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Tarfeather

"friendzone" looking good right about now..

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Tarfeather

Been a while since I made a thread like this, but.. *shrugs*

 

So as many here know, I'm a sexual in a relationship with an asexual woman. That relationship has lasted 2.5 years now. It used to have an aromantic touch to it, as well (she never was in love with me), but that's gotten less of an issue.. She has developed strong feelings for me regardless of her lack of limerence, and as for me, it's not like after such a long time, I'd still feel limerence anyway.. So basically we're on the "same page" now with regards to the romance stuff, both of us caring a lot about showing affection, cuddling and even doing "romancy" stuff like listening to soppy songs together, but neither of us being on a hormonal high. The "only" thing lacking for me is sexuality, but I'm managing surprisingly well. Another point is that we have agreed that I can pursue other women, as she can't satisfy all my needs.

 

Anyway, so during summer I was dating a woman I had an interest in. We got along pretty well and got rather close, but in the end she decided she needs monogamy in a relationship. We basically agreed to restrict ourselves to a friendship, and when I asked her whether I would have to be careful with showing affection to my girlfriend with her around, she even explained to me that she'd feel "in the way" if we tried to act differently around her, and that we should just act ourselves.

 

That made a lot of sense, and I changed my approach and acted the way with my girlfriend with her around, the way I always did. But what I noticed is that my friend has been increasingly withdrawing, becoming increasingly irritable with me around, and going as far as just leaving when my girlfriend approached. I can't be sure, but it appears to me like she's bottling up all her negative emotions and refusing to address the things that bother her, which in turn is breaking our friendship apart. Whenever I try to ask her what's wrong, she snaps, once going as far as shouting at me. She was very sorry for that later, but I haven't tried to comfort her or be close to her since.

 

But that's not all. Recently I've been getting to know a friend of hers (let's call her N. for clarity) who I ended up developing a pretty strong crush on. At some point I noticed that the way she treated me, looked at me, acted around me.. well, it actually felt like she were drawn to me a little, though I wasn't sure whether that was just me getting my hopes up and seeing things that aren't there (particularly as she has a boyfriend). At some point later, we went eating at the cafeteria together with my girlfriend, and I first thought everything was alright, as N. introduced herself to my girlfriend in a really friendly way, and it seemed like we could all just be friends..

 

That is, until I was a little affectionate with my girlfriend. We were in the line for food and N. was ahead of us, so she actually had no reason to be looking at us, as she could've talked to our other friend instead ahead.. but for some reason she was looking at us, and witnessed me rubbing my forehead against my girlfriend's. When I looked at her shortly after that, she also looked at me, and it was the coldest look I've ever seen her give me (in fact before that, she'd always smiled at me when I caught her eyes). She more or less ignored me for almost the entire meal, although after a while she seemed to return to her former self a little and we could talk as before.

 

I'm not 100% certain it was a reaction to that, or that she's jealous.. just as I'm not sure whether she has any feelings for me. But it seems.. rather plausible at this point. And I'm just wondering, why can't I just be emotionally close to a woman, without them inevititably getting jealous of my girlfriend? It's not even like it's that perfect of a relationship, we're pretty incompatible on the sexual level.. and yet it seems like the other women in my life are just irritated with the fact that I care so much about her.

 

If I had a completely fulfilling relationship, it'd not bother me, but I don't, and as such my relationship feels almost like a curse, a bond too strong for it to allow any other women to be close, and yet not something where I can find what I desire.

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sea-lemon

My only advice in this situation would be to end your current relationship. It's clearly making you miserable, and from what you've said I'd hazard a guess that it's not making your girlfriend much happier either (your last paragraph really does speak volumes about the impact this relationship is having on you). Sexual compatibility is clearly important to you, and if you're not particularly happy in this relationship now, that doesn't bode well for the future at all. Yes it will be difficult at first, and it hurts a tonne to end a relationship with someone you really care about, but in my experience both of you will feel better for it in the long run.

 

(Sorry if this wasn't what you wanted to hear, and of course feel free to disregard any or all of what I've said.)

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dissolved

I'd hazard a guess at somewhere between uncomfortable with pda and a little jealousy. If your friend or the newer chick do have a bit of a thing for you, most people would find it hard to see the object of their affection being with someone else. I know you're happy with polygamy, but the vast majority of folks aren't.

 

Sooner or later you're going to find someone who desperately wants to sleep with you, who is compatible with you in more ways than your girlfriend, and chances are that new person won't be too happy that you're already taken. I know you love your girlfriend, but if it ain't practical, it ain't practical. You will have to make a choice at some point.

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sithgirlix

I would say it's a bit of jealousy and not being open to non-monogamy.  If they're interested in you and open to polyamory, I doubt they'd be jealous, but that's what they seem to be from my perspective.  I'd say you have to be more open about it to potential partners, though not necessarily to just friends.

 

Polyamory also works in many ways with one such option being having a main partner and side partners where the main partner takes priority, though another is where all partners have equal footing.  If they're open to being poly but want equal partnerships, that could conflict harshly with someone wanting a poly relationship with a main partner set up (it's why my friend's poly relationship didn't work out, she wanted to be main but her fiance wanted equal partners).

 

Sorry if none of that makes sense, I'm super tired at the moment and barely thinking straight.

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nanogretchen4

Most people aren't poly. These two other women who may be attracted to you are clearly not poly. If you want to get any actual benefit from your girlfriend's willingness to open the relationship, you will need to actively try to meet poly women. You are probably going to need to look at either online dating or a poly organization if there's one in your area.

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Lara Black

Hello, Tar.

When I began typing “Polyamory is a tricky thing to manage” and had a terrible déjà vu sense to it, I realized that you started a discussion about the troubles of polyamory back in late September. So my question is: does polyamory actually solve problems for you? I mean, if the whole situation hurts you so much that you have to share it with people here, and you seem to be the only one who wants to make your relationship an open one – what’s the point?

Does it really work for you, or you just want it to work, because your main relationship can’t function as is?

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Telecaster68

Tar,  you've come a long way. Not so long ago you were utterly convinced that no one except C would ever find you attractive and now you're beating them off with a stick (well, kinda). 

 

Is it possible that the two other women,  N especially, thought your openness to emotional closeness was basic offering a relationship, and then when they discovered you're not, or at least not on conventional terms, felt you'd been messing them around? And with the first woman, I'm guessing she thought she'd be okay with you having PDAs with C, but turns out she isn't. She's not handling it well,  but she's probably processing what feels pretty much like rejection to her. 

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Tarfeather
11 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Is it possible that the two other women,  N especially, thought your openness to emotional closeness was basic offering a relationship, and then when they discovered you're not, or at least not on conventional terms, felt you'd been messing them around?

As for N's friend, I was open to her about having a relationship from our first "date", and she claimed to be fine with it. She also claimed to respect me for being open about wanting a poly relationship, even though it wasn't something she wanted.

 

As for N., how could she have seen it as offering a relationship? She's in a relationship, I'm in a relationship, we both knew it. Although, from the first time we met, we were out drinking for our friend's birthday, it felt strange to me how much attention she was giving me, the way she was hovering around me, looking at me, teasing me.. I thought to myself "She's in a relationship, wouldn't her boyfriend be uncomfortable with that?" But I didn't know the first thing about social stuff, it was in fact the first time in my life I'd been out for a drink with women, so I disregarded it, particularly because I didn't even hear from her after that for a whole month.

 

It's just, later, we got to know each other a little because we did a project for uni together. And, again, the way she sat down right next to me when she saw me as if it were the most natural thing in the world, the way I had to inch away from her to avoid our legs from bumping together, even that instance when she stroked over my shoulder lightly when teasing me again. Then there was the way she'd look at me, smile at me..

 

It was all just too much, coming from a woman who's supposedly in a relationship, who's a legitimate 10/10 by "conventional" ideals of attractivity, who's mentally healthy and nothing like the broken mess I am, who's dressed well all the time like she's a professional fashion model, and who grew up in a stable household with wealthy parents. You know, to even consider she might have any kind of interest in me, it was unthinkable, still is. Sure, she's also really smart and nerdy, and we get along really well, but that just means there'd be a million other lonely, desperate nerds competing for her, right?

 

So I just presumed platonic friendship, because in any sane state of mind that was the most I could hope for, and it was still a lot to hope for. Despite my instincts being pretty strong that there was just a little more happening, I forced myself to ignore that little voice. It's just, that reaction to our "PDA" as you say, her reaction to that was a little too clear. It might still have been coincidence, but along with all the other subconscious impressions I got, I couldn't ignore the possibility anymore that she might be attracted to me. Probably not in a strong way, not in a way she'd herself been aware of, at least not until she realized her own reaction to seeing me show affection to another woman.

 

 

And, you know, if I were the person who I thought myself to be before all this, my reaction would've been clear. Whatever negative feelings she might've experienced toward my relationship with my partner, I'd have seen it as an obstacle to a possible friendship. I'd have expected her to, if she felt any kind of jealousy (again, which I'm not sure of), to get over it, just the way I'd done with her boyfriend, who I had to watch lay his arms around her in a possessive manner over a month before this. And I'd rated my jealous reaction only as childish, shameful, a reason I wasn't worthy to even try to become her friend.

 

 

In reality, when she gave me that cold look, I felt like I'd let her down. And when she wouldn't say a word to me or even glance at me for the next ten minutes, I just ruefully accepted that treatment. The primary reason I never really seriously considered leaving my girlfriend, is not because of a choice, not because of some rationalized sense of loyalty. It's more like.. an instinct, really, the instinct to protect her, from everything and anything. If leaving her would hurt her, I couldn't do that, because that instinctive desire to protect her is much stronger than whatever hope I might have to find someone who can satisfy my sexual needs.

 

It was so weird to feel that protective instinct directed at someone else than C. And I've thought about that a lot, as it contradicts the sense of self I've found for myself lately. To understand, I had to push aside all self-idealization, all the abstract goals in life I've created for myself. In a way, N. had done that to me. She'd pierced through all my layers of protection I'd built for myself through the years, made me feel things I hadn't allowed myself to feel or admit to myself of feeling. And what do I feel?

 

From puberty on, this stupid, simpleton sexual desire. This desire to be sexually desired, by someone I find attractive. And I'd felt it, starting gradually, from something like age 13, but I'd always hated it, always repressed it, always looked for some kind of pretext to justify my feelings for the people I found attractive. Never content to acknowledge it for just what it was, primal instinctive desire with nothing much else behind it. Never willing to admit to myself, that even with it being so crude and superficial, it was maybe the primary, strongest driving factor in my emotions.

 

I'd wrapped it in layers of abstraction, redirection, morals, to protect myself. But obviously, as someone who couldn't accept themselves, as someone who couldn't admit to having these desires, or them mattering as much as they did, obviously I'd not give anyone a reason to want to be close to me.

 

Not until my girlfriend, that is. I suppose in that way, we were an ideal match. In many other ways, too, which is what's holding us together at this point, but initially I guess that was a big part of it. That I'd be willing to forego my own sexuality, because I was so at odds with it anyway.

 

So this girl, N., she somehow managed to "reawaken" the beast, so to speak. She's so attractive, in a purely physical way, and I never admitted to myself how much that mattered to me, but now I do. I never allowed myself to acknowledge how much it mattered just to have a beautiful woman like her smile at me, but now I acknowledge it. And, whatever she really feels, at least the way she treated me made me feel good about myself, accepted, maybe even slightly desired.

 

It broke all those repressed emotions free again, and the way it feels is.. Well, sometimes it feels good. But also a lot of the time, it's just this neverending pain. Like when you're really sick with a fever, and you can't really do anything at all but wait for the pain to stop. Except, in the case of this desire, the pain never stops. I'm not even sure it would stop, if I did have a normal sex life? Maybe more temporarily alleviated, from time to time.

 

So at this point, all I can do, is to make myself aware of that desire, of that pain, and not allow myself to bury it again. So that I can learn to be in charge of myself, and act toward what I really want. That might still be to be with my partner. I love her very much, and maybe it'll be okay to live on with this pain, and maybe there wouldn't even be a way to feel better even if I were in a relationship with a sexual woman. I don't know.

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Telecaster68
Quote

 

how could she have seen it as offering a relationship? She's in a relationship, I'm in a relationship, we both knew it.


 

Yep, because two people in relationships have never started anything between themselves...

 

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 to even consider she might have any kind of interest in me, it was unthinkable

 

Yeah, been there. As one of many examples... when I was 15 a girl I really liked and fancied invited me up to her room, lay on the bed and said 'come and sit on the bed with me'. And I had that exact reaction - it's unthinkable she's interested in me....  I left.

 

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there'd be a million other lonely, desperate nerds competing for her, right?


 

But you were the lonely desperate nerd she chose to sit down next to

.

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I'd rated my jealous reaction only as childish, shameful, a reason I wasn't worthy to even try to become her friend.


 

Nah, it's just jealousy. Perfectly fine, as long as you don't act like an arse over it. Nothing shameful about the feeling whatsoever.

 

Quote

 The primary reason I never really seriously considered leaving my girlfriend, is not because of a choice, not because of some rationalized sense of loyalty. It's more like.. an instinct, really, the instinct to protect her, from everything and anything. If leaving her would hurt her, I couldn't do that, because that instinctive desire to protect her is much stronger than whatever hope I might have to find someone who can satisfy my sexual needs.

You love her, in other words.

 

I think you're right, that in the end all you can do is give it time and see how your feelings about sex and yourself and your relationship(s) evolve as you work on them.

 

I might be way off here, but my read on the situation is this: you and C got together at a point where you were both struggling to understand your respective sexualities, and your feelings for each other have pushed you both to explore and accept things that you wouldn't have done otherwise, and you sound a bit happier for it. To that extent, the relationship is good for you both. But those changes might end up with the two of you in very different places, and they might not be compatible - for example, a while ago you could cope with 'no sex' because it coincided with your feelings of self loathing for being sexual. As you get past that self loathing, you can't use it to convince yourself that really you're fine with no sex, and where does that leave you and C? Polyamory at the moment. But then what if 'just sex' with one of your other partners evolves into something deeper? Or C's views on polyamory change as she changes? At some point, the best thing for both of you could well be to move on. 

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Tarfeather
On 12/14/2016 at 11:07 AM, Telecaster68 said:

Yep, because two people in relationships have never started anything between themselves...

That's basically what everyone I asked about this told me..

 

Quote

Yeah, been there. As one of many examples... when I was 15 a girl I really liked and fancied invited me up to her room, lay on the bed and said 'come and sit on the bed with me'. And I had that exact reaction - it's unthinkable she's interested in me....  I left.

Okay, nothing like that ever happened to me. That makes me understand your perspective a little better.

 

Quote

But you were the lonely desperate nerd she chose to sit down next to

Yeah. It's weird. You know, she has a large circle of friends, a lot of whom seem to be male nerds. A couple of times, I saw one of them as they chatted her up when we were hanging out, though they'd always ignore me. See, I'm pretty bad with social things, and I easily come to the wrong conclusions, but I can read feelings rather well (so well that usually I hate interacting with people, because their emotions overwhelm me), and the way she acted toward those other guys, was really nothing like she acted toward me. Can't put it into words, really, something about immersion and level of emotional connectedness.

 

It's changed, though, since that day when my girlfriend joined us. Very subtly, but I notice the change. Like she's become a bit.. withdrawn on a certain level, while acting more "friend-like" at the same time. It's disappointing on the one hand, although on the other hand it makes it a lot easier for me to be around her. You know, less conflicting messages from her.

 

The situation as it is now feels very strange to me. It's almost like I'm being.. gently rejected? Lately I've sometimes pushed just a little, very experimentatively.. like hinting to her that I'd like to see her again and things like that. I'm certain she has been aware of my feelings for her to some extent from the start. I'm certain she understands my intended message when I subtly push like that.

 

And her reaction is.. Well, it's not a negative one. She doesn't back away. But neither does she "pick up". She just keeps acting the same way toward me. Keeps being fine with sitting so close by me, and chatting and laughing. You know, it's times like this I'm really glad of the "zen" I built when being forced to learn how to deal with a partner who you are (physically) close to, but who doesn't desire you. When you have a woman sitting right next to you, and you desire her like nothing else, but you have to suck it up and focus on the platonic aspect of what's going on.. Yes, I know how to deal with that.

 

To pre-empt you, Telecaster, no, it's not like this situation where she expects me to take the next step. As I've said, I've gently pushed, and with the sum of her reactions I'm pretty sure she's uneasy with the possibility of anything "more". On the other hand, she seems to be entirely fine with physical proximity, so it doesn't seem like she's exactly worried about that aspect of it, either.

 

So in the end, it seems I might find what I wished for.. a friendship. And while that pain in me still exists, that desire still exists, I'm really happy about it. I'm grateful to be trusted this much.

 

PS: As for C., I told her about my exact feelings, not because I plan to break up with her, just because I want to always be honest with her. I told her that I wasn't sure if I could keep being loyal to her (in the sense of staying with her), because the things I don't get in our relationship are just so important to me. It didn't even worry her. When I asked her how she felt about it, she just told me that she trusts me, that I'd always been loyal, and that she can always rely on me being honest and open to her.

 

And you know, this is just the thing. It's not like I'm trying super hard to keep this relationship alive. It's more like, it stands so strong on its own, that any thoughts of me leaving are purely hypothetical, and my girlfriend knows it, knows it so surely that she's not even worried when I express those thoughts to her.

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3IA

Just offering this completely outsider perspective but if N and the other woman you were in an open-relationship situation with who isn't handling it well, are N and that other woman friends? Assuming N is just someone who likes to be physically close to people and presuming she is friends with the other woman as well (as I understood from my first read) is it possible N may have known/thought/understood that you were involved with the other woman and thus her reaction to your PDA with your girlfriend stemmed from an offended/protective friend agenda? And maybe potentially later on she learned the truth so she settled back into regular patterns?

 

It could also be that she feels comfortable in your status as taken and her status as taken to be relaxed in terms of her behavior but it's equally likely she's attracted to you.

 

Although from what you've written of N, it does sound like she might be more involved in physical proximity than even for someone who likes being physically close to others. I can remember in high school I gave out confusing signals like that, but that was because I was oblivious that joking/teasing/physical closeness with my guy friends could be taken to mean something else in a relaxed environment (and I don't think that's N's situation).

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