Polyamorous girlfriend wants to see ex-boyfriend...am I right to feel uneasy?

SchrodingersCat

Active member
The definition doesn't matter...I don't see the value in debating it.

If you're living a lifestyle that causes you constant insecurity and general bad feelings...and it's not just a phase you're working through...then it is not for you.

You can still technically be poly, but why would you want to?

Are you saying that in all of your relationships, poly or mono, you never have bad feelings? By your line of reasoning, then you should not have relationships.

It's not the lifestyle that causes your insecurity and jealousies. Those are yours and yours alone. You would have them with or without the lifestyle. You can't live life by avoiding everything that triggers a negative reaction.

People in mono relationships often have jealousies, even when their partner doesn't have any interest in looking at other people romantically or sexually. Your partner might be offered a lucrative job in another part of the country, and you're jealous that her career means more to her than your relationship. She might have a really sexy friend, and your insecurity might make you worry that she'll break up with you to date him.

Do these jealousies and insecurities mean that you shouldn't date anyone at all?

nyc's not debating the "definition" or poly. She's opposing the notion that to be poly, or "truly poly" (whatever the hell that means), you never have any insecurities or jealousies.
 

ManofDiscovery

New member
Do these jealousies and insecurities mean that you shouldn't date anyone at all?

nyc's not debating the "definition" or poly. She's opposing the notion that to be poly, or "truly poly" (whatever the hell that means), you never have any insecurities or jealousies.

Where did I say that you'd never have any insecurities if you're poly?

If you're in a poly relationship and you're jealous, your insecurities will be likely prodded far more often than if you're in a mono relationship. Hence the reason I suggested poly might not be for that person, because you're going to experience those negative feelings more often - and why would you want that?
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
I personally don't avoid situations that cause negative feelings just on the grounds that they cause negative feelings. That's a personal choice that I realise some people opt not to make, and that's perfectly fine. But for me, I use negative feelings as an indicator that my attitude needs to change, because usually it's not the situation itself that's the problem, but my perception of it.

The world is a yucky, scary place. If you let that stop you from doing things, you can easily live life under a rock. Some people just don't want to deal with yucky, scary things, and they skip from one situation to another, never really finding happiness because they're always looking for greener pastures.

I'm not saying you should always jump in to a negative feeling situation just because it feels negative, either. That would be dumb. Some negative feelings are a sign that the situation is harmful. But with a little practice, it's possible to distinguish between negative feelings that are warning signs and negative feelings that are opportunities for growth.

But on the specific topic of insecurities, that's almost always an opportunity for growth. I mean, obviously if you're insecure because your current partner has cheated on you repeatedly, that's a different story. But if you're prone to insecurity regardless of how your partner behaves, then it's probably a sign that you have some internal shit to deal with. It's a personal choice whether to deal with your internal shit; many people live their entire lives without doing so. But I tend to avoid those people, because they tend to blame others for their problems, since that's the story you need to tell yourself if you don't want to do the hard work of fixing your shit.
 

ManofDiscovery

New member
I personally don't avoid situations that cause negative feelings just on the grounds that they cause negative feelings. That's a personal choice that I realise some people opt not to make, and that's perfectly fine. But for me, I use negative feelings as an indicator that my attitude needs to change, because usually it's not the situation itself that's the problem, but my perception of it.

Actually I completely agree with this. But most people don't want to make the effort of going through intensive, hard personal growth.
 

nycindie

Active member
Where did I say that you'd never have any insecurities if you're poly?
Where did you say that? Ahem... I already quoted where you said that, but I guess you weren't paying attention, so I'll quote you again:

You have to realise that if you really are truly poly, with no jealousy or insecurities, you are offering her something that 99.9% of guys cannot give her . . .
You used the phrase "truly poly" a few times in your post. Care to elaborate on what that's supposed to mean?
 

ManofDiscovery

New member
Where did you say that? Ahem... I already quoted where you said that, but I guess you weren't paying attention, so I'll quote you again:


You used the phrase "truly poly" a few times in your post. Care to elaborate on what that's supposed to mean?

I don't see the point in all this...is this what happens on here? People desperately nitpicking in an attempt to 'win' arguments?

I think my point was valid, simply that if being poly causes you more bad feelings than not being poly, then perhaps it isn't for you.

If you want to 'win' the argument - then congratulations - I will award you the win. Well done.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
I don't see the point in all this...is this what happens on here? People desperately nitpicking in an attempt to 'win' arguments?

I think my point was valid, simply that if being poly causes you more bad feelings than not being poly, then perhaps it isn't for you.

If you want to 'win' the argument - then congratulations - I will award you the win. Well done.


No, it isn't that. "What happens on here" is that it's your responsibility to say what you mean, not say one thing and then act like it shouldn't matter what you said when other people reply to it and ask what the hell you meant.

I, too, am curious what you mean by "truly poly", and I'm not even IN an argument with you already, so there's nothing for me to "win".

You won't "discover" much by being petulant, ManofDiscovery.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
Ok. Rewind.

In the post that started all of this, MOD admitted that he's new to poly and thus not an authority on the matter.

If you want to become truly poly (and I know that you should probably take my words with a pinch of salt, as I'm only just starting out on this road myself) [...] You have to realise that if you really are truly poly, with no jealousy or insecurities

*hands out the salt*

I admit that I'm as guilty as any for jumping on semantics. But looking back with new comments as guidance, I don't think MOD meant "truly poly" in a judgemental or authoritative way. It seems that his belief that you can become rid of jealousy and insecurity was based more on idealism than experience. He's new to this and he's trying to understand how it all works. So let's give him the benefit of the doubt and take this as an educational opportunity rather than go down the semantics road.

I'll start. Generally, most experienced poly folks have learned that there's no "one true way to do poly," which I think is how your usage of "truly poly" was interpreted. Furthermore, we've learned that jealousy is basically inevitable for some people. Either a person is prone to jealousy, or they are not. You can learn to deal and cope with your jealousy in a healthy way, but you're not likely to ever get rid of it. Some people are just born being non-jealous. Good for them, but not necessarily something for the rest of us to strive towards.

Insecurity is another matter. That's a personal character feature (some would say flaw). A person who is, in general, insecure can either choose to try and improve their self-esteem and start to feel more secure with their self, or they can spend their life avoiding situations that trigger their insecurity. Declaring that you can't do poly on the basis of being insecure is one way to approach life, but it's not one that I would recommend. No matter what kind of relationship you're in, if you're an insecure sort of person, your insecurity is going to be triggered.
 
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BoringGuy

Banned
If left to my own devices, I'd interpret "truly [whatever]" as "you are either [whatever] or you aren't [whatever]", not as "there is only one way to do [whatever]".

So, that is why we need clarification.

Does ManofDiscovery mean it the way SC understood it, the way I understood it, or some other way?

MoD aadmitted that he is not sure about terminology, which is even MORE of a reason why he should explain himself instead of collapsing into a quivering heap and sputtering "ok FINE! You WIN! Are you HAPPY?" It's called "being a grown-up", and I know I'm going to catch flack for saying such an age-ist thing.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
It's called "being a grown-up", and I know I'm going to catch flack for saying such an age-ist thing.

I fall into the category of people who still don't know what they want to be when they grow-up. That's one of the things I like most about my supervisor. He's a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, and even he still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up!

Growing up is highly overrated.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
Even when it comes to communicating effectively, it seems.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member

BoringGuy

Banned
A self-referring comment? Explain yourself.

You: "growing up is highly over-rated."

Me: "even when it comes to communicating, it seems."

It's a little-known phenomenon called "dialogue".

Now would you please stop pretending to be stupid, because i know you are smart enough to follow the thread. It is obvious that my post was answering yours, even though i didn't quote it. You're not demonstrating anything by sarcastically telling me to explain myself. I wasn't using any unfamiliar specialized terminology incorrectly or otherwise. I think you're just doing this because you think i'm a dick and you want to give me a hard time back. Good luck with that.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
You: "growing up is highly over-rated."

Me: "even when it comes to communicating, it seems."

It's a little-known phenomenon called "dialogue".

Now would you please stop pretending to be stupid, because i know you are smart enough to follow the thread. It is obvious that my post was answering yours, even though i didn't quote it. You're not demonstrating anything by sarcastically telling me to explain myself. I wasn't using any unfamiliar specialized terminology incorrectly or otherwise. I think you're just doing this because you think i'm a dick and you want to give me a hard time back. Good luck with that.

You misunderstood. I was implying that your comment was also lacking in effective communication, in that you did not specify what was ineffective about my previous comment. Vagueness is just as ineffective as unfamiliar specialized terminology. Actually, more-so, because terminology can be looked-up whereas vagueness allows only guessing at the proper interpretation.

I wasn't being sarcastic. I genuinely don't understand what's wrong with my comment, aside from the fact that I regularly use "they" and "them" as gender-neutral singular pronouns, and that whenever I do, you seem to get irritated. But I do it consciously, because "he/she" is cumbersome and awkward, and "sie/hir" just sound stupid. I am aware that it is grammatically incorrect, but I make a conscious and deliberate choice to do it anyway.
 

ManofDiscovery

New member
Ok. Rewind.

In the post that started all of this, MOD admitted that he's new to poly and thus not an authority on the matter.

*hands out the salt*

I admit that I'm as guilty as any for jumping on semantics. But looking back with new comments as guidance, I don't think MOD meant "truly poly" in a judgemental or authoritative way. It seems that his belief that you can become rid of jealousy and insecurity was based more on idealism than experience. He's new to this and he's trying to understand how it all works. So let's give him the benefit of the doubt and take this as an educational opportunity rather than go down the semantics road.

Thank you for explaining this better than I did.

I think most people can understand the point I was making, which I will restate - if a way of life causes you to feel more negative feelings than another way of life, then the first way of life is possibly not for you. Unless of course, as the good cat stated, you are willing to try and work through your negative feelings and come out of the other side.

I don't know why it has to become a matter of jumping all over the 'truly poly' thing, which is obviously not meant to be a real term. It's clearly intended to mean 'consider if the poly way of life is something that you are truly suited to'.

I'm sure that the next thing will be to accuse me of calling poly a 'lifestyle choice' and jump all over that one...I'm ready for you, if that's your game ;)

No, it isn't that. "What happens on here" is that it's your responsibility to say what you mean, not say one thing and then act like it shouldn't matter what you said when other people reply to it and ask what the hell you meant.

I, too, am curious what you mean by "truly poly", and I'm not even IN an argument with you already, so there's nothing for me to "win".

You won't "discover" much by being petulant, ManofDiscovery.

I can actually imagine you smugly saying that, completing your genius response by creating quote marks with the index and middle fingers of both hands.

I'm 'curious' why you would 'name' yourself 'boringguy'. I assume you were 'trying' to be 'ironic'.

As an aside - if you jump all over new members for incorrect use of terminology, general unrelated semantics issues and other stuff that is not relevant to the point they were making, they will end up getting frustrated and not coming back.

That may make you feel big and clever, and that nobody is infiltrating your 'tribe'...but it just means that the place becomes stale and no new ideas are allowed in.

I don't see what value you get in nitpicking stuff all the time. If I make a mistake with something then you may correct it...but if you can refrain from acting like 'I'm better than you because I know this and you don't'...that would be appreciated.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
As an aside - if you jump all over new members for incorrect use of terminology, general unrelated semantics issues and other stuff that is not relevant to the point they were making, they will end up getting frustrated and not coming back.

That may make you feel big and clever, and that nobody is infiltrating your 'tribe'...but it just means that the place becomes stale and no new ideas are allowed in.

One might think so... And yet, we get plenty of new people every day, many of whom stick around. As it happens to work out, there are two kinds of people who misuse terminology.

Some come in here with obvious and self-proclaimed ignorance. We help them and they are grateful that we take the time. They make a genuine effort to learn the ropes, because they really want to be educated. Eventually, they either get their question answered and wander off, or they really take a liking to the group and stick around.

Others come in here with oblivious ignorance and behave as though they know it all, giving out advice when they really don't know what they're talking about. These people get royally offended when we try to educate them, and eventually they fuck off. If we even notice that they're gone, we don't tend to miss them, as they really weren't contributing insight to the overall discussion.

It's got nothing to do with tribe. Shit, BoringGuy and I have been at odds since I can remember. But for the most part, we respect each other. I would never be friends with him, since I don't care for his communication style... but he means what he says, says what he means, and recants when he's proven wrong. That's more than I can say for a lot of people.
 

ManofDiscovery

New member
No I'm sorry - I've been on other forums and not experienced the level of aggression or pettiness that some people like to display on here.

Especially around terminology. And creating intended offence when none was meant. Twisting posts around so that the meaning comes out in the worst possible light.

It seems no newbie is allowed to post advice on anything, because that is considered to be storming in and claiming they know it all.

What do you get out of all that? Does it feel good? I doubt it.

I'm sure your reaction will be 'well if you don't like it, fuck off' but that doesn't invalidate my point.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
No I'm sorry - I've been on other forums and not experienced the level of aggression or pettiness that some people like to display on here.

Especially around terminology. And creating intended offence when none was meant. Twisting posts around so that the meaning comes out in the worst possible light.

It seems no newbie is allowed to post advice on anything, because that is considered to be storming in and claiming they know it all.

What do you get out of all that? Does it feel good? I doubt it.

I'm sure your reaction will be 'well if you don't like it, fuck off' but that doesn't invalidate my point.

Can I ask what kinds of forums those are? I've noticed that this forum is different in that it really touches at the heart of people's lives. It's hard to get that worked up about wool vs acrylic on a knitting forum, or how much nitrogen to add to your potato patch.

It's not that newbies aren't allowed to post advice. It's that posting advice about something you know nothing about is discouraged. Newbies might know nothing about polyamory, but they might have a lot of experience in things like abusive relationships, effective communication, or basic relationships in general.

But when someone comes in talking specifically about how to do polyamory properly, when they haven't actually been in a successful polyamorous relationship or at least taken the time to read about the experiences of people who have, then it's not surprising that their advice will encounter dismissive attitudes -- especially when it flies in the face of personal experience.

Ahh, yes. Polys and their terminology. On that one, I will concede a particularly strong phenomenon. Polys love to make up all kinds of words for all kinds of subtleties. And, having taken the time to make up all these words, they/we have a tendency to be really anal about using them properly. I imagine it would be the same if you went to the arctic and just called all the white stuff "snow."

But to be honest, MOD, more than nitpicking and attacking people for terminology specifically, what we really come down on is ignorant know-it-alls. It's really not very difficult to tell if someone is genuinely trying to learn and willing to be educated. Terminology seems to be our favoured method of attack for some reason, probably because we're forbidden from attacking personal character. But in some cases, it really is personal character that is the problem. As it turns out, language is a very strong reflection of how a person thinks.

I re-iterate my previous point. Many people come here with confused understanding of terminology, and when we correct them, they say "Oh, I didn't know. Sorry. I'll rephrase myself." But when people get all defensive about it, and insist on using their own terminology even though it inhibits effective communication, it just creates a flame war. Really, all we're asking for is that people be clear and concise. If your meaning is misunderstood, use a different explanation of what you mean. Don't get all hell bent on defending your confusing message if it's obvious that you were misunderstood.
 
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ManofDiscovery

New member
We don't allow attacking of personal character, but we don't like ignorant know it alls.

You even contradict yourself in the same post. Good one. We should redefine the dictionary definition of ignorant to be 'does not agree with the angry scratchy cis-puss'.

I've given advice in 2 threads:

- I suggested poly might not be the best option for someone who seems be suffering misery from it. Do I need to be experienced in poly to see that? Don't think so.

- I suggested that a trans girl advertising herself as a cis-girl online has a duty of respect to inform any guys that she's going to meet that she is not a cis-girl. Not even related to poly. Just basic respect.

- in a third thread tonight I even said that I had nothing to offer the debate, and wanted just to commend the woman (sorry, cis-woman) who posted. The actions of a know it all?

Ever heard the phrase 'the world is your mirror'?
 
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Rhaenes

New member
I don't think any of this arguing is going to help the person who made this post; so maybe we should stop? Disagreements are going to happen, doesn't mean anyone needs to be up in arms about them.

I can sympathize a lot with the poster because I'm also brand new to this, and I've had similar feelings of jealousy, fear, and uncertainty when beginning my poly relationship. My boyfriend and his best friend from school fell very deeply in love, and for a while I felt extremely betrayed and tossed aside.

I still feel those feelings occasionally, when I'm in a particularly bad mood or I've had a long day, and there is an absolute validity to them - as someone said earlier, feelings are neither wrong nor right, they're simply felt. Which applies to your girlfriend as well - if she can't get her ex out of her head, then she just can't, and you need to accept that asking her to repress those feelings will cause her to be awfully unhappy. You do need to decide how you're going to live, based on both your feelings and reason, so you can't let every emotion that comes along unwind everything - however, something I've found is that while I can't hide or deny those "bad" emotions, (and by "bad" I mean those emotions that I've decided would hinder my ability to live the way I want) I can definitely keep them from affecting my decisions. When I feel upset or insecure, I either talk to my boyfriend and he reassures me, or I go off and write, draw, work out - whatever works for you to help you calm down. If your girlfriend can't help you calm down, or isn't willing too, then you need to either find your own way or accept that she can't be poly in a way that will make you comfortable being with her.

What I've had to do (hell what I'm still in the process of doing) and what you need to do is to let go of the idea that your feelings give you a right to possess her. And what SHE needs to do is realize that her feelings don't give her a right to treat you with such contempt - honestly, I can't believe the way she spoke to you. You need to tell her how much that hurt you and she needs to apologize, or it's going to get worse - that's just plain old relationship advice from someone who maintained a wonderful monogamous relationship for 3 and a half years. :)

I can't stress enough the first and what I think is the MOST important thing that I learned when researching polygamy... communicate! (Thanks to all the super-awesome people who have said that repeatedly on the forums, because our emerging poly relationship never could have happened without constant communication.) It's good that neither of you are hiding your feelings, but fighting about them isn't going to make it better, you both need to swallow your pride and anger and just talk about boundaries. And you might find that you do have clashing hard limits, or you might not.

I know I'm speaking from what would probably be the opposite side of the situation you're in, but that's what I've learned from being in a similar situation. I hope that any of that helps, and if it doesn't then feel free to ask, I have a bit of a headache right now so I may not make complete sense haha :)
 
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