Halp! First experience with nonmonogamy
November 6, 2014 5:38 PM   Subscribe

First non monogamous relationship. First serious post-marriage relationship. Lots of feelings. Need a navigator.

I have a shrink who's also a therapist I've been seeing for two years. For some reason I don't feel like this is something I want to talk about with him.

Me: 35 cis male, married for eight years, in the mediation phases of a reasonably amicable divorce, which is slightly complicated by two young (K and pre-K) children and hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash money to distribute in the divorce negotiations.

Her: slightly older cis female, never married, no kids, previous serious open relationships with men and women, some on the indulging-a-pretty-involved-fetish side

Us: Met online. First date at a bar, second date at a drag show, had a couple third ~ fifth date sleepovers that didn't involve sex, but lots of talking about previous relationships. Some sex since.

Our pre-sex conversations started (amazingly! how did I luck out like this?) on a basis of radical honesty. I told her about my time in the mental hospital, my experiences with sex workers, and how I made a point of trying to take care of the rebound from the marriage with sex workers until I actually reached a point where for the first time in my life I wasn't obsessed with sex.

She told me about her experiences with very non traditional relationships, some experience doing what you could call sex work based on your definitions, and how this had put her off of interest or desire for sex for the past year or more.

We also talked a bit about our expectations: I really don't know what to expect, but feel a bit like that Cheap Trick song ("I want you to want me...."), she's looking for someone to provide moral, emotional, and logistical support for her artistic endeavors. I talked about how I've never experienced non monogamy, but am open to it, she talked about the positives and negatives she's had with it in the past, and about her priorities, which involve being very present in the moment (I'm a type-A planner), and maintaining her personal independence.

I'm head over heels, and haven't felt like I've had this connection with someone like this ever before. We share a lot of values, and can go out and just not run out of things to talk about. To describe me as besotted would be an understatement.

Since we've got this baseline of radical honesty, I've been straight up that I'm twitterpated and that my only concern with the non monogamy thing is I'd like to know where I stand.

She's assured me that of the various guys she's met over the last year to keep her going in her artistic work, I'm the only one she's felt this connection with, I'm the only one she's invited into her home, the only one she lets text her. I should be reassured by that, and I am.

But the part of me that's never experienced non monogamy before just has this anxiety about it. One of the conversations we had about this is that she expressed how if you love someone, and you aren't able to meet that person's need in some way, the perfect expression of that love is to support them in having that need met, and to be able to say "I'm glad you had fun." I agree 100% But since this is new to me, I'm struggling, and don't quite have the confidence to say "I agree with what you said a couple weeks ago, and I'm all for you how you described that desire to support the other person in having needs met, but I feel like I want an opportunity to try to meet those needs." Which feels like an inappropriate thing to say, given that she's clearly expressed on multiple occasions her number one priority is her independence.

This is all very new. We've been seeing each other for about 5 or 6 weeks, but not more than once or twice a week, since we're both grownups with existing lives and not much free time.

There are things I've been able to do with her that I've not previously been able to do with a lover, like specifically ask for moral support on something I'm struggling with, and get the kind of response that makes me feel loved and special, without that being expressed in any overt way. But I do have to ask for it. Which might be reasonable, given that we're not attached at the hip or blowing away evenings on the phone together. But she doesn't ask of it from me. Which I admit hurts a bit, but is, as she and I have discussed, probably completely reasonable.

So I guess the question(s) this boils down to are: how have you navigated these feelings in the past? What's the right way to ask someone what their feelings are for you? What other experience do you have with these kinds of things that you could impart? When is it appropriate to ask her to hang out with me *and* my kids, because that feels like a significant milestone?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
What we think are "reasonable" and "appropriate" are not really the issues. There is no one "right way" to ask someone about their feelings.

What do you want out of this?

If you're OK with her level of casualness/not-into-you-ness, then fine. But it sounds like you want more.

And to me, this:
she's looking for someone to provide moral, emotional, and logistical support for her artistic endeavors

sounds scary. YOU, anon, have a divorce to navigate and two young children who need you. Are you in a position to be that kind of support for this woman?

Also the fact that you don't think you can tell this to your therapist speaks volumes. You know what he/she would say, don't you? And you don't want to hear it, I suspect.
posted by pantarei70 at 5:58 PM on November 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


Whatever you do with this woman, keep your kids out of it.

It's going to be weird and uncomfortable for them to meet dad's new girlfriend, and it will suck if dad keeps bringing new girlfriends around. When you have been with a woman for a long-term stint and you plan on marrying her and it's serious, then bring her around. But it sounds like this is very much a way off from that. Just because this woman is in your life doesn't mean she needs to be part of your life as it relates to your kids.

What I wish my dad had done when my parents got divorced and what I would recommend you do with your kids, is keep your relationship with them about them. Be willing to to do things just with them without your new girlfriend. Be willing to hang out with them on their terms, whether it's at their house while your wife is out of town or an impromptu dinner plan. Try to let it feel normal and like an unchanged relationship as much as you can. Don't feel like you need to shoehorn your girlfriend into the picture. She may be a big part of your life, but she means absolutely nothing to your kids. Your kids will tolerate having her around because they want to see their dad, but I think when it comes to the kids, just focus on being their dad.

It sucks to say, but this is probably a rebound relationship. You are probably not going to marry this woman. She sounds pretty averse to commitment -- (She "lets" you text her? How special.) -- and you are just getting out of a divorce. Just enjoy it for what it is and enjoy getting back out there. Keep your kids away from your adventures in singledom.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:08 PM on November 6, 2014 [20 favorites]


She's assured me that of the various guys she's met over the last year to keep her going in her artistic work, I'm the only one she's felt this connection with, I'm the only one she's invited into her home, the only one she lets text her. I should be reassured by that, and I am.

She's looking for something different than what you are looking for. She's looking for someone "to keep her going in her artistic work," and I do not think that you are looking to keep someone else going right now. It sounds like you want something more stable and more mutual than the project of keeping someone else going.

I kept someone else going for a long time and it was a very, very sad waste of a lot of precious time that I could have spent with people who might have actually cared for me and built something with me.

You have seen her twelve times and that is not enough to know her yet. Becoming "besotted" and "head over heels" ... the big one is this: [I] haven't felt like I've had this connection with someone like this ever before...

That is a dangerous feeling. If the connection is a good true one time will not matter. Go slowly. Take time. It will not matter if the connection is the right connection for you.

if you love someone
I don't want to dismiss your feelings but it is too early to know if you love one another, particularly because of all of the entanglements you describe in this question. Take your time.
posted by sockermom at 6:11 PM on November 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


I think the question of when to introduce a new love interest to your kids ought to involve your soon to be ex. And better that discussion happens before you have a person in mind to keep emotion out of it as much as possible. K and pre-K is awfully young to even be considering introducing this gal of 5-6 weeks to them. Yes, in general you get to make your own decisions post divorce, but kid decisions should always be joint ones.
posted by cecic at 6:11 PM on November 6, 2014


I dated someone once who was recently divorced, and while everyone's different, I think it's a really difficult time to start a new relationship. He also got attached *really* quickly, in a way that I really felt had more to do with what he was going through emotionally rather than me. I would consider giving yourself more time, or looking for something more casual at this point. It feels to me like this has a good chance of ending in hurt for you, given how you're feeling now, versus how she's feeling.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:11 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is the logistical support she's seeking for her artistic endeavors financial in nature? And are the other men she's sought out to "[keep] her going in her artistic endeavors" providing her with financial support? Would she still be with you, or them, if you declined to provide that support? Because "non-monogamy" isn't the word I'd use to describe that kind of arrangement.
posted by jesourie at 6:21 PM on November 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


A few things:

- Almost every divorced parent I know will hold off on introducing their kids to anyone they're dating until the relationship has been going strong for a long-ish time. I think it's a good policy, monogamy or non-monogamy or whatever.

- In my experience, people in the first year of their divorce are prone to flaky behavior. This includes you and anyone else who is recently divorced (which was me at one point). No offense intended. You actually sound like you've got your shit together - but still ... I'd be somewhat wary about dating you.

- "She's assured me that of the various guys she's met over the last year to keep her going in her artistic work" So she's having sex for money? If you're okay with it, that's about all that matters.

- I didn't understand this part:
she expressed how if you love someone, and you aren't able to meet that person's need in some way, the perfect expression of that love is to support them in having that need met, and to be able to say "I'm glad you had fun." I agree 100% But since this is new to me, I'm struggling, and don't quite have the confidence to say "I agree with what you said a couple weeks ago, and I'm all for you how you described that desire to support the other person in having needs met, but I feel like I want an opportunity to try to meet those needs."
It's unclear to me what it is that you're struggling with.

- I feel badly asking this, but I feel I must: do you have any objective evidence that yes, she is indeed treating you "special"? Like: did she let you look at her phone and see that nobody but you is texting her? It's arguably not fair to her, but I'd say this is an unusual relationship, plus a new kind of relationship for you - you deserve a bit of special treatment when it comes to trust.

I wish you luck with this - I wish I'd met someone like this woman after my divorce, so many years ago. If you can maintain a good level of trust, you could have a lot of fun together.
posted by doctor tough love at 6:23 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I may have read this in The Ethical Slut but the idea that "jealousy is the fear of loss" was foundational for me. Despite being older and not without issues, I highly recommend you read through it.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:31 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


So one thing I don't see you mention here is anything about being interested in non-monogamy before this relationship - just being open to it. Which is fine so far as it goes, but I think you need to be super-honest with yourself about whether non-monogamy is something you want for yourself, or something you're willing to put up with because you're infatuated with this lady and it's the only way you get to be with her.

If you had your choice, would you rather be monogamous with her? If so, and that's not what she wants out of it, it's hard to see a long term happy ending to this one. Which would be fine and could be a nice rebound relationship if you could get a little more emotional distance, but given that you're head-over-heels for her (which is sort of the problem in the first place), it's going to hurt a lot when the other shoe drops.

As to when you should ask her to meet your kids, not for a long fucking time. Not until you're well out of the limerence stage, and there's some kind of long-term pattern for the relationship that's stabilized.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:36 PM on November 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


"She's assured me that of the various guys she's met over the last year to keep her going in her artistic work, I'm the only one she's felt this connection with, I'm the only one she's invited into her home, the only one she lets text her. I should be reassured by that, and I am."

I'm confused by this and her stating that her primary goal is support for her artistic work.

Is this a sex work type situation? What kind of support are you lending her? That seems like it might be a significant cause of your insecurity--she is not in it for the emotional side as much as for the support with her work.

I might also gently suggest that this "I've never felt this way before" feeling can come from people who are charming and good at relationships. It doesn't necessarily mean they're right for you. I've experienced it with some of the most terrible, clearly disordered people--they also happened to be very very good at making me feel certain ways because they're skilled at it. The relationships would have been ultimately very lonely and unhealthy.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:42 PM on November 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


"I agree with what you said a couple weeks ago, and I'm all for you how you described that desire to support the other person in having needs met, but I feel like I want an opportunity to try to meet those needs."

This is fine to say if there is truly a basis of radical honesty. The ideology she is espousing also allows for you to say that one of your needs is to be with someone who allows you more intimacy. That doesn't mean she has to give it, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for it.

I feel like this all, honestly, has a whiff of manipulation about it. I don't think that about all open relationships, and have extensive experience with nonmonogamy, but this one is sort of feeling a bit off to me.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:44 PM on November 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


I have a shrink who's also a therapist I've been seeing for two years. For some reason I don't feel like this is something I want to talk about with him.

This feels like a little bit of a red flag to me. You have a lot of feelings, you've got a lot on your plate, you're trying to navigate a new way of being in a relationship... Seems like only good could come of you discussing this with your therapist.
posted by Specklet at 6:59 PM on November 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


"I agree with what you said a couple weeks ago, and I'm all for you how you described that desire to support the other person in having needs met, but I feel like I want an opportunity to try to meet those needs."

You're entitled to have your needs met. One of those needs might be monogamy about people you feel strongly about. Her choices might not meet those needs.

I do think you should say those words to her. And you should stick to that if that is what you want, even at the cost of this person becoming for you who you think she can become. It is possible that you may be in love with an image of her being monogamous with you.

In other words you both may have legitimate relationship preferences and they may not match up and that is how the world is.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:14 PM on November 6, 2014


Whatever you do, do NOT agree to a non-monogamous relationship because deep down, you want her to eventually decide that you are "the one" that she will want a monogamous relationship with. At the core, that would be dishonest, and can lead to a lot of discomfort and sadness for both people. This is a common stumbling block for people new to the whole open relationship experience.

If this is even close to how you feel, you need to really think about what your hopes are for this relationship. A big part of open relationships working is not just honesty between each other, it's honesty with yourself. And sometimes that can be really hard, and things we think in the first flush of limerance can later turn out to be self-deception.

Please be careful. And please talk to your therapist, or find another you can talk to about this.
posted by ananci at 7:15 PM on November 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


She's assured me that of the various guys she's met over the last year to keep her going in her artistic work, I'm the only one she's felt this connection with, I'm the only one she's invited into her home, the only one she lets text her.

If you feel the need to be the only person she has a special connection with and the only one who's invited into her home/who she 'lets' text her, that really implies to me that non monogamy might not be a good fit for you. Is part of the deal with this particular woman that she has sex with other people but does not have ongoing relationships with/emotional connections with them? It seems to me you need to consider/talk about what happens if she does have an emotional connection with someone else if this is a problem for you.

One of the conversations we had about this is that she expressed how if you love someone, and you aren't able to meet that person's need in some way, the perfect expression of that love is to support them in having that need met, and to be able to say "I'm glad you had fun."

This statement implies that you've already given the other person in the relationship the chance to meet your needs/discussed your needs with them and you came to the mutual decision that as you could not meet that need, so you would support it being met by someone else. Which I believe makes your statement superfluous - or would make it come off as implying "I want to meet all your needs" - and I doubt that would go well.

What's the right way to ask someone what their feelings are for you?

I don't think it takes a mutual philosophy of radical honesty to be able to straight up ask someone "so, what are your feelings about me?" without beating around the bush or couching it in some other terminology.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:35 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like this woman is a manipulator who is having sex with multiple men for "help with her bills." This sounds like the type of women who trolls Craigslist for marks. Sorry, I think you are emotionally vulnerable and should not fall for this garbage. She is crafty enough to dress up low level prostitution as an alternative lifestyle.

I suspect your confidence is shot after years in a low sex or no sex marriage and you are just relieved that you've found someone to have sex with you. Please take some time to work on yourself and get your confidence and sense of self back. You can do so much better than this woman.
posted by jayder at 7:41 PM on November 6, 2014 [20 favorites]


This is not a relationship your kids have any need to ever know about. It's not just open, it's casual uncommitted, and is not going to be the sort of long-haul relationship where family introductions are an issue.

I'm old-fashioned, but sub-teenage children don't need to meet your partner until marriage is seriously on the table.

You are mistaking strong feelings for a strong relationship. She likes your company, and maybe your money to "support her art", but that's the extent of it, and her keeping you at arm's length is making you scramble to get closer. She knows it. Don't get scammed.

This is not serious. That's fine, if you can handle it, it might be exactly the sort of thing you need right now - because what you don't need right now is a girlfriend, you need to be single and a single dad until you've had a year or more of actual legal singlehood under your belt and are ready to bring your healing/healed self to a more committed relationship.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:44 PM on November 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Dude, you're on the rebound from your divorce. Don't give money to this person and don't introduce your kids to her. For goodness sake! Give yourself a year on the rebound before you even consider anyone as even dating potential, let alone introducing them to your kids. What are you thinking?

If you need to have sex, go for it, but keep it away from your kids and your soon-to-be-ex-wife. This is just common sense, not a judgment.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:50 PM on November 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


As someone who was in love with a just-divorced man once upon a time, I always feel it is my duty to pass on the best advice that was ever given me, which came from a male friend of mine during this period. He said, "love this guy if you must, but understand that for a year or so after his divorce his decision making is going to be completely whack, even if he thinks he's fine. He's not fine and he's not himself and you need to grok that or you will not be able to handle what's coming."

I say this because, in all compassion, I think you are in this post-divorce phase of not quite knowing which way is up. And that's ok -- it's totally normal -- but you'll do better if you assume that your compass isn't pointing quite north right now, if you know what I mean.

What you have described to us here is a lady who has told you straight up that she wants to have sex and romantic interludes with you, but not only you, in exchange for "logistical" (financial, right?) and other support. This is prostitution, not love. Doling out little "but I like you the BEST of my sugardaddies" nuggets is a design to keep you entranced, not an indicator that she is serious about you.

Enjoy by all means, but keep her away from your kids, and keep an eye on your wallet. You sound like a deeply affectionate person and that's a wonderful trait I hope will ultimately bring you to a good place.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:03 PM on November 6, 2014 [19 favorites]


One more thing that occurred to me after writing my last comment:

There's something about the way your question is written that makes me think you're deeply in the throes of self deception. The question is couched as a straightforward request for advice about nonmonogamy but then you get into all this weird bullshitty stuff she's telling you about "logistical support for her art," she's apparently banging multiple people but has a "special connection" with you... I don't know, something feels very off here.

I almost feel as if this might be the relationship equivalent of one of those work from home deals where gullible people think they're going to be set up with a real job but it was just a scheme to separate them from their money. I wonder whether her interest in you would continue if you said "I can't help you financially. I've got kids to support."

People who are artists but whose art does not pay enough to live on, generally just work regular jobs, they don't date a bunch of guys so they can shake them down for money. That's skeevy as all hell if that's her game.
posted by jayder at 8:10 PM on November 6, 2014 [30 favorites]


I am doing some reading around a related subject for an unrelated issue. Is it possible that the relationship you have with this woman is an example of narcissism/inverted narcissism? it dinged a few things for me. See if it does for you, too.
posted by softlord at 8:13 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it really doesn't sound like she has the same kind of feelings as you do. She's still talking about things in very clinical, reasonable language - supporting her in her art, managing different partners to get one thing from one person, something else from another. There's nothing wrong with this if you're on the same page. But you're not. You're falling for her, and that's gonna get you hurt.

The way you describe it, you may have an amazing connection but for her it's strictly business. It might be business that she enjoys, but it's still business.

If you are okay with paying her for this sense of connection and the way you feel when you're with her, then I guess proceed. But the thing about the kind of strong feelings you're having is that they tend not to be happy with that. They tend to want more. They tend to want reciprocity, and commitment, and all that stuff. I don't think you're going to get that from her.

Whatever you wind up doing, please don't introduce your kids to her. I know she feels like the bestest most important awesomest thing to happen to you in ages, but she won't be that to your kids. As others have said, the time to introduce people to your kids is when it's really serious for BOTH of you and you don't have all those questions about what the hell is going on.

And yeah, talk to your therapist. Honestly. The fact that you don't want to says a lot.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Have you told her about the "hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash money to be distributed in the divorce?" I think you told us for a reason, kind of like you can't talk to your shrink about the whole matter. Your subconscious has a lot to say/hide about this situation, apparently.

Also, this reads as a classic midlife crisis relationship: the sexually liberated artist who treats you special and understands you better than anyone and also turns not having sex into an honor that shows how, um, advanced and adult you all are. I think you'll look back and cringe, so no kid-contact yet.
posted by carmicha at 10:29 PM on November 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


I am a former professional Dominatrix. I am conventionally married with a 3.5 year old child. I have previously been in open relationships. Just so you know where I am coming from.

I stopped reading almost entirely at this: "...and how this had put her off of interest or desire for sex for the past year or more."

Flags went up.

Then I read this: "...she's looking for someone to provide moral, emotional, and logistical support for her artistic endeavors."

The flags turned red and started waving.

Then I read as far as this: "...and haven't felt like I've had this connection with someone like this ever before. We share a lot of values, and can go out and just not run out of things to talk about. To describe me as besotted would be an understatement."

At this point, my living room erupted in bells, sirens, horns, whistles, and flashing red lights!

DUDE!!

This person is a HIGHLY skilled user, and you're right, she's being radically honest about how she is going to suck you dry emotionally and otherwise - but not much else.

That connection you feel is called "mirroring" and it is a technique manipulative types use. Google it.

FUCKING RUN. RUN FOR YOUR SAKE, RUN FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S SAKES.

JUST RUN.

Memail me if you need more explanation. Please do not do this. Block this person from your life and RUN.

Please.
posted by jbenben at 12:40 AM on November 7, 2014 [20 favorites]


... in the mediation phases of a reasonably amicable divorce, which is slightly complicated by two young (K and pre-K) children and hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash money to distribute

When is it appropriate to ask her to hang out with me *and* my kids, because that feels like a significant milestone?

Dude, you need to keep your head in the game here. And by game, I mean: getting through the divorce. Right now, you say things are amicable; but watch what happens if you start trying to introduce this rather sketchy-sounding person into your already topsy-turvy family dynamic by introducing her to your kids.

This is a woman who uses men to support her "art". She sounds like a bit of a con artist, and a rather artless one at that. She is going to crush your hopes and your heart at a time when you very much need to be centered and focused on the transition out of marriage.

Don't introduce her to your kids. Not until you are divorced and stabilized and have thoroughly talked all this through with your therapist, at the very least.
posted by nacho fries at 12:49 AM on November 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm going to also add that you really really might want to Memail me, if just to understand the absolute shitstorm you are about to add into your divorce proceedings.

I once had a front row seat on a situation very similar to this.

Please please please lose this woman's contact info and protect yourself. I'm happy to tell you everything I know and experienced.

Before I read your question I was psyched to tell you to "Go For It!" with a few wise caveats thrown in.

After reading your question, like I said, my living room lit up with flashing lights and red sirens.

Please end this now.

Be well.
posted by jbenben at 12:50 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel so strongly about this, I looked up Mirroring for you.

Frankly, you'll get even more precise results if you google "Manipulation Mirroring" but my phone won't record the google result page for that.

Here's one link on Romantic Mirroring you might get some use out of.

Again, protect yourself. Stop this before it starts. Be well.
posted by jbenben at 1:00 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wish there was a way to remove a previous comment that I made. As much as I tried to carefully read and understand your question - frankly, I blew it. Please ignore what I wrote above.

I think that jbenben above has a very clear understanding of the situation. This is not a good situation for you. Get out now.
posted by doctor tough love at 5:06 AM on November 7, 2014


I'm just going to echo something Specklet has already said above. The fact that you feel you can't mention this to your therapist is worrisome. He/she is legally bound to confidentiality and professionally and ethically obligated to listen to whatever you have to say and work you through that. Maybe it's not the therapist - maybe it's you that's holding back. That happens. Again, maybe it's that you don't feel comfortable with the therapist, and that's not ideal. I'm afraid I don't have much to say about the actual problem.
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 6:17 AM on November 7, 2014


No judgement; this is a confusing time.

Still...

DO NOT INTRODUCE THIS WOMAN TO YOUR KIDS.

You aren't ready to speak with your therapist about the situation, and apparently you aren't ready to speak with her candidly about it. With all due respect to MeFites, you're in a stage of asking Internet Strangers about this woman... how on earth would you introduce her to your kids?

No. Please, just don't.

When you introduce someone to your kids, you should be able to say who that person is to you. You can't even say that to a therapist at this point. Slow down.
posted by whoiam at 6:38 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I seriously doubt she will have any interest in hanging out with your kids, when or if you raise that issue. That's not what she's looking for from you.
posted by Mavri at 6:41 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


It sounds entirely unlike a healthy non monogamous balanced relationship and much more like someone using you. Saying this as someone who's been in both, and has experienced screwed up extremely vulnerable divorce brain. I agree with the others here that you should get distance and focus on the kids and divorce proceeding. In a year or two this will either all look as retrospectively ill advised to you as it does to many here, or else you'll have some of the emotional resources you currently lack to try to test these waters with this person. But here and now and how you are, it's probably going to be pain and trouble. Protect yourself and your kids.
posted by ead at 8:10 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Re-reading my own advice I think I was wrong to suggest that it's ok to "enjoy" this for now despite its being a transaction rather than a relationship. You need your wits about you now and you need to focus on your relationship with your children and the ramifications of your divorce. I agree it's time to end your entanglement with this woman. Your therapist can help you: it's time to tell him all about this so he can get started.

I know it feels good and exciting and you don't want to give it up. Have faith... once you're on the far side of your divorce and things have settled out, that giving heart of yours will find a decent woman with whom you can build something real and happy.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


You have an infatuation that is sexually driven. Sex is terrific; have sex, enjoy being infatuated. But be an adult and recognize that this relationship is quite unlikely to be a partnership/ deep relationship that will last. It doesn't sound as if that's what she wants. and you are reactive to your divorce and probably any sexual issues in your marriage.

Do focus on your kids' well-being, a lot.
posted by theora55 at 9:04 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


From what you've written, she's basically given herself an out to do whatever she wants with other people whenever you don't "meet her needs". Are you prepared for her to do this anytime you're not giving her what she wants? What happens if you find out she's invited someone else into her home, or let them read her texts? Are you going to be okay if these sort of intimacies happen because you are spending time with your children, or paying hefty alimony, or anything else that impacts your "supporting her art"? I think you need to answer these questions, because she's already telling you what her feelings are for you with these exchanges. It's pretty clear that you two are looking for entirely different things, and introducing her to your kids isn't going to make her love you or commit to you, I'm sorry to say.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


It sounds like you are not that familiar with non-monogamy

1) Read the unethical slut.
2) Clear up why she needs people to pursue her "artistic" needs. I agree with everyone else..that doesn't very nice.

Honestly it doesn't sound like a great relationship because she doesn't sound like the most honorable human being ever. With that being said, you can be smart enough to have sex, get your heart broken and still focus on your kids and your job. Who knows this may turn out ok....
posted by The1andonly at 11:48 AM on November 14, 2014


Reading between the lines- this sounds like its a sugar baby/daddy relationship, or mutually beneficial.

Those types of relationships can be really really great for both parties, and they can be real relationships.

But you sound a little naive and and there are some very unscrupulous sugar babies that would see you as a sucker, sorry to be blunt.

I believe you will get your heart broken here.
posted by catspajammies at 6:45 AM on November 26, 2014


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