A controversial thread

Pimvanloen

New member
First of all: thank you for visiting this thread. It already means a bunch to me.

I want to talk about something that, in this specific context I'm finding myself in (yes, this website), might look a bit controversial: monogamy.
As I've been somewhat educated on polyamory myself and had a brief experience with dating a couple, I visited this thread before and wanted to ask a quite vulnerable question - because so far I really enjoy the general views people that have experiences with polyamory have. However, if this is in any way disrespectful, uncomfortable or inappropriate, please feel free to stop reading, or comment, or anything else.

I want to introduce myself: hi, I'm anxiously attached. I had two very hurtful experiences plus a specific childhood that taught me the deep embedded belief that people who I am close to cannot be trusted (no worries, I am in therapy). One of these experiences happened last year: my partner left me out of the blue and disappeared, and this shocked and hurt my so deep to my core that I had the worst heartbreak in my life. Right now I don't need to talk about this specific situation, as I know that yes, that is a specific person and I shouldn't generalise.

After this experience, I had my first polyamorous experience, which (after reflecting on it for a while) stems at least for some part from a deep rooted fear of commitment and intimacy. I have a weird combination of being overly dependent OR being overly independent, rollercoaster-ing from one to the other (or maybe, they're in some way the same thing). However, when I met someone and fell in love, I deeply sensed that polyamory was just not the thing I was able to do at the time. My rational explanation for it is that polyamory just seemed like (please don't judge me here, I'm only just trying) the easier option for me. Because it scared me less. No, I'm not trying to say that polyamorists don't commit - I know this is a common misconception. But yes, in my "polyamory" I used it as a way to commit less. I wasn't able to have feelings for both people at the same time.

But boy, does love scare me. I thought I had everything figured out (the common mistake), that I had three long-term relationships ("long" at the time I perceived as two years). But now when I think about it, I realised I sabotaged every of my relationship. I want the chase, I want the hurt.

Could you say that I know what love is? Absolutely not. Do I love my partner? It feels like. Counterintuitive, yes?
However, my partner has a specific history. He's growing out of his own toxic ideas (which were; trying to find the "right person", projecting a lot on his partner, etc). Right now he said: I know there's not a right person, but I understand now that love is a choice and that I want to "act" as if you are the right person (makes sense?).
But in his previous relationship, he couldn't even be monogamous for a month. He wasn't ready to stop having new experiences, and his mind set was very different (more ego-driven, more wanting to fuck around). However, in this relationship he was also actually quite unhappy and dissatisfied, and was looking for a warmer connection since he was lacking it. He found me. He wanted to be monogamous. And me too.

Maybe it's just that our relationship is healthy, and healthy relationships scare me to death - maybe I'm trying to find reasons in my head for why it's dangerous. But I'm jealous. I'm really scared. That I wouldn't be enough, interesting enough, that what happened to his previous partner would happen to me: that he would be bored, want to open the relationship, run behind his horniness, but just fall in love with someone else. So, very recently, we developed some fantasies that both turn me on and hurt me at the same time (?!). We talk about secret situations in which we're having a threesome, and even more recently we talked about him making love with someone else, and I helped this fantasy (meaning, I talked about it with him, turning him on).

The healthy part of my brain (I guess it's maybe somewhere, though very hard to feel) says that fantasies are harmless. And that my fantasies are me trying to sabotage the relationship again, which in turn, turns me on. I know that it's completely normal to have fantasies that don't involve your partner. But why, why does it feel so dangerous? Dangerous that he has them? Because it feels like he is just really a monogamist, and that at some point, he would fall out of love with me, and not want me anymore. And that this is the beginning. First he wanted me, only me, and now he's getting bored. Finding a new focus. Because I know he doesn't like casual sex at all. He doesn't even understand it. So where do these fantasies come from?

Or, that's my fear.

So, I would say that I don't know what I need right now. I feel that I want to build a safe, working relationship but I have a deep conviction that long term relationships just simply, do not work. That love doesn't really exist. And I want to run. So, I'm very interested about your ideas about love, attachment, non-attachment, etc. I hope this isn't too vague of a question, and I really hope I didn't offend anyone with my very un-polyamorous anxieties. I think I just really need some help.

(Yes, I will be going to therapy soon but I cannot afford more sessions at the moment yadi yadi yada. Also I think that listening to more perspectives than just the one from my therapist, would be helpful).
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a preference for monogamy. It's certainly less variables, people, calendars, processing, intensity, etc. There isn't anything wrong with wanting polyamory either. But more people does mean more stuff. I could be wrong, but this isn't even about other people or how many of them you date. It's about YOU and your core beliefs.

Let me try to repeat what I understand.

You have some background stuff you are working through with a therapist.

Right now you are in a monogamous relationship with a partner... call him Red. (I have a hard time with no names, I'm going with a generic color. I'm happy to use what you pick if you want something else.)

Red has his own baggage to work through. He is/is not seeing his own therapist. (Is Red a whole new person, or was he part of the recent poly thing you were in?)

You worry that Red is a serial monogamist or NRE chaser. (???)

He says "I know there's not a right person, but I understand now that love is a choice and that I want to "act" as if you are the right person. "

So then you are worried he's tired of behaving as though you are "the one." Even though he says he wants to be monogamous now, in his past behaviors he couldn't stay monogamous for a month and he'd fuck around. And now his behaviors include fantasizing about new people. Even though you join him in fantasizing, you cannot tell if this is like "healthy fantasizing" or the start of the end.

Is that about it?

I think whatever is going on with Red will play itself out over time.

So, I would say that I don't know what I need right now. I feel that I want to build a safe, working relationship but I have a deep conviction that long term relationships just simply, do not work. That love doesn't really exist. And I want to run. So, I'm very interested about your ideas about love, attachment, non-attachment, etc. I hope this isn't too vague of a question, and I really hope I didn't offend anyone with my very un-polyamorous anxieties. I think I just really need some help.

I think that part in bold is your inner conflict. You want to stay a build something stable with someone (not necessarily even Red, but someone) but in order to do that? You have to take a risk. And the risk is staying put and seeing something through. Because in your own past you make it about 2 years in then bolt. Which, coincidentally, is when the NRE runs out. That lasts 6-24 months.

So maybe it feels dangerous to get to a place that requires staying put, because NOW you finally really have to deal with your past baggage. And maybe it feels easier to bolt and run and hit the snooze tag button again.

I had two very hurtful experiences plus a specific childhood that taught me the deep embedded belief that people who I am close to cannot be trusted (no worries, I am in therapy).

You might also not really trust yourself. Do you trust yourself to vet potentials properly and get rid of any hinky sounding people within the first few dates? Are you a good judge of character? Or do you have a really low bar set for personal standards, get into a relationships with whoever, get dinged up, run away, and then go at it again WITHOUT reviewing your personal standards and raising the bar?

Cuz if you keep picking out people who aren't great people or have questionable character? Where is surprise they behave in ways that ding you?

Another thing to reflect on... Do you like yourself?

Because if you think somewhere inside that you stink, and you seek out relationships that ding you, so it can be like "proof" of your stinkage? That's a circle trap. When really what stinks is your not liking you much, your vetting process, and you using relationships with hinky people as a stick to beat yourself with.

The healthy part of my brain (I guess it's maybe somewhere, though very hard to feel) says that fantasies are harmless. And that my fantasies are me trying to sabotage the relationship again, which in turn, turns me on.

You seem to come at things very either/or. When it could be both/and.
  • Yes, healthy fantasies are harmless.
  • And yes, Red might be getting ready to bolt, if that's his usual pattern.
But now when I think about it, I realised I sabotaged every of my relationship. I want the chase, I want the hurt.

If you have led life with of a lot of up and down and up and down... are you hooked on the adrenalin high thing?

If so, you might consider not doing that in your relationships any more and seek the "high" elsewhere. Skateboarding, surfing, ziplining, roller coasters, scuba --- things that produce the "scary/whee" thing in more appropriate ways so you can have the "chase/hurt" element without self sabotaging your relationships.

I'm not trying to be mean. Just throwing some things out there. If any stick? Maybe those are things to think about and talk to your counselor about when you can next afford to see them.

The thing about thinking something or having some beliefs? You can decide to change your mind.

You remind me of the little stair people. There's many drawings of it. Here is one.

I'm gonna guess. I might guess wrong. Are you here?

How do I do it?

--- you sound like you are here in between these two "steps" ---

I want to do it


In between the two? Like you WANT to change your mind about what you believe about love. But not having experienced a good relationship yet, and recently having had the one partner just go off into the wind, then the poly experience that wasn't great, and now this partner who almost sounds like he's "making do" with you... it's hard.

You can't see HOW it is supposed to happen or work.

Is my guess true? That's the step you are on?

Hopefully Red is sincere and working on his stuff. But I imagine with your anxious attachment that it does not feel great to hear "I know there's not a right person, but I understand now that love is a choice and that I want to "act" as if you are the right person" from Red. Like is this growing slowly towards a solid foundation as you each heal your baggage? Or just smoke and mirrors?

I happen to believe that there could be MANY right persons out there in the world. I'm just not going to meet them all at the right time.

I have a secure attachment, but I've had issues. As a child I had to be my own rock too young/too soon. Which as an adult, is ok because at this point I feel solid and have long grown used to going my own way about doing things. I have led and lead a pretty good life. But as a child witnessing the weird of my family of origin? I wonder at times where I learned "The adults around you are crackers, but YOUR life doesn't have to be like them! You get to pick how YOU live!" Because I think that was key.

If you are carrying any old stuff from family of origin, I hope your counselor helps you unpack that so you can retain what is useful and leave behind what no longer serves you well. Less baggage to tote.

I don't don't if reading polysecure would help you. Or looking at the Opening Up worksheets to help you reflect on your beliefs around love.

Wayback Machine
Creating Authentic Relationships

Wayback Machine
Open Relationship Checklist

Wayback Machine
Reflecting on Change

Wayback Machine
Self Evaluation

My longest relationship is the one with DH and we've been together for decades. Still in love, still enjoy ORE, still compatible. But we work at maintaining our connection and not drifting apart or taking each other fo granted because of children, elders, work, etc. Some married couples are surprised when the kids leave and it's Empty Nest and finally take a good look at the partner and are all "Who the heck are YOU?" because they didn't maintain connection.

If it seems to hard right now to change this:

I want to build a safe, working relationship but I have a deep conviction that long term relationships just simply, do not work. That love doesn't really exist

I invite you to make a tiny change.
  • I want to build a safe, working relationship.
    • I'm having a hard time getting there AT THIS TIME because...
      • I don't know if Red is the right partner to build that with YET
      • I also have a deep conviction that long term relationships just simply, do not work because I haven't had one YET.
      • I think that long lasting love doesn't really exist because I haven't experienced it YET.

Consider cultivating a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. One leaves you stranded in the box you are in. The other? Gives you some air holes so maybe in time you can break out of the box.

HTH!
Galagirl
 
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Pimvanloen

New member
Amazingly eloquent, useful, beautiful reply. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Shortly about Red, because I think I didn't explain fully what he meant with his words. I think he's quite similar to me, maybe (or maybe I'm projecting, you never know) - hoping that something good will come, but being scared that it won't. He realised that in the past (like, in his first relationship), his unhappiness came from the idea that there is "the one right person" - his partner was this, but every time he got disappointed by her, he would go to sleep and dream about another "one right person", since it probably meant that she wasn't it right? Since she wasn't perfect. Now, that was some teenage thinking, but he kept it for some time. So right now he says he doesn't want to have this belief anymore as it can be toxic, but that he wants to CHOOSE love. Therefore, choose to treat someone as the one right person, even though they probably aren't (because it doesn't exist). I hope this clears something up. Or, maybe this still sounds like "making do", and I'm missing something?

Do I want it with him? Yes (optimistic)! No (anxious)!
I used to go for older partners. I felt safe, thinking they had it all figured out. Now, things seem more risky. And it's pretty hard to cope. I learned that everyone can just betray you, leave you without giving you any notice. Also, my dad left my mother for someone else. Pretty scary stuff.
This partner is close to me. I opened up about my tendency to chase NRE, and so did he. Now there's an open, scary field, as if we both need to make it through. But it's hard to do it when he is fantasising about someone else (even though that must be completely healthy, right? He's even doing it with me, sometimes). Or talking about some ex-sex partners (just small things, like mentioning someone's tattoo in a convo about tattoos). I don't know how not to be paranoid. Or to know when I should be. I'm pretty ashamed, too.

(Is Red a whole new person, or was he part of the recent poly thing you were in?)
Not new, part of it, yes.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
If he's one of the poly people.... is this dragging out break up then? Like it's STILL breaking down? And he's just latching on to you for now just to not be totally alone? Is that your fear? The poly thing will ultimately end with everyone single?

If I'm honest? It still sounds like "all or nothing" teenage thinking to me.

First the partners have to be "perfect." Now Red has decided there just are no right (ie: perfect) people, but he's gonna "choose love" treating the partner well so he can get to have a relationship? But not really open his heart to them because he doesn't think they are right person for him to be with?

I don't know. That all sounds odd to me. But Red is the one who has to figure himself out. Nobody else can do it for him.

I don't know how great it is for you to be with Red when he's like this and if that's going to be trigger-y for you because of your own stuff. You mentioned in the other thread this was taking a great mental toll on you.

You could tell him you don't want to be here like this right now.

You have to make the call about your own wellness and who you will and will not hang around with at this time.

In GENERAL? I think healthy fantasies are fine. DH and I engage in them apart or together sometimes.

Do I REALLY want to share sex up a tree. No. Not in real life. Bugs, itchy bark, falling out and hurting myself, branches breaking... In fantasy? Sure, why not?

Do I fantasize about other people? Sure. Do I just dump my spouse and go chase them? No, I don't.

I think you are putting too much on the fantasy stuff and not putting enough on wellness.

Are you both actually at a place for healthy dating? Cuz it sounds like both you and Red have a lot of baggage to sort out first after the poly break up. He might still have your former meta/his ex buzzing around too and you sounded like you wanted space away from all that.

Maybe you want to do at least 30 days of no contact before you and Red try to be together in a new model? Or you just let it go because love/attraction is not enough. If you don't feel good being here? You don't have to be.

I learned that everyone can just betray you, leave you without giving you any notice.

I'm sorry that you don't have a circle of people around you who are more reliable and steadfast. If possible, you might consider keeping better company. Talk to counselor about healing whatever past wounds.

Galagirl
 
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Pimvanloen

New member
If he's one of the poly people.... is this dragging out break up then? Like it's STILL breaking down? And he's just latching on to you for now just to not be totally alone? Is that your fear? The poly thing will ultimately end with everyone single?

That's my fear. But I voiced this fear and we still have conversations about it (meaning, he doesn't agree with this fear, but words are just words hey - or maybe that's my anxiety speaking).

If I'm honest? It still sounds like "all or nothing" teenage thinking to me.

First the partners have to be "perfect." Now Red has decided there just are no right (ie: perfect) people, but he's gonna "choose love" treating the partner well so he can get to have a relationship? But not really open his heart to them because he doesn't think they are right person for him to be with?

I don't think I mentioned him not opening his heart. In my understanding, I also don't believe that there's a "one right person" for me, but I want to choose love / a partnership with Red (right now). And vice versa. I'm curious to hear what a healthy mindset in this case would be, if it's not about choosing love (instead of basing everything on feeling). I feel that if I wouldn't consciously choose, that I would fall into my own trap of chasing NRE. Another thing to mention is that right now I (or we) could be very well in this post-honeymoon phase in which doubt strikes (and yes, traumas surface).

I would have one "critical" question as well (I really hope you don't take this as angry or anything), which is that I (yes, me, my interpretation) it sounds like you are writing that Red is not good for me because he has baggage. But to be honest, I have a shit ton of baggage too. Is it useful to expect my partner to not have any baggage? Since baggage could appear anytime down the road, and simply taking distance doesn't seem like we could grow as a couple. Yes, it's really hard sometimes, but he hasn't mistreated me ever (quite the opposite).

However, after his breaking it wouldn't be the worst idea to create some space. But both of as are in some way anxiously attached, and I also don't want to live in the land of hyperindependence for too long (my other pitfall). Do you think there's anyhow a way to not completely let each other in the dark, but maybe have some healthy reset?
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
That's my fear. But I voiced this fear and we still have conversations about it (meaning, he doesn't agree with this fear, but words are just words hey - or maybe that's my anxiety speaking).

I'm not the one there. You are the one who knows Red's character and trustworthiness.

If you don't think this is a runner? You could make the call now and let it go. That solves the fear. From a "don't even be here" angle.

If you do think it's a runner and worth investing in? Think about how it could unfold, if you are both in good shape for it, and talk about expectations. That also solves the fear, but in a different way. From a "good preparation for the next chapter" angle.

I don't think I mentioned him not opening his heart. In my understanding, I also don't believe that there's a "one right person" for me, but I want to choose love with Red (right now). And vice versa. I'm curious to hear what a healthy mindset in this case would be, if it's not about choosing love (instead of basing everything on feeling).
We are probably getting tangled in semantics.

I don't get the whole "choosing love" thing. Because "love" is a feeling. What you are choosing (to me) is choosing to be in a romantic relationship together.

I think there are possibly many "right people" out there. People I could be compatible with. I just don't necessarily meet them at the right time. So even if there is an attraction, loving feelings even, it might not be the best time to start something up right then. Maybe it's too soon after a break up, a death in the family, a divorce, a change in jobs, moving locations soon, lot of things.

I also think there's nothing wrong with relationships of a season. Or longer lasting ones. I think the people have to figure out what they are shooting for.

it sounds like you are writing that Red is not good for me because he has baggage. But to be honest, I have a shit ton of baggage too. Is it useful to expect my partner to not have any baggage? Since baggage could appear anytime down the road, and simply taking distance doesn't seem like we could grow as a couple. Yes, it's really hard sometimes, but he hasn't mistreated me ever (quite the opposite).

No, I'm not saying he's bad for you. I am saying, you recently talked about having a big mental strain. Maybe you want more rest? Because you seem to be fretting over fears. And maybe you just need the brain break?

Since the poly break up is still so fresh for both, could you talk about taking a little pause? A week? 2 weeks? A month? To get your bearings? NOT start a brand new relationship together "officially" just yet?

Like if this was two kayaks that just got through a crazy patch of rocks or a storm? Can't we just agree to float in the calm here for a rest? Before paddling on to the next destination? What's so bad about that? Because life IS long, and more stuff happens. Nobody comes baggage free, but taking a pause, some rest, chucking some stuff overboard that is no longer needed? Could maybe make the next leg of the journey together easier.

Maybe that's what helps you grow as a couple AND not be so anxiously attached. Taking a pause, and seeing the other one is still there after the pause. But calmer and more rested after having had a break, a healthy reset.

You aren't in the dark if you say "Let's take a pause for ___ weeks. We will check back in on ____."

If no contact bothers you, maybe low contact then. Like only text or talk on the weekends but not during the week so there can be that pause, that rest.

Why would it be any different from one of you going on a business trip or vacation on your own and then coming back?

Galagirl
 
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Pimvanloen

New member
I don't get the whole "choosing love" thing. Because "love" is a feeling. What you are choosing (to me) is choosing to be in a romantic relationship together.
I think it's about knowing that feelings come and go, as they do, but choosing to commit. Does that make sense? I'm aware that the situation is imperfect at best sometimes (including the long distance), but I'd like to trust a partner who says he wants to work, more than the partner who wants to base the relationship only on feelings. But hey, it's the first time I'm hearing this from someone (who doesn't seem emotionally unavailable, as I heard this quote of choosing the relationship before and well, that's the person who ghosted me. But he was retracting more often than not in the relationship, needing a lot of space - a LOT).

I think the idea of space would definitely be a possibility in the future after the break. I didn't think about it before, but it might just be for the best. I think it's best to communicate about it lovingly. Thank you.
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
So, I would say that I don't know what I need right now.

My recommendation would be to take a break from romantic relationships and get to know yourself and come to terms with your baggage.

Your story sounds like someone who is in frantic desperate need of a traditional idea of "commitment", and the strict pessimistic view that it doesn't even exist because you've been burned in the past. Your words don't suggest to me that you are really prepared to set healthy boundaries, be an excellent receiver of bad news, and fully own your own shit. The only reasonable thing for someone in this sort of position to do would be to step away from the idea of romantic relationships and just learn to understand who you are and what it is that really makes you tick.

Until you can be at peace with yourself for a moment, it is profoundly unlikely that you will be a constructive participant in a healthy relationship.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Pimvanloen,

It sounds like polyamory is not for you -- which is okay, there is nothing wrong with monogamy, and polyamory is not for everyone. Also it is okay to talk about monogamy on these boards, you will not be censored. It sounds like what you need right now is, to find out how to make monogamy work.

I think GalaGirl is onto something when she says, that maybe you and Red could take a break, like say, a month without contact. This way you could clear your mind, and figure out, is Red a good match for you (and he could do likewise). I think this is a good idea, and something you could try.

You definitely both have baggage, but that doesn't mean you can't help each other unpack. You have both had bad experiences with relationships in the past, so now you both have doubts about whether there can be such a thing as a healthy relationship that lasts a long time. To overcome these doubts, you both need to have some good experiences in relationships that will help counter these doubts. It is not enough just to coast along; you need to take specific action to guide your romantic life, and determine whether this is a relationship that will turn out well.

Neither of you are bad people, you just need to figure out whether you are good for each other. Red has a habit of losing interest in his current relationship, and running off to find a new relationship. You have a drive to run as well. You both have an inclination to chase NRE. This is part of your baggage.

There is even a question of whether long-term relationships are good for either of you. Just like polyamory isn't for everyone; long-term relationships are not for everyone either. And it is okay if they're not for you. All relationships have to end sooner or later. Some end "when death do us part;" others end when their season expires. It is okay when a relationship ends. It hurts, but you don't have to regret being in the relationship. You can cherish the good memories, and the lessons you learned. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do, is let someone go.

Hopefully you can find the best outcome for you.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
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