Conflict over hierarchy
I'm new to these forums, so firstly hi!
I'm hoping some of you experienced poly folk could help me out.
I've always been open to the concept of poly, and have always had non-monogamous relationships sexually. However, I'm now in a full-blown poly relationship. My lover/partner/boyfriend (the question of what I call him is part of the problem!) has another partner, who he's been with for a few years. We got together when they had broken up for a while, and they then got back together but in a poly set-up. I knew this might happen and the poly itself was never a problem for me.
The problem is that I think my metamour went back into the relationship thinking that she would be the primary, and I would be secondary, a lover as opposed to a partner. Both me and the guy in question want a set up where we can have as many primaries, secondaries or anything else under the sun as feels right and natural at the time, and we don't want to privilege any relationship over another.
Of course I'm really glad he feels like that - I wouldn't have stuck around if he didn't - but I feel that he's not being totally honest with his partner about what is going on, and how he views the relationship/understands poly altogether. I know she still describes me as a lover. That is fine in some ways, because he uses the term 'lover' to describe both of us as he doesn't like any other term. But I know that for her, lover is distinct to partner which is how she describes their relationship - and I'm not comfortable being defined as secondary to someone else.
Basically, if I know how he feels and this is something I am comfortable to share with my friends, lovers etc, should I keep my nose out of what they say to each other? Or is it my business to know because it might affect my friendship with my metamour?
Sorry if this is long and confusing. I'd just really appreciate some advice on the issue. Just ask if you need clarification on any of this jumbled mess :)
Hmmm, that's a really good question.
On the one hand, if you and he have reached an agreement regarding time, terms, priorities, etc, does it really matter what anyone else thinks or says?
But on the other hand, if you suspect that he's not being completely honest with her, is it possible he's also not being completely honest with you? Are you both being told what you want to hear?
If it were me, I think I'd want a sit-down with all three of you together to make sure everyone's on the same page to try to prevent drama later. If that's not something he's on board with, then I'd be wary. In some ways it may not be any of your business, but none of us live in a vacuum. His other relationships can affect you and your relationship with him. I don't know that your friendship with your metamour is even the biggest concern right now- I'd be more concerned with the question of "Is he managing his relationships in an honest and healthy way?"
I echo the idea that the only real way to get this resolved is for the three of you to talk - that is the only way that everybody will get the same story.
If she really wants a hierarchical set-up then she has the chance to voice that, and he has a chance to respond about what HE wants, and you can do the same. Then you can see whether there are areas of commonality there that you can explore, or if the gulf is too wide to cross.
My gut tells me that he will do all he could to stop this from happening, because I wonder whether what he is telling you is consistent with what he is telling her, and that needs to be resolved.
Thanks guys for your amazing advice :) much appreciated.
He has actually already suggested a sit down between the three of us, which is great. I'm going for dinner with my metamour soon too, so I know there is good will all around. I guess the thought of us sitting down is kinda scary, too, because if I'm not sure what's been communicated and what hasn't then I don't want to come out with something that she doesn't know, or find that there are things I don't know about the relationship! I suppose, though, that it's actually a very good way to bring these issues to the fore if they do exist and get some reassurance for everyone involved if they don't.
Thanks again for your help, it means a great deal that others know what I am going through!
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