Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceAm I broken or too conservative?

Am I broken or too conservative?

Edit2: thank you everyone for your responses to this post including the responses I may not like, but agree with. The decision has been made and stated but more importantly I was able to learn from it and understand it better. My previous misunderstandings (of which I’ll be transparent and leave available here to read) have been directly opposed with reasoning and I feel better for having understood it. I know that it is an inconvenient truth in regards to how I’ve always lived, but it’s incredibly valuable for me to understand the misconceptions that effect an entire community of people, especially when someone I care about is a part of that community. For those I have hurt with my words, I apologize. For those that cared enough to correct my misunderstandings, I thank you. For those that offered sound advice grounded in fairness and reasoning, I am grateful. For those that reached out to offer compassion and empathy, please know that we all deserve love in the ways we feel it the best. It does not make any of us lesser or more than another. It simply makes us human, prone to misgivings and misunderstandings.

Edit: I am fully and painfully aware of the reality ahead of me. I would like to reiterate with full transparency that I am in fact seeking resources to understand another perspective. I apologize that my words themselves are in fact ignorant and they will feel insensitive. But as one human to another, please understand that I have no malicious intent. I’m just someone trying to expand my worldview so that I don’t hurt others.

I (33 M) need advice about a girl (28 F) that I’ve been seeing for about a month. We’ve been friends/acquaintances for a long time and I’ve always appreciated her humor and curiosities, but it’s only recently that we had dinner and saw sparks fly. It was a near immediate firestorm of feelings.

I’m falling for her. It’s not just that she’s beautiful, although she glows in the sunlight like the moon. She’s incredibly intelligent, kind, affectionate, talented in so many ways, conscious to thought and reality, her presence makes my skin so much more sensitive, and I could look into her eyes for what feels like forever.

I’m typically stoic. I’ve spent years being a bachelor and told myself I’d only settle for a partner, and not an obligation to a burden as my exes have been. I’ve had enough relationships, including ones that failed miserably, to know what I’m looking for and what I’m willing to do and learn for my partner.

This woman has reignited my fire for life and my thirst for adventure. I’ve found myself leaving my apartment more often and spending my time outside. After 2.5yrs of isolation during Covid, she gave me a reason to explore the city I moved to 6mos before Covid started.

She’s brought immense value to my life and I’m falling for her. I want to love her as she deserves to be loved, but I don’t know if I can.

You see, she’s polyamorous and I’m monogamous. She’s explained to me what polyamory means and when I asked if she would ever be open to the idea of monogamy with a partner who is able to meet all her mental, emotional, physical and existential needs, she said “maybe”. Which might be likely no.

I’m not 100% clear on how she defines “love”, but for me, I believe it is best given rather than only received. I think of love as a gift you give to someone. The willingness to delay or part with your own personal desires to make someone else’s a reality. I feel that it’s less of a sacrifice and more of a compromise. And I think the strongest and most pure form of love is when it’s between two people who want nothing more than each other, flaws and missing pieces included. It’s difficult to reconcile as I don’t think any of my past relationships have been fulfilling by any definition of the word. I’ve felt listed after, I’ve felt disdain and infidelity. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt love.

I feel like I understand where she is coming from and why she has been polyamorous and I don’t feel it’s right to try and change her feelings about it for my own benefit. She described it as having so many wants and needs that it would be impossible to find that in a single person. And when I asked, she said she doesn’t believe it’s possible. The part that I can’t seem to figure out is how she is when she’s with me. She tells me she’s fulfilled and that she loves that there’s room for her in my heart. Really, it feels like that space was always meant for her.

Polyamory doesn’t read like love to me. It starts off that way. But ends nearly immediately. And I am reading about it. I care enough about her to try and understand her perspective. I can’t grasp how it is love when you can’t be bothered to grow together and find new things to love about each other. To me it feels a lot like using another person only to fill the gaps in your life and therefore weighs so much less. I feel like it takes away from that feeling of being the most important person in someone’s life and them being yours. How do you feel secure and loved knowing that there is nothing about your or that you can do to meet someone’s emotional, existential and physical needs and desires? On the other hand, can’t a person be capable of learning and adapting to their partners needs? Can’t they as a multifaceted human being grow to be the person that bridges that gap? Or is it selfish and greedy and insecure to belief so?

If she decides I’m the only one she needs for herself by herself, then I would buy a ring without a second thought and hold it til the day she is ready. I just cannot make that decision for her nor do I want to. How can I tell someone that I want to be the only man/woman they love and come home to? That I want to grow and learn how to love her and meet all her needs, not because I feel obligated to, but because I want her to be happy and have all the things she loves… how do I reconcile that feeling that falls somewhere between selfish and selfless? Shit. It makes me feel like a narcissist and I can’t stand that feeling.

I care about her quite a lot, but I don’t know if I can settle for being one of many men in her life because I want to feel as special and loved the way I feel about her.

I guess what I’m really asking is how do I talk to her about how I feel? Am I avoiding it because I know that ignorance is bliss and I’d ruin any chance at her deciding that I’m enough? Will I ever be enough? Is polyamorous love genuine or is it just a way to fill time and space while maintaining a partial commitment?

I know I’m likely not going to like the responses, but I will still appreciate them regardless.

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  1. I’m polyamorous.

    You’re not broken or too conservative, but this is an incompatibility on the level of finding out that one of you wants kids and the other does not. Nobody’s wrong, but I don’t think the relationship works.

  2. I say this with respect, but I think you’ve… idealized this woman a great deal. She’s the first woman who’s made you feel a certain way, and therefore you think that she’s the ONLY person who could EVER make you feel this way. But you’re wrong. I’m not saying it’ll be easy to find someone else who makes you feel fulfilled, but you’re not going to get what you need from this relationship. And for that reason alone, among others, she ISN’T the perfect woman for you.

    You need to step away from this relationship as soon as possible. All the things that are so important to you in a relationship… they just don’t matter to her. She doesn’t see things that way. She’ll never be what you want. Hence, *she’s not right for you*.

    End it quickly, make it a clean break and resume your life journey. I hope you can feel grateful that this experience has taught you that you ARE capable of feeling deeply and connecting with another woman on such a deep level. That’s the lesson here, not that this is your only chance at love. Take that lesson and one day you will be able to bestow the gift of your heart and love to someone truly worthy of it.

  3. You are monogamous, nothing wrong with that. Just don’t date someone else who isn’t

    You met someone you like after a long dry spell and bad former relationships, and a lot of intense isolation from covid. The way you describe her is all fantasy. You’ve. Known. Her. For. One. Month. Aka, you really don’t know this person at all. I skimmed through some of the waxing poetic to the part where you say you’d get a ring for her. That’s lust/infatuation talking that you think is the potential for long-time love, and has little to do with her as an actual person. She as an actual person isn’t compatible with you (monogamy v. polyamory) & neither of you knows the other in any real profound way.

    Honestly think some counseling might help. If you had previously bad relationships, the fact is you were 50% of that equation. Putting someone on a pedestal immediately after meeting them, especially when you are clearly not compatible, is not going to pay off in the long run. A

    Edit: it’s been pointed out that you knew her as an acquaintance/ friend prior. Still stand by my point that you are projecting a lot of perfection onto someone you’ve barely dated.

  4. You can’t change her, and your relationship views are incompatible.

    Take the pluses from the relationship and move on, it will just be harder to end the longer it goes on.

  5. You’re not compatible.
    That is non-negotiable. She sounds like she did some introspection and polyamory is her right fit. You aren’t.

    And I’m not convinced you actually “see” her.
    The way you talk about her is hyperromantic,

    which is cute, but also means she is not a full person to you…

    Completely understandable after Covid-isolation.
    But you seem to idealise her and bend over backwards to make her fit into your life.
    That’s not sustainable.

  6. Ok you made this way waaaaay too complicated.

    Either you’re good with being poly or you’re not. Most people aren’t. There’s nothing wrong either way.

    Either she’s good with monogamy or she isn’t. Again, nothing wrong either way as long as everyone is upfront.

    You’re not good with polyamory. She’s not good with monogamy.

    The end. No more digging. You don’t want to research poly culture or figure out what you as an outsider think it means. You don’t want it, so the end. No relationship. You aren’t compatible.

    Just tell her you’re only interested in monogamous relationships and end it.

    And for the love of everything, don’t mansplain her own sexuality to her. Don’t tell her what you think her sexual partnerships mean. That’s just not ok. Keep it to yourself.

  7. It’s okay if monogamy is the way you work. It’s okay that polyamory is the way she works. And it’s okay that that means the two of you are fundamentally incompatible. There are eight billion people on the planet; surely you don’t expect to match with all of them. She is one of that group.

    A word of caution: Do not twist yourself into pretzels trying to conform yourself to her worldview. That way madness lies, and heartache. I say this as someone who tried to force myself this way, decades ago, and the injury I did to my emotional and mental health, trying to be what I was not, was severe. Don’t do it. To thine own self be true.

  8. Sometimes we meet people who are only meant to teach us things about ourselves that we couldn’t see before. While it is pretty obvious that this isn’t destined for long term, she helped you teach yourself how to explore whether polyamory is a possibility for you…and you came to the realization that you are completely monogamous.

    That’s huge! And emotional, and heartbreaking.

    Enjoy the time you have together

  9. Brother is monogamous, dated a girl a while ago was poly. He tried to be OK with it. He was not. It’s OK to not be OK with that. A lot of people wouldn’t be.

  10. You are neither, just not compatible with her on one of the most important core values that must be shared for a healthy relationship.

    There’s nothing wrong with being monogamous. But if you are, this woman is not for you. You aren’t going to sweep her off her poly feet and rescue her into monogamy. You cannot meet all her needs, nor can you meet the entirety of anyone’s social and emotional needs. For her, sexuality is included in that category and if you do not understand it or approve of it, a relationship with her will lead to anger, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy.

  11. I’m sorry people have come at you here. Just as she has the right to feel what she feels, so do you. Your heart is in the right place in that you researched and tried to learn and are aware of her feelings in all of this. If you truly care for her, sit down and tell her how you feel…or show her this post. If it is meant to be, it will be. Just know that she may not want to ever be monogamous…or may try it with you, for years even, and then one day decide that she isn’t happy. I wish you well.

  12. I believe that anyone who wants to be enough for one person deserves someone that considers them enough. You can’t compromise and convince yourself that it’s OK to share someone that you love. Do not under any circumstances try and force yourself to give it a try. You have been very clear what love means to you personally.

  13. I don’t think you’re broken, or too conservative.

    I think you have been seeing this person for only a month, and you’re writing agonized essays about her, and trying to reconcile some fundamentally incompatible worldviews.

    The thing that really jumps out at me is that you are a young person who moved to a new city just before Covid hit. Then you’ve been cooped up.

    My suspicion is that you have a whole lot of feelings happening, and they needed somewhere to go.

    I am sure this woman is wonderful, but she might also be a coping mechanism for you. You’re obsessing over her because you’ve just been cooped up and so lonely for so long.

    My advice is to take a deep breath and a big step back.

    Explore your city. Volunteer to sort cans at a food bank, go bowling, lace up some sneakers and stroll the neighborhoods.

    Get your bearings instead of giving this woman all your emotional energy. What you’re doing right now isn’t fair to either of you.

  14. Monogamy isn’t a conservative take; it’s just how you feel and what you want out of your life. Majority of people on Earth prefer monogamy.

    It’s just a compatibility issue. It’s very unlikely she’s going to switch for you. Don’t spend all your energy pining over her or you’ll be miserable knowing she’s spending time with other people and can’t invest that time in you.

    Enjoy her company for a while, then drift on.

  15. OP please listen. I’ve been on the exact OPPOSITE end of this type of interaction. I’m polyamorous and non monogamous and I meet people that aren’t but say they are willing to try. And you have to understand because of how I love everyone I interact with, and put my heart out there and emotionally bond with all my partners, it leads to an intense attraction and the relationships are amazing. THE PROBLEM BECOMES THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE WILLING TO TRY ONLY END UP SEEING ME AND NOT DATING OTHER PEOPLE. At first they are okay with it, not jealous, not possessive, but as time goes on they want more and more from me. Now what I can give them is love, attention, sexual pleasure and gratification (I’m also a Dom so a lot want to experiment with that). But what I can’t give them is 24/7 attention. Because I have other people I’m in love with and I need alone time from all this. And that’s where it begins to become an issue. And then before you know it they are so into me but then they expect me to change my life and lifestyle to accommodate them. And when I refuse to THEY ARE DEVASTATED because they have fallen in love with me (as I have with them, but I have other partners to help me heal). If you know this lifestyle isn’t for you, walk away now. And it can’t be oh maybe I can change for her, it doesn’t work that way. Most of us know that we are capable of this before we ever try.

  16. Genuine love and a long-lasting relationship is possible in polyamory, but you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak. You two do not want the same thing in life. You are incompatible on this very important issue. Your needs may never be met by this person.

    My stance is to tell her how you feel as soon as possible. Yes, this may result in a break up – but don’t kid yourself about “ruining your chances” of her coming around to monogomy. Its disrespectful to her and yourself to hold on to that hope. She already made her stance clear.

    I wouldn’t call a fulfilling relationship such as this a “waste of time”, but if your goals include settling down with a single partner, then you will be delaying that dream indefinitely. Not something I would do, personally.

  17. My last relationship was around 4 years. She was poly at the start and said she had been monogamous before and could do it and that she was ready to do that with me. The last year of it, during covid, she decided she wanted to be poly again. I tried. For a year. It just wasn’t for me though. It works for some people and that’s great.

  18. my therapist and others tell me that no one person should be your everything. That’s unhealthy and unrealistic, in monogamous relationships and poly ones. I think it’s very common for men to make their partner their everything because when they don’t have close intimacy with (male) friends thanks to the confines of masculinity. But my friend who is very much monagomous gets things from my friendship that her bf can’t provide, from her family that i can’t provide that he can’t, etc. this is healthy , if you rely on one person then that is codependent. Now some people have a hard time expanding that concept to sex and romance. In my view it is not that one person isn’t enough but that I have infinite love and affection . I understand why what she’s saying sounds like you’re not enough, i don’t think she explained it well, but what i really think it is is that there is no such thing as enough because people aren’t measured like that. People aren’t just worth a certain amount of fulfillment to the other in their life, they are each their own self. And it is wonderful to share jn many selves when you free yourself from the belief that you have to be worth something instead of just be.

    Also It is totally false that you can’t grow and change together in polyamory. Poly is like any other relationship it is what you make of it. It can be casual or deeply intimate just like monogamy. Again being poly doesn’t mean she views you as a fixed thing that isn’t enough. It doesn’t mean she can’t share her entirety with you. No amount of human growth will ever make one person complete another because that’s a fairytale and as I said deeply unhealthy.

  19. In my experience as a fellow monogamist, anyone who’s poly (currently or formerly) is usually not wired the same as those who only seek to be with one person. My focus is to develop a relationship with one person and work towards building something meaningful. I can’t do that when that one other person is looking for that with every other person they might come across.

  20. You’ve found the perfect unicorn. But like unicorns of lore, she cannot be tamed.

    I’m sorry, but this woman is likely only meant to be in your life for a chapter, not the whole book. She reignited the fire within you, but she’s not meant to be the one who is your “forever.”

  21. > I’m falling for her. It’s not just that she’s beautiful, although she glows in the sunlight like the moon

    Oh cool another creative writing prompt I love this sub

  22. The first part of your post reminded me so strongly of exactly how I felt when I first met my husband. We have been married 4 happy years now and our first is on the way.

    Then you mentioned her polyamory vs your monogamy and my heart sank. I am so sorry, but this is a recipe for inevitable heartbreak. These two romantic styles are fundamentally incompatible. It’s tough, but take what you love about her and learn from it while searching for your next partner. It’s better than realizing months or years down the line that you put all this time in to a “relationship” that was never going to work for either of you anyway. Best of luck.

  23. Do not expect her will change for you or you can change for her. By all means, it’s s not a good idea dating with her, find someone who has the same value system with you.

  24. This isn’t the girl from you, stop trying to convince yourself to break your morals and values for a woman who’s morals and values have zero alignment with yours. Polyamory absolutely doesn’t work if one person doesn’t want it- you’re inviting other people into the relationship- might as well stay single and dating multiple people then. You aren’t “too conservative” at all to want to be in a monogamous relationship

  25. It seems like you genuinely have deep feelings for this woman, but I think the chasm of incompatibility might be too big of a factor to proceed. I just have a feeling you might end up being hurt. I don’t know much about polyamory, but I have reservations about whether this type of relationship can be sustainable long term. Especially, if you know going in to it that your values are different. Have you ever tried to talk to her about it? Maybe she could be willing to try something more stable and exclusive with you if she has deep feelings for you. But if she’s unwilling, I think you’re better off as friends.

  26. I am monogamous. I respect people’s choice to be polyamarous but I would not be compatible with someone who is.

    I’m not sure any kind of conversation you have with her is going to end in the way you might hope.

    I think perhaps ask her if being monogamous would make her happy or leave her feeling unfulfilled and if the answer is the latter then it’s time for you to cut ties.

  27. OP – She is telling you what she wants in a relationship and that it’s not compatible with what you want.

    It doesn’t matter what it is, the only thing that matters is that you feel one way, she feels another, and there could never be a compromise that would keep each of you happy for very long.

    You have every right to feel that way. Some people thinks it’s impossible to be in a loving relationship that is open and some people think it is. To each their own. Don’t feel bad for wanting someone who wants you and only you. You are not a narcissist or a bad person, as long as you don’t judge those who feel differently.

    She is not the one. As much as you may want her to be, she is not.

    You have every right to want a partner that only wants you. One that checks all the boxes. One that makes you happy. You should not have to settle and neither should she.

    End this before things get bitter.

  28. It sounds like you have a tendency to romanticize people and relationships. You and this woman aren’t compatible on a fundamental level. Appreciate the lesson she has taught you about having the ability to love and be open again. Hopefully you meet someone who you won’t feel the need to change. Perhaps do more work on yourself before beginning a new relationship; You’ll be happier in the end. Good luck

  29. Dude you *barely* know this woman. You’ve been dating a few *weeks*.

    The fact that you’re ready to propose to her (y’know, *if* she changes her entire view on love and relationships for you) says to me that you’re quite immature when it comes to relationships and are projecting a LOT on her. Slow the eff down, get a grip, get a therapist.

  30. Hi OP, just wanted to say I’m in a similiar situation as you and reading this was very helpful to put into words some of my thoughts regarding those issues. Thanks for sharing this and good luck.

  31. Not too conservative. I think you put her on a pedestal. It won’t work out because you have two different concepts of love expression. Yours is not wrong, and hers isn’t either. They just don’t match and if you try and abandon your beliefs, you won’t be happy and when she sleeps with another it will hurt immensely. Then you will start to feel jealous, regret and animosity toward her..

  32. You are not a narcissist! You have a right to feel the way you feel OP. You are monogamous. She is not. If you two do agree to a relationship, one of you try to become something you are not. If you decide to let her be herself, then you will be hurting yourself. A little piece of your soul will die each time she has sex with somebody else.

    If she decides she’ll try to be monogamous, then she won’t really be true to herself. You’ll worry that you’re not enough, or that she’ll cheat bc she is unfulfilled. Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that but you’d worry.

    It’s not like you love coffee, she loves tea. It’s a fundamental part of who you are, and neither one of you should have to change something that is such a huge part of your identity.

    I don’t want to hurt you OP, but I think that there will be alot of pain (for both of you) if you continue this relationship.

    I’m totally not against poly relationships at all. I even briefly considered it for myself. I thought that maybe 2 men would be able to give me 100% of what I need. I never attempted it bc I really am monogamous at heart. I also thought that in real life, NO ONE will be able to give me 100% of what I need. It’s impossible. We can only strive to nurture our relationships and accept our own, and our significant other’s flaws and imperfections. We’re only human after all. Good luck OP!! ❤❤❤

  33. Don’t date her -from someone who was in a year long relationship with someone who lied to me about being on board with polyamory but then constantly used it to try and make me feel bad before blindsiding me with a terrible breakup because “he figured I would eventually change my mind” instead of listening to me and being honest.

    Even if you were enough, the fact that you are basing your entire relationship working out on the slim chance she’ll “change her mind” is bad. Would you date someone who has kids but you don’t want any? Someone who has 4 dogs and you’re allergic? Someone who is a drastically different religion than you? Do you see any of those working out just because you want some fantasy in your head to play out really bad?

    Just leave her alone and find someone who you’re compatible with.

  34. >You see, she’s polyamorous and I’m monogamous.

    She’s been up-front that you’ll never be enough to satisfy her, and she’ll always choose to want sex with other men, and romantic love from other men. Can you commit to a life with her knowing this?

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