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Old 02-07-2014, 04:18 PM
KVLove KVLove is offline
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Default PDA Issues

Iíve been living with my GF and her other BF for almost 2 years now. Iíve been romantically involved and in a relationship with her for about 1 year. Her other BF has been with her for like 2. I love hanging out with the both of them in public and private, but Iím just never comfortable holding hands and being all lovey dovey and PDAing with her when the 3 of us are together. In private, when the 3 of us are at home alone, itís not as big of an issue (but still slightly awkward for me being that Iím relatively new to poly). In public though or with friends I just canít bring myself to kiss her or even hold her hand openly when weíre walking in the mall if I notice her also holding her other BFs hands or saw that she just kissed him.

I feel really bad that Iím this way because I really do love this girl more than Iíve loved anyone else, but she is starting to feel that Iím embarrassed or ashamed of her/her (our) lifestyle. I canít say I blame her for thinking that given how I behave. Maybe I am a little embarrassed or even ashamed. I hate that I feel this way and that Iím so awkward about it. Itís getting to the point where Iím beginning to think that poly probably isnít for me.

So questions. Do yall think Iím in the wrong here or is she trying too hard to make me behave in a way that Iím not comfortable with? Iíve been this way for about a year (the whole being secretive with people with the fact weíre in a poly relationship and uncomfortable with being affectionate in public when the 3 of us are together) so do you think this is something that will get better with time or does me being like this for a year now kind of mean that this is just how Iíll pretty much feel about being poly/pdaing forever?

For more context Iím fairly young and have absolutely zero problems being affectionate with her when only the two of us hangout in public/privateÖ.itís only when the 3 of us are together. And Iíve only previously been in monogamous relationships. Let me know what you think.
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:56 PM
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SouthernGal SouthernGal is offline
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Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 87

Did you have problems with pda in the mono relationships? Do you want to keep it a secret that you are in a poly relationship? If so, what are your reasons? You shouldn't be "required" to show pda, but if there are insecurity issues or some sort of shame involved, you really should take the time to analyze that. Maybe you're suited to poly, maybe not. Without knowing you, I have no way to say. But you should be comfortable and honest with yourself and likewise be honest in your interactions with your gf.
Me - Mostly mono female, 39 yrs old, married to Leo.
Leo - Poly bi-sexual male, 37 years old. Married to me and looking.
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:58 PM
vanquish vanquish is offline
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Location: Montgomery, AL
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Let me ask you a few questions if I may...

Do you have the impulse to kiss or be affectionate, but you suppress it? Or do you just not have the impulse at all?

Do you feel like if you become affectionate it will be viewed by the others in your relationship as clingy? Do you think it will degenerate into a tit-for-tat?

Do you think that you'll be hurting the feelings of the other bf if you're affectionate? Or angry?

Are you worried about what the community will think?

Lastly, do you see yourself as an equal (if that's the relationship you've all agreed upon) to the other bf and just as deserving of affection from your shared partner?
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:59 PM
Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
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Some people just aren't into PDA and thats fine. Her other partner clearly is so let them continue and you dont and all is good. Sounds like if she's pressuring you to be open in public you just need to reassure her again that you aren't into PDA and its not because of her
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:24 PM
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YouAreHere YouAreHere is offline
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I have trouble with this as well. It's not shame as much as it is not liking the fact that when we share PDA in public, it becomes "a thing" in the public's eye, rather than it just being nothing to look at.

If it's just the two of us, it barely gets any recognition, which is nice - I'm not looking to hold his hand in order to get attention or "aww, cute" comments.

When it's the three of us, I feel like it's a circus (although I know it's mostly in my own head), and I don't like the attention it receives. It makes the nature of the relationship more important, somehow, than the relationship itself, and that drives me crazy. I've also been burned by the judgment of sharing PDAs around people I know ("You deserve better. He's being disrespectful") so I'm also sensitive to that, especially if I'm around people whose opinions may actually negatively impact me (coworkers, family, and the like).

For reference, I've been in this relationship for 2+ years now, and this isn't going away for me any time soon.

I don't feel I'm "not cut out for this relationship" but this aspect of it isn't for me, and I do pull back physically when we're all together. P and M1 have sort of accepted it, and try to not make me uncomfortable when we're all out, which is nice, but to be honest, I'm not limiting their PDAs, just pulling back on mine. He and I have enough "together time" as a couple where I don't feel I'm missing out on anything.

No answer for you, but some empathy, if that helps any.
Dramatis personae:
Me: 46/F, Divorced with 2 kids, 2 cats, fish, a tarantula, and a 1930s house with many projects.
Chops: 47/M, Partner of 6 years, lives half-time with me, half with Xena.
Spinner: 52/M, Friend I've been on a few dates with. Divorced, Mono, wrapping his head around it all.
Xena: 47/F, Chops' other nesting partner of 6 years
Curls: 50/F, Chops' partner of 1 year

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Choplet: Chops' son
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:52 PM
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Natja Natja is offline
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Personally OP, I don't like PDA at all, has nothing to do with Poly, I am an affectionate person to those I love, but I can't stand kissing or holding hands in public. Not because I am embarrassed or shy, I just don't want to do it. I don't need to show the world I am in love, I don't think the world cares to see me smacking lips with someone either. It is a level of exhibitionism I am uncomfortable with and perhaps you are too?

Nothing wrong with it, just tell her you don't care for making a public spectacle of yourself.
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:24 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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There's no objective right or wrong. There's just what works for the people involved, and what doesn't work. Apparently in this case, what works for you doesn't work for her. So it's a question of finding an arrangement that works for both of you, and that can only be negotiated by yourselves based on your own feelings and needs, rather than what other people on the internet think.

That, however, won't stop me from telling you want I think, bearing in mind that I'm just some person on the internet.

For one thing, "that I’m embarrassed or ashamed of her/her (our) lifestyle" is not a "feeling," it's a "belief." Feelings are things like embarrassed or ashamed, hurt or sad. If she believes that you're ashamed or embarrassed of your lifestyle, then she can ask you if that's true. If you say you're not embarrassed or ashamed and she doesn't believe you, then it's an issue of trust more than anything.

I personally believe that whether or not you want to show PDA is your own choice. If she pressures you to do something that you don't feel comfortable doing, then she's not respecting your need to feel safe and comfortable in public.

You say that you hate that you feel "this way." What do you mean by that? Do you hate that you don't express yourself when you're all together? Or do you hate that you feel pressured to act in a way that goes against your nature? If not for her complaints, would your lack of PDA bother you in the slightest?

If this is the only reason that you believe poly may not be for you, then I beg to differ. That two people have different preferences in how they express their emotions, and whether they choose to express their emotions in public when other lovers are around, has absolutely no bearing on whether or not they're "cut out" for polyamory.

Never apologize for who you are. It's important to live by your own standards and rules. If "who you are" is someone who doesn't flaunt being polyamorous by holding hands in a chain, then being in a relationship with you means accepting that.
ďAs I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
Ē óbisexualbaker

Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 02-07-2014 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:28 PM
vanquish vanquish is offline
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Location: Montgomery, AL
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Well said. Are you wanting to act, but are too ashamed to do so...or are you ashamed that you're not the PDA type?
Me - male, 42, poly, straight, in a serious relationship with Audrey, also casually dating.

Audrey - female, 20, poly, pansexual, also casually dating.
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:36 PM
KVLove KVLove is offline
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Thanks all for the comments!

YouAreHere, thanks for the empathy. I think i relate to you A LOT. That is basically how I feel. I just don't want to be the subject of someones conversation on the ride home I guess. I know it sounds weird, and I shouldn't care what others think but I do. Actually talked to my GF today and she seems to understand my behavior a lot better too. I'm just not very comfortable being all lovey dovey amongst people I don't know very well-- simple as that. Amongst very close friends that understand our relationship, I don't have as much of an issue.

She is definitely not forcing me to be more publicly affectionate, but i guess recently it has been bugging her, and i haven't really told her why i don't like PDAing till today.

Vanquish: Yeah we're equal. I guess he's just more forward than I am. You know, like the first to extend his hand out for her to hold. I wouldn't mind PDAing, I'm not at all opposed to PDAing. I don't necessarily have urges to do it. It's just that if he starts doing it with her first I'm one to back off for the rest of the outing. If i started doing it and he would back off like i do then maybe i would be more comfortable with it, but that doesn't really happen so idk.

There are other issues that we need to work out, but at least i feel as though there is some consensus that not PDAing with my GF in public when we are all together is not necessarily uncommon and that she really has to understand how i feel more so than i need to change.

Thanks for the comments. Very much appreciated. I'll probably post so more issues i'm grappling with later on this week. Being in a poly relationship is work!
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:31 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Showing PDAs when you are out as a trio would be outing yourself as poly. Maybe you don't want to be out to all and sundry! Everyone on this planet who is of an alternative sexuality, be it gay, poly, kinky, whatever, has a right to come out only IF and WHEN they are ready.

If your gf wants to be seen as a poly trio and you don't, too bad for her. She doesn't get to choose for you. She can request public kisses and hand holding, you have the right to refuse. You're more private, less of an exhibitionist? Fine.

If you'd like to go out as a trio, but YOU get to "be the bf" and hold her hand, etc., ask your metamour if he'd mind if you go to be her hand holder now and then! Maybe he'd consider backing off on your 3way dates sometimes to give you a chance.
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

Mags (poly, F, 62)
Pixi (poly, F, 40) together since 2009
My bf Kahlo (poly-friendly, M, 45) since August 2017
Master, (mono, M, 36), Pixi's bf for 5 years
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