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Old 08-11-2011, 04:36 AM
Nezumi Nezumi is offline
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Default Mono-Poly Issues

Hey folks,

I'm extremely new to the forum (only been on long enough for light to leave the galaxy ), but that may be beside the point. You folks seem like a nice bunch, and I was really hoping for some advice, experience, or anything you'd be willing to give.

My girlfriend and I have been dating exclusively for just over a year and a half now and, despite the fact that external sources have made the last year an exceptionally rocky one, neither of us have ever been happier in a relationship. In fact, until recently, it was our solid plan to move into what may actually be considered a home this fall, and perhaps be engaged come winter.

It's the words "until recently" that seem to be the issue, however. My gf has spoken about past relationships which were polyamorous, but until recently, they were invariably framed in a "now that I've grown out of it" sort of way. Now, in the last four or five weeks, gf has begun to reconnect with an old friend of hers (couldn't support that more). However, she also brought up that they had feelings for each other and wanted a three-member polyamorous relationship.

Initially, a stark sense of jealousy and betrayal were the dominating emotions I felt. I began to notice that gf would spend significantly more time with the other man. Things in this regard have gotten better after discussing the issue, but this seems to have only revealed the real problem: I am fundamentally mono and she is equally fundamentally poly. She is of the mindset that more people in love brings more happiness, while I am of the mindset that romantic closeness brings a sense of loyalty, devotion and closeness between two people that I couldn't imagine giving or sharing with another individual.

I suppose in conclusion, despite the fact that gf and I are still very much in love, we are on the verge of splitting up; no matter how hard I try, the thought of her with another man breaks my heart. Similarly, no matter hard she tries, the thought of constraining herself to one parter produces the same effect.

I apologize for the novel I've written. Any advice or experience anyone could share would be greatly appreciated. I just want to save our relationship.

Thanks,

Nezumi
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:06 AM
Kishou Kishou is offline
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Polyamory in itself should be an idea of no jealousy or restrain on relationships, and its ok to love more than one person. However, I can see where you're going in that you feel that a devotional love is sacred, and just the idea of soiling that privilege irks you.

I recall something that my English teacher once told me, when I was actually asking him his opinion on a love triangle issue of my story. He was very much a monogamy person, but he told me that there are many different forms of platonic love, not just the one you and your girlfriend have. If you think like that, perhaps you can understand that you and your girlfriend have different types of love to give, and can still find a medium there.

But, I've never dated myself, let alone been in love or convinced I am. It's just a thought shot in the dark, as the others might have better advice, but I'm just adding my part.

But I'm hoping things turn out best for you.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:32 AM
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You are not alone. Do a tag search here for "mono/poly" and see that it is the most tagged!

I am poly and my boyfriend mono. Have a look at Mono's posts to see what he has been through. Also have a read of my blog if you can wade through it. There is much about our journey here to hopefully learn from.

The thing that struck us most while we prepared to conduct a workshop on mono/poly relationships for a local poly camp, was that dropping the labels and understanding ones love style as their own can really help. No one owns the definition of either mono or poly and its important to lay all descriptions of how you love and do relationships out on the table to see what can be worked with.

Also, mono and poly are like two different cultures. When you visit poly land, be curious, ask questions, involve your self in learning the customs. Same for your girlfriend. She too will have to be living in mono land sometimes.

Lastly, for mono/poly to work it might just seem that the two of you will always live in some degree of discomfort. You will both have to decide if that is going to be okay or if its just too much to ask for. Start negotiating some boundaries and see what kind of compromises you come up with. The question is, can you live with them for the long haul? Perhaps never agreeing or can you agree to disagree and be okay with that without your relationship being destroyed?
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:41 AM
ClosetPoly ClosetPoly is offline
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You are definitely not alone. :-)
I am a mono in a new poly/mono relationship, and you are right on track reaction-wise. I can highly recommend reading this forum, and all resources it links to. Anita Wagner's Making Peace with Jealousy is good, as are most other links you will find here.

You will have to do some soul-searching to come to terms with what is in your future, and my only tip as a newbie in this is to take it slow, don't jump to conclusions or make rash decisions. Open, non-violent communication is key, and if you both want this to work, it is possible to establish good boundaries and move in the pace necessary for the relationship to have the best possible chance of succeeding. It's not give and take, but give and give, from two sides.

You will have to work through your own issues and fears, and hopefully you can get to a stage/place/situation where you at least no longer feel pain when you think about them together, and you can move on from there. It can be a difficult journey, but it can also make you stronger than you thought possible.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:29 AM
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sagency sagency is offline
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Nezumi, like RP, I am a poly in a mono/poly relationship. Some things popped up in your story that I'll address, but do take RP's reading advice as well.

You mentioned that your gf spoke about the past "framed" in a "sort of way." This may be you trying to catch the gist of her communication style, or it may point to a lack of open communication, or it may be her being very nervous.

Let's imagine for a moment that a girl who lets you put your penis in her likes you. Let's also imagine that after more than a year she wants you to think highly off her. Thus, it's reasonable to conclude that she's not out to hurt you. Always keep that in mind.

I was involved in poly relationships intermingled with mono ones for 11 years before I was able to identify and accept my poly nature. It was not an easy thing, and being poly has cost me many relationships. Your gf may have been dealing with her own journey for some time. She might have tried to wrap poly discussions in trappings of the past because she wasn't sure how she felt about poly. Over time, she may have realized that she is poly and is now identifying more. I have found that poly folk that accept the life and identify as such soon learn that open, blunt communication is vital.

Once I self-identified as poly, it affected my dating life. I lost relationships and found I had to be more direct about being poly. Even then, the act of telling someone you're poly--someone you really like and want to really like you--is harrowing. Society programs people to reject if not outright attack poly folk. You gf may have been non-commital about her poly past because she was worried you'd reject her. Remember, she's not telling you she like daisies more than roses, she sharing something that many people would consider grounds for immediate rejection if not vilification. I was lucky when I found K, my mono, but I knew I loved her when we had the poly talk and was terrified she'd walk away.

Your gf is her own person, so my story may not matter. But if she shares similarities, then you should take the fact that she's talking more now as a sign of her growing trust. Also, understand that poly folk are not wired the same as mono fill--poly folk do not diminish their love for one person if they love another. I for one find new things that make K unique and wonderful ~because~ of loving others. The differences they have let me appreciate each of them for their specialness.

A lot of jealousy is based ultimately on fear. Fear of losing your gf, fear of being outdone, or fear of not being enough. The simple truth is that you are much more likely to reject her than she is to reject you.

As for being outdone, I know that when it comes to K, I do not compare like that. Everyone has their good and bad, but I don't try to measure people against each other like that. That is mono thinking--where you measure everyone to find the best mate because you're stuck with just one. Poly thinking accepts that people are different and doesn't spend a lot of time comparing Adams to oranges.

As for being "enough," poly people work that way. Mono thinking tells people that you can be full of love or completely in love. But what happens with those special few whose capacity for love grows exponentially? Sure, poly folks find there is a number of relationships that they can manage (two or three are the most common), but it's not a matter of summing up how much love there is and deciding if it's greater or less than an arbitrary value.

Based on what you've written, your gf has accepted you for who you are and isn't trying to change you. (Don't worry, just because she is the hinge in a vee doesn't mean she'd expect you to be with the other side of the hinge.) That is a good sign. What you need to do next is figure out two things:
1) How much if your reactions are based on what you've been programmed to believe, and how much of your reactions are truly yours? (Also consider how much is based on fear.)
2) Once you identify your deprogrammed and unafraid responses, what do you want from your gf, and what are you able and willing to deal with?

You might find that fear is much scarier than reality. Would you love your gf less if she was molested as a child or raped on the street? So why does the thought that she is someone worthy and capable of many loves that problematic?

You might also consider asking her to share her story here or to do her own mono/poly reading here. She might find ways she can help you adjust since you are obviously important to her.

All the best.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:41 AM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nezumi View Post
My girlfriend and I have been dating exclusively for just over a year and a half now and, despite the fact that external sources have made the last year an exceptionally rocky one, neither of us have ever been happier in a relationship. In fact, until recently, it was our solid plan to move into what may actually be considered a home this fall, and perhaps be engaged come winter.
Hmm, I would suggest you look up something called NRE, or New Relationship Energy. After a year and a half, you might still have it going on strong. Or you might have a discrepancy between you still full-on in NRE and she already surfacing back to dry land.

I've described NRE to myself as a monogamous honey-moon period for polys. While I'm in NRE, I actually would feel good about monogamy. I really would. Being able to invest all my time and energy into just one person without the fear of neglecting my other partners is actually something I miss about monogamy. The relationship progresses much faster also when you don't have to schedule how often you are able to see this new person.

What this doesn't mean, however, no matter how I might feel at any given moment, is that I would somehow be suited to life-long reciprocal monogamy. When the worst of NRE fades, after half a year, nine months or a year (might last up to two years), I start noticing and feeling attracted to other people. That's just the way I'm wired, I guess. If you gf is the same way, she might make all the promises of how she's never felt better in a relationship, how she'll have no problem committing only to you and being monogamous to make you happy, how she's not even interested in anyone else - but that would only be the NRE talking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nezumi View Post
However, she also brought up that they had feelings for each other and wanted a three-member polyamorous relationship.
Curiosity strikes - does she mean all the three of you would be romantically and sexually involved with each other (triad), or she would be involved with the both of you and the two of you would have no other partners (vee)?

Have you asked her whether she sees herself in the future with any other partners besides the two of you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nezumi View Post
She is of the mindset that more people in love brings more happiness, while I am of the mindset that romantic closeness brings a sense of loyalty, devotion and closeness between two people that I couldn't imagine giving or sharing with another individual.
Thanks for the description, it was interesting to read a mono perspective on this. Without passing any value judgments, I tend to think that there are varying degrees of love and intimacy, and while I don't think I would ever be able to love two people equally or experience exactly the same emotions towards them, it would still be love to me, just different strokes of it.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:39 PM
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Lots of good points since I wrote.

One other thing; I would meet the guy she wants to be with. A lot of fear can disapate with knowing the person who is to be the potetntial other. A strong metamour relationship can really help in so many ways.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:53 PM
Sofia Sofia is offline
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Hi. Nezumi’s gf here.
I posted some of our story in my into
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13247

So, yes. I’ll try and elaborate in response.
I have never felt so strongly about someone as I have Nezumi. I have never felt more fulfilled or found someone as compatible. When we first started dating, I honestly thought he would be enough to keep me focused. If I were mono like him, I would be able to stay focused. We are an extremely close couple who have been with each other everyday since we started dating. (how healthy this is, is debatable)

And yes, I was terrified of telling him or making something a big deal, when I hoped it wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve had this problem before, and the last guy who let me explore other loves changed his mind after I had already developed a relationship with another man. He made me choose. I chose him, my primary because if I chose my secondary, I would have been homeless and I would have thrown away 2 years of work.

I don’t think we would be a triad. It’s not really about sex with me. Thankfully, Nezumi is very satisfying in this area. I have never had a sexually fulfilling relationship before and it’s wonderful! It’s more about that feeling when someone is having a quiet moment with me. It’s that connection I feel with people when I open myself up to them emotionally and gently touch my forehead to theirs. If you haven’t guessed I’m very empathic. More than I care to be. I also tend to mirror emotions a lot.

Also, I must mention that my way of connecting with people is by affection. I've always been the lap-dwelling girl who crawls up into all her friend's laps for snuggles. It's how I tell people I accept them into my world. It's how I connect. However, I'm not allowed to be like that anymore. It's very hard for me. I make a better pet kitten than a mono gf I guess.

About Nezumi and S. They are actually very compatible. I first introduced them to each other because I knew they would be great friends and enrich each other’s lives wonderfully. Nezumi does like S, as a person. However he says “Sure, I’d like the guy if he wasn’t trying to steal my girlfriend.”

I do have these dreams of all of us walking arm in arm together. I do have two arms ya know, and no one would be left out. ☺
Also, we all want a home on some land some day to raise some animals and I want to be a beekeeper. I just see the potential for such a strong family unit between the 3 of us. I’m saddened that this probably wont manifest.
Anyway, I’m sorry for carrying on. I’m going to need therapy just to deal with the intense feelings of guilt I’m carrying. I’m breaking Nezumi’s heart and I can’t NOT feel it.
I appreciate the community’s kindness so far. Nezumi is already very defensive, understandably, and he feel’s slightly judged in general. He was very hesitant because he feels like the odd one out and that all of us poly people are going to be rolling our eyes at the less progressive mono.
Again, thank you.

Last edited by Sofia; 08-11-2011 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:17 PM
affablegreen affablegreen is offline
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It sounds like you are sure of who you are, and what is inside you. Are you here, seeking help, wondering if you are wrong? I couldn't quite tell from your post. Are you questing for a way to make things work? Do you wish you were "more poly able", or do you wish she were less?

I really like that neither you nor she seem to be trying to "change" each other. That's a good sign.

One of the crucial steps for me was to set aside the categories I was carrying with me... what "girlfriend" or "wife" meant. I instead broke it down to what I valued and wanted out of life and my relationships. Then I could see new ways in which those deep hungers could be met, even without the labels or the definitions of exclusivity. In other words, her love for me was what I valued, not her exclusivity towards me.

The journey can teach us about ourselves.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:01 PM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofia View Post
I appreciate the community’s kindness so far. Nezumi is already very defensive, understandably, and he feel’s slightly judged in general. He was very hesitant because he feels like the odd one out and that all of us poly people are going to be rolling our eyes at the less progressive mono.
Absolutely not! Not by me anyway. I roll my eyes at how poly people treat those that are mono most of the time!

Love is love and there should be no jugdement on how one loves as far as I am concerned. As I said in my last post, different cultures. If I ever started judging mono's I would be the equivilant of racist in my mind. Tolerance and empathy are REALLY important to me. I am more critical of my own kind than of others.

I hope you read some of Mono's posts. Especially of the early days. Then catch up on my blog about where we are now! Its all possible just a shit load of work.
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