Change in dynamics

Token2

Member
So as some may remember I've had a bit of a roller-coaster ride after dipping my toe into polyamory.

Spent the better part of the 1st year of being in a formalised relationship with my boyfriend (the Surfer) running hot and cold - a traditional guy obviously challenged by polyamory but enjoying our vibe.

He always had 1 foot in the past with his ex and the other with the 'forever after' partner he's not even met, I nicknamed her 'couchgirl' as he wants a nesting partner to sit on his couch with him. It kept getting to the stage where I would say 'well go find her' and there was always an excuse as to why the timing was wrong.

The more I learn about Avoidant types the more I understand that's his vibe. When I push for deeper conversations he rises to the challenge and opens up. He's well and truly over the ex now and mentions couchgirl way less often...

Well he's had ongoing health worries which has now been confirmed as aggressive prostrate cancer possibly with spread. I'm the only person he's really talking to about all of this at the moment.

Our relationship is primarily sexual and deep friendship (we really get eachother), he's very experienced (or is that burned?) with past relationships, he's my 4th real relationship - and it's clear he struggles with giving us the space/time for romance. I believe it's intentional (we never spend much more than 4 hours together) and again that this comes down to his struggle with the untraditional nature of our relationship and the unlikelihood of us nesting together anytime soon.

As we learn about Prostate Cancer - best case he has an average of 12 to 24 months of erectile dysfunction (ED) and loses the ability to ejaculate - if it's spread depending on the treatment he may end up with the equivalent of chemical castration. Somewhere in between is radiology - more ED, physical exhaustion and incontinence.

Oh yeah and possibly a fight for life.

Anyway I've made it clear that I'm sticking around, at the very least to help with sexual rehabilitation and getting him to a point where he knows what he can and can't offer 'couchgirl'.

Meanwhile I'm very sexual, if the ED sticks around I'll be looking for another regular guy, could be sex only, could be more. Ironic as I've had 18 months of having to hear about couchgirl (apparently because he didn't to be the badguy when it finally happened).

So we're either going to de-esculate into friendship or it also feels like he's enjoying being in the now more (I guess death hanging over you does that) and there's starting to be a deeper emotional intimacy than either of us have been open to except in our brief NRE stage which covid cut short... I've told him I love him twice, both in emails... over 6 months ago.

This relationship has been both emotionally draining and also very fun and easy. I have learned to really understand the part I play in our dynamics and to deeply explore and try to understand my emotions, triggers etc etc.

I'm going to keep staying supportive as my key focus in the next few months and let the circumstances dictate our flow. When he's gotten depressed before he's completely shutdown, goes dead behind the eyes... that may kill us off more than penis problems.

I'm curious - breaking up aside - how other peoples' relationships have faced health or other external challenges (not other relationships) and what fundamental changes in your dynamic came with or through that?

My nesting partner has been great through all of this.
 
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Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
My partner Pixi and I have been through sickness and health for 13.5 years! We've just become emotionally closer, even when physical love was difficult or impossible from time to time.

Her:
She's transgender and had just started hormones full time when I met her (she was 32). This has caused a rollercoaster of new things (mental, physical, emotional) to get used to.
She was born with rare physical disabilities in her arms and hands which have needed accommodations since birth. (She had 7 surgeries as a schoolkid.) These limit her range of motion a lot and cause quite a bit of pain, more and more pain as she gets older. She needs pain meds and PT and lately she's been wearing arm braces on and off, especially for driving.
She has anxiety, especially social anxiety, and mild Tourette's syndrome happens when she's triggered by memories or fears.
She is on meds for her mental illness and did 8 years of talk therapy.

Me:
I've had lower back issues which required chiropractic treatments for over 20 years. I've spent a lot of time on the couch with a heating pad or ice pack. I tried PT but it only made it worse. Chiro gave me only temporary relief. I wanted to get to the root of the issue.
I also more recently (like 3 years ago) started having migraines, and my GP told me to go to a neurologist, who prescribed Lyrica, the side effects of which actually caused me neurological damage (hearing, eyesight, memory loss, taste, digestive issues, hair loss). It helped my headaches, but at such a cost. No one should ever take Lyrica. Luckily I got off it after 3 months. I wanted to get to the root of the matter.
Finally the root of my lower back issues was discovered. One of my legs is 1/4" shorter than the other. My most recent chiro finally had me properly x-rayed, which turned this up. All I needed was a tiny silicone prosthetic (aka a cookie) in one shoe! Voila! Lower back pain gone.
The headaches took quite a while to fix. I didn't need drugs. (I tried steroid epidurals from a spine specialist, which just made me worse.) I was also having neck, upper shoulder, elbow and wrist pain. I tried PT again, even though it had made me worse when I tried it for my lower back years before and I was gun shy. I'm glad I did! I had an exam and x-rays first from a shoulder/elbow specialist dr. It turned out I had bursitis in my left upper arm. 9 months of PT twice a week (massage, proper exercises) helped a ton. I still do the exercises, since my insurance only covers 20 PT appointments a year. I'm doing much better.
The back/arm/neck/shoulder pain caused a lot of challenges as far as having sex.
I had endometrial cancer a few years after we met. I needed a total hysterectomy and chemotherapy. The latter wiped me out for 18 months. but I've been in remission for over 5 years now.

Hmm, I think that covers most of our physical ailments. What has kept us going and happy together is our positive attitudes, our open conversations, patience, and our willingness to care for each other while each taking responsibility for her own health, as well. Unlike you and your bf, we are totally on board with polyamory and we are still each other's CouchGirls!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Token,

Sorry to hear about the Surfer's bad diagnosis, it is good (and damned lucky for him) that you are standing by his side through this illness. It sounds like these developments have had both good and bad points, and you may need to look around for an additional guy in your life.

My late wife passed away from complications from Alzheimer's. I'm ashamed to say that while she was sick but alive, I resented her for being sick. By the time I stopped acting like that, she was too far gone to recognize who I was, and then she was too far gone to recognize anything. I did not find any great ways to deal with her illness, nor any great ways to deal with her death. It's just a burden I carry around with me. I wish I had better answers for you. I guess my advice would be to treasure every little moment you have with him, for as long as you have it.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

Token2

Member
Thanks so much for your replies. We spent a whole nearly 6 hours together yesterday and covered a lot of ground.

A big focus from both of us on working to make sure we retain the friendship.

But what really became clear is cancer, his avoidant nature and the desire for a nesting partner aside what's causing issues is the long distance. Our inability to just hang out on short notice.

I reread my 1st thread about us and LDR's were flagged as often not working out. There's more (issues from his side) but I might watch it play out before posting...

Rereading my original thoughts on us is really cathartic - I was clearly signing up for something a bit lighter than where the universe keeps delivering us, and for a while I had what I was looking for.

I'll always be grateful for that but whether it's cancer, covid restrictions or other health issues it seems there's always something external pushing us to have to be a little more conscious about our connection than we would otherwise have to be... easier times would have brought an easier flow.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Yeah, LDR's can be really, really hard. I've seen relationships break up badly because they were long distance. At the very least, if you want an LDR to survive and thrive, you have to be very conscientious about communicating a lot and regularly. And you have to meet up with the other person as often as you can. I think you are doing those things, so your situation is hopeful, but it is still hard.
 
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