Couple-hunting in Unicornia

BlackUnicorn

New member
I'm wondering, how do you actually behave in NRE? Is that true how Vanilla put it, that you spent a lot of time making out with Cookie?

:eek: It's true. I'm a horrible NRE crazy inconsiderate person :(.

I don't think it would really solve anything for you to only see Cookie when Vanilla is unavailable. It only puts off dealing with the issue, whether the issue is that she feels uncomfortable seeing you in NRE with somebody else or that you neglect her when you're in NRE with somebody else (do you know which one it is, the issue?).

I think it's me neglecting her. Yeah, maybe me being an arse is not her responsibility to manage, but I think it would be beneficial to calm things down for a bit, like until the end of this month, before inviting Cookie over to hang with us again. I'm looking forward to our trip together with Vanilla, which will hopefully generate a lot of positive energy and good, happy memories between just the two of us.

Say, you and Cookie met with a good friend of yours and had coffee all three of you. Whatever you think could (reasonably) make your friend uncomfortable, you should consider stuff that may make Vanilla feel uncomfortable. Your friend would assumably be fine with you hugging or kissing briefly a few times, but not with foreplay. So, even if you do sometimes have hot threesomes, it is still the case that when you're out and about Vanilla can feel like a third wheel if you have your tongue in his mouth for the whole evening. Or what do you think?

This is really good advice. Me and Vanilla have very different ideas in what comes to PDA. I tend to think making out in an club environment is okay, whereas she is uncomfortable even with kisses on the mouth in public.

Oh, and really? You think all three of you moving in at this point would be a good idea?

Oh my, where did you get that idea :eek:? Have I posted something crazy I can't remember anymore? Now, def not moving in together anytime soon :D. We all enjoy our space as it is, and we barely just moved in with Vanilla to our new apt.
 

rory

New member
Oh thank god, I must have then misunderstood you (I think from this)
... for Cookie not to start moving into our place,...

I think taking time for the two of you can't be a bad thing to calm things down. :) Though, I think it would be even more important to Vanilla to see that you can take her into account also when Cookie is around and not just when it's the two of you.

I disagree as I know how I can be at times without having any bad intentions. I sometimes don't get it. It's as simple as that. I sometimes need someone pointing out to me what I have caused by behaving like this or like that. Therefore, no, it shouldn't be a responsibility, but it can help to bear in mind if a person is bad at picking up signals from others in special situations. I am often made aware of my shortcomings in regard to interaction with others, and I am extremely thankful to my close friends and family minding it.
I don't particularly disagree with you. I guess it's about some kind of balance though. It is unreasonable to expect anybody to be completely mindful in every situation, and one should speak up. However, I do think it isn't the best dynamic if one has to constantly prod a person to get their attention/regard. Oh and yeah, you haven't had poly-drama (I knew there must be an exception to the rule and I must be forgetting some situation). :)

BU, good luck :)
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Oh thank god, I must have then misunderstood you (I think from this)

Oh, that was more proverbial, as in "He's been staying overnight three nights in a row, don't you think he's practically living in here? Maybe he could go home for a few nights."

BU, good luck :)

Thanks :eek:. I like to believe it takes practice more than sheer luck, but appreciate the thought.
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
Communication Styles

...I sometimes don't get it. It's as simple as that. I sometimes need someone pointing out to me what I have caused by behaving like this or like that. Therefore, no, it shouldn't be a responsibility, but it can help to bear in mind if a person is bad at picking up signals from others in special situations. I am often made aware of my shortcomings in regard to interaction with others, and I am extremely thankful to my close friends and family minding it...there are situations I don't get the reason why someone is upset by something I did or said. And it is helpful to be reminded of that.

It took me a while, and some frustration, to realize that I had to communicate with Dude in a different "language" than I use with MrS. He is absolutely horrible with picking up any signals that aren't flashing neon with a siren blaring (especially if it is a circumstance where he wouldn't be upset, then he doesn't see why anyone would be upset). Apparently it never occurred to him, or he has never experienced a relationship, where someone could just state their feelings without having a hissy-fit/temper-tantrum and still expect to have those feelings respected. (Not saying this is you, dear BlackUnicorn:p)

An example, the way the house is set up whenever I get up off the couch (where my computer is) and go to the kitchen or beer fridge or library, I pass behind the boys' computer chairs. Dude would inevitable grab me for a kiss/cuddle every time I walked by (either direction). One night I was trying to get stuff done and had to get up every few minutes to go dig up something in the library. After a while the constant interruption was getting distracting so I said "Dude, this is annoying, you don't have to kiss me everytime I get off the couch - I'm trying to get stuff done." Next time - he reaches for me again - now I am getting pissed...

A while later I bring it up as an example of a time when he didn't listen to me and he says "But you weren't really annoyed. You were just teasing." I had to explain in detail that, yes, I was annoyed - he was impeding me getting something done that I felt was important. And the way that you can tell is that I SAID I was annoyed. I asked him if I had ever before TOLD him that I was annoyed? He admitted that, no, I had not, but that HE would not be annoyed by that, so he didn't think that I should be. Grrrr...I told him that in the future if I said I was annoyed he should just take it at face value and not wait until I got mad and made a scene before he believed me.

(It helps to know that I hate confrontation and will NOT make a scene if there are any "outsiders" present.")

Second example of different communication styles. We (all three) are out at a bar at the local casino. We were having fun but the boys were getting drunk...and loud. This is a town where I work so I feel the need to be a little discrete. With MrS - I can raise my eyebrows, give his hand a firm squeeze, and, looking him directly in the eye say quietly, but firmly, "Enough." And the message is conveyed. With Dude it progressed through: "Enough." "Dude you are making me uncomfortable and it is pissing me off." to taking him aside and saying "I am mad at you and if you continue to behave in this fashion I am going to leave." And he still didn't get it because he didn't see a problem...Double Grrrr....we had a LONG discussion about this one the next day.

Now, before you say "Jeesh, how do you put up with THAT!?" A nice thing, though, is that once Dude has processed what you have said - once you spell it out in excrutiating detail as to WHY you were annoyed/upset/mad and what specific behavior you want changed...and he actually understands the effect that it has on you - then it's DONE. You will never have that misunderstanding again, and THAT is nice.

(So ... MrS will change his behavior at that moment because you want him to, but because he may not understand the underlying reasons, you may have to ask again later. Dude doesn't change the behavior until he understands the underlying reasons, but then then he gets the message permanently...each of these has its advantages but I have to learn how to communicate with each person in the way that they understand.)

Sorry for the essay - but I was actually just thinking about this today and your post hit a nerve.

JaneQ
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Scheduling mess

I've been having a real hard time at school. Yesterday, on Wed, I was supposed to go spend the night with Cookie and Vanilla was going to be with her beau Pistachio. On Tuesday I realized that on Wed, I would be happy to get home after 11 pm, with so much schoolwork piling up. So I texted to Vanilla and asked if I should go to Cookie's on Thu instead. Vanilla's mum was coming over on Thu, so I thought it would be cool to get out of her way. Vanilla responded that she saw no reason why her mum and I couldn't hang out in the same space, but that she could always ask her mum. I took this, for some reason, as a go ahead-sign.

So, come this morning (Thu). Vanilla climbs to bed with me after her night with Chio and we talk. I say I'm happy she came for a morning cuddle because we are not going to see each other again before tomorrow, Friday. Vanilla says no way she is going to sleep four nights apart, and insists that we specifically agreed that there should be no overnight dates this week, because she is going to her parents' for the weekend. Should I have gone to Cookie's tonight, we would have slept four nights apart (Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat).

I'm upset because I thought we agreed that because of deadlines, I changed my night with Cookie from Wed to Thu, and she's upset because she thinks I've gone against her specific request not to have any overnight dates this week. She was okay with us both spending the night with our respective beaus on Wed, because today we would sleep in the same bed before she goes away. Last night, when I came home instead of going to Cookie's, she assumed I had simply skipped seeing Cookie before her trip because of school. She argued that since me and Cookie were going to have the whole weekend to ourselves anyway, I could postpone gratification on this one. I argued that since Cookie works during the day and I have to work both on Fri night and the whole of Saturday, the whole weekend would mean a few short hours together before she comes home on Sun. I'm extra pissed because I know Cookie and I won't see each other again before my trip with Vanilla next week.

I text to Cookie and cancel our date. He responds that he is upset and disappointed and feels unsafe in a configuration where one person can call off dates between the other two entirely arbitrarily whenever she wants to. I texted back that it was I who was communicating badly and making spur-of-the-moment decisions, and just got off the phone with him where I explained in detail what went down. Vanilla offered to have Cookie over on Mon before our trip, for all of us three to hang out, since she misses him, too.

No major drama, just a minor hiccup, but now we have a reservation system where I mark down my date nights with Cookie to the family planner on the wall in advance and we agreed that I would let Vanilla know before I make any changes to prior plans.
 

SNeacail

New member
I hate miscommunication over scheduling SNAFUs, because no one wins. Just something more to discuss as a group on how to handle better next time.
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Hierarchies

I hate miscommunication over scheduling SNAFUs, because no one wins. Just something more to discuss as a group on how to handle better next time.

:D I had to google SNAFU, it's brilliant! Sweetheart is always teaching me new slang expressions, like cup of joe. And what do you know, I was watching Twin Peaks the other night and Agent Cooper used it right there! LUR-VE Agent Cooper :eek: >sigh<...

Anyway, I digress. Vanilla's mum was over last night, and for reasons unknown to God and man, I had a complete wedding freak-out, which progresses into an hour long whispering discussion on hierarchies in poly with Vanilla at 00.30 with her mum, aka The Lady with the Super Hearing, sleeping in the next room.

(While I don't like the way Vanilla's mum treats her some times, I do appreciate how she at least is making an effort to get to know me.)

So, at midnight, a crazy thought pops into my head. Maybe we shouldn't invite any of our other partners to the wedding, because it's about us, right? What if Vanilla freaks out over me giving a hug to Cookie (or anyone else I might be with at that time)? Vanilla: "If you are worried you might not know how to act around our other partners on OUR wedding day, better we don't have the wedding until you know". Fine.

My biggest problem with this hierarchy thing is that I need specifics. I need to know what she wants on concrete terms, and need to figure out if I am compatible with that. So, we are primaries to each other. What does that mean? "It means no one will ever come before me". Well, can anyone be on an equal level with you? "I want us to be the core couple". What does that mean? "I want us to get married, live together, have kids, grow old together". Can someone come in at some point to also live with us, have kids and grow old together? "Maybe, but if in the retirement home there are only two-person rooms, you better be damn sure I'm going to be the one in that room with you!"

So we have a new hierarchy rule. In case of two-person rooms only, we are in that room together :D.

(The wedding is still on, provided I can imagine myself in the future sticking to the two-person room rule. I felt better after my wedding freakout when I went through a mental list with Vanilla on all the stuff we need to do. And kissing other partners on the mouth at our wedding is not okay, but pecks on the cheeks are good. And we will not be seated separately, but with our close family all at the same table, which will include any close family-like partners we might have at that point. I crave specifics, you know?)
 

rory

New member
I think it must be good to have those specific discussion. One issue with primary/secondary is that those terms seem to be used in different ways by people, so it's good to clarify what exactly is included.

One thing that came to mind: what is it that you want? You seem to be writing and discussing about what Vanilla wants, but not your own wishes. Make sure not to ignore those (advice about something I am working towards getting better at myself).
 

nycindie

Active member
One thing that came to mind: what is it that you want? You seem to be writing and discussing about what Vanilla wants, but not your own wishes.

^This is exactly what I was thinking when I read your last few posts. I feel like you are getting lost and disappearing a little bit into all your concerns for everyone else.

Hullo-o-oooo, where are you?
 
Well, not ALL polyfamilies as we moved in Lin right after deciding on giving poly a go. But maybe that's the obligatory exception to the rule. :rolleyes: But I have to admit that statistically (going by this forum at least) rushing things is a bad idea.

I wonder if the difference is that you knew Lin for a while before deciding to give poly a go. A lot of people meet the new person and then move them in right away after only knowing them weeks or months. It seems like if you've been friends with someone for years that it will work better than if you barely know them.
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
I wonder if the difference is that you knew Lin for a while before deciding to give poly a go.

Maybe that is it for us as well. Dude has been, for all practical purposes, living with us since he and I "got together" (or a few months before). BUT Dude and MrS were friends for several years before I met Dude. (This is not unusual for us - MrS is much more social than I am, and he's barely social in the first place. :D By the time MrS introduces me to someone it is a good bet that they are going to fit right it - or he never would have invited them home in the first place.)

******

I think that, maybe, moving in together accelerates whatever dynamic is likely to play out - for good or for ill. We have not been a Vee for that long (a year next month) but spending practically every day together means that issues come up that much sooner and have to be dealt with. We have already dealt with many issues that, perhaps, polyfolks who spend less time together will have spread out over many months or years. (Everything from everyday shit, like who does the shopping and what brand of shampoo we use :p, to medium shit, like Dude sleeping with his ex [in my BED! :eek:], to major shit, like me getting pregnant and then losing the baby :()

Maybe some people benefit from the "take it slow" approach...and others may benefit from the "throw it in and see if it works" approach. It probably depends greatly on the people involved. (Maybe our "slowest person" is actually pretty damn FAST...)

Live your life. Find happiness where you are.

JaneQ
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
I feel like you are getting lost and disappearing a little bit into all your concerns for everyone else.

Hullo-o-oooo, where are you?

I don't know. I think I would like most for everyone to be happy, but it seems that all three people can not be happy in this situation at the same time.

Vanilla is questioning whether she wants poly at all, or just open. She wonders on the other hand if it's just Cookie she is incombatible with. She is convinced that things shouldn't be this hard at every possible turn. I've tried to engage her with this forum for comparison's sake - I don't know if she's read anything else than my blog in here. She writes it all out on her personal blog, where her mono friends demonize me and try to convince her that poly/me/Cookie/all three are the problem. She has one beginning-poly friend who is at least a little supportive, but I think there is a consensus that Cookie has to go.

Cookie is at the point where he wants a monoship with a woman he can trust. He is absolutely phobic about catching HIV via Vanilla, in that Vanilla would go down on a woman who was infected, then pass the infection on to me (again via oral sex) and then he would get it and die - we are planning to skip condoms in two weeks or so, once I get my IUD in place. He trusts me but doesn't trust Vanilla. This all blew out in the open today when Vanilla asked via text if it were okay for her to go down on another woman. I said yes - risk of transmission is so low in my POW, especially if you make sure you don't have actually bleeding gums when getting ready for the deed. Cookie, however, doesn't believe the data and is hysterical about the possibility of transmission. That is his right. I also told him that everyone is responsible for their own sexual health, and if he is so worried about STDs, we should continue using condoms. At which point he said that he sees no point in continuing to see me if he must use condoms all the time, since they significantly affect his pleasure.

Vanilla said that since Cookie isn't willing to make any compromises to accommondate us, neither is she willing to use dental dams with her prospective mates. She thinks they would rather not have sex at all if she brought up the dams.

I am at a point where neither one of my partners is willing to make any commitments to increased sexual health. I feel resigned. Perhaps it is better that Cookie and I stop seeing each other. Vanilla I think would prefer open relationships where she wouldn't feel so emotionally threatened. Cookie would prefer a mono woman. I, it seems, am not able to really live up to anyone's expectations.

Sorry for sounding gloomy, but I kinda am.
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
What I find hardest at the moment is that I have two people who really don't know what they want out of me atm. Vanilla at first wanted to find a shared boyfriend. Enter Cookie. Then she found Pistachio - by all standards a really bad find: possessive, depressed, mono and jealous. Fine, let her deal with that. Then she got super-anxious over what a bad fit Chio really was, and wanted to be exclusive with Cookie and me. No, actually, Chio was kinda cool, but Cookie obviously wasn't. No, actually, she isn't that into Chio and Cookie is a real problem. She thinks she wants to quit poly, because she can't do it. But now, out of the blue, she wants a triad with this another couple. Or if not a triad, then some really HAWT sex. Cookie needs to leave, because he's to blame for all the drama, and how tired she's been lately because of all the drama.

I get that she has the right to expect "first come, first served"-policy. I get that feelings change, and that reality is much messier and often scarier than fantasy, because reality involves REAL feelings, and people can't be disposed of like a piece of ill-fitting furniture. I get that she only wants to know that if she can't handle poly, we will quit and be mono or open together.

Cookie. 24/7 when we are together, he is constantly sending me the message that I am not what he prefers, seeks and would want. I'm too fat, I have bad posture, not tight enough, not attractive enough, I have too short a hair, he disapproves of the way I use money, he disapproves of my choice with partners, education, work and dress. He is literally constantly listing verbally the kind of ideals he has for a woman, naming women he prefers but can't get because he is too afraid to approach them or they wouldn't want him anyway, and stating that the only reason he is with me is that no other woman will ever want him. If I didn't have such a firm trust in myself as a worthwhile person and a good catch, I would have ditched him by now, like Vanilla did. I'm really tired but want to continue trying. Am I silly for thinking that one day, if I just try hard enough, he will wake up and decide that he wants me after all? Definitely. It doesn't make it any less hard to just give up on him.

I've spent the entire day asking both of them; "What do you want? What can I do?". They don't know. I think they should by now.
 

rory

New member
What I find hardest at the moment is that I have two people who really don't know what they want out of me atm.
An excellent reason why you should concentrate on what you want and what is good for you.

You know one thing that can in no way be good for you? This:
Cookie. 24/7 when we are together, he is constantly sending me the message that I am not what he prefers, seeks and would want. I'm too fat, I have bad posture, not tight enough, not attractive enough, I have too short a hair, he disapproves of the way I use money, he disapproves of my choice with partners, education, work and dress. He is literally constantly listing verbally the kind of ideals he has for a woman, naming women he prefers but can't get because he is too afraid to approach them or they wouldn't want him anyway, and stating that the only reason he is with me is that no other woman will ever want him. If I didn't have such a firm trust in myself as a worthwhile person and a good catch, I would have ditched him by now, like Vanilla did. I'm really tired but want to continue trying. Am I silly for thinking that one day, if I just try hard enough, he will wake up and decide that he wants me after all? Definitely.
Whatever strength and confidence you have in yourself, this kind of thing is damaging. :( You do know that already, right?
 

AnnabelMore

Active member
Woah woah WOAH.

"He is literally constantly listing verbally the kind of ideals he has for a woman, naming women he prefers but can't get because he is too afraid to approach them or they wouldn't want him anyway, and stating that the only reason he is with me is that no other woman will ever want him."

This whole passage is troubling (well, a LOT of this is, such as Cookie insisting that Vanilla use dental dams so that he can go without condoms... how in the hell is that supposed to be fair? that is just some entitled bullshit, I'm sorry) but that last clause... that last bit about only being with you because he can't get someone else...

God, no. Just no. You deserve better than that. You can set whatever guidelines you want in your intimate life, but if you could only have one I feel like it would need to be "my partners must respect me". And that is one of the most disrespectful, callous, and just plain gross things that someone who's supposed to be a partner could say to you. :( :(

Why would you put up with this BU? There are people who would treat you better. Vanilla's indecisiveness is kind of worrying, but she's absolutely right that this is a not-ok pile of drama. No matter how strong your sense of self, it will eventually begin to be worn down by stuff like this and you might not even notice it happening...... :(
 

AnnabelMore

Active member
If you can't bring yourself to break up with him for your own sake, then do it for his sake. If he persists in getting positive reinforcement (emotional engagement, sex) for such messed up behavior it will only make it harder for him to wake up to the fact that it's not ok to treat people like this.
 

NovemberRain

New member
Cookie. 24/7 when we are together, he is constantly sending me the message that I am not what he prefers, seeks and would want. I'm too fat, I have bad posture, not tight enough, not attractive enough, I have too short a hair, he disapproves of the way I use money, he disapproves of my choice with partners, education, work and dress. He is literally constantly listing verbally the kind of ideals he has for a woman, naming women he prefers but can't get because he is too afraid to approach them or they wouldn't want him anyway, and stating that the only reason he is with me is that no other woman will ever want him. If I didn't have such a firm trust in myself as a worthwhile person and a good catch, I would have ditched him by now, like Vanilla did. I'm really tired but want to continue trying. Am I silly for thinking that one day, if I just try hard enough, he will wake up and decide that he wants me after all? Definitely. It doesn't make it any less hard to just give up on him.

BU, I feel sad when I read this. I lived with a man who did this. About 20 years ago (whoa! I hadn't realized it was so long). Sometimes, I still twitch. It is a wonderful thing that you are secure in yourself. I caution you, because I was secure in myself too, when I met him. I also thought (I cannot convey in words) that if I just tried hard enough...

I'm curious as to why you think Vanilla ditched him because she has less trust in herself as a worthwhile person? Am I understanding that correctly? Because knowing what I know now, I wouldn't even begin to take up with anyone who did that, and/or at the first sign, they'd be out.


All that aside, I entirely agree with rory, that you have
"An excellent reason why you should concentrate on what you want and what is good for you."
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Why would you put up with this BU?

I've been thinking a lot today and tonight about how my history of abusive relationships might have sort of prepped me for that. I know how to deal with abuse, I know how to love people who constantly hurt me.

If he persists in getting positive reinforcement (emotional engagement, sex) for such messed up behavior it will only make it harder for him to wake up to the fact that it's not ok to treat people like this.

Yup, I've been thinking I need to try to solve this situation like I solved it the last time: downsize, distance and deinvest. Atm the positives of this relationship are not outweighing the negatives.

I'm curious as to why you think Vanilla ditched him because she has less trust in herself as a worthwhile person? Am I understanding that correctly? Because knowing what I know now, I wouldn't even begin to take up with anyone who did that, and/or at the first sign, they'd be out.

Yeah, I guess she's the assertive one after all - despite having low self-esteem at times, she can at least recognize BS when she hears it. She thinks her self-esteem is good enough for her to realize that she doesn't have to listen to BS and unfair criticism, so maybe it's really me who has the low self-esteem issue here :(.

I think I need to work on drawing personal limits for what is acceptable behaviour towards me and what is not, and stop reinforcing the negative behaviours :eek:.
 

NovemberRain

New member
I think I need to work on drawing personal limits for what is acceptable behaviour towards me and what is not, and stop reinforcing the negative behaviours :eek:.

Hurray! I think so too. :D I think that would be really a nurturing thing to do for yourself.
 
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