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Old 09-26-2011, 05:59 PM
LFP LFP is offline
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Default paradise lost?

Hi everybody, I'm new around here, both forum-wise and wrt polyamory... and I wanted to thank you all for hanging out in this forum... reading through the posts already helped me come to terms with some of my recent emotional turmoil. But since every story and relationship is different, I decided to post where I'm at right now - maybe somebody has some insights that'll get me out of that black hole again...

Some background: I'm a straight male, in a 'perfect' relationship for ever (i.e. 9 years). My gf and I have never had a relationship with anybody else before, but we're pretty open, and we can and have talked about everything. A few weeks ago she came out to me wrt loving one of our (mutual) best friends. The weird thing was: I dreamt about them having sex the day before, and the three of us talked about sex and relationships a lot previously... so I guess I already sensed her feelings, and thus wasn't too surprised. So we talked about it, and (a) I can totally see what she sees in him, and (b) I can not see why I should 'prohibit' her loving somebody else if I really love her, so I said: go for it. Which is what she did...

Fast forward into the now: How it worked in the last weeks was that they've been seeing each other every now and then, while we were trying to continue our relationship as before. Which, I have to admit now, does not really work out for me.

Here's what I DON'T have problems with: them having sex, her loving more people than me. These, to me, are all things that don't diminish what we have... i.e. it doesn't reduce her love to me.

What bugs me (and hence the title):
* We've been really tight in the past, doing everything together, talking a lot, having great sex, spending every minute that we could together ... but now I'm 'left' 2-3 nights a week, simply because I can't be with her. So we had the perfect relationship (I know, tacky, but true), and all of a sudden there is this big block of ice eating me up twice a week. While you can't dimish love by dividing it, 50% of the time remains only half of what it was before... Simply put, this makes me sad, and I feel empty.

* Not only do I feel empty, but also stupid. Of course, all the 'social' stuff remains with me, i.e. all the (at times cumbersome) family and friend stuff (particularly now that their relationship is still secret), while the other guy gets the hot sex, and only that. Whats more, if one could say so, sex was always a tad more important for me in our relationship than for her, but I always accepted the boundaries she set. Now, from one day to another, she runs off having sex with somebody else, while I'm sitting at home wondering if I'm the butt of the worst joke in history.

So, all in all, while I'm still cool with the whole poly thing, I wonder if there is ANY positive in it for me. Because I don't think it is a very good basis for a relationship if I'm just being 'tolerant' while there is something important evolving in her life. And vice versa: this big block of ice in my stomach does currently feel quite contrary to 'love' to me...

Thanks in advance for your considerations,

P.S.: To me, compersion (fun, btw, inventing new words just like that ) is not the solution to my problem, as it's not about my feelings for them (which are great) but my feelings for me.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:30 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Instead of sitting at home feeling butt-hurt, go do something to better yourself. Treat yourself good. Your feelings of loss and inadequacy come from not taking proper caee of yourself and from subjugating your primary relationship (with yourself) to this "perfect" fantasy.

Good luck to you!
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:36 PM
LFP LFP is offline
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NeonKaos, thanks for your comment. Basically you're spot on, but I guess it's not that easy to do if you've been in the same relationship since 17, have developed all your interests together, no separate circles of friends etc...

And then what you're suggesting - while perfectly diagnosing a personal deficiency of mine- does for me not fully hit the core of my polyamory dilemma: What's in it for somebody in my situation. My gf would instantly call it off if I'd say so, but thats the last thing I want. I like the idea of poly, but I want to see something positive in it too, for itself.

Don't get me wrong, I'll have to come to terms with the new situation and embark on what you suggest (i.e. getting a new life) anyway, but in a few months from now, when our friends start asking me how I see the whole thing, I don't want to answer "well, this is how it is and I have to live with the new situation somehow" with a big sigh, but rather I'd want to wholeheartedly "advertise" poly as the much more natural and rich concept over the run-of-the-mill monogamous relationship.

But currently I simply don't see it...
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:57 PM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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Do you not, yourself, have any desire to have an OSO? Do you characterize yourself as somewhat shy or introverted, and thus the prospect of going out and meeting new people is somewhat frightening?

These are all things to work on. Maybe start out just by meeting people without any intent to hook up, date, or have anything more than a few hours of pleasant conversation. Maybe you never go farther than that. Maybe you make new friends. Maybe one or more of them blossoms into something more. If you self-identify as mono, nothing bars you from making new friends, at least.

Do you have any hobbies that your girlfriend doesn't share? If so, do them. Is there anything you've yearned to do that she doesn't? If so, do it.

Certainly, do not keep your feelings from her, or they'll only fester and you'll eventually start blowing up over seemingly unrelated small things. Trust me on this--I'm a champion at holding things in out of fear of my wife's reaction, and it just gets harder to bring stuff up the longer you avoid it. That said, learn how to discuss your emotions using non-accusatory language ("I" statements, open-ended questions, and so forth, instead of "you" statements--by doing so, you show that you're taking ownership of your own emotions instead of blaming her for them).

What do you gain? You gain a more contented, more relaxed girlfriend, who isn't looking for excuses to blow up your relationship (either consciously or unconsciously) in order to pursue a new love interest. This, in and of itself, is HUGE, and makes it more likely, rather than less likely, that your relationship can live out its natural course instead of coming to a premature end.

Having said *that*, do make sure to ask for what you want, and look after your own needs in the relationship.

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Old 09-26-2011, 08:03 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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You can't spend every moment together forever, some space can be healthy and can help you both appreciate what you have all the more. As for what's in it for you, well, one way to look at it is -- nothing. Except her happiness. But why is that bad? If she had joined a new women's spirituality group and was spending time doing that now and then instead of being with you 24/7, would there be anything in it for you? Not directly, no. But again... why is that bad? Maybe it's high time you developed your own interests outside of the relationship. Isn't there *anything* you might like to do that she normally wouldn't be into?

All that said, maybe she and the new guy are moving too fast. 2-3 nights a week is a big change all at once. I don't think it would be too much to ask her to slow down. 1 night a week is not a bad amount of time to start... maybe go from there until you're more comfortable. And are these overnight visits? If so, that can be really intense, to miss your partner in your bed all night like that, and again maybe it's too much too fast. Talk to her, see how she feels about the idea of slowing down a little for now.

The new relationship being secret makes everything much harder of course. Why not just come out and make it clear to peeps that they're not to diss your choices, even if not everything is perfect yet? Then at least you could hang out with your friends when she's with him without having to lie.

As for the disparities between you and him, don't be so sure he's getting such a sweet deal. Sure he probably loves the sex, but he may well see her go home to you and feel wistful and envious that he's not the one doing the little mundane things with her, walking in the park holding hands, making long-term plans, spending a lazy Sunday afternoon watching movies and laughing, that sort of thing.

I think you're off to a great start here. Work on your relationship with the gf, negotiate for-now boundaries that will make you feel less lost, and work on yourself. Good luck!
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.

Last edited by AnnabelMore; 09-26-2011 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:25 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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"How it worked in the last weeks was that they've been seeing each other every now and then"

I don't consider 2-3 nights a week to be now and then either, that can be a struggle for couples no matter what. Have you talked to her about your feelings to see if she really wants to see him that often regardless, or if she just doesn't know what your feelings are about it? I tend to be of the opinion that starting slow is good, and making sure you're being considerate by checking in on how things are going for your partner is extra good, is she doing this for you? Are you telling her honestly how it's going?

I have only been in poly relationships while married, but even my most serious long term other relationships took up 1-2 nights a week. Unless I was single and dating other "single-ish" people I don't imagine many people in long term relationships manage to be available more often than that. My husband and I have negotiated the following.
1 date night OUT OF THE HOUSE for us a week to cultivate our connection, without chores or computers to interfere.
1 set day a week where we are home to discuss any issues that have come up between us or in regards to our other relationships.
4 nights apart max a week on dates/hobbies/events, whatever
No more than 2 nights a week on dates with the same person unless we want to negotiate otherwise (which would only happen if we both felt really damn happy and content with the amount and quality of time we were spending together).

This is what works for us at this time, and it did take quite a bit of thought and discussion to figure it out, and some false starts. And it IS good of course to be finding hobbies and friends to keep us busy in case some day finds one of us single (I meant married, just...not dating others) & needing to fill 4 nights a week so we aren't sitting at home lonely and resentful, but Rome wasn't built in a day, so give yourself some slack.

I didn't get if you live together or not, but if all the fun is with him, and you're stuck doing chores and errands and whatnot together besides the family stuff, you probably want to talk about that sooner than later. Scheduling enough opportunities so we have free time for us and love and sex after all the domestic crap is done is the only thing that's going to keep us both happy at least. Don't be afraid to us those I statements that MorningTwilight mentioned.

"I am glad you are having such a great time and I like seeing you happy, but I realized I am feeling like we aren't spending quality time together as much anymore, and I would like to see if we can make a schedule so everybody is getting their needs met" or whatever it is you think you really need to ask to make it so you're happy too. Don't be scared to say that you feel you're missing sex too, but maybe if you start negotiating without bringing that up you can get the changes you like without shining the spotlight on that. I really have seen the difference in outcomes between the people who speak up early on vs. the ones trying to keep their feelings to themselves because they don't want to seem "needy" or upset their partner by having the nerve to have feelings! It's those former ones who have more success btw

Good luck!
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.

Last edited by Anneintherain; 09-27-2011 at 03:40 AM. Reason: poor phrasing!
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Old 09-27-2011, 06:46 AM
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sagency sagency is offline
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I can see where thus change is a bigger issue than expected. If I follow correctly, you are 26 and have spent your entire adult life with this one woman. I suspect that before now you were trying to live up to the mono-programmed "ideal" of having all your needs met but Just One Person <tm>. As such, having your conduit to the rest if the world close own 2 or 3 nights a week with no alternate is bound to cause pressure.

No, I wouldn't suggest finding a partner if your own. You just might go awry with that. Later maybe. For now, you need to learn how to be you without you being a plural you. In all likelihood, at 17 you were living with parents. You go from mom and dad (or some version if that) to adult life with this girl there. I don't see any gap where you had to be comfortable with yourself with no one around.

Get out of the house. Go do guy things be they sporty or geeky. Go hit on some women (be they sporty it geeky ;-P). Keep yourself busy when she is busy, you won't be beating yourself up so much, and you'll have more to share when you are together.

My mono and I put a lot of effort into making sure she feels appreciated and that our time together is managed well, but beyond that, she is also perfectly capable of being independent and on her own. It's time for you to develop those same skills. It's better to be an independent person who chooses to be with your woman than a dependent person feeling trapped.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:09 AM
bella123456 bella123456 is offline
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Originally Posted by LFP View Post
Don't get me wrong, I'll have to come to terms with the new situation and embark on what you suggest (i.e. getting a new life) anyway, but in a few months from now, when our friends start asking me how I see the whole thing, I don't want to answer "well, this is how it is and I have to live with the new situation somehow" with a big sigh, but rather I'd want to wholeheartedly "advertise" poly as the much more natural and rich concept over the run-of-the-mill monogamous relationship.(
I don't think you need to force yourself to a position where you wholeheartedly advertise polyamory. It's ok to let yourself off the hook on that one.
When my non-poly friends ask me about it....I'm just honest.

"It's actually quite challenging some of the time....lots of issues crop up and they need to be addressed and studied...it's not plain sailing...sometimes there are insecurities, often fears, I often fear hurting people...sometimes I feel jealous or lonely. I am constantly assessing myself to ponder if I can manage things in a more positive fashion...I often think of ways to show more care" etc etc...

I think many people on this forum would feel ok admitting poly adds complexity to their life...and they dedicate themselves to become more capable of dealing with complexity....and with very serious emotions..

Would I wholeheartedly advertise polyamory ?
No, I don't think so. I'd say it's not for the fainthearted, it is challenging....but I feel I'm benefiting so I'll continue to explore and strive for growth...

And I guess that leads back to your original feelings...
You don't feel you're benefiting ?

Having discussions with your friends may be a good starting point (when you are ready of course)...opening up a discussion about feeling vulnerable is a really good way to reach out to friends...and it may be some of those friends are also ready for deeper friendships....they may be ready to play a role in your life that is more intimate and caring (I don't neccessarily mean sexual)...I mean you may have friends around you ready to show intimacy and care....and this may help with the feeling you have lost a little of that..

It is my firm belief that there are always people ready to love you (and me...and everyone else)...and all you need to do to start that process is to show them who you are..

Maybe you are in the habit of only showing your girlfriend ?
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:58 PM
LFP LFP is offline
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Folks, thanks so much, you’re all really amazing. I’ve gotten more useful and spot-on advice in 24hrs from you guys than any session with a professional psychologist would have yielded. Amazing, really. Hail to the hive-mind!

Here are some more thoughts:
I should probably clarify that yes, I am talking to my gf about my feelings, and she knows that I haven’t been feeling so great lately, and tried to do everything to make it work also for me.

One thing that really struck me was that both AnnabelMore and Anneintherain thought that 2-3 nights were already quite a lot. I, in my naivety, thought, well, if she has a new partner he has the same rights as I do, and I don’t want to be unfair or possessive, so it’ll have to be 50-50. I know, doh! I’ll try to talk this out with the two of them, and we'll see where we’re settling and what'll work, but now I know that the ‘negotiations’ do not necessarily have to start at the half-way point.

I also like the idea of ‘scheduling’ romantic/ positive time together with my gf, to sort of compensate for the ‘lost’ time, and don’t let the quality time be drowned in chores and family activities. This sounds like a healthy thing to do in general (and we have been doing something like that previously), but in this case it might be even more important and we should do it more consciously (which might also make me feel better/ give me something to look forward to).

As for dating… I guess I’ll go with Sagencys suggestion for now. I don’t feel like running of and meeting other people right now, with all the emotional mess I’m in. I guess I’ll have to get my act together first… and maybe things change when we eventually come out to our friends…

Wrt that I also liked bellas comment of not having to wholeheartedly advertise poly. I guess that was the political activist in me speaking… with our friends I’m always the radical one trying to ‘convince’ them that things can be done differently. But it wouldn’t be meaningful/ effective at all if I wouldn’t be truely feeling it… So I guess simply being honest (and don't caring too much about what the others might say/ think) is a good plan for now.

Finally, I guess the main point is that I have to work on myself. I was circling around that already before I came out of hiding and posted, and you all reinforced what I also feel deep down – my problems are mainly about me. Well, I guess there is a reason why the first three points of the 10 point program for good non-monogamous relationships - which I stumbled upon today - have to do with the ‘me’. I’ll try… (sometimes it'd be so much easier to just point fingers, but I guess in the end that's not helping).

Thanks all for your encouragements!
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:25 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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So glad to hear you're feeling more positive. And yeah, on the time split question, think of it this way... I'm sure that your gf and your friend would *much* rather work out a good compromise that will maybe have their relationship moving slower but that will allow you to feel sane, happy and secure, versus continuing in a situation where sooner or later your will's gonna break and you'll either leave her, ask them to pull the plug, or just get very depressed.
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
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