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Old 05-25-2013, 10:21 PM
Lanny Lanny is offline
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Default New To This And I Need A Lot Of Advice

Hi, I'm new here, at least to posting on here. I'm running in to some issues with my first attempt at polyamory, and if anyone is willing to try to help, I'd appreciate any and all advice.

I'm in a 5 year relationship with a woman, I'm a male, and I've been reading article after article and blog after blog. I'm not hunting for any unicorns, because I already found another person, and she has found hers as well.

Our relationship was pretty rough. I finally got her to sit down and talk to me about it, and we finally cleared the air a while back. Coming from all of this, she let me know that she was interested in someone else, but still felt strongly about me. I have the same situation, someone I'm interested in but still felt strongly about her. My interest is interested in me, and we have already started seeing each other somewhat. She is still testing the waters with her interests.

I'll call her S and me L if that helps to keep this clear.

The problem is that she has started to clam up again and not talk to me about things, to not discuss this situation and mostly our relationship. She doesn't want to open up hardly at all. We can have these long talks, where I do most of the talking and ask questions and get one word replies, 'Sorry.' and 'I don't know.' are common when talking about our relationship. Maybe we are doomed I don't know, but I'm willing to work on this, and she 'says' she is as well, but, well I don't know.

I'm rambling a bit here, let me summarize my thoughts.

Is there any advice from anyone who has been in a situation like this? I really would like to give us a shot, after 5 years, her being step-mother to my two children, (who I have custody of) and the kids feeling that she is Mom, I think it deserves at least one shot. Maybe two or three for the kids sakes. I could use any advice on what I can do to help her feel comfortable opening up to me, and sharing her feelings, or at least talking through them if they aren't clear to her yet. (she grew up in a family that talking about your feelings was shunned, put down, frowned upon and in some cases, according to her, punished) I am willing to accept that maybe there is nothing I can do, but please, if you have any advice I would appreciate it a lot.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:59 PM
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BigGuy BigGuy is offline
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If the talks are long and only one person is speaking, it's not a discussion, it's a monologue. It sounds like she is shutting down and I suspect it's not due to her upbringing.

The best resource I know for learning how to communicate is a book titled Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberg. She doesn't need to read this, you do.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:19 PM
Lanny Lanny is offline
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While I appreciate that, I think the case is that I'm not being very clear. I ask her a question. I wait for a reply, quietly, without adding anything. If she does give me an actual reply, I ask questions and let her talk. That is how we started to communicate about this. And is still what I try to do when we talk. But she is now not responding. Not talking to me at all really. I don't know is her reply. I ask her open ended questions, hoping that I can help her explain what she is unsure of. I am patient. I don't hound her with questions, I wait for her to think and respond. But she doesn't anymore. She has changed to how she acted when I first met her.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:54 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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So, what is stopping you from saying to her, "Something has changed in how you are relating to me. You seem to be shutting me out, and won't talk to me anymore. Is something bothering you? I want to be there for you but I don't know how if you won't tell me. Why are you suddenly not talking to me?" And if she says, "I don't know," you say, "I think you do know, but you are afraid to tell me. I can handle it. What's going on?"

There isn't any need to strategize here. It really can't be more simple than to ask why she suddenly won't talk to you.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:39 PM
Ssandra Ssandra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanny View Post
While I appreciate that, I think the case is that I'm not being very clear. I ask her a question. I wait for a reply, quietly, without adding anything. If she does give me an actual reply, I ask questions and let her talk. That is how we started to communicate about this. And is still what I try to do when we talk. But she is now not responding. Not talking to me at all really. I don't know is her reply. I ask her open ended questions, hoping that I can help her explain what she is unsure of. I am patient. I don't hound her with questions, I wait for her to think and respond. But she doesn't anymore. She has changed to how she acted when I first met her.
Have you thought about counseling? It seems that having someone else there who can help you ask the right questions and help her feel safe in answering them might help you guys a lot.

Sometimes the way we ask things can come across as an attack, or as an accusation even when we don't mean it like that. I know, because I know that I do that sometimes.

Especially if there are things that my husband feels strongly about (guilty, even if it is not necessary, or ashamed, even if it is not necessary, or uncomfortable), when I ask questions about that, sometimes he gets defensive.

The best way (in my experience) to deal with people who get defensive is to realize that they see you as attacking them, and changing your strategy, your way of talking.


One of the things that might help is to ask her to write to you. Ask her to write to you about how she feels, and promise that you won't talk to her about it (and however difficult that is, stick to it!!) and that you will only write her back.

Make sure though when you do write her back, to not do so right away. To wait a few days after her reply, and to mainly ask questions or mention how you feel. Don't try to justify things or make her seem to be wrong. However she feels is completely valid!
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:16 PM
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Second the couples counseling - maybe she would find it easier to answer questions from a neutral party, maybe a counselor could help sort out what questions are the important ones and if you can hear her answers to those, all the other things you want to know she isn't sharing will be easier to tolerate.

There's a number of resources for poly friendly counselors listed around here somewhere, searching should help bring them up. Even if you "cant afford counseling" even going for 2 or 3 visits with a good therapist should be enough to uncover if there is a big red flag you guys aren't seeing, and well worth the money considering its your lives and all.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:01 PM
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Harborman Harborman is offline
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Default Communication

Maybe one-to-one face-to-face communication is the issue. Have you thought about writing letters or emails to each other? I had a GF once who just could not open up in person, not with deep stuff. But put her on a keyboard and she was positively effusive. What would you say to each other in letters? You can start. Make it a love letter of sorts.

Good communication is the ultimate intimacy?
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:15 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Harborman has a great idea - there's been a couple times for me that harder or awkward to have conversations about ongoing issues have become easier to get the answers from my partner either by using instant messaging and letting them take their time to answer without the stress of me sitting there looking at them in anticipation, or emailing about it.
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