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Old 10-23-2012, 07:27 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,262

I think part of this has just been me learning to respect R's boundaries when it comes to my other relationships and learning what my own boundaries are when it comes to H's relationships or my own.
Yup. The hinge person is the TMI wall person.

I guess I mostly just felt guilty when I was around R (primary) because sometimes my mind would slip to H.
Let it blow on through. Feelings are just feelings. Your mind wanders around -- it's ok to think of one when with the other. So WHAT? Pleasant emotion will remind you of other pleasant -- you aren't hurting either to wander off in a daydream a little bit. So long as you are present when it matters it is ok.

Keep your expectations -- even of yourself -- realistic.

Time management has been a little bit of an issue, too, mainly because when H comes to town I want to see him most, if not all, the nights he's in town (typically just 2 or 3) and R doesn't want me to do that, even if he's not free to hang out those nights. He feels scared of it.
This is HIS feeling. You are limited by availability and 2-3 nights is not a horrible thing in a month.

What does he fear will happen?

And you can say to him "I see that you are afraid. I am sorry you hurt. But I have no other time to spend with H where he is available. So I am going. I am willing to help and support you to resolve this fear thing, but the answer is NOT me avoiding going if it enables you to avoid addressing the fear thing."
The main reason that R worries I would be happier with H is because of my intellectual connection with him. R feels intellectually inferior to H.
Again, this is a feeling of R's. That is for him to own and resolve. You can support him and offer nurture if he's going to work on overcoming this inferiority thing but do not enable.

Gala, this is what I mean when I'm afraid that my relationship with H is damaging to R. I am afraid it's pushing him away on some level.
Nope. It could be your relationship to Bob or Peter or whoever -- the problem is not you having relationship. The problem is R not working on his inner world issues.

But it's the WORRY, that ugly little WORRY that makes me feel like my love for H could be casting a cool shadow on R. R simply can't bear to hear about my feelings for H. He asks sometimes about specific things and then shudders when I answer him.
Then that is for him to own also. You could change how you answer.

R asks you about H?

You say "Well, I am willing to share that information. But the last time you asked you got all _____. Do you really want to know that answer? What for? To share? That is one thing. To beat yourself up with it? That's another. Motive, please."

He knows I love him. It drives him nuts because it's not at all what he wants for himself and he finds it threatening of us. This is the first relationship either of us have been in that we want to work out for the long haul. I've had longterm things before, but the future was never brought up, or when it was I ended up leaving.
I do not understand that bit. He does not want WHAT for himself? Poly? He finds that threatening?
Yes, a thousand times yes. I would never say "I told you so" to R, but I was skeptical of his hypothesis that opening up would enhance his libido. I think am getting a lot of guilt because it has unexpectedly boosted mine.
It is what it is. R could learn to own his own feelings.

Related question-- how do I gently talk to R about the root of his lower sex drive?
"Hon, I'm worried about your libido thing. When was your last physical and check up?"

Plain and simple.

Also, when he occasionally get a pimple or feels a breakout coming on he complains that it really brings him down and reminds him of being sixteen and not wanting to do anything where he had to see people or have any pictures taken of him.
He sounds like he's got self esteem work to do, honestly.

He thinks he just has a low sex drive, period, the end, that's it. I find this limiting and just flat out wrong, but I don't know how to address that without worrying that I'll come off as a jerk...
"I would like you to see your doctor and get a check up and look into your hormone levels and whatnot to see if that impacts your libido. I am your partner. I have to help tend to your physical health things. Your health is tied to MY health because we are lovers. So go."

Plain and simple.

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Old 10-23-2012, 07:53 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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As somebody who is married to somebody with a much lower libido than I do - and who didn't lose his virginity until 21 - well thats where the similarities end. I don't know if R finds sex a great joy, but my husband Adam doesn't think sex is fun unless he's having it, then he goes right back to a place of not wanting to think about it. A low libido I can handle, discomfort or fear of sex is more than a low libido. He's been tested for low testosterone and his was fine, however he is not in great shape and whenever he does start working out, his libido increases.

I don't have much advice about being gentle, sadly I was not gentle. When I met my Adam we were both poly then defaulted to monogamy temporarily. After several years I started pushing to open our relationship, watching my 30's slip by getting more and more resentful that he knew he had a problem with his libido, never wanted to have sex, and wasn't doing anything to change it - was reluctant to be poly because he felt it meant he was a failure as a partner, but was not motivated enough to work out and eat better even though it helped a lot, because he found it easier to think I was mistaken that it would help. It came down to a discussion that it was going to be poly, him making drastic changes, or us separating before he was willing to be open to poly again, which was about 20 months ago.

Anyway I mention this because with R holding on so tight to requesting you not see H more than once when he is in town? Well I can see that escalating in terms of how frustrating it will become, R depriving you time with H out of fear, but not wanting to look the issues of sex in the eye and admit it's a problem. You may let it go on longer than you really want because you feel guilty. Let's face it - do you feel R is being reasonable? (* addressing at the end of this spiel) You feel guilty, so you don't ask for what you really want, you get unhappy. Is R just fearful of you loving H more, or on some level is he aware the libido is a big deal, and H is happy to have sex with you so that's what he wants to avoid.

If I had things to do over again, I would've wished to read this book first. How to Improve your marriage without talking about it. Pretend it says relationship instead of marriage. Adam also puts it in the top 3 of relationship books that he's read. Libido can be such a sensitive subject, addressing it head on in conversation was something I didn't do too well at all, but since it doesn't sound like you're crying yourself to bed most nights because R doesn't want to have sex with you, you probably have a better chance than I did. Anyway, in my experience, the problem isn't going to get better, at one year with Adam I still had no idea just how deep the issues went, or what a big deal it would become. I'll throw in my advice to not even consider getting married (in case it does come up at some point) until you can say you are content with his libido being where it is for the rest of your life.

Obviously him getting tested for testosterone levels would be useful, but other than at his next physical asking if he'd ask about getting that done, I don't know what magical way it could be worded so he'd be receptive to it, hopefully others have advice, and hopefully I'll learn something here from others answers.

Lastly, I would've gotten us to counseling sooner. Several years ago Adam went a counselor that tackled things from a sexual angle (focusing on getting in touch with his body) which in retrospect was a big mistake, as the problems on his end at least deal with self esteem and self worth. Until that is in a healthy place, the other stuff wont really stick. Adam is very outgoing and confident too but people can give that outward attitude and energy and have low self esteem, so don't write the possibility off, in fact your last post lists at least 4 things that show R has some major self esteem issues. I imagine from what you say about R that whether or not testosterone levels are fine, he probably has some things that could be helped by seeing a good counselor. A few months ago Adam started seeing a highly recommended poly friendly counselor and there's already been a marked change, with him even initiating sex a couple times (and really, I'm guessing that averages has 1x a year, it's always me), and being willing to start working out again...and with a great counselor, that happened in 4 visits.

If I could go back, as soon as I realized the problem was not going away, and he didn't want to tackle it proactively, I would've said that I wanted us to both see a counselor, probably say I'd like to do it together first, and say if it turned out there were things we needed to work on individually, then we could branch off and have individual sessions. That way he doesn't feel singled out.

Again, I don't know how to address it directly without feeling like a jerk. I DO know that it upset him a lot when I would bring up him having a problem or any sort and the talk would be about him, instead of including my culpability in any given situation, he was too focused on fingers being pointed at him, and responds poorly to that. From a lot that I've read, this is somewhat common for men. Still haven't figured out the magical wording to gently address somebody about libido, and I never have been able to figure out how to include my contribution to our sexual issues in a way that is authentic so it isn't all about him without feeling like I had to label my desires as a problem. "Sorry I think sex is awesome and good so I want to have it with you?"

*So is R being reasonable. That is up for you to judge, you were only seeing him 7 months when you opened your relationship, it sounds like you've been putting his fear ahead of your wants (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's not a permanent thing) H is in town once a month, so me personally, I would ask for a time limit on how long R was going to need that one night only to feel secure. Personally if it was more than 3 more months, I would not agree to it, and if I did, R would have to be doing work on himself to figure out how to be OK with it. I MIGHT agree to only see H on nights while R was busy, but the potential of having months and months go by when I sat around wishing I was able to see H, and not seeing R because R was busy either...that's not a clever way to continue for most people, at some point it has to come to a head.

And I second all that on the staying over. Unless there is an end date to that, consider if that's how you want the rest of your life to be. I think I understand it more when long term relationships open up, to be more accommodating, but if you love H too, that could start feeling like a burden that is unbearable pretty soon. Is he doing anything concrete to move forward with dealing with the things he knows are a problem? If he doesn't want to hear about your feelings for H, is he trying to learn the skill of not asking, or if not, the skills to be aware that he is important to you? On that last one...it's unfair for both of you for him to ask and shudder if you dont answer him, just that little thing right there is destructive as hell and is just a set up for him to feel bad and you to feel guilty, maybe it's a good line item to work on changing first.

Ok, my gmail let me know GG replied to this, so I'll wrap it up so I can read what she said and learn something
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.

Last edited by Anneintherain; 10-23-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:17 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,262

Anne is right -- you could talk about a "ramp up" timeframe for visiting H when he is in town.
  • This month, 1 night.
  • Next month, 2 nights.
  • Next month 3 nights.
  • Next month 3 nights, one of them a sleepover.
  • Next month 3 nights, 2 of them a sleepover.
  • Next month 3 nights, 3 of them a sleeopver.

Or whatever pattern/speed you come to agreement on. But this has to move forward.

It is not fair to say ok to poly and then deny you the space / time to have your other relationships IN because of internal fears.

Feeling weird about bringing it up is NOT a reason not to care for your partner's health and well-being. That's not being a good partner to your person.

I do not love having the doctor talk with DH. He will happily squirm his way out of check ups and dental appointments if I let him. For his long term health? That's not good.

It used to piss me off that I had to nag. He complained that I nag. I ask him what other choice do I have then when he plays avoidy? Does it respect my time and energy when I have to set up and cancel things for him? Should I leave him because he causes me pain and worry because he won't care for his own body bucket healths? He got sober about it and owned that YES! YES! He is afraid of doctors and dentists! And I said "That is fine. I can come with, I can hold your hand, I can do the appointment setting. I can even do the talking. But the GOING? You MUST go!"

So for his easy ones he does go on his own. For his others ones I've shown up and gone with. He gets extra support to get through it. I get to not nag. Cupcakes for all.

But without first speaking up you are not going to find out WHY he is foot dragging on the healthcare either. Does he have a doc/dentist phobia thing like my DH? In addition to the poor self esteem?


Last edited by GalaGirl; 10-24-2012 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:26 PM
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Eudora Eudora is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: new york city
Posts: 9

Thanks, again, Gala & Anne.

Your advice is really, really helpful.

Hopefully I will have some awesome update soon.
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