Still learning to ride the wave

mountaingirl

Active member
hm... i have never needed this forum more!!!1!!! so comments and advice are definitely welcome. some new changes are coming.... maybe in a few months, but probably not sooner than that. Just conversations now.

Joe and I are still mulling through some feelings, it seems.
He said and did a lot of hurtful shit when P and I started dating (almost 2 years ago, the hurtful words went on for about a year though), and now that Joe had his first physical thing with someone outside of our marriage (see above, they kissed... due to the circumstances of Joe acting before talking and some other boundaries being crossed, I'm also having to repair my trust in him currently).
It's bringing up a lot of pain for me.... initially I was cool with it, but I got in my head and starting thinking of all the things Joe said to me when P and I started dating...
I have to be the bigger person here and learn from our mistakes. I have to NOT repeat those same behaviors of slut shaming, guilting, tearing down that Joe did. I forgave him for that (even if it still hurts a bit, and my self esteem is still recovering). He apologized profusely. I understand where he was at; we were monogamous when I fell in love with P, he felt betrayed by me developing feelings for someone else. It didn't matter how honest I was, how long I waited, etc.
It's still hard to let go, though, when I feel he is going to put me through the same thing... or something similar, at least.
The animal side of me knows that I have every right to get in his ass, to make him feel how I did.
And the human side loves him very much and just wants him to be happy. I also understand his argument of "I want to be closer with you, and understand how you can love me and be with another person, too". I can get behind that... well, now I can. initially it sounded like bullshit.

He said he wants me to be involved if he does open up his side of things. Like, me also dating this hypothetical female and being physically involved with them. Also that he wouldn't be looking for any kind of long term partner, just a fun friend it seems. I can get behind that.
I don't know how I feel about group sex though... when P and I started dating, I had many fantasies about MMF threesomes. Who wouldn't want two dicks in their mouth (lol)
but that was a boundary for Joe. Understandable. Am I down to spice up Joe's (and my) sex life? Fulfill his fantasies? I have been with one other woman. It was... meh. But I don't think she was my type. I'm thinking brunette, thicc, smart (oops am I describing myself?)
In my opinion, an ideal situation he would do all the romantic heavy lifting (3 relationships??!?!?! Idk about all that), and I could just swoop in for sexy stuff once in awhile. I know people don't come ready made like that though, and I have read enough scary shit about unicorn hunting.
Joe had been telling me for awhile that he might eventually be with someone else, so while this seems like a lot right now due to some other life shit going on, it's not a huge surprise that we're talking about it.

And what does this mean for P and I? Nothing, it seems. He has stuck to his story of wanting me and only me (for now, I'll add, since I know everything can change). The stuff with Joe did spark a conversation about P and I's relationship in the future. Joe wants to have a family with me, and doesn't think an open relationship is conducive to that, but since P and I are in a committed (and stable now, definitely stable if it lasts into the future) relationship, I wanted to know where Joe saw P in all of this. Joe says he doesn't want to "have a cult raising a family" and our kids being bullied as a result, but fine with P being around; fuzzy on logistics. hm... P sees himself as being present. He has said he would love to help raise my kid with Joe. I had a dream the other night about me, Joe and P taking care of a child of mine (didn't really register which of them was the dad in the dream). I also have a dog that they both love soooo much and we all take care of, so I think that's why the one big happy family vibe is so stuck in my head. I know a kid isn't a dog. But... yeah idk
So, it seems Joe and I's ideals don't align. But, seeing as both Joe and P want to transition from living together to separate homes close to each other, maybe having separate but close families is a possibility.
The only thing I have ever not told Joe is that I have thought about having a kid with P someday. But ... he's not ready, I'm not sure I even want to have kids in this crazy world, and that would be years in the future. Just trying to get my PhD first. Sorry if withholding that info seems like a red flag to some.

I'm waxing in between excitement for a potential love interest (for Joe, or potentially both of us) to anxiety (what will she be like? what if P also wants to open his side up and I'm hit with everything all at once?) to literal world ending unreal scenarios (THEY WILL BOTH LEAVE ME?!?!?!?!? that one always crops up when big changes occur lol)

For the immediate moment, the mystery woman is hypothetical. Thank god, because the woman Joe kissed was.... ew tbh. Mostly on the inside. He's apologized for his bad taste haha. Clearly I'm still wrapping my head around that one.

P has been very nice lately.... he said he feels as if he's "rediscovered our love"... lots of compliments and back rubs. I underestimated how nice it would be to have someone else to talk to about jealousy feels. He described yesterday, that he realized this past week (again, with some life stuff we went through) that he feels like I'm there for him as much as his own family is. That + him screening interactions between his sister and I (per my request) makes me feel like he's really taking shit seriously. And that's an awesome feeling. I definitely went 0-100 with him pretty quickly commitment-wise, mostly because I was risking the most important relationship and first healthy romantic relationship in my life (with Joe) to have one with P. I think both of us are only just now learning to trust each other to the nth degree.

Eerfghhh lots of feelings in this one. Some good, some not so good. Hoping to sort through the not so good in the near future.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Since you wanted feedback....

Joe and I set some boundaries last week about him interacting with other females. As in, don't make things physical before we have a conversation, and to have more intention; i.e. don't act if that person is not understanding of our relationship and okay with nonmonogamy. that was already in place, but he shared a drunk kiss with some girl i work with.

Since you, J, and P are now in a poly V, isn't it already open on all sides? Where all of you can see other people? If not...

What other conversation is missing that you still have to have about him being physical with people? So it can get to "Ok, it's open for you to date. Don't date my messy people list. I won't date yours. I expect labs, condoms. and safer sex practices will be used. I expect we check in about any new people before we share sex together."

Then all have space to be spontaneous while still keeping the condom contract. It doesn't take long to ask/tell "Since the last time we shared sex have there been new people? Were condoms/safer sex practices used?" so you can give continued consent from a place of full info.

"Coworkers" might be on the messy people list. There's enough people to date without going for messy ones.

And wassup with hitting on people while drunk? Ew.

Is that what you mean about more conversations needed?

The animal side of me knows that I have every right to get in his ass, to make him feel how I did.

No, you don't have the right to treat people poorly. Where did you get this idea?

You do not have to choose to behave like a jerk today just because he was behaving poorly 2 years ago.

And the human side loves him very much and just wants him to be happy. I also understand his argument of "I want to be closer with you, and understand how you can love me and be with another person, too". I can get behind that... well, now I can. initially it sounded like bullshit.

Well, yeah. It sucks to have gone first, received a rain of fury, and now when the shoe is on the other foot? J's all like "Ohhhh... I get it now."

And J gets better treatment and greater understanding from you than he was able give you 2 years ago. You are two different people. His meta skills back then were poor. Your meta skills today are better than that.

So what's the goal here? Play tit for tat games like "get even" revenge GRRR?

Or be in right relationship and everyone do the best they are able to do with where their skills are at TODAY?

He said he wants me to be involved if he does open up his side of things. Like, me also dating this hypothetical female and being physically involved with them.

You could say "No, thank you. Not interested in triad models." Just the V with you, J, and P was turbulence enough. 2 v's stacked up.

Why jump into 3 V's stacked up in a triad situation?

Group sex is not a requirement for open or poly.

Also that he wouldn't be looking for any kind of long term partner, just a fun friend it seems.

If he likes FWB? Fine. Up to him what he wants for dating partners.

Joe had been telling me for awhile that he might eventually be with someone else, so while this seems like a lot right now due to some other life shit going on, it's not a huge surprise that we're talking about it.

This change to J starting to date is enough isn't it? Esp when you have other stuff going on?

Why on earth pile on group sex or trying to triad on top of it?

Some things like a blizzard of hurricane happening? That you cannot control.

How much you get yourself involved in when? That you CAN control.

You seem to want to enjoy the closer connection with P and minimize turbulence with J as he starts dating also.

So do that.

And if you haven't already? Do talk about what happens if both P and J break up with you and everyone ends up single. What's the plan then? So you can relax about it. Like emergency plan is made, hopefully never need it. Rather than have it come to pass and everyone wigs out.

You are responsible for your own emergency preparedness.

You are responsible for your own well being.

If you tend towards anxiety? You do your anxiety management and MINIMIZE stressors, not pile them on.
 
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SweetSparkle_88

New member
It's not too hard to keep my relationships separate when I'm feeling good, but when I get stressed I resort to some codependency bullshit with Joe, and he reciprocates by brainstorming to fix my problems and taking them on as his own. It's not good for either of us.

I just wanna say I relate to this shortcoming! I also grew up raised by parents that sound a lot like yours, and while it's easy enough to have good boundaries when I'm feeling good, when I'm low I do find myself wanting to reach for my partner for emotional things they can't give me. I have a bunch of other practices to reach for to have my needs met when I feel like this--sounds like you do, too--but yeah, the habit of reaching towards a partner first is super engrained. Thanks for sharing, been enjoying reading along <3
 

mountaingirl

Active member
Since you, J, and P are now in a poly V, isn't it already open on all sides? Where all of you can see other people? If not...
define "open on all sides.." I asked Joe about this, but he's not okay with me kissing/dating other men besides P. So not open? I'm committed to both of them and that's it? I asked him if he would have been okay with me doing what he did in this situation, and he said no. So.... yeah. I know there isn't a formula to polyamory, but should reciprocity be a part of that?
"Coworkers" might be on the messy people list. There's enough people to date without going for messy ones.

And wassup with hitting on people while drunk? Ew.

Is that what you mean about more conversations needed?
Yes. We had several agreements in place; no one I work with (because I don't tell my coworkers im poly and he definitely wouldn't want me doing anything with his coworkers), no one we can't have an exit strategy from (i.e. close friends, mutual friends, close friends of people we live with), and no acting before talking. period. He broke all of those agreements in one night. We also had something in place for doing stuff in our house, and it feels like he treated our home like a bar to pick people up at, which is part of why this felt icky for me. I'd rather he just... actually go to a bar if that's what he's on lol
No, you don't have the right to treat people poorly. Where did you get this idea?

You do not have to choose to behave like a jerk today just because he was behaving poorly 2 years ago.
Yeah, that's kinda the point. I am not acting like he did, but I am pretty angry at how this was handled. I made it easy for him to seek out dates and do things conscientiously and responsibly (i.e. encouraged him dating women who were interested in him, he just didn't end up being interested in them back). It's doubly shitty that this person isn't important; he didn't know her name the next day and lost interest in going on a date with her after 24 hours had passed. I almost would have been happier with this if he did go on a date with her, then it wouldn't seem like a pointless mistake. Imo, she is boring and not attractive (I promise I say this without anger in my heart.. I just think Joe deserves better). If his bar is this low, then who/where/when is off limits?
Well, yeah. It sucks to have gone first, received a rain of fury, and now when the shoe is on the other foot? J's all like "Ohhhh... I get it now."
And J gets better treatment and greater understanding from you than he was able give you 2 years ago. You are two different people. His meta skills back then were poor. Your meta skills today are better than that.
He keeps saying the whole point of him wanting to see other people is to "become closer with" and "understand" me more. When I mention that he should look into poly resources and do things with intention; i.e. get on dating sites or talk to other poly circles so he can actually meet poly people, he says "I'm not poly". Idk it feels judgey, like this is my life but .... if you're not poly, then kissing/groping other people is .. cheating? Wish he would just embrace the shit. I feel like he really doesn't understand. There is no "I get it now" moment. He also says he doesn't want to do anything like this if we have a family or just in general doesn't want to do shit like this when we're older. Like... I'm not just figuring shit out because I'm young. I genuinely want to be with both of these humans.
When Joe asked me what I wanted 2 years ago, even though I hadn't done anything physical with P yet, I answered "I want to be with both you and P." I just wish he could give me that simple of an answer as to what he wants. Maybe that's too much to expect this early... but I didn't have to actually be with someone to know what I wanted ahead of time. I know our situations aren't going to be identical.
Why jump into 3 V's stacked up in a triad situation?

Group sex is not a requirement for open or poly.
I know this. Hence why I never pushed it on P and Joe. I am open to the prospect of being with another woman, and I don't think Joe and I would have any problems finding that situation (we've actually been offered this a few times before when we were mono). Right now, because of the circumstances, I'm just kinda miffed with him and feeling like "Why should I do this for him?" so clearly not ready for something like this until the betrayed feeling goes away.
If he likes FWB? Fine. Up to him what he wants for dating partners.
Yeah. I just kinda wish he would go on a work assignment away from me and do his thing/act single for a bit. Like, to figure out what it is he wants. I just want him to be happy with whatever he decides. I know there will be some mistakes, but I want to minimize them. I don't want to be figuring this out 'with' him, but we are so close that I think that's what he had in mind. Again, like it's an assignment we both need to tackle together and I'm over here like... I'm good the way things are lol why would I be putting in work rn? It's not enough that I took time to set boundaries for you to follow on your own poly journey...?
This change to J starting to date is enough isn't it? Esp when you have other stuff going on?

Why on earth pile on group sex or trying to triad on top of it?
I think this is along the vein of Joe wanting to feel "closer" with me... like he proposed it, and I think it's a way of making this something for both of us, as opposed to something just for him. He also says he wants to do it because I'm doing it, to make things even, but I have been trying to explain to him that it will literally never be 'even' because our situations will be inherently different. He just has always said he's not an FWB kind of person. Even when he was single. I think after seeing him have so little control I'm questioning a lot about his personality; just learning to trust again. I know I'm supposed to be cool with him seeing other people, but hooking up with randos (esp in our house, while I'm there but not participating) is never something I have even remotely been interested in, and something he said he would never do. I just feel like his first real foray into poly stuff felt more like cheating/mistakes than a conscious decision, and I'm really hoping this is not the precedent. I know some people are into completely open things, but there are some spaces and times in which I want to just feel like we're all just enjoying each other's company and not like anyone is looking for a romantic interest. To me, there is a big difference between being poly and acting single. It doesn't help that this female was very much in the nonethical monogamy mindset; i.e. she was interested up until the point that she found out Joe wasn't trying to cheat on me. I told Joe that there are people out there that normalize cheating more than polyamory, and that that's the whole point of communicating before doing anything. I just would rather him take that shit elsewhere if he's going to find people "in the wild" because he feels he is above dating apps and planning things out, similar to how P and I have kept our interactions out of sight, out of mind for him.
You seem to want to enjoy the closer connection with P and minimize turbulence with J as he starts dating also.
I do. I am enjoying how well everything is going with him and I; shit just seems stable and like we've reached a set point and are both really happy. I have been able to really grow into our relationship and trust that he's taking us seriously.... and just not really care what everyone else's opinion is.
Joe has said he isn't interested in being with anyone until he feels we're good. So no pressure right now which is cool.
And if you haven't already? Do talk about what happens if both P and J break up with you and everyone ends up single. What's the plan then? So you can relax about it. Like emergency plan is made, hopefully never need it. Rather than have it come to pass and everyone wigs out.
They're not leaving lol. This is just my anxiety talking. We're all financially independent, so the answer to what would happen is p simple.
Yes, it's my responsibility to take care of myself. I had planned on going to my cousins wedding with Joe, but asked him not to come with so I could focus on seeing family and spending the 12 hr drive just jamming out in my new car, not having to answer to other people's desires and biases. I need space from my relationships for a few days, so this is a good chance to do that.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
define "open on all sides.." I asked Joe about this, but he's not okay with me kissing/dating other men besides P. So not open? I'm committed to both of them and that's it? I asked him if he would have been okay with me doing what he did in this situation, and he said no. So.... yeah. I know there isn't a formula to polyamory, but should reciprocity be a part of that?

People are free to arrange themselves as they wish.

But to me? Joe expecting you to be polyfidelitous or "closed" to just him and P while he goes off dating on his side? That's not cool. It's different if all have the option to date others and YOU don't feel like using the option on your side. Him saying what you can and cannot do? In those shoes, I would bristle.

He broke all of those agreements in one night. We also had something in place for doing stuff in our house, and it feels like he treated our home like a bar to pick people up at, which is part of why this felt icky for me. I'd rather he just... actually go to a bar if that's what he's on lol

I would not care for any of that either.

If he is going to get drunk, be home. If he's wanting to date, date responsibly. Don't go get drunk and then start doing foolish things breaking agreements willy nilly. That is not the way to build trust with new people or keep it with established people.

He keeps saying the whole point of him wanting to see other people is to "become closer with" and "understand" me more. When I mention that he should look into poly resources and do things with intention; i.e. get on dating sites or talk to other poly circles so he can actually meet poly people, he says "I'm not poly".

So he wants open or ENM on his side? Not sure how doing that would help him understand poly. Because that's open/ENM.

And if he's behaving this way it is sloppy. Not ethical non-monogamy.

He also says he doesn't want to do anything like this if we have a family or just in general doesn't want to do shit like this when we're older.

Well, you are all young adult 20s people. If he's not going to be a life poly partner for you because he's "doing this for now, but don't want it later?" You have time to figure that out.

I don't want to be figuring this out 'with' him, but we are so close that I think that's what he had in mind. Again, like it's an assignment we both need to tackle together and I'm over here like... I'm good the way things are lol why would I be putting in work rn? It's not enough that I took time to set boundaries for you to follow on your own poly journey...?

You can set mental and emotional boundaries. You don't have to be the endless fountain of emotional labor for partners.

You can say "I see you want me to figure this all out with you. No, thank you. I don't have the bandwidth for this and I cannot be impartial when I am IN the system. I suggest you talk to a counselor instead."

He also says he wants to do it because I'm doing it, to make things even

Why is he in competition with you? Why this need to do tit-for-tat?

I know some people are into completely open things, but there are some spaces and times in which I want to just feel like we're all just enjoying each other's company and not like anyone is looking for a romantic interest.

I get that. At some events, you are on a date. The attention is on each other. At other events, it is not a date. Each could be looking to make new connections.

To me, there is a big difference between being poly and acting single.

Yup. If you are partnered, you are not a footloose, fancy free single who can behave like a free agent. If you have chosen to make agreements with people? You have to hold them up. If you changed your mind? You have to say "I have changed my mind. I need to renegotiate agreements" or "I changed my mind. I will no longer be keeping this agreement." The person might be disappointed hearing it, but then you aren't cheating on agreements.

I need space from my relationships for a few days, so this is a good chance to do that.

Yes. Enjoy the family wedding!
 
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