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-   -   From the wife's POV...? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26264)

WhatHappened 08-08-2012 12:58 AM

From the wife's POV...?
 
I realize everyone is different, but please remember as I ask that this is a completely foreign world and concept to me. And in fact, coming from a background of infidelity (x-husband's, not mine), I'm probably seeing things completely wrong.

But my boyfriend has told me from the start that things virtually never work out between a married person and a single person, and has told me specifically about instances where the (single) girlfriend thinks she's okay with things, and as her feelings get deeper, she started having a harder and harder time dealing with the boyfriend being married, until the very thought of his wife made her burst into tears.

For those of you who have been in the wife's position, knowing your husband's girlfriend is having a hard time coping with your existence--not trying to break you up or anything like that, but just simply having a hard time coping with something completely foreign to her--what goes through your head?

I picture the wife in such a situation being a little smug and feeling a little bit of ownership along the lines of 'that's right, he's always coming home to me.' Or possibly, being used to the situation herself, feeling like, "What in the heck is wrong with her?" Or perhaps looking down on her for being not quite so enlightened.

I'm just curious from anyone's experience...how does the wife regard these women and their difficulty accepting that he's married? (Men whose wive's boyfriends have struggled, I guess I'd be interested in your view of things, too.)

LovingRadiance 08-08-2012 01:48 AM

As a wife-I haven't thought either of those things actually. I tend to be over-concerned for the other woman's needs-to the point where I end up screwing myself. :o

In one case, it wasn't a problem, because she was also that way-so we tended to be ultra considerate of each other.
But, in another case it was a freaking FIASCO! I ended up emotionally bereft and totally messed up because I wasn't ensuring that my own needs were taken into consideration also.

I think it really really depends on personalities.

Mind you-I also have little use for hte "institution of marriage" as a legal thing-and would welcome a "second wife" in our situation.
I just want her to be someone who treats me with consideration and family love and care the same depth as I do my chosen family. If it's OUR family-I feel WE should be equally committed, responsible and privileged.

For example; I wouldn't have any issue sharing the bed with a woman I wasn't sleeping with-(I would prefer for sex we take it to our own personal space),
but I would expect that she's going to participate in cleaning, maintenance, childcare etc.

Shrug.

WhatHappened 08-08-2012 05:46 AM

I talked to BF more about this tonight. He said his wife felt sad that the GF was hurting. He himself seemed rather puzzled by it, when he first told me of it, like, What got into her? I don't understand.

I struggle with this, because, to be honest, I'd think most women outside of the poly world, as their feelings for the boyfriend get deeper, are going to have an increasingly hard time coping with going home alone while their boyfriend goes to bed with his wife.

From my perspective right now, it looks almost cruel, at the very least thoughtless, to invite this woman into his world, being kind and loving and giving till her emotions are deeply involved, all the while assuming she'll adjust to this worldview contrary to the rest of society and everything she's ever grown up expecting, assuming she'll be quite happy always being the one to go home alone while he always has either her or his wife--and then being surprised when she hurts.

I guess I feel better having asked him directly how his wife felt about her very presence causing this woman pain, and I guess I'm glad she didn't feel smug or possessive (I kind of figured I was off base there), but feeling 'sad' also doesn't sit right with me. It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?

Glitter 08-08-2012 06:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147024)
It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Perhaps look at it this way, she understands that we, as humans, have needs that need to be met. We have wants that we want met. Being in a poly relationship is about striking a balance with all parties involved. It means everyone needs to be on board and in agreement of that balance. Perhaps (and I speculate only), she's saying she gets how it can be difficult and it makes her sad to see someone in that kind of pain.

turtleHeart 08-08-2012 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147024)
Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?

Attempting a poly relationship with someone that is new at it certainly may be more challenging, and many people set rules for themselves that they'll only date people already in relationships, or people that are already used to polyamory.

This gets weighed against the reality that there are only so many experienced polyamorous people out there, and only so many places for meeting such people to date, vs the masses of people one comes across day to day that might be okay with polyamory but don't yet know about it or have limited experience.

Most people that are in polyamorous relationships are 1st generation poly. They had to learn/experience it themselves. So far out of the 100+ poly people I've spoken with face to face, only two grew up in poly families. Everyone else started with no experience.

Cleo 08-08-2012 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147002)
For those of you who have been in the wife's position, knowing your husband's girlfriend is having a hard time coping with your existence--not trying to break you up or anything like that, but just simply having a hard time coping with something completely foreign to her--what goes through your head?

I picture the wife in such a situation being a little smug and feeling a little bit of ownership along the lines of 'that's right, he's always coming home to me.' Or possibly, being used to the situation herself, feeling like, "What in the heck is wrong with her?" Or perhaps looking down on her for being not quite so enlightened.

I was in this position with my husbands first serious GF (after opening up our relationship).
She was single, never been in a poly type relationship, just had a bad break up, still very good friends with her ex husband with whom she shared custody of her kids (ex was not bad break up). She initially said that a relationship with a married man, in openness, was just what she needed (she had had affairs with married men (in secret) prior to meeting my husband). She wasn't looking for someone to live with, was happy with once a week dates, etc etc.
But after about 6, 7 months she started having problems. Some of these were related to the fact that she told friends and family about my husband. They were very disapproving and this made her realize that this relationship would not be a 'normal' part of her life. She also said "if you were single, I'd want you all to myself". They broke up pretty soon after that.

I never felt smug when thinking about her. I met her, I liked her, and I thought she was a good match for my husband (unlike his current GF - but that's a whole otehr story :) )
When she broke up with him he was very sad and I was upset and I remember feeling a bit angry with her, I felt that she had given up too soon and that she had not given it, and us, a chance to grow into this and to develop something good.

They still see each other as friends with very minor benefits (lots of cuddles and hugs and sometimes a couple of passionate kisses) and I have a secret hope that they will get back together. I have learned so much since the last time they were together, I know I would be a much better metamour to her.

nycindie 08-08-2012 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147024)
It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Wow, lots of assumptions in this one sentence you wrote. Unfortunately, there are far too many couples out there (mostly, it seems, when they are new to poly and fumbling about) who look at it this way, too - ie., that they are "bringing in" someone from the outside to be part of, or a subset of, their relationship dynamic. Essentially, a "Couple Plus" scenario instead of a group of separate relationships that all manage themselves. Eccch, that viewpoint always rubs me the wrong way. And perhaps those kinds of situations are "bound to hurt," but thankfully there are many people, married or not, conducting their poly relationships with consideration and thoughtfulness, and do not operate that way.

But think about this: what of the new person's own agency, choice, and decision-making in the matter? When one or both people in a married couple pursue a relationship with someone outside their marriage, that person is not an indentured servant. They can leave at any time, set their own boundaries, have other lovers. If a person goes in with eyes open and is making their own choice to be there, it is their own responsibility to make sure their needs are known and, if not met by their partner, restated. If that person is not getting what they need and desire from the relationship to be fulfilled, and they "go home alone and lonely," why would they stay?

As a solo polyamorist, I know it is up to me to make sure that any married poly guy I get involved with is able to work within MY boundaries, as well as whether or not I can work within his boundaries that he has with his wife. I have a say, as does anyone who chooses to get involved in a poly arrangement. You paint such a picture of a victim at the mercy of the married couple.


Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147024)
Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?

Pet peeve of mine: Vanilla has nothing to do with poly, as poly is a relationship structure, NOT a kink. Anyway, to respond to your question: why would it be any wiser to only seek out experienced poly peeps? Then we would all only be dating within a small, insular community, and limited in our choices. And polyamory is not just some thing that a select few are involved in; I really see it as a part of a whole restructuring of society, as we are in a wave of global upheaval and everything we used to count on is changing. Poly is becoming more known, and is a choice that should be available to everyone.

I believe that eventually polyamory and monogamy will be two choices considered equally by most people, and monogamy won't necessarily be the norm or standard expectation. We're a long way off from that, but still, most of us come to poly without prior experience. For that matter, at first, most people enter marriage without prior experience either. Any relationship involves a learning curve for everyone, because every person is unique. The only way to understand and learn about relationships, and our relationship to ourselves, is to dare to be in one.

Cleo 08-08-2012 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147024)
I guess I feel better having asked him directly how his wife felt about her very presence causing this woman pain,

just reread your post and wanted to comment on this line.
So you actually think my very presence and existence is causing my husbands GF pain?

Besides being a married woman, I'm also a secondary. My one BF has a girlfriend and though he doesn't speak in terms of primary and secondary, I would say she technically is his primary - they see each other much more often, share much more of thei lives and socail life, and are thinking about having a baby - if that doesn't make you primary, I don't know what does :).
Sometimes I'm jealous, yes. But I would never ever say that this woman is causing me pain. It is my choice and my choice alone to be in a relationship with this man. Its up to me and me alone how I deal with everything that he brings into the relationship.

nycindie 08-08-2012 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 147002)
But my boyfriend has told me from the start that things virtually never work out between a married person and a single person . . .

Oh, that is bullshit, by the way.

He is making a rather broad statement that he thinks applies to everyone, based on his own experience and a mono-ish perspective, it seems.

Vinccenzo 08-08-2012 12:10 PM

The situation being what it is, couldn't the GF find someone primary for herself? Being a married man's secondary doesn't mean the GF has to be mono to him if it doesn't provide what she needs to be satisfied.


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