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Author Topic: Polyamory and guidelines
mypolylife
Neophyte
Member # 107290

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Hello, I am new to this sight and a bit old to be on here, (42) but it is the first real Q and A that seems honest and open about poly relationships. I have a question about rules or guidelines to follow in a poly relationship. This is my first experience with this. Actually none of the 4 people involved (husband and wife and husband and wife)all straight had done anything like this before. My wife and I have been together for 20 years and they have been together for 30. I am only the second man my girlfiend has been with. To get to my question, I have tried not to set any boundries up regarding public displays of affection. However I get very uncomfortable when I see my wife and her boyfriend being "lovey dovey". Nothing overtly sexual but really connected. Making out has probably been the worst thing I've actually seen. I have read that rules put in place to prevent triggers of fear or uncomfortable feelings are not good for the relationship, however, aren't decisions like not reading each others e-mails or not watching each other have sex with the other partner just decisions to avoid feeling uncomfortable as well? All 3 of the others absolutely agree that none would like to see any sex happening as well as not wanting to read love notes sent back and forth between partners for fear of feeling uncomfortable. How is not wanting to see PDA's (in front of me)any different?
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Hey there, mypolylife.

We're okay with people over 25 being here so long as they don't ask about things too far afield of our userbase's issues (like say, asking about sex after menopause, etc.) and understand that when the services are busy, we need to serve youth first. [Smile]

Really, so long as we're not talking about unhealthy/abusive behaviours, I think when it comes to poly, just like when it comes to other relationship models and frameworks, it's really all about what agreements we and our partners want to make and are comfortable making.

So, I don't think there's really a right/wrong with what you're asking about myself, just what you want, and what everyone else wants, and wherever it is you all can land in terms of agreements.

That said, I would also just do a self-check in, just for your sake, and that of your primary relationship, to be sure you really are okay with a poly situation if you are finding that seeing your wife and her other partner is very upsetting to you. I'd want to just make sure that this reaction isn't about the reality of poly, like intimate connections between your wife and her boyfriend, not actually being what you want or okay with you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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

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mypolylife
Neophyte
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Thank you Heather, my what a fast response! Your concern is valid. I have asked that question of "Is this really what I want?" many times. I still have not come to a clear decision. Every time I ask myself that, I immediately assume my uncomfortable feelings are based in jealousy or insecurity. I also fear that if I were to decide to end the poly relationship based on this uncomfortable feeling (if it truly is rooted in some fear) that the feeling would somehow remain and affect my primary relationship. Of which I had never experienced before we jumped in 7 months ago. Could it really be as simple as saying that this just isn't for me?
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Sure thing. [Smile]

You know, what I'd suggest is that if we're not really sure we want to do a thing, we don't do that thing yet until we are pretty darn sure. Sure, even after that, we might experience a thing and find it isn't for us, or experience a thing where we realize there are other things to work out or adjust.

But if you're never been awfully close to 100% with this -- or "jumped in," as you say, versus really taking time to think, feel and talk it through before going ahead with this change -- I'd say it might be a good idea to take a time out, maybe a big one, and see if you can't get better sorted with that.

And in that process, if you find out it really is something you still want to do, you'll probably have gotten some extra clarity about what you need or want to adjust or talk through with your wife (or other partners) about it, you know?

[ 04-09-2013, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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

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mypolylife
Neophyte
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Thank you very much. I'm not sure where I will go from here, but it sure was nice to get some unbiased perspective. More feelings than mine on the line to make any fast decisions. I have been saying I needed a break, that we were moving too fast but It seems to continue (sometimes at my own promting) at the same crazy pace. Thanks again, I will remember your advice!
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Molias
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Hi mypolylife, I have some thoughts as well.

Have you talked to your wife about the uncomfortable feelings you've been having? It may be that you're just getting used to the change in your relationship dynamics, and that this feeling will subside over time, but I think it's worth mentioning it sooner rather than later - if this does continue to bother you, you don't want it to just fester away inside you.

There's no one right way to work poly relationships; I think it's ok to have discussions about boundaries, and in fact is very important to do so. Now, my thoughts on what are and aren't reasonable boundaries may differ from what yours are, but just like in any other relationship, you have the right to bring those up with your partners so that you can work out a situation that's most likely to work well for everyone.

Some people really enjoy talking with their partners about their other relationships, or seeing affection like hugging or kissing between them, but it sounds like you may not be ready for that at this point. And if you're not, that's ok! But I think Heather has a good point that this may be a good time to re-examine whether or not you're ok with knowing your wife is being intimate with someone else at all. Not wanting to see it because you feel like you're invading her privacy, or because you don't feel like it's necessary to know a lot of specific details about her other relationship is one thing. But if you have a sense that if you don't see her kissing another person then maybe you can pretend she isn't doing that... then I'd call that a pretty clear sign that this isn't working for you.

If this feeling is coming from a place of jealousy or insecurity, it is possible that even if you and your wife go back to being monogamous for the time being that that feeling will remain, but when you're talking about all of this with her, that would be a great time to really dig into how you're both feeling about your relationship to see if you can get a sense of where that feeling is coming from. That's a great plan, to be honest, even if you continue this poly situation.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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It really, really sounds like you have needed a break, especially when you say things have been going way too fast.

So, I'd encourage you to go ahead and make clear how badly you need that.

The alternative probably sucks for everyone more than taking a time-out, since not taking one when anyone needs one makes it much more likely that *all* the relationships involved will implode.

And you're welcome! [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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

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Molias
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Also, if you've already expressed worries that things are moving too quickly, that seems like a pretty clear sign that it would be beneficial to slow things down or take a break from this poly framework for a bit.

Have you talked to the other people involved about how you feel about the pace so far?

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mypolylife
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Yes, it seems wierd to say it but it kinda goes ignored now that I think about it. It's really not as simple as that, I too look forward to seeing my girlfriend. But I have stated to all involved that we have moved very fast and that I have very little time to connect with my wife between encounters. Its difficult to speak up when I know that they are all comfortable with the pace and are showing no signs of struggle or hesitation. They know of my feelings but just as I have, they have attributed them to some inner fear or jealousy, (my issues as far as everyone is concerned) that I have been trying to work through. The problem is, I havent really identified any real eye opening fears and I have been searching within myself and even started seeing a therapist for the 1st time in my life.
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Heather
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Well, you know, even if they ARE about fear or jealousy, that doesn't make blowing them off okay.

They still need to be recognized and you still need time and space to work through them.

I'd say if everyone involved is blowing off your hesitations, that's a fairly sure sign NO ONE involved is really ready to manage poly here. The deal with this is that when anyone involved in a group poly setup is having hesitations or issues, everyone involved with them can't just go about their own business because they're all feeling hunky-dory.

This is one of the not-sexy-fun parts of poly, in a word. And just like with sex, where we all have to deal with the fun parts AND the not-fun parts, the same goes here.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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

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Molias
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In my mind, the only way poly relationships will be healthy is if everyone involved is on board and feels comfortable with the pace and circumstances. If other people are aware of your reservations and are brushing them off, that's a pretty disrespectful reaction to your feelings and, in my mind, a pretty clear sign that this isn't a healthy poly dynamic.

If you do have an inner fear or jealousy, that doesn't mean you are a bad person, or that those feelings aren't valid. You may be able to work through those issues, but having the current situation proceed while you're doing that is probably going to make it a lot harder on you.

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mypolylife
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Wow, it seems you are both saying the same thing. I was under the impression that to deal with them (if they are real) that I had to face them, feel them, deciefer them, address them, all while everything is going on around me. That's why I decided to talk to a therapist rather than depend on my interpretation of someone elses circumstances that I read about on some poly website. In any case, thank you both again for your advise. And if you don't mind I'd like to come back from time to time.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Ever try and read a book in the middle of a hurricane?

Hopefully not, but hopefully you also get the picture.

It can be really hard to sort things like this out if you can't get the kind of time and space to do that without having a swirling storm going on all around you.

As well -- and yep, Mo and I are in agreement here -- I'd say that everything needs to slow down and have pause pressed if ONLY because y'all clearly need to address how, as a group, something is really off if anyone in the mix has big feelings that are just getting swept under the rug, or anyone feels their concerns and feelings are being blown off. Because that, again, shows us that all of you aren't going about this in a way that's really going to work.

Clearly, it isn't for you, but eventually, it probably won't for anyone. And relationships within the larger relationship may be the carnage if this kind of dynamic continues.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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