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-   -   First Poly Relationship, Need Advice (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=271)

TankDiveGirl 05-19-2009 10:40 PM

First Poly Relationship, Need Advice
 
Hi everyone,

I've got a little bit of a situation that I need some advice about, so maybe you guys can help?

A little background: my wife L and I have been married for 2 years and together for 5. I have considered myself a lesbian identified bisexual for a really long time, and she has had sex with men but considers herself a lesbian as far as emotional, romantic relationships are concerned. She enjoys sex with men, but doesn't have a deep emotional connection with them as she does with women. We're new to poly, though we've both been curious about it for quite some time. I'm the hinge of a FFM vee, with my boyfriend S being the other end of the vee. He's monogamous, or has been until he met me, and is not currently interested in seeing anyone other than me (and my wife, but he's not "in a relationship" with her, if that makes sense).

The issue: I went about opening our relationship entirely too fast. I take full responsibility for this, but am, of course, dealing with the fallout now, and I have been since the beginning. Things are slowly beginning to resolve, and i'm trying very hard not to hurry them along. Currently, the main issue is that I have felt like I have had to either not tell the whole truth, omit details, or cover some aspects of my relationship with S to keep L comfortable with how the situation was progressing. We have pushed past her boundaries in many many ways, and it has, of course, come back to bite us in the butt. L and I have been discussing and rehashing a lot of the things that have happened in the past, and she had been in a better place with things mentally until yesterday, when it came out that an old friend of hers confronted our roommate (entirely different person and not involved with either of us romantically) to see if she knew that i was "cheating on her" because she had seen me holding hands with S at school. L blew up and has said that I've betrayed her trust (which i have, i will acknowledge that) and that she doesn't know if she can forgive me this thing. Admittedly, I wasn't clear with S that we couldn't be open about our relationship at school, because the majority of the people that he and i are friends with already knew that he and i were dating and that my wife was okay with this. I see that this was a major mistake on my part.

The three of us love each other deeply and are committed to making this work, so please don't tell me to drop him and try again later with someone else. We know there are issues to be worked out, and we are addressing them. What I would like to know is if there's a way to show her that I still absolutely adore her and that I will respect her boundaries and her limits from now on, even though he and I have both screwed up in the past? We're still involved in a lot of NRE (which is why i covered up some of the things previously, because she felt like she was getting short shift in the relationship), but things are becoming more even keeled, especially since school has ended for the semester and I have much more time to spend with both of them and my time isn't crunched into an hour here, a minute there, etc.

I apologize for the book,

Thanks for listening,
Jamie

River 05-19-2009 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TankDiveGirl (Post 1203)
What I would like to know is if there's a way to show her that I still absolutely adore her and that I will respect her boundaries and her limits from now on, even though he and I have both screwed up in the past?

Tell her. Show her. Show her. Tell her.

WaywardDruid 05-20-2009 12:26 AM

Talk
 
You guys really need to just sit down and talk. (Communication - Communication - Communication) From what I've read you are the middle Female in a V with S at one end and L at the other. That's great but what I also read was L really didn't know that S was sharing sexual relationships with you? or maybe she did know that but she didn't know that you two were out and sharing - hand holding , kissing , whatever with public displays of these.

You all have to sit down and communicate your needs, your boundaries, what you are welling to do about scheduling time for each other. There's a good chapter in The Polyamory Handbook that deals with Resolving Issues, both past and present. Also a good look of how to put together a Polyamorous Relationship Agreement between everyone involved. Talk Talk Talk I know it's easy to know that you have to do it but hard to actually get down to it. Be honest and be yourself if you want to be happy in any relationship. I hope you 3 can come to an agreement that will meet everyones need's and wants and desires.

http://lazarusl.com/talk_to_me.jpg

Just Me,
Tim

TankDiveGirl 05-20-2009 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WaywardDruid (Post 1207)
[FONT="Century Gothic"][SIZE="3"][COLOR="Green"] From what I've read you are the middle Female in a V with S at one end and L at the other. That's great but what I also read was L really didn't know that S was sharing sexual relationships with you? or maybe she did know that but she didn't know that you two were out and sharing - hand holding , kissing , whatever with public displays of these.


L knew that S and I were being intimate sexually; she did not know that we were holding hands and whatnot at school. We were being discreet, we thought, but obviously not discrete enough. She had told both of us that she wasn't comfortable with us being out at school, and I should have been much more "aggressive" about how that boundary was respected than I had been, so I can totally see why she's upset and where she's coming from.

The three of us do talk, a lot. I will say though that speaking about emotions and relationship issues and stuff is NOT easy for me and never has been, so this whole thing is super challenging for me. Fortunately both L and S are understanding and also both very in touch with their emotions and needs.

I agree that all three of us need to sit down and discuss boundaries and needs in this relationship -- we haven't done that yet, and I haven't pushed it. Though I feel like I should have been the one to arrange that conversation since i'm the one who is the center of the vee. One thing that we have all spoken about is everyone's comfort level -- the three of us work really really well together, and i think as a functional unit we're pretty great, but you're right. We need to talk and talk and talk and talk, and we don't always do that.

Thanks for the advice!
Tankie

River 05-20-2009 01:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TankDiveGirl (Post 1209)
L knew that S and I were being intimate sexually; she did not know that we were holding hands and whatnot at school.

Handholding is such a serious matter! My god! Imagine ... pretty soon mere friends will be doing it, in full public view! That would be the end of civilization as we know it! Stop immediately! No more public displays of affection! Civilization is at stake!

TankDiveGirl 05-20-2009 01:40 AM

The issue wasn't the holding of hands, the issue is that none of us are supposed to be out because she's not comfortable with the general public knowing that we're poly... or more specifically, she's not comfortable with people knowing that we're poly that she hasn't told. I understand this; she wants to have control over who knows and who doesn't, and she also wants to be the one to decide which of our groups of friends that he gets introduced to and in which order. This is okay with me; and it's okay with him, because we understand the importance of moving at the pace of the least comfortable individual... we just thought we were being more discrete than we were, apparently.

River 05-20-2009 01:46 AM

All of that I can understand well enough. The part I find strange is that handholding plays a role in it. I can and do hold hands with friends. So what?! I have been known even to kiss friends on the cheek or forehead! or walk with my arm around them! in public!

TankDiveGirl 05-20-2009 02:23 AM

I think that the fact that we were out at school at all is the issue, not the fact that we were holding hands. I do hold hands with my friends (female), but when S and I are together, I'd venture to say it's pretty obvious that there's something other than just friendship going on. Add to that deep seated fears on L's part because all of her past relationships have ended with her partner (female) leaving her for a man, and you get one scared cookie. I've tried to be very aware of that, but I know that S and I moved too quickly at the beginning for her comfort, and when she expressed her feelings about that, I didn't respect them.

There's a whole lot going on in this situation, lots of background that's getting worked through and rehashed, but the main issue is that she feels like I don't care about her feelings or her boundaries -- which I do, an incredible amount, but I'm not very good at the reassurance part. And while I'm working to improve that, things keep getting mired in triggers for her and defensiveness for me. I'm being honest though, and I'm doing the best I can at the moment. I know these things take time, especially when they've started off in about the worst way possible.

J

Quath 05-20-2009 03:10 AM

I think you just have to show her over time. It sounds like you know where the boundaries are and you knew you were going over them. It seems that you have figured out that it will go a lot better to talk about it to her beforehand instead.

Is she feeling insecure or just angry that other people will know what she may consider intimitate details about her life?

chad 05-20-2009 03:11 AM

tankdivegirl,
You are smart and sensitive to understand that the the comfort levels of everyone have to be respected, even though you were not able to do so. And indeed, it seems so trite and innocent the hand holding. But nevertheless it was a betrayal of trust. It is so easy for those of us who betray to justify it, explain it, and minimize its significance. But for those who are betrayed, the foundation of their world disappears.

I think that you need to do what your wife needs to heal the betrayal and get the trust back. Hope this helps!


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