Polyamorous relationships. Do you want one?
What if you love a man who wants this type of arrangement?
See PART 2 of this article here.
It seems like more and more people are having to deal with their partner being polyamorous. This is why it is more important than ever for you to understand and learn more about how to deal with a man like this.
Or even just understand how to deal with a man who is generally not fully emotionally committed to you (and wants more than one woman in his life).
What if we need to learn how to get angry?
What if we need to learn more about seeing a man for who he is?
What if we need to remember to say ‘NO!’ and push back on a man when he comes on strong?
Let’s start with some background. This client named Lena messaged me with a real pickle she is in with a polyamorous man she met online.
Here is how it goes…
(How We Connected)
I met him online; he just exuded masculinity and I was excited to just show up deeply connected to my feminine core. On our first phone conversation, he told me that at the weekend he would be going to Sydney. The next week we met at a bar. I felt like I could show up raw, fully myself. He told me about the painful past he had with his family and I couldn’t help but tear up as I naturally just grasped his arm.
He later told me that he was polyamorous. He had 2 girlfriends that were long distance (one in Sydney) and that he cared about them deeply. I expressed that I am monogamous and although I understand the idea of polyamory that I want to create freedom, variety, passion and more within monogamy.
(He Became Monogamous)
The next weekend he became monogamous and cut off from these women in his life. He then wanted to spend almost every day with me and he was understandably very hurt by ending such significant relationships in his life. I listened to him and practiced empathy. He just seemed to shut down. I felt anxious like I couldn’t give him what he needed, although it was all way too quick and not entirely my responsibility that he felt so down. I felt pressured to be with him all the time and because I wasn’t completely ready for such immediate intensity, I don’t think I was as present and free flowing as I can be.
After 2 weeks of being monogamous, he told me he missed the other women in his life. I understood but was really sad. I hadn’t experienced this level of connection, this level of communication, presence and raw masculinity in my previous relationships.
We went our own ways because it felt too painful to stick around. Two weeks later, his authentic, honest, raw personality still taunted my mind. Then one day while I was in town, I caught this man’s gaze. It was him. My entire body was physically shaking. I felt scared, excited, exposed, surprised.
(Connection & Showing Up)
We kept talking after that and he told me how both these women had met other people and were still a big part of his life but not intimate anymore. We started seeing each other again. He told me he was poly and that he didn’t plan on not dating other people. It may have been foolish but I was so drawn to him and I loved feeling so feminine and authentic in his presence… confused with his recent declaration of monogamy and his talks about how his ex had hurt him… I simply asked that he please tell me if he had been with someone new.
The next five weeks felt incredible. We watched netflix together, made dinner together, and barely stopped laughing. I can genuinely say that it has never felt this right for me. We connect on so many levels; he helped me explore power dynamics in my sexuality (that more deeply tap into how much I love to be in my natural feminine), we had in-depth discussion and debates about psychology and culture (a topic I have ALWAYS loved), we felt so at home in sharing silent moments… He also vocalized that he adores how sensitive I am. How I cry at shows, how I empathize even when I feel afraid, how I have such strong intuition, how I choose to surrender to the sensations in my body…
He then met someone and slept with her. My heart shattered. I knew this was a possibility because he had been honest about it, I just felt it was worth the risk. He held me as I cried deeply. We kept talking and even saw each other again before I traveled for work. The day we saw each other, we just went for a walk to a park. There is something about his presence that even then made me feel safe, adored, and seen. It was vividly connected and special.
When I came back from my work trip, he wanted to see me again. I told him I was too hurt and that I didn’t think I could. He pushed me and told me how much he felt for me. I thought I should hear him out and of course, I wanted to connect with him too. He said to me “I like the idea of being in something where there is the option to be with other people but you don’t necessarily act on it.” He also said that he would like this option for variety in a long term relationship because monogamy can get stuck and boring and that when he gets married, he doesn’t want to grow apart or end up divorced, or for one person to be cheating. I genuinely can relate to his concern because I had a 5 year long relationship that was not passionate or alive. .. despite how much I tried. He definitely made me think about these things. He then said “I realize you don’t get everything with someone you want to settle down with. I have been in monogamous relationships and been happy, I just don’t want the feeling of shutting myself down.” Again, I allowed myself to indulge for a moment in the bliss of being with him. The bliss of being with a man whose flaws make me laugh, who can talk about anything with me, who makes me weak at the knees with his masculine toughness. One time he was so blunt that it brought me to tears; he seemed to respond to me, scooping me up in his arms saying “aww I forget you are so gentle.” I was delaying the inevitable conversation but he brought it up.
He told me he wanted me to be the priority in his life. He wanted to make me his primary and have one other rotating space for dating other women. I know in the poly world, this is a big deal. A big part of me wants to be okay with it but when I ask myself if I could be okay with it, my entire body shuts down. I feel weak, violated from myself, devastated and lost. I don’t think I can handle polyamory and it breaks my heart because I feel like there may not be a way to make it work with this man within polyamory. This connection is the most right it ever felt for me and not just because of the euphoric feeling of love but also because it has the meat you need… amazing communication, feeling like we can be 100% ourselves around each other, compatibility sexually, morally, emotionally and mentally.
Our connection is worth fighting for to me.
I love this man, I feel like I see and understand him even when it is painful but I just can’t handle polyamory and I do not know what to do. I am scared but even sitting with polyamory makes me feel deep pain and I can’t compromise myself to that extent.
Do I stay, showing up as authentically valuable and open hearted as I can? Or, do I walk away accepting that it may be heart wrenching and that he may not follow?
(Thank you endlessly for reading this, I appreciate this community so much! I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for this blog and David & Renee)
Thanks for your great question. And thanks for the wonderful way you wrote it. It makes it easy for me to understand and write back to you. There is so much to address here that it’s hard to know where to start. All the things I could work through are endless.
First, well done on connecting to your feminine core. I can see that this was a good first step for you and you’ve made good progress. The way you showed up has appeared to have worked some magic with this guy – putting aside the fact that his actions aren’t commendable.
Let’s start with the very start.
(How we connected)
You guys met online. You say you were excited to just show up deeply connected to your feminine core.
I do want to urge caution to you on this. Being feminine or connected to your feminine core seems to be something that new relationship experts are talking a lot about these days, but we often forget that there’s so much more to relationships and deep commitment than our feminine core.
Which I believe you are learning right now.
Essentially, being feminine makes you desirable to masculine men. It can make you sexy. maybe soft, and sometimes it might make you seem vulnerable. It produces a spark of polarity with masculine men.
But just being connected to our feminine core can make us one dimensional as we get swept away by the ‘idea’ of being connected to our feminine core, thinking it’s the answer to everything.
So, that’s my word of caution. However, I still want to applaud you for exploring this part of yourself and experiencing that for yourself. No action you take is wrong. I think you may find, looking back later on, that every step you take was a necessary part of your overall life story.
Now back to the issue here…
Wanting to be seen
I could be wrong, but perhaps you wanted a new sense of identity and having this man see you as feminine allows you to feel validated. (Any woman exploring her feminine energy with men has been there. So please don’t think this is a bad thing. It is all a part of your precious journey in this life).
The trouble with being so incredibly excited about exploring this new identity or the excitement of showing up deeply connected to your feminine core is that too much excitement can overpower your natural intuition, as you get swept away by how much attraction a man feels for you.
Every woman wants to be seen. Being seen as a feminine woman is a wonderful experience!
Every woman wants to be seen for the endless beauty that she is. Even the feminists that are working hard to protect/cover up the vulnerability of this innate desire because they are afraid they may not actually be seen.
It is a beautiful experience to be seen by a man. And you have successfully been seen very well by this man.
There’s good news and bad news about having been seen in your situation, though:
First, the good news: now you know you have the ability to show up in a high value way that allows you to be seen for who you are deep down in your heart. Congratulations!
The bad news: Any man, even the slimiest ones who just go online to look for their next conquest, can make you feel seen and connected.
Any man can give a woman that feeling of being seen, on a superficial level. And on a superficial sexual level. Because he is getting something out of it.
A man can form a connection with you just to get sex; and this is also why waiting a while to have sex gives a man a chance to reveal the truth of who he is and how confident he really is and how much real substance he has to offer.
Nothing replaces the test of time spent together just connecting without sex.
I am not saying that the connection you experienced with this man was not significant. I believe you did have a good connection.
The only thing I’m questioning is how much he’s really willing to sacrifice for you: it doesn’t appear that he is willing to sacrifice enough. Especially not for the incredible woman that you are. And everybody here can see how wonderful you are. It comes through in your writing.
You see, no matter how great the spark is with this man, this connection is nothing particularly extraordinary from the perspective of getting a deep sense of long term devotion from a man.
What is it worth being ‘seen’ by a man you only recently met online compared to having a man’s complete devotion to you long term? And your devotion to him entirely?
Loyalty matters. It takes time to develop. And it is worth far more than anything else in today’s world.
But loyalty isn’t common anymore. It is a rare trait in a world obsessed with shiny objects and desensitized to so many sexual sensations because of porn and the media.
Being seen by men as sexy, feminine and vulnerable is not the same as deeply connecting with a man or mutually falling in love with a man.
You met online and already has two other women!
You guys met online. He already had two other women! That’s a red flag. One of my first thoughts was that this man is a master seducer, yet a foolish one. He seems to be engrossed in ‘shiny object syndrome’. He is bouncing from two women, yet still out scouting the world for more women.
Maybe it’s just how he operates and thinks nothing of it.
But it’s concerning how he doesn’t seem to really see that women (generally speaking) don’t thrive in a polyamorous relationship.
And the biggest red flag in all of this is how quickly his other two women found other people after he left them!
And another concern that I have, is how easily he left the other two women after meeting you.
It appears as though he did not leave them out of devotion to you. Desire for you, sure. Attraction for you, sure. But devotion? I don’t think so.
This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, and it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have the capacity to love you. It just means that right now I don’t think he has a clue what love is. He only knows how to get the best deal for himself.
And good for him.
But…where are you right now?
How are you feeling right now?
I think it’s obvious from what you’ve told me. And I applaud you again, for being so connected to how you feel – but I need you to be even more connected to how you feel and let those feelings be felt. And to trust how you feel, independently of your mind’s thoughts.
You see, with this hurt and pain, and possibly anger; you can then much more easily develop the bad association you need to develop in order to say ‘no’ to this man.
Because he seems like bad news.
Some polyamorous people want to take value
In my bias opinion. And it really is biased, because I have only learned from other people’s stories and have never been through polyamory myself nor been a part of a polyamorous community…
Is that some polyamorous people go into the situation to take for themselves. And they want more and more and more. Especially the people who initiate polyamory. They want more. The best deal. Without having to give loyalty, or take the risk of the heavy reproductive costs that come with being monogamous.
He came on very strong & you weren’t able to stop him
Another thing I want you to see is that this man came on very strong after breaking it off with his two other women.
He came on so strong that it made you feel that you were ‘not completely ready for such immediate intensity’.
Now, this is a warning sign. If you are not completely ready, then girl, you stop that sh*t. And you stop it for your sake, and his.
My husband has a very good article on 3 Reasons Why You Need To Be Worried When He Comes on Strong.
When a man comes on strong, he wants you. That’s not always a bad thing. But because he does not bear the responsibility of pregnancy and child-rearing (or doesn’t associate himself with child rearing, being a man and all)…
You need to be the one to protect yourself. Sure, he would ideally protect you too. But when it doesn’t happen that way, you need to put a stop to it.
So, it’s ok.
But next time, trust your gut.
I don’t care how great the connection seems like it is. I don’t care how different and how much more authentic he seemed than other men, he still needs you to push back on him when you feel you are not ready.
He declared he was monogamous and then slept with someone else?
Ok. so. I would say that I feel like you are dealing with a very misdirected man here. But I don’t know him. So I’d be making assumptions.
Assumptions which I will go ahead and make.
He declared that he was monogamous. And then he met someone and slept with her. Yet, you are saying that you knew it was a possibility.
Well, I don’t care how much you knew it was a possibility. His actions are still not acceptable.
Why are his actions not acceptable?
Because it seems as though he declared monogamy for either one of two reasons:
1: Because he was taken away by the exciting newness of you and his relationship and had zero direction nor groundedness to actually wait and think it through.
2: Because he was taken away with the potential sexual opportunity.
Sure, I mean, he can do what he wants. But he is to do it with the women who are ok with that kind of behaviour from a man.
But are you ok with that kind of behaviour?
I truly believe, from the information you have given me, that this connection is not as deep as you may think it is.
I think that this man is good at seducing, and he is also great at creating the connection with a woman that is needed for her to open up sexually.
So, sure, you guys had a great connection. But how deep was it really?
Was it deep enough that you could exert your boundaries and anger, and he would still be there for you? You’ll have to test that out (if you still want to).
Was your connection deep enough that he’s willing to sacrifice all other options for you?
Maybe it will get deeper in time. Maybe you guys can make a real monogamous relationship work in the future. But I don’t recommend you do that until you feel more of the hurt he has caused you.
He is used to women compromising themselves to be with him!
This man is used to women compromising themselves to be with him.
A lot of women out there enter into polyamorous relationships for fear that they cannot get a man to invest all of their resources on her.
And because of this fear, these women sit back and wait for the man to do whatever he wants, and she’ll just shut off to her heart’s pain and suffering.
Well, fear not. There is a man out there for you. And all you have to do is be patient.
Where is your anger?
I have a question for you. Where is your anger?
I know that from very early on in our lives, we are taught that anger is wrong.
But just because this man told you up front that he is polyamorous, doesn’t make his actions any less slimy.
Loyalty is loyalty. And he had none of it from the start.
I don’t know. Maybe you are angry and I don’t know about it. Maybe you have been angry. But I have no evidence that you have connected to your anger at all in your letter.
I have a feeling that connecting to your anger would make you more aware of what kind of man you do not want.
I feel like you really enjoyed the connection you had with this man. Now you have the ability to connect with anyone you wish. Kudos to you! Not everyone has that skill.
However – it feels to me, and the other women here can tell me if I’m wrong or if they agree…
That you may not have had an abundance of great connections in your life at the time of meeting this man, or it has been a while since you’ve been with a masculine man, and from this lack of abundance, he seemed exceptional when he may not be.
It’s always difficult when we are coming from a place of lack of abundance, so I really understand. I’ve had this experience with friends in the past.
Now is the time for asking yourself if perhaps your connection with him seemed so wonderful mainly because it was unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before?
And if it is…then just know that you can most certainly have that quality of connection again. Even if it is with a different, but more deserving man.
Vulnerability without boundaries
When I talk about the value of vulnerability, it is not so that women can use their deep vulnerability on just any man. And I especially don’t want women to use vulnerability as a way to feel worthy.
I need you to understand, Lena, that right now, you love this man partly because you have been sexually intimate with him. Your body is made to attach in this way – to ensure resources for yourself and to ensure the survival and safety of yourself and your offspring, should you become pregnant.
But do you think this man fully deserved to see you sexually and emotionally bare like this yet?
Some women take this feminine core and vulnerability as a way to do what they think is good and right. Or as a way to feel significant and worthy around men. That is not what it is for. It is for connecting with men…it is for forming strong, unbreakable bonds.
Hear me out though…
Vulnerability without boundaries is dangerous.
Vulnerability without a man gaining your full trust first is dangerous.
So let me say this: vulnerability is valuable and useful for forming deep, committed, trusting relationships.
However, in your case Lena, this man has not gained your full trust. He’s gained some of your physical and emotional surrender – for the sake of getting you to connect with him, and have sex with him. But he has in no way gained your heart’s trust.
Vulnerability is something that helps you weed out the bad men. It is also a way to test men.
So always ask yourself: did or does this man deserve to see me so open and bare and so sexually responsive to the sensations in my own body?
You know the answer best.
Should you be his primary?
Should you be his primary in a polyamorous relationship?
Let’s be blunt, shall we?
When a woman or a man is in love, they will sacrifice EVERYTHING. Everything. Just to be with that one and only.
Yes, even men. A man in love will sacrifice all other options to be with you.
I don’t care how big a thing a primary is in the polyamorous world. You tell me that you feel weak, violated from yourself and that your body shuts down at the very thought of entering into a polyamorous relationship. So, you really don’t need me at all. Your body is telling you what to do.
I just need you to feel the hurt that your body is feeling, even more.
I need you to feel that shut down even more.
If you know you cannot cope with a polyamorous relationship, then stick to that. Don’t ignore it any longer, because if you do, you’ll eat away at your boundaries until they become a speck of dust in the ocean.
You will lose yourself and your power.
Above all, you will compromise your own strength.
And in doing that, you compromise your future with the right man, and the future of your children (if you want them).
You have no time to waste.
If you haven’t gone through our understanding Men Program, we go deeply in to issues like men and monogamy and what they really need in long-term relationships that they can’t voice. Click here to check it out!
Finally…I hope this answer helped you. Now, over to you…do you have any words of wisdom for Lena? What about any thoughts or advice to add to this?