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  #1  
Old 07-31-2012, 02:53 PM
bambisrevenge bambisrevenge is offline
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Default Girlfriend wants to go Poly. I don't think I do, enlighten me!

Hi all,

My long term (5 years) girlfriend recently brought up that she would like to go Poly. I am a pretty open person in regards to, well, most everything. But this just doesn't sit well with me. Perhaps y'all can enlighten me.

Some Background:
My girlfriend of 5 years (generally great relationship- although the last year or so has been distant and almost no sex, primarily due to her being very stressed out) was out of town on business for 6 weeks. Upon returning she confessed she slept with someone else the day before she left (this was 5 days ago now). It was someone who she had formed a strong friendship with.

I was (understandably, I think) quite upset. This is a girl I love however, so I have been focusing on trying to forgive her and get past this.

I am against ultimatums, but my response was to tell her never to see this person again. This upsets her, primarily because he is a core part of a new group of friends she wants to be a part of. Perhaps I was too harsh, but I really can't stomach the thought of her seeing this person again.

During one of our talks about our relationship she brought up the fact that she has been thinking she would like to try a poly relationship. The timing of this does not sit well with me, considering she has never mentioned this before.

She says Poly is like going and hanging out with friends, but potentially having sex instead of playing Borderlands. I feel like any time she has sex with someone else is time she chose someone to have sex with someone else instead of me, considering I have the higher sex drive and am down most anytime. How do people in Poly relationships get over this?

I realize this isn't completely a poly-only question, and I'm sorry if that's not cool.

Summary: Long term Gf cheats. I am in the process of forgiving. She proposes Poly, I feel like Poly is cheating with a partner's consent.
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2012, 03:41 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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You are girlfriend is not poly your girlfriend is a cheater who pulled the poly card to try to have her cake and eat it too when caught.

I believe is fidelity/loyalty. I always keep my promises to both my boyfriend and husband. IE I am only seeing both of them. No others. Both men are ok with each other but not with me seeing anyone else. Both are mono. I have NEVER EVER stepped out behind anyone's back.

My husband is the one who pointed out I was poly... and gave me my freedom to be happy but with only one other partner. My boyfriend came into a relationship knowing I had a husband. Decided he wanted me in his life and we went from there. I have separate but equal relationships with both men.

Last edited by Dagferi; 07-31-2012 at 03:43 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-31-2012, 04:05 PM
KyleKat KyleKat is offline
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Being poly means being honest. Tell her what you told us. You're not ready to consider sing poly and you're not sure you ever will be. She needs to focus on regaining your trust store she tries to start a new relationship. She knew what she did was wrong and she shouldn't have tried to use it to goad you into something you don't want.

Sounds like you want to stay with her. Is she cool being mono and not cheating again? Not seeing this guy isn't enough. She will find someone else.
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"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is the regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable." - Sydney Smith

Kyle: 27 year old male
Katie (rymmare): 25 year old female
Kids: girl: 5 years old, boy: 3 years old
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2012, 04:18 PM
km34 km34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambisrevenge View Post
I was (understandably, I think) quite upset. This is a girl I love however, so I have been focusing on trying to forgive her and get past this.

I am against ultimatums, but my response was to tell her never to see this person again. This upsets her, primarily because he is a core part of a new group of friends she wants to be a part of. Perhaps I was too harsh, but I really can't stomach the thought of her seeing this person again.
I think asking her to never see him again is a bit harsh. Asking her not to see him for a while during your processing time is pretty understandable (to me), though. I am a firm believer that there are some people that I could never have in my life. On that list is a girl (now woman, I suppose) that my husband dated in high school - we'd broken up for a month, she dated him, caused a lot of shit, basically every time I think of her I have a VERY negative reaction because of the association with a bad period in my life. And that wasn't even him cheating on me! The point of that, I suppose, is that even if you do end up considering poly, I don't know that it is fair for her to expect you to become so okay with the situation that you would be comfortable having him such an intimate part of your life (because having a common lover is an intimate bond even if you two aren't close in any other way).

Quote:
During one of our talks about our relationship she brought up the fact that she has been thinking she would like to try a poly relationship. The timing of this does not sit well with me, considering she has never mentioned this before.
Poor timing, possibly, but it is also possible that she is naturally inclined to poly and the cheating issue made her realize it.

Quote:
She says Poly is like going and hanging out with friends, but potentially having sex instead of playing Borderlands. I feel like any time she has sex with someone else is time she chose someone to have sex with someone else instead of me, considering I have the higher sex drive and am down most anytime. How do people in Poly relationships get over this?
This isn't my view of poly at all. This is closer to swinging/sexually open. To me, poly is negotiating boundaries and forming potentially long-term, loving, romantic relationships. Making sure your partner's needs are met is very important so if you don't feel like she is meeting your sexual needs, asking for her to not be sexual with someone else (or only being sexual with someone else x amount of times in a certain length of time) is a reasonable boundary.

Quote:
Summary: Long term Gf cheats. I am in the process of forgiving. She proposes Poly, I feel like Poly is cheating with a partner's consent.
What differentiates poly and cheating is the consent part. How do you cheat if you're not breaking the rules? To be poly, the "rule" of exclusivity isn't there so just being with someone else isn't automatically cheating. Other rules/boundaries will be there, though, so cheating is definitely still possible, but it isn't a given. I really do commend you on seeking opinions on this. I don't think now is the time to officially change your relationship structure, but it's probably a very fitting time to consider that she may need something that isn't traditional monogamy.
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Old 07-31-2012, 05:04 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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DISCLAIMER: I am very sorry and apologize in advance for what I write below. I feel your pain and sadness.

But when in this place, I just Spit it Out even if it is Hard to Hear. Ok?

It is offered in supportive, but FIRM kindness. It is not offered in mean spirit. Make of it what you will. You can even skip my long answer below if you want to. Detailing my reasons. But my short answer to this?

Quote:
How do people in Poly relationships get over this?
I don't. I dump them for lying and move on. Fast and clean and swift.

Sigh. This is so sad for you. Know at least that I do feel your pain.

***hug***

The headspace that I call "Hang Time at the Forge" is not fun to endure. But really? If you do NOT want to go poly, that is a LIMIT you have. So don't change it just for her. Be true to YOU. If you change and choose to grow in that area it is because YOU want to change and grow in that area at YOUR comfort pace. Because on some level it satisfies YOUR wants and needs also. Not shooshing your wants/needs/limits out the window to the winds!

Hang in there,
GalaGirl

-------LONG ANSWER DETAILED ------------------------

My poly gamebook lists specific rights and responsibilites.

In my world? If she were my GF?
  • GF did not tell me she would sleep with someone else before going there. She did it anyway, then it came out later in what? Confession? A lie of Omission?
  • She put my physical health and emotional health in danger.
  • She did not know, state her wants, needs, and limits BEFORE sleeping with another.

There's more in the breakdown. But there they go -- a lot of responsibility balls being dropped.

And you have some kind of LIMIT to discern for yourself.
  • Is poly a HARD limit for you -- NEVER poly under any circumstances? Just NOT your scene? (Which is totally valid and ok!)
  • Or a SOFT limit that you could bend in the right circumstances with the right person?

(And this cheatery time is prob so NOT cool to deal with soul searching introspection like that. You got thrown under the bus a bit.)

So... bus.
  • Is she offering nurture/support to you in your "Aaahh! I'm at a mental/emotional crossroads!" headspace? Begging forgiveness, making apology and amends for throwing you under the bus willynilly? Nope. Another flag to me. Lack of sympathy, empathy, compersion.
  • She just wants to keep seeing the cheater guy rather than make repairs with YOU first?! Ack. (Another red flag alert to me. She's not sounding like she'd be a balanced NRE person when in flush of new relationship energy but still tending the older established rship WELL. Yay. More thrown under bus to come then? Ugh.)

This business of "going poly?" Doubt it.

She sounds like she wants hard swinging friends, maybe closed hard swing rather than random hookups. That's not poly. Could be ethical nonmonogamy, but it is not ethical polyamory the way it's coming round to you right now. The ethical way would have been to talk to you about opening up first before sleeping with another.

Honestly? I'd worry this is the slow kiss off for you.

Sleeping with another she wants to go to be with. Announcing it so you can get mad and fusspotty, so she can walk away feeling good about herself.

That her "little bad" was so little compared to YOUR badness in "flying off the handle" so really you "deserved" the poor treatment, so her soul can walk away without much ding at all.

Versus her owning her own baggage and where she's dropping all the responsibility balls with you -- hurting you for no reason other than selfish-osity, lack of respect, etc.

Ugh. So hate this. If she were my GF?

Quote:
How do people in Poly relationships get over this?
I'd never get over the lying, the betrayal, and needless ugh making.

I have set responsibility/rights in place for a reason at start of every one of my rships. I've yet to be burned too badly because I play like a Jedi. Dings I can stand. Breaking up times I can stand. Let's go for graceful partings and part as friends enriched for the experience! Not horribly and UGH.

Outright thoughtless/on purpose ughmaking? Bleargh. I nip it in the bud. I'd break up with her.

Maybe even still love her a bit, but too toxic to me with this type of dishonesty/disrespect so I'd distance and check out. Ding me once? Fine. There I chose to risk it. But I'm not up for MORE random zappage. I cannot feel emotionally safe in a close rship like that so best to distance myself to be out of harm's way. I'll own my own baggage and solve my own prob!

I don't know what you will decide to do. I hope whatever it is, it moves YOU toward healing and to a happier place in YOUR way.

Either in your relationship with her growing enough to be more mature in execution so there's less of this painful stuff about. There I would set a soft limit of not seeing the guy for a (timeframe?) while you work on your OWN rship trust repairs, make a new contract of how you agree to be together. THEN try it on with the new guy for a (timeframe?) and reassess if this can fly or not. ETHICALLY this time.

Or apart so you can find a new honorable Star Wars Jedi Player to be with.

Either way, decide not stay stuck in the land of the wacky Muppet Show. Muppets are fun to watch, but not go LIVE there.

AGAIN... ***hug*** Hang in there. The headspace that I call "Hang Time at the Forge" is SOOOO not fun to endure.

Try http://www.morethantwo.com/ and http://www.serolynne.com/polyamory.htm for more general poly info if you need it.

best wishes,
GalaGirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-31-2012 at 07:10 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2012, 07:00 PM
AJ1 AJ1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambisrevenge View Post
I feel like any time she has sex with someone else is time she chose someone to have sex with someone else instead of me, considering I have the higher sex drive and am down most anytime. How do people in Poly relationships get over this?
I'll leave the discussion of the trust/cheating to others, who have said it better, but I did want to address this part.

For me (straight female, married 8 years, poly for 5 of them) my sex drive is not a zero sum game. This comes up a lot when we talk to folks about it, and DH just snickers at this point, because of how incredibly stark the difference is between what people assume and what actually happens.

My sex drive goes through the roof in NRE, and 90% of that spills over into my primary relationship. Even outside of NRE, my sex drive has improved light-years from when we were monogamous. I can only speculate as to why, but my guess is that I just have so much freedom now to be who I am without judgement that I can be more relaxed and open and honest in bed - resulting in a more satisfying sexual relationship with my primary, even when there is no one else in the picture (which is most of the time for us). That, and you learn things with each new partner There are many things I would have never tried if I hadn't had a partner that suggested it that turned out to be things I really really enjoy. "Variety is the spice of life" has never been more true than in the bedroom. Where I used to be the low-libido partner, now I am the one initiating most of the "intimate" times, suggesting new positions, and requesting favors YMMV.

Now, that said, trust is the name of the game and she broke it. It is up to you if you want to work through that or not. Everyone has their own proclivities. But if you do, and if you consider poly, I wouldn't worry too much about "missing out" on her sexual times. Just be honest about your own needs.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2012, 10:08 PM
RunningMan RunningMan is offline
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It seems to be the belief that if you're really poly, you just "always" know. From what I'm reading, I don't know if that is true. It might be like being gay. Some people just know their whole life, and then there are people who discover it later on in life. It doesn't make them any less gay.

Maybe having this experience opened up a new side of herself that she didn't necessarily know.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:27 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I accept that one can come into awareness that they are poly-wired later in life. You work it out with your peeps and talk things through then. Honestly.

You do not run off to have affairs. THEN start a conversation.

I could be wrong. But I'm under the impression she cheated, did NOT confess or ask forgiveness but was caught in a major relationship lie of omission. No intention of confessing til caught? Now suddenly wants to make it be about "going poly" rather than owning her own baggage in causing a mess in the rship with her cheat?

To me it isn't the THING that was done but the LIE that is the deal breaker.

How can anyone communicate well with a lying person? Too frustrating.

GG
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:54 PM
RunningMan RunningMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
I could be wrong. But I'm under the impression she cheated, did NOT confess or ask forgiveness but was caught in a major relationship lie of omission. No intention of confessing til caught? Now suddenly wants to make it be about "going poly" rather than owning her own baggage in causing a mess in the rship with her cheat?

To me it isn't the THING that was done but the LIE that is the deal breaker.

How can anyone communicate well with a lying person? Too frustrating.

GG
It sounds like it happened and she later came home and confessed. So she owned up to what she did. Don't know if that makes a difference.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:32 AM
bambisrevenge bambisrevenge is offline
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Thanks for all the replies everyone! Ladyfriend (i'll refer to her as M) and I had a looong talk today, about a bit of everything going on.

First of all though, a few clarifications about what happened, and the events that lead up to it.

In-depth background

M has been at an intense training session for the past 6 weeks (15 hour days, different state, slow to make friends). We have been having issues between us for probably close to a year now, stemming primarily from her absent sex drive. This doesn't excuse anything, but its important for understanding I think. The last day of her institute, Friday, she went out and slept with this guy (who I will refer to as D- for douchenozzle) she had become friends with while there. Saturday morning she called me, confessed, apologized, and was remorseful.

I do genuinely think she is sorry, but that doesn't justify anything in my mind. It does obviously open up the road to forgiveness though. I do think I have it in me to forgive, I love this girl, a lot. The strongest barrier to our relationship is re-establishing trust and me believing that she won't cheat again.

She has not had anymore contact with D since. She has told me she has no intention of pursuing anything beyond friendship with him. However the thought of her with him is, unsettling, to me. So I asked her to cut him out of her life. A pretty strong reaction, I'll admit, but its important to me that she can choose me over him (which feels childish). Since he is a core part of her new group of friends, she claims this would mean her not seeing the entire group. I feel bad about this, but I have anxiety at just the thought of her hanging out with him. She has been very resistant to this demand, but has finally said she will comply with it. I don't know if this is the right thing for me to do.

Poly related things

M still says she is interested in Poly, not with D, and that this was just all poor timing. I still don't know if I could handle it, but I'm honestly not even sure what Poly is. Or the distinction between poly and swingers and stuff. I could handle 3somes, and that is something else we have talked about and are open to trying. Is that something that can lead to poly?
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