Poly Lessons We've Learned

Derbylicious

New member
When you were talking to them you did it out of a place of concern for them and not out of a place of wanting to take revenge on your ex. I also think that you told them because YOU would have appreciated your friends telling you if someone you were dating has issues commuincating. Did you see them this weekend? Is that what has brought this back up for you? If the friendship is meant to be they will come around. You made the best desision you could with the information you had available to you at the time.

As for your ex talking about you and rolling his eyes behiend your back, that's part of the reason he's an ex. He's the type of person who will do that. Try not to take it too much to heart. Does it matter what he thinks anyway? You're a good, caring person with tons of people around you who love and respect you. If he doesn't, so what, that's his loss.
 

redpepper

New member
Thanks sweets. Actually quite the contrary, its the first time I am able to think about it without feeling anything. That's a good sign. I did have good intentions, but that doesn't mean it was the right choice. I doubt I will do that again.

Most people aren't able to see that someone might be good intentioned and patiently say they are thankful, take the info away and form their own opinion without judgement of anyone and come out on the otherside safely and without change. Really, if there is to be judgement and distruction of a relationship, I would rather it be directed away from me. I seemed to of put a target on myself when I allowed myself to be that vulnerable in assuming they would appreciate my thoughts and info. Next time I will let people know I dated someone and that's it. If they have questions, they can come and ask. This time I directed any negative stuff towards me. I imagine it created a focal point of their negativity instead of really investigating this guy. Yup, not doing that again.
 

redpepper

New member
I took a giant leap of faith this morning, trusting myself for the first time in my life.

Last night, we had a friend over and we talked a lot about the situation. He is very monogamous, like me, and in a way argued my case to my partner. I think this really helped her open up more and say things she wouldn't have, out of fear of hurting me more. I learned a few new things, and for the first time in this I saw a flicker of honesty on her face when she told me that I control her relationship with her boyfriend. I have set rules, they have obliged, I have moved them, they have gratiously accepted, been thankful and moved on. The flicker of honesty on her face though, showed how much this hurts her.
This morning, I had a dream where I was drowning in a river (my own metaphors coming back to haunt me) and she was standing on the bank. I reached out for help, but all I heard her saying was "you control this relationship", and I sank deeper. Now, I'm not saying this was a particularly spiritual moment, but I woke up feeling dishonest and cruel. How can I move forward when I have one foot on the brake, and one on the accelerator, both stomping like there's no tomorrow?
The last thing I read on the forum yesterday was the quote "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours, if not, it never was.".
This morning I told my partner I'm setting her free. No rules, no boundaries but her own, she is free to be what she is. I have my own boundaries, and will respect them. Those who have read my earlier ramblings might know the setting of our relationship, the upside-down'ness of it, where my partner experienced deep and true love with him before they even got to touch or kiss each other. In that sense, the scary and truly dangerous part is already out in the open, their deep love. I do however see that I have kept a tether on the bird's leg, and this morning I cut that off. It was the scariest thing I've done so far, and at the same time it has really increased my peace inside, and made me even prouder of myself. I know that for every step from here on in, I can pat my own back, and it'll feel true. And every time my fantastic partner, and her amazing boyfriend says "thank you for giving us this", it'll be true and real, and I can take it to heart.

I know I have soooo much work ahead of me, and much pain, but I finally feel like I'm treating my partner as an equal, truly respecting her for what she is and finally treating myself as her equal. I can in time start expecting things and make demands, as can she. This is now hers, not mine. We had a really good 3some-day thursday, as I have mentioned in another post, and it made me feel hope. It made me want something more out of life.

Now, if anyone can invent an anti-NRE spray, I'll douse them both, so that we can move on. :) I owe my life to this forum, the help I've received have been amazing, I cannot imagine what this would've been like without you people around me. Thank you!

by removing myself from that equation, I give her back control over her life. She's not controlled directly by me, but rather by how she feels about pushing her own boundaries, and balancing that against how much pain I might be in at that particular point in time.
This was posted in another thread today but I thought it was worth repeating here.

This story is like the door opening to freedom. Letting go like this and trusting, not letting fear and programming get in the way of our lives is really important to poly dynamics working. Its hard to get to for some, but so worth it. It changes everything. Nothing is ever the same after that and it only gets better. :)
 

sagency

New member
RP asked me to share the story of me and my mono's relationship as a potential lesson:

I'm the poly in a successful poly-mono relationship. I have personal association with other poly-mono relationships. Perhaps I was not applying a scientific level of data analysis to the global poly-mono pool, but I was aiming for reassurance that there are workable situations.

As for how it works, I believe the major factors are the people and the effort. Luckily, I have had many disastrous relationships to learn from, and I have always been analytical about things, so I likely have a higher than average (for normal folk but maybe just normal for poly folk) awareness about relationships.

The people aspect is pretty clear. Some people are hardwired. Some are hardwired straight, some gay. Some are hardwired poly, some mono. Guys out there should give up trying to "cure" lesbians, and ladies should not worry about (and are generally smart enough not to in the first place) converting gay men. That doesn't work, yes? Some folks are in the middle and may be predominantly one way or the other but can be swayed. The same goes for poly and mono nature.

The issue there is two hardwired mismatches. A mono wanting to fix a poly is trouble. A poly wanting to free a mono is trouble. Short term stuff might work, but friction causes pain in the long term. I'm not going to worry about trying to free a mono just like I'm not going to tell a lesbian or a homosexual man that they should try some variety. I also am not going to put myself in a position (again) where I'm with a mono who is going to want to fix me. Learning to recognize the difference and choose an applicable partner is definitely a skill, and sometimes we learn it only after we're in love.

My mono is awesome. I spent years dealing with depression and self-destruction, but even when I want to do bad things to me I'm positive when it comes to my mono. Having a positive attitude is important. Yep, she's an idiot sometimes. Sometimes she forgets to use her "out loud" voice when telling me important stuff. But overall we're good for each other. She is also not a hardwired mono. Let's call her a softwired mono, or maybe you'd say "mono-friendly." She's not likely to ever be poly herself in the full sense, but she understands and accepts the way I am. Yes, this is rare; it adds to her awesome. So I avoided the mistake of being with a hardwired mono (even though I am mono-friendly).

The next part is effort. Talk talk talk. Oh my god, poly folks talk so much I want to just strangle them sometimes. But communication is rule #1 (right? Maybe #2. I'm sure someone will speak up if it's not #1.). We talk about everything that any normal couple would or should talk about. We also talk about what's going on with me and others. I don't make the mistake of oversharing though, and she doesn't dig into details. Her personality (see part 1: people) is such that details are not needed. I've seen many folk get obsessed about the details to negative effect (does it matter who's what went where if you're happy with you what where as is? Whose is bigger or is tighter doesn't matter if everyone is happy. Any difference from my mono just makes me appreciate my mono's uniqueness.). We try our best to be proactive in our talking. No waiting for later, and we understand that we always share based on love and respect.

Beyond talk, you must have action. I make a point to translate any NRE or potential NRE that I feel for someone into energy that my mono receives. Thus, any relationship or potential that comes up causes her a direct benefit. Thinking about how delicious someone else adds to my own hunger for my mono. Beside the obvious benefit, this reassures her that she is and always will be a part of my life. Frankly, the influx of NRE reminds me that my first (think primary in a nonhierarchical way for ya'll pedantic folks) relationship also deserves wooing and fun. One of our simple rules is that when either of us comes home, the coming home person is responsible for seeking out the other and giving them a kiss. It's a simple thing, but it constantly reminds us to connect. Even when I give energy somewhere else, I always try to remind my mono how important and attractive she is. Too many times I've seen polys let NRE blind them to the lovely they have right there already. The NRE may get more E, but that no one gets left out in the cold.

Another success factor is selection. Along with NRE-blindness, I've seen polys make partner choices based on personal preference alone. When you're in a poly situation, you don't get to think only of yourself (IMHO). So when I'm looking at a potential partner (yeah for mono who gets that bonus energy!), part of what I'm evaluating is how that person would integrate with the existing situation. This doesn't mean moving in or group time necessarily. It's a recognition that we all react to personalities differently. Will this new person's personality affect me in a way that will negatively impact others? Is this situation likely to be stable or sane enough for all? And most importantly: is this someone that my mono (who knows me well) would be reasonably (maybe not perfectly but with some insight) able to understand why we're attracted? If the person doesn't get along, move on. If the situation is likely to be full of emo and crazy, move on. If my mono would look and her and think, "Wtf, dude!?" move on. When I make good choices that take me and my mono in consideration, then we're way less likely to raise the stress level greatly, and she's reminded that even her poly's mono is important.

That's how we work in a nutshell. I actually found out just this week that she had been to this site over a year ago to read and lurk. Last night I was telling her about a cute freckled woman that showed up on the radar (bonus energy) and asked why she was looking at poly sites. Her response, "It's how you are; I wanted to learn more." In retrospect, I felt like an idiot asking why she'd be doing research. Duh. She's very thorough about things that are important to her.

For the record, I've been in poly relationships (interspersed with mono ones) for over 16 years now. I finally gave up on trying to fit the mono mould and began self-identifying as poly (without intention of ever trying to be mono again) about five years ago. My mono and I have been together for about four and a half years, married one and a half with a six-month old son and two cats. I also like lasagna, freckles, and intelligence. :D
 
Last edited:

sagency

New member
Sagency's Guide to a Less Screwed-Up Life: Question #1

Life question #1
Is this a level of crazy I'm willing to deal with?

Much of what we face in life is based on our choices. Our choices affect our environment. This is true for us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sometimes the added complication of the crazy is worth it, sometimes it's not. Either way, if you're accepting crazy into your life, do so knowing that the choice is yours.

Example: I've had friends (and family) who were downright toxic to me. As long as I chose to be near those folk, my life was full of unnecessary drama and angst. Sometimes it's their habits that annoy me or incite me to bad things. Sometimes it's their own need for constant drama and angst that threatens my overall chill. Drama and angst was what I knew much of growing up, so I thought it was normal. I eventually learned I could choose to reduce drama and angst (collectively called "level of crazy"). By regulating how much crazy I choose around me, I find that I can be a much more stable person myself and can therefore be more resilient and helpful when the crazy comes looking for me anyway.
 

sagency

New member
Sagency's Guide to a Less Screwed-Up Life: Question #2

Life question #2
Is this a really question I want the answer to? (a.k.a. If there is no good answer, should I ask the question?)

Sometimes we seek things that do nothing but upset us when we would have been fine without ever asking. Humans are curious creatures. That curiosity isn't always helpful when it leads us to do things we know are hurtful. Yes, that hot pot will burn you--it's hot. Maybe it's best if we leave some things alone--maybe not forever, but maybe for right now is a good idea.

Example: The classic example is someone asking, "Do you love me?". There are two answers: yes and no. If the answer is "yes," why did you have to ask? Feeling insecure? Jealous? Needy? If the answer is "no," what now? Were you not happy without having to articulate the question? Did having an answer actually help? Can you not be mutually happy in the presence of someone else and not have to saddle it with potentially weighted words?

Example: For polys, "what did you do with X?" Some folks are fine with details. Some folks think about details and freak. Some need details to keep imaginations in check. We all learn over time what our comfort level is as far as detail goes. If you know that asking for details is realistically going to upset you, then perhaps you shouldn't. And if you know that a partner wants more or less detail, then perhaps you should set your communication to that level. Sometimes "Did you have fun?" "Yes, X send his/her regards." is plenty.
 

GroundedSpirit

New member
When it finally all clicks in !

Here is a great clip that I find representative of the overwhelming feeling we get when a new paradigm finally clicks in - makes sense.........


...................
but I wasn't open to him being poly then. I didn't even really know it was an option. So, I had fought them, and he gave her up for me. It's been tearing them both up, because they really do love one another. She completes a part of him that I can't and I complete a part of him that she can't. When he had us both last year, before I found out and ruined it, he was the happiest I had seen him in a long time. So, we will be talking to A. I will be the one to break the ice on that subject, so that she knows where everything stands. She and I have been rebuilding our friendship (I love her like a sister!!) for a few months now. I am actually EXTREMELY excited to talk to her. Even when they had their affair, she would always tell my hubby, "This can't ruin your marriage. You love your wife too much, she loves you too much, and I love you both too much." Oh, if I had only been wiser then!! I really can't wait to bring A in as a partner in the ultimate goal of happiness and love. I miss her and her kids so badly!!

We spend a lot of time on the board discussing the complications & struggles of moving towards poly understanding & living.

What I think we don't talk enough about is that elation we (if lucky) find when we finally "get there". I've borrowed the above snippet from a thread I was participating in that really illustrates how wonderful and releasing it is when we realize we CAN build something where everyone wins ! When we're all on the same page working towards the same goal and outcome. And how beautiful that feels.

I think for those who have 'gotten there' you know it's a feeling that's hard to describe.

I would encourage any of you who do understand that to contribute YOUR stories and feelings to this thread.

Thanks in advance to the OP who I borrowed from. I hope this was acceptable because as I say, stories like this are SO important for everyone to hear - especially those who question whether they can ever truly "get there".

The answer as you point out is a resounding YES !

GS
 

redpepper

New member
After three years? There is no mono, there is no poly, there are just people with an idea of how to have relationships.... finding out what that relationship style is and seeing if it can work together, or readjusting the style of relationship you have with someone is what its all about I think.

To me there is a way I want to have relationships; open and honest in communication, partners that value integrity, mutual respect and consideration of others, caring and concern for the well being of others... etc. All these things are not mono or poly, they are the foundation of good relationships to me... I chose to have relationships with people, not with how they identify in terms of mono or poly.
 
Last edited:

redpepper

New member
Jealousy

I get asked often and people ask often here about how to deal with jealousy and how to help their partners through it. I wrote a PM to someone recently and wanted to pass on what I said here... I think we have talked of jealousy on this thread before, but I can't find it.... excuse me if this is a bit of a repeat. :eek:

Walking through jealousy is all that can be done really.... It takes time, patience and a whole lot of consideration/empathy/compassion... from partners. Avoiding doesn't seem to make it go away and tends to prolong the process it seems.

Really jealousy is a culmination of many emotions that glob together and aim to confuse and make the person distraught. Sorting all of the emotions out and dealing with one at a time can be helpful. It seems that mostly jealousy is fear of loss and fear of change. There is also sometimes abandonment stuff in there for people also; not trusting that there will be enough time or love for them.

There is also sometimes a large component of realizing just how dependant one is on ones partner for some simple life things such as companionship. It seems that a partner that is feeling jealous and goes about finding others to spend time with, or spending time with themselves doing stuff they love, fair well once the jealous feelings pass. At some point its important to lesson the talking and getting about getting the jealous partner out to create a life that works by getting some of their needs met elsewhere or spreading out what they do to other people in their life.

Lastly there is a huge relief in jealousy sometimes if the person meets and gets to know the object of relationship desire that their partner is focussing on. Sometimes that is all it takes is to see that the big scary person that their partner is loving is just human and likely struggling with some stuff too.

It seems that setting boundaries, working together to pin point what the real issues are working on those, is the best bet to be able to walk through jealousy.
 

Senga

New member
After three years? There is no mono, there is no poly, there are just people with an idea of how to have relationships.... finding out what that relationship style is and seeing if it can work together, or readjusting the style of relationship you have with someone is what its all about I think.

To me there is a way I want to have relationships; open and honest in communication, partners that value integrity, mutual respect and consideration of others, caring and concern for the well being of others... etc. All these things are not mono or poly, they are the foundation of good relationships to me... I chose to have relationships with people, not with how they identify in terms of mono or poly.


Well said, sounds like the conclusion I have come to also. I read a lot of stories, & pretty much everything I can get my hands on about polyamory & relationships, (thus my long hours browsing the internet so much so that I really need to take a break or it will become an obsession. haha) But I also had a conversation about jealousy with a friend, Im just going to copy/paste that here:

I wouldn't say Every time a newer relationship experiences jealousy that is the End of it all, but it does take a certain amount of confidence and courage to make it over the top of the hill & to see beyond initial selfish reactions that a lot of people do not think is worth the effort.

Although my experience with jealousy is relatively small, I have experienced it a few times myself & as well as my partners feeling it. I think you describe the feeling perfectly as a "threat", since I believe that this "jealous" feeling that crops up in many ways is actually a natural phenomena, ie, the body signals a POSSIBLY threatening situation & allerts it to your brain. The brain interprets it as pain. Surly we can find ways to deal with our automatic responce with intelligence. I believe pain is not necessarily a bad thing, it helps protect us, and hones our skills for staying out of trouble.

In my case, I seldomly feel jealousy, but when I do, I usually deal with it fairly quickly because I am ready for it. I think that awareness is the first step in fixing any problem, so this has really encouraged me to get to know myself & what makes me tick. When I start feeling strange, I go to my room by myself & think about it. Then I talk about it with my partner. I usually feel better once he simply understands, but sometimes we work out what we can try to do differently.

I think perhaps in my past partner's experience, the jealous feelings stemmed from the fear that he was getting a raw deal, embarrasment, & that I did not love him as much as my other partner. This fear eventually led to our breakup since his solution was to try to gain more power/control over me.

With any relationship, there is the potential for painful feelings & good feelings. However, when you add more people/ more relationships (which by the way, grows exponentially) with polyamory, then you get even more variables squeezed into a smaller time window so that is why it may seem that polyamory is so fast paced, intense, and an emotional rollercoaster to some.
 

redpepper

New member
I wrote this elsewhere and while I did so I realized that perhaps the discussion of vetos and the lessons learned by them has not been discussed here.So I am re-posting. Please feel free to add thoughts and comments.
Vetos are not really advised. They are very tricky. On the outside they appear to create some stability and control of emotions and what happens but when it comes down to actually using them they cause more damage than good.

My experience with them has taught me that I prefer to trust my partners that they will consider my boundaries and opinions and make a decision that is good for all of us rather than for just themselves. There have been times where I have had the need to point out different ways of seeing my partners love interest that have meant they have ended a relationship because they hadn't noticed, but I have never said flat out that they cannot see them because I said so. Because we trusted each other and had each others best interest in mind, including the other person involved, a choice was made out of that, not out of an imbalance of control.

I have found that vetos create deception. Communication goes well until the one that has veto rights decides they don't want their partner to see a person, put their foot down and then the communication stops and feelings, thoughts, negotiating boundaries are not discussed any more. The idea is to keep talking. Vetos keep that from happening in my experience.

There is also the other persons feelings to consider. How would it feel to know that someone has vetoed you? Very hurtful. Poly to me is about creating more love and connection, not leaving people wounded and more damaged. Sure, maybe the person is considered to be less than perfect by the partner that has veto power but that doesn't give them a right to express that openly to them by saying, "sorry sucker, you're out!"

I would suggest that you create boundaries that address your wife's need to take things slowly, be involved enough to know who you are interested in, what she would like considered if she is struggling and how to make sure anyone you are interested in spending time with is treated with respect regardless if they are a good match for you.

Dating other people is a group effort between all involved, not a couple calling all the shots and the new person just sucking it up and taking the dregs of what they get in my opinion. People deserve and are entitled to love, support, caring, consideration and respect for who they are and what their life experience has brought them. Honouring them right from the beginning in this way means that in turn that is given back. Its a good foot to stand on when starting a new relationship I think. Its served me well any how.
 

AnnabelMore

Active member
In the same boat as RP, I posted this elsewhere and realized it could be applicable to more people. The subject is not putting constraints on what a relationship is allowed to become, written to a married woman who was afraid of saying "I love you" to her new female lover because she had no intention of committing to the woman in the same way as to her husband and didn't want her husband to feel replaced.

* * *

The key thing here is communication, which, luckily, it seems like you all are quite good at. As long as your husband knows that "I love her" doesn't mean "I am planning to run off with her" or "You are no longer as pivotally important to my emotional and practical life as you once were" and as long as she knows that "I love you" doesn't mean "I am going to forsake other commitments to be with you" or even "I am capable of committing to you beyond the commitments I've already made", then you should be just fine.

Of course, the idea that love can be fine doesn't mean you should rush it. It may well be that what you have right now is a very close, loving friendship of the kind you might have with a "best friend", that also happens to involve sex. If it's not "romantic" that is perfectly fine and that sort of loving friendship is wonderful in my book. But that doesn't mean that at some point you won't find yourself doodling her name in the margins of your notebook with a heart in place of a dot over the "i", if you get what I'm saying... it might evolve into something that feels romantic, something that makes you burn to hold her close and whisper "I love you" and take her out to a fancy restaurant and hold hands all night and stare deeply into each other's eyes.

If the day comes that you realize you feel that and you want that, and your reaction is gut-wrenching fear, you may do something you'll deeply regret later, like cut her out of your life.

And the thing is, that fear is completely unnecessary. My gf and I first traded ILU's about 6 months into our relationship. It was spontaneous and really special and I won't ever forget it... and it didn't change one single thing about her relationship with her husband. He is still her life partner, they're still on track with the life they planned. I am not her life partner, and we have no plans for that to change (though neither have we closed the door on it some day being a possibility... more on that later).

What does love mean in that sort of context, what does commitment mean?

To me, loving her as "more than a friend" means I have a strong emotional reaction to her joy and her distress, I delight in surprising her and caring for her, I consider her before I consider most people in my life, I think of time with her as something that I won't do without if there's any alternative at all, and I wanna kiss her and hold her and touch her and such. :)

Commitment for us actually means something very similar to what you posted regarding your agreements with your friend/lover, that we tell each other about things and consider each other carefully. For me it also goes beyond that into having made a personal commitment to sticking with this and supporting her until/unless she wants to end it or life events should push us apart (somebody gets a dream job in Australia, for example). We have also both demonstrated a commitment to making time for each other in our lives (including alone time, which is no mean feat for her with a job, husband, new baby, and an active social life!). We haven't expressed much in the way of concrete commitments (x evenings together per month for example) because it hasn't seemed necessary and because our lives are a bit too chaotic for that right now.

Our relationship is still quite young to my mind... 2+ years, but unlike a mono couple might have done by now we haven't moved in together or spent exorbitant amounts of time together, so I feel like it's taken longer for the relationship to evolve than it otherwise might... I'm ok with this, it is what it is, but what I mean to say by pointing it out is that we truly don't know where things are going and are in no rush to figure it out. What with her new child, I doubt we'll take any major steps forward together soon. However, we have set no limits on what steps we *could* some day discuss taking.

If we decided it would make us both happy we could set a concrete date night each week plus a long weekend of vacation for just the two of us once per year, or we could get handfasted, or if/when I buy a house I could choose a place near hers, or we could work out some kind of legal contract that would allow me to take care of her child if she and her husband were to die, or I could actually move in with her and her family and be a co-primary partner to her along with her husband (I hope this never seems like a good option because it would pretty much have to mean my bf and I, who are discussing moving in together, had split up, but who knows what the future will bring). All of this would need to be ok with her husband, of course, but he and I get along very well so I don't see that as prohibitive.

I've made this very personal, I realize, and your relationship by no means needs to look anything like this in order to be healthy. That's the amazing thing about poly... the part of it that in some ways can be the most challenging to societal norms and which can be scary if you need certainty in your life... any given relationship can be allowed to develop into exactly what it wants to be with no script.

Which brings us to this question -- "How do you think I should consider approaching things differently?" I would suggest letting go of preconceptions and fears as much as you can and embracing the exciting unknown of what you and this woman could feel and could be to each other.

Why do this?

1) Because it could be amazing and bring things to your life you never imagined. For instance, if I was trying to keep myself from loving my gf "too much" or being too deeply involved in her life, I probably would never have gotten close enough to fall in love with her child, and loving a brand new person has been a unique and delightful experience.

2) Because there's no reason not to. It goes against traditional mono thinking, but it really is possible to fall in love and yet keep your head on straight and keep on loving and being committed to your other partner(s) just as much as before. Your relationship with your husband by no means needs to be in any peril over this as long as you show him you're still there with him and he trusts you. On her end, it's not bad for her to have your love and perhaps some degree of commitment even if you never can give her more. She's an adult, if she says she's fine and happy you have to trust her, and if a primary partnership ends up being what she wants and isn't something she can get from you, she can stay with you while seeking it elsewhere (she'd be limited to someone poly-friendly, who preferably doesn't hate your guts, but this is by no means impossible to find). Or she can leave if she decides this isn't right for her. There's no reason at all for you to feel guilty.

3) If you set limits now, before you have a clue what this relationship wants to become, there's every chance you'll end up butting up against them later. If in your mind it's acceptable for this to become something more than a caring friendship, even if neither of you expect it to, if it some day does go in that direction it'll be a surprise, not a disaster. Whereas if it's NOT ok for anything deeper to develop, if you realize some day that you want more than anything to do something that wouldn't cause any harm to other pieces of your life per se but that is more serious than is acceptable (giving each other special pieces of jewelry to wear as a symbol of your relationship, for example) you'll be faced with the choice of changing the boundary (in which case why was it there in the first place?), surpressing that desire (which could badly impact your relationship with her), or ending things. Why set up that situation?
 

redpepper

New member
Something I have discovered over time is that monogamy is societally based on monoamoury. By its nature it creates this relationship dynamic. Really though, most people develop feelings for others all the time. Its what is done with those feelings that is the question really in terms of the difference between poly and mono.

Sometimes poly indicates a lifestyle choice and sometimes an orientation. For example my Mono is monoamourous. Its tested and true to this point. It makes him monogamous as an idnetity, not as a lifestyle choice.

I think people can be monogamous and be polyamourous depending on stage and choice in life as a lifestyle choice. They can also be monoamorous and be monogamous as an identity, but it stands to reason that they wouldn't be monoamourous and in a polyamorous. They could be in a poly relationship dynamic maybe, as Mono is.
 

redpepper

New member
There generally seem to be two camps. One is the type of person who identifies as being poly, like it's a gender or sexual orientation. Those tend to be the people who say, "I've always known I was poly" or "Finally, I have a word for what I am." They see poly as integral to who they are, and part of their nature.

The other camp sees polyamory as a structure for relationships, a practice, an approach, without feeling like it's who they are. These people (I include myself in this camp) tend to view poly not as an identity, but simply as a way of life we can choose or not. If poly seems to be the right fit for now, we embrace it, and leave room for the possibility of monogamy if that feels right at some point.

There are so many ways to live polyamorously. Don't worry about what others are doing, other than looking to someone with experience for some advice. But there's no one single way to "do poly," so just make sure it feels right for you.
I thought this a really useful description of this theory. Hope its helpful.
 

rory

New member
I looked through my journal to see what I've learned last year since we started a poly relationship in the spring. I didn't think the list would be this long, though... Sorry about that. :eek: No wonder I feel like it's been an eventful year! :rolleyes: I am writing this all from the perspective from opening up an existing relationship to start a poly relationship, since that's my experience.

a. I need to give a lot of thought to my own wants and needs, and work on making my own boundaries. I am responsible for that, and it will benefit not only me but my partners as well.

b1. The concept of 'wanting the relationships to be equal' can perhaps be a useful approach to make sure there is consideration for the new partner/relationship and for enabling changes that are necessary in the beginning of a poly relationship. However, at some point you need to move from "fair" to "what everybody involved wants and needs" in order to create relationships that bring the most satisfaction for everybody involved. (And the point a. is important in this process: you need to know what you want and need to do this.) Also, equality is not sameness or symmetry.

b2. Related to that one. Equality/fairness perspective has an inherent assumption of entitlement. I.e. because my partner has x my other partner should have x, too, otherwise it's not fair. There is a problem with that, because really it comes down not to what the other person has, but what all involved want.

b3. Opening up and starting a poly relationship, you cannot be opposed to change in your original relationship. You will no longer be 'a couple' but three, or more people. However, you also shouldn't strive for equality right off the bat. It is useful to think about the time it takes in a new monogamous relationship to entwine lives. It will take more time in a poly relationship, because there are more people and lives involved. You should let things develop in a pace that feels comfortable to the direction they want to take.

c. It is ok to feel odd and awkward with things. Those feelings will come up with poly since we are socially conditioned to monogamy, but they will always pass with time, and poly becomes the new 'normal'. The feelings also must not keep you from communicating.

d. I am good at taking into account and balancing my partners' needs, even in NRE. I need to work on is recognising and taking into account my own needs just as much.

e. The importance of living and being present in the moment cannot be overstated. I want to concentrate fully on whatever it is I am doing at the moment to enjoy it. For this again the point a. is important: I need to have boundaries and decide to engage with things when I have the energy to be present doing them. E.g. I need to have enough time for myself to be able to be present and enjoy the company of a partner.

f. No matter how long you have been together with your partner, there are sides to them that are new and interesting. Everybody changes and evolves. If you feel like you already know everything there is to somebody, make the effort to get to know more of them.

g. A monogamous person can be completely happy and satisfied in a polyamorous relationship where their partner has other partner(s). There can be total acceptance of each other, and it doesn't always require tons of painful work to get there. There will be some uncomfortable feelings to work through, though. (I am not trying to disregard the experiences of the people who find the transition extremely difficult, or never get to a comfortable place in a mono/poly relationship. Just saying that mono/poly can work just fine for all involved.)

h. It is good to ask for what you want. If you want a hug, you can ask for it. If you want to hear "I love you" more often, you can ask for that. The fact that your partner didn't read your mind and spontaneously do what you wished for in no way lessens the value of the sentiment. If you can let go of the belief that people in love should read each others minds, you can communicate what you want to feel loved and truly enjoy it when you get it from your partner.

i. I need to trust other people to communicate their feelings to me. It creates huge amounts of stress to try to guess. Also, if I do guess, it creates a disincentive for them to talk to me, since I seem to be able to read their mind. I do not want to be responsible for the communication alone, therefore I need to wait for my partners to choose to talk to me, even if I do have a feeling there is something going on.

j. When your partner feels jealous, insecure or other negative emotion, you may feel hopeless. It is important you don't let that emotion to take over, so that you can be there and support them. You should also remind yourself that the feeling of hopelessness is not based on reality. Even if you feel like, at that moment, no progress is being made, that is not necessarily/likely true. Just because your partner feels hurt doesn't mean they will keep feeling it. It will pass, and likely become less intense and come up less and less often in time, as they are working through it.

k. Metamours need to be able to communicate directly. The importance of this cannot be overstated! It is ok if some information is passed on by the shared partner, but there needs to be a shared understanding and commitment to direct communication when it is needed. I addition to communication, it is helpful if metamours can get along and care about each other's well being. That is all you need in a metamour relationship. If there's more, that's great, but you should let it develop on its own and to the level that feels natural to all involved.

l. When a partner expresses hurt feelings to me, they need support, not for me to fix it. I need to set aside my rational responses to their possibly irrational feelings, and be there for support. I can bring up the rational later if it seems it could help, but not before they are ready for that. (I am so bad at this, but I'm trying.)

m. No matter how much thinking you've done about poly, and how much your partner tells you they are ok, there is likely to be guilt when you first start a relationship with somebody else. You shouldn't let that guilt dictate your behaviour. You need to trust that your partner will tell you if something is bothering them.

n. I've always approached my friendships as an individual, not as a couple. Thus, it has felt natural to do the same when it comes to romantic relationships. I think this has helped me in poly. I don't change my approach around how I make plans or what I do. For example, I always schedule meetings with friends alone and just inform my husband about the fact that I wont be home at the time; similarly I schedule meetings with mygirlfriend and inform my husband about that. I don't think the nature of the relationship should make a difference in terms of control, in that I would suddenly start asking for permission to go on a date or something like that.
 

Arrowbound

New member
It's not poly if you're not being honest and trying to maintain it. That includes honesty with yourself and everyone you're in relationships with.
 

redpepper

New member
Poly people don't have the right to say, "I am going to do what I want when I want to and if you don't like it, tough shit." They can say that, but that is not being responsible to the agreement made with others to be considerate, consensual, respectful of their feelings. It isn't ethical. Therefore, to me, it is just selfishness and not poly.
 
Here is a great clip that I find representative of the overwhelming feeling we get when a new paradigm finally clicks in - makes sense.........
...................
but I wasn't open to him being poly then. I didn't even really know it was an option. So, I had fought them, and he gave her up for me. It's been tearing them both up, because they really do love one another. She completes a part of him that I can't and I complete a part of him that she can't. When he had us both last year, before I found out and ruined it, he was the happiest I had seen him in a long time. So, we will be talking to A. I will be the one to break the ice on that subject, so that she knows where everything stands. She and I have been rebuilding our friendship (I love her like a sister!!) for a few months now. I am actually EXTREMELY excited to talk to her. Even when they had their affair, she would always tell my hubby, "This can't ruin your marriage. You love your wife too much, she loves you too much, and I love you both too much." Oh, if I had only been wiser then!! I really can't wait to bring A in as a partner in the ultimate goal of happiness and love. I miss her and her kids so badly!!



We spend a lot of time on the board discussing the complications & struggles of moving towards poly understanding & living.

What I think we don't talk enough about is that elation we (if lucky) find when we finally "get there". I've borrowed the above snippet from a thread I was participating in that really illustrates how wonderful and releasing it is when we realize we CAN build something where everyone wins ! When we're all on the same page working towards the same goal and outcome. And how beautiful that feels.

I think for those who have 'gotten there' you know it's a feeling that's hard to describe.

I would encourage any of you who do understand that to contribute YOUR stories and feelings to this thread.

Thanks in advance to the OP who I borrowed from. I hope this was acceptable because as I say, stories like this are SO important for everyone to hear - especially those who question whether they can ever truly "get there".

The answer as you point out is a resounding YES !

GS

That response was so beautiful it nearly made me cry! I just wanted to cry out "yes!" as I read her realizations...

As a poly married to a mostly mono who is flirting with trying things, yet struggling with my forming other relationships, it gives me hope...

Thank you so much for sharing!
 

redpepper

New member
If there is one thing I have learned being the gf and wife of many its that I need to weigh up every ones feelings and my own, decide on a course of action that considers everyone's feelings and then wade into it very slowly, looking for pitfalls all the way. I find it better to wade in more slowly than any of my loves think is necessary because something seems to come up every time.

That and that jealousy tends to be a newbie thing. Really, once people get through figuring out what they feel so threatened by. What their fear is and start working towards their own relationship goals, the only thing that lingers in poly, generally speaking, is time management and consideration of others.
 

MistySunshine

New member
Any other wisdom?

If there is one thing I have learned being the gf and wife of many its that I need to weigh up every ones feelings and my own, decide on a course of action that considers everyone's feelings and then wade into it very slowly, looking for pitfalls all the way. I find it better to wade in more slowly than any of my loves think is necessary because something seems to come up every time.

That and that jealousy tends to be a newbie thing. Really, once people get through figuring out what they feel so threatened by. What their fear is and start working towards their own relationship goals, the only thing that lingers in poly, generally speaking, is time management and consideration of others.


Redpepper,
Reading this thread tonight has been so extremely helpful. It’s been a few years though, so I was wondering if there was anything you would like to add after all this time? Anything else you have learned over time?
 
Top