Need some advice for my first real negotiating meeting
My husband and I have been together for almost 2 decades, opened our marriage a couple of years ago. Right now we seem to have a reached (after a particularly drama-filled summer) a new place of relative calm, where we both have our other relationships and also get along really well together.
However, the past months have taught me that the way we go about negotiating, discussing rules & boundaries, etc. is not exactly ideal. For instance, we often seem to do this after an evening of drinks, or when one of us comes home and is emotional, or right after a fight, etc.
So about a month ago we set a date for a 'meeting' which will take place next week where we will sit down, without wine :p to discuss in a business like manner where we stand, what our expectations are, possible new rules, stretching boundaries. My husband is a bit flippant about it, but I actually have a couple of things that I want to discuss that are new, and will possibly freak him out.
One of them is that I want him to think about the possibility of my BF spending the night with us, on occasion. (he lives in another city and lives alone, which means I always go and see him, but I would love to have him visit my city every now and then, meet my friends, hang out, and then be able to spend the night at my house). I haven't really thought about the logistics yet (like, who I would sleep with on these nights - or if maybe we should all 3 sleep in different bedrooms?).
Any advice how I can bring these sensitive things up? I should probably add there is no way that I would ever be ok with my husbands GF spending the night while I was in the house. But to me this is very much related to her as a person. (she cheated on my husband - they broke up and only just got back together). I could see me having no problems with another woman spending the night - though maybe I'm just thinking this because its hypothetical?
How can I bring this up with my husband and let him think about it rationally without him getting defensive or going 'ok then I want this too?' or am I being naive, in wanting something I'm not (right now) prepared to give him?
Should also add that he has met the BF a couple of times and likes him - they even had coffee together one day without me.
I just wrote about negotiation on my blog. These are the things we keep in mind ourselves it may be helpful your you. Been poly and married 13+ years we are happy and it's working. Also check out the post on Fighting vs P/S communication. The link to my blog is in my sig. Good luck.
If your husband has forgiven the cheating, do you think it's helpful for you to hold a grudge?
You don't have to like your husband's girlfriend, you don't have to spend time with her. But if you're going to expect your husband to approve of your boyfriend staying a night in your house, then it seems only right that he should have the same privilege. I'm big on "What's good for the goose is good for the gander," provided the goose and gander actually want the same thing.
As for how to bring it up, I think you're right that just taking alcohol and reactive emotions out of the picture will help a lot. The exact wording isn't important as long as you're being supportive and open-minded. Remember to let him speak his feelings without judgement. But also, be prepared that he may not agree to your request, especially if you're not willing to return the favour. In other words, don't get too attached to that outcome because you could end up mad if he says no, and then the discussion may spiral downward from there.
Treat it like a business meeting.
You seem to have set the appointment date.
Send the agenda for points needing covering. Over email maybe? Then he has time to prepare and not be blindsided. Does he have agenda things to bring up? Are they best served at THIS meeting or does he need to be given an opportunity for a separate but equal meeting? Then he is also having opportunity for his own air time for his own things.
Then navigate it rationally. This is not a conflict, but a negotiation.
If someone emotionally floods, adjourn and plan to continue business meeting later, and TLC the flooded person.
You already know you are not up for his GF spending night as a trade. Expect he will bring that up. What would have to happen for that to BECOME a "tradeable" for you? Think those sorts of things out.
Think also where else it could go. What is the goal here? BF to visit you in your city? Or BF to visit you in your city AND stay in your house while visiting?
That's 2 different things.
I would probably go with an email too, tell him I'm sending an email with bullet points I want to cover, and including a few topics we haven't discussed before, or that were sources of conflict in the past. Probably send it 2-3 days beforehand, and say I don't want to discuss it until our meeting, but that I wanted him to have a chance to think about the topics before the meeting.
I'd encourage him to send me a list of bullet points he'd like to discuss if there is anything not on the list that he'd like me to think about ahead of time too.
I'd be clear that we wouldn't discuss anything until the meeting.
Err, and I'd make sure not to drink in those 2-3 days and go to bed early to stay out of impromptu late night talks!
Really this is because I don't like things sprung on me, I like having a bit of time at least to think about things. Adam usually doesn't have anything he wants to talk about unless he's prompted, so I'd also hope the bullet points would stir up if there was anything he wanted to bring up.
I also dont see a problem with a double standard of who stays over. People I don't like wont stay in my house while I'm home. People who negatively affect my life don't stay over in my house while I'm home. Your bf doesn't live that close, and it sucks to be the one doing all the travel. I would have a few options available to suggest to your husband
bf stays over on nights your husband stays elsewhere
bf stays over and you agree to curtail all potential noise making activities past X pm so your husband can relax and not worry every noise he hears is you thumping against a headboard
your husband agrees he stays over on a night he has plans elsewhere, your date ends at X pm and you go sleep with your husband and your bf sleeps alone.
bf spends a night or two over first and sleeps separately but spends a bit more time getting to know your husband (if they both want to or think that would make it easier) before staying over and sleeping with you. I think the offer to all sleep in different rooms is a great one because it shows your concern isn't being able to get busy in a more convenient way.
now that I write all that out, maybe less is more...I tend to have too many options for my dear husband sometimes...
I have to pipe in. I have a very difficult time putting off discussions. If something's bothering me, it will eat away at me until I deal with it.
If I was on the receiving end of an email that said "We have something really serious to talk about, it's about __this__, but we can't say peep about it for three days" then I would spend three days worrying about what's going to happen at that meeting. I admit, I have mild anxiety and tend to worry more than I need to, but this approach would not work at all for me.
That being said, the fact that your husband and you agreed to this talk some time ago, it doesn't sound like you guys suffer from my disposition.
Don't think anybody (I at least wasnt) suggesting anything like saying there was "something serious" to talk about then not addressing it, just to send a list of talking points so there's no surprises (and I would've included *talk about possibility of overnights with Brian at our house in the list, I wouldn't be vague. If I wrote a list of topics and my husband wanted to talk about one of them sooner than our appointment, I'd make time, but I'm the impatient one in our household.
Of course if something is important or vital I'd talk about it ASAP. Then again I couldn't put off even a normal conversation for more than a few days, which is why we make sure to schedule 2 days a week at home so if something comes up we can talk about it.
Good you have set a meeting for clear thoughtful discussions. The outcome depends on several factors but mostly on a calm loving discussion with lots of listening. His feelings of security and comfort in your relationship and his is a big one.
Does he enjoy knowing of your romantic encounters? If so that could be a double bonus. If not then it could become a give and take discussion. This is a big step for all 3 (or more) of you. My advice is to listen to his reaction before you push too hard to sell the idea. He may surprise you and want to simple give you this added benefit (compersion) the act of receiving pleasure from giving your significant other the freedom of pleasure with another.
Ooop, gotta run... more another time.
Love to all
How do you bullet point "I want my boyfriend to sleep-over" and then expect him not to want to discuss it right away? My understanding was that they'd set this appointment so far ahead because they weren't available for a long discussion any sooner. Otherwise, why not set the discussion appointment for the first available time?
Her help request was that she didn't know how to bring it up, knowing it was a sensitive topic for him. In my opinion, bringing it up as a talking point for a discussion days away is not the most compassionate way to introduce a sensitive topic. I still believe that it sets him up for a few days of anxiety, waiting for this discussion appointment.
I do understand your point about giving him time to think about it before hand. But there's the chance he'll take that time to become more and more opposed to the idea, without seeing it through her eyes. Not necessarily, of course.
It depends on how he processes things, whether he's generally open-minded, whether he's skilled at looking at issues from multiple points of view, whether he's generally an anxious vs laid-back person, if he processes things quickly or takes more time to think them out... Without more information on her husband in particular, it's impossible for either one of us to know which approach is better.
I did not hear her say it was a sensitive topic for him just that
1."we haven't talked about it before and so I feel super awkward bringing it up, and I think he may freak out since it's unexplored territory"
2. how do I bring it up if I am not comfortable with his gf staying over too?
#1 is very familiar to me since I always worry my husband will freak out when I bring up new stuff, but it's almost always just the worry in my head.
My boyfriend fell asleep at the end of our date last week and I was worried about him driving home all groggy. He said he'd just go check into a motel on the way home if he needed, so I had to reiterate it was fine if he ever needed to stay, but afterwards I revisited the subject with my husband since we hadn't discussed "if Brian gets tired and driving home would be less than ideal it is still OK if he spends the night" for 6 months. I wanted to reconfirm it'd be fine for me to sleep with him if that happened. They've only spent 3 minutes in the same room ever, so though it's not a sensitive topic now since we did already discuss it, it's still awkward. I remember how nervous I was to ask about it the first time.
If she had said this was touchy subject between them I wouldn't suggest sending an email list, because you're right, that's not compassionate. If she did think her husband would respond negatively to something like that, making sure there was an hour or two free that night to talk about it would make sense. Then again that's why we have 2x a week together here, if I have things I want to discuss I write them on a notepad as I think of them and we go over them that same week.. Obviously the same communication style doesn't work for everybody, but that isn't going to stop me from giving suggestions on what works for me, I'm sure Cleo can take what she wants and leave the rest.
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