Holiday Help! Please.
My husband has a girlfriend who he has been seeing for three months. We have been open for three years but my 'boyfriend' was much younger and lived 3000miles away and never interacted with our family much.
My husband and I are having issues around the holiday. My husband asked her (S) what she was doing for thanksgiving. She (I guess) wanted to be invited over but I am just not ready for that. Now we will be facing Christmas...
Here is what I need advice for: Is it for the primary couple to decide boundaries and go from there? Or should I insist that my husband and his girlfriend communicate what they want before I make a decision?
My husband and mine's desires are at odds. He has told me that he wants a full-on poly family with his girlfriend included in situations and ultimately living together. What I want is more along the lines of an open marriage- I want my son, husband, and I to remain a family unit and have my husband and I free to date others. These others are by no means a booty-call, I want real, intimate relationships, and want my husband to have to the same...but I don't want these couplings to be part of our family unit. This is partially because I am not really poly, and partially because I feel like our family unit is tenuous and my husband and I are nit sexual partners.
So, I know that ultimately, I have to decide what I want and he has to decide what he wants. But I feel like I am turned into the 'gatekeeper' and I don't want this.
This is partially because me husband andd his gf don't communicate, so I don't Know WHat she wants. Also, because my husband won't come out to our son nor his parents (who will be here at Christmas). He hasn't even told them he has a friend, let alone that she is a girlfriend.
I feel like I'm getting all the blame and being turned into the gatekeeper/bitch.
What is my husband's responsibility to communicate directly with his GF and tell me her desires?
I have highlighted what he wants and what you wants, does he know how you feel? can you talk to the gf, find out what she wants, maybe she wants this and you can work on it or maybe she doesn't want to move in, could gf come for dinner and then go home or stay the night and relax, maybe this is something you all could enjoy.
are you friends with the gf, if anyone asks just say she is a friend and don't have them cuddle or kiss etc when the other family members are there?
making a poly family unit is hard work esp if you aren't really poly.
please come back and chat some more x
Yes, he knows what I want.
I have met her and like her, but I don't desire to be friends with her.. ..I was wonder whether it would be appropriate for ME to ask her what she wants when HE can't' even do that.
I don't know why other people become poly, but I decided (we decided) to open our relationship because I felt too suffocated. My husband had not even any platonic friends, while I had many. I felt very co-depentdent and like I was carrying all the emotion in the family. Having a boyfriend meant having MY OWN SECRET space, just for me. That is what I have continued to want, a boyfriend (space) a way from the family.
This situation makes me feel like I'm falling back into co-depence again, and trying to moderate communication for my husband and his GF...
The separate issue is that is it fair for my husband to ask me to include his GF in our family when he won't come out to his family. I came out to my parents 3 years ago - and they are less liberal than his, but my point is he's putting too much pressure on me.
To some degree, I feel like he should open up his communication before I create my boundaries, but is that how it's done? And if not, how can I not be that "bad guy" what I mean is he is (essentially) saying to her, "I'm not going to tell my folks nor son about what and I am not going to ask what you want...but my wife doesn't want you over so my behavior doesn't matter>"
Many poly parents wait a good long time before introducing a lover into family situations. He has only known her for three months - that is nothing, really. In a month when Christmas rolls around, their relationship will still be fairly new. They are still just getting to know each other. If I were you I would tell him that you need to have more knowledge of who she is, over more time, before asking her to family dinners and events, and to be around your kids. I would never expect to be invited to Thanksgiving or Christmas if I were dating someone for only three or four months. That's ridiculous. Even if she doesn't have family nearby, it isn't your responsibility to host her at your place. Your husband needs to wake up a little about that.
You can have your own boundaries any time you want.
"At this time, I prefer you not have her over here because Christmas is a family thing and I prefer outside relationships not mix up with the son and family things. This is a limit."
Or something to that effect but in your own words. In the long haul whether it is a hard limit (never will change) or a soft limit (could change over time) -- you have to decided that. But hard or soft -- a limit at this time is still a limit at this time.
You can only choose your own behavior and manage your own stuff. You cannot choose his behavior for him. Let him deal with his things.
Having your own limits about what you are willing or not willing to participate in or deal with at this time is not preventing him from anything or you being a "gatekeeper bitch." Just state your position at this time on "Can I invite my gf to this xmas?" and let him deal with the rest.
You could choose to reach out to her and tell her your willingness to talk direct rather than via the hinge, and your willingness to talk in trio for clear communication. You could choose to tell him as well. Or email them both at once. However method you choose -- you could choose to do that.
There. You are willing to talk. Neither of them take you up on it so you can sort things out as they come up sanely? Not your problem if they do not avail themselves of the reasonable opportunity given. *shrug* You can only control you. Not other people.
Well I cannot comment on the difference of preferences for what type of Poly that you and your husband have, other than to say that's an issue you two really need to find some common ground on. And soon.
As for holidays and secondary partners and their expections.....That I can give you an opinion on:
For about three months currently, I have started dating a married guy with kids. And I am on very friendly terms with his wife.
I did NOT spend Thanksgiving with him/them, and...I do NOT expect to spend Christmas day with them either.
A nice holiday date with him about a few days before Christmas, where I can spend a little time with him, exchange a gift, have some good holiday food, whatever----yeah, That is a VERY reasonable expectation.
To spend actual Christmas day with him, his wife and kids? I would never ask that!
(And this early in dating, I'd probably even turn it down if invited. Too soon---maybe next year.)
In the meantime I just wanna put some effort on trying to find my own primary partner for this and future holidays.
So that's my two cents. :cool:
Really if you are comfortable doing it, I think a lot can be accomplished in a positive direction if metamours are willing to talk, and if you get to know her better at least you'd probably find clarity on if this "poly family everybody living together" desire your husband has. I think it's perfectly fine to ask a metamour what they want and how they feel without being buddies with them, I think with a non communicative hinge, that might get both of you more of the things you want.
If you already know how you feel about Christmas, no you should probably NOT wait for them to figure out what they want then negotiate with you, you should make your desires clear now so the gf doesn't get strung along with some idea that there is room for negotiation that isn't going to happen. Feel free to suggest that Christmas Eve they have a date, or spend the night together the 23rd, or whatever feels right for you wherever the relationship is right now.
It's not for the "primary couple" to decide per se, but each individual. Maybe your husband will decide he wants to go do Christmas with her for example - but that does not mean you need to invite somebody into your home and life when you are not ready for it.
About him not being out - if it ends up being important to both you and her that he lets people know what is going on, I imagine there is a better chance that he will make it happen - not that I'm for peer pressure or anything but I understand two women seeking a common goal can make almost anything a reality ;)
Like GalaGirl said, you get to set your own boundaries. Neither party has a right to impose on another more intimacy than they're comfortable with. I like to say that each person is a whole, independent, complete human being and they get to make decisions about their lives on their own.
Thank you guys so much!! I appreciate the help - you are really helping my figure this out...
we talked more (argued) and here's what happened :
I found that I was upset because he told the GF "wife wants to it to be just us" and I feel that he put it all on me and made me the bad guy. What I would have liked him to say is "wife asked and I decided to go along" or "wife and I decided" so that he would have some participation (accountability) in the decision. Is that reasonable?
As far as communicating directly with her- the issue is the nature of our relationship. I am very social and he has a difficult time relating to people. His GF has been his only close friend outside the family in 12 years.
At one point, I felt like I was having a relationship with HIS mother on his behalf. This turned into a disaster with his mother and I not speaking for a year...now WE his mother and I have OUR own relationship. Much of this was my fault and I take responsibility. I am very proud of how we have both unraveled our co-dependence. However, me 'sorting things out" with his GF, even for my OWN benefit feels like me helping him with his relationships and I won't do that. I want him to have his own relations aside from me. For most people is might work, but for us I feel like there is too much a history of co-depence - I can't be the one to get them to talk directly, that's up to them.
As far as poly, I feel horrible but I have decided that I just want to live with him platonically and he's decided to go along with that (for now). The issue is that I don't have very stropping attraction to him - I finally confessed that to him. It was SO hard. I felt like we are out of sinc because for him sex is inatamcy or creates it and I have tons of intimates without sex...I want him to have good sex. I want him to be with someone who finds him hot. I have struggled with it for so many years.
I think I've also made huge strides in not taking sexual attraction personally. Ironaically, OK Cupid has helped with this. I have a very goofy, scandalous profile so tons of guys write...but the minute they see a video of me or meet me or find out I have cerebral palsy, they disappear - One did just week. I have learned the hard way that sex attraction is complex and not personal.
This is a difficult one, as I can see some potential problems in the future. Your husband's beliefs and desires for the future could very well effect the way he interacts with other partners, the conversations he has, the promises he makes, etc.
If your husband wants to be poly, WITH YOU, then he has to stick to agreements that you make together. If he doesn't want to stick to a particular agreement, it's HIS responsibility to communicate his needs and not accept an agreement until you both reach a satisfying compromise point.
Ultimately, as other people have said... everyone has their own limits.
If this helps, here's our general situation, limits, etc:
Myself, girlfriend and her husband in V, with three year old toddler.
Live together as family unit.
Believe in hierarchical poly / it suits us (primary/secondary).
Hubby - has welcomed me, but doesn't want any extra men moving in.
GF - wants our family unit, but wouldn't be opposed to extras moving in.
Me - want our family unit and not thrilled about anyone else moving in.
We are all agreed that secondaries do not meet our child, but meet all of us. We don't invite them to family events. My girlfriend also isn't thrilled about my secondaries meeting my friends, because she feels it is too 'relationshippy'.
So that's us.
You are not the bad guy for your opinions. You get to decide what you are comfortable with and what you want from life. Your husband isn't any better or more evolved than you for wanting to invite her. So, the first step, in my opinion, is to set some ground rules and guidelines together. What are yours like so far? Are they verbal agreements? Do you have a written list? Nothing but a short list of hard limits and non-negotiables? Or just take each situation as it comes?
We have a written list of about 9 guidelines that really help us not to walk all over each other when we are clouded with NRE. We read over our guidelines every 6 months to a year to see if everything is still relevant. Guidelines help us to avoid putting each other in a 'bad guy' situation; because everyone knows what the guidelines are. When we break one (we are human) we fess up to it and take responsibility... and our partner forgives us and understands.
We also use a numbers technique when we are dealing with a given situation. 0 means totally cool, no stress. 5 means a possible relationship deal breaker. 4 is very, very uncomfortable but not a breaking-up offence.
For example, I went out one night with a girl I'd just started dating. I was supposed to go home before 11pm, as she had to catch a last train home. While we were out, we were having a great time and wanted to go out dancing. This would mean her catching a cab home at about 3am, that she was happy to pay for. I text my girlfriend and asked if it would be ok - she said it was totally fine and to have a great time. The next morning, she told me that she was really angry and upset about being put in that situation and that I'd broken a guideline we have.
If she'd have told me that this was a level 4 or 5 stressor for her, I would never have stayed out. Even a level 3 would have made me reconsider. Her comfort is more important than my need to dance. Basically, to me, it's about giving your partner all the information and letting them make their decision based on that.
I don't believe that the primary couple makes the decision about everything; but that they make the decision on THEIR relationship. If I enter a relationship as someone's secondary, I follow the guidelines of their coupledom. If they have a guideline against me being in their family home, I'd never even bring it up, let alone suggest it or push it. Does that make me feel less important? No. I'm not less of a person - I made the decision to be a secondary to someone who has a different primary relationship. If I want to go to a partner's house, then I can make a decision to pick a partner who has that option available.
In short... how about looking at your guidelines, soft limits and hard limits? Re-negotiating existing agreements. If you can't compromise, can you carry on together? If you can compromise, will you both really stick to it? (i.e. if husband commits to a no-secondaries-in-the-house agreement... will he put this across to new partners and seek appropriate playmates?)
Good luck and please let us know how your discussion goes! :)
EDIT - seeing your last post as I was writing mine!
Not surprised you were upset about hubby placing the blame on you. If he's going to agree to something, he should treat it as HIS decision, or not agree. Perfectly reasonable for you to request he shows a solid front.
His communication issues with hers are essentially his thing to work out. If he can't meet your basic requirements, then it is worth considering whether your relationship is effective for you.
I think it's good to just let them be and not intervene. He has to learn to communicate by himself. I wouldn't get involve with my gf's secondaries in that sense, unless they specifically came to me wanting to talk, or wanting to understand something better. If my GF says something to a secondary that I disagree with (i.e. coming across like she's blaming me, like she's bad-mouthing me, or downplaying our relationship, or whatever else), I tell her how I feel and expect her to make the changes. If she doesn't want to, she's not the one for me; because I want a partner who acts on behalf of us as a couple.
You don't have to feel horrible about what you want from your relationship with your husband. Forget about 'normal' rules and relationships. You've now done the difficult thing and got your feelings out on the table... it's up to him to decide whether or not this fulfills him.
I'm sorry that guys disappear when they discover that you have CP - but I'm glad that you are exploring the complexities of sexuality!
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