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-   -   Just how secondary does a secondary need to be? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2261)

rolypoly 03-04-2010 03:26 AM

Just how secondary does a secondary need to be?
 
HAHA, whenever lots gets bottled up inside me, it tends to come out as a song. This one hasn't happened yet, but...

So, I think I will explode if I don't get some of this off of my chest. For someone who swore off relationships a year ago, I certainly have a lot to say about them. ;)

This isn't going to be one of those intelligent posts where I inspect one aspect of poly life and flush it out. This is just me having a lot on my plate and needing to process it with people who appreciate insight and poly intricacies.

I've been lovers with 'D' for about a year and a half. And it's never felt satisfying to me.

I'm her only female lover at the moment and I think also the only one who seems to have any needs with her. Since the beginning, I've felt frustrated by how seldom she's actually within reach. The first year or so, she was away and rarely near a phone, so there were occasional emails. From my end, it felt like she was zipping here and there and I was hanging, waiting, waiting.

She moved somewhat close by a few months ago. Since then, circumstances haven't been right and we haven't had much of a chance to connect on either a physical or emotional level. Life has been busy for both of us.

I told her that I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay lovers and was reevaluating that for myself. I requested that we have more emotional connected. We agreed that what we needed were regular, scheduled times to talk. I attempted this at least half a dozen times and she kept scooting off.

Long story short, I told her that I didn't want to be lovers anymore. That it would be much easier for me if I rejigged within myself the nature of our relationship so that I didn't keep feeling hurt.

She said that she was grumpy and just didn't want to deal.

Just how secondary does a secondary need to be?!! If I'm sharing my body with someone, I need something more than "hi" once a month. *sigh* I feel really sad. I also feel selfish. Like somehow my need for her unavailable time is demanding way too much.

CielDuMatin 03-04-2010 02:10 PM

First off, I am sorry that this relationship didn't give you what you needed - it's sad when something ends. On the other hand, I am glad that you recognised it and took actions to first try to improve the situation and then to get out once you knew that it wasn't going to improve.

As to your final question - I don't think that there is one answer that is going to fit all situations - not even close. It depends very much upon the needs and circumstances of the individuals involved as to what is acceptable and desired.

If everyone involved were truly self-aware they would know going in exactly what their needs and wants were in a prospective partner, and one good sit-down discussion at the start could allow everyone to decide whether this was worth investing time in.

However, that luxury rarely happens - sometimes people don't know exactly what they want until they are in the middle of the situation, and sometimes situations change and dealing with those changes can be a challenge.

Sounds like you have learned yourself about what you do and don't want when it comes to quality time and intimacy - that's something that you can ensure is communicated to future partners which will hopefully allow you to not have this sort of disappointment in the future, or at least lower the likelihood.

GroundedSpirit 03-04-2010 03:16 PM

Yea Roly,

I guess you handled it the way it needed to be handled. It is what is is we say.
Some things we see potential in in the beginning just don't work out the way our fantasies might have wanted to paint them.
Such is life. Not easy all the same, but we move on.

GS

rolypoly 03-04-2010 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CielDuMatin (Post 23438)
If everyone involved were truly self-aware they would know going in exactly what their needs and wants were in a prospective partner, and one good sit-down discussion at the start could allow everyone to decide whether this was worth investing time in.


Ha, do you really think so, Ciel? What of knowing yourself and then changing? Sometimes people go into situations not having any needs or expectations and then life/relationships evolve. Sometimes, like in this case, it seemed fine just playing at first, but a year and a half later, people change and it doesn't cut it anymore.

Quote:

sometimes people don't know exactly what they want until they are in the middle of the situation, and sometimes situations change and dealing with those changes can be a challenge.
Exactly.

Sometimes you need to try it all out before knowing it's what you don't want.

Ceoli 03-04-2010 09:22 PM

Yeah, one nice thing about life is that every relationship that "fails" or breaks down or hurts us also gives us many more tools for being able to create the right relationship from the experience of it.

rolypoly 03-05-2010 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ceoli (Post 23486)
Yeah, one nice thing about life is that every relationship that "fails" or breaks down or hurts us also gives us many more tools for being able to create the right relationship from the experience of it.

Then I should be an expert by now!!! LOL!!!

thunkybunny 03-14-2010 11:18 AM

I'm working on a paper re: poly 'Vee' relationships, informed by my own bad experience and the bad experiences of many other 'secondaries' plus existing literature. From what I can gather, a lot of the problems tend to begin looooooong before joining an existing relationship so there often isn't much that a secondary can do to improve the situation beyond acting as a strong and assertive advocate for the quality of relationships -- much like other areas of life. The secondary is a tough and lonely role because there are few social/cultural protections for the secondary partner. A funny thing is that the basic needs of secondary relationships are the same as the basic needs of primary relationships, but people's egos and insecurities often cloud their abilities to understand that. The partners to the established relationship really have to participate actively in helping the secondary feel a sense of belonging. It helps for a secondary partner to have a good network of other family/friends to balance out connections. On the plus side, there are fewer barriers to a secondary partner leaving a dysfunctional relationship. Painful as that may be, it is sometimes the best option when the secondary does not have a willing PARTNER in the relationship.


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