How often to talk to secondary?
Greetings all! I'm new here and been poly for about two years. I've learned it takes a while to really learn the best way to balance having two relationships and you really need to be flexible. My question is I've started seeing someone about a month ago. We have a long history, we were together for a few months a couple years ago but it ended because he was not being honest with his wife about us. He now is separated and finally we can be together without any secrets. We are great when we are together, he makes me so happy. The problem is he is not good about keeping in touch in between our meet up times. This is very difficult for me to understand! I am someone who likes to text or email daily, just check in say "I'm thinking about you" or let them know how my day is. He does not do this. I'll text him and maybe get a text 6 hours later or even the next day. This week was particularly bad, he didn't respond to me for 3 days which kind of hurt my feelings. I just don't get it. He always has an excuse, "I'm busy" "I'm sick" but even when I'm both of those keeping in touch is a break for me and it honestly doesn't take that long to send a sentence in a text! Its frustrating to make plans, like we are supposed to get together tomorrow but he still hasn't responded about when we are meeting and where. I like to plan ahead and this is so hard for me to be patient! My question is how often does everyone keep in touch with their secondarys? (I know there is some discussion about using that term but I'm not sure what other term to use!) Am I asking to much to keep in touch daily or even every other day?? I sometimes feel like I have no right to make demands because I am married and he and I can never be more than what we are now. I also get a lot of anxiety when I don't hear from him for days and worry "what if he is losing interest" "what if he found someone else" and my imagination gets the best of me. I appreciate any thoughts!
If you do not like the way you are being treated then DO NOT allow it to continue. Period.
Why be in a relationship that causes you stress and heartache? If he can not give you what you need in return then it is time to move on.
I personally like to hear from my boyfriend at least once a day. I do not need his constant undivided attention but I like to know how his day went.
There is a different balance that's right for every relationship, whether it's primary or secondary. I agree with the other posters, if this balance is not working for you, you should speak up. His excuses seem pretty lame and his behavior seems perry thoughtless. On the other hand, he's far from the only guy to act this way. If he won't reform, the only other option is for you to try to give yourself a little distance, invest less, find other things/people to focus on, etc.
Ultimately, the ideaology and point behind poly (as I understand it) is honestly and upfront relationships (with however many).
The honesty and upfront part comes in to play regarding your question;
it's about stating what we want/need/expect from a relationship (both parties) and then deciding if those wants/needs/expectations are compatible.
Instead of just saying "i like you so lets go" without communicating wants/needs/expectations; like monogamy.
Therefore, you two need to do that-and clearly, this is a topic that hasn't been negotiated to both peoples satisfaction and needs addressed asap.
Personally, my answer would be daily. But, my husband, is more of a weekly kind of person (unless he's caught up in NRE, then its hourly).
You'd have the RESPONSIBILITY to know and articulate your wants, needs, and limits. He'd have the right to clear communication.
So you'd speak up to HIM. Not to us.
You'd have the right to nurture and support.
You'd have the right to feedback though -- so if he says you feel too clingly, needy with the volume you want, you have to be willing to take it to the negotiation table to find the happy medium compromise even if it is hard to hear that feedback.
And this work... would break out thus.... in my world.
Fine. We acknowledge you cannot marry him legally.
Call him (O)ther (S)ignificant (O)ther then. OSO.
But for your "me+ OSO" relationship tier in your polyship's polymath breakout what ARE the rights he will/has granted you if you play ball with him? The responsibilites you expect to undertake? And vice versa? So you function in right relationship to each other?
Has this framework conversation happened yet? Why not? I keep mine short and sweet. Can't hack that mission? Don't play with me, don't choose to accept it. We can be friends.
Why don't you feel you have the right to needs in that tier?
You can't ask your daughter to pick up the towels from the floor because you ask your son to do the dishes? That's silly.
So is this. You can't ask for respect and good treatment from your OSO because you have DH? Equally silly.
Speak up. TO HIM. And formulate your game book. I keep mine short and crystal clear. My conflict resolution framework is another page.
Areas of discernment, I expect to discern with the concerned parties at the Negotiation Table.
Go there within yourself and Name the un-NAME-able. Own it. Take the bull by the horns and do the first stage internal processing. Fill in the blanks.
"If you are losing interest, I want to hear the heads up by....I promise to react in this fashion..... so please just tell me in that way. So I can deal better."
"Hey, if we have to break up, here's my wants, needs and limits:______ I'd like to part as ____. I want to keep it real, and while I do not WANT to break up, if it MUST happen, I want to walk away with minimal dings and still be ___(friend?)___ in time."
Then when you square those up (one sheet of paper bullet list max forces you to think) present to partner OSO.
Have him sign off.
There. Now you can relax it down to the comfortable uncomfortable volume and just live with it. Butterflies in stomach CAN be pinned down so they stop fluttering so bad. In NAMING it. Then OWNING it.
Rather than amping it up to impossible volume you cannot stand just because you are what iffing it up into internal maelstrom winds making butterflies even crazier in there.
Everyone own your own bag! ;)
Hmmm. Here's another perspective . . .
I have never understood the need for daily contact that some people feel is necessary for relationships. Perhaps your bf is like me and it just isn't natural to him to be in touch every single day. That would be a total drag to me, as I don't like obligations placed on me just to reassure someone. I'm not the type of person who needs contact every day with people I'm involved with. Even in my marriage, my husband and I only called each other at work if it was necessary for planning something or dealing with something specific, whereas both of us knew married people who called each other every day or even several times a day just to say hello and whatnot -- I would scratch my head and wonder, "Didn't they see each other this morning? Aren't they going to see each other at home later?" Why such a need to check in? I just plain don't get it. I hear my next-door neighbor on the phone with her mother several times a day and I cannot understand why, since my mother and I only spoke once every week or two.
In romantic relationships, I do not assume that someone I care about, whom I know cares about me, isn't thinking of me simply because I haven't heard from him. People do have busy lives and shit to deal with. There are folks I think of many times a day, yet I am not in touch with them for weeks at a time, and then we just pick up where we left off. People who know me know that's just the way I am and don't get bent out of shape about it. Keep in mind that when you feel hurt over his lack of contact, it is you who are feeling hurt (a case where we produce feelings with our own thoughts), but he is not hurting you. This sounds to me like your expectations preying on you.
I don't currently have primary/secondary designations in my relationships, but even if a guy was my main squeeze (primary), I would not expect nor want daily contact. It just seems somehow like something excessive, oppressive, claustrophobic, and definitely overkill to me. That is not a criticism of anyone who wants daily contact, it is just how I feel if I were asked and expected to constantly be in touch. I like my alone time and have lots of introvert tendencies, though I am not sure I am totally an introvert. But for someone like me, to call someone every day just to say something like, "Hi, how are you today? Good? Yeah, me too... um... so, okay, talk to you tomorrow, have a good day," seems superfluous and dull to me. I'd rather wait til I have something substantial to share, or plans to solidify, so that the conversation is worth my time and energy.
Please note, all that I've said above pertains to regular communication. This doesn't mean I accept anyone's lack of following through on their word. The thing is, we lay our expectations and preferences out up front, so we know where we stand. Whenever I date someone new and we exchange contact info, I tell them, "Don't think that you have to answer my texts right away. I know that sometimes it's just not convenient to do that, so get back to me when you can." If it does take a few days and I need to get in touch, I text again or call, but it isn't worth it to me to get upset unless I found out that there was something I should've been made aware of.
Since you are obviously someone who really needs that day-to-day contact to feel secure in a relationship, and your bf may be more like me and does not need daily contact, this could just be a clash of communication styles or love languages. It may simply never have occurred to him that you would feel frustrated, abandoned, or forgotten over something like that. And he probably would never think it's a problem for you unless you tell him.
And although it is important to let him know this is a need of yours, I also believe you would also benefit from thinking of any compromises you can also accept, because he may not enjoy or be able to keep up with day-to-day reporting in. But I would also recommend you look at those insecurities that come up for you and try to unravel them, so that you and your sense of value in his life aren't at the mercy of circumstances beyond your control.
Hopefully, my perspective and how it works for me will give you some insight.
that sounds like Maca (outside of NRE). Just not a "everyday" communicator. If we didn't live together, (which has been the case several times) I would hear from him every evening SO HE COULD TELL THE KIDS GOODNIGHT-but he wouldn't talk with me every time.
We were still very much in love with one another and very much a couple. But, he can go a week before he needs that contact.
I totally understand where you are coming from. I had a secondary (for lack of a better term) for awhile and I had this problem. It wasn't that I wanted to hear from him everyday, but at least a few times a week!
Personally, I am the kind of person that appreciates daily or at least every other day type of contact. Especially because (like you said) it only takes a moment to send a text.
Every person is different! Obviously nycindie isn't like this... so much so she doesn't even get the people that do keep in daily contact! My fiance and I have been together over four years and we text pretty much all day when we aren't together. I've never found it obsessive, claustrophobic, excessive, or overkill. I've also never felt like any of our conversations were superfluous. We don't talk to each other if we don't have anything to say and we don't talk to each other (nor take it personally) if we are busy!
Granted, all this texting will probably cease once he's back in school, right now he's just got a really boring job and I work from home so when I'm not working I text him and I take breaks at the same time as him so we can be in contact.
In any event, I agree with what most everyone else has said. You gotta talk to him. Either make a compromise or move on. But if it's something you really need/want, don't settle for less. You just gotta decide for yourself what feels right/makes you happy.
I really don't think it's true that just because you want daily contact means you are insecure. It might just be how you work! However, some of your thoughts did seem really insecure... wondering if he's found someone else, etc. So perhaps you do need to do some work yourself!
Anyway, I feel ya and I think it's best you talk to him and either get what you want, make a compromise you are both happy with, or move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea and as far as I'm concerned poly isn't about filling certain positions in your life... it's about letting relationships blossom into whatever the two of you want! This relationship might not work as him being your boyfriend... Maybe something with less pressure?
Thanks all for your responses! I really appreciate everyone's input. It has come down to an argument between us today about this issue so now I have to really clarify with him. He did indicate in his email that he is not someone who wants to keep in touch daily, he is still getting over his past relationship which ended 6 months ago. We just have to set those boundaries. I guess that I was afraid to talk to him about it, I'm not really sure why. But now we have to clarify the relationship and where we are. We'll see if we can work out a compromise or not. As far as the insecurities?? Yes, there is a reason for them. We have a history. In the past, he wasn't totally honest with me when we started years ago, indicating his wife was ok with us being together but later found out she wasn't. IT ended badly. We got back together last fall briefly, he was still living with his wife even though they were separated. They fought all the time, he thought he could handle seeing me but with the stress of the marriage ending he decided he couldn't and sent me a "text' saying he couldn't see me anymore. Yeah, lots of history of hurts. so that's why I freak out a little about some of this. I love him dearly and we have this amazing connection, I don't want to end it right now. I do like the idea of clarifying with him about telling me if he's going to end it and stopping my anxiety. It is ridiculous I know. I am very upset tonite and just feel like we need to talk on the phone about this but he won't answer my calls, so I guess an email will have to do.
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