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Old 09-25-2011, 04:27 PM
NumberFive NumberFive is offline
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Default Dealing With Never

I just need somewhere to vent for a sec. And maybe you all can give me some helpful tips for dealing with these negative emotions that I just have no obvious outlet for.

Background. I am a straight male poly currently in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful woman who is slowly warming to the idea of multiple relationships. She has always been OK with me having sex with other women, something I have not often taken advantage of -- because I am not interested in the variety of my sex partners so much as I am looking for closeness and emotional connection with more than one woman. She is aware of this, but needs to be reassured regularly that any future partners won't "replace" her or somehow diminish my love for her. It proceeds slowly, but I think as I build romantic connections with other women and she sees that the foundation of our relationship has not eroded whatsoever, she is coming around.

Well, that was longer than I intended it to be. But I suppose without the full picture none of this makes any sense.

The problem: I keep falling for women who aren't interested in polyamory. Two women in particular I have built strong friendships with that could become more, but neither of them seems to accept that the poly lifestyle is possible. I have broached the topic with one of them, and while she didn't really give me much of a response I got the impression that it was a non-starter. This makes me nervous to talk about it with the the other. My current partner loves the first woman, but more sort of likes the other.

Meanwhile, the two women I am interested in continue to pursue other, more traditional relationships (which I am fine with). However, the relationships tend to leave the women unhappy and unfulfilled (which I am not fine with). Of course, I'm just self-aware enough to realize that I might be prejudging those relationships out of jealousy. I don't really interfere, I have met and like the guys all right, but some selfish, jealous part of me believes that no man they choose could ever love them like I do.

Further, the impression I get from the first woman is that while she doesn't think being with my wife and I is possible, she judges every man she gets involved with against my standards. This has ruined at least one of her relationships. If I love her, and I do, can I let her keep doing this? Do I need to "withdraw the invitation" so to speak, or distance myself from her somehow? If she can't be with me, I can't stand to make her unhappy. While every bone in my body wants to cling on to the desperate hope that she will have an epiphany and we can be together one day, the other part of me doesn't want to ruin what chance at happiness she might have without me.

I guess the only advice I'm asking for is how to deal with the emotional strain of realizing that you care for someone very deeply, and they care for you, but the life you envision between you just can't happen, or doesn't seem to want to happen. It's all very frustrating, and in the end I simply don't know whether I'm just deluding myself into believing that a poly lifestyle is tenable in my situation, or if I've simply fallen for the wrong women, or if I'm trying to hold too tightly on to the women I love because our relationships will never be what I want them to be, or what. I just don't know how to deal with never. It makes me feel young, and it makes me feel stupid, and I don't care for it.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:26 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Originally Posted by NumberFive View Post
Further, the impression I get from the first woman is that while she doesn't think being with my wife and I is possible, she judges every man she gets involved with against my standards. This has ruined at least one of her relationships. If I love her, and I do, can I let her keep doing this? Do I need to "withdraw the invitation" so to speak, or distance myself from her somehow? If she can't be with me, I can't stand to make her unhappy. While every bone in my body wants to cling on to the desperate hope that she will have an epiphany and we can be together one day, the other part of me doesn't want to ruin what chance at happiness she might have without me.
This statement has me confused. Is you interest in her only about the sex? Why can't you just be her friend? How is being her friend and someone she admires ruining her chances at happiness? Many women judge their potential partners based on qualities they admire in other men in their life, be it father, brother, uncle, boss or best friend. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that the ones she is no longer with, weren't what she really wanted. If you think she is doing something that is destructive to her, have a conversation with her.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:37 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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No easy answers for you, sorry. I think that I also tend to fall for women who are incompatible with me. Not just because of polyamory, in fact sometimes this doesn't come up at all. WHY do we fall for unsuitable people?

What I wanted to pick up on were the following points:
Quote:
Originally Posted by NumberFive View Post
If I love her, and I do, can I let her keep doing this? Do I need to "withdraw the invitation" so to speak, or distance myself from her somehow? If she can't be with me, I can't stand to make her unhappy.
a) It's not up to you to "let her keep doing this" or not. It's her life. You can't choose whom she decides to get involved with.

b) Do you really believe that if you remove your standing invitation to start a relationship with you [understood from the beginning that you're poly], that she's going to stop measuring other men against your standard? The only way that I know to do this for sure would be for you to set out to prove to her what a nasty person you are. And that's an UGLY game!

c) It's an old cliché on these relationship forums (but clichés are more often than not true: that's how they become clichés) that nobody can make anyone else happy or unhappy. She makes her choices. Either she accepts that you're poly and learns to live with that, in one of the following ways:
i) she realises that you aren't the man that she's looking for, and gets on with her life;
ii) she realises that your being poly is one of the facets that go towards making you such a wonderful man (in her eyes), that she PREFERS your honesty, integrity, and emotional generosity to the stinginess of other men who refuse to allow her to share her love with others;
iii) she realises that there's no future in a sexual relationship with her, but that you're one of her best and truest friends;
... OR she resents that this aspect of yours is ROBBING her of a wonderful chance at happiness and becomes unhappy and/or bitter.
But that's not YOU making her unhappy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NumberFive View Post
Two women in particular I have built strong friendships with that could become more, but neither of them seems to accept that the poly lifestyle is possible.
Well what's wrong with strong friendships? I know, I know: you're sexually attracted AS WELL. But a strong friendship isn't anything to turn your nose up at. If the sexual link doesn't happen, be happy with what you've got.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NumberFive View Post
I have broached the topic with one of them, and while she didn't really give me much of a response I got the impression that it was a non-starter. This makes me nervous to talk about it with the the other. My current partner loves the first woman, but more sort of likes the other.
Some people need time to process all this. Just because she hasn't jumped into your arms YET doesn't mean it's a no-hoper. Give her time. (No expectations, mind you: but no despair.)
And you should KNOW that how A reacts doesn't determine how B will react. Life and Love are full of taking scary steps.
3rd point on this: How long has your girlfriend known these 2 women... and how closely? Give friendships AND Love time. The fact that your girlfriend can "bring herself" to "sort of like" another woman that you're interested in sexually makes you a pretty lucky guy compared with many others!
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Originally Posted by NumberFive View Post
However, the relationships tend to leave the women unhappy and unfulfilled (which I am not fine with). Of course, I'm just self-aware enough to realize that I might be prejudging those relationships out of jealousy. I don't really interfere, I have met and like the guys all right, but some selfish, jealous part of me believes that no man they choose could ever love them like I do.
My poly girlfriend of 6 1/2 years left me, perhaps partly because I rejected her proposal of switching to a mono relationship. For many years after we split, I was close enough to watch her slip from one (in my book) unhealthy relationship to another. The one right after me was a doozy! (From one extreme of the pendulum to the other?) He got jealous whenever she was happy (laughing, having a good time) and he wasn't THE source of her happiness (whether he was present or not). As for her husband (the 2nd or 3rd after me): as far as I know, they haven't spoken with each other (aside from whenever legally necessary for the divorce) since they split.
But it's her life. And I haven't got a part in it anymore. Sometimes you've just got to accept that.
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If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #4  
Old 09-25-2011, 05:39 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
This statement has me confused. Is you interest in her only about the sex? Why can't you just be her friend? How is being her friend and someone she admires ruining her chances at happiness? Many women judge their potential partners based on qualities they admire in other men in their life, be it father, brother, uncle, boss or best friend. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that the ones she is no longer with, weren't what she really wanted. If you think she is doing something that is destructive to her, have a conversation with her.
Spot on!
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2011, 06:06 PM
Jade Jade is offline
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"Meanwhile, the two women I am interested in continue to pursue other, more traditional relationships (which I am fine with). However, the relationships tend to leave the women unhappy and unfulfilled (which I am not fine with)."

Not your issue. Not saying that to be mean, but really, you're not parent, big brother, or even husband guiding your wife into how to have a more fulfilling relationship with her poly partner. Sounds like you're just trying to play rescuer.

"Of course, I'm just self-aware enough to realize that I might be prejudging those relationships out of jealousy. I don't really interfere, I have met and like the guys all right, but some selfish, jealous part of me believes that no man they choose could ever love them like I do."

If you are not in the running, you don't get to choose the contestants.

"Further, the impression I get from the first woman is that while she doesn't think being with my wife and I is possible, she judges every man she gets involved with against my standards. This has ruined at least one of her relationships."

Okay, again, not trying to be mean, but this smacks of presumption on your part.

"If I love her, and I do, can I let her keep doing this?"

Why do you think you control her? She may see something in you she likes, and may be seeking it in someone else. So what?

"Do I need to "withdraw the invitation" so to speak, or distance myself from her somehow? If she can't be with me, I can't stand to make her unhappy. While every bone in my body wants to cling on to the desperate hope that she will have an epiphany and we can be together one day, the other part of me doesn't want to ruin what chance at happiness she might have without me."

If you offered, and she declined, it seems to me there is no reason to withdraw it. And frankly, it is not in your power to ruin her happiness.

"I guess the only advice I'm asking for is how to deal with the emotional strain of realizing that you care for someone very deeply, and they care for you, but the life you envision between you just can't happen, or doesn't seem to want to happen. It's all very frustrating,"

Agreed. That frustration kicks in for me when I have a high interest in "making it work," and the other person doesn't, for whatever reason.

"and in the end I simply don't know whether I'm just deluding myself into believing that a poly lifestyle is tenable in my situation, or if I've simply fallen for the wrong women, or if I'm trying to hold too tightly on to the women I love because our relationships will never be what I want them to be, or what. I just don't know how to deal with never. It makes me feel young, and it makes me feel stupid, and I don't care for it."

Well... sometimes the writing is on the wall, and we don't want to read it. Sometimes we hold onto things because people send us mixed messages. We're afraid to let go because there's a 10% chance it could work, even though we know damn well, in our heart of hearts, the 90% is what we're really dealing with.

You may as well let go. You can't control it anyway. You don't have to be an ass about it. Letting go of expectations is just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sigh... I should have taken my own advice two days ago
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:52 PM
NumberFive NumberFive is offline
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I thank you guys for your replies... I really just don't have my head on straight about this. I don't usually come to the internet for advice... I just needed a place to vent my feelings and see what y'all thought.

I think that I'm come to a resolution of some cognitive dissonance in that I've realized that I'm just selfish and have been deceiving myself about what I want out of these relationships. Maybe I'm too possessive to deal with what an open relationship really means. It's given me even more to think of.

But thanks in no small part to your candid replies, I'm going to just let it be and fix my own head first.
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