Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   Poly Relationships Corner (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
-   -   Restrictions--please help (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2831)

ksandra 05-23-2010 06:35 PM

Restrictions--please help
 
So I've run into a bit of a problem lately. I have been seeing someone, J, and things have been going very well between us. I met J at a party in January and we started talking about books since he was starting a book club at his house. I started going to it before there was any kind of romantic interest in J mostly because it was something entirely out of my normal social circle and had nothing to do with any other part of my (incredibly busy and at the time stressful) life. My primary partner was okay with this since he agreed I needed this. However, as time went by I became very interested in J and things progressed since he was interested too.

Now, ever since we have been seeing each other, my primary partner, T, has been getting touchier and touchier about the time I spend with J. It's very difficult to bring up making plans with J since T gets very silent and moody every time though lately he's been getting better. There are still a lot of insecurities and so I have the following restrictions on time I can see J.

-I can only see him on average once a week, but whenever T gives his permission for me to see J

-In order to see him I have to give 48 hours notice to T

-When I go to see him I have to give T an "acceptable" time to be home by, that T decides on and half way through the date I have to phone T and tell him if I'm going to be home earlier

-I cannot see J when T is at work

-If I see J when T is not at work I am going to be taking time away from my relationship with T and T is upset

-J and I are not allowed to cuddle or be affectionate outside of a bedroom

-J cannot come to my house

-I am not allowed to text message J when I am with T, which is all the time

-at the montly bookclub I am not allowed to in any way physically touch J or be near him, it's just supposed to be a book club

These restrictions are driving me crazy. Every time I try to address them with T he flings back past fights from earlier in our relationship and it turns into a huge fight with him storming out of the room. Now it's gotten to a point where I am feeling very resentful towards T and I am having a hard time discussing this without getting extremely emotional and it's getting to a point where I feel like in order to stay with T I need to be either a swinger or monogamous and not polyamorous or latley I've been starting to think that maybe I should leave T since it feels like he can't do this.

The funny thing is that T has two people he sees outside of me and none of these restrictions at all on him. He says they're in place to make sure he stays the primary and so that no one threatens his position but it feels like he's sabotaging himself a bit. Any words of advice would be helpful. Is this rational when we're just starting out? How is a good way to calmly address these?

Thanks.

NeonKaos 05-23-2010 07:23 PM

This is what is meant by "relationship with prescriptions". There are a few threads on that on here, do a tag search for "prescriptions". It's bad enough when there are prescriptions at all, but in this case you also have a double-standard. If T can't deal with you having other relationships, he shouldn't be having other relationships either.

Unfortunately, most of the discussions on this forum about prescriptive relationships never got to the point where people tried to figured out what to do if you are in one and want to work your way out of the prescriptive part.

CielDuMatin 05-23-2010 09:04 PM

Limitations or restrictions should be agreed-upon and accepted by both parties. It sounds like you don't accept the ones that are being put in place against your will. You are voicing a lot of valid concerns, here. I really do suggest that you arrange a time and place to sit down with T and discuss this without him storming off.

Anything like this needs to absolutely be with the understanding of both groups - you need to understand specifically why each of these restrictions are in place and agree to them. I would suggest that because they don't go both ways and you are not happy, then some discussion of fairness and equality might be appropriate.

For the record, I don't believe that things have to be equal, if both parties see why and agree to it, but in this case you are not happy with it and don't understand the reasons why, so they seem arbitrary to you, and this needs to be addressed before resentment builds too far.

AutumnalTone 05-24-2010 02:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
Is this rational when we're just starting out?

In my opinion, it's not rational at any time.

Quote:

How is a good way to calmly address these?
If it's not working for you, then you simply say "This isn't working for me. This is why: ...."

Then you finish with: "I'd really like to find a way that this relationship can work for me. Are you willing to work something out that works for us both?"

If he does anything that involves refusing to help figure out how to make it work for both of you--flat out refusal, leaves the room, tries to change the subject in any way, whatever--then you know he's not interested in a relationship that works for you.

That's when I say it's time to leave.

Ariakas 05-24-2010 03:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CielDuMatin (Post 30514)
For the record, I don't believe that things have to be equal, if both parties see why and agree to it, but in this case you are not happy with it and don't understand the reasons why, so they seem arbitrary to you, and this needs to be addressed before resentment builds too far.

100% agree. Rules don't have to be equal, however they have to be agreed on. If not agreed on then there has to be room to renogotiate.

Quote:

The funny thing is that T has two people he sees outside of me and none of these restrictions at all on him. He says they're in place to make sure he stays the primary and so that no one threatens his position but it feels like he's sabotaging himself a bit. Any words of advice would be helpful. Is this rational when we're just starting out? How is a good way to calmly address these?
You may want to do this in a letter. It removes the emotion and makes it clear and concise. You could get really formal and create a section for rules, with the ability to renogotiate.

On another forum I am on they have a required meeting once every month to review rules with all parties involved. This is overly complex but we are talking a working family of 5 people. That just gives you an idea of some of the "contract" work involved. :)

SchrodingersCat 05-24-2010 06:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
These restrictions are driving me crazy. Every time I try to address them with T he flings back past fights from earlier in our relationship and it turns into a huge fight with him storming out of the room.

Rightfully so. It's not fair for anyone to tell someone else how they have to live their life. It's one thing for a partner to say "I have such-and-such needs within our relationship" but another thing entirely to say "I have such-and-such needs regarding your relationships with others."

"Storming out of the room" is appropriate. If you're 16. Ditto for bringing up past fights. Fights are bad enough in the moment without using them as ammunition in future fights.

Saying "I need some time to think about this" and then going off by yourself is the mature way to leave a fight.

The worst thing in all of this is that your boyfriend is following a double-standard. If taken to task, he would probably begrudgedly agree to follow the same superficial rules, if only so as not to seem like a total jerk. But I suspect he would feel just as restricted and controlled as you do, and harbour resentment for it.

Sorry, I'm completely devoid of advice right now, but the aforementioned threads have said everything that can be said about the matter of relationship restrictions, so I'll just leave it at my $0.02 about your boyfriend's behaviour.

jkelly 05-24-2010 09:29 PM

Crippling agreements
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
However, as time went by I became very interested in J and things progressed since he was interested too.

That's great!

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
There are still a lot of insecurities and so I have the following restrictions on time I can see J.

That's really not great.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
These restrictions are driving me crazy.

They should; they're crazy restrictions. Why on earth did you agree to them?

Since you seem to have already agreed to them, that's going to make any conversations around them more difficult for you. They're clearly designed to destroy the relationship with J, or at least make it absurdly awkward to progress. Meanwhile, your position is going to be that since you and J are getting closer, you need less resrictions. Since the entire point of the restrictions was to prevent that, I don't imagine that's going to go smoothly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
Every time I try to address them with T he flings back past fights from earlier in our relationship and it turns into a huge fight with him storming out of the room.

This is terrible behaviour. Is T under the impression that he has the relationship skills to be in a relationship at all? If you want to work on this relationship, I think that the place to begin is by asking T if he thinks that relationship and communication skills are important, and then to do a self-evaluation of where he is at with them. Does he think that he's at a place where he can continue to have a relationship with you without further developing them, and does he trust you enough to accept your feedback on that process? There's some really basic stuff that needs to happen here for a healthy relationship.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ksandra (Post 30506)
I've been starting to think that maybe I should leave T since it feels like he can't do this.

Yes, this is probably the thing to do. It would be nice to do his (current and) future partners a favour by explaining that he shouldn't be in relationships with people he doesn't trust enough to avoid trying to control their behaviour like that. Unfortunately, he's likely going to think that the relationship ended because you found someone else, which will just reinforce his belief that other relationships are the real threat, instead of his inability to do basic relationship work.

Incidentally, some of the other members seem to be focused on the double-standard issue. Like CielDuMatin and Ariakis, I think that it's totally possible to have completely messed-up relationships where every agreement is perfectly fair and symmetrical, and healthy ones when they aren't. On the other hand, if you notice that you have a tendency to agree to weird relationship agreements, you might in the future use a lack of symmetry as a warning sign for you.

NeonKaos 05-24-2010 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jkelly (Post 30614)
Incidentally, some of the other members seem to be focused on the double-standard issue. Like CielDuMatin and Ariakis, I think that it's totally possible to have completely messed-up relationships where every agreement is perfectly fair and symmetrical, and healthy ones when they aren't. On the other hand, if you notice that you have a tendency to agree to weird relationship agreements, you might in the future use a lack of symmetry as a warning sign for you.

I don't see where anyone is focused on double-standards, it was merely pointed out by several people. Of course it is possible to not have double standards and still have an unhealthy relationship or have unhealthy aspects in an otherwise viable relationship.

jkelly 05-24-2010 10:28 PM

Focus?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by YGirl (Post 30618)
I don't see where anyone is focused on double-standards, it was merely pointed out by several people. Of course it is possible to not have double standards and still have an unhealthy relationship or have unhealthy aspects in an otherwise viable relationship.

Fair enough. I should have written that differently.

NeonKaos 05-24-2010 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jkelly (Post 30619)
Fair enough. I should have written that differently.

When four different people say the same thing in rapid succession it can certainly seem as though there is too much focus on it.


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:05 AM.