Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

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iLoveHelloKitty
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Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby iLoveHelloKitty » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:56 pm

I'm in a 1 year relationship with my boyfriend who does everything for me. The beginning half of the relationship I was in a monogamous mindset but then I started having feelings for other people (mostly women). Just close to our 1 year anniversary, I spoke to my boyfriend about having an open relationship for just women and having him be the only man but he was totally opposed to it. Apparently he doesn't see it any different than if it's with another man. Personally I do.

One of my coping skills was watching lesbian pornography. I did initially have thoughts about going behind his back but I wouldn't because he doesn't deserve it. I have cheated on past partners. Here's the problem, I really love this man, but at the same time I've only had a physical experience with one woman in my life and I haven't been with one in 5 years. Just online relationships.

I absolutely hate conflict. I just want to be happy with what I have. I wish I could just take these feelings and throw it in the trash.

Here's the kicker; I'm jealous that he had a lot of female partners, especially in variety. I feel like a guy competing with a guy.

Anyway, I was just hoping someone who might be polyamorous or have outside relationship feelings may have other coping mechanisms to throw out there?

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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby Siân » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:04 am

Hi ILoveHelloKitty,

I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with this in your relationship. It's normal to experience attraction to people outside your relationship, whether it is monogamous or not. Being a good partner though means that we stick to the boundaries we have agreed in our relationship - cheating isn't the way to sustain a healthy, loving relationship.

I'm not saying it's wrong to date or be physical with people outside your relationship - that would be hypocritical - but it does need to be something that is freely agreed by all parties. By freely agreed, I mean that we can't just convince someone to say it's ok if deep down they feel totally rubbish about it. Sometimes, hard as it is, we have to part ways and be with people whose needs are more aligned to our own. Does that make sense?

A couple of things to think about: Is polyamory something you think you're interested in generally? Or is it that you would like to have more kinds of sexual experience before settling into a committed relationship? Both? If you want non-monogamy, what does that look like for you?

It sounds like this might be a good time for you to take a moment to think about what you want from a relationship in general. Take a look at this for starters: Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models. Anything in there catch your eye?

I'm also going to leave this for you to look at: A First Polyamory Guide. It doesn't sounds like your current partner is into this just now, but it might help you think about the kinds of relationship models you ideally want a bit more. Make sense?

iLoveHelloKitty
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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby iLoveHelloKitty » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:24 am

Answer to your question about polyamory or having other sexual experiences in general: As far as women, I want to have different types of sexual experiences that I didn't get a chance to have (such as cougars, latinas, bdsm, etc). And he wonders what women have that he doesn't but it's obvious. As far as guys there's very few guys in particular I have feelings for that I cut contact with so I don't have to go through conflict. They have some things he doesn't have that could be changed about him if he freely chose to.

So it's really either cope with monogamy with him or leave him to get my polygamous needs. I'm choosing to hold onto him because I love him. He's nothing like other guys. If he wasn't a great guy, I'd leave and get things out of my system then get into another monogamous relationship but he's my best friend.

Everything you told me right there is stuff I already know. I'm just trying to find coping mechanisms so I don't have to feel like I'm losing my grip. I wanna be happy enough with him that I don't feel the need to get anything out of my system. Willpower is not powerful enough.

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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby Sam W » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:00 am

Hi iLoveHelloKitty,

So, it sounds like for the time being you've made the choice to stay with him in this monogamous relationship, and what you're looking for now is ways to manage those feelings of desiring other people or experiences. Does that sound right?

You mention you want to be happy enough with him so that you don't feel like there are other sexual partners you want to pursue. When you're envisioning that happiness in your head, what does it involve? Too, as Sian mentioned above, it's helpful to remember than even in the happiest, healthiest romantic relationships, there will still be times were you're attracted to other people (sometimes pretty intensely). Would it be helpful to talk about possible ways of addressing those feelings when they happen?

I think it may also be helpful, when you're thinking about the kinds of sexual and romantic opportunities you're taking a pass on due to being in a monogamous relationship, to actually think about those scenarios a bit differently. For starters, the way you're grouping the things and people you wish you had a chance to pursue reads much more like the way porn is categorized, rather than the way actual relationships tend to go. Pursuing relationships, sexual or otherwise, based on categories like age or race of a potential partner doesn't work out well for anyone. The person pursuing usually has some expectations for the relationship that are tied to stereotypes in one way or another, and the other person generally ends up feeling like their partner only sees them as a member of a category rather than a distinct person, which ends up feeling very unpleasant. So, something to keep in mind is that, even if you were to pursue the relationships you feel you didn't get the chance to have, there's a very good chance they would be radically different from your expectations or fantasies. Does that make sense?

iLoveHelloKitty
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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby iLoveHelloKitty » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:36 pm

'So, it sounds like for the time being you've made the choice to stay with him in this monogamous relationship, and what you're looking for now is ways to manage those feelings of desiring other people or experiences. Does that sound right?' - Answer: Yes.

'So, something to keep in mind is that, even if you were to pursue the relationships you feel you didn't get the chance to have, there's a very good chance they would be radically different from your expectations or fantasies. Does that make sense?' - Reply: It does but that's not what I'm going for. I just want the experience. One, for the sake of being in the moment, and two, for the sake of having a story.

You realise though, there is a difference between just feeling the desire and feeling the desire to a point where I feel conflicted. My parents don't want anyone else but each other and they're happy. My boyfriend doesn't want anyone else but me. The point is I wanna get over it.

Now it be worth getting over if something else changed. I'm also trying to decide if I can deal with being with someone who doesn't like public. By that I mean just dating behaviour in general like hugging from behind, sitting on laps, etc. Honestly that makes me feel loved. Obviously, same as consenting to polygamy and intimacy and other things like that, it has to be all free as well. That I know for sure. I'm just trying to decide if this is the right relationship for me personally. I've tried writing pros and cons, but things sparked me, especially on our one year, so I'm like 'okay I wanna stay'. Now I'm having second thoughts. I don't know if it's worth all the pros.

Now you know my other conflict problem.

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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:58 pm

Okay, glad I was reading you choice about staying in the relationship right. I'll admit that I'm a little unclear on what you mean when you say you feel the desires to the point of being conflicted as opposed to how many other people feel desire for outside relationships. One thing I want to offer is that a lot of people experience that strong level of desire at some point during a committed relationship. I'm willing to bet your parents did (especially if they've been together awhile). Those types of the desires are often a reality of staying with one person long-term. The thing is, most people will never admit to those intense feelings because there is an enormous taboo when it comes to acknowledging that we experience desire for multiple people while in a long-term, monogamous relationship. But ultimately, regardless of the intensity of the desire, if we've made the call to stay in that monogamous relationship, all we can do is ride those other feelings out (or, in some cases, redirect them back onto our partner).

In terms of wanting experiences or stories, I have a few thoughts. For starters, when we seek out sexual relationships purely because we want to be able to say we have had that kind of experience (whatever specific experience it may be), it creates a "sexual bucket list" dynamic. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to explore lots of different sexual interactions, but that bucket list feel can make things less-than-great for the person (or people) you're engaging in those activities with. I know people who found out they'd been used for that purpose by a partner after the fact, and it left them feeling seriously crummy. Hence my cautioning you away from that kind of thinking. Too, it sounds a little bit like what you want is novelty, which is something that you can create within the structure of your current relationship. That may be another way to redirect those desires you're feeling, and we can talk about ways to introduce that novelty if you'd like.

It sounds like in your last paragraph that there are maybe some mismatches in your wants vs his around public displays of affection. Can you say a little more about that?

iLoveHelloKitty
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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby iLoveHelloKitty » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:28 pm

What I'm asking though is, is it common to have outside relationship feelings to a point where you're conflicted? Like, in a position where you have to decide between A and B?

Most things can be incorporated into my relationship except one thing. He's a man. If I was only attracted to men, things could be fixed and he could be that man. But the things I want to experience, i want it to be with a woman. I had my fill of men. Too many men.

As far as the last paragraph, I don't quite follow what you're asking there?

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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby Heather » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:19 am

What I'm asking though is, is it common to have outside relationship feelings to a point where you're conflicted? Like, in a position where you have to decide between A and B?


I would certainly say so, particularly the longer any given sexual relationship goes on for.

If I was only attracted to men, things could be fixed and he could be that man.
That probably also wouldn't be true. Heterosexual people are not usually attracted to just one person through their whole lives, and most also don't choose to be in a sexual or romantic relationship with only one, either.

I can't speak for Sam's last points (including because I actually found myself feeling very uncomfortable with some of how you were framing things with the way you were grouping women into those categories or talking about sexual experiences with people as about having stories to tell, so I do not feel like a good person to have more of that conversation with).
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

iLoveHelloKitty
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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby iLoveHelloKitty » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:50 am

As for the last paragraph, that is to be waited for Sam to respond to so that I could answer her question about it.

Maybe I'll try writing down another paper of pros and cons. I'm really just trying to figure out if the cons are worth the pros or if maybe I could find better. This is the best I've had in my life. Most of my previous relationships have been abusive. Other than that, I'll have to put more thought into it.

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Re: Coping with monogamy as a bisexual polyamorist

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:19 pm

In my last paragraph, I was referencing what you mentioned about you wanting public displays of affection and him not wanting those things. There's definitely room for compromise with those sorts of mismatches, but they can also indicate that there are deeper incompatibilities around intimacy going on. Have you talked to him about public displays of affection, including why they're important to you and why he's not into them?

With wanting to be with a woman, I think it might also help you to interrogate what parts of that experience appeal to you. Are there certain acts or dynamics that you assume would be present during sex with another woman that couldn't be present with a guy? Or is it more that you simply want to explore that piece of your sexuality that's your attraction to women? After all, being with a woman can encompass pretty much every sexual behavior you can think of, so one person's sexual experience with another woman is going to be radically different from a different woman's experience.

You can certainly try writing out the pros and cons and seeing if that helps out at all. When you say you wonder if you could find someone, "better" are you thinking in terms of their qualities as a partner? Or are those feelings more attached to that interest in pursuing polamory or relationships with women?


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