BF and I just started Poly and he’s going away with someone this weekend.

Crinkle Cut Cat

New member
Hello,

I posted an intro thread last week and everyone was very supportive.

I'm new to this, very new. My BF of 2 1/2 years suspected he was poly a year into our relationship. After a 5-week break-up recently, we decided to explore it together. I am not poly, but took it as "I won’t know unless I try" We have such a deep connection, I didn’t want to give that up without trying.

During our brief split, he connected with an old friend and, short story long, they've already made plans to go away this weekend. I’m trying very hard to be supportive, but I’m feeling very anxious and somewhat sad about it. I don’t know if it’s because this is all new to me and I need to adjust to our new relationship, or if this is how I’m going to feel about this all going forward.

Any words of wisdom or similar experiences out there that can guide me during this transition? I like to think, since I am not poly, that this a normal reaction and I just have to get used to this new type of relationship and lifestyle with him. He has been very reassuring, supportive and caring, sensing my anxiety and trepidation.

For the record, I am indeed going to try it on my end, as well. I have a date this weekend. Of course, I don’t know how I feel about that, either.

Thank you!
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

I could be wrong, but it sounds like you are doubly sad.

  • A 5-week break-up doesn't sound long enough to actually heal from said break-up. Maybe that's the first sadness. (Are you sure this whole "I need to at least try" thing isn't the bargaining stage of break-up grief?)

  • Then, in that time when you were single, he started dating a new person and made plans to have an overnight. So there's that sadness-- he's moving on in his dating life, into this new poly model, and having his first overnight with the new person. It's normal to have some sadness and anxiety around that.

I am going to try it on my end, as well. I have a date this weekend. I don’t know how I feel about that.

A new dating person on your side also brings mixed feelings -- maybe anxiety, maybe excitement. You would be feeling that even if you were single, rather than a poly newbie, but it does add MORE to the feelings pile.

Was there some reason you scheduled it for the weekend he's away, or did it just work out that way because you were broken up and then unexpectedly got back together?

I like to think that, since I am not poly, this a normal reaction, and I just have to get used to this new type of relationship and lifestyle with him. He has been very reassuring, supportive and caring, sensing my anxiety and trepidation.

It's good that you both are trying to be supportive and make space.

Wagner lists a lot of possible feelings in her pitfalls article here.


Labriola lists the poly hell things here.

You could both both read these and talk about how to minimize possible dings.

I suppose you could also talk about before care, during care, and after care: small gestures, like a text saying "Got here safe" from him to you, or "Back home" from you to him after your date. Neither one of you should be intruding on each other's dates, but simple small gestures might mean something to you/him.

Have you defined the timeframe for how long this "trial period" is going to be? What are your dealbreakers? How will you know it is time to quit because this is not for you? Or when will the trial period be over, when you know the challenge was successful and you will be sticking with poly?

What if it turns out you both want poly, but just aren't compatible for poly with each other, because your poly dating styles are too different?

What if he wanted to go back to a closed relationship, but you found out you liked it and wanted to keep going?

You don't have to have EVERYTHING solved and talked out, but you have to have enough so you aren't jumping in underprepared.

How often will you to be checking in and processing? You can't be doing that 24/7, but you do have to talk periodically, as you adjust. Maybe the RADAR episode is helpful to you there.


HTH!
Galagirl
 
Hello Crinkle Cut Cat,

It does seem a little sudden/abrupt for your boyfriend to already be planning a weekend getaway. I think just about anyone would be upset about that, even if they themselves were poly-inclined which you have already stated you are not. I think your feelings going forward will largely be determined by how much your boyfriend caters to his NRE for this old friend of his. So far he is putting your needs on the back burner.

Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 
Thank you for saying so. I told him I wasn’t even cold yet, and he was planning a weekend getaway. He said it’s not like that; they were going as friends. I said, "C'mon. No separate rooms."

He said our brains are wired differently because he’s poly. He said he talks about me to her quite a bit and she knows he is in love with me. I said. "Well, what kind of people go on a weekend getaway after a difficult break-up, and knowing that the man you’re going away with, after really only knowing two weeks, is still in love with someone else?"

I’m trying to understand, but poly or not, it makes little sense to me, sounds impulsive and desperate. I really am trying to understand if his actions and feelings are poly, or just a fear of being alone and needing companionship. It’s not my intention to offend.
 
No-one here can determine his actual motivations. If you are asking him what you want to know, and he's providing answers, and you're not happy with those answers, that's on you, not him. You say you're trying to understand, but are you really listening to him? Or are you trying to get help to psychoanalyze him? We can't help with that, he's not here, we're not therapists, and at the end of the day, what they do in their holiday accommodation is nobody's business but them.

I said well what kind of people go on a weekend getaway after a difficult break up, and knowing that the man you’re going away with, after really only knowing two weeks, is still in love with someone else?
Do you think she's betraying some kind of "girl code"? It's actually not her job to manage your feelings, or to say no to things she wants because of your complex situation. He chose to make this weekend with her happen, she's not the bad guy here, so don't transfer your ire at him onto her.
 
Here's my take. I know some folks feel differently, but—

I think the whole, "I AM polyamorous, I'm wired to be poly, my brain is different from your brain in a way that makes me a Thing Called POLY" (and replace "poly" with "mono", likewise)... is a super unhelpful framing device for navigating relationships.

I'm not here to deny anyone their identity. If it's really important to a person to identify as being "monogamous" or "polyamorous," fine. But look how it muddies the water:
He said our brains are wired differently because he’s poly.
I’m trying to understand, but poly or not, it makes little sense to me, sounds impulsive and desperate. I really am trying to understand if his actions and feelings are poly, or just fear of being alone and needing companionship.

But if you could put Buddy in an MRI, and the doctors could point to the region of his brain that "makes him poly," would his getaway with the person he hooked back up with during your breakup suddenly feel okay to you?

And if not, well, who cares if he "is" poly? Relationships are based on agreements. Do you both agree he can date other people in addition to you? Yes? Then you have a polyamorous relationship. No? Then you don't have a polyamorous relationship, you have a monogamous relationship whose agreements he is trying to manipulate you into allowing him to break by claiming "But don't you understand, it's who I AM? Who are you to deny me WHO I AM???"

If you and your partner can't find relationship agreements that feel good for both and by which you can both abide, it doesn't really matter what you or he "are," other than not really compatible.
 
It does seem a little sudden/abrupt for your boyfriend to already be planning a weekend getaway.

The dude was SINGLE and broken up with when those plans were made. How people want to live their single lives is up to them.

I told him I wasn’t even cold yet, and he was planning a weekend getaway.

I see your feelings are hurt, Crinkle. But that sounds like you aren't/weren't over the break-up, and are kind of upset he decided to move on in his life as a single person. How fast people go will vary. You didn't/don't get a say in how he wants/wanted to live as a single.

If you wanted to get back together, you could have told him you wanted wait to talk all that out until AFTER his weekend trip was over. You could still do that; the weekend isn't here yet.

You also get to design how YOU want to live as a single, and how soon you want to move on from texts/calls to dating a new potential in real life.

I know he's your ex, but he's now a new potential poly-dating person. It is not "picking up where we left off." It is "starting all over in a new relationship model."

Even monogamous people don't "go steady" from Date 1. That is what you have here. Date 1 with the new Poly Dude. You used to date Old Dude. That's not him any more. You may not even like new Poly Dude or be compatible with him. You are dating him to find out.

He said it’s not like that. They were going as friends. I said "C'mon. No separate rooms." He said our brains are wired differently because he’s poly. He said he talks about me to her quite a bit and she knows he is in love with me.

If I were her, I'd tell him he can poly date whoever he wants, but I didn't need or want to hear TMI about them.

You might not want to hear too much about her either. You could ask him not to share TMI.

Basic agreements for safer sex practices are a must if you want to look out for your own health, but there's no real need for details past that. It's okay to do separate, parallel poly. (You + Dude) are on one side of the poly V. (Dude + Lady) are on the other side of the V. Everyone stays in their lane. The hinge with two partners doesn't leak stuff from the other side of the V onto you, or the other way around.

He might end up being a great hinge, or a sloppy one. You are getting to know him in a poly context, just as he is getting to know you, and how YOU are as a hinge. (You'll have a date this weekend, too.)

I said, "What kind of people go on a weekend getaway after a difficult break-up, and knowing that the man you’re going away with, after really only knowing two weeks, is still in love with someone else?"

Answer: poly people who want a fun weekend away, getting to know a new dating potential, who figure his other relationships are his deal to manage. It wasn't her break-up.

You kind of talk like she's trying to "steal" your man away, when really, he was single when they met, and she's just out there dating in her life. "Polyamory" means "many loves." One can poly date and eventually have more than one long-term gf/bf/partner/whatever one wants to call it.

What are you actually upset about here? That you wanted him to be hurt and spend more time alone as a single before moving on to dating new people?

It sounds impulsive and desperate. I'm trying to understand if his actions and feelings are from being poly, or just a fear of being alone.

I think it's reasonable to wonder that about him. I also wonder if he's on the rebound. But all that is HIS stuff to manage.

I think you could focus more on YOURSELF. Ask those questions of yourself. Are YOU on the rebound? Why did you get back together with him so fast, after only 5 weeks apart? Was that being impulsive and desperate? Was it your fear of being alone and needing companionship? Why did you break up? Was that 5 weeks apart enough time to fix/address the issues, or are they still present?

Again, I think you may have to manage your expectations. If you and he broke up and got back together in a whole new kind of polyamorous model, it's not "picking up where we left off." You're starting from zero. I think you could view him as a whole new suitor. And like any new potential, if he is NOT compatible or behaves ugh, you CAN drop him.

At this point in time, what are your initial poly dating agreements with him?

Have you been up front with the other guy that you are also dating Dude, and are involved in a poly thing?

(It's a little awkward writing about them, so you might consider giving them each nicknames, e.g., "Eric," the ex you are dating again, and "Nate," the totally new guy.)

Galagirl
 
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No? Then you don't have a polyamorous relationship. You have a monogamous relationship whose agreements he is trying to manipulate you into allowing him to break by claiming, "But don't you understand it's who I AM! Who are you to deny me being WHO I AM???"

This assumes that if two people disagree about relationship style, it defaults to monogamous. I understand that they may have got together under an exclusive agreement, but this has been clearly revoked. In the case of a disagreement on relationship style, you don't have to just be monogamous.

To me, the guy is saying that he is poly now and is building polyamorous relationships. I don't think either of them are desperate, because they won't appease OP's need for them not to go. The one showing desperation is OP, because she is desperately trying to shame them into not going, for her own peace of mind.
 
This assumes that if two people disagree about relationship style, it defaults to monogamous. I understand that they may have got together under an exclusive agreement, but this has been clearly revoked. In the case of a disagreement on relationship style, you don't have to just be monogamous.

To me, the guy is saying that he is poly now and is building polyamorous relationships. I don't think either of them are desperate because they won't appease OP's need for them not to go. The one showing desperation is OP because she is desperately trying to shame them into not going for her own peace of mind.
I think that's a pretty strong assertion there, honestly. She's clearly here venting her frustration and anxiety, while seeking more experienced perspectives, and clearly joined expressly for that purpose, when she could easily be venting it in his face. That sounds like an effort to me.

I agree that she needs to focus more on how she's feeling surrounding the situation than on how he's behaving. At the end of the day, you can't change people or their behavior. All you get to choose is how you respond to it.

Reaching up a little further, I don't know what I believe about poly wiring. I know that as far back as I can remember, I've had loving platonic relationships with people that my partners got PISSED about, and I legitimately have always been fundamentally incapable of understanding that jealousy. And there is something to be said for the indescribably powerful sense of relief and peace I've experienced simply from having done a little reading about it and putting a name to what I've always felt.

There's also something to be said for free will and how one CHOOSES to live their life as a sentient and self-deterministic entity.

She's also brand new to this, and probably hasn't had a chance to seriously explore where she's at on it, with the skills to be successful in hand.

I think a little more compassion is in order here.
 
I think it's a pretty strong assertion that he or they are desperate. As a poly person, I know those types of terms are regularly utilised by people attempting to shame you about being polyamorous because the concept makes them fearful. It's not okay though. And if you don't nip it in the bud, it can go really far.
 
I think it's a pretty strong assertion that he or they are desperate. As a poly person, I know those types of terms are regularly utilised by people attempting to shame you about being polyamorous because the concept makes them fearful. It's not okay though. And if you don't nip it in the bud, it can go really far.

I agree, but keep in mind that she's very new to this and doesn't have her head wrapped around it yet. I'm not saying that you're wrong. I just feel like it could have been worded a little more gently. It's obvious that she's here trying.
 
This assumes that if two people disagree about relationship style, it defaults to monogamous. I understand that they may have got together under an exclusive agreement, but this has been clearly revoked. In the case of a disagreement on relationship style, you don't have to just be monogamous.

To me, the guy is saying that he is poly now and is building polyamorous relationships. I don't think either of them are desperate, because they won't appease OP's need for them not to go. The one showing desperation is OP, because she is desperately trying to shame them into not going, for her own peace of mind.
Never said to him I didn’t want him to go or not to go. In fact, outwardly I’m being supportive. Not jumping for joy, but listening to him and not discouraging. I say these things here because I don’t want to discourage him. I’m trying to a) vent b) understand. That’s why i tell my story. I understand he’s poly. I get this is his lifestyle now. I’m trying to adapt. I’m not desperately trying to do anything but learn and adapt. Thank you.
 
Never said to him I didn’t want him to go or not to go. In fact, outwardly I’m being supportive. Not jumping for joy, but listening to him and not discouraging. I say these things here because I don’t want to discourage him. I’m trying to a) vent b) understand. That’s why i tell my story. I understand he’s poly. I get this is his lifestyle now. I’m trying to adapt. I’m not desperately trying to do anything but learn and adapt. Thank you.
Hey Crinkle, It’s a confusing time, Well done trying to adapt by letting him be himself and getting your own support here. When change happens there is always fear, and given your recent break-up is fresh, I totally understand you are starting poly from a wobbly place, rather than a secure relationship.

But this change is also an opportunity! An opportunity for you both to really embrace communication. Developing deep, non-aggressive, good listening, non-blaming/shaming, kind, feeling-owning, communication skills will enrich you both, whether you ultimately stay together or not. This is the keystone to genuine polyamory, as opposed to just effing about.

So, let him go, but have those type of conversations.

I’m also interested about your date for the weekend. What have you/will you tell that date? Will you practice open communication and honesty with him?

Good luck with embracing this new adventure!
 
Never said to him I didn’t want him to go or not to go. In fact, outwardly I’m being supportive. Not jumping for joy, but listening to him and not discouraging. I say these things here because I don’t want to discourage him. I’m trying to a) vent b) understand. That’s why i tell my story. I understand he’s poly. I get this is his lifestyle now. I’m trying to adapt. I’m not desperately trying to do anything but learn and adapt. Thank you.

My reply was to @Albert Ross' comment that I quoted.
 
My reply was to @Albert Ross' comment that I quoted.
“To me, the guy is saying that he is poly now and is building polyamorous relationships. I don't think either of them are desperate because they won't appease OP's need for them not to go. The one showing desperation is OP because she is desperately trying to shame them into not going for her own peace of mind.”

And my reply was to this statement. Not shaming anyone. Outwardly being supportive while internally navigating this new, confusing transition. Thank you.
 
“To me, the guy is saying that he is poly now and is building polyamorous relationships. I don't think either of them are desperate because they won't appease OP's need for them not to go. The one showing desperation is OP because she is desperately trying to shame them into not going for her own peace of mind.”

And my reply was to this statement. Not shaming anyone. Outwardly being supportive while internally navigating this new, confusing transition. Thank you. .

Ah fair enough. I find it difficult to believe that you'd use language like "desperate" here and not convey that belief in your communication with your partner. You may not use that word but the idea will still be present.
 
Ah fair enough. I find it difficult to believe that you'd use language like "desperate" here and not convey that belief in your communication with your partner. You may not use that word but the idea will still be present.
I used it to convey how I was perceiving his, in my mind, very quick response to us splitting not even 3 weeks before. (The plans were made less than 3 weeks after our brief split.) I did communicate to him that I was hurt that he went right into the dating pool, immediately after I was gone. Especially when we'd talked about taking time away from one another, he said over and over that he just needws “alone time” to figure out what his needs were. Fair enough. I'm just a little put off that the alone time was less than 3 weeks.

And yes, their decision. Which is why I never discouraged or gave anyone grief about it. My complaints and confusion are for me to work out myself, talking to friends and that’s why I’m glad I found this site, as well. My BF and I do communicate A LOT. We both express how we are feeling and thinking about one another and our new relationship. However, I would never intentionally hurt him by calling his actions and decisions desperate. That’s simply how I saw it.
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

I could be wrong, but it sounds like you are doubly sad.

  • A 5-week break-up doesn't sound long enough to actually heal from said break-up. Maybe that's the first sadness. (Are you sure this whole "I need to at least try" thing isn't the bargaining stage of break-up grief?)

  • Then, in that time when you were single, he started dating a new person and made plans to have an overnight. So there's that sadness-- he's moving on in his dating life, into this new poly model, and having his first overnight with the new person. It's normal to have some sadness and anxiety around that.



A new dating person on your side also brings mixed feelings -- maybe anxiety, maybe excitement. You would be feeling that even if you were single, rather than a poly newbie, but it does add MORE to the feelings pile.

Was there some reason you scheduled it for the weekend he's away, or did it just work out that way because you were broken up and then unexpectedly got back together?



It's good that you both are trying to be supportive and make space.

Wagner lists a lot of possible feelings in her pitfalls article here.


Labriola lists the poly hell things here.

You could both both read these and talk about how to minimize possible dings.

I suppose you could also talk about before care, during care, and after care: small gestures, like a text saying "Got here safe" from him to you, or "Back home" from you to him after your date. Neither one of you should be intruding on each other's dates, but simple small gestures might mean something to you/him.

Have you defined the timeframe for how long this "trial period" is going to be? What are your dealbreakers? How will you know it is time to quit because this is not for you? Or when will the trial period be over, when you know the challenge was successful and you will be sticking with poly?

What if it turns out you both want poly, but just aren't compatible for poly with each other, because your poly dating styles are too different?

What if he wanted to go back to a closed relationship, but you found out you liked it and wanted to keep going?

You don't have to have EVERYTHING solved and talked out, but you have to have enough so you aren't jumping in underprepared.

How often will you to be checking in and processing? You can't be doing that 24/7, but you do have to talk periodically, as you adjust. Maybe the RADAR episode is helpful to you there.


HTH!
Galagirl
Thank you so much for the support and insight.
 
Hello Crinkle Cut Cat,

It does seem a little sudden/abrupt for your boyfriend to already be planning a weekend getaway. I think just about anyone would be upset about that, even if they themselves were poly-inclined which you have already stated you are not. I think your feelings going forward will largely be determined by how much your boyfriend caters to his NRE for this old friend of his. So far he is putting your needs on the back burner.

Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
Thank you
 
No-one here can determine his actual motivations. If you are asking him what you want to know, and he's providing answers, and you're not happy with those answers, that's on you, not him. You say you're trying to understand, but are you really listening to him? Or are you trying to get help to psychoanalyze him? We can't help with that, he's not here, we're not therapists, and at the end of the day, what they do in their holiday accommodation is nobody's business but them.


Do you think she's betraying some kind of "girl code"? It's actually not her job to manage your feelings, or to say no to things she wants because of your complex situation. He chose to make this weekend with her happen, she's not the bad guy here, so don't transfer your ire at him onto her.
I'm not looking to psychoanalyze. We talk openly and often about everything. I listen to him CONSTANTLY. He constantly needs his feelings and needs validated. And I’m there. But some things I can’t vent to him, at least not yet, because I don’t want to possibly hurt him with what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m outwardly supportive. Inwardly I’m struggling. That’s why I talk to friends and found this site.

As for his “friend,” I really don’t care about her. I don’t know her. I don’t want to know her. They are doing what they want and again, outwardly I’m supportive-- not jumping for joy, but not discouraging.
 
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