Change in all the areas of my life...

Arc

Member
Hi,

First of all, I'm honored to be the subject of discussion on your blog, icesong! :) I really appreaciate your discussion, not just about me, but about general relationship dynamics.

I don't have a lot of time to add my two cents here in response to what's been said, but I will throw out something that has recently occurred to me about "change". I realized that my reaction to my wife's poly revelation occurred on two levels - first, on the level of the relationship (her and I); second, on the level of the family unit. I am more willing to let the marital relationship change, and walk away from it even, than I am to allow for significant disruption for to my family unit - namely, my kids. Not that I wouldn't separate if it were needed, but I'm not going to deliberately walk into situations that might lead to separation without some careful consideration of how the kids will take it. Some disclosure: I grew up in a pretty strange and dysfunctional family system (let's just say we'd make a really good "This American Life" episode). So I'm particularly appreciative of my "happy family" (even if my wife and I have our issues, overall the family structure seems to be working).

Oddly enough, just yesterday, my daughter (8) started asking me about whether my wife and I ever broke up and then got back together again. I said no. Then she asked, would I ever break up with her? Hmm, how does one answer that? Her world is the family unit we live in. We have a happy family and a lot of love. They draw pictures of the five of us (yes five!) all the time.

I can't remember what I answered - a year ago I would have said "No." This time, all the poly stuff flashed through my mind, and I still said a half-hearted "No" of some sort. She said, "Cross your heart and hope to die?" I said something like, even if we did, they would still have two parents who loved them and would always take care of them. Which is true but the reality is, that would not be a good outcome for them if it could be helped. So, to come back to the point, one reason I am not thrilled by the idea of falling in love with someone who checks off more boxes than my wife is not only, would it be better for me/her, but "What would that do to my family?"

I went to a Poly meetup a few months ago and the topic of separation came up. I mentioned kids, and the leader somewhat nonchalantly indicated that as long as the kids were taken care of and knew they were loved, it would all be fine. I was a little bit shocked.

Anyway, that's sort of a tangent from the thread here, but thought it might give some context for my original comment.

Also, as far as what dingedheart said about dating - I agree that she would have a "parade of dicks" and that would be hard for me to watch (or imagine); but I also think that in the medium or long run, the roles might reverse. I am not super-confident in the realm of dating, per se, but I think that over a few years I could find a decent number of really good partners, and maybe leave her in the proverbial poly-dust. Or, maybe I'm just feeling particularly confident in myself this evening! :)

-Arc
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Err, I meant the title of _my_ blog. “Change in all the area of my life...”
I hope you found this as funny as I did ....I was like oh yeah yours does match up here perfect 🤣🤣
I mean actually, yeah, I would agree with that. More in the “if you love it let it go, if it comes back it’s forever” sort of sense than I think what you meant
OK i think we’re headed in the same direction on that however I don’t think forever really works in this anymore. Mentally removing the protective shell / coating and or the systems that were in place that provided said security brings with the relationship shelve life clock Or hourglass. It might not be a doomsday clock counting down but before it wasn’t there and now it’s in view taking up mental space.
If you consider successful dating to be “go out on first dates or for casual hookups”, that may be true. Actual relationships? I’d argue equally difficult on both sides, it’s just the difficulty is less obvious. But then I don’t consider a parade of dicks to be necessarily desirable, despite what the dudes sending me messages on FetLife seem to think. (It’s not even a dating site! My profile pic is literally my collar!
the context of my comment was on imagined outcomes and the road ahead for men thrust into the dating pool along with the stressors of their wives relative ease of dating ie the parade of dicks and the pitfalls of NRE during that process / transition from mono to open AND the dating hurdles from the males side. I wasnt even thinking about ” successful “ or good just the ability to draw attention or attraction. NO Skill needed as per you own comment a collar pic for your fet profile.
I No way want to minimize the time, energy, labor, money and the amount of lube it must take to weed through the pile of applicants to find an actual relationship. I’m sure it can be exhausting.

Not what I’m saying at all. I never said stupid, don’t put words in my mouth - I said I didn’t understand the fear. Not the same thing. I mean, I don’t necessarily ask other people to understand my phobias, just occasionally to accommodate them (I’m an emetophobe, which is mostly only a problem with movies or drunk people.)
NO NO not trying to put words in your mouth ...and for the record in don’t think you said ungrounded either I was just making a quick off the cuff general comparative comment. Substitute irrational for stupid. BUT aside from my poor choice of words what’s different in having the fear of loving someone “ more “ which could lead to a reshuffling of partners and a destabilizing of the family and fear of betrayal or whatever it was specifically the the debacle you referenced. I guess what I’m thinking is wouldn’t they both be normal or natural ??


Like, one thing I like to do with my own fears is say “ok, if _x_ happens, what happens next? Is _y_ guaranteed to happen? Why do I think that? If _y_ does or doesn’t happen what is _z_? And so forth ” Do that enough and you eventually find a way to defang most fears... or if you don’t, you acknowledge that it may be an irrational phobia and live your life from there, though I at least try to minimize the irrational ones.
I’m not sure how Arc puts this in to practice here On this particular fear. Deliberate trying to find some he loves more or that would love him more than his wife. AND theres a side of this coin we haven’t even thought of ...or at least I hadn’t til just now. THAT feeling of “ more “ could come from what’s given from a new partner aside from their personal qualities and personality it could be simple investment/ volume.


I _get_ being afraid of things - I mean, even with two very stable relationships, I still have to talk myself out of feeling abandoned on a ridiculously regular basis. Like... the other day, I was planning to see Artist in the evening and sent him a fairly sexy text message. He responded enthusiastically, but kind of briefly and because of that I spent half the day worrying there was something wrong and that somehow I was going to have something bad happen that night. {narrator voice} the night was in fact lovely, Artist had just been too busy for extended flirtation. {end narrator voice} But not putting that fear on him to deal with was something I’ve had to practice, a lo
Fortunately or unfortunately my early career really mashed my fear matrix so I don’t really fear much for myself anymore and quickly to risk assessments bottom the downside in any given situation. I’m not sure I really applied this way of thinking to my marriage back when I was poly bombed BUT I DID apply it to jealous ( if she falls in love and leaves me there’s nothing I can do about that...her loss ) but not to the marriage or partnership In which it wasn’t discussed OR I didn’t get the concept that the old marriage was over and some new hybrid would need to be built. I guess if I had operated from the premise of the marriage was figuratively and literally dead or gone there should be NO fear left for that. The fear is the motivation to protect.

General question in regards to this subject. If in within the discussions to open a relationship and the reluctant spouse says OK a I’ll try but know that to compartmentalize all of this I’m viewing or marriage as dead and a shelve life clock is ticking on whatever this new thing is and here’s the list of fears , risks and apprehensions that support my decision. Is that fair and reasonable and a good method for transition?
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Hi,

First of all, I'm honored to be the subject of discussion on your blog, icesong! :) I really appreaciate your discussion, not just about me, but about general relationship dynamics.
we would had this discussion on your blog but got scolded/ reminded by our elder 😝👍


I don't have a lot of time to add my two cents here in response to what's been said, but I will throw out something that has recently occurred to me about "change". I realized that my reaction to my wife's poly revelation occurred on two levels - first, on the level of the relationship (her and I); second, on the level of the family unit. I am more willing to let the marital relationship change, and walk away from it even, than I am to allow for significant disruption for to my family unit - namely, my kids. Not that I wouldn't separate if it were needed, but I'm not going to deliberately walk into situations that might lead to separation without some careful consideration of how the kids will take it. Some disclosure: I grew up in a pretty strange and dysfunctional family system (let's just say we'd make a really good "This American Life" episode). So I'm particularly appreciative of my "happy family" (even if my wife and I have our issues, overall the family structure seems to be working).
I’ve talked with many people who were poly bombed by their spouse and i think the number #1 reason in putting in a good faith effort was for the family/ kids. And flip side of that a good % of them saying if NOT for the kids they just quietly exit the marriage.

Oddly enough, just yesterday, my daughter (8) started asking me about whether my wife and I ever broke up and then got back together again. I said no. Then she asked, would I ever break up with her? Hmm, how does one answer that? Her world is the family unit we live in. We have a happy family and a lot of love. They draw pictures of the five of us (yes five!) all the time.

I can't remember what I answered - a year ago I would have said "No." This time, all the poly stuff flashed through my mind, and I still said a half-hearted "No" of some sort. She said, "Cross your heart and hope to die?" I said something like, even if we did, they would still have two parents who loved them and would always take care of them. Which is true but the reality is, that would not be a good outcome for them if it could be helped. So, to come back to the point, one reason I am not thrilled by the idea of falling in love with someone who checks off more boxes than my wife is not only, would it be better for me/her, but "What would that do to my family?"

I clearly I don’t want to read into this story/ exchange you had with your daughter but from the cheap seats that I’m sitting in it seems like the 8 yr old is picking up a vibe or may have overheard things happening in your house. And even if the adult or adults refuse to acknowledge all the subtle changes that are occurring the kids pick up on them.


I went to a Poly meetup a few months ago and the topic of separation came up. I mentioned kids, and the leader somewhat nonchalantly indicated that as long as the kids were taken care of and knew they were loved, it would all be fine. I was a little bit shocked.
Did the leader have kids ? And I agree that is a bit shocking. I think they like to base that off mono marriages fail and break up too so same same....kids are forced to make it through.

Anyway, that's sort of a tangent from the thread here, but thought it might give some context for my original comment.

Also, as far as what dingedheart said about dating - I agree that she would have a "parade of dicks" and that would be hard for me to watch (or imagine); but I also think that in the medium or long run, the roles might reverse. I am not super-confident in the realm of dating, per se, but I think that over a few years I could find a decent number of really good partners, and maybe leave her in the proverbial poly-dust. Or, maybe I'm just feeling particularly confident in myself this evening! :)

-Arc
SO this is a testament to an imaged really good outcome 😝👍🎉. Good for you. AND I think that is exactly the attitude you should have in relation to this topic. And as icesong has pointed it might not be a volume thing for you but your could latch a number of quality women once you learn the game. 👍
 

Evie

Well-known member
but I also think that in the medium or long run, the roles might reverse. I am not super-confident in the realm of dating, per se, but I think that over a few years I could find a decent number of really good partners, and maybe leave her in the proverbial poly-dust.

I've seen this happen before 😂
 

icesong

Well-known member
Eeeek, you have one busy day and discussion takes off without you! So I suppose this is going to be long in return.


First of all, I'm honored to be the subject of discussion on your blog, icesong! :) I really appreaciate your discussion, not just about me, but about general relationship dynamics.
Good! I'm glad you don't mind me using your life as a jumping off point for further conversation; I felt a bit bad about going academic about something that is really happening to you right now.
I grew up in a pretty strange and dysfunctional family system (let's just say we'd make a really good "This American Life" episode).
Honestly so did I - some day I should talk about it farther here just for context - but part of *my* particular context is that the parents I grew up with really should have been separated or divorced before I even existed, and my mom's depression over this and other things severely negatively impacted my childhood. So my bias is towards "happy parents result in happy kids" and "parents who are separated are better than parents who aren't happy together". Obviously there are practical reasons this isn't always true - if for no other reason than economics - but it is a bias.

"What would that do to my family?"

I went to a Poly meetup a few months ago and the topic of separation came up. I mentioned kids, and the leader somewhat nonchalantly indicated that as long as the kids were taken care of and knew they were loved, it would all be fine.
I'm sure part of this was just trying to be reassuring, and part of it was the same bias I mentioned above. I think that might be a little bit flippant; certainly there are cases where polyamorous relationships end Very Badly Indeed, but the idea that it's no more likely then it is in a mono relationship is true. (I do think, perhaps, the potential for ridiculous drama may be worse *just* because there are more moving parts, but that may just be because I hear about the inner workings of more dysfunctional polyamorous relationships on this and other boards while mono people keep it to themselves a bit more.)

Moving on to other posts....
Mentally removing the protective shell / coating and or the systems that were in place that provided said security brings with the relationship shelve life clock Or hourglass.
oh! I think part of my point here is that in ANY relationship, *that shell is an illusion*, at least in my opinion. Yes, you can sit there in your fairy tale relationship, thinking you're invulnerable... then someone gets cancer or is hit by a car or your spouse, instead of dropping the poly bomb, drops the bomb of "I'm having an affair", or perhaps "I'm actually not attracted to your gender at all and never realized it until now." I know multiple people who have experienced every single one of those examples, none of which could have been predicted at the start of their relationship. So what is this "security" you speak of?

what’s different in having the fear of loving someone “ more “ which could lead to a reshuffling of partners and a destabilizing of the family and fear of betrayal... {snipped bits about trying to defang fears through analysis}
The difference for me is whether the outcome *for me* is good or bad. Like, I've been afraid my partner will leave me - that's definitely bad for me. I've been afraid that I was making a mistake and ruining one relationship in favor of another one that wouldn't actually be better. But I *haven't* been afraid of finding a situation that actually *is* better. See the difference? (And yeah, I get that I wasn't taking into account perceived pros/cons of an intact family vs a separation in that particular set of evaluations; my bias there has already been explained. )

General question in regards to this subject. If in within the discussions to open a relationship and the reluctant spouse says OK a I’ll try but know that to compartmentalize all of this I’m viewing or marriage as dead and a shelve life clock is ticking on whatever this new thing is and here’s the list of fears , risks and apprehensions that support my decision. Is that fair and reasonable and a good method for transition?
I think that's the only way TO approach it. Hell, on some significant level, *even by bringing up the question you've already changed your marriage*. I think I subconsciously knew that when I was "not poly yet", actually.

Funny story - as I mentioned Knight and I weren't really truly mono for more than the first couple years of our relationship, and were never... philosophically staunchly mono in the way that some people are. Anyway, so we were swingers and had FWB relationships, but *romance* with other people was always in the "oh, no, we don't want THAT category, it's fine for other people but not us". (There were a number of things on that list, most of which are now a regular part of my life. Ha!) But I had run across the Ethical Slut at Barnes and Noble - this was back when books were only on paper, no handy dandy discreet e-reader, and I *wanted* to read about it BUT I didn't want to open that can of conversational worms with Knight until I had already done so and thought about it more. At that point our lives were entangled enough - and money was tight enough TBH - that me buying it would have been noticed, so I ended up reading most of it in the store long before I bought it and started that conversation, and even after that it was years until we really started exploring potential romance with other people.

But there are a LOT of conversations that live in that liminal space between Schroedinger's and Pandora's boxes - polyamory is just worse because it's not an "expected" discussion in the way that, say, having children is, or even something as simple as moving in together. *Having* the conversation intrinsically changes your relationship, becomes part of its fabric and that fabric might be different and woven of more discordant colors once the conversation is done. One of the reasons I am glad that polyamory and non monogamy in general are becoming more commonly known and maybe more accepted is that as that happens, the idea will be less of a "bomb" in a relationship and more just another point of compatibility when one is trying to find a life partner. "Oh, you're interested in poly? I'm firmly mono" will be just another 5th-date-ending conversation, along with "I'm childfree and you've always wanted kids" and "I never want to leave my hometown and you're planning on moving to San Francisco in a year".

That was a bit of a tangent.

Anyway, yes, I agree that bringing up poly at all does kill your existing relationship. But I... prefer to think of relationships as dying and being recreated every day, so that is perhaps less traumatic an idea for me than it is for others.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
I'm sure part of this was just trying to be reassuring, and part of it was the same bias I mentioned above. I think that might be a little bit flippant; certainly there are cases where polyamorous relationships end Very Badly Indeed, but the idea that it's no more likely then it is in a mono relationship is true. (I do think, perhaps, the potential for ridiculous drama may be worse *just* because there are more moving parts, but that may just be because I hear about the inner workings of more dysfunctional polyamorous relationships on this and other boards while mono people keep it to themselves a bit more.)
I can really see both sides of this argument and the Logic and best intention playing a key factor. I think the biggest issue in this that almost seems to be buried in this is what being taught to the kids in terms of coupling / family / marriage(s) and love. People look at this from the 2 extremes.....2 people who clearly hate each other that fight constantly or someone with no communication skills and no conflict resolution skills and when ever things get heated or difficult they want a divorce Ie the disposable marriage. I think there are lots of people living in the middle of that.


oh! I think part of my point here is that in ANY relationship, *that shell is an illusion*, at least in my opinion. Yes, you can sit there in your fairy tale relationship, thinking you're invulnerable... then someone gets cancer or is hit by a car or your spouse, instead of dropping the poly bomb, drops the bomb of "I'm having an affair", or perhaps "I'm actually not attracted to your gender at all and never realized it until now." I know multiple people who have experienced every single one of those examples, none of which could have been predicted at the start of their relationship. So what is this "security" you speak of?
I don’t think most people think that their shell makes them invulnerable to life and or nature or natural disaster. I think part of protection is the fact it’s a committed team AND AS SUCH we all look out for the team. Cheating is actively making decisions detrimental and damaging to the team. Actively doing or knowing other things will harm the overall team yet deciding to participate hurts the team. Is it an illusion want and expect honest Communication? Someone going to a casino and blowing 10 grand ( who can’t really afford that kind of fun )


The difference for me is whether the outcome *for me* is good or bad. Like, I've been afraid my partner will leave me - that's definitely bad for me. I've been afraid that I was making a mistake and ruining one relationship in favor of another one that wouldn't actually be better. But I *haven't* been afraid of finding a situation that actually *is* better. See the difference? (And yeah, I get that I wasn't taking into account perceived pros/cons of an intact family vs a separation in that particular set of evaluations; my bias there has already been explained. )

Im slightly confused ....so the difference of a legitimate fear is good vs bad outcomes. I don’t think too many people playing the lottery are afraid of all the negative consequences that some wild jackpot will bring. I think anyone fearing a good outcome sees past the prize so to speak and sees whatever fall out it might have. a neighbor of mine got a big promotion that required him to move to Europe for several yrs. I’m sure some of the candidates for the job said NO because of what it would do to their families.

I think that's the only way TO approach it. Hell, on some significant level, *even by bringing up the question you've already changed your marriage*. I think I subconsciously knew that when I was "not poly yet", actually.
100% agree bringing up the question does change the marriage at that point. And people are naive to think that further significant changes aren’t going to evolve following.
Funny story - as I mentioned Knight and I weren't really truly mono for more than the first couple years of our relationship, and were never... philosophically staunchly mono in the way that some people are. Anyway, so we were swingers and had FWB relationships, but *romance* with other people was always in the "oh, no, we don't want THAT category, it's fine for other people but not us". (There were a number of things on that list, most of which are now a regular part of my life. Ha!) But I had run across the Ethical Slut at Barnes and Noble - this was back when books were only on paper, no handy dandy discreet e-reader, and I *wanted* to read about it BUT I didn't want to open that can of conversational worms with Knight until I had already done so and thought about it more. At that point our lives were entangled enough - and money was tight enough TBH - that me buying it would have been noticed, so I ended up reading most of it in the store long before I bought it and started that conversation, and even after that it was years until we really started exploring potential romance with other people.

I think this is a great story for 2 reasons. 1) it sort of demonstrates the idea of protective shell from a philosophical point of view. And 2) the due diligence and preparation you did to to make such a conversation go as smoothly as possible . I don’t know if you’d classify your efforts in this little story “ protecting the marriage “ or rather an example of an illusion with something working in the background???
But there are a LOT of conversations that live in that liminal space between Schroedinger's and Pandora's boxes - polyamory is just worse because it's not an "expected" discussion in the way that, say, having children is, or even something as simple as moving in together. *Having* the conversation intrinsically changes your relationship, becomes part of its fabric and that fabric might be different and woven of more discordant colors once the conversation is done. One of the reasons I am glad that polyamory and non monogamy in general are becoming more commonly known and maybe more accepted is that as that happens, the idea will be less of a "bomb" in a relationship and more just another point of compatibility when one is trying to find a life partner. "Oh, you're interested in poly? I'm firmly mono" will be just another 5th-date-ending conversation, along with "I'm childfree and you've always wanted kids" and "I never want to leave my hometown and you're planning on moving to San Francisco in a year".
I really don’t think that any such conversations pre marriage or really early in the marriage should be considered being bombed. I think 10-15 yrs in while under the impression things are running fairly smooth and without significant complaint better captures concept of being poly bombed.
 

icesong

Well-known member
I think part of protection is the fact it’s a committed team AND AS SUCH we all look out for the team. Cheating is actively making decisions detrimental and damaging to the team. Actively doing or knowing other things will harm the overall team yet deciding to participate hurts the team.
Ehhhhh, I think this is more nuanced than that. Commitment is good but not at the expense of yourself - look at all the conversations on this board right now in the past few days, where people are so committed to a relationship or the idea of one they're hurting themselves.

I mean, the team phrasing makes it sound like if one is, for instance, a sports player you should never look for opportunities with other teams, and while I suppose there are some team fans who DO feel betrayed when a good player leaves for better or even just different opportunities, most people will understand that sometimes despite loyalty to a team, someone has to do what's better for their career. Substitute "marriage" for team, and "life" for career, and it reads the same to me.

I do 100% think that one has to be honest about such things though - cheating in most circumstances pisses me off more than it does many mono people. (There are a very few situational exceptions, but 99/100 times it's bullshit.) Same for dishonesty or financial cheating (your casino example).

I think anyone fearing a good outcome sees past the prize so to speak and sees whatever fall out it might have.
This may be a question of semantics then. I would describe that as "fearing the {potential} fallout" NOT "fearing the good outcome", and THAT I totally get. I just wouldn't call that fearing the good thing.

a neighbor of mine got a big promotion that required him to move to Europe for several yrs. I’m sure some of the candidates for the job said NO because of what it would do to their families.
Is that fear or just weighing the pros and cons of a decision? (I mean seriously I think we're almost to "angels on the head of a pin" level of semantics here.

I think this is a great story for 2 reasons. 1) it sort of demonstrates the idea of protective shell from a philosophical point of view. And 2) the due diligence and preparation you did to to make such a conversation go as smoothly as possible . I don’t know if you’d classify your efforts in this little story “ protecting the marriage “ or rather an example of an illusion with something working in the background???
I'm not sure I agree that what I did demonstrates your idea of protective shell though. That wasn't about a protective shell, that was about not jumping into something prematurely. I wasn't even *sure* I was actually interested in polyamory per se yet at that point, and while perhaps it would have been more open to bring up the conversation before I had worked out thoughts on it, it seemed pointless when it wasn't even something I was sure about. If I *had* been sure, then the conversation would have happened, protective shell or no... as it eventually did.
I really don’t think that any such conversations pre marriage or really early in the marriage should be considered being bombed. I think 10-15 yrs in while under the impression things are running fairly smooth and without significant complaint better captures concept of being poly bombed.
That was totally my point! It seems as though most of the truly poly-bombed scenarios I know about, the person being bombed had no concept of polyamory or non-monogamy before the "bomb" went off - a lot of them are people who grew up in very conservative cultures where this sort of thing wasn't even THOUGHT about let alone talked about. (Not saying this is universal, just common.) If it becomes sort of a... societal norm that it's a possibility, the "bomb" experience is less of a possibility.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Ehhhhh, I think this is more nuanced than that. Commitment is good but not at the expense of yourself - look at all the conversations on this board right now in the past few days, where people are so committed to a relationship or the idea of one they're hurting themselves.
I was speaking in the most general terms in concept paired coupling. I don’t think anyone thinks or would suggest commitment at the expense of yourself is going to result in a health marriage or union. NO i haven’t seen those other threads have my hands full with just this topic / thread.

I mean, the team phrasing makes it sound like if one is, for instance, a sports player you should never look for opportunities with other teams, and while I suppose there are some team fans who DO feel betrayed when a good player leaves for better or even just different opportunities, most people will understand that sometimes despite loyalty to a team, someone has to do what's better for their career. Substitute "marriage" for team, and "life" for career, and it reads the same to me.
would this change if we substituted partner in a partnership?

And I believe the context this remark was trying to protect ( or the illusion of protection ) of the marriage so the “ team “ was established as a lifetime team. AND outside fans have nothing to do with the make up of the team.

HOWEVER if the team is set up from its inception to bring In new players when someone’s performance isn’t there ...knees starting to go 😝....too many injuries ...Thats fine.

I do 100% think that one has to be honest about such things though - cheating in most circumstances pisses me off more than it does many mono people. (There are a very few situational exceptions, but 99/100 times it's bullshit.) Same for dishonesty or financial cheating (your casino example).
i guess getting back to my original point of having this illusion of security which was your question is the idea that there is a level of honesty.

A while back I was chatting with a guy who got poly/ open bombed. Sort of the typical story the couple marries really young has 3 kids ....married for 24-27 yrs ...wife goes back to work 13 yrs ago and establishes a good career for herself . They establish a very nice life together put all 3 through college and one kid is married and expecting first grand child.
The bomb drops in bed following her 50th birthday celebration / party. She just leans over and says I’m going to having sex with other men. The guy said he smiles waiting for the joke or smile back or something. NOPE ...dead serious. I don’t remember the details of that but let’s say heated discussion with him probably leaving to sleep on the couch. I believe they didn’t talk about again for several days (3-4 ) and she acted like nothing happened. So he then proached the topic and she apologized for her sledgehammer approach and she had this whole speech rehearsed but when it came time she just blurted it out. So she explained shortly after jumping back into the workforce and going out after work with the women she works with ( several being single and sharing wild sexual exploits) her plan was after her last kid was done with school and gone which also happened to be the same yr of her turning 50.

A 10 yr plan almost perfectly executed before her birthday expired. So in talking to this guy he said he felt many levels of betrayal or mistrust 1) for the shock and deadblow nature of the delivery 2) ((WHICH WAS WORSE)) was this roughly a 10 yr plan. It was hidden for 10 yrs....he essentially felt used and abused for that. In his mind she cost him 10 GOOD years.
And even though their kids were older when this was all announced some of them didn’t take it well some of those relationships were severely damaged. After therapy/ counseling for several months he decided the damage or trust was too great for him to over come so he filed for divorce.


) This may be a question of semantics then. I would describe that as "fearing the {potential} fallout" NOT "fearing the good outcome", and THAT I totally get. I just wouldn't call that fearing the good thing.

Is that fear or just weighing the pros and cons of a decision? (I mean seriously I think we're almost to "angels on the head of a pin" level of semantics here.
I wasn’t trying to argue semantics. However getting back to the original situation I a don’t think it actually splits cleaning from fearing a bad vs good outcome. As I recall Arc‘s fear was loving / being more complicated or comfortable with a new partner which would have cascading negative consequences for his marriage and family. “THE MORE “ is over looked or looked past.

I'm not sure I agree that what I did demonstrates your idea of protective shell though. That wasn't about a protective shell, that was about not jumping into something prematurely. I wasn't even *sure* I was actually interested in polyamory per se yet at that point, and while perhaps it would have been more open to bring up the conversation before I had worked out thoughts on it, it seemed pointless when it wasn't even something I was sure about. If I *had* been sure, then the conversation would have happened, protective shell or no... as it eventually did.
OK fine ...so would you agree it demonstrates you NOT a being reckless or impulsive to the detriment of your relationship? I think you’re missing my point on this.....I see your deliberate approach , research, empathy ,etc in enter that conversation or any other relationship altering conversations acting with concern for your marriage, family or partnership. It doesn’t sound like heres what I want ....I’ve unilaterally decided I need more dick in my life if you’re good with that fine if not deal.

That was totally my point! It seems as though most of the truly poly-bombed scenarios I know about, the person being bombed had no concept of polyamory or non-monogamy before the "bomb" went off - a lot of them are people who grew up in very conservative cultures where this sort of thing wasn't even THOUGHT about let alone talked about. (Not saying this is universal, just common.) If it becomes sort of a... societal norm that it's a possibility, the "bomb" experience is less of a possibility.
I’m not sure even if you were raised as a child in a poly household and thus decided you didn‘t want that in your life and marriage or partnership and glide along happy for 15 yrs that way it might still be a shock when it happens to you.
You enjoyed and preferred the special nature of your relationship and now that’s going to change And not what you signed up for. Would that take the sting out of it ??? Not sure.

I think that could be the yardstick on how poly or open relationships are judged as kids who grew up in those environments opt in or opt out for themselves because of what they saw and experienced.
 

icesong

Well-known member
A 10 yr plan almost perfectly executed before her birthday expired. So in talking to this guy he said he felt many levels of betrayal or mistrust 1) for the shock and deadblow nature of the delivery 2) ((WHICH WAS WORSE)) was this roughly a 10 yr plan. It was hidden for 10 yrs....he essentially felt used and abused for that. In his mind she cost him 10 GOOD years.
Wow! That's a pretty terrible thing and I agree that having a 10 year plan like that and never telling your spouse is... tantamount to having an affair. It's one thing to be *pondering* something you're not ready to talk about and haven't made any decisions on - everyone deserves some level of mental privacy. But to make that sort of long range plan and not tell the person it most affected? no, just no.
OK fine ...so would you agree it demonstrates you NOT a being reckless or impulsive to the detriment of your relationship? I think you’re missing my point on this.....I see your deliberate approach , research, empathy ,etc in enter that conversation or any other relationship altering conversations acting with concern for your marriage, family or partnership. It doesn’t sound like heres what I want ....I’ve unilaterally decided I need more dick in my life if you’re good with that fine if not deal.
That I will agree with. I will, however, say that there might have been a point at which mono vs poly became a dealbreaker - I'm glad I never had to make that choice. (And characterizing that as "I need more dick in my life is"... not particularly accurate.)
I’m not sure even if you were raised as a child in a poly household and thus decided you didn‘t want that in your life and marriage or partnership and glide along happy for 15 yrs that way it might still be a shock when it happens to you.
I guess my *theory* there is that if you grew up poly and knew you didn't want it for yourself, *you'd talk about it before marrying someone*. And honestly I assume that couples talk enough, or should, that this sort of shock shouldn't be possible, but then I am hopelessly optimistic that way.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Whew, kudos, icesong, for engaging dinged in this conversation. It's an important subject, but my editor's eyes just cross at the lack of punctuation. Vertiginous! I must hurl over the bow.

;)
 

icesong

Well-known member
Eh, the lack punctuation is still better than some other corners of the internet I've hung out. And my attempts at channeling my often-run-on-sentences (there's a running internet joke the ADHD people _all_ overuse commas, ellipses, parentheses, dashes or all of the above, and I am certainly guilty) probably annoy other people. (And yes, I really do talk like this in person, because if I don't I end up having to go back and explain the 5 jumps I took between point A and point B, so I might as well just start out doing it in the first place.)

Anyway, philosophy and best practices of polyamory aside, I've been meaning to write about something of a breakthrough between Knight and I the other night. Mostly it was a continuation of this idea:
#1. I’m being hypervigilant about whether or not Knight is into me, to the point it’s making me believe he’s not on very little evidence. That... doesn’t lead to particularly good sex if I can’t quit thinking about it, as I’m a person that needs to be out of my head in order to let go.
I had gotten upset because - as I often do, and shouldn't - I was taking Knight's libido personally. And we were talking a lot about that, and as these discussions often go, I felt like Knight was trying to talk about practical things we should or shouldn't do, rather than how he felt about me/us/sex/etc. I've gotten frustrated by this, as when this happens it feels like a very uneven level of sharing - like I'm being vulnerable and self-examining and he's just not willing to do the work. And this may be true... but I've also realized that I'm asking him for a level of self-disclosure I've never asked for or even wanted from anyone else. Especially with Artist, I've been willing to take actions in the place of words, and (mostly) trust that there was no reason they wouldn't line up - but I've not been willing to give that same level of trust to Knight, not for years now. That lack of trust spins into a self-perpetuating cycle where instead of believing the evidence in front of me that he does love me and desire me, I keep looking for anything that I can feed into the idea that he doesn't. It's damn near conspiracy-theory-esque.

Realistically, I'm sure this all stems off of abandonment trauma from my adoption and some other family of origin stuff - I've discussed this before on this board. I mean, I say "have been willing" to believe in action over words from Artist, but the reality there is that is specifically a thing I had to train myself to do, and don't always succeed.. I'm not sure why I've never done that for Knight. No. That's not true, exactly - it's more that I didn't have to do that when our relationship started, wouldn't have known how to, really - we were 16! So re-learning that is... hard. Worth it, but hard.

I will say that the occasional use (2x now, since before Christmas) of semi-legal hemp-derived THC analogues (say THAT 5x fast) has been doing very lovely things for our sex life together though - it gets us out of our heads and into our bodies, which I think helps cut through years of baggage.

Anyway, what's astonishing is, since I had that realization of unfairness, how much... less anxious I am about the state of our relationship (and even the evening that I had it was better sex than usual). We'll see if that lasts through a whole month of hormones etc, but...

In other interesting news, ArtistWife has met someone new - not the person from this post, which despite all the drama went nowhere. Since then they've been video dating and even seeing a few people in a socially distanced fashion, or socially distancing from Artist within their house until they can test (AW uses nonbinary pronouns now, if I haven't mentioned that before here). One of those people has turned into an ongoing, and even potentially romantic thing - and he (yes that's a surprise too) lives by himself, so if AW goes there, I can actually go to Artist's house... which I did last night for the first time in years. That was utterly fucking wonderful - I didn't realize just how frustrated I really was by us always being at a house with other people in it. Sitting down is a bit interesting today and I can't get Lips out of my head {my name on your lips / your air in my lungs / drown in oxygen}. It's a good place to be, especially since I've been working all day. (I've had basically 50-60 hours a week of work, between freelance and a larger contract gig, for the past two months. Which on the one hand is amazing since I was able to order a bunch of furniture / mattress / closet stuff for the Great Bedroom Swap, but it's still a LOT. )
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Wow! That's a pretty terrible thing and I agree that having a 10 year plan like that and never telling your spouse is... tantamount to having an affair. It's one thing to be *pondering* something you're not ready to talk about and haven't made any decisions on - everyone deserves some level of mental privacy. But to make that sort of long range plan and not tell the person it most affected? no, just no.
I think in some ways this also highlights the blindspots each side can have in these situations. From her side she saw her love and commitment to him as she thought he would for her. And the blindspot for him was thinking because they had a long and well worn / happy marriage and sex life that she was actually happy. Basing what he saw and felt to be the same or close to the same as his wife. There is another thread in the relationship section discussing how to deal with the emasculating comments the op’s husband might get at work. All very much hypothetical. Very few of the guys I’ve talked with about their experience of being poly bombed have discussed directly feeling emasculated but all seem to talk around the edges of that. And then the bumps, cuts and bruises caused by NRE just add to that. All this stuff triggers great reflection looking back maybe to the day you met or the circumstance of how and why you got married. The internal conversation ( and not so internal because I’ve had this talk with 10-12 of them ) did my wife settle when she agreed to marry me ? Was I the second or third choice or I was good enough at the time. A default situation was I the only one dumb enough to ask? Stuff like that. Obviously each story had or has a multitude of individual and specific factors that make it unique however you still got back to that same question.

So from the husband perspective you’ve been poly bombed and are dealing with the emasculating effects of that and going from a team approach to more of an individual needs met model whats the best plan or mindset to have. REMOVE all blind spots ! Don’t measure the depth of your spouses thoughts and feeling by your own scale. Don’t be silly enough to think a string of words devoid of action has the same meaning it had a yr ago or 5 yrs ago. NEW GAME. New rules.

That I will agree with. I will, however, say that there might have been a point at which mono vs poly became a dealbreaker - I'm glad I never had to make that choice. (And characterizing that as "I need more dick in my life is"... not particularly accurate.)
Yes those types of choices are never fun.

I wasn’t suggesting you made such a statement Or demand. I was just trying to demonstrate being verynsex positive and super direct and or blunt. AND it was more born more out of the example that I gave a couple lines prior.


I guess my *theory* there is that if you grew up poly and knew you didn't want it for yourself, *you'd talk about it before marrying someone*. And honestly I assume that couples talk enough, or should, that this sort of shock shouldn't be possible, but then I am hopelessly optimistic that way.
Yes in the silly little I’ve painted in my head I could see extensive conversations on relationship dynamics and why and how he or she might not want poly in his or her marriage. AND THAT MIGHT BE EQUALLY jarring and unpleasant to have it come up on the 10 yr anniversary. I’m not sure this is an evolutionary or inevitable conversation most couples will have to face.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
After posting my comments I realized I didn’t address removing the blind spots moving forward from the other side of the dynamic. From my experience going through the process and from talking with new members there’s seems to be 2-3 serious that seemed to be overlooked.
1) that the initial conversation(s) and hammering out agreement is / was the hardest part and everything will be easier from there. IMO a day to day execution and all subsequent conversation are much more critical. 2) the misnomer that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. That might apply here to individuals but i think it’s transfers to the relationship. I truly think that ( regardless of what anyone might say ) that the marriage is incredibly fragile. 3) The decision matrix on agreeing to open/ poly might NOT have love or respect for a spouses needs high on the list. They might not be on the list at all. Keeping the family together ...losing half their stuff, being able to act on new possibilities, etc. Bottom line by introducing the relationship time clock doesn’t automatically make you stock rise. It’s sort of the opposite is this worth it. Is she or he worth it and how much pain and suffering and damage will occur if I dump and run.

I’ve always been completely baffled by the ignorance and arrogance of these people pushed a marriage to be open / poly and then let NRE severely damage their marriage to the point it’s “ not worth “ trying to recover it.
 

icesong

Well-known member
I've had this set of questions sitting in my "to get around to it" section of my email for ages now - they're from Esther Perel's newsletter - and I realized I should totally do them before I completely forget everything about 2020. 2020 was terrible, sure, but the terrible was Yet Another Fucking Opportunity for Growth.


Think back on the last year.
Write down 3 things you have lost.
  1. Motivation for any of my hobbies - I haven't touched anything related to my medieval group and the arts I do there in a year. I don't read nearly as much as I'd like to. And I can barely motivate myself to cook anything interesting as it's turned into obligation and work rather than something I do for fun - not to mention I only have, like, 3-4 people other than me to eat it, which takes away most of the fun.
  2. A life outside my house. I literally go weeks or even months these days without leaving these 4 walls, especially during the cold months. Though technically restaurants and stuff are open, I don't particularly feel the risk is worth it. And many of "my places" aren't going to make it through this - I literally just gave money to a fundraiser today for the local "geek dive bar" (seriously, good/cheap booze and a WALL of board games to play) as they are about to be evicted, not having been open in 10 months, and I've done patreons or overpriced to go cocktails from others just to try to help them float. I mean, restaurant/bar hipster culture is so problematic on so many ways... but the degree to which I want to sit in a place and have someone bring me tiny plates of fancy food right now is... jeez.
  3. (really this is many bullet points, not just one) Community. Communities. The degree to which I miss *people* - my Sunday dinner crowd, my medieval events, my kink events, even (though I had a massive anxiety about them at the time) having a school community for Chase. And as much as I love my online communities... it only kind of helps.
  4. And a bonus - I'm not sure my relationship with Ginger would have gone better had we been seeing each other, but the pandemic killed THAT as you can't just take an in person thing and make it video chats that early in the relationship.
Write down 3 things you have gained.
  1. More trust in Artist and I's relationship - the spring was quite a test for that and though it was astonishingly awful we did, at least, pass that test with flying colors.
  2. A semi-coherent career? While I've been a freelancer since Chase was born, there were a few years where I was depressed and overwhelmed and really didn't work, and then it became hard to find new clients. There was a switch in the algorithms at the site I get gigs off of back in November and since then the flood gates have been open.
  3. Better living through chemistry. Another side effect of the terrible that was April-June was that I went on antidepressants... and I chose one that has a clinically significant effect on ADHD as well as depression. I'm so much more focused and motivated than I was before, I really wish I had done this sooner.
What did you imagine when you were in your darkest place?
I mean 2020 felt like the world was ending. There were times I thought I was never going to see Artist again, there were times I was afraid people I love would die, there were times I thought the country was going to collapse into armed conflict (ok that last one I'm still not entirely sure we avoided) - I'm not sure my world has ever felt as chaotic as it did this year and I hope it never does again.
What did you survive?
A global pandemic! plus three months of separation from my love; being shut in with a bored, lonely, angry child; and a fair amount of ... difficult relationship processing, to put it kindly, with Knight. Go me.
What are 3 challenges you have mastered?
I haven't *mastered* this yet, but I am astonishingly more confident in my design skills / technical skills than I was a year ago. I'm learning to be less sensitive to rejection from Knight. And I can now chop an onion at a speed that I don't find embarrassing for someone who prides herself on her cooking.
What have been the consequences—good and bad?
While my career is now way more successful and I've made lots of money in the last few months, I've been working enough that I have zero life balance and I need to fix that. But I did manage to pay for my own computer and most of the stuff for the Great Bedroom Swap (now almost completed!). I'm both more confident about my relationship with Knight lasting and yet more insecure about it at the same time - I hate to admit it but one of the reasons I've been so focused on getting a career going is I'm kind of afraid of being as financially dependent on him as I have been for the past several years. I'd like to know that even if I couldn't maintain my current lifestyle, exactly, I could manage to live SOMEHOW in a world where he and I don't stay together forever. And I hate that I'm being that practical - is losing that last bit of fairytale romance and belief in permanence a good consequence or a bad one?
What was the kindest thing someone else did for you?
I don't know why I didn't write about it at the time, but back in February, just before everything shut down, I had spent several weeks working furiously on a set of projects for a medieval event - there's a competition I've done a few times where you make 5 things which between them must cover 3 out of 7 broad categories. The actual event was a few hours away, and I had arranged to ride with some friends early in the morning as I knew I'd be up late finishing prep on things. I got everything done, or done enough (one shoe I displayed as a WIP) and got it into my friends' car at oh-god-thirty... only to realize when we got there that I had left one of the five things, and arguably one of the nicest ones, sitting on my kitchen table. Knight and Joan (and MiniMe) ended up making a day trip to IKEA (it's 3 hours from me, and the event site was along the way) so they could drop off my apron. I ended up winning the competition, and very much wouldn't have if I didn't have my apron there.
What were some of your contributions to your community?
I... honestly don't think there were any this year. I was just too locked down, too self-absorbed in my own life, my own problems. I suppose I've been a decent online friend for people, and I've thrown more cash than usual at gofundme's / charities / etc, but otherwise... not a great citizen of the world or even this city, this year.
Think about the year ahead.
Write down 1 thing you need to release.
As per always, I need to continue to release my expectations of Knight as far as our relationship goes - we are happier when I manage not to have any (and actually counterintuitively come closer to what I'd want when I DO manage to release the expectations...)
Write down 1 thing you’d like to develop.
I... still need to find a way to have a better relationship with my child. We set each other off so very easily that I wake up every morning dreading the fight that WILL happen at some point during the day - it's not even an "if", it's a "when".
What are you excited about?
Honestly there are many things I could be excited about - work and relationships and and and - but I'm still flattened enough by the ridiculousness that is the world right now that I have a hard time getting excited about anything.
What are you afraid of?
So very very many things. That the vaccine won't bring the world back to anything resembling normal... that my kid is completely feral and if I try to send him back to school it's going to go Very Very Badly... that splitting bedrooms will kill Knight and I's relationship rather than helping it...that I've forgotten how to socialize in person when I see my friends again... that (and I'm not as scared of this as I was but still) Artist will get bored with me, or tired of having to deal with my kid and the rest of my life to see me...

Most of these fears are, if I'm honest, somewhere on the range between fairly irrational and completely so. Even with the variants the vaccine is still mostly working... kid will adapt, he always does, and he may be so happy to not be in the house that he gets better at going along with what everyone is doing... intentionality will be good for me and Knight... my friends really DO love me and there are a zillion things we're gonna do once we can... and Artist is amazing and MiniMe doesn't bother him nearly as much as I think in the moment.
 

icesong

Well-known member
I want to post something, but I am sort of too emotionally tired to completely make this into something resembling coherent prose. So like in the old LiveJournal days, I'm going to resort to bullet points.
  • Great Bedroom Swap progress - slept upstairs in Knight's new room last night, and my room is getting painted today. (Getting painted, she says, as if someone else is going to do it. Ha.)
  • Related note: it's *really* odd to wake up in your house, but not in your room. I suppose I'll get used to it but still! In this particular case the brain short circuit was the combination of "normal" and "not normal" - this is my pillow and my sheets, but the bed itself feels different (same mattress but not broken bed frame) and different room... I'm sure it'll be even weirder once my room is repainted and then will be normal in, like, a week.
  • Logistics of this are weird too - I think I'm going to have to, if I'm going to sleep upstairs, change into a robe in my room and then go as carrying my clothes around is WAY too walk of shame *and* I don't really want to pop over to the bathroom naked up there in the middle of the night. Yay learning curve.
  • Still working too much.
  • Started some new nootropics to see if I could boost the "better living through chemistry" effect of the antidepressants on my ADHD without having to jump through the level of hoops that is getting controlled substances (stimulants) to treat it. Ran across a study of saffron as a substitute for Ritalin that was actually promising. Yes, the spice. It's a bizarre thing, but it *was* a double blind study. (Though run by a university in Iran... and the main global producer of saffron? take 2 guesses...). Anyway that and some extra caffeine seem to make me a lot better at working for sustained time periods. So yay.
  • It’s a little bit weird that Artist will be the first partner to sleep in my new bed. Just feels like… one more step away from Knight being my “primary”, I suppose. Which is what I want, really - I love him but I don’t *want* to have my life orbit around one other person. But it’s still… so very far from where we started and that’s bittersweet sometimes.
  • Said sleepover is also Artist and I’s 6 year anniversary, so… that’s something too. The juxtaposition there seems like it ought to be significant but I’m not the kind of person to really draw that sort of meaning out of coincidence… much.
  • I’m having a hard time with the news right now. I was already in “I don’t dare hope” mode as far as vaccines go - I mean, I’m in the last group to get one, for one, but also there’s a reason that Nietzsche said hope was the most evil of evils, for it prolongs torment. And right now all the things about the variant strains that might not be prevented by the vaccine… well. I am about at the point where I’m fatalistic enough about quarantine that if the vaccine isn’t enough to make it so that I can safely (for myself and others) leave my house, I’m about to give up on safety. Originally this was only flattening the curve, and somehow it became about not getting it at all and if “not getting it at all” is only possible by this level of isolation? Eventually I’m going to hit the “I’ll take my chances” point, and that won't be more than a year from now, I think. Or at least I say now, although maybe I'm better at resisting temptation than I think I am.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I made a point of watching some vaccine news on CNN last night to understand the issues with the new strains better. It seems like the original vaxes will work on the newer strains to an extent. You may still get Covid, but you probably won't get symptoms at all, or if you do, you won't get very sick to the point of needing to go to hospital, or dying.

And they may be coming up with "boosters" for your first shot or two, in pretty short order, that will cover a few of the mutations. Either way, the risks will be reduced. Thus spake Drs Fauci and Gupta.
 

icesong

Well-known member
I mean I know that, on an intellectual level (before I left school I was training to be a biologist and one of my close friends is still doing viral immunology research - on HIV instead of Covid, but still - we end up getting updates on the latest science before our D&D games, LOL.)

But my intellect has never been good at controlling my emotions, and emotionally I'm still...very afraid.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I mean I know that, on an intellectual level (before I left school I was training to be a biologist and one of my close friends is still doing viral immunology research - on HIV instead of Covid, but still - we end up getting updates on the latest science before our D&D games, LOL.)

But my intellect has never been good at controlling my emotions, and emotionally I'm still...very afraid.
Fear can be a good thing, sometimes.
 

icesong

Well-known member
It's not fear of the virus. It's fear of being trapped like this forever, or at least for the foreseeable future. I'm not at any particular risk (I know that doesn't mean a *lot* but still, in the grand scale of the world...) so this all feels like something I'm doing for the good of the world, not myself or even my immediate people.
 

icesong

Well-known member
It's kind of lovely that Artist can still surprise me sometimes, even six years in. Last night was our anniversary and we were talking about how we met, as one does, and I mentioned the thing I had written years ago when he first messaged me:
And of course the next morning I have yet another new message from someone who works in my field, who I have a lot in common with, who's rather cute and who OKC seems to think is as high a match as HipsterBoy was. I replied even though I *KNOW* I'm polysaturated... what am I doing? :eek:

I had told him this before, but something about my phrasing this time I suppose reminded him he had never told me about the few months before he messaged me. I knew I was the first person he went out with that he didn't already know when he and ArtistWife started exploring poly (take that, person who once said first poly relationships were like the first pancake out of the pan, kind of fucked up and burnt), and I had assumed that he had messaged several women around that time and we just happened to have been the ones that hit it off.

Apparently... not? I found out he had poked around on OKC for a few months before they decided to actually move from "talking about things" to "doing things" and he had found me early in that, and kept coming back to my profile. Which just gives me even more warm fuzzy feelings than us happening to be thrown together by the algorithm and ending up wildly compatible.
 
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