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Old 04-01-2011, 02:11 AM
PolyNrrdGrrl PolyNrrdGrrl is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 16
Default Trying to be sensitive to/understand my (probably)Mono partner's needs

Hello =] I'm new to the site so for a teeny bit of background, my intro thread is here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8285

and my partner is here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8314

He is monogamous - whether he is by nature or by conditioning I don't think either of us know, since I do believe I am the first person he has met that identifies as polyamorous.

I think we both send each other mixed messages almost constantly. I started out by telling him I could be mono until he was comfortable... which I've done in every failed relationship in the past. I guess I reached my breaking point with being sensitive to others and ignoring my own needs, and I hate that my partner's emotions have been collateral damage to my realizing I need to just... be free to be myself. Besides that, it's still early enough in our relationship that if I did a quick fix now, we might not be doomed the way my last few have been. Obviously what I was doing hasn't worked, so why would i continue to follow the same pattern in a relationship?? It's silly. I think that introducing polyamory and helping each other find our balance within our own individual relationship early on is the best way. So we're attempting it.

So, there's my big mistake. I've been telling him different things almost daily - not on purpose of course. But as I've been realizing my needs for my life and my relationships have changed, it's hard to keep up with myself... let alone keep him comfortable.

As far as he goes, it is frustrating. I understand this is very new to him and I have to be sensitive to him. But at times I feel jerked around. One day it's "I can handle this", the next it's the opposite. The other day it's "I want to make everything fair game", next thing I know there are still physical boundaries placed on me. Today, in the same 2-minute span, I was told there are no physical barriers between me and my close "friend"(who I consider a partner) and then told that he (LookAtMues) was "not okay" with me kissing this other guy -- Kissing. Not sex. It's hard to know where I feel okay with these boundaries - at what point am I being told what to do, and at what point am I simply being sensitive to the needs of one partner who needs some time to adjust? It is very frustrating, and I don't know how much of it I should be saying "this doesn't fly, i need to be allowed to express my love my way" to or how much I should just suck up.

When we met, I was seeing someone(the close "friend") - but we were fighting. We were reduced to "just friends" as my other partner, J, is VERY monogamous. So when I began to see LookAtMues, J was very uncomfortable. However, we have continued to spend most of our days together. I just moved to this tiny city and he is literally the only person I know here outside of work associates (not a single one of which I would ever speak to outside of work.. talk about some bad vibes!). My mother, whose car I use since I don't own one anymore, decided to leave town about a month ago, so I have been very dependent on J for transportation and he has been super accommodating and always willing to help. We have stepped back the physical part of our relationship but it has become obvious that the way we feel for each other hasn't changed at all and is totally out of our control.

The problematic conversation sparking this post arose today out of an exchange between J and myself last night. J in his own right is struggling with the fact that I have a boyfriend. We don't discuss the terms of our "relationship" as, until LAM is "ok" with it being deemed as anything more than friends, that's where it'll stay. However, last night J and I were texting and something prompted the statement "You are my lady" from him. I will admit, this was the most honest I've seen him regarding his feelings for me. I wasn't able to respond too much outside of a smiley-face-emoticon-thingy. We then proceeded to have a several hour phone conversation as he was driving back to our town from the neighboring one. He asked me to meet him outside my home, because he felt he had to kiss me. At this point, it's 2 AM and I have to work at 6 AM, not to mention that at this point i was unclear where LAM stood on physical affection with other guys. It's a good thing I held off, because LAM's reaction to it today. *wipes brow* Anyway! After the phone call, I get a sheepish text from J saying that he loves me. This is kind of big, as I'm not stupid - I already knew that what is between us is love. But as hesitant as he is at admitting that our friendship goes beyond friendship, this is big. Of course, it was exciting for me. I simply responded that I love him as well, and we will discuss it at a better time - not nearly 3 AM when I have to work in a few short hours and my boyfriend is driving himself half-crazy with jealousy over our situation.

So I talked to LAM about this even today. He wasn't entirely surprised, as I made it clear to him that I was in love with J.I am extremely honest and open about my feelings. He was worried about how this would change things between J and I as far as our physical connection. I told him that because of the physical barriers placed between us, nothing *could* change. I think this made LAM kind of frantic, as he panics very easily and probably thought I was giving him a guilt trip (Ya know... "I'm only not sleeping with this guy because YOU SAID NOT TO). Which isn't the case. In fact, I very much desire to be physical with J... as far as kissing, showing affection. We "cuddle" but beyond that there's nothing.. no hand holding, nothing. It visibly frustrates us both.
However. As far as sex goes, I have informed LAM that it isn't something that is a priority with J. In fact, sex with him can be uncomfortable, as we never quite got used to each other that way(I am a little bit on the wild side... he is COMPLETELY silent and expressionless. it is very very strange for me). I think this is something that LAM is banking on being permanent though. Which worries me.
ANyway. When I expressed a desire to be physically intimate with J , LAM went from several seconds before saying there are no physical barriers to saying "I'm not okay with that".

That is pretty much where it stands at this moment. As far as LAM and I go, I think that we are pretty "solid" right now - there are things that I wish I could change, such as the thirty minute distance (which is huge when only one of us has a vehicle and we have impossible schedules) but that's small. I think our relationship itself is okay, the problems in it revolve around my other relationship.

Anyway. I just wanted to put it out there and hope that someone had a fresh perspective or could help get one or both of us straight on this, or to a point where we are communicating effectively. For me, walking away from someone that I love is not an option, and my relationship with J is not expendable. Both men are struggling with my polyamory, but J and I have settled into a very easy, relaxed "We are what we are" status, whereas LAM must have a designation as "boyfriend" or primary or whatever he may desire. Which is fine, I certainly do not blame him for desiring security in such a scary new experience.

Alright, and now I'm done with my novel Thanks in advance!
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