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-   -   Secondary relationships (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21777)

sealace 02-25-2012 04:48 AM

Secondary relationships
 
Hi folks,
Been with primary for 8.5 years, the first 8 of which were mono. Open since June. In that time I've dived into the world of dating--I've dated single and poly men and women and had a variety of experiences.

Over the summer I started dating 3 men and one woman. I wrote a while back about a married man I kinda fell for, only he was always so annoyingly casual when we weren't together, but full on intimate and present when we were. I couldn't deal with that weird disconnect and things ended. (He wanted to be friends but I haven't gotten there quite yet, may never).

Guy 2 I've been seeing since July. He has a live-in girlfriend. We go out to concerts, movies, dinner, bars, etc, and then have a hot physical connection as well. Up until now I have been fine with the casual level of things, but then, I wonder, is it a little strange? He sleeps over, leaves first thing in the morning and then I don't hear from him for a week or more?

I guess the bottom line with this post, is that I think I'm ok with casual secondary things, but somehow it feels a bit cold and distant to have not much communication in between dates. Am I going out with the wrong people? Or is this totally common? I hear about secondary situations where people consider each other "boyfriends" and "girlfriends", but with these two guys above I feel more like a "secret".

Would love to hear thoughts from the ladies and the guys. I just feel like I'm too cool a person to have to feel like a "secret" and it leaves me feeling crappy, like I'm not connecting with these people in a very meaningful way.

Anneintherain 02-25-2012 05:21 AM

re: guy #2 - I don't think there's any strange or typical when it comes to this. What matters is what you are comfortable with. I see one partner once a week, and I don't tend to hear from him between unless there is some fact on scheduling that he isn't clear on. That is not ideally how I like relationships to be as that can make it hard for me to feel connected, but it is OK. He has a wife and a girlfriend, and isn't able to spare more time. Is guy #2 seeing anybody else? If he has a live in girlfriend and hobbies and a job, he might just not have time other than that, but you can't know if you don't ask if it is lack of time or lack of desire TO spend more time with you (or even he'd spend more time with you but has no idea you are interested if you don't say anything?). Neither are bad, but I always like knowing where things stand so I ask those questions.

If you want to have more of a "friend" connection with him, or if you want to be incorporated into his life more, hang out with his gf, friends, or whatever it is that is making you feel like a secret/squicky, you should probably talk to him about it and say you would like to add those things to your relationship. If you want to talk more often, you could ask about scheduling an IM date, or meeting for coffee every couple of weeks, or whatever it is you need. The partner I mentioned keeps his relationship with me very compartmentalized, and due to limited time, it tends to end up just being bed and meals when we are together. I don't really enjoy the compartmentalization at all for a number of reasons, but there just isn't enough time to balance all the activities in the world.

nycindie 02-25-2012 05:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sealace (Post 126470)
Guy 2 I've been seeing since July. He has a live-in girlfriend. We go out to concerts, movies, dinner, bars, etc, and then have a hot physical connection as well. Up until now I have been fine with the casual level of things, but then, I wonder, is it a little strange? He sleeps over, leaves first thing in the morning and then I don't hear from him for a week or more?

I guess the bottom line with this post, is that I think I'm ok with casual secondary things, but somehow it feels a bit cold and distant to have not much communication in between dates. Am I going out with the wrong people? Or is this totally common? I hear about secondary situations where people consider each other "boyfriends" and "girlfriends", but with these two guys above I feel more like a "secret".

Well, are you a secret? Or does it just feel like that due to the parameters of your relationship just not being what you're used to?

Honestly, it doesn't sound like a strange situation to me. It seems you do go out and do more together than just getting nekkid and fucking. But the silence in between dates bothers you. If so, what stops you from texting him a cheery hello a few days after seeing him, or giving him a call just to talk? Is there an agreement you have not to be in touch?

Perhaps it isn't quantity of time that bothers you, but the quality of time you spend together. If I were you, I would ask yourself what more you wanted from it - more heartfelt conversations? Connecting with other people in his life, and sharing the people in your life with him? Some sort of declaration of feelings? Some people need a lot of time to get close to someone who they deem as non-primary.

Once you've put the finger on what's bothering you, you may want to examine whether you are wondering how comfortable you are with it because of the expectations you've been taught to have surrounding relationships -- or if there really is something unsatisfying in your interactions with him. If you get really clear on what's going on in your heart and mind, then I think you'll know whether or not you want to initiate some changes to the dynamic you have.

PS - I also really like what Anneintherain had to say.

sealace 02-25-2012 04:12 PM

Well, are you a secret? Or does it just feel like that due to the parameters of your relationship just not being what you're used to?

Honestly, it doesn't sound like a strange situation to me. It seems you do go out and do more together than just getting nekkid and fucking. But the silence in between dates bothers you. If so, what stops you from texting him a cheery hello a few days after seeing him, or giving him a call just to talk? Is there an agreement you have not to be in touch?

Perhaps it isn't quantity of time that bothers you, but the quality of time you spend together. If I were you, I would ask yourself what more you wanted from it - more heartfelt conversations? Connecting with other people in his life, and sharing the people in your life with him? Some sort of declaration of feelings? Some people need a lot of time to get close to someone who they deem as non-primary.

Once you've put the finger on what's bothering you, you may want to examine whether you are wondering how comfortable you are with it because of the expectations you've been taught to have surrounding relationships -- or if there really is something unsatisfying in your interactions with him. If you get really clear on what's going on in your heart and mind, then I think you'll know whether or not you want to initiate some changes to the dynamic you have.
---
Thanks for your replies. His g.f. knows about me. I think I just find myself playing the girl/boy game of "if he was really into me, he'd be writing/texting etc. me" and I shouldn't have to/don't want to be the needy girl.

My b.f. lives out of state so my needs for connection are greater right now. Also, I just broke up with a girl I was seeing who provided much of my social life so I'm more lonely.

I'm also finding myself super jealous at the thought of him with someone else (not his primary, but other lovers) and I have NO idea who else he sees and how often. Largely I don't want to know because I think it might upset me since I'm feeling so vulnerable right now. Essentially as I write this, I am aware that I am going through some shit and projecting on to him. I think I just want more attention and adoration! But he is probably not the right place to look for that.

As for the "quality" of time...it's funny, he's the one who is all about going out and doing things and I'm usually like let's go home. I guess what bothers me there is that he is not forthcomingly affectionate with me, even when it comes to holding hands, etc. But, that's just him.

Thanks.

redpepper 02-27-2012 04:13 AM

It sounds like you just aren't comfortable with certain aspects of your relationships with these people and are well aware of that. That is a good thing. The only thing to do is to keep requesting what it is that would make you feel more comfortable and look for creative ways to achieve that that works for everyone involved. For example, it could be that an email mid way between the month would serve you better in regards to guy #2, whereas nothing from him just makes it too long a gap.


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