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Old 01-08-2010, 03:47 AM
StitchwitchD StitchwitchD is offline
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Unhappy Negotiations and re-negotiations

I've been doing some thinking about how partners come to agreements to be mono or poly, and what their boundaries are, rules, etc, and wondering how that works for other people.

With my ex, we had initially come to a very easy agreement to "share"- at the time, I had no interest in any other man, and I was a little insecure about the idea of him going out on a date with another woman while I sat home alone, and I absolutely loved the idea of 3somes or even a triad.

5 years later, there was another guy I was interested in, and by that point in the marriage, if some other woman had wanted to try to steal him, I would have just handed him over, I just didn't care. So, he'd flirt online with a girl who'd send him nudie pix, and when a friend spent a couple days, I had no problem with them having sex while I was busy with the kid. So, I pressed to renegotiate and open things up a bit, but he wasn't willing to even think about it, the agreement was sharing, so that meant hot hi babes only and would never change- and he got increasingly jealous and suspicious of my guy friend, while he talked frequently with "our" online girlfriend (he flirted with her, I mostly talked to her about our kids, since I'd met her on a board for moms of special needs kids, I always thought of her as just a good friend, he viewed it as a relationship and threatened to leave me for her.)

So, that's my background, and it shouldn't be a surprise that I'm a bit paranoid about coercion and suspicious of people's motivations for wanting monogamy.

Meanwhile, in after-mentioned guy friend's first marriage, their agreement had been that they both had veto power- except that he could only veto people after he got to know them but before she got attached, and he never got the time quite right, and her terms for being okay with him sleeping with another girl was that it had to be someone who she trusted, but not someone that she knew. He ended up cheating on her, and they had a very messy divorce.

With his 2nd wife, he introduced me when they were still claiming to be just friends. I liked her right away, but I was surprised when they told me they were dating- she just seemed a little too straight-laced for him, he tries to be a very ethical slut. I also remember being puzzled when I realized he'd been dating her when he played with the same female friend who'd visited me and my husband, because I couldn't see him cheating on her, but I assumed that they were monogamous, because based on my impressions of her, I just couldn't see her being okay with nonmonogamy.

Later on, I found out that they had an open marriage. They were good friends with a couple who swing, and they'd sometimes all play, and he'd had occasional one-time things with single female friends who lived out of town. Then my ex left, and after talking about it with both of them, I got sexually involved with him- which with me single, living 6 blocks away, and already very emotionally attached to him, quickly became something way more relationshipesque than anything they'd even thought about before.

At first, she'd just say that we'd see how things go, I loaned her my copy of Opening Up, it seemed like maybe it'd lead to a poly relationship. Then she started getting weirded out by things like him saying "D loves me!" because I'd gotten him soda. Then he started clarifying that they weren't poly and he didn't want me getting any ideas about relationships, this was just sex- well, and friendship, and I ate dinner there all the time so it made sense that I sometimes got groceries....Anyhow, it was not a romance, they had a romantic relationship, we were just FWB, that was that! And she started clarifying her boundaries- at first, she said her daughter wouldn't think anything of me being in their bed, then the rule changed to I couldn't be in bed with him while the teenager was home, then I couldn't be on her side of the bed at all, then we couldn't sleep in the same bed even when she was out-of-state with the kids.

By that time, she'd started saying things about how their relationship could be renegotiated to monogamy if they both chose to- which I got the strong feeling that she meant that SHE could demand he be monogamous and he'd agree to make her happy. When I talked to him about how powerless I felt, he said that if I wanted to have control of the situation, I had the power to decide not to have sex with him. So, I told her that I wouldn't have sex with him while his kids were visiting in July.

I'd hoped she'd use the time to sort through her issues, but instead "they" agreed to a more limited non-monogamy. She says that they can only play with other people if they're both involved (which I know she has a very low sex drive, so that'd be once in a blue moon), he thinks she might be okay with playing with some other girl (not me) under specific conditions, and keeps hoping that maybe someday she'll let him play with me again- of course, he also keeps hoping that her sex drive will go back to when they were in NRE in an LDR and he could barely keep up with her, and I suspect that it's more realistic that she's going to be interested once for every 100 times he'd like to.

I've recently decided that even if she suddenly decided to go back to the way things were last spring, I would not be okay with that because I've got some boundaries of my own and I'm not willing to be emotionally invested in a relationship that someone else can destroy on whim. I love him, but I'm just not willing to let myself be that vulnerable to more pain. If (big if, serious doubts) she were okay with respecting my boundaries so I could have the kind of relationship I want with him- while still being willing to compromise, make sure her needs get met, etc- I'd be thrilled to tears.

Oh, and she's said that she feels less guilty because I'm dating someone new- apparently it's okay to yank the rug out from under someone as long as there are other rugs they could have. Which, yes, I am, but I've got more forgottens with the old guy than I have memories with the new guy.
Also, he saw my journal entry about my rules, and said that he thinks she'd feel like she was being attacked.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:08 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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This is a great post SwtchwitchD! Personal experiences are a great source to learn from because they are lived, not hypothesized. Thanks for this!

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Originally Posted by StitchwitchD View Post
I've been doing some thinking about how partners come to agreements to be mono or poly, and what their boundaries are, rules, etc, and wondering how that works for other people.

.
I find this an interesting statement because the idea of having to negotiate being monogamous is foreign to me. I am monogamous, I don't chose to be it....The idea of negotiating monogamy honestly intrigues me. Why would you live monogamously if you aren't? Isn't that just asking for trouble?
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:39 AM
StitchwitchD StitchwitchD is offline
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
This is a great post SwtchwitchD! Personal experiences are a great source to learn from because they are lived, not hypothesized. Thanks for this!



I find this an interesting statement because the idea of having to negotiate being monogamous is foreign to me. I am monogamous, I don't chose to be it....The idea of negotiating monogamy honestly intrigues me. Why would you live monogamously if you aren't? Isn't that just asking for trouble?
Well, when I've been in monogamous relationships, it's been because I was only interested in that person. I'm polyflexible, and when I'm in love with someone who is only in love with me, monogamy just makes sense.

If I was in love with someone who was only in love with me but had 100th of my sex drive, and there was someone else I was very close to and attracted to who felt the same about me, and the 2 of them got along really well (to the point of having conversations like "Anteaters should be reuseable!" "Yes, I can understand needing more dynamite, but not anteaters", as well as the more obvious things, like that the game is duck duck gray duck and that you should think Minnesotan accents are really sexy).....well, then maybe monogamy would not be the most obvious choice.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:40 AM
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Polyflexible...I like it! Perhaps you could add it to Legions Definitions?

Thanks for the response.
Take care
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:55 AM
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Man, I have so much to learn and a great big stick to get out of my arse, LOL!!!! My first impression reading this was to cringe at all the drama. And here mono writes,
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This is a great post SwtchwitchD! Personal experiences are a great source to learn from because they are lived, not hypothesized. Thanks for this!
.

I really, really value how much I learn from reading some of the responses on here. Thank you.

Switchwitch, I'm sad about how disempowering this situation is for you. I don't know what else to say.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:08 AM
StitchwitchD StitchwitchD is offline
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Switchwitch, I'm sad about how disempowering this situation is for you. I don't know what else to say.
Actually, I've gotten to the point where I feel like I'm empowered to make healthy choices in my relationships- even if that can't be him right now, partially because of how things are with her, but partially because I think maybe he needs to get better at being assertive in a postive manner before he ends up being the pivot of a Vee, because even without this being a Relationship, he still is a people-pleaser and wants to make both of us happy, and he needs to be able to say "No, I do not want to go shopping at the craft store right after work, please let me take a vehicle and go home while you girls shop." It gets annoying when he gets all grumpy and resentful because he lacks the balls to stand up for himself.

Oh, and I've got my own apartment, I really don't need to even be here, I could say "Fuck you guys, I'm going home." and they could not stop me. No one else has the power to just leave.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:34 PM
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A great account, StitchwitchD! I really value real-life experiences with poly - no book can illustrate so well the various practical pitfalls of relationships of this nature, so love to read other people's experiences.

Very pleased that these have been learning experiences for you - I have seen too many stories told of people who repeatedly get themselves in the same situation, blame the others and then complain about why they can never be happy.

I also think there are many who haven't got themselves worked out yet to the point where they can have a healthy, open and honest relationship. I mean I believe that we never have everything worked out about ourselves and that the journey continues, but there is a certain basic requirement that is needed to avoid your partners not knowing whether they are on head or horseback with you.

Based on what I have seen (and been guilty of myself, I'll admit) is running into relationships without really having any sort of framework and "winging it" - for some that might work, but when you are in a poly/mono arrangement, or with people that aren't really sure if they are mono or poly I would suggest that it rarely does.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:40 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hi Stitch,

Thanks for sharing.
As much as I hate to make a statement like this because I agree with those who have come to the conclusion that "poly" has no single definition or model, I can only say that there's simply just nothing "poly" about this whole configuration - except possibly your own self-definition.
It's just lacking all the primary components - especially love, kindness, compassion for each other etc. It's (for them it seems) primarily about sex which is fine, but I think it's important to call a spade a spade.
Maybe this is what some others may try to point to when they try to express some negativity towards sex without (or with little or unreciprocated) loving kindness. It just is loaded with potential for bad things as you've illustrated.
Now - don't read me wrong - I have no issue with the idea of pursuing sexual fulfillment but I think it's just important to realize the potential for bad consequences unless there's more of a bond and good communications between all involved.
For example, if it were me that was going to choose to involve myself in a situation like you described, I would know full well going in that it was probably not going to last, would be walking on eggshells most of the time, and a lot of chance for drama and damage. Might I still choose to go there ? Maybe - but unlikely. The sex would have to be mind blowing and I'd have to be pretty desperate (starved) myself. But that's just me.
This type of arrangement is more typical of the type of behavior you find in swinging circles and it seems anyone who navigates it successfully went into it with an attitude of "it'll be fun while it lasts" and managed to come away with that same outlook.
Problem being - the heart doesn't care to acknowledge that attitude so you end up with a head/heart battle
But as you say - a learning experience with what appears to be minimal damage done ?

GS
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:55 PM
JessieNY JessieNY is offline
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Stitch...thank you for your story. I am sorry it caused you pain that is never good. It is very hepful to me to read your story so that I understand the other side to what my husband is looking for. I would never want to hurt anyone the way you have been hurt. Best wishes to you and happy thoughts your way.
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:10 AM
StitchwitchD StitchwitchD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Hi Stitch,

Thanks for sharing.
As much as I hate to make a statement like this because I agree with those who have come to the conclusion that "poly" has no single definition or model, I can only say that there's simply just nothing "poly" about this whole configuration - except possibly your own self-definition.
It's just lacking all the primary components - especially love, kindness, compassion for each other etc. It's (for them it seems) primarily about sex which is fine, but I think it's important to call a spade a spade.
Maybe this is what some others may try to point to when they try to express some negativity towards sex without (or with little or unreciprocated) loving kindness. It just is loaded with potential for bad things as you've illustrated.
Now - don't read me wrong - I have no issue with the idea of pursuing sexual fulfillment but I think it's just important to realize the potential for bad consequences unless there's more of a bond and good communications between all involved.
For example, if it were me that was going to choose to involve myself in a situation like you described, I would know full well going in that it was probably not going to last, would be walking on eggshells most of the time, and a lot of chance for drama and damage. Might I still choose to go there ? Maybe - but unlikely. The sex would have to be mind blowing and I'd have to be pretty desperate (starved) myself. But that's just me.
This type of arrangement is more typical of the type of behavior you find in swinging circles and it seems anyone who navigates it successfully went into it with an attitude of "it'll be fun while it lasts" and managed to come away with that same outlook.
Problem being - the heart doesn't care to acknowledge that attitude so you end up with a head/heart battle
But as you say - a learning experience with what appears to be minimal damage done ?

GS
Where did you get the idea that there's no compassion or kindness? We have avoided using the word "love" to apply to my relationship with him, because she gets so touchy about it, but we certainly all care about each other.
I'm not big on romantic talk, I put way more value in actions than in words.

And if we didn't care, I think this would have exploded into drama, but instead there's just been lots of polite discussions. I know I've been venting, and feeling hurt, and thus haven't focused on all the good stuff or the general dynamics.

As for this not being poly except in how I identify- in a way that's true- but there's more to it than that, like in the difference between how the relationship is publically presented and what people pick up on subconsciously. So, people who know us who know about poly tend to assume there's some sort of poly relationship going on, and people who don't know about poly assume I'm having an affair with him, and he usually introduces me as "She's not my wife", so I'm not sure what the cashiers at Sam's Club and McD's think.
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