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-   -   A question of ettiquite (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3290)

DazednConfused 07-23-2010 04:12 PM

A question of ettiquite
 
Ok, so still not sure how Im going to handle all of this, but I'm in need of some ettiquitte advice/opinions. My wife's boyfriend and I are starting to communicate (via facebook messages). A few conversations so far. I did ask her if I could contact him, she agreed happily. I did not tell her I actually did. I am of the mindset, that she can know that we talk, but not the details of our conversations. I want to keep communication open and honest, and I don't believe he, nor I, could do that worring about how the other would eventually relay the conversations back to her. Am I right?

EugenePoet 07-23-2010 05:20 PM

I might suggest that a useful assumption is that anything "important" will be shared. For one thing, it's really unpleasant to keep significant secrets from a lover or spouse. For another thing, it's only fair to try to keep everyone in the relationships on the same page. For a third thing, there's a sense of easiness that comes from being pretty sure that everyone knows the important stuff. It's good to avoid those "um...didn't she tell you...?" moments when someone feels the rug suddenly slip out from under his feet.

But for me there are other things that are private. Details of lovemaking, for instance; descriptions of smoochy moments; talk about the other person's physique. (Some couples find this exciting, so take that part with a grain of salt.) There is information that can be painful, and that should be presented gently and with consideration, and perhaps as it becomes necessary. That's something I have a great deal of trouble with -- I tend to blurt out the unvarnished truth.

As far as communicating with your wife's BF, I would tend to think that the general rules are the same. I remember that my GF's husband sent me a discreet email telling me when her birthday was, which was sweet. But again, I would assume that if you mention something that's really important to him in a message then he may mention it to her as well. It would be a little unfair to expect him to guess what to say and what to not say unless you specifically ask him NOT to mention something. And in that case the two of you are keeping a mutual secret from the third partner in the relationships, and if the secret is an important one I'm not sure how that plays in poly.

If you can look all the partners in the eye and say "Well, I've told you everything I think is important, and if you have any questions I'll try to answer them" then you're well ahead of the game. Etiquette, the nuances of doing it without hurting feelings or starting arguments, is really situational. Takes thought and care. Good luck!

redpepper 07-23-2010 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DazednConfused (Post 37205)
Ok, so still not sure how Im going to handle all of this, but I'm in need of some ettiquitte advice/opinions. My wife's boyfriend and I are starting to communicate (via facebook messages). A few conversations so far. I did ask her if I could contact him, she agreed happily. I did not tell her I actually did. I am of the mindset, that she can know that we talk, but not the details of our conversations. I want to keep communication open and honest, and I don't believe he, nor I, could do that worring about how the other would eventually relay the conversations back to her. Am I right?

ya no on that one for me... this is not a friendship you are creating in the traditional sense. It is much deeper and based on much deeper issues ie. you are intimate with the same woman knowingly. As you move along your conversation, which by the way I think is awesome! good for you!, it will become more evident that it is important to keep you wife in the loop as much as you can.

That being said, she doesn't need to know all the details. You can tell her that you talked about the cute mole on her neck, but not the details of it... does that make sense. She should not expect you to elaborate either. She can ask that you do, at which time you will have to check with him, but there should be no obligation to share the details... you are embarking on your own relationship with him. It needs to be treated as a similar thing as what he and she talk about... you would want to know, but not details either I would think?

Nerdist and I had a conversation about this the other week. He talks to roly quite often and I don't know what he talks about. I expect him to talk about his relationship with me and how that is going. I expect him to tell me how it is going with her. He hadn't at that point and I pointed out to him that his relationship to her is not a friendship. It's different all together. In monogamy one doesn't see this kind of thing... I wouldn't go and tell my best friend what is going on in my relationship because it isn't their business. Poly is different, info should be passed as much as possible, because you never know when you will need to talk about something.

Now that Nerdist does this I know what is happening with them and can support him when he needs me too. I don't have to catch up, I know already. So much easier and keeps everyone sane.

Breathesgirl 07-24-2010 01:02 PM

I agree with the others.

She should know that the two of you are communicating (which she does), she should also know the things you talk about in general. No need to give her the intimate details unless she asks.

During one of your conversations with him you might want to ask what is & isn't ok to share with her. ie: it's ok to share things that don't have the word private in the title or first line or something. That doesn't mean you, or he, WILL share those non-private things but it does mean that the world won't end if you 'accidentally' share something.

DazednConfused 07-24-2010 03:10 PM

Thanks for the pointers. I actually was childhood friends with the BF, so for the most part, its not hugely uncomfortable. It's not like we're talking regularly, just when something relevent occurs. I'm trying to behave with as much integrity as possible. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not as successful as I'd like, but I'm trying. I have moments where I'm fine, and others where I'm miserable. She keeps alluding to meeting up together, be it the 3 of us or in a group. While I'm ok talking to him (kinda) I really don't know if I could cope with actually seeing them together; or, God forbid, one of our mutual friends notices what I'm sure is a very obvious attraction between the two of them. I have yet to figure out which is more important, wounded heart, or, wounded pride.

redpepper 07-24-2010 03:38 PM

You don't have to rush to see them together. There is plenty of time. When you feel their is nothing left to do, because you are feeling good, then you could organize to all meet. Otherwise, sit on it.

The other part of that is that they will be just as nervous about seeing everyone together too. Empathizing for a moment on that one could be interesting.
If everyone meeting is coming up sooner than you might be comfortable, you can also ask it to be a hands off occasion whereby no one touches in anyway (except for a hello handshake or something). At the end of the meeting you could go and get the car and wait for her outside so she has a moment to check in with him on how he's doing.

For a time when Mono came over to our house, we would hang out together and then at the end of the night when Nerdist had said goodbye to Mono, Nerdist would disappear to brush his teeth and leave us to say our goodbyes alone. It worked well as Nerdist didn't want to see us. Also Mono and I needed a moment to connect and reflect on the evening and how we thought it went.

Remembering that Mono was going home and was not with me was important. He is the secondary, he doesn't get to be with me at the end of the night (except for two nights a week). Its important to have empathy in those moments and do everything one can to make it easier for the other (extended consideration). It all comes around. Eventually someone makes it easier for you and that is where the love and bonding grows :)

DazednConfused 07-24-2010 03:44 PM

Thanks RedPepper, I really do appreciate all of you mentoring me through this. I keep having the feeling like I need to force it uopn myself. Like a band-aid better to rip it off quick and figure out if I can deal/stay with her after.

Confused 07-24-2010 03:51 PM

I think my husband (S) is feeling a lot of these hard emotions at the moment although he actually seems to cope fine when the three of us have been together (but then it was always normal for me to cuddle our friend (A) long before any of this) its just afterwards when I'm emailing or calling him and he's not involved that he feels worst. Nothing more than cuddles and one kiss have happened physically though between me and A (at least not since we were a shortterm couple 13 years ago).

swfltriad 07-24-2010 08:02 PM

I agree with others that everyone should know that everyone is communicating with each other. Open lines of communication seem to lower ill feelings one way or the other, no matter the feelings. If grounds rules are laid then follow them best as possible, mistakes happen though.

DazednConfused 07-24-2010 09:58 PM

Ugh, ok so all of us and a few friends going to beer tent/concert tonight... We'll see.


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