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Old 07-16-2013, 03:43 AM
UNESCOjunkie UNESCOjunkie is offline
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Default My partner is poly but doesn't want me to be

Hello all,
A little background: My partner (42/m) and I (26/f) have been together for 6 years. He was with his other partner (38/f) for a year when we accidentally fell in love (they had an arrangement where he could hook up with other people) and based on my previous interest in , I recommended we try it. I was in the sex industry at the time and didn't have any interest in forming romantic relationships with anyone else, though I was having sex with other people and we would swing on occasion. About 3 years ago they got married with my blessing, and 9 months ago they welcomed the birth of their new baby. I quit the sex industry 3 years ago and moved a few hours away for school, so we have been long distance for about 3 years and see each other at least every couple of months.

Well, paired with the fact that I no longer have an additional sexual/sensual/romantic outlet and that I spend approximately 1/12 of my life with him, we have talked about ways to open our relationship that we are both comfortable with. We agreed (begrudgingly on my behalf) that we would continue to swing on occasion, and I was allowed to hook up with girls when I was away. I'm approximately a 2.5 on a scale of 1-7, and while I do sometimes find myself drawn to women, I'm primarily attracted to men. I met one woman that I had a 1 month fling with, but my partner was not happy with how I handled it because we spent substantial amounts of time together because we were working on a project together. He doesn't really mind when I do things like go to BDSM clubs and scene with someone as long as we dont exchange contact information, and has often given his consent for a "free pass" to have sex with someone without him there as long as we do not stay in contact. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for me. I spent 5 years having casual sex on a regular basis and it is simply not fulfilling for me anymore. And then I met somebody.

This person (28/M) lives in the state my mom lives in so I visit often, but not as the same state as me. We get along famously, he keeps me laughing constantly, and I really feel like we complement each other very well. We are really sweet and affectionate with each other and spent an entire weekend cuddled up due to freezing cold weather at a burn event and bonded pretty hardcore. We also bonded with another woman (23/f) and we called each other boyfriends and girlfriends. After the burn, I told my partner about everything that had happened and was completely elated, NRE to the max. I tried to tone it down but express how happy I was and how I wanted to pursue what could be there, and he begrudgingly consented to me continuing my relationship with these people.

Well, the other woman came to visit with my partner and me and it was wonderful, they got along famously. However, my partner is still very apprehensive about my relationship with the other guy. He and I do not have sex but we do engage in sensual play (basically no genital contact), and I am completely open about what goes on between us. The new guy is very open to the poly situation and wants to get to know my partner but my partner sees the new guy as a threat and, while he is trying, it is extremely hard for him and our conversations are very heavy most of the time. It is very clear that he does not want me to be poly and that he is uncomfortable and feeling that I am pushing him against his will into it, but I dont know what else to do. I was hoping that the would have some sort of insight or experience to share or maybe some resources or articles that are suited to this particular situation? I dont have any other poly people firmly in my life to turn to.

Thanks so much for whatever support you can offer.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:56 AM
london london is offline
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All I can say is what I would do. I would firstly tell my partner that I will be having relationships with other people and that he needs to think of ways that do not impact on my relationships with other people, but that would make him feel valued. This might be date nights, access to your Google calender that you keep updated with your social schedule, check ins etc. I would negotiate on these if I felt they could potentially impede on my relationships until a realistic compromise had been found. This might mean that I change 2 hourly check ins when I am on a date to a text before and a text after, or if I can find a slot in the date where it wouldn't be rude to start texting someone else. I would stick to these, vigorously, and by that I mean that I would go to the ends of the Earth to make sure I never forgot. I want him to be secure.

He would have to work on this too though. I would need to see him trying. I would want to see progress. If he couldn't handle this then personally, me being poly is more important to me than any individual relationship. That's a decision I made some time ago. If he felt he couldn't handle this and give me the freedom to have other relationships, it would mean that we are incompatible.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:16 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
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Transitioning from swinging and play partners to full on poly isn't easy for some.

BTW, don't swing with your bf if it's not doing it for you anymore! Yuck.

Read around this site for tips/articles on just about any kind of transition.

http://www.morethantwo.com/

Also read the book Opening Up. If your bf cares, he can and should read and research poly too, instead of trying to control your sexuality and choices about love.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:45 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I really feel like we complement each other very well.
Quote:
We also bonded with another woman (23/f) and we called each other boyfriends and girlfriends.
I'm glad you have bonded with your partners.

Quote:
After the burn, I told my partner about everything that had happened and was completely elated, NRE to the max. I tried to tone it down but express how happy I was and how I wanted to pursue what could be there, and he begrudgingly consented to me continuing my relationship with these people.
He does not control you. He has not given you begrudging consent to be in relationship with these people. You ARE in relationship with these people. You decided to be in relationship with these people.

What you are asking for and what he gives you is his goodwill and his willingness to be in concurrent relationship with you. His willingness to STAY in polyship with you even though the polyship shape has changed. He controls his own willingness to participate and keep participating as the shape or number of the polyship changes.

Quote:
It is very clear that he does not want me to be poly and that he is uncomfortable and feeling that I am pushing him against his will into it.
You aren't holding him captive. He controls his willingness in this situation. He could say "No. I am not willing to do that" to you.

If he is doing something against his will, it is him who is putting him in that situation.

You could ask him if he's still willing to be in concurrent relationships with joy in his heart... but you can see he isn't. So instead you could ask him why he's doing this against his will when it is obvious he's not happy about it. Is he afraid to lose you? Is he afraid to ask you to stop seeing the guy? What's he afraid of? That he won't be enough? It kinda reminds me of this post from an older thread.

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...6&postcount=12

I don't know exactly how this changed or what your agreements between you were... but it seems like you plunged in without checking in. Is that the expectation in your polyship? Everyone operates like a "free agent?" Or is the expectation to "check in first" before adding new dating partners? (You mention various agreements about casual sex play partners but not any agreements about dating partners.)

You could ask him if his "uncomfortable" actually stems from you having made a choice that impacted the old polyship before consulting all the players inside it. Maybe he feels like you made a unilateral decision for the group? Is that the case? If so, I could see why he feels "taken along for the ride." It isn't so much WHAT you are doing (dating people) but HOW you started to do it (without giving anyone a heads up and getting the goodwill first (HOW you did it.) Could ask him if that is the root of the unhappy feelings for him.

If jealousy is the root of it, you could ask him if he's willing to deal with his jealousy and examine his core beliefs. You could ask him what kind of support he needs from you in doing that work. In the end, it is on him to resolve his jealous issues if that's the root of all this. You can be supportive, but you cannot do it FOR him.

If states he is no longer willing to participate in these concurrent relationships LIKE THIS?

Then the next options for you could be to reduce the number of players in the polyship. Or stop polyshipping with him entirely. You have to figure out where your own willingness lies then and what you are most willing to do.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-16-2013 at 02:21 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2013, 02:09 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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My only question for you is this: Who is in control of your life - you or him?
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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/
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:40 PM
UNESCOjunkie UNESCOjunkie is offline
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Oh my goodness, you folks are amazing, thank you so much for your feedback! I suppose a bit of elaboration is necessary so to fill in some details in the story.

I was not begrudgingly agreeing to swing because I didn't want to swing, I do enjoy playing with him and friends, just not swinging on my own. Random hook-ups with no contact afterward makes me feel icky when sex is in the mix. I do enjoy a random make out session or some heavy flirting and dont necessarily need to form relationships out of those moments, and he isn't bothered by that much. So luckily, there isn't any of that "forced swinging" stuff. What we did compromise on was that I would be allowed to hook up with girls and girls only, and his preference is that they are bisexual women so that there is a chance that he would be able to hook up with them as well. The woman that I ended up seeing for a month was a lesbian, however.

When I really bonded with these 2 individuals (the man and the woman), it was in our relationship agreement that I could kiss and be flirty with others as long as it didn't form longer term relationships, but because we bonded so deeply I could not bear the thought of a "that was nice, good to know ya" and that's when I brought up the request to keep them in my lives as romantic partners. He was much more comfortable with the girl and we had a great time together as the 3 of us, but she has other partners that keep her busy and we do not talk to each other as much as I do with the other guy. Plus, she lives in a place that I have no real connection to, so the only way to see her would be to make a special trip. With the guy, he lives close to my mother so I would be able to see him much more regularly (at least twice a year).

He really seems to be trying. He says he is, but that it's just really hard because he feels pushed into it. However, it seems that we have been discussing the opening of our relationship for years now with very little movement. He feels that he is "giving up everything and I am giving nothing in return" that being with him as opposed to not is not a compromise. The truth is, I do want complete freedom to see whomever I want and do whatever I want, but the compromise I am offering is to include him in everything that I can, to inform him of whatever I am doing, and to make the efforts to go completely across country to spend time with him. When I am at his house, by the way, his wife is uncomfortable with PDA so any more than a slight peck or a hand hold makes her uncomfortable to be around so we refrain, let alone having sex while she is home. Her parents (who do not know about our relationship) are now in the house staying over with regularity to help with the baby, which means I'm now having to sleep in a separate room and pretend that we are not romantically involved when they are around. I am a very cuddly, kissy, lovey person and I feel like it is a compromise for me to be in a situation where I am not allowed to express affection with my partner, but he doesn't seem to think so because it is out of his control. Then he gets mad that he doesn't give me the affection that I need and that I need to seek it elsewhere.

So I guess i may have "plunged in without checking in", insofar as I went into a situation with our relationship parameters in mind and came out asking for something that was not initially part of our agreement. Thus, checking in *after* to keep these people in my life. Some of our original relationship agreements remain, however, specifically the one penis policy. New guy and I are perfectly content with where our relationship is right now and do not feel we need to add sex into it, although I have never and will never claim that we will never want to, but that is a compromise that I made that my partner doesn't seem to acknowledge because we still "want to" which makes him uncomfortable. We had talked about the possibility of me becoming attracted to another man and what that would mean, what we would do with that, and he kept blowing it off like "we're talking hypothetically right now, lets cross that bridge when we come to it" and when we came to it, he felt betrayed that I didn't come to him before any of it happened.

Again, you all have been more than helpful and I am so grateful for all of your feedback. I will be taking it into our upcoming conversations, for sure.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:41 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Thanks for elaborating. That helps. So you WERE checking in. That WAS the check in.

You met and made out and had sex with some people. (Your standing agreement allows this.) But then you wanted to pursue more than sex and cultivate a deeper emotional relationship and renegotiate the agreements. So you brought it up to try to respectfully renegotiate boundaries.

You aren't doing it like a "Screw you! You can just lump it!" move and treating him disrespectfully.

You are treating him respectfully and asking for change.

Quote:
He really seems to be trying. He says he is, but that it's just really hard because he feels pushed into it.
So it feels hard.

So what? Emotions is just emotional internal weather. Rain is rain. Sun is sun. Could let it blow on through. If he's willing to work through it, he will get there eventually. Nobody said it was a jolly ride all the time.

He's not pushed into it. If he feels pressured or overwhelmed -- he could own that some of this work he could have done before there was a dude in the picture and he just didn't want to do it. It's like cramming the night before a test and complaining that is stressy and low on sleep. Could have studied all along, man. You made your choice.

Quote:
We had talked about the possibility of me becoming attracted to another man and what that would mean, what we would do with that, and he kept blowing it off like "we're talking hypothetically right now, lets cross that bridge when we come to it" and when we came to it, he felt betrayed that I didn't come to him before any of it happened.
Decisiveness and emotional responsibility don't seem to be his strengths.

We are always free to choose. We are not free from the consequences of our choices.

You chose to ask to talk before there's a dude in the picture.
He chose to blow it off.
You chose to continue polyship with him blowing it off. Felt ok to him since nothing was changing then. Maybe it felt ok to you since there wasn't a dude in the picture and you were left with a vague sounding promise "to deal with it then."

Things have changed, time passed. You chose to ask for renegotiation of terms once you met a dude that is now in the picture.

He's not owning that you made the attempt before there was a dude in the picture and at that time he was unwilling to have the talk and make a plan.
Now there IS a dude in the picture, there's still no plan, you are asking for changes, and his competition jealousy is being triggered and he still doesn't want to talk?

You maybe feel annoyed he's not following through. Maybe next time you don't let him off the hook and you ask for a firm date to talk things over. Not just "when we get there" but an actual date. Maybe you are done with this.

YOU have new choices that I can see from here:

1) Date the new dude. Be willing to work with polypartner at this time.
Tell your polypartner that you no longer will be meeting the agreement to not get emotionally involved. You are willing to talk about NEW agreements that both of you can be ok with. But the old agreements no longer serve you so you will not be holding self accountable to them any more. You are willing to know where he stands with his own willingness -- state it up front. What he is and is not willing to do here so you can come to compromises both can be ok with. Then make a plan for the transition time -- it takes a while for the "new normal" to feel normal.
2) Date the new dude. Be unwilling to work with polypartner.
You go here right off or after trying choice 1 and finding no compromise. So you choose to break it off with the polypartner. Because that he no longer meets your needs. You have changed and your circumstances have changed so lots of casual sex to meet the "touch" need is not longer what you want to do. And he can't meet the need with a new baby. So you are unwilling to exist with unmet needs.
This is where you seem to want to go
Quote:
The truth is, I do want complete freedom to see whomever I want and do whatever I want.
... because the compromises you already make to be with your polypartner no longer seem to be worth the return on your investment. Are they? He's also not presenting you with other options.

3) Don't date the new dude. Be willing to work with polypartner.
Break up with the new dude. Then work with polypartner to get a plan in place for the NEXT time you meet someone that is a potential. No more of this shilly shally.
4) Don't date the new dude. Be unwilling to work with polypartner.

Break it off with both of them. Be free to do what you please next.
Quote:
However, it seems that we have been discussing the opening of our relationship for years now with very little movement.
So nobody's "pushing" him. Reality just caught up. He can't be foot dragging any more. Has to actually determine if he's willing or not willing to go there and face his personal limitations. He might be willing to be in polyship with you but finds he is not able -- because of lack of time, lack of emotional management skills, or lack of something else. He just isn't free to be what you need right now. A limit has been reached.

Prob felt easier to "go there" in his head in fantasy. Prob felt easier to avoid dealing with it, hoping it would never come to pass. Dealing in reality is another thing because he has to face his issues.

Although not monogamous since he's got his other partner, maybe this helps.

It sounds like competition jealousy to me.

Quote:
He feels that he is "giving up everything and I am giving nothing in return" that being with him as opposed to not is not a compromise.
  • What behavior does he want you to give for his sake? Does it come at your expense or do you gift it joyfully with no strings?
  • What behavior is he giving up for your sake? Does it come at his expense or does he gift it joyfully with no strings?

Look, you guys shied away from having serious relationship talks before.

Could not shy away from it now. Could sort it out.

And if you keep bumping up on limits -- maybe that's telling you that you both could accept that this is it for this relationship. Limits reached. No longer compatible.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-17-2013 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:14 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Originally Posted by UNESCOjunkie View Post
What we did compromise on was that I would be allowed to hook up with girls and girls only, and his preference is that they are bisexual women so that there is a chance that he would be able to hook up with them as well.
I still don't understand why his preferences matter more than your own, when it comes to what you do with your body, your heart, your life. It's a long-distance relationship, you can't even show affection with him in front of his wife when you visit, and yet you put him in charge of who and what you do when you are apart, living on your own. Is this a D/s situation where you are his submissive pet or slave or something? If not, I think you and he both need to realize that you are the boss of you. I am not being judgmental here, I just do not understand why you basically hand over your personal power and self-authority to someone, and are making him a priority when you are obviously not his priority.

I say you should date and fuck and fall in love with whomever you want. You don't need his permission - just his acceptance and understanding. If he cannot accept and understand, then the onus is on him to deal with his insecurities and reconcile himself to that fact. It isn't up to you to sacrifice things you want so he can be placated. That never brings anyone any satisfaction and only puts him in charge of your business.
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"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

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; 07-16-2013 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:41 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
If he cannot accept and understand, then the onus is on him to deal with his insecurities and reconcile himself to that fact. It isn't up to you to sacrifice things you want so he can be placated. That never brings anyone any satisfaction and only puts him in charge of your business.
So hot. What are you wearing right now, nycindie?
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:14 PM
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I agree with what everyone has said this far. But I am going to say it with my own twist.

First of all what he is asking of you is unrealistic. Except for women - women that he is hoping to get some action with too - he is basically asking you to live alone partner-wise - since your preference is for males - for the remainder of your life. Except for your infrequent interludes, you are really not a part of his life. What the hell?

Are there plans for you to live closer? To share more time together? For him to meet the needs in your life that are going unmet 11/12ths of the time? I mean seriously? It's not like your other relationships are even taking time away from the one between you two. It's a jealousy and/or control issue.

A healthy mindset would be if he were happy you are not spending your time alone, and happy. He needs to want what is best for you; not just what is best for him. And really, giving his wholehearted blessing would be good for him, because then you would appreciate him even more.
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