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Old 02-09-2011, 10:28 PM
CeleryPerhaps CeleryPerhaps is offline
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Question A Bump in the Road or a Bad Sign?

Hi,

I've been reading the forum the last few days, and it's kind of nice to just read people talking about poly relationships and the problems that come along with it (as well as the benefits). It's kind of hard to talk to friends and family about problems when most of them seem to want to blame any problem you might be having simply on the fact that you're in a non-monogamous relationship. I had a problem that maybe some of you can provide me some advice on.

I'm a 24 year old male, only in mono relationships up until 5 months ago when I began dating my current partner. She was living with a male partner at the time (they had been together for a year), and was very open about the fact that she was poly and I didn't have any major qualms about it so we started going out. For 5 months is was pretty great, I really got along with her other partner and I only felt a twinge of envy here and there, definitely nothing big and it was related to spending time with her. She believes in having all partners be equal, so it was not a primary/secondary relationship

She recently moved out of the house with her other partner and moved into a place on her own, around this time she was hanging out with one of her friends and they ended up getting high and making out. She decided to see where it went and to continue to hang out with him, cuddle and make-out. I was fine with this, although I felt a tab bit uneasy for some reason. She didn't know if she could handle having 3 partners (I should note that neither me, her other partner or this new guy are dating anyone else but her) I met him and he seems nice enough, although a lot older than both me and her. Yesterday she told me that the night before she and this new friend had stayed up all night talking about sex, and ended by mutual masturbation and naked cuddling. I don't know why but this was like a punch in the stomach. I got completely depressed and ruined the time we were going to spend together basically by moping and being sad.

I'm having trouble figuring out why this new guy is bothering me much more than he other partner, who I've never really had any sort of envy/jealousy issue with. She did not cross any boundaries that had been agreed upon with her actions. The new guy seems really sexually open and kinky (which I am as well), and seems like a generally nice guy. I'm not sure if I've given enough information for anyone to give any good advice, but is this maybe a sign that a poly relationship isn't for me, or is it something that may just die down once I get used to it? Her suggestion was that I should try and meet other people to possibly find myself another partner so I get more physical affection in general..

Sorry if that seems rambling, and I can answer any questions that might help explain the situation a bit better. Thanks so much!
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:08 AM
preciselove preciselove is offline
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It feels worse I'm guessing because the first guy was being "replaced" by you in your mind when you met her. So you feel like the victor since she chose you "most recently" . Now after having met you and been with you she has found someone else. In a way it's part of that feeling like "I wasn't enough for her", which obviously you aren't, because she's into open poly.

The only way open poly works in my mind is when everyone is open in it and having multiple partners. If one person is getting more than others for a long enough time then an unbalance occurs. How do you replace the time you lost with her because she now spends less time with you? You can't, unless you get another partner, or restrict her poly movements. Of course you could just get used to having less time with her and having no replacement, but that often leads to bitterness and unhappiness.

Last edited by preciselove; 02-10-2011 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:44 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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There are those who are mono in poly dynamics. My boyfriend is mono. He's free to have other partners-but he doesn't choose to and likely never will. There are others like him.

On the other hand, my husband is more the type who wants it to be "equal" all around.

Really the best thing to do is to consider in yourself what it is that you feel threatened by and why do you feel it's a threat.
Then address that within yourself.

Personally-the whole thing you laid out breaks many of hte poly boundary rules we have in our relationships-but EVERY SINGLE POLY DYNAMIC creates it's own "norm" so if she's not breaking boundaries-it's to you to figure out your limits and ensure that you are meeting them.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:37 AM
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It sounds to me that this is either going too fast or that you are concerned about having your time with her taken away. Some might say that you should just go out and find others to fill that time and that might be valid at stage in life, but it could also be possible that you care and love her more than she is willing to accept or invest in.

If you have boundaries about how and with whom she spends her time and what she does with that time then speak up. There is absolutely no shame in that. You say you feel like you were punched in the stomach? Tell her and ask her to investigate the feeling with you... talk about why you "think" this is... maybe it could lead somewhere.

If she is willing to talk and look at your boundaries, then you might just find that it is worth making yourself a bit vulnerable in putting your concerns out there. Relationships tend to deepen the more vulnerable we make ourselves to each other and the more we require that our partners be kind with our hearts. At least in my experience anyway.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:19 PM
CeleryPerhaps CeleryPerhaps is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preciselove View Post
It feels worse I'm guessing because the first guy was being "replaced" by you in your mind when you met her. So you feel like the victor since she chose you "most recently" . Now after having met you and been with you she has found someone else. In a way it's part of that feeling like "I wasn't enough for her", which obviously you aren't, because she's into open poly.
Yea, This is one of the things I considered. I really would hate to break it all down to some competition, where I want to be the victor but the sad reality is that may just be what it is. If that's the case, It's just something I need to see if I can get over mentally, and be happy with my "role" in the relationship.

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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
It sounds to me that this is either going too fast or that you are concerned about having your time with her taken away. Some might say that you should just go out and find others to fill that time and that might be valid at stage in life, but it could also be possible that you care and love her more than she is willing to accept or invest in.
This was something that I hadn't considered, that things ARE moving very fast. I was feeling uneasy about finding a new partner (especially the idea of throwing myself into the world of dating with a new "poly" label, and exposing myself to rejection when I'm already feeling kind of rejected in the relationship). I think I'm going to bring this up, that finding another partner is not an option right now, I'm not ready.

You also mentioned that there's no shame in bringing up boundaries. I'm worried about this, because when I initially brought up that I was feeling jealous and hurt by her seeing this new fellow, I was told that she loved me, she didn't want to lose me but she would understand if I couldn't handle a poly relationship. Is this "This is how I am, and if you want to love me than this is how it will be" mentality normal? This is my first and only exposure to poly relationship dynamics and within it I feel like telling someone you don't want them to see a 3rd partner is a major faux pas and controlling. This seems kind of confirmed by the fact that her original partner seems to have no problem with her dating this new guy.

Oh, and thanks so much for the words of advice and wisdom so far!
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:25 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Originally Posted by CeleryPerhaps View Post
Is this "This is how I am, and if you want to love me than this is how it will be" mentality normal?
I don't know if it is normal, but it feels very healthy to me. You should be honest about your limits from the get go and not take anything less. For instance, if that's the way she wants things to be, and you feel uncomfortable with it, but you decide to have a relationship anyways, it's possible that you two will never work out and just end up miserable.
If you're honest about what works for you and what doesn't, though, you can simply drop it before you are too invested, making it easier.

I think one thing about poly is the "no scarcity" mentality. Because we fall in love relatively often and form new relationships, etc, I think a lot of us don't see it as much in a "the one" kind of mentality. You can love someone who loves you too, and that doesn't necessarily mean that you should or could get together. Some people are just incompatible.

A lot of people seem very desperate to do things they don't really want to do in order to make sure they don't lose the other person. But it seems to me, they already have lost them if that person's personal growth requires things that make them uncomfortable.

Compromises make a lot of sense, and you can't have everything 100% your way. But compromises should be made on things that you don't feel too strongly about, or both sides will end up feeling resentful of the other, because neither of them is getting what would make them happy. Compromises should be more along the lines of "I give up this thing that drives you crazy and that I don't really care about, and you give up that thing that drives me crazy and that you don't really care about". The "midway" compromise rarely works.
For instance "you want sex once a week, I want sex every day, we have sex three to four times a week". What will happen is probably that the person with the lower sex drive either won't do it because they're just not in the mood, and not keeping their word will make them feel like crap, or that they'll force it and feel like crap. And the person with the higher sex drive will still be sexually frustrated either way.
However, a compromise along the lines of "since you want more sex than I can provide, you can get it from somewhere else, as long as..." with some conditions (for instance "I don't wanna know about it" or "I wanna know about it", "not in our bed", "still be home every night and be there for the kids", you name it.

In that instance, the person with the lower sex drive has a choice: having more sex, letting their partner have more sex outside the relationship, or, if neither solution seems satisfactory or something they can deal with, end the relationship.
But the true compromise is the one that works, because low-sex-drive actually doesn't care that their partner has sex elsewhere, and high-sex-drive-doesn't care that their sex isn't fully provided by their one partner. If that's not the case, then that won't work.

Do you see where I'm getting at here? You might think saying "I'm like this, take it or leave it" is a very in-your-face attitude, but it's good to be honest about it instead of hiding it, being miserable and painfully breaking up later on.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CeleryPerhaps View Post
Is this "This is how I am, and if you want to love me than this is how it will be" mentality normal?
I don't think that there is a "norm" to poly mentality. There's too broad a spectrum of people all under the poly-umbrella.

For myself and my "tribe", that would be a deal breaker attitude.
We live with the attitude that decisions are made as a group, for the group, with the group.

BUT-that's a personal choice. We all live together and we have children in the mix.
Every different variable changes the scene, so to speak.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:07 AM
preciselove preciselove is offline
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Originally Posted by CeleryPerhaps View Post
Yea, This is one of the things I considered. I really would hate to break it all down to some competition, where I want to be the victor but the sad reality is that may just be what it is. If that's the case, It's just something I need to see if I can get over mentally, and be happy with my "role" in the relationship.
There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to feel "special". I mean who wouldn't want to meet a poly woman and then have them not be interested in starting up a new relationship with someone else for a long time or not again? It means she's really into you. Personally I would feel like I was just another one of many if she found someone new a few weeks/months after meeting me. She could be a NRE/Puppy Love addict, which open polyamory assists her with.

However I guess you knew going into it the whole story, so yah. I know there are mono people involved only with a poly person and no one else but I'm not really sure how these relationships work. Maybe they don't need much out of a relationship so whatever time they do get is fine for them? Maybe the poly person gives up other areas of their life to spend it with their lovers instead, who knows. It's probably a fine balancing act for those it works with.

So you have to work out if it's just a minor jealousy emotion coming up or a real problem due to lack of time with her. Either way I don't think acting "desperate" all of a sudden or being jealous/upset around her is going to make her feel more attracted to you. So I would just start playing it cool if I was you. You need to start looking at her the way she looks at you. She doesn't _need_ you (and to many people this is why polyamory is so cool, not being reliant on only one), so you need to start thinking the same way. You can rarely change people through words alone, so if she was to come around to being your primary or something along these lines it's going to take some action on your part.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by CeleryPerhaps View Post
when I initially brought up that I was feeling jealous and hurt by her seeing this new fellow, I was told that she loved me, she didn't want to lose me but she would understand if I couldn't handle a poly relationship. Is this "This is how I am, and if you want to love me than this is how it will be" mentality normal? This is my first and only exposure to poly relationship dynamics and within it I feel like telling someone you don't want them to see a 3rd partner is a major faux pas and controlling. This seems kind of confirmed by the fact that her original partner seems to have no problem with her dating this new guy.
This seems rather uncaring and like she is blowing off your feelings... It sounds like she is saying, "if you can't stand the heat get out of the fire and go date someone else..." I suppose you could. She has a right to believe that if everyone she dates, who hasn't experienced poly before. just can't handle it right out of the gate then it isn't worth working on it with them. To me that defeats even loving someone. I can't imagine telling my partners that as I love them and want them to be comfortable. I want to work on things with them together because I want them to strengthen our bond and to work towards a future... to me people in my life are an investment... not a commodity that is easily replaced when a new model comes along. To her, the people in her life might mean something different. If you love her and want to be with her and work on your connection, then check out where she is at. If that isn't compatible then move on. Why wait around only to be hurt.
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