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-   -   Helping primary feel "primary" (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12356)

JT2 07-19-2011 05:10 AM

Helping primary feel "primary"
 
My partner (of 10 years) has a wife (17 years). It has always been a primary/secondary thing. I'm 100% fine with being the secondary. I like it. It works for me. And it is super important to her to be "primary" - that is non-negotiable.

The problem is that even though she is the "primary" partner, she says she doesn't feel like she's being treated as "primary" and we've had a hard time finding workable solutions to the problem.

While I am very clearly treated as a secondary in all household stuff, and (though less clearly) also in relationship stuff, I am his business partner/assistant. His work involves a lot of travel and long hours, but it is his calling, and he helps a lot of people in his work. In many ways, his work is his real "primary", and I think his wife projects alot of her resentment about that onto me. He does spend a lot more hours with me, and very frequently travels with me, but that is work. (She's tried to help with his work. She quickly gets bored and wants him to pay attention to her, and she's been rude in front of clients.)

When asked what she'd like her husband to do differently, she tends to fixate on impossible or wildly impractical things, so my partner and I have been trying to think of things that he actually CAN do that might help her "feel primary" without putting his career in danger.

Any suggestions?


-- JT

sagency 07-19-2011 08:53 AM

What special things do they have that is reserved strictly for them?

When he comes home, how does he greet the people in the house?

Does he do things where he is specifically giving up an opportunity to do things with you in order to do something with her that she wasn't expecting?

Are her needs being met? Are they being exceeded?

Also, it might help is she has things outside the house and relationship that occupy her time and give her a sense of accomplishment. You're pretty light on details about living arrangements and how she spends her time, but if he is her conduit for interaction with the wider world, there's a big adjustment that would help.

nycindie 07-19-2011 09:07 AM

So, basically, you're saying that your partner has problems with his other relationship and wants you to fix it?

sagency 07-19-2011 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 92723)
So, basically, you're saying that your partner has problems with her other relationship and wants you to fix it?

If my math is correct, his (Him1) partner is having trouble with his (Him2) relationship, and him1 wants to help him2 research things that could improve the situation.

MonoVCPHG 07-19-2011 02:42 PM

I just wanted to chime in and say congrats on keeping things together for 10 years as a "secondary"! That is a mile stone most poly relationships don't hit.

NeonKaos 07-19-2011 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG (Post 92745)
I just wanted to chime in and say congrats on keeping things together for 10 years as a "secondary"! That is a mile stone most poly relationships don't hit.



I hate to rain on your parade, Mono, but It's not clear how much time the op has been in a secondary relationship with the woman. The "partner" he refers to in the first sentence is the business-partner, the husband of the woman the op is involved with.

I do not see anywhere in the original post where it says how long the secondary relationship has been going on.

TruckerPete 07-19-2011 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeonKaos (Post 92747)
I hate to rain on your parade, Mono, but It's not clear how much time the op has been in a secondary relationship with the woman. The "partner" he refers to in the first sentence is the business-partner, the husband of the woman the op is involved with.

I do not see anywhere in the original post where it says how long the secondary relationship has been going on.

I thought OP was in a relationship with the husband, for ten years. Now I am thoroughly confused by who is dating whom for how long and what gender they are!

NeonKaos 07-19-2011 03:40 PM

Oh dear, i think you're right TP. When i read threads on the ipod i sort of lose track of the different stories and sometimes i think i remember something when it was in a total different thread.

So, i take back what i said about the wife being a shrew, unless it turns out that she is one after all.

nycindie 07-19-2011 04:21 PM

Okay, let's get this straight. Here's how I understand the situation:

JT2 is male, his partner is male. They are involved both romantically and in business together, and have been in this relationship for ten years. JT2's partner is married to a woman who is primary to him; JT2 is his partner's secondary, though they spend lots of time together. JT2 is not involved with his partner's wife, other than being metamours. It sounds like they all live together, though I'm not sure. So, this is a MMF Vee.

The wife has issues about not getting enough attention and this (neediness?) has encroached upon her husband's business. JT2's partner has asked JT2 to help find ways to make his wife feel more like the primary.

Again, as I posted earlier, JT2's partner and his wife are having problems in their relationship and JT2's partner wants help from JT2 on how to fix it.

So, I am wondering if that's really fair to ask one leg of a vee to help placate the other -- or does the longevity of this vee make a difference here? JT2 hasn't indicated what kind of relationship or rapport he has with his metamour.

SNeacail 07-19-2011 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 92761)
So, I am wondering if that's really fair to ask one leg of a vee to help placate the other -- or does the longevity of this vee make a difference here? JT2 hasn't indicated what kind of relationship or rapport he has with his metamour.

I wouldn't call it fair or un-fair any more than someone coming home and looking for advice from their spouse about a situation regarding a co-worker. "Help, I'm stuck!"

I'd recommend the book the "5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. I was married 19 years before reading it and it made a world of difference. I would alway complain that my husband was never home. He took it as just complaining not realizing that I need "acts of service" and "quality time" to feel loved by him, which can't happen if he is not home (or home sitting in front of the computer). We both learned a great deal and have been able to make adjustments and also recognize when the other person is making an effort.

I'm sure others have more advice.


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