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-   -   Under the radar (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16189)

gwendolenthefair 10-24-2011 02:03 PM

Under the radar
My husband and I have a longstanding agreement that he will not pursue anything romantic or sexual with someone who is a stranger to me.

This agreement is one-sided, for the simple reason that I am not comfortable with him dating a completely unknown quantity, but he doesn't mind at all when I do the same thing. I have offered to let him get to know any potential partners of mine in person before I date them, time and time again, but he always tells me it's ok, that he can wait to meet the people I date if things get serious with them.

My discomfort with him dating people who are strangers to me dates back to a few years ago, when he put our relationship, and my personal safety, at risk by having a brief, drama-filled relationship with a very unstable person.

He has a female cyber friend whom he has known virtually for several months. She also identifies as polyamorous, and she is also married. He told her up front that he is not interested in dating anyone right now because he is focused on a difficult job search. His profile, on the site that they met on, says that all he wants is friendship. He has never been open to casual sex, he says he doesn't like the idea of it.

We both met his cyberfriend a month ago in person, at a local poly dinner we both attend regularly. We were seated fairly near her at the table, but she made no attempt to talk to me at all there, all I got was a "hello" and a "goodbye." She has never communicated with me virtually either, despite her knowing my ID on the site they met on, and despite him offering her my contact info and encouraging her to befriend me too.

After the event, my husband told me that it had been nice to finally meet her in person, and that he was quite sure that he wasn't physically attracted to her at all.

This weekend, he said she had invited both of us to attend a beer tasting with her at a local liquor store. Her husband was not attending. I declined because I really dislike beer, so my husband went with her on his own. It was their second time seeing each other, and their first time alone with each other. I expected he'd be gone an hour, perhaps two, and I assumed that he and I would do something as a family with our children, after his return. I myself try never to spend weekend time away from my family, I only very rarely do so, and then only with a very established partner.

Five hours later, he arrived back home. He told me that their time together had included a long make-out session, initiated by her. He said that he did not know it was going to happen, but that he enjoyed it, and made no attempt to stop it.

I am upset with both of them. I do not like surprises at all, I like to know what's going on. I saw this woman as a platonic friend of his since he had clearly stated to me that he wasn't attracted to her. As such, she did not need to get to know me. However, if she is more than a platonic friend, she absolutely does, at least a little, since our agreement says, no strangers. I also see it as very disrespectful to just make a pass at a married guy with no attempt to communicate with his wife at all beforehand despite ample opportunity to do so.

Husband is confusing me by saying that he still does not want to "date" her, that he still doesn't want to date anyone, but that he enjoyed what happened and that he enjoyed his time with her in general, and would like to have more of it.

I don't really know what the difference would be, between him "dating" her, and him spending more alone time with her, that includes sexual contact, as he did today. I also don't know why he would even want to make out with a woman he says he's not physically attracted to.

I asked him to clarify what he saw as our agreement and he agreed with me that it includes no strangers.

We're attending our poly group again tonight and he has OFFERED HER A RIDE WITH US. I think I am going to be very uncomfortable. I also think she probably thinks they are an item now. I certainly would, if I was her.

What do I do now? Is he just trying to get someone in under the radar somehow? It feels that way, but he denies it.

nycindie 10-24-2011 02:32 PM

She did try to have contact with you when she invited you to the beer-tasting, but you declined, so it's more than a little unfair of you to say she made no effort to get to know you. Heck, for that matter, you could have emailed her long ago and made the moves to establish a friendship with her. Why put all the responsibility on her? As for the poly gathering where she didn't talk to you, she might just have felt shy and didn't know what to say. Groups aren't easy for lots of people to handle. I'm not shy one-on-one, but at a party I'm a wallflower.

I can also understand your husband's reaction. I once had a four-month relationship with someone I swore I wasn't attracted to when I met him. Besides, it sounds like she initiated the kiss and it just turned out to be nicer than he would ever have expected, so he went with it. He came home and told you all about it, so I don't think he was doing anything devious here. And I don't know that a kiss can always be considered "sexual contact." I think you might be over-reacting just a tiny bit, but I can understand that because you were surprised by all this having happened unexpectedly.

Maybe his wanting to spend more time with her is just to see if he wants to date her. I mean, sometimes you don't know if you want to date someone unless you get a better sense of them, so he might be looking at the idea of socializing with her as something of a fact-finding mission to determine if he does want to date her, even though he wasn't really looking for someone to date. Sometimes things happen that make us reconsider decisions we made - hasn't that ever happened to you?

I would not assume that she thinks he and she are an item now!! Just because they kissed? Everyone has different concepts of what dating and relationships are. I wouldn't assume I was an item with someone I made out with once. All we did was make out, it doesn't mean we're in a relationship. As far as his inviting her to take a ride with you guys to this other thing (did she accept??), that I think is a little out of line, if he knew that you were uncomfortable with her. He should have asked you first, as I would expect him to ask you about any Joe Schmoe who might want a ride.

I don't think it's too late for him to say he can't give her that ride, if it's beyond what you can handle, but there are other ways to approach it. You could call her before tonight and ask to clarify things with her before you go pick her up. Maybe you have questions or something you want to say to her before anything progresses. Or you could find other ways to make the best of this and see how it goes. Don't just sit back and take it, and then stew about it, in other words.

You have a few choices:
  1. accept that she's riding along with you and feel bad about it, which means you'll probably have a lousy time tonight;
  2. ask your husband not to pick her up and make sure you communicate clearly why you're upset; or
  3. find a way to forgive them both and see this as an opportunity to get to know her better.
And maybe more that I haven't thought of yet.

Maybe you are a little bit rigid about the rules you have with your husband. I read the last thread you started and it seems that you do feel a need to have some element of control over his relationships. That's okay if he's okay with it, but perhaps this is an instance where having a little flexibility would help you both in learning a little more about yourselves, what would make you happy, and could even enrich your relationships. Just an idea to toss out to you. Good luck!

rory 10-24-2011 03:30 PM

I understand you are feeling surprised by the development, and thus hurt. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that there has been an intent to hurt you. To be honest, it doesn't sound like she did anything wrong here. He could maybe have been more considerate, though. It's a bit unclear how clearly you've actually communicated with your husband, and if there's just been misunderstandings or actual violations of agreements.

Since (I assume) she doesn't know about your agreements with your husband, she doesn't know you want to know the people he dates, and doesn't know you feel she shouldn't make out with him unless you have gotten to know each other. And you blame her that when you met her she didn't make an effort to get to know you; yet it doesn't sound like you made an effort to get to know her, either.

On to his behaviour.

Originally Posted by gwendolenthefair (Post 107808)
I expected he'd be gone an hour, perhaps two, and I assumed that he and I would do something as a family with our children, after his return. I myself try never to spend weekend time away from my family, I only very rarely do so, and then only with a very established partner.

I sounds like you have certain values about how weekend time should be spent: preferably with family, and if a longer time is spent with another partner it should only happen with an established one. Have you communicated these things to him, and asked how he feels about it? I understand you are feeling that he placed her above your family time, but he may not know this, and propably doesn't since you write you assumed he'd be back in 1-2 hours rather than that you told him you'd want that.

However, I'm quite confused with the making out and all that. He knows that you want to know the person before they start to date. It seems that maybe you two have a different definition of "dating", and need to be more clear in communicating about the boundaries. It sounds like he feels that since they aren't dating he did nothing wrong; and also maybe that since you've seen her she's not a total stranger? And you feel that you'd like to know a person better before he makes out with her, even if he doesn't consider it dating? If he doesn't want to date her, does he want something more casual (I don't know what that would be to him, friends with benefits..)? Would you be ok with that? You should talk and try to be as specific and clear about what each of you want (in this situation and in general) as you can. :)

SNeacail 10-24-2011 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by gwendolenthefair (Post 107808)
I expected he'd be gone an hour, perhaps two, and I assumed that he and I would do something as a family with our children, after his return. I myself try never to spend weekend time away from my family, I only very rarely do so, and then only with a very established partner.

Five hours later, he arrived back home.

This seems to me that you are looking for more ammunition to make him the bad guy. It's not fair to assume that just because you "try never" to spend weekend time away from the family that he would see it the same, especially when you were initially invited to go. You expected an hour or two, did he know this? Did he just blatantly disregard his curfew or was he just enjoying himself? Did you check in with him during this 5 hour period or sit at home and stew in resentment?

SourGirl 10-24-2011 06:25 PM

I agree with nycindie.

I`d also add, that how you do poly is not 'right' versus how he wants to do poly. Your post tends to hint towards that type of attitude. You might find it a pleasant surprise to get 'the whole truth' from him, if he knows what he wants is accepted as a legitimate choice.

47newbie 10-24-2011 07:49 PM

Well, I do agree that your husband behavior with the "make out" session was "bad form." I do think the offer to extend a ride to the meeting was an attempt to smooth things over with you.

It is entirely possible that he was caught up in the moment with this other person. Lets face facts, its always nice to be the object of someones interest. However, there is no way to know whether this was an extensive flirtation on his part, or a genuine interest in dating or romance.

Throw him a bone. He screwed up and he knows it.

None of parties know enough about the others, at this point to know where it goes, and if she is willing to meet and discuss there may be an opportunity for all involved to learn and gain from the incident.

On the other hand, if she is unwilling to come to the discussion, then hubby already knows he needs to "throw this one back."

dingedheart 10-24-2011 08:29 PM

the idea of a person being a cyber friend for months ...knowingly open to poly...going to poly event that you both go to ...inviting you both to a beer tasting ...then ending up in a make out session doesn't seem wildly out of left field....in fact I put in the 60/40 or 75/25 of the likely outcomes. How many partners do you have currently? And how many does your husband have...excluding the new beer lady? When it drops in your lap...so to speak....and with the 2 month history the poly dinner thing ....he could see ways to rationalize the rules. Did he say kissing or did he say oral ...or kissing what...you might want to clarify...ever since clinton and monica the lines and meanings got blurred.

nycindie 10-25-2011 03:00 AM

So... I'm wondering how it went tonight. ???

gwendolenthefair 10-25-2011 03:51 AM

How it went, hmm. First, I should say that my husband wrote to B., his friend, and apologized for leading her on yesterday and said that he really did just want to be friends at present, which is what he'd said to her up front too. He did not mention me at all, for all she knew I had no problem with what happened between them, or possibly didn't even know.

B. still wanted to ride with us to the poly dinner, which we did. She had zero interest in getting to know me at all, either during the ride there, or at the dinner, even though she sat next to me. I was friendly and polite but she clearly had no interest in me as a person, didn't ask me anything about myself, nothing, although she seemed to have fun talking to a couple of the men and to my husband. I don't know anything more about her than I did before.

I was thinking before tonight that I might easily decide she was OK after tonight and tell my husband to go ahead and date her if he wanted to (when he's ready to date, he really isn't right now, as he has told both of us), but I am not going to push a relationship with a potential metamour who has no interest in relating to me at all. I expect my partners to be friendly to my husband too. They don't have to be his bosom pals but I would hesitate to get involved with someone who was cold to him and disinterested in him.

Magdlyn 10-26-2011 01:55 PM

Hi Gwen,

Something others havent addressed is that their first one on one date involved alcohol, and lots of it! No doubt your h was wearing beer goggles by the time the making out started. Then he found out she was a good kisser and so his views changed about her attractiveness.

It does seem a bit insulting she didnt really want to talk to you at the 2nd poly dinner, but at least she was near you, in the car and at dinner, so you got to watch her interact. There is no rule metamours need to be more than polite when they meet. She seems more interested in potential dates with men.

BTW, Cindie, I'd call a makeout session sexual contact. They weren't just sitting there knitting or talking about television shows. They were kissing, maybe groping, exploring each others mouths and bodies. imo, 3 dates (2 dinners with others, one date one on one), plus months of cyberchat, counts as some sort of relationship, in my book. It's still a relationship even if you don't call each other bf and gf.

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