AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “disclosure”

The Freedom to Feel

Before getting to the heart of this blog, I want to say one thing. On this blog, I will be writing about Ben and Eve as well as my own feelings about them. I want to acknowledge the privilege I feel to write about a relationship that I’m not completely involved in. Of course, Ben is my fiance and Eve and I are friends, but they are the ones who are romantically involved here. On this blog, I mainly want to write about my own relationships as well as give advice and in this situation, it’s a bit different. I will do my best to represent the situation as accurately as I can.

Last night, Ben, Eve, and I had a call that ended up lasting for 1.5 hours. I continue to be in Taiwan and they are in Vietnam. We talked about many different things including the strong possibility that Eve will visit us in China within 2 months. I think all of us are looking forward to the visit, but we also feel nervous about it. Ben and I have a relationship and Eve and Ben are developing their relationship, but the dynamics between 3 are hard to predict. One of my concerns is that I will feel left out in my own house. Groups of 3 have often made me anxious because one person can often feel left out and I don’t want that person to be me. In Zhengzhou, our city in China, there aren’t many places for us to go and just hang out with other people. We are generally at the university teaching and doing other things, eating out in our neighbourhood, or at home. If I want to give Ben and Eve some alone time, that may be difficult to do. That being said, Eve will probably come for 5 days, which isn’t an inordinate length of time and I do think we’ll all get along. Eve said she’s happy to have me as a friend. She has already opened up to me a lot, which has really impressed me; it shows me that she speaks our language. She’s unsure of her feelings toward women at this point and I would never push anything with her, but if it were to develop, I don’t think either of us would be opposed to that.

This situation is new for all of us involved. After talking to the 2 of them last night, I think I was feeling some jealousy and envy as I watched them cuddle on the hotel bed. This situation is even more foreign to Eve who hasn’t been in that many relationships, let alone a non-monogamous relationship. Since Ben and I got together, neither one of us has had an additional serious relationship, so this is new for him too, though he acknowledged to me this morning that he has the easiest time emotionally in all of this; after all, he has 2 women who feel strongly about him. Ben and I also said this morning that we don’t want their relationship to impact ours. We would like to acknowledge that both relationships are unique and that we can all contribute to their success.

Feelings can run high in this sort of situation and as I said to Ben, there are many forces at play here that we are all unaware of. In many societies and depending on the family, we often do not talk about how we feel. I was raised by social workers and was often asked how I felt about things, so I’m an exception and I do feel lucky for that. I think that all 3 of us are fairly emotionally aware, but we all have baggage that affects how we feel at present. If one goal of polyamory is open communication, we can acknowledge how our past impacts our feelings right now. With our emotions invested in multiple people and depending on how much we choose to disclose, we may tell our partner(s) how we feel about other partners or express how metamours make us feel. I think that the expression of all these emotions makes us healthier people and better partners.

Thank you as always for reading! Ask me a relationship question anytime at miriam@askmiriam.ca I will be back in China on Monday and look forward to seeing Ben for the first time since January 20…

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AskMiriam about Breaking the Ice

Question: If I am seeing someone, and I want to break the ice so to speak, or to tell her I really don’t mind if she sees other people. When is it too soon to tell her I am OK with it? If I meet someone that can’t understand, should I move on? Or try to convince them?

Answer: First, thank you for your question! This is always a delicate topic. For those of us who want to date more than one person, when is a good time to let that be known to a potential partner? And how soon do we want to know if they are okay with that and if they would do the same? (There are mono/poly relationships that work, where one partner sees more than one person and another remains monogamous – some work and some don’t, like most relationships in general).

Personally, I tend to err on the side of disclosing earlier. Here’s an example: last year, I met someone who I was really excited about. He had never been poly before. I met him at a party that I went to with someone I was involved with at the time, so when we met, he knew what my situation was. The new person and I had our first date several days later and it went really well. We had a lot in common and we got along well. He seemed to be fine with poly. The next day, I was over the moon and when I’m happy, I get flirty. I gave my number to 3 people. In the evening, I picked someone up and took them back to my place. The next day, I was helping throw a party for poly people and I invited the new person. Toward the end of the party, he told me he wanted to go for walk after the party was over; I could sense that things were about to end between us. Indeed, we went on the walk and he told me he didn’t think he could handle poly. I was really disappointed, but I will say that I’m very glad I found that out early on. If I had met him in a situation where he didn’t know about my relationship status and I wouldn’t have told him until, say, the 4th date, my hopes would have been even higher and I would have been even more disappointed.

In terms of people who can’t understand, you can try to explain it to them but be careful – there are times when poly is misunderstood and of course, everyone has a different understanding of what polyamory means to them. If you feel that they would be a good partner, come at it from an angle of dialogue. For example, you could ask them what they want in a relationship and if they describe some things that you are not into, you can tell them that they would be welcome to find it elsewhere if they choose. I think polyamory should be about freedom of choice – there are times in your life where you will only be involved with one person and if you enjoy that, great.  If you are doing something like online dating, many poly people let it be known on their profile that they are dating more than one person or that they would like to be dating more than one person. Some people are nervous to do that in case someone they know finds out. Being the open person I am, my online profiles show my relationship status. If people want to contact me, great. If not, I know that there are many people out there who would be keen to date me. Good luck out there in the dating universe, dear reader!

If you have a question, please email at miriam@askmiriam.ca  Later this week, I will be talking about some exciting stuff that is currently going on in my life. Stay tuned…

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