Can i be the iron?

He’s poly, i’m not. We’re MonoPoly. It can be really hard and sometimes shitty, but it can also be great too. I’ve never really spoken much about it, so thought i’d share my feelings and some experiences…

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How it came up…

Well i knew that he’d lived with two women before in a poly household before i even got involved with him. I also knew that this wasn’t something that i wanted to do and in fact was probably something i couldn’t do. We discussed how he wanted any poly to look in our potential relationship before we started out and he explained the sort of things i could probably be expected to experience if i were to be in a relationship with him. The sort of poly that he saw himself being involved in was something that i could see myself being comfortable with and even to some degree, being excited by.

The idea that he could play, kiss, do sexual things with another woman both scared and excited me. But like a lot of things, i think if he’d let loose and thrown me in at the deep end, despite the fact that he *could*, i don’t think i would have had a healthy experience with it. So the first time he started a relationship with someone, he managed my feelings in a safe way, by treading carefully and asking my opinions. He did lots of ‘checking in’ with me and involved me in what certainly felt to me like the right amount.

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The practicalities…

When he’s been with someone else (he’s had four relationships during our relationship of over 5 years) it’s been a mixture of public, private, involving me and not involving me. He’s always let me know when he’s been to their place or on a date with someone or if he’s inviting them over. There’s never been any restrictions on me being allowed to contact him whilst he’s been with them, although i try not to be too clingy if he’s with someone without me there. Sometimes i’ve been like a girlfriend to them too and sometimes just like a friend or even just a friendly acquaintance. Sometimes we’ve done things all three of us but sometimes we’ve been two different sets of two.

I used to worry about if he was with with someone else that i would end up being ‘left out’ or that all his energy would be poured into them, but this hasn’t ever been the case. When he has been in a relationship with someone else, i’ve usually experienced *more* of him, as i think it makes him more eager for me too. I guess like the more you go to the gym, the more you want to?

I’ve never been open with most of my friends about the poly set up of my relationship. I can imagine that could be hard for people who are in a relationship with me/him if they want to be open, but i’m not at that stage of acceptance and not sure i ever would be. I think because i’m not poly and wouldn’t be in a poly relationship out of ‘choice’ (that’s not the word, because i am in this relationship out of choice, but i don’t know how else to say it) then it feels like something i can’t be open about with people who might not understand it or who might worry about me. They would likely only see the negative sides of this and as the negatives are something i do experience, along with positives, then i would worry i’d be exposed to too many negative opinions and it wouldn’t be a supportive place to be in. I also wouldn’t want people thinking badly of him, which i’m sure they would if i told it as it is, which is he can go and do rude things with other people without my ‘permission’ but i don’t do the same back. The inner workings of how that makes my mind work and tick are too hard to explain to myself sometimes, that to attempt to explain this to friends would probably confuse me and them no end!

My feels…

I think i’ve literally experienced every feeling possible when it comes to poly. I’ve just looked at a list on the internet of ‘feelings’ and yup, from ‘frisky’ to ‘concerned’ to ‘distrustful’ to ‘loved’ and everything in-between. I guess the things i feel most, or in more extreme ways are jealousy, pride and being turned on, with being happy and powerless coming in close second. Quite a lot of the time, my feelings bleed into one another. So, for example, if i’m feeling jealous, this can lead into feeling powerless as there’s nothing i can do about having this negative reaction, which then leads to feeling turned on, as powerlessness can do it for me. If i’m feeling proud that someone i love is having attention from someone else that thinks he’s supercool and sexy then that can lead me to feeling happy that they’re both having a good time…

The four other relationships he’s had, have been with different women, with different ages (younger and older than me) and different body shapes (taller, shorter, bigger and slimmer, than me) and with different personalities, each of them. I think if he’d always gone for one type and that this type was always something very far apart from who i was, then i might have felt more insecure in some areas, but as it is, it’s not the case.

One thing i’m very comfortable with is how secure i am with him. I know that the relationships he has had with others have never damaged him and i, or our relationship. I know that for the rest of our lives together, whether he is mono or poly with me, that i am loved and i am important in his life. Sometimes the little jealousy voices try to tell me otherwise, but when i listen to my heart or to him, i’m safe and secure with him.

I haven’t posted much on this topic before because i’ve never wanted to hurt or embarrass a third party, especially in the cases where we’ve been very separate and it’s not been my relationship to talk about. I hope very much that this writing hasn’t hurt or offended. I care very deeply about some of the people i’ve been privileged to have in my life because of this. Many experiences we had in our poly interactions and the experiences we still share now as friends (and even acquaintances) make me smile.

To finish…

I don’t think there is one right way or one wrong way to do poly. I think there will always be things to navigate and work out as you’re going along, as with any relationship. I think there will be pain and happiness and laughter and love. If you’re considering poly, especially in a set up where one of you is mono, please feel free to ask questions. I never share intimate/personal details about other people, cos that would be quite shitty, but i’m happy to give my thoughts and experiences if appropriate. There’s also a groups and forums all over the internet, which support poly people and mono people in poly set ups.

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