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Old 09-03-2011, 05:42 AM
Wiseacre Wiseacre is offline
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Default polyamorous girl, monogamous relationship

Hi, I just spent several hours reading posts here, you all seem like a very helpful and balanced bunch!

I'm a bisexual girl who's likely polyamorous. I say "likely" because I've yet to practice it, though I will if the chance comes. The thing is, my GF of a year isn't. I know I'm capable of feelings for more than one person at a time (I was in love with both her and my now-ex) and she knows this, too, but she's not comfortable with it. There's been drama between us over this, that's just now settling. But I don't feel it's something I can change, nor do I feel it's something I need to change, but it's a contentious issue between us. Even though we've reached an agreement, I still feel like she can change the terms of it whenever she wants, without me being afforded the same option, since I'm the one who's interested in exploring relationships with other people. She's said that the only form of polyamorous relationship she can see herself in is a triad, but it's not something she actively wants.

Any advice on coming to terms with my polyamorous tendencies while in a monogamous relationship? I don't know if she'll ever be comfortable with it, and it hurts to think she might never understand this part of me.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:23 AM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Wiseacre View Post
...

Any advice on coming to terms with my polyamorous tendencies while in a monogamous relationship? I don't know if she'll ever be comfortable with it, ...
hi Wiseacre

For me, poly is about getting the number of partners right.

Ideally, it is about getting it absolutely right for everyone in a relationship. In practice, this is sometimes impossible, if partners have different ideas. Then for me the issue becomes: what number of partners is best overall? Which existing partner can give way and still flourish as a person within the relationship.

In the year 2000 I was where you are now (except it was a hettie couple). I decided I could give way and accept mono boundaries while the relationships lasted, because I could see my partner was genuine when she said that was what she needed. I could look at myself and see that I could be OK with mono, even if it was not my ideal state.

To be fair, the discussion needs to be equal: both of you open to discuss the idea of either person moving position. In that sense again, I was where you find yourself: my then partner would not even discuss the matter. OK, then, it became my decision whether to accept that or not.

If neither partner can give way and yet still flourish as a person, then the relationship will hurt at least one of you (ie the one who gives way). In that case, in my opinion, it would be better to end it. Gracefully, tactfully, respectfully, stay friends, but neither of you trapping the other in something that will stifle her as a person.

Quote:
... it hurts to think she might never understand this part of me.
Maybe the important thing is whether she can ever accept that this is a part of you (and this does seem in doubt at present). But if she could come to accept it as a part of the person she loves, how much would it matter if she still did not understand??
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Last edited by trueRiver; 09-03-2011 at 11:28 AM. Reason: added final comment
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:37 AM
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IrisAwakened IrisAwakened is offline
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Wiseacre- I know how you feel, pretty much (no situation can be exactly the same). I am thinking I am poly and my husband isn't sure if that is what I am or if it is just an excuse. He is also against the idea. He keeps telling me to put it off, then I found someone I really liked and he was faced with it again. It doesn't go away.

What most people will tell you is this: You have to make a choice. Is she worth you staying mono? Will she think you are worth being poly? Will you need to move on from her and find someone who is more into your line of thinking?

The answers to those Qs for me are: My husband and I decided to never divorce. We are worth staying together, but we just do not know how to compromise yet, so we are taking it slow (snails pace), having talks, just getting him used to the idea. Not letting him forget it like last time, letting him know I think of it often and feel this is something about me, not him or us. Perhaps that could help you?

Only you can decide if she is worth the sacrifice and only she can decide if you are worth the sacrifice. Know that she is feeling hurt right now, as annoying as it can be when people are as open about love as us, she just needs time and love. She may never warm up to the idea, but give her the chance.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:10 AM
Wiseacre Wiseacre is offline
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Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
If neither partner can give way and yet still flourish as a person, then the relationship will hurt at least one of you (ie the one who gives way). In that case, in my opinion, it would be better to end it. Gracefully, tactfully, respectfully, stay friends, but neither of you trapping the other in something that will stifle her as a person.

Maybe the important thing is whether she can ever accept that this is a part of you (and this does seem in doubt at present). But if she could come to accept it as a part of the person she loves, how much would it matter if she still did not understand??
This is the only thing I feel stifled about in our relationship, though I have agreed to be mono for a year. I'm afraid that when the year is up, if I bring up the subject again, I'll get the same, "Am I not enough for you?" responses and the fights and the guilt will start all over again.

I think that's why it upsets me that she doesn't seem to understand it; we connect so well on every other level. I'm trying new things to deal with my frustration over this; reading about Buddhism and practicing meditation, for example, and just reminding myself how grateful I am to have this relationship with her.

Part of the problem is, I have a tendency to form crushes. She's said she's afraid I'm going to lose my head over every guy that hits on me, and the very fact that I form crushes causes her pain, despite that I know they don't last. She wants me to avoid forming crushes, but it's not exactly something I can control. I feel like if I turn tail and run every time I think I might crush on someone, I might be missing out on some great friendships, and possibly some growth as a person.

I guess I've always thought acceptance springs from understanding, not as two separate states. I'll have to mull that over, thanks for the food for thought!
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:29 AM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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Originally Posted by Wiseacre View Post
This is the only thing I feel stifled about in our relationship, though I have agreed to be mono for a year. I'm afraid that when the year is up, if I bring up the subject again, I'll get the same, "Am I not enough for you?" responses and the fights and the guilt will start all over again.
If you let the subject go quiet, and don't bring it up again until the year is up, then you certainly will get that. Your gf has to accept that the price for you remaining mono (for her) for a year is that she has to work on at least trying to understand how poly works, and at least trying to understand that THIS IS NOT ABOUT HER. It's about YOU.

She doesn't have to like it. She doesn't have to agree with it. SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO PROMISE TO GIVE IT A TRY. But she DOES have to work on understanding, and work on her own esteem and insecurity issues, or else you're just choking down your feelings and she's just coasting along, expecting to never have to deal with it again, and that ain't right. Even if, at the end of it all, you do remain mono, you'll both be better off if she doesn't derive her self-esteem from having you all to herself.

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Originally Posted by Wiseacre
I think that's why it upsets me that she doesn't seem to understand it; we connect so well on every other level.
Just as some people will never, ever, in their lives, be able to understand calculus and differential equations, there are people who will never, ever, in their lives, be able to comprehend the notion of having deep romantic love for more than one person at a time. That's just the way they're wired. I think that most people merely have societal acculturation to overcome; there are some, though, who are hardwired mono, and you have to accept that your gf might be one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiseacre
Part of the problem is, I have a tendency to form crushes. She's said she's afraid I'm going to lose my head over every guy that hits on me, and the very fact that I form crushes causes her pain, despite that I know they don't last. She wants me to avoid forming crushes, but it's not exactly something I can control. I feel like if I turn tail and run every time I think I might crush on someone, I might be missing out on some great friendships, and possibly some growth as a person.
That's me, too, but with girls.

There are a number of scary issues here that she will need to examine if you are going to give poly a go, and still be with her. She's going to have to get down and dirty about WHY she fears that you'll lose your head over some guy, and about WHY having crushes causes her pain. I'm pretty sure I know the answer (it's fear that she'll lose you, fear that she doesn't think she'll measure up even though you won't be measuring, fear that she's not good enough, and so on), but until she realizes that for herself, and speaks truth to her fears, she'll be defensive and reflexive about all of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiseacre
I guess I've always thought acceptance springs from understanding, not as two separate states. I'll have to mull that over, thanks for the food for thought!
It often does, but in this case, what she needs most to understand is HERSELF. Once she knows why she feels the way she feels, only then will she be in a position not to be frightened. That's going to take a LOT of reassurance on your part, and it may take a number of baby steps even if she does agree to try staying with you while you live as a poly.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:00 AM
Wiseacre Wiseacre is offline
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Originally Posted by MorningTwilight View Post
She doesn't have to like it. She doesn't have to agree with it. SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO PROMISE TO GIVE IT A TRY. But she DOES have to work on understanding, and work on her own esteem and insecurity issues, or else you're just choking down your feelings and she's just coasting along, expecting to never have to deal with it again, and that ain't right.
I would never extract a promise from her to try it. That seems like a road headed straight into disaster to me.

Whenever the subject comes up, we end up at the same place: she feels like she's holding me back, and is conflicted over that, and afraid it will lead to resentment if we don't try it. But at the same time, she told me recently she doesn't think she can EVER be in a non-monogamous relationship, and if she ever changes her mind, she'll let me know, and, well, pretty much to never bring up the subject again in the context of our relationship. Which was frustrating, because I brought up the subject but not in the context of our relationship, and her questions brought us there.

Where I'm at now, I need to figure out exactly how important this is to my happiness, and how much of a risk I want to take for something I've never tried. Meanwhile, keep loving her, reassuring her, and trying my best to help her through her insecurity and self-esteem issues, while working on my own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorningTwilight View Post
Just as some people will never, ever, in their lives, be able to understand calculus and differential equations, there are people who will never, ever, in their lives, be able to comprehend the notion of having deep romantic love for more than one person at a time. That's just the way they're wired. I think that most people merely have societal acculturation to overcome; there are some, though, who are hardwired mono, and you have to accept that your gf might be one of them.
This is part of why I've taken up meditation and reading about Buddhist practices. I will never be able to understand calculus. It's likely she'll never understand poly, nor want to. Practicing mindfulness and meditation is all about acceptance and letting go of anguish. It'll be good for my peace of mind, no matter what happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorningTwilight View Post
It often does, but in this case, what she needs most to understand is HERSELF. Once she knows why she feels the way she feels, only then will she be in a position not to be frightened. That's going to take a LOT of reassurance on your part, and it may take a number of baby steps even if she does agree to try staying with you while you live as a poly.
At this point, I don't think living as a poly while staying with her is feasible. But, this brought up a lot of issues between us that need to be addressed regardless. I'm going to put my focus on those instead of opening our relationship up in any way.

I think it's remarkable how simply bringing up the idea of non-monogamy flushes out so many emotions and issues. I wonder how many people would choose to live non-monogamously if they (and our culture) were better equipped for it.

Thanks so much for the response!
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