Leaving Societal Norms Behind

Knowing When to Say When

Knowing When to Say When

Every person who practices polyamory will likely stumble into some sort of connection with somebody who is not. Sometimes that connection encourages the other person to explore polyamory, sometimes it makes them ponder, and sometimes it outright repulses them. It can be such a gamble as to which one it’s going to be that it’s tempting to never say anything, but in my opinion, you are being dishonest if you don’t outright share from the beginning.  The point of this article is to discuss what happens when you tell someone and they ponder, and when it’s time to cut your losses. Disclosure,  I will be using a personal experience recent to date of publication to bring some context.

Setting the scene

            Sometime last year right around this time, I was doing taxes for a large chain of tax services. Among my customers was a woman we will call Kelly. Kelly seemed like a fascinating person. She is disabled due to her bipolar disorder. I am also someone with bipolar disorder, so I always end up feeling a sort of kinship with other beepers  (a tag used by some people with the disorder to describe others with the same diagnosis). My true intent was to only ever be friends with her. I did indeed find her attractive, and I am sex positive, however friendship was the more important goal for me. After texting a bit and setting up a dinner which she later cancelled, we finally agreed on her coming by my place to watch movies with me. The tone I always got from the text was that we would just be some cuddly friends, and I was OK with that.  When she finally made it over however, it was clear she wanted more than that.

Something new

She looked at me like a tiger looking at a steak.  Picking up on the cues she was leaving, I asked if I could kiss her and she said yes, so I did. The sex was lovely. It was in semi darkness as she was somebody who had went from being a very petite person, to a very large person, and then back again. She was understandably self-conscious about her body, though to me all bodies are beautiful and none of that bothers me.  

            She then went home, and after a couple nights of texting, she severed communication.

A pattern begins

            Fast forward 5 months later, and I reached out to her again. We had two texts, and then she severed communication again.

Fast forward another 4 months, and she shows up on a friend of mine’s Instagram. I make mention that I know that face. A few minutes later, she reaches out to me on Instagram. We begin communicating again, and ultimately start texting. I make it clear to her that her friendship is way more important to me than a sexual relationship, and that I would rather we only stay friends than risk losing her again (I really do like her as a person).  She comes over again, and again she looks like she’s ready to devour me.  I ask her if she wants me to kiss her and she says yes. I asked her if she’s sure she wants to go down this road, and she says yes. We begin a sexual relationship with several encounters, and it feels like this will finally evolve into something substantial.  Every encounter we have involves lots of cuddling and lots of knowledge expanded. I share lots of insight with her about many things and help promote understanding of what polyamory really is. Then..

She tells me she needs space and backs away again.

A month later we have coffee and she explains that she was overwhelmed by the fact that it was as if I knew more about her than she did. I explained to her I just know a lot about human nature, but I’m not a mind reader.  I explained to her how important it is to me to make time with my partners, even in the case such as ours and she seems very appreciative of how much time and patience I give her as she is learning.

The Climax

Now we cut to a week ago. We get together with the understanding that we might try just having  a hang out with no sex. We talk about her feelings. I then bring up that I went on a date with another person that was polyamorous and it went well. We talked through it and everything is great, however talking about our feelings apparently made us both very  horny. So we did the one thing we really did well.

A day later when I text her, I send her this really great article about monogamous people dating polyamorous people, but the response is not what I expected. She tells me again she needs space. I say in these exact words “I don’t understand the game we are playing.”  She takes this to mean that I am accusing her of playing games and she rebuts with how principled she is and that it’s impossible for polyamory and monogamy to coexist in the same relationship. I tell her that I really wanted things to work and then block her on all platforms and erase all messages between us.

Through the Aftermath

Was this the right thing to do? I don’t know. I try to approach all my relationships of all types with calm and rational thought, but this thing with Kelly was draining me. I had told her from the beginning that I wanted something with longevity with her, as I am tired of short relationships with people. The older I get, the less I socialize, so I want some souls that count. In retrospect, maybe I should have known that starting a sexual relationship with her would end this way. We have a strong emotional connection, but she also shows a lot of signs of jealousy when we’re not in the same space. Even though we’re similar ages, she comes from a rather sheltered and conservative family of money. Her experiences likely never prepared her to encounter polyamory in a positive light. I wish I could find a way to make things work with her, but even in her own words when we’re in the same room we can’t seem to not have an overwhelming animal attraction. Some of you might read this and see very clearly where things should have gone differently, and to you I say congratulations. It’s one thing to know the right thing to do from an outside perspective, and an entirely different thing to be in the situation itself with your mind clouded by the environment around you.  


I hope this helps someone else see when something similar is happening. Often, the people we fall for are not who we THINK they are, even when we are amazing judges of character. We are human, and sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

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Fulltime Human

I'm an over 40 cisgendered heterosexual guy that runs as solo poly while I go back to school to become a licensed therapist. I also work as a Crisis Counselor for a text line. If you are in crisis, text "Home" to 741741 and someone will help you out.

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