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Old 05-04-2016, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tinwen View Post
I just read Reveries blog (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...&postcount=680). She feels like she found the right partner and that erased the urge for more people to her, and now she doesn't want things to change. This resonates with my fear - if I date someone mono, I will be trapped "forever" with only that one connection. But if I date someone poly? Then I don't get all those nice mono things, right? Like the feeling that my lover has me as his top priority in life. The false security that he won't leave me for someone else. And the real priviledge, that he comes home to me every night, or at least most nights. Like the certainty that he is my person to lean on and I am his person to lean on and we're a team of two with no other distraction. That if we make a family, we'll manage together. Like the priviledge of merging into "us".

...

A handful of people from the whole world on this forum. Is poly a chimere? Is nearly everyone secretelly struggling?
Hey Tinwen, since it is my post that sparked your thought process here, I wanted to share with you something I've been thinking about over the past few days. I'm actually starting to believe that there's rather a mono/poly "axis graph" just like there is with sexual orientation, politics, and a lot of things.

I put it over on my blog, though, so I don't take up a ton of space on yours...
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:54 AM
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In fact, I only met a few real life people I believe to be poly. Idealist. Two girls I though were truly poly at heart have choosen mono partners after all. For family reasons I think. The local poly-activist girl, who imho doesn't sound very balanced. One poly fmf triad who claims to be happy - they are a little more then one year in, and one of them is pregnant so we'll see how that works. Also I have no contact with two of those three. No one else really in our local "poly" meetups I would call poly though I haven't been there for a few months, I should go. A handful of people from the whole world on this forum. Is poly a chimere? Is nearly everyone secretelly struggling?
I don't think people are polyamorous; their situations, arrangements, or approaches to relationships are poly. To me, it is something one does rather than something one is. I find the argument that polyamory is an orientation, "hard-wired," or a position on some imaginary sliding scale, rather flimsy. Sure, there are people who are more attracted to it than others, for any number of reasons, but it's still something we desire or choose to have in or lives. Just because someone was chasing after three other kids to be their sweethearts when they were five years old doesn't mean people are wired to be poly.
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:04 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
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Hi Reverie, thank you for writing. I will quote your blog here, only dividing it parts to comment.

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Originally Posted by Reverie View Post
For Tinwen:

I'm actually starting to believe that there's rather a mono/poly "axis graph" just like there is with sexual orientation, politics, and a lot of things.

On one axis there might be the desire you have for more than one person, starting on one end with totally mono and traveling through occasional sexual encounters with others but one main partner, polyfidelity with two or more people, all the way up to total free-for-all sexual autonomy. And on the other axis is the level of comfort you have with your partner having other partners, which is about the same thing but for the other person.

I think that the point on the graph that any one person might be varies from time to time, depending on a host of factors. And I also think that two people don't need to be on the exact same spot on the graph to be happy together, but that relationships will run most smoothly if each partner's "what they want" is about equal to the other partner's "what they are comfortable with their partner having."

Obviously, this is not a perfect model. I haven't really thought out where each configuration would actually go on the axis, or even if a third axis (3D-style) might be needed. But I think it's a fairly serviceable model all the same.

I think that in the absence of any kind of personal issues, hangups, or inner work that needs to be done, ideally everyone would be able to place "what they are comfortable with their partner doing" at the far end of the axis near "whatever the hell they want."

But I think that, realistically, most people fall somewhere in the middle, from ostensibly mono people who don't believe that kissing is cheating, to people who are OK with almost everything but will speak up if they feel like their partner has gotten so polysaturated that they aren't getting enough time anymore.
Yes there must be a continuum. I like the idea of separated romance and sex scales, so that is allows for "monoromantic polysexual" or "polyromantic monosexual". I tend to say I am something like 60% mono (in fact, I am not sure at all where I stand on the romantic scale). This is enough poly for me to be happy in long years monogamous realationships, but not enough mono to want to commit to exclusivity for the majority of my lifetime.
I haven't considered plotting the part of being comfortable with what the partner is doing as a separate dimension though

Quote:
For me, for a long time I really believed that I needed multiple relationships to be happy, since I'd always liked more than one person in that way. Over time, I found myself actually kinda NOT liking more than one person in that way now that I'm with Rider, at least not beyond the occasional sexual attraction. But I still value the freedom to pursue it if something were to develop out of a friendship or something. I just have zero interest in searching, and nothing seems to be developing organically.

And for a long time, I believed that I was pretty close to the "do whatever you want" end of the other axis, because when I'd tried poly the first time (for five months) I'd felt that way, and also because for the first 8 months of my relationship with Rider, I had zero feelings of jealousy or trouble. What I came to discover over the intervening year and a half, though, is that I'm actually somewhere about three-quarters down the line: do ALMOST whatever you want, but unknown people really freak me out as it turns out, so I'd prefer if we could all establish some kind of hangout precedence where I can get someone's "vibe" before you move forward in a more-than friends-capacity with someone.
Here you put it mildly, still, I think this is the part that kind of freaked me out.
I have a similar experience of not being jealous in the beginning and gradually finding it more difficult to feel compersion instead of jealousy as I became more attached. I am more and more afraid that this development is an emotional law (for me and for the majority of women in-between).
Despite all the things being said about why it sucks to be secondary, I still find it easier then being the established partner and watching my spouse find someone new and newly wanting to spend nights away etc., wanting a 50/50 time-split perhaps. Because as you said in a previous post, that is just a loss. I think I can have compersion for NRE, but I am not sure I could accept a "half-time" life partner, so I am quite scared visualizing this outcome.
I'll have to somehow come to terms with this possibility though, if I want any kind of poly in my life. Because I don't think this can ever be off table if you allow for sexual and/or emotional relationships to develop. We see here that, never mind how compelling it is to call yourself "primary", ethics, happiness and hierarchy don't mesh very well.
So... this may be my biggest insecurity concerning poly, even bigger than a partner straight-out leaving me for someone else.

Quote:
And of course my goal in having a four-month break is to get over my other life stress so I can be in a good spot work on myself and inch that graph point closer to the ideal of "do whatever you want."

I'm pretty sure that I am SOME kind of poly...regular mono people do not try to wingwoman girls into bed with their fiancé, nor would they be fine if he started romantically dating their best friend, nor do they think it's perfectly awesome to occasionally sleep with their fiancé's best friend. The question is, am I "poly enough" for Rider, given that he ultimately desires that total freedom, and I am currently unable to stomach it without panicking? And if I am currently not "poly enough," can I get there before it causes us irreparable damage?

Does this make sense?
It does. (Btw I brought my friend to fool around with Idealist too ... to find myself jealous that she give attention to him and not to me )
Probably a bad idea to think "so there are no really poly people". It's more - I really believed about those friends of mine that they are so close to the poly end of the axis, that they would go against their grain attempting monogamy. Apparently not. There are so few poly role models - so those were a disappointment to me.
And I found myself wondering if you are heading the mono arrangement too. Sorry for the assumption
__________________________________________
Seems like I really don't understand how people conquer that particular kind of jealousy concerning an established partner finding someone new in whom they will also invest a lot. I know that people invest in a lot of other things besides partners, but - perhaps I think there is a more or less fixed amount that goes to "partner stuff", so a meta will surely take away significantly from it.
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Last edited by Tinwen; 05-05-2016 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:29 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
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I don't think people are polyamorous; their situations, arrangements, or approaches to relationships are poly. To me, it is something one does rather than something one is. I find the argument that polyamory is an orientation, "hard-wired," or a position on some imaginary sliding scale, rather flimsy. Sure, there are people who are more attracted to it than others, for any number of reasons, but it's still something we desire or choose to have in or lives. Just because someone was chasing after three other kids to be their sweethearts when they were five years old doesn't mean people are wired to be poly.
I do think it makes some sense to call people mono or poly at hearts level (just as it makes sense to call people introverted although nearly no-one fits all of the characteristcs).
I know Idealist would never be satisfied with (emotional) monogamy. He is perfectly capable holding romantic love to two people at once and balancing those. He's a very touching type, he sees physical attraction as an appreciation of beauty and wouldn't want to reserve physical intimacy to one person only. If he agreed to monogamy, he would perceive a part of himself as missing and restricted. I call him poly.
I know of people who fall in love very scarcely, or who are very happy with the only person they fell in love with when they were 15. I know of people who feel nauseated by the idea of being intimate with someone else then their spouse. I think I can safely call them monogamous.

But ok, I can rephrase my worry. I see so few working and content poly arrangements. This forum... it gathers examples from the whole world, doesn't really say anything about how often poly works. I feel monogamy is not quite working, but I am afraid maybe there is really no better arrangement for most people.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:06 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Wow, Tinwen, you bring up so many great questions to delve into!

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Now this thinking is somewhat exaggerated because I know it is actually unlikely and unhealthy to have a partner (or be someones) very top priority and to truly become one with a partner.
I think it can be unhealthy with the wrong person. I currently have someone who seems to want to crawl into my skin and meld with me and I become him and he becomes me and there's no boundary....and it feels terrible and wrong and I'm constantly scrambling backwards.

But I also think with the right person, with balance, with shared vision and goals and direction, with mutual attraction, it can be a beautiful thing.

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.... If you leave out the part about number one life priority, it should certainly be possible to have committed poly partner(s). In theory - even better a committed network, but I don't see that working.

I know I just miss that part of setting goals for "building a life together"

....I don't mind being "secondary" in any other way (in fact, I don't think I am secondary for Idealist in any other way), but this is a huge aspect of life. So... I guess I just carry on building a home on myself, but it would be that much more pleasant to have someone to do it with. I need a tribe to belong.
This may be one of the core questions: is it possible to be secondary and yet be building a life together?

I didn't mind being 'secondary.' I'm actually quite happy in my own home, having lots of time to myself. But I had a HUGE problem with disrespect and his wife making SURE I knew where I stood. I had a HUGE problem with being lied to by him, to cover for her games. I had a HUGE problem with realizing there were some ground rules in play that they weren't willing to admit to me--probably because they knew deep down it didn't sound good when spoken out loud in the light of day.

And yes, I ultimately had a problem with him telling me he was retiring to another state one day aaaaaaand.....yet telling me every man I dated wasn't good enough for me (convenient side effect, I stay with him for the next ten years as I hunt for that mythical, elusive Perfect Man) while telling me he's going to walk off into the sunset and wave sayanora to me, saying, Thanks for ten years, it's been fun, but I was never going to build a life with you, so good luck finding someone for your sunset years now that you're ten years older, ten years more wrinkled, ten years more sagging.

I personally believe that most of us have a need to have someone...call it tribal as you did. Most of us want to know we're not going to die alone. And he wouldn't give me even that much.

And why he wouldn't give me even that much goes to your next point:


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And there was that other discussion last week, where it came out that it was very unlikely for FMF V's to work. Is it the same for everyone? Do we girls really need the security of a shared household with someone? (Except for those who chose solo poly, they have my respect, but that's so extremely independent that for me "solo poly"="single mom" and ="completely self-reliant" is freaking scary.) Is that why it doesn't work - either a full-time husband or better no at all? Or do we all feel deceived of our "right" to be protected, when the man has another woman as well?
I think this is a very interesting question. Women are often stereotyped as 'catty.' I believe stereotypes don't hold true across the board, but obviously come from somewhere. I believe his wife is catty. I believe that she saw him fall in love and felt fear for her own position.

[A foolish fear. I respect and honor marriage and NEVER would have asked him to break his vows. In fact, I would have lost respect for him if he could do that. But that doesn't mean I'm his F--ing backseat bimbo and stupid enough to be lied to, either.]

Did being secondary HAVE TO mean I was a single mother? I'm not 100% convinced it has to be that way. And yet what I saw in practical terms was this: in my moment of crisis, no power, kids to feed, trying to bail the basement and prevent a tree falling on the house--he wasn't there for me. But he took an entire afternoon off work to save her from...dare I say it...please don't spew your drink all over the keyboard...making a phone call to a repairman.

He soundly ridiculed a man who wanted to take her on a date in his work vehicle. Then he expected I would be fine with dates groping in the backseat of his car. You know, all this talk about 'don't compare relationships' is FUCKING BULLSHIT. In the beginning, he showered me with love and admiration. In the end, his words continued the love and admiration, but his ACTIONS said she deserved the best, and I deserved groping in the backseat of a car.

I'll walk through hell with a man...but he damn well better give the same in return. I don't do one-way streets.

I found in poly, I don't need to live with him or be his one and only, but I sure better be valued for what I give and not treated like the dog's chew toy to entertain and satiate him while his wife is off screwing other men. Yes, with poly, WITH HIM, I was a single mother, I was on my own, and that is not acceptable after two years with someone.

Yes, better off alone than being used as someone's entertainment while his wife is screwing other men. Better off alone...? Well, in moments of crisis, I was alone, anyway, and you know the saying: If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best.

I came to feel that was the case. If he can't be there for me, why the hell am I being the eye candy on the arm for him? If his wife gets all the benefits, she can sure as hell BE THERE and be the eye candy on the arm for him, too.

Which brings us to the last point I quoted:

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.... A handful of people from the whole world on this forum. Is poly a chimera? Is nearly everyone secretly struggling?
I can only say that I believe had he and she been different people, it could have worked. I felt no need to live in a home with a man. I had no desire to take him away.

But they weren't different people. They were two people who wanted a safe harbor yet all the freedom of being single....and weren't willing to give fully to other relationships.

I honestly came out of this feeling that I, the newbie, did poly way better than the two of them, the so-called experts who had been at it for 15 years. [note that I was his longest relationship EVER in what was then 17 years of them being open.] I also believe they're both entitled, self-gratifying, narcissistic hedonists, and their personal characters are also part of what led to the end result.

But the fact remains: I see a lot of women getting anxious and possessive that their husbands might leave--even on this forum, I see women who have multiple men, but get very agitated if any of those men have other women--always for some reason, of course, and yet...wow, the pattern is always the same. The pattern is: I see virtually no cases of FMF poly working. In theory, I think it could. In practice, I don't see it happening.

XBF accused me of 'trying to prove that poly can't work.' The truth is just the opposite. I respected, loved and valued him, and desperately wanted it to work. I have been coming to this forum for four years now, two of which I was seeing him, seeking the ways it can work, because he couldn't answer my questions himself.

Are these answers to your questions? No, they're only my own experience, as it pertains to your questions.

Last edited by WhatHappened; 05-06-2016 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:10 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
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I think it can be unhealthy with the wrong person. I currently have someone who seems to want to crawl into my skin and meld with me and I become him and he becomes me and there's no boundary....and it feels terrible and wrong and I'm constantly scrambling backwards.

But I also think with the right person, with balance, with shared vision and goals and direction, with mutual attraction, it can be a beautiful thing.
You feel like this?
https://www.facebook.com/KimchiCuddl...type=3&theater
(I hope you have facebook, I cannot find that picture directly on kimchi cuddles)
This picture is a better answer then I could write..
https://www.facebook.com/KimchiCuddl...type=3&theater
But yes, I think attraction, love and respect together with alighned goals and values are what makes for great life-long relationship.

I'm at work, I'll answer the rest of your post later. In short, my own experience better then yours (no lies) and at this point of time I consider my relationship a success.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:14 PM
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GirlFromTexlahoma GirlFromTexlahoma is offline
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Despite all the things being said about why it sucks to be secondary, I still find it easier then being the established partner and watching my spouse find someone new and newly wanting to spend nights away etc., wanting a 50/50 time-split perhaps. Because as you said in a previous post, that is just a loss. I think I can have compersion for NRE, but I am not sure I could accept a "half-time" life partner, so I am quite scared visualizing this outcome.
I'll have to somehow come to terms with this possibility though, if I want any kind of poly in my life. Because I don't think this can ever be off table if you allow for sexual and/or emotional relationships to develop. We see here that, never mind how compelling it is to call yourself "primary", ethics, happiness and hierarchy don't mesh very well.
So... this may be my biggest insecurity concerning poly, even bigger than a partner straight-out leaving me for someone else.
I don't have any advice or words of wisdom, but I wanted you to know I have the exact same feelings!

I'm completely happy with my poly-ish life now, but I stress all the time about what-ifs... What if one of Andy's friend-girls wants more time, what if he meets someone new who wants a co-primary set up, what if, what if, what if. Because the truth is, I can't see myself ever being happy with a 50-50 share of a husband, or living with a metamour, or really any of the possible outcomes of his wanting an entangled relationship with someone else.

Right now, I just focus on being honest with Andy and everyone else. He knows where my limits are, and he knows that at this point I'd leave him rather than try to juggle that kind of poly life. He can make his own decisions knowing all that. It's the best I can offer, but I do worry still that it's not quite enough.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:21 PM
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Regarding the bit about solo-poly being too much like being on your own: I am solo-poly and I get that. Going from an 18 year mono marriage where I felt like (even if he was sometimes not the best partner) I had someone whose energy, income, and skills I could put to use in the running of our household...now I am on my own with my youngest son and it is scary. Yet I feel that it is necessary.

Analyst wants to have people living with him. Ultimately he plans to buy a really nice house in town, and he has on occasion asked if I could imagine the quad all living together...and at other times, he's dropped comments that make me think he hopes I will someday live with him.

The part of me that is frightened and financially insecure on my own is tempted to consider it. It could be a pragmatic solution to some of my problems, and would alleviate his loneliness.

However...I am VERY afraid that living together would bring out any personality clashes that we don't have to deal with living apart. I'm scared that it would ruin what we have. Right now he lives as he pleases and so do I...we keep house by our own rules, neither of us is fussing the other over how we spend our time and we are both free adults living pretty voluntaryist lifestyles. I feel that if I were to accept even free housing from him, I'd have to surrender some of my freedoms to acquiesce to his feelings and wishes, possibly in ways I would rather not. Certainly I would seek ways to pull my weight to balance feelings of imbalance there. I have fears in that scenario as well.

But I signed a year long lease in March, so I feel like I have time to see where things go in different areas of life. Next spring, if he wants to make me an offer, I'll look at the big picture, and consider it.

As for primaries and secondaries, I understand that I'm secondary to Fire and Hefe since they are married. It kind of goes without saying, and so no one needs to say it, and so...it means pretty much nothing to my perspective. I just expect and assume a different level of connection and obligation and commitment between those two, than I expect with the other relationships going on. But we've all got such an easy way of being with one another...it doesn't feel much like a thing that matters.

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Originally Posted by Tinwen View Post
I do think it makes some sense to call people mono or poly at hearts level (just as it makes sense to call people introverted although nearly no-one fits all of the characteristcs).
I know Idealist would never be satisfied with (emotional) monogamy. He is perfectly capable holding romantic love to two people at once and balancing those. He's a very touching type, he sees physical attraction as an appreciation of beauty and wouldn't want to reserve physical intimacy to one person only. If he agreed to monogamy, he would perceive a part of himself as missing and restricted. I call him poly.
I know of people who fall in love very scarcely, or who are very happy with the only person they fell in love with when they were 15. I know of people who feel nauseated by the idea of being intimate with someone else then their spouse. I think I can safely call them monogamous.

But ok, I can rephrase my worry. I see so few working and content poly arrangements. This forum... it gathers examples from the whole world, doesn't really say anything about how often poly works. I feel monogamy is not quite working, but I am afraid maybe there is really no better arrangement for most people.
I can see more sense in letting people define themselves as whatever makes the most sense to THEM. If a person knows that they don't ever want to try to be polyamorous, then they would probably say that they are mono by nature. If one knows that they are happiest in polyamorous relationship styles, and has no intent to be monogamous, then they might I.D. themselves poly. Whether by "wiring" or by choice, I don't think it matters that much. I do think that at some fundamental level (nature or nurture?) we are "wired" to be more open and flexible in our thinking, to even consider doing something like polyamory, if raised under the belief that monogamy is normal. But what we choose to DO from that point...*shrug*...

I'm capable of poly, I'm doing poly now because it is working well for me and making me happy. I might do mono one day if I feel that it is what I want and will suit my needs at that time. Easy. No need to stress out over my identity.

In your last little paragraph there, you talk about whether poly "works." Well...what is the definition of that? So some of your poly friends decided to be mono after all. So what? Maybe poly worked for them before, and now not so much. Does that imply that poly is somehow a failure of a concept? I know a lady who had a bad experience with a poly group, and now she has declared emphatically (and rather dramatically) that poly is "not for her." In fact she reacts with near hostility to the idea. Well, I was in a long mono marriage that ended badly and caused me a lot of damage, should I then say that mono is bad and it doesn't work? Or that I'll never be mono with a man again, because that didn't work out? That seems pretty silly. Makes more sense to look to the people involved, and ask why those relationships ended and try to learn from that if possible. What is the measure of success in a relationship anyways? For me, it is NOT permanence. I don't buy into the "growing old with someone" business. I don't believe that I have some kind of shelf life and I have to snag a companion when I'm young because no one will want to be with me when I'm old. That's silly! I love old people, and I know lots of older people who have no problem forming new connections. So if a relationship ends, I don't automatically consider it a failure...especially if it was really good while it lasted.

I think we get hung up in our culture on this notion that we have to strive for this set of life goals and if we achieve them, then we can just settle into a nice relaxing vacation with no more striving, until we die. Like you have to work and save for retirement, and you have to breed and raise the kids, and you have to have a partner, and you have to have a home, and if you check it all off then you have the permission of the universe to die content. If not, then you failed! I really just don't agree with that stuff on some pretty fundamental levels. And I feel like trying to ask "how do you succeed in this way, if you are poly?" is kind of a square peg/round hole proposition for me. My poly is about the journey. Not the destination.

(Sorry about the essay--I'm notoriously guilty of that...)
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  #19  
Old 05-06-2016, 08:31 PM
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Reverie Reverie is offline
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This is going to be a ramble because I wanted to respond in part to a lot of people!

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I see a lot of women getting anxious and possessive that their husbands might leave--even on this forum, I see women who have multiple men, but get very agitated if any of those men have other women--always for some reason, of course, and yet...wow, the pattern is always the same. The pattern is: I see virtually no cases of FMF poly working. In theory, I think it could. In practice, I don't see it happening.
I'm really super curious about this topic that's been coming up, too, about the FMF thing. I have seen it on here too and wondered what's up with why that's so rare working out, because for me, the anxiety and possessiveness seems to be wholly based on the comfort and interpersonal dynamics between the people involved, more than it does gender. I consider Rider and I to be in a super-entangled nesting and, though the word is taboo, primary relationship.

There have totally been people that I've felt SUPER anxious and possessive when Rider has been interested in them. Not that I ever thought he would leave—honestly I haven't—but it chafes me to think that he'd be involved with someone who, going in, knows that he's seriously with someone, and yet still might try to take as much of him as she can pull away. I'm not sure that it has anything to do with my gender, or with hers, but it's more about what I think she want or might try to get.

People who either want more of him than he actually has to give while still maintaining a baseline with me, or people who I don't know, so I fear that they MIGHT fall into that category, are my biggest triggers. I feel like...so she (whoever she might be at the time) knows he's with someone in a Big Thing going in, which leaves only so much time and energy, just like someone with a demanding career only has so much time, or like someone who is someone else's main caretaker only has so much time...and yet she would never ask that he tell his boss to cut his hours at work, or leave his charge uncared for.

But somehow his time with me is somehow on the table, in her mind, for him to cut from. Why should I ever be the disposable thing, the thing sacrificed, rather than the new person who is coming into the situation being willing to work around what already exists, like she would for a job, etc.? Basically like was said here:

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Originally Posted by Tinwen View Post
Seems like I really don't understand how people conquer that particular kind of jealousy concerning an established partner finding someone new in whom they will also invest a lot. I know that people invest in a lot of other things besides partners, but - perhaps I think there is a more or less fixed amount that goes to "partner stuff", so a meta will surely take away significantly from it.
Why doesn't the new person just pick someone else if she sees what his life looks like and doesn't see space for herself in it in the way that would make her happy without having to turn it into a competition and advocate for getting what I already have? If honoring what you've already built with someone, which has been working so far and making you both pretty happy, is "couple privilege"...I guess I just don't see why that is wrong. It's wrong for the person she has started dating to mislead her into thinking that he has more available than he does. But IMO it's not wrong for him to only make a certain slice available as long as he's up front about it.

I think that if I had more time to date, I'd be perfectly happy being someone else's "secondary" since I already have Rider. But if I didn't have Rider, and I wanted a primary/nesting/entangled-type relationship, I wouldn't go after it with someone who already had one that took up a lot of his time. I would always rather be alone—totally not dating—than trying to fill space with people who didn't fit the shape I was looking for, which will usually be primary if I don't have one, and "secondary" if I do. No matter how much I like someone, if they don't have as much to give as I want/need to be happy in the long run, I'm going to end up heartbroken, even if it is a slow withering over time rather than a cataclysmic explosion.

Which is why I am totally in agreement with this:

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Originally Posted by GirlFromTexlahoma View Post
What if one of Andy's friend-girls wants more time, what if he meets someone new who wants a co-primary set up, what if, what if, what if. Because the truth is, I can't see myself ever being happy with a 50-50 share of a husband, or living with a metamour, or really any of the possible outcomes of his wanting an entangled relationship with someone else.

Right now, I just focus on being honest with Andy and everyone else. He knows where my limits are, and he knows that at this point I'd leave him rather than try to juggle that kind of poly life. He can make his own decisions knowing all that. It's the best I can offer, but I do worry still that it's not quite enough.

And then this is where the flip side comes in where I am not sure it's about gender:

There are women that he's been involved with or been chasing—and straight women, too, so it's not just me thinking there was capability for a triad or something—where I could completely let my guard down. He's been super into them, so it's not just that I felt like they were less capable of attracting his emotional and sexual attention. It's not that they were any less "threatening" in that regard (quotes because I didn't feel threatened at all).

I think that when it comes down to it, it's mostly about how they have treated me and my feelings. Some women seem to have a certain empathy for how hard it CAN (not necessarily WILL) be to share your most-of-the-time partner. Even if we all understand that it's not ideal to harbor those difficult emotions, we also can all understand that they do realistically happen. It can be hard! That's just the way it is! I've heard over and over that even "seasoned" polys are not immune to jealousy and struggle. These women understand that, either through instinct or contemplation, and they choose not to step all over the triggers. They only engage with him if they want what he already has to offer, not what they think they might be able to eventually pry from me. That's the difference.

Some women, the ones I find "threatening," make a move and they really don't care what's going on for him at home. They want to build a thing with him completely separate. They don't care or don't notice if what they want might steamroll over the life we already had in place. They don't stop to wonder if that might hurt anyone; they don't consider that they wield NRE, or if they do consider it, they don't care about its effect on me. It's all about satisfying what they want in that moment. There's a lot of surreptitious communication, a lot of "let's have separate things," a lot of petulance and trying to weigh her side heavier if plans collide.

But some women, the ones that I can feel compersion about, come to us with, I think, kind of a Golden Rule mentality. If she were me, how would she want her lover approached by a new interest? How would she want to BE approached by a new interest of her lover's? She wants to be with him, but she doesn't want anything he and I are already doing to crash and burn because of it. She's thoughtful, and engages both of us, and is communicative and open. She understands that to make friends is the most likely way of making everything peaceable—to find that unlikely sisterhood is a thing of beauty. She may never even say it out loud, but I feel it in her body language and her motions. She's never possessive of him in her body language around me. She never elbows me out. She smiles at me with her eyes.

And those women? With those women, I can return their consideration and openness in kind, without any difficulty. I feel true compersion—sometimes elation, even. It makes me want to be generous and kind and give them what they want, whatever I can give without giving away what I need. We can FMF our asses off and it's fine!

It hasn't happened for any extended length of time yet, because honestly, all of those women it's worked with have been single and when they DO find a primary of their own, with most people being mono, they tend to just fall into NRE with them and then go be closed with them. But I'm not ruling out that it COULD go long-term, if we met someone who was already with another partner, or who met a partner who happened to be poly.

(And the same thing I am pretty sure is true of our MFM people. If Sam finds a mono girlfriend, I am sure he's going to stop sleeping with me. And that's fine.)

So I thought about it for a long time—this gender thing, this time division thing—and I think that maybe the reason it has something to do with gender is because (to generalize a bit) women really do tend to need more emotional closeness with someone. A lot of us need to be very closely bonded with at least one person, and we're super-capable of doing it with more than one person, but at least one is preferable for most of us. And (most) guys have that need less intensely.

If a guy has one woman already closely bonding with him, she's going to want to take up a lot of his time and energy with that, so he has less bandwidth available for bonding that closely with another one. So then if he takes on another partner, then SHE still needs to find someone with that bandwidth (unless a lot of her time is taken up with other stuff, as GFT has said about the friend-girls). So her "someone else" adds yet another person and another dynamic to the polycule, making it FMFM. And as we all know, the more people added, the more complicated things get, so eventually that less-intense MF in the middle just kinda breaks under the stress.

What do you guys think? Does my armchair hypothesizing sound plausible?
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Reverie View Post
So I thought about it for a long time—this gender thing, this time division thing—and I think that maybe the reason it has something to do with gender is because (to generalize a bit) women really do tend to need more emotional closeness with someone. A lot of us need to be very closely bonded with at least one person, and we're super-capable of doing it with more than one person, but at least one is preferable for most of us. And (most) guys have that need less intensely.
I think women (in general) tend to define themselves more in terms of their relationships with others than men do. We focus a lot more of our selves on the role of girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Not that we necessarily do more in relationships than men, but it's more central to how we think of ourselves. Is that biology or socialization? I have no idea.

But it can turn pretty quickly into battles over status and territory. Remember junior high school, all the cliques and the backstabbing and the possessiveness over who was so-and-so's BFF? A lot of women turn that into possesiveness over guys as they get older. The fact that society still judges women more harshly for being single, or even for not snagging a "catch" of a partner, doesn't help.

I've also noticed that men, again speaking in very general terms, are more likely to flat out say, nope, I'm not ok with X. While women will often try to put up with X for the sake of harmony, or out of a need to make their partners happy. Sometimes this comes from an honest hope that they can kind of make do with being unhappy for the sake of others happiness; other times it's more of an "I'll pretend to go along but manipulate and be passive aggressive to get my way" Either way, it usually doesn't end well.

I don't know what all this means for FMF vees. I don't know if they work very often - and I say that as someone who's in one, lol. Ours works because Steph has none of those possessive, territorial attitudes toward Andy, and I do a halfway decent job of managing mine.
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