Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 06-11-2011, 10:48 PM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,184
Default

Oh, this sounds like a case of differing love languages! There's a popular book - I haven't read it yet - a lot of peeps here are really into it. It's all about the ways we express love and how we want love expressed to us. Or something like that. Anyway, for example, some people need "acts of kindness" or "words of affirmation" to know that their partner is making an effort and expressing love, while others need "physical touch" or some other choices I can't recall now. There are tests to see which you are... when a partner becomes aware of your predominant love language, they see a choice in how to relate. And I've read here that often these things are surprising to the person who feels they've done enough because they expressed it in their love language to you but never thought in a million years that you need it expressed a different way, so you feel it was inadequate.

Quiz here: http://www.afo.net/hftw-lovetest.asp
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-12-2011, 01:22 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: New England USA
Posts: 1,231
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinew View Post
.............
Sometimes my husband is great, and sometimes not great. For him, the idea of supporting me is, I think, very tough. He says he feels like he messes up on this front all the time, but that sentiment doesn't seem to actually compel him to work harder at it. There is definitely an element of frustration on his part that what he believes ought to be plenty isn't enough (for me or Juliet, frankly).
.....................

In the end, I want to tell him when I'm in pain, but it causes so much confrontation that I dread it, too. It makes him defensive, and that doesn't help either of us.
Hi Sinew,

This is one of the hard parts about getting on the same page. Although I haven't personally read the book either, I like NYC's advice to check out that Love Languages title. I've also heard good things about it and maybe something in there can help the ball get rolling.

I suspect you're dealing with 2 things right now and maybe it can help just to identify them together and see what each can do to bridge the gap.

There's likely a male vs female issues here. Men and women think differently in many cases, interpret differently, and work on problems differently. That's neither good nor bad - just different. You each have to make 'allowances' for this WITHOUT letting it become a source of conflict.

There's also the logical vs emotional thing happening. One of you is trying to proceed based more on pure logic and the other struggling more with the emotional conflict. You CAN choose, during any discussion, to only allow one side or the other to be discussed and analyzed. But you MUST take turns addressing both parts so that one or the other isn't slighted. But pick one and start there, work through some stuff - then switch to the other for awhile. I think this will help both build their skills understanding the other side even though your base nature may lean one way or the other.

That make any sense ?

Keep us informed

GS
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-15-2011, 01:04 AM
sinew's Avatar
sinew sinew is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 18
Default

The Love Languages book has been very interesting! I went on a relationship book shopping spree after reading some of that one, heh. There's some interesting research out there that I sure wasn't aware of, and it's eye-opening. At first, I was hesitant to look to mainstream relationship books because I figured they would give me hell about the open marriage concept, but so far at least I've felt very encouraged about how to work on my marriage so that poly can work. I'm sure there's a lot of junk out there, but I've found several books so far that compliment the Love Languages one and don't seem too gimmicky.

The original theme of this thread was whether or not it made sense to hide pain in my situation. I've read a lot in the past few days, and my current perspective is that while hiding it isn't right, becoming too attached to my pain is also something I need to watch for. A lot of the research in the books I'm reading now says that one partner telling the other constantly about how bad they feel invokes a shame reaction in the partner that very often leads to a pattern of defensiveness based on shame. A partner will often take the expression of pain as an accusation of failure, and this may explain why most of my husband's reactions are not sympathetic.

I can definitely relate. My sense of shame and inadequacy is provoked very easily, and viewed from this angle, I think I can understand better why he might be blocking out all the times I've told him about my pain. He's protecting himself, because we as partners aren't in tune enough to be able to share pain right now. I know that each of the times he's told me he's in pain, I've absolutely panicked, believing I'll lose him and be alone. I cope with this by deciding irrationally that I can fix everything, or by withdrawing into depression. I would not be surprised at all to learn that his coping mechanism has more to do with denial and "disproving" what I feel.

In either response, I think we're presenting and dealing with each other's pain poorly, and it's an area I'm going to try my best to find more techniques for handling. I'm realizing I've probably put the cart before the horse in all my efforts to work out my ability to deal with poly. There are a number of prerequisites, and among them are the abilities to express and interpret pain supportively. I have a lot of fear wrapped up in the idea that I won't be able to truly get on board with poly before his patience runs out, but I also realize that where I'm at with my present state of mind isn't right or wrong - it's just reality. And if his patience does run out before I get to where he wants me to be, then our relationship just won't work out. It isn't what I want, but so it goes.

Thank you all for the insights and advice. You have really helped me.
__________________
And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-15-2011, 03:55 AM
SNeacail's Avatar
SNeacail SNeacail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Near Disneyland
Posts: 1,556
Default

I have found that sometimes, we say one thing and our partner hears something else. In which case we are not being effective in our communication, we might as well be speaking different languages. How we express ourselves can make a huge difference in the initial reaction our partner has.

My husband tends to ask "Why?" instead of being sympathetic, putting my on the defensive when I'm already struggling with issues. It can make me feel as if he is calling me an idiot. What I hear is "Why in the Hell would you feel that way, that's just stupid!" There are things that I do that put him on the defensive immediately also (can't remember what they are right now ). Do a search for Non-Violent communcation, it can make a huge difference. Don't know if there is a tag search on that here, but there is stuff all over the web.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-15-2011, 07:14 AM
Mohegan's Avatar
Mohegan Mohegan is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 756
Default

What's been really helpful for Karma and I is a conversation like this-

"I am feeling this____. I think it is because of _______."

"Okay I am hearing you say you feel (what, in his words he thinks I am saying) and you think it is b/c of (again his interpretation of what I said.) Is that correct?"

"Yes/No clarification"

"Okay, what can I do to help. What do you need from me to not feel that way/feel better/heal."


It's been hugely helpful. We learned that we spoke totaly different languages. And had completely different definitions of the same word. Doing this made all the difference for us.

The thing is though, Karma is willing to work, to hear me, to help me and I him.

And I totaly agree with you Sinew, when you are only discussing the pain, it is very hard for the spouse to see or hear anything else. Karma and I had to restrict ourselves to certain periods of time. We only discuss the pain for a certain amount of time. Then that's it. For awhile it was even, he can only discuss her for a certain period of time and then not again the rest of the night.

Then we focussed on us.

Eventualy we let go of the time frames, because the wounds were no longer so raw that it was all we talked about it. It was easier to handle bringing things up as we experienced them, b/c we weren't always having to discuss something painful or how horribly he hurt me.

I realised I wasn't recognizing him for the good things. So I made it a point to say Thank you. I also made it a point to say "When you did what I needed and followed my boundries today, that meant alot and rebuilt some trust because now I know I can count on you for that."

I've found that 1000 positive comments can be lost by one negative. I know the negative needs to happen and we have to discuss the hard stuff, so I make sure I am recognizing all the good stuff as well.

Once all of that fell into place, not only was he more patient, but I healed faster and we grew closer.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-15-2011, 12:04 PM
polyexplorer polyexplorer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 62
Default

Hi Sinew,

I just read all the posts in this thread and related to alot of it.

My wife sounds like she is similar to you. She needs lots of space to process her emotions and because of this can tend to repress it as well or struggle to tell me. She has not wanted a poly life. I have realised that I have always been poly but have lived a mono life with her.

She is trying to be OK with the poly life, but she gets very emotional. I can tell it really hurts her. This makes it very difficult for me to truly engage in this life because naturally I don't want to hurt the love of my life. But the longer I keep waiting and not living what I consider to be an authentic life for myself, the more I am hurting too...

So we seem to be stuck right now.

The difficulty that I have with her is that I feel she has not TRULY decided to change her belief systems around poly and therefore does not support poly. I think she feels forced into the decision because she doesn't want to lose me.

Grounded Spirit said in one of the earlier comments about belief systems. I think there is alot of truth to this. Perhaps Charlie and Juliet sense that there is more than just emotions coming out, maybe they feel like me that you have not really chosen poly???? In fact, just the other day my wife said she feels like she has dipped her toe in the water with regards to poly, but not dived in. That's exactly how I feel about how she is!

For my wife and myself, it means that I don't feel like we are on the same page. It means that it is very hard to move forward and it is difficult for me not to resent the fact that she has not been able to make a full decision here.

The question here then is, how does one come to a point of diving in, not just dipping their toe in? I don't think it's a case of just clicking our fingers and saying OK, I'll jump in. The depth of emotions involved is too complex for that.

How does a mono person who has not signed up for a poly life make a decision to fully support and dive into this life (without it necessarily meaning that they live a poly life themselves if they are truly mono)? If I felt like my wife had made this decision and had dived in, I am convinced that things would be different for us, and the painful emotions we experience would not be nearly as intense...
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-15-2011, 02:54 PM
MonoVCPHG's Avatar
MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: In Redpepper's heart
Posts: 4,742
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by polyexplorer View Post
How does a mono person who has not signed up for a poly life make a decision to fully support and dive into this life (without it necessarily meaning that they live a poly life themselves if they are truly mono)? If I felt like my wife had made this decision and had dived in, I am convinced that things would be different for us, and the painful emotions we experience would not be nearly as intense...
In order to embrace poly the way you do, she would likely have to be poly...and maybe she is not. If she is mono then what you are asking for is basically like asking a devoted Muslim to embrace Christianity just because it'll make going to church easier for you. You can find a comfortable compromise in a mono/poly relationship but to expect your wife to change how she fundamentally works, to make how you work easier, is a little selfish don't you think?

I've been in a mono/poly relationship for over 2.5 years as the mono and I can tell you I am no closer to completely embracing or fully understanding poly as a way to engage in relationships. I am very happy but I doubt if there could ever be the same type of calm peaceful feeling that a mono relationship can provide. On the other side of the coin I doubt if Redpepper will be able to achieve the same level of understanding and support from me as she does from her Poly husband. But we are happy and committed

Keep working and be patient
__________________

Playing the Game of Life with Monopoly rules.
Monogamy might just be in my genes

Poly Events All Over
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-15-2011, 11:51 PM
polyexplorer polyexplorer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 62
Default

Thanks Mono for your response. I appreciate hearing your perspective...

On the surface it seems that the difference between the place you are at the place my wife is at is that I constantly feel like I am walking on egg shells with anything to do with poly. For example, I know she feels uncomfortable with me even reading this site. I feel her discomfort and pain.

I am not expecting her to embrace the poly life or perhaps even to fully understand it. But I do want her to want it for me. At the moment she is forcing herself to allow it for me but that creates tension for her and me. I am doing my best to give her the space and patience she needs to be where she needs to be at. She is trying hard, but I feel there is a decisive point that she needs to reach that she hasn't yet...

Using your analogy, if I was Muslim and she Christian, I am not wanting her to convert to Muslim, but I want her to be supportive of me being one and wanting this for me because it is important to me.

So my question is, if indeed it is true that she there is a decisive point still to be reached, a tipping point if you like where one can want the poly life for their partner even though they themselves don't want it for themselves, how does this decisive point get reached? Perhaps a complex question, but I'd be interested in responses...
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-16-2011, 01:53 AM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: California
Posts: 497
Default

I think it's important to realize it make likely take some time to adjust to such a huge shift in perception. Especially if you had a monogamous deal with marraige and are now changing the game rules. To go into a relationship thinking it's one way and then realize it's something different, something that society at large isn't promoting... maybe something against everything you've ever believed... you don't just change your mind and adjust overnight.

I hear you saying that you just want her to be happy for you. I wonder if you realize what that means to her. You want her to change how she feels and what she's always thought, to be happy that you want to have emotional and sexual relationships with other people besides her. That is asking a lot.

What if she said she just wanted you to agree to be monogamous, and be happy with that? Could you adjust to being monogamous, give up your ideas of what you want and who you are for the other person?

I'm only throwing this out because I think that when you try to open an already established mongamous relationship, you have to realize how much change that is, how much work, and for some people it just won't be possible. I think not pushing and giving some time is not so much to ask.

I've heard stories about people who talk about poly and it takes years before they actually open up because it takes the mono person that long to adjust, and for the couple to work on their own relationship to get it strong to the point where poly is possible.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-16-2011, 04:02 AM
MonoVCPHG's Avatar
MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: In Redpepper's heart
Posts: 4,742
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by polyexplorer View Post

So my question is, if indeed it is true that she there is a decisive point still to be reached, a tipping point if you like where one can want the poly life for their partner even though they themselves don't want it for themselves, how does this decisive point get reached? Perhaps a complex question, but I'd be interested in responses...
That's a tough question my friend. Does she really know what you want from poly? Do you? Poly is a such a broad term. Some people find a need to only have one other partner that they fell in love with...others see poly as a philosophical way to live life always open to new relationships. One is easier to come to terms with for a partner who isn't poly I think.

Maybe the decisive point never gets reached and neither of you fully get the completeness you want from this relationship. I want Redpepper to always have her husband....but I am the boyfriend. If I was her husband I doubt if I could ever "want" poly for her. Our situation is vastly different from my perspective.

Patience and lots of talk. If this is something you truly need you have to be willing to assume some risk to achieve it. Gently push for what you want and work through it regardless of what that looks like. Ultimately, both of you need to be healthy, happy and fulfilled.
__________________

Playing the Game of Life with Monopoly rules.
Monogamy might just be in my genes

Poly Events All Over
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
affairs, cheating, forgiveness

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 11:42 PM.