October 2017
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B & I trying to decide if we should stay in a relationship / learning to give / B & 'efficiency'


Right now B and I are trying to figure out if we should stay lovers, and last night we had a short, intense conversation about that. B has been putting the absolute minimum effort into the relationship -- ze will talk with me and work on stuff when I confront zir about actually doing something that hurts me, but creating something more than polite neutrality is something ze hasn't tried to do in any sustained way. And while I can demand respect, affection is something else. I know that ze notices my affection because ze complains whenever I stop being affectionate, but when I AM being affectionate ze completely ignores it. Even intense, sustained affection (doing many special things for several days in a row) produces no more than a slight response (and it's not a languages thing, because we have very similar love languages, and I give in the ways ze likes). We've wondered if it's a chemical thing, if ze needs to go on medication, but ze won't go to the doctor. We've wondered if it's a spiritual thing, but ze won't try anything spiritual. We've wondered if it's an emotional thing, but ze won't go to a therapist. Ze refuses to try any avenue to help, and then expects sympathy for zir numbness/depression/disconnection/apathy. And I have been sympathetic and empathetic and all that, but what it really boils down to is that ze doesn't want to get better at loving me or ze would try SOMETHING. I don't think I'm that hard to love either, in fact I require next to nothing in affection because I do get so much love from so many people that I really don't need much (I'm lucky that way) -- but why call it a relationship if there's no affection (or only one-way affection)? I don't see a reason to, and I won't stay in a relationship out of sheer wishfulness -- no matter how good the sex is (that is the one area where ze can be affectionate) or how much I love zir.

I think that B's lack of giving is caused partly by emotional and spiritual (and possibly chemical) issues, but mostly by simple lack of skill. I think for all of B's life ze has been given affection without ever giving it back, and ze simply doesn't have the skill. B's parents were rather affectionate and required only B's presence; I've been very affectionate and required only respect and honesty from B, so there's been no motivation for B to learn to give. (I don't know how to healthily motivate giving -- I learned from earning approval with giving and later realizing that I enjoyed giving when it was uncoerced. I think/hope that you can find enjoyment in giving through practice) I do think affection is a skill, and I think the heart has a door that only opens outward. However much love you give, that is how much you can accept (though you may be able to accept more than you actually receive). So no matter how much love I pour out on B, only a little is going to actually affect zir because ze only has the doors to zir heart open a little bit. The rest of it is good practice for me and beneficial to the universe, but completely useless to B (ze can't feel it). And I think that at some point ze is going to have to decide that ze wants to learn how to give affection, and stop waiting around for a miracle and start practicing. And not in order to produce some kind of response but just to GAIN THE SKILL. What I need to know is, is that going to happen now? because if not, we need to figure out how to end this. I've been patient -- at some point I have to realize that it's just not going to happen. And who knows, maybe a breakup would be the catalyst B needs.

This is also tied into something we discussed a few days ago. B has prided zirself on being 'efficient' -- which sounds nice but usually works out to being selfishly lazy. For instance, it saves zir twenty seconds of zir lunch to leave the old tea jug in the fridge (with a few drops of tea in it) and just shove the new one in after it, so ze does so in order to be 'efficient.' Of course, what that really means is that I have to take out the new one, take out the old one, put the new one back in, and then rinse out the old jug (because B will never do it, though ze rationalizes that ze'll 'do it later when not in a hurry'). So it creates more work overall, but less work for B. The tea jugs themselves are not a big deal of course, but this is how B does EVERYTHING. So, it saves B energy not to give me a hug every day, so ze actually feels like ze has accomplished something good by not hugging me; not consciously, of course, but that's how ze has made all zir decisions all zir life. Efficiency might be good in a machine or a ninja on a mission but it is worse-than-useless at creating joy or affection. So... B needs to learn a whole new value system for zir life -- putting consideration-for-others first instead of efficiency first. B says ze wants to do it. I know it won't happen overnight but I'm keeping a watch for small signs of progress.

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Comments
jenniology ══╣I want to believe╠══
This reminds me so much of my ex-boyfriend and occasional lover... They sound much alike. My heart goes out to you, because I know what it can be like to live with.
belenen ══╣nuzzle╠══
:-( *hugs*
musicandmisery ══╣╠══
*hugs*
frecklestars ══╣contemplative╠══
IMO, this doesn't sound like it's a terribly fair relationship space for you to exist in. As always, I'm guessing there's more but too much to explain in the space of a blog entry, and I understand that. Your advice (along with many others) about Matt and I was very helpful, and I'd like to repeat it: it doesn't sound like you're getting everything you need and deserve. I don't mean this in a "I'm throwing this in your face way", but because it's the first thing that came to mind. In any case, this sounds rough and I am sorry.

Many hugs, much love, and things to brighten your days. Let me know if you need anything.
ladywind ══╣Raven╠══
oof.
I understand this post better now.

One more set of virtual arms to hug you, here, and a voice of "been in a vaguely similar place once" to note: Yeah, when a support-crew partner stops being a support-crew partner, a lazy-efficiency partner has been known to shift zir definition of efficiency to include less or different lazy. At least until a new support-crew partner turns up. Doesn't make the act of quitting the support-crew gig much easier, but there it is.

I did my ex-husband more good by leaving him than I ever did by staying.
And isn't that a dog of a thing to realise?

Take care of you, yeah?
belenen ══╣disassociative╠══
murrh, that post was more about a separate issue -- whether or not to be partners and what I want out of life in general. This is about whether or not to be involved at all (as lovers). It's a really tangled mess, layer on layer of interconnected stuff :-p

Yeah, that's one of the things I wonder. I can't live with someone I love without giving affection, but if that reinforces a problem, it becomes a problem in itself. :-p I do know that for us to continue, major change is necessary.

*hugs back* thank you ♥
camilleyun ══╣╠══
People change and interests fluctuate. Maybe that's what's happened.

I used to be in love with someone back in the early 90s who wanted to "preserve vital essence" so physical affection was out of the question. We had great fun spending time together and I invested so much energy trying to get physical affection. It eventually happened and the relationship fell apart anyway.

The irony is that after I divorced my last ex-husband I swore that what I wanted was someone who would be very physically affectionate. Now I have that and find Josh to be too grabby. I got what I thought I wanted then realized that is not really what I wanted. I have no idea what I want but it surely does not fall on either polar end of the extremes for behavior.
moonvoice ══╣dh - claire - pensive╠══
Ben being 'efficient' in your relationship is only benefitting him (though not in any meaningful way) and not you. How long has it been like this for? You deserve someone who will love you wholly, worship you for you, as you can worship them, someone who will not try and cut corners to save on their own effort, while you give and give and give of yourself.
phydeau ══╣╠══
I've been trying to stay out of this, and I won't go into detail in a public forum (i.e., if you'd like to further this, we should do it through private notes). But does Ben know what you're telling us? Are you telling us what Ben feels (to the best of your knowledge, of course)? If ze doesn't know, might it help for zir to know?
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Yes and yes. I only share things after they've been thoroughly discussed. Otherwise I would consider it to be talking behind zir back, which I do not do.
phydeau ══╣╠══
I hate to insist, but can Ben get in on this topic? I don't know zir, but I can't help you if I don't know what ze has to say about this.

And yes, I realize that you're not looking for advice or acceptance, but you wouldn't be telling us all this if you weren't looking for some kind of input (Trust me -- I sense the artist in you).

My input is kind of crap, because I don't know Ben at all except through your words.

I feel a genuine crisis. And I fear it might lead to a period of genuine sadness (which is not a bad thing if it leads to growth). All I need to know is that I'm not talking out of my ass in the interim.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
that'd be great, and I'll ask, but ze has always rejected the idea of writing down zir thoughts/feelings in the past, so it's unlikely.

And it's not true that I wouldn't be writing if I weren't looking for input -- I use this primarily to keep a record of my life, so that I can go back and know what happened (I have a very bad memory and things tend to blur into fog). If I'm looking for advice, I specifically ask for it.
storeyphoto ══╣╠══
I have say ditto to phydeau on this one.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I only share things after they've been thoroughly discussed. Otherwise I would consider it to be talking behind zir back, which I do not do.
storeyphoto ══╣╠══
I fully understand that, and I know that you wouldn't talk behind your partner's back; that would be very counter productive. I know your feelings on gender, but to get my point across, I must invoke gender and something that I know to be a fairly common male trait (sorry XY chromosome owners). When it comes to discussios with there partners - and I would dare say this occurs in both homo- and hetero-sexual relationships, some XY's, when they realize that they are about to encounter something emotionally painful, can get into this hidden defensive mode that appears to the other partner that they are engaged in discussion when in fact they are not - the mind is generating the words that fit the conversation, but the mind is in emotional lock down and on that ever important cognitive level nothing is registering other than the fear that they are about to get hurt. If your partner can articulate to you what you discussed, without props or prompting, then an adult conversation was held and true understanding is gained. If they can't - the partner is most likely in defensive mode and will say what is necessary for personal protection.
It sucks. It comes from a, shall we say, less than optimal childhood environment, but as an adult it is up to the individual to own and deal with it. It would not be your responsibility to point out or try to fix this trait in your partner, but gentle probing to find out if this is what is going on can go a long way to helping you understand what you are dealing with. What you do with that information is up to you.

So, my ditto remark was driven by the sentiment of "Are you sure he understands and relates to what you are trying to get across"?

Communications are the most difficult part of ANY relationship. I suck at it when it gets to these types of "dangerous" discussions. I am aware of that character defect in me and have to go away, and rumenate on the issue and then get back to the other person. Often times, my previous partner would not allow that introspection and rumenation time necessary, and thus made bad things worse. I digress. This isn't supposed to be about me, but about me being supportive of you.

*many HUGS* and you have my love and support!
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
If I were a psychologist, I'd say that part of the reason you are interested in forming polyamorous relationships is that you are seriously in need of affection--which Ben is not giving to you. And I think that maybe part of the reason why Ben is feeling numb/depressed/disconnected/apathetic is because, deep down, he really has a problem with you having romantic relationships with other people. Unless he's always been this way and you've just finally gotten fed up with it.

Off topic, I was researching articles on brain differences (and whether there are any) between males and females. I'll email you the articles when I have a good collection of them.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
well, no, because I have felt in need of affection before, and I know what that feels like -- I'm not feeling that. I've felt completely full up on affection before and still been polyamorous. All of this is stuff that has been an issue from the very beginning, long before we even talked about polyamory. This is an old, old issue (starting when we got legally married and began living together, interestingly enough -- when we were romantically involved but not living together or legally bound, ze was much better at showing affection) that occasionally seems to get better and then doesn't. At some point I have to admit that it isn't going to happen, and I think I've reached that point.
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
You see, I strongly believe that a partnership always has hope for a satisfying future for both/all as long as all involved are willing and wanting to grow. The thing that worries me is that Ben doesn't sound willing to grow and change in order to improve the partnership and meet your needs. It may be that a breakup may cause some major reflection and the decision to grow as a person but I wonder if this will be a part of Ben's life journey you won't share.

I do hope that Ben realises these things before it's too late and you can continue to grow as lovers. You have such a long history and do seem to have genuine love and caring for each other, despite it all, so it'd be sad if things ended. I do think you're right that you need to decide when enough is enough, even if you do have to make a sad and difficult choice.

Ultimately, it is yours and Ben's choice to make and I wish you both every happiness, no matter what happens.
darkpool ══╣╠══
I hope you figure things out, I really have nothing new to add. Oh besides sometimes the cure fo laziness is leaving things for the other person to do, even if it drives you nuts in the mean time. Since Jason's been off work he's done a lot more for the kids and house because he's HAD to. He can't leave the kids unchanged and nothing around the house for 13 hours which I'm gone at work. I dont think that he intended to leave it undone before but now his intentions match up better with his actions.

on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.