112: Defining ‘Relationship’

I have a terrible track record for getting too invested in new relationships too quickly. I am certainly not the only one. It’s one of the main reasons I went down the non-monogamy route after a self-enforced and very pleasurable year single. I needed to learn to do things differently for a while, to distance emotionally in the short term, to be able to define the differences in relationships and also just to calm the f*** down. I can’t deny it was great, and useful and I’ve proved to myself that I can break the cycle. This gives me the confidence to go into more serious relationships without putting the other person up on a pedestal and becoming too invested too soon and thus ending up in emotional turmoil-land, a place I really hate. That said, Post 112 demonstrates that I can still fall foul of myself. Overall however, I’ve been using this new strategy with success since last November. I never thought it would be forever and a bit of me hopes that it isn’t.

This post has been reworked. It was centred on what my relationship with MG was turning into. But as I said, I have downgraded him due to recent events. I need to cool down. I am attracted to him. More so than the others? For sure. We do more together. It isn’t just about the sex. The distance certainly keeps me in check and means we don’t see that much of each other, so it doesn’t feel like a serious relationship from my perspective but that doesn’t stop me from over-thinking things and trying to turn it into something tangible. I do know that he is only interested in monogamous relationships long term. We had that discussion right at the start which I suspect is a part of the problem. But I just don’t feel that it’s anywhere near being serious yet. I get tired of the long gaps. It’s frustrating. Sometimes I can’t see how things will work out long term. So I stop thinking about it by downgrading him.

I’m not sure when you’re supposed to decide when it’s a relationship or not. I’ve been dating non-monogamously for eight months now and I’m not sure how I would define when something was more exclusive without there being a conversation about it. Previously, the speed with which I would commit to someone was terrifying. I could actually move in with someone in just several months. I didn’t realise there were other options though. Better options, which I wish I had known about years ago and would have made my life so much easier and more fulfilling.

According to some research I read, men just assume it’s a relationship because you’ve seen someone more than a couple of times, whereas women want to have the boundaries defined with a conversation. Jess and Richard from First Dates didn’t announce their official boyfriend/girlfriend status for 8 months! Real people of Twitter, what are your experiences? And yet I know I don’t need to make this official. I’m not hell bent on settling down. That’s what I was trying to avoid. Plus if things get more serious one of us would have to move.

Me and MG have been seeing each other for three and a half months now. The only difference between him and Andre and Mike is that he isn’t looking for casual setups. But without something more from him, how else am I supposed to define it? Should I just wait a month between dates – two months? That’s fine when it’s non-monogamous and I enjoy those less defined lines because I don’t have to worry about ‘what it is’. It gives me that independence and identity I need to retain if I’m going to stay happy in any sort of relationship. It’s why I work so well with the others. There is never any pressure.

As I have said, I always invested in new partners too soon so I don’t know when is a sensible length of time to define it – three months, six months, a year? And what is love anyway? I have realised that probably most of what I have felt throughout my life was lust misinterpreted, but I’m still not entirely sure. I haven’t had a chance to test myself properly since I last became single two years ago. There is no love involved with Andre and Mike that’s for sure. MG feels different though. But I’m not entirely sure why.

A happy kind of confusion reins for now. I’m okay with that because what we have is really good but it’s complicated. There is distance. There are kids. Once I’d stopped thinking of him as potential exclusive partner material, I started to worry less about the silences. I like the journey, both physically and metaphorically, it’s good for my sense of balance. But I also like to be informed. I’m a bit of a control freak you see. With the others it’s very defined, with him less so. Even so, I am letting things trickle on for now. It’s a part of the test. But it’s good to get some perspective.

9 thoughts on “112: Defining ‘Relationship’

  1. He has no time for sitting around. Tbh I am probably the last thing on his mind with all the stress he has in his life at the moment. I’ve taken a backstep because it would complicate all the problems he has going on and me adding to the pressure cooker would be tactless at this stage.

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  2. It’s coming up in another post but his problems are availability due to childcare problems and the very bad timing of him having huge financial stresses at the moment because he’s self employed. He has really backed off and he’s explained why.

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  3. I would suggest always having a conversation to see i you are on the same page. I relate to this: “I get tired of the long gaps. It’s frustrating. Sometimes I can’t see how things will work out long term. So I stop thinking about it by downgrading him.” I am in the same place with my beloved. I have let go of timing the regularity of our dates and always waiting for him to message me. His life is busy as fuck and super stressed with business and wife. I am successfully diversifying and hoping to develop a meaningful relationship with someone else. In past experience with poly solo my partner and I decided we were in a committed relationship within the first 3 months. It lasted 2.5 years until I’d had enough of all men, him included. It was a lovely time of exploration and intimacy though. Don’t give up on MG yet.

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  4. I’m just taking a backstep and finding ways to distract myself. I don’t know him well enough to know what’s really going in, whether he is genuine or whether this is a ghosting tactic. I’m hoping he’s real. But that’s why I’m leaving it to him now.

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