Asking for communication from a poly partner

LittleWords

New member
Hi, I am new to the site and hoping for some guidance and clarity from those who can relate and empathize.

This is my story:
I first met him 2.5 years ago on a dating app on which he had written "ethical non-monogamy"on his profile. Before him, I chose to not date for 3 years because I was still healing from my previous relationship and my career had just started. So really, my first date with him was really my first time using a dating app. I didn't know what the words really meant but I also wasn't sure I needed to because I had little to no faith in it being serious. We went on 2-3 more dates before I told him it wasn't going to work and there was no point continuing because our lifestyles were different- him, being polyamorous and me, I guess monogamous. I wanted to catch myself before I started to like him.

Needless to say, he reached out to me a month later while we were both in Europe traveling, separately. He asked me to try with him, to give us a chance and explore something new. At the time, I wasn't sure I wanted a conventional relationship. I simply felt like I couldn't offer time, focus and energy into one. Or maybe I was just comfortable being on my own. I told him I didn't wanted to be suffocated and tend to feel the need to break things off if it got to the point where I felt like things were moving too fast and I was cornered. He offered me that space. And we've been seeing each other since.

He moved for work in July 2019. Right now, he is 3300 miles away. We struggle with communication. The one main thing that an open relationship really needs according to every poly book or article out there. He gets frustrated that I take a longer time to verbalize my feelings and thoughts. And I, struggle with my need for him to be more transparent with me about his life & other relationships. I have asked him for his support and guidance in navigating this relationship and that I feel it would help me if he shared with me the other people that he sees or even something as simple as being excited about an upcoming date. He tells me/sends me pictures of his adventures but when I press for details about his companions, I am given a vague response that starts with "a friend." I told him that for me, I'd like to know. Because it's better than guessing and being left in the dark, with my own thoughts. He has never lied to me but he censors and eludes details. Which makes it worse for me because it is so obvious. When I call him out on it, he says he doesn't want me to react in a way that will cause more pain or crying. He disagrees with me that this is not the case. I have spent more time going through psychological hell being left in the dark. He said he would try to share more. But he never did.

He met a girl in CA over the summer who is also poly. She insisted that he ask me how I felt and if i'd be okay if they saw each other before anything else. It was the only time he ever told me about someone else. I wasn't jumping in excitement that there was someone, but i was really okay with it. I really was. I was surprised that he shared. But I felt valued that he thought of me. And honestly, that was all I really wanted. I respect him. I understand poly is who he is. i want him to be happy. But I wanted open communication. Maybe in hindsight, he only shared because he was asked to. He admitted that to some extent, that that was the case.

I told him I loved him. I told him I wanted to be a primary in his life. But he said to him, I was his primary secondary. To him, there were no primaries. Solopoly. We spent Thanksgiving with his family this year. I asked him if he had the slightest image of how he'd like his future to look and where he think he'd like to live after his 2 year contact in his current city is over. I asked him if there was even a slightest possibility that he could be someone I would eventually come home to at the end of the day. I wasn't asking for exact dates, marriage, kids, nor monogamy. He said he couldn't deliver that because he doesn't know. That night, we broke up. It's been a lot of crying since.

But I still wanted us. I am not ready for that image of coming home to someone anyway. But it would be something I eventually wanted. A primary. Him. Someday...where we'd be in the same time zone, under one roof. But it didn't have to be a future that I needed to figure out now,I asked if we could re-try and that we'll work out the future when it comes, however it comes. We talked last night. He said he still wants me in his life. But says he'd like me to put him less of a priority, in other words, him as secondary in my life. His reasoning being so that I could make room for others in my life to be my primary and make a life together with. That we'd both be less burdened by expectations and hopes. I told him, I still wanted the transparency from him...that he never managed to share with me. That I struggled with feeling close to him because of this barrier. He said with him being secondary, we wouldn't have to communicate as necessary anymore. It hurt and angered me to hear that. Because it made me feel like it was just his excuse of never having to share and open to me now. He says I don't need to know because the only reason I would want to is that I am jealous.

He told me to think it through. I'm so tired. I'm trying to fix things....but why is it so hard to ask someone for compassionate communication? Should I let go of our relationship altogether or continue loving him going by the parameters he suggests.
 
Last edited:

Evie

Well-known member
Oh dear, this really sounds so incompatible on so many levels. Do yourself a favour and walk away and find a compatible person.
 

LoveBunny

Member
I feel you, @LittleWords, "someone to come home to" is one of the big things I want out of a relationship, too.

I want to say this gently: You're not going to get that from this fellow. Whether he doesn't want that kind of relationship, period, or just doesn't want it with you, he's told you as much. He's just not considering you for the role of sole primary, and you have no reason to believe he'll change his mind in the near future.

You're in a different place than when you started with him, when all you were up for was something casual. Now you've developed feelings that are more-than-casual. Maybe now nonmongamy isn't working for you. At least, not being a secondary or coprimary with this person. Whether you continue on with him or not, you should probably see if you can turn your focus away from him. Try to find someone to date who wants a relationship style closer to yours. If you still want to continue on with your current guy as secondary and you can both handle that, great.

But if you find you're stuck in a miasma of longing for him and can't move past wanting what you want, maybe best to go solo for a while and do a little soul-searching. It's a painful situation I'm sure most of us are familiar with--wanting something with someone who wants something different. I wish you the best.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry this is happening. I mean this kindly, ok?

I have spent more time going through psychological hell being left in the dark.

I think you could remain broken up and leave it at that. Why sign up for more hell? Because even as a secondary partner? He's still not going to be great at communicating in the way you prefer.

And I just don't get it.

I have asked him for his support and guidance in navigating this relationship and that I feel it would help me if he shared with me the other people that he sees or even something as simple as being excited about an upcoming date.
(snip)
He said he would try to share more. But he never did.

You make a request and he agrees to do it. Then doesn't do it.

He met a girl in CA over the summer who is also poly. She insisted that he ask me how I felt and if i'd be okay if they saw each other before anything else.

(snip)

Maybe in hindsight, he only shared because he was asked to. He admitted that to some extent, that that was the case.

Some other person makes a request, he agrees, and follows thru.

So how come he cannot follow thru for your requests? Or just not bother to agree in the first place? Like do what you want, Dude, but be a person of your Word.

We talked last night. He said he still wants me in his life. But says he'd like me to put him less of a priority, in other words, him as secondary in my life. His reasoning being so that I could make room for others in my life to be my primary and make a life together with. That we'd both be less burdened by expectations and hopes. I told him, I still wanted the transparency from him...that he never managed to share with me. That I struggled with feeling close to him because of this barrier. He said with him being secondary, we wouldn't have to communicate as necessary anymore. It hurt and angered me to hear that. Because it made me feel like it was just his excuse of never having to share and open to me now. He says I don't need to know because the only reason I would want to is that I am jealous.

I suggest you stop talking to him. It sounds like he just wants to retain access to you, without every really changing anything about his behavior.

That might be a great deal for him, but what about this dating offer would be great deal for you? Just keep going with more of same? The hell? What's awesome about that?

I'm sorry to hear about the break up. Breaking up, even when it is necessary and the healthiest choice, is never FUN.

I suggest you let yourself grieve the beak up, but NOT hop back on that merry-go-round. Breaking up gives you the opportunity to move on.

You already know where this ends up -- you frustrated with him agreeing to communicate and then him not doing it. And when you call him into account? Him flipping it around on you to be how you must be jealous or whatever to move the spotlight off him and on to you.

I dislike "slippery fish" stuff like that. I prefer personal accountability and personal responsibility.

YOU know how you feel. Other people don't live inside you. They don't get to tell you how you feel.

He told me to think it through. I'm so tired. I'm trying to fix things....but why is it so hard to ask someone for compassionate communication? Should I let go of our relationship altogether or continue loving him going by the parameters he suggests.

You are tired of all this. You could let all this go.

If you have to keep asking over and over? Call it a "working no." NO, he's never going to change that communication style.

Can you live with it like that? No, it feels like psychological hell being in the dark.

Solution? Let this go so you don't have to be in the dark, and your feelings for this guy can fade. Commit to processing the break up grief so you can get to final acceptance. Rather than back and forth with him. Don't linger in the dragging it out space. Be firm, and then linger in the healing space instead.

Keep this way easier on you.

Galagirl
 
Last edited:

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello LittleWords,

Believe it or not, some polyamorists are poor communicators. They expect you to read their mind, and then when you do not successfully guess at what they want you to do, they are disappointed in you, and may even think you are a bad person. In the case of this man whom you want to try with, and be closer to him, he does not know how to communicate, and he shifts the blame onto you, accusing you of being jealous and that's the supposed reason why he won't talk to you about his other partners. You love him and you want to give this another shot, but I'm sure you realize that you can't force him to communicate. I would say you could tell him you'll have to break up with him if he won't communicate, but you're already broken up so what would be the point in saying that? If you want to be together with this man, you are going to have to resign yourself to the fact that he just isn't one of the good communicators.

I hope I'm wrong of course ...
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I don't think he's a "bad communicator." He is solo poly. He needs freedom. He wants to focus on each of his partners when he is with them. He doesn't want to talk about Partner A with Partner B. Really, the only thing you NEED to know is, has he been using condoms, when you are about to be together in the flesh and sharing sex.

There are lots of solo polys out there. They like their freedom. They are not nesting-partner material. You are just hitting your head on a brick wall, trying to make him be more like you, and want what you want, and "kiss and tell" to your satisfaction. That's not really respectful.

I mean, you knew this about yourself going into this. You are mono, and you prefer a mono partner. You let him charm you into being with him. Now he seems less charming, and you can see that, while you were short-term compatible, for casual dating, you now want monogamy, or at least nesting/primary partner status. But he does not want that shape of relationship. He's been honest with you. Now you can be honest with yourself. He is not long-term compatible with you. I'm sorry. I know this must hurt A LOT. :(
 
Top