Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-30-2010, 05:25 AM
jv02vd jv02vd is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 6
Default A Dilemma

Okay, so I'm in this really awkward situation, and need a Poly opinion. I'm a very monogamous sort myself, which is partly what this situation is about, so I really need that other perspective. Thanks in advance.


The Context

I've been battling with depression off and on for, oh, maybe all of a decade. Four years ago there was this girl I liked, and she liked me, and things were good... but one of the first things that disappear under depression for me is feelings of "in love". I don't even really get crushes. I didn't really know what was going on at that point, but I enjoyed her and she enjoyed me so things were pretty stable. I always felt that we were a bit asymmetrical, with more feelings on her side than on mine, but we worked pretty well together.

This guy came along though, exactly her "type" (way more than me) and big on the poly scene. She's poly herself, so I gave permission for them to fool around a bit. I was comfortable with that, still am a bit. Only, turns out "fooling around" led to romantic feelings, and that I wasn't comfortable with.

Keeping in mind that I hadn't had any real romantic feelings myself in a while, I let her go off in that direction. More than that, honestly, I kind of made the decision for her, that she'd be with him and I'd just be her friend.

It's been two years since then, and I'm still her friend, and she's still with Mr Poly Guy. Not his primary last I heard, but that's like a year out of date, and I'm pretty sure she's only with him even though they're fully "open". I don't know what kind of feelings are involved between them (she's had perfect opportunities to use the word "love" and worked her way around them as recently as last week), but I know she's happy with her situation right now.

For my part I've been through four other relationships, all of which were rather flat emotionally, and all ended with the girl leaving me for various reasons. I'm still friends with all of them though, which is good, but may tell you a lot about my lack of major romantic feelings.


The Dilemma

Recently, I've had some real breakthroughs on the depression side of things. I felt more awake than I had in ages, happier, more in control of my life. Very suddenly though, all those feelings for that first girl came flooding back. I was still in love with her! The whole thing was overwhelming, one of the most powerful emotions I can remember experiencing. All other romantic options seemed meaningless in comparison.

I don't know how (or if) I can proceed though. It feels wrong to make moves on her if she's with someone else, and if she came back to me then I'm not really comfortable with her staying with Mr Poly Guy. He's a really strong personality and kind of intimidates me, and that's part of the reason why I gave up on her back two years ago. I was scared of competing with him and losing, and in my mildly-depressed mindframe she didn't seem worth fighting for. I was wrong.


The Questions

Is there a socially acceptable way to handle this situation? I really don't get along well with Mr Poly Guy (partially because he intimidates me, and I get defensive, although he seems nice enough otherwise), so I'm not really up for just joining the open relationship. Is that my choice though? Is it a massive breach of etiquette if I present my case to her and let her decide? Are there any customs or guidelines I can use in situations like these?

Last edited by jv02vd; 03-30-2010 at 05:57 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-30-2010, 06:07 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,639
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jv02vd View Post
The Questions

Is there a socially acceptable way to handle this situation? I really don't get along well with Mr Poly Guy (partially because he intimidates me, and I get defensive, although he seems nice enough otherwise), so I'm not really up for just joining the open relationship. Is that my choice though? Is it a massive breach of etiquette if I present my case to her and let her decide? Are there any customs or guidelines I can use in situations like these?
I don't know if there are any guidelines really, it is all so individual. I am not sure I understand if you are still intimately involved with her or not. I'm also not clear why you would have to "join" them. Could you not date her? Why would he have to be a part of that?

Have you told her anything about how you feel? That would be a good place to start I think... I mean tell her that you are noticing changes in your depression that are making you stir in ways that you had not been able to be stirred in a long time. That you are having feelings that you haven't had in a long time... loving feelings towards her and others that you didn't think you could have again.. all this in an informative way rather than a hoe and heavy way.

Do you think that this change is permanent? Is it possible to not act just yet and just experience what you feel for a while and see where it takes you? It sounds like she isn't going anywhere so why rush?
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-30-2010, 06:44 AM
jv02vd jv02vd is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 6
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I don't know if there are any guidelines really, it is all so individual. I am not sure I understand if you are still intimately involved with her or not. I'm also not clear why you would have to "join" them. Could you not date her? Why would he have to be a part of that?
Well, the location situation makes it a bit hard to casually date. Both me and Mr Poly Guy are in one city, and she's close enough to make the trip regularly but it takes time and money. Any relationship is going to involve a significant commitment. We can't just go on a casual date, one of us will have to spend two/three hours in transit and then probably spend a couple days with each other. I'm working on that though.


Quote:
Have you told her anything about how you feel? That would be a good place to start I think... I mean tell her that you are noticing changes in your depression that are making you stir in ways that you had not been able to be stirred in a long time. That you are having feelings that you haven't had in a long time... loving feelings towards her and others that you didn't think you could have again.. all this in an informative way rather than a hoe and heavy way.
I'm planning on telling her how I feel. Me being a monogamous sort though, it feels weird "confessing" to a girl in a relationship, even an open one, and especially if that can't help but carry the message that I'm asking her if she wants to leave him for me. I don't know how poly people approach other poly people, or how they approach non-poly people, and I thought that might be something good to find out as it's the part of this that I least understand.


Quote:
Do you think that this change is permanent? Is it possible to not act just yet and just experience what you feel for a while and see where it takes you? It sounds like she isn't going anywhere so why rush?
To be honest, the change already wasn't "permanent". I went through maybe two days of freedom, a brief flash of really strong feelings for her, a whole wave of heartbreak and angst once I realized what I lost, and then the depression kind of took over again... all in the space of maybe a week. Right now, I can't sense those feelings at all and other girls look just as good, but now I'm pretty sure that's the depression talking. I'm fighting it though, and I think I can beat it, and I think those feelings for her are hiding behind it. And I think I have to deal with them before I can properly move forward, either by reconnecting with her or by finally giving her the choice she should have had from the beginning and getting my closure.

But her needs come first, y'know? I want to be respectful of her feelings and her current situation. If I do this, I want to do it in a way that isn't going to cause massive drama. I'm trying to muddle through all of that, my needs and hers, as best I can. I thought a poly eye on the situation might help.



How about this - if you really liked a person who was in an open relationship, would you approach them any differently than if they were singe? What if you and their primary don't get along, would that make a difference?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-30-2010, 09:59 AM
Breathesgirl's Avatar
Breathesgirl Breathesgirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 834
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jv02vd View Post
What if you and their primary don't get along, would that make a difference?
I can answer from the POV of primary . My boyfriend had another for a while. She and I didn't get along at all. We could play nice & be polite but that was as far as it went. I haven't seen her in nearly six months and I'm quite fine with that. She recently had her third child and I went with b/f to pick out a baby gift for her & would have gone with him to deliver it and see the baby but I wasn't well that day so chose not to so I didn't make anyone else sick.

It's OK not to get along with a partner's significant other as long as it doesn't cause more drama than can be handled by any of the partners.

I've never approached anyone about them being in a poly relationship with me but I have had someone approach me and I can say it took some thought, introspection and discussion with primary to come to the decision which was right for all of us .
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-30-2010, 04:07 PM
Ilove2men Ilove2men is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisiana... Go Saints!
Posts: 179
Default

I'm wonder what have you done to deal with your depression? Have you tried meds, counseling, ect? The reason I bring this up is because with the lack of "in love" feelings on your part I feel for her if you tried to take her away from her boyfriend because you yourself are mono and are intimidated by him. It screams of you stripping her of what satisfies her needs to make things more comfortable you. Depression affect not only the depressed. It affects those that love them. Depression can be a very selfish disease. Similar to addiction. It can strip and drain loved ones as the depressed one takes and takes physically and emotionally without giving anything back to replenish that loved one.

I would say to try to view this from her side. She's your friend. You've got her presence in your life. Maybe you should weigh if it's really fair for her to be unfufilled because of your fears. Maybe you should dive into working through you depression first before approaching her with life changes in her life for you. My fiance has gone through emotional detatchment and he is extremely mono. He knows that I am poly and he sees that I have needs that go beyond our relationship. All he wants is my happiness and while it was a major struggle for him to open up to my boyfriend and also to get over feelings of possession, inadequacy, and fears of me just leaving him, we have found a balance for us. And he's gotten a great friend out of it. They are completely opposite. In "real life" they would have never been friends, but now they have a common denominator... Me. For me and my happiness they dropped their guard and talked through their issues with each other. Not something that my fiance normally does.

basically what I'm trying to get at is, while yes it's easier to ask her to change her life to suit you, don't you think you should first try to adjust things on your side to suit the life that she made for herself with complete honesty? Please look up xeromag and read. Read it all and then reflect and contemplate before making a decision.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-30-2010, 04:28 PM
Ilove2men Ilove2men is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisiana... Go Saints!
Posts: 179
Default

Reread a couple of things. Do you really not get along with him? There's a big difference of how to work it out if the two of you don't get along or if you are just intimidated by him. If the two of you don't get along my suggestion, which would need both of you to accomplish is to find some type of bond. I've come across alot of people in my life where it seemed we just rubbed each other the wrong way, but for one reason or another we were in each others lives so I tried to find that bond. Not friendship of suddenly liking their personality, but getting to a place where I could be civil and respectful without TRYING to be civil and respectful while being miserable in their presence. But for the most part it takes both people to accomplish such a thing and it would seem as though it would be you that would need to take the first step in initiating that convo.

Last edited by Ilove2men; 03-30-2010 at 04:37 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-31-2010, 01:51 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,639
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jv02vd View Post
I'm planning on telling her how I feel. Me being a monogamous sort though, it feels weird "confessing" to a girl in a relationship, even an open one, and especially if that can't help but carry the message that I'm asking her if she wants to leave him for me. I don't know how poly people approach other poly people, or how they approach non-poly people, and I thought that might be something good to find out as it's the part of this that I least understand.
Well, this is a bit of a red flag for me. I struggle that you would be approaching her to ask her to be monogamous with you. I would suspect that the answer would be no. I would hate to see you set yourself up for that likelihood at this point. It sounds like you need to work on feeling more strong and sure of the stability of your mental health before moving forward to have any relationship that you would want to be successful for the long haul, let alone a relationship with her.

I think that also you may want to look at doing your best to understand what it means to be poly so that you can at the very least accept that she is. There are some huge differences in approach to relationships. It isn't necessarily as easy as shutting oneself off from the possibility of more love in ones life, in the form of other lovers, when one decides to try out a monogamous relationship.
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-31-2010, 03:43 AM
SchrodingersCat's Avatar
SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,130
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jv02vd View Post
I'm planning on telling her how I feel. Me being a monogamous sort though, it feels weird "confessing" to a girl in a relationship, even an open one, and especially if that can't help but carry the message that I'm asking her if she wants to leave him for me.
I don't think it's fair to ask that of her. She's with this guy because she's happy with him. Knowing about your condition, is it possible she avoided the word "love" in order to spare your feelings?

Take it out of poly context for a moment. You and she broke up, and now she's happy with a new guy. What gives you the right to break them up just because your old feelings have come back?

Now put it back in poly context: You have a crush on an ex who, lucky for you, is poly, and doesn't have to make that "him or you" decision unless you force her to. And like RP said, forcing her to make that decision may be a huge disappointment. Personally, I've always had a rule that anyone who gave me an ultimatum would get the losing end of it.
__________________
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-31-2010, 04:02 AM
LovingRadiance's Avatar
LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,401
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jv02vd View Post
How about this - if you really liked a person who was in an open relationship, would you approach them any differently than if they were singe? What if you and their primary don't get along, would that make a difference?
I would approach them SIMILARLY as a single person. The only key difference is that you KNOW the significant other.

When telling anyone you are interested in them it is important to respect the importance of other people in their life-parents, siblings, friends, children (in poly also lovers).

I think you are right that FIRST and foremost you need to focus on continuing to work on your depression. Having struggled with depression for YEARS myself, I know what a struggle that is, but it sounds like you are having breakthroughs and if you can keep working at it-they will become longer lasting and more often.

Second-you need to work on your insecurities and personal issues of feeling competitive.

In monogomous relationships as well as poly relationships that can KILL a relationships. Women are notorious for the jealousy/insecurity/possessiveness causing problems between wife/mother in monogomous relationships.

It is IMPERATIVE that you be able to be confident in your own attributes without feeling a need to compare yourself to ANYONE else in finding your worth.

Last (off the top of my head) I do not think that is would be reasonable to walk in and say "I love you but I don't want you unless you leave him."
IF she were mono-you would never do that, that would be deemed "stealing" another man's woman. Tacky, sleazy behavior.

Because she is poly-it would be perfectly reasonable for you to tell her, "I remain in love with you and would like to get to know you even better."
Then negotiate a creatively adaptive way to do that without insisting that she be anything that she is not (mono) or requiring of yourself to be anything that you are not (poly).

If you want to know what I mean by "creatively adaptive" then please find the book "Living Happily Ever After" ... I can't recall the author right now-you might PM Redpepper and ask her, her husband was who suggested it to me (it's not about polyamory at all by the way). GREAT book.

Also-if you are looking for thoughts from someone on HOW a mono-minded person can handle a relationship with an actively poly-person, research posts by MonoVCPHG. He's a very monogomous minded person who has VERY monogomous minded ideals-but manages to carry a deep loving relationship with a poly woman and friendship with her poly husband on this board. Great advice can be had from his posts.

Key to maintaining ANY relationship (poly or mono) is the ability to accept every individual for WHO THEY ARE, not who they COULD BE or who they ARE TO YOU.
It means not expecting someone to change in order to make you more comfortable or happy, but accepting that your comfort and happiness are your own personal responsibility.
You may find that if you work on this detail it will help you in finding, building and maintaining a deep, loving, long-term relationship-even if it isn't with her and/or is a fully monogomous relationship.

Good luck! Feel free to ask me questions in PM if I didn't elaborate clearly enough on anything I said!!!!

__________________
"Love As Thou Wilt"
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-31-2010, 02:45 PM
noob noob is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 58
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Now put it back in poly context: You have a crush on an ex who, lucky for you, is poly, and doesn't have to make that "him or you" decision unless you force her to. And like RP said, forcing her to make that decision may be a huge disappointment. Personally, I've always had a rule that anyone who gave me an ultimatum would get the losing end of it.
Yeah, I agree with this.

I think you can approach her freely, but it needs to be on poly terms. Even if she wasn't with this guy, she's still poly, and a similar situation would probably come up eventually, right? So getting rid of this guy wouldn't solve anything.

In other words, by all means approach her about the relationship, unless in your mind being with her is conditional on her being only with you. Because that's a losing situation for everyone, in this case.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:15 PM.