She's Conflicted

Firepit

New member
So first, a bit of background. I'm in my late 30s, and she's in her mid 20s. We've been together 3 years and began purely mono. About 6 months into the relationship, she admitted to having been bi-curious since her teens, but never acting on it past kissing. Along many discussions, she eventually admitted about a year into the relationship that she might want to become a hinge by adding a female. This began a year and a half of many anger-fueled conversations (she was mad, not me) wherein she wanted to add a female or a male, but wanted me to remain mono, but was ALSO convinced I wouldn't remain mono forever. So... she was then upset at the idea that I might not be mono, and the conversations would go very sour with my reassuring her that I'm happy being mono (or poly) and asserting that I just want us to be fair - i.e.: if she's not mono, I'm not asked to be either.

As for myself, I had always considered myself mono before her, but had the usual threesome curiosities and so forth. I did have a couple of threesomes, and they were okay. Basically, though, I didn't want to share. After her admissions, I researched poly until I felt I was well-oriented, dealt with my jealousy in preparation, and now feel I'm ready to move forward if she ever chooses. That said, if she decides to explore poly, I don't necessarily intend to remain mono.

We hadn't talked about poly for about 6 months until yesterday, because she didn't want to. Our last conversations, which lasted half of December, were concerning a female (we'll call her "Nameless") in the grocery store she thought was interesting. She had seen Nameless several times, thought she was attractive, spoken a few times, and developed a crush beyond typical infatuation. We started talking about the possibility of her asking Nameless on a date. She then thought the situation through, realized she might want an in-house relationship with her, decided maybe we would then be a throuple, had a fun fantasy about her going on vacation alone with Nameless, then realized Nameless and I might go on a similar vacation, got angry, and pushed Nameless away in real life. This thought process all happened in a few minutes while I was at work. We haven't seen Nameless since.

Honestly, I can see a situation with a female third, whether it's a V or not. It's only when it comes to a MFM V that I'm not comfortable remaining mono. That said, she's having thoughts and feelings again, this time about a few females she's known for years. I don't want to publicly discuss her psychology or any further information about her. I'm not looking for advice how to convince her either way. Here's what I want to know:

1) Am I doing the right thing in supporting her either way, or should I err toward safety and pull away from poly?
2) If she decides to explore poly, is it reasonable that I request the same?
3) Is there anything I can do to help her sort out her jealousy without pushing her toward a specific decision?

Thank you all for your wisdom :)
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
It sounds like your gf could do more research into how polyamory actually works. For example, imagining one date with Natasha and immediately going to having her as a live-in gf: that's a huge leap! We generally don't meet a fully compatible life-mate on our first foray into poly. And even if we do meet someone attractive, and they agree to a date, the initial attraction could fade if you're not short-term compatible. Then, short-term compatibility does not equal long-term compatibility. Then, long-term compatibility does not equal living together.

There's this thing called the relationship escalator, that our culture thinks is "normal." In polyamory, we can get off at any floor. It doesnt have to go: attraction, date, kiss, sex, sleepovers, weekends together, vacations together, living together, combining finances, getting a dog/cat, getting married, buying a house, having kids, retiring together, death. It can just stop at, say, vacations together.

On to your questions:
"Erring towards safety" for whom? I think you'd have to pull away from gf at this point if you don't want any polyamory in your life. She is definitely interested in exploring other women, and seems quite open to exploring men, as well. You should insist on it being open at both ends, whether she starts with dating just women, or not. It's a helluva lot easier for a woman to get men lining up to date her, once she puts herself out there, than women. Men are ravenous beasts ;), women are much more cautious in partner choice. (I'm bi/pansexual so I've BTDT got the t-shirt.)

Her jealousy is her issue to deal with. You can't manage her emotions for her. However, one guy here has a great list of online articles about how to deal with the green-eyed monster, which he will probably be along to share. It could help both of you, if she dates men, or if you start dating women/men.

Also, please don't think this is about FMF sex threesomes. Most polyamorous people do NOT have group sex.

I highly highly recommend the book Opening Up. It's got every issue you could possibly imagine in open relationships covered!

It's too bad your gf gets so riled up and emotional just thinking about poly, when it was her own idea, but hey, that happens! It's easy to be the one dating, but very challenging when our partner first starts dating. You might get very into the idea and develop NRE for someone(s), and then... what if you are not actually poly, but find yourself way more into the new person? It could just be infatuation, but there is a risk you can't sustain full-on love for two at once, after all, and the original couple needs to break up.

It's best to talk about breaking up amicably as part of this process. Shit happens.

Your original mono relationship is already "dead," even if you both decide to postpone dating, or never do it. You can't close that barn door now.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Firepit,

I think you are doing fine by supporting her either way, the rest is up to her. If she decides to explore poly, it is reasonable for you to request the same. Here are some jealousy links:
I hope that helps.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
My perspective: I opened up me and my husband's relationship for another guy we are both really good friends with. As erratic as your girlfriend's behavior is, I can totally understand it (even if it's unfair that she wants you to remain mono). I went back and forth a lot before opening things up with my husband, and most of the reasons why had to do with worrying that he would find another partner and that I would have to deal with jealousy on my end. Selfish for sure! But she is the one choosing at this point what your guys' relationship will look like in the near and perhaps far future, and that's a big decision to make. My mindset when I was freaking out was: if my partner has another partner and I am jealous, I will only have myself to blame.
dealt with my jealousy in preparation,
I love this. If doing this works irl let me know haha no one in my circle has ever found a way to preemptively work through jealousy.

to answer ur questions, in my opinion:
1. you're being a supportive partner and being willing to do this (for her initially, and maybe someday also for yourself) is really cool! You're also (at least perceptively from this thread) being patient as she sorts through different emotions. There was a sort of grieving process for my partner and I. Something (even if it was just the idea of us being mono forever) had to die to make room for this new adventure. Only you can know if you're okay with that.
2. YES :) even if you never do it or wait forever to do it because you want to be mono anyway, having the freedom to do the same will make things seem more fair. That's not to say you should go out and meet someone just to make things "even" ... but having the option to is what is right, in my opinion.
3. you could definitely offer a boundary of not trying things with her potential girlfriend for the time being (instead of you agreeing to stay mono). It seems like that is something she is struggling with right now; my partners and I have a couple rules about ppl we can be interested in romantically (no family, no close friends from before we met) so maybe this is a rule you could both establish.
 

Firepit

New member
I’m a big fan of consolidating, so I hope no one minds if I respond to multiple posts at once.

Magdlyn - Fortunately, this isn’t about sex or saving the remains of some mono ideal for me. I’m fairly certain it’s about sex for her, as she hasn’t responded positively to ideas of her having a second relationship other than the fantasy of a weekend away with a female. As a side note, she only mentions males if the subject of myself and a female is brought up. I see a lot of turmoil in her inner conflict and it breaks my heart. Overall, I just want her to be free to explore and express herself without my feeling used or restricted.

kdt26417 - Thank you for those links. I hope to find something in there that may help me to support her.

mountaingirl - Sadly, should she choose to pursue poly and restrict me, I won’t be continuing with the relationship. I hope that’s not the case, but it is what it is, and I want her to be happy. You know how love is. As for preemptive emotional processing, it’s very possible. It requires practicing experiencing emotions through vivid role play or fantasy in the mind. Not just imagining, but allowing ourselves to live it as if it were real, and react to the emotions in a mindful way. It doesn’t take away the entire sting of the real-life emotion when it happens, but it allows us to maintain objectivity at that moment with a peace of knowing we’ll be okay. In my experience, it has worked for everything from overcoming fears to grieving the loss of loved ones. I’ll certainly let you know how it works out should the time arise.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I hope you feel better for airing out some. FWIW? Here's what is sounds like to me.

This began a year and a half of many anger-fueled conversations (she was mad, not me) wherein she wanted to add a female or a male, but wanted me to remain mono, but was ALSO convinced I wouldn't remain mono forever.

Spending 1.5 years arguing? And your partner kinda not trusting you to keep agreements? This is fun for you?

After her admissions, I researched poly until I felt I was well-oriented, dealt with my jealousy in preparation, and now feel I'm ready to move forward if she ever chooses. That said, if she decides to explore poly, I don't necessarily intend to remain mono.

Sounds like you've done some prep work and know what you are and are not up for. What about her?

Because she doesn't sound realistic. You mentioned GF is mid 20s. Well... around 25 is when brain finishes developing. So some of this may the the up and downs of that.

The other part (to me) sounds like unrealistic poly fantasy in her head and how she reacts to all that. Like the problem is not poly. You'd be up for it if you and her can both date other people.

The problem is that she fantasizes about poly and then has some kind of anger/temper fit/acting out thing. Which makes you feel... unsafe? Tired of up and down whooshies? Something else?

We started talking about the possibility of her asking Nameless on a date. She then thought the situation through, realized she might want an in-house relationship with her, decided maybe we would then be a throuple, had a fun fantasy about her going on vacation alone with Nameless, then realized Nameless and I might go on a similar vacation, got angry, and pushed Nameless away in real life. This thought process all happened in a few minutes while I was at work. We haven't seen Nameless since.

She went from a single date to cohabitation and being a throuple and then mad the pretend throuple people might want separate dyad vacations? So then in real life she reacted to her thinking by fussing at you while you are at work and also pushing Nameless away in real life?

If fantasizing just for fun and it stays fun? Carry on and maybe enjoy fantasizing together.

If she does it on her own or you do it together and she ends up cranking her own self up? Gets mad at you? Acts out? Not so fun? Could stop fantasizing with her then. And if she continues to fantasize on her own and upsets her own self? Could leave her to deal with that on her own. Do not let her interrupt your work day.

1) Am I doing the right thing in supporting her either way, or should I err toward safety and pull away from poly?

One has to be able to say "I love you a lot. But not even for you will I do stuff that I don't really want to do or will I do stuff that hurts me."

You are not obligated to support a partner to your own detriment. If you are content with monogamy? And dealing with her acting out from poly fantasy is bad enough?

And you think doing actual poly with her would lead to worse acting out? Keep it simple on you. Err toward safety and skip it all. Don't sign up to do poly with her.

2) If she decides to explore poly, is it reasonable that I request the same?

Yes. It is reasonable.

If your GF wants open/poly for her and not for you? And you don't want that? Be honest. Say "No, thanks. I would only do open/poly where all people involved have the option to date."

She might be disappointed hearing the news, but you are being honest and up front with her. What else can you be?

You also aren't holding her back any. If she really wants a mono-poly arrangement? And won't get it with you? She can break up with you and go seek people who are willing to do that with her.

Just because people can manage monogamy together doesn't mean they AUTOMATICALLY get along for practicing open/poly together.

3) Is there anything I can do to help her sort out her jealousy without pushing her toward a specific decision?
I guess you could ask her if she's willing to read Polysecure. Or the Jealousy workbook.

To me it sounds like she's getting cranked up and jealous over her thinking some stuff. When she does that behavior? You may have to just let her be upset over her thoughts and not try to fix anything about it if she's the one kicking her own bucket over.

You may have to stand back. Detach some. Not like you don't care about her at all. But you recognize that not all the stuff in the world is gonna be "our stuff."
  • Some stuff is just your stuff to deal with and solve.
  • Some of it is just her stuff to deal with and solve.
  • Some of it is shared stuff you both deal with and solve together.
It's ok to reassure, care about a partner. But it isn't your job to be the endless bucket filler. If she's going around kicking her own bucket over and over? The solution is not for you to forever fill and risk burning out. The solution is for HER to learn to not kick it over in the first place.

I think it's best when people deal with their personal stuff BEFORE actually attempting poly. If she's not secure in her own self, if she struggles with emotional management, and a whole bunch of other things? It can lead to pitfalls and an unpleasant open/poly experience.


If you DO decide to try open or poly relationship with her? Make sure your safe sex agreements are in place. Expect her to deal with her other relationships herself. Not your job to fix her problems elsewhere. And stay the away from her partners.

Do not share group sex, do not try to date the same person. Do not try to "throuple." Do not move people in just because she wants that. Turning a shared partner into some kind of tug-o-war person is not good for anyone, esp the partner caught in the middle. I suggest you skip that whole thing entirely by not being involved with any of her people sexually or romantically.

Galagirl
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
It's only when it comes to a MFM V that I'm not comfortable remaining mono.

I don't think you can do much for her. She has to want to do it herself. But on the quoted part, you could do some self work around why you'd be okay with that.

You know female is a broad category. Myself, and some of my partners definitely read more masculine than many heterosexual men envisage when it comes to their partner having female partners. So if they have this idea that their partner's other relationships will be palatable because it's suits the male gaze, then they're left sorely disappointed. Men forget their partner's same sex attraction may have heteronormative aspects and the guy would have to be something other than straight to share attraction to the same people.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
This began a year and a half of many anger-fueled conversations (she was mad, not me) wherein she wanted to add a female or a male, but wanted me to remain mono, but was ALSO convinced I wouldn't remain mono forever. So... she was then upset at the idea that I might not be mono, and the conversations would go very sour with my reassuring her that I'm happy being mono (or poly) and asserting that I just want us to be fair - i.e.: if she's not mono, I'm not asked to be either.
there’s lots of threads here where it ends up being a “ be careful what you wish for “ situation. Someone push’s to open up and then the reluctant or hesitant partner or spouse decides to jump in the pool and then the sky begins to fall. If you decide to open …IMO a that means open.


As for myself, I had always considered myself mono before her, but had the usual threesome curiosities and so forth. I did have a couple of threesomes, and they were okay. Basically, though, I didn't want to share. After her admissions, I researched poly until I felt I was well-oriented, dealt with my jealousy in preparation, and now feel I'm ready to move forward if she ever chooses. That said, if she decides to explore poly, I don't necessarily intend to remain mono.
personally I think that’s the smartest and best choice 😉👍


1) Am I doing the right thing in supporting her either way, or should I err toward safety and pull away from poly?
what’s either way ?? I’d support her in opening up just like she will need to support you in your poly journey.


2) If she decides to explore poly, is it reasonable that I request the same?
HELL YES . ITS NOT even a negotiation.

3) Is there anything I can do to help her sort out her jealousy without pushing her toward a specific decision?

Not really it’s all self work. Does she know you’ve posted on the forum and she done any reading here ?
 
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