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  #41  
Old 11-02-2011, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
Its completely clear to me now that I, like Mags, enjoy the commitment, but need the space. This is what I work on rather than working on ways to leave. Perhaps that is an option for you, or perhaps you really are done.
I am really struggling with how to arrive at this level of clarity. I feel like I have been wrestling with ambivalence for so long. Its really getting exhausting for both me and Alex (and sometimes I imagine also for our friends who are supports for us). I love her and she loves me (probably to a fault), but I have not been able to get to the place where I have the independence and freedom I crave in the context of this relationship. I know that I play the biggest role in that. So how long is too long to keep trying? I feel like I have been slowly slipping into a depression over the past 8 or so months, and the NRE with Sam has been a nice boost to my mood but obviously does not solve the core issue. I don't even know that leaving Alex would solve the core issue either, but I do feel like something needs to radically shift or I'm going to disappear under the covers for an indefinite period of time (and not in the fun way).

Alex has been amazing in terms of expanding with me into our new agreements around non-monogamy. Part of me doesn't want to give up on that hard work and then have to re-create it with someone else down the line. But maybe I would be even better at it if I had time to explore who I am outside of the expectations of a primary commitment? She has drawn a hard line around "polyamory", saying that she is okay with me having a sexual relationship outside of our marriage but not an emotional one. I haven't even really tried to take that one on yet, because as I wrote earlier I already have feelings for Sam. And as I know from reading other people's stories, this is a common theme...people think they can agree to not have feelings, but sex often comes with feelings. It does for me, if I have sex with a person more than once or twice. I suppose this is another example of my passivity with Alex, in that although I have told her that I do have feelings for Sam, I still have agreed to keep that relationship primarily sexual even though I want more and so does Sam.

Which leads me to another thing I find myself struggling with: while I know (at least intellectually) that it is okay to want what I want, I have a hard time knowing when it is okay to ask for it and when it is just selfish and I need to just sit with the wanting. When I do ask for things that are hard for Alex to say yes to, initially she often has a strong reaction and then softens somewhat after we talk about it. But her intense reactions do dissuade me from asking for what I want, and I find myself questioning everything I feel, wondering if I am just an entitled brat and need to suck it up, or if my intuition and experiences are really leading me somewhere important and I need to listen to them. I have a hunch that one or both are true in different contexts, but I have a hard time making the distinction.
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  #42  
Old 11-02-2011, 12:02 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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BL, I am hereby giving you permission to leave. You've tried hard and so has Alex, and you're both to be commended for that. Choosing, in the end, to leave doesn't invalidate or diminish the hard work or the love or the time spent together thus far. All of that is still real. But what I'm hearing, in very clear terms now that you've had time to go over it more then once, is that you're ready to go. I actually mistyped that as ready to "grow" and I probably needn't have corrected myself.

You know what you want and you know what you need to do to get it. You want freedom and space and to be solo while exploring new loves. That is ok. You've held yourself back while you've ben slipping into depression because of your love for Alex, because leaving didn't seem fair, because you knew it would be hard, and because you didn't know if you had the right.

It *will* be hard but it will get easier with time. She'll be ok and you will be ok and you'll know that you finally chose to do the hard thing rather than second-guess yourself and swallow yourself back indefinitely. I'm telling you now, you have the right and it is ok. You can leave any time you want. You are free.
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  #43  
Old 11-02-2011, 02:44 PM
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I feel like I have been slowly slipping into a depression over the past 8 or so months, and the NRE with Sam has been a nice boost to my mood but obviously does not solve the core issue. I don't even know that leaving Alex would solve the core issue either, but I do feel like something needs to radically shift or I'm going to disappear under the covers for an indefinite period of time (and not in the fun way).

. . . I suppose this is another example of my passivity with Alex, in that although I have told her that I do have feelings for Sam, I still have agreed to keep that relationship primarily sexual even though I want more and so does Sam.
Well, it could very well be that your relationship with Alex is done and it's time to get out, but I wonder if you are wanting us to tell you what you already know.

Now, let's say you do break up. Sam has expressed having feelings for you and you have feelings for her. What will prevent you from being passive with Sam, and following the same trajectory with her that you did with Alex and other relationships in the past? I think your work will be to watch for that feeling of being confined, controlled, suffocated, and to be aware of thoughts and associations that bring it up (these patterns usually come from childhood - by the time we're about 7 or 8 years old, we've already put together our strategies for going out into the world and that stays with us in our subconscious. So the trick is to bring it to consciousness and become aware of those patterns so that instead of falling into them by default, we can make a choice!). I would also look at opportunities to be assertive and come out and say what you need, as much as you can. Sure, you won't always get what you want, but why should the word "no" keep you from asking again?

Here is a great video of a young girl speaking at a Ted conference on how she doesn't let the word "no" stop her when she wants something. She's all of 16 years old in this video: Fiona Lowenstein at TEDxYouth

Is Sam poly (sorry, I don't recall) or do you think she wants a heavy-duty committed monogamous thing with you?

If you do move on from your relationship with Alex, I think it would behoove you to be independent and not live with anybody for a while (not any lovers, at least), and date around. Take any new relationships slo-o-o-owly so you don't allow yourself to get caught up in old patterns of being. And listen to your intuition, take chances in expressing yourself.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 11-02-2011 at 09:47 PM.
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  #44  
Old 11-02-2011, 09:37 PM
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You know what, I disagree with leaving. She is trying but also has her own pace to consider. There is nothing wrong with that. Putting her foot down might give her some comfort for a bit and that is okay as long as she knows that it has to move forward eventually. That you are not done with the boundary jiust becasue she has decidsed that its done.

I think you need to stop feeling like you are asking to much and stand up for what you need in this relationship with Sam and for your life then go do it with as much respect to her as you can . I also think that she would do well to read this thread and see that people think you should leave. Sometimes that can be a great motivater. Radical honesty; what do you have to loose that you aren't already considering ending anyway. You never know, it might just be the jolt you need to get going on what works better for you and for her. After all, she might do better or decide that working on this just isn't going to work for her.
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  #45  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:17 PM
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wow, there is so much to think about here. i really love getting all this direct feedback so i will say it again: thank you so much.

something about annabelmore giving me permission to leave did strike a chord with me. i have read that post over and over again. i have been heavy with guilt over not feeling like it was fair or like i had the right to leave. it certainly is not the easy or convenient thing to do for anyone. but i have been trying really hard to make this work and i just end up feeling more and more guilty and bad about myself and Alex just feels more and more insecure and desperate. this morning she said to me "all i do is give, give, give and all you do is take, take, take". i know she said that out of feeling hurt but it exemplifies for me why i need to leave, at least for while. she can't see how i'm trying, and she's giving more than she truly feels comfortable with. she feels like a chump and i feel like a jerk. i can't be what she needs me to be right now and vice versa.

we have agreed to a trial separation. we are still negotiating what that will look like but at the very least it means me moving out for awhile and having my freedom. i feel like i need to start at ground zero and really explore what my needs and boundaries are and how to communicate those along the lines of what nycindie said...i need to look for opportunities to be assertive, with Sam and with others that I (casually!) date, so that i can truly learn how to preserve my sense of myself in the context of a relationship without feeling smothered or controlled. that is my work to do. i have thought about taking the rest of this year as a trial separation from Alex, and if we are still in the same place, and i'm still wanting to leave, i will sign a year lease on my own place for next year and commit to a FULL year of being single, living alone, and doing the work on myself that i need to do. i have some amazing opportunities to do some deep spiritual work next year that are presenting themselves right now, and i think being single and just dating will really support me going as deep as i can into that work.

as far as Sam goes, she is new to poly but is seeing other people right now also, which is perfect. she has told me she is falling in love with me but i think that is okay as long as we are both on the same page about what that means and how far this will go. i agree that i will need to stay vigilant about not falling into the same pattern of being passive and then sliding into something i don't want and feeling trapped by it. i want to learn how to love and be loved freely and generously, without the need to possess or control, without the need to build up a lot of expectations, allowing each relationship to find its own natural levels while I give myself the gift of truly finding my own way, learning to be with my own heart and being able to share it with others in a truly authentic way.
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  #46  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:31 PM
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excellent point, rp! How easily one can forget that it's possible to still be independent and in a committed relationship!
amen!
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  #47  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:07 PM
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just for the record, i DO know it is possible to be independent and in a committed relationship, i just don't know that it is possible for me right now (given my current issues and work to do) to be in a relationship with Alex (given our history and dynamic) and get both my need for independence and her need for safety met. i do aspire to have that in my relationships someday though.
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  #48  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:08 PM
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Good luck, at least you will know next time what kind of person you are willing to put work into with. This kind of mono person doesn't seem to work for you. It sounds like she would be better off with a mono man and you with someone who is poly.
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  #49  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:10 PM
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i think you are right, rp. just for the record, sam, alex, and i are all queer females
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  #50  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:47 PM
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Best of luck. You're going to be just fine.
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