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-   -   Not quite sure what to do with these feelings (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25805)

thedoubtfulguest 07-20-2012 03:58 AM

Not quite sure what to do with these feelings
My wife, L, and I have been together for 5 years. We are both bi and were aware of poly as a concept and had poly friends but considered ourselves mono until about a year ago. We embarked on a relationship with a guy we knew slightly. It lasted for about 4 months and then disintegrated, partly because we didn't really have that much in common and partly because he had slightly odd views about trans folk which made me uncomfortable.

After this, my wife, L, found that her relationship with a male friend, S, (who is bi and poly) was becoming increasingly flirtatious. They have known each other for a few years and are quite good friends but don't get to meet up often as he doesn't live close by. They agreed to meet up which I thought was great until I was informed that he was coming to stay for a week. I was a bit upset about this as it put me in an awkward position. I didn't feel very comfortable being relegated to the spare bed while L and her new partner occupy 'our bed' next door. So, I went to stay at a friend's house for the duration. I was feeling really wretched about the whole situation and felt my feelings hadn't been taken into account at all. I tried to broach it with her during the week but she didn't seem to understand how hurt I was.

Anyway, we spent only a little time together socialising, all three of us together before he went home. At that point, they were vaguely terming their relationship as 'um ... friends' or 'friends with benefits'. There were no specific plans made to meet again but the general expectation was that they'd see each other at some point and it may or may not be platonic.

Shortly afterwards, L found that she was pregnant. Since I'm FTM, I am obviously not a candidate and the only person she had sex with was her friend. Apparently, "accidents happen". I was not at all impressed.

Much discussion ensued and L was very certain that she wished to continue the pregnancy and her preference was that I take on the role of dad and her friend, S, could be as involved or not as he wished. He said that he thought it best that he adopt the role of retrospective (accidental) sperm donor and that I ought to be considered the father. I felt slightly that I was being pushed into a role without much choice in the matter but I accepted that this was probably the best option of the limited choices available.

Many weeks have now passed and L is starting to have a bump. I've been to all her appointments and had the priviledge of seeing this tiny human appear on the ultrasound screen. L and her friend, S, are cordial but overtly platonic now. They talk regularly but briefly. He and I talk a lot more now. We've actually gotten to know each other quite well in a way that we never did before.

I have very confusing feelings now. I feel guilty for assuming this parental role that I don't really feel entitled to and sad that maybe I'm depriving him of something amazing despite his assertions that the child would be better off with me as the father. I still feel a bit hurt and resentful about the circumstances of the child's conception. I also feel very attracted to him now we've gotten to know each other. I keep finding myself daydreaming about him. I understand that it's probably some artifact of my complex feelings about the pregnancy and probably some jumbled up product of a jealousy-compersion-smooshing but I still feel stuff. I suppose I'm harbouring some vague fantasy of us all being a big, happy, poly family together. Which is ridiculous, I know.

I just don't quite know what to do with my feelings towards any of the people involved in this whole situation - L, S, the baby.

I don't know if I'm looking for advice or if I just wanted to say these things because I've no-one I can talk to about this.

NovemberRain 07-20-2012 05:33 AM

Welcome to these forums.

I think this is a great place to talk. Real life is so much more complicated than fiction can ever be.

Dood! I feel for you. All I can offer is big virtual hugs, I can't even imagine how that is for you.

Wishing for you to find whatever it is you need.

GalaGirl 07-20-2012 05:48 AM

:hug: welcome! That was brave.

But... breathe... breathe.

You have a small window here to make big decisions. BEFORE this child is born and gets to know you as father, BEFORE you get more deeply bonded to your wife's baby, you need to finish letting all this emotional storm finish blowing on through you. Do NOT just react or be deer caught in the headlights. Move to ACT WITH INTENT and with purpose.


I suppose I'm harbouring some vague fantasy of us all being a big, happy, poly family together. Which is ridiculous, I know.
If this is the goal, or dream, why is it ridiculous? State your want, need, limit to your wife and S.

Can that at all be possible in some for for them? If so... alright. Let's discuss what kind of form this alternative family unit will take. Let's hold the unborn child up as the one with most to lose here if this isn't handled right.

Get yourselves BACK into right relationship with each other. Grievances aired, apologies offered, forgiveness bestowed, ammends made. Can we catch up the PAST to that place? Back to even keel? If so?

Let's get the PRESENT back in focus here. Confess you attraction, smooshy weird feelings, they dump theirs on the table. Let's begin anew, and begin with radical honesty this time. Can we get a working framework for rights and responsibilities in how this new alternative family is going to function and play ball now like honorable Star Wars Jedi and not flail about like it's the Muppet Show with people whapping each other with fish? (I jest to try keep it humorous and light, but I'm also serious.)

Every relationship has rights and responsibilities. Those are mine, and you all need to come together and make your own working model that will fit you all and your situation in a way you can all agree to.

Now let's talk to FUTURE. The kid is coming!

Get the legalities straight, S surrenders all rights, wife does not even BOTHER to list him on birth certificate but lists YOU, all the things that need to be done. Just so one bio parent or another doesn't suddenly go mad and tries to take child from the other two in some nutso custody battle, alright? We can wish it would never happen but with all the drama so far... let's crank this show volume back down to "keeping it real. "

The parent's job is to keep the kid safe. Let's move with that as the arc to this story now.

There's lots more to cover, but if this is a group goal, the group can start rowing together to get there. And you won't know if they even want to get in that boat unless you bring it up to ask if it could ever even BE.


I suppose I'm harbouring some vague fantasy of us all being a big, happy, poly family together. Which is ridiculous, I know.
Remember, it's Star Wars Jedi time now on this channel. No more Muppet Show.


Anneintherain 07-20-2012 09:40 AM

I would suggest you work hard (and start small if you need to) at setting boundaries. I'm like..awesome at setting them. If my husband said somebody was coming to visit for X time, I hadn't had input, and I could not make myself OK with it, you better believe I wouldn't just suck it up, they'd be spending at least some time in a hotel (the amount over what I was comfortable hosting) or if staying with us they'd be in the spare bed and my partner could go sleep with them there. Who decided you would give up your personal space? If you can't stand your ground for something that bugs you (and you cohabitate with somebody who likes to make decisions that affect the group), how are you going to stand your ground for important things (like decisions made after this child has been born?)

I certainly hope there's a happy poly family in the making, but where does S stand if he doesn't want a part of it? If S disappears what issues do you have to work out with your partner? Was this accident an actual accident or a "we're too horny to use protection? Are you glossing over horrible behavior because you love people? Deep down do you think a MTF person doesn't deserve as much love and honesty as other people? Do you envision being able to be happy in a future where your partner isn't trying to understand your feelings or hurt from (what what I consider at least) a BIG issue? And do you think they are insensitive in other ways or is it just this? This minor - oh some persons sperm got into my uterus and I'm bearing their child now...why are you bothered?

I'm sorry to be snarky in that bit there - I think there are hard questions to ask yourself about how you want the rest of your life to go. Are you with a partner who is putting you up there in terms of importance like you deserve, and have you have figured out yet how to put yourself up there in terms of importance yet?

thedoubtfulguest 07-20-2012 09:47 PM

Thank you for the replies. There is a lot to think about but it's helpful to get other people's perspectives.

In answer to some of the questions/points, I don't think it's necessarily that L doesn't value me or consider me important. It's more that she seems oblivious to other people's unhappiness or distress until it's spelled out in capital letters to her. And I do think it was a genuine accident. I think part of the reason S has stepped back is that he can be rather down on himself and feels he isn't 'good enough' to be a father as he isn't working at the moment and has had some depression. He is lovely though, and a truly well-intentioned human being.

I think we do need to talk a lot more though over the next few months and I need to try and really say what I want/need rather than what I can tolerate.

dingedheart 07-20-2012 11:44 PM

Hi and welcome,

Had the topic of children ever been discussed prior to this?

Does your wife have any diagnosed personality disorders?

Springing a week long visit on somebody is one thing ....but being kicked out of your own bed is another. How does one do that successfully? ... Just in case I might want to try that some day. Then come up pregnant after said visit ...wow. I can see why you have lots of conflicting feelings.

Have you considered talking with a counselor?

nycindie 07-21-2012 12:36 PM

I agree that you need to work on speaking up and not letting people trample you with what they want. Communication should happen beforehand, not afterward. Establish your personal boundaries and stick up for yourself! You were not really respected in this situation much at all, and I would be very angry if I were you. Why are you so willing to accept the role of daddy when you had no say in it at all? It sounds like you are seriously being taken advantage of. Don't take shit from anyone, no matter how much you love them!

I hate to say this, but . . . how can you be sure you are not being deceived? As I read your story, I wondered if your wife and S. actually planned this in order to for her to get pregnant. Sounds like she wanted a baby daddy and got one who is willing to be a donor and then step back. What about money - will S. at least have the decency to contribute financially? There are all kinds of wrong in this situation, and I feel for you, but you really need to strengthen your backbone and address how you've been treated or you will set a precedent that allows for more of the same kind of disrespect.

sparklepop 07-21-2012 04:24 PM

I actually wondered the same thing... whether L had done this 'accidentally on purpose'. Accidents do happen but the way that you describe her just going ahead with everything with little question makes me wonder whether this was a pre-conceived notion of hers...

I could be absolutely wrong, but it did make me wonder slightly.

When I read that she had S over for a week in your bed and 'informed' you that this was going to happen, I couldn't believe what I was reading.

Even if you have and want a completely autonomous, independent relationship where you just live together but live your lives as you wish, that's still taking things too far. It's your bed!!

I would always, always ask my girlfriend how she felt about something before doing it. That's just what works for us. My girlfriend doesn't even like it when I stay over at someone's house because I can't drive and the night trains finish at 11pm. If I told her I was having someone over for a week she'd go postal.... and I currently live in another country half of the year!

Wow... I really feel for you.

I agree with GalaG that your 'dreams' are not ridiculous. These things could actually be a possibility.

Have the three of you all sat down together and discussed things as a group? Discussed where you'd like this to go?

I'm very concerned for you, because it seems that your thoughts and needs are being completely steamrolled here.

Do you even want a child? If so, how involved is your wife going to 'let' you be? Is she going to steamroll everything, or are you going to parent jointly? Choose a name together, choose a school, agree on a parenting style?

What is it that stops you from putting your foot down and calling a serious discussion about this?

thedoubtfulguest 07-23-2012 01:43 PM

The issue of starting a family had been a long-running discussion between us for the last few years. I had made it clear that I didn't feel it was the right time for us to have a child for lots of reasons - we were still working out what the poly stuff meant in terms of our relationship, we weren't communicating well, I was very stressed with work and studying, we weren't in a great financial position. I have also considered whether it was non-accidental on her part but it doesn't seem helpful to dwell on that as it can't be helped now and any mention of it results in a lot of anger from L. I don't believe for one moment that S intended any such consequence as he really was shocked/horrified and very distressed by the situation.

L is trying very hard to make me feel involved. She makes frequent references to me as 'daddy' and conspicuously asks my opinion about everything relating to the pregnancy. She seems to be trying to compensate for my lack of consent and involvement at the beginning. I feel ambivalent about all this.

We haven't had a chance for all three of us to sit down and discuss the situation since we had the big talk a few weeks ago. It was at that point that we decided who would take a parental role and so forth. At the time, I think we were all still a bit in shock and highly emotional so there was perhaps a degree of knee-jerk reaction going on. There was a lot of tension, suspicion and hurt at the meeting. Over the last few weeks, we all seem to have come to terms with the situation a bit more and a lot of the initial shock and distress has dissipated and our positive feelings for each other seem to have returned a bit.

I have talked a little to my wife about this over the last couple of days although she has not really given much insight into her thoughts on this. I wrote a long and extremely frank email to S on Friday morning, laying all my feelings (both positive and negative) on the table. I haven't had a response yet.

AutumnalTone 07-23-2012 03:27 PM


Originally Posted by thedoubtfulguest (Post 144509)
I still feel a bit hurt and resentful about the circumstances of the child's conception. I also feel very attracted to him now we've gotten to know each other. I keep finding myself daydreaming about him. I understand that it's probably some artifact of my complex feelings about the pregnancy and probably some jumbled up product of a jealousy-compersion-smooshing but I still feel stuff. I suppose I'm harbouring some vague fantasy of us all being a big, happy, poly family together. Which is ridiculous, I know.

If you weren't planning on having a child and aren't certain you do want one, it is not a good idea to have one. Here's the thing: in many jurisdictions, if you act as if you are the parent and the child is yours, you legally become responsible for the child. If you and your wife break up in the future, you're then on the hook for child support while the actual father has no responsibility.

Now, if you want the child and aren't worried about that, then you'd be best served by taking action to legally sever any claim the father has to the child. Without that step being taken, he can assert his rights--and if he and she break up, that becomes likely--and can cause problems for you down the road.

I'd say, based on your report here, that the situation isn't very stable. I know I wouldn't be taking responsibility for the child, were I in a similar situation. I'd be happy to help rear the child as befitting a relative in the extended family. I wouldn't be comfortable taking full parental responsibilities for a child that isn't mine, wasn't planned, and when not in a stable relationship environment. Remember, you are responsible for taking care of your own interests and making certain others don't take advantage of you (which is what I see happening here).

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