AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “OkCupid”

Settling into Attachment

This blog will be about 2 different things. Firstly, settling, by which I’m referring to the fact that I’m settling into Vancouver. As some of you might know, I’ve done my fair share of travelling and moving to new places. Unfortunately, it never gets any easier. I’ve been in Vancouver now for nearly 3 weeks. I feel lucky because I have family in the area and I have a few friends here as well. Nonetheless, it takes time to meet people and build a rapport. I feel lonely here sometimes. Ben is finally arriving on Thursday and we’ve missed each other quite a bit. I miss waking up next to someone and Ben is, quite happily, the person I like most waking up next to. I also haven’t had much opportunity here to cuddle with anyone, so I’m really missing physical touch. OkCupid has ever proved useful for dating, and I have met some people, but sparks haven’t really flown yet. To be honest, I’ve never had the best of luck with OkCupid. I find people on there who are very cool and I’ve definitely made one friend from there thus far, but chemistry is a difficult thing. It usually eludes me.

Now, some words about attachment. Before leaving Toronto, Ben and I bumped into an acquaintance of mine. I told her of my intention to pursue a PhD and do research on polyamory. She said to me, I have a topic for you. She’s considered being in poly relationships, but she has one main concern: the strength of the attachment. She believes that the attachment of a monogamous couple is much stronger than a polyamorous couple. I think she makes a fair point, but I tend to disagree with her. In a poly relationship, a couple encounters issues that a monogamous couple wouldn’t. In monogamy, jealousy is present, but it’s hidden away; poly couples have to deal with it openly and that can end a relationship. However, for the couples who succeed in dealing with jealousy, I think their relationship becomes stronger because they develop ways of communicating better (communication goes a long way in allaying jealousy, in this writer’s opinion). In addition, a monogamous relationship generally only has 2 destinations: marriage or a breakup. Poly relationships can change over time and parties need to agree to its terms before it starts, in general. It could be a D/s relationship, a purely sexual relationship, a purely emotional relationship, or anything along the spectrum. The parties in the relationship, I think, are more likely to sit down and talk about what the relationship will entail. There is, however, one thing that can be difficult in a poly relationship: since people are free to explore other bonds, they may decide to, for example, change their secondary partner to a primary partner and primary to secondary (to use hierarchical terminology that doesn’t always apply). Some people end all their relationships at once if one is going badly. These aren’t necessarily responsible practices. As someone has joked before, poly people sometimes end up talking more about sex than actually having it. However, I do think that communication is often stronger in poly relationships and that makes relationships have more secure attachments.

This weekend is Pride in Vancouver and I’ll be marching tomorrow with VanPoly! I look forward to meeting more poly people here. If you have any relationship queries, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca. I look forward to your questions as always.

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Reaching Out and Tuning Out

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m currently in Taiwan and Ben is in Vietnam. Recently, he met someone I will call Eve and they’ve hit it off. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got a message from her on OkCupid and when she added me as a friend on Facebook. When my partner(s) get involved with others, I like to build relationships with them. It’s very rare that others have reached out to me first, so you can imagine this was a bit of shock, especially because Eve has never been involved in a polyamorous relationship before. I think she really understands how it works, though. We’ve started exchanging pleasant messages and I’ve even been informed by Ben that she writes poetry and is interested in exploring an attraction to women. It’s also very rare that I meet a fellow poet, so for me, this is all great. She and Ben are going on a little trip this weekend and will see how things develop. If things go well, she’s interested in visiting us in China, depending on whether she can get a visa or not. Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and China have not been the best recently, so it could be difficult for her. Now, this isn’t to say my feelings about Eve have been entirely positive. Ben told me he hasn’t been attracted to someone as strongly as he is to Eve since he met me, which could be constructed as a threat to our relationship.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how women are programmed to act in relationships. We are often taught to find a man (forget what your sexual orientation may be…) and hold on to him as tightly as possible. We should be jealous and protective when another woman comes along because she might steal him away from us. If we have children with said man, we have to depend on him and keep him from being attracted to other women. Of course, these are all outdated ideas, but they are still present in our society today. I don’t think Eve would steal Ben away from me for a few reasons: Ben and I are as committed to each other as anyone can be. I don’t think Ben would allow someone to steal him away from me. It would also be against Eve’s interest to do so if she wants to build at least a friendship with me. It does seem like she’s coming into polyamory in the spirit of friendship, so I have no doubt she would betray me in some way. There is also the question of whether she would live close to us. She is interested in doing a Master’s and that could be in Canada, so we shall see where this all goes. In the meantime, I’m putting myself into a mindframe of tuning out from the normal programming I mentioned above. As the old saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. I sometimes have the feeling that Ben and I only met recently and that our relationship is still fragile. I remind myself how much can happen in a little over a year…

Thanks as always for reading! I await your relationship questions, which are always posted anonymously. My email address is miriam@askmiriam.ca

Here I am, Stuck in the Middle with You

This is always an interesting situation when you’re poly. You’re at a party with a partner and you’re interested in someone there. So what do you do? I was at a birthday party for a poly friend recently. She invited someone I was pretty sure I was going to like and indeed, I was right. He was interested in me as well. I had invited someone I’m dating to the party and I didn’t want to be rude and ignore him. Later on at the party, my date and I went to the bathroom. We had been sitting on the same couch as the new person I was interested in, whom I will refer to as NP. When I got out of the bathroom, the birthday girl was cuddling with NP. I was pulled into the cuddle pile and NP reached over to touch me, very affectionately. The birthday girl got up and let us cuddle. My date was thankfully ensconced in conversation with others. NP continued being very affectionate and kissed me. He also invited me to a potential road trip in the spring. I was very happily surprised by all of this. Unfortunately, he lives a few hours away but he has assured me he will come to Toronto periodically. 

At the end of the party, I asked my date if he was okay with me cuddling with and kissing NP and he was fine with it. I’m glad that things worked out; I didn’t want to exclude anyone. I have been in the position of being excluded many times in my life and it can be awful, especially in the context of a new relationship, since I have only known the date I brought to the party for just over a month. Poly can be a very delicate balance between having fun and considering the feelings of your partners. Make sure you’re on the same page and things should be okay. 

Yesterday I had dates with 2 new people. One I have mentioned before, in the last blog. He’s very new to poly. I really like his sense of spontaneity and adventure. We were wandering around the Eaton Centre and made out in a change room in Sears, and in many other places as well. I felt like a teenager. I also met someone new from OkCupid. We have very similar interests like environmentalism, cycling, travelling, local politics, etc. I was disappointed to find out that he has only recently gotten out of a serious relationship and he’s not looking for a primary partner, which I am. I feel a bit stuck because we would like to see each other again, but at this particular moment, I don’t want something casual. I also don’t really want to wait for him to be ready for something serious. The search for a primary continues… One thing I find frustrating about OkCupid is that most of the poly people on there opened an existing relationship. There are very few people like me who ended a relationship to become poly. Why is this the case? If you have thoughts, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

To my American readers, happy Thanksgivukah! I’ll be in Rochester, NY visiting cousins and a friend from tomorrow until Sunday.

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