Poly relationship that never was

Xevyon

Member
Hello everyone! So some of you might have read my last thread tittled "Caught in a difficult situation".

So basically, i wanted to date a girl that I didn't know if would be ok with me being Poly or not, long story short: She was ok with it.

Here comes the problematic part:
My gf , let's cal her A (now my ex) who at the time was Ok with it ended up not being ok with it after all). She is mono but has always been supportive of me being poly and even did a paper about it for university. That said I had never been with another woman in our 7 year long relationship.

Basically, i had the date with the girl i started seeing, let's call her C. So C and I had a lovely evening and we even kissed. I told her I was afraid to hurt her due to the dynamics of the relationship and she assured me it wasn't the case. She also told me to take things slow and I agreed.

We had a party at my house some days after and I invited her, assuming this would be a great opportunity for them to meet each other and maybe "humanize" her more. A was not ready and told me I tried to make them meet too soon. I told her if she was uncomfortable I could then tell C to not come for now. She said if she was already invited she should come anyways.
C has always been inquisitive about A's feelings on this and asked if was OK. I responded that yes so she came.

On the day of the party big drama happened. A was not coping with C presence there. She was feeling threatened and she felt she was being disrespected. She eventually got drunk and went to my room. Later C was invited to stay over by my mother and she ended up staying. This only triggered A more as she felt she shouldn't even be there. We had a big argument and C was feeling like was to blame.

After this incident things only became worse. I was trying to make them both feel comfortable and assuring my gf how much i loved her and even set up a date to blow up some steam. However, A had became hateful towards C. She now accused her of wanting to steal me and that she was a double sided bitch. C wanted to talk with her but i didn't think this was solvable so I didn't let her. The more me and C tried to tell A things to confort her the more bitter she got and the more she became hateful.

A's hatred then reflected in other aspects of the relationship, making her more needy, insecure and prone to be argumentative. In one of those arguments she questioned the whole poly philosophy, stating i couldn't really love them both equally and she would eventually be replaced. I felt incredibly sad and guilty for my feelings for C from that point forward. I couldn't be near A without feling guit and self hatred for being who I was.

This piled up when I had a serious case of appendicitis. At that time A was not allowing me to see C because she needed to process. She allowd C to come to the hospital (notice she came on purpose to see me from her home 1 hour away).
As I recovered at home after coming from the hospital C wanted to see me but A didn't allow it and felt she was again being disrespected. I told C we couldn't be together for a while and she told me to tell her when we could be together.


The situation still got worse, and no matter what I did it didn't seem to be fixable. My poly friend told me A was not built for poly and we were just hurting each other at this point.
I took a week off to realy think about it and tried to reconcile a way to solve this. A told me she didn't want to hold me back and would go back and forth between letting me see C and not allowing us. Until one day she said I could see her but nothing physical could ever happen. This made me feel like i was now cheating on her because me and C had already kissed.

At this point I felt me and A couldn't work out on the long term despite me loving her to bits. I told C about this and she felt guilty, like she should be the one to leave. C spent 5 hours on the phone trying to console me.
I ended up breaking up with A the following week. C told me to try to reconcille again, that maybe was possible but at this point i felt I was having a mental breakdown. C then started to pull back after this.

I ended up going to sleep at C's place the week after the break up looking for confort. She was very caring and we ended up having sex. I felt with her confort at least would be easier but after that day C started to pull back even more than before. She contacted me this monday telling me she is sorry for being so absent but she has tons of university workand she is mentaly drained. She also told me about a concert near my house she wanted to tell me about but she was sure she would be busy that weekend with her studies so she ended up not even mentioning it.

A part of me does know she has a lot to do indeed but another part is not so sure that's all., I'm not sure if she is still guilty for me and A's break up. She also told me when we were together she was afraid of "being too much to handle." She had a break up around 3 months ago too so she is not ready yet to be an official couple. She wants to work on herself and her studies.

All I know is she has always been there for me and has always been kind. She took 2 days to reply to me. I might be overhtinking again, but i just feel hurt and vulnerable after the break up and C being distant this last 2 weeks is also affecting me.

Any opinions?
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
My opinion is that your initial mistake was letting A think that she had the power to give you permission (or revoke it) to spend time with C. In some sense, it's cruel, because A would never be able to control your desire to see C so giving her power over whether you actually see her or not is like when you give a kid the second controller on a Playstation to make them think they're playing. It has no impact on reality except for in their little world. Their "successes" are fake.

You might have blown things with C. She might feel unnecessarily guilty for being a "homewrecker" or she might feel that this was a good indication of your relationship skills. You have to accept that.

Next time, make it clear that you are poly. You will be seeing other people. And don't make agreements not to for your partner's comfort.
 

Xevyon

Member
My opinion is that your initial mistake was letting A think that she had the power to give you permission (or revoke it) to spend time with C. In some sense, it's cruel, because A would never be able to control your desire to see C so giving her power over whether you actually see her or not is like when you give a kid the second controller on a Playstation to make them think they're playing. It has no impact on reality except for in their little world. Their "successes" are fake.
Thanks for the reply! Yes i felt like it was an endless back and forth and then by the end she just wanted things how they were before but it was impossible. The more she told me not to go the more I wanted to go because C was making me feel understood and safe too.

You might have blown things with C. She might feel unnecessarily guilty for being a "homewrecker" or she might feel that this was a good indication of your relationship skills. You have to accept that.
C talked with me today. She apologized again about being absent and that she has a lot of school work and has been feeling overwhelmed lately. She also told me she would try to see when she is available to meet soon and we are going to a concert next month. She might feel that she is the "homewrecker" yes. She said I tried to handle things with care and wasn't my fault. I think she is internalizing it mostly.

I'm not sure if things were blown per say but I guess there will be an adjustment period. Even myself now with this break up don't feel i could fully jump on something so soon and need time for myself to process things. But yeah I guess they are a bit shaky so could end up not working.
Next time, make it clear that you are poly. You will be seeing other people. And don't make agreements not to for your partner's comfort.

I get what you mean, i was just trying to find a balance to please all sides and it blew up in my face.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Xevyon,

I'm very sorry that you have (at least seemingly) lost two relationships in a very short time. That's one of the drawbacks of polyamory, yes you get to be with more people, but then you also risk losing more people. You should probably think about whether you for sure want to be poly and accept the risk, and if you do, say so firmly to whomever you meet in the future, and make it clear that you will be seeing multiple people and won't be relying on any one person's permission. As for C, tell her you would like to still be with her, but that you are stepping back and giving her room to focus on her studies and whatnot. Ask her to let you know if and when she is able to spend some time with you. In the meantime, you will be getting on with your life. It sounds like you could use a break from relationships for a while.

With sympathy,
Kevin T.
 

MeeraReed

Well-known member
I think because you never dated anyone for the 7 years you were with A, your being polyamorous was always only theoretical or in the abstract to A. She wrote a paper about it and claimed to accept that part of you...but in 7 years you demonstrated (to A's point of view) that you only wanted to be with A.

It was probably a shock for her that you suddenly wanted to date C. Clearly, A is not able to be polyamorous, but she never had a chance to figure that out about herself because you never dated anyone else before.

She certainly handled it badly, though.

Sounds like C had to a lot of emotional work navigating the situation with A, and she is probably exhausted from that. Let her prioritize her studies for a while.

Kind of ironic that your original question was about the age difference with C being significantly younger...but she seems plenty mature, emotionally.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry to hear about all this and that you've been struggling.

FWIW... To me it sounds like it was easy to be "ok with poly" for A. Because in the 7 years with you, it was just abstract theory. Not in actual practice.

Had she come into the relationship with you already partnered and her having to share your time and attention from the start? Maybe she would have figured out faster that she's ok with poly for other people, but she doesn't actually want any for HER.

We had a party at my house some days after and I invited her, assuming this would be a great opportunity for them to meet each other and maybe "humanize" her more. A was not ready and told me I tried to make them meet too soon.

So you assumed rather than checking in first.

Then A told you NO.

And... you did not cancel or disinvite C. How come?

I told her if she was uncomfortable I could then tell C to not come for now.

She DID tell you she was uncomfortable and not ready.

You could have just taken action rather than putting it on her on again.

Some people are "people pleaser." It takes a lot for them to put it out there and say it once. To have to do it again? If they are conflict avoidant they might just go "Oh, never mind, I'll deal" when really they prefer to skip it all. But don't SAY.

If you are the hinge, you have to be listening hard for that and be able to hear it up and over your own feelings of excitement or rushing or whatever.

She said if she was already invited she should come anyways.

And that is A being all passive or "trying to be nice" to me. When really? She could have told you up front again. Something like:

"I am not ready to meet. Please do not rush me nor assume. Yes. If you are offering? Please disinvite her and slow your roll."

The other mistake? It was not a low key 15 min coffee or video chat thing. Meeting in private.

It was a big party with a lot of people, so meeting up in public. Possibly "being out as poly." Which A might not be ready to own, C might not be ready to own, etc.

And then the age gap. You were worried about asking C out from the start because of the age gap and because she'd recently broken up. I don't know if A is more your age, and if the age gap with C was also a surprise/concern for A.

Instead of planning a meetup to be low stress/low key? It's like you assumed all were ready and then like piling all the things up one atop of another.

WHY? Rather than slow your roll?

C has always been inquisitive about A's feelings on this and asked if was OK. I responded that yes so she came.

A was NOT comfortable, ergo is NOT ok at this time.

It sounds like you fell for the "trying to be nice" thing. It was not joyful consent.

And C was trying to check in. If it's anything less than joyful? What would have been the harm of waiting for them to meet? I think you got carried away in your excitement.

On the day of the party big drama happened. A was not coping with C presence there. She was feeling threatened and she felt she was being disrespected. She eventually got drunk and went to my room.

See? A. did not honor and respect her own personal limit that she was not comfortable meeting C yet.

You did not honor and respect her personal limit when she told you she was not comfortable meeting C yet.

Here comes mess.

Later C was invited to stay over by my mother and she ended up staying. This only triggered A more as she felt she shouldn't even be there. We had a big argument and C was feeling like was to blame.

Nope. C's not to blame for anything. She was just being new/ignorant of the dynamic at play. You told her all was fine, when it actually wasn't.

So C accepted mom's invitation to stay over. Where had she known this was NOT joyful consent to meet up from A.? She could have stayed home and declined the invitation. Only popped in for 15 min and left, or done other options.

For A? It's easier to blame the "new person" rather than be mad at herself for not being more firm about her discomfort and not respecting her own personal limit. Or being mad at you for not respecting her limit when she told you she was not comfortable nor ready to meet.

The rest with the hospital stay and all... it's just escalating stress. Poly has a way of shining a light on things that are already present. Biggest one being that A was not actually up for poly and that you might need some work on your hinge skills.

If the relationship with C was supposed to be sweetness and light? She's college student who initially thought this would be a fun casual thing after a break up. Then there's you in hospital, then all this caregiving /comforting to do because you and A were not actually ready for poly and broke up, and the age gap and... not so much on the sweetness and light any more is it?

Where she started out being a fangirl of your music group with stars in her eyes.

It's ok to feel sad and upset by all these events. But slow your roll and make some decisions so it stops being like piling wonky on top of wonky.

A is gone. Remember you and C are both basically healing from respective break ups. Either break it off with C also, or tread carefully here because of the rebound risk. Or call it what it is and agree it's a rebound thing, with a time limit. Resolve to keep it light until time to part ways arrives.

And expect less of her. She is still in school. You JUST started dating, so it's not like you are a big priority. School is her priority.

There's nothing wrong with a casual FWB or a relationship of the present.

But there's also nothing wrong with taking a time out either.

Figure out what you want, then align your behaviors towards the goal. That would be my suggestion. I hope over time you start to feel better and things look up rather than so stressy.

Galagirl
 
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Xevyon

Member
Hi Xevyon,

I'm very sorry that you have (at least seemingly) lost two relationships in a very short time. That's one of the drawbacks of polyamory, yes you get to be with more people, but then you also risk losing more people. You should probably think about whether you for sure want to be poly and accept the risk, and if you do, say so firmly to whomever you meet in the future, and make it clear that you will be seeing multiple people and won't be relying on any one person's permission. As for C, tell her you would like to still be with her, but that you are stepping back and giving her room to focus on her studies and whatnot. Ask her to let you know if and when she is able to spend some time with you. In the meantime, you will be getting on with your life. It sounds like you could use a break from relationships for a while.

With sympathy,
Kevin T.
Thanks for the reply!
Yes, I felt like this would happen again and I would only make A more sad. She would never break up on her own accord so I did it because it didn't feel right as things were.

Yeah, C is more busy but didn't seem to want to break what we had. We will however take things very slowly and she will be focusing more on her studies for now. I also don't feel I could commit to something serious with her too because I just feel burned out and need time to process things.
 

Xevyon

Member
I think because you never dated anyone for the 7 years you were with A, your being polyamorous was always only theoretical or in the abstract to A. She wrote a paper about it and claimed to accept that part of you...but in 7 years you demonstrated (to A's point of view) that you only wanted to be with A.
Thanks for the reply!
Yes, that seems to be the case. She knew was an hypothetical scenario but when it came about she couldn't handle it.
It was probably a shock for her that you suddenly wanted to date C. Clearly, A is not able to be polyamorous, but she never had a chance to figure that out about herself because you never dated anyone else before.

She certainly handled it badly, though.
Yes, she even inquired if I truly had feelings for C and wasn't only lust. I think she was hoping it was just a crush and I would not find her interesting after some time.
Well it was one of the worse possible ways to handle. She projected everything unto C...
Sounds like C had to a lot of emotional work navigating the situation with A, and she is probably exhausted from that. Let her prioritize her studies for a while.

Kind of ironic that your original question was about the age difference with C being significantly younger...but she seems plenty mature, emotionally.
Yeah, I think she needs a time off. She didn't try to call things off and still wants to see me so I think it could be a transition period. For now she apologized for being absent and has been messaging me more but I told her not to worry and to focus on her studies.

Yes, she has been very mature about everything and it helped me a lot through this. She did say she understood A's position and that if she was in her shoes she would probably feel much worse too. Starting to date with full knowledge of things makes it easier.
 

Xevyon

Member
I'm sorry to hear about all this and that you've been struggling.

FWIW... To me it sounds like it was easy to be "ok with poly" for A. Because in the 7 years with you, it was just abstract theory. Not in actual practice.

Had she come into the relationship with you already partnered and her having to share your time and attention from the start? Maybe she would have figured out faster that she's ok with poly for other people, but she doesn't actually want any for HER.
Yeah it would have been easier, but I only realised 1.5 years in and told her, expecting her to break up with me over it. She did not however and tried to understand. Understanding and dealing with it are actually two different things though...
So you assumed rather than checking in first.

Then A told you NO.

And... you did not cancel or disinvite C. How come?
Yeah that one was definitely me being hasty with things. I should have not invited her.
A didn't told me not to, she told me she didn't like that was this soon, then I asked her if she wanted me to tell her not to come and her response was "you already invited her. I don't want you to cancel it now."
In hindsight I should have cancelled it anyway. I then acknowldge it was my mistake and A also apologized because she was also trying to please me but when the day came she couldn't handle it.
I guess all your questions about why I mishandled this could be seen as me being excited and over eager. I should have rolled it slowly indeed.
Nope. C's not to blame for anything. She was just being new/ignorant of the dynamic at play. You told her all was fine, when it actually wasn't.

So C accepted mom's invitation to stay over. Where had she known this was NOT joyful consent to meet up from A.? She could have stayed home and declined the invitation. Only popped in for 15 min and left, or done other options.

For A? It's easier to blame the "new person" rather than be mad at herself for not being more firm about her discomfort and not respecting her own personal limit. Or being mad at you for not respecting her limit when she told you she was not comfortable nor ready to meet.

At first A told me C was not to blame too and I was the one that handled it poorly. Later she retracted that statement, somehow it seemed she wanted me not to be the problem but her. If C was made to be the problem then it would mean I just needed to let go of C and it would be fixed.
If the relationship with C was supposed to be sweetness and light? She's college student who initially thought this would be a fun casual thing after a break up. Then there's you in hospital, then all this caregiving /comforting to do because you and A were not actually ready for poly and broke up, and the age gap and... not so much on the sweetness and light any more is it?

Yes I feel i brought a lot of drama towards her that she didn't need at all. Specially when she started the school year and had to make sure I was ok and stuff.
It's ok to feel sad and upset by all these events. But slow your roll and make some decisions so it stops being like piling wonky on top of wonky.

A is gone. Remember you and C are both basically healing from respective break ups. Either break it off with C also, or tread carefully here because of the rebound risk. Or call it what it is and agree it's a rebound thing, with a time limit. Resolve to keep it light until time to part ways arrives.

And expect less of her. She is still in school. You JUST started dating, so it's not like you are a big priority. School is her priority.

There's nothing wrong with a casual FWB or a relationship of the present.

But there's also nothing wrong with taking a time out either.

Figure out what you want, then align your behaviors towards the goal. That would be my suggestion. I hope over time you start to feel better and things look up rather than so stressy.

Galagirl

I understand what you are saying. I don't feel the connection we have is only casual fwb or anything. If was that I would probably never even come to this situation...
Both of us talked about taking it slow and down the line could develop to something more serious.
I feel trying to force things at this point to be serious would only be bad for both of us though cause I don't feel I am mentally/emotionally ok for that and she is also healing and has school.
Right now my goal is to start to feel emotionally and mentally ok. I will see C meanwhile but not try to define things or pressure her. If it develops then great, if she doesn't want to then I will understand too.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
At first A told me C was not to blame too and I was the one that handled it poorly. Later she retracted that statement, somehow it seemed she wanted me not to be the problem but her. If C was made to be the problem then it would mean I just needed to let go of C and it would be fixed.

Yes. Sometimes people do that. Put it all on the newcomer whether or not it is really them.

Right now my goal is to start to feel emotionally and mentally ok. I will see C meanwhile but not try to define things or pressure her. If it develops then great, if she doesn't want to then I will understand too.

That sounds reasonable. Taking care of yourself post break up with A.

And then with C? Taking it easy. And whatever newbie poly bumps, you both know it from the start going in that this is a poly relationship.

I hope things get better for you.

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Xevyon, I think you are handling things pretty well. You are giving C the space that she needs, while not blaming A. Relationships can be complicated, especially in poly. You are taking the position of being in poly, while not expecting everything to turn out just as you would have expected.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Hello, everyone! Some of you might have read my last thread titled, "Caught in a difficult situation." Basically, I wanted to date a girl (C), but I didn't know if she would be OK with me being poly or not. Long story short, she said she was OK with it.

This is the problematic part: my (ex) gf, let's call her A, who said she was was OK with [me being poly], ended up not being OK with it after all. She is mono but has always been supportive of me being poly. She even wrote a paper about it for university. That said, I had never been with another woman in our 7-year relationship.

Basically, I had a date with this girl, C. She and I had a lovely evening. We even kissed. I told her I was afraid about hurting her, due to the dynamics of the relationships, but she assured me that wouldn't be the case. She said she just wanted to take things slow, so I agreed.

I was going to have a party at my (mother's) house a few days later. I invited C, assuming this would be a great opportunity for A and C to meet each other and maybe for A to be able to "humanize" C more. A was not ready. She told me I was trying to force them to meet too soon. I told her if she was uncomfortable I would tell C not to come, but A said if C was already invited she should come anyway.

C was inquisitive about A's feelings about this [me poly dating]. She asked if everything was OK. I said it was, so she decided to come.

At the party there was some big drama. A did not cope well with C's presence. She was feeling threatened and disrespected. She eventually got drunk and went to my room. My mother invited C to stay over, and she ended up staying. This only triggered A more because she felt C shouldn't have been there. We had a big argument. C felt like she was to blame.

After this incident things only got worse. I was trying to make them both feel comfortable. I was reassuring A about how much I loved her and even set up a date to "blow up some steam" with her. However, A was acting hateful towards C. She was accusing her of wanting to steal me and saying that she was a two-faced bitch. C wanted to talk with her, but I didn't think this was solvable, so I didn't let her. The more C and I tried to comfort A, the more bitter and hateful she became.

A's hatred was then reflected onto other aspects of our relationship, making her more needy, insecure and prone to be argumentative. In one of our arguments she questioned the whole poly philosophy, stating that I couldn't really love them both equally and she felt she would eventually be replaced. I felt incredibly sad and guilty about my feelings for C from that point forward. I couldn't be near A without feeling guilty and hating myself.

This only got worse when I came down with a serious case of appendicitis. At that time A was not allowing me to see C, saying she needed to process everything. But she allowed C to come to the hospital. C came on purpose to see me from her home 1 hour away.

When I was recovering at home, C wanted to see me, but A wouldn't allow it, saying she felt disrespected. I told C we couldn't be together for a while. She told me to tell her when we could be together.


The situation just kept getting worse. No matter what I did, it didn't seem to be fixable. A poly friend of mine told me A was not built for poly and we were just hurting each other at that point.

I took a week off from seeing A to really think about it and tried to figure out a way to reconcile this. A told me she didn't want to hold me back. She went back and forth between allowing me to see C and not allowing it. One day she said I could see her, but told me nothing physical could ever happen. That made me feel like I was cheating on her, because C and I had already kissed.

At that point I felt like A and I would not work out long term, even though I loved her to bits. I told C about this and she said she felt guilty, like she should be the one to leave. She spent 5 hours on the phone trying to console me.

I ended up breaking up with A the following week. C said we should try to reconcile again. This might have been possible, but at that point I felt I was having a mental breakdown. C started to pull back from me after this.

I ended up going to sleep at C's place the week after the break up, looking for comfort. She was very caring and we ended up having sex. I thought that with her comfort at least would be easier. But after that day, C started to pull back even more. She contacted me this Monday and said she was sorry for being absent but she had tons of university work and was mentally drained. She also told me about a concert near my house, but said she was sure she would be too busy with her studies to go that weekend.

A part of me knows she has a lot to do, but another part of me is not sure that's all it is. I'm not sure if she is still feeling guilty about my break up with A. She also told me when we were together she was afraid of "being too much to handle." She had a break up about 3 months ago herself, so she is not ready to be in an official couple with me. She wants to work on herself and her studies.

She has always been there for me. She has always been kind. But she took 2 days to reply to me this time. I might be overthinking again, but I just feel hurt and vulnerable after the break up. C being distant for these last 2 weeks is also affecting me.

Any opinions?
I agree with the others that A was really not ready to cope with your poly dating after 7 years of living monogamously. That's a huge change. It probably seemed to her like you'd reconciled yourself to being mono after striking out on dating sites years ago. It's sad that this had to end after 7 years of loving each other. And now C is pulling back anyway, since she is very young and focusing (wisely) on her studies. So now you've got no solid gf at all! But if you know you can love more than one, you will know for the future that if and when you date anyone again (either C or someone else), even if there is no actual poly dating going on, you need to remind your partner that you are open to seeing others and loving others when the opportunity arises. After all, you may feel like an old man at 31, compared to 21 year old C, but you've got decades of life ahead of you! You're not even halfway through your life. It's good to be your authentic self and stick to your guns. This will save everyone heartache down the line. My best wishes to you!

Try not to let A take you back, if she makes those kinds of moves... That would be a big mistake.
 

MeeraReed

Well-known member
I understand what you are saying. I don't feel the connection we have is only casual fwb or anything. If was that I would probably never even come to this situation...

I just wanted to highlight this statement of yours because this is a very monogamous way to view the casual/fwb label, and I think you may be misunderstanding what Gala Girl means by "keeping things light" with C.

In "traditional" dating (or "mainstream" or monogamous dating), there is sort of an unspoken perception that being "casual" or fwb with someone is extremely less important, less good, less "real," and less caring than a "relationship" or a serious relationship. It implies that two people casually dating don't like each other very much, don't care about each other, don't have a strong emotional connection, and are merely using each other for sex

Ethical non-monogamy challenges these perceptions in many ways. (Or, maybe people who are drawn to non-monogamy are often people who approach casual dating differently than monogamous people). For example, my partner has other partners who might be considered friends-with-benefits or casual partners--but they aren't necessarily people who he has a casual EMOTIONAL connection with. They might have very deep friendships and a strong connection, but don't see each other often enough or have entwined enough lives to be considered girlfriend/boyfriend.

For example, a longtime friend who lives across the country and has her own primary partner. She and my partner talk frequently on the phone, she visits him about once a year and they are sexual together on the visit but have no long-term plans to build their lives together or live near each other. It's a deep friendship that involves occasional sex. A monogamous person might find it frustrating and limiting and not a "real" relationship, but a non-monogamous person can value it for what it is--a nourishing, long-running sexual connection with a good friend who lives far away.

Just food for thought.

You are attributing the type of "connection" you have to C as not "merely" casual, but C is a college student getting over a breakup. She might simply be at a point where she wants dating to stay lighter, or does not have much free time to commit to dating, or wants to prioritize other things in her life besides dating. None of those things have anything to do with what type of "connection" you have, or how much you two care about each other.

When I was in grad school, I wanted to prioritize my studies & career and did not feel ready to merge my life with a partner's. So I tried dating "casually." Most people who were interested seemed really not to care about me at all and expected that I just wanted sex (and only wanted sex themselves). I was confused because that wasn't what I'd meant...until I discovered poly / non-monogamous people and they actually understood what I meant! I wanted a genuine FRIEND for my fwb...someone I actually enjoyed spending time with, connected with, cared about, but who also was okay only seeing me once a week and not planning for marriage & babies.

Also, what you describe as your "connection" with C is actually just YOUR FEELINGS for C. She may or may not feel you have the same connection.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I just wanted to highlight this statement of yours because this is a very monogamous way to view the casual/fwb label, and I think you may be misunderstanding what Gala Girl means by "keeping things light" with C.


Also, what you describe as your "connection" with C is actually just YOUR FEELINGS for C. She may or may not feel you have the same connection.
I am wondering if C had a bit of hero worship going on for Xevyon, the mysterious band member. Now that she's been through all the drama with A, the horrible party, the appendicitis, the guilt she's feeling about the ugly breakup of her hero with his long-term partner (partly because of her appearance in his life), on top of her own breakup, she may realize she'd been overly investing her limited time in all this and needs to buckle down to reality for a bit-- her education, her future career and all those worries that 21-year-olds have.

Stepping back a bit and both of you reassessing your lives at this point, instead of being carried away with NRE (as intoxicating as that may be) is probably a good idea.
 

Xevyon

Member
Yes. Sometimes people do that. Put it all on the newcomer whether or not it is really them.



That sounds reasonable. Taking care of yourself post break up with A.

And then with C? Taking it easy. And whatever newbie poly bumps, you both know it from the start going in that this is a poly relationship.

I hope things get better for you.

Galagirl
Thanks a lot for the reply.
Yes I think some distance between me and C could be helpful to process things. At least, if we do decide to take things forward there is full knowledge and I will try my best to communicate.
 

Xevyon

Member
I agree with the others that A was really not ready to cope with your poly dating after 7 years of living monogamously. That's a huge change. It probably seemed to her like you'd reconciled yourself to being mono after striking out on dating sites years ago. It's sad that this had to end after 7 years of loving each other. And now C is pulling back anyway, since she is very young and focusing (wisely) on her studies. So now you've got no solid gf at all! But if you know you can love more than one, you will know for the future that if and when you date anyone again (either C or someone else), even if there is no actual poly dating going on, you need to remind your partner that you are open to seeing others and loving others when the opportunity arises. After all, you may feel like an old man at 31, compared to 21 year old C, but you've got decades of life ahead of you! You're not even halfway through your life. It's good to be your authentic self and stick to your guns. This will save everyone heartache down the line. My best wishes to you!

Try not to let A take you back, if she makes those kinds of moves... That would be a big mistake.
Yes, thanks for the encouragement. Your encouragement on the other post was a driving factor of me trying something with C to be honest. Unfortunately it fell flat but at least I can understand that my relationship with A couldn't work and I can understand myself better too.

Yes, not taking A is something important, even if I don't stay with C. It would just be me allowing to get into comfort and it would end up in the same place with me hurting her again.
 

Xevyon

Member
In "traditional" dating (or "mainstream" or monogamous dating), there is sort of an unspoken perception that being "casual" or fwb with someone is extremely less important, less good, less "real," and less caring than a "relationship" or a serious relationship. It implies that two people casually dating don't like each other very much, don't care about each other, don't have a strong emotional connection, and are merely using each other for sex

Ethical non-monogamy challenges these perceptions in many ways. (Or, maybe people who are drawn to non-monogamy are often people who approach casual dating differently than monogamous people). For example, my partner has other partners who might be considered friends-with-benefits or casual partners--but they aren't necessarily people who he has a casual EMOTIONAL connection with. They might have very deep friendships and a strong connection, but don't see each other often enough or have entwined enough lives to be considered girlfriend/boyfriend.
Yes, I was not trying to downplay that those connections can also be fulfilling in their own way. I had one before where i felt like that too but the person in question wanted to date me as a "boyfriend" so it ended up not working out because I was hurting her.
I'm just stating that for me I see C as possible a "girlfriend" I guess.
You are attributing the type of "connection" you have to C as not "merely" casual, but C is a college student getting over a breakup. She might simply be at a point where she wants dating to stay lighter, or does not have much free time to commit to dating, or wants to prioritize other things in her life besides dating. None of those things have anything to do with what type of "connection" you have, or how much you two care about each other.

When I was in grad school, I wanted to prioritize my studies & career and did not feel ready to merge my life with a partner's. So I tried dating "casually." Most people who were interested seemed really not to care about me at all and expected that I just wanted sex (and only wanted sex themselves). I was confused because that wasn't what I'd meant...until I discovered poly / non-monogamous people and they actually understood what I meant! I wanted a genuine FRIEND for my fwb...someone I actually enjoyed spending time with, connected with, cared about, but who also was okay only seeing me once a week and not planning for marriage & babies.
Oh, I see, as I said in the above comment I had a FWB like that before but she fell in love with me and wanted a relationship so it didn't work out. I did really like her as a person but didn't feel love in that way and didn't find us to be compatible for that.

Funny you mentioning marriage and babies though, both of us don't want nothing of the sort.
Also, what you describe as your "connection" with C is actually just YOUR FEELINGS for C. She may or may not feel you have the same connection.
Yes, I understand what you are saying. She does want things lighter for now. However, she stated interest in something more serious down the line too. I don't know if she could have changed her mind though as I'm trying to give her space now and not adress "us".

In terms of the connection we have you might be right. Is hard to say, she is afraid of not being enough and being "too much to handle." So I don't know how much of her feelings she might be holding back due to that. She has a positive view of me yes, but not so much of love and relationships in general. She needs to heal first.
 

Xevyon

Member
I am wondering if C had a bit of hero worship going on for Xevyon, the mysterious band member. Now that she's been through all the drama with A, the horrible party, the appendicitis, the guilt she's feeling about the ugly breakup of her hero with his long-term partner (partly because of her appearance in his life), on top of her own breakup, she may realize she'd been overly investing her limited time in all this and needs to buckle down to reality for a bit-- her education, her future career and all those worries that 21-year-olds have.

Well you might be right about that. She also had a fling with a guy after her ex (which she admitted was a terrible idea) that turned out to be an abusive stalker and she in in therapy for anxiety/low self esteem issues. So in essence, she has a lot on her plate and I don't want to add any more drama. I already feel guilty enough for bringing this much drama for her.

Stepping back a bit and both of you reassessing your lives at this point, instead of being carried away with NRE (as intoxicating as that may be) is probably a good idea.
Yes, we already have some things planned to do together. She doesn't seem to want to cut the connection and has been a bit more communicative again. Still, I'm giving her a lot of space and taking my time to reply so she doesn't feel smothered. I guess only time will tell where it will lead.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Well you might be right about that. She also had a fling with a guy after her ex (which she admitted was a terrible idea) that turned out to be an abusive stalker and she in in therapy for anxiety/low self esteem issues. So in essence, she has a lot on her plate and I don't want to add any more drama. I already feel guilty enough for bringing this much drama for her.


Yes, we already have some things planned to do together. She doesn't seem to want to cut the connection and has been a bit more communicative again. Still, I'm giving her a lot of space and taking my time to reply so she doesn't feel smothered. I guess only time will tell where it will lead.
Patience can pay off. I talked to my current bf for 3 years on Fetlife before we met. He was in a closed relationship during that time, so we just chatted as friends. As soon as he became free we started dating and fell deeply in love! We just celebrated our first anniversary.
 
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