Polyamory.com Forum  

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

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-25-2010, 05:28 PM
Acroxander's Avatar
Acroxander Acroxander is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: San Diego, CA.
Posts: 15
Default The Shift from Mono to Poly

Well, my last thread had to do with me accepting my new lifestyle and telling my current GF, who was in a mono relationship with me, that I required the freedom to love as I need to love.

Well, we talked a lot more last night, and she seems to want to enter this poly situation with me.

Bear in mind that I am in love with this girl. I DO want her around, and I want her to be happy. So naturally, I asked her a lot of questions about what this kind of a change would mean to her. She responded in kind, wanting to know what I need, the necessary adjustments, etc.

There are a few flags popping up for me.
One- She seems to be doing this FOR ME, and I told her that that will not work. This is the primary concern. I say this because I feel that if I hadn't told her that I require this or she has to go, then she would never have wanted to do it. It seems like an effort to keep me in any capacity she can. I feel that she has to want a poly situation for HERSELF as well as for me, otherwise the situation is one of unbalanced compromise, rather than mutual liberation. One of her first (and most unsettling) questions was why she "isn't enough" for me. I simply can't think of something as unquantifiable as love in those terms, and couldn't tell her WHY. All I could say was that my heart doesn't work that way. It's more like quantum physics. I need to exist in several eigenstates simultaneously. But the question signaled me that her thinking in those terms may be deleterious to our wellbeing.

Two- Part of her ground rules includes not wanting to see or hear about my other dates/partners. This may be fine and work well in some couples, but part of my reasoning for wanting poly is that feeling that I can share, be open, hide nothing. This arrangement smacks of insecurity and jealousy to me, and seems like a flimsy barrier against which the tide will eventually wash over, causing a real problem. Can I really be expected to keep from speaking about the ones I love, TO the ones I love? This isn't really congruent with my vision. . . Perhaps what I *really* need is a partner who is more like a Teammate, and is interested in who I'm with and what I do, rather than treating it all as under-rug-swept.

Three- I sense that she will become aggravated with the fact that it is easy (and possible) for me to have a number of lovers. I have always got on well with others, and when I'm single, there are always several people loosely involved with me. It's just how I am. I'm aware that in a partnership,. one must take care not to NEGLECT their primary in favor of other lovers, and I'm prepared to take measures against that, but I suspect she may come to resent my easy way of finding love.


The long and short of it is: I suspect our motives are mis-matched. I don't really get jealous. Ever. I don't experience insecurity or threatened feelings from other lovers. It's easy for me to embrace and let go, if the situation demands it, for the best. I want to be free to talk openly about things (within reason, of course) and not to tip-toe around in fear of bruising egos or triggering insecurity.

Any advice for me on this one? You're all so wise!
__________________
Illegitimus Non Carborundum

Last edited by Acroxander; 05-25-2010 at 05:29 PM. Reason: spelling
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-25-2010, 08:05 PM
rpcrazy's Avatar
rpcrazy rpcrazy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 171
Default

advice...hrmmm...

After reading your last post, and being somewhat in your exactly situation, I feel I relate to you in a lot of ways. Before i say more i'd like to know how long you've been in a romantic relationship with this girl that you are "in love" with?
__________________
---------------------------------------------------\\\
-"There hasn't been a person i've been with that I didn't love for 10 seconds to 10 years." David Duchovny
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-25-2010, 08:41 PM
CielDuMatin's Avatar
CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Upstate New York, USA
Posts: 1,456
Default

You want advice? Really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acroxander View Post
Well, we talked a lot more last night, and she seems to want to enter this poly situation with me.
Clarification for me, please - she wants to be with you as a partner as you enter a polyamorous relationship while she stays just with you, or she wants to have multiple lovers too? Either are quite legitimate forms of poly, the former being known as "mono/poly" or "poly/mono". It's often more work, but that's my style of relationship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acroxander View Post
Bear in mind that I am in love with this girl. I DO want her around, and I want her to be happy.
Glad to hear that!

Quote:
One- She seems to be doing this FOR ME, and I told her that that will not work.
Why not? You can't pull something like this out of thin air and expect her to just adopt it like it was her own idea and suddenly want it...

Quote:
I say this because I feel that if I hadn't told her that I require this or she has to go, then she would never have wanted to do it.
So you laid out a "it's my way or the highway" ultimatum to her, and now, because she agreed to it, you're concerned?

Listen, it's HER choice whether to stay with you - if she agrees that you should have a poly life and doesn't want one of her own, then maybe you could respect that, without questioning her motives?

Quote:
I feel that she has to want a poly situation for HERSELF as well as for me, otherwise the situation is one of unbalanced compromise, rather than mutual liberation.
Reminds me of the British landing on pacific islands and informing the natives that they were there to liberate them.... whether they wanted to be liberated or not. please don't "save her" or try to force her into something she doesn't want to do.

Quote:
One of her first (and most unsettling) questions was why she "isn't enough" for me.
That is a very natural and oft-asked question from a monogamous person to a person coming out as poly.

Quote:
I simply can't think of something as unquantifiable as love in those terms, and couldn't tell her WHY. All I could say was that my heart doesn't work that way. It's more like quantum physics. I need to exist in several eigenstates simultaneously. But the question signaled me that her thinking in those terms may be deleterious to our wellbeing.
This indicates to me that she is thinking using monogamous patterns of thought and paradigms. It is possible that she is poly but just has been conditioned to think like this, but more likely that she truly is monogamous and truly thinks that way. in the same way that you are asking her to understand your way of thinking, you are going to have to understand hers. Then it can be more balanced. Right now it feels to me like you are going to drag her into poly on your terms, and if she doesn't do it the way you want, then you're done.


Quote:
Two-Part of her ground rules includes not wanting to see or hear about my other dates/partners.
Another fairly common request in a mono/poly configuration.

Quote:
This may be fine and work well in some couples, but part of my reasoning for wanting poly is that feeling that I can share, be open, hide nothing.
And how important is that aspect to you? Is a deal-breaker, something you really want, or just a nice-to-have. If you can't have that but could have everything else and people would be comfortable, would you still go ahead?

Quote:
Can I really be expected to keep from speaking about the ones I love, TO the ones I love?
I don't know, can you? that's up to each individual to know - there are no hard-and-fast "rules" for this.

Quote:
This isn't really congruent with my vision. . . Perhaps what I *really* need is a partner who is more like a Teammate, and is interested in who I'm with and what I do, rather than treating it all as under-rug-swept.
Or rather someone that can deal with you being with someone else, as long as you don't parade it in front of her regularly.

Quote:
Three- I sense that she will become aggravated with the fact that it is easy (and possible) for me to have a number of lovers. I have always got on well with others, and when I'm single, there are always several people loosely involved with me. It's just how I am. I'm aware that in a partnership,. one must take care not to NEGLECT their primary in favor of other lovers, and I'm prepared to take measures against that, but I suspect she may come to resent my easy way of finding love.
Lots of sensing and suspecting there, and very little in the way of facts that have been discussed. I suggest that you delay these sorts of things until you have got some more ground under your feet.


Quote:
The long and short of it is: I suspect our motives are mis-matched.
Yes, I would say they may well be, but it's hard to say.

You are thinking a lot about how you want your life to change, but I think you need to give some thought to how much hers will, too.

With a mono/poly setup there are lots of stages - it's hard work, and it may not work - not everyone is cut out to be in it. If you want some free-and-easy go with the flow type of thing that doesn't require work, then it's really not going to be for you.

Please don't expect her to change simply because you are. It sounds like you have been in a monogamous relationship and that you have discovered this really neat thing that really speaks to your very soul... and now you need it to speak to hers too, as if by magic. Poly really isn't for everyone.

Concrete advice, if you are both people who are comfortable with writing things down:
Work out an initial set of things you want to see, and then categorise them in terms of needs (bottom-line things that must be in place), wants (things that you really want to be there, but could give up if necessary), and likes (nice-to-haves).

get her to do the same. Then compare lists.

I have blogged about this "negotiation" process before in more detail - it's at http://cieldumatin.livejournal.com/4437.html if you are interested.

The place you need to get to is a place where you both feel that you are working together on this, not as adversaries. Part of that is trusting the other person because you know their motivations.

Sorry if some of this came across as harsh - I have just seen this sort of scenario happen too many times, and pussy-footing around doesn't usually work...
__________________
Please check out The Birdcage - an open, friendly Polyamory forum for all parts of New York State
http://www.thebirdcage.org/

"Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf." - Native American Proverb
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-25-2010, 10:33 PM
jkelly jkelly is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 168
Default Red flags?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acroxander View Post

There are a few flags popping up for me.
  1. Doing it for you -- I wouldn't call the odds good, but obviously some couples have successfully made the transition without everyone being equally enthusiastic. If it doesn't work because she cannot, after trying, handle you being with other lovers, it was her decision to give it a shot. If it doesn't work because she meets someone with whom she can have the kind of relationship she's looking for, then you might get hurt. If you're willing to risk the latter, I don't think it make sense to decide that she's going to fail without her first allowing her to try.
  2. DADT -- I share all of your concerns about this. It would be a dealbreaker for me, for sure. That said, it may be a place to temporarily compromise on, with the understanding that you two will come back to review it every six weeks or something. She may realise that not knowing what you're up to is actually crazy-making instead of reassuring, and that the silence around it has becoming unpleasantly distancing.
  3. Too easy to find new partners -- I think you're borrowing trouble here. If you're worried about overcommitting, just remind yourself that you don't need to pursue each and every opportunity that may come up. If she one day actually tells you that she feels that resentment, that's the time to address it, but you'll have overcome so many other difficulties at that point it you'll be in a good place to figure it out together.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-25-2010, 10:49 PM
Acroxander's Avatar
Acroxander Acroxander is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: San Diego, CA.
Posts: 15
Default Great input

Thank you all so much for your advice and perspectives.

To clarify: We have been seeing each other for a little longer than a year, during which I have been painstakingly monogamous.

I'll try to address it all in one go.

Firstly, none of your feedback struck me as harsh or critical, and I very much appreciate the straight shooting.

Secondly, while I am very much concerned for her well-being and not at all sure if this transition will work for her, I am prepared to deal with the outcome. It would have been much, much simpler to simply tell her this wasn't working, and to send her packing. But I love her, and wanted to share with her what is going on. She's making the choice to try this out with me, and although I doubt that she is really geared for this kind of arrangement, I am willing to give her a chance. That's love, no? I am definitely *not* trying to force this on her, and have been very, very frank with the details of why I think she may have trouble with it.

As for the concerns about mono/poly. . . I don't prefer this approach. I don't think that I would be comfortable in that situation, merely because equality is important to me. It's simply an important preference.

The DADT policy squicks me out because I am rather deeply opposed to blind-eye scenarios, slippery-slope logic, and faith-based statements, as well as taboo subject matter, and I feel that these forms of "magical thinking" are tied into that policy (this is only my opinion) and I really want no part of an arrangement wherein my lips are sealed. Sharing my joy and talking openly about myself and my loved ones is very important to me.

I'm going to take up the advice about a list of things we want. We'll do that tonight before the Festival. The Festival is bound to be pretty wild, and I think that if left to chance, things may get a little bumpy. We're still feeling out the ideal arrangement for us both, and the details are realizing themselves as we go.

I'll do my best to cover the bases, be super-honest, and responsible with my lover's heart(s).

Also, I definitely do not plan on pursuing everyone who happens across my path. Who has that kinda time?



Thank you, everyone for your frank and well-intended words.
__________________
Illegitimus Non Carborundum
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-25-2010, 11:19 PM
SayYes SayYes is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 45
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acroxander View Post
As for the concerns about mono/poly. . . I don't prefer this approach. I don't think that I would be comfortable in that situation, merely because equality is important to me. It's simply an important preference.
I think it's important to realize that equality in this case means each person being free to do what feels right for him or her. If it turns out to be polyamory for you--and your gf is able to truly embrace that--and monogamy for her, that isn't a lack of equality. It's a situation in which you're both having your needs met, and what could be more equal than that?

I have a boyfriend, and my husband has no other significant other and is still uncertain whether it's something he wants to seek out. But our relationship feels totally equal and balanced because we have equal freedom to make our own decisions about the relationships we want (or don't want) to pursue.

I, too, was in the situation where he came around to poly "for me," and I think that's often the case when a relationship is transitioning from mono to poly. To me, the biggest determining factor in whether that works out okay is the question of whether the other person is merely tolerating the situation, or they've been able to truly accept it as a part of who their partner is. My husband never would have come to poly on his own and never would have been the one to push for opening up a mono relationship if he had a partner who was happily mono. But he now says that he can't imagine ever being in a situation where he would expect monogamy from someone, and he feels liberated from his own previous issues with jealousy and possessiveness. He fully realizes that my relationships with other people are not a threat to our relationship, and that his previous jealousy was based on that fear. It's a process, of course, for someone to move from having a totally monogamous mindset to one in which they embrace polyamory fully. But it's far from impossible for it to happen "for" another person.

Good luck! And I'm far from an expert, but I'd be happy to PM if you want to talk to someone who made this transition in the not too distant past.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-26-2010, 04:50 AM
DarkSide DarkSide is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5
Default

Hi,

Thank you for this thread guys it has answered a couple of my questions as well, as my situation recently changed into something closely resembling what was mentioned above.

There is a lot of food for thought.

Thank you again.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-26-2010, 05:56 AM
rpcrazy's Avatar
rpcrazy rpcrazy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 171
Default

it's late so i'm gonna write a little bit. Here's my advice, as always CielDuMatin beat me to the punch for most of it...

first is, figure out what you want!
To elaborate on your list model, since you've most likely done it by now...before making any concrete decisions, really try and understand WHERE she is coming from and make sure she understands where YOU are coming from. What this usually entails is a game of hear-say. Basically, you will repeat her words in your words as you understand them, and vice-versa. Have you ever heard that saying "the best to learn is to teach"? It's like that, if she spouts out what you're getting at in a way that makes you feel she understands, then VOILA, Success!

Second, I understand where you are coming from when talking about equality. I want to be able to tell my partners about my other partners freely and discuss all of life freely to the people I love, as would be expected by solid partners. However...this want makes us impatient.
You see, there's no telling how far along she'll come into the poly dynamic, but for right now things need to go slow. It's OK for her to be going along this journey with you. I know it's frustrating because you feel unease from the uncertainty of the situation. If she's into it, you want her to be really into it. If she's not, you want her to say so. Unfortunately for us, this isn't a realistic goal. This whole process is going to take a long time.
Figure out your boundaries, your wants, needs, and then as time goes by, and as both of you feel more comfortable, things will get easier. Remember, show patience, show honesty, show love. I'm sure you have the hippie dream like the rest of us, but when dealing with the normal world, you have to take it slow. It's ok for her to have her reservations. Make sure though, you evaluate how much of a need or want this is for you. I feel that it would be an absolute need, however if it takes time to develop, that's OK too.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Feel free to PM me or anything. GOOD LUCK!
__________________
---------------------------------------------------\\\
-"There hasn't been a person i've been with that I didn't love for 10 seconds to 10 years." David Duchovny
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-26-2010, 01:11 PM
Acroxander's Avatar
Acroxander Acroxander is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: San Diego, CA.
Posts: 15
Default

Thanks, everyone. I've really taken the applicable stuff to heart, and I'm going to proceed with care.

I'll be around.

Thanks for all the time you've spent helping me.
What a great community you have here!
__________________
Illegitimus Non Carborundum
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-27-2010, 04:24 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,639
Default

everything really has been said already, but I wanted to add that I think she is just new to all this and needs time and patience with the slow process of educating herself. Everything you said so far indicates that she is one her way and that you know enough to give her some ideas of how it all works... I suggest she do her own research, especially if she figures that what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
change, jealousy, mono mono/poly, new dynamics

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 04:13 PM.