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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:11 AM
PolyNrrdGrrl PolyNrrdGrrl is offline
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Default Trying to be sensitive to/understand my (probably)Mono partner's needs

Hello =] I'm new to the site so for a teeny bit of background, my intro thread is here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8285

and my partner is here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8314

He is monogamous - whether he is by nature or by conditioning I don't think either of us know, since I do believe I am the first person he has met that identifies as polyamorous.

I think we both send each other mixed messages almost constantly. I started out by telling him I could be mono until he was comfortable... which I've done in every failed relationship in the past. I guess I reached my breaking point with being sensitive to others and ignoring my own needs, and I hate that my partner's emotions have been collateral damage to my realizing I need to just... be free to be myself. Besides that, it's still early enough in our relationship that if I did a quick fix now, we might not be doomed the way my last few have been. Obviously what I was doing hasn't worked, so why would i continue to follow the same pattern in a relationship?? It's silly. I think that introducing polyamory and helping each other find our balance within our own individual relationship early on is the best way. So we're attempting it.

So, there's my big mistake. I've been telling him different things almost daily - not on purpose of course. But as I've been realizing my needs for my life and my relationships have changed, it's hard to keep up with myself... let alone keep him comfortable.

As far as he goes, it is frustrating. I understand this is very new to him and I have to be sensitive to him. But at times I feel jerked around. One day it's "I can handle this", the next it's the opposite. The other day it's "I want to make everything fair game", next thing I know there are still physical boundaries placed on me. Today, in the same 2-minute span, I was told there are no physical barriers between me and my close "friend"(who I consider a partner) and then told that he (LookAtMues) was "not okay" with me kissing this other guy -- Kissing. Not sex. It's hard to know where I feel okay with these boundaries - at what point am I being told what to do, and at what point am I simply being sensitive to the needs of one partner who needs some time to adjust? It is very frustrating, and I don't know how much of it I should be saying "this doesn't fly, i need to be allowed to express my love my way" to or how much I should just suck up.

When we met, I was seeing someone(the close "friend") - but we were fighting. We were reduced to "just friends" as my other partner, J, is VERY monogamous. So when I began to see LookAtMues, J was very uncomfortable. However, we have continued to spend most of our days together. I just moved to this tiny city and he is literally the only person I know here outside of work associates (not a single one of which I would ever speak to outside of work.. talk about some bad vibes!). My mother, whose car I use since I don't own one anymore, decided to leave town about a month ago, so I have been very dependent on J for transportation and he has been super accommodating and always willing to help. We have stepped back the physical part of our relationship but it has become obvious that the way we feel for each other hasn't changed at all and is totally out of our control.

The problematic conversation sparking this post arose today out of an exchange between J and myself last night. J in his own right is struggling with the fact that I have a boyfriend. We don't discuss the terms of our "relationship" as, until LAM is "ok" with it being deemed as anything more than friends, that's where it'll stay. However, last night J and I were texting and something prompted the statement "You are my lady" from him. I will admit, this was the most honest I've seen him regarding his feelings for me. I wasn't able to respond too much outside of a smiley-face-emoticon-thingy. We then proceeded to have a several hour phone conversation as he was driving back to our town from the neighboring one. He asked me to meet him outside my home, because he felt he had to kiss me. At this point, it's 2 AM and I have to work at 6 AM, not to mention that at this point i was unclear where LAM stood on physical affection with other guys. It's a good thing I held off, because LAM's reaction to it today. *wipes brow* Anyway! After the phone call, I get a sheepish text from J saying that he loves me. This is kind of big, as I'm not stupid - I already knew that what is between us is love. But as hesitant as he is at admitting that our friendship goes beyond friendship, this is big. Of course, it was exciting for me. I simply responded that I love him as well, and we will discuss it at a better time - not nearly 3 AM when I have to work in a few short hours and my boyfriend is driving himself half-crazy with jealousy over our situation.

So I talked to LAM about this even today. He wasn't entirely surprised, as I made it clear to him that I was in love with J.I am extremely honest and open about my feelings. He was worried about how this would change things between J and I as far as our physical connection. I told him that because of the physical barriers placed between us, nothing *could* change. I think this made LAM kind of frantic, as he panics very easily and probably thought I was giving him a guilt trip (Ya know... "I'm only not sleeping with this guy because YOU SAID NOT TO). Which isn't the case. In fact, I very much desire to be physical with J... as far as kissing, showing affection. We "cuddle" but beyond that there's nothing.. no hand holding, nothing. It visibly frustrates us both.
However. As far as sex goes, I have informed LAM that it isn't something that is a priority with J. In fact, sex with him can be uncomfortable, as we never quite got used to each other that way(I am a little bit on the wild side... he is COMPLETELY silent and expressionless. it is very very strange for me). I think this is something that LAM is banking on being permanent though. Which worries me.
ANyway. When I expressed a desire to be physically intimate with J , LAM went from several seconds before saying there are no physical barriers to saying "I'm not okay with that".

That is pretty much where it stands at this moment. As far as LAM and I go, I think that we are pretty "solid" right now - there are things that I wish I could change, such as the thirty minute distance (which is huge when only one of us has a vehicle and we have impossible schedules) but that's small. I think our relationship itself is okay, the problems in it revolve around my other relationship.

Anyway. I just wanted to put it out there and hope that someone had a fresh perspective or could help get one or both of us straight on this, or to a point where we are communicating effectively. For me, walking away from someone that I love is not an option, and my relationship with J is not expendable. Both men are struggling with my polyamory, but J and I have settled into a very easy, relaxed "We are what we are" status, whereas LAM must have a designation as "boyfriend" or primary or whatever he may desire. Which is fine, I certainly do not blame him for desiring security in such a scary new experience.

Alright, and now I'm done with my novel Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:13 AM
PolyNrrdGrrl PolyNrrdGrrl is offline
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There is also the issue of him possibly being physical with another person - I am not sure what kind of details he wants about that shared here as far as what kind of arrangement it is, so I will leave that up to him to share.

The problem there is he wants to call that off as he thinks restricting me and not himself is hypocritical. I'm actually excited for him to have that experience as maybe it will help him to understand that it won't change OUR relationship. But it's not entirely the same. Like I said, I'll hope he comments here with that info.
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:36 AM
lookatmues lookatmues is offline
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Hooking up out side a relationship is not something I do often. The two times I had in my previous relationship were following us declaring it an "open relationship" and my ex-gf was hardly ever around. Plus, when she was, she'd usually have another girl over anyway, so me looking for outside physical attachment was pretty much filling a void. There is not as much as a void here with PNG, but we do only see each other once a week, at most. Even then, it's been a while since we have been intimate.

I have a hook up planned soon and I don't intend on there being many after that. Kind of a one-time thing, for kicks. No emotional attachment.

This is different than PNG's case since there IS emotions attached. On one hand, it's nice knowing she is expressing her feelings for someone in this way, but it also makes me jealous seeing as how we rarely get the chance to anymore. I know, deep down, that PNG following her emotions and feelings for other people won't change how I feel about her, or she feels about me, but there is still that jealousy, especially considering how often she and J will be seeing eachother. In a way, I feel temporally shut out when the two of them do hang out.

It all comes down to distance. It's what worries me the most. I know it's foolish, but part of me thinks there may be a chance of PNG falling for J and losing interest in me because of the difficulties in us seeing eachother. Also, I can't help worry about J not being 100% comfortable with a polyamorous relationship either. Part of me will always be paranoid that he will be waiting for me to mess up and swoop in.

Something else I can't get past is how serious PNG and I really are or how serious she would like us to ultimately get. Honestly, and I know this sounds crazy after only about a month and a half, but I can would really love to see us together years down the road. The way she makes me feel, her personality, everything. She's amazing.

I'm going on and on and it's mostly because I can never think straight on this issue. She's right. I contradict myself ALOT. That's because as soon as I say what I think I mean to say, I doubt it or am unsure almost immediately afterward. I can never seem to get it straight in my own head.

I KNOW I love her.
I KNOW I want to spend a very long time with her.
I KNOW that she has a lot of love to give and has people she would like to share it with.

I just don't know if I can get over the idea of her thinking about someone else the same way she does me. Or looking at someone with those gorgeous eyes the same way she does at me. I know what we have is special, but I don't want to be just "someone she loves." I don't need a label as a "boyfriend" per se, but I just want to know where I stand in relation to other people she loves.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:33 AM
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FlameKat FlameKat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lookatmues View Post
I have a hook up planned soon and I don't intend on there being many after that. Kind of a one-time thing, for kicks. No emotional attachment.
A little hypocritical...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lookatmues View Post
This is different than PNG's case since there IS emotions attached.
If it is okay for you to have your physical needs met outside your relationship, then it should be okay for her... to set boundaries on her when you don't abide by them yourself is damaging to the relationship.
The fact she has emotions involved, sure that makes it scarier - for you, she is sure of how she feels for you and knows she is coming back...trust her, just as she obviously trusts you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lookatmues View Post
It all comes down to distance. It's what worries me the most. I know it's foolish, but part of me thinks there may be a chance of PNG falling for J and losing interest in me because of the difficulties in us seeing eachother.
Distance - yah that makes it tough... WW and I are in a ldr, we see each other twice a year if we are lucky (I live in Australia - he in Canada)
I added the bolding - has she not already fallen for J? Is that not what this is all about? It obviously isn't the end of the world... she already loves him and you are still together, still ploughing through sorting out how to make it work see the good...

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The way she makes me feel, her personality, everything. She's amazing.
Brilliant

Quote:
Originally Posted by lookatmues View Post
I'm going on and on and it's mostly because I can never think straight on this issue. She's right. I contradict myself ALOT. That's because as soon as I say what I think I mean to say, I doubt it or am unsure almost immediately afterward. I can never seem to get it straight in my own head.
Work on this - write it down, do a flow chart, see if you can find a pattern to your thinking and find where it all starts to break down, then ask youself Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lookatmues View Post
I just don't know if I can get over the idea of her thinking about someone else the same way she does me. Or looking at someone with those gorgeous eyes the same way she does at me. I know what we have is special, but I don't want to be just "someone she loves." I don't need a label as a "boyfriend" per se, but I just want to know where I stand in relation to other people she loves.
Nobody is ever 'just somebody loved'. Personally I would be very insulted if someone I loved devalued it like that... You are special to her - if you weren't she wouldn't be trying to work this out with you. SEE THE GOOD
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:34 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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I feel for you PolyNrrdGrrl.....but I bet Redpepper feels for you even more. She has a similar situation. I am sure reading her blog could give you some support...at least to realize you are not alone

Take care
Mono
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:17 AM
PolyNrrdGrrl PolyNrrdGrrl is offline
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I feel for you PolyNrrdGrrl.....but I bet Redpepper feels for you even more. She has a similar situation. I am sure reading her blog could give you some support...at least to realize you are not alone

Take care
Mono

As I mentioned in my intro, I have been lurking for 1.5 ish years... so forgive me for feeling like a celebrity just responded to my post. I've read most of RP's blog, I think I've left off on pg. 73 or so, still working my way through. You and RP are the main members here that stick out in my mind, I think because she and I have such similar mindsets. She just seems a lot more sure about herself and experienced than I am. Thanks!
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:22 AM
PolyNrrdGrrl PolyNrrdGrrl is offline
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I will say, FlameKat, that I don't know how much of his planned hook up is hypocritical. He had told me that he was willing to remove the physical boundaries between myself and other partners/potential partners and that was when this other person and him got into contact for this encounter. When he realized that I actually had a desire to be physical with J, he offered to cancel his "date" and I told him it isn't necessary.

Personally, I think that "just sex" is slightly repulsive. Not that I never do it - hell, I slept with LAM the first time I met him and I didn't expect much to come from our relationship. But typically, sexual acts are reserved for those I have strong feelings for. So it's hard for me to see that my idea of healthy sexuality with those I love is considered "worse" than someone just having sex with an online date, because there are feelings involved.

LookAtMues: I do wish that you'd reveal the specifics of your planned encounter here as far as what would make it "unique" because there is a very GLARING issue there that I would love to address and get some input on but I don't know how private you wish to be about that aspect of it.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:23 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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You and RP are the main members here that stick out in my mind, I think because she and I have such similar mindsets. She just seems a lot more sure about herself and experienced than I am. Thanks!
HAHA! Infamous might apply...sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad. RP is very experienced and is a highly recommended source of support (I'm biased I know).

Wish I had some words of wisdom...maybe your boyfriend should read some of my posts to see if they resonate with him. The ones I feel have the most value to me are linked on my profile here. Just a thought

Take care
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:29 AM
PolyNrrdGrrl PolyNrrdGrrl is offline
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Thanks, Mono. I have suggested that he cyber stalk you a little bit, but mainly to get an idea that a monogamously "wired" person can have a healthy relationship with a polyamorous person - and that it's not without normal relationship struggles, etc. I do believe that he may not be "wired" monogamously or just, not in the same manner that seems to be true for you. For him it's more just adjustments I *believe*. Obviously I cannot claim to know what goes on inside someone's brain.

Thank you again, he and I will definitely be doing a lot of reading around the forum. The whole reason I made him sign up here with me was that reading about similar issues in other relationships can be so therapeutic and help get a whole new perspective on our little world.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:31 AM
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Thanks, Mono. I have suggested that he cyber stalk you a little bit, but mainly to get an idea that a monogamously "wired" person can have a healthy relationship with a polyamorous person -
Have him look at our family pics on my profile page..they say more than anything I could
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