Oh shit, am I becoming one of “those” people?

Got a reply through online dating. Because occasionally that happens. I’d sent her a message saying I’d follow up with something interesting once I thought of it and to watch this space. She said it was a clever copy/paste job, but she was curious about the whole poly thing. She said she’d seriously tried to work on her ideas of jealousy, but found it too tough to beat, so she wanted some perspective from someone on the other side. As always, I just wanted an excuse to write long-winded messages. I hope this was mutually cathartic.

Honestly, I’m just flattered you said I was clever. To be honest though, I’m not messaging enough people on here that copying and pasting would make any sense (not that it makes any sense for me anyway). For me to message sometime I need to make sure they’re an interesting person I’d actually want to sit across from at a table (that doesn’t involve Russian Roulette), then find some indication that they’re actually open to non-monogamy (either in relationship style or looking through their questions to see if they’ve expressed an interest in open relationships), because I’m not trying to change anyone here. Why would I message sometime who I don’t think would enjoy my company? *Shrug*. Long story short, I thought you were really funny and self deprecating, so I needed to write something that would suit your personality. I was toying around with the idea of continuing your Fresh Prince rap motif (which felt like I’d be trying too hard) or implying that the creepy teenage girl who silently uses the neighbourhood swingset at odd times of the night was a ghost that needed busting. But then I just got busy with life stuff and forgot to send the follow up message. Sorry.

Suffice to say, obviously I write a lot, and asking someone doing the poly thing about the poly thing is akin to inviting a door-knocking Christian into your house for a chat. I’m new to polyamory and it kind of bothers me how many polyamorists don’t seem to have an identity outside that polyamory. So what I’m saying is, I’ll answer it in some length when I’m at work and replying on company time. Because then they’re paying me to do this, which makes me feel super professional.

Okay, so the jealousy and multiple partners thing. First off, there’s nothing wrong with monogamy. If that works for you, then keep doing that guilt free. A ton of polyamorists adopt this “holier than thou” mentality that totally rubs me the wrong way. You do you, give others the same courtesy.

Now, a poly lifestyle doesn’t mean the total elimination of jealousy (unless you’re some type of saint/ascetic, but even then I don’t believe you), but about understanding what it is that triggers those feelings of insecurity within you. A thought experiment that’s very taxing (but useful) is to think about a partner with someone else and working out what exactly it is about that scenario that hurts so much. Write down your results, take that list and talk to your partner about it. A poly lifestyle is difficult, but nigh impossible to get right without constant honest vulnerable conversation.

A lot of the fear surrounding fidelity comes from trust bring broken. There’s a fear (and as you’ve said, insecurity) that arises when you feel like your partner finding someone else they connect with means they’ll no longer have any desire to have you around. Trust comes into play when you have to have faith in your partner that they’re not looking to replace your love, they just don’t want to limit the scope of intimate connection in their life. Then talk. Talk talk talk. If you feel hurt, worried, scared, talk. Tell them how you’re feeling, find out how they feel. So often we feel uncared for because we can only see our own perspective. Opening yourself up to your partner and discovering their paradigm can only serve to align your view. If you don’t have good communication, people are gonna get hurt.

Do you have a lot of close friends that you truly love? Does your friendship with one friend invalidate your friendship with another? Of course not. So why does this behaviour have to be cast in a different light once sex is involved? What is it about that intimacy that changes everything?

You asked about wanting to be happy for your partner. That’s a huge part of it. I love my girlfriend. She brings so much to my life and I feel spoiled just to be able to have her in my life. I know she loves me back, but I know that I can’t expect to be everything in her life she needs or wants. In the same way, while I love her, there are big facets of my personality that I don’t share with her because they’re not elements that match with her. Expecting one person to fulfil all of your needs feels like a huge ask and if you do have those expectations and your partner doesn’t meet them, chances are you’re gonna feel pretty unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

I haven’t always been a polyamorist. I don’t even know yet if I identify as one. I started this relationship as a monogamist with full knowledge that my partner wasn’t. It’s something I’m trying to see if it works for me. I’ve been looking into it and reading about it for a few months, I’ve been on a few dates, but haven’t yet met anyone else I’ve wanted to connect with intimately. Just because someone’s a good person, it doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for you, right? Just because I can sleep with other people, that doesn’t mean I have any more interest in meaningless sex than I did when I was single (not that there’s anything wrong with meaningless sex if that works for you. It’s just not my kind of thing).

Sorry for the novel, but I hope that gave some kind of clarity. I sincerely hope it didn’t sound like I was trying to convert you or anything. You seem really neat, but I have no intention of pushing myself onto anyone. Much less someone who isn’t interested. If you’ve got any other questions just for personal interest, feel free to send them in my direction, I’m pretty open about most things.

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