October 23, 2010

Stepping Back

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 8:20 pm by Kathleen

Michael and I have been going through some hard times lately. Not that we’re looking at a total breakdown of our relationship or anything scary like that, but some stuff (entirely unrelated to poly) has been cropping up and getting in the way. We have had a long talk about it, and I asked for a bit of time to work on our problems without any outside dating. If one of us were already dating things might be a different matter, but since we are both currently not dating, poly is on hold for a while. (I’m personally hoping to resolve things in no more than a month, but you can’t force or predict emotions).

What does this say about poly in general? I found it easiest to imagine that, for example, Michael had a serious girlfriend, and they were having problems. What would be an appropriate reaction from me? In my mind, I think it would be most reasonable for me to step back and allow him the time and energy that it takes to resolve important emotional issues with the theoretical issues. Poly can’t work with an entirely selfish mindset. Does our primary relationship take precedence? Probably, but that doesn’t mean that outside relationships are unimportant, and sometimes as primary I have to be flexible.

If you are in a primary relationship and trying to get into poly, there are two outcomes you can expect. It will make all of the cracks in your relationship gap wide for you to see, and the two outcomes possible from this are solving those core problems, or dissolving the relationship. Right now we have found a new crack in our marriage, and we are taking the time and stepping back from outside stressors so that we can fix what is wrong. It’s one of the things that I love about poly, actually.



  1. sage said,

    Hi Kathleen

    I am mono my partner is poly. We have a rule (at his suggestion) that if something is wrong between us he would not only not seek comfort with his SO but he would stand back as you say. Initially I thought that his SO could help him sort out whatever the problem might be but I see now that could be a very risky, even though I trust her completely,

    • Kathleen said,

      Although trust in your partner’s OSO is very important, it is almost irrelevant in this case. By that, I mean that the real risk in confiding in another romantic partner when you are having trouble with one is that you are now cementing your bond with the healthy relationship and neglecting the needy one. In addition, the OSO risks losing her own relationship and relationship identity if she finds herself meddling or playing doctor with yours. I went through that with Becky, when I invested too much of myself into trying to nurse and nurture their relationship.

  2. You are right about those cracks.
    And for us, that is one of the advantages of being poly. It forces us to take a look at our primary relationship, to examine its strengths and weaknesses, and to look at our own emotions, our jealousy and insecurity. And our relationship is stronger for it.
    I hope you two work things out.
    Be well.

    • Kathleen said,

      Thank you! It isn’t a matter of whether so much as of when. It is frustrating, but Michael is super supportive and he’s helping me with my personal issues.

  3. twowives said,

    Poly brought us all together stronger but it did rip off a lot of old scar tissue between my wife and I. However, in our case, since we all live in the same house and sleep in the same bed, issues have to be resolved immediately. My take on problems is that being involved with one or more person doesn’t absolve me from dealing honestly with both women. I owe it to them. Wife #1 and I have fixed our marriage and it is better now than ever.

  4. Anna said,

    Stumbled accross this blog; very grateful I did and am looking forward to following it closely.

    I just ended a relationship (pre-approved) outside my marriage and am trying to re-establish monogomy with my husband. Basically, I think I am a poly-person and he is hard-wired for monogomy.

    Our five-month foray into open marriage territory did NOT end well (my secondary partner was single and just couldn’t understand it–a small part of the problem), but we are still together and I learned alot about myself, what love is and isn’t, and what is most important to me.

    Hubby and I have a large age-gap and so he agreed that in 10 years I can take other lovers/have relationships as he might not be voraciously sexual as I am. So, I have ten years to work on myself and my marriage before round two. It won’t work now because we aren’t as close as we could be and we both understand that we have to be really tight as a couple before welcoming additional emotional and sexual connections.


    • Kathleen said,

      Welcome, and good luck to you as well.

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