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  #21  
Old 07-07-2010, 12:40 AM
immaterial immaterial is offline
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Last night, I met up with a former student of mine and we talked for nearly two hours. She is 18 and seems going on 30 and has had an interesting time of it. More on that later.

Our deeper connection began when she started overtly trying to seduce me. She has an old man obsession, (obviously!), as well as a teacher obsession. So here I am, conveniently both an old man and a teacher, and wham. Her provocations were really starting to get under my skin. She has the kind of physical beauty that makes people, both men and women, actually stop dead in their tracks on the street and stare. She is quite seemingly sexually precocious (as are many of my adolescent students these days) and has a deeply mischievous streak. An impish, unconventional, free-spirited Aquarian.

At 18, she identifies as polyamorous (her word) and only interested in open relationships. She is currently in an open relationship with a 27 year old guy who lives in another city.

We started having more in depth, personal conversations recently, as she graduated and is no longer a student at the school where I work. Occasionally, when she was a student, we had a heart to heart talk about this or that. Another faculty member at the school was trying to get her to have sex with him and he got caught (another student he was making advances to turned him in) and immediately fired. She was wracked with guilt over it. I told her, "he's the adult. you didn't do a damn thing wrong. You aren't responsible." Even if it may not be *strictly* true, it's what she needs to hear at age 18.

The tough thing about our friendship isn't really that bad, but it's distracting. She has made it crystal clear she would be sexual with me any time. I have made it clear to her that I won't, under any circumstances. This was the bottom line last night. Why not? she wanted to know. Because I think a relationship like that with me would harm you, I heard myself saying, while the greedy priapic devil on my shoulder was fuming.

The strange thing is it's just entirely on a gut level, this sense that it would harm her. I don't even know why it feels like this. It's just the truth of it. I don't think the potential harm even only has to do with her age. That seems to be part of it, but I think it goes deeper than that. I have remained open that perhaps I am stuck in convention, that perhaps the red flags are illusory and I am just not willing to go that far outside convention. This may be, but it doesn't seem that way now.

So I'm trusting my instincts. This is the sort of thing I might have majorly made a mess of had I been operating from any other framework but complete honesty. How strange it is to say to her "of course I would, in an instant, in a heartbeat, but I can't. Don't want to cause you harm. It doesn't feel at all safe." She sat with it for a minute. "No one has ever turned me down," she said, as if she were 40 and had already left 22 years of male conquests in her wake. I didn't ask her how many that had been. But she said "Can I tell you something?" "Sure." "I just had sex for the first time last week." Ah, interesting. She had just returned from visiting her open-relationship SO. The first time. Just days ago.

"Hey, well, I'm happy for you guys," I said, trying not to sound completely astonished, and she beamed. "It was really embarrassing," she said, "but my mother was all, like, 'was he any good?'" Ha, figures. Her mother is one of these "best friend" mothers. I'll not write now about the icky boundary issues that have resulted, but you might have a sense of that already anyway.

It's a strange world, for sure. I went home thankful to have avoided stepping right into something *way* over my head. Keep it simple. Keep the lines of communication open. I have a chance to help the kid out, but probably only if I keep it in my pants. What a concept.

Immaterial
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  #22  
Old 07-07-2010, 04:39 AM
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Morningglory629 Morningglory629 is offline
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Originally Posted by immaterial View Post
Our deeper connection began when she started overtly trying to seduce me. She has an old man obsession, (obviously!), as well as a teacher obsession. So here I am, conveniently both an old man and a teacher, and wham. Her provocations were really starting to get under my skin. She has the kind of physical beauty that makes people, both men and women, actually stop dead in their tracks on the street and stare. She is quite seemingly sexually precocious (as are many of my adolescent students these days) and has a deeply mischievous streak. An impish, unconventional, free-spirited Aquarian.

At 18, she identifies as polyamorous (her word) and only interested in open relationships. She is currently in an open relationship with a 27 year old guy who lives in another city.

We started having more in depth, personal conversations recently, as she graduated and is no longer a student at the school where I work. Occasionally, when she was a student, we had a heart to heart talk about this or that. Another faculty member at the school was trying to get her to have sex with him and he got caught (another student he was making advances to turned him in) and immediately fired. She was wracked with guilt over it. I told her, "he's the adult. you didn't do a damn thing wrong. You aren't responsible." Even if it may not be *strictly* true, it's what she needs to hear at age 18.

The tough thing about our friendship isn't really that bad, but it's distracting. She has made it crystal clear she would be sexual with me any time. I have made it clear to her that I won't, under any circumstances. This was the bottom line last night. Why not? she wanted to know. Because I think a relationship like that with me would harm you, I heard myself saying, while the greedy priapic devil on my shoulder was fuming.

The strange thing is it's just entirely on a gut level, this sense that it would harm her. I don't even know why it feels like this. It's just the truth of it. I don't think the potential harm even only has to do with her age. That seems to be part of it, but I think it goes deeper than that. I have remained open that perhaps I am stuck in convention, that perhaps the red flags are illusory and I am just not willing to go that far outside convention. This may be, but it doesn't seem that way now.

So I'm trusting my instincts. This is the sort of thing I might have majorly made a mess of had I been operating from any other framework but complete honesty. How strange it is to say to her "of course I would, in an instant, in a heartbeat, but I can't. Don't want to cause you harm. It doesn't feel at all safe." She sat with it for a minute. "No one has ever turned me down," she said, as if she were 40 and had already left 22 years of male conquests in her wake. I didn't ask her how many that had been. But she said "Can I tell you something?" "Sure." "I just had sex for the first time last week." Ah, interesting. She had just returned from visiting her open-relationship SO. The first time. Just days ago.

"Hey, well, I'm happy for you guys," I said, trying not to sound completely astonished, and she beamed. "It was really embarrassing," she said, "but my mother was all, like, 'was he any good?'" Ha, figures. Her mother is one of these "best friend" mothers. I'll not write now about the icky boundary issues that have resulted, but you might have a sense of that already anyway.

It's a strange world, for sure. I went home thankful to have avoided stepping right into something *way* over my head. Keep it simple. Keep the lines of communication open. I have a chance to help the kid out, but probably only if I keep it in my pants. What a concept.

Immaterial
Yikes! Good call! I remember that happening alot more in university, but you are right about high school students these days...very overt whether or not they are emotionally ready for it. I believe it is the parental relationship factoring into an almost damaging precociousness. I don't understand why one would want to be more of a friend than a parent to their child? The one job you have as a parent is to be protector. You can't guard them if you are too worried about being the cool mom in the skinny jeans trading sex stories. EWWWW! Not that you can't be open about sensitive subjects ...but not as part of Gossip Girl! You want your child to come to you for advice and counsel but not in that peer kind of way. Make sense?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvfb8GcKAWs
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  #23  
Old 07-07-2010, 02:22 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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The idea of sexual conquests doesn't go away for some. I think sometimes it limits their ability to see the scope of a potential relationship as it is just a conquest. Our ex (who is 31) views most of her hookups as conquests. If she wants soemone or something in bed, she goes after it. She conquers it and than walks away. My wife was like this as well, until we met anyways.
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  #24  
Old 07-07-2010, 04:08 PM
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Morningglory629 Morningglory629 is offline
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Ari-

This is pretty much how I viewed them when they were just sex- before I met my husband and decided he would make a great father... But there is something about being a young woman, not having a parental boundary set and getting into sexual situations of which you are not prepared- no matter how intellectual you are there is an emotional component that isn't there. She was seeking attention from father figures for a reason. When you think about it, this former student is only 18 NOW! She was entertaining sexual relations at a very young age- 14 or 15- why an adult male would think this is ok is beyond me?! ( I am assuming oral since she said she just had intercourse last week) A teen girl is discovering who she is and has no capability of knowing what she wants and needs because she has no experience yet. At that age, it is all about attention, rebellious behaviors and pushing the envelope of adventure. Rock on- I hope my kids have many adventures before they settle down. I just don't want any creepers swooping in and creating shame and heartbreak before they get out of the gate!

I am a sucker for romance- and there is something very sweet about young love between teens that is powerful and sticks with you for a lifetime. BUT that is between kids exploring and discovering together. As far as that former teacher who got caught up with this girl in some kind of sexual situation- it is predatory and taking advantage of an impressionable mind. No matter how beautiful, educated and precocious she is...the girl is a teen.

Immaterial- I am so glad that there is actually a dread feeling of "This is wrong" and you immediately felt it; I was beginning to wonder about teachers these days. I work in an environment where there are alot of young people- teens and young adults. Yes, there are lovely, hormone driven bodies everywhere and some more noticeable than others- but I look at them with no interest in conquesting because where is the connection, the challenge. Even the cliche interest in being The Tutor is kind of selfish isn't it? Maybe I am coming from a different perspective... I am a woman. Maybe it is some innate, motherly instinct.
What do the boys think?

Last edited by Morningglory629; 07-07-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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  #25  
Old 07-08-2010, 05:42 AM
immaterial immaterial is offline
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I appreciate all of the thoughts very, very much. I have never even *entertained* even remotely the possibility of ever being sexually involved with students or former students, beyond the level of fantasy. I do find it sexually arousing at times to be around what are essentially adult sexual bodies of young women who dress and act very frankly and provocatively. It is a distracting and sometimes disturbing part of my profession these days. But I would never violate the trust placed in me. It's just not in my repertoire.

This young woman is the first to continue to pursue a friendship with me after graduation. Well, except for a few young women who are now in their 40s, 30s and late 20s. (I've been a teacher for 23 years. I have one former student who is 40 and has three children). So this is the first time I've even had the opportunity to be in anything other than the teacher/student role. The path that has felt right has been to let her have her father figure deal going on but hew very close to adopting that role in a strict sense, as a mentor, a resource, a source of guidance, a shoulder to cry on. I think I lose all credibility and any opportunity to be truly helpful if we embark on a physical relationship.

The timing of it is very bizarre. It feels to me like a test thrown my way by the universe.

Immaterial
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  #26  
Old 07-11-2010, 08:50 AM
immaterial immaterial is offline
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I've been talking with several different women about polyamory and, without exception, none of them have any interest. These are not potential partners for me, just friends, exes, acquaintances, etc. My conversations with them have been like me coming out, and them expressing a combination of skepticism and mild criticism. These conversations don't really bother me, but I do find them interesting. I have recently started making it a practice for myself to run stuff by people more often. I tend to figure a lot of stuff out in my head and it is not by any means automatic to talk about my personal thoughts/feelings and see what the universe has to say back. I have always been more comfortable talking about relationship stuff with women, but I do look forward to talking about poly and non-monogamy with male friends of mine too.

Generally the responses fall along two lines. One stems from past experience with either true poly or at least open and non-monogamous relationships. I know a lot of people who are New Agey, seeker types. Communal living, co-housing arrangements, the whole "free love" thing of the early '70s, etc. I don't know anyone who experienced some of these alternative ways of living who is still living that way. These women now are interested in monogamy, period. "I am generous and can share a lot, but not my partner." "tried it, didn't really work, seemed impractical and sort of dippy."

The other response has been mostly about focus. "I can't deal with more than one. I can barely stay focused on one!" Kind of a funny perspective. Some responses gendered: "Women put so much of themselves into their sexual relationship. They are naturally devoted." Seems odd.

Anyway, it's been interesting hearing various perspectives. So far, not one person has said "hooray! what a wonderful way to live, with all that love and all that honesty! congratulations!"

Immaterial
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  #27  
Old 07-13-2010, 11:45 PM
immaterial immaterial is offline
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I've been thinking about negative definitions versus positive definitions lately. Especially the negative definition of monogamy.

It sounds reasonable enough, wondering if one can love more than one person in a sexual/romantic way without causing harm somehow. This is the stuff that the surface appearance of monogamy is built from. Lots of people think it's just not possible to love more than one person romantically and sexually, that it would hurt too much or be too complicated or would "dilute" the love, etc. These all seem to me to be exclusive, negative definitions of what monogamy is. Choosing monogamy because non-monogamy is impossible, painful, complicated, dishonoring to the One Love, etc. This is a paring away, a paring down of what sexual/romantic interactions can be, until all that is left is exclusive monogamy.

I simply can't see how this can be fulfilling, let alone even be seen as an actual choice. This is what passes for monogamy in our culture but is really a fear-based choice, a desire to possess the other, to protect oneself, a self-righteous conditional love that is not in the least truly interested in the full freedom and passion of the other or oneself.

For monogamy to have life, creativity, freedom and passion in it, it seems to me it would have to be a positively defined, fully consciously embraced choice. Not the closing of doors and windows out of fear for what's outside, but a decision to throw one's lot in with just one other fully, completely, with abandon, with one's whole heart and focus. Not out of a conviction that love can be limited, because really, even on first glance, such a conviction is laughable. Isn't it? Love? Limited? The two words are practically antonyms. But out of the conscious decision to romp around in love's infinitude with only one other. I have never made this whole-hearted and focused commitment to someone else and I'm not desirous of it. My commitment is to love itself, and each interaction is just a different facet of that infinite power. That may be why I am poly/non-monogamous.

Polyamory and non-monogamy could both be negatively defined as well. It seems tempting to "choose" polyamory/non-monogamy "because monogamy has failed." This seems like a very slim choice indeed.

Immaterial
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  #28  
Old 07-13-2010, 11:57 PM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by immaterial View Post
This is what passes for monogamy in our culture but is really a fear-based choice, a desire to possess the other, to protect oneself, a self-righteous conditional love that is not in the least truly interested in the full freedom and passion of the other or oneself.




Immaterial
Your assumptions of monogamy are severely skewed. Yes, these attributes do apply to some relationships (but there are negative manifestations of poly as well..and every other relationship style) It is unfortunate that the environment you are from has instilled this misunderstanding. If I chose to speak of poly in a negative way I could fill pages, but I don't. I won't attack what I truly don't understand.

I've edited this because Immaterial was right in calling a possible passive aggressive shot at him. To disagree with the comment is one thing, to attack him as a person without knowing him personally is not appropriate, especially on his blog. I apologize for that aspect of my comment.
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Playing the Game of Life with Monopoly rules.
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Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 07-14-2010 at 12:36 AM. Reason: There was an emotional aspect to my response
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  #29  
Old 07-13-2010, 11:59 PM
immaterial immaterial is offline
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Mono, I'd suggest you read my post more generously. I did offer a positive definition of monogamy that's probably more flattering than one you'd read anywhere.

Immaterial

Last edited by immaterial; 07-14-2010 at 01:59 AM. Reason: removal of unnecessary snark
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  #30  
Old 07-14-2010, 12:15 AM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by immaterial

This is what passes for monogamy in our culture but is really a fear-based choice, a desire to possess the other, to protect oneself, a self-righteous conditional love that is not in the least truly interested in the full freedom and passion of the other or oneself.
Looking at what mono quoted (and I am quoting it), this is a badly skewed view of monogamy. Regardless of the kittens and puppies you stuck around it, you are absolutely insulting monogamy. Re-read what you wrote in its entirety instead of the piece you like ...

Try and read it from the POV of someone who is monogamous and happy being in love with one and can only love one
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