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  #11  
Old 03-26-2014, 12:02 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I don't see it as "limiting his actions" to request communication and information about things that are going on in her life and may affect her. She didn't say "Don't progress your other relationships without my permission," she said "Just keep me informed as your other relationships progress."
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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
We talked about everything and I asked him to slow down for a bit, so that I could breathe and relax. He aggreed and talked with Sunflower if she was willing to wait or not, and she's willing. Now I really wnat to work this situation up. I feel bad for making them wait.
SC, from the other thread it sounds like that's exactly what happened. If I'm wrong then so be it, I'm just going off of what is being said.

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To me your communication style is an example of what is wrong and scary in polyamory (gasp!). You belittle my experience and my feelings, you make excuses for salamander like his behavior was alright.
I made no excuses for Salamander, this is your imagination getting the better of you. I merely said that your issues should be viewed as separate from his actions. You can work on your stuff but you can't work on his.

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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
He promised not to cheat and not to hurt me. Yet he did. He broke his word in so many ways that I'm still finding out new stuff. It hurts. I don't need you to blame me for jealousy. Just back off.
Who would you blame for your own jealousy? That is a purely internal issue. It's a pretty normal feeling when encountering something new like going from monogamy to polyamory. Jealousy is just a reaction of fear based on not feeling secure in what the future holds and assuming the worst. It happens to most people when initially confronted with this kind of thing.

As it turns out your jealousy was warranted because Salamander was not capable of (or didn't intend to) holding up his end of the bargain. Though this still doesn't change the fact that jealousy and insecurity are emotional responses which should be worked through and not encouraged.
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  #12  
Old 03-29-2014, 08:20 AM
copperhead copperhead is offline
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Marcus, I apologise for my rude response. I was going through some really difficult things (still am), I should have stayed off any threads didn't feel perfectly neutral to me.

I think I understand better now what you mean with jealousy. I wonder if this was a language problem. You are perfectly right that any emotions I have are mine and my responsibility. But it still feels like you have decided that my core problem is jealousy. I, on the other hand, feel that I'm perfectly capable of dealing with my jealousy and insecurities, I have been open about them (to Salamander) and I've coped fine in situations where he has been with another with the possible intention of having sex (and they did, but he didn't tell me this either, despite our agreement that he would). What I wanted to know in the other thread was how to handle the anxiety caused by a new situation, since I wasn't sure how to do that in this situation. As my only working tactic (waiting) wasn't good for the others.

Now, back to the original subject of this thread:
Since polyamory is not easy, people new to it are bound to fail and failing means there are people involved. Failing means that people are going to get hurt, I mean you really can't practise poly alone. How to minimize this hurt while practicing? How to make sure that whatever damage gets done, it won't be irreparable. A friend of mine said that she knows constellations that work, but they are built on solid relationships, years (decades) of trust and companionship before opening the relationship to new people. If this is the remedy for succesful poly, then I feel I'm doomed.

On the other hand, I feel that I still have a chance to do poly if I just decide not to have a primary relationship. For me poly is and has always been mostly about intimate friendship, and I don't really see the point of relationships.

Tell me about your succesful failures. How did you turn things around when things got bad? How did you evade looming disasters and find happiness? How did you struggle to victory?
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  #13  
Old 03-29-2014, 11:08 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
Now, back to the original subject of this thread:
Since polyamory is not easy, people new to it are bound to fail and failing means there are people involved. Failing means that people are going to get hurt, I mean you really can't practise poly alone. How to minimize this hurt while practicing? How to make sure that whatever damage gets done, it won't be irreparable. A friend of mine said that she knows constellations that work, but they are built on solid relationships, years (decades) of trust and companionship before opening the relationship to new people. If this is the remedy for succesful poly, then I feel I'm doomed.
Honestly, poly is just relationships. There's really no difference, except the number of people involved. Inherently, more people = more hearts = more hurt potential. But the strategies you use to avoid leaving a trail of destruction are 100% identical as you would use with dating in general.

It comes down to being true to yourself, being sincere and honest in how you approach relationships. Communicating your feelings and needs clearly and authentically. Not playing mind games, not manipulating or controlling other people, not avoiding your problems, not expecting other people to solve your problems for you.

Relationships end. It's a reality. If everyone accepts that premise going in, then no one is shocked when it happens. Honestly, how often are people truly blind-sided by a breakup? Usually the writing is on the wall, and it's just a matter of who's going to point out the elephant in the room. The only time people are blind-sided is when the other person has been lying and misrepresenting their emotions, pretending to still be 100% in the relationship when they're really not feeling it.

While people are usually sad when relationships do end, broken hearts tends to come from some kind of betrayal. When everyone expresses their needs, and when people come to realize that their needs may not be compatible, or when the love eventually fizzles out, emotionally healthy people are able to accept it and move on. Emotionally stunted people may struggle more with this, and in that case everyone would be better off if they would learn some coping mechanisms and/or communication skills before getting into any kind of romantic relationship, poly or otherwise.
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2014, 02:12 PM
copperhead copperhead is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Relationships end.
This is not what I'm after now. I am trying to find out what kind of difficulties people have in transitioning from mono to poly or adding new people and what are the best strategies to avoid anyone from getting hurt in the process. And since I do think that any newbie is bound to get it more or less wrong a couple of times, I'd like to know how those who got it less wrong avoided the more wrong.

I really don't know how to ask this more clearly.

Your thought on honesty and communication are appreciated as good advice on how to get things right in the first place. Thank you. It was nice to read those and see that I did my best, and that my best wasn't that bad at all.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:54 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Honestly, poly is just relationships. There's really no difference, except the number of people involved. Inherently, more people = more hearts = more hurt potential. But the strategies you use to avoid leaving a trail of destruction are 100% identical as you would use with dating in general.

It comes down to being true to yourself, being sincere and honest in how you approach relationships. Communicating your feelings and needs clearly and authentically. Not playing mind games, not manipulating or controlling other people, not avoiding your problems, not expecting other people to solve your problems for you.

Relationships end. It's a reality. If everyone accepts that premise going in, then no one is shocked when it happens. Honestly, how often are people truly blind-sided by a breakup? Usually the writing is on the wall, and it's just a matter of who's going to point out the elephant in the room. The only time people are blind-sided is when the other person has been lying and misrepresenting their emotions, pretending to still be 100% in the relationship when they're really not feeling it.

While people are usually sad when relationships do end, broken hearts tends to come from some kind of betrayal. When everyone expresses their needs, and when people come to realize that their needs may not be compatible, or when the love eventually fizzles out, emotionally healthy people are able to accept it and move on. Emotionally stunted people may struggle more with this, and in that case everyone would be better off if they would learn some coping mechanisms and/or communication skills before getting into any kind of romantic relationship, poly or otherwise.
Thank god I didn't spend time typing out my response. This is exactly what I was going to say...

Quote:
This is not what I'm after now. I am trying to find out what kind of difficulties people have in transitioning from mono to poly or adding new people and what are the best strategies to avoid anyone from getting hurt in the process. And since I do think that any newbie is bound to get it more or less wrong a couple of times, I'd like to know how those who got it less wrong avoided the more wrong.

I really don't know how to ask this more clearly.

Your thought on honesty and communication are appreciated as good advice on how to get things right in the first place. Thank you. It was nice to read those and see that I did my best, and that my best wasn't that bad at all.
She did in fact give you a clear answer. It isn't any different then monogamy. That is the simple truth. Did you succeed at every date or coupling you had as a monogamous person? Or did you treat it as fun and run with the horses kind of situation until you found people you liked? Not everyone you meet is going to be a long term relationship, most relationships end.. most interpersonal relationships do not transform into romantic ones.

So the truth is, most of us that are succeeding don't avoid the "wrong" we meet new people, we engage, maybe we "date" (depending on what you consider dating) we figure out if we like them, want to fuck them or could possibly be with them long term. Then we simply continue down those paths until we part ways or become something more solid. Throughout the entire courting process we look for red flags (our own personal ones) that we have from experience learned don't work for us. At those stages we decide if we will continue or not. And we take full responsibility for those decisions. The more we learn the more we can filter.

I meet lots of people in my life. And more than a few end up interested in me. I can usually tell within a few minutes whether or not I would want to be involved. I have an internal gauge on the things that I appreciate and red flag. This is learned from all of my "failures".. and sometimes reading on here. I have learned a lot about what I would never want to be involved with because of this site.

However in the end, if you don't want to hurt.. don't get involved with people. Straight up raw truth.

All you can do is respect those you are involved with, and EXPECT to be respected in return. Thats my number one red flag for the record. If someone doesn't respect me.. or my partners, I drop them faster than terminal velocity.

again I will re-iterate.. the above "process" is no different in poly than it is for monogamy.
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  #16  
Old 03-29-2014, 03:52 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
This is not what I'm after now. I am trying to find out what kind of difficulties people have in transitioning from mono to poly or adding new people and what are the best strategies to avoid anyone from getting hurt in the process. And since I do think that any newbie is bound to get it more or less wrong a couple of times, I'd like to know how those who got it less wrong avoided the more wrong.

I really don't know how to ask this more clearly.

Your thought on honesty and communication are appreciated as good advice on how to get things right in the first place. Thank you. It was nice to read those and see that I did my best, and that my best wasn't that bad at all.
All relationships need the same things - respect, honesty, communication, caring, affection, etc. To avoid hurt... well, sometimes people will feel hurt even when we try not to hurt them. Feeling hurt can be a choice they made based on their perception, or something triggered by past experiences, neither of which we have any control over. We can only control our words and actions. All you can do is be honest (with others and yourself) about what you want, your feelings, your expectations, and be present with your eyes and ears open to see how to take care of yourself and the people around you. There is no technique or magic wand to make it easier. Polyamory isn't a "thing" you step into and suddenly have a secret language. It simply describes a situation where a person has more than one loving, intimate relationship. How you form loving, intimate relationships with multiple people is the same as how you form a loving, intimate relationship with one person.
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-29-2014 at 03:58 PM.
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  #17  
Old 03-30-2014, 01:33 AM
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I read a few interesting thoughts about handling the peril and/or ending of a (e.g. poly) relationship at: http://mind-crush.com/2013/11/lesson...g-sports-cars/

Re (from copperhead):
Quote:
"I am trying to find out what kind of difficulties people have in transitioning from mono to poly or adding new people and what are the best strategies to avoid anyone from getting hurt in the process."
Off the top of my head, good/plentiful communication (important in life in general) is especially important in polyamory, and certainly important when transitioning from mono to poly. The better you understand how to communicate well, the less hurt you'll be in danger of.

But I think it also has to be said that hurt is one of the risks you take when entering into (any relationship but especially) a poly arrangement. The rewards are greater but the stakes are higher. This is not to say, "Too bad, just deal," but it is to say that the hurt can only mollified, it can't be eliminated.

Again, practicing good communication (and getting better at it in the process) is your #1 strategy for reducing the amount of damage a "poly failure" will cause.

Now, communication is a two-way street and if one party refuses to try to communicate honestly and considerately, then the other party has to protect themselves. Usually this means putting as much space as possible (as soon as possible) between you and the "hardhearted party."

I guess it seems like the answers to how to deal with (the danger and occurrence of) poly failure should be clean and abundant. Unfortunately, in practice the answers are messy and sparse. Much also depends on the details of each unique situation, as no two breakups are alike.
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  #18  
Old 03-30-2014, 10:29 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Hey copperhead,

I've been following your thread with interest. Your question is one I struggled with and turned over in my head lots at the start of my relationship with my partner. He has had poly or open relationships for much of the last 15 years or so.

For the time being at least, I have come to the conclusion that while in theory, poly relationships have no difference in a moral sense from mono ones, in practice things aren't so simple. In practice I see secondary partners be hidden as partners from the outside world because of real worries about loss of family or loss of livliehood. I see constraints be placed on relationships between individuals because the partner of one of them is struggling - from real compassion for the person who is struggling. I see mono partners work to deal with having a partner who isn't always able to support them when they need it. I see people who are one half of a married couple deal with significant amounts of hurt to be able to deal with their spouse's new partner.

I theory, poly is just like mono only with more relationships. In practice, it happens in a world that doesn't accept it and from what I have seen, that situation makes it more likely to cause hurt.

My conclusion so far has been that if I were to find myself again with no partner that I may explore having multiple relationships in the form of friends who I sleep with but if I have somebody in my life who I would refer to as my partner and who I feel okay with others thinking of as my partner, then I want that relationship to be a mono one for both of us.

This doesn't mean that if my partner came to me and said that he wants very much to be in an open relationship again that I would dump him and not speak to him again. Things would have to change between us for sure but he is one of my closest friends and that doesn't need to change even if we decide at some point in the future to no longer be partners.

I think I am super cautious about this stuff, though. I have never dated in my life - partly because of worries about hurting people who may become more invested in a relationship than I want to be. I've also never had a really nasty break up. My romantic relationships have always ended with respect and kindness and on friendly terms so I don't see that relationships always end (other than through death) as a truth. They change, for sure, but I don't have experience of the end of a romantic relationship meaning the end of the relationship altogether.

I know that I have a tendency to be overly cautious, though so very much understand that others make different decisions.

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  #19  
Old 03-31-2014, 08:46 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I really don't know how to ask this more clearly.
Start by defining what you mean as "failure" and "wrong."

To me, doing it "wrong" means not giving a hoot about other people's feelings, going into things just for your own personal gain, and using people to satisfy your needs without consideration to their own needs. In general, "doing it wrong" means "being an asshole." So if you don't want to do it wrong, just don't be an asshole. Simple as that...

Really, you can't avoid "people getting hurt." We don't live in bubbles. Just like parents can't protect their kids from getting hurt, partners can't protect each other from getting hurt. The best you can do is "try." The easiest way to try not to hurt anyone is this: don't be an asshole. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

NYC is 100% spot-on, in that "getting hurt" is often a choice we make. When two people can't see eye-to-eye, it's a choice whether we take it personally and act like we've been victimized, rather than accept that things don't always work out and focus on moving forward with life. You can't make that choice for someone else, and there's really nothing you can do to force someone to make that choice. The best you can do is choose partners who seem to have a good sense of reality, who take responsibility for their feelings, who take accountability for their own roles in their problems, and who focus on growing. In other words, you can't make someone into a better person, but you can choose people who want to make themselves into better people.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:50 AM
copperhead copperhead is offline
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For the time being at least, I have come to the conclusion that while in theory, poly relationships have no difference in a moral sense from mono ones, in practice things aren't so simple. In practice I see secondary partners be hidden as partners from the outside world because of real worries about loss of family or loss of livliehood. I see constraints be placed on relationships between individuals because the partner of one of them is struggling - from real compassion for the person who is struggling. I see mono partners work to deal with having a partner who isn't always able to support them when they need it. I see people who are one half of a married couple deal with significant amounts of hurt to be able to deal with their spouse's new partner.
This is the kind of stuff I was referring to. If the beginning is struggle (and I'm sure there are lots of people to whom it is and has been), then how to work through the difficulties without anyone getting hurt. Not being an asshole is a good answer to this, I suppose. But it's still kind of abstract. And what if the people involved have very different ideas about what being an asshole means?

When two people open up their relationship to include others, it's always a risk. Who decides how difficult it can be before it's time to take a step back? And why? Can the reason be fear, respect, love, prior agreements, jealousy, something else? What are good reasons to take a step back and what are the bad ones? How do you know if you are making the right call pursuing poly or taking that step back to monogamy (even if just for now).

Although I don't mean this thread to be about myself, it's the only thing I can use as an example. I was in a relationship that was poly in theory from the beginning and we both knew the transition would be a big deal for me. Neither of us knew how hard it would be. I felt like calling it off, but at the same time I felt I had no right to do that so soon because I had said that I'm willing to try. But then I realised that I'd have even less right to say anything later when things would have progressed further. Salamander seemed torn between not wanting to hurt me and wanting to see where this new relationship would go. And Sunflower was caught in the situation not realising that poly was so new to me and that things would be this difficult. (And let's keep the rest of the story in other threads, because it really has nothing to do with this question.)

The end result was that I asked for more time, Salamander told Sunflower that he'd like to try again later and Sunflower said she'd had enough. To me it seemed like after this no-one was feeling too bad and before it I surely was. We were willing to try poly again later after we'd discussed stuff we'd learned from the experience.

But I still don't know if we (I) handled the situation in the best possible way. Is there something I could learn from it and bring with me to another relationship? What are the guidelines to deciding? I feel like I can only talk for myself and watch for my own boundaries in the end. But where do you (yes You) draw the line between respecting your own boundaries and other peoples rights? When do You decide you've been hurt enough and it's time to stop? How do you react if someone asks/tells you to stop, because what you are doing is hurting them?
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