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  #121  
Old 12-09-2011, 08:02 PM
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Thanks for your insights, nycindie and Annabel!

I talked about this with JJ today and it turns out we actually had some miscommunication that last time we were out. Probably due to drinking he responded quite differently to my questions then than now when he's sober and thinking clearly. He said he wouldn't have gone with that drama queen and that he actually has some "standards" who he is going to sleep with. He said he would like to know the person a bit before having sex.

I don't really care whether I've met the person myself before they have sex. I just want him to use his best judgement when choosing sex partners. Now I feel better knowing he actually does think about these things more than I thought. And he also said he has his own reputation to think about, too, not just mine/ours. This could affect his job so he doesn't want to be too out either.

To top it off, he said he would rather have a girlfriend or a fwb than several one night stands. That's a relief, because that's what I'd prefer, too. I really like the idea of him having a girlfriend. The problem at the moment is location though. We're leaving this town in 9 months, so that's going to be a challenge if he wants to find someone now..
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  #122  
Old 12-10-2011, 01:57 AM
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Annabel thank you!

Phy I often have the same feelings about things you write. I think the fact that our poly relationships are almost same "ages" factors into it. I do think there are some common patterns, though they do probably vary a lot between individuals, too.

I thought some more about the equality issue. Mya pointed out that it can serve as a good tool when starting out a poly relationship. I think I agree with that. When I think about it, the goal of equality may have been one reason that the transition to poly has worked out well for us. And I don't mean to say that other paths cannot work just as well. But I do think it has been useful, because in the beginning it's difficult to know very well what people may want or need in the relationship. And I think some concept of fairness is a good starting point for negotiation. Another option might be to change things only when somebody expressed a want or need. I think that can work from the beginning if people are experienced in poly (or have spectacular communication and relationship skills), and have a quite good grasp of what they want already. However, I think it has been beneficial for our relationship to start from "what we have felt is fair". And at this point, 8 months into it, I think it is time to let go of that, and continue building more direct communication. I think all of us are ready for that.

I was thinking today about what else there is that has made our poly journey go smoothly. Sometimes when reading other people's experiences I feel that there are odds against us, since we have two marriages opening up to poly simultaneously (even as both of them have had varying degrees of sexual or/and emotional freedom). Also, Alec is pretty much mono, and apparently that often makes poly way harder. But then again, it's all just statistics, or really we don't even have statistics (would be cool, though! )... It's just the picture you gather from poly-related writings around the interweb. Yet, well, quite a big proportion of the active writers on this forum have well-working relationships that are mono/poly, so what do you know. I digress..

Yes, I was going to write that I think one approach that works for me personally is that in certain respects I don't put "romantic relationships" in any special category. I have never held my relationship with Alec to be somehow categorically more important than my other relationships just because it's a romantic relationship. (This may seem obvious to many here, but I feel it's something many people in romantic relationships do.) And I've never put his needs above the needs of other people I care about just because he's my partner. I've always made plans with other people individually and treated all my relationships as separate entities. Thus, it doesn't occur to me to change any of that when entering into poly relationship. Why would I suddenly start asking him permission (ouch at even the wording) for going for a coffee with a person I have a relationship with when it's a romantic relationship? Or for scheduling an overnight visit? It doesn't make sense to me that any of my practices would change merely because it's a romantic relationship instead of a friendship. And I think that makes for a healthy basis for my relationship with Mya: the fact that both me and her give the relationship the room to grow in the first instance independently of the whole poly configuration.
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Last edited by rory; 12-10-2011 at 02:01 AM.
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  #123  
Old 12-10-2011, 05:21 AM
calya calya is offline
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edited to add:
WHOOPS! I wrote this apparently two posts behind. I'm sorry. I see you've talked to JJ.

I am so new to this so please please please correct me if I'm mistaken.

But isn't part of having a partner, or many partners, trusting them and their decisions? Both of you acknowledge that your actions and other loves impact each other. Don't we need to trust our lover and partner to use their own judgement and act according to that knowledge? If you are concerned about how his actions will negatively affect you, are you really trusting him to do that?

And isn't asking to meet someone before he sleeps with them, while probably not a bad idea at all, I mean who hasn't slept with someone to realize it was a big mistake afterwards, possibly asking him to alter his lovestyle? If his style is physical before emotional would he really want to bring her into the rest of his life first?

I know I, and I think I remember reading you, need a connection before getting physical. I want to be friends first. But not everyone is that way.

It might be wiser to just talk to JJ about it. Maybe remind yourselves of the impacts of seeing other people, or having your relationship exposed to the wrong person and then tell him you trust him to consider that before getting involved with anyone, just as he trusts you.

Last edited by calya; 12-10-2011 at 05:40 AM. Reason: I was still two posts behind on the thread, I'm sorry!
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  #124  
Old 12-10-2011, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mya View Post
Lately, for some reason, I've started to have these bad feelings, which I guess you could classify as jealousy.
I love how nuanced emotion can be. Not sure if this is the same feeling you experienced, but I had a similar "bad feeling" earlier this year, and it was helpful to me to 'decode' it a bit further...

For me, when a partner is getting friendly with someone else, I have these conflicting desires. One, is the desire for them to be happy, and safe, and not get messed with. The other is the desire for them to have the freedom to explore, make mistakes.

I found that when Carob started seeing someone else earlier this year, I had a feeling you could call jealousy... but it was more, well, loss of influence and fears around that. I wanted her to treat him well, I wanted him to have a good time. None of this was in my control, though. (In my situation, I didn't know the person too well but I reckon if I had a sense she was "bad drama", these small feelings of disquiet would have been harder to quell.)

It was a really interesting perspective for me, as I understood what Sage had gone through when I got closer to C... you relinquish some of the ability to care for this person, they become more vulnerable and they're going into a space where you might not be able to help them in the same way as you could with other things (for example, if I was starting a new, challenging job).

Yup, that is a feeling you could class as 'jealousy'... but in most cases it's helpful to unpack it further Sounds you've resolved this situation with JJ, but your story connected with me so I thought I'd share anyway x
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  #125  
Old 12-11-2011, 01:42 PM
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Thank you calya and fuchka for your input!

Yes, the problem is pretty much solved now, but I'm still grateful for your replies because they made me think about this even more and that's never a bad thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calya View Post
But isn't part of having a partner, or many partners, trusting them and their decisions? Both of you acknowledge that your actions and other loves impact each other. Don't we need to trust our lover and partner to use their own judgement and act according to that knowledge? If you are concerned about how his actions will negatively affect you, are you really trusting him to do that?
The problem was exactly that, I felt like I couldn't trust his judgement if he was going to sleep with that drama queen. But it turned out that he was actually just joking about going with her and I just didn't get it at the time and took it seriously. Now that we talked about it, I feel more at ease with this and his decisions in the future.

I thought more about the boundary thing and I still think I don't want him to ask my permission for sleeping with anyone. I don't want veto or anything that resembles that. I don't want much power over him, I want him to make his own decisions. I just need to get comfortable with whatever decisions he'll make and it's easier now that I know he wouldn't do anything crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuchka View Post
I love how nuanced emotion can be. Not sure if this is the same feeling you experienced, but I had a similar "bad feeling" earlier this year, and it was helpful to me to 'decode' it a bit further...

For me, when a partner is getting friendly with someone else, I have these conflicting desires. One, is the desire for them to be happy, and safe, and not get messed with. The other is the desire for them to have the freedom to explore, make mistakes.

I found that when Carob started seeing someone else earlier this year, I had a feeling you could call jealousy... but it was more, well, loss of influence and fears around that. I wanted her to treat him well, I wanted him to have a good time. None of this was in my control, though. (In my situation, I didn't know the person too well but I reckon if I had a sense she was "bad drama", these small feelings of disquiet would have been harder to quell.)

It was a really interesting perspective for me, as I understood what Sage had gone through when I got closer to C... you relinquish some of the ability to care for this person, they become more vulnerable and they're going into a space where you might not be able to help them in the same way as you could with other things (for example, if I was starting a new, challenging job).

Yup, that is a feeling you could class as 'jealousy'... but in most cases it's helpful to unpack it further Sounds you've resolved this situation with JJ, but your story connected with me so I thought I'd share anyway x
Wow, fuchka, you really hit the nail in the head with this one, so thanks for sharing! That sounds very very familiar what you describe. I especially love the bolded parts. This has helped me to understand myself more and really process where these feelings come from. This forum is great because of this. <3
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  #126  
Old 12-14-2011, 08:18 AM
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I haven't had time/energy to write at all lately, since I've been studying for my exams. But they are over now! Yay.

Not really much to update. Everything's just..good and peaceful. I really think good times deserve to be written about, because those definitely are the ones I enjoy the most, it's just that I only know how to update when there's something dramatic or when I'm analysing something big...

I've had a cold for over two weeks. It's really uncommon for me to be ill that long. Luckily, the worst of it was the first week, after that I've been able to study and do stuff again. But I still have very little appetite, I can't think of anything I would feel like eating. Normally I totally don't have such problems; I can eat huge amounts of anything. But this sucks. I notice I eat less than normally, and that's really not good for me (I have even less energy than usual). I hope it passes soon.

When ill I've found myself wanting physical touch and cuddling. Both in general and with both of my partners. LDR with Mya is not really helping this. Well, I just do what I'm good at: accept things as they are and refuse to wallow on it. We have been talking a lot, and I've enjoyed it as I always do, but at times I have felt a bit disconnected with her even though we are having a lot of contact. It's actually a strange thing: I think I should do the "love languages" test when ill or feeling low; I wonder if the results would be different. I did that once and at that time physical touch came only after words of affirmation and quality time.

Alec has made friends with some people he works with. He is clearly enjoying himself, and I am so happy for him! (Can you feel compersion for friendships? ) I've met a couple of them, and they seem like nice people.

I really don't feel like Christmas is next week. It's the same thing always when you have exams, everything that comes after them feels like a lifetime away. Alec's mother and her nephew are coming here to spend the holidays. I like my mother-in-law a lot, so it's nice to see her, and it's great that she comes to visit us here (she needs to take quite a many flights and she doesn't have a lot of money, so she hasn't been able to visit us since we moved here a year and a half before).

And then after new years I fly over to visit Mya and JJ. Finally! We haven't actually had a chance to spend time with that "V" before (though all four of us have hung out), so it'll be interesting. I'm totally jazzed about not having to be the hinge, for a change. I trust that at least some here will get that, though I don't think many mono people would. As in, oh poor you for having two loves, it must be so stressful.... Obviously I enjoy having two partners, otherwise I wouldn't, but that's seemed to be the part where most poly-work lies for me.
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  #127  
Old 12-14-2011, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
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Can you feel compersion for friendships?
Hell yeah

Cool to hear you're going to visit Mya & JJ! Yeah, it will be less "poly-work" as you say to not be the middle person, and it will probably also be illuminating to experience things from another perspective.
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  #128  
Old 12-24-2011, 10:55 PM
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fuchka thanks for your comment. Yeah, I'm totally enjoying friendship-compersion. And I'm really looking forward to the trip at the beginning of next year, I'm starting to miss Mya a lot.

--

Things continue to run smoothly for us. There hasn't been much poly stuff to process. Me and Alec had a conversation about coming out to his mother, and we agreed that it needs to be done but christmas is not the best time for it. It's just problematic since we live in different countries and, thus, it always tends to be some kind of special occasion when we see her.

Anyway, I really enjoyed how our discussion went. The last time we talked about that was last summer, 2 months into poly, and Alec hadn't even met Mya yet. Back then he was clearly very uncomfortable with the idea, and totally not ready. So this time, I expected him to be less uncomfortable, but thought it very possible that he would still be nowhere close to ready, and I would have been understanding about it. But I was pleasantly surprised. I just approached him and said that "you know, we need to tell your mum about our special arrangements at some point" and he just said matter-of-factly "yes, we do, I agree". No discomfort, no nothing.

In moments like this, I just see how far he has come and we have come in such a short time. I have such appreciation for Alec, for being willing to change his life and face difficult feelings and situations when his primary motivation comes from wanting me to be happiest I can be. Like with coming out, since poly will not be received well in his family: the best outcome that can be hoped for is initial shock and then gradually gained acceptance, but even that may be unrealistic from anybody but his mother (who I hope can understand in time) and maybe one sister if he decides to come out to his siblings (I feel that I'm only close to his mother on the level where I feel like I definitely want her to know I have a girlfriend, the rest of his family is totally his decision).

Me and Alec tend to talk about poly things mostly when they are somehow relevant to the situation at hand. I guess that is why I'm often surprised about how much progress he makes in between, because I am often not aware of it right away. We are somewhat different in that: when I make progress in something I'm sure to let everybody know. But I think Alec's style is different, and I think he doesn't want to announce it because he wants to be sure he is truly more comfortable with some aspect that he has previously had some discomfort around before letting me in on that. As much as I like to know everything that goes on all the time, I am glad that he has found his own ways that suit him.
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  #129  
Old 12-26-2011, 12:15 PM
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Christmas went really well. My mom was with me and JJ and my good friend and her boyfriend visited us, too. It was almost perfect. I say almost because it would've been perfect if rory would've been there. I missed her a lot during Christmas. But I get to see her in a little over a week, which is great! I'm reeeaally looking forward to rory meeting my mom and my best friend when she's here.

JJ messaged a girl on a dating site a few days ago. I don't know if she'll answer or not but the fact that he did that is something. He has really started to put himself out there to find someone. It's not easy in this small town especially when he doesn't want to put the name of the town in his profile. That's because he thinks that could possibly out him to people he doesn't want to be out to. So he just has to find the right people himself and message them. The girl he found on the site lives in a another town, but that town is quite close to ours so that's good. I really hope she answers because there actually isn't very many poly people to choose from in our area.
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  #130  
Old 12-28-2011, 09:38 AM
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I feel that many of my posts link to similar thought processes; I'm circling around boundaries and fairness and needs and wants and all that. I have come to one conclusion: I need to spend more time thinking about what it is that I want. It seems that consideration for others comes easily for me, what doesn't come easily is recognising my own wants and needs.

So, earlier I wrote that I need to let go of concentrating on fairness in my role as a hinge (in my role as a leg I don't). I have revisited this idea afterwards in my head, and I stand by it. I want to build relationships on the basis of what everybody genuinely wants in those relationships. I trust my partners to communicate to me what they want, and so far there haven't been problems in that department. But I really need to do work on my end of the deal. Since I have identified that it often doesn't come naturally to me to focus on my own wants, I need to do that purposefully.

When I think about it, there are some concrete things I do want in my relationships (and in life, but generally it is easier for me to identify those wants than it is in relationships). I was thinking of making lists. Some of these can very well change in the future, and I don't expect them to be in any way exhaustive.

What I need in partnerships in general:
- love; caring about and liking each other
- respect
- honesty
- communication
- autonomy; space and support for leading happy and fulfilling lives outside of the relationship
- intimacy
- support in hardship
- consideration
- connection

What I want in my relationship with Mya:
- I want to share everyday life and have our own routines: right now I feel good about this aspect since we usually skype every other day for several hours
- Regular physical contact (ideally more than we can now we're in a LDR): hugs, cuddles, kisses and sex
- About sex: I'd like to be able to have more, obviously, but I also wish to explore things together, and keep up the level of communication about it that we have established from the start
- Philosophical/analytical conversations

What I want in my relationship with Alec
- I want to continue sharing everyday life and again have our own routines: e.g. I want to keep in place for most days our habits of eating together watching dvds (dinner and/or evening snack; doesn't have to be every meal)
- Again, regular cuddles, hugs, kisses and sex
- I want to have space for of physical contact and non-verbal communication we have. I like to have many (even brief) moments of time alone together, but much of it isn't necessarily uncomfortable for other people (and not sexual in nature) and we can do some of it if the people are close enough and we feel comfortable, like if Alec's family is present. I'd like it if in time our poly-family was in that kind of comfortable place (but I will not try to force it, it'll come if it does).
- About sex: here communication often doesn't come naturally, since we had so many years of not talking much about sex. But I have started our heavy talks and made a commitment in my head to keep them up, since that's essential for our sex life to work (which, in turn, is essential for our partnership to work). My sexual preferences when having sex with a male have turned out to be really fluid, so expressing them needs to be done a lot. We have started to forge a broader common ground through communicating and exploring , and I want to keep that up.

About the sharing of everyday life, which is on the top in my relationship both with Mya and Alec (not that those lists are in any order of priority). I think routines is what makes everyday life for me, and that's why they're important. It's important to me that I have already established routines with Mya via skyping and messaging, and obviously we visit each other. I look forward to us being closer to each other, but I don't want to fall into that trap of thinking some people seem to have around LDRs that the "real relationship life" starts when we're closer. This is our real life, and our real relationship, every moment that goes by, and I want to live it in the present.

About sex (yes, I do like talking about it ): my sexuality has been through changes, and probably keeps on changing. At times I've felt like there is too little common ground for me and Alec to be able to make it work. But (in addition to having done lots of work and thinking and communication) there have been lots of positive effects poly has brought to my sex-life as a whole. There are such differences in gender-dynamics, but also in power-dynamics, in my sexual relations with both of my partners, and that has made a huge difference. I feel more balanced when I can express different sides of myself. And I have gotten some needs (or strong wants) met, of which some I likely couldn't have identified very clearly. But others I had identified and concluded not easy to meet when in relationship with Alec: most obvious one being having a woman as a regular sex partner. Before meeting Mya I didn't consider poly-relationship as a real possibility, and even in an open relationship possibilities for sexual encounters with women didn't come up very often (likely since I only feel attraction after I form a connection with somebody, so don't have sex with strangers); certainly not comparable to having a relationship with a woman. The gender-thing is not the only one, but my point is that I am overall more satisfied. And I feel that I can enjoy the dynamic that comes naturally for me and Alec when I also have a relationship with a different kind of dynamic. That is, I don't need to try fit all aspects of my sexuality into sex with Alec if he is no longer my only regular sex partner.

Wow, is there stuff. I won't make a list, but since I totally support the concept of also being one's own primary, I'll add that there are some things I definitely need in my relationship with myself: own time, own space, and meaningful things to do (at the moment I consider studying to be exactly what I want to do, in the future I'd like more studying or interesting work). And Internet.
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Last edited by rory; 12-28-2011 at 01:22 PM.
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