A year on my mind, now I'm here

MarsRover

New member
Hello, I found this site an two hours ago, but I was introduced to polyamory over a year ago and it's honestly been on my mind since, in many stages.

For starters, I'm 20, and bisexual, but I had never dated until right before the pandemic.

Well, I guess I didn't have romantic feelings for anyone, but I had been in "open relationships" with friends. But then College. Being the hopeless romantic I am, I kinda forced myself to be super in love with that first relationship. They seemed like everything I wanted, and my one hang-up was that they were polyamorous. Maybe it was less of them being polyamorous, and more of them not being jealous. There were so many other reasons it didn't work out, since it was barely a comfortable friendship, but I was excited. We're still friends now, but I only recently got over them.

For a time I had a very troubling view of poly because in my mind it made sense, this is something I knew would work and it's rational. But I had tied it all to the negative way that this relationship made me feel. I felt bad throughout this entire relationship, but I refrain from using the word 'toxic'. (but I liked the kissing...) So I joined the poly community on Reddit and followed Instagram pages, just so I could disassociate poly with that relationship.

After that, I entered an LDR with a girl, and it was very nice. Being with her stabilized all my other relationships and how I felt about myself, but in the beginning, I didn't talk much about polyamory as something I'm curious about, so it started as a simple, mono relationship. But there were moments that I really wanted to be with someone physically and tried to breach the subject of Polyamory. I thought, I don't have to ruin this really good thing! I can keep it and make more good things without giving up anything! I wanted to talk about it with her, but the words... it would've hurt her. She was great, amazing even, but emotionally young. But then we stopped talking every day. We both got busy over winter break, and conversations seemed to come to a stalemate, and we ended it, agreeing that we can still be friends because by all intents and purposes we had a very good friendship... We haven't spoken since. And I understand why tbh. I kept feelings from her, and I started to resent the relationship. We ended it before I hurt her, which was something I thought I'd do anyway.

So presently, I am on Tinder (and was on other apps), questioning what kind of relationship I want or need right now. I'm figuring out a lot about myself and trying to grow, but I've been very lonely. Because of school, family obligations, and the pandemic, the number of people I meet has decreased. I'm fairly active on Twitter, though. I haven't clicked with many people on Tinder (Tinder ppl like to ghost). There are a lot of polyamorous people in relationships, and I match with many whether it's explicitly in their bio or not. I wondered if this is the universe telling me I'm polyamorous.

And to be honest with myself, before I knew there was a word for it, I think I'm poly? I know I'm scared of commitment to the wrong people, and when I am with the right people (like with LDR girl) I like making more connections and seeing where those go. I'm also just scared that if I do come out as poly, how my family will see it, if my friends will think I'm just not over my first ex. And there is also the thought that I'm trying to BE like my ex, which scares me more, because then Who am I?

Sorry this is a novel, but thank you for being a great community!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Welcome.

It sounds like you are a young adult who is trying to figure out who they are and what they want. That sounds age appropriate to me.

You already know this much....

  • Don't "force" yourself to be super in love with anything.
  • Don't stick around in toxic relationships. Maybe review the power and control wheel and healthy dating wheel. See how you and a partner contribute to HEALTHY. https://familyconsumersciences.com/wp-content/uploads/Power-Control-Wheels.pdf
  • You don't love LDR.
  • Be more honest in your relationships and talk about things you need to talk about. Don't keep feelings from a partner or grow resentful because you are bottling your own self up.
  • Sometimes the dating process reveals that people are not compatible. That is not you "hurting" the partner. Figuring out compatibility is part of what dating is FOR. Expect the partner can handle dating disappointments.
  • If you are afraid of making commitments to the wrong people? Be slower in promising anything or making commitments. Remember you can END commitments if you change your mind. You don't have to be stuck with them forever.

I'm also just scared that if I do come out as poly, how my family will see it, if my friends will think I'm just not over my first ex. And there is also the thought that I'm trying to BE like my ex, which scares me more, because then Who am I?

You are YOU.

And you are not your ex.

You are also not responsible for what your friends think. Really? If they think you are not over your ex? The mere passing of the years will show that you ARE.

As for family? That's a bit trickier, esp if you are still a dependent in college at 20. Bright side? Nobody thinks a 20 year old dating many people is a big deal. Young adulthood is a time to gather experiences and explore the world. So be ok doing that.

Galagirl
 
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Magdlyn

Well-known member
Your early 20s are definitely a time to question yourself and figure out who you are. Of course, who you are at 20 is also different than who you are at 28. So, it's a process.

I know that all humans are biologically promiscuous, and can be polyamorous. No animals are monogamous. A good book to read to understand human biology around mate choice is called Sex at Dawn. It's an anthropological look at the time of prehistory, Stone Age, tribal and village era of humanity, which, of course is our own DNA. Civilization, and especially monogamy take up just a minute or 2 in the history of people. We have a million years of tribal life behind us, and only a few thousand of "civilized" time.

So for most of our history, we lived in tribes and small villages and did not mate off into MF pairs for life. It was OK to have multiple sex partners. Even if you did settle down with one partner, there were holidays where group sex was encouraged (check out the roots of Beltane, May Day, in Britain). Even down into "civilized" times, you could go have ritual sacred sex with sex workers at the temples of any number of goddesses and gods. This was a privilege and an honor. And children didn't belong to their bio parents, they belonged to the goddess or the tribe, and were raised jointly by the tribe, so they had that "social security" which kids don't have currently.
 
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MeeraReed

Active member
Just wanted to say that I relate to your experience dating a polyamorous person in what turned out to be a bad relationship, then later questioning why you still/again want to explore polyamory.

When I was 21, I had a boyfriend who was in an open relationship with another woman, whom he lived with. He was only my second boyfriend ever, and my first sex partner. He was 28 and presented himself as a sort of radical alternative hippie person. He did not use the term polyamorous (this was in 2002 so it was less common as a term), but he was definitely non-monogamous by orientation. I was definitely seeking a non-traditional relationship and felt that I was accepting of his lifestyle and his other relationship, although at the time I did not imagine myself dating more than one person simultaneously.

Well, the relationship went badly. Really badly. To the point that my boyfriend was emotionally abusive. His other partner was also quite mean to me (I think mainly because he wasn't being honest with her about his relationship with me, despite his claims). It was a deeply scarring and painful experience for me. I'd like to say I left him, but it ended with him breaking up with me and accusing me of being controlling. I only found out later the extent to which he'd been lying to both/all of his partners.

Anyway. I was very young and it was a learning experience. But the real problems came in the aftermath. When I sought therapy, I was told I must have self-esteem issues if I had been willing to date someone in an open relationship. When I tried to talk to friends and family about my experience with my ex, they said things like, "Well, what did you expect? He lived with another woman!"

Dating after that was difficult for me because I felt strongly that traditional relationship did not appeal to me, but I didn't know what an alternative would be. I didn't want to end up with someone else like my ex.

It took me YEARS to figure out that I had liked my ex because non-monogamy / polyamory / alternative relationship styles genuinely appealed to me, and not that I had been tolerating a bad situation because of inherently low self-esteem or similar. (And also that it wasn't my fault that I had felt trapped by emotional abuse; that's how abuse works. But that's sort of a different issue than my point here).

I was 29 before I found this site and began reading a lot on non-monogamy and finally became openly polyamorous. It took me a while to figure out that non-monogamy hadn't been the problem with my ex--he would have been a deceitful and emotionally abusive person no matter what relationship style he claimed to be following.

And, sometimes two polyamorous people just aren't compatible. It doesn't necessarily mean that one of them isn't polyamorous. Even within polyamory, there are many different relationship styles.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Greetings MarsRover,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

It sounds like you may be polyamorous. You kind of knew it before you even knew there was a word for it. You've had some bad experiences with poly in the past, and I hope you won't let that taint your perspective now. When you date someone, let them know early on (during one of the first few dates) that you are poly, and be willing to answer any questions they may have. If you're active on a dating site (e.g. OKCupid), add a line or two to your profile saying that you are poly/nonmonogamous. And be active on this forum, explore the boards and threads, post your thoughts and questions along the way. There is a wealth of things you can learn here, and you will find people turn to you for guidance as well. This is a good thing.

I hope you will enjoy your stay with us.
Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter" :)

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
 

MarsRover

New member
Welcome.

It sounds like you are a young adult who is trying to figure out who they are and what they want. That sounds age appropriate to me.

You already know this much....

  • Don't "force" yourself to be super in love with anything.
  • Don't stick around in toxic relationships. Maybe review the power and control wheel and healthy dating wheel. See how you and a partner contribute to HEALTHY. https://familyconsumersciences.com/wp-content/uploads/Power-Control-Wheels.pdf
  • You don't love LDR.
  • Be more honest in your relationships and talk about things you need to talk about. Don't keep feelings from a partner or grow resentful because you are bottling your own self up.
  • Sometimes the dating process reveals that people are not compatible. That is not you "hurting" the partner. Figuring out compatibility is part of what dating is FOR. Expect the partner can handle dating disappointments.
  • If you are afraid of making commitments to the wrong people? Be slower in promising anything or making commitments. Remember you can END commitments if you change your mind. You don't have to be stuck with them forever.



You are YOU.

And you are not your ex.

You are also not responsible for what your friends think. Really? If they think you are not over your ex? The mere passing of the years will show that you ARE.

As for family? That's a bit trickier, esp if you are still a dependent in college at 20. Bright side? Nobody thinks a 20 year old dating many people is a big deal. Young adulthood is a time to gather experiences and explore the world. So be ok doing that.

Galagirl

Hi!
Thank you so much for your advice! Seeing it like that puts it all in perspective. I'll definitely try to keep all of this in mind going forward and put it into action.

Dating in general feels tricky and adding poly is foreign to me, but I'm so excited now that I know this community is so kind so far :)
 

MarsRover

New member
Greetings MarsRover,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

It sounds like you may be polyamorous. You kind of knew it before you even knew there was a word for it. You've had some bad experiences with poly in the past, and I hope you won't let that taint your perspective now. When you date someone, let them know early on (during one of the first few dates) that you are poly, and be willing to answer any questions they may have. If you're active on a dating site (e.g. OKCupid), add a line or two to your profile saying that you are poly/nonmonogamous. And be active on this forum, explore the boards and threads, post your thoughts and questions along the way. There is a wealth of things you can learn here, and you will find people turn to you for guidance as well. This is a good thing.

I hope you will enjoy your stay with us.
Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter" :)

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
Hi!

It's so great to see your message here, since I've seen you on other's. It's very cool!

Letting people know early on is very smart, like I figured it was the right thing to do but was scared to put it into action, before. Now that I know the word and that I'm interested in it, I'll be sure to do that.

Thank you so much for your advice and response! This is such a nice and informative site and community so far ! :)
 

MarsRover

New member
Your early 20s are definitely a time to question yourself and figure out who you are. Of course, who you are at 20 is also different than who you are at 28. So, it's a process.

I know that all humans are biologically promiscuous, and can be polyamorous. No animals are monogamous. A good book to read to understand human biology around mate choice is called Sex at Dawn. It's an anthropological look at the time of prehistory, Stone Age, tribal and village era of humanity, which, of course is our own DNA. Civilization, and especially monogamy take up just a minute or 2 in the history of people. We have a million years of tribal life behind us, and only a few thousand of "civilized" time.

So for most of our history, we lived in tribes and small villages and did not mate off into MF pairs for life. It was OK to have multiple sex partners. Even if you did settle down with one partner, there were holidays where group sex was encouraged (check out the roots of Beltane, May Day, in Britain). Even down into "civilized" times, you could go have ritual sacred sex with sex workers at the temples of any number of goddesses and gods. This was a privilege and an honor. And children didn't belong to their bio parents, they belonged to the goddess or the tribe, and were raised jointly by the tribe, so they had that "social security" which kids don't have currently.
Hi!

This is so INTERESTING! I was actually very curious about the history of poly relationships since monogamy is a man-made social structure. Even in nature, mating in itself is not tied to a single partner and if my thinking is accurate, better for the gene pool?

Anyway, thank you so much for the reading material! I'm definitely going to check it out soon!
 

MarsRover

New member
Just wanted to say that I relate to your experience dating a polyamorous person in what turned out to be a bad relationship, then later questioning why you still/again want to explore polyamory.

When I was 21, I had a boyfriend who was in an open relationship with another woman, whom he lived with. He was only my second boyfriend ever, and my first sex partner. He was 28 and presented himself as a sort of radical alternative hippie person. He did not use the term polyamorous (this was in 2002 so it was less common as a term), but he was definitely non-monogamous by orientation. I was definitely seeking a non-traditional relationship and felt that I was accepting of his lifestyle and his other relationship, although at the time I did not imagine myself dating more than one person simultaneously.

Well, the relationship went badly. Really badly. To the point that my boyfriend was emotionally abusive. His other partner was also quite mean to me (I think mainly because he wasn't being honest with her about his relationship with me, despite his claims). It was a deeply scarring and painful experience for me. I'd like to say I left him, but it ended with him breaking up with me and accusing me of being controlling. I only found out later the extent to which he'd been lying to both/all of his partners.

Anyway. I was very young and it was a learning experience. But the real problems came in the aftermath. When I sought therapy, I was told I must have self-esteem issues if I had been willing to date someone in an open relationship. When I tried to talk to friends and family about my experience with my ex, they said things like, "Well, what did you expect? He lived with another woman!"

Dating after that was difficult for me because I felt strongly that traditional relationship did not appeal to me, but I didn't know what an alternative would be. I didn't want to end up with someone else like my ex.

It took me YEARS to figure out that I had liked my ex because non-monogamy / polyamory / alternative relationship styles genuinely appealed to me, and not that I had been tolerating a bad situation because of inherently low self-esteem or similar. (And also that it wasn't my fault that I had felt trapped by emotional abuse; that's how abuse works. But that's sort of a different issue than my point here).

I was 29 before I found this site and began reading a lot on non-monogamy and finally became openly polyamorous. It took me a while to figure out that non-monogamy hadn't been the problem with my ex--he would have been a deceitful and emotionally abusive person no matter what relationship style he claimed to be following.

And, sometimes two polyamorous people just aren't compatible. It doesn't necessarily mean that one of them isn't polyamorous. Even within polyamory, there are many different relationship styles.
Ah, thank you so much for sharing your story and experience! It really means so much! I'm happy to hear that, in time, it starts to come away from that first toxic relationship and can turn into something beautiful.

Especially the part where u say "sometimes two polyamorous people just aren't compatible." It just reminds me that no relationship is a guarantee, and thats maybe the trickiest part for me.

Your experience with therapy is also something I was afraid of: seeking help from somewhere that doesn't quite understand the dynamics you need them to. Your input here means the world, so I thank you against for your help and wisdom here.

Also, I appreciate everyone being so kind and understanding regarding my age. The Reddit community isn't so kind in regards to that and tend to focus on my youth instead of the things I'd like to learn and need help on. They're very dismissive about it :'( I overthink a bit, too much for someone my age, but it leads me to good places sometimes haha
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
No problem, age is just a number.

Some people say that using the word "polyamory" to describe yourself is a bad idea because most people have never heard the word. Now I think that's exactly why using the word "polyamory" to describe yourself is a good idea. It opens up the door to some interesting conversations.

I think Polyamory.com is a great community, and I'm glad that you're part of it. Carry on!
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
This is so INTERESTING! I was actually very curious about the history of poly relationships since monogamy is a man-made social structure. Even in nature, mating in itself is not tied to a single partner and if my thinking is accurate, better for the gene pool?

I'm glad you found that interesting. I do too. The book is great. It's written in laymen's terms, but has some great info about biology and social behaviors in humans and our closest relatives, the bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas. The info on penis and testicle size and shape, and what they tell us about mating behaviors is fascinating haha.

Yeah, not even animals we used to assume mate for life really do. Now that we can test DNA, so much for those myths.
Anyway, thank you so much for the reading material! I'm definitely going to check it out soon!
 
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