T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 90518
posted 02-21-2012 02:35 PM
This might be a bit long, but here goes:
First off, basics. I am 19 years old, female, straight, in my second-year of art university and living on my own (with four roommates.) Since about mid-September I've been in what I guess you could call an "open" relationship with a man who I'll call A for the purposes of this post. I lost my virginity to A in November, and I'm still very happy about this, so I have no problems or issues on that topic. A and I are in a relationship which might be defined as polyamorous, though neither of us really identifies as such. A is seeing someone else who does identify as poly. I am not currently seeing anyone else. This weekend I went to a house party (without A) and ended up having sex with a man whom I hadn't known prior to meeting him at said party. I'll call him B. Alcohol was somewhat involved in this encounter, though not to an irresponsible extent (we are both of legal age, and had maybe a couple drinks each.) I know I could have stopped it from going that far, and in retrospect perhaps I should have, but I was enjoying myself and it didn't seem to be an issue at the time. I am on the pill, and we used condoms, so there is no concern about STIs or pregnancy. The next morning B and I exchanged phone numbers and he seemed quite keen on seeing me again, so I left it up to him to contact me if that was what he wanted. I like B, but I didn't want to get too invested in something that seemed so uncertain. B did end up contacting me the next day, and we arranged to watch a movie together at his place later in the week (he lives on campus at UBC.) Last night I talked to A about what had happened on the weekend, and he was very supportive as he always has been, though he was adamant that he wished B and I wouldn't have been so hasty, and that I had asked that B get tested for STIs beforehand. (A was tested before we started having sex, and the other person he is seeing was tested as well, along with everyone else she is seeing, so understandably, this slip-up on my part could have thrown a wrench into the machinery.) The only thing A asked of me was that when I see B next, I tell B that I am seeing someone else, in an open, "friends with benefits" capacity. I promised A I would do so, because I do think it's fair, but I am also worried. I don't know yet how much I want from B, but I don't want to scare him away with such a serious discussion when I've barely known him for a week. I also don't know if I can mentally handle "seeing" two people at once, so I feel like if B wants something more exclusive, I will have to stop sleeping with A for my own emotional well-being. I also don't want B to think that I am not interested in an exclusive relationship just because I am still seeing A right now. But I am worried that my feelings for A are too strong and that it will hurt me more if I decide that I want to pursue something more with B. I guess what I'd like is some advice about how to approach the topic with B without seeming like I'm moving too fast into "relationship" territory, because I still don't know what his intentions are. Thanks for your help...
Member # 25425
posted 02-21-2012 02:54 PM
It sounds to me like you might want to start by sorting out what YOU want. You seem very concerned about what A and B might thing, and that's awesome and very important, but before you can figure out where to go with them, you need to sort out where YOU want to go. So, how do you feel about the idea of a polyamorous or open relationship? What do you know about those relationship models? Can we help you get a clearer idea of how those might work in practice? What do you think you might need to make that work for you, if you are interested in pursuing such a relationship? How do you feel about each of these partners, individually?
Member # 90518
posted 02-21-2012 03:36 PM
I'm not opposed to the idea of polyamory. Previously, before A was seeing someone else, my main concern was that I would be jealous or that I might feel inadequate. But now that A is seeing someone else, I've realized it doesn't bother me in the slightest, so I know that I can be in a relationship with someone who is poly. My problem is that I'm not exactly sure if I have the emotional capacity to be in a "romantic" relationship with more than one person at a time. Obviously I've never done so, so I can't be certain. At the moment I definitely have strong feelings for A, and I'm definitely interested in B in an "I think you're cute and nice" sort of fashion, but I also feel like I'm maybe consciously limiting my feelings for B, or trying to resist them, because I don't want to have to let go of A. I think you were the volunteer who replied to my last post, so you might remember the problems I was having with my mother with regards to A. My mother is violently opposed to the idea of polyamory, and I know this because in a discussion I had with her she said that poly people were all "sex addicts in denial." To add to this, my mother is a dedicated slut-shamer, and due to the nature of B and I's meeting, I don't feel I can or should discuss any of this with her, lest my reputation be even more tarnished in her eyes. I am interested, possibly simply because I've never experienced it, in having an exclusive "boyfriend/girlfriend" relationship with someone, and I know that I won't be able to have that with A, so I also feel like maybe B is an opportunity to try that. I've talked about this with A, and while he has expressed that he thoroughly enjoys my "company," I know he will respect whatever decision I come to. Lastly, looking at this from a purely physical standpoint, A is very gentle and giving around sex, and he has never ever pressured me to do anything, and there has always been discussion beforehand or at the very least a "do you want to try it this way?" I appreciate that aspect of A very very much. B, I found during our one encounter, has a much more aggressive "style" and there were several points at which I felt slight discomfort or apprehension regarding his actions, because he did a few things without asking, that I wasn't necessarily comfortable with. I feel like these are kinks that can be worked out through discussion, but at the moment I just feel more comfortable with A during sex. All this aside, I do really want to see B again, and that fact seems to be an indication that he could be someone that I could get to really like, if I allow myself to feel that way.
Member # 25425
posted 02-21-2012 04:12 PM
You are right! I remember you now! Glad to hear that you are still happy in this relationship.
Part of being in a polyamorous relationship is being open to the fact that feelings and relationships change. That is always the case and always something to be aware of, but the more people you add to the mix, the bigger the chances of someone's feelings about something changing. For this reason, the number one biggest and most important thing to do in a poly relationship is to COMMUNICATE. Try to stay aware of what you are feeling, and try to be honest about it with everyone involved. It sounds like you've already been doing a great job of this with A, and that's a great start. If you want to add B to the mix, you'll need to be open and honest with him, as well. That's only fair to him, but also to A. If everyone knows what is going on and is on the same page, they can all act in accordance with what they feel is best for them. Of course you can't know yet what you feel for B or how that may develop, and that's to be expected. You only just met the guy. So there is really no point, right now, in worrying about how that relationship might develop, and how that in turn might affect you and A. You can't know, and thus you'll want to make your decisions based on what you DO know, and make sure to keep everyone informed if and how those feelings change. And to have an open ear for B and A and their feelings. Along those lines, it also sounds like it's time you and A have a chat about your safer sex practices. Lay down some ground rules based on what you both feel most comfortable and safe with, so you can act in accordance with them from here on out.