My full poly story can be read by looking under my name...but to try and briefly (?!) summarize........
Polyamory was a new concept to me. He introduced me to it after we had met (through email) on an online dating site. I wasn't initially sure I could handle being in a poly relationship, but after doing a lot of reading, discussing, and soul searching, I decided it might be something I was capable of. We agreed from the very beginning that ours would be a co-primary relationship (A "v" with him in the middle and his other female partner and I as friends with each other but not lovers. They were the original couple.) I told him I would not be interested in exploring a poly relationship as a secondary.
I eventually got a new job and moved to be closer to them (discussed and agreed on by all 3 of us) in Sept. 2010. (Prior to my move we lived in different states, a 7 hour drive between us.) I spent the first month living in their house until I found my own apartment closer to my job. (All this had been agreed on prior to my move.) After my move I often felt left out and wasn't being taken into consideration in much of the decision making they were doing that could impact on me. I thought maybe it would just take some time to work things out and tried to be patient. At the same time, I would periodically express my concerns about this. He would seek to reassure me that he didn't intend for me to be in a more secondary role. They were just used to doing things a certain way, and it would take time.
Four months into my move, I told him I would at least like a commitment to being able to spend time with him once a week. (We lived an hour away from each other). I was willing to do the driving since they were raising a child (age 8, hers from a prior marriage), I also said that I wasn't asking for exclusive time with him during every visit, but that our time could include family and friends as we had done numerous times before. He told me that he couldn't handle anymore stress and pressure as his job was stressful enough...as was his other relationship and family commitments...and he just couldn't handle anymore "demands". He wanted our relationship to be "fun" with no stress, and to see me if and when it worked for him.
So, "No" he wouldn't/couldn't commit to seeing me on a weekly basis. I told him this sounded like a very "secondary" role on my part and that we had agreed that wasn't what either of us wanted or intended. He went on to say that maybe we had just taken things too fast, and that I seemed to want the rights/privileges of a "wife", like his first partner (although they weren't married). He went on to say that was something I would have to "earn" over time. He told me that "Yes" he loved me, and really hoped he wouldn't lose me over this. He wanted me to remain a part of his life, and his family and friends really liked me, too.
After some floundering starts and stops (on my part, I don't do endings very easily.), I was finally able to end to our relationship, saying I wasn't willing to settle for what little he had to offer me. This happened the fifth month after I had moved to be closer to them. It hurt so bad, because I liked and loved many things about him and had grown close to their family and friends. I didn't feel I could maintain the relationships with the other family members and friends, because it would involve my being around him.
Last night I contacted an extended family member of his original female partner., when I saw on Facebook that she had major surgery. She told me that since I last saw him (Jan. 2011),he had met someone, (who lived a 4 hour drive away from him), eventually moved to be with her, and that they had gotten married a few months ago. (His original partner will be moving in with them when she finishes up a work commitment in a few months.) I felt like throwing up...wondered how I could have been so stupid....and grieved the loss further.
I'm sharing on here because I can't really talk about my sadness and grief with many people, since my poly relationship wasn't something I openly discussed with many friends or with any family. I recognize this could have happened in a mono relationship, too, but the poly aspect just made the loss all the more complicated and extensive. :(
Wow this sounds really hard, sorry you had to go through this experience.
Re: having to 'earn' privileges like spending time, I don't think this is how it was for you but I've felt something similar being in a pivot position in other relationships. I wouldn't have put it that way ("earning" or "privileges") but I think it's a real difficulty with balancing newer relationships with older relationships.
We didn't like the idea of primary/secondary either and I didn't want to favour one person or the other, but the reality was it would take time before I could feel the same way about committing to spending time with a new person. I had to get to know them better.
Like if I was single and just met somebody, I couldn't be instantly as comfortable with prioritising time with them (over other things) as I would be once I had known them for a couple of years, say.
It didn't help to think in terms of spending equal time with each partner because I was simply at different levels with each of them. Not being of primary/secondary per se but just our actual levels of closeness in the relationship.
This doesn't sound like what was going on for you, really, but your comment made me think of how hard it can be to navigate a new relationship (even doing your best) when you don't want there to be a primary/secondary hierarchy.
Hope you don't mind me digressing.
Wish that you have more positive experiences in the future. Ah, I can imagine how that would have hurt for you x
Thanks fuchka. I agree that it can be challenging to integrate another person(s) into existing relationships. Actually I was the one who brought up this very issue when he and I first started talking about poly. I told him that when I was married, working and raising children, I found it a challenge to find enough time for my husband, my children and myself, and couldn't imagine trying to add another partner into that mix! (When he and I met, I was single/divorced and my children were grown, but I was still working.)
He quickly sought to reassure me that it was very "do-able for people who love and care about each other." I didn't totally buy into that, but since I had no previous poly experience I thought maybe I was just looking for trouble based on my viewpoint and experiences within mono relationships.
I may not have had any poly experience, but I think I was much more realistic than he was about what might be involved in trying to make poly relationships work...to try and meet the needs of the various people involved. DAMN...sometimes it really sucks to be right!
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