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Old 03-03-2012, 04:59 PM
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StarTeddy StarTeddy is offline
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Default Feeling numb...

Some backstory is required first:
I'm 20, and I've been in a committed relationship with my current boyfriend for 2.5 years. He lives with his best friend since high school in an apartment close the the university all three of us attend. I live with my parents, but for the past 2 years I've practically lived at the apartment too, going home only to sleep. Things are a bit dysfunctional at home, and I don't like being there for extended periods of time. About a year ago, I had started to like his best friend. I figured I could just shrug it off, and focus on my relationship, but there came a point where I felt I couldn't. I proposed to them the idea of me dating both of them at once, but neither of them were okay with it (although his friend had feelings for me too). I broke up with my bf then, but we got back together a week later. He told me that he was okay with my feelings, as long as I kept the relationship with his best friend (at this point, our best friend) on a strictly-friendly basis. By this he meant no kissing, no holding hands, no cuddling, etc. This arrangement went on just fine until recently.

What's been happening:
This part is difficult for me, since I've been feeling so numbed to the situation...I'd rather not think about it at all. What happened is that around a month ago I was going through a rough patch with my boyfriend. There are many things in our lives in which we are different, and I was feeling sad and neglected. I was having a lot more fun spending time with our best friend than with my own boyfriend. At one point I felt that I couldn't honestly say I loved him anymore. I went to the internet for advice, and ended up in the polyamory sites, because those don't make me feel like I'm some sort of monster because of my feelings. There was a thread which was especially helpful, about a woman struggling to keep her long-term relationship alive in the face of NRE. It resonated deeply with me, and I realized that I can't expect a years-long relationship to be all rainbows and happiness without effort on my part, and just because I was having fun somewhere else, doesn't mean that my current relationship wasn't worth working on. It's just not fair if I had decided to leave my bf for this new person because of NRE, I had to work to make everyone happy.

I talked to my bf about what was happening, and he seemed to be fine with it, and was happy that I was willing to work on the relationship. I was ecstatic because I was afraid that me talking about anything poly again would create a mess. I felt like he was less jealous than before, so I felt more at liberty with my feelings. I kept going to the poly sites and forums, and thinking about how wonderful it would be if my life was like that. I always felt down when I came back to reality, so I talked about my feelings to our best friend. I cried, because I knew that I would always love people but would never be able to be with them, and because I knew people would hate me if they knew how I really am. He was very understanding, and made me feel better about myself. He said that last time, he didn't understand what I wanted, but when I explained myself further he thought it wasn't as bad as he thought. (My ideal situation would be poly-fi with two partners.)

I was feeling pretty good about myself at this moment, since both of them seemed to be more receptive to the idea than they were last time I brought the topic up, which ended in disaster.For a few days, I thought maybe I COULD have it all. I was on cloud nine, and happier than I had been in years. I decided that I had to tell my boyfriend how I felt. However, I wasn't prepared for what would happen...

My boyfriend informed me that no, he was not in any way less jealous that he was before, and he was only okay with the information because I had agreed to keep things friendly. He doesn't blame me or expect me to control what I feel, but that the thought of sharing someone physically with someone else felt immensely wrong to him and that he would NEVER be able to accept a polyamorous relationship. He told me that if I couldn't accept these terms, that we should break up, because he doesn't want me to be miserable 20 years down the line and divorce him because I realized that I had wasted my whole life being tied down to him. He feels hurt because he "wasn't good enough", and because I may not feel that being together with him is "worth it".

I don't know what to do because as a person, I crave stability...and my boyfriend is the very embodiment of stability. Personally, I just want to be married, have two kids, live in a house in the suburbs and live happily ever after....but the problem is that I also fall in love with other people. I hold traditional marriage in very high esteem...in fact, I feel that it's unfair that I wouldn't be able to marry any possible other partners, because they don't deserve to be deprived of a wife. If I were to break up with my current boyfriend, all this promise of a stable future would disappear into thin air.

I don't want to start over again. I don't want to find someone new. I don't want to go into this dizzying world and have 90% of the people I'm interested in reject me because of the way I love. I'm very scared of being alone....I haven't been single for any significant amount of time since I've been 15, and the idea that I may be alone for a long time is terrifying.... I'm a very needy person. Honestly, I sometimes think that keeping me happy is simply NOT a one-person job. Even though he's had to modify his schedule A LOT to cater to my needs, he rejects this, because "he's been doing it".

Now, I have to make a decision...to stay with my bf and be monogamous for the rest of my life, or to break up with him and face an uncertain future...whichever decision I make, I lose. I was crying nonstop at first, but now I just feel numb to it all. I don't feel happy anymore, but I only experience vague sadness instead. I don't even feel like I have the capacity to love at this moment, I just want comfort....I don't want to think about this, I don't want to make any sort of decision, even though one is desperately needed from me. I'm so tired all the time, I just want to sleep. I just want to ignore that all of this is happening.

Last edited by StarTeddy; 03-03-2012 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:48 PM
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Phy Phy is offline
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Hello and welcome,

I am sorry that you are hurting. I know how arduous it is emotional wise to be in this kind of situation; my start was similar but a lot more positive in the outcome.

However, there was something missing in your post. I don't know why and maybe I overread it kind of, but what about your pure feelings towards your boyfriend? All I got was your fear of losing your 'perfect and ideal future' not your fear of losing him. You are afraid to start over, to be alone. But I think that your motivation for being afraid is somehow not that positive towards your partner. You aren't saying that you need him especially, you say that you need to have someone to fit your picture perfect family image. I would feel hurt and insecure in this kind of situation if I were your partner, because I wouldn't feel valued for who I am, just for what I can provide.

Than the thing your boyfriend is having trouble with. It's really common to be hurt because one feels like 'I haven't been enough'. My husband went through this phase as well. It's the realization that no one can be 'the world and everything' for another. I went through this the other way round (being the one and only for two men at the same time is kind of stressing when you think about the no one is able to be all to his partner statement ...) and I am still waiting for them to realize that they need more in some moments. What helped in our situation was acknowledging that no one can love another for more than he/she simply is. If you love your partner, this love will not fade just because there has been another with some different traits or even some similar ones that awoke some feelings of love. Those won't change the feelings that have been there already (given the case that you are poly, of course ). My husband didn't just believe me and said "Well ok, if you say so." I kind of 'proved' it to him by time. He didn't feel loved less and that was when he was able to make his peace with the way I was. Some things aren't understandable by logic alone, we need some experience to learn as well.

That's why I would recommend to take a deep breath and keep in mind that things need time. All you can ask of your partner right now is keeping the line of communication open and be willing to talk about the whole mess. You can't expect him to be suddenly happy by your revelation, saying 'Let's get things started, no problem at all on my side.' Because this needs some time to be processed. If he indeed feels that he never will be able to accept any of that was has proven to be your nature, you indeed have a hard choice in front of you. If you two are unable to work it out, you need to start on building a relationship, you seem to have neglected so far: with yourself. As long as you fear to be alone, you will be a clingy partner who isn't able to provide happiness for herself, solely living from the energy she gets from her spouse.

I can say that I would be horrified to lose one of my partners; but not because I am afraid to be alone - because I would feel like something irreplaceable is suddenly missing. And there is a huge difference between those two.
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2012, 08:00 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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What makes you believe that staying with your boyfriend now will translate to forever? You are so young, I don't think you have to worry about seeing this as the way it will be until your dying breath. He will change, you will change, you might be alone for a while, or have lots of boyfriends, one of you might move away, anything can happen. Perhaps he's not the one for you anymore. You can still love people and let them go; you don't have to hang on to relationships that don't work anymore just because you love someone. The world of possibilities is wide open for you! Don't postpone joy and happiness now out of fear of what will come 40, 50 years from now. The point of life is to live it. Your 20s are all about experiencing life, making mistakes, learning life lessons, and figuring out who you are. So ask yourself what will make you happy and find ways to create that in your life, whether it includes your current boyfriend or not. And don't be so critical of yourself!
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-03-2012 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:20 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Default Parallels.

I am feeling your pain here. A lot of what you write here reminds me of events that occurred during the most painful period of my life (and poly) journey. At the time I was devastated (and, yes, numb), my husband was depressed and I feared we were on the road to divorce (or a long unhappy resentful marriage). On the other hand, those same events (which occurred 18 mos ago) eventually led me to where I am right now - cozily living my poly dream with my husband and and his best friend, and so happy...so life does sometimes turn out better then a person has any reasonable right to expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
He told me that he was okay with my feelings, as long as I kept the relationship with his best friend (at this point, our best friend) on a strictly-friendly basis.
This is a conversation that we had...this is something that I failed at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
What happened is that around a month ago I was going through a rough patch with my boyfriend. There are many things in our lives in which we are different, and I was feeling sad and neglected. I was having a lot more fun spending time with our best friend than with my own boyfriend.
MrS and I were stressed from a big move and the financial burden it put us under. Our sex life was lacking some spark. MrS had already heard all my jokes and stories and ponderings ... And here I had a new audience who thought I was witty and intelligent - we'd stay up until the wee hours talking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
I went to the internet for advice, and ended up in the polyamory sites, because those don't make me feel like I'm some sort of monster because of my feelings.
You are NOT a monster because of your feelings (I feel the need to re-iterate this because it seems as though you might be in a place where you lose sight of it). Feelings happen (I have had a very hard time coming to grips with this...I am a practiced queen of denial.) Actions are what define us as monsters (or jerks or assholes...unfortunately that is a road I took briefly - I don't recommend it).


******

Now, I am NOT trying to "convert" anyone to poly (no toaster for me)...but when I read your statements it seems to point to basically a conflict between pursuing what (you think that) you want and what (you think) would make you happy vs. staying in a situation that is safe, stable, and "promises" future safety and stability. Below I respond to a number of your comments from a "pro-poly perspective" (I figure the rest of our society has provided the pro-mono points adequately.)

What I glean from your post about what you want and what you fear and how your feel about poly vs, mono relationships:

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
I kept going to the poly sites and forums, and thinking about how wonderful it would be if my life was like that. I always felt down when I came back to reality...I cried, because I knew that I would always love people but would never be able to be with them, and because I knew people would hate me if they knew how I really am... (My ideal situation would be poly-fi with two partners.)
(but what if you could, sometimes, be with them?... And there are a number of people who might not "hate" you - like the people on this forum.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
I was feeling pretty good about myself at this moment....For a few days, I thought maybe I COULD have it all. I was on cloud nine, and happier than I had been in years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
...miserable 20 years down the line and divorce him because I realized that I had wasted my whole life being tied down to him.
("wasting" 20 years of your life may seem huge when that has been your whole life at this point...but, as I am approaching 40 now, my perspective has shifted somewhat. Say the worst thing happens...you "waste" 20 years and find yourself 40 and available...you now have another potential 40 YEARS to figure it out a second, third, fourth time)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
I crave stability...
(how about the stability of two or several people caring for you?...so you will always be cared for...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
Personally, I just want to be married, have two kids, live in a house in the suburbs and live happily ever after....but...I also fall in love with other people.
(how about that AND that?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
I feel that it's unfair that I wouldn't be able to marry any possible other partners, because they don't deserve to be deprived of a wife.
(OK this is actually a legal issue depending where you are ...but just because you can't be married in the eyes of the government doesn't mean that you can't be married in your own eyes. And not every person is looking for a "wife" - they might not be feeling "deprived" in the slightest.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
If I were to break up with my current boyfriend, all this promise of a stable future would disappear into thin air.
(There is no "promise" - there is only a potential, or a probability)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
I don't want to start over again. I don't want to find someone new. I don't want to go into this dizzying world and have 90% of the people I'm interested in reject me because of the way I love.
(Yes, putting yourself out there is scary...no question. But what about the 10% -that don't reject you? How many people do you anticipate that you are looking for? Is there a time limit when you don't have to stop looking after you find the first one?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarTeddy View Post
Now, I have to make a decision...to stay with my bf and be monogamous for the rest of my life, or to break up with him and face an uncertain future...whichever decision I make, I lose.
(the future is always uncertain. whichever decision you make you could also WIN - that happened to me - MrS had an "epiphany" and now my previously "I can't stand the thought of you with another male - it drives me crazy." husband is a master of compersion)

******

So...? Some points/thoughts to consider in your decision making.

This is your life. It may be the only one you get (I don't know what your religious/spiritual beliefs are...for me, this is the only one that I have proof of). But, you may have a LOT of it to live (or not very much at all)...how do you want to spend it?

I read something once about achieving what you want out of life and decision making. They gave an exercise of visualizing some future point in time that you would like to have happen (this was talking about jobs/finances/etc. but I tend to use it for a variety of decisions) and then ask yourself whether a given decision or action takes you closer or farther away from your goal.

Change is scary. Letting go of a thing that you have for something that may not happen is a risk, a gamble. It may not happen...or it may be better then you ever could have predicted. BUT...your "promise of a stable future" is not actually guaranteed either. The future is ALWAYS uncertain (that's what makes it the future - it hasn't happened yet, it is always ever a potential).

I wish you the best.

Jane
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Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe

Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 03-03-2012 at 10:27 PM. Reason: ETA spelling
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:44 PM
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Vios Vios is offline
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I feel your pain. I broke up with the last girl I was seeing over being poly. I'm 26 and I feel like it's hard being in your twenties and making realizations that most people don't until they're in their 30s or 40s. The pool of people who have a very high level of self discovery or awareness is low and the number of people who find it early in their lives even lower. I recognize the fear that I have in finding someone has some of the same awareness I do.

I'm going to come at this at a little higher level of abstraction (broader terms).

I think that suffering comes from the thoughts that we have about what will happen and what is happening, not from the event itself happening (hope that makes sense). We especially suffer when we believe these thoughts. It's like bungee jumping - you're nervous and scared before you jump, but once you do you are completely in the moment, completely present with what is happening to you. When you're falling you don't have time to suffer! Our thoughts are what are make us suffer, what can prevent us from jumping off the edge of uncertainty.

If I was to point at the root of your suffering, it'd be this:

Quote:
I don't want to start over again. I don't want to find someone new. I don't want to go into this dizzying world and have 90% of the people I'm interested in reject me because of the way I love. I'm very scared of being alone....I haven't been single for any significant amount of time since I've been 15, and the idea that I may be alone for a long time is terrifying.... I'm a very needy person. Honestly, I sometimes think that keeping me happy is simply NOT a one-person job.
What I hear here is that you're saying that "if I break up, I won't find someone who will accept me for being poly." and "I need to be with someone to be happy."

I would look at those thoughts in yourself with bold honesty to discover if they're true.

Are they true? If you break up, is it possible that you could find someone/several people to be poly with and be happy with in the future? Could you find a poly group in your city? Could you date someone new?

Do you really need to be in a relationship with someone to be happy? Could you spend more time with some amazing friends and use them to fulfill the desire to be connected with others? Could you use the time that would spend in a relationship to build your success in other areas of your life (career/family/etc) and find happiness in doing those things?

There's an entire world of possibility laying in front of you. If your truth is that you care about two people and want to be fully (physically/sexually/emotionally) with both of them and that's not possible, than the path of least suffering is to accept what is, make the best possible choice, and move on to the next stage in your life. The only real difference between being nervous and excited is perception. Personally I think you're at one of the most exciting times in your life!

If what I'm saying resonates with you, look at these couple of videos by Byron Katie:

I need a boyfriend

Christine who Wants her Boyfriend to be Monogamous

Her Steps: The Four Questions and Turnaround
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

Last edited by Vios; 03-05-2012 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:42 AM
Jericka Jericka is offline
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Stress can definitely make you tired and want to sleep all the time. Don't forget to take care of yourself in the middle of all this. Eat well, exercise if you can, and treat yourself well.

You can love someone and still not deal well with each other in a relationship. The boyfriend may be great, but, if you are prone to loving others in addition to him, he may never be able to handle it. The choice you end up with is either he changes for you, or you change for him.....and I suppose some one somewhere may have made that work, I have never had long term success with trying to change for someone.

You may end up with neither of these guys. You may end up starting over. Starting over is not the end of the world, though it does seem scary sometimes. You are used to depending on your boyfriend for stability, but, I have to advise you that your own two feet are far more stable than depending on anyone else. Work on becoming independent. Work on loving yourself and figuring out what you really want.

When you are happy with your own self it is far easier to find partners who are good for you. (my experience. I'm 43.) When you are really ready to go looking for poly folk, OkCupid is one place that I have had good results. Get the deal breakers out and visible and find the people who consider all your quirks pluses rather than problems that need to be fixed or polished away.

Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:59 PM
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StarTeddy StarTeddy is offline
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Well...we broke up. During all the talks that we had about poly I realized that there were other issues in the relationship that were also serious, and that the relationship was on shaky ground even if I did decide to stay monogamous. We're just too different from each other, and I have more needs than he can provide without burning himself out. He said that I demanded so much from him that keeping me happy felt like a chore. The most we had going for us was amazing physical compatibility, really. I personally think that opening up would have relieved him from having to do so much and that it would have made us both happier, but he just can't stand the thought of sharing. Such is life, I guess...

Things are going to be pretty complicated from here on out... I don't even know what it is I want, including being poly. I guess I'll make another thread discussing that in particular...but for now, I've decided that I won't pursue anyone for at least a few months, so I don't end up in a rebound situation and that both of us will have time to heal from this. I'll still be around like always, but we just won't be in a relationship.

I fear people's opinions, though...I don't care so much, personally...but one wrong move, and my entire social life could implode. Might even get kicked out of my house. I hope this is worth whatever may come...
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:23 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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StarTeddy,

Are you talking about being kicked out of your parent's house if they knew you were poly or thinking about trying poly? Are you concerned about abuse?

If so, is there a way for you to move out? Do you support yourself?

Finally, if that is the possibility you face, I will give you the same advice Dan Savage gives to young LGBT folks who live with unsupportive parents. Do what you have to do to survive, to graduate (college in your case), so you can later get the fuck out and live happy and open on your own. That means lie if necessary, be closeted. I usually recommend the path of openness and honesty but this is the exception - where you fear for your housing and safety.

Good luck. Be careful.
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:59 AM
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StarTeddy StarTeddy is offline
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It's mostly my mother. She has a very conservative view of how things "should" be, and she's convinced that she's always right. She's tried to kick me out of the house a few times before for doing things she considers immoral. When I lost my virginity she didn't talk to me for weeks...it's really because of my father calming her down that I'm still living here. He's had more than his fair share of fuck-ups in life so he's more accepting. I don't know if a shitstorm happens because of this, if it'll blow over like the other things or if it will escalate into something more serious.

If it did and I had to move out, there's no way I'd be able to support myself. I'm studying to get my bachelor's and I feel like getting a job would affect my grades. I'd probably move in with my grandma, who I love a lot, but if she found out about why I got kicked out, it would break her heart...

When I graduate in two years, I have to move out of state to get my master's, so I'll have to make it on my own then...so I'll have more freedom, but I'll also be more alone. I was planning to move with my boyfriend when we graduated, but I guess I'm on my own now...
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:47 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Well then it's probably in your best interests to keep your mother in the dark until you can support yourself. Do think about an 'exit plan' like living with grandma, just in case.

I say this because it is fucking hard to be in the closet. (I'm queer so that's my experience with the closet but any secret that defines one's personal identity, like poly may be for you, also fits in my opinion.) It's mentally draining and emotionally difficult. It may not be psychologically possible for you to keep this secret from your family. Just something to be aware of as a possibility.

Finally, now is the time to learn to enjoy your own company, to learn the difference between being alone and being lonely. This is one of the greatest gift you can give yourself. One benefit is that being ok with being alone - either living alone or not in a serious relationship - cuts down on desperation and neediness.
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