My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years. While may not seem like a very long time we try to spend as much time as possible together however it generally ends up just being once a week (that and the fact seeing each other is a bit expensive because of gas). With my classes, his classes, work, and family two days a week together would be a luxury. We have a relatively secure relationship, though we function as an old married couple at this point only seeing each other for once a week for so long is beginning to take its toll on us.
I was beginning to get jelouse of any woman he worked with or played DND with not because I expected he was sleeping with them without telling me but just because they got to spend more time with him than I did. I began to spend a small chunk of our day together crying and lamenting that I couldn’t be with him more often and I’m very lonely all week and he always ended up holding me and reassuring me that eventually we’ll be able to see each other more.
So we talked about it in length and he suggested that in the meantime I get a girlfriend. I’m worried that if I find another partner she’ll only be a temporary “fix” during the week for the time I wish I was spending with him. I don’t think that would be very fair to either of us. It also bothers me that its a very rigid unchallengable one penis policy even if I met a suitable person who was male I wouldn’t be allowed to date him. I actually think I would prefer my 2nd partner to be male, putting more stress on the situation.
I love my boyfriend more than anything, and he means the world to me but not being able to see him is killing me and not being able to share my affection with anyone at all most of the time is even worse, especially not if I’m forced to only look to one gender. Should I even bother starting a relationship with a new partner if it’s going to work this way?
(And yes I do indeed go out with friends and spend time on my own hobbys during the week but they still don’t feel the same as spending time with someone I love. )
You know that treating people as things is a bad idea, yes? If not, well… Don’t treat people as things. It’s bad. You’re right to be wary of using an actual, real flesh and blood human being with feelings, hopes, dreams and desires as some sort of plug to fill the empty love hole of missing your boyfriend. You are damn right it’s not fair. Run with that, honey!
In fact, whack your boyfriend upside the head with a pillow and tell him it’s from me.* The fact that he’s only down with you dating a girl (a non-threatening inferior being), and that it’s fine to use a woman as a stopgap might tell you a few things. I’d suggest thinking damn hard about that. Is that the attitude of someone you want a future with?
Part of this is a bit of a button with me, and I’m sorry that my perspective colors it. You see, I’m bi. One of the things that makes me just cringe is the idea that someone might choose to be involved with me not because they’re attracted to me-the-human-being, but non-threatening-to-the-male-paradigm-female-thing as a second choice because of some OPP. From my perspective, why in hell would I want to date someone who doesn’t want to date me? Never mind the idea that I’m supposed to be filling the empty until the Real Relationship has more time, at which time I’d be dropped like a used hanky. No thank you! Anyone worth dating is going to have more self-regard than to want to tolerate that.
It does sound like you want some more romantic/sexual attention. And yes, it’s fine to want that. It’s also fine to be attracted to who you’re attracted to. You have definitely come up upon a true embuggerance to the smooth running of your relationship.
I think now is a good time to sit down alone in whatever situation you do your best thinking and ask yourself these questions. Be really honest with yourself:
- How much time do I want to spend with a partner?
- If I cannot get this much time with a partner, how do I want to handle it?
- How long is it until you are both out of school?
- Do I want to hang on that long and am I willing to bet my future on it?
I’m not saying for one second you have to see a partner regularly to have a good relationship. You don’t. Plenty of poly people, such as Yours Truly, have partners they don’t see often due to distance and they’re often happy relationships. That just doesn’t sound like where you are.
One other thing: Polyamory is a lousy solution to most relationship problems. Notice I don’t say that polyamory is a lousy relationship form. I think it is a terrible idea to use it to try to patch up relationship problems. Loving lots of people is awesome, yes. But that’s really the only legitimate reason to be poly, in my very strong opinion. Not only is trying to use it as a relationship patch cruel to the other people you’ll date, it won’t even solve the problems it was intended to, but is more likely to crack the original relationship apart. Which may be a win-win in the long run, too. I’m not of the “preserve the relationship at all costs” kinda gal.
I know I haven’t given you any real answers that solve your problem, but I hope I’ve given you something to think about and this will help you decide what it is you really want to do.
* Not really. The Polyamorous Misanthrope doesn’t advocate relationship violence outside of specifically-negotiated kink.
3 thoughts on “Polyamory is a Lousy Relationship Band-Aid”
All very true, and all things that needed to be said. The idea of using a woman as a “stopgap measure” to fill the need for love and affection until the Real Male Partner can come along makes me cringe.
While I’m not sure that the real relationship needs saving, since the guy seems like a bit of a troglodyte about women, I’m going to be charitable and attribute some of those statements to ignorance of how poly works rather than malice, for the purpose of the following suggestion:
If distance is an issue, and spending quality time with your partner is a relationship need, have you guys tried Skype or a similar video-chat program? Skype/Gchat has allowed me to feel a lot more connected to my far-away longterm partners, even though we only get to see each other in person when I can afford to fly to see them . . . and it helped my now-local boyfriend and I get through three years of 1300-mile physical separation with visits as often as we could manage, but still long periods apart.
With that said — OP, please listen to the very wise Misanthrope and take a close look at your partner’s attitude toward this relationship and his treatment of women in general. Since he knows that spending time together is a priority, if he’s not willing to set aside another night from his busy schedule to video-chat or play an MMO together with voice chat or do *something* to give you a sense of connection, he may not prioritize the relationship as highly as you do. And that’s a valuable thing in life to know, going forward.
(I’m not saying *every* night — it’s *good* that both of you have lives and friends and hobbies — but if one of my partners was crying and miserable because they wanted to see more of me, you can bet that I’d be working on some outside-the-box ways of making them feel loved and valued, even if I couldn’t be there to see them in person.)
A formatting suggestion: There ought to be a signal up top that the first few paragraphs are not written by you. I grokked real quick that this didn’t sound like you AT ALL, but newbies might not. One line at the top saying “This letter recently came in:” would do it.
Or is my formatting just screwed up?
It’s possibly a formatting screw-up. It should have been italicized.