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  #1  
Old 07-11-2013, 08:49 PM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
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Default Is poly right for me?

I have fairly simple questions to ask - although I suspect the answers might not be as simple.

How do you know if a polyamorous relationship model is right for you? Is it possible to develop the qualities needed to be successful at polyamory? For that matter, what are these qualities?

So why am I asking all of this? I'm trying to figure out if this is right for me or not. Polyamory has a huge intellectual appeal to me - it make a heck of a lot more sense than monogamy - I won't go into specifics, as I'm guessing they will be pretty obvious to anyone on this forum. Emotionally, I have found this trickier - much trickier. I was in a poly relationship for the last year that ended recently - and I am not sure if it is because I'm just not right for this, or we were just terrible at communicating. I ran into trouble when my GF started to have feelings for a guy she was seeing, and she stated to pull away from me - I started to get insecure, got jealous and had a nice totally lost it meltdown evening. Since then - she just got more and more distant, so I finally just broke things off because it was getting too painful. It seemed like we might have been able to somehow get through it, if we were able to communicate effectively, but that just didn't happen.

So since then, I've really been trying to figure out what I need, if I can do something different, or is trying this just a mistake for me, because I'm just not right for it.

I was fine when either of us were just having friendly sex; I suspect I may be emotionally monogamous (rather than sexually monogamous) - I was fine until other, outside romantic feelings arose in my GF, and I have never been in love with more than one person at a time in my life. In my normal day-to-day life I am totally secure with myself, but somehow the fear that I will loose the attention of someone I really care for triggers this huge feeling of insecurity. Is this normal - and something you just deal with, or do most of you just not feel any insecurity? Do you work on insecure feelings with your partner(s).

Is this compounded by feeling like you are being left out - once I started seeing less and less of my GF I felt really neglected, which made everything feel even worse.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:18 PM
london london is offline
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i honestly believe that the majority of "good" poly is embracing the fact that your partner has other partners. Actively accepting that and still feeling valued by them.
Some people cannot do that at all, others can do it if there is an emotional attachment but not a sexual one, or vice versa, I don't think that is polyamory, if a person needs to limit outside relationships to feel that they are "in" the "main" one. It can, however, be another relationship style under the ethical non monogamy umbrella. There is nothing wrong or lesser about choosing that type of relationship, as long as you make it clear to everyone involved what the limitations are and the consequences for breaking those boundaries.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:00 PM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
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I think I can embrace my partner having other partners. I will go even further and say that it is likely that my partner could have a partner that might provide her with something I can't. But what was messing me up was that she was spending 7 - 10 days in a row with the new guy, and I was lucky if I could get here to visit me twice in the same week - just quick visits; sleepovers stopped completely. I asked her for more of her time, and she responded by pulling even further away. It really hurt - I felt like I was mattering less and less to her.

I like to have a few days during the week, and more often than not, one day of the weekend, as it is my sacred time away from work. That isn't some kind of requirement, but just my negotiable preference. The problem is that every time I tried to have a negotiation it was taken as a criticism or attack, and communication just fell apart.

My GF told me she had some kind of learning disability that made communication really difficult for her, but when things were more casual, it never came up. It seems like while I'm reading through this forum that communication is critical. It also seems like getting past these emotional hurdles seems to work better with an effort from both parties.

Last week I truly felt that my polyamorous experiment was a failure because of my makeup - but I really cannot stress how jacked up our communication was - truly dysfunctional. Now I'm not sure if the root cause was or total inability to communicate.

I'm also hesitant to just accept that I'm doomed to feel insecurity in a relationship when my partner is seeing someone else. I have processed my way through petty emotions in the past - I'm not convinced this one is different.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by starmonkey View Post
For that matter, what are these qualities?
The ability to take responsibility and full authority over your own shit and letting everyone else take care of theirs.

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Originally Posted by starmonkey View Post
It seemed like we might have been able to somehow get through it, if we were able to communicate effectively, but that just didn't happen.
Communication is good; it's a positive trait to be able to constructively get an idea across to your audience. However, I think people put too much emphasis on this being the fundamental issue of relationships. I don't think that it is, because what most people are trying desperately to communicate to their partner really just needs to be dealt with individually.

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Originally Posted by starmonkey View Post
Do you work on insecure feelings with your partner(s).
Insecurity is the big one in most relationships, and that goes double for non-monogamous. A person can communicate all day long how insecure they are about their partners activities but the does precisely dick to actually solve the problem. Why? Because the problem can only be solved by the person with the insecurity.

Get therapy
Improve your self talk
Get a better job
Get some exercise
Make some friends
Do whatever it takes to stop feeling insignificant

THAT is actually moving toward a solution. Note that none of those things involve telling the partner about butt hurt feelings or that they need to do some back flips in service to said insecurity.


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Is this compounded by feeling like you are being left out - once I started seeing less and less of my GF I felt really neglected, which made everything feel even worse.
Get better at being alone. Get better at entertaining yourself, managing your time, keeping your chin up, and over all taking responsibility for yourself.

You will be fine if your girlfriend gets distracted for a while or decides for whatever reason that she's going to be spending a lot of her time doing whatever. Instead of focusing on what she is doing with her life, you should focus on what you are doing with your life.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:19 PM
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I like to have a few days during the week, and more often than not, one day of the weekend, as it is my sacred time away from work. That isn't some kind of requirement, but just my negotiable preference.
Not getting what we want sucks. However, that's just part of reality.

Honestly she doesn't sound like she was really into it. While that is a bummer to discover, fortunately you can keep meeting people and experimenting until you find something that works a little better for you.


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The problem is that every time I tried to have a negotiation it was taken as a criticism or attack, and communication just fell apart.
What do you mean by negotiation here? I don't think I've ever done anything with IV which I would qualify as "negotiation".

IV has been SUPER busy with work, as an example. She only just now has wrested her way into a day or two off each week, though she is still working primarily 12 hour days. During her super busy time (I doubt it's over, to be honest) I felt neglected and was getting really down in the dumps. I posted on here about it in the blog section, talked to a couple of my friends, moped and grumbled about it... and in the end decided I needed to be more direct. I told her I wanted a sleep over and that I missed her... she made a hole in her schedule a few days later so that we could do that.

If I had told her that and she said she just wasn't able to see me but would work on it as soon as she could, I would have been pretty disappointed. However I would have needed to come to terms with the fact that her work is a high priority for her and that if I want to be in her life I need to understand this reality. I'm not sure what 'negotiation' could have happened to adjust this issue.

My missing her is my shit and I need to work it out (and periodically let her know that I want to spend some time with her and request that she take a look at her availability)

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Last week I truly felt that my polyamorous experiment was a failure because of my makeup
Eh, relationships tank, man. I wouldn't put this particular relationship any higher than an experiment which taught you a bit more about who you are and what you need to work on.

Maybe you aren't going to enjoy polyamory, but I don't see this experience as being a valid reason to make that conclusion.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:28 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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ALL relationships, whether polyamorous or monogamous, need the same elements to be successful and satisfying: love, mutual respect, honesty, communication, caring and affection, shared intimacy (emotional, intellectual, physical), being fully present (not holding onto the past and old ideals), and being able to manage your emotions. The one thing you have to be really, really good at in poly is time management, but that's useful in monogamy, too. So, really, in thinking about how to relate to the ones you love, poly relationships are not that much different from mono ones, other than the fact that there are more to manage.

The only way to know if poly is for you is to ask yourself whether you are open to it. If so, then put it into practice and see how it goes.
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-11-2013 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:26 AM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
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Quote:
The ability to take responsibility and full authority over your own shit and letting everyone else take care of theirs.
All makes perfect sense to me - not as easy as it sounds in practice.

I would add the following: making a determination if the dynamic as a whole is working for you, then exercising the decision to either remain in the relationship or no rather than trying to change the other person.

I'm saying this because one of the things I have learned in previous relationships is that someone who runs away and distances themselves in difficult times doesn't work for me. I'm not talking about temporarily disengaging when things start to escalate - I'm talking about disappearing for days or weeks on end. Trying to fight this has not worked well for me.

I can totally see taking responsibility full authority over your own shit is necessary - even if I am still learning this. But is that all - is there ever any point when it is OK to ask for emotional support from a partner - not fixing the way you feel - but support.

Consider this - last weekend I decided to spend a few days with some of my chosen family (a very close friend from the service and his wife) and get a bit more centered. At one point they noticed I was tearing up a bit, and they came over, held me and told me I was going to be OK - that what I was feeling was OK. That just made me completely lose it, which was what I needed.
I am intentionally using a non-romantic example where someone was supportive about how I felt - not trying to fix me, but just being there with me through it. Is this something you cannot do in an intimate relationship because there is too much tendency to make the other person responsible for your shit?
Perhaps the answer is in your example - you have some process you do first, before you ask your partner for time.

Quote:
Not getting what we want sucks. However, that's just part of reality.

Honestly she doesn't sound like she was really into it.
Yea, I know you don't always get what you want - this is why I try to avoid expectation. This one sort of snuck up on my over time - it was working without issue for almost a year before it derailed.
She probably wasn't really into it - at least not the same way I was - which is disappointing to me, but just the way the cards played out.

Quote:
What do you mean by negotiation here?
Negotiation might be the wrong word. Basically this: I feel something off, and realize it is that I feel disconnected from my primary - that the frequency I see her has markedly changed - We usually spend at least 4-5 days (sleepovers) together a week, and suddenly this shifts to 1-2 visits (no sleepovers) a week. Basically - I miss her and want to see more of her - all my emotions, my shit as you put it. I figure she can't read my mind, so I tell her how I'm feeling, and ask for more time. She takes this as my trying to control her, so I back off. Whatever you would call that.

There is another difference between your example and mine. I've never had a hard time when a partner gets bogged down at work - it happens to me, too. But I don't feel like I'm competing with my partner's job. But if felt different when she is choosing to spend most of her time with someone new. It is totally her choice - but I want someone who doesn't take me for granted and wants to spend *some* time with me too.

Yes - in hindsight this probably was not a really good relationship for me, so it follows that it is not necessarily a conclusive indicator that poly is right for me or not.

I've done/am doing everything on that list except the last, which I translate to re-engaging my life - it is a good time for this, and I'm starting to re-engage in ernest. I'm just a bit sad it didn't work out at this moment - I don't like breakups.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:15 AM
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Well, damn. You 2 were spending 4 or 5 overnights a week and suddenly she meets a new person and swans off for 7-10 days in a row and barely drops by to say hi (shower, get fresh clothes, I bet), twice a week?

That's cold.

I'd say SHE's bad at poly. To me that sounds like shitty rude behavior and crappy handling of her NRE.

I don't agree with Marcus that you have to get better at being alone. I mean, maybe you do, but that's besides the point. You and she had a THING, and suddenly she changes the rules without discussion or any compassion for you. If you're used to hanging out and dating her that often, it would take time for you to find hobbies or line up friends or join a gym or whatever. Of course you missed her!
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by starmonkey View Post
Is this something you cannot do in an intimate relationship because there is too much tendency to make the other person responsible for your shit?
Perhaps the answer is in your example - you have some process you do first, before you ask your partner for time.
I think I get what you're saying. If I am desirous of time with my partner I need to ask. I think the "not making them responsible for my shit" comes in when I avoid describing to them how not spending time with them is affecting me. I mean, I ask - she gives me an answer - I try to leave it at that.

Not sure if I addressed your question clearly or not.

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Originally Posted by Mag
I'd say SHE's bad at poly. To me that sounds like shitty rude behavior and crappy handling of her NRE.
No way to get around it, she's clearly not handling her puppy love for a new partner very well. It's tough to do and probably takes some people much more practice than others (if they ever get it) but it's a skill which is helpful in creating healthy poly relationships.

In a perfect world she would try to remain conscious of how much time she is (or is not) spending with you and would remind herself to reach out to you. Getting all wrapped up in puppy love is easy but it's not what I would call responsible. Granted, I don't want my partner spending time with me for the sake of "being responsible" or "being good at poly" so I guess I'd prefer to be neglected over being placated.

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But I don't feel like I'm competing with my partner's job. But if felt different when she is choosing to spend most of her time with someone new.
The future of your poly relationships will be served well by your attempting to improve this perspective. While it may *seem* like we are competing for peoples time, it's not a game and keeping and comparing scores is not going to help build healthy relationships.
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:57 PM
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No way to get around it, she's clearly not handling her puppy love for a new partner very well. It's tough to do and probably takes some people much more practice than others (if they ever get it) but it's a skill which is helpful in creating healthy poly relationships.

In a perfect world she would try to remain conscious of how much time she is (or is not) spending with you and would remind herself to reach out to you. Getting all wrapped up in puppy love is easy but it's not what I would call responsible.
The more I think about this the less I agree with it. That is, I can't see a way for my partner to "be responsible and take time away from their puppy love" as being anything but forced placation out of a sense of duty to me. I either want my partner to desire to spend time with me or to not spend time with me - there shouldn't be any other motivators involved in this decision.

Accepting or initiating a sleepover with me out of a sense of duty is exactly the opposite of what I want. SO! Please strike my previous comment from the record.
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