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  #1  
Old 08-15-2014, 04:55 AM
MU1991 MU1991 is offline
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Hello,
I would like advice for a person in a polyamorous relationship that is not use to any of this.

For a little over a year I have been dating a girl (B). B and I have grown very close over that year. S has expressed on many occasions that she truly loves me. In May, B asked if we could be in a Polyamorous relationship. B had been seeing a few guys on the side due to the distance between us. I was okay with this because I was a few hours away on an internship. I assumed this would keep her happy.

I did not like the thought of polyamory at first. I did a good deal of thinking on the matter and came to the conclusion that this was her and if I indeed love B, as I do, I should not try and change her. I agreed to the deal and she began dating another man, R.

It has been a few months and I am beginning to adjust to this lifestyle. I am a hopeless romantic and never thought that I would ever be in a relationship like this. I still have a few qualms about the whole thing and any help would be appreciated.

1)I do not fully understand how a person segregates relationships. How does a person separate their love life into multiple parts without the parts receiving less attention than they would by themselves?

2)How does one person not receive more attention than the other and how can that be deemed fair?

3)Do people in the middle, such as B is, need more attention than one person can offer? If one of the outliers, like R or myself, do everything right and more than adequately cover every aspect of a relationship, does this mean B just wants more?

4)Is polyamory a phase? I do not mean that as derogatory. I know it is more than what a phase seems to infer, I just want to know if a polyamorous person could eventually become monogamous without having to change who they are.

I do love B. She means the world to me. It sounds selfish, but I have to be number one in any relationship with a significant other. I am worried that the polyamory means B does not actually feel the way she claims too feel.

Anyways, thank you for taking time to read this and for any possible help.

Sincerely,
H
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2014, 11:04 AM
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I'm not poly (see .sig) but my partner is. The only way I have been able to explain the way he loves in a way that *I* understand is something I wrote in my external blog not too long ago:

http://frombaltictoboardwalk.blogspo...-and-love.html

My partner likes getting close to people... as friends, or as more. He doesn't have the "brakes" that I do, and he doesn't have a "governor" that says that he's already getting x,y,z from this person, so he "shouldn't" need it from this other one. His line between friendship and romantic relationship seems to be a bit blurrier than mine. There is no "number one" to him, but it took me a long time to realize that doesn't mean I'm number two. I still have triggers that get me feeling that way, but we talk about it when it happens, and we get through it.

For him, it's not a phase. He's in his mid-40s, been ID'ing as poly for about 4 years now, and he's happier than he's been in a long time, like he's finally comfortable in his own skin.

Hope this helps a bit. Only you can decide if this relationship will work for you. Just be honest with B through it all.
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Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids (DanceGirl, 13; and PokéGirl, 11), two cats, one house, many projects.
Chops: My partner. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena: Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa: Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

Blog thread: A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2014, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
I do not fully understand how a person segregates relationships. How does a person separate their love life into multiple parts without the parts receiving less attention than they would by themselves?
In my opinion, this is a positive. It isn't a healthy mindset to be completely dependent on one person. I am involved with two mono guys, and they love the fact that they have downtime from our relationship - they get some nights off to just vegetate in front of video games, or get lost in their hobbies. Receiving less attention doesn't mean we aren't thinking about each other, or love each other less.

Quote:
2)How does one person not receive more attention than the other and how can that be deemed fair?
Fair? Who said life was fair? Some people need more time, others need less. To me, being in balance means not comparing who is getting what, but are you content with what you have? My boyfriend and I have sex at least once a day, but my husband is only once a week. Both are happy because they have different drives. That's ok - they are fine with the attention they receive because it meets their individual needs. I suggest ignoring what the other person is receiving and focus on what you need and want personally from the relationship, and then communicate that.

Quote:
3)Do people in the middle, such as B is, need more attention than one person can offer? If one of the outliers, like R or myself, do everything right and more than adequately cover every aspect of a relationship, does this mean B just wants more?
It's different for everyone. This could be possible, yes. B may just have needs that can't be covered by one relationship.

Quote:
4)Is polyamory a phase? I do not mean that as derogatory. I know it is more than what a phase seems to infer, I just want to know if a polyamorous person could eventually become monogamous without having to change who they are.
Possible. I believe there is a spectrum for many people. However, this is "cowboy" type of thinking. If this is what you are hoping for, realize that B becoming monogamous is unlikely. Believe that this is not a phase for B. This is who they are, to the core. Do not hope for change or that you can be so wonderful that B will become monogamous. This is who B is.
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Last edited by Bluebird; 08-15-2014 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:55 PM
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SlowPoly SlowPoly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MU1991 View Post
1)I do not fully understand how a person segregates relationships. How does a person separate their love life into multiple parts without the parts receiving less attention than they would by themselves?
It's hard to say how much attention a person or relationship would have received under different circumstances. Over time, familiarity and other factors have changed my relationships, and the satisfaction I feel in being "half of" a particular couple. It's absolutely true that if the arms of a V relationship are completely segregated (as in my case) there is less time in the hinge's schedule that is potentially available to each arm than would otherwise be. BUT. That is actually part of what makes poly work for me. I love my personal time, and I love the kind of time I spend with each of my families, and I really like the balance I have right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MU1991 View Post
2)How does one person not receive more attention than the other and how can that be deemed fair?
It can be deemed fair by deciding that fairness isn't about equality of attention (how is that even quantified?), but about people having equal respect and equal freedom to fulfill their needs within and outside of given relationships. Be present with B when you are spending time with her, and don't waste that time (or the time she's not available to you) worrying about what will or could be different. Certainly don't worry about what R's getting. The comparison game? That isn't fair to anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MU1991 View Post
3)Do people in the middle, such as B is, need more attention than one person can offer? If one of the outliers, like R or myself, do everything right and more than adequately cover every aspect of a relationship, does this mean B just wants more?
I'm the hinge. I don't need extra attention. I just happen to love both of my guys, and want them in my life. I don't want either or both of them deciding that I have enough, and I won't decide that for them. It's not about a void I'm trying to fill, or anyone's inadequacy. It's about the unique experience of loving each person, and being open to that (and allowing them to be, as well).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MU1991 View Post
4)Is polyamory a phase? I do not mean that as derogatory. I know it is more than what a phase seems to infer, I just want to know if a polyamorous person could eventually become monogamous without having to change who they are.
Of course it can be a phase. Going back to mono seems to happen, although some in this forum say that they realize now they never were poly to begin with, or they knew all along but really tried to be poly. I don't think it's wise to wait around for a poly to mono conversion. As with any other expectation of how a person might change, it's best to let go of your expectation, accept the realities of today, and figure out how to get your needs met within that context. B will change. You will change. You can't predict how, and shouldn't try to force it. Live in the present. If your dearest hope is hung on B turning mono, consider whether the relationship with B will meet your needs in the meantime (which may be forever).
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2014, 04:17 AM
MU1991 MU1991 is offline
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These questions are specifically directed to YouAreHere but anyone can feel free to answer them.

YouAreHere, I do love B. I care for her a great deal. We are in a long distance relationship right now unfortunately, which adds a strain I will admit.

I find myself wanting to marry this woman some day. I am worried about how the poly- lifestyle would affect a marriage. I am old-school I guess in my view of marriage. I do however believe that marriage can be a lot more than the old way of viewing it. I would be open to many different things I believe, I am just worried, in a sense, that I would not be able to accept B having a boyfriend on the side. I would be jealous, I know I would be.

I am mono while B is poly, as you and your spouse are. Can you possibly expound on how you can accept this? I read your blog post you linked to and it made a lot of sense to me.

A small example is: If B and and I do get married and if she still had a boyfriend on the side. If the boyfriend took her on a romantic getaway, I would find myself a wreck. I think I would, at least. How do you deal with a situation such as this?

As I said before, thank you very much for your time and any input will be greatly appreciated.

H
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:05 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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If you and B were to get married, you could agree to certain boundaries to outside relationships if you were willing to allow her to continue acting polyamorously.

For example, Hubby and I have agreed that I will not spend the night with any other partner. That agreement previously excluded Guy, but Hubby has now informed me that it covers Guy as well, other than times when I travel to see Guy. (Guy and I are also in a long-distance relationship.)

I think you're thinking too far ahead, but given that it seems to be a concern for you, if you and B got married you could ask her to agree *not* to go on overnight trips with other partners. Bearing in mind, of course, that while you have the right to ask, she has the right to refuse.

As for separating relationships... I was just discussing this with Guy the other day. I do not believe that any one person can meet ALL of someone else's needs, in any type of relationship dynamic. It just plain isn't possible. That's why even in a mono relationship, some compromise is necessary; for example, if partner A needs a lot of physical contact to maintain a connection, but partner B works long hours and isn't physically available, obviously B can't meet that need of A's, so A has to compromise and accept what is available.

In my personal situation: Hubby is my logical rock. He can problem-solve just about any situation. He is able to help me gain some objective perspective on things that may have triggered me PTSD-wise or may have set off a depressive episode. He recognizes on a purely intellectual level the effect that depression can have on my thinking and perception, and is able to talk me through it so I reach clarity and can separate my thinking from the nasty depression thoughts. When I have good news about my writing career, Hubby's typical response is, "Oh. Cool."

Guy is my emotional support. He has an *experiential* understanding of depression and other mental illnesses. Whereas Hubby will try to reason me out of a depression or PTSD issue, Guy will simply reassure me that things are okay, and will let me vent and ramble until I find my way through it on my own. He guides me through the problems rather than trying to drag me down the path of logic the way Hubby does. When I share writing career news with him, he tells me how proud he is of me and celebrates with me.

S2 and I are still new in whatever type of relationship we have, but from him I've gained the opportunity to test out the newer, improved me. I've done a LOT of work on the depression and PTSD, and am not as prone to episodes or to negative thinking as in the past. Hubby and Guy know all the sides of me, and have seen me at my worst as well as my best; S2 hasn't seen the negatives. And for whatever reason, when I'm around him, that negative, depressed, scared-little-girl side of me vanishes entirely. With S2, I am completely strong, confident, and sure of myself. And as for the writing stuff, since S2 is a musician and therefore also very much on the creative side, we've become each other's cheerleaders.

Perfect example of the differences: The other day on the way to meet S2 for lunch, I got a call from my ex with bad news about both his father and his wife's stepfather, which led into concerns about *my* parents, which led to me breaking down in tears in the middle of frigging downtown Boston. I was planning to ask S2 for a hug and support when I saw him...but when I met up with him a little bit later, all of a sudden things just didn't seem that bad. I got my hug because we always hug, but I didn't NEED to ask for support or even to tell him about the phone call. Just being with him gave me the calm center I needed. Whereas later that afternoon, I broke down on Hubby's shoulder about it, and he tried to help me figure out how to best support my kids and what we should do about my parents; and I cried on the phone to Guy, who just kept telling me he was sorry and he loved me and he knew I'd get through it.

Each of them meets needs for me that the others are unable to meet. And therefore, for me, each of them is separate and different, but neither more nor less important than the others.
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My daughters: Alt (age 19) and Country (age 16)
S2's sons: Spikes (age 9) and Beads (age 6)

Last edited by KC43; 08-16-2014 at 04:08 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2014, 05:12 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am sorry you struggle.

Quote:
1)I do not fully understand how a person segregates relationships. How does a person separate their love life into multiple parts without the parts receiving less attention than they would by themselves?
To me "love" is not unit of measure. Love just is. One does loving behaviors toward someone, one does not do loving behavior towards someone.

Now "time" can be measured. So can "quality of attention and care." Giving the kitchen counters a lick and a promise is not the same as actually scrubbing them down.

And it is true time is limited -- if I have X hours of free time a week to spend with lovers, 1 lover could get all my time and attention. 2 or more lovers would have to split my time in some fashion. There is also a polysaturation point.

How much time and attention do YOU need to feel well loved and cared for? Can B meet that amount of time?

Quote:
2)How does one person not receive more attention than the other and how can that be deemed fair?
My spouse takes a size 13 shoe. I take a size 9. How is it fair that he gets a bigger shoe than me? Isn't it more fair if we split the difference and we both get an 11 shoe? Or is it better we get the one that actually fits the need of the person in question?

I would worry less about "what the other BF is getting" and determine if she is meeting YOUR time and attention needs or not.
  • If you have a need to be primary, like " one and only" then you are dating in the wrong model for you.
    • Could tell B you would like to date but can't deal with a poly model.
    • Could tell her wou would prefer to date, non-exclusive for now even. But ultimately your goal is to settle down with one partner in Closed marriage.
    • Does she share the same goal or not? If yes, you both eventually want marriage with one person? Then you move on to the business of figuring out if you are each other's right (one person) or not.
  • If you have a need to be primary, but not necessarily "one and only" then you, her, and him could get clear on what open model you are all trying to practice to be sure all are on the same page. If all are good with this model? Move on to the details of how you want to be together.
    • (You and her): You could clarify with her what behaviors you would like from her to demonstrate that she holds you primary.
    • (Her and him) She can sort her agreements with her other BF.
    • (Him and you) You could sort out how you will behave toward each other.
    • (Group): Determine what things are your stuff, her stuff, his stuff, our stuff, and stuff to be determined case by case. Cuz it is not possible to plan for EVERYTHING nor should you try.
    • (Marriage issue): You all could talk about marriage too -- because legally can only marry one at this time. What if R wants to be the spouse? B doesn't wan to to marry at all?

Sort this stuff out. If it works out, great. If not, bow out with grace. You can always choose to stop participating. Don't square peg round hole.

The dating time is for sorting this stuff out and figuring out the compatible ones. Not everyone you date will be a long haul runner.

Quote:
3)Do people in the middle, such as B is, need more attention than one person can offer? If one of the outliers, like R or myself, do everything right and more than adequately cover every aspect of a relationship, does this mean B just wants more?
Ask B. Only she can answer that one for her.

Me as a hinge? I didn't feel the need for more attention than one person could offer. I wanted the two people I wanted for THEM, not for the attention they could provide me. At one point both were all LDR -- so I laugh thinking that it was about "wanting lots of attention" because I sure as heck wasn't getting lots! I would have had an easier time with a local BF if what I wanted was lots of daily attention!

Quote:
4)Is polyamory a phase? I do not mean that as derogatory. I know it is more than what a phase seems to infer, I just want to know if a polyamorous person could eventually become monogamous without having to change who they are.
This also seems to be about B, so ask her. "Is this a phase for you? Is this permanent? Would you Close for something things? What things? What situations? What does Closed mean to you -- not add new people? Stick to the ones already there?"

I think you could be reaching for the word "Closed." Because if you want to marry and Close for that, to determine if B shares the same view you actually have to ask her.
"I could see me marrying you if things work out between us. I love you and would love that. But I don't know if you want that, or if you want a Closed Marriage. What do you want for your future? Is a shared future possible between us?"
Dare to have the conversation so you can know what you want to know.

Quote:
If B and and I do get married and if she still had a boyfriend on the side. If the boyfriend took her on a romantic getaway, I would find myself a wreck. I think I would, at least. How do you deal with a situation such as this?
Why would B & R never taken a vacation alone together before the marriage? Then you could see how you handle it well before marriage is even an issue!

Why would you agree to participate in a marriage where her having a BF on the side leaves you a wreck when they do regular ol' life things like vacations? You could choose to NOT participate in a marriage until things like that are already sorted out.

You could also NOT agree to participate in things that leave you open to unwanted experiences/damage like that if you know already you just cannot deal in those things or do not want to deal in those things. YOU are responsible for you and your well being. We all have personal preferences and personal limitations. You are responsible for knowing your own self and figuring out what yours are.

That said, what's so horrible about feeling jealous that you dread experiencing jealousy feelings? I mean, they are not FUN feelings. But what is the dread? Could you articulate that?

Could those help you?

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf
http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/p.../jealousy.html
http://www.kathylabriola.com/article...u-in-poly-hell

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 08-16-2014 at 06:16 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2014, 02:31 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Re (from OP):
Quote:
"How does a person separate their love life into multiple parts without the parts receiving less attention than they would by themselves?"
I think you're talking about the division of time. There are 24 hours in a day. If a monogamous person could spend all 24 hours with their one partner, then, if they became polyamorous and acquired a second partner, the "best" they could do is spend 12 hours with each partner. So, the original partner loses 12 hours of time/attention per day (if everything is kept equal).

Polyamory grants that romantic love is an abundant resource, but it doesn't grant the same for time. Anyone considering a polyamorous life should be aware that time restrictions will affect how much attention each of their partners (on average) is getting. If that's a problem, then it might be better to stick with monogamy. Polyamory isn't right for everyone.

Re:
Quote:
"How does one person not receive more attention than the other and how can that be deemed fair?"
In theory one's time/attention can be split into perfectly equal parts, but in practice, that's pretty much impossible to do. Some partner will always be getting (at least slightly) more than another partner. How is that fair? Polyamorists tend to think it can be fair if everyone's basic needs (and lots of their wants) are being met. You may not agree with that definition of "fair" and if not, then polyamory might not be a good thing in your life.

Re:
Quote:
"Do people in the middle, such as B is, need more attention than one person can offer?"
Not necessarily but they may be in love with more than one person and that, in and of itself, is a good reason to form a V (or other accomodating poly arrangement).

Re:
Quote:
"If one of the outliers, like R or myself, do everything right and more than adequately cover every aspect of a relationship, does this mean B just wants more?"
Isn't this a rhetorical question? The "correct" answer seems to be that, "Well, B is obviously a greedy person." But most polyamorists don't see it that way. Technically B wants "more" ... more than just MU1991 and more than just R. Call it a need for variety but she is in love with two men and loves what each man brings to the table. If I want steak for dinner and ice cream for dessert, does that mean that I'm greedy and I just want more? (and more and more and more, as applicable)

Re:
Quote:
"Is polyamory a phase?"
It probably is for some people. But I know many other people who've been practicing polyamorists for a very long time, and there's no end (other than death) in sight.

Re:
Quote:
"I just want to know if a polyamorous person could eventually become monogamous without having to change who they are."
I tend to think that people "live" on a slider between (extreme) monogamy and (extreme) polyamory. Those in the middle (or at least a ways away from either extreme) are able to adapt themselves to either a polyamorous or a monogamous life without damaging themselves -- as a rule.

I should add, though, that B is already now getting involved with R, and therefore, giving R up at this point would be a hard (possibly even damaging) thing for her to do.

Re:
Quote:
"I have to be number one in any relationship with a significant other."
Then I hope R doesn't mind being number two.

Re:
Quote:
"I am worried that the polyamory means B does not actually feel the way she claims too feel."
Other than B wanting to be polyamorous and have this additional relationship with R, I don't yet know how she feels. It would be helpful if she could post here and give her side of the story.

Re: how do you deal with jealousy/loneliness/the feeling of being left out ... in most cases you do it by time, experience, and practice, I think. Most relationships are rocky in the beginning. That's usually true of poly relationships too.

In practical terms, you learn to value the added "me time" that the polyamorous arrangement makes available to you. You get to be a bachelor half the time, in a way. Is that a good thing? I don't know. I'm in an outlier in an MFM V and I've learned to turn my "bachelor hours" to my own advantage. I get to do more stuff that I like to do on my own. If the other outlier in my V disappeared today, I'd actually find it inconvenient to become my lady's only partner.

Anyway, what works for me isn't necessarily what would work for you. If you can stand to have a poly partner, great; if not, that's okay too.
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Old 08-17-2014, 02:51 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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As for B's motivation for more than one intimate relationship, I would offer that it is not a bid for more attention, but rather seeing each of her lovers as an individual with characteristics and qualities that she enjoys and finds attractive - rather than just a role. To me, the mono mindset states, I have this role I want filled, and I will try to find the best person to fill it. Nothing at all wrong with that, but it can't be used to understand poly.

Another way of looking it is the analogy of friends. Each person has friends - some have a few close ones, others have lots of friends. We do not judge the motivation of those having a few versus many. We understand that whatever the number, there is some connection that has been made to create the friendships and that each relationship is based on something different.

Such is the case with intimate poly relationships.
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