I have just chosen poly over a potential monogamous life mate. Whoa.

Silas

New member
Hi. I am new here and new to poly. Wow, that sounds crazy to say. Well, new in that I am finally taking action. I have struggled with the monogamous approach to relationships my entire life. It has been a long road that in the past two years of self-searching and educating has led me to where I am now. I haven't found a community in my area yet and so I turn to the ever embracing internet for like minded people to support this challenging decision I have made. Thank you for being here.

Not an hour ago, I told a girl I have been seeing very seriously that I finally knew what I wanted. I felt clear and steady. Poly is how I love. It is how I am wired. I have known this for a long time. I am only now putting it into practice. I knew I might lose her. I knew I had to do it anyway. I would have explored this with her, but she also knows what she wants and it isn't this. It really brings the weight of your choices to reality when someone you love walks away from you because of it. In the past I would have faltered when a lover did not see things my way. This time, I did not. It is an entirely new experience for me to choose what I really want over what my lover wants me to want.

Now, she is gone and I am struggling to embody what I feel I must explore in my life. If I do not do that, my losing her will be for naught. I am optimistic and in a large way relieved. I know that I need to act to manifest what my heart and brain are very clearly saying to me. That feels daunting right now. I hope that when I do, my actions of today will feel totally worth it. I am trying to be strong. There is fear of loss there, fear of having made a mistake (the world is screaming this at me), but they are fainter than ever before. I accept that they are there. She asked, "Why would you invite this pain?" I said, "It is joy that I seek. And self-alignment. Any pain that comes along with it is at least that of my own choosing."

I have lost someone dear to me and I am instead moving toward something that seems like it can't even exist sometimes it has to be a fantasy. I won't know until I experience it for myself. I trust there are others out there. I trust you are those others.

It is hard not to question choosing a belief in something I have not experienced as real over something I do know exists. It is hard not to second guess myself knowing the pain she is feeling and the infinitely appealing story I could believe in instead. Were I to accept monogamy, I could have married this girl someday. Tell me I am not crazy to have done this.

~Silas
 

Rhaenes

New member
My boyfriend and I went through a similar crossroads and while it turned out we both wanted to explore the polyamorous route, things could have been different, and nearly were a few times. I commend your bravery and strength in sticking with what you know is going to be best for you; and it's going to make you extremely happy in the future. Best of luck with everything, and you are NOT crazy, you're healthy. :)
 

Marcus

Well-known member
It is hard not to question choosing a belief in something I have not experienced as real over something I do know exists.... Tell me I am not crazy to have done this.
~Silas

There are others out there and within this site who have similar belief systems to you when it comes to relating romantically. No, you're not crazy.

There are countless varieties of approaches to relationships once you realize that the possibility is there. Deciding that monogamy isn't your bag is a step but only just that. What you do with that information is up to you. I suggest you continue to look at how you relate to people from a principled approach. Most people just react based on social tradition and never look deeper into their though process, unlike you and some of the members of a forum like this one.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
Thank you for sharing your story. I was in your place several years ago. I lost the man I considered my best friend in the world because he had no interest in non-exclusive relationships [and did not bother to tell me until he had met someone monogamous and wanted nothing more to do with me].

I was so broken up by the way things ended that I did not date again for almost 18 months. I felt so guilty for being the way I am--for wanting more than just one relationship.

Now, I have been seeing the most delightful man for the past 14 months. I am continually amazed by how well our non-monogamous relationship / lover-friendship is working and how bizarrely compatible we are--much more so than I was with my ex.

Just this past weekend, my guy offered to drive me IN A HUGE SNOWSTORM to my date with another man. I ended up having to postpone the date because it was a freakin' blizzard, but boy, do I appreciate my amazing guy! (He dates other people too, incidentally).

Two years ago, I never imagined that I would have reached this place, but here I am. I trusted myself and my instincts. I ignored people who told me I was crazy (including one therapist!) and that it wouldn't work (including ALL of my own friends). I focused on making peace with myself and on meeting new people.

And I learned everything I could about ethical non-monogamy, polyamory, dating, communication, and myself.
 

Silas

New member
Thank you everyone for your advice and reassurance.

Meera, your guy sounds awesome. A story like that is really inspiring as was your line about trusting your instincts. I very much feel it is important for me to trust myself these days.

Marcus, it sounds like I am in the right place. I will take your advice on the principled approach.

Rhaenes, it feels good to hear someone call me healthy particularly after the conversation I just had.

It was a great support to come back and read those replies because right after I wrote the post I got a call from the girl I wrote about. Partly I was glad for this as it gave me a chance to further explain where I was coming from and perhaps dispel some of the assumptions she may have made about my choice. However, the other side of the conversation (the longer side) was her explaining to me how she saw this as a mistake and that I was giving up something special for something selfish and naive. At various intervals she communicated pain, disappointment, disgust and judgement. She told me I was a little boy and didn't have enough life experiences to know better. She apologized when I called her out on it, however. I know she is hurting so I don't take it too personally. I tried to communicate the same to her several times: that this isn't personal, with little effect. In the end, she doesn't understand what is to be gained from opening yourself up to "such complications and pain." I tried to convey to her the beauty and sense of it for me but she didn't seem to listen. I feel a little limp in doing that because my hypothesis is, as of yet, untested.

I have cheated in every one of my relationships and I told her that is why I decided I needed to make friends with this part of myself so that I would not keep repeating the pattern that made me feel like shit and ruined my relationships in the end anyway. I told her that I would be willing to continue with her but that it would require opening up eventually. She just kept talking about how I was the love of her life (we have been dating for 3 months) and that what I was doing was foolish and sad. That I didn't understand what mattered in life, apparently.

At times, her words started to make me think I had imagined this whole thing and obviously what I wanted wasn't what I really needed. That maybe I was delusional and had talked myself into this. That somehow, this time, love would be enough to overcome what I have felt in every relationship I have ever had. She made it sound like it was something I could get over and would once I started thinking like an adult. It started to weave its spell on me and I found myself feeling dazed and unconvincing. This has been a problem for me in the past with lovers. Their perspectives overtake my own. I am trying to regain my ground again after this assault on what had felt like a very clear and confident conviction.

We are going to talk again in a few days. I am afraid of losing her and finding out that she was right and that I was just confused about all of this. Before this conversation I had been feeling a deep sense of self-assurance and trust about my desire to be polyamorous. Will this really be worth it? How can I know?

Any help is immensely appreciated. Thanks for listening.
 

Phy

Member
It sounds like you need to find yourself.

This has been a problem for me in the past with lovers. Their perspectives overtake my own. I am trying to regain my ground again after this assault on what had felt like a very clear and confident conviction.

If that is how it used to go up to now, you have some soul-searching to do. And you should take your time doing so. Learn to listen to yourself, to your desires and needs and try to find who you are. For now, even if your polyamorous ideas won't come true for some time or if you find a whole different kind of relationship, it would be an enormous gain to finally know WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU WANT. That's what poly does for most people discovering an idea not entertained by the masses: There aren't that many who try to define how your life has to be and how you should behave or think. You will have to find your ideal, your way, your life that proofs to be just right for you - not because someone tells you that this is the way it should be.

I have struggled with this process for years while living with my husband, whom I loved dearly. I didn't speak up because I was afraid of hurting him, because I was still processing my wants and needs and finally I found that I couldn't stay my 'old self' any longer and I tested my feelings out and talked to him and we began our 'poly journey'. He choose to stay with me. He still is mostly mono (even though I guess he started thinking poly already himself). My other partner is clearly mono (body and mind). Different relationship approaches can exist side by side, so stay open to the possibilities and start searching for the right way for yourself.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I commend you for knowing what you want in your romances in general and sticking with that. This is A Good Thing. I am sad for your grieving the end of THIS romance, but let it be the end. In this situation it seems best to NOT be romance partners. Just be friends.

You greive, and she will experience her own stages of grief. She's struggling to understand why this is ending (because you have different wants, and your want is alien to her) but she's also being less than stellar in her hurtness.

She just kept talking about how I was the love of her life (we have been dating for 3 months) and that what I was doing was foolish and sad. That I didn't understand what mattered in life, apparently.

She is putting you down because she could be in her "anger" stage.

Step away from the emotions and what do you have? 3 months dating. Come to find it's not a runner. That's alright. That's what dating is FOR.

Her calling you the love of her life after only 3 mos? A bit premature.

Her unable to handle disappointment in dating? Well, she has to learn to come to terms. That's part of "dating risk." That some of them are not gonna be runners! The only way to not risk that is to not date. If she wants to date people, that comes with the territory.

Putting down your wants, your values as "less than" because they are different from her wants, her values? She's could develop a better sense of dating and handling her own emotions when disappointed. But philosophical maturity is not one of the freebies -- it is developed over time. Could be generous and let it slide and not let that get you all cranked up. People grow at their own rates.

For myself... I wouldn't even be "going steady" (forgive old fashioned term) at 3 mos much less declaring someone "the love of my life." Beginning to love, maybe. A major love of my life? No. Certainly not THE love of my life when I'm still getting to know them. And my life isn't over or nearing finality for me to be able to make that call. Too fast of attachment could be something to look out for. I'm not saying she's unhealthy, but some people get really CLING ON too soon in dating. That's sometimes a red flag.

Pay her no mind in her upset. Be compassionate but remember to lift this up to yourself and to her when necessary:



  • What you are doing is being HONEST, and honesty is not foolish or sad.
  • You are being HONEST with your own self and with her.
  • You see that it is hard for her to hear. It may even be hard for you to say. But you want to stick to hard truth and being honest.
  • That ought to serve you, her, and our shared relationship (friendship or romanceship) better than lies.
  • Even "soft lies" are lies and NOT honesty.

That she is handling her disappointed in this way... well, nobody is perfect when upset and some people need time and experience to learn to navigate the stages of grief. It is part of knowing oneself.

She made it sound like it was something I could get over and would once I started thinking like an adult
.

Her belittling your maturity in her upset is not kind.

That your wants, needs, and limits are different than hers? She is a unique individual and so are you. You both have the right to have healthy relationships that you can thrive in. You both have the right to have your romances in the shape that you hope for. That is Life.

We are going to talk again in a few days. I am afraid of losing her and finding out that she was right and that I was just confused about all of this. Before this conversation I had been feeling a deep sense of self-assurance and trust about my desire to be polyamorous. Will this really be worth it? How can I know?

You don't have to lose her friendship just because you want different things in a romance. You can tell her you are be willing to be her friend.

(She could be willing to be an appropriate friend back. That is separate issue. Only she controls her own behavior and state her own willingness. You control your own behavior and state your own willingness.)

You could lift these up to yourself and to her too:

  • You want to explore poly.
  • You cannot share that with her. Her wants are mutually exclusive. Nobody's fault, and she is not lacking in anything just because you want different things in Life. You are sorry she is disappointed. So are you. But it is what it is.
  • You do not want to cheat on her or be unethical in other ways.
  • You cannot (at this point in time) know the end of the book before you read it. So you could be ok considering yourself "in the process of finding out." That is HOW you alleviate confusion.
  • You are willing to still be friends.

If you stay in relationship with her when she wants to be exclusive and you do not, you are not being true to your own want to be free to explore. Compromising your own want to know yourself better to give her hers is not you taking care of you.

I see that you don't want to hurt her. Let me repeat... You are NOT hurting her. You are being honest. There is disappointment in the situation not being a runner, sure. But this is not maliciously hurting her out of being MEAN. This is just Life and a part of DATING. You both want different things. Could accept that. That is why people DATE -- to seek the ones who are compatible.

You are responsible for your own best healths -- mental , emotional, physical and spiritual healths. Take good care of you. Could use this quiet time post break up to NOT date but to heal. And in the healing, think about reading resources.

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/downloadabledocuments.html
http://www.serolynne.com/polyamory.htm
http://www.morethantwo.com/
http://openingup.net/resources/free-downloads-from-opening-up/

I am hoping that once she is past her grief she will come to be your friend.

But if it turns out not, and she wants to just part on good terms that is ok too. Breaking up is not fun, but if it must be had, I like having them with good grace. I don't like having a big ol' hooha crazy thing. That's no good to anyone! :eek:

Hang in there.

HTH!
Galagirl
 
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NovemberRain

New member
Welcome to the forum, Silas. :)

My offering to you is simply about how to regain yourself. When I break up with someone, I like to take 40 days of no-contact with them. A very wise teacher recommended this to me once, and every time I've done, I've been able to maintain a friendship. With those whom I neglected this, I am, sadly, not friends.

I am currently in a no-contact, after breaking up with one in my first, functional poly relationship.

This is not easy. It protects both of you from conversations like the one you're reeling from just now. I often write letters full of things I want to say to that person. I recently found some of those old letters, and I was extra grateful I had never said those things (now, with the perspective of years).

Three months? Love of her life? Sounds like she's got a little growing up to do herself. That seems awfully quick.

I'm sorry you're hurting; and happy that you seem to be making your way to more solid ground for yourself.
 

BreatheDeeply

New member
We are going to talk again in a few days. I am afraid of losing her and finding out that she was right and that I was just confused about all of this.

Before this conversation I had been feeling a deep sense of self-assurance and trust about my desire to be polyamorous. Will this really be worth it? How can I know?

You didn't lose her, she lost you. The problem is that she has grown up in a world of assumptive monogamy, and few are able to stand outside of their cultural assumptions and evaluate their personal values on the merits only.

Not her fault, and not yours either. Unfortunately human brains are wired to look for blame and assign guilt. So you've imagined, or been force fed, the old tired line that you're selfish, or hedonistic, or uncaring for choosing a poly life rather then the self-denying, sacrificial life of artificial monogamy.

To date, there is no evidence for any long history of monogamy in human cultures, and actually some indicative evidence for just the opposite. It's also natural to have self-doubt about the choice you've made, but when you look at the evidence, just the evidence, monogamy starts to take on the appearance of a death sentence rather then some fairy-tale story (at least for some).

If you want to explore more about the subject their are books like Sex Before Dawn which, for me, was the nail in the coffin for monogamy. So armed with all that, you shouldn't feel a shred of doubt about who you are. And don't let anyone make you feel guilty for being who you are. If anything, get angry. Works a lot better then guilt.

.
 

bassman

New member
Feeling battered and bruised here for coming out, too. So, thank you for this thread.
 

AnotherConfused

New member
I'd just like to add that you could make the choice to stay with her and try to "get over" (or more likely, bury) your poly tendencies, as she wishes. You might get a lot out of a relationship with her. I did this. I hadn't heard of polyamory, unfortunately, and only knew that I had a problem with cheating and temptation. I married my husband thinking I'd finally found a man I loved enough I wouldn't want anyone else. It took about 10 years (and the distraction of two babies) before my poly feelings came up again, and now we both struggle with the pain of it. We have to live a compromise, which we keep having to fine tune.

I don't regret marrying my husband at all, but this girl who loves you should come to understand that parting ways now is probably the least painful, least complicated path for you both. You know yourself well enough to know that this side of you won't go away. If she really holds to feeling like you are the love of her life (and I don't find this preposterous) she needs to know that this is a part of you that she would have to learn to love too, if you were together.
 

nouryia

New member
Before this conversation I had been feeling a deep sense of self-assurance and trust about my desire to be polyamorous. Will this really be worth it? How can I know?

I envy you for feeling so clear about being poly, even if you're having some flurries of doubt now. I just kind of fell into being polyamorous and have since learned a lot about myself, but it wasn't second nature by any means. There are still days I struggle with sharing, jealousy and resentment. Not to mention that it takes a lot of energy to carry on multiple relationships. But even having said that, I still feel that it's been well worth it. Good luck to you.
 

Silas

New member
I just want everyone to know that I have been reading your responses throughout my day and gaining strength and clarity from them. I have never been part of an online forum before but it is an amazing feeling to get such incredible support from so many people that haven't even met me. I think I am in good and understanding hands.

I want to sit down and give a proper response to some things as well as relate where I am at now but the day has not left me time. I will make sure this happens tomorrow after work. Stay tuned.

For now, I will tell you that I am feeling far less confused and gaining a lot of my initial strength back. Thank you for helping me make that happen. It means so much to know that I am not alone and not crazy. I don't feel crazy anymore.
 
You did the right thing

By being honest about it you should realize that you are doing the right thing. Many relationships and friendships are wrecked because people do not have the courage be themselves, and sometimes it is not having that courage that is the only reason why things didn't work.

Being honest is also the surefire way to know that you are not crazy, that the confusion you feel being torn between a choice is just part of living and it will work itself out.

You shouldn't second guess your decision nor should you subject yourself to her tearing you down, trying to convince you how wrong you are. You cannot be wrong when being honest. I've been on both sides of the equation and I know it seems hard, but if she cannot quit the negative speech you would be better off not communicating with her.

You did the right thing, you are being true to yourself and her, and you cannot be responsible for her being upset, if you give into now it sets you up for being manipulated and she may not be honest enough with herself to even see it.

You were honest with her, there is nothing left to talk about if she is only going to make your life more difficult in an attempt to force you to be who she wants you to be. People who love you in ways that are healthy, want you to be yourself. I am sure it is hard on her too, but you have been honest with her, and you will not be able to have any sort of relationship with her that is healthy unless she is honest with herself.

You did and are doing the right thing, have faith in yourself
 
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Silas

New member
I am finally sitting down to respond properly to this thread I started. I was delayed more than I would have liked because in the middle of all of my own issues my best friend was told by his wife that she wants a divorce after 7 years because there is someone else. They were doing great as far as I know and as far as he knew before now and it has the flavor of that age old monogamous conundrum of meeting someone else that you really like and believing that it means something is wrong with your current relationship for you to be able to feel that way and that you must not love your partner anymore. The only option then, of course, is to abandon the relationship and jump to the next thing. I found this particularly frustrating at this time because it is precisely the kind of thing that has led me to seek out a more elegant solution. Thus, my arrival here.

I want to reiterate just how valuable the advice and compassion I have received from the members of this forum have been to me in these last weeks. I don't really have a community of any kind yet for this uncommon decision of mine and it is so encouraging for me when I get such clear support from others who feel as I do.

Some things in particular that really hit home or strengthened me were:

I still feel that it's been well worth it.

Hearing from people who have actually made this choice and glad that they did is something I don't see enough of. I hear a lot about the difficulties and problems but not as many success stories or how rewarding following your heart on this can be. It helps to hear. So, thanks. I welcome anyone else's testimonies that this has made your life fuller and more rewarding since that is what I am looking for too. (Perhaps the subject of another thread.)

You didn't lose her, she lost you.

So you've imagined, or been force fed, the old tired line that you're selfish, or hedonistic, or uncaring for choosing a poly life rather then the self-denying, sacrificial life of artificial monogamy.

And don't let anyone make you feel guilty for being who you are. If anything, get angry. Works a lot better then guilt.

That your wants, needs, and limits are different than hers? She is a unique individual and so are you. You both have the right to have healthy relationships that you can thrive in. You both have the right to have your romances in the shape that you hope for. That is Life.

If you stay in relationship with her when she wants to be exclusive and you do not, you are not being true to your own want to be free to explore. Compromising your own want to know yourself better to give her hers is not you taking care of you.Galagirl

Thanks to GalaGirl in general for such an involved response. I read it several times and it had so much encouragement for how I was feeling and what I knew I needed to do.

Many relationships and friendships are wrecked because people do not have the courage be themselves, and sometimes it is not having that courage that is the only reason why things didn't work.

Being honest is also the surefire way to know that you are not crazy, that the confusion you feel being torn between a choice is just part of living and it will work itself out.

You did the right thing, you are being true to yourself and her, and you cannot be responsible for her being upset, if you give into now it sets you up for being manipulated and she may not be honest enough with herself to even see it.

People who love you in ways that are healthy, want you to be yourself.

You did and are doing the right thing, have faith in yourself

Dirtclustit, I could have quoted your entire post. (And practically did.) Thank you for such succinct and relevant wisdom. I certainly feel courageous these days. Asking for what I really want while knowing that I may have to lose someone I really care for as a result and doing it anyway? Very new for me. And very good for me.

I am still learning to be comfortable with confusion but the more I do the more I learn from it and the less it worries me.

Most of all, I do have people who love me and you are right because I want the same thing for them!

It sounds like you need to find yourself.

If that is how it used to go up to now, you have some soul-searching to do. And you should take your time doing so. Learn to listen to yourself, to your desires and needs and try to find who you are. For now, even if your polyamorous ideas won't come true for some time or if you find a whole different kind of relationship, it would be an enormous gain to finally know WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU WANT.

This is really at the core of what I needed to hear. What I already knew. I realized that even before the part of me that needs to explore poly there is a more basic need to give the time and energy I have to myself right now. To make that commitment to me and not someone else. I have been on this path for the last year since the end of the most important relationship in my life (4 years, co-habitation, life plans) and I realized that more than anything I still have work to do before I can make a commitment to anyone else. I definitely want that eventually but right now I have to see this journey into my self through. Part of that is a trip that I am taking to Europe for 6 months to vagabond and farm. Alone. This is something I have dreamed of my whole life. Sticking to this dream meant not setting off on another path with someone else who needed more of me than I could give. I heard the term "resource famine" recently and that seemed to describe the first part of why this particular relationship had to end. The second being my fervent desire to direct how I approach my relationships rather than let them direct me.

So, with that said, I made a decision about what I wanted and about how I needed things to proceed. In an email, I explained to her as best I could how I was feeling, what I wanted for my life, and that I would like to be friends but only after a time of No Contact. After writing it, I knew there was nothing more I needed to say and that I felt as solid as I ever have in my understanding of what I want. I am trusting myself and that is without a doubt the most valuable thing that I have learned to do in this past year. I believe it will lead me to the life I dream of. Even if I make a mistake, I would rather make it whole-heartedly and learn from it than constantly wonder if I am making the perfect choice and doubt myself.

I went through some grief about our relationship ending but that has largely passed. I am happy to have more time and energy for myself and others again and I am happy to be in a place where I can make any choice I want for my life without the consent or coercion of anyone. I am dependent only on my friends and family and myself. I feel free.

In the words of Arcade Fire:

"I would rather be wrong, than live in the shadow of your sun. My mind is open wide. Now I'm ready to start."

Thank you everyone. I look forward to being an active member of this community and I am seeking to find one in my city as well. (Minneapolis. Suggestions anyone?)
 
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