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comment by ButterflyEffect
ButterflyEffect  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 21, 2022

I am having a bit of a reckoning. Any and all input is welcome.

Having a great, great time with this girl from the last Pubski. Still seeing each other almost daily, which sounds like a lot, but feels like nothing and is so organic. Our dates are great and so varied, our emotional and physical chemistry is through the roof, and we've started introducing each other to friends in our respective lives. There's two challenges, one of which is exciting - she is finishing up a fellowship and got a job in the area, but will be a 4pm to midnight-ish job 3-4 days a week. Not too concerned over that, but will certainly change the dynamic a bit from the current arrangement where seeing each other when we're both done with work is super easy.

The other though, she is a serial monogamist who is exploring her sexuality and sex itself - got out of a relationship 3-4 weeks ago, hopped on Bumble, and has gone on dates with a few people since then, mostly myself. Somehow the topic of progression to a relationship came up, while we're dating right now, what could the future look like. She knows she's looking for a relationship, but she also may want to sleep around as that's something she hasn't had an opportunity to do in the past (was married for 6+ years prior to this last relationship). But, I am open to that in the scenario where I am the person she's dating and emotionally committed to, and honestly, if she wants to go on a date with someone else once in a while and fuck them as a one-off while we figure this out/progress our dating...like...that's okay with certain boundaries...

Anyway, we're going out for a fancy dinner tonight. Will be a lot of fun!

Hmm...I don't know. Throwing words out there to try and formulate my own opinion and thoughts.





ButterflyEffect  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

hubski friends

thank you for engaging me on this topic - i was not expecting this type of response, both quality and quantity

thank you for being here, on this site, in this moment. words on a screen are weird, but they've been immensely helpful to me today

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  

I'm sure there are people who can make open relationships work. I'll just say that in the 30 years I have been peripheral to the polyamorous community I have never once met one. More than that, nobody griefs quite like polys. Every anecdote I have about a bad breakup - every single one, except with the guy who is a diagnosed sociopath - involves a joint decision to fuck other people. The bitterest humans I know are the ones who tried to make open relationships work.

Quoth lil:

    If monogamy is not based on the desire and joy in being together, then it’s control.

"Monogamy" can be substituted out of that sentence with no difficulty whatsoever. Polyamory, chess, bass fishing.

"I want to explore my sexuality" is a very, VERY different statement than "I want to explore my sexuality with you." Recognize that she is saying "I am offering you no commitments" and that is literally all she is saying. Recognize that she is laying the groundwork for "I owe you fuckall behaviorally speaking" and gird your loins for it. You will suck at this. I say this because I know you.

Your best move is to say "come find me when you've figured it out, because you matter to me more than I matter to you right now and I'm not going to put up with that."

Li'l story. I've known my wife since 1994. She literally gave me my dorm key. And within a week she was dating this other guy. Dated him for five years. Married him. Stayed married to him for two years. Then got sick of his shit and kicked him out. He was literally the only person she ever dated.

And we started dating, and she said a few things about having never really dated, and wanting to maybe figure out what that looked like, and I was kinda cool with it, and she had a party with a group of friends, one of whom, like me, wanted to date her earlier but couldn't, and I thought "I owe her this" and then I immediately thought "no, no I don't" and came right back to the house having left and kicked his ass out.

We'd been "dating" for two weeks at the time. That was more than twenty years ago.

A serial monogamist who was married for six years doesn't need to figure out her shit at your expense. You can be cool with it? But you won't be happy about it. And she won't respect you.

CANCEL AWAY FUCKERS

ButterflyEffect  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Your best move is to say "come find me when you've figured it out, because you matter to me more than I matter to you right now and I'm not going to put up with that."

    A serial monogamist who was married for six years doesn't need to figure out her shit at your expense. You can be cool with it? But you won't be happy about it. And she won't respect you.

Yeah, I think if I had to sum up what you're saying, it's really to advocate for myself in this situation. You know, I had/have been seriously considering seeking a therapist to help me understand my dating patterns and to dig deeper into understanding and sorting through the people I am attracted to and the people whom I attract. You are aware of, jeez, the last 8+ years of by virtue of Hubski and our separate conversations. I wouldn't call it unhealthy? It is, however, something that seems to continually trend towards relational and emotional instability.

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm going to say "men." When i say "men" I am saying "adult males who are generally compassionate individuals who abide by the emotional well-being of their counterparts of any gender and reject the general derogatory and zero-sum philosophy of the pickup-artist community." So when I say "men" I do not mean "all males" I mean, in general, "men who don't suck."

And I'm going to say "the biggest mistake I see men make is in over-accommodating the perceived needs of their partners." Not as in "when in doubt, be an asshole" but as in "eagerness to please, if not employed consciously and concisely, can come across as weakness."

One of the principles of dating going back hundreds of years is the attractiveness of self-confidence. Self-confidence is not arrogance, and a lot of people confuse the two (it is socially advantageous to muddy the waters in debate). Likewise, humility is not self-abuse... but a lot of people confuse the two.

I think people with self confidence simply have a more refined assessment of their personal value. I think everyone is right at least part of the time? But I think the individuals who others describe as "confident" are the ones who know their merits, know their limitations, and are not bashful about making them known. A self-confident person can say "I suck at basketball" without suffering any ego damage. They can also go "this relationship is a poor investment emotionally" without feeling like they're letting themselves or the other person down.

I also think that relationships, at a basic level, ARE a mutual pact of control. "I will give up this autonomy for you because we're both happier when we make mutual decisions." Humans are social creatures, in general we want some form of structure within which to live our lives. We don't all want the same things and we don't want the same thing all the time, but a relationship is, fundamentally, an agreement to sacrifice some amount of autonomy for some amount of security. And I think confident individuals have an easier time negotiating that. I also think everyone has a different setting on the "autonomy/control" dial and if your dials aren't aligned you're gonna fight over the thermostat.

Look at it as a business proposition. It's crass but crassness cuts through the bullshit. "I will sell you this car for a tenth the sticker price on the understanding that, at any given moment, someone else might be driving it." Is it your only car? Well then you're fucked. Do you already have a Toyota but someone is offering up a Ferrari? Congratulations you just rationalized infidelity. If the Toyota didn't have feelings everything would be fine.

I don't think anything you're doing is unhealthy. I just know that everyone (everyone who isn't a jaded, cynical mutherfucker like myself) in a new relationship is afloat on all the delerious possibilities, not looking for shoals to crash into. Mine has been a life of shoals... followed by a normal, boring and cloyingly happy 20-year relationship.

Foveaux  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I just know that everyone (everyone who isn't a jaded, cynical mutherfucker like myself) in a new relationship is afloat on all the delerious possibilities, not looking for shoals to crash into.

I've found it's one of the most intoxicating feelings, being in a new relationship. It used to run the risk of tainting everything that followed in that relationship, because things inevitably calm down and become stable/boring/predictable. But before then? That emotional spice of discovering a new person? Hooo boy.

However, holy shit I enjoy stable/boring/predictable now. My partner asked me once "Do you think we're boring?" and I said "No. I think we do what we want, when we want." And she hummed over this so I expanded by asking "What do you want to do this evening?" And she said "Stay home, eat chocolate and work on my cross-stitch." And I said "Fuck yeah." so we did that. We have a little signal at gatherings, one quick eyebrow raise is code for "I'm running out of social battery, can we escape soon?" two quick eyebrow raises is code for "I'm running out of social battery, can we escape soon and also I want to fuck?". There's likely a lot of eye smouldering going on in tandem with the double raise, but I like to think we've transcended the need for that.

I've never felt so damn comfortable.

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We watch a lot of HBO - she does charts, I window-shop watches and cars I will never buy (I have an obscene obsession with the poorest-executed kit cars I can find). And boy howdy will HBO give you a heapin' helpin' of extremely complicated, extremely fractious, extremely exhausting relationships.

It's only boring if it bores you.

I used to start dating a girl and making a mental note of how many weeks or months it was likely to last. I dated two (simultaneously) where I knew it would either flame out in weeks or go on forever in an exhaustively combustible fashion. When I started dating my wife I couldn't see what would end the relationship. So far, nothing has.

ButterflyEffect  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    However, holy shit I enjoy stable/boring/predictable now. My partner asked me once "Do you think we're boring?" and I said "No. I think we do what we want, when we want." And she hummed over this so I expanded by asking "What do you want to do this evening?" And she said "Stay home, eat chocolate and work on my cross-stitch." And I said "Fuck yeah." so we did that. We have a little signal at gatherings, one quick eyebrow raise is code for "I'm running out of social battery, can we escape soon?" two quick eyebrow raises is code for "I'm running out of social battery, can we escape soon and also I want to fuck?". There's likely a lot of eye smouldering going on in tandem with the double raise, but I like to think we've transcended the need for that.

Wow I love everything about that. The stable/boring/predictable aspect of a relationship, and probably every aspect of life, is something I really struggle with. I was messaging a friend earlier today about this whole situation, and I quote "I think that this beginning of whatever this is, is super interesting space to be in right now, but also I think it's provoking some of the slightly more manic aspects of my personality". lol.

Foveaux  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How you're feeling does resonate with me. Not too long ago, in my 20s, I struggled with the idea of anything feeling 'static'. I wanted new things, to constantly be moving and discovering. Because it felt awesome. It was like tucking into a new book, but I was in the book experiencing things.

While I don't begrudge how I felt before, the person I am now is noticeably different and I put a lot of that down to just having my partner and everything we've built/begun to build.

There's so many things that I know about her, and I only know them after being with her the past 5 (going on 6) years. It's not long compared to some; but similar to your current situation, it began and continued very organically. We met on Tinder, talked for months (truly, months!) before actually meeting up. Since that first night at a dingy little bar that sold our favourite drinks and had killer live music, we've been together. Officially, months down the track, but uhh.. Emotionally? Yeah that night, onwards.

She has a little tic when she talks and gets passionate about a topic - her right eye winks a little. It's adorable, and I'm never going to point it out because she'll get self-conscious. She absolutely loves any jewellery that's just fuckin' weird and will collect shiny things on a whim. She's a goddamn magpie. We found one of those old letter-press, printing tray things and it's mounted in the spare bedroom where she can display an ever increasing and ever-eclectic collection. I'll nab a photo at some point, it's really quite impressive.

Her mother, one of the most kind and warm people I've ever met, described her as 'a tyrant' when she was a toddler. If she didn't get her way she'd go rigid with rage and if that didn't work, she'd remove all of her clothing in protest. I've held her hair back when she was sick, helped her through panic attacks, and taught her how to write a CV (she always had jobs through word of mouth until we had met). She's practically carried my emotional state on her back in 2017, and spearheaded the purchase of our first house. I was too nervous to try, she was determined to have a slice of land to call ours and have a chicken coop, garden, deck, and nobody to tell her off when she hung her assortment of shinies. There's something so undeniably attractive about someone determined and passionate.

All of this to say, that discovery period, that super interesting space, is so great. I loved it. But I also really love the times after that initial phase, where you get to apply everything you've learned about this person and as an unstoppable unit, help each other grow.

I hope whatever the outcome, it works out for you in the end. I'm really pleased you've found someone you click with, but I do also agree with kb and Lil's musings on the matter - they're far more articulate than I so I won't repeat anything. As you say, advocate for yourself first! But I hope it works out. It all sounds so promising.

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This whole passage makes me so happy.

My only observation is you're referring to "the initial discovery period" as "the discovery period" as if there's only one, when everything about what you write indicates that you know you're discovering more and more about each other every day. Which, as two people who do not lead static lives, is exactly the way it's supposed to work.

Foveaux  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah you're dead right, I was describing it like it's in a vacuum but it's not like you cease learning about someone once you know them for 6 months!

moe  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I also think that relationships, at a basic level, ARE a mutual pact of control.

The idea of mutual 'control' and general question of the 'rationality' of expecting monogamy are concepts with which I've still yet to come to terms. It's not an insecurity borne of any past or present situation, but rather just the hypothetical of a partner proposing non-monogamy and whether I could (or perhaps more importantly, need to) rationalize a rejection that's not reliant on mitigable concerns (e.g. using protection). Setting aside the empirical arguments, I don't know how to examine the emotional need for a partner to reciprocate monogamy and whether that's rooted in something outside of possessiveness.

thenewgreen  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Late to the discussion. But I just want to say that this line from kleinbl00 is spot on:

    And she won't respect you.
-some will say otherwise, but they’re wrong. His advice about letting her go until she’s ready to come back makes a lot of sense too. Wishing you the best here, BFE. You deserve it!
Quatrarius  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

there are shades of polyamory that range from "bob and jan at the swinger's club" to "emily, emily, daisy, and emily in the 1-bedroom portland apartment" and they all come with different commitments and different sets of baggage. you both have things you want and things you don't want: just talk to each other. the only discovery that polyamorists have made is that relationships are contracts and if you want to get what you want, you need to put that shit in writing

who are you coming home with at the end of the day? does anybody get placed higher in each others' hierarchies? are you a couple +X associates, or a eunuch's court of supposed equals?

do you feel comfortable with dating somebody who's having sex with other people? do you feel comfortable dating someone who's potentially developing some emotional connections with other people? are you okay without the guarantee of "you're my number one and my only one, I'm not gonna even try to get into any potentially compromising situations because that's how important you are"? because that's what the difference between bob and jan and the rest are, you know what i mean? being poly is different than just sleeping around

there's only so much love in you to go around, and so much time in the day to go around. the more you divvy it up the more (at a minimum) complicated it gets. you can't just be open to it, you have to want it. you have to want an open relationship actively and enthusiastically more than any other option for it to work, because otherwise it's something you're going "wellll, maybe until... for now i can... if it's what they want then..." in your head the whole time

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's simpler than that.

there are the lies we tell ourselves, and there are the lies we tell other people. A relationship with two people in it has self-lies^2 and other-lies^2. That's complicated enough. A relationship with three people in it has self-lies^3 and other-lies^3. A relationship with n people in it has self-lies^n and other-lies^n.

From a systems perspective, the higher order the equations the less stable the equilibrium. A high-order unstable equation will fall out of equilibrium faster than a low-order unstable equation. Consequently, over time there are fewer high-order equations because the higher order, the steeper the asymptote.

The way these systems work is if the lies are all aligned. If my self-lies are the same as your other-lies, we have a coefficient. If your self-lies are the same as my other-lies, we have another coefficient. Ax plus By = R. But the more people involved, the more cult-like it has to become or else you end up with ABx^3 minus 3ABx^2 plus 6ABX minus 9BCy^3.... = R.

It has been my experience that those in polyamorous relationships pride themselves on their individuality, on their non-conformity, and on their self-narrative. In other words, the people you run into with this shit are the ones with the most flamboyant self-lies. It has also been my experience that those in polyamorous relationships pride themselves on their openness, on their eclecticism, and on their extroversion. In other words, the people you run into with this shit are the ones with the most flamboyant other-lies.

Sure. Put that shit in writing. It'll absolutely enforce itself and solve all problems. And yeah. Call "fucking around" a social movement, a polycule, whatever the fuck you want. Semantics is truth. For sure, nobody has ever done this shit before, this time is different, The Olds just don't know how to set proper boundaries.

Look.

The biological evidence of human relationships is evidence of infidelity. The human penis is shaped to extract the semen of rivals from the vaginal cavity. Human males are attracted to the signifiers of youth, human females are attracted to the signifiers of power. The post-coital physiological response of males is to fall asleep; the post-coital physiological response of females is to be awake. The archetype of human relationships is a pride of lions with one titular male head with a lot of wives surrounded by young rival males who fuck behind his back. There are several species of primates whose principal method of procreation is rape.

There have been social structures that are much closer to this style of polyamory. The Ottomans spring immediately to mind, as do the Mormons. But there's a big prohibition in there - only one person is allowed to fuck around.

The social glue necessary to make this shit work is basically taboo to discuss, which means everyone comes into it with their own preconceptions. everyone can work together to make their glue stick? But that just means that when it comes apart it will release more energy - you do not want to see what a 20-year polyamorous relationship looks like when it ends. So I recognize it makes me an oppressor thoughtcrime boomer privileged incel or some shit to say this but I don't fucking care.

I've never seen anyone helped by a polyamorous relationship. Not short term, not long term. I've seen dozens hurt.

Because we all tell each other different lies, and the more of us there are, the faster they catch up.

Quatrarius  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

that's a lot of words to basically say that it's hard to have more than one deeply personal relationship which is prima facie true. it is indeed simpler than that. i respect your authoriteh as a wise elder. don't jerk off at me about it because I'm not the one who needs to hear it

with that aside my anecdata from my more limited set of experience is that polyamory is a fancy word for roommates that sleep in a big bed and that it's a thing that fags do to afford to live in the big city. i'm neutral at best on it and it seems like it just amplifies the shitty behavior of a shitty relationship x (number of people) x (time). i have never met anybody in a legit poly relationship who isn't either 1. dirt poor 2. trans 3. being actively groomed or all 3. people who dip their toes into it get burned. you need to hard commit and trust the fuck out of everybody involved for it to even have a chance and personally i haven't seen it

having sex with other people while being in a relationship is rolling the dice on whether somebody's gonna catch feelings and as time increases the probability of that approaches 100% unless you're bob and jan at the swingers party

tag yourself and post in the comments what your postcoital physiological response is: mine is typically being asked to leave the restaurant

Quatrarius  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Foveaux  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've listened and while I don't have anything to add around the discussion, I can't quite parse your accent. Is it Canadian? I thought I heard an "aboot". I'm really, really bad at North American accents though, we don't get many of them in my neck of the woods. I could tell Boston. Maybe. If it was someone asking if I wanted a coffee.

Quatrarius  ·  43 days ago  ·  link  ·  

you got it right it is canadian

kleinbl00  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Polyamory is a fancy word for "this isn't gonna work how you expect" and it's also the reason I have a former employee with a restraining order against a former client.

Having watched from the sidelines all these years, I can also say with no hesitation that 'boomers were better at it than GenX was better at it than millennials was better at it than GenZ at the same age. I suspect this is because the further back in time you go, the more transgressive your actions, and the higher the bar of entry for normative relationships. GenZ is far more likely to say "I'm poly" when what they mean is "I'm promiscuous" which is not the same thing. Accepting and broadcasting that you're a hoondawg sets expectations of monogamy and emotional stability appropriately low. Launching into a disquisition about the gender phenotypes of multilateral relationship power dynamics mostly serves to let your partner know it's their fault you sleep around.

    i have never met anybody in a legit poly relationship who isn't either 1. dirt poor 2. trans 3. being actively groomed or all 3.

I've met plenty... but my experience with GenZ poly relationships is that GenZ is a lot more likely to justify an unhealthy relationship as unconventional, whereas prior generations are much more likely to let an unconventional relationship get unhealthy. It's a chicken/egg problem but older generations were more likely to argue the sanctity of their structures while younger generations are more likely to argue they have the maturity to forego them. It all goes to shit eventually anyway, it just goes to shit in a different order.

Quatrarius  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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lil  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  

bfx, the important thing is to have fun now, to deepen your relationship now, and continue being honest and open about fears and feelings. “Now” is all that’s real.

I went through three long relationships and two (too) long marriages before I stumbled across my current partner and and for the first time didn’t want to be with anyone else.

I was sixty-fucking-three when I got it, that monogamy is just wanting to have the best time with someone you like — not externally imposed.

Prior to now in my life, monogamy was just another word for controlling. If monogamy is not based on the desire and joy in being together, then it’s control. Good for her that she’s exploring her feelings about sex and sexuality. She may want to do more exploring than you feel comfortable with - if that’s the case, figure out the roots of your discomfort- which is probably insecurity, which leads to control.

Still, time with others is time not with you.

Having a “relationship” or an imagined “future” with someone does not replace the necessity of also having to have a life.

ButterflyEffect  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you for engaging in this conversation, lil! As always, I learn something from you. This is a profound statement you just wrote:

    If monogamy is not based on the desire and joy in being together, then it’s control.

Security & control are absolutely related, and even last night as we began this conversation, I told her that I am open to this if it's done in a way that protects my security in feeling desire & excitement towards me/us from her.

    She may want to do more exploring than you feel comfortable with - if that’s the case, figure out the roots of your discomfort- which is probably insecurity, which leads to control.

    Still, time with others is time not with you.

It's absolutely insecurity because it is time purposefully spent romantically with others, sex doesn't necessarily need to be exclusive, but I think that is a big hangup for me and something worth thinking through. Trust is also something on my mind - is there the level of trust that she can, if she wants to, engage in exploring sex in a way that doesn't always involve me, that it does not result in a romantic pursuit of someone else or the questioning of our romance. Is that controlling. Hm.

lil  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I agree essentially with kb. If you’re vulnerable, you mght say, “come back after you’ve done your exploring.” That’s respectful, loving, and self-protecting.

Or just continue deepening the fun and closeness and base the “relationship” on the shared experiences of feeling heard, understood, and enjoyed. Live the relationship in real time.

I suspect that you putting contingencies on her exploring (like the ones you mentioned above) would feel controlling to her. It would be like YOU telling HER the parameters of her self-exploration.

Totally and genuinely accept her current presenting self as her best understanding of herself now. Find fun and personal growth in the situation as it is.

Have a great dinner tonight!!

b_b  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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