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Old 04-18-2014, 06:27 PM
petteagan petteagan is offline
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Thumbs down HELP! I'm so lost.

Hi all!

So I apologize ahead of time if this is lengthy, I don't really know how to explain this so just bare with me.

Ok here is my dilemma, to start off, my boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years and it's been great! We identify as poly amorous and so far it has been good too. We'll for the last year it has just been him and I, we have recently come a cross a heap of girls that are 8 there's ted in joining us! I am excited about this and so is he...obviously lol! So what's the problem? Well last night we got into the conversation of how most people can't handle the open lifestyle because they want to be number 1...I don't see a problem with wanting to be number 1 as long as you are not constantly looking for reasons to prove why you are not number 1 at the moment. I feel that can be very destructive. So then it became a debate and he said " well if you are not losing anything but the other person is getting more. Than it shouldn't matter because if you were perfectly happy with what you were getting and it doesn't change ...it shouldn't make you unhappy that the other person is getting more" I can agree with that ...but I'm not talking about getting more time or attention or sex or whatever ...I'm talking about care and love...things that you really can't measure... so now I'm upset and I'm trying to explain to him why so I say "well I would not be happy if say I'm your favorite person and then all of a sudden you favor the other over me...I would consider that as losing something" he doesn't understand and says" so you wouldn't be happy for your partner if they found more joy in someone else" ....boy was that a smack in the face! ....so I tried to counter and say" how could you be happy knowing that your partner is not happy that she lost you a little" so know we are at a stand still. We went to bed last night with me barely speaking to him and him trying to figure out why I'm upset. And now we are still not really speaking. I need help I want to explain to him why I'm upset and I really don't know how. I feel bad. I feel like he feels that I am punishing him. Also I now feel like I need to put a wall up and pull back from him to protect myself. I feel like I need to not love him as much as I do for fear of getting hurt. What's worse, I feel like im wrong in this whole debate we had..I don't understand and I'm going crazy. Please help me!
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2014, 06:59 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Some people practice hierarchical polyamory, i.e. having someone who's "number one" and then everyone else is "below" them emotionally. It can work as long as everyone involved (including the other partners) are aware and accepting of the constraints.

It doesn't sound like your boyfriend is accepting of that constraint. He wants freedom to love whomever he wants in whatever capacity he chooses.

It doesn't make you "wrong" it just means your poly preferences are not compatible.

What you do with that is up to you. You could choose to ease up on your expectation of being a "primary" partner and allow him the freedom to pursue relationships how he wants. You could choose to end the relationship on the grounds of incompatibility. You could choose to not get so worked up about a hypothetical situation that hasn't even happened yet, and wait until something like that actually does come up and then deal with it.

I will caution though that hierarchical thinking usually comes from mono-normative socialization, a variation on the idea that there's "the one" but with the slight concession that there can be people "on the side." Again, not saying you're "wrong" for feeling this way, but it might be worthwhile to check yourself out and see if your beliefs are a result of this type of thinking in society. It might give you a fourth choice, which is to learn acceptance for the idea that relationships ebb and flow and sometimes other people will take more of the spotlight.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petteagan View Post
"how could you be happy knowing that your partner is not happy that she lost you a little"
By the hypothetical conversation you guys are having, the only thing you "lose a little" of is your standing as numero uno. If you're still getting the same (or possibly more) of what you were getting before then it stands to reason that the only thing you've apparently lost is status. Is the title of your relationship your primary concern? I doubt it, but it is easy to get wrapped up in that kind of thing.

Love is not a scarce resource.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petteagan View Post
Also I now feel like I need to put a wall up and pull back from him to protect myself. I feel like I need to not love him as much as I do for fear of getting hurt. What's worse, I feel like im wrong in this whole debate we had..I don't understand and I'm going crazy. Please help me!
You're on the emotional side of the debate, which is difficult to successfully defend without resorting to emotional stances. As SC said it's not a matter of right or wrong, it's just two views of how to relate romantically.

What is it that you plan on getting hurt by (since you're already planning on putting up walls it sounds like you are pretty sure)? Try to focus on actual actions and not abstract ideas... are you worried you'll have less time with him? that he'll fall out of love with you because he fell in love with someone else? What is it exactly that you are afraid of.

Once you determine where your emotional distress is coming from I suggest working on *that*.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:45 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Are you guys trying to talk about "poly hell" related issues and how to handle each one if it should pop up? That how it seems to me.

Perhaps reading it together would help you both articulate it to each other?

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Old 04-18-2014, 09:01 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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From a counseling perspective: to resolve a conflict, state what you want/don't want as concrete actions, not theoretic or conceptual ideas.
If it can't be made concrete, it also can't be successfully argued or negotiated because it can't be perfectly defined.
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:34 PM
vanquish vanquish is offline
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Everyone above has given great advice. Take it to heart.

I just want to say that if you're operating from the perspective that you're "losing him a little" you need to rethink your views on polyamory and if you're ready for it. Yes, time and attention are finite resources, but your needs can still be met. You can't be fine with polyamory, but then begrudge your partner new partners.

As was stated, figure out what it is youre afraid of losing, specifically, communicate that, and work through it. If your needs dont match his, end things amicably.
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:00 PM
london london is offline
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I think that from this conversation, it's clear that you are on different wavelengths. You want some sort of non monogamy but don't want your partner to actually have an emotional attachment to them and your partner wants to love more than one person at a time. Those are different things
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:31 PM
BillNIndy BillNIndy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by london View Post
I think that from this conversation, it's clear that you are on different wavelengths. You want some sort of non monogamy but don't want your partner to actually have an emotional attachment to them and your partner wants to love more than one person at a time. Those are different things
Similar to a situation that I have been in... Husband is a "swinger" type mentality, perfectly fine with sexual non monogamy but drew the line at emotional non monogamy. Wife is truly poly, believes in many deep committed emotional & physical loves. --- Not only can it cause issues for the couple that is venturing into poly together, but it can also cause problems for any additional partners that the partners have.

Best to figure this out before taking on any relationships so that everyone knows what boundaries are there and where to draw a line.

Hope you guys get it figured out!
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:52 PM
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alibabe_muse alibabe_muse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petteagan View Post
Hi all!

So what's the problem? Well last night we got into the conversation of how most people can't handle the open lifestyle because they want to be number 1...I don't see a problem with wanting to be number 1 as long as you are not constantly looking for reasons to prove why you are not number 1 at the moment. I feel that can be very destructive.
So if you know wanting a "primary" style situation is destructive, why the rest of the conversation with him? I am confused by your post. Because then you state....

Quote:
.but I'm not talking about getting more time or attention or sex or whatever ...I'm talking about care and love...things that you really can't measure...

...I'm trying to explain to him why so I say "well I would not be happy if say I'm your favorite person and then all of a sudden you favor the other over me...I would consider that as losing something" he doesn't understand and says" so you wouldn't be happy for your partner i
What is it you are loosing? And why would an SO favor one love over another? The words above read to me like it's a competition (hypothetically) for his love. Poly won't work if you are feeling competitive with an unknown figure now and any potential real metamour later.

Maybe you need to look within as to why you feel you'd have to compete for his love.

Also take a step back and out of the conversation (outside the box). Turn the hypothetical around and you are the one with 8 men lined up. Do you think you'd "favor" anyone over your current partner? And if you are "favoring" one more than another, is that fair to all involved?

It seems the point isn't about losing status/stature in the relationship but remembering when a new love comes along to not just ditch and ignore the old? Is that the issue?

It just seems to me as I read your OP a fourth time, that you conceptually understand polyamory, but self-esteem wise you may not be ready for it.
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:08 AM
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Hi petteagan,

It sounds like you are not concerned about your boyfriend *treating* you differently; rather you are concerned about your boyfriend *feeling* differently about you. Like, even if he gave you as much time and attention as before (even if he gave more in fact), you'd still feel like you lost something because he no longer *feels* the same way toward you that he used to feel.

Love is a many-faceted word and it can mean a great many things. You can do nice things for someone even if it's hard for you to do that, and that's one kind of love. You can crush on someone and that's another kind of love. You can admire someone and that's another kind of love. Which kind of love are you afraid of losing?

If you're worried that his romantic feelings for you may at some point be less intense than his romantic feelings for a new partner, you're probably justified in that fear. That's how the human hormonal system works. Our heart goes thump-thump-thump faster for a new partner than it does for our already-established partner. So thump-thump-thump-wise, we love the new partner more. But in terms of respect, comfort, and commitment, the already-established partner may well still be the most-loved partner.

What kinds of feelings do you need your boyfriend to have in order for you to still feel like "Number 1?" Do you need him to have thump-thump-thump feelings? If so, you should be aware that new partners have NRE (New Relationship Energy), and NRE does eventually simmer down over the years. It's as inevitable as the gray hairs we eventually get. Our thump-thump-thump feelings are very primeval and can't be consciously chosen. They operate on a fixed, mortal timetable.

That doesn't mean a long-time couple can't renew their love for each other. It just means that the nature of their love will necessarily be different than it was during their "honeymoon phase." And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe their love will be deeper for each other. Maybe they'll appreciate and understand each other more than they did in the beginning. That kind of love is arguably the best kind of love that there is.

And those thump-thump-thump feelings seldom if ever die away completely. Usually they just simmer down over the years -- become less frequent and/or more mellow. How much so depends on each person's unique genes and body chemistry. But a romantic couple need not become a platonic couple just because they're staying together for life.

So think about which feelings it is that you need your boyfriend to have for you, and compare that to which feelings he has how much control over. Holding someone in high esteem, wanting to help them and shelter them from harm, liking them and enjoying their company, those are kinds of love that don't need the kind of hormonal support that NRE needs. NRE is always temporary, that's the important thing to remember about it. Romance can be forever but it does change over time.

Just some thoughts that may help.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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