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  #61  
Old 02-18-2011, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by FlameKat View Post
A poly person feels the need/is able to express romantic love to more than one person at a time, in their own way - whether that be physically/emotionally or both...

A mono person feels the need to have and express intimate love to only one person at a time....
Great points Flamekat.

For me it comes down to needs/wants when looking at this. If a person, whether poly or mono, wants/needs love expressed to them with a type of exclusivity, then being with a partner who doesn't do that requires suppression or denial of a need (not all poly people are open to their lovers having other partners...some are on this forum)
For some one who wants/needs to love freely but is not able to do that, then they are suppression wants/needs as well.

The big thing for me is how much of what we want is actually a need and can those needs be partially met to create a healthy situation and relationship? I'm mono but have a partner with two others and open to more women in her life romantically. Redpepper is poly but has chosen to limit herself to two men, a woman and the possibility of more women. Neither one of us is getting all their "needs" met if what I truly need is exclusivity or what she truly needs is greater openness.

Limiting your love is a huge thing to a poly person who wants to live with the freedom to let all relationships go wherever they lead regardless of how many they have.
Sharing your partner is an equally huge thing to a monogamous person who wants to have love expressed to them in the same way.

By saying "I need to be open and you have to deal with that to be with me" people are exerting control over their partner
By saying "I need you to be exclusive with me sexually" people are exerting control over their partner

I think it is better for people to come together, express who they are and how they work as opposed to what they need from the other person and then both can look at the potential to be healthy in that and go from there. Yes people can change over time but that can be handled by repeating the process I think.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:43 PM
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I was in a mono relationship for 30+ years. I was poly on the inside but didnt have a word for it. I had a "roving eye" and would get emotional/romantic/sexual crushes on friends and celebrities. I always tried to hide it but my ex always knew. But he has such low self esteem. He would get jealous if I so much as talked to another man at a party, much less danced with one.

Heck, he was even jealous of my platonic girlfriends, always imagining we spent all our time bad-mouthing him. He was jealous as well, of the love and care I gave to our children, making him "low man on the totem pole."

Finally after 20 years, we became aware of the polyamory movement and we both embraced it. Suddenly some of his jealousy lifted and he was open to loving another woman himself, and willing to consider me also loving a woman, and even another man. It took him a few months (and the input of his gf) to give me the go-ahead to dating men, if I wished. However, I didn't pursue dating at that time, and he continued to be jealous of my celebrity crushes. Finally I didnt give a shit anymore about trying to hide my crushes and just let the chips fall where they would. Stopped hiding and lying and just let him deal with the truth!
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  #63  
Old 02-24-2011, 06:16 PM
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The forum emailed me when redpepper dug up this thread, and so here I am. :P

I dig what Mono is saying. From either side, it becomes an issue of control.

From my side, I feel...I guess one could call it "useless," knowing that I'm not the center of my wife's world, while I make her the center of mine. It has a certain bitterness to it that stains my subconscious.

From her side, she seems to feel restricted by the idea of only loving one person. And while I can empathise with that (as I could not only love one person), it's the expressing it romantically part that gets to me, I guess, sexually or otherwise. The idea of her spending more time focussing on somebody else than her husband feels weird to me. I would never be comfortable spending more time or attention on a girlfriend than on my wife, no matter what either of them had to say about it.

As I mentioned earlier, I do love other people besides just my wife, and I could even be in monogamous romantic relationships with them in the blink of an eye, but the idea of being with one or several of them at a time while being with my wife...I just can't see the practicality of it. Why would I need that? Why can't I just be happy with my wife? (I am happy with just my wife, it's a rhetorical question). So I guess perhaps I'm poly by nature, but I value monogamous devotion as the highest form of respect on can pay to a partner.

It's been a long time since I thought about this, so forgive me if I'm rambling or not making myself clear. That's because I don't even really know what I mean. Mostly, the thought of being poly or being in a poly relationship kind of hurts. I guess I'm just clingy and needy. I've noticed that about my wife, as well, she's clingy and needy, but much much less than me. She needs a significantly larger amount of time to herself than I do.

So anyway, I guess if I had been raised poly, I might be okay with it, but I have serious trouble abandoning the idea of being mono. And funnily enough, the sex of my wife's other partner would also have a huge bearing on how I feel about it. I'm much more likely to feel threatened by another man than another woman (though right now my wife positively obsesses over this one woman all the time, and it's starting to fray my nerves). I had a talk with my wife once about children in a poly relationship; I'm really worried about the prospect of her having children by another man. I have no idea why, because if she'd had them before I met her, I would treat them as my own, and I would treat them as my own regardless of when she had them...but the idea still pains me.

And Every time she makes a new guy friend at school or elsewhere, I get really apprehensive about the idea of them spending any time together, because I start to worry that she's going to fall in love with him, or he's going to fall in love with her, or something, and for some reason I just can't deal with that. I'm glad she gets the whole NRE rush thing, but it wears on me quite heavily having to just sit idly by and watch, especially because I'm never allowed (this is me talking, not her -- she has never told me or even implied that I'm not allowed) to meet or speak to these friends of hers because they're her friends and I've never met them, and if I do meet them, they freak out and run off, despite me putting my best foot forward and striving to also be their friend.

I can imagine myself and my wife with a third partner in our relationship (male or female, but mostly female in my mind because it's less threatening to me, and also I'm not really bisexual), and I can imagine the three of us being equally balanced in love (though this partner would technically be hers, not mine, not ours -- because I wouldn't be the one to bring in another partner because I just can't do that -- for reasons I can't grasp), but more than three and it gets fuzzy, and my mind starts to point towards two couples cohabitating more than true polyamory. I think there's something wrong with me, but I don't know what. Maybe I'm just weird. Or maybe I'm normal and the rest of the world is weird?

So enough ranting, and back to the point of this topic. Basically why I started this topic is that I get the feeling that among mono/poly relationships, it's almost unilaterally expected that the mono person be the one to change their ways and either learn to accept polyamory, or hit the road. Which I suppose is fair, considering the way our society treats polyamory and polyamorous individuals, but I think it's a bad way to make peace.

The whole world's history is driven by this fatal flaw in humanity. Nobody seems willing to be the first to open the middle ground. It's always "you hurt me, now I hurt you," (which only brings more hurt back at you), and so rarely "you hurt me, now I forgive you, and let's be friends."

Last edited by redpepper; 02-25-2011 at 08:24 PM.
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  #64  
Old 02-25-2011, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SimpleSimian View Post
Basically why I started this topic is that I get the feeling that among mono/poly relationships, it's almost unilaterally expected that the mono person be the one to change their ways and either learn to accept polyamory, or hit the road.

Actually you don't seem aware that when a person who has always felt poly but didnt know how to (healthily) express it, decides they will now express it, they are changing too! They are taking a huge risk to be that authentic with their partner. They are afraid of loss, just as the mono partner is.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:29 PM
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Basically why I started this topic is that I get the feeling that among mono/poly relationships, it's almost unilaterally expected that the mono person be the one to change their ways and either learn to accept polyamory, or hit the road.
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Actually you don't seem aware that when a person who has always felt poly but didnt know how to (healthily) express it, decides they will now express it, they are changing too! They are taking a huge risk to be that authentic with their partner. They are afraid of loss, just as the mono partner is.
Agreeing with Magdyln... and wanted to add,,,, I have not found this to be the case. Maybe it has been for you.

It might seem so because usually the idea of poly is brought to the mono couple, not mono brought to poly. Poly is all fresh and new and needs understanding... mono is largely understood in most cultures... hence it might seem like mono partners have to adjust to suit their poly ones... I think in real life, the opposite is more true. I would be willing to bet there is a TON of poly people out there that have given it up to please someone else or won't face it due to the fact their partner would object.... hence all the cheaters out there.

just a thought
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  #66  
Old 02-25-2011, 08:37 PM
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Actually, new anthropological research (Sex at Dawn being the newest book for the layperson on the topic) indicates humans have spent much longer being in "group marriages" where the children were thought to be children of the Goddess, or children of the group, no matter the exact DNA that was the result of one male/female ovum/sperm pairing. We are just exploring, through polyamory, a return to something resembling this idea, rather than the enforced patriarchal ideal of a one male/one female relationship, or one male/several females that was common in BC times (and still accepted in some cultures) before Christians began to enforce the idea of one male/one female pairing, til death parted them.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:58 PM
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I've found that in the majority of situations when a person says "I am mono" what they really mean is that they want to be in a relationship that both parties are mono.

Whereas in the majority of situations when a person says "I am poly" what they mean is that they want to be in a relationship with more than one person, but don't care if those people are in other relationships or not...


The first example is a case of not just wanting to "be myself" but wanting someone else to be the same.

The second example is a case of wanting to be myself, not asking the other person to be the same.

NOW-before anyone freaks out, I used the word majority, not always AND in respect to what I'VE seen, not saying it's that way everywhere.

I also know that for me, this is very true. I am poly, having figured that out-I want to be free to be myself. But, if my lovers are poly or mono, who they want to date or not date, that is completely up to them. I'm not asking them to change or pretend to be what they are not, I'm simply asking that they afford me the respect to not ask me to change or pretend to be what I am not.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:23 PM
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Ok, I guess I didn't make myself clear. What I meant is that among this forum and my limited experience with polyamory, it seems like every case I see in a mono/poly relationship involves the mono having to give up their definition of relationships, love, commitment, etc. and learn to be okay with their partner seeing other people. To most monos, it would probably be more acceptable to know that their partner was cheating on them and then have the chance to work through it and forgive them for it; as opposed to having to learn to be okay knowing that your partner's love is divided (yes, I know that's not how it works, but that's how it feels to me, a mono), and their attention is divided (yes, it is, you can't pay full attention to two people simultaneously), and that they're having sex with somebody else besides you, and sharing secrets and deep spiritual connections and dreams and ideas with somebody else besides you. The reality is that those kinds of things can make a mono feel useless, hopeless, not needed, and a whole host of other things. Going from thinking you're the one person your partner can and will come to for anything, to knowing that they don't *need* you...hurts.

I know that the majority of mono/poly relationships out in the world probably end up with the poly thinking there's something wrong with them and covering it up, or trying to play it off as kink or something. And I am well aware of the human tendency towards group marriage or multiple relationships, and that monogamy is mostly (though not entirely) a cultural thing. Yes, I know men and many of them of Judeo-Christian upbringing have been controlling the world and doing horrible things and repressing/oppressing people and forcing their beliefs on others. I know that male-dominated societies do the whole "man owns wife/wives" thing. I also know that there is a culture in which multiple men (usually brothers) marry the same woman, because it prevents the family's possessions from being split apart once the torch is passed to the next generation. I'm quite familiar with anthropology and sociology and sexual psychology. That's the stuff I was interested in when I was in college. I read about it and discussed it at great length with my partners and friends throughout the last decade.

I'm sure the world would be a better place if everyone was free to be themselves, within reason. I'm sure relationships would be much better if everyone accepted polyamory as a reality and was okay with it. And those who weren't would just pair up and be monogamous and devoted and happy, too.

I wish the world was that way. But it's not.

My point from the beginning of this still stands. A mono in a mono/poly relationship finds out that his/her partner is polyamorous, and the mono has to learn to be okay with that, or else leave. I understand this is about giving rights and recognition to polyamorous individuals. I know a polyamorous individual has to risk everything when explaining it to their partners, but the fact that there are monos trying to work with it and get through it and accept it should be a taken as a show of faith. There are those of us who are willing. We just don't know how, and don't know where to start.

I would love to be able to just turn off the part of me that gets upset when I think about my wife having sex with somebody else and loving somebody else and how that means I get much more alone time than I'm comfortable with, but I can't have another partner because I'm not okay with doing that to my wife because I feel like I'm betraying her, even though I *know* the rules don't work that way. The fact of the matter is thus: I can't turn it off. Not that easily. I have to learn to be okay with something I'm not okay with. And I'm not the only one who has to do this. That's why I brought up this topic. That's why I asked the question.

It is painful for us, and while there is support for us to help us learn and grow and adapt to poly, there also seems this expectation that we actually survive the process. The pressure, really, is what I'm talking about. The pressure makes it really difficult to talk about this calmly.

Please understand that I know all of these things. The logical part of my brain can map this out and understand it and analyze it, but emotions don't work that way, and fear doesn't let go of its choke-hold very easily. Jealousy is a primal instinct. It is wired into many (not all) of us, and it's there for a reason. Nothing happened by accident. No, I'm not saying God did it, but I'm saying that while random things happen all the time, where we are now is because of where we were and what we were doing then. Jealousy and fear and a sense of betrayal is normal and healthy, and should not be shunned and shot down.

I'm saying that I think we should be more gentle. We should be very very careful not to put any more pressure on the situation. If it's going to happen, then it will happen, and if not, then it won't.

Now I'm sorry I went off on a rant. Obviously I still have things to work through.

I'm such a drama factory when I'm on here. :P

Oh, and while I may not be Christian or even necessarily believe in a single higher power who is omnipotent and omniscient and omnibenevolent, I do believe in the right of those people to have their beliefs and live their lives the way they want to (provided they don't hurt others while doing it). Telling them they're wrong won;t help make them recognize your existence, they will recognise you as a threat, and you know what else is a threat? The Devil. And therefore your threatening stature to them invalidates you to them. I was quite the pagan/wiccan in high school, and I was angry at Christians too. They have had control over a rather large portion of the world's history for a really long time. I've evolved and come to accept that what has happened has happened and what will happen will happen, and I'm just along for the ride, in the grand scheme of things.

So please don't think I'm Christian or promoting monogamy. I'm not. I'm just another pebble being swept along in the current, and I really want to find an anchor point and stay still and get a chance to absorb the world around me, but I'm gripping and slipping and just getting carried away. I want to be okay with poly. I want to *be* poly, but I think that might be taking it a bit far. But mostly I just want to be happy, and I want my wife to be happy.

And LovingRadiance's post happened while I was writing mine, so I missed it. I'm here to edit a little and acknowledge her post. She is right. Most mono people expect the other party in their relationship to be the same. It provides a sense of primal security, in that sameness. Knowing what to expect and all that jazz. Rarely does a poly expect their partner to be the same; this is true. But if the mono has a hard time accepting the poly for the way they are, problems ensue, feelings get hurt, and it just generally sucks. The mono, if they want to stay in the relationship, has to change everything about themselves so that they can be ok and secure.

Last edited by SimpleSimian; 02-25-2011 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:53 PM
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... having to learn to be okay knowing that your partner's love is divided (yes, I know that's not how it works, but that's how it feels to me, a mono),
Your partner will love others all their life (unless they are a hermit). Friends, children, parents, mentors and protegees.

Quote:
and their attention is divided (yes, it is, you can't pay full attention to two people simultaneously),
Your partner should have divided attention! People that love each other so much and disdain the company of others to the point of never spending time with others are pathological and codependent.

Quote:
and that they're having sex with somebody else besides you,
That's the sticky wicket.

Quote:
and sharing secrets and deep spiritual connections and dreams and ideas with somebody else besides you.
Hopefully one's partner will have lots of good friends to share these things with, not just one person in the whole wide world! That would be a very unbalanced life. Way to put all your eggs in one basket. What happens if your "one and only" dies, or becomes mentally ill/brain damaged and can no longer provide support?

Often, you die. Men often die soon, when their wife dies first. Women don't. Women are better at having larger social networks than men.

Quote:
The reality is that those kinds of things can make a mono feel useless, hopeless, not needed, and a whole host of other things. Going from thinking you're the one person your partner can and will come to for anything, to knowing that they don't *need* you...hurts.
Well, there's a misconception there, that she won't "need" you if she has other friends or lovers. My gf needs/wants me, even tho she has a bf that provides fulfillment for some other needs I can't provide.

...

Quote:
I would love to be able to just turn off the part of me that gets upset when I think about my wife having sex with somebody else and loving somebody else
It's the sex. Our culture just doesn't know how to deal with sexual desire! We're a bunch of Puritans and it's so fucking outdated and hurtful.

Quote:
and how that means I get much more alone time than I'm comfortable with, but I can't have another partner because I'm not okay with doing that to my wife because I feel like I'm betraying her, even though I *know* the rules don't work that way.
Well! You don't have to have another partner just to fill your time. There are a million things you could be doing instead. Activities with platonic friends (especially those friends/activities your wife doesnt care for!), hobbies, travel, reading, shopping, masturbating, TV/internet, calling your mom for once.

And I don't mean to sound cavalier. I've had to learn this too. And I do still get jealous from time to time when my gf is with her bf, but it's not devastating like it was when my ex and I first opened our marriage 10 years ago.

Quote:
The fact of the matter is thus: I can't turn it off. Not that easily.
So actually, you CAN turn it off, it's just not easy. It gets easier my friend. Practice makes perfect.


Quote:
It is painful for us, and while there is support for us to help us learn and grow and adapt to poly, there also seems this expectation that we actually survive the process.
I get this. It can feel like you're actually dying, when you feel betrayed and jealous. (But you're not, or I'd be in the grave 10 years now. I got on Zoloft instead of actually driving my car off a cliff as I often wished I could, if not for my children who needed me.)

Quote:
Jealousy is a primal instinct... Jealousy and fear and a sense of betrayal is normal and healthy, and should not be shunned and shot down.
True, jealousy happens. But it can be worked through, and turned into compersion, given time and effort and much reading of books and boards like this. Perhaps therapy. And of course, searing openness and honesty with your partner. Use "I" statements, not sarcasm, try not to use the terms "bullshit," "you whore," or "fuck you." And no playing of the victim either.
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  #70  
Old 02-25-2011, 09:58 PM
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Hmm, your post makes me wonder...

So many couples find this forum after being in exactly the situation you describe. Previously living mono, one partner realizes they are poly and comes out about it, and then the other partner who knows they can only be mono is left with a choice. To allow it and deal with all the emotions that come up, or to leave the relationship. We see both choices happen for the mono, while the poly proceeds with getting what they want however slowly or quickly the couple's negotiations allow, and so on.

But I'm wondering now, how many couple are out there who had The Big Talk and it was the poly partner who made the choice to give up pursuing poly and just stay mono. Because of that choice, maybe they just don't come here and we don't get to hear that side of it very much. So it seems that here, and at other poly-oriented sites and communities, that it's always the mono that has to make the biggest sacrifice. Maybe not.

Also wanted to say that you don't come across to me as ranting, but really are asking good, thought-provoking questions and expressing what's going on for you quite well and clearly.
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