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  #1  
Old 10-16-2013, 06:16 AM
Darkling Darkling is offline
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Unhappy Starting a relationship, knowing it will also end--seems weird

Good evening,
I have a primary relationship that I am happy in, and my husband and I have been talking a lot about what it would look like if we weren't monogamous. In some ways I can see a lot of positive things that could come from this, balanced with some challenges as well.

One thing that has been kind of a mental road block to me is, even if we weren't monogamous, I would prefer that our marriage was the primary relationship for both of us. I'm afraid of risking that. I also have lived in the mono-get-married-and-stay-together-for-life model that it seems really strange to entertain the idea of pursuing another relationship knowing that it will end at some point. Maybe mutually and gracefully, and maybe not.

Why would I sign up for a relationship that has a shelf life from the start? It sounds painful. Does this concern make sense to anyone? Does everyone really end up with a loving extended family of ex-lovers? Or do they end up with a collection of uncomfortable exes that pop up periodically to cause problems?

~darkling
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2013, 07:05 AM
london london is offline
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Why does a secondary relationship have to end? As long as everyone is happy, it could go on for years. If your secondary wants a primary relationship too, you give them the space to find that. As long as you have compatible partners, there is no need to think of relationships as inherently short term.
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2013, 07:36 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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All relationships end. Even if you never stop seeing the other person one of you will die sooner or later.

Given that all relationships end sooner or later, for me, the questions are more around how to live so that the relationships in my life are the best they can be.

IP
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:58 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
One thing that has been kind of a mental road block to me is, even if we weren't monogamous, I would prefer that our marriage was the primary relationship for both of us. I'm afraid of risking that.
If your spouse and you and your dating potentials cannot agree on satisfactory boundaries for a primary-secondary model, don't try to practice that open model with those players.

Or if you yourself simply are not willing/able to go there in general -- respect your own limit and don't go there.

Quote:
I also have lived in the mono-get-married-and-stay-together-for-life model that it seems really strange to entertain the idea of pursuing another relationship knowing that it will end at some point. Maybe mutually and gracefully, and maybe not.
ALL relationships come with a clock attached.

Even the one with your spouse. I certainly hope the ending for my and my spouse is "death do us part" when we are old, but that's never certain. He or I could get run over by a bus tomorrow. But one does not live life expecting doom at each corner. That's no way to live!

Quote:
Why would I sign up for a relationship that has a shelf life from the start? It sounds painful. Does this concern make sense to anyone? Does everyone really end up with a loving extended family of ex-lovers? Or do they end up with a collection of uncomfortable exes that pop up periodically to cause problems?
First... Are you considering secondary relationships like casual sex or casual emotional flings? Or like serious relationships that could last years?

Again, if this journey sounds painful and unfun to you -- could not go there. Obey your personal limit.

Is it your spouse that wants to go there and you really don't? Do not do this for your spouse. Do it for you -- and if you cannot go there of your own joyful heart and spirit? Just say no.

Galagirl
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:20 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkling View Post
One thing that has been kind of a mental road block to me is, even if we weren't monogamous, I would prefer that our marriage was the primary relationship for both of us. I'm afraid of risking that. I also have lived in the mono-get-married-and-stay-together-for-life model that it seems really strange to entertain the idea of pursuing another relationship knowing that it will end at some point. Maybe mutually and gracefully, and maybe not.

Why would I sign up for a relationship that has a shelf life from the start? It sounds painful. Does this concern make sense to anyone? Does everyone really end up with a loving extended family of ex-lovers? Or do they end up with a collection of uncomfortable exes that pop up periodically to cause problems?

~darkling
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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
All relationships end. Even if you never stop seeing the other person one of you will die sooner or later.

Given that all relationships end sooner or later, for me, the questions are more around how to live so that the relationships in my life are the best they can be.

IP
I struggle with this immensely darkling. You are not alone.

I also find the idea that all relationships end sooner or later, as IP noted, to be not helpful at all in resolving this issue for me. First, it's depressing. Realistic and accurate but just not how I want to think about my relationships. Second, spiritually, it's not true for me. I'm pagan and believe in reincarnation. I also believe that beyond death, the entities that were my friends, lovers, parents, family still exist in some form and will interact with the entity I become after death in some way. Everyone dies. However, I believe death is not the end. But I digress. You may find those words more useful than I do.

I have struggled to let go of the idea that relationships must be committed and must be lifelong in intent, if not in actuality. I have struggled to cope with the inherent expectations of that worldview. For example, that relationships have to 'go somewhere' in certain ways. One idea that has helped me think about those expectations is that of the 'relationship escalator'. Basically, the idea is that once in a relationship, it moves in a strict direction ('up' to marriage and babies traditionally). The blog, Solo Poly, has some great posts about implications of the relationship escalator, and what it can look like to get off the escalator. http://solopoly.net/. It's also been discussed here. I've found the idea helpful in framing my struggles but not in resolving them just yet.

(Solo Poly has some great posts on couple privilege which everyone who is in a couple, or wants to be in a couple should read IMHO.)

My relationship with my boyfriend started as FWB. It's gotten more serious over time. I've found that as it's gotten more involved and emotionally important, then my expectations went up. This has caused problems. I'm trying to examine the feelings underneath the expectations, examine the resulting envy and jealousy and get at what is really going on emotionally for me. Unfortunately, I don't have any other useful advice, beyond seeking the deep personal truth behind one's feelings, reactions and expectations.

It's hard. I'm not enjoying it. So far it's been worth it.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:25 PM
london london is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I struggle with this immensely darkling. You are not alone.

I also find the idea that all relationships end sooner or later, as IP noted, to be not helpful at all in resolving this issue for me. First, it's depressing. Realistic and accurate but just not how I want to think about my relationships. Second, spiritually, it's not true for me. I'm pagan and believe in reincarnation. I also believe that beyond death, the entities that were my friends, lovers, parents, family still exist in some form and will interact with the entity I become after death in some way. Everyone dies. However, I believe death is not the end. But I digress. You may find those words more useful than I do.

I have struggled to let go of the idea that relationships must be committed and must be lifelong in intent, if not in actuality. I have struggled to cope with the inherent expectations of that worldview. For example, that relationships have to 'go somewhere' in certain ways. One idea that has helped me think about those expectations is that of the 'relationship escalator'. Basically, the idea is that once in a relationship, it moves in a strict direction ('up' to marriage and babies traditionally). The blog, Solo Poly, has some great posts about implications of the relationship escalator, and what it can look like to get off the escalator. http://solopoly.net/. It's also been discussed here. I've found the idea helpful in framing my struggles but not in resolving them just yet.

(Solo Poly has some great posts on couple privilege which everyone who is in a couple, or wants to be in a couple should read IMHO.)

My relationship with my boyfriend started as FWB. It's gotten more serious over time. I've found that as it's gotten more involved and emotionally important, then my expectations went up. This has caused problems. I'm trying to examine the feelings underneath the expectations, examine the resulting envy and jealousy and get at what is really going on emotionally for me. Unfortunately, I don't have any other useful advice, beyond seeking the deep personal truth behind one's feelings, reactions and expectations.

It's hard. I'm not enjoying it. So far it's been worth it.
Why can't your relationship with your boyfriend last for (this) lifetime if you continue to make one another happy? I don't understand why people think they *have* to end at all?
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2013, 02:36 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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We all die-but in the mean time-
I love my husband and I love my boyfriend.
15 years with husband. 20 with boyfriend.
No end in sight.

How you negotiate the terms of any relationship is important.
There is no guarantee that one or another will end.
So you need not look at it from the assumption that it will.

Dying isn't "an end" to everyone. Some people see it as simple another change.
Relationships will change. Your relationship wtih everyone in the world including yourself will change over the course of time. But end? That part is unnecessary.
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Last edited by LovingRadiance; 10-16-2013 at 02:37 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:01 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Relationships end, people move on, some things seem unfair, and so forth. That's life. Not every relationship is meant to last a lifetime, but it's totally possible to have more than one that does - if you feel you must subscribe to some kind of hierarchy and consider someone a "secondary," why would you assume that they would automatically be a temporary person in your life?

Live each day like it's your last and get the most out of it. There is no worse thing to waste than your time. Treat the people you love with respect, kindness, and appreciation every single moment, whether they will stick around or not, and you can have a rich life, full of love and loving actions.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-16-2013 at 06:50 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2013, 06:33 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by london View Post
Why can't your relationship with your boyfriend last for (this) lifetime if you continue to make one another happy? I don't understand why people think they *have* to end at all?
There are circumstances and limits. For example, if he needs to move for work, we will break up because neither of us want a long distance relationship. But, yes, as long as we make each other happy and are in geographic proximity, I see no reason not to stay together!
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2013, 05:56 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I do have a spouse. I also have one partner where we are slowly creeping up on the three year mark, sometimes I think at some point in the future, this relationship may have to end even though it's a very happy relationship and our time together is certainly enjoyable. I also have one partner that I've been seeing less than a year, and I am sure this one has the potential to not end until maybe never. For me, the difference is one is integrating me into his life, and the other couldn't/wouldn't do that for various reasons. For me, this is probably what determines if a relationship has a shelf life or not for me.

Each person has their own criteria for what would work long term or not, I think it is very possible that even if a romantic relationship ends, other forms can continue. For instance, I'm starting to plan 21 years of friendship anniversary dinner for my ex husband right now, even long lasting romances don't always stay in the same form, that doesn't mean they weren't rewarding and successful. There are no guarantees, but there are also no for sure outcomes, and no reason to expect relationships will end if you choose somebody compatible and comfortable to spend time with with overlapping desires for the same sort of relationship.
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Last edited by Anneintherain; 10-17-2013 at 06:45 AM.
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