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Old 07-27-2010, 03:12 PM
kamala kamala is offline
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Talking Everything is fine! (but...)

I read in another thread that people tend to disappear from forums because they decided this wasn’t for them or because things were going so well. I’m in the latter group, thankfully, although the current state of affairs is more like polyamory in principle but in practice, there are only us two…

This has been to date the most successful relationship of my life. I love him, and love myself when I am with him, and feel deeply that I am ready to accompany him in this life, wherever the journey takes both of us…

Some history… barely two months ago my current partner’s long term girlfriend decided she was not prepared to “share” him, we tried, it didn’t work. She decided that what she really wanted was monogamy, marriage, children etc., he decided that what he wanted was a little more “open”. I decided that I wanted to join him, and although we are not exclusive, for various reasons it’s only us two right now.

An old friend of his is coming to town soon and wants to do a week long camping trip thing. He slept with this woman in the past, once, but said that he almost certainly wasn’t interested in pursuing something with her now. I was invited but can’t make it because of work. So, they and a few other friends will go without me.

What I want to say is “It makes me happy when you’re happy – I want you to do what feels right and meaningful to you” etc etc. even if it’s just an opportunistic shag with some girl who (I’m told) will likely come on to him really strongly during this little trip.

I’m realizing that I am more inclined towards the “polyfidelity” end of the spectrum, and find the prospect of him sleeping around casually more scary and difficult than him having a long term loving relationship with someone I can know too.

I am really keen to use this opportunity to strengthen our bond, and want to do things right. I am quite sure that nothing of significance will happen – even if they do end up having sex and a great time – she’ll go home and I don’t think much more will come of it. But, then again, I’m pretty sure that’s how his (now ex) girlfriend felt when they stumbled upon me, too :/

Any advice for handling this first real-ish challenge… if I can call it that?
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2010, 08:16 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Remember, you can do poly without doing open. If casual sex makes you uncomfortable, then you can agree to not have casual sex. That would put all sex within the bounds of serious relationships, of which you can have many.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:33 AM
SayYes SayYes is offline
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I'm no expert, but I think one of the best things you can do is remind yourself that it's okay to have a range of emotions about the thought of your partner being with someone else. I've definitely learned that even though I'm the one who wanted this arrangement, even though I am the happiest now than I have ever been in my life and wouldn't change a single thing, my husband becoming involved with a new person still causes complicated feelings for me. My non-poly friends can't seem to understand that at all; they take a "you asked for it" stance and can't seem to comprehend that I can be super, super genuinely happy for my husband while still dealing with my own insecurities at the same time. We're incredibly conditioned toward monogamy, and there isn't some magic switch that gets flipped that removes all of that when we decide to live a poly life. It's still a process to get to a point of absolute comfort, and it's totally normal to have some mixed emotions.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:37 AM
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I don't see why you can't ask for him to not have sex with her. If its just sex then he should be able to give that up for your comfort. You can always ask for what you would like to see happen, that is where negotiation begins. Then he can say what he would like to see happen and so on. It usually turns into a discussion about far more than the actual topic at hand and can be very valuable that way. All these things need talking about, so start talking and communicating. To me it should never be a question. I feel something, I want something, I need something... all equal communicating to my loves. It means I talk a lot!
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:34 PM
kamala kamala is offline
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Thanks everyone for the replies

Redpepper: hmmm... the thing about asking him not to... for some reason I feel like I want to avoid that. For both of us, we are drawn to his whole poly thing in the first place because it means that both of us can explore new experiences while still having our loving relationship. Since this is the first real situation (and it's still a small one) after his main girlfriend from previously, guess I feel obliged to... set the tone? I want to eventually be easier and more confident with this, so why not start now?

Anyway, the thing that is scary and difficult is that he wants to, not whether I allow him or not. I'm really trying to not be that person, I find the idea of pushing myself past these fears really exciting (then why I am whining about it here, then, right?)

Oh I don't know. SayYes, your advice is so simple yet I don't know why it wasn't obvious for me.

Just the difficult question of how to know when you are pushing yourself past old habits, learning scary new things, expanding etc and when you are just hurting yourself

The idea is beginning to crystallize in that I think I am a more monogamously minded poly - in that I like the plurality, the more the merrier, and I am truly not hurt or threatened by the one I love loving others. I am beginning to think that what is hurting me about all this is that it's casual sex. I have to figure out exactly why that stings so much...

Thank you so much for your advice
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:20 PM
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Its does set a tone. That's the point. Not that you are comfortable or aren't comfortable but that you start by talking about it even though. Its investment in the future.

If you are somewhere in side of you not comfortable, then talk about it. Tell him everything you have said here. That is the beginning.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:43 PM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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"Anyway, the thing that is scary and difficult is that he wants to, not whether I allow him or not."

I just got back from a camping trip with a woman I really connected with, and we agreed -- independently and individually before we even talked about it -- that we would not have sex. When it came down to it we both wanted it, we had the opportunity, we held each other -- and we both knew there were issues that would have to be resolved before we would make love.

And so we just cuddled. We went as far as we decided, and no farther. Here's the point: we now have a huge confidence and trust in each other because of the way we helped each other stay true to ourselves.

I think Redpepper is right on: talk. If you and he agree that he can make love to her, and make that part of your relationship-trust, then it will be good. If you have doubts then tell him and find a way to resolve those issues, and help him stay true to himself and to your agreement. But it is SO good to agree on a realistic way forward and then follow through on it! Such a relationship-building experience. "An investment in the future" -- YEAH! Exactly.

Last edited by EugenePoet; 07-29-2010 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:20 PM
kamala kamala is offline
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Well, EugenePoet, I wouldn't call it making love, but

You're both right. I have mentioned that this is a bit scratchy for me to him and he is kind of incredulous that I would even be worried about it, but supportive nonetheless. He said that he will be prepared for if it happens, but he is not going to seek it out (sleeping with her, that is)

The trip's a way off so I'll leave it for now... but... thanks for the advice

I think part of the problem is we haven't explicitly made any "agreement" of any kind... and I don't think I really want to even. Do you ever get to that place of comfort? Does it ever feel ok? Am I going to be umming and aahing on forums every time another girl appears?
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:34 PM
SayYes SayYes is offline
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Kamala, I relate to a ton of what you're saying. I used to think I was primarily interested in sexual openness with the possibility of something evolving into more of a relationship under the right circumstances, but since winding up in a relationship with my boyfriend I've realized that I'm far more interested in actual poly than just being open. My husband, on the other hand, still isn't entirely sure what he wants out of additional relationships, and I've made a commitment to be supportive of him as he figures out what makes him happy, even if for him that means more casual sex.

He had a pretty casual hook-up with one woman, and while it was a little emotionally complicated for me, I pretty much handled it fine and was glad to have that "first time" over with. But when he recently developed a new interest, and I was getting the impression that it was again primarily sexual, I started to feel really uncomfortable with the idea of him just having a string of hook-ups. I talked to him about the possibility of trying to take things a bit slower sexually, but he wasn't happy with agreeing to that. It lead to a whole lot of talking, though, and the end result was more or less that I made it known that I would be *most* comfortable with things that move a bit slower sexually, but my husband is still free to make his own choices, and if things happen in a way that fall short of my ideal comfort, he knows that I'll need a bit of extra reassurance from him and he's happy to give it.

We try, as often as possible, to re-frame things in a way that's about *our* relationship. So rather than "Don't do X with Y," we try to turn it into "I need Z from you." Making it about asking to have our needs met from each other rather than criticizing each other's behavior with other partners seems to keep things in a really good perspective. So I guess my point is, are there things you can ask your partner for that would help you feel more comfortable that aren't about "don't do this with her" but are instead about "help me feel more comfortable by doing/showing more of ____ with me"?

In our current situation, what I ended up needing more of wasn't even so much about me. I told him that it would make me feel better if he would talk more openly about the non-sexual ways he's interested in this girl. Since then, having conversations and seeing how excited he is to be embarking on something new in a way that isn't strictly about "I'd tap that" has been really fun for me, and I've been able to feel really, genuinely happy for him. I'm sure I'll still have my moments when/if they actually have sex. But it's made a huge difference for me to figure out ways that he can help me to feel more comfortable.

Sorry this is so long and rambly, I just feel like I really get how you're feeling!
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayYes View Post
We try, as often as possible, to re-frame things in a way that's about *our* relationship. So rather than "Don't do X with Y," we try to turn it into "I need Z from you." Making it about asking to have our needs met from each other rather than criticizing each other's behavior with other partners seems to keep things in a really good perspective. So I guess my point is, are there things you can ask your partner for that would help you feel more comfortable that aren't about "don't do this with her" but are instead about "help me feel more comfortable by doing/showing more of ____ with me"?
I do something similar with my loves. It's important to keep it in the positive and moving forward rather than the stalemate statements of "don't do this" and "I don't like this." Its much more helpful and enriching to talk about things in terms of what one does like and what one could improve on next time.
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