Polyamory.com Forum  

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

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-01-2016, 03:05 AM
Vulpis Vulpis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 29
Default Negotiating Open with Someone Waiting in the Wings

I'm new, obviously. I've been reading a lot of threads to try to answer my own questions and sort out my thoughts, but I'm still a bit frustrated with my situation.

I identify a lot with the Original Poster here, but didn't want to hijack a thread: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=408

For context, I am 23, female, and straight. I've been in a committed mono relationship for four years with a male partner who is ten years senior, living together. I moved thousands of miles to be with my partner and was a virgin, emotionally and physically, when we met.

Recently at a party I kissed another guy while my partner was at home. I had a lot to drink and almost certainly wouldn't have done it while sober (drinking that much was stupid but kind of intentional), but it happened. I cut off the makeout session and prevented anything further from happening. The guy walked me home and I blacked out.

The next day I was in shock. I was very confused by what had happened and why I had done it. I told my partner the truth and cried my heart out, thinking it was just a drunken mistake. He was mostly okay.

The next couple of days was a whole mess of rediscovering myself and figuring out what happened. I learned that I had initiated the makeout very strongly despite not remembering, and I couldn't stop thinking about what had happened and how much I enjoyed it and kind of wanted to do it again. I had heard of polyamory and open relationships of many types but had never seriously read into any of it, assuming everyone in them was a radical or was fundamentally different from me. I had, in fact, never discovered my own sexuality really until the night of the party. Suddenly I was a new person and viewed everything, and everybody, differently.

Knowing I had hurt my partner, I quietly started reading books and listening to talks and podcasts from people who had a lot to say about alternatives to monogamy. My partner "caught" me watching a talk, and shut down, but feigned some interest later on. We had a talk about what had happened and he was not happy that I couldn't just let this one incident go, that I had to turn it into this big ordeal about opening the relationship.

The next couple of weeks he saw all of my reading and viewing talks as a cry for his permission to sleep with the guy from the party. We sat down and had a talk about how I was feeling some pretty overwhelming desire, but that this went deeper than that. He said he felt very inadequate and I have been trying to help him deal with those feelings.

He keeps telling me the same thing whenever opening the relationship is even mentioned: I can do whatever I want, but I have to accept the consequences. He says if I make any moves sexually toward other men (which I don't plan on doing) we'll need to separate. He refuses to talk about how it makes him feel, about how he is feeling right now. He tends to shelve his own feelings and not talk about them with me, or if he does, he'll out-logic me and intentionally drive me into a corner until I relent. That's how he has always communicated. When I try to prod him for more information he views it as me asking for a specific response.

He also has suggested a break a couple times now, thinking that I can "get it out of my system" by screwing this other guy. I am pretty sure at this point that I am sort of wired to want to be sexual with people I am mutually attracted to and that I should really be able to experience different things with multiple people. I'm still coming to terms with that and feel guilty and shameful constantly.

Meanwhile I am still occasionally hanging out with this guy I kissed (with other people) since this is the first group of friends I really enjoy spending time with. I'm having a lot of trouble not acting on impulses.

I'm just not sure how to move forward. I really don't want to start over since I love my partner and would like to continue growing and changing with him. I'd also like to see him feel the same raw energy I felt when I kissed someone else, but he doesn't believe me. He never brings the subject up himself which forces me to since I cannot shelve my feelings. I want to have an honest relationship with him but he's just not communicating with me effectively most of the time.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-01-2016, 08:00 AM
Emm's Avatar
Emm Emm is offline
Stealth Mod
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,475
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulpis View Post
He keeps telling me the same thing whenever opening the relationship is even mentioned: I can do whatever I want, but I have to accept the consequences. He says if I make any moves sexually toward other men (which I don't plan on doing) we'll need to separate.
That seems fairly clear to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulpis View Post
He refuses to talk about how it makes him feel, about how he is feeling right now.
He has told you how he feels: if you are sexual with another man you'll have to separate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulpis View Post
I am pretty sure at this point that I am sort of wired to want to be sexual with people I am mutually attracted to and that I should really be able to experience different things with multiple people.
Is doing so worth the end of your relationship with your husband?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-01-2016, 12:08 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: central Europe
Posts: 1,388
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulpis View Post
I was a virgin, emotionally and physically, when we met.
This is surely a huge part of your doubts. At this point, you cannot tell if you want poly or monogamy, unless you make a monogamous commitment base on logic purely. You don't know your sexuality enough.
Quote:
The next couple of weeks he saw all of my reading and viewing talks as a cry for his permission to sleep with the guy from the party. We sat down and had a talk about how I was feeling some pretty overwhelming desire, but that this went deeper than that. He said he felt very inadequate and I have been trying to help him deal with those feelings.
Deeper .. in what sence? My guess is, you got in touch with a deeper layer of you sexuality and your emotions, which is generally good.
But no need to hurry to conclusions about being polyamorous.
I think in this case you may be experiencing the start of nre or "falling in love". If you have never lived it, it seems like a big deal, but is really not.
Quote:
He says if I make any moves sexually toward other men (which I don't plan on doing) we'll need to separate.
...
I am pretty sure at this point that I am sort of wired to want to be sexual with people I am mutually attracted to and that I should really be able to experience different things with multiple people.
You realize that you contradict yourself here, don't you?
Quote:
Meanwhile I am still occasionally hanging out with this guy I kissed (with other people) since this is the first group of friends I really enjoy spending time with.
I understand that your friends are valuable, but this doesn't help the negotiation with your husband. You might consider taking a break from seeing this other guy until attraction calms down.
Quote:
I'm just not sure how to move forward. I really don't want to start over since I love my partner and would like to continue growing and changing with him.
Is he up to growing and changing at all?
Quote:
I'd also like to see him feel the same raw energy I felt when I kissed someone else, but he doesn't believe me.
IMO the intention of showing him your energy with another man doesn't work. Been there. When jealous, the guy cannot truly appreciate what he sees even if he is generally open. Your one isn't. Drop the intention.

What might work is a) discovering the same passion with him, or b) if he happens to experience the same on his own.
Quote:
he's just not communicating with me effectively most of the time.
That's a real problem in considering poly.
Anyway, how long has it been? Two weeks? Perhaps too soon to be accepting after a shock.

Possibilities I see?
a) Break up, persue the new guy or whom ever, date around, get to know yourself.
b) Cut contact with the new guy. Let your feelings calm down. If you don't hold on it, the desire will faint. You will remember it but not be overwhelmed. Get to terms with where you are, and see the room for improvement. From that place? You can either (or all of this):
- stay monogamous
- decide to explore your sexuality in some other way, like experimenting with your current partner in the diade (trying new things in bed, visiting a sex positive event together, just to see what others enjoy, going to a workshop... ).
The you can try some soft swinging, cuddle party etc., if he can agree to that.
If you get to know a community, you both may gradually open up to a partner swich or so. For me personally, bdsm events work that way. And tantra is great - it goes to the core of getting to know your emotions and physical responses in this area.
- reopen the discussion to be polyamory or polysexuality with much less pressure (though I see your partner pretty clear at not wanting them)
c) keep up what you are doing (thinking about opening up with no support of the partner and seeing the guy who set this all off) and deal with the mess.
__________________
Me: female, 29
Idealist: my partner, 39
Meta: live-in partner with Idealist, 44
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-01-2016, 06:01 PM
CTF CTF is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: California
Posts: 403
Default

I agree with the others. But to give you a little perspective on where you're coming from (something I am quite familiar with), you need to realize the likelihood, that he does not, and possibly never will have the interest in seeking the same "raw energy" as you feel. As much as you might think you're wired for it, know that he is most assuredly wired not to. It doesn't mean that either one of you is in the wrong, but the worst thing one can do, is just assume that they're only against it because they don't have another partner either. If he had that inclination, then he'd have probably done what you did first.

When he says that he will not consent to poly, or opening up, believe him. Trust me, he doesn't want it.

In the end, you have choices to make. Either you stay monogamous & remain together, or you explore something with party guy (or anyone else for that matter) and end your relationship.

Reading the books is all fine & dandy, if you BOTH feel that this is worth trying. They can certainly be useful with exercises in how to manage jealousy regarding seeing each other with different partners, but if he has no interest in learning to deal with that, they're a waste of time in helping out your own relationship.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-01-2016, 06:34 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,112
Default

I am sorry you are struggling.

FWIW? Here's what jumps out at me:

Quote:
I've been in a committed mono relationship for four years with a male partner who is ten years senior, living together. I moved thousands of miles to be with my partner and was a virgin, emotionally and physically, when we met.
Quote:
Meanwhile I am still occasionally hanging out with this guy I kissed (with other people) since this is the first group of friends I really enjoy spending time with. I'm having a lot of trouble not acting on impulses.
You were a virginal 19 when you started with your current partner. He's been your only partner. You sound lonely. Maybe lonely for people closer to your age? Are you feeling stifled in your current relationship?

I happen to think people that young CAN decide they want to be with one partner for the rest of their life if they have already explored and know themselves well. But you don't sound like that. You sound like you still have more of you to get to know and more experiences you want to have while doing it:

Quote:
I had, in fact, never discovered my own sexuality really until the night of the party. Suddenly I was a new person and viewed everything, and everybody, differently.
TLTR

He's not up for polyamory. He prefers to separate. I think the best thing to do is to accept his limits and separate so you can be free to date others.

LONG VERSION

I know you would prefer this...

Quote:
I really don't want to start over since I love my partner and would like to continue growing and changing with him.
To me it does not sound like he is up for you growing and changing. Also does not sound like he wants changes in himself, or the relationship. Much less making changes moving toward a poly model. He likes things the same, he wants to be the same, he wants you the same, he wants the relationship model the same -- just you and him. A model where you defer to him. He isn't a bad guy for wanting what he wants, but if what he wants no longer matches what you now want? You are not the person to be pursuing all that with.

You have become incompatible. You have gone as far as you can go together. You have grown apart and in different directions.

You don't want to start over, but you may have to start over anyway. BECAUSE your partner does not want growth or changes you do. At best, he sounds like he wants you to "get it our of your system" and then go back in the box. And you do not seem to want that.

He also behaves like this:

Quote:
He refuses to talk about how it makes him feel, about how he is feeling right now. He tends to shelve his own feelings and not talk about them with me, or if he does, he'll out-logic me and intentionally drive me into a corner until I relent. That's how he has always communicated.
That last part is bullying. Are you able to see that?

Is that why he chose you so young at 19 and he 29? Because you would be more likely to defer to him and his older person's wisdom? Then things go smooth. Rather than work on his own way of relating over the years and developing his emotional maturity and conflict resolution style?

Something to consider. Because if after 5 years he still relates this way to you, his supposed nearest and dearest, you want to spend the rest of your life relating that way? Someone who is closed off to you, and who intentionally drives you into a corner til you relent and he gets his way?

I'm not trying to add to your upset here. And I could be wrong.

But I get the vibe you are bored with the relationship, you are outgrowing him, and it is hard to process. First serious BF is usually first break up, and when you have never broken up before, it hard to know how to do it and it's hard to know that you will be ok after. A person who has dated more, knows those things -- they know they can break up, they know they will be sad, but they also know they will be ok in the end and be happy again. So the idea of breaking up doesn't seem as huge. They have more experience under their belt.

Because you love him, I see that you want him to be able to grow and change too so you can keep being together. But you are having trouble with him NOT growing/changing.

So I happen to think whole thing is more about "outgrowing my partner" than it is about "polyamory." I would resolve that first before you do anything else. Poly is not a bandaid for avoiding thinking about deep compatibility or a bandaid to avoid breaking up.

If you move on to date others and think about polyamory at THAT point in time, worry about that at THAT point in time.

Right now it seems to be more about (reassessing if you and your existing partner are still long haul compatible or not.) So think that out. Do the soul searching you need to do. And if you find you are not compatible any more, you could come to terms with that and let it end with grace.

Don't push him on the poly thing. He's already told you no poly, he would prefer to separate. Respect that.

I think you are a young adult 20's. It's a good time in life to play the field. So I think you could separate and do the exploring you seem to want to do.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 04-01-2016 at 06:56 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-02-2016, 10:55 PM
Vulpis Vulpis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 29
Default

Wow, thank you everyone for the great responses. What a supportive, interesting community!

GalaGirl and Tinwen, you are right that I have not had a chance to explore my own sexuality. Although I don't necessarily feel stifled, I have often felt lonely and confused. I live in a very large city and have a lot of trouble connecting in meaningful ways with other people. This was why I was not, and am still not willing to let go of this friend group just to avoid one person. I don't actually have other friends right now.

There was definitely some NRE involved in my lust for the outside partner, but that has since faded about 80-90%. I've been quite careful not to be alone with him and have been very careful about alcohol consumption.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinwen View Post
You realize that you contradict yourself here, don't you?
Although I feel I may be wired to want to express myself sexually with multiple people (as you've all pointed out, I don't actually know myself well enough to say that), that doesn't mean I plan on doing it at present. That would be selfish considering the state of my relationship.

My choices are more clear than they were. As Tinwen guessed, it has only been a few weeks since the "incident" occurred. Right now there is also a possibly chronic illness that is affecting my partner and so it isn't fair of me to keep trying to bring this up while he is so worried about his own health. I've been selfish and insensitive to his needs, focusing way too much on mine.

I am hoping that once the illness is not an important factor in our lives, I can bring up the subject again and hope that he is more open to it. If not, I fear I won't be able to "go back to the box".

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl
Is that why he chose you so young at 19 and he 29?
I should clarify that I pursued him, not the other way around. Although his argument strategy can be overly aggressive, he is generally just rational and logical to a fault, unable to see why or how my emotions are factoring in. I don't see this as bullying, but he has been working on a softer approach anyway.

I don't want to use poly as a bandaid, I just want to explore. For me it's a very straightforward request, but he's having a lot of trouble seeing it in a way that doesn't make him feel inadequate. I don't want to try to find a partner to replace him. It does make me sad to think that he might not be able to enjoy exploring alongside me, as you have all pointed out. That would leave the relationship always one-sided if it was open, which seems like it would be more damaging than helpful.

Not sure if exploring directly with my partner is an option. I barely can get him to acknowledge that he masturbates, and he flat out refuses to try it in front of me or with me.

I think what is needed right now is time. I am moving to another city for university in September, and while living apart, it might be a good chance to reevaluate everything and perhaps reconsider the style of relationship we both want.

Last edited by Vulpis; 04-02-2016 at 11:02 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-02-2016, 11:35 PM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
Official Greeter
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
Posts: 16,499
Default

Hi Vulpis,
Sorry you're going through this difficult situation.

It seems to me that it comes down to this: Your partner doesn't want nonmonogamy in his life, and will break up with you if you decide to get involved with anyone besides/in addition to him. You, I think, are hoping he will eventually change his mind. One thing you'll have to decide is how long you're willing to wait. What if it takes him a year? five years? fifty years? Do you want to wait your whole life long (or until he passes away)?

If not, then you'll have to decide what to do about it when your willing-to-wait duration expires. Will you take him, or nonmonogamy? because I have a feeling you won't be able to take both. I don't think he's going to change his mind. But I could be wrong.

You mentioned that maybe he'd change his mind if he experienced the same passion you experienced. So if you could just convince him to make out with someone ... and maybe on some level you're hoping we (your fellow forum members) can tell you how to convince him to try that. Or how to convince him to change his mind about nonmonogamy in some other fashion. Now, maybe someone here can help you out with that, but alas, I wouldn't be that someone. I don't know how to get your partner to change his mind. I don't know how to convince him to experience the passion that you experienced. Maybe I'll think of a way later, but I have to say I'm doubtful about that.

My recommendation is to give him some time to change his mind on his own, maybe six months, a year, two years, something along those lines. Something that you could live with. And maybe once every month or two you could ask him if he's changed his mind at all, and notify him that it's still important to you. If your decided waiting time expires and he's still holding to his position, I would consider breaking up with him.

Now, there will no doubt be some who would disagree with my plan. They might say it's cold and manipulative, and that you should decide right now whether you're willing to be monogamous with him for life, and if you're not, then you should break up with him right now. And that's a valid plan too. It's really up to you. I just suggest a waiting period because, well, the situation doesn't seem urgent to me. But maybe it is.

In any case I see that you are rather torn up about this, and I do feel for you. I hope this thread will help you to figure out what to do.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
__________________
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-03-2016, 06:42 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: central Europe
Posts: 1,388
Default

Hello Vulpis,
your intentions post sound good to me in general, I like that NRE has mostly faded already and that you want to wait until health issues are a little more settled. You will have a better strategic starting position then. I wouldn't wait too long though (like weeks, not months), especially if this is likely to be a false alarm.
Quote:
it isn't fair of me to keep trying to bring this up while he is so worried about his own health. I've been selfish and insensitive to his needs, focusing way too much on mine.
I don't think you are selfish. I think it is not constructive to discuss while anxious. Otherwise, there is no reason to guilt yourself. This was a very important experience to you and it is good to follow it up. He can deal with anxiety.
Quote:
he is generally just rational and logical to a fault, unable to see why or how my emotions are factoring in.
...
Not sure if exploring directly with my partner is an option. I barely can get him to acknowledge that he masturbates, and he flat out refuses to try it in front of me or with me.
Those two things are connected. To me, this would be a huge issue. To me, this type of people lacks an important skill. I have learned by experience, that I never ever again want to be in a relationship with someone, who is unaware of his own emotions or closed off to communicating them. To me, I don't want to be with someone, who is in denial about emotions and sexuality and doesn't want to do anything about it.
It is not impossible to live with a person who is emotionally shut down, but I think until he opens up, if he ever does, the relationship lacks one dimension.
Also, until he himself wishes to open up, I don't think poly is even a choice for him. It takes to accept his own sexuallity, at least a little bit, until he can really accept other peoples sexual freedom. But maybe he would want to accept his own sexuality? Maybe you can offer a safe place for him? Question to ask?
BTW, I was cut off from my feeling too, and I didn't know (until I got really depressed, and had to confront it). I am no longer that way. But it has been years of therapy.
Quote:
I am moving to another city for university in September, and while living apart, it might be a good chance to reevaluate everything and perhaps reconsider the style of relationship we both want.
Yes, then you will have to do the thinking at that point of time at latest. What was the idea of handling LDR up to now?
__________________
Me: female, 29
Idealist: my partner, 39
Meta: live-in partner with Idealist, 44

Last edited by Tinwen; 04-03-2016 at 06:45 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-04-2016, 12:06 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,112
Default

Quote:
I should clarify that I pursued him, not the other way around.
He still chose to be with you. He could have declined your pursual.

From your writing it still strikes me like you are the more emotionally mature of the two even though you have less dating experience.

If it boils down to this right now?

Quote:
I think what is needed right now is time. I am moving to another city for university in September, and while living apart, it might be a good chance to reevaluate everything and perhaps reconsider the style of relationship we both want.
That's one way to go. Postpone for now and address it when you move.

Are you thinking Open while apart? Something else?

Galagirl
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-04-2016, 02:59 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 944
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
From your writing it still strikes me like you are the more emotionally mature of the two even though you have less dating experience.
Keeping in mind we're hearing one side of the story here. [Although I don't actually see the poster as 'more emotionally mature' than him, anyway.]

There've been a lot of words devoted to this when it boils down to this:

Your boyfriend does not want an open relationship. He's not obligated to have an open relationship. You're going to have to choose whether you want monogamy with him, or sex with other men.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
age difference, break-ups, guilt, maturation, new to polyamory, uncommunicative partner

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 07:28 AM.