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  #71  
Old 06-23-2011, 03:26 PM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
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I liked that humanistic version NYCINDIE... thanks.

I agree empathy is totally important. But I'm realizing that different people have differing abilities to be empathetic. My hubs is not empathetic. At all. He can listen to what I say, and see how I'm feeling, but he doesn't "get" why, doesn't really understand, and cannot put himself in my position. I spent 10 years not understanding that. So for him, it's important for him to communicate with me and for me to lay it down exactly what's going on and what I need. I don't (can't) expect him to understand me, or know how I feel. But I can expect him to respect that I do feel that way, and for us to do things to correct whatever situation's going on.

If you take the I and me out of it, then you risk treating someone in a specific manner because that to you is respectful and empathetic and helpful, and having that be NOT what they want or need. Maybe that's just my specific experience in life (very possible), but what I want and need is not anything like what hubs wants and needs, and until we sat down and talked and communicated that we didn't know. We both thought we were treating the other one well-- and it was OUR definition of well, not the other person's-- and so we both felt not taken care of and misunderstood a lot of the time. Very frustrating experience.

What I learned from that was not to treat hubs like I would want... but to ask him what he would like in any given situation. I learned not to expect him to "understand" my feelings, but to listen and to work with me (if needed-- sometimes it's all me I just need him to hear it).

I'm really empathetic so it took me... um... 43 years to figure out not everybody is! Hubs and I had an argument (minor) the other night because he doesn't think it is possible to really "understand' someone's feelings unless you've experienced the very exact same thing. :-/ I had to explain to him that I got it that HE can't do that, but many people can. Just because he doesn't experience it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But he really really doesn't understand that ability at all. Even his GF agreed with him that he doesn't have empathy. What he does have is the ability to accept people for who they are, listen to what they're saying, and to adjust to what they need. But you have to tell him straight up what that is.
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  #72  
Old 06-23-2011, 03:52 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minxxa View Post
Hubs and I had an argument (minor) the other night because he doesn't think it is possible to really "understand' someone's feelings unless you've experienced the very exact same thing. :-/ I had to explain to him that I got it that HE can't do that, but many people can. Just because he doesn't experience it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But he really really doesn't understand that ability at all. Even his GF agreed with him that he doesn't have empathy. What he does have is the ability to accept people for who they are, listen to what they're saying, and to adjust to what they need. But you have to tell him straight up what that is.
People learn to block various kinds of empathy for different reasons. The kinds of empathy that your hubs blocks may be something whose emotional effects you have learned to manage but he hasn't. Likewise, he may be able to empathize with some other kind of experience that you would resist. Personally, I have found that some women have trouble empathizing with the fatherly feelings of male authority figures. I think this is because they have devoted so much energy to liberating themselves from the feelings of oppression they get from dealing with such men that they develop a resistance to understanding such men's positions and what they're feeling when they are pursuing paternalistic goals. The same woman could easily identify with a mother's struggle with her children or with a partner but when it comes to understanding/empathizing with a paternalistic man, she'll shoot into opposition or just glaze over. Please note, I am not generalizing but just talking about something I've noticed in a few people.
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  #73  
Old 01-24-2012, 11:46 AM
ms74 ms74 is offline
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Default should i know or not?

Brief description, I have been with my girlfriend for 1 1/2 years who is polyamorous. She became involved with a man about 7 months ago.

Since then I have been going back and forth if I want to know what happens between them. I don't think she tells him what happens between us so I go back and forth if I want to know if I have a right to know. So looking for some advice.

Do I have a right to know? If so if anyone can answer should I know? As in is it helpful or hurtful? I think I want to know because of my jealousy but I am trying so hard to control that feeling. I am confused please help.
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  #74  
Old 01-24-2012, 06:13 PM
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Derbylicious Derbylicious is offline
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Do you want to know? It's not a matter of SHOULD. I like to know when my partners start a sexual relationship with someone new but outside that I have very little desire to know details. For me it feels like I'm intruding on something personal between them.

Also is he comfortable with having his sex life shared with you? Although you share a partner there might be some things he wishes to keep private and his wishes should be respected. If these are things that he would tell you directly then there's probably no concern in your shared partner sharing the details with you.
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  #75  
Old 01-24-2012, 10:04 PM
ViableAlternative ViableAlternative is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms74 View Post
Since then I have been going back and forth if I want to know what happens between them.
What, specifically, do you mean by this? "What happens between them" is too broad of an idea; you need to be specific about what you mean so there isn't any confusion when you discuss it with your gf. Do you mean knowing about where they go on dates, whether they hold hands, who ate what for dinner, how often they say the word 'camel'? Do you mean knowing what deep, dark secrets they share, how many times they kiss, what color socks he wears for her, whether or not they take tapdancing classes? Do you mean how and how often they have sex? How fulfilling it is? What position he prefers? How much she likes what he does?

Some (much) of what they do is, frankly, not even your buisiness, unless EVERYBODY agrees that it should be. You're not talking only about HER privacy, but HIS, too.

There are some things that are your right to know and her obligation to disclose - those things are anything that may have a direct impact on your life. For example, you are entitled to know about anything that involves your health - if they are sexually active, you should know that, and what their safer sex practices are (condoms, other barriers, etc.). This is important and deserves some negotiation. If she has sex with both of you with no barrier protection, that increases the risk both of you are exposed to, and is important for you to know so you can make educated decisions about your health.

But things like how often they have sex, what he likes to do during sex, how small or how big his body parts are, even how often they cuddle or kiss, just aren't your business. That involves his privacy. If HE is okay with her telling you how he likes to have sex, fine, but that's his privacy and he should have the right to decide who he shares it with.

Quote:
I don't think she tells him what happens between us
You have a right to your privacy, too. He deserves to know his safer sex risks, just like you do, so he should know if you guys have sex and what your safer sex practices are. But he shouldn't get to know things like what color underwear you wear or how many orgasms you had last week unless you're okay with her telling him that. This is something you should discuss with your gf, you shouldn't have to guess what she tells others about your privacy.

Quote:
so I go back and forth if I want to know if I have a right to know.
If you WANT to know if he has a mole on his left buttock, or if he kisses her dimples, or if you feel you REQUIRE her to tell you these things, then she needs to know that so she can either agree to tell you and risk losing her bf because he might not date someone who shares private info about his sex life, or she can refuse and risk you ending the relationship because you can't handle her not telling you his private stuff. That's for you and her to hammer out together, and set boundaries and expectations about.

Quote:
Do I have a right to know?
Anything that DIRECTLY IMPACTS YOUR LIFE, you have a right to know. Other stuff, boils down to what you feel you NEED or WANT to know, and whether she and he are okay sharing it with you. He probably doesn't mind you knowing how the tap dancing class went, but he might not want you to know how many hours he spent crying with her about his cat passing away. Some stuff is just private.

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If so if anyone can answer should I know? As in is it helpful or hurtful? I think I want to know because of my jealousy but I am trying so hard to control that feeling. I am confused please help.
Maybe a better question to ask yourself is, "What BENEFIT will our relationship have when she tells me about _____?" Safer sex stuff, big benefit. Whether he has a cute freckle on the end of his dick, probably not beneficial. But this is stuff you need to determine with her and, to a lesser degree, with him (or her with him).
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  #76  
Old 01-24-2012, 10:46 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViableAlternative View Post
If you... feel you REQUIRE her to tell you these things, then she needs to know that so she can either agree... or she can refuse and risk you ending the relationship...
OR, instead of you breaking it off because neither she nor he wants you to be privy to the intimate moments or details of their relationship, re-assess the level of knowledge you feel you need and find a compromise. Maybe you don't actually need any details, but simply want to be told if sex took place (as an example,if that's the kind of thing you're talking about).

What I think is more important is that you say you want to know because of your jealousy. Usually any actions motivated by jealousy end badly. Look at what's underneath the jealousy and work on taking responsibility for those feelings -- like asking yourself, "What am I afraid of?" and doing some inner work to resolve the basis of those fears, for example -- without requiring her to divulge information that isn't any of your business. The only thing I think you need to know about is their safe sex practices. He is not an add-on to your relationship, and owes you nothing. She is in two relationships and they each deserve their own space and privacy.
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Last edited by nycindie; 01-24-2012 at 10:51 PM.
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  #77  
Old 01-25-2012, 05:05 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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This is an awesome thread! Good info to think on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
He is not an add-on to your relationship, and owes you nothing. She is in two relationships and they each deserve their own space and privacy.
My two men are best friends. One is excessively private about everything, the other is private about almost nothing. I did ask Current bf, 'do you want to know and how much?' He knows First bf, and how much FBF values his privacy. CBF actually said 'whatever works for you.' FBF would like to pretend that I am not still CBF's girlfriend, I think. Although we do still talk about him.

So, even though there is not sex in all four relationships (in this emotional triad, sexual vee), there definitely are four relationships. [me with FBF, me with CBF, CBF and FBF, and the three of us]

I love this forum for working my brain and my heart.
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  #78  
Old 01-25-2012, 05:25 AM
Pretzels Pretzels is offline
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Everyone is with everyone in varying degrees in our situation. I know I can talk to E about most anything physical between him and T and him and me. With T, he's told me that he'll let me know if I'm telling him too much about things between E and me.

I second the idea of curiosity and perhaps hidden motives. However, the last thing you want is for your life to turn into Pandora's living room on Christmas morning. Never ask questions you don't really want to know the answers to.
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  #79  
Old 01-25-2012, 05:56 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Knowledge can affect jealousy in two ways (probably more, but two that I can think of).

One: finding out that things aren't as bad as your worst imagination made them out to be is reassuring. They had sex, and she still came back to you, she still loves you, the world didn't end. That's the good way.

Two: finding out fuels your insecurity, makes you hate the arrangement, and shut down or want to end the poly aspect. That's the bad way.

I'm a very open person. I talk about my husband sometimes on dates, not like... in your face or making a big deal of it... just in the sense that we share a life together and there are parts of me that are related to him and affect my behaviour. This seems to feel more comfortable when the person I'm on a date with is also in a serious relationship. I find myself doing it less when I'm on a date with a single person.

I also tell my husband about my dates. He's my best friend, and you always tell your best friend when you have an awesome date! It hasn't happened yet, but if I get intimate with someone, I'm definitely going to tell him that it happened, but I don't intend to give him all the "kiss & tell" details. As far as I'm concerned, that's between me and the other person, and I respect his or her privacy.
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  #80  
Old 01-25-2012, 08:10 AM
amitabhisgood amitabhisgood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms74 View Post
..............
Since then I have been going back and forth if I want to know what happens between them. I don't think she tells him what happens between us so I go back and forth if I want to know if I have a right to know. So looking for some advice.

Do I have a right to know? If so if anyone can answer should I know? As in is it helpful or hurtful? I think I want to know because of my jealousy but I am trying so hard to control that feeling. I am confused please help.
My friend, you seem to have been into a lot of "deep thinking based on assumptions". As you think "deep into the matter" you will hold backlog of assumptions.

You might consider replacing few assumptions with facts that your gf would like to disclose.

Then you myt get more thoughts that can ease the relationship further.

B cool. B sweet.
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