"Secondary" and compromise.....
I'm quite new to the concept of polyamory. Had never heard of it until about 6 months ago.
What happened.....Met a guy through an online dating site. In his profile he identified himself as "divorced" which he is, but made no mention of being in an "open" or a "polyamorous" relationship. (There was no category for "open relationship", "poly" etc., but he didn't mention it in the body of his profile either.) We had some email exchanges and a phone call or two before the word "polyamory" came up. He had alluded to the fact that he felt you could love more than one person at a time in our prior exchanges, but up until then had never stated it clearly or referred to it by name. He told me after discussing polyamory in general that he had a primary partner and each was looking for an additional partner. He's heterosexual. His primary partner is a bi-sexual female. I'm a heterosexual female. There's no expectation that I would be involved in a sexual relationship with her, too. We live about 6 hours away from each other, which adds to the challenge of developing a relationship. (But, I live in a very small town in the mountains, so most people live at least 2 1/2 hours away from me at the closest!)
Anyhow....move forward to about 5 months later....I've read a lot on poly, done a lot of self-examination, and met him and his primary partner in-person for the first time last month. He and I hit it off very well in-person. She and I didn't spend a lot of time together, but enjoyed one another's company during the time we did spend interacting with each other. (I think she's the type of person I would choose as a friend even if we didn't have this guy in common.)
My concern.....not enough time and communication with him. It's NOT that I think it's because she would resent it. I think it's him... but maybe it's me! I've come out and told him that I would like to have "regular" contact with him, giving him the specific example of "3 to 4 emails per week and one or two phone calls." I've told him I don't feel like I get much priority in his life, that I want to feel desired by him and "pursued". At the same time....I don't know if what I'd like is unreasonable in terms of a poly relationship. They both work and are raising her 8 year old son. She also attends college. I'm single and my children are grown up, so I definitely have more spare time on my hands. It seems like if I want to be a part of this "family" I'm the one who has to try and figure out how to fit myself into their life together.
I'd be open to relocating to be nearer to where they live to see if that would help ease things up time-wise. He thinks it would. I'd find a job in their area first and for the time being I'd live in a separate household on my own. (I've been wanting to move from where I currently live, anyhow, due to there being such limited resources, social opportunities, and conservative values and viewpoints. Just wasn't sure where I'd move to!) My concern, however, is that I'd always feel like the odd person out. That it wouldn't be an "equal" relationship. That I would be the one making most of the compromises.
Now....I understand that no one can make me do anything...including compromising. At the same time I'm not clear on how relationship dynamics work in polyamorous relationships. I realize they can vary, as can monogamous relationships, but I've been exposed to far more examples of monogamy than polyamory. I want to be "fair" and "reasonable". But I don't want to feel like I'm the one doing most of the compromising.
Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm not even sure if I'm making much sense!
Welcome to the forum! There are many wise folks here who can give you some good advice based on their own experiences.
So I have a few comments for you:
The fact that he wasn't totally open on his dating profile isn't that unusual, in my experience - many people omit stuff, bend the truth and some outright lie on there for whatever reason. With regards to poly, some are not "out" and are scared that they will be found out by colleagues or family. The main thing to me is that they were very up-front with you and that he was truly poly and not cheating on his wife! (for the record it bugs me that people can't be honest on dating sites, but still...)
It does sound exciting that you have found someone and that you get along with his wife - that's a huge step and can be a major hurdle.
Working out time and a level of commitment is something that you most definitely need to work out with them. I would advise you to work it out with all three of you sitting down, rather than just with him - love may be infinite but time isn't, and if he is going to be spending more time talking to you, that's less with his current wife. You need to be given some clear idea of whether your very legitimate expectations can be met or not, and how they will be met.
As for moving - my only advice is to do it for yourself, not for him. If you are thinking of moving and getting a new job, then do it for yourself. If you do it based on being closer to him this early in the relationship then if the relationship doesn't work out then you are up a creek without a paddle, and full of resentment of what you gave up for the sake of the failed relationship. So if you can find a job and a place to live that is an improvement in your life, and if it happens to be a lot closer to them, then great! If things fall through you have still made a good move for yourself.
Does this make sense?
Hello and welcome :)
Maybe emailing, etc. isn't his communication style? My secondary (Possibility) lives ten minutes from me but due to schedules being what they are we rarely get to see each other more than a couple of hours a week. Getting him to communicate via computer or phone is so totally nearly impossible! If I want any meaningful conversation I have to talk to him in person. He does let me know he got my emails but doesn't generally impart meaningful information that way.
Stating your needs is the only way you can know for sure that they know what you need so good job on that :).
CielDuMatin and Breathesgirl,
Thanks so much for your quick responses and your thoughts! What you've both shared is really helpful to me. I'm soooooo out of my element and trying to sort things out in a fair and honest way.
Can you arrange for a three way phone call or video call if the three of you can't get together soon to discuss things?
If it helps write down your questions and concerns so you can referrence them during the talk rather than depend on your memory (if you have that problem, lol).
Ask her WHAT his communication style is. Odds are she can give you a more comprehensive answer :).
I've heard of partners sharing information like clothing sizes, favorite colors, food preferrences with other partners, lol.
This can lead to more and more wonderful things as you get further along. Being able to enjoy his primary's company certainly helps things along :).
Hi Dragonfly Sky,
Oh my gosh can I relate to your story. I live in a small community. I'm not happy there, want to move, but don't know where. I have become involved with a poly family (on this board), about 6 hours from me. I can also understand the circumstances of being the one who's single with more flexibility and more time, so needing to be the one who fits in.
I don't have that much in the way of advice at this point in time because I'm still questioning things myself.
A few things. I can understand why the guy you met didn't mention polyamory right away. Were you just including this as part of your story? Or did this bother you?
I want to second what Ciel said:
I'd start by asking questions like - why do you want to be in this particular relationship? If the relationship wasn't a factor, where would you like to live? I would also talk to him/them about your concerns. You might have a better understanding of how/if you fit in if you understand more where they're coming from. What are they open to exploring?
Do they only want to be primary with each other? Are they interested in making others "equal", so to speak? How does this sit with you?
Does polyamory ring true for you at all? Would there maybe be an opening for you to explore a deeper, more primary connection with someone else that would balance out the dynamic you have with this couple? Just a thought...
Hope some of that helps... (actually it helped me, so thanks!) :)
I'm really impressed with how its been going for you so far. You are really being smart and respectful. Your consideration for all concerned and your self is to be commended. The time and patience you have been taking is great.
I think you have lots of time to work this out and let things fall into place. A lot of your concerns will be answered in time and the answers will become evident if you leave them to manifest into what should become.
After all, its all new and no doubt you have not only some NRE (new relationship energy) with him, but the whole situation and poly itself.
A lot of girls like to be pursued. But a lot of boys do too! Maybe he feels it's unfair that he has to do all the chasing? Feeling desired is different, everyone wants to feel desired by the people they're dating.
"What you'd like" is not unreasonable in a poly relationship. Take poly out of the equation, and you just have a relationship. You have the right to have needs and to pursue relationships that meet your needs. Note, I'm very carefully not saying that having needs means your partner has the responsibility to meet them. That responsibility is uniquely yours.
If he were single and working and raising an 8-year-old, he still wouldn't have a lot of time (or energy) to aggressively pursue someone. Add a girlfriend into the equation, and he's going to want quality time with her of course, which leaves less and less time for him to spend with someone else.
I would be very hesitant to move closer to him on the promise of more quality time. I would hate to see you uproot your life that way only to find yourself even more disappointed.
If he hasn't time to pick up the phone, where does he think he'll find time to visit? That takes even longer, and usually requires first picking up the phone to make the plans.
A thought or two here...............
1> on entering an existing relationship - i.e. your comment about 'odd person out'...........
You ARE the odd person out - at first ! Just like the new person in ANY situation, social, work (new job) etc. It's part and parcel of the process. So you know that phase doesn't last forever if it's a good fit. And if it does seem to be lingering beyond what's acceptable to you it probably means time to move on because it's NOT a good fit. Like I say - think of it in a job perspective and it may make the whole process make more sense. It's the standard model. No big deal. Just because it's in the framework of some fancy, previously unknown context (polyamory) doesn't change basics.
2> Two references in one post about 'compromise' - and fear of it. Does that call out anything to you ? Maybe some competitive/comparison element ?
This is something we talk endlessly about. In the culture we live in where competition is hawked as the be all/end all to living, when we start swimming in these waters we soon discover that that is a faulty approach/model. What works here is COOPERATION ! There will be plenty of circumstances that arise that will call to this competitive fever we're infected with and we have to reach for the cooperative asprin ! It's a new skill (medicine) for many. Get well acquainted with it :)
The way beautiful, multi-partner relationships are built is on a foundation of 'cooperation'. A seeking of the greatest good for the greatest number. It does sometime involve compromise. We don't always get to have things all our way. But the odd thing is, is that we often end up with something far greater than we expected in the first place, only that it may have not been part of our vision at all ! Be open, be aware, be ready to be pleasantly surprised by subtle little gems you may never have known existed !
So yes - it is new (to you), so be open to learn and willing to throw out a LOT of old assumptions you've accumulated along the way. In this world many of them simply do not apply. It's a whole new physics :)
Thanks to all who have taken the time to post thoughts and ideas. I greatly appreciate it. Lots of food for thought.
I've already decided I wouldn't get a new job and move just out of hopes that a relationship would develop if I lived closer. I've been wanting to move to a warmer climate with more resources and with people who hold more liberal viewpoints and values. Where they live meets those criteria. Currently I live in a very small town in Utah that is mostly Mormon. I have some very kind, loving friends, but most people still hold to traditional male-female roles, beliefs and values. Also, I consider myself a "spiritual" person, not a religious person, and certainly not L.D.S. I've just made it a point not to get into discussions about religion/spritiuality, but I end up suppressing large parts of myself.
I think that even if I didn't become part of a polyamorous relationship with this couple, we'd still all be friends. We share several common interests. In fact, we've talked about the possibility of eventually setting up a wholistic healing practice since it's a big interest all 3 of us share.
This next week I'm going to be attending a S.C.A. event (Society for Creative Anachronism) along with this couple. We'll be there about 5 days. Since we're volunteering for various things, I'm not sure we'll have much time together, but it will be good to see them again. I'll be sharing a tent with her mother....so guess I'll have the chance to meet even more of the family! (I'm disappointed that I won't be sharing a tent with him, but I guess that's one of the "cooperative" aspects of poly???) I've always been interested in Renaissance re-enactment, but never had the courage to go on my own. Hopefully we'll have some time to all sit down together and talk about some of the issues I've raised and any that they have.
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