patience is not a virtue anymore
I have been in a poly relationship with a married couple for the past year which we were hoping would move towards a V type relationship. I have been friends with the couple for many years so we aren’t strangers and there is already a level of trust. He and I are intimate. She and I are not but we're good friends.
When we began this adventure the couple was new to poly and the wife, who identifies as mono, had set some pretty stringent rules about how his relationship with me could progress. We agreed to move at the pace of the slowest person in our group and have been diligent about it. Currently we see each other for lunches a few days a week, have one night a week when the three of us hang out together and then he and I have one evening to ourselves. It all sounds good but there are rules about everything.
He has to go home before coming to my house on our night and there is a strict curfew time that he must be home by. My night can never be on a weekend.
Neither of us is allowed to tell anyone else about the relationship which means no dates where we go out and no socializing outside our group of three.
She must have access to all emails and texts between the two of us.
I cannot call him in the evening – texting is allowed though.
No sleep overs
When they are on holiday I get a text a day to check in but no calls or letters. The text must be generic in case anyone sees them.
To be fair, I agreed to these rules (which were described as temporary) when we started because I knew that she needed time to adjust and to figure things out and I wanted her to have them. We have been moving at her speed and have been very conscious of her feelings and needs. When she has had doubts we’ve slowed things down. I’ve given up time with him on numerous occasions when she’s wanted him to be around or it’s been busy at work and we didn't want her to have the additional stress. She agrees that they have never been closer than they are now. That their relationship has grown and their communication has immensely improved. She says she trusts us both and wants the relationship to succeed yet she won’t let go a little and give us a chance to show her that this can work. She has yet to really “dive into the pool” or even dip a toe.
I have reached the point where I feel like I may need to walk away. Just writing that hurt but I don’t see that there are other choices. I have discussed my feelings with both of them but to no avail. He and I are both very frustrated. I don’t want to hurt either or them or their relationship but living a half life doesn't feel right either. I feel lonely and like a low priority. I have needs and desires too that have been suppressed for more than a year and there doesn't seem to be any potential for forward movement any time in the near future. Some of the rules listed above were actually added after we started so instead of letting go and taking a leap of faith it seems like her grip just keeps getting tighter.
Am I kidding myself thinking we can make this work or is it just about giving her more time? Is it wrong to ask for what I need?
What do you think? I would love some advice from the more experienced.
Of course you have needs too, that's only normal. Incidentally, the feeling of not having your needs met or being able to properly progress in the relationship is one reason why many people don't like vees in practice (sometimes they work when al people are ready; sometimes they don't, and usually for the reasons you're stating). Being a secondary who isn't being treated well is never fun for anyone.
Would you consider dating other people as well as him, so you can get those needs met and keep things with him more casual (because essentially, these rules below will keep you two on a casual basis)? It is hard to know how long it will take for your boyfriend's wife to open up to the idea of a more egalitarian relationship. I wouldn't want to sit around waiting for my needs to be met either. Some people take many years before theyre emotionally prepared for that kind of relationship; some may never get there.
So I think you have several choices: leave and pursue someone who is able to treat you like an equal, provide you with consistency, or b) stay with him and yet pursue a relationship that can be more serious for you/more able to meet all your needs while your relationship with him goes rather slow. I'm sure there are other choices out there too that I don't know about
Best of luck!
I think you're very, very gracious for having put up with this treatment for as long as you have. You're in a relationship with him, not her. You don't need to negotiate anything with her, if you don't want to. It's polite, but not necessary. I think you need to start having a relationship with (only) him and let the two of them work out their issues, if they can. If he can't have a relationship with you and treat you in ways you want to be treated, then is it a relationship worth having, anyway? There should be a middle ground between being courteous to your partners' other partners and giving in to their every demand.
(My GF saw the look on my face while I was writing this and got very concerned I was angry about something... I had to explain I was upset about this post and the whys of it. Her words were, "I would never put up with that." We've never known anyone to have such restrictive and comprehensive rules. YMMV.)
That is a tough spot. Now that you have made your feelings and wants clear (I assume from what you've said), it gets even harder doesn't it? I really think it's now your boyfriend's job to manage negotiations with his wife. Is he good at negotiating his wants? Does he just get frustrated too but not try to change things because he doesn't want to push her? That is fine too as long as he is honest with you about it so you can know what to expect (or to expect that no changes will happen due to his asking for them). I would say you were crazy if you DIDN'T ask for what you need, as things obviously can't go on this way it sounds.
Depends on how patient you want to be, and if the wife says she is willing to change. One thing you could do is choose your top 3 rules that are eating at you, such as:
1. no overnights
2. no going out on dates
3. having a date on a weekend.
You could try stating that these three things are the ones that are making you feel the worst about the boundaries, and that you needed her to trust the two of you enough to choose at least one of these to be suspended so the relationship could have a chance to succeed, and then you'd all check back in about how it was going after a month. You could just ask for one thing to change that rubs you the wrong way. Obviously how she reacts is all going to be based on what she is scared of, but I think asking for SPECIFIC actions or boundary changes is most likely to be useful. If she refuses and hasn't spent enough time to figure out why she is so scared to let go of these things, I would say chances are slim that she is interested in doing that in the future either. Going at the pace of the slowest still means going at a pace if she's agreed that there is an end goal she is working towards.
Has you talked about how the closeting would be long term? Does she think that in another year say, that maybe other people would be able to know that you and her husband have a relationship? Truth is right there if she can't say that it will be OK to stop being a secret at some point, that would be my answer right there. Something else might be the sticking point for you, but I would want the answer to whatever that burning most important thing was.
Good lord, I can't believe no one has yet mentioned the rule that the wife must have access to all texts and emails between them. That just creeps me out, everyone deserves the chance to communicate with a loved one without being monitored.
A year is a long time. I agree with others who have said this is between you and him, not you and her. That means you need to ask him for what you need from him, and if he can't give it to you by negotiating a change in the rules with his wife, then, yes, you probably need to move on or at LEAST see other people and downgrade the importance of this particular relationship in your life.
I think personally in a relationship I could handle maybe a couple rules that strict even if I didn't like them, but when they get up to such a number it really is just overwhelming. I even don't mind if OSO's get access to my emails and such as long as I am told about it ahead of time. Of course them actually using the access would "feel" different than their ability to use it but the respect to refrain if you know what I'm saying. I respect any people having whatever rules they agree on and figure it's up to me to say no thanks to situations that would make me feel miserable about myself.
I figure no matter how intolerable some of those rules are to most people, because it was Sharer's choice to accept them, their cringe-worthiness seemed irrelevant to me. Of course if it was a new relationship I'd suggest running at that sort of list!
I also think the suggestions of downgrading the relationship's importance and dating more (if you aren't) are good options instead ending it if you think you could deal with that. I could maybe accept a list of rules in a secondary sort of relationship, but I'd hate to struggle with that in a relationship that was the/one of the most serious romantic connection(s) I had.
You agreed to these conditions which seem fine to me, ( except the access to emails and texts,..Wtf,..That is like thought-control ! ) on the basis that they were temporary.
Did you three ever discuss a specific goal for a future place in time, when a rule or two would relax ? I am guessing 'no'....
If not, I would sit down with them and explain that you have had enough. That you want change, and you need to see some proof from them, that they want to truly try for 'more'. Give them a chance to set about relaxing a rule or two, but give yourself a time limit on sticking it out. 2 months,..whatever.
If they can`t do that, then leave. Or, if they say they will work on it, and don`t show any progress in the time-limit you put on yourself for staying, then leave.
Lesson learned,.....(That goes right along with the hierarchy-malarchy thread, currently in progress, funny enough. )......If you want to start out with a better chance of something 'more' , then look for people, other then married-people who are long-term ingrained with one another. Or, look at married people who see each other more as 'best buddies' then romantic partners.
'Cuz, people can offer you bs advice, about how you are just in a relationship with him, and to do your own thing, but the truth is, they made a decision long-ago to put each other first. So old-habits, promises, and ways of life tend to die hard, or not at all. Many people think they want something different, but usually it`s only fun to be different for a little while, and on their own terms.
No dates AND no weekends, no socialising, no evening calls, no sleep overs, no holidays, and she must have access to every bit of correspondence between you two? AND if they are on holidays you get ONE generic text in case someone else reads it? who else would be reading their texts?
This sounds like the wife in the mix has very serious control issues.
I can't imagine why you would put up with this situation for a year, by now there should be some kind of a relaxation occurring.
Keeping things at the pace of the least comfortable is one thing, but if the "least comfortable" ones pace is an ongoing crippling restriction on the whole relationship, then don't put up with it.
While some of the details are different, there are some parts of your story that seem somewhat similar to my own. I was in triad that was supposed to be irrevocable. However, after a couple of months of moving forward, the wife (who was my long time friend) started having emotional problems with the situation. We went through a litany from her of, "if you'll only do this one thing, I think I'll be okay." Only problem was, she never was. It was always one more thing, and within a short time, he and I lost everything personal and intimate.
He kept thinking he could reassure her and we would regain what we had lost. I was pretty sure we wouldn't, but I wanted to believe so I stayed far longer than I probably should have.
I'm wondering in your case, if although the wife is probably genuinely trying, she just can't get used to it, and is afraid to say so.
My gf was also petrified of anyone finding out about the three of us. Very worried about what other people would think. I'm convinced this feeling played as huge a role in her inability to cope as anything else.
In any case, I can relate to having my needs put on hold like you. We're all still friends because we want it that way, but I've been out of it for about 3 months now. I expect that I will always have the grief of losing him, because he and I love one another very much, but also the life I thought the three of us would have together. I'm moving on slowly. It's tough. But at least my life is back within my control instead of being at the mercy of a person who just can't get it together.
You're right, you can't live life like you are. It's time for them to understand your position and either move forward or admit they can't.
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