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  #1  
Old 12-13-2013, 08:22 PM
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Garriguette Garriguette is offline
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Default Breathing deeply (partner away for weekend)

Xicot is away for a long weekend across the country at a event aimed at fostering community among skeptics, atheists, and agnostics. He was initially planning to share a room at this event with Sunrise-- a friend he met at a conference and fell for via e-mail-- before she decided that she didn't share his romantic feelings. We talked in the past few weeks about the possibility that he will find someone attractive and poly-friendly there, and I asked him to honor the requests I made in preparation for a recent party that has a cuddle / sex room: ask for STI disclosure and use a barrier for anything beyond manual sex. Last night as he was packing, he announced that he wasn't going to take safer sex supplies because "nothing is going to happen. The possibility of someone else finding me attractive is just too remote."

I said, "Probably you're right that nothing will happen with that attitude. You find confidence attractive. So do other people."

On the way out the door, he paused, returned to the bedside table, said, "What the hell," and grabbed a couple of condoms. I kissed him and told him to have a great time, and he was on his way.

Part of what he has discovered via recent introspection is that, as a late bloomer who was long convinced no one would ever be interested in him (he didn't date until his mid 20s), he hasn't put much thought into what he finds attractive. The one prior girlfriend he had (Joy) and I are very different. She is extroverted and pulled him out of his shell. And Joy is both a systemically happy person and a free spirit-- being around her stabilized his mood and taught him flexibility. In comparison to Joy, I'm more introverted, nerdy, earnest, deliberate, and also more empathic. I've seen them interact, and she definitely brings out very different things in him than I do. Whereas he and I are more alike, she pushed him more.

What Joy and I have in common, besides our taste in men, is that we both pounced on him. He very much enjoyed the pouncing, but "This woman is interested in me!" was such an overriding concern that he didn't really think, with either of us, "What do I like about her? What do I not like about her?" (He did think about those questions when he and Joy started to realize that parting made sense. The flexibility that she wanted-- e.g., to be able to sell most of her possessions and travel on relatively little notice-- was at odds with the stability he wanted. But he's had little experience pursuing either casual sex or a relationship with his own desires in mind.)

It feels very odd to play the role of cheerleader. First of all I understand his fear of rejection. Second, I haven't adjusted to "pushing" yet; even though he's said it's something he'd like me to do from time to time, it still feels, well, pushy. Thirdly, I'm mono-inclined. His fear of rejection "benefits" me in the short term, because it makes no demands on me to get rid of my own insecurity. But I think abetting his fear of rejection would be both manipulative and extremely unhealthy for both of us in the long term.

I don't want him to be afraid, nor do I want to be insecure. (My insecurity has nothing to do with his recently expressed poly leanings, despite what it feels like-- a stack of old journals attest to that.) I want him to be the happiest, healthiest Xicot he can be, even if I don't yet know what that looks like. He has held my hand through a lot of my own personal growth. I want to reciprocate, to be supportive to him as he grows and changes. But it scares me sometimes to think I might be a stage he'll outgrow.

So far, so good: I slept all right last night. There's plenty of work I need to get done in the time that he is gone. A classmate is giving a chamber music concert tomorrow night, and I'll go if I'm far enough along on work. I'm working on eating real food, not just ingredients. (I have some tendency to cook for both of us but to just have fruit or toast if it's just me.) And I've got a therapy session on Monday.

Anything else I should be doing?
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:59 AM
happytovee happytovee is offline
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Just joined yesterday and noticed your thread because the hinge in my vee is coming to visit me (out of state) and his wife (who I've become dear friends w ith) is having some nervous feelings about the trip. Could you give an update on how this worked out in your situation? And any suggestions on what worked well for you in keeping a positive mindset while he was gone?
Thank you!
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:49 AM
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Garriguette Garriguette is offline
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I learned a useful thing about my own insecurity, both in the time he was away and in the reflection I've done in the few weeks since. Namely, it doesn't help me feel secure to be in a position where I'm financially dependent on him.

I want to be able to agree to polyship because, even though it is not the ideal situation for me, it's both an important part of his growth, which I value, and something I am reasonably sure I can handle healthily. Being financially dependent on him compromises my ability to do that.

I've turned down an ill-paid teaching appointment so I can finish my dissertation and degree this year, and he's agreed to hold off on seeking any other partners at this time, though I have stated that I'm open to renegotiating before the year is up if he falls for someone.

I hope that you have a good visit, and I wish I could give you cheerier news. It has been a hard few weeks for both of us.
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Old 01-10-2014, 04:53 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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But you made it through the week.
  • You found you COULD handle him being away and experiencing your emotions in that time.
  • You learned something new about yourself.
  • You learned he's willing to renegotiate agreements to something that works out better for both. You needn't fear conflict resolution talks with him because he demonstrates commitment to your shared relationship.

Doesn't sound so horrible to me.

Now you can work to be financially secure in your own right, so you can feel better/more secure in your financial health the long term.

Hang in there!

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 01-10-2014 at 04:57 AM.
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