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How do YOU compromise in a mixed relationship?

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Traveler40

You are apparently well balanced and correct. You never know really. Three Christmases ago (Two years ago) I was in severe angst. While I didn’t chronicle it real time as it hurt way too much, my lover walked right before Christmas.  Our official break lasted months, but we spoke often and neither could let go obviously. 
 

Today, I’m busy making him Christmas dinner alongside dinner for our family. Literally, it’s two-by-two lined up. (Fresh Lasagne from an old family recipe). I have no idea where this leads us, but longer term perhaps we are all at the same table.  Our biggest hurdle currently is other people’s judgments. 
 

However it goes on your end, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be. The holidays are a mixed bag as you note. You’ll figure it out. Merry Everything! These are the days - make them great! 

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Memento1

Merry Christmas, @Sinking_In!  It's been great getting to know you this year, and I wish you the best this holiday season.

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Sinking_In

You all have been very helpful and supportive, and I appreciate you all!

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MrDane

What do I do? First of all, I try to remember, that we have a good life, love eachother tremendously, wish to stay together and that we speak different languages of love. I dont grap, touch, kiss, cuddle, smack, hug or whisper sweet words, that could be interpreted as part of foreplay. I ask permission/about acceptance, before engaging in our mutually accepted, scheduled sex, which I try not to expect more than her ‘helping me’ out of a good heart. Often she enjoys the intimacy, occasionally wants me to reciprocate her touch. 

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Sinking_In
On 12/24/2019 at 10:59 PM, MrDane said:

I ask permission/about acceptance, before engaging in our mutually accepted, scheduled sex, which I try not to expect more than her ‘helping me’ out of a good heart. Often she enjoys the intimacy, occasionally wants me to reciprocate her touch. 

I've been there for many years. I'm glad it's working for you, and I hope it continues to work. It stopped working for me when the scheduled sex stopped.

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Sinking_In

I had an interesting conversation today with someone who practices polyamory. She gave me a new perspective, and I believe I will stop using polyamory to describe my situation, although I am starting to believe that I, myself, am capable of such a lifestyle, my current situation (married in monogamy, but opening up) doesn't allow for it. Of course, she comes from more of a "kitchen table" polyamory viewpoint, but as we talked, I realized that if this is what polyamory is, then I can't offer that, given my DADT open marriage. Only ONE of us is an active participant, and that seems to go against the entire idea of polyamory (at the core of it, anyway). My given situation is more or less a married man with a mistress. There are cultures where this is perfectly acceptable, but I'm in the U.S., which is about 400+ years behind in socially accepting that kind of relationship.

 

It just so happens my lover also reached out to me today, after a week without contact (for reflection), though it was for other reasons. I honestly thought that more time had passed. I admit, a day hadn't gone by where I didn't think about her, silently mourning in a sense, bracing myself for it all to be over. After having had my change of perspective, we talked about our situation. As much as we didn't want it to feel this way, "mistress" was in all likelihood the dynamic, and her struggles with it all along were validated. For now, our relationship is starting all over, on new footing. We are good together, and instead of focusing on what we CAN'T, we're going to focus on what we CAN. Of course, down the road, things could change, and we could end up right here, again. If I sense this is going in circles, I may have to put an end to it, for everyone's sake.

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Traveler40

Yes, your struggle is fully relatable.  My advice is to always focus on the now. By living in the moment, the rest drops away. That’s bought 2 more years on my end and eventually becomes so ingrained that the sense of and angst over “can’t” becomes irrelevant.

 

She may need some leeway, but you seem prepared and capable in ways that are important.  Also, I totally hear you on the label. It does play with your thoughts when it doesn’t quite fit.  Whatever works. Happy New Year!

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ryn2

You can still be personally polyamorous  even if your current relationship structure is monogamous, monogamish or open, in the same sense that someone bi is still bi even if they are in a relationship with a person of one gender.

 

It’s different than being in a “polycule,” but even in cases where DADT does not apply the “other” partners may simply be metamours who have no direct relationship with one another and who may or may not be polyamorous themselves.

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Traveler40

Thanks @ryn2 - always learning from you. Metamour is a direct hit if not nearly as personal as lover.  Wish I could actually USE that in conversation, but we are in the closet as it were. 

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Sinking_In
2 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

we are in the closet as it were. 

I'm in the same boat, keeping up appearances, avoiding judgement among social circles, which as you know is mostly for the kids, as other kids can be cruel with their bluntness, and often parrot the prejudices of their parents.

@ryn2 thank you, I appreciate the validation. I'm getting my toes wet on polyamory, and I think I just got chased out of the water by someone who is a little protective and guarded. I appreciated it, though. I'm sure I was just being tested, to see how resolute I am, but I wasn't going to chance hurting their feelings, or others'. I believe I've come to a place in my heart where I am opening to polyamory, but I don't necessarily need to fly that flag just yet. For now, I will work on the relationships I have, and if that opens up wider, then I'll embrace the label.

 

And Happy New Year, everyone!

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Sinking_In

I hate to say this, and it breaks my heart, but I think I have to use some tough love and break things off with the lover I had taken. She is becoming self destructive, and I'm concerned this is starting to, or definitely will start to, affect me and my family. Of course I am concerned for her as well. I have been supportive, but I'm unable to redirect her from this path. I've tried to suggest counseling, plans of action, tried to help her see her own value, but she's spiraling. Apparently the week apart was not enough, though she seemed to put in the effort, I see now that she has not. It was just talk, perhaps a little manipulation. I've learned that she has gone through a lot this year with her family, but she's digging herself deeper into a hole, refusing to climb out (yes, refusing), let alone just putting the shovel down. I tried to give her a chance, and perhaps I wanted it to work out so badly that I was willing to take her back prematurely. I just hope I haven't made things worse for her. She can be as resilient as she is stubborn, so I hope she uses it to help herself. I've seen this enough times that I know if a person does not want to help themselves, they will just drag those who do want to help down with them. I will try to at least get her to see a counselor, because she really does need it. The counsel I offered was not really being heard. It's sad, because she just cannot see the opportunity through the adversity. I tried to show her this, but she can't see past the negatives in her situation. It's too bad, because she seemed to be on the upswing when we met. I hope I wasn't a part of her downward spiral. I tried to be a positive influence in every way, but perhaps she saw being with me as just another negative? It really is heartbreaking to see anyone go through this. I'd say last night she hit rock bottom. I've pointed to the way out, but she'll have to find her way. I hope she does.

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Switters
On 9/18/2019 at 4:20 AM, ponz said:

I'm sex neutral if I'm in a relationship, so I'm not opposed to sex.  My partner is allosexual (but much more sensual than sexual, which helps).

 

Rather than simply trying to compromise or please my partner, I try to make sexy times fun for myself.  I like to cosplay at conventions (non-sexual characters), so I'd enjoy dressing up in things that my partner would like.  I also get excited about trying new toys, and tend to giggle like an idiot when first using them.  XD  I'm interested in trying more kinky things in the future, and might even want to experiment with some light roleplay.  I don't personally experience any of these things as sexual, but I do find them to be new, interesting, intimate and fun, so incorporating them makes me more excited to have sexy times.  I look forward to the new experiences my partner and I can have together.

 

I still need to work on certain things though.  I tend to be too blunt when transitioning from foreplay to sex (literally "ok, let's have sex now"), which kind of stifles the mood.  And I'm generally less involved once the actual sex starts, which I could improve.  There's no need to rush though.  We can enjoy the journey together.  ^-^

Really nice post. Thanks for that

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anisotrophic

@Sinking_In the one time my partner exercised the open option, she spiraled pretty badly. 😕 I was worried, secondhand. I’m sure his bedroom game didn’t help 😬 but I think the main thing is she was, on some level, hoping to become a primary partner, and not admitting that to herself and to him. And it wasn't going to happen. She never said this explicitly, but I think it was a subtext; she didn't have another partner at the time. It culminated in a suicide gesture that landed her in treatment.
 

I met her once and was friendly, but I suspect that wasn't real enough given we were long distance... I might be reading too much into your situation, but I suspect the DADT nature of your effort might not be helpful, especially if you date someone that isn't also clear about it being a *secondary* relationship.

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Whore*of*Mensa
Posted (edited)

My sister was involved with a married man for much of her 30s. She fell in love with him. He told her he never had sex with his wife, but he couldn’t leave her because they’d been together since school and she had anxiety and wouldn’t be able to cope without him.

 

Then the wife fell pregnant. When I pointed out it was a bit odd her being pregnant, when he’d said they never had sex, my sister cut me out of her life for the next 5 years. Coincidentally I had a child at the same time so she never knew my child - her niece - she couldn’t stand to see children, because she thought she would never be able to have them. She was sad and bitter.

 

She got out of the relationship in the end, she is married now and had a child at 41 -she’s much happier but I know she regrets the time she wasted on that affaire. 

 

Edited by Whore*of*Mensa
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Traveler40
8 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

especially if you date someone that isn't also clear about it being a *secondary* relationship.

Yes, this. The early stages in laying foundation are important. However, none of that will help if:

 

1. They can’t see they will never usurp the primary.

 

8 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

I think the main thing is she was, on some level, hoping to become a primary partner, and not admitting that to herself and to him.


2. They aren’t stable enough in general.

 

18 hours ago, Sinking_In said:

if a person does not want to help themselves, they will just drag those who do want to help down with them.

It’s sad @Sinking_In, all the way around. I’m sorry it’s gotten so tough. I hope she gets the help she needs and that you’re able to regroup and venture forward again, however that looks.

 

EDIT: Also, it all feels a bit fast for fatalistic. A to Z.  Anyhow, ending it seems like a blessing in disguise. I’d hate to hear you came home and found fluffy in the big pot one day...

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Sinking_In
5 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

ending it seems like a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps. She definitely needs time to herself, to focus on herself. I don't want to be some sort of emotional escape for her, because it wouldn't help her situation at all.

It's unfortunate, but better to find these things out now, to address them now, rather than down the road when years have been invested in a full blown bonded relationship.

 

14 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

I’m sure his bedroom game didn’t help 😬 but I think the main thing is she was, on some level, hoping to become a primary partner

I don't believe she ever thought she could be a primary, as she was very aware of my wife's and my own position (she struggled with it), but human emotions can play such tricks on our rationale, especially when sexual bonding is involved. I'm sure her being on the receiving end of my pent up decade of sexual frustration was pretty overwhelming, too.

 

7 hours ago, Whore*of*Mensa said:

She got out of the relationship in the end, she is married now and had a child at 41 -she’s much happier but I know she regrets the time she wasted on that affaire. 

I hope you've patched things up with your sister and are both active in the lives of each other's children. I always encouraged my lover to use our relationship as a stepping stone to finding her own happiness, and I told her many times that I would be happy for her if she found love elsewhere. Ours was always supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but I can see how that can slip into years as it did with your sister. Like @Traveler40 said, it may be a blessing to end this here and now, for both of us.

 

I think I'm going to try and focus my energy on getting to know others in the polyamory world. I have profiles on a few online dating apps, and I've been contacted by a few polyamorous/ non-monogamous women. I'm not necessarily attracted to them, however I should be more open to exploring what they have to offer in terms of knowledge. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of something growing from that, anyway. I'm sure there's just as much drama in polyamory (if not more, actually), but at least there's more experience, equal footing, and a greater understanding of the situation. I also need to be more selective and patient. Yes, this first attempt moved pretty quickly. I tend to jump right in once I've decided to act. I'll try a new approach now. One that involves more time for reflection and comprehension.

 

Love shouldn't be so messy, but it's like a powerful drug: in moderation it can be a great healing force, but it can also be destructive when abused or overdosing on it.

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ryn2
10 minutes ago, Sinking_In said:

I'm not necessarily attracted to them, however I should be more open to exploring what they have to offer in terms of knowledge.

Worst case, it’s always helpful to have friends who can act as a nonjudgmental, knowledgeable sounding board as you work through things.

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Sinking_In
1 minute ago, ryn2 said:

it’s always helpful to have friends who can act as a nonjudgmental, knowledgeable sounding board as you work through things.

Which is why I love this Aven community and appreciate you! Thank you!

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Whore*of*Mensa
On 1/7/2020 at 5:44 PM, Sinking_In said:

I hope you've patched things up with your sister and are both active in the lives of each other's children.

We are trying. In fact writing that out made me realise just how much she has been through and get in touch with her. We have seen each other much more this past year although there are subjects we have to strenuously avoid.

 

It hurt that she didn't want to see my child, and caused pain throughout my family - my parents never understood. She'll never build a relationship with my daughter now, although she has tried - it's too late. She was a teenager before any efforts were made by my sister, and at that age had no interest in adults anyway. 

 

Re - your lover seeing you as a stepping stone - not everybody is able to see other people as stepping stones, or a means to an end. Some people don't think that way. 

On 1/7/2020 at 5:44 PM, Sinking_In said:

Love shouldn't be so messy, but it's like a powerful drug: in moderation it can be a great healing force, but it can also be destructive when abused or overdosing on it.

It's just important to remember that it's not only about you - when you involve other people to try to prolong or maintain your marriage you are affecting their life, and potentially the lives of all around them as the strain of living a half-life ripples out from them to others.

 

You don't seem like an insensitive person at all so I guess you understand this. 

 

(*to be clear, with my sister it was a straight up affaire. He was lying to his wife, and lying to my sister, which is why I did not previously connect the situation with anything on here. But there are too many parallels with what you said not to see the link this time. If people are naturally monogamous, they will feel bad being the relationship 'on the side' even if they understood that was going to be the case. )

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Whore*of*Mensa

@Sinking_In ps thank you for responding to my comment and for being so open to discussion. 

(I have edited my comment above too many times already!)

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Sinking_In
3 hours ago, Whore*of*Mensa said:

(*to be clear, with my sister it was a straight up affaire. He was lying to his wife, and lying to my sister, which is why I did not previously connect the situation with anything on here. But there are too many parallels with what you said not to see the link this time. If people are naturally monogamous, they will feel bad being the relationship 'on the side' even if they understood that was going to be the case. )

I can imagine it's bad either way (as I'm figuring out for myself), but to be lied to and strung along like your sister was has got to hurt much worse. It does, however, seem that at some point she knew it was an affair, and she carried on with it, anyway. At that point the blame goes 50/50, but the start of it all is 100% on the cheating husband. I'm trying very hard to not be that guy and avoid putting women in a deceptive situation like this, but even with full disclosure emotions can cloud judgement and lead to pain.

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Switters
On 1/8/2020 at 4:44 AM, Sinking_In said:

Perhaps. She definitely needs time to herself, to focus on herself. I don't want to be some sort of emotional escape for her, because it wouldn't help her situation at all.

It's unfortunate, but better to find these things out now, to address them now, rather than down the road when years have been invested in a full blown bonded relationship.

 

I don't believe she ever thought she could be a primary, as she was very aware of my wife's and my own position (she struggled with it), but human emotions can play such tricks on our rationale, especially when sexual bonding is involved. I'm sure her being on the receiving end of my pent up decade of sexual frustration was pretty overwhelming, too.

 

I hope you've patched things up with your sister and are both active in the lives of each other's children. I always encouraged my lover to use our relationship as a stepping stone to finding her own happiness, and I told her many times that I would be happy for her if she found love elsewhere. Ours was always supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but I can see how that can slip into years as it did with your sister. Like @Traveler40 said, it may be a blessing to end this here and now, for both of us.

 

I think I'm going to try and focus my energy on getting to know others in the polyamory world. I have profiles on a few online dating apps, and I've been contacted by a few polyamorous/ non-monogamous women. I'm not necessarily attracted to them, however I should be more open to exploring what they have to offer in terms of knowledge. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of something growing from that, anyway. I'm sure there's just as much drama in polyamory (if not more, actually), but at least there's more experience, equal footing, and a greater understanding of the situation. I also need to be more selective and patient. Yes, this first attempt moved pretty quickly. I tend to jump right in once I've decided to act. I'll try a new approach now. One that involves more time for reflection and comprehension.

 

Love shouldn't be so messy, but it's like a powerful drug: in moderation it can be a great healing force, but it can also be destructive when abused or overdosing on it.

It is such a difficult thing in any endeavour. I have met very few truly polygamous people in my life and unfortunately for them, the person or people they are with really aren't so feelings get hurt. It does suck that things aren't more simple. We just need to learn more about ourselves so we can approach situations as honestly as possible.

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Switters
On 1/8/2020 at 4:55 AM, ryn2 said:

Worst case, it’s always helpful to have friends who can act as a nonjudgmental, knowledgeable sounding board as you work through things.

We all need to start learning from each other. And understand each other. WE SUCK AT IT

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ryn2
43 minutes ago, Switters said:

We all need to start learning from each other. And understand each other. WE SUCK AT IT

When something isn’t discussed much, at least in any serious way, we don’t have any way to gauge how common (or not) our own experiences are.  That and people tend to apply intent to action based on their own experiences and motivations (“when I do x, it’s because I think/feel/mean y; they just did x so that proves they think/feel/mean y”).

 

None of which is a recipe for understanding, for sure...

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Whore*of*Mensa
9 hours ago, Sinking_In said:

I can imagine it's bad either way (as I'm figuring out for myself), but to be lied to and strung along like your sister was has got to hurt much worse. It does, however, seem that at some point she knew it was an affair, and she carried on with it, anyway. At that point the blame goes 50/50, but the start of it all is 100% on the cheating husband. I'm trying very hard to not be that guy and avoid putting women in a deceptive situation like this, but even with full disclosure emotions can cloud judgement and lead to pain.

It’s true, she was complicit in the deception and I judged her for that at the time - now, I feel a lot more sympathy.

 

i think the hardest thing for her was that sadness of not having a family of her own, and leading a double life - maybe she never thought about that at the start but it was a big sacrifice.

 

No, you are not ‘that guy’ as you’re being honest. And you aren’t just thinking of your own needs.

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ryn2
2 hours ago, Whore*of*Mensa said:

maybe she never thought about that at the start but it was a big sacrifice

At the start it’s exciting... it likely didn’t hit her until later that she would never have the “normal relationship stuff” of being together for holidays and significant days, etc.

 

I’m not sure I would agree with 50/50 fault if the guy was lying about his intent to leave his spouse... while it may have been naive to believe it, as it’s a common line, some cheaters *are* in the breakup process/*do* end the old relationship when they say they will.

 

Agreed that it’s not cheating if everyone is being open and honest.

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Memento1

@Sinking_In Sorry to hear this, but it does sound like the right decision.  At some point people have to recognize how they're working against themselves.  I can certainly see aspects of myself in that.  I spent years wallowing in my own misery, and I recognize now how much I kept myself there, how I was comfortable playing the victim.  It wasn't conscious by any means, but I kept telling myself the stories that brought me down.  It's not healthy for either of you to stay in that dynamic.  I sincerely hope she can turn things around, and I hope the best for you, as well.  I quite admire how you've handled this whole situation and it was, as a whole, a valuable learning experience.  I'm sorry you're going through the heartbreak of it.

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Sinking_In

@Memento1 I've been there, myself, actually. It wasn't until I wanted help that I was able to accept it, and it wasn't until I stopped the self-destructive behavior that others were willing to help. She's in that place now, not quite ready to accept help, and unwilling to stop the self-destructive behavior, but she does recognize/ acknowledge there is a problem, which is the first step. It's going to take a lot of self-love on her part, something I'm unable to do for her. All I could do was remind her she has worth, more than she gives herself credit for, and she has to treat herself like she wants others to treat her, or how she wants to be kind to others, to be that kind to herself (and I've said as much to her). It's no doubt going to be a long hard road.

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Whore*of*Mensa

I'm sure this woman will be fine when she finds what she was on the dating site looking for - a committed, monogamous relationship with someone who is free of past or current baggage. It sounds as if she has a supportive family too which will help her. This adventure obviously wasn't what she was looking for and she's made that perfectly clear. I don't think she's made herself a victim at all.

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anisotrophic
On 1/7/2020 at 9:44 AM, Sinking_In said:

I don't believe she ever thought she could be a primary, as she was very aware of my wife's and my own position (she struggled with it), but human emotions can play such tricks on our rationale, especially when sexual bonding is involved. I'm sure her being on the receiving end of my pent up decade of sexual frustration was pretty overwhelming, too.

Yeah, I meant this could be an unconscious thing, not a conscious belief/desire that one could be primary. Like @ryn2 said, maybe the sort of thing that can hit later.

 

10 minutes ago, Whore*of*Mensa said:

someone who is free of past or current baggage

no baggage, past or present? I uh... I think everyone has baggage of some sort or another. On reflection... if someone tried to convince me they're baggage-free, that might be a red flag to me, hah.

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