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Old 05-28-2010, 09:33 PM
DD123 DD123 is offline
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Question Owning your own feelings VS Indifference

Hi all! male mono here, and my gf is poly. Thank you all for your experience, strength, and hope in my previous posts.

"The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference." Quote from the book: The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly (Thank you LovingRadiance for your referral)

So last night my gf and I were out for a walk. I ask her how was her night the night before and she tells me she had a few drinks and had a 3 way with her two roommates. I said, "Ow! it feels like I just got whacked in the head with a skateboard." (I was carrying my board and it was the first thing I thought of). But it just hurt me that she did that. We talked a lot that night. We talked about owning you feelings and also your actions.

Yes I understand that I was the one that felt hurt and that those are my feelings, not hers. But my feelings were a result of her actions. I think that it would be indifference if she were to completely disregard how I feel because of her actions.

NOTE: we DID talk about this and we DID come up with a compromise. Ill tell yall so you dont have to ask, and also to remind myself of what it is; and it was her that proposed the compromise and I agreed: She wouldnt sleep with anyone new right away, and she gets to have one night/weekend a month that I dont get to ask questions. And we both agreed.

But the main thing I want to discuss here is where/what is the line and what is the difference between owning your own feelings and indifference. To me owning your feelings is: "you feel bad and I acknowledge that you feel bad, but I dont feel bad cuz you feel bad." and indifference is:"I dont give a shit how you feel cuz they are YOUR feelings, NOT mine."

And I know it goes to the compersion thing but any advice on how to have it not hurt so much is also appreciated.

Thank you for reading and for your feedback
DD123
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:45 PM
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i'm pretty sure the idea you're thinking of is Empathy. I get the feeling your young, which probably means your girlfriend is young, which gives me low amounts of hope for my next piece of advice.

Both of you should read these articles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpT3UEfYkQc
http://www.diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy
http://www.lawrence.com/weblogs/just...t-you-might-t/
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...icle672972.ece



read up learn. I think those articles will sort of have you, "get it". good luck
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:36 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Glad I could help!

I REALLY appreciated that book!

I think you bring out a HELL of a good point-is there any chance you might copy/paste your post, or question in a new thread on the general board?

For starters-it's a REALLY good question, but also there tends to be more people there, which in turn means higher probability of more answers.

I think you nailed it head on.

If you own your own feelings that means you can express them, but you don't make them someone else's fault or responsibility when you do so.

"I'm feeling hurt by what you've just told me. I would like to talk through some of it to figure out exactly why."

That seems to me like expressing your sudden hurt in a "owning my feelings" way.

At the same time indifference is a lack of empathy as noted by the first response. When we have empathy for another, we naturally feel sorry if they are in pain of any type. We hurt for them so to speak and because of that we can be more understanding, more caring and more considerate of their feelings.

When we are indiffferent, we don't care one way or the other-which tends to lead to us trampling over their hearts like a big old moose in a dainty little flower garden.


As for the how to reduce one's own hurt-first is practicing the steps of asking yourself (and answering)
"what does this REALLY mean?"
"what does this REALLY change?"
"how does this impact my goals/dreams/future?"

And questions like that.

Because 9/10 times-the bottom line is it's mostly ego and not REALLY impacting our life in the long run, just a bit of a hit to our ego.

The more we practice those steps-the faster our mind flips through them and the easier it gets. The less we hurt, because the answers come so fast upon the heels of the action which would have hurt us that we don't even have time to really consciously think through the questions.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DD123 View Post
Yes I understand that I was the one that felt hurt and that those are my feelings, not hers. But my feelings were a result of her actions. I think that it would be indifference if she were to completely disregard how I feel because of her actions.
Your feelings are your own personal response to her actions, and resulted from her actions only because of aspects of yourself.

For example, your girlfriend's same actions would illicit a different response from a different kind of person.

You already seem to understand this in principle, but it doesn't seem to have fully sunk in. And that's fine, it's a difficult concept that takes a while to get your head around. The aspect I'm trying to highlight is that the meaning of "those feelings are mine" is that they're not "because of what she did" but are "because of how you responded to what she did."

That's not to say that a loving partner will go around doing whatever she wants, and just tell you that however you react is your problem so get over it bud. A loving partner (who knows how to express love in a healthy, caring way) will support you and help you explore your feelings in an open and safe way.

It took me several years to really accept that I was responsible for my own emotions, and no one else's actions could "make" me feel something I didn't want to. I still expect my loved ones to listen to me when I express my feelings, and to give a damn about how I'm feeling. The only difference is I can't expect them to tiptoe in order to prevent me from feeling certain things. *Can't expect* but that doesn't mean they don't still do it anyway! My husband doesn't like dealing with me when I get pissed off, so he tends to avoid doing things which piss me off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpcrazy View Post
i'm pretty sure the idea you're thinking of is Empathy. I get the feeling your young, which probably means your girlfriend is young, which gives me low amounts of hope for my next piece of advice.
Ouch! Making an assumption, and then a pessimistic second assumption based on the first. Was it the skateboard? Tony Hawk is what, 40-something? Was it the "gf"? No different that "DH" that I see all the time, and the DWs aren't presumed to be young for using abbreviations. Meanwhile, second paragraph in his post is a quote from a book he read, which implies maturity and a sincere effort to explore this lifestyle and be receptive to sources of information. If he was THAT young (typically interpreted as immature), he would just say "this poly stuff is too hard, forget it. I'm going to go get me some mono tail."

Quote:
Originally Posted by DD123 View Post
NOTE: we DID talk about this and we DID come up with a compromise. Ill tell yall so you dont have to ask, and also to remind myself of what it is; and it was her that proposed the compromise and I agreed: She wouldnt sleep with anyone new right away, and she gets to have one night/weekend a month that I dont get to ask questions. And we both agreed.
It's fine, great even, to make compromises. But I think it's important to understand the reasons why people make certain requests.

The "wouldn't sleep with anyone new" sounds like her half of the compromise regarding her sleeping with anyone other than you in the first place, so I can see the reason for that.

I'm curious about the reason for wanting a night that you can't know about. You're struggling in this and even though it's difficult at times, it seems like it helps you to know what she's doing when she's with other people. Sort of like, exposure helps build the immune system. If it were me and my husband wanted a night where I couldn't ask questions, I would wonder what he's doing that he doesn't want me to know about. I would be a lot more paranoid than is probably warranted, just because I wouldn't know what was going on.

It almost sounds more like a "tit for tat" instead of "compromise." In other words, compromise is like "teenager wants a tattoo, mom does not want teenager to get a tattoo, so mom takes teenager to get an airbrushed tattoo." Tit for tat means "I want a new BBQ, you want a new Bike, so if you get a new bike, then I get a new BBQ."

So what?

Well, the so what is that eventually she'll want to date someone new. So what happens then? Will she be expected to give up her "mystery weekend?" See, compromises can be renegotiated to find a "new middle" but tit-for-tat requires one "benefit" to be met with another "benefit" and to change that, one benefit must be replaced with a different one.

It's a common opinion in polyamory that rules should exist as a temporary measure with the eventual goal of getting rid of them as people get more comfortable with the situation.

So maybe, eventually, you'll be comfortable enough with the idea of her going out with other people that you won't need to know about every weekend anyway and it won't have to be a "rule."

Or that maybe even you'll start to get such compersion that hearing about her weekend will be really fun and exciting, becoming something positive that you share.
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Last edited by NeonKaos; 05-30-2010 at 12:09 PM. Reason: merge posts
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:27 AM
DD123 DD123 is offline
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Question Owning your own feelings VS Indifference

UPDATE:
rpcrazy: I am 22 and my gf is 20. if that is young then yes we are young. but why does that give you "low amounts of hope"? we are both very openminded and honest with each other. As for the empathy thing-Im not necessarily looking for her to "walk in my shoes" and to feel how I feel, but to understand how I feel and to work with me to help process my feelings. I think that empathy can help a person to be MORE understanding, caring and considerate; but not REQUIRED to be understanding, caring and considerate.

I do agree with LovingRadiance statement: "At the same time indifference is a lack of empathy as noted by the first response. When we have empathy for another, we naturally feel sorry if they are in pain of any type. We hurt for them so to speak and because of that we can be more understanding, more caring and more considerate of their feelings. When we are indiffferent, we don't care one way or the other-which tends to lead to us trampling over their hearts like a big old moose in a dainty little flower garden."

And I love the statement:"9/10 times-the bottom line is it's mostly ego and not REALLY impacting our life in the long run, just a bit of a hit to our ego." Nobody is better at both building up and then breaking down MY ego more than I am

SchrodingersCat: yes you are absolutely right that my feelings are my reaction to her actions. I just need time and practice (for lack of a better word) to learn how to deal with these emotions. In the past 3 weeks she has had 3 different sexual encounters. Im not saying that its abnormal or anything, its just a lot for me to handle in such a short period of time. And for your "tit for tat / compromise" comment, I know I cant ask her to deny the poly part of herself because that would be denying who she is. like I said, I just need time to learn how to process my feelings and I am grateful that she is willing to work with me on that.

Thanks again for reading and your comments
DD123

Last edited by NeonKaos; 05-30-2010 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:18 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Originally Posted by rpcrazy View Post
i'm pretty sure the idea you're thinking of is Empathy. I get the feeling your young, which probably means your girlfriend is young, which gives me low amounts of hope for my next piece of advice.
RP - easy here - please !

Age is an easy stereotype to attach to and we all try really hard to remove that element from any interaction we have with others.
To imply that because someone is 'young' that they won't listen, won't work & study etc is really an unfair stereotype.
There's emotional age and chronological age - and the two certainly don't coincide and in fact can be miles apart. We've all seen endless examples of that.

Give EVERYONE their fair chance to live & learn in a productive way and assume nothing

GS
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:01 AM
saudade saudade is offline
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Default Owning feelings vs. indifference in my situation

First: I'm in my early twenties too. Everyone in my constellation is in their twenties too (though until last week one of my girlfriend's boyfriends was 19). Age doesn't

How an issue like DD123's would work in my relationship:

In my relationships (I'm the pivot on a vee; neither partner is seeing anyone else, though I wish they would; I also have a few other loves), the particular sort of issue you described (being surprised by an accounting of a sexual relationship) is handled by informed consent:
  • All of my loves know about all of my other loves, and everyone in physical proximity is good friends.
  • I let everyone know as someone is coming in on my horizon (lots of regular updates), and don't become sexually or romantically involved until everyone has given the go-ahead.
  • Once someone is officially in, details like "We totally had some rockin' sex!" tend to be considered TMI unless there's a legitimate need to know, or everyone is genuinely agree with the sharing. Current policy is that once any sexual contact is permitted, it becomes a 'don't tell unless asked' policy for what kind of contact is occurring, save for STD safety issues. (It used to be that my most worried partner had far more knowledge of what kind of contact, and some degree of veto power on things, and then we decided that wasn't working for any of us.)

As for your big question, and how it fits into everything I just wrote:

Quote:
Yes I understand that I was the one that felt hurt and that those are my feelings, not hers. But my feelings were a result of her actions. I think that it would be indifference if she were to completely disregard how I feel because of her actions.
My personal take on things is that completely disregarding someone's feelings when acting is irresponsible. However, weighing out what to do and performing the same action anyway is not necessarily so. (Whether irresponsibility and indifference correlate, I can't say.)

One of my partners is struggling to become comfortable with me spending time with a new love. We've talked about it a lot, and he's owning his discomfort. I'm in a position where our arrangement makes it possible for me to trigger that discomfort on a fairly regular basis. I choose to find ways to minimize that feeling (checking in the next morning, for example), but I still continue to trigger it.

Why am I doing it? Why regularly hurt someone I want to have children with in a few years? For a few reasons... He came into this relationship knowing that we'd be in this situation, likely many times. He's accepted this particular situation. He's working on his feelings, and I'm finding (internally and externally) ways to help him, and to be a better partner for him-- and everyone else-- in the process. This is the life I ultimately want to be leading: one that has room enough for us all to love each other the way we want to.

FIN. Phew, that was long. Thanks, all, for your forbearance!

In cahoots,
~S
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:18 AM
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I'm thinking here that perhaps her poly is not your poly. It sounds like she is interested in the kind of poly whereby she is free to come and go in and out of peoples beds without feeling like she is bound by any one persons boundaries. Perhaps your type of poly is that of building deeper connections and forming more of a constellation or tribe with people who love and care about each other for longer than the moments they are together. Neither is wrong or right, just different. It comes down to personal definitions of what love is to a person really.

Perhaps talking to her about your needs in terms of creating stability will help? Creating some kind of boundaries that mean that she develop relationships with people first and introduce them to you over time if she feels like she would like to be close to them in terms of sex? Its worth asking if this is more in tune with what will work for you.

The other point here might be that she is not the sort of person that sees sex as a loving bonding thing, but a fun sport. I did at that age and would of behaved similarly to her back then. Now I see it all very differently, but sometimes it takes going through some stuff, getting hurt and realizing that ones way of doing things is hurtful and sacrifices relationships that would of sustained me had I thought ahead.

I am wondering is how much alcohol has played on all her sexual encounters... perhaps she became unaware of her body and let others use it (again, as I did in the past). There might be some crying out for help there if you are able to dig deeper... or not, but maybe it's worth investigating. If nothing else a conversation about sex and alcohol might be useful, she might not be aware of the connection between the two perhaps?

I can understand your pain. I have not felt it, but see the faces of many good lovers in my head that I did the same thing too. Right down to the way in which I told them about what I had done... I completely didn't understand what the big deal was because I was completely unaware of what sex really meant to me and some others and did not see it as anything more than a bodily function that was kinda fun.

Bottom line is that if its all too much for you and she is not willing to talk through it all and come up with something more comfortable for you then perhaps finding someone who is more compatible is the way to go.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:10 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Originally Posted by DD123 View Post

But the main thing I want to discuss here is where/what is the line and what is the difference between owning your own feelings and indifference. To me owning your feelings is: "you feel bad and I acknowledge that you feel bad, but I dont feel bad cuz you feel bad." and indifference is:"I dont give a shit how you feel cuz they are YOUR feelings, NOT mine."

And I know it goes to the compersion thing but any advice on how to have it not hurt so much is also appreciated.

Thank you for reading and for your feedback
DD123
Well..............

'Feelings' are always tricky ground. Maybe the easiest way to get perspective on dealing with them - especially long terms is to truly understand what 'feelings' in fact are !

Without straying into all the scientific realm is enough to say that 'feelings' are nothing more than chemical reactions in your brain. They are real - but by the same token NOT real. Not anything of real substance. You can pour some rum and some coke in a glass and you have a real rum & coke - but the effects you experience from it are not 'real'-substantial like the glass you hold in your hand.
If that makes any sense..............

But.................

The ACTIONS you take based on those chemicals can be VERY real. Words you let slip from your mouth. Other actions.

So where am I going with all this ?

All these chemical reactions are somewhat hard to control. Some you inherited (genetics). Some you acquired (culture/lifestyle) along the way. So the 'feelings' that crop up are only products of that. The more you think and learn, the more you experience in life, the more these 'feelings' can get modified. They are really nothing more than our biological survival mechanisms. As you 'learn' (chemically) that certain things that were programmed to set of threat alarms are really not a threat at all, the feelings get modified and alarms quit going off.

But while this is happening (over a period of 60 or 70 yrs LOL) you still are ALWAYS capable of CHOOSING your actions. That's where the rubber meets the road.
It seems the prudent course is to understand that the feelings are just feelings - based on your brains best understanding at the moment - and that that understanding may be less than complete. Then CHOOSE to act accordingly ! Knowing you may be acting with less than a complete set of information, proceed with caution - and flexibility.

GS
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:41 AM
DD123 DD123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saudade View Post
In my relationships (...) the particular sort of issue you described (...) is handled by informed consent:
  • All of my loves know about all of my other loves, and everyone in physical proximity is good friends.
  • I let everyone know as someone is coming in on my horizon (lots of regular updates), and don't become sexually or romantically involved until everyone has given the go-ahead.
  • Once someone is officially in, details like "We totally had some rockin' sex!" tend to be considered TMI unless there's a legitimate need to know, or everyone is genuinely agree with the sharing. Current policy is that once any sexual contact is permitted, it becomes a 'don't tell unless asked' policy for what kind of contact is occurring, save for STD safety issues.
I have met L and Z who are her roommates, but she didnt tell me until after it happened. This was 1 week ago and we talked about it. somewhere in that conversation, she had told me that she was going to a city 5 hours away to be with her family and her ex-bf, whom she wanted to sleep with. She just got back monday night/tuesday morning. I saw her tuesday evening and she tells me that not only did she sleep with her ex-bf, but also had a 3 way with BD and BDs gf. I have NOT met her ex-bf, BD, or BDs gf.

My gf read this post and highlighted this - this is VERY similar to our situation:
Quote:
Originally Posted by saudade View Post
For a few reasons... He came into this relationship knowing that we'd be in this situation, likely many times. He's accepted this particular situation. He's working on his feelings, and I'm finding (internally and externally) ways to help him, and to be a better partner for him-- and everyone else-- in the process. This is the life I ultimately want to be leading: one that has room enough for us all to love each other the way we want to.
My gf also highlighted this

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I'm thinking here that perhaps her poly is not your poly. It sounds like she is interested in the kind of poly whereby she is free to come and go in and out of peoples beds without feeling like she is bound by any one persons boundaries...The other point here might be that she is not the sort of person that sees sex as a loving bonding thing, but a fun sport.
So yea redpepper you you hit it right on the nose there

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
Creating some kind of boundaries that mean that she develop relationships with people first and introduce them to you over time if she feels like she would like to be close to them in terms of sex? Its worth asking if this is more in tune with what will work for you.
Possible, but very difficult. as I stated before, she didnt tell me about her roommates until after the fact, and the others live 5 hours away and she only goes to visit them 2-3 times a year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I am wondering is how much alcohol has played on all her sexual encounters... perhaps she became unaware of her body and let others use it (again, as I did in the past). There might be some crying out for help there if you are able to dig deeper... or not, but maybe it's worth investigating. If nothing else a conversation about sex and alcohol might be useful, she might not be aware of the connection between the two perhaps?

Bottom line is that if its all too much for you and she is not willing to talk through it all and come up with something more comfortable for you then perhaps finding someone who is more compatible is the way to go.
LOL sorry I had to laugh because I am alcoholic and have over 2 years in recovery, so alcohol is a topic we discuss a lot. she doesnt like to drink because she doesnt like to not be in control of her body/actions and therefore drinks very little. Like I said we do discuss that. as for the second part, we are always talking and she is willing to work with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
They are real - but by the same token NOT real. Not anything of real substance. You can pour some rum and some coke in a glass and you have a real rum & coke - but the effects you experience from it are not 'real'-substantial like the glass you hold in your hand. If that makes any sense..............
I believe the word your looking for is: tangible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
All these chemical reactions are somewhat hard to control. ... The more you think and learn, the more you experience in life, the more these 'feelings' can get modified. ... As you 'learn' (chemically) that certain things that were programmed to set of threat alarms are really not a threat at all, the feelings get modified and alarms quit going off... you still are ALWAYS capable of CHOOSING your actions. That's where the rubber meets the road.
I am definitely learning how to understand and control my feelings. 2 1/2 months ago when she told me she was going on a date with some1 else for the first time in our relationship I TOTALLY freaked out cuz I thought that our relationship was over. Since then I have learned that it doesnt mean that its over between us, and that it doesnt hinder our relationship, etc. Im not saying that it doesnt hurt anymore, cuz it still does, but nowhere near as much as it used to. mainly through talking with her and other ppl and this forum, and being reminded to ask questions like these:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
As for the how to reduce one's own hurt-first is practicing the steps of asking yourself (and answering)
"what does this REALLY mean?"
"what does this REALLY change?"
"how does this impact my goals/dreams/future?"

And questions like that. Because 9/10 times-the bottom line is it's mostly ego and not REALLY impacting our life in the long run, just a bit of a hit to our ego.
I cant thank you all enough for all the support you have given me. I have another question but I am going to ask in a new post, cuz its a different topic.
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