Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Life stories and blogs

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Old 05-09-2011, 10:01 AM
MrFarFromRight's Avatar
MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Smack in the middle of The Spanish Revolution!
Posts: 483
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
Hrrm. Maybe it's because it's late and I got a bit of a sunburn today, but writing this is making me less upset and more cranky. Cranky can be a good thing, I think. Kind of like when a wound starts to heal, it doesn't hurt anymore, it just itches...right?
I think you're right here: you're using milder terms (upset/cranky) for feelings that - if they were stronger - might be expressed as depression and anger.
Depression would mean that you're blaming yourself, that you feel that you are doing something wrong. Anger is when you feel that the situation is unfair. So - in a non-exaggerated way - I think that you're on the right path.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
Sure, loving someone else is a warm fluffy feeling, for the person experiencing it. For others who didn't ask for it, who have passed up similar experiences for the sake of their primary love, it's an cruel, unfair feeling.

At least in some circumstances, the joy derived from falling for someone else comes at the cost of someone else's happiness and security. If I love someone, what on earth could possibly drive me to hurt them simply to make myself happier?

I'd love to hear anyone's input on this. I'm seeing more and more of my acquaintances in poly and open relationships spout lovey-dovey, peace and happiness crap when they're the ones carrying on an outside relationship, but when their partner shows interest in someone else, it's the end of the effing universe, they collapse into depression and alcoholism, and sometimes break things off entirely.
Again, don't blame yourself for the fact that other people have problems dealing with your wish for more freedom. Love (as opposed to a demand: "Hey! I NEED to have sex with you!") is a gift. If they can't accept that gift - or don't wish to - that's something for them to deal with.

As for that last paragraph: that has to do with hypocrisy and double standards. And those aren't limited to polyamory (oh how I wish they were! As much of a pain-in-the-arse as they are here, if they were ONLY to be found here, I'd be a relatively happy man. [Actually, I'm relatively happy anyway.]) I've been contributing lately to blogs about the summary killing of bin Laden. Because the USA did it, it's just wonderful. When I point out that if an Iranian commando unit killed Salman Rushdie on USA soil, these bloggers wouldn't find that justifiable at all, it just doesn't sink into their warped world view that they're being completely biased and hypocritical. And when I point out that this arrogant bias on the part of the USA (and other western countries) is what generates anti-western feeling and leads (and WILL lead) to more terrorist attacks, their attitude is: "We're stronger, we're better, we'll wupp their asses!"
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 05-09-2011, 10:12 AM
MrFarFromRight's Avatar
MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Smack in the middle of The Spanish Revolution!
Posts: 483
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
I also see [Vino] visibly hoping I never meet a man I'm attracted to, so he'll never have to face that, and that makes me want to drop the whole discussion entirely.

He's fine with me dating women because he does gets benefits, like hot three-way fantasies and the luxury of telling other men his wife is actively bisexual.

There are many, many people in the world who would give anything to have a marriage like mine. I feel guilty pushing for more openness, like I'm trying to destroy something beautiful.

What's my motive? I don't have anyone I'm particularly interested in at the moment. Freedom, maybe? A chance to explore my sexuality more thoroughly? To not have to suppress attraction the next time I feel it? To experience another round of giddy NRE? All of these are motivated by selfishness....
Yeah, Vino doesn't feel threatened by your relationship with another woman [some husbands would be] because he's still the only MAN you're bonking. Added to which - as you've pointed out - he gets the freebie sexual fantasies and street-credible status that go with that.

Is Freedom such a selfish thing to strive for??? Is doing away with any kind of suppression? (Well... yes! But using a much more positive definition of "selfishness" that you imply here.)
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 05-09-2011, 06:09 PM
Ivy's Avatar
Ivy Ivy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
(Well... yes! But using a much more positive definition of "selfishness" that you imply here.)
Is there such a thing as "compassionate selfishness?"

Maybe "self-actualization" or "self-determination" are better words for it. They don't carry the nasty connotation of "selfishness."
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 05-09-2011, 06:14 PM
Ivy's Avatar
Ivy Ivy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
As for that last paragraph: that has to do with hypocrisy and double standards. And those aren't limited to polyamory...
So very very true. There's just more frustration and anger and jealousy when it's in an emotional context. Calling something "hypocritical" implies that it involves some degree of rationalization, and it doesn't seem like people try (or are able) to rationalize emotionally volatile situations. They just react.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 05-09-2011, 07:01 PM
Ivy's Avatar
Ivy Ivy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 89
Default

Okay, finishing this off already, now that I'm feeling less misanthropic...

Another Email

After the failed trip and awkward talk, Ella pretty much withdrew. We stopped having sex. She had never been open with affection, but what little there had been evaporated. I started wondering again why she was seeing me--if it had just become habit.

In the meanwhile, she was still making efforts to come to terms with Ben and Keri. She and Keri frequently exchanged witty banter on FB (the source of all relationship evil), and inevitably these popped up on my FB news feed.

I was worried about my relationship with Ella, and I was still attracted to Ben, and I was very, very aware that Ella would never come to terms with a triad relationship. But I started to worry--what if she and Ben and Keri and Jason ended up in a happy little quad? Where would I fit in? The answer seemed obvious: I wouldn't.

Ella and I had made plans for a Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, Vino and I went out. I emailed texted Ella that morning about when we were leaving, so I could plan my day. She texted back that she might have to cancel. Her reason: she had a hangover. I was bummed (and a little annoyed), but mostly okay with it. Vino and I had a good time.

Then, when I got home, I logged onto FB, and Ella and Keri had been exchanging comments again. It hit me pretty hard; I felt really excluded.

I sank into a puddle of hopelessness. I really felt like no one liked me, like I was sexually and personally repulsive, and nothing more than an obstacle to everyone else's happiness.

And in that mindset, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to send Ella an email explaining how I felt. Yeah, bad call.

The focus of the email was this: love may not be a zero-sum game, but risk is. There's only so much risk that human mind can handle. If it feels too threatened, it draws a line. Ella always insisted love wasn't a zero-sum game, but still got intensely jealous when Ben was interested in other women. She's a low-risk person. Ben didn't get openly jealous when Ella went home with other men; he's capable of handling greater risk. I pointed out that, on Ella's side, there was no risk being with me. I was with Vino and her and no one else. On my side, though, the risk was endless--I never knew who she'd be with next. I explained that I was being asked to accept her sexual choices, but she didn't seem capable to accept any parallel risk from me (e.g., my interest in Ben).

My tone was not intended to be accusatory, but I didn't draft it as attentively as I usually would. She took the letter as a personal affront, and told me I needed therapy. She did tell me she would support me as much as she could while I worked on developing some self-esteem, but the gist was that she thought there was something wrong with me.

She also withdrew into her "cooling off" period, but a couple weeks went by, and I didn't hear from her.

The Last Meeting

I talked with Vino about it, and about how I felt. It came down to this: I loved her very much, but I had never understood or accepted why she was so averse to Ben and I being involved--she wasn't even okay with us being friends, without her in the room. This was making me resentful toward her, even while I had strong feelings for her. I was afraid to tell her that directly, because her she had had such a powerful reaction to other conversations.

Vino felt I should tell her this.

So, I formulated what I was going to ask for: to redevelop my friendship with Ben, and, if there was still attraction between us, to pursue it--very slowly, of course. Vino was okay with the plan, provided it went slowly, and he helped me rehearse how to ask Ella for this.

I sent Ella an email asking her out for coffee, to talk. Her response was cold, but she agreed.

I explained everything to her as carefully and delicately as possible. My hands were shaking. But...she stayed calm the whole time. I was thrilled! At the end, she said that was fine, that she didn't know how she'd react later, but she'd do her best to come to terms with it. She also pointed out that she wasn't sure if Ben was still attracted to me--he avoided conversations about me, apparently--and I told her that was fine, that I still wanted to know for sure one way or the other, and I definitely still wanted to be friends with him. In the end, she said that sounded like a fair plan. Incredible, I thought! I didn't screw it up!!

So, I asked her if she and I were going to make plans sometime soon, or if she needed more time.

And she said she didn't think she wanted to see me anymore. She said she needed a couple more weeks to decide for sure.

She explained that she wasn't comfortable seeing someone who didn't approve of her sexual choices. She said I had incredibly low self-esteem, and that I was taking it out on people who care about me. She pointed out that she could find lots of other relationships with people who would have no problem with her sexuality.

I didn't know what to say. I had thought out the worst-case scenarios, of course, but they involved her getting very angry. This was sudden, and she was icy cold about it.

She apologized and left.

Things Fall Apart

I panicked. I cried all over Vino. I emailed Ben--now, that seems like such a random thing to do, but I had helped him years before when he and Ella had gotten in fights. I asked him what I should say, and if there was anything I could do, and if he could help me at all.

Ben emailed me back, and asked me to come to coffee the next day to talk.

We spent three hours talking about me and Ella. It helped. He told me she felt pushed, and that she was pushing back. He said that, if she still wanted to be with me in a couple weeks, that meant her feelings for me were very strong, and I could feel more secure talking to her about stuff.

We didn't talk about him and me. He asked, at one point, what I had said that had upset her, but I told him I wasn't comfortable talking about it. It just felt stupid and irrelevant.

He did give me plenty of context for her feelings, and I felt better having talked to him about it.

I waited two weeks, and still hadn't heard from Ella. A few days later, Ben sent me an email, asking if I wanted to have lunch the next day. I agreed.

I showed up the next day, at noon, as agreed. At 12:15, he still hadn't shown, and I realized I'd forgotten my wallet. I live a couple blocks from the restaurant, so I drove home to get it. I was gone eight minutes. I waited until 12:45, when I texted him to ask what was up. He said he'd shown up and I wasn't there, so he'd left.

I got the sense that he didn't want to have lunch with me, but I was confused--after all, he had asked me. So, I asked him, point blank, if he actually wanted to have lunch with me.

He sent back a very roundabout, vague email explaining that maybe it would be better if we didn't see each other in person for a while. He said emails, etc., would be fine, but under the circumstances, we should put a hold on face-to-face interactions.

It was weird, and sudden. He had invited me out, less than 24 hours before.

He also said I had a habit of "creating drama" in relationships. In explaining this, he used a couple phrases that were identical to the email Ella had sent me telling me I needed therapy. It was obvious they had talked about it, and had come to the mutual conclusion that there was something wrong with me.

So, I sent Ella an email asking if she'd decided yet. She responded that she'd been thinking about it, but didn't offer a conclusion. So, I called it off. I told her that I'd like to be friends eventually. Her reply was vague: "the relationship wasn't working" but she "wouldn't be against repairing things later on."

Finally, she told me she was going to try to stay out of things between me and Ben. She said she may not always be successful, but that was trying.

I wanted to believe she was sincere about that, but with things over between me and her, there was really no way anything would work between me and Ben--even an email-only friendship would be awkward.

So that was that. The End, except that I still think about it far too often, I still miss both of them, and I frequently wonder if there is indeed something very wrong with me.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 05-09-2011, 07:30 PM
BlackUnicorn's Avatar
BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 906
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
...I still miss both of them, and I frequently wonder if there is indeed something very wrong with me.
Poor, poor Ivy.

Yes, there is something wrong with you - you have a low self-esteem and an internal tape that keeps on playing the same stupid old message over and over again. The tape leads you to interpret other people's actions and words in a manner that is consistent with the tape, regardless of what was actually said and done. The biggest thing that is wrong with you is that you always think there is something wrong with you. Like with Ella - to the degree she is not in control of her sexuality the reason is not her wild sex appeal (which you think you lack) or you being a prude or she having a non-committal attitude to lovers (you) but her quite likely having experienced severe denial of control of her sexuality at some point in her life. This is not on you, cannot be cured by you, and should never have anything to do with your own self-image.

What made it possible for you to overcome your insecurity and self-blame with Vino? Are these experiences you could transfer to other relationships? Have you had therapy in the past? Self-help and meditation can work wonders too (for me it has) if you can't afford or are not comfortable with therapy.

I am rooting for you, Ella and Ben! And Vino too!
__________________
Me: bi female in my twenties
Dating: Moonlightrunner
Metamour: Windflower
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 05-09-2011, 08:04 PM
Ivy's Avatar
Ivy Ivy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Poor, poor Ivy.
Ack, it all sounds so whiny, doesn't it? I start writing it out, and then I start to wallow in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Yes, there is something wrong with you - you have a low self-esteem and an internal tape that keeps on playing the same stupid old message over and over again....The biggest thing that is wrong with you is that you always think there is something wrong with you.
It is self-reinforcing. I've had very few relationships, so when something goes wrong in one, I end up trying to figure out how I could have prevented it. Instead of just admitting that sometimes things don't work out, I end up blaming myself--I was too needy, too emotionally invested, or just too undesirable. Objectively, I can see this, but when I'm feeling everything crumble around me, it's difficult to keep that perspective.

I start searching for a problem I can "fix," and the only problem I can easily find (or potentially fix) is me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
What made it possible for you to overcome your insecurity and self-blame with Vino?
Vino was easy, at least while we were monogamous. We just hit it off, and we were both (at the time) willing to commit to monogamy. He's always been fine with the idea of me dating women, though--I told him very frankly I was bisexual when we first met, I just never had the opportunity to act on it before Ella.

He claims he could come to terms with me dating men, but at this point, that's only theoretical--I've been cut off from most of my former social circle, I've been feeling too withdrawn to meet anyone new, and the men at my work are very monogamously married (I don't think I'd want to date a coworker, anyway). So he hasn't been put in that position yet. We haven't had to navigate it.

This has really been a bit of a trainwreck for my self-esteem, and since the breakup, my sex life with Vino has kind of faded. I feel gross even getting nekkid with him...and then I feel guilty, too. Blecch. I've never felt like that around him before, but we're working on it. Definitely not a solved problem yet, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Have you had therapy in the past? Self-help and meditation can work wonders too (for me it has) if you can't afford or are not comfortable with therapy.
I have had therapy in the past, for stress (I was making myself physically ill worrying about my grades and career. Gradschoolfail.) I did try therapy again, but the "poly-friendly" therapist was steering me back toward monogamy--suggesting nonexistent problems between me and Vino to explain why I wanted to date other people.

Right now I'm trying self-help, but it's becoming an obsession--I'm reading Opening Up, and a book on how to flirt, a couple other books, and a half-dozen web sites, blogs, and forums. I know myself, and I'll keep reading for the next decade, because then, ten years from now, I might actually be prepared to successfully interact with real live human beings!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
I am rooting for you, Ella and Ben! And Vino too!
Thanks. Kind words really help.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 05-09-2011, 08:17 PM
OshunsDaughter OshunsDaughter is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 10
Default

Wow, you all couldn't have a 'sit down' to talk. Everyone go out to dinner, a neutral spot, maybe in the back room of a restaurant? Just saying
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 05-09-2011, 08:58 PM
SNeacail's Avatar
SNeacail SNeacail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Near Disneyland
Posts: 1,532
Default

Too many e-mails and not enough face to face discussions and too many assumptions based on non-communication. A lot of this sounds very familiar to what my husband and I are struggling with and 90% of it is how we communicate or don't communicate with each other and each of us making assumptions based on stuff NOT said.

I guess I don't understand why in the day of cell phones, why you wouldn't have texted or called Ben if he was running late, and even more so when you realized you had to leave to get your wallet? On the same note, why didn't he didn't call/text you when he got there and you weren't there? To me this would be common courtesy.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 05-09-2011, 10:11 PM
Ivy's Avatar
Ivy Ivy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 89
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OshunsDaughter View Post
Wow, you all couldn't have a 'sit down' to talk. Everyone go out to dinner, a neutral spot, maybe in the back room of a restaurant? Just saying
Believe me, I wish we could have. It would have been uncomfortable, but I think it would have calmed a lot of fears. But by the time I got the guts to directly discuss what I was hoping for--even with Ella alone--it was over. And frankly, I'm not sure Ella would have consented to a discussion like that even on a good day, and there's no way Ben would have gone along with it if he sensed Ella was at all unhappy with the idea.

At this point, I think it's just too late--I couldn't do the wait-and-see sorta-breakup, so I finally just called it. That was a month ago, and I haven't spoken to either of them since. And even if we did speak, in our last email conversation, Ella expressed a desire not to discuss what went wrong (she didn't feel it would help anything), which puts a pretty solid end to the conversation.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
blog, self-esteem, self-expression

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:41 AM.