and hadn't. Eventually we reconnected and started over.

Now she seems to be giving me permission to have what she has - more love from ... who knows who else? I should feel grateful for what she's saying, but I'm mostly confused. I know intellectually that monogamy's a crock. But I'm not unhappy as a monogamist with a poly partner.

If I were subconsciously poly, too, how would I know? How do long-established, monogamous couples figure it out? Does one usually know well before the other?

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 01-16-2013 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:18 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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I'll add this: My experience leads me to believe that individual sexual identity and expression is inherent and capable of ongoing change, but also subject to interruption. Somehow I was initially able to connect with this woman when both of us were still in our sexual larval forms, in sexually charged yet chaste ways (lots of nakedness and exploratory touching, but no intercourse had or sought for the first several years of the relationship, amazingly) that proved fundamentally nurturing, safe and may well have set the stage for the polyamory she's experiencing now.

I understand love is not a prerequisite for sex. I listen to more than enough sex-positive podcasts (from Tristin Taoramino and Susie Bright to Dan Savage) to know that lust accounts for a great deal of the sex people are having. Whether I'm wired to have that kind of fun and guiltless sex with someone other than my wife without my head exploding is an open question, though.

Would it be a good idea to allow myself to be in the position to find out? Assuming the consent of all parties had been obtained, I can hesitantly say ... sure. I think. I don't know. I can fantasize about it in the third person, no problem. It's the actual thought of me "doing it" that seems far fetched. That the possibility is remote and unlikely - although that could be the real illusion - is somehow comforting to me.

I'm a headcase, I know. I'm sure the good folks at Polyamory.com can unpack a ton of sexual baggage from all this. My life partner and I have written, torn up and rewritten the script several times over, yet here I sit still naked and alone clinging to scraps of conservative monogamist claptrap. So as to feel safe? Less unmoored?

I'm curious if this is unusual or just transitional in a recently opened relationship?

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 01-16-2013 at 04:24 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2013, 07:32 AM
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Velvet Velvet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
So in the middle of a conversation with my wife the other day, I said in passing, "You're the poly one here." And she said to me, "You only think you're not."

If I were subconsciously poly, too, how would I know? How do long-established, monogamous couples figure it out? Does one usually know well before the other?
I'm sure answers vary as all types of people vary. Except for the having kids parts, my own story is very much like yours in part. I am the poly one with a spouse who I went to High School with. I can speculate your wife brought up the subconscious poly to give you an opening to talk with her about any crush or feelings you have or might ever experience. Maybe is also her way of practicing compersion.

I had asked my spouse Ave the same sort of question about some 5 years into our relationship ...after I did an awfully horrible transition coming out that I want and desire multiple relationships. I asked him, because I wanted to give him room to explore if it was possibly within his nature. I went through a lot of anguish and shame before accepting Poly and wanted to avoid making him feel guilty if he ever had a crush on anyone else.

Like most things, I think being poly falls along a scale with many shades of grey, rather just extreme monogamous or polamorus individuals populating the Earth. But it sounds you know the difference between infatuation and real feelings. If you don't feel like having more than your current loving relationship, then that's how you feel. I guess you can choose what kind of label to put on your feelings....to best describe yourself. GL
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Last edited by Velvet; 01-17-2013 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:11 AM
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Helo Helo is offline
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Its entirely possible and that's the best I can do without actually knowing you.

I'm more of the opinion these days that monogamy is 95% cultural programming and less about innate biology and psychology than people think. I started my love life being as monogamous in thought and deed as I thought possible. Now...well here I am. Once you start peeling back the layers of the programming the world around you has slathered on, some very interesting things start popping out.

The big lightbulb moment came for me when I got to the concept of ownership and mutual happiness; monogamy is essentially ownership of another person, at its very core. You OWN the other person, they are allowed to give their love to you and only to you otherwise they're a bad person and thus you control them. With mutual happiness, if your partner is happy being with someone else, isn't that a good thing? I mean you love this person, and part of loving someone is wanting them to be happy, so if that person is happy being romantic or intimate with someone else as well as you then isnt that a good thing?

I've had people decry that as martyrdom; it ignores the stress non-monogamy might cause on someone not ready to accept it yet so trying to "guilt" (yes that word has been used before) someone into being non-monogamous before they're ready is encouraging martyr behavior. I personally think that's a step short of unmitigated twaddle; ownership isn't fun regardless of how many people pat you on the head and tell you its ok.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:25 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Now she seems to be giving me permission to have what she has - more love from ... who knows who else? I should feel grateful for what she's saying, but I'm mostly confused. I know intellectually that monogamy's a crock. But I'm not unhappy as a monogamist with a poly partner.

If I were subconsciously poly, too, how would I know? How do long-established, monogamous couples figure it out? Does one usually know well before the other?
1) It is not permission. It's married people banter. She's teasing/ flirting (now) and giving you safe space to come talk to her (in future.) It sounds like good communication openness to me.

2) You are happy being how you are. Why chase thoughts that cause you confusion then? Could keep your thoughts in good order.

3) If the situation should arise where a new response is felt, like you coming across a person that moves you to bring it up to wife and renegotiate your agreements in ethical fashion you will. You could resolve this in yourself, and there. Problem solved.

I'm not minimizing your feelings at all -- I'm just saying... why go "what iffing" yourself into a tizzy places? What's that do for your health and well being?

Quote:
My life partner and I have written, torn up and rewritten the script several times over, yet here I sit still naked and alone clinging to scraps of conservative monogamist claptrap. So as to feel safe? Less unmoored?
And why is it "claptrap?" Why can't it just be "my preference at this time is THIS and I am ok with that? You don't have to go for guilty weird stuff helpings on the side.

But a relationship configuration arrangement is just a relationship configuration/arrangement. If this is serving you well at this time -- it is serving you well at this time. Where is problem?

What's the thing that is causing you to feel unsafe or unsettled?

Quote:
I'm curious if this is unusual or just transitional in a recently opened relationship?
You sound normal to me. You have experienced a new thing and have had to reality test and reconcile internally all your previous values/beliefs and adjust to incorporate a new thing. But in checking perimeter? If all is good and ok, be OK with it being all good and ok then. The "new normal" is going to feel odd at first until it becomes "old normal." Give it the time to become old.

No need to start boring holes in the fences yourself. Are you feeling like "too good to be true" because you were expecting weirder things?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 01-18-2013 at 05:30 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2013, 04:42 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
If I were subconsciously poly, too, how would I know? How do long-established, monogamous couples figure it out? Does one usually know well before the other?
Interestingly, the same/similar question was raised in another thread as to Person A knowing better than B what B really thinks, feels, wants etc. I said in that thread, it sort of gave me flashbacks to childhood with dysfunctional parents who liked to tell me what I really thought and felt. My advice? Trust yourself and don't overthink it. You're not in love with anyone else? Never have been in love with two people at once? Have no desire to go seeking an outside relationship? Maybe someday you will, maybe you never will.

What I think is equally possible (speaking without knowing you or your wife) is exactly what happened with my ex-husband: he tried to erase his guilt and 'balance the scales' by telling me to go do the same thing. Your wife, if I remember the story, sort of sprang this poly thing on you, and the news that she's going to have a girlfriend, so hopefully you can adjust. (Hopefully I'm remembering the details right; I apologize if I'm not.) Most people feel a little guilt when they've done that to someone, and if you decide you're poly and get a great girlfriend, she can then feel she was prophetically right in that action and did a great deal of good for both of you.

Again, I don't know you or wife. I'm throwing this out as a common human behavior/response/action/motivation for saying such a thing.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
Would it be a good idea to allow myself to be in the position to find out?
No. To me, based on what you've said, that looks like playing games with someone else's body and emotions just to find out if you like casual sex.



Quote:
alone clinging to scraps of conservative monogamist claptrap...
I have to agree with GG. Why is this claptrap? Which conservative idea specifically is claptrap? Why is monogamy claptrap?

I disagree with the idea that monogamy is about ownership. Certainly there are people out there who feel they possess their spouse and own them. But that doesn't define all monogamy for all people. In my experience, monogamy is a great gift that a couple gives willingly, freely, to one another, and while it doesn't require anyone to choose it, there are good and valid reasons for monogamy, and beneifts to it.

To dismiss it as claptrap is to possibly limit yourself from really thinking about what you want and value, and why. I think dismissing a traditional, long-standing idea as claptrap is as unthinking as blindly accepting traditional, long-standing ideas.

Best of luck to you in your decisions.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
I disagree with the idea that monogamy is about ownership. Certainly there are people out there who feel they possess their spouse and own them. But that doesn't define all monogamy for all people. In my experience, monogamy is a great gift that a couple gives willingly, freely, to one another, and while it doesn't require anyone to choose it, there are good and valid reasons for monogamy, and beneifts to it.
Ownership of another person is essentially what monogamy was FOUNDED on. A wife was the property of a husband and traditions to that effect extend to this day; the wedding ring was a symbol of who owned you, the dowry was payment to the husband's family so they'd actually be willing to take your daughter off your hands (the bride's family is expected to cover the costs of the wedding).

When you marry someone in a totally monogamous relationship, you are legally reinforcing that the other person is "my" husband or "my" wife (as the case may be) and before that they're "your" boyfriend or "your" girlfriend. Even the language we use to describe it denotes ownership. That person is then only allowed to give their love to you, their partner, lest they be considered unfaithful and a bad person. If they dont want to marry out of a fear of entering into such ownership, they're considered "not serious" or "not really in love" with their partner. It creates walls and limits around people artificially that they cant cross without serious social (or in some cases legal) penalties.

Its ludicrous to expect or demand that ONE person satisfy all of your physical, spiritual, sexual, and emotional needs. If you end up in a monogamous relationship where those needs arent met to the point where you start to feel uncomfortable or unhappy your choices are try to change the relationship such that you do get your needs met which equates to changing the other person for YOUR desires or you have to just accept that unhappiness and deal with it other ways. If you want to incur social penalties you can split up but as almost everyone reading this knows, it's rarely ever that easy.

If people are happy and fulfilled in a monogamous relationship, more power to 'em. The idea just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:39 PM
Josie Josie is offline
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I have to say, I also completely disagree that monogamy is 'claptrap' or entirely about ownership.

Me and my primary were talking about this today, in a way.
He asked if I'd ever 'go back' to monogamy if I weren't with my current partners.
And was quite incredulous when I said yes. I could be equally happy in a monogamous relationship or a poly relationship. For me, if love is infinite, does it really matter how many people I give it to? Whether it's one or 10, I don't think the number makes it any better or worse.

As far as one person being responsible for physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual needs. That isn't how all monogamous relationships are. To they tend to involve relying on one person for physical/sexual needs, yes, but spiritual, emotional? You don't have to be in a romantic relationship to get that from someone. Sure, it's nice, but even when I've been single, my emotional and spiritual needs can be met.

I've never been in a relationship were I have felt 'owned' in any way whatsoever, I have always been free to be myself and feel what I feel in all of my past monogamous relationships. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be with just one person, in fact, in many ways, it can be beautiful, just like being able to love more than one person is.

The fact that my cherished and wonderful past relationships apparently leaves a bad taste in your (Helo) mouth, is something I find a little insulting.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:27 AM
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I have to say, I also completely disagree that monogamy is 'claptrap' or entirely about ownership.
To be precise, I never claimed monogamy was claptrap or "entirely" about ownership. I said it was based on the concept of ownership.

Quote:
Me and my primary were talking about this today, in a way.
He asked if I'd ever 'go back' to monogamy if I weren't with my current partners.
And was quite incredulous when I said yes. I could be equally happy in a monogamous relationship or a poly relationship. For me, if love is infinite, does it really matter how many people I give it to? Whether it's one or 10, I don't think the number makes it any better or worse.
I would agree

Quote:
As far as one person being responsible for physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual needs. That isn't how all monogamous relationships are. To they tend to involve relying on one person for physical/sexual needs, yes, but spiritual, emotional? You don't have to be in a romantic relationship to get that from someone. Sure, it's nice, but even when I've been single, my emotional and spiritual needs can be met.
There is some disagreement on that point.

Quote:
I've never been in a relationship were I have felt 'owned' in any way whatsoever, I have always been free to be myself and feel what I feel in all of my past monogamous relationships. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be with just one person, in fact, in many ways, it can be beautiful, just like being able to love more than one person is.
I'm very happy for you and I dont disagree.

Quote:
The fact that my cherished and wonderful past relationships apparently leaves a bad taste in your (Helo) mouth, is something I find a little insulting.
I should have been clearer; the understanding that monogamy is based on ownership leaves a bad taste in my mouth, not the fact that there are many people who are happy in spite of that.
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