My belief in polyamory may have destroyed the best relationship i have ever had.

live4themusic

New member
I am coming here for help because I am pretty distraught over this situation. I have been seeing this girl (for the sake of this post, I will call her Mary) for about 5 months. I love her very much, and I believe she loves me as well.

We just started seeing a relationship counselor 2 weeks ago, because of our fighting and our relationship issues. The reason she gave me for not being able to remain in a relationship with me is the possibility that I might want to see other girls (which we talked about in the last appointment).

I have never cheated on her, or even expressed any interest in another girl as long as I have been with Mary. I did sleep with another girl while I was out of town within a month of dating, when it was still an open relationship. We broke up for a day, and I told her I would be willing to commit to not having sex with anyone else unless she was comfortable with the situation and I had her approval, and also, it was within the context of a romantic interest.

I haven't had any prospects in anyone I would be even interested in casually dating since then. In fact, it's extremely rare for me to connect with anyone the way I do with her. Rare as in, I've really only been in 2 other semi-serious relationships, and neither of those seemed as mature to me as my relationship with Mary has. I have a lot of points of compatibility that are important to me that are rare for anyone to meet.

Nevertheless, I have a hard time deciding that I could close myself off to the possibility of loving someone else just because I love Mary. I've told her this has nothing to do with her, that it's just the way I believe in relationships. She has told me she's not comfortable with this and we broke up today because of it.

I am having a really hard time accepting this situation. Should I compromise my beliefs in polyamorous potential in order to mend my relationship with Mary, or would that just be setting us up for disaster down the line? Should I just get over her and hope that I might one day meet someone else I could love as much as I love her (which at this point seems kind of hopeless to me)?

Please help me out because I don't know anyone who shares my beliefs in polyamory, and it seems like everyone my age in my part of the world is just really immature as far as relationships and emotions are concerned.
 

Quath

New member
It sounds like you can eithr have pain now or pain in the future. I have noticed that since monogamy is assumed, it is more likely for someone to go from monogamy to polyamory. It is rare to go the opposite. (Though it does happen.) It sounds like you have tried to make it work so she could be comfortable with the idea without putting too much pressure. However, it sounds like she doesn't like the long term concept.

All i can suggest is that you can try to get her to check out polyamory with an open mind. Maybe chat on a forum or find a good book. But if she thinks she will be unhappy, it may be best if it goes no further than it has. You are not limiting your love. She is just drawing a boundary and limiting hers.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
I am having a really hard time accepting this situation. Should I compromise my beliefs in polyamorous potential in order to mend my relationship with Mary, or would that just be setting us up for disaster down the line? Should I just get over her and hope that I might one day meet someone else I could love as much as I love her (which at this point seems kind of hopeless to me)?

.

Going against your nature is definitely a road to disaster and more than one broken heart down the line. Do not deny your heart! Get over her in a romantic sense but if there was a good friendship there it would be worth salvaging wouldn't it?

Relationships don't have to be all or nothing. Lots of people survive break-ups and remain friends. Of course there are others that end peacefully and just drift apart and then others that are transformed from love to hate.

If she will be living in fear of even the possibility for you falling in love with someone else, it will be next to impossible for her to move forward. Make sure she is honest with herself when the moment of what next comes up. If she denies her heart disaster will also likely follow and you both could be a lot deeper in love.

Take care
 
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Fidelia

New member
BrotherMan, you have to be true to yourself. Mary has to be true to herself.

If you are truly poly-oriented (and only you can know this), and she truly cannot accept that aspect of who you are (and only she can know that), the choice becomes then, how much of yourself are you willing to repress for the sake of this relationship.

I cannot pretend to know what you should do, but I can say what I think I would do in that situation. I would take my broken heart and sadly walk away. I choose to be fully who I am, and I want my loved ones to be fully who they are, whether we are together or apart.

Whatever you decide, I wish both you and Mary the very best.
 

greenearthal

New member
It sounds like she is truly, unfailingly monogamous. It also sounds like you have been extremely mature and open about your inclinations and desires (which are polyamorous).

So it sounds like the only place where you can exist romantically is back where you were, in a defacto monogamous relationship with you being open and honest about your polyamorous beliefs.

So, the real question is how long do you think you could be happy in a defacto monogamous relationship. Maybe you love her so much that you would actually be happy being a "polyamorous martyr" of sorts. Willing to be defacto monogamous for the love of a woman, but still being a polyamorous person and espousing a belief in polyamory. Or maybe you would grow bitter with that over time. Only you can really figure that out.

I think a lot of us can feel your pain. There are many people here who, to varying degrees, relate to being surrounded by poly intolerance. Maybe you feel so strongly about polyamory that you eventually want to live in Seattle or San Francisco or some other community where poly-friendly attitudes are easier to find.

Again, only you can tell you how strongly you feel in one direction or another.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I am having a really hard time accepting this situation. Should I compromise my beliefs in polyamorous potential in order to mend my relationship with Mary, or would that just be setting us up for disaster down the line? Should I just get over her and hope that I might one day meet someone else I could love as much as I love her (which at this point seems kind of hopeless to me)?

I feel compelled to respond. I compromised my beliefs for my now husband 11 years ago. It HAS been a disaster. I love him, he loves me. We have children and we're both great parents. But in giving up such an integral part of myself I lost something that made me the vibrant woman he fell in love with. Here we are 11 years later in counseling, wondering if we can salvage our relationship and step one was me accepting that I CAN NOT be a monogomous person in my mind just because he wants me to.

It wasn't enough for him that I agreed not to practice poly relationships, he wanted me to stop FEELING that they are ok, BELIEVING that they are ok. I couldn't-so I quit talking about it and ultimately quit talking about a lot of things-because my views on LOTS of topics were affected by the poly beliefs I hold and vice versa.

Ultimately it has caused resentment. Now he's stuck deciding if he can deal with the REAL me and we already have 11 years of responsibilities behind us-so it's not as easy a break if he decides he can't.

I would advise that it's NEVER a good idea to compromise anything that is integral to your personality in order to be with someone. Sometimes love IS NOT enough. You can love someone and not BE with them and sometimes that is preferable!
Compromises should be limited to things that don't destroy your basic self. If you start breaking down your basic self you are also destroying the person that the other person loves and it's just one huge boiling disaster!
 

live4themusic

New member
Thanks to everyone for their input.

I have gotten more comfortable with the situation and am hoping we are going to be able to remain friends for right now at least.

I have considered myself polyamorous for the past 4 years, but never actually put it to practice, i've never dated more than 1 person at a time. But it's still the principle of it for me. I don't know if I could give up on that possibility.. that nagging suspicion, that maybe, MAYBE i'll meet someone else who I love the very same way I already love this person I'm already with. Considering I have only felt romantic love 3 times in my life, and when I am already with one girl I end up spending so much of my time with her I am partially closed off from the rest of the world, it seems unlikely I would meet someone else I might be interested in seriously while in an already serious relationship.

Now, sex, that's a COMPLETELY different matter. I am much more likely to feel a strong sexual connection with a much greater scope of women. At the same time, that's something I can ignore if I'm happy in a relationship and focus on pleasing and being pleased by the person (or people if it ever came to it) in the relationship I am in.

I'm seriously considering making the first move, offering up my polyamorous ideals for another chance at a relationship. But while I'm single again for now I'm determined to enjoy some casual sex at the moment, while I make sure I'm completely ready to make this kind of commitment.


LovingRadiance, just out of curiousity, what exactly was the start of the discontent between you and your husband? I mean what brought you to counseling in the first place? What convinced you to try a sexually and romantically exclusive relationship? Do you think if you had stood your ground then you would have been able to stay with your now-husband in a nonmonogamous relationship? Was the happiness you've enjoyed with him worth the potential happiness with other people you may have missed out on?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I may still have to learn the lesson you've learned at the cost of 11 years of your life the hard way though. Like I said I'm still deciding, and am determine at least to take advantage of the situation to indulge my sexual wild side, but I'm seriously thinking I could very well be happy in a permanent monogamous relationship.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
LovingRadiance, just out of curiousity, what exactly was the start of the discontent between you and your husband? I mean what brought you to counseling in the first place? What convinced you to try a sexually and romantically exclusive relationship? Do you think if you had stood your ground then you would have been able to stay with your now-husband in a nonmonogamous relationship? Was the happiness you've enjoyed with him worth the potential happiness with other people you may have missed out on?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I may still have to learn the lesson you've learned at the cost of 11 years of your life the hard way though. Like I said I'm still deciding, and am determine at least to take advantage of the situation to indulge my sexual wild side, but I'm seriously thinking I could very well be happy in a permanent monogamous relationship.

Whew-lot of questions. ;) Bare with me while i try to answer sensibly!

The START of discontent in our relationship... honestly it was there from the beginning in a way. In the beginning while I was honest about myself-he was in the midst of what ended up being a 9 year custody battle for his son. A child I love as well (and have ended up raising too). Having a polyamorous marriage would certainly not have helped him win that battle, but being married-ironically-did. So there was discontent there from the beginning-but it was "for a good cause" so to speak and there was so much more.
His ex was hooked on some heavy drugs (they both used during their 9 year relationship). She had a bad habit of selling herself for her drugs and he was emotionally very fragile when we got involved. I felt it was REASONABLE to "give him time" to get over his emotional issues. We have known each other for 21 years or so, we have been together 11, so I knew his situation, his son, his life etc before we got involved-and he knew mine reasonably well.
Unfortunately as I said-his custody battle ended up going 9 years into our marriage. He started "running away" to out of town jobs and anything at all to get away from the stress leaving me with his emotionally destoyed son. I love hte boy-but he needed serious psychological care-and I wasn't legally able to get it for him. The ex-wife tried to kidnap my kids (twice). A whole load of crap.
As years dragged on I did have an affair (about year 3) and then we seperated for a year.
Things have improved bits at a time in the years since. But the last straw leading to counseling was his inability to appropriately communicate-and my unwillingness to continue to subject myself to a relationship with someone who didn't respect and love me (or himself) enough to work on self improvement and getting over his past.
So we started counseling-which is amazingly changing his view on many things as he realizes how much of life he's missed out on while hiding from his own past.

I adore my husband-and no I wouldn't give up the good things we've experienced or have NOW. But I still think I would have been better off standing my ground then... I guess it's all .... perspective.
Anyway-I could have had a happy loving relationship with him even if I stood my ground, and I don't care about the possible loves I missed-because I don't know them. But I don't know that I could have lived with knowing I caused him to lose custody of his son to a drug addict who never could care for the boy... And I don't think he could have handled it at all. :( He just wasn't ready for that. He may not be still-time will tell. He has time to consider what he can or can't do and as I've told him-if he says "sorry honey I love you but I can't do this" then we will seperate as friends. I could never hate him. He will always have a treasured place in my heart whatever he decides.

I HOPE he finds that he CAN handle a poly-relationship. But I am not counting on it. Either way-I love him and always will. But I have to be fully honest about myself-to myself and everyone else as well. I am in fact fully honest about it to the people in my life as well. I don't broadcast that we HAVE a poly relationship-because really that would be a slap in the face for him while he's trying to get used to the idea. But everyone who knows me knows I am poly by nature. ....

did that answer your questions? I hope that helped some. I have had a heck of a confusing life and don't mind answering any questions-just don't always know HOW to express it all without writing a book! :eek:
 

live4themusic

New member
As a matter of fact, that was a very helpful post. Thank you LovingRadiance

I still don't know my position on the matter, but it seems like we all have to find what we are comfortable with. Some people may be polyamorous by nature, most of us may be monoamorous by nature. Maybe there is also an in between. Maybe I can find comfort in a monogamous relationship, and maybe Mary can find comfort in a polyamorous relationship, if we set the right boundaries.

While I think I could be comfortable in any kind of poly relationship, I think the one the resonates most strongly with me is where the entire relationship is treated as one cohesive unit, which is supported by the individual relationships within it rather than supporting them. I guess what I mean is, I could see myself in a relationship with 2 other people, if both of them also were comfortable and wanted a relationship with each other. If a girl I was involved with wanted to bring a guy into a relationship, for example, I would really feel most comfortable if it was a guy I could see myself loving as well (although I am 99% not sexually attracted to men, I would definitely think myself capable of expressing affection and love with them in nonsexual ways -- if it was one of the rare men I would even consider some limited sexual relationship with possible then even better). Similarly, if I was in a relationship, I would feel most comfortable bringing another girl into it if my current partner(s) also felt the same way about them.

So I'm hoping I can offer the following concession: I would be willing to get back with Mary in for all intensive purposes a monogamous relationship with a couple caveats: if either of us meet someone we believe we would both be capable of experiencing love with we discuss the interest amongst ourselves first. After both of us have come into contact with the person of interest we could consider dating them individually or as a couple if we are both interested in that person. Otherwise, neither of us will act on any interest in anyone else outside the relationship at any point.

Does this sound reasonable? Does this sound like the kind of thing a primarily monogamous person would be capable of? Obviously I will have to ask her this, but it seems to me that it's a fair agreement on my part because if she is not also interested in whoever I'm interested, all she has to do is tell me and I won't pursue them.
 

JonnyAce

New member
"if she is not also interested in whoever I'm interested, all she has to do is tell me and I won't pursue them. "

i think the one problem with this concession, is that if she truly is wired monogamously, then she might not even allow herself to be interested in someone else, so you might get stuck where she's constantly turning down prospective partners.
 

live4themusic

New member
I think she might be willing to give it a try if she feels she could be interested in them for a couple of reasons:

-one is a previous incident early on in our relationship (which of a 5-month relationship I guess means the first month). It's a long story that might be out of place here, but I guess I'll skim over it: A girl who I was friends with (and had had some sexual contact with prior to my relationship with Mary, but who leans toward lesbianism despite generally identifying as bi) was at a pool party I was hosting. Mary and this girl, let's call her Minnie, started making out in the pool, one thing led to another, and we all ended up sleeping in the same bed that night, although the sexual contact was pretty much between myself and Mary, and Minnie and Mary, not between me and Minnie. Minnie actually fell pretty hard for Mary, I told both of them at separate times that I of course had no objections to them dating (and both of them separately told me they would be comfortable with that arrangement as well) and they went on a date. About a week later during a night out, Mary confided in me that Minnie had asked Mary to leave me for her (because she couldn't handle sharing her or something), and that Mary had told Minnie she believed they should just be friends if possible. (this actually ended my friendship with Minnie as far as I was concerned cause that seems like a pretty low move on any friend's part to me)

-the other thing is, I think Mary's fear of a polyamorous arrangement stems mostly from her fear of abandonment or being left. She takes medication for rejection anxiety, and every time the subject comes up she gets extremely hurt because she equates the possibility that I might want to date another woman as meaning I might get tired of her and want to leave her for another woman. I think if she was comfortable with the fact that I would only even consider it if she would also be comfortable with it and could possibly love the new interest, she would be ok with the idea and willing to at least give it a try if the situation came up. This would be the difference for her between opening up to the possibility of sharing (or competing as she views it) for my love, and just bringing more love into the relationship (which she would also be part of)

I think if I met someone else I think would be a good addition to the relationship, if Mary felt differently I would lose interest in that person. If I really believe down the line that Mary is vetoing prospects out of seriously and permanently being wired monogamously, we may be better off dealing with that difference then.

I'm sure this is all very confusing. I've probably spent hundreds of hours trying to figure out myself, Mary, and our relationship, but it definitely helps to have feedback from other people with similar understandings of relationships. This forum is definitely helping me see that even if things don't end up working out between Mary and I, at least there ARE people like me and I'm not completely crazy or hopeless in the world of love because of the way I am. Thank you all!
 
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JonnyAce

New member
The situation you described with Minnie/Mary definitely sheds some light on the situation, and helps me understand why you think your proposed model of polyamory would work for you, and her. As has been said on this forum over, and over there is no right way to be polyamorous, as long as it works for all parties involved.

Also i greatly respect that you feel that if Mary wasn't interested in someone, then you would lose interest. i hope that is the case in reality, as i know it's hard to just shut off interest in someone. It's obvious to me that you've thought long and hard about this, and i applaud you for finding this forum, and opening up to all of us.
 

Fidelia

New member
Address the competition issue. If Mary understands there is no competition involved, she may feel very different about things.
 

live4themusic

New member
Well, I think Mary and I may have similar taste in women at least. I also trust her judgement with people, so I think if she had a bad feeling from a woman I was interested in, that would cause me to reconsider.

Would you have a problem with the women you want to date being with other men? It sounds like you would if mary did.

What would possibly lead you to believe that? Are you making this assumption because I'm (comparatively) young? Because I'm new to this message board and so I obviously must be coming in here looking for a second woman to join our relationship? I didn't specify any kind of condition on the gender of person I would enter into a relationship with.

live4themusic said:
If a girl I was involved with wanted to bring a guy into a relationship, for example, I would really feel most comfortable if it was a guy I could see myself loving as well (although I am 99% not sexually attracted to men, I would definitely think myself capable of expressing affection and love with them in nonsexual ways -- if it was one of the rare men I would even consider some limited sexual relationship with possible then even better). Similarly, if I was in a relationship, I would feel most comfortable bringing another girl into it if my current partner(s) also felt the same way about them.

That's just the fact of the matter. I WOULD feel uncomfortable if someone I loved also wanted to date another guy (or girl) who I believed to be bad news. I wouldn't object to it, but I wouldn't be dishonest about my feelings on the situation if asked. There are men that I absolutely have the capacity to love and even some who I may feel a mild sexual attraction toward. Any of those would be wholeheartedly embraced by me.

If a girl I loved wanted to date someone I believed to be immature or inconsiderate, well, if they make them happy, that makes me happy, but I would still be uncomfortable and would not also want a relationship with that person.

Regarding salvaging my relationship with Mary, I'm not really interested in just dating. When I'm single, I like casual dating for fun, company, and good sex, but I just don't see myself being seriously involved with 99.99% of women I know. I also don't think in a relationship I would really have any desire to add another person to the relationship, unless it was someone I had gotten to know incidentally over a long period of time and felt deep love for already. So I think if I were to know someone well enough that I thought they would be a good addition to an already existing relationship, I could bring it up with Mary and if they are so compatible with me, they probably will be with her as well.

I also think I need to talk to her about the possibility of trying out swinging later in the relationship if we both want to, but that's a completely unrelated topic, and also not nearly as important to me because sex if fun, but love is what makes the world go round. In the ultimate scheme of things love is the important thing.
 

redpepper

New member
What would possibly lead you to believe that? Are you making this assumption because I'm (comparatively) young? Because I'm new to this message board and so I obviously must be coming in here looking for a second woman to join our relationship? I didn't specify any kind of condition on the gender of person I would enter into a relationship with.

um, I was just asking.

You didn't mention how you would feel if she dated a man... so I thought I'd ask.

Does it upset you to think about that and be questioned about that.... or am I reading into your annoyance?

Just that some men seem to be okay with themselves dating other women and their women dating other women, or bringing another woman into their relationship as you had mentioned; even bringing another man into their relationship, but struggle most of all with their woman having another male partner.... so I just wondered if this is so for you, ... out of interest... and because I have three male partners, and no female one :)().... its a perspective that I find interesting is all.
 

live4themusic

New member
I have no problem with you asking. You also said 'it sounds like you would if Mary did'

I was just asking you what led you to that conclusion?

I also thought I had already answered that question contrary to what you interpreted (which is why I was wondering what part of what I said led you to believe that). I would have no problem with her dating another man as long as honesty in the relationship(s) was maintained by all involved, and all of us were able to continue having our expectations from the relationship met. My PREFERRED relationship would be one in which all members of the relationship love each other. Models where there is a person at the center of their lovers, who are not necessarily involved with each other do not appeal to me. At the same time, I haven't felt the slightest twinge of jealousy for someone I loved since shortly after high school when I realized that jealousy for someone you love goes against the principle of loving them (if you love them you want them to be happy). I would have no problem entering into a relationship like that, it just isn't my preferred model because it seems like it would put a lot of pressure on the person in the center to meet all the expectations of their lovers.

I'm not saying it's against my preferences because I don't think it could work; I'm sure it can. It just seems to me like I would have an easier time managing in a relationship where all members are equally involved.
 

redpepper

New member
I guess your reference to me thinking that your age and newness to this forum was of significance made me think that there was a tone to your questions....

I get it now and get where you are at too :)

I'm not sure what you mean by, "It just seems to me like I would have an easier time managing in a relationship where all members are equally involved" when talking about a "V" relationship....? could you expand please? I am not experiencing a LACK of involvement where my "V" is concerned. Quite the contrary....

I'm not sure I agree with you about jealousy. You were saying that, "jealousy for someone you love goes against the principle of loving them (if you love them you want them to be happy)." I think you are right in a simplistic way, but jealousy indicates fear, self preservation, the preservation of a love relationship, loss of what once was, sadness over the loss of what once was, anger over a lovers seeming lack of love for you etc.... it is very powerful in that it is a mixture of many emotions in one.

I think it's great that you are able to have compersion, but be careful about simplifying the power of jealousy. It can be harnessed to achieve great things in terms of knowing yourself and how strong your relationship really is. It can also indicate that there is something wrong in the relationship or in the relationship of your lover and their other lover.

There is nothing wrong with it or bad about it. It is very human and shows that we too can be humbled by our less desirable emotions....

I think I might start a thread on the topic of jealousy again. It comes up often and my opinion has changed with time about it.
 

live4themusic

New member
Well maybe I wasn't clear. My preferred relationship doesn't have to involve 3 people but if it did, it would be a triad, NOT a V (I don't like using these labels though, that's why I referred to them the way I did [and I'm not saying I would be unwilling to participate in a V either])

I think you seem to have the same understanding of jealousy as me as far as it being a selfish and self-preserving emotion goes.

I think I have a different take on relationships than most (even polyamorous) people.

The way I look at it, I am ALWAYS involved in an intimate relationship... with myself.

That's the one relationship I'll always have and won't have to worry about going anywhere.

I'm also CRAZY about myself and completely happy with just myself, but not to the extent of narcissism where I treat other people badly or am incapable of loving others. My circle of love can be expanded to fit any number of people.

So I'm never really afraid of being left by anyone. If they are happy with someone else who isn't me and I love them, I am happy for them, not jealous.

Anger is something I might feel in a relationship if I was lied to, not if the other person genuinely grew apart from me.

I'm not saying jealousy doesn't exist as an emotion. I want things other people have sometimes. I might be jealous of a person for their money, their job, their lack of complications in life, their health.

But if I love someone, I don't feel jealous of them any more. I'm just happy for them for the things they have. I may experience desire to spend time with them, and some of this desire may originate from selfish interest because of the good feelings that person makes me experience. In absence of these feelings, I may feel loneliness, or boredom. Jealousy doesn't connote any of these things to me though.

To me jealousy is more than loneliness and boredom, it's a feeling of wanting something you don't have that someone else does. If someone I love is happy spending time with someone who isn't me, my feeling of happiness for them completely overrides any desire for them. I WANT them to experience that happiness. I guess there may be some situations in which I would experience jealousy again (of someone I love), but I haven't encountered one in 5-6 years.
 

redpepper

New member
Please feel free to write about jealousy on the thread I started in general discussions :)

I'm not so sure that you are all that different than people when it comes to a relationship to yourself... perhaps you have discovered this earlier in your life though... which is awesome! But it isn't different.

I hear what you are saying about jealousy and would agree with you at one point in my life, however, for me, when I fall in love with someone so completely and deeply so as to not be able to go on without their presence in my life I feel differently about jealousy. I used to feel shameful in that as it seemed weak, but now I honour that I can love so fully and with wholeness. Like it is with my whole body and on a soul level. I still have myself and still know that it is me who I need to rely on. I leave myself a path to be able to look after myself first (financially, in terms of having my own friends, place to live etc) but put everything into loving them. There is nothing wrong with loving that way, just not in putting myself in danger. Jealousy shows me that that love is real.
 
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