thoughts and mixed feelings

clalb

New member
Hi everyone.

I posted this as an introduction and Leetah told me to post it here, if I was looking for some feedback. And I am, as I don´t really have a lot of people to talk about poly and sometimes talking about it with my mono friends just make my insecurities (probably because of socialization, still fighting to drop them!) grow stronger...

I'm C., 33, this is my first official poly/open relationship, although I now can see I've been poly - and struggling with my feelings that I "have to" only love one at a time - since I was 11.

A., 35, and I have been in an open relationship for 1,5 years now. We get along very well. It was clear to us, before we met, we don´t want/can´t do mono, so we already started as an open relationship - this being the first open relationship for both of us. We talk about stuff, tell each other when we have sex with someone else or a potential partner is there.

A. is not jealous or insecure at all, so he supports me much more than I do - even though I´m happy for him, I still get insecure and jealous sometimes. Jealousy has been better, but I still struggle with insecurity when there´s someone new. Till now, it was only a few sex dates, but not really anything going into poly territory.

Besides S.. We´ve known each other for 11 years, but for the last 2,5 years we´ve been seeing each other and having amazing time together, including sex, every now and then. It is a long distance relationship, if I can call it that, but we are always in contact and meet each other whenever we can - that´s just not very often, as he lives in the US and I live in Germany. We have a deep connection, A. knows about him and I just met him for a couple of days now in May. My friend S. knows about A. as well.

So, A. met someone new a couple of weeks ago, they had sex. This woman is not poly. Not willing to be, as she already tried an open relationship and it didn´t worked out for her. She says, it´s not her "thing". To complicate things a bit more, she is in a monogamous relationship with a boyfriend she lives with and both of them are not willing to open the relationship. She is also not comfortable with knowing that A.´s poly and is been in a primary relationship with me for 1,5 years. She lives in Italy, but A. and her have been making plans to meet soon. He going to Italy, then she will be in Germany, he would go down to see her.

The whole situation makes me so insecure. A. states me I have nothing to worry about, both relationships are detached from each other (that´s also something I don´t really believe in, I think we do interact in some way and in my "perfect poly world" I would like to interact with his partners - not necessarily sexually, even though we already have had a threesome). He reassures me: he doesn´t want to replace me nor will he leave me for her.

I guess I just really feel bad for her boyfriend - I know it´s not my relationship, but it kinda collides with one of the reasons why poly is right for me: being honest, respecting your partner. And I don´t think cheating is any of this. It kinda disappoints me that A. does it.

Also, A. doesn´t give me much details, I only know the new woman V. says she can´t do poly and won´t leave her partner. A. already told her, he won´t go for mono.

So, it´s pretty clear to me, there are way to many red flags in this situation, still he seems to be putting so much effort on it (I also tend to think things are "worst" then they actually are). From my past relationships and cheating, I´m afraid she might just want to meet him again to dump her boyfriend and try to get him to dump me and be monogamous. I don´t really know. I´m afraid that she is going to bring much negative energy in our relationship, but I can´t really discuss it with A. as he is always like "that´s not your relationship, those are not your problems, just leave it alone, be cool".

It´s clear to me now I might not have a concrete question... Sorry about that. But I guess it´s more about the cheating and if anyone have ever been in a situation like that. Any new thoughts would be highly appreciated.

Thanks so much and sorry for the huge first post.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think you pretty much call it. :(

I guess I just really feel bad for her boyfriend - I know it´s not my relationship, but it kinda collides with one of the reasons why poly is right for me: being honest, respecting your partner. And I don´t think cheating is any of this. It kinda disappoints me that A. does it.

The "in the dark" BF does not deserve this treatment. And yeah, it's disappointing to see your own partner getting mixed up in cheating shenanigans.

I can´t really discuss it with A. as he is always like "that´s not your relationship, those are not your problems, just leave it alone, be cool".

A choosing to help V cheat on her BF? That's his choice and his behavior. However because he is not a footloose single, his behaviors sometimes can and do affect you.

Now as a consequence of his behavior choices, you get to contemplate a new thing for your behavior. If he plans to continue to help V cheat... what do you want to do? Do you want to keep dating A or let him go?

You choosing (to stay with A) or (to leave A ) now that he's become a cheating enabler is YOUR choice and your behavior.
Galagirl
 
Ugh. I know for me personally I need everything to be up front and honest and I have serious trust issues with anyone who chooses to engage in dishonesty in relationships. I think your insecurity is a very valid emotion as your partners actions say something about how your partner engages in relationship. And that sucks. I'm very sorry you are in the midst of such an icky place. I hope you find a way of relating that gives you peace.
 

clalb

New member
Thanks for the messages.

What GalaGirl said really got into me.

"You choosing (to stay with A) or (to leave A ) now that he's become a cheating enabler is YOUR choice and your behavior." (In using my mobile, haven't figured out how to quote)

I don't want to cope - even indirectly - with something that is disrespectful. But I do love A. and want to be with him. Also, playful girl, It also goes against what I know from him, how he engages in relationships, as he's always been very sincere and honest with me and always said that's important for him. So it confuses me.

It kinda makes no sense. He told me once that when you have feelings for someone is just not that easy to let it go (actually talking about V. when I questioned if she already knows she can't /doesn't want to do poly and doesn't want to leave her BF)...

I want to talk to him about it again, but not in a way that he feels like I'm pressuring him.

I get what your guys said, and that's really how I feel. But sometimes I do get the feeling like if there's a strong feeling, I can't tell them not to do it, that I might be being selfish? But that's not what it is about...
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
You are not telling them not to do it. You are telling YOU what your "staying-ness" will be under these new conditions. That is not being selfish like mememememe! That is looking out for your own well being so you can be healthy.

To me it sounds like you are leaning toward leaving with regrets because you love him. And wish you did not have to deal with this but his behavior is forcing your hand. Is that where you are at?

This situation stinks. I am sorry. :(

Galagirl
 
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clalb

New member
Yes, I definitely don't want to leave him. :( I'm actually so happy with him and we have such a nice, respectful relationship between the both of us... :(
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I do not envy the position you are in.


If the two wants you struggle with are

  • I want to be free from having to cope - even indirectly - with something that is disrespectful.
  • I want to be with him.

If you cannot have both things, which one do you value more?

Best would be if circumstances allowed you to have BOTH those wants fulfilled. But you do not get that here. :(

The only way I know of to resolve inner conflict -- is to make the call and try to answer to the higher value.

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi clalb,

I think just about anyone in your situation would be stressed out. I know I would. A is pulling you into a questionable moral area, even if you aren't a direct participant. And then like you said, there is the fear that V will try to force A's hand and get him to dump you. This all puts you in a really bad position.

I think that you are going to try to stay with A on account of his good qualities that you love. That's going to be rough, you will have to wait for this thing with V to play out. Which is probably going to make you feel powerless in the midst of a storm. You are basically at A's (and V's?) mercy (or lack thereof).

What will you do?
Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 

clalb

New member
Thanks guys for your support. This is really helping me clear my head.

I'm feeling really sad. I'm out of town and not really talking much to A. - maybe that's my way of having some space. Maybe it's me trying to see how much I miss, how much he misses me - although I don't know if that's right.

As I said before, I really don't want to leave him. I'm thinking about talking to him tomorrow about how I feel about not coping with it indirectly and how it goes against my relationship view of respect and trust. And that he doing it also affects the way I trust him...

One other thing I've been thinking is that maybe I'm also afraid that V. would bring negative energy in our relationship is because I don't know her and can't talk to her. I would like to, but A. said she wouldn't do it (because she's not open to poly) and its her right not to (I get it) and he would protect her from it. As I said, I get it, but on the other hand, this could make things much clearer to me. As his long-term (well, not that long, if I compare to the couples I read of here ;) ) partner, shouldn't he also try to make me feel good about it and protect me rather then just telling me not to worry because both relationships are detached from each other? :(
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I think it's fair to say that A is telling you not to worry about the V situation when in reality, you have every right and reason to worry about it. I think a lot of A's actions lately are due to a rush of NRE with V. He's not thinking straight.

But ... you're limited on how much power you have over his words and actions. He's basically gonna say and do whatever he wants. You can of course try to convince him to say and do differently, and it might work, but there's no guarantee.

I also have limitations; I can't think of stuff you could say to A that would be particularly convincing. All's I can think of is to just tell him, short and simple, that you think he's on a bad path and it might endanger your relationship with him. But the ball's still in his court at that point. Heck he might get angry if you approach it as I suggest. :(

Maybe in the end I wouldn't say anything unless he asked for my advice?
Regards,
Kevin T.
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
I agree with everyone that you have been put, by A, in a shitty situation.

I understand that you have reservations about V - who wouldn't? Someone who is willing to cheat on their boyfriend but NOT willing to be in an open or poly relationship - even though they are cheating with someone who is already IN a poly/open relationship? All sorts of hypocrisy going on there!

BUT that situation IS completely out of your control - so I would set that aside as something that bothers you but you have no power to affect. I would focus instead on A and his relationship with you. If I were in your shoes? I communicate better in writing so I would send A a letter or email outlining my position and feelings on the subject - it would look something like this:

"Dear A,

I love you and the relationship that we have built together. I don't want to lose or leave you.

However, I am troubled by your willingness to be involved in a relationship with someone who is cheating - as that behavior goes against what I thought I understood about you and your values and makes me question your dedication to sincerity and honesty that I thought we shared.

I care about you and don't want to see you hurt. I think the situation that you are in with V has a high potential for drama and heartache for everyone involved. I worry that NRE is clouding your judgement. I am disappointed to find that this is affecting MY trust in you as a partner.

I understand that you have strong feelings for her and that it is not easy to "let it go". Please understand, though, that I have strong feelings for YOU and it is not easy to "just leave it alone, be cool" when I see you heading down a path that I can see is dangerous, both for you and for our relationship.

I am willing to try to find a way to weather this situation, but you are going to have to be patient and compassionate with me if that is going to work. If your relationship with V is not my problem, is separate and detached from what we have together, then YOU need to really keep it separate and detached.

etc."
 
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reflections

New member
This may be way out there - but are you sure V knows about you? If A is okay with cheating with V, could he also be okay with hiding his relationship with you from V?
 

clalb

New member
This may be way out there - but are you sure V knows about you? If A is okay with cheating with V, could he also be okay with hiding his relationship with you from V?

He said she knows about it and I never questioned because I always trusted him, but right now I'm also not so sure, to tell you the truth. :( but how can I find it out? There's no other way than trusting him. :/

And JaneQSmithe, your letter pretty much sums everything I'm feeling right now... Why do you think a letter would be better than talking? So the emotions don't get in the way?

My heart feels pretty heavy...
 

reflections

New member
Yeah I can see your dilemma. That's on him, not you, anyway, but it would certainly complicate things. I would hope he was honest in how he portrayed himself, but then again...

I guess it speaks to my confusion about her "not being open" to poly. I would say that she's already in a poly relationship, but it's not ethical in the slightest. She is in relationships with two people simultaneously though. Somehow cheating is more comfortable than poly?? And how is that not a big red flag to A, that she isn't ok with his relationship style? In the best of circumstances, that alone would be a dealbreaker.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. It does call into question the way that A operates in relationships and just how much his head goes up in the clouds with NRE (I mean, let's hope it's just the NRE). I would certainly have the same concerns as you do now.

(Hug) if you want it. :(
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
And JaneQSmithe, your letter pretty much sums everything I'm feeling right now... Why do you think a letter would be better than talking? So the emotions don't get in the way?

For me - different methods of communicating work better in different circumstances.

When I write - I tend to write out everything as it comes to me and then go back and edit and re-edit to make sure that what I have written accurately conveys what I am trying to say. If I am writing about a difficult topic I want to make sure that I am not using words that could be interpreted differently than I intended, or "loaded" words that are going to trigger an emotional response in a situation where I am trying to be logical. I can also write something and then go back when I have had time to sit with my thoughts for a while and make sure that I still agree with what I wrote.

From the other end - I find that when I am having a conversation with someone about something that one or the other or both of us is passionate or emotional about it seems that we are each only listening with half of our attention - they other half is trying to process the information and come up with a response all at the same time. When you are reading something that someone has written you can go back and re-read passages that made you think or feel something and look at your response to see if you still feel that way after reading the rest of what they had to say.

The advantage to writing, for me, is that neither party has to come up with the perfect explanation or response "on the spot". It allows time for reflection and processing.

The down-side? You miss out on all of the non-verbal communication that occurs when we are actually speaking to someone - tone of voice, emphasis, etc. (Although a skillful writer can convey a lot of this). If you are physically present (as opposed to on the phone) you also have the added benefit of "body language" that can give you clues as to how your message is being received and which points need further clarification.

It IS possible to cultivate a communication style that involves "active listening" and set up a structure where one person talks for a period of time without interruption - the other person then reflects the information back to make sure they got it right, and THEN processes and responds. But this takes practice and the cooperation of both parties.

My preferred method? I usually write the letter and then ask my partner to read it while I am present (so I can read their body-language). I then ask them if they would like to discuss it or if they have questions now - or if they would like some time to process and consider what I have written before responding.

Everyone is different and has different communication styles, strengths, etc. I can generally write with a fair amount of clarity, but have difficulty understanding/reading people on the phone or via txt. So I prefer to do my communicating in writing or face-to-face.

JaneQ
 

clalb

New member
Oh, I could totally use a hug right now.

That's the thing, he's very rational. He's always been, that's how I know him. He is not the type that fall in love and is all head over heals. But he is a compulsive chatter, I mean, he's always online and reply messages really quickly - this could give someone the wrong idea that he's totally in love or something? This got me thinking also about him not telling her about me...even though I can't believe it, I can't fully trust him right now. And as I know myself, I will end up bringing this up once we meet.

But then again, he doesn't think all the problems and possibilities, he said it's an unsolved problem (she doesn't want to break up nor is open for poly), but it doesn't have to be solved right now. I guess he wants to see where it goes.

But As you said, I don't get it. If someone already tried being in an open relationship and said it doesn't work for them, but then this person cheats and even invite you to come visit when the boyfriend, who this person lives with, is out of town? This is just so wrong and disrespectful. :(

I actually told him that. That I don't understand, that this will not end up in a good way. And he says: "maybe. We'll see how things will unfold. But then again, this is not your relationship."

Have any of you, who've been poly for long time, made your relationships so clearly separated? Like not talking except for the basics (when/where you'll meet), saying "you could meet/talk at some point, but not now"?
 
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clalb

New member
JaneQ,

Thanks again. I was thinking about it, that face to face you get their reactions and body language. This idea of giving them the letter and asking them to read in front of you is a good one. I'll see if I can organize my thoughts and write them down.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
It seems to me that A is in a boat that's poised to go over a waterfall (and he's taking you with him), but says, "We don't need to leave the boat until we find out where it goes."

Re (from clalb):
"Have any of you, who've been poly for long time, made your relationships so clearly separated?"

I haven't (and wouldn't want to try).
 

reflections

New member
It seems to me that A is in a boat that's poised to go over a waterfall (and he's taking you with him), but says, "We don't need to leave the boat until we find out where it goes."

Great metaphor.

All of the relationships in my polycule aren't separated. Jack and Roger have been good friends for a long while, before Jack and I started dating. I have less direct contact with Taylor, but even before they elevated to saying "I love you," I requested a meeting with her, so I could get to know her some and have her get to know me a bit.

I personally don't think I could do polyamory with separated relationships, at least if they were serious, long-term relationships. But that's my personal preference, and I know there are other members on this forum who are okay with having little to no contact with their metamours. I'm more of a family-style kind of person when it comes to polyamory.

I so feel for you right now. :(
 

opalescent

Active member
It is possible to have separate relationships without everyone being close. I've been polite and friendly, not friends with metamours (we only had a mutual partner in common). It's much harder to have healthy relationships where everyone connected is not fully informed. Not totally impossible I suppose but really hard.

You are right this is not your relationship. It is up to him (and her) what happens in it. 'Not your monkeys, not your circus' is a colorful phrase I've heard to describe this. However to my mind, if you see someone driving towards the waterfall at full speed, the appropriate thing is to warn the person, and if they continue on, save yourself and bail out. I would tell him once of my increased lack of respect for him, that I wonder about his trustworthiness where I never did before, that this is going to painful for him and everyone else connected, and it's just not a wise decision. Then tell him you would need to pull back or end your romantic or sexual connection with him because of how he has changed for the worse in your eyes. He probably won't listen. Some folks have to learn only from direct experience that fire is hot. Others just like the fire and keep getting into similar situations. However telling him is not for his benefit (although that would be a lovely side effect). It's for yours. It's for you to set boundaries and make decisions about who you want to be in a poly relationship with. This isn't an ultimatum - it's a statement of what you can tolerate and what you cannot. And while you rightly don't control their relationship, you have utter control over deciding what you can accept and what you can't. You're the only one with that power.

[Bit of a tangent] I've run into this phenomenon of people being unwilling to be open or poly but totally fine being unethically non-monogamous (cheating). It is understood by the larger culture in ways poly or open is generally not. I find this deeply puzzling but being honest with everyone involved seems to be way more work and discomfort, at least up front, to many people than cheating. And I wonder if this is maybe more common an attitude in Europe. Puritans wanted the public and private morality to match while 'decadent' Europe was comfortable with a disconnect for centuries. It is to be expected that powerful, wealthy men have mistresses who may be no secret really but are still at least a patina of covertness, of discretion. This came to my mind when you mentioned she is Italian, another old culture with different and distinct rules for public and private behavior.

This is of course a sweeping generalization, there are huge cultural variations among European cultures. But I do think it points to something crucial in how cultures react to and understand different strands non-monogamy. [end tangent]
 
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