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Old 01-25-2013, 12:08 AM
BBQGreg BBQGreg is offline
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Default Hi, I'm a lurker.

I don't have much to say on this forum, don't expect to ever have questions, but in case I ever do anything besides just lurk I decided to sign up. And so here's the long, rambling, emotionally-immature-enough-to-have-been-written-when-I-was-half-my-age introduction I wrote while I was bored today. More honesty than I feel like speaking in person to anyone, even a therapist or other confidentiality-protecting person.

I don't remember exactly how and why I found this site. I've been reading various threads for a few months, though. I think I found this forum actually after at another one someone was getting insultingly condescending towards monogamy and I tried to Google stories about people trying to open a relationship and having that effort ruin their relationship quickly. Call it seeking validation through schadenfreude. Anyway, I stumbled across here and a combination of curiosity and recognition that some of y'all (GalaGirl, for instance) give great relationship advice regardless of how many people are involved has kept me coming back.

My relationship with my girlfriend (let's call her Ashley and I'll be Greg) is monogamous. I expect it to stay that way despite our occasional light banter about having a threesome with one of her out-of-state friends or a celebrity like Jennifer Lawrence who neither of us will ever meet and would be out of both our combined leagues anyway, or banter about me keeping a harem. I think I want our relationship to stay monogamous, and I'm pretty sure she does too. I know she was in a poly relationship once, dating a couple, but whether that was as a triad or "being their unicorn" I don't know. I just know she said a couple was dating her together and she called it poly. I don't think it was real serious on her part, but I don't really know. I didn't ask her for details and don't generally delve into her past. What she wants me to know, she'll tell me when she wants. What I need to know I trust her to have been forthcoming about. The mysteries, I know includes things she's afraid I'll judge her for and I feel certain will make me jealous of her. She was a "wild child" who's spent the last few years putting that behind her and becoming a responsible adult, wanting to settle down. I was a stereotypical repressed nerd who tried to please overly-controlling parents and I'm still kind of bitter about it. You know, the type who graduated high school (magna cum laude, of course!) before finagling his first kiss out of someone and graduated college (magna cum laude again!) before convincing someone to take his virginity and can still get pissed off at movie titles because of it. Yet somehow she's afraid I'll find someone better than her and leave her for that other woman. As if. No, she's not one of the women (or type of women) I always fantasized about, but I love her all the same and I always knew my dream women, if they were even real, were unattainable for me.

Yes, women. Even though I don't believe I'm polyamorous (or don't want to be - all I know is that I thumbed through The Ethical Slut at a bookstore and wanted to throw it against a wall and stomp on it), I've had fantasies of a harem ever since I hit puberty. Why shouldn't I have imagined myself with a dozen goddesses instead of just one? "Never going to happen" doesn't change any just because you multiply or divide it by twelve.

They were selfish fantasies, of course. Selfish and double-standardy since they all involved a one-penis policy, which is the only way I could handle non-monogamy. I'm territorial and possessive (even against women - bitch, don't touch my computer!) and absolutely hate men. Hate them/us. Yes, I have like 2 or 3 guy friends, we hang out once a month or so, but as a sex I think we're all pretty revolting all pretty much rivals and enemies. A few months ago, I had some pretty extensive work done on the house and it took the workmen a few days. Within the first hour I wanted to manhandle them out the front door, or at least ostentatiously clean one of my guns like a teenage girl's dad in a cliche-ridden sitcom, in order to not have another man in my space. I don't even like sharing something as trivial as a checkout line with another man, so sharing something as important as a woman's love and intimacy and affection? Impossible, especially when it means exposing myself over and over again to his molecular and psychic residue on her and having everything I put into my relationship with her go to maintaining its existence in the face of his onslaught instead of go to strengthening and nourishing it and making it deeper and more meaningful.

And yes, I know Ashley could leave me for a woman instead of a man and that could happen under a one-penis-policy arrangement. I'm not irrational, just crazy (specifically, the psychologist diagnosed me with 4 Axis I things and 1 Axis II thing: "Major Depressive Disorder, Recurring, Without Psychosis", "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder", "Social Phobia", "Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified", and "Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified with Avoidant, Borderline, and Dependent Features". Plus, I'm obese. Aren't I catch!) That's not at all the same in my mind, though, because men and women aren't the same. It doesn't matter how good a vodka I can offer her if what she wants to drink is Scotch. Cats can't compete with dogs, apples can't compete with oranges, and mortals can't compete with deities. Just too different. So it's a possibility that Ashley could leave me for a woman, and that would sadden me if it happened, but there's no point to worrying about it because it's completely outside my control and has nothing to do with who I am.

And yes a second time, I'm fully aware of a bunch of "love isn't finite" arguments that people use to justify polyamory to skeptical monogamists. I don't think who or who many you love needs justifying to anyone except the who(s) you love, but I also don't really find those arguments convincing. Especially the one about parents with lots of children. I've got siblings, I know damn well that parents don't love all their children equally. I also know that when I think about the ex I haven't seen or heard from since 2008 or 2009, that little pang of desire and affection I feel for her is something I should be feeling for Ashley instead. And I know that every time I see a woman and marvel at her beauty or wonder what our kids would look like (oh, did I mention I'm unwilling to raise another man's offspring but would gladly make free donations to a sperm bank so many women could have my children? Hypocritical Neanderthal, I admit it) I feel a little dissatisfaction about Ashley. And after that I feel completely justified guilt for betraying her like that even though it's only in my heart and mind. I love my girlfriend and I'm so happy when I'm with her. More importantly, she loves me and she's offered herself to me. I shouldn't ever accept that gift begrudgingly and I absolutely shouldn't hold any of myself back when I reciprocate.

By the way, I like the whole idea behind the mutually-owning-each-other model of relationships. I desire it. If you've ever seen the movie Stardust, that little speech Claire Danes gives to the mouse describes it wonderfully. And honestly, a few of you have lauded or advocated a model of relationships so laissez-faire and seemingly disinterested in your partner(s) that I wonder what the point of being in the relationship at all even is.

Anyway, I'm not always with Ashley. Duh, right? But what I mean is that she's out of town several days and nights a week because of her job and that will continue for as long as we live here and she has this job. That's what lately inspired some 100% selfish (and I think loathsome) "If I had a substitute girlfriend to be with when she's gone like that I wouldn't be lonely then" rationalizing in my head. And even though I think she'd maybe be understanding of the logic, I think it would hurt her feelings and I'm ashamed of it and I don't want to confess it to her. Plus, those nights make her lonely too and being melodramatic about my stupid feelings could only make her feel worse to no gain for anybody. I'm not going to do that, and there's no way I'd ever even hint that she should quit her job - especially not a job she likes and is really good at - unless I were able to do it in the form of telling her about a higher-paying job she'd be just as good (or better) at and like just as much (or more). Unfortunately I can't do that for her right now, times and the job market being what they are. But "Hey, did you hear about this job opening that you're qualified for and is better than the job you have right now?" is an acceptable thing to say to someone (especially someone you love) while "Why don't you quit your job so I can spend more time with you" isn't.

So that's where I am. I have a girlfriend who I love and hope to make my fiancee before too much more time has passed. I don't think either of us has a real desire to open our relationship to anyone else, but the idea's kind of sprouted in my head. And regardless of what happens with me and her, I enjoy reading posts here sometimes and might have something to say now and then. So call me Greg (damn, I should've picked "BBQIshmael" for my name!). Hello, people.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:11 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi Greg,
Welcome to our forum.

It sounds like you have a lot of internal stuff to deal with, and while it's all safely contained in the present, there's always a chance a valve could burst sometime in the future, given the right conditions. I would take as much advantage as possible reading through the various threads on Polyamory.com, and post the thoughts, questions, and concerns that come to your mind.

Re: the Ethical Slut ... I've read it, it's okay. For a better introduction to poly (and responsible non-monogamy overall), try "Opening Up," by Tristan Taormino.

For the moment (at least), it does sound like monogamy is the way to go. I see too many cans of worms opening any other way. I'm sensing grim landmines of jealousy and insecurity that could be stepped on at any moment. So right now, stick to the known and the safe, is my advice, even while reading more about the "other side."

Hope you'll find our website to be a helpful one.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:35 PM
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AphroditeGoneAwry AphroditeGoneAwry is offline
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Hey~


Pretty astute and well-written post, if you don't mind me saying. I especially liked the way you expressed this feeling of possessiveness over your woman:

Quote:
I don't even like sharing something as trivial as a checkout line with another man, so sharing something as important as a woman's love and intimacy and affection? Impossible, especially when it means exposing myself over and over again to his molecular and psychic residue on her and having everything I put into my relationship with her go to maintaining its existence in the face of his onslaught instead of go to strengthening and nourishing it and making it deeper and more meaningful.

Yet. You are here. You admit to reading poly literature. Why are you so drawn to it if you abhor it so?

Sometimes what we abhor is a fear overlying what we are deeply resonating.

Just food for thought.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:50 AM
BBQGreg BBQGreg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AphroditeGoneAwry View Post
You are here. You admit to reading poly literature. Why are you so drawn to it if you abhor it so?

Sometimes what we abhor is a fear overlying what we are deeply resonating.

Just food for thought.
The laddie doth protest too much? Could be. I've never been good at expressing my wants or even defining them to myself since wanting things has always seemed a good way to disappoint myself by not getting what I want while pissing people off by asking for it. So it's certainly possible I'm here because I'm in denial about what I really think of nonmonogamy as applied to me. My other theories about why I come here were that it's a morbid curiosity/why people pick scabs reason, or that I've been coming here as a sort of "emergency preparedness" exercise in handling a feared "Surprise, I'm poly!" bombshell from my girlfriend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
I'm sensing grim landmines of jealousy and insecurity that could be stepped on at any moment.
I know mine are obvious. Hers, I'm less certain of. Are they really there, or am I reading them into/projecting them onto the things she says and does (and if yes, why do I do that?) I don't know. Better safe than sorry though.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:15 AM
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I think it is fortuitous and wise that you are carefully and thoroughly thinking things out, even if it means looking your own potential weaknesses in the eye. I think that studying up on polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor. As you read, be ready to post your thoughts and questions too.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:48 AM
BBQGreg BBQGreg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
I think it is fortuitous and wise that you are carefully and thoroughly thinking things out, even if it means looking your own potential weaknesses in the eye. I think that studying up on polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor. As you read, be ready to post your thoughts and questions too.

Regards,
Kevin T.
One thing I've already figured out from a lot of the threads I've read here is that numbers aren't always the real issue. Seems a lot of threads have people asking for advice and getting solutions for problems that are the same as in monogamous relationships (e.g. having a disrespectful/manipulative/abusive/unconnecting partner) or are self-issues where intimate relationships are just one of many facets of life being affected.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:23 AM
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It's true, monogamy and polyamory have a great deal in common. Both are made of the basic stuff that makes up relationships.

They say, don't start a poly relationship if one of the members has a psychological problem, don't start one if your existing marriage is out of sorts, don't fall in love with someone new and then ask for poly in order to hook up with that new someone, things like that, and yet, the V/triad I'm in "broke" a bunch of those "rules" when we came together. Mind you, we a few rough years together in the beginning while trying to figure out how to make it all work. But we basically did figure out how to make it work in the end, and the solutions have been uniquely ours.

The crossover of relationship issues between monogamy and polyamory means, for example, that "The Five Love Languages" (by Gary Chapman) is a great book for poly families to read, even though it was written by a conservative minister who can be seen to consider monogamy the "one and only healthy relationship model." The Love Languages idea is so simple and universal that it naturally extends beyond the bounds of monogamy, and helps many polyamorists.

No doubt the biggest part of the crossover realm is the seemingly limitless potential that good communication offers in the way of establishing emotional intimacy, and just plain old comfortable dynamics of learning how to work together like a well-oiled machine. Communication is a never-perfected skill. One can always learn how to become a better talker, and a better listener. The principles of honesty and kindness go hand in hand with the skills of good communication, and all of these things can work wonders for monogamous relationships, just as much as they can for poly relationships.

So yes, the numbers are often an incidental part of the equation.
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