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-   -   Balancing two partners (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28031)

Narayume 09-05-2012 02:22 PM

Balancing two partners
 
I am the hinge (F/26) on our relationship V with G (M/27) on one side and T (M/25) on the other. G and I were originally in a monogamous relationship and we ended up getting back together as poly. Not counting the time we spent broken up, we have been together around 7 years. T is the new comer and we've now been together 3 months.

Now, I am finding it hard to balance the two properly. I have been trying very hard to make sure that the NRE I have with T does not effect time spent with G, but G and I generally just hang together as such - for example watch movies together or both play (different) video games. We enjoy each others company and have a similar taste in films and audiobooks. On the other hand T and I like doing things together. We are constantly chatting, could easily fill a week up with night courses (given the money to do it), enjoy similar outdoor activities and generally do things together.

We all live in the same house, so if we all watch a film together, I usually end up in a heated discussion with T over some point in the film (G doesn't enjoy the sort of discussions I do) and it feels as if I am cutting G out. I guess it feels if I am not doing anything with G, just passively enjoy his company, it isn't as much "time spent together" as T and my active running about.

I am planning to spent at least one night a week just with G, but the rest of the week still feels really imbalanced. The fact that Gs main worry when going into polyamoury was that he would take second place is not helping matters. I have spoken with G about this and he has promised to try to think of things we could do together, but he never actually suggests anything.

So, any suggestions how to best balance the time? If you are the hinge on a V or have experiences in a V relationship, how did you manage to balance things so no one felt left out? On a more general note: What do you enjoy doing with your partners?

CielDuMatin 09-05-2012 02:56 PM

I do appreciate your dilemma - loving two people and wanting to make sure that both are happy and get what they need, and making sure that the way you divide your energies is equitable.

This is one of the areas where communication if vital - if you start getting into the second-guessing what they may need, you will drive yourself crazy. unless you have an ability that you are hiding, you are not a mind-reader. You should not be expending time trying to pick up on subtle hints about what people need.

How to make that happen? As a group you have to train each other. That means encouraging everyone to speak up if they have a need - if they don't say anything, then they don't have a need. Easy to say, I know. But you have to sort of train yourself out of this mode of working so hard at something that you're not sure what you are doing.

The problem with specific ideas is that they tend to be specific to an individual - while one person may enjoy going out for a romantic dinner to a restaurant, another would enjoy more going to a bar, yet another having a home-cooked meal with a bottle of wine. So you really do have to listen to what your partners are telling you, and they have to tell you.

It is also vital that you don't assume that just because it's something that you would like it is what they would like. There is an interesting concept that has been around for a while called "Love Languages" - the idea being that there are 5 different basic languages of love - Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Each person puts different weightings on each. The idea is that you need to know which of the 5 your partner prefers in order to make them feel loved.

Check out http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ which has more information and some assessments you can take - I encourage your partners to take them too, and for the three of you to share your results with each other. That might help give you a language and a structure that you can use to more effectively show your affections to them.

Hope this helps.

MusicalRose 09-05-2012 04:19 PM

It sounds like your situation is very similar to mine. I (Female, 23) am in a V at the moment with my fiance (R, Male 25) that I've been dating for almost four years and my boyfriend (D, Male 23) that I met almost a year ago and have officially been dating since January.

It really isn't easy to balance NRE with a long term relationship at first. Here I am, almost a year after I've met D, and I am just now feeling the NRE start to relax its grip on me. It isn't gone by any means, but that first unstoppable wave of it has finally subsided. R has been a trooper, but he has also struggled over the course of that time because he also worries about being replaced.

Parts of our struggle are very similar to what you have already described. R and I have relaxed into a form of relationship where we do spend a lot of our time doing things next to each other rather than actively being involved with each other. R and I both want to do more things with each other, but our interests, energy levels, and motivation can make that somewhat difficult at times. We like watching television shows together and discussing them, but it often leads to us feeling that we still aren't actively engaged when we do these activities.

D and I are still in a phase where a night together is easily used up just playing and talking with each other. When we are all hanging out together, he will also initiate a lot of cuddling or make sure to sit by me, which leads R to feel like he isn't getting enough cuddle time sometimes.

I guess I don't have too much advice to offer up at the moment, but I felt like this was a perfect topic to post in and that you and I could perhaps share experiences and bounce ideas off of each other as we go. R and I setting up a date night that was just for the two of us has helped a lot. And now that I can finally see straight through my remaining NRE, I'm starting to crave a lot of time with R again. It took a long time though and that can be a rough ride while it happens.

Best of luck in your situation, and hopefully we can be helpful to each other. :-)

Phy 09-05-2012 04:35 PM

Ah dear, how I know that dilemma. Just too well actually :) It was my main problem when things started with Lin. We are just like you and T, Lin was the new comer as well (kind of, as we knew each other for years already). We enjoy heated discussions, we play the same type of games, we love to fill our free time with chatting and playing. Sward (my husband) is quite often not involved in this kind of talk because he has slightly different interests. It has caused me quite some headache to figure this dynamic out and find solutions for the seemingly imbalance.

The most important step would be to get everyone together and talking. I tried to figure out what each could be thinking or needing and worried my self sick in the end. That is NOT the solution. You need to trust in your partners to tell you what they need and they need to remember to not rely on you to miraculously guess what they may be needing. This won't work. Communication is the most important part in such a relationship structure. As Ciel already pointed out :)

What I found to be helpful was the fact that they enjoy some similar things and spend some time together regularly. This helps balancing out the relationships and deepen the bonds everyone has with each other, because the friendly relationship they (may) have help relieve the stress you may be feeling (entertaining them and such) and grants you some free time for yourself as well.

As you asked what we like to do: My husband works most of the day and I can only be with him in the evening or on weekends. We therefore assigned a date-day just for the two of us. On Sundays we go out together, training in the gym, visit the sauna and sweatbath and just spend some time talking and relaxing with each other. We find this time for private connection to be quite helpful. Lin and I don't need those extra moments for each other, as we spend most of the day together and kind of 'do what we like to do with each other' almost 24/7. For the same reason Sward got an additional night every week (I switch beds/bedrooms every evening) to make up for the extended time apart in comparison to the time Lin and I have.

I have written about our transition to poly and living together in the life stories and blogs section (see link in signature). Maybe this could help to figure some things out. We stumbled about the concept of the love languages as well, you really should look into this, there is some helpful truth to be discovered for sure. Good luck :)

LovingRadiance 09-05-2012 08:48 PM

Quick question-does the partner YOU feel like you are neglecting, feel like you are neglecting him?

I ask this-because I have a similar situation-but my boyfriend doesn't USUALLY feel that way about it. He treasures the private time and he enjoys the "Just here" time too.

So, I have to be sure to allow HIM to tell me if he feels like he needs something from me. That's his responsibility. Instead of me worrying about it all of the time..

Being a hinge is hard work-but its a lot easier if we allow our partners to do their own "dirt work"...


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