My thoughts/adventures in polyamory and life.

rollercoaster

Dating, as a gay man, can seem impossible. We have all heard the constant barrage of “dating apps have ruined dating” “every just wants hook ups” “no one wants anything serious.” Well, let’s toss all that aside for a minute because guess who is throwing out those broad generalizations? Yeah, guys in the dating pool that have probably done things to manifest those statements. We can change things. It can get better!

Yes, apps have changed how things are done, but we should be real – if you are on Grindr you MAY find a date, but most likely it will be just a hook up. It’s in the name of the damn app! Try venturing into apps/platforms like Tindr and OK Cupid that at least lean toward a date.

Now that is out of the way, the next step is how to date. I preface this with the fact these are just my opinions, but I have talked to many that feel the same way.

Tips for dating

  1. have the balls to ask a person out on a DATE, not “you wanna hang tomorrow night?” – be clear – you want sex with dinner first… I mean… a real date. 😉
  2. don’t give it up on the first date. Yes, I know we have all made the mistake and sometimes you can be with that person forever even if you let them sample the cookie before buying the box, but holding out for a bit can demonstrate that you weren’t just hungry before having sex
  3. Do “check ins” every once in a while (every few dates, etc.) to see where you both are at – be honest… tell him how you feel. Topics can be how each person feels the relationship is going, how they themselves feel, how the sex is, etc. For instance, “I really like you and am excited to pursue this, but also am really busy and don’t have a lot of time to spend with you” or “I just got out of a long term relationship and would like to take things slow” or “I am totally into you and feel like you are totally into me and want to spend every moment I can with you” Then, be prepared to hear where they are and honor that. Things go much smoother when you are all on the same page and accommodate where the other person is at. It is important to do these check ins frequently because things can change rapidly, particularly at the beginning! We all have gone through that cycle of diving in, then having moments of panic if we suddenly felt things were moving too quickly. If that is communicated it can be worked through. If not, things will crash and burn in a big hurry. Any relationship, even dating, is just communication, agreements, and staying on pace with the other person, while being genuine. Don’t feel bad if you tell them you are head over heels and thery are tepid. That is why you are having the conversation. If you weren’t having the conversation they might just panic and run away. ** Note, if a person is awkward during this conversation – that’s normal. If they refuse to have the conversation or feel “it’s too serious” then turn and run. They are NOT someone that will last. This is an empowering, safe, and fun conversation.
  4. Don’t listen to all the stupid “rules” like:
    1. don’t text him back too quickly – you should wait 3 days
    2. don’t tell him how you feel, he may panic
  5. Don’t date if you aren’t ready! Too many times I have gone on a date where we hit it off, but the other person isn’t ready. This is like listing your house for sale when the kitchen is still being remodeled. You don’t want people walking through seeing that mess! Also, it is not fair to the other person. They are in the dating pool because
  6. Understand what dating is – most people are dating to meet potential lovers, not “just for fun.” If you are dating “just for fun” then communicate that before going on a date.
  7. Don’t assume ANYTHING – many people will assume monogamy or exclusivity (only dating them) at a stage and unless that is discussed and agreed upon it’s going to end badly
  8. Be open to possibilities. They may not fit in the box you want them to or may not look like the picture on your vision board, but if you look at past substantial romantic relationships, were they all exactly with whom you had pictured? There are certain deal breakers for all of us, but if things come up that aren’t ideal, decide if they are negotiable or non-negotiable.
  9. Be open to different types of relationships. This is my plug for being open to polyamory. I still believe it is possible to have more than one loving relationship simultaneously, but also have been single for a very long time so will work on one at a time. Think of the bright side… if you are dating someone that has a boyfriend/partner – think of all the pressure that is relieved!

With these things in mind I think we all might be more successful at dating. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

Advertisements

heart-based-thinking-481x220Time to let it all out… First… This Facebook post sums up a lot of my thoughts, but I feel I need to expand a bit more.

Ok… It’s Monday of a short week and no one is focusing on work anyway, so I am starting a discussion. The purpose of this is NOT for people to rant, but offer contributions that can help us all.
I have noticed for a while now many guys have a difficult time handling/communicating feelings. Chatting with a friend I realized it makes perfect sense. From childhood girls hurt themselves and are told, “oh, honey, it’s ok” and boys are told, “get up and shake it off.” As males grow up it is reinforced by “don’t be so mushy” “don’t be so soft” “don’t be such a woman” “buck up.” Sexism aside, it has put gay guys at a SEVERE disadvantage in friendships and potential relationships (that weird thing where you see a romantic interest more than once.)

My thoughts so far are we need to start a movement and spread the word that it is OK to be mushy/soft/share feelings/be open/dare I even say… ask for a hug! Also, we all should be careful in our responses when guys share things. Think about things from their perspective. They aren’t sharing because they want you to tell them to “buck up.” They are sharing because they need an ear to listen, support, a shoulder to cry on, or some advice.

Also, it is scary to share things with new people (dates, friends, etc.) but courage to do so is what is the true strength! Share and listen. No one is perfect and we all are real human beings – don’t toss someone aside because of their “issues.” I am not saying take everyone on as a project and definitely put them in touch with professional resources if they need it, but just listening without judgement can be more powerful than we realize.
We all have baggage/issues and if we don’t work through them with each other we are all destined to just be shallow fuck-rabbits with all our feelings bottled up inside until we snap/fall into deep depression/loneliness. Let it out and let us all heal/grow together.

Please share your thoughts/insights!

‪#‎hearttoheart‬ ‪#‎hearttofacebook‬

Perhaps the only thing I want to add is that I have continually been told I get too emotionally involved with people I date. I have done a lot of work on myself over the last few weeks (after being dropped like a flaming bag of poo by yet another guy I started dating) and uncovered some things.

First, I had a fear of people I care about vanishing. This stems from a situation with my biological dad when I was a kid where he continually would reach out when he wanted to hang out, but wouldn’t even respond when I reached out. Now, the first step was to forgive him, which I finally did a couple weeks ago after a cathartic meditation where I realized I had been holding onto that issue for 26+ years. Next was to release the connection I had drawn to guys I have dated to him in that any time I started to get emotionally involved with a guy this fear started to crop up. Now of course this was reinforced by the fact I am single, so inherently there have been a lot of guys that have vanished.

Once I processed through that crap things got a little bit easier. Then I got to thinking how emotionally involved should I be with guys I date. It seems like the advice I receive is, “date a bunch of guys at once so you don’t get attached to any one of them” or, “guys are dumb… Just realize that and don’t get attached.”

At first I took this to heart because it seemed to make sense. Now the more I dive into it I am realizing it might all be bullshit. What if instead of my caring too much everyone else cares too little? How are people supposed to date and get to know each other if they don’t become emotionally involved? It seems that people have gone from not believing in love at first sight to not being able to love at all. Or, perhaps after 10-15 dates and they know the guy isn’t going to vanish, then they will just start to open up.

I am sorry, but I am not going to last 10-15 dates with someone that doesn’t seem emotionally available. I am not saying fall for someone on the first date, but why not be open to it? Perhaps we should all quit trying to wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and actually be emotionally available. People seem to have forgotten the adage – love like you have never been hurt before.

Let’s spend more time in our hearts than our heads.

20140711-144710-53230726.jpg
I have learned a lot on this poly journey and have come to a profound realization – people fear what they don’t understand. It seems like such a simple concept, but I apparently took longer than most to realize it.

When I changed my belief system about relationships such that I believed people can have more than one loving relationship at a time, I put it everywhere. I created this blog, I put it info about poly in my OKcupid profile, and did everything short of taking out billboards. I understand now this was not necessarily the best approach. Being a Scorpio I swing to extremes so I learn lessons frequently.

The difficulty with putting polyamory as one of the first things people see is that it can overshadow my entire interaction or lack thereof. This was not an issue when I was in relationship with my ex, because people needed to know I already was in a relationship. However, upon being single, I don’t need to lead with poly.

Since many people don’t understand polyamory they fear it. It is a totally different model from the norm, takes a fair amount of research to even grasp (though once you grasp it is quite simple), and takes a new set of tools/understanding to evaluate. Many people evaluate poly with their monogs goggles on and quickly dismiss it before giving it a chance.

Everyone seems to have known of one poly relationship that failed and therefore poly could never work. Compare that story to how many monogamous relationships work and that may put things in perspective. A 50/50 success ratio isn’t what most people consider winning, yet most people are die-hards. Maybe if Disney movies portrayed poly relationships as fantastical as monogamous relationships things might be different.

All that said, I am open to a monogamous relationship if that works for the man I am with and for me. I am not going to do it because everyone else is doing it or I feel I “should.” However, if we fulfill all of each other’s needs, so be it.

I have removed poly from my profiles and am taking a softer approach. I have started reading/working on the book Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas. Ironic, isn’t it? The work is mostly personal work and is challenging and exciting at the same time. It is a great chance for reflection, transformation, and a renewed sense of hope.

Just try it…

Image

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about polyamory and many people have asked if I could ever be in a monogamous relationship again. My first instinct is to say “no”, but upon further reflection I think it is a “maybe.” While I definitely subscribe to the poly belief system, there is the potential one man could meet all my needs and I am definitely open to that possibility. I don’t feel poly is better than monogamy and I feel I could be in either type of relationship depending on the situation. 

I feel since it seems to be widely known that I am poly it may scare off certain people that are scared of polyamory. Unfortunately I don’t believe the majority of people that immediately state, “Oh, I could NEVER do that!” have really done much research on polyamory. I even once knew an individual that had dabbled in polyamory once (got into a triad relationship with an existing couple) and the tried broke up over him so he has written off polyamory altogether. How many monogamous relationships have ended in disaster and we don’t write monogamy off because of that? 

I think everyone should try on poly for at least 6 months. It doesn’t mean keeping multiple loving relationships going is the only way to succeed, but just try on the belief system and see what it feels like. I feel most people excuse the concept away with “oh, I would get jealous” or “I am just a one man kinda guy.” I think these are very shallow and closed minded excuses. How I know this is if someone had actually tried polyamory or studied it in depth they would have a much more in-depth, thorough, and thoughtful response. 

Again, as I have said before, poly isn’t for everyone, but everyone owes it to themselves to see if it can work and even potentially be more fruitful that monogamy. 

Never Single

20130303-211554.jpg

I recently noticed an interesting fact about polyamory is never having to be single. At first I thought this was positive, but I now see he it can also be a bit dangerous. Since polyamorous relationships are organic it is perfectly reasonable to be severing a substantial relationship while in another. One risk is the person in the relationship that is discontinuing feeling they are being replaced. Another risk is using the ease of falling into a new relationship to avoid handling issues in a current relationship that may have a chance of survival if addressed. Lastly, there is the potential to use what Opening Up calls NRE (new relationship energy – that swooning, stupid, blind lust/love at the beginning of a new relationship) to avoid processing the feelings after another relationship ends.

That said, none of these are downsides to polyamory, just things to be aware of. Focusing on and handling each relationship individually should mediate most of these issues. One note on the last sentence – I believe it is healthy to spend a fair amount of time reflecting/processing after a relationship ends. People often call this “getting back in balance” or “re-establishing myself as just me.” Despite popular belief, I believe this can be done while dating or in a relationship. I believe few people understand how to request their “me” time when there is NRE. I feel the time should be requested and respected as opposed to throwing away what could be a fruitful new relationship by demanding to stay single to go through their process. The universe probably did not have two people cross paths to see how problematic it could be and it wasn’t just by chance. Explore it and see what happens.

There is nothing wrong with being single, but if the universe aligns a relationship and one party resists because they feel they “need” to be single for a certain period of time because of social norms, or to process, it seems to me they are resisting progress. Find the balance and healthy time/space boundaries by communicating with the new person. They will hopefully respect it and will definitely appreciate it more than being rejected. These boundaries will allow the processing and balance to occur and things to move forward.

Changes

It’s been a while since I have written since I have had a lot on my mind and have been trying to figure a lot of things out. Turns out the “honeymoon phase” we tried to recreate did not have the results we expected. While it was fun, it to me seemed a bit too contrived and artificial. We did not get much beyond that first date in our pursuit.

Since then we have separated. It was interesting how it all unfolded and how (I feel) poly played a part. When we had the final conversation it was anticlimactic. Many friends have asked (directly and indirectly) how we both are, assuming our separation was some huge blowout fight/argument. It was not. It was a perfectly civil conversation devoid of most amped up emotions I have experienced in the past. We have also been asked if poly caused our break up. Wrong again. If anything I feel it made the transition out of our official “romantic relationship” quite smooth. We not only knew our separation was not because or due to any sort of lying, cheating, etc., but we also had a support system of other lovers to aid in the process.

Being able to experience love throughout a breakup is a beautiful thing. I experienced this from my former partner as I knew we still loved each other, just us being romantic partners no longer worked. I experienced this from others as support, compassion, understanding, attraction, and caring.

People have also asked if my next relationship will be poly. I am not sure how to answer this question because to me poly is not just a type of relationship, but a way of being. I am poly regardless of whether or not I am in a relationship. I believe, and reiterate, that for me poly is the understanding I can have more than one loving relationship. I do not foresee this changing any time soon.

20120429-172833.jpg
Remember that time when you met that great guy/gal and just hit it off? Every part of the relationship was incredible, nothing they could do bothered you, and you wanted to be with them every minute of every day? Then remember that same person driving you absolutely crazy shortly thereafter? This post is about that transition, how to try to get back to that first part and avoid that last part.

My partner and I recently realized (via poly wonderfulness) there is a great opportunity for a “honeymoon phase” when we date other people and we want some of that with each other. I believe many can attest to elements of that phase being wonderful and something that should never be lost.

In that, we decided to try to look at our relationship as new again. While we love many aspects of our 3.5 year relationship – stability, comfort, etc. we are trying on a new perspective. The first step was to recreate our first date. This looked like not only planning to go on a date in the same location as our first date, but pretending we just met. Beforehand we started texting each other all those things new people text each other – cute little innuendoes, pics, etc.

Needless to say, it was fun! We asked each other all the typical questions – where are you from, what do you do for work, what do you do for fun, what type of music do you like, etc. We not only learned some new things about each other and how things have changed since we met, but also how much we have in common and how many similar interests we have.

I definitely recommend this as a fun little way to rekindle some of the newness of a relationship by changing things up a bit.

I will keep you posted if we come up with more ideas, but please share any of yours!

%d bloggers like this: