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Old 02-21-2013, 10:34 PM
Tamcat Tamcat is offline
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Default Not sure if can do poly or not.

I first posted a while back...feels like years ago but I guess it was only a few months ago. Since then, so much has changed. I think my head is still spinning.

My dad, who I was very close to and taking care of, died.

I made the long avoided decision to separate from my husband. I've been apartment hunting for a month now trying to move out.

My boyfriend/dom lost his apartment and had to move in with a friend of his, and they had been contemplating starting up a relationship of their own.

Just recently, in the last few weeks, my boyfriend decided that he did want to be with me, that he did want me as his primary relationship and wants us to be together, but that he wants to get on his feet financially first so he can be self-sufficient and won't be a burden to me.

He and his friend had also decided not to pursue a romantic relationship due to her emotional issues and the room mate situation (there are 2 other people living there, one of which is the friend's ex-boyfriend who still has a crush on her and apparently the situation causes a lot of drama.)

My boyfriend and I have had a lot of talks about the poly thing. I have read up everything I could on it, lots of great websites on NRE, compersion, dealing with jealousy, insecurity, communication, etc. and I feel like I have a pretty good basic knowledge of the topic as a whole, having been in 2 different poly relationships now. Unfortunately, my experiences with both have been extremely negative, and I will own up to my own failings in contributing to their dysfunction and demise, but I am afraid that my boyfriend doesn't understand why I now am reluctant to want to open myself up to poly again.

When he tried to start up our most recent poly relationship with him, me, and his friend, he and I had been together in a LDR for almost 3 years. I had always wanted more, wanted to be together with him as a couple. He didn't want to, however over fears of 'settling down', of moving to where I am (after separating I want to stay here so my son can see his father often, to make it easier on both of them), of living with a child (my 8yo son), and fear that 'we just wanted different things' out of a relationship.

I compromised because I wanted him in my life, however we could manage it. And we ended up deciding to wait and see how we felt about things once we got settled back down after his move and my move (which I'm still trying to get done).

Then he got interested in his friend, who was also interested in him, and the NRE that followed all but pushed me out of the picture completely. He got short tempered with me, easily exasperated when I started feeling unsure, scared, insecure, replaced as he spent less and less time with me, showed less and less interest in me, and began pushing me away right when I felt I needed reassurance, culminating in a week of sheer hell right after he moved in with her and then practically avoided me entirely for a week, leaving me feeling shattered, like the relationship was over. There's still a lot of residual hurt, anger, and resentment from that- even though he's come out of his NRE fog and realized he almost lost me there. It was awful, and I wasn't consulted or given any say in any of it, when I tried to tell him I wasn't comfortable with things, that it was scary, painful, he would just tell me he didn't understand why, he still loved me, how he felt about me hadn't changed, and this was just something he had to do.

So I've realized now...that I've gotten my self-confidence and self-respect back, that if that is his version of poly, I don't want anything to do with it. I've realized he wasn't fair to me, that he neglected me, didn't treat me with consideration and respect, and that he was being selfish and heedless of the fact that what he was doing and how he was doing it was hurting me. And I realized I deserved better from someone I loved, someone I was in a relationship with that supposedly loved me. He has apologized numerous times for the way he handled things there, and says he realizes he did pretty much everything wrong there. But I am extremely gunshy from how bad an experience that was.

I made friends with another couple, they're poly, she's bi, both kinky and we've discussed playing together. I got permission from my boyfriend to do a scene (BDSM) with them at a play party and it was amazing. The guy and I have really hit it off and have been texting daily and the 3 of us have been making plans to get together to hang out and get to know each other, even if just as friends, although they've both made it clear they'd love to get involved sexually, though they respect my restrictions with my boyfriend right now. My boyfriend is nervous about this new development, despite having encouraged me to get out and meet people and find people to play with. I'm wondering if his change of heart suddenly saying he does want to be with me might be motivated by fear of losing me instead of him really deciding that's what he wants and as much as I want to trust him and believe that we might end up together, I'm scared to because of all the problems we've had up to this point.

I got into a huge hours long argument with him yesterday because I told his friend (who I've also been trying to be friends with) that I didn't think I could do the poly thing and that I didn't like how it made me feel, and he got upset about it and I tried to tell him I just wanted to talk to him about it and see if there was some way we could reach a compromise, something we could both feel better about, and he didn't think we could, said he felt like he was poly, hard wired that way and I was mono and didn't think either of us would bend on that, despite me asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were both calmer and in a better headspace where we were both trying to come from caring about each other's wellbeing instead of being angry and defensive. That's something else we're going to have to work on if we make it through this- is better communication/conflict resolution. I've read the links posted here and they've really helped me but despite trying to get him to read them, I don't think he has, I think he gets annoyed when I try to get him to read it.

And it may take me saying, "No. Hey- this is a deal breaker here. I need you to do this for us or I can't go on with this." I don't know. There is love there, between us, despite the problems. And commitment to each other and trying to find a way to make this work. When we're together, we're happy, really happy. There was a time when we brought out the best in each other. I want to believe we can get back to that. But I'm also realizing I have to take care of myself and make sure I am getting what I need out of a relationship and taking care of my physical/mental/emotional health.

How do I know if I can do poly or not? I think I'd rather just try an open relationship, with either of us having a say in who the other plays with. To me that seems less scary than opening up a relationship to other relationships and the complications of the other feelings involved. I used to think, maybe I could manage it if he and I had a secure, stable, happy primary relationship, but we don't have that yet and I honestly don't know if we can manage it or not. We'd have to make a lot of progress from where we are now I think.

I'm sorry this is so disjointed, just seems like so much going on, like I said my head is spinning. I tossed a lot out there- and it may not all make sense, but any thoughts, suggestions, advice on any part of this would be helpful and appreciated.

Last edited by Tamcat; 02-21-2013 at 10:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2013, 04:03 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am sorry you hurt. You sound like you are working out your inner stuff though.

Maybe it is that you can do poly... or even mono-poly if you are monoamorous for sure... but you cannot share that with him like this at this time. What is he willing to change, if anything? Is he willing to meet your need for clear communication/conflict resolution? Do you have other needs you would like to request? Does he have needs YOU are not meeting?

This...

Quote:
There is love there, between us, despite the problems. And commitment to each other and trying to find a way to make this work.
is not lining up with this behavior of his and yours below in this chunk

Quote:
I got into a huge hours long argument with him yesterday because I told his friend (who I've also been trying to be friends with) that I didn't think I could do the poly thing and that I didn't like how it made me feel, and he got upset about it and I tried to tell him I just wanted to talk to him about it and see if there was some way we could reach a compromise, something we could both feel better about, and he didn't think we could, said he felt like he was poly, hard wired that way and I was mono and didn't think either of us would bend on that, despite me asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were both calmer and in a better headspace where we were both trying to come from caring about each other's wellbeing instead of being angry and defensive. That's something else we're going to have to work on if we make it through this- is better communication/conflict resolution. I've read the links posted here and they've really helped me but despite trying to get him to read them, I don't think he has, I think he gets annoyed when I try to get him to read it.

Now I am going to take a liberty of splitting that chunk into bite size sentences, so please forgive that. (I want to be able to color code to show you how it reads to me.)
  • I had an argument with him yesterday. <--- Black, neutral, this is just a fact.
  • He got upset. <--- Neutral. This is just a fact.
  • We argued because I told his friend that I didn't think I could do the poly thing and that I didn't like how it made me feel. (<-- Orange caution. He is not clear why he is upset. Could he be upset because you worry about mono-poly issues? Or is he upset because you told his friend rather than come to him direct? Could it be BOTH? How did he find out you told the friend? )
  • I tried to tell him I just wanted to talk to him about it . and see if there was some way we could reach a compromise, something we could both feel better about. <-- Good that you tried to communicate. But orange caution. About WHAT? and HOW? The mono-poly thing only, or telling the friend things rather than telling him direct, or address BOTH issues? You are not giving clear communication about the CONTENT of the conversation. And I'm not sure HOW you deliver your message there either. You do not say. That could play in this. )
  • He didn't think we could, (Red. This is "not willing." You seem willing. He is not willing, but not saying it with clear communication. He is not saying "I don't think we can have clear conflict resolution because I am not willing to enter into conversation with you. I am not willing because I feel upset. I feel upset because ____. Before I could be willing, I need _____. ")
  • He said he felt like he was poly, hard wired that way. (He can know himself. Fair enough. Still does not address his upset or his willingness.)
  • He said I was mono.(<-- Caution. He is knowing you for you? That's not correct and presuming. Unless you stated you are monoamorous for sure to him previously and he is referring to that.)
  • He didn't think either of us would bend on that. (Red. You are willing to enter conversation and find out if things can change. He is NOT willing to enter conversation. Is he willing to state WHY? Is it because he is angry you told the friend first and does not feel emotionally safe now? Could ask if this bothers him, could apologize if so. Could that change his willing to enter into serious conversation THEN?)
  • despite me asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were both calmer and in a better headspace where we were both trying to come from caring about each other's well being instead of being angry and defensive. (Red. That is you pushing a point. You SEE his is upset. Do you stop poking the upset bear? No. You keep on poking the bear. How does this move communication forward? How does this create emotionally safe space for him "unbear" and not clam up now, or to be more willing in future? How does this show respect? )

Could be better to validate first. "I see you upset. I will not push. Please let me know when you are less upset if you are willing to talk and sort this out. I will back off now." You put your need to know NOW ahead of his need to feel safe now. ) He may NEVER be willing. And you have to accept that. But you aren't helping him to BECOME more willing by poking the bear either.
  • That's something else we're going to have to work on if we make it through this- is better communication/conflict resolution. <--- Yep. Neutral. It is what it is.
  • I've read the links posted here and they've really helped me. <--- Good. Black and neutral though.
  • Despite trying to get him to read them, I don't think he has. I think he gets annoyed when I try to get him to read it. (Orange. Caution on the HOW you communicate that -- Requesting he read? Or demanding he read? What is "trying to get him" mean here -- trying to get him to do things against his will? WHAT you communicate matters. So does HOW you communicate. Are you poking the bear? )

Maybe he doesn't want serious commitment in his polyshipping configuration with you. Maybe he does not want to be held accountable to you.
Do you even want the same open relationship shape? Cannot sort all that without clear communication.

But maybe he wants all the things you want, but he wants a better communication standard. Maybe he wants less bear poking?

You both create the environment you have the relationship IN. What are YOU doing to create a good environment? What about him?

I know it can feel hard, but keep sorting yourself out so you can arrive at your own clear wants, needs, and limits. Then express those to him and ask him to give you his clear wants, needs, and limits. But could think about the environment you create when you communicate. Nobody wants to spend hours talking to a bear poker. That does not feel emotionally safe or emotionally fun.

But if this is not about that, and just a basic NOT WILLING to communicate at all or be in relationship at all... Could accept there's no game to play here with him. There is no relationship to be had here. Sigh.

Hang in there. Take a time out and gather yourself and then try again... maybe with less bear poking? Perhaps ORAL communication is not your strength in this couple at this time. Could maybe try communication by writing letters? Leaving a print out on his desk?

Namaste,
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-22-2013 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:01 AM
Tamcat Tamcat is offline
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I'd like to add some more info to clear up the questions you posed, GalaGirl- heading to bed now, but the main thing I wanted to add is re. this:

Quote:
despite me asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were both calmer and in a better headspace where we were both trying to come from caring about each other's well being instead of being angry and defensive. (Red. That is you pushing a point. You SEE his is upset. Do you stop poking the upset bear? No. You keep on poking the bear. How does this move communication forward? How does this create emotionally safe space for him "unbear" and not clam up now, or to be more willing in future? How does this show respect? )
My asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were calmer was in the course of the 2 hour fight, in which he was upset and venting at me and gaslighting and assigning negative connotations to my words and twisting around the meanings of whatever I was trying to say to him, so I was attempting to ask to please put the discussion on hold since it was damaging and nonconstructive and try again when we were both calmer instead.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:01 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Hi Tamcat. I was going to clarify this part for GalaGirl, since I think she misread it:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamcat View Post
despite me asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were both calmer and in a better headspace where we were both trying to come from caring about each other's wellbeing instead of being angry and defensive.
but since you've already done so I'll just add: if it were me (or, when it is me, cause this can happen with TGIB especially) I wouldn't have asked if we could wait. I would have just stopped engaging and responding. You can't choose his behavior, but you can choose yours. Rather than trying to get him to agree on ANYTHING when he's not in the headspace to listen, I would have just said as calmly as possible, "I'm not going to have this discussion with you right now. When you're calmer and ready to be more constructive you can let me know."

Otherwise I don't have anything to add except I'm very sorry you're having to deal with all of this, and my condolences on losing your dad.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:06 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Thank you for the clarify. I am tired so I did misread that at first. So he was upset and then chasing you to go on and on and on and on about it?
The situation was more like "Do not feed the bear" then rather than "do not poke the bear?" Still engaging with bear somehow.

Could you walk away and still do the same? Validate and disengage? Like...

"I see you upset. I will not push this or discuss this at this time. Please let me know when you are less upset if you are willing to talk and sort this out calmly. I will back off now."
And go somewhere else? He could go on and on and on to argue with the air if he felt like it. But you don't have to be there with someone who is in "bear mode."

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-22-2013 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:27 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Hi Tamcat,

I am sincerely sorry to hear about your Dad. That along with the separation from your husband are two major life events coinciding and you must be feeling very rocky indeed. It's no wonder you are seeking some security in your life. I completely understand this. I remember your older posts and just read through them again to refresh myself a little on your situation.

I know that Q hasn't always been there for you in terms of this and I know that he originally expressed that he didn't want you to leave your husband.

This whole "being 'right' for poly" idea is something I've thought about a great deal over the past two years. Like Q, my girlfriend often told me that she thought I wanted monogamy, that I wasn't 'suited' to poly. Like Q, she could be impatient, sometimes cold, often steaming ahead and asserting her freedom. (Incidentally, we are both Dommes and since Q is a Dom, there might be a common trait there of needing to assert control and need to push ahead with almighty force )

I came to realise, over time, that yes, insecurity and jealousy are greater struggles for some that others. But also, feeling those things doesn't mean that you aren't 'right' for poly. What about compassion, patience, nurturing, the ability to balance, the ability to show commitment? That is what you have needed from Q. Not displaying those traits consistently doesn't necessarily make him 'good' at poly, either.

Quote:
It was awful, and I wasn't consulted or given any say in any of it, when I tried to tell him I wasn't comfortable with things, that it was scary, painful, he would just tell me he didn't understand why, he still loved me, how he felt about me hadn't changed, and this was just something he had to do.
This here kind of says it all. You want to feel like his partner; not his audience. The question is: is Q capable of making you feel that way? Does he actually truly want you to be his partner; his primary partner?

Quote:
He has apologized numerous times for the way he handled things there, and says he realizes he did pretty much everything wrong there. But I am extremely gunshy from how bad an experience that was.
This, though, is really something to look at. You have to try to look at the fact that he has actually accepted ownership for the way he treated you. Of course, you have taken ownership for your part in the problems too. But that's the start of good conflict resolution, isn't it... each owning up to what you have done?

Quote:
I made friends with another couple, they're poly, she's bi, both kinky and we've discussed playing together. I got permission from my boyfriend to do a scene (BDSM) with them at a play party and it was amazing. The guy and I have really hit it off and have been texting daily and the 3 of us have been making plans to get together to hang out and get to know each other, even if just as friends, although they've both made it clear they'd love to get involved sexually, though they respect my restrictions with my boyfriend right now.
So, he gave permission to do a scene, but not a fully sexual scene? Did he give reasons for this? But he has played with other submissives since you've known him? Or am I getting this wrong? Are you collared to him? Is he your Master, or your Dom?

Quote:
My boyfriend is nervous about this new development, despite having encouraged me to get out and meet people and find people to play with. I'm wondering if his change of heart suddenly saying he does want to be with me might be motivated by fear of losing me instead of him really deciding that's what he wants and as much as I want to trust him and believe that we might end up together, I'm scared to because of all the problems we've had up to this point.
You know, from a poly perspective... the shoe is almost always different when it is on the other foot. When *we* are actively dating others, we are leaning one side of the poly coin. We are leaning those things I mentioned earlier - empathy, compassion, balancing, not going insane with NRE, patience. When we watch our partner date, we have to deal with the other side of the coin - jealousy, insecurity, fear, compersion.

It could very well be absolutely true that he is now clinging through fear. This isn't necessarily 'bad' or invalid, though. Sometimes we take people for granted until we are faced with fear of losing them. I think this could be a very pivotal moment in your relationship.

Quote:
...see if there was some way we could reach a compromise, something we could both feel better about, and he didn't think we could, said he felt like he was poly, hard wired that way and I was mono and didn't think either of us would bend on that,
How have you felt about these texts and this possible sexual play with your new friends? Do you like that idea? If so, are you really mono? (love aside... are you polysexual at all?)

Don't let him tell you what you are - only you know this. If you really are mono, but want to be mono/poly with him, I don't see the problem with that.

Essentially, what he might be saying is that he simply does not have the strength or patience to keep reassuring you, if you guys got into a mono/poly relationship. After three years, perhaps he is seeing a compatibility issue? Perhaps he's realising his own limitations in terms of what he can offer you - both in terms of his personality and a relationship structure?

Quote:
despite me asking him repeatedly if we could wait and talk about it when we were both calmer and in a better headspace where we were both trying to come from caring about each other's wellbeing instead of being angry and defensive.
I agree with Gray here - it's about taking that step to actually get off the phone (or wherever you were having this argument). Ultimately, it stops you being in the line of fire when he isn't thinking clearly and gives him time to calm down, without you having to put yourself in the way of emotional shrapnel.

Quote:
And it may take me saying, "No. Hey- this is a deal breaker here. I need you to do this for us or I can't go on with this."
What is it that you want him to do.... what is the deal breaker? (I'm a bit confused). Did you mean his arguing style and the way he doesn't seem to want to learn, read the threads and change his opinion and meet you in the middle? Or did you mean being poly?

Quote:
How do I know if I can do poly or not? I think I'd rather just try an open relationship, with either of us having a say in who the other plays with. To me that seems less scary than opening up a relationship to other relationships and the complications of the other feelings involved.
I think like many things in life, you'll know when you get there. I used to doubt if I could 'do' poly. After two years, I realised that I *do* like poly - I just need a patient and nurturing partner to do this with. I also need a happy, secure and committed primary relationship. I like hierarchical poly and it works for me. Like you say; it's about realising and affirming what you want - both to yourself and to him.

One final point... something that stands out to me about your posts... You are doing a lot of 'waiting' in your relationship. You've been waiting for three years, essentially. Waiting for him to show more commitment, waiting for him to show more understanding, waiting for him to *tell* you how your relationship is going to be? You're not passive - you're actively trying to talk to him, to work with him, to educate both of you.... But you're coming up against a wall.

He's dug his heels in about being poly - he's gone ahead and done it, moved at his own pace, acted independently of your relationship. That's hurtful to you, because it isn't what you want. But, he might feel the same way. He might think that *you* are digging your heels in too, to have a mono or not-quite-poly relationship, with more control over each other than he wants. That might be upsetting for him too.

Something to think about...

You turned (and became attached) to Q when you were in an unhappy marriage. You've spent three years in love with him. He still isn't giving you what you want. He still isn't giving you a commitment. (From what I can see from your post? Tell me if I've misunderstood this).

It might be worth thinking about the following options:
- getting your wants and needs straight in your mind, re: what kind of relationship structure you need
- communicating this to him clearly
- getting a clear understanding of what he wants, at this point
- being honest with each other about your personalities, your needs and what you can both realistically offer
- considering the option of exploring poly for yourself; dating others, finding a primary partner who isn't Q
- stepping back from Q altogether for a while

The bottom line is that you have to make sure you choose the right partner for your emotional health and happiness. Perhaps Q is a very important and valuable part of your life - but perhaps not in the way you currently would like him to be. It comes down to what he wants to offer and what you can accept. If you enter into an 'open' situation, with a say over who you can and can't play with, you're essentially still both asserting control over each other. It just seems to me that he's been crying out for freedom and you've been crying out for commitment. I'll come back and read any updates you make and I really am sorry again that you are in this position.
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  #7  
Old 02-22-2013, 05:58 PM
Tamcat Tamcat is offline
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Quote:
We argued because I told his friend that I didn't think I could do the poly thing and that I didn't like how it made me feel. (<-- Orange caution. He is not clear why he is upset. Could he be upset because you worry about mono-poly issues? Or is he upset because you told his friend rather than come to him direct? Could it be BOTH? How did he find out you told the friend? )
I told him I told the friend that. He and I are working on being open and honest about things so I wanted to let him know what I'd said to her (she would have just passed it along to him anyway.) I am not clear what he was upset about either- although I suspect there were a lot of factors contributing.

Apparently his friend had already told him she didn't want to move forward with the poly idea, back over the weekend he had told her about some red flags he'd noticed (she's got a strange, unhealthy co-dependent thing with one of the other room mates, doesn't talk about her feelings, isn't honest about feelings/relationship matters) that would have to change before he'd consider having a relationship with her. So me even telling her that I was still struggling with the poly thing (we'd all been discussing it for months now and she and I had talked about the problems I'd been having before) seemed to be a moot point, but it still seemed to upset him.

He seemed to be upset about that- and about the fact that I said that my experiences with poly thus far had been overwhelmingly negative and it made me feel like poly was destructive, that if the original relationship wasn't stable and secure, that adding another one seemed to expose any weaknesses, unhappiness in the original one and erode it till it fell apart.

He extrapolated that into me trying to change him and rejecting him because he's poly and being angry because I knew he was poly when we met, and when we started our own relationship we were both with other people, and now it's not working- and I tried to tell him, that it hasn't worked, that both of those other relationship crumbled, ended. So yeah, my own poly experiences have not been good, and the current situation started off so badly for me that l really do have a negative impression of poly right now, especially the current situation due to how he started things with the friend, and the red flags I'd noticed about her as well.

Quote:
I tried to tell him I just wanted to talk to him about it . and see if there was some way we could reach a compromise, something we could both feel better about. <-- Good that you tried to communicate. But orange caution. About WHAT? and HOW? The mono-poly thing only, or telling the friend things rather than telling him direct, or address BOTH issues? You are not giving clear communication about the CONTENT of the conversation. And I'm not sure HOW you deliver your message there either. You do not say. That could play in this. )
Compromise about the poly stuff. Try to find a relationship model we were both comfortable with. Try to see what specifically, it is about poly he wants, and what specifically it is about poly I do not want, and see if there was any way to meet in the middle on anything. And I never got the chance because the entire conversation/argument was him angry and venting and me trying to pull back and keep calm try to put things on pause so he could cool down and we could talk about it later without the anger and insults.

Quote:
He said I was mono.(<-- Caution. He is knowing you for you? That's not correct and presuming. Unless you stated you are monoamorous for sure to him previously and he is referring to that.)
He didn't think either of us would bend on that. (Red. You are willing to enter conversation and find out if things can change. He is NOT willing to enter conversation. Is he willing to state WHY? Is it because he is angry you told the friend first and does not feel emotionally safe now? Could ask if this bothers him, could apologize if so. Could that change his willing to enter into serious conversation THEN?)
I am honestly unsure about what I want to be. I have said in the past I thought I was poly, then after the recent negative experiences, that I thought I was monoamorous, though still open to an Open Relationship model. I am willing to try to compromise with him to help our relationship. I am hoping when we get to talk about it some more in a calmer setting, that maybe he will consider any possible ways we could address the things that make me uncomfortable with the current situation.

I don't think he's angry that I talked to the friend, because she and I had been talking all along on and off about things. She and I had been friends as well though not as long as he and her had been friends. The current poly thing damaged my friendship with her to the point that I feel somewhat uncomfortable talking to her now, had only messaged her to try to reopen a bit of dialog because in the past actually talking to her about the poly thing had helped me feel a little less bad about the situation. He'd always encouraged me to talk to her more and I felt like she had the right to know how I felt, that I was struggling because she had told me that she did care about how I felt about things, and I wasn't sure if he had told her I was still having trouble with it. When I did talk to her about it, she told me that she had already told him she didn't want to go any further with things.

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Despite trying to get him to read them, I don't think he has. I think he gets annoyed when I try to get him to read it. (Orange. Caution on the HOW you communicate that -- Requesting he read? Or demanding he read? What is "trying to get him" mean here -- trying to get him to do things against his will? WHAT you communicate matters. So does HOW you communicate. Are you poking the bear? )
I have tried sharing the links with him and telling him how much they have helped me and asking him to please take a look at them when he can. I never demand anything from him, our relationship has a D/s aspect to it with him as the dom and me as the sub, so I tend to tread fairly lightly around him in most cases. When he says no, that's usually the end of it. He hasn't said no to reading the links, he just seems annoyed that I think he needs help with things like conflict resolution and effective communication. I've only brought the websites up maybe 2-3 times in the last several months, but honestly, with as much trouble in those areas as we're having I really wish he would read over them.

Most of our issues seem to be grounded in the two, honestly- conflict resolution and effective communication. I think he and I both need a crash course in how to talk about 'hot button' issues to actually resolve them instead of having them fester and then pop back up over and over again.

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Maybe he doesn't want serious commitment in his polyshipping configuration with you. Maybe he does not want to be held accountable to you.
Do you even want the same open relationship shape? Cannot sort all that without clear communication.
He and I both do seem to want serious commitment in our relationship. He tells me often he doesn't want to lose me, wants me in his life, wants me close, and how much he loves me, and I feel the same about him. I don't know about the relationship model agreement, that is one of the things I am hoping we can sort when we talk next.

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You both create the environment you have the relationship IN. What are YOU doing to create a good environment? What about him?
I feel like I've been trying...I've decided what I want, what I need in a relationship, I'm finding out what makes me feel safe and what makes me feel unsafe, what I'm willing to deal with, compromise on, and what I'm not. I've been trying to offer possible alternatives like: "What if we just decided to date other people?" But he hasn't wanted to explore that idea. I've been trying to do everything he's asked of me and tried to let him know what I need from him, specific things that would help me feel better about things. I've tried to make any changes he's asked for to make him feel better about things, and have taken his advice when there's something I've been doing that has bothered him or made him feel bad. I've tried to reassure him any time he's needed it that he is the most important thing in my life other than my son, and that I do want to be with him and that I do love him and want to try to work with him to make a relationship we are both happy and healthy in.

He has been trying, listening to what I've been asking for and trying to do what I've asked of him when he can, he's been trying to be more present in our relationship and focus more of his time and attention on me (I suspect NRE may have played a big part of how badly things went when he tried to force the poly thing on us with his friend and am thinking maybe he's starting to come out of the NRE fog) and he's been more reassuring, more loving, and more affectionate towards me lately, even discussing the possibility of us living together if we're both able to settle and get our respective lives more stabilized and work through some of the issues we're struggling with in our relationship.

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erhaps ORAL communication is not your strength in this couple at this time. Could maybe try communication by writing letters? Leaving a print out on his desk?
The recent argument there was in text, on Skype. We're in a long distance relationship currently, get to see each other every couple of months for a week or weekend, and stay in contact talking every day on Skype via text, voice, and/or webcam. Sometimes I think we communicate better via voice, when there's less likelihood to misconstrue a tone of voice with the text, but then again, sometimes the text is better for getting your thoughts organized as you type them...it's hard to say.

Last edited by Tamcat; 02-22-2013 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:20 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Originally Posted by Tamcat View Post
that if the original relationship wasn't stable and secure, that adding another one seemed to expose any weaknesses, unhappiness in the original one
This is VERY true. I can see why he took it as a did, turning your thoughts on poly into thoughts about him, but you are absolutely right about this part. Any existing relationships DO need to be solid and stable before adding more people. Since he doesn't seem willing to read links, articles, etc he probably won't come on to this forum and read this, but a LOT of poly people agree with your statement above. It doesn't make poly a bad/negative thing, but it can make it more difficult or take more time/effort, which is part of why poly isn't for everyone.

I sympathize with trying to get him to read articles and websites. TGIB is slowly coming around to reading stuff I ask him to so we can talk about it, but it's been a struggle and we had to reach a blow-up point before he seemed to accept the necessity. Our biggest hurdle is also effective communication and conflict resolution, so I feel ya, but I don't really have anything helpful to contribute because I'm still figuring it out myself.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:45 PM
Tamcat Tamcat is offline
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but since you've already done so I'll just add: if it were me (or, when it is me, cause this can happen with TGIB especially) I wouldn't have asked if we could wait. I would have just stopped engaging and responding. You can't choose his behavior, but you can choose yours. Rather than trying to get him to agree on ANYTHING when he's not in the headspace to listen, I would have just said as calmly as possible, "I'm not going to have this discussion with you right now. When you're calmer and ready to be more constructive you can let me know."
I knew, on some level, that I should have done this...and tried to. But in the past, he's seen that as "running away", and has asked for me not to do it, so when I made the request and he didn't want me to go, I stayed and just tried not to get hooked in to arguing. Tried to stay neutral, calm, though by the end of it I was upset and in tears despite my attempts not to let it rattle me, and then he was upset that I was hurt and he left abruptly, which sorta made me angry that he was doing exactly what he'd asked me not to do.

We need help with communicating about difficult, emotional issues and resolving conflict, I think I'm seeing that as the most pressing issue right now. I feel like if we could both get better at those skills, that we could approach the rest with a better and more positive outlook and actually make some progress on the things that have been troubling us.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:26 PM
Tamcat Tamcat is offline
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I made friends with another couple, they're poly, she's bi, both kinky and we've discussed playing together. I got permission from my boyfriend to do a scene (BDSM) with them at a play party and it was amazing. The guy and I have really hit it off and have been texting daily and the 3 of us have been making plans to get together to hang out and get to know each other, even if just as friends, although they've both made it clear they'd love to get involved sexually, though they respect my restrictions with my boyfriend right now.
So, he gave permission to do a scene, but not a fully sexual scene? Did he give reasons for this? But he has played with other submissives since you've known him? Or am I getting this wrong? Are you collared to him? Is he your Master, or your Dom?
Q is my boyfriend and dom, and I did get permission from him to do the scene at the party, but with the restrictions he wanted that nothing sexual occurred because he wasn't comfortable with that right now and I understood and was fine with that. He had another girlfriend/sub when he and I started dating, but she broke up with him early on and it's just been he and I in the relationship for a long time, so we haven't really had to deal with any of this sharing stuff since he and I got serious about each other and our relationship. So we are definitely having some growing pains on both sides and problems with jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, instability. He had told me he wanted me to get out, meet people, 'play' (BDSM) and get some more experience in 'the scene' and I had hoped that maybe doing so would help me deal with his need to start up a second relationship with his friend but it didn't seem to help with that, although it did start to make me realize I had been settling for being neglected and treated badly and that I deserved better from him. And I am collared to him, as his sub, but we haven't really been able to do much with that aspect of our relationship, it doesn't seem to really be a constant or everpresent part of our relationship, especially with the trust issues that have come up over the last few months with him making what I saw as bad decisions and despite me trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and attribute a lot of the awfulness of the last few months to NRE, there's still a lot that I need to see different from him to feel safe with him at this point and to feel like I can trust him again and feel good about letting him take control again.

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How have you felt about these texts and this possible sexual play with your new friends? Do you like that idea? If so, are you really mono? (love aside... are you polysexual at all?)

Don't let him tell you what you are - only you know this. If you really are mono, but want to be mono/poly with him, I don't see the problem with that.

Essentially, what he might be saying is that he simply does not have the strength or patience to keep reassuring you, if you guys got into a mono/poly relationship. After three years, perhaps he is seeing a compatibility issue? Perhaps he's realising his own limitations in terms of what he can offer you - both in terms of his personality and a relationship structure?
I like the idea of sexual play with others, I think it's pretty hot, myself. I do like the idea. I think the thing I most have a problem with is the idea of multiple relationships, of loving more than one person. I feel like he and I are struggling with our own relationship, so adding another one, especially one that had as many red flags as it did with his friend, would be disastrous. Thats why I've even tried to tell him, as I did in that argument, that I don't feel like I can handle poly right now. I don't think I can handle this poly, with his friend, at a time when he and I are struggling so hard to figure out what we're doing together, where we want to go, what we want to do with our own relationship.

But my fear is that maybe I can't deal with the poly stuff at all, or at least not the way he does it. And if it is the way he does it, that I won't be able to get through to him about what he's done that makes it so hard for me and that he won't understand or be able to change how he approaches it. And if that's the case then there really isn't any compromise to be made and that will be very sad.

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And it may take me saying, "No. Hey- this is a deal breaker here. I need you to do this for us or I can't go on with this."
What is it that you want him to do.... what is the deal breaker? (I'm a bit confused). Did you mean his arguing style and the way he doesn't seem to want to learn, read the threads and change his opinion and meet you in the middle? Or did you mean being poly?
His arguing/communication style. He gets angry/defensive and turns what could be a good, helpful discussion into an argument/attack until I break down and start crying and try to disengage, or until I get angry and start fighting back, neither of which seem very healthy to me. And yeah, also the sense that he gets offended when I ask him to read some things that I know have helped me understand better some of the issues we're facing. I feel like I need him to be on the same page with me, to see what we've been doing wrong and learn more effective, healthy ways to try to do things and I'm afraid he feels like he knows better than me and doesn't want to try to learn or change or do things better and that's really a dead end for us there, too.

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One final point... something that stands out to me about your posts... You are doing a lot of 'waiting' in your relationship. You've been waiting for three years, essentially. Waiting for him to show more commitment, waiting for him to show more understanding, waiting for him to *tell* you how your relationship is going to be? You're not passive - you're actively trying to talk to him, to work with him, to educate both of you.... But you're coming up against a wall.

He's dug his heels in about being poly - he's gone ahead and done it, moved at his own pace, acted independently of your relationship. That's hurtful to you, because it isn't what you want. But, he might feel the same way. He might think that *you* are digging your heels in too, to have a mono or not-quite-poly relationship, with more control over each other than he wants. That might be upsetting for him too.

Something to think about...

You turned (and became attached) to Q when you were in an unhappy marriage. You've spent three years in love with him. He still isn't giving you what you want. He still isn't giving you a commitment. (From what I can see from your post? Tell me if I've misunderstood this).

It might be worth thinking about the following options:
- getting your wants and needs straight in your mind, re: what kind of relationship structure you need
- communicating this to him clearly
- getting a clear understanding of what he wants, at this point
- being honest with each other about your personalities, your needs and what you can both realistically offer
- considering the option of exploring poly for yourself; dating others, finding a primary partner who isn't Q
- stepping back from Q altogether for a while

The bottom line is that you have to make sure you choose the right partner for your emotional health and happiness. Perhaps Q is a very important and valuable part of your life - but perhaps not in the way you currently would like him to be. It comes down to what he wants to offer and what you can accept. If you enter into an 'open' situation, with a say over who you can and can't play with, you're essentially still both asserting control over each other. It just seems to me that he's been crying out for freedom and you've been crying out for commitment. I'll come back and read any updates you make and I really am sorry again that you are in this position.
In the past, one of the reasons he's given for us not moving towards a more serious commitment with each other has been because, as he'd put it, "We both just want different things out of a relationship." And I had done my best to settle that in my head as the sign that we just weren't going to be together as a couple and that I needed to move on and find someone else. I had done a lot of thinking towards that end, about letting him go, whether entirely, or staying friends if it wasn't too painful, or just seeing each other from time to time as secondaries or dating casually. I really hated the thought of any of those options, but was trying to force myself to consider them all.

Then he had what appears to be a pretty serious change of heart towards me, towards us, and seemed like he did want to be with me, did want us to be together, and wanted to work towards that. And as wonderful as it was to hear that...I'm wary of what all we'd need to do to get our relationship to the point where we could be happy, stable, healthy again, and I'm trying to see if I can trust him again to do what I need him to do to feel safe with him again, and also for him to let me know what he needs from me. But then that argument sort of spotlighted the fact that the poly thing is still a serious hot button issue and we need to try to figure out how to settle it so we can both quit worrying about it and stressing over it. And it's something so significant it really does affect whether we'll be able to move forward as a couple or not but the first thing is, we have to be able to talk about it without fighting or argueing.
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