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-   -   Early-stage V (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2509)

Irena 04-15-2010 01:28 AM

Early-stage V
 
So I've browsed here for a while, and most of the posts I see are from people who are in pretty long-established relationships, and I'm in kind of a budding situation. Mostly I just feel the need to talk about it, and get input/perspective from people who are more familiar with polyamory than my friends.

So I started seeing a guy a few months ago -- he's polyamorous and very up-front about it. When we met he had a girlfriend, but she broke up with him very shortly afterward. So he's been single, and heartbroken, and also seeing me and another woman. At the beginning it was very clearly a rebound, casual thing with both of us, with very little expectation that anything would develop, but as he's started to get over his ex and begin to think about forming new relationships, the question arises: what place do we each have in his life?

So far, he's been seeing each of us on pretty much the same level, a night or two a week. He talks to me about her (which I want) but she doesn't want to hear about me. I'd like to meet her, he'd like us to meet, but she's very hesitant. He tells me she keeps bringing up concerns about my relationship with him -- not that he's with someone else (she says she's fine with that) but that I'm so inexperienced sexually (true) that I don't really know what I want, and that I'll eventually want him to be exclusive with me.

I tell him, and I think he believes me, that while I acknowledge I don't have it all figured out yet, I've been honest so far about what I want, and that if I ever feel like I want monogamy I'll know it's not going to be with him. But apparently she still has these worries, and it irritates me. I get that she's worried and struggling with trust, but I feel like the best way to deal with those worries is to actually meet me, talk to me, and know who she's dealing with.

Anyway. She also dates other guys, but she seems to be comfortable with the kind of non-monogamy where the various parties don't have a lot of contact with each other, or hear about each other. I am absolutely not comfortable with that in the long run -- I want my partner's partners to be close parts of my life, whether or not I'm romantically involved with them too (I think I'm probably bi, though again, too inexperienced to say for certain.)

He and I have talked of late, and although I really really hate to do the "I'm not sure if she can handle this" thing that she's been doing, I finally had to voice my concerns on that score. It seems to me that she's not comfortable with the kind of relationship that he and I both want (all of us talking and spending time together, not a sharp divide between the two wings of the V), and that ultimately, it's going to come down to either her or me. I don't want him to lose her, but I don't know what else can be done. I've made it very clear that I don't want to compete with her, I want to get to know her, and she's just thinking differently I guess.

So. Any words of wisdom?

SchrodingersCat 04-15-2010 07:15 AM

My first reaction is, there is some contradiction in what you say...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irena (Post 26561)
He tells me she keeps bringing up concerns [...] that I'll eventually want him to be exclusive with me.

and
Quote:

It seems [...] that ultimately, it's going to come down to either her or me.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Irena (Post 26561)
So I started seeing a guy a few months ago -- he's polyamorous and very up-front about it. When we met he had a girlfriend, but she broke up with him very shortly afterward. So he's been single, and heartbroken, and also seeing me and another woman. At the beginning it was very clearly a rebound, casual thing with both of us, with very little expectation that anything would develop, but as he's started to get over his ex and begin to think about forming new relationships, the question arises: what place do we each have in his life?

It's very possible that she only ever "signed up" for "a rebound, casual thing" and does not want to take it any further than that. She's dating "several" guys, which implies to me that she's probably not looking for anything serious at this point in her life.

Frankly, just because two people like the same person does not mean those two people will click as friends. You can't force someone to like you. It doesn't sound like she's being rude or trying to sabotage your relationship with him, and sometimes that's all you can hope for.

*shrug* I guess I'm just a little skeptical about forcing the "I want us to all be a big happy family" type of poly. For some people, usually older people (no offence LR and RP *wink*), it seems to work out that way. But they've been through the trenches, had lots of different kinds of poly relationships, and settled on what works for the long term now that they have kids and the whole package. But people like you and me are young and we've still got lots of exploring to do. Why do you feel you need to pin down exactly what "kind" of poly relationships you're going to have in the future? Life works out a lot smoother if you just live for the Now and let the future unfold as it will.

Irena 04-16-2010 02:52 AM

Sorry, I should have also mentioned that she has suggested that, for the sake of their relationship, the two of them may need to be exclusive for a while. He's said to me that he wouldn't agree to that, and I've made it clear that I'd be hurt if he did.

Over the last couple of months, she's been pushing much more "current-relationship" discussion with him than I have. I've been trying to let him take the lead as far as when to move into "thinking about us" and out of "getting over her." ("Her" being the ex, not either one of us.) She's more aggressive than I am, and I think that's actually benefitted me, since he and I are at a level now that I don't think we'd have reached without her pushing the envelope in their relationship. I'm thankful to her for that, and for the ways she's taken care of him that I can't.

SchrodingersCat, your point about trying to force the relationship into a particular mold is a good one. Also about letting things be what they are and seeing how it works. I feel that I could only be comfortable, in the long term, in a relationship where I was fairly close with all the SOs and OSOs and what-have-yous, but who's to say, since I've never done it? I have a tendency to first try to figure out how I'll feel about something, and then later try to conform my feelings to that guess, in some misguided attempt at consistency or predictability. So thanks for that reality check.

I guess the only ongoing question I have, then, is how do I deal with the other woman's insecurity/jealousy toward me? I'm frustrated, because I feel like if she just met me, she'd see that I'm not some doe-eyed na´ve who's going to flip out and create drama when reality hits... or some scheming manipulator out to grab the man and keep him for myself. But she doesn't want to meet me, so I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

redpepper 04-16-2010 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 26602)
*shrug* I guess I'm just a little skeptical about forcing the "I want us to all be a big happy family" type of poly. For some people, usually older people (no offence LR and RP *wink*), it seems to work out that way. But they've been through the trenches, had lots of different kinds of poly relationships, and settled on what works for the long term now that they have kids and the whole package. But people like you and me are young and we've still got lots of exploring to do. Why do you feel you need to pin down exactly what "kind" of poly relationships you're going to have in the future? Life works out a lot smoother if you just live for the Now and let the future unfold as it will.

While I appreciate what you are saying here I don't think that was what she was saying so much as she knows what will make her feel comfortable and this woman has a different comfort level. It doesn't seem to be that she is questioning it, but looking for a way to bring the two of them together on the same page because of their differences.

I also think that the idea of a her kind of poly is to know who her partner is with, not so much letting it ride with many lovers coming and going or looking for family, but just knowing her partners partners. A bit of a difference there I think.

(btw, I never saw myself as the old family type poly person as I have other lovers outside of my family dynamic. They fill a different need for me than family needs do....Interesting.... I'm one of thoooooose am I ! Why do I always feel like that is in someway wrong, or bad? hm)

I'm not sure there is much you can do besides wait and find a moment where by the two of you could work something out. I think that she is the one that has to deal with her jealousy first before moving forward. I wonder why she feels jealous towards you and not other lovers of this man?

saudade 04-16-2010 06:00 PM

Vees can be so difficult...
 
Irena, I'm totally in your guy's shoes (the pivot on a vee-- I've even been the pivot on a dysfunctional vee before!), and I remember hearing/saying a lot of the things that you've written here... I'm also involved with a guy who's rebounding these days, so I feel like I can relate in lots of ways.

Vees can be very challenging, especially when the 'legs' can't or won't communicate. From what you've written, it sounds like your guy has been pretty firm with the other girl about your place in the constellation, and that's something to appreciate and be proud of :); it can be tricky to hear a struggling lover make suggestions/demands and hold your ground. I'd say that as long as he's continuing to take care of you that way, and her issues aren't damaging your relationship with him, then the distance between you and her gives you the luxury of letting her work out her issues at her own pace. ;)

Here's an article from Xeromag that I just discovered on working through relationship issues (not sure how I've been missing it all these years). For me it gave a nice, neat metaphor for thinking about situations I've been in; I can see the forest AND the trees now! I've passed it through my constellation for exactly that reason, and it might do you all some good too:
http://xeromag.com/fvpolyrefrigerator.html

(Maybe he could pass it to her, pretend you hadn't seen it? :rolleyes:)

Good luck, in any case, and thanks for sharing your story!

Trying 04-17-2010 05:07 AM

I feel like I'm in a similar situation as you, except I would be the other girl who wants an exclusive relationship and isn't keen on the other girl.


of course, for me, I'd like to meet her(the other girl in what I guess is a V for us) just to see what she looks like and maybe get a first impression of her, but I definitely do not want to be friends with her because I see her as competition almost. Maybe she's feeling the same? Like you might pose a risk to her? It's easier to ignore the existence of another relationship if it's not in your face. Out of sight, out of mind.

Irena 04-20-2010 02:25 AM

Thanks for linking to that article, saudade... solid wisdom, and very useful. Even though I'm not struggling with jealousy at the moment, I'm sure I will at some point, and that gives a really good framework for dealing with it.

Trying, it's nice to hear the other side. I guess the "out of sight, out of mind" thing makes sense. My feelings are kind of the opposite... I feel a bit threatened when I think about him meeting some hypothetical new woman, but when I think about him developing a relationship with an actual person that I know something about, I'm happy with it. For me, the more "real" the other person is, the more clearly I can see that she gives him things that I can't, just like I give things that she can't, and I feel secure in my place. That's a big part of why I'm so eager to meet the other woman. But I guess I'll just have to see what happens.

LovingRadiance 04-20-2010 03:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 26602)
*shrug* I guess I'm just a little skeptical about forcing the "I want us to all be a big happy family" type of poly. For some people, usually older people (no offence LR and RP *wink*), it seems to work out that way. But they've been through the trenches, had lots of different kinds of poly relationships, and settled on what works for the long term now that they have kids and the whole package. But people like you and me are young and we've still got lots of exploring to do. Why do you feel you need to pin down exactly what "kind" of poly relationships you're going to have in the future? Life works out a lot smoother if you just live for the Now and let the future unfold as it will.

No offense taken at all!
I SO DID NOT want to be pinned down to marriage in my 20s and I already had a kid! :p
But yes-now that I have 4 kids, a house, looking towards retirement, I want more permanence. Mind you-many of the people I know who are poly (in person people) prefer something a bit more... open (and they aren't younger! the joys of the kids being out of the house!).

OP-take your time. See where things go. It's important to clarify what you want/need, but it would be good to be sure you remember to limit your expectations to things you control. Neither you or he controls her. THAT doesn't mean you have to stay in a relationship with someone who has a relationship you aren't comfortable with-but it does mean it's up to you if you are going to leave or if you are going to stay. It's up to him how he handles his other relationship...


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