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Old 07-29-2013, 09:38 PM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
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Default Passion and Intimacy in a new relationship - where is it?

Hello everyone - wouldn't mind getting other takes on my current situation.

For a bit of background, I've been practicing poly for just under a year now, with mixed results. I still struggle with a mono-centric mindset and regularly have to deal with some uncomfortable emotions like insecurity, fears of loss and abandonment, envy, etc - all of which generally manifest themselves on the surface as jealously. Although I struggle with these feelings, they belong to me; I am careful to keep them on my side of the street, and prevent them from permeating my relationship(s). I've made some progress.

I've been dating a new girl for about 2 weeks now, that like and I'm pretty attracted to. Neither of us are in a main "central" relationship with anyone, and both of us are interested in more of a "main squeeze" relationship. She has been practicing polyamory for a few years, and really doesn't seem to have the same struggles as I run into - she called my before my last date with someone a few days ago to sincerely wish me luck. We seem to communicate pretty effectively with each other. We seem to want the same things, have much in common, enjoy each other's company, and I get along with her 3 year old son. Everything seems great - except I have this feeing like there is something really important missing that I have been having a hard time articulating. I almost want to ask - where is the NRE?

Originally I thought it was because she was putting off having sex with me. I posted here, and got some pretty spot on advice (particularly on the differences between how man and women look at relationships and sex), and now I'm not so concerned about that, but the feeling like something is off is still very persistent. I think I am starting to realize that it is not sex in of itself I'm missing - I think it is intimacy and passion, so I will try to describe what I'm talking about.

On intimacy - we have these great talks about what our future might look like, but we still don't seem to really have that kind of non-verbal intimacy I crave - its a way you touch, hug and kiss someone you are into, like how some people will gently touch someone's cheek when you are telling them how you feel about them, or just wrap your arms around them when you talk. She seems like she is keeping me at arms length - which I'm having a hard time with. I'm following her lead, and trying to not be as touchy-feely as I would normally, but it is feeling way more awkward than I thought it would be - It has gotten uncomfortable.

On passion - well, for me - that is that almost giddy excitement you have to be with someone you really dig. Outside of my work, I'm very open with this and pretty easily express this one in my day-to-day life, and most of the people I know have this to some degree. In a similar way as the intimacy issue I mentioned, she seems like she is either keeping this deep under wraps where I can't see it, or (more worrisome to me) she just doesn't feel the excitement.

Honestly - I don't really know what to do with a relationship with little intimacy or passion. I move forward in a relationship using both - trying to suppress them feels very odd and unnatural to me, so I sort of feel like I am hovering in limbo - something I am not very good at at all. I don't think this is a situation where she needs space, because she contacts me pretty regularly - pretty much everyday - but it all lacks that sort of spark and fire.

I feel like it is time to talk about this with her, but I wanted to bring the issue up here first, and see what comes back from it. I don't know if this is more about my perception distorted by some other emotion - but it doesn't have that tell-tale pit-in the stomach I usually feel when triggered. I would really like to hear what others take on all this is.

Thanks for reading this.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:43 PM
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Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
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I think that is a big problem for me and why I don't bother dating. I don't feel NRE for anyone. I want to meet and fall for someone but the dating pool is just soooo limited it seems almost impossible.
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Last edited by Inyourendo; 07-29-2013 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starmonkey View Post
Everything seems great - except I have this feeing like there is something really important missing that I have been having a hard time articulating. I almost want to ask - where is the NRE?
Most of my relationships are quite different from one another. It makes sense that they are because I have them with entirely unique individuals. This is just stating a fact, the problem comes in when we insist that a person should "be like" anything or that the relationship should "feel like" a particular thing. The person is exactly what they are and the relationship feels exactly the way it does... "should" is counterproductive.

It is my estimation that this is a "one and everything" approach to viewing people which gets grandfathered in from certain monogamous worldviews. If I'm going to be with one person for the rest of my life it would make sense that I should require them to be a lot of different things. If they aren't some of those things they should be able to change to meet those needs for me. This whole concept is antithetical to how I think healthy relationships should function, but this stuff carries weight with a lot of people none the less.

Preferably you should enjoy what your partner is giving you, be appreciative, and give them back what you naturally give. The idea of what a partner is *not* giving you should hopefully not even be a blip on your radar. The beauty of polyamory is that I can just lay back and enjoy my partner and if I am curious to have some need met which they don't meet then I am free to go out and get it.

It's a win-win for everyone.

In short, put all of this energy you are using to fret over what your partner isn't giving you into appreciating what she is giving you. There are people out there who you will have puppy love and animal chemistry with... go find one and let your current girl be what she is.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:55 PM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
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Originally Posted by Inyourendo View Post
I think that is a big problem for me and why I don't bother dating. I don't feel NRE for anyone. I want to meet and fall for someone but the dating pool is just soooo limited it seems almost impossible.
There is a large poly dating pool here in the Bay Area - I am very lucky in that respect. In your experience, is that NRE a requirement to fall for someone? I suspect it might be so for me. It is certainly feels like it. Right now, despite what she is saying to me (she wants an intimate relationship), the dynamics feel way more like she wants to be buddies.

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Preferably you should enjoy what your partner is giving you, be appreciative, and give them back what you naturally give. The idea of what a partner is *not* giving you should hopefully not even be a blip on your radar. The beauty of polyamory is that I can just lay back and enjoy my partner and if I am curious to have some need met which they don't meet then I am free to go out and get it.
Don't try to change someone, accept where they are at - I agree with that, but I'm not sure that is exactly what is going on with me - the thought that she "should" or "shouldn't" be anything doesn't sound quite right.

I'm not sure this is about my needs not being met. I already have this kind of easy passion and intimacy in my other relationships.

The thing is that I don't know how to practice a relationship that doesn't have that passion and intimacy. I use both to build relationships, without them - I do not know what to do beyond being just friends. Picture this: its late night and we are talking together - its a pleasant, intimate conversation, and it feels totally natural for me to put my arm around her, but at the same time, I get the opposite message from her body language. I end up not putting my arm around her while still feeling the strong desire to, which ends feeling extremely awkward and unnatural to me - like we are more buddies than lovers. I would be OK with being buddies and I would be OK with being lovers - I don't have any idea how to do neither/both/whatever this is. There seems like there is a mixed message with her.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:01 PM
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People I meet that I dont feel NRE with just end up friends. I can't even be FWB with someone unless I have a crush on them.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:24 PM
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When you feel that you want to put your arm around her either do it or ask her if that would be okay. But not doing it because you're reading from her body language that she doesn't want that isn't fair. She may want it but not have those physical cues or she may be someone who isn't touchy feely, but does intimacy a different way. It's better to ask than assume.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by starmonkey View Post
The thing is that I don't know how to practice a relationship that doesn't have that passion and intimacy.
Now I'm remembering our previous conversation. If you don't feel anything romantic for this person but you do have some kind of intellectual interest in them then that's just a friend. Even if you have sex every now and then or whatever, that's still just a friend in my opinion. Not that there is anything wrong with having friends, just that they are different from romantic lovers.

Does she have some kind of romantic expectation from the relationship? Is that what you need to talk to her about?
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:23 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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If you feel uncomfortable, and are a "touch" person and want to be free to express that side of you to her?

Could talk about it and tell her you feel uncomfortable not expressing naturally. And ask if she'd welcome that kind of touching from you. Figure out the boundaries here.

Not all people are "touchy" people to the same degree that you are. Just because she expresses herself in different ways doesn't mean she doesn't dig you.
Quote:
The thing is that I don't know how to practice a relationship that doesn't have that passion and intimacy. I use both to build relationships, without them - I do not know what to do beyond being just friends.
Could decide to learn this new skill then -- creating emotional intimacy via words first rather than touching first. Could just ASK. You are in the "get to know each other better" time -- so could get on with getting to know each other better.

Quote:
its a pleasant, intimate conversation, and it feels totally natural for me to put my arm around her, but at the same time, I get the opposite message from her body language. I end up not putting my arm around her while still feeling the strong desire to, which ends feeling extremely awkward and unnatural to me - like we are more buddies than lovers. I would be OK with being buddies and I would be OK with being lovers - I don't have any idea how to do neither/both/whatever this is. There seems like there is a mixed message with her.
Could choose to clarify. Maybe you need help in forming the words? Could keep it simple. Maybe something like...

"I really like you. I'd love to put my arms around you. I hesitate because it seems from your body language that you might not want that right now. But I wanted to check in because I'm still learning all your body language cues -- did I guess right?"


And see what she says.

Could not make it bigger than it is -- just open mouth and ASK.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-30-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:00 AM
starmonkey starmonkey is offline
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Originally Posted by Inyourendo View Post
People I meet that I dont feel NRE with just end up friends. I can't even be FWB with someone unless I have a crush on them.
Yea - that's almost the same for me except I can usually do FWB for awhile - particularly is my lover is another man, does not seem to apply to my female partners. Historically though, I generally loose interest in a fe weeks, if not days.

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Originally Posted by BrigidsDaughter View Post
When you feel that you want to put your arm around her either do it or ask her if that would be okay. But not doing it because you're reading from her body language that she doesn't want that isn't fair. She may want it but not have those physical cues or she may be someone who isn't touchy feely, but does intimacy a different way. It's better to ask than assume.
You know - I'm looking back at the situation, and I cannot totally remember if I asked or not - I *think* I did, but I might just be remembering my desire to. I usually ask. Normally I would have remembered, but this was at the tail end of meeting her energetic 3 year old son, so I was somewhat tired that evening. Either way, this is something I can do the next time it comes up - so I appreciate the advice.

That said, my saying she is holding back is not totally my reading her body language (or mind reading) - she wrote me a message last week that she realized she was holding back and was usually a much more intimate person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Now I'm remembering our previous conversation. If you don't feel anything romantic for this person but you do have some kind of intellectual interest in them then that's just a friend. Even if you have sex every now and then or whatever, that's still just a friend in my opinion. Not that there is anything wrong with having friends, just that they are different from romantic lovers.
We haven't actually had sex yet - I originally thought that was the issue for me but it isn't - it is the intimacy and passion. I also think it is the other way around: I feel the potential for something romantic - but I am beginning to question if she does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Does she have some kind of romantic expectation from the relationship?
Thats a pretty good question. We have talked about our respective romantic expectations - she has told me (with words) she is definitely looking at me as a romantic partner - her main one, in fact. Unless, I am completely off base, she means it. She also was cool with me meeting her son, which speaks volumes about what she wants. But her demeanor is sending me the opposite message. I would be suspect of my interpretation (I am obviously not objective), but she has told me she recognizes she is holding back, and is usually much more intimate and passionate, with out my prompting. She is able to read my angst pretty easily. The point is I am getting mixed messages (we both see this), and I am beginning to wonder if she wants a relationship with me - or wants to want one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Is that what you need to talk to her about?
Another good question. I am not sure, but I think I may need to let her know that this relationship is unfolding more like a friendship (a good one) than a romance for me. I offer that purely as feedback, but I'm aware that could be taken as pressure to do something she didn't decide to do herself - the opposite of what I want, so perhaps I need to include that. I'm OK with whatever we have ending up as a friendship or romance - I'm just getting uncomfortable not knowing which way to go with it. I have a huge preference for romance when the other person is as gung-ho as I am about the potential for romance.
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