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Old 07-07-2011, 05:54 AM
res res is offline
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Unhappy Tried my 'best'. Am I just not designed for this?

I'm 44, smart, single, and gay. Whilst online (sort of a hook-up/fetish site) I met an interesting gentleman around my age who was not looking for a relationship - as he already had that. We talked on the phone a few times, met over coffee and wound up back at his place. I had no expectations, though our rapport was very nice.

The moment we kissed something happened - we both sensed it. We had incredible physical connection... but it was also very tender an emotional. He'd never experienced this with a hookup before. We met again a few days later and there was no mistake. This was more than mere like. He lived alone but has been involved with another gentleman for three years - but explained that despite their love they no longer engaged in sex after the first year - not even kissing(!). More like 'best friends'. Furthermore, they are publicly engaged (I didn't find that out 'til I saw it weeks later online - how I never saw it when we first met, I'll never know).

We wound up dating - for real. Museums, gifts, text-notes, letters, walks in the park, etc. He - being very open and honest - told his partner about this after the third or fourth time we met - and his partner was FINE with it. Despite my initial fears, I eventually met said partner, but perhaps too soon (6 weeks) at a social soiree. We got along, as expected, but I have no interest in him physically - though we have some (not so shocking) similarities. He's really a great guy. They both are. But this was a "V" - not a three-way.

Anyway - all parties had never engaged or considered this 'til I entered the picture. And despite my cautions and that of many friends, I pressed forward. Two days after the party (and meeting said partner) I had a bit of a knee jerk reaction - anxious, questioning and looking for answers from the guy I was dating. I was a bit pushy - things were strained, but we talked.

When I asked him why he persisted with his current partner, and hadn't ended this relationship despite the lack of sex/phys intimacy, he told me "it would crush him". I thought that sounded... odd. Maybe even immature and unfair/un-resolved somehow. But that is their relationship, not mine.

We went on to date for four months, where I oscillated between extreme anxiety and near total bliss. The good times were great - but when I wasn't with him I was often emotionally confused and anxious. So much so that one evening - out with friends - I had my first (and so far only) panic attack - which was emotionally based - though I never told him that.

Several days later he asked me if this was all causing me too much pain and anxiety as he didn't want me to suffer. I told him I was ok with this - I just liked him too much to end it. I thought I could "sit with/through this" and somehow become more comfortable and confident. At times I could - at others it was absurdly distracting - especially at work. I couldn't stop thinking about potential outcomes and "IFs". I am also a very mono kinda guy - but wanted to make this work. I really like and care for him - and I may have been falling in love (in some odd way).

Our affair was rather public and online and we took lots of nice pics together (a mistake, I'm sure, though he posted the pics) - at museums, parties, etc. He and his partner both seemed ok with that. But I grew increasingly anxious and awkward even when I was around him. Despite all the time, incredible sex, text messages, sweet notes and attention he gave me I felt increasingly insecure - and it made me upset that I was upset despite his attentions.

Two days ago we had "the talk". He could tell I wasn't being myself around him and it was upsetting him. I knew this wasn't working either - but was also afraid to end things or jump the gun. It's been two days and we ended things very amicably. However, I very much miss him - and am sorry I had behaved so uncharacteristically with him due to my anxiety. He told me it was ok - and wasn't my fault - I just wasn't meant for this kind of relationship. He's right, of course... but I still find it all sad. I feel like a teenager - it's nuts.

I know I'll be fine - meet other guys better suited to my emotional needs, etc. but this man sparked something in my life I'd not felt in YEARS. My last relationship ended two years ago, was Mono and 11 years long. I know my story is vague on details, but wish I'd had a more supportive network going into this. I just found this site today (duh!). Maybe we weren't ultimately compatible, but part of me wishes I could have been more emotionally stable to enjoy things more than I did. In many ways, he was VERY good to me... and I had a lovely time. I guess I'm just not emotionally ready for this kind of arrangement. I don't think I've ever been more emotionally distracted in my life. It was VERY uncharacteristic for me to feel the anxiety I did.

I realize that four months is not a long time - but it was a very emotionally charged for me. I guess I'm just learning more about myself.

Last edited by res; 07-07-2011 at 06:00 AM. Reason: clarification and wording.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:00 PM
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Did you have a question of some kind? Can I ask you some questions?

My first thought is WHY? WHY would you end this?! This arrangement sounds fantastic to me. He has a great guy that he is not sexual with but loves dearly and has you who he obviously to me seemed to really be loving also. Why not create more love in the world and be together.... love is not meant to be capped as far as I am concerned... its meant to expand as far as it can. Its the whole idea of abundance rather than scarcity. You could have a great boyfriend and a really great metamour in his other partner. There is a lot to share in that! Its community, family, a tribal thing... all awesome if you give it a chance.

This anxiety, did you sit with it? Walk yourself through it? Really jump right in it and swim around to see what it was about? Was it our monogamous programming that caused it? Was it fear of abandonment? Fear of being too "out there?" What was behind it and is it not possible to get to the bottom of it and learn something from it while still keeping your relationship.... I dunno. To me it seems you have missed out on an opportunity here.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:40 PM
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Res,

What stood out most saliently in what you have written is the "panic attack". I recommend examining what that was in minute detail, very closely and carefully. My intuitive hunch is that you have fear around opening your heart, and the whole mono vs poly angle isn't really the big deal it seems to you to be. It is more likely a distraction.

That same fear would almost certainly arise in a mono context, with your heart opening big. Right? I'm right, aren't I?

I know about these things. There's only one solution. You must learn to dissolve the door to your heart. Aren't you tired of it yet?

Breathe freedom and love and joy into your heart each day. Seriously. Make a practice of it, daily. And love freely, as much as you can -- with friends, with acquaintances, with strangers. Give love and receive love as much as you can. Let go and fall into its blessed arms. Come back home to your true life.

Warmly,

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Old 07-07-2011, 05:04 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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What stood out for me here (probably because I'm dealing with it in my own life), was the lack of honest communication.

Quote:
I had my first (and so far only) panic attack - which was emotionally based - though I never told him that
Quote:
Several days later he asked me if this was all causing me too much pain and anxiety as he didn't want me to suffer. I told him I was ok with this
It really does help to let your partner know you are struggling with these issues. "Toughing it out" just hurts you both. I know you wanted to be OK with things, but you really weren't. Who knows, by sharing the fact that you were struggling, even when you didn't think it was reasonable, you might have been able to get to a resolution that worked for you both. RedPepper had some very good questions.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:20 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Res,

It sounds like you followed your heart to the best of your ability. Kudos to you in a difficult situation. It's hard to walk away from a relationship that worked on many levels but did not satisfy in a critical way.

If you want a mono relationship, then that is what you should keep seeking. For whatever reasons, your ex could not be monogamous with you. It would have been great if you could have worked towards developing a long-term V with your ex but, sometimes, walking away is the ethical, right thing to do.

I would echo Redpepper and River in examining why you had such terrible anxiety. One thing I've learned is that poly relationships will push one's buttons harder and faster than many mono relationships but the buttons themselves are often the same across poly or mono (or both) relationships.

It would be helpful for you to understand what happened - not in an effort to fix yourself or make yourself poly - there's nothing wrong with you! - but because that anxiety might indicate something going on internally. Or it might not - but at least you would know.

So why were you anxious? Were you actually jealous? Or fearful? Was the ambiguity of the relationship driving you a bit crazy? (Ambiguity is one of the things I find hardest to handle.) Was it that you wanted a monogamous relationship with this lovely man and that was just not possible?
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:18 PM
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Res,
The one question that I have is was your guy being sexually and romantically monogamous with you? Was that not enough? I am asking, not judging. All of our lovers have friends and it seems like that was what his "partner" morphed into. I am not you, but I would have taken that deal.
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:24 AM
res res is offline
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Question thank you - interesting responses...

So - clearly this was significant enough that I have been examining myself, the situation and my responses to it. I genuinely care for this person, and know he does for me as well. I wish him no ill intente, and, indeed all the best!

I am considering all your input and my responses - though I think overall the "ambiguity" of the situation is what bothered me most. I do not easily fall in love - nor do I historically tend to feel insecure. When I like someone I know it fully. And - though that is the case with this person - the surrounding situation gave me much caution and anxiety.

I think part of it was his response to my query regarding why he had not ended things with his partner. Had he said: "Because I love him fully and have no reason to end things at this time." it would have made me feel like: OK - this is a man that knows where he's at and is solid on his loving foundations.

However - it was a bit emotionally vague to me: "it would crush him" does not sound so much like a loving answer as a 'I'm in control' answer. I don't feel my partner has enough fortitude to weather the impact of a separation. True or not, this is giving him a position of power and dominion. Does not feel realistic or compassionate to me.

Also - (I know this was brief on specifics) - the night I had my anxiety attack it was precipitated by the STRONGEST POT BROWNIE I had ever had - on low blood sugar and a very emotional week. All contributors, I'm sure - but at the time I was somewhat obsessed about whether or not this person might leave me if I did something "wrong". A fear of my own, I admit.

With regard to whether or not I might feel this anxiety in any new relationship situation based on my usual make-up or particular to this affair, I STRONGLY feel it was situation based. I am not a child - I've had a number of short and long-term relationships... I know how I tend to react and respond emotionally when I am in a 'mono' relationship and I feel secure. This was all new territory for me - and us in general.

I think there were a number of factors here that contributed to my anxiety and reactions.

Firstly, as this was the first time I'd felt such strong emotions after my last breakup, I think I got into this a bit too quickly. I think I should have continued dating others as I got to know him better - not feeling so totally vested in his time and gauging how much he really wanted to be with me - and to some degree what lengths he would go to to insure securing our bond.

Two: I met his partner too soon. I think I needed to feel more secure with him and OUR relationship before I confronted the reality of his partner. I was in no denial over their relationship, but honestly feel I needed to feel more stable in what WE actually had.

Three: I gave up too much of my time and power to be with him. I habitually changed my schedule/plans to accommodate him - and rarely felt he did that for me. That set up a 'lop-sided' emotional scenario in my head, and I should know better by now. I should not "over-accommodate" just because I "want to see someone" or especially because I am "feeling insecure". It's silly. We all have busy lives - if they are interested they will willingly wait.

Four: On more than one occasion - in a half-hearted effort to protect my own emotions or confusions surrounding them, I made excuses for not responding sooner to his overtures or queries - when I really should have honestly said: "Hey - this is going a bit fast for me - I need some time on my own to think things through. I have no other interests beside you, but need some time to think and adjust". He saw right through my excuses and I think it made him anxious/annoyed. He was nothing but honest and VERY direct with me. I tried to be - but was not as direct as I should have been. Sometimes I am not as direct as I'd like in an effort to either spare someone's feelings, or "stall" whilst I think things through.

And, though I have no problem with his partner, the idea of sharing someone is a very new/foreign thing for me. Though I generally don't consider myself terribly demanding, I am a one-person person. I'm sure going slower with all of this would have allowed me more time to figure things out and not get overly emotional/overwhelmed too quickly.

One last caveat: He does NOT like to be touched - AT ALL - while he sleeps. And though I don't need to be all over/wrapped up with someone all night, it makes me feel FAR more emotionally secure when I am touching and/or held even if peripherally than not touched at all - which makes me feel un-liked and vulnerable. Minor?? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

Responses? I hope so. Can I salvage/resolve this at this point: probably not. I think my apprehensions gave him too much pause to go forward emotionally with me. But only time will tell - as it always does...
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:56 PM
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Res,

I'm impressed. You seem to have a lot of the good kind of self-awareness and self-loving/compassion/kindness. And you have a lovely tender strength.

I wish you the best, and have strong confidence that what you want and need will manifest in your life.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:00 PM
res res is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floundering View Post
Res,
The one question that I have is was your guy being sexually and romantically monogamous with you? Was that not enough? I am asking, not judging. All of our lovers have friends and it seems like that was what his "partner" morphed into. I am not you, but I would have taken that deal.
It seems he was - yes - though he was also 'engaged' to this other person, quite publicly. And he didn't talk to me about that 'til AFTER I had met his partner, which I do think is a bit odd. That seems like a rather major piece of information concerning his relationship.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:07 PM
res res is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
Res,

It sounds like you followed your heart to the best of your ability. Kudos to you in a difficult situation. It's hard to walk away from a relationship that worked on many levels but did not satisfy in a critical way.

If you want a mono relationship, then that is what you should keep seeking. For whatever reasons, your ex could not be monogamous with you. It would have been great if you could have worked towards developing a long-term V with your ex but, sometimes, walking away is the ethical, right thing to do.

I would echo Redpepper and River in examining why you had such terrible anxiety. One thing I've learned is that poly relationships will push one's buttons harder and faster than many mono relationships but the buttons themselves are often the same across poly or mono (or both) relationships.

It would be helpful for you to understand what happened - not in an effort to fix yourself or make yourself poly - there's nothing wrong with you! - but because that anxiety might indicate something going on internally. Or it might not - but at least you would know.

So why were you anxious? Were you actually jealous? Or fearful? Was the ambiguity of the relationship driving you a bit crazy? (Ambiguity is one of the things I find hardest to handle.) Was it that you wanted a monogamous relationship with this lovely man and that was just not possible?
I think much of it was around the ambiguity issue - but there were other things as well, which I hope I clarified a bit in my second posting. I also may not yet be ready for what this/he was offering at this time emotionally. I've always been mono - though that doesn't mean it couldn't work out otherwise.. this was just my first entree into the concept. I was also 'his boy' and he wanted to be 'my Sir' which is a whole other new thing for me. I was VERY MUCH his fantasy and in many ways he was mine. That upped the intensity quite a bit(!) I think. New new new new... ALL THE WAY ROUND. Even Mr. G admitted that he's a lot to handle - he has a very dominating presence/personality and knows it. That's a lot to adjust to for a new relationship. I'm very loving/sweet, but also very sensitive. Security in new situations can take time with me. I think things went a bit too fast/intensely for me emotionally and I didn't know how to gauge it properly.

Believe me - I've been considering what exactly the source of the anxiety was - as I'd really like to know.
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