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-   -   Illness and adequate support / Venting (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3075)

dragonflysky 06-26-2010 11:32 PM

Illness and adequate support / Venting
 
Just a little background:
My current poly relationship: He: heterosexual; She: bi-sexual, Me: female, heterosexual. None of us currently have other partners. They have had another partner on a rather short term basis a couple of times in the past few years, and they anticipate she will soon be seeking out another partner after completing college in Dec. of this year. We're in the earlier stages of exploring a poly relationship. I didn't go looking for poly, and, in fact, had never heard of it prior to meeting this guy.

My couple is also raising her elementary aged son. They live together in his house which is a 6 hour drive from where I live. We've all met each other and shared 6 days together camping at an S.C.A event earlier this month. She and I got along well and I can see her as being someone I'd like for a friend regardless of any involvement with our guy. Right now I have more of a "secondary" role, although I wouldn't want to be a "secondary" in the long run. I told him this and he said it wasn't what he/they wanted either.



This past week brought up one of my biggest concerns about being in a poly relationship. Who...what...where....gets priority when there are mutual and individual wants and needs????? (Yes....I realize this comes up in mono relationships, but the additional numbers in poly just seem to complicate it more.) I ended up going to the hospital with an undiagnosed condition a little over a week ago. My guy was aware I had not been feeling well earlier that week as he and I had a few phone calls and at times I sought his professional advice since he's a nurse. I called him when the E.R. decided to admit me as an in-patient for further diagnostics and pain control. I reached his voicemail and left a message about where I was, along with a couple of phone numbers where he could reach me, e.g., my emergency cell phone and my hospital room phone.)

As the week worn on I became very frustrated and sad because the doctors couldn't find the source of my pain....only try and manage it. I'm typically an assertive independent intelligent woman whose a good self-advocate. But after several days of pain and frustration I was wearing out. After 7 days in the hospital I was to be discharged so I could be driven 5 hours and evaluated by a specialist. (The area of the country I live in is quite remote and medical services are very limited.) I was still experiencing pain and they hadn't been able to diagnose anything yet at the time of my discharge.

My guy and I had phone calls throughout the time I was in the hospital. I called him the night before my discharge from the hospital to tell him what the plan was. He then told me he wasn't scheduled to work for the next 3 days and that they and her son would be going out of town for those days. I could reach him by his cell phone if needed. The son had a swim meet and they had a couple of other meetings they needed to attend. (I think related to their S.C.A. (Society for Creative Anachronism) involvement.

After I hung up the phone from the call it really sunk in that there had been no mention or offer of cancelling out on his other plans and coming to see me during his 3 days off. (I wouldn't have expected he could do it in the middle of his work week due to the long distance between us.) So far, I'm the one whose done the driving to meet up with them since I'm single and it's easier for me to make room in my schedule and just pack up and go than to re-arrange 3 other peoples' schedules.

Now would I routinely think he should cancel other commitments to come visit me? NO. But this definitely wasn't a routine week for me and I needed/wanted comfort and support. Why bother having a partner if they can't be there for you (including being physically there for you) in difficult times???? I've been divorced for 8 years and lived on my own for all those years. Yes...I can survive on my own, but I'd like a caring partner(s) to share life with. Could I/Should I have specifically asked him if he would change his plans and come to see me??? Maybe...but in all honesty since he was the one with the plans I would have wanted him to bring it up. And I have a hard time when children are involved in terms of commitments and priorities.


Any thoughts about how to handle this situation??? I want to be "fair" and thoughtful of all partners/children in our poly situation, but I'm sure struggling with this one. And who knows.....maybe he wouldn't have wanted to drive that far and come to see me even if he didn't have any prior commitments or plans with someone else??!!

Ariakas 06-27-2010 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragonflysky (Post 33846)
Now would I routinely think he should cancel other commitments to come visit me? NO. But this definitely wasn't a routine week for me and I needed/wanted comfort and support. Why bother having a partner if they can't be there for you (including being physically there for you) in difficult times???? I've been divorced for 8 years and lived on my own for all those years. Yes...I can survive on my own, but I'd like a caring partner(s) to share life with. Could I/Should I have specifically asked him if he would change his plans and come to see me??? Maybe...but in all honesty since he was the one with the plans I would have wanted him to bring it up. And I have a hard time when children are involved in terms of commitments and priorities.

I think thats a fair concern. The idea of having a partner is that they can help. Schedules, while nice to have, should be fluid enough to adapt to special circumstances.

The problem is you not verbalizing your need. Don't assume everyone feels the same sense of urgency or responsibility to people in the hospital. For example. Unless yu verbalize your potential want, you are leaving him to guess. :)

Now that its done, next time you have a date simply bring it up.

Quote:

Any thoughts about how to handle this situation??? I want to be "fair" and thoughtful of all partners/children in our poly situation, but I'm sure struggling with this one. And who knows.....maybe he wouldn't have wanted to drive that far and come to see me even if he didn't have any prior commitments or plans with someone else??!!
As I said up there, next time mention it to him. Don't expect him to know what you want...that way you don't have to play the guessing game of "why he didn't do it"...

cheers

Ari

AutumnalTone 06-27-2010 08:36 PM

I agree that making one's needs known is important.

I'm concerned, though, that the man didn't even *ask* about whether she wanted company. I can't conceive of any relationship being considered serious with such an obvious lack of concern (or so it appears to me). That speaks to an underlying assumption that she's simply an accessory to his "real life" and not an integral part of his life.

Or I could just be cranky. Seriously. There are folks who post stories on here who tolerate a great deal more nonsense from others than I would (these days, anyway) and I have difficulty understanding why they'd want to continue on in their relationships without some serious, immediate changes. I figure I likely sound horribly cantankerous to some readers because of that.

redpepper 06-28-2010 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ariakas (Post 33849)
The problem is you not verbalizing your need. Don't assume everyone feels the same sense of urgency or responsibility to people in the hospital. For example. Unless yu verbalize your potential want, you are leaving him to guess. :)

I agree, this is what what I would say too. It's up to you to tell people what is going on for you and ask for help and extra support. Tell them why and express your gratitude at having so many people to be there for you. People come out of the wood work when people are in need and ask for help. I can see no reason that anyone should not say what they need and give when they can to other peoples needs when they can too.

SchrodingersCat 06-29-2010 07:15 AM

Yeah, it's hard to tell when someone doesn't do something because of poly, or busy lives, or because they're just insensitive and maybe a little bit selfish.

I have to admit, I usually visit people in the hospital more out of guilt and pity than true compassion. Selfish-only-child-syndrome.

Another issue, a lot of people REALLY HATE hospitals. Obviously the person checked-in isn't so crazy about it either, but a lot of people just really can't handle them. So some people will only visit if it's a life-threatening thing where it might be their last chance to see the patient. Personally, I've always been a little fascinated by hospitals and they never bothered me. I like being confronted by mortality, it reminds me to appreciate life.

dragonflysky 06-30-2010 03:11 AM

WEll it's possible he hates hospitals.....but since's he's a nurse and she's an EMT I don't think things medical bother them in general! ;)

dragonflysky 06-30-2010 03:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutumnalTone (Post 33922)
I agree that making one's needs known is important.

I'm concerned, though, that the man didn't even *ask* about whether she wanted company. I can't conceive of any relationship being considered serious with such an obvious lack of concern (or so it appears to me). That speaks to an underlying assumption that she's simply an accessory to his "real life" and not an integral part of his life.

Or I could just be cranky. Seriously. There are folks who post stories on here who tolerate a great deal more nonsense from others than I would (these days, anyway) and I have difficulty understanding why they'd want to continue on in their relationships without some serious, immediate changes. I figure I likely sound horribly cantankerous to some readers because of that.


You hit the nail on the head for me! I keep asking myself if I'd accept this type of response or behavior from a monogamous partner....and I have to say I'm not sure I'd find it desirable in terms of having someone who wasn't more turned into my needs or who would at least ask what I needed from them. I was feeling very vulnerable and not at my best self. I had already told him what was going on with me and he proceeded to tell me their plans to go out of town and that I could be in phone contact with him if needed while they were gone. I didn't feel comfortable at that point in time asking if he'd come to see me instead. It seemed to me that he had made his choice and I didn't want to appear "selfish" by expecting everyone else to change their plans for me.......but I have a feeling a monogamous partner may have done so. At least the type of men I generally have loved in the past would have.

rolypoly 06-30-2010 05:34 PM

This touches a spot in me because I have chronic health issues, so supporting me in some capacity is part of the package deal when getting involved with me. I have amazing friends who help me in various ways, so I always have support around me. I've learned not to place a lot of demand on any one person (like a partner) and to spread out my requests for help among several friends because it can be too much for one person.

I've experienced different kinds of people since dating with a chronic illness. One extreme of a guy saying, "I'm not a nurse" and leaving me when I hit a rough patch and needed help. To another extreme of a guy who was playing out issues from his past and felt he needed to "save" me. And many, many wonderful people who have enjoyed helping me out, knowing I'm there for them when I'm able to be.

So, all that to say that I have a fair bit of experience with how others respond to me when I'm down and out.

I hear what you're saying dragonflysky, about being single and able to care for yourself and not expecting your guy to cancel plans. I also agree that this wasn't a typical scenario and if ever there was a time you needed support/cancelled plans, this was it.

I hear what others are saying about asking for what you need and I typically agree. But, isn't it more applicable to more subtle needs that may not be obvious? Things that need negotiating, etc? In my opinion, if you are in the hospital in pain and feeling vulnerable, there's a pretty obvious need for support and I think it's understandable that you didn't come straight out and ask for him to cancel his plans.

That being said, it really depends. How concerned was he on the phone? What did he express to you? How connected and cared for did you feel? He may know you as someone who takes care of herself and assumed that you would not want the company. He may have thought you were in good hands and not felt he could offer anything. Sometimes, just knowing a person wishes they could be there for me is enough. Knowing they're thinking of me, even if they aren't changing plans to be there. And people know this of me, so they send lots of caring words and thoughts. And I feel loved. :)

From my experience, a person's mettle shows through during tough situations. That's not to say anything about your specific situation, but I would want to know what you can come to expect in terms of support in the future. This is a new relationship, right? I seem to remember that from reading your other posts. I would want to know what you can expect, what you can ask for, how much your well-being matters, etc. He does have other commitments, so it is more complicated and there are more people to consider, but I would want to know how much of a possibility there is in the future that your needs, in a situation like this, would be considered important enough to change plans. How much of the whole package are you a part of?

Hope this helps.

AutumnalTone 06-30-2010 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragonflysky (Post 34123)
I had already told him what was going on with me and he proceeded to tell me their plans to go out of town and that I could be in phone contact with him if needed while they were gone.

How long have you been involved with the couple? The only thing I can think of to explain the lack of an offer to visit if needed would be if it were a very new relationship and there hasn't been enough time for much emotional investment. That would require a very new relationship, I'm thinking.

It could be an indication that this couple maintains an emotional distance greater than what you're comfortable with. They might treat each other in the same fashion, which means you're not getting treated any worse; that doesn't eliminate the issue that you're not comfortable with that sort of emotional distance, though.

It could be an indication that they're just never going to consider you as important as other things they've got planned.

I think it's something that needs to be discussed, certainly.

dragonflysky 06-30-2010 07:41 PM

Thanks rp and AT for your thoughtful responses.

Yes, it is a fairly new relationship. I met the guy online through a dating site in Nov., 2009. (I had never heard of polyamory until meeting him.) We had reg. emails and phone calls ( a few calls included her, his "primary" partner) before meeting in person. All three of us met in-person at their home in mid-April and spent a couple of busy, hectic days together. She wasn't around much of the time due to her school and work schedule, but I enjoyed the time I did spend with her and she told our guy she liked me, too. The first week in June I met up with them....along with all her children and her mother...for an S.C.A. event and we spent 5 days camping together. I worked alongside her at various times, having volunteered to help out. The 3 of us had some mis-communications and hurt feelings come up, but overall we were able to talk about them and resolve them. I enjoyed my time with the family, getting to know the others better, too.

During one of the days at the event I brought up to our guy that I felt very much like a secondary and that wasn't the position I wanted to be in in a poly relationship. He said he didn't mean or want for me to feel like a "secondary", but that things had been so hectic and that they were just more comfortable with one another and knew each other's ways. (What would often happen is that they would make a decision about where and when to eat, and then ask me and the other family members if we'd like to join them. They talked about if/when he might spend the night with me and then tell me "I think it will work out for us to spend Friday night together. Is that ok with you?" Well, I was never involved in the discussion with them as to if and when we would sleep together at all that week...which I would have preferred.)

My couple met within a polysituation. She was married to another guy and our guy became a third in that relationship. The other guy and she subsequently divorced when he chose to be in a mono relationship. She and our guy remained together and each is interested in finding another partner to form a poly family.

She recently asked to be added as a "Friend" on Facebook, which I was very pleased to do. I noticed on her page that she mentioned having several weekends filled up with events. It then struck me as to "Hey....they've got weekends planned out for the Summer. Where do I fit in???" Since we live 6 hours away from each other it's not like getting together can just happen on a casual spur of the moment basis.

I called our guy last night and told him I'd like to talk with him about some of my concerns related to our relationship and to a poly relationship. They were in the middle of an event that involved her son, so I told him I knew it wasn't a good time to talk, but would appreciate having time to talk with him soon.

Heck I don't know what to think!!!!!????? This is so frickin confusing.


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