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Old 03-02-2013, 02:24 AM
whatif whatif is offline
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Arrow Terrified of the whole idea. Please analyse/counsel me

I'm interested in polyamory to improve my personal growth and empathy, but the whole idea scares me to death.

I would like to know how it's better helped you experience life, and if you, or anyone you know started out with the same fears I did and was able to get past them.

Reservations:

Fear of Abandonment
I have only been in monogamous relationships and the idea of my partner with anyone else terrifies me. I worry that I will be abandoned. I worry especially that if I was in a bad situation and my partner would take the easier course to be with someone who was less demanding.

Fear of Abandoning
I worry that I would be tempted to leave a partner who was struggling, or to spend less time with them.

Fear of Shallow Commitment
I worry that by not being committed to one person I wouldn't feel the pressure to really understand them. This is somewhat countered by a relationship I had that, once it was clear it was ending, we were able to open up to each other a lot more.

Fear of Misstepping
I like to play by the rules. Monogamy can sometimes be confusing enough, but in the case of polyamory - if I break up with a partner, do I seek consel with another partner, or with friends? How do I respect my other relationships. In the case of triangular or greater ties between people how does one co-ordinate time respectfully. How do you know when to bring up multipartner sex? Do you bring it up with everyone concerned simultaneously, or with one person at a time?

Fear of Apathy
If a partner starts to drift away, I'm worried I may be less likely to try to do something, because it's easier just to stay with partners who value me. I think this may limit my personal growth as I'd be less concerned about finding solutions.

Fear of STDs
I feel I would have to trust so many more people - not just my partners, but all their partners, their partner's partners, etc. I feel like I'd have to just throw caution to the wind or use protection 100% of the time.

Fear of Judgement of Family and Friends
I know some of my family would have an issue with it. I know most of my friends would be ok. I worry about what they would think about me -- am I too flighty to take relationships seriously? am I so bad I can't get someone to commit to me?

Fear of Being Seen as a Threat to Everyone
Being single or mono puts you in a clear box. I worry that being poly could lead to everyone thinking I'm hitting on them.

Fear of Societal Judgement
I'm involved in in education and women's rights. I feel that if my polyamory became public it could damage my ability to be effective in both those areas.

So that's probably not a complete list, but enough for now!

Clearly I have some self worth / self confidence issues. Feel free to speculate on their root cause, or any other issues at play.

It could be easy to say. Polyamory is not for everyone and it's clearly not for you. My goal is not specifically to become poly or not. It's to grow as a person and better understand others while working through some of my fears.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2013, 10:25 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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It seems to me that the theme here is fear. That would be a good place to start working on yourself around your fear. Everything you asked is valid to be concerned about but you can grow in all those areas to trust yourself and love yourself more.

Be smart about your choices, throw caution to the wind and live and let live. The rest unfolds with time and exprience until nothing is the same again.

I bet if you come back here five years from now you will have your own answers to all of what you asked for yourself and based on your own experience. Just go and experience. Its the quickest and most efficient way to get the answers you seek.
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  #3  
Old 03-02-2013, 01:02 PM
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Mya Mya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of Abandonment
You need to be able to be on your own anyway. I understand that it's scary but this isn't really a poly-specific problem. Even a monogamous relationship shouldn't be your everything in the sense that you'd lose your whole life if you lost your relationship. Break-ups happen both in mono and poly. I just think that actually a poly situation is in a way more secure than a mono one, because even when my partner has other great partners, these gorgeous wonderful people, they can still be with me, too. If they find someone "better", they don't have to leave me for that other person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of Abandoning
It is actually a well-known phenomenon that when you start a new relationship, for a while that can become all you think about. It's called NRE (New Relationship Energy). It's the hormones that can make you somewhat distracted for a while. But as long as you stay conscious of this and keep paying attention to your older partner as well, it will pass. Remind yourself of all the reasons why you love your older partner too, go on dates with them and actively create/maintain that closeness with them as well as with the newer one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of Shallow Commitment
You want pressure? I find it better that I can actually make decisions based on what I want and not what I'm expected to want. If I want to understand someone, that desire won't go away because there's also someone else I want to understand. I'm not sure I get this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of Misstepping
So you like to play by the rules. There are as many different set of rules in mono as there are in poly. The difference is that in mono many of the rules are assumed and you don't necessarily even talk about them (I'm not saying this is a good thing, but seems to happen quite often). In poly there can be no assumptions. The only way is to talk about every single thing that worries you. What do you need/want, what do your partners need/want, and how can all these needs/wants be fulfilled. Negotiate. There are a lot of things to talk about if you're new to poly, but you'll get there. Some people have a lot of rules, some even write them down. Some people don't have many (or even any) rules, but they still have to have the conversation. Communication is the key.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of Apathy
Let's say you have one friend you've known for 10 years and a new friend you've known for 3 months. If the old friend starts having problems, do you just start hanging out with the new friend and abandon the old one, not trying to help them? If you say no to that question, I don't see why you would do anything differently when it's a partner, a person you love. If it's a connection worth saving, you will do the work to save it whether you have other loves in your life or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of STDs
I don't see a problem using protection 100% of the time. I know it's not for everybody, but I just like feeling like I'm the one in control of my own sexual health. If you don't want to use protection with one or several of your partners, you will have to trust them to tell you about all the people they're sleeping with and what protection they used. And in some cases that can be quite a network of people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Fear of Judgement of Family and Friends
Fear of Being Seen as a Threat to Everyone
Fear of Societal Judgement
These are all part of the same problem. I understand you very well, and these are valid concerns, sometimes people do get in trouble for being openly poly. But more often than not people take it better than you'd think. I know that has happened to me and many people I know. And even if they have a problem with it, it's your life and none of their business anyway. I think you just have to decide how important it is for you to do what you want in life. You can decide to limit yourself based on other people's reactions or you can live like you want and then hide and lie about it. Or you can live your life like you actually want and not care what other people think. It's up to you.
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Last edited by Mya; 03-02-2013 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:46 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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What does personal growth mean to you ?

The basis of fear is to keep you /us safe and happy. Unrealistic or unground fears are one thing. If we dial your list down just a little to areas of concerns everything on it is very responsible and very possible . And actually the STD one might be very legitimate to remain in the fear group.


So the question I would have is your internal guidence system general wrong.

Are your emotional responses to a situations run counter to reality. Would shaping , modifying, desensitizing your emotions to certain situations be less painful or temporary versus avoiding the out come. And what happens if the feared behavoir actually come about and reinforces the fear or concern.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:42 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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My suggestions are very basic-but time consuming:

1) work on your already stated personal issue with fear.
2)read, study, learn and meet other poly's in the real world.

DO NOT TRY HAVING A POLY RELATIONSHIP.
Just do the first two. They will help you with personal growth more than any relationship AND you will be in a better position to decide what is or isn't a healthy relationship for yourself after.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:49 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
Clearly I have some self worth / self confidence issues.
Could work on finishing up the old stuff before starting new stuff.

Quote:
It could be easy to say. Polyamory is not for everyone and it's clearly not for you. My goal is not specifically to become poly or not. It's to grow as a person and better understand others while working through some of my fears.
Could focus on what you want, rather than what you do not want. So that can be reframed as....

Quote:
My goal is to grow as a person and better understand others while working through some of my fears. (Being in a polyamorous relationship is optional.)
So how about making more friends and working on your interpersonal relationship skills? Your confidence?

If you want better self worth/self esteem, could practice self respecting behavior while you go do esteemable things. A project, a job, something you can take pride in and value your effort in. Be authentic and honest in your existing relationships so you can be proud of how you relate to your people.

You identified a long list of things that bother you. How about going back over it with some answers for you plan to address the things that concern you then? And put them in the order of "doability" -- because sometimes knocking a few off the list helps. Then you could not feel as overwhelmed with it all.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-02-2013 at 05:51 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2013, 08:58 PM
rungsoftheladder rungsoftheladder is offline
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Default Progress!!!

Agreed that the list is centered around fears.

I made a list like that about 5 months ago....every time I had odd/weird/negative feelings about poly topics, I referred to my list and figured out which one(s) applied. Then, when the moments passed and I realized that it the moment had no lasting impact on me, her, or our primary relationhip, I knew that fear was reduced. Some of these fears have been reduced to nothing, and I no longer fear them. Most are reduced to managable levels and I no longer fear the fear, so to speak. Facing these fears and knowing what they are have made them all diminish with each new learning experience! Kudos to you for doing the introspection needed to move forward with understanding!
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatif View Post
Feel free to speculate on their root cause, or any other issues at play.
That list looks like you are doing a research paper. That being the case, go do your research

There is a wealth of information out there on polyamory, relationships, fear of abandonment, etc.
http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/polyamory
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:29 PM
lemondrops lemondrops is offline
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Question

I really hope that no one minds, but as this thread is about fears, I would like to ask about a fear that has not been touched upon here yet, but maybe others have/have had it as well or maybe someone could help me get over it?

My fear is that in a poly relationship everyone feels like in a competition all the time and all nice acts are not based fully on love but fear. I'll give an example.

When A wants a cake and is at B's place at the time, then B might feel pressured into baking it, because hey, if B said "Oh, I'm not really in the mood for baking right now", then A could be all, "Oh, okay, but I want a cake, so do you want me to go to C's or D's place?" and then to avoid all this, B would just start making the cake out of fear that otherwise someone else would do it and A would just leave.

Another example. If A happens to spend time with C and wants to spend time cycling, then if C really wants to be with A at the time, C would feel pressured into going, because hey, otherwise A will just leave and cycle with whoever wants to cycle with him. In a mono relationship C would say that no, not interested in cycling now, but let's go tomorrow? and A would probably agree with it, as it is a compromise and both would be happy in the end.

Basically what I am trying to say is that in a poly relationship the one who needs or wants the other more at a certain time, suffers, because they would have to do things to have the other stay with them (because that's what they want) and not go to other partners because if they happen to have the possibility, why not use it? Basically that consideration for others would lessen and actions would become more important than with who they are being done.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:07 AM
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Emm Emm is offline
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What's wrong with B saying "Why don't you call C or D and see if they're in a cake-making mood? I've got stuff to do here." or "No, I'd rather have pizza"? Why does B feel they need to monopolise A's attention?
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