Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-17-2012, 03:47 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 70
Default Fight over poly rules, on the verge of breaking up..

I posted this over on the reddit poly forum but was hoping for more feedback; I am feeling so lost and stuck right now....

Even though I went into my relationship with my partner wanting/planning to be poly, it has been a horrible experience for me. I don't know how much backstory to include here so please feel free to ask if more details are needed.

After a lot of terrible miserableness, we agreed to try dating people together rather than separately. We had 1 rocky attempt, but it was better than dating separately had been.

Recently my partner expressed interest in a friend of mine. I said that I did not think dating her was a good idea because:

--I am not interested in her
--She is not interested in my partner (I avoided saying this during our fight, but she specifically dislikes him)
--She is strongly, strongly opposed to participating in poly relationships (fine for other people, definitely not for her)
--She is a virgin

At the time we discussed it, he said ok, not an option, and let it go. A few days later he flirted with her VERY blatantly, and I was annoyed, feeling like he completely disregarded what I said, but I didn't say anything.

I have recently had some issues with the same friend (flaked on plans last minute, didn't invite me to a social thing, said a couple rude things). When I was chatting with my partner about this, he asked if I was upset with her because of his feelings. I admitted that his feelings for her did make me feel chillier toward her, but that my frustration with our friendship was mostly about these other issues.

He got very upset and pointed out that I have a pattern of tearing down anyone he's interested in. This is true, and it is something that I am trying not to do, but it would help if he would be interested in people who were appropriate or good options.

From there the argument spiraled out of control. I think the main issues are:

1. He thinks the only acceptable response to him finding someone he's interested in is enthusiasm from me, since that is what he gives me. I don't know if I can ever achieve this, even though I agree it would be the most desirable response.

2. He thinks that if I am not interested in dating this girl, I am not behaving acceptably (within the framework of being poly) by ever saying no. I should have given it a shot, despite the issues I raised, or encouraged him to date her on his own since I'm not interested.

3. He does not think he should have to "police" his behavior, e.g., not flirting with her after we discussed and agreed (or so I thought) that she was not a good option for dating. In principle I agree with this, but a huge trigger for me feeling jealous/insecure is when I feel like my feelings are not being considered, which is how the flirting made me feel.

My takeaway from all of this is that there is no fucking way I will ever be "poly enough" for him. I am willing to work so hard to try to find a middle ground, and I thought that agreeing to date people together and me seeking out people who I thought were good options (which I have been doing) showed that I was committed and trying. I am in therapy trying to get over my jealousy/insecurity issues and most of it centers around not feeling loved/important in my relationship. I agree that the things he's asking for should ideally be happening, I would love to be able to be happy for him, and for him to date separately, and for everyone to be happy. But since I can't do that now, and am working toward it, I feel like he is being a huge spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum since he can't get his way all the time.

I hope that all made sense. Please, any help or advice or words of wisdom would be appreciated.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-17-2012, 04:02 PM
AnnabelMore's Avatar
AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,233
Default

Some brief thoughts.

I don't think that only dating together is in any way a good compromise. It's not some middle ground, it's just a dysfunctional approach to dating that I honestly don't believe has a chance of working out well in the current climate of your relationship. Why put the both of you, and another person, through that just for the sake of an ideal of compromise? I apologize if that sound harsh, but it's as clear as I can put it.

Maybe he should just put a complete hold on dating other people for another, say, 6 months, while you work hard in therapy? Would that be possible? If not, why not? It would be one thing if there was another person he was in love with, but if he's just in love with the idea of dating, can't he wait a little longer?

I disagree that it's unfair to ask someone to police their behavior. We do it all the time. For instance, I don't flirt with coworkers, because it would be inappropriate. I don't go after people my gf is trying to get with, because that would hurt her feelings. It's not that hard.
__________________
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.

Last edited by AnnabelMore; 08-17-2012 at 04:05 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-17-2012, 04:37 PM
SNeacail's Avatar
SNeacail SNeacail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Near Disneyland
Posts: 1,631
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
I don't think that only dating together is in any way a good compromise. It's not some middle ground, it's just a dysfunctional approach to dating that I honestly don't believe has a chance of working out well in the current climate of your relationship. Why put the both of you, and another person, through that just for the sake of an ideal of compromise?
THIS!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
it would help if he would be interested in people who were appropriate or good options.
What does this mean? If you need your friends to be "off limits", have a conversation about what are or are not acceptable options. This should be done BEFORE he gets his sights on someone. You don't get to tear every potential down and/or make up excuses, just because you are feeling pissy and don't like the situation to begin with.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-17-2012, 04:46 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 70
Default

I understand that dating together is pretty unpopular around these parts, but honestly I think it is a pretty hard rule for me. The more experiences we have, the more certain I am of that. I think it's possible that our relationship could evolve to include separate relationships, but that would be a long way off.

As far as involving someone else in our dysfunction, I agree that is to be avoided, but I don't think dating separately gets around that at all.

We already took a 1 month break for me to get my head together; I think if I asked for 6 months he would consider it stalling.

By people who are not appropriate, I mean all kinds of things -- people who are not interested in either of us, people who are not interested in poly, people who are in very dysfunctional situations, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-17-2012, 04:51 PM
LovingRadiance's Avatar
LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,395
Default

I think that dating as a cpl is a terrible idea. I also think he is being insensitive and unrealistic.
Anytime we want to partner with a person we have to be willing to accept their limitations and work WITH them as they are. Both you and he are trying to control and change each other. Unhealthy, disfunctional and counterproductive.
Furthermore, she who suggested going at the pace of the slowest partner had a very valid point, assuming the slow partner is actively working towards resolution of their issues.
BUT he who said that in order to minimize the fear and insecurity reactions U HAVE TO GO FACE THE TRIGGERS REPEATEDLY WITHOUT TRYING TO ALTER THEM UNTIL THEY STOP TRIGGERING YOU, also had a valid point.
If you want to overcome the fear, you gotta let the situation happen so that in the end you see that you survived it.
__________________
"Love As Thou Wilt"
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-17-2012, 05:27 PM
KyleKat KyleKat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
1. He thinks the only acceptable response to him finding someone he's interested in is enthusiasm from me, since that is what he gives me. I don't know if I can ever achieve this, even though I agree it would be the most desirable response.
It would be great if no one ever had negative emotions. That's not going to happen. It's an unrealistic goal. Tell him to get over it. This is hard. Being poly is not as "easy" as being mono. Lots more people to consider. Lots of feelings. Lots of lots of lots of lots of stuff. See what I'm getting at here?
Quote:
2. He thinks that if I am not interested in dating this girl, I am not behaving acceptably (within the framework of being poly) by ever saying no. I should have given it a shot, despite the issues I raised, or encouraged him to date her on his own since I'm not interested.
Behaving acceptably? So you're never allowed to say no? Why does he even bother asking then? Maybe you should have given it a shot. Maybe you should encourage him. I don't know. I don't know either of them. But taking "no, that's not a good idea" off the table is a horrible suggestion.
Quote:
3. He does not think he should have to "police" his behavior, e.g., not flirting with her after we discussed and agreed (or so I thought) that she was not a good option for dating. In principle I agree with this, but a huge trigger for me feeling jealous/insecure is when I feel like my feelings are not being considered, which is how the flirting made me feel.
I don't want my wife flirting and hanging all over someone when we're in public. She should police that. There are appropriate places for appropriate behavior. I love seeing my wife with other men. I do not love seeing her in situations that make me uncomfortable. This made you uncomfortable. Tell him to stop being insensitive to your feelings.
Quote:
My takeaway from all of this is that there is no fucking way I will ever be "poly enough" for him.
Stop. Right there. Not a foot further. There is no such thing as "poly enough". There are varying degrees of poly in the essence that you enjoy "crushing from afar", dating casually, dating seriously, and multiple marriages. All of these are poly. You are either poly or you aren't. That defines YOU. Being poly does not immediately mean you aren't going to have jealousy or insecurity or reservations. Those things involve HIM. You can be poly until the cows come home, doesn't mean you won't recognize a bad situation when you see it. Poly does NOT equal "slut" (I put it in quotes because the ethical sluts are trying to take that word back).
Quote:
I am willing to work so hard to try to find a middle ground, and I thought that agreeing to date people together and me seeking out people who I thought were good options (which I have been doing) showed that I was committed and trying. I am in therapy trying to get over my jealousy/insecurity issues and most of it centers around not feeling loved/important in my relationship. I agree that the things he's asking for should ideally be happening, I would love to be able to be happy for him, and for him to date separately, and for everyone to be happy. But since I can't do that now, and am working toward it, I feel like he is being a huge spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum since he can't get his way all the time.

I hope that all made sense. Please, any help or advice or words of wisdom would be appreciated.
Yeah. People have problems with feeling loved/important and having jealousy/insecurity. It happens. It sucks. He needs to be more supportive and less insensitive, because for every step you take in the confines of your counseling and trying to build it up will get crushed and send you even further back when you're outside of the safety of your counselors office and in the real world. One is theory, the other is practice. You're excelling in theory, but it's impossible to succeed in practice unless you have a safety net. Tell him to be that safety net.

You go as slow as the slowest person. Not as quick as the fastest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Some brief thoughts.

I don't think that only dating together is in any way a good compromise. It's not some middle ground, it's just a dysfunctional approach to dating that I honestly don't believe has a chance of working out well in the current climate of your relationship. Why put the both of you, and another person, through that just for the sake of an ideal of compromise? I apologize if that sound harsh, but it's as clear as I can put it.
Agreed. I'll elaborate more on this later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
I understand that dating together is pretty unpopular around these parts, but honestly I think it is a pretty hard rule for me. The more experiences we have, the more certain I am of that. I think it's possible that our relationship could evolve to include separate relationships, but that would be a long way off.
Incorrect. My wife and I would greatly like someone we could share. It's just really, really hard to find that, especially when you guys aren't super strong on your own. People on here look down on it because most people treat it like unicorn hunting. You guys are concerned about the two of you but not the unicorn. Don't be a unicorn poacher. Hunt in season only. Do not trespass on the wildlife preserve.

As far as it being a hard limit, that's important. Right now it's a hard limit. You should set a re-evaluation date of 6 months. In 6 months, still hard limit? Soft limit now? You'd still prefer a unicorn but you'd accept another couple or maybe even separate dating so long as everyone's needs are being met?

If it's truly a hard limit, lay down the law. Don't tell him it's a hard limit and then back off when he breaks boundaries. He flirted after you told him not to. That's not cool.
Quote:
As far as involving someone else in our dysfunction, I agree that is to be avoided, but I don't think dating separately gets around that at all.
No, it doesn't. I don't think you two should date anyone at all until you guys are stronger in your relationship.
Quote:
We already took a 1 month break for me to get my head together; I think if I asked for 6 months he would consider it stalling.
How do you know that? Ask him. The worst he can do is say no. Don't get mad when he says no. It's a discussion about dating, not a life-threatening surgery. Be happy if he compromises and gives you another month. Something has to change, and you shouldn't be assuming what he's going to do because of what he's done in the past. Every day is a new day.
Quote:
By people who are not appropriate, I mean all kinds of things -- people who are not interested in either of us, people who are not interested in poly, people who are in very dysfunctional situations, etc.
That is so ambiguous it's not even useful. Of course he's going to break this.

I'll make a pretend list for you. Change the answers as you see fit.

Hard Limits:
No Family
No Friends
No exes

Soft Limits:
No one with a currently dysfunctional relationship (meaning, you shouldn't date anyone because you guys are currently in this category, so you're subjecting someone else to something YOU aren't comfortable with)
No one not currently in poly situations or poly-accepting
No one not interested in both you and me (they could be interested in one and end up liking the other, so I filed this under soft limit)
__________________
"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
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-17-2012, 05:31 PM
SNeacail's Avatar
SNeacail SNeacail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Near Disneyland
Posts: 1,631
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
I understand that dating together is pretty unpopular around these parts, but honestly I think it is a pretty hard rule for me. The more experiences we have, the more certain I am of that. I think it's possible that our relationship could evolve to include separate relationships, but that would be a long way off.
I'm guessing here, but it almost sounds like you might want a more "swinging" or FWB type dynamic, while you try and adjust. That's ok, as long as whatever partner you try and bring in is aware of it. This is a point that needs to be clear between the two of you as well.

I am currently watching some friends go through hell right now as their triad imploded. Things that could be ignored for years between the married couple, became magnified and unbearable as the girlfriend said "the hell with this" and tried to walk away. I'm not sure if the bad behavior got worse or each party just realized how bad things really were only after they subjected a third party to their mess, who pointed a spotlight on everything. It is heartbreaking on all fronts.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-17-2012, 05:41 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 70
Default

A couple clarifying points...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleKat View Post

Incorrect. My wife and I would greatly like someone we could share. It's just really, really hard to find that, especially when you guys aren't super strong on your own. People on here look down on it because most people treat it like unicorn hunting. You guys are concerned about the two of you but not the unicorn. Don't be a unicorn poacher. Hunt in season only. Do not trespass on the wildlife preserve.
I hear you on this and am surprised it has to be told to people, honestly. One of my biggest reservations about this particular friend was that there is NO WAY this would be a good situation for her. My partner for some reason is convinced that he is some kind of sex god who will enlighten her and help her discover her sexuality.

In terms of the limits, I know my list was ambiguous, I don't think it really makes sense to come up with a list a priori. It seems to me these decisions have to be made on a case by case basis, you know?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-17-2012, 05:55 PM
KyleKat KyleKat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
A couple clarifying points...



I hear you on this and am surprised it has to be told to people, honestly. One of my biggest reservations about this particular friend was that there is NO WAY this would be a good situation for her. My partner for some reason is convinced that he is some kind of sex god who will enlighten her and help her discover her sexuality.

In terms of the limits, I know my list was ambiguous, I don't think it really makes sense to come up with a list a priori. It seems to me these decisions have to be made on a case by case basis, you know?
I was using categories as an example. You should discuss everything. Leaving stuff to chance is silly.

Things that must be discussed on a case-by-case go in "soft limits" category. Things that will always be no go in hard limit category. You will never be alright if he wants to date your mom. Hard limit. You will never be alright if he wants to date your sister. Or your best friend. Those are hard limits. So spell them out. Don't be ambiguous, or you leave room for him to go "you didn't say no until we discussed it just now and you're being unfair".
__________________
"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
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-17-2012, 06:37 PM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,357
Default

Just want to point out something that seems rather obvious to me, but I'm not sure you see it.

That friend of yours -- a virgin, not into poly, and actively dislikes your partner.

Then he hits on her.

Is there really any wonder she flaked on getting together with you and said not nice things to you?

And your partner is blaming you. What a load of crap. He definitely does need to police himself, or you won't have any friends left.

I've read your other threads. What it comes down to, as I see it, is your current partner doesn't respect you and you wind up trying to twist yourself into a pretzel to please him, but it never works. You don't know how to be true to yourself anymore. If I were you, I would take six months apart from your partner to re-evaluate everything, not just poly. And by that, I mean, whether you want to stay with him or not. You need to get a hold of yourself, remember who you are without someone else to validate that for you, and find satisfaction within. I don't know why you stay with him - he undermines your emotional well-being and sense of self-esteem. Remember, loving someone just isn't enough.
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

Last edited by nycindie; 08-17-2012 at 06:40 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:30 PM.