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-   -   Oh where to start... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=33725)

Random 12-01-2012 01:31 AM

Oh where to start...
Hi All,

I am new here, but have been reading your posts for awhile now- research! It's too overwhelming for me to go into the long story, so I decided to start with the short story and question.

I have been dating a married man for almost 2 years, with his wife's knowledge and blessing. We have been a bit on and off- things initially were meant to be a FWB situation, but evolved into more of a love affair. It was much more intense than either of us anticipated. But my god- the chemistry is amazing. He is my best friend and I love him dearly.

In the beginning, I think the intention would be that we all become good friends- his wife doesn't seem to have many girl friends (just friends, not sexual). As things have progressed (long, long story) I have found that I am not really fond of his wife. I don't dislike her, but she just isn't a person I can see having a close friendship with. The only thing we have in common is the love of him.

Of course, my feelings complicate matters- bf would be best served if we were all buddies. My question is- can this situation succeed if I am not a huge fan of his wife? I think bf feels offense that I am not a fan of hers?

I do struggle with jealousy from time to time ( he doesn't have much free time, it is hard for us to see each other), but have been working hard to bring my thinking around to more positive and productive thinking..

I appreciate you all so much.

Anneintherain 12-01-2012 05:14 AM

I don't get that you're not a fan of his wife, just that if you weren't dating him, you wouldn't have reason to hang out with his wife unless you happened to be coworkers or something.

I've been having some talks about this subject myself lately. Perhaps if you ask him if his wife has a friend that he likes well enough but doesn't have anything in common with - does he feel obliged to hang out with both of them and be her friend just because his wife likes her? Not sure if his wife dates, but if she dated somebody who's a vegetarian golfer and he's a carnivorous football lover, isn't it enough that he likes and respects the guy, does he feel he should hang out with somebody he doesn't feel a good friendship with just because his wife would like it?

I'd just probably reiterate to him that I think shes a wonderful person and I don't mind being around her at ALL, but that Id be doing a disservice to everybody trying to force a good friendship when there just isn't the basis for one.

Random 12-01-2012 07:20 PM

Thank you Anne for your response. I like your idea/example that you provided. At times, I almost feel like it is "you had better be friends with her, or she will not allow this to continue". I tend to give in to whatever they want to do (nothig sexual, this is all public stuff- dinners, movies, going places) The pressure of it wears on me.

Because I am new, I was curious if anyone else had dealt with a controlling primary, as a secondary?
I have looked through many posts, and have not seen this situation much. In the beginning of our relationship, I would receive schedules for everything. When I would see him, when she would have him home, etc. I struggled with it- I tend to be a more spontaneous and easy going person. But went along, as it was easier to know what was happening. But I never was able to lose the feeling that she was bossing me around- that I needed her permission to do anything. Has anyone dealt with this before?

Thanks xoxo

Wants2BEqual 12-01-2012 09:52 PM

2 very important comments
Hi Random.

How much experience did this couple have with secondaries before you came into their lives? Is the wife experienced at secondaries falling in love with her husband? To me you made 2 very important comments that need to be explored with HIM:

1. I think bf feels offense that I am not a fan of hers?
2. At times, I almost feel like it is "you had better be friends with her, or she will not allow this to continue".

I would be open and share those concerns with him. Maybe they are coming from a real place that needs to be dealt with.

The fact that your feelings for him are increasing balanced with no desire for a relationship with her could be trouble.

My relationship started similarly although she and I were friends and she was actually the one that invited me in. I have limited experience outside of this couple, but after 5 years I can tell you this. As my relationship got deeper with her husband she became more defensive and needy.

Random 12-02-2012 12:22 AM

Hi W2BE,

Thank you for you response. I had been reading your story on here (prior to seeing your post), let me start by saying- I am so sorry for what you have gone through.

Neither of us have had any experience in poly- myself or bf and his wife. So this has all been trial by fire for sure. But the idea of this was hers- she brought it up to him. I guess they had discussed it in the past, and when she met me (bf and I were in school together, we were all out celebrating passing the tests from hell) she suggested that he bring it up to me.

I have always had a hard time communicating my needs in relationships, and I realize that communication is a key component in successful relationships, especially poly relationships. I have been working on it!

I am trying to get the courage to have a conversation with the bf- I do not believe that he is capable of fulfilling my needs in our relationship, due mainly to time and family commitments. He is just not available to me enough. So I want to have the discussion about me seeing other people, but I do not wish to give up our relationship. I love him, and the idea of losing him gives me such a pain in my chest- I do. It want to lose him.

I do not think he will be opposed to the idea, but am not sure. I do know that if I am allowed to seek to fulfill my needs with another partner, it will take a lot of pressure off of our situation!

Thank you all so much for your wisdom xoxox

Octovus 12-02-2012 02:08 AM

Random, thanks for sharing. Your latest message, you've every right to pursue other relationships. Of course, you need to communicate this desire and evaluate your current guy's reaction; but I cannot see how, in a healthy relationship (overall), he could refuse. After all, he has his wife! He may have reasons, but I cannot see that in the end, long-term, they would be valid reasons to refuse your request.

My own scenario is, or was to start, similar to that of the wife in this story. As a gay man in a 4-year relationship, recently engaged, I didn't expect it, to say the least. And, similarly to the wife here, I felt that I needed to be better friends with the "new guy" (or gal, in your case) so that I could understand, appreciate and love the relationship. I felt that, unless I knew the new guy fairly well, it would be next to impossible to feel compersion (I find that an ugly word; these days, I prefer empathy or compassion, in the PASSION sense).

And you know what. I was at least partly right. Because you know what? I think you can probably look at the wife and see what's good in her. I think you can (should be able to) have a great chat with your guy about what he sees in her and why he (presumably) loves her so much. This DOES NOT mean that it will be stuff you have in common - heck knows. But you might learn a thing or two, and no doubt she can learn some great things from you, two.

I think we discount the opportunity to make new friends too readily. Yes, we may have full lives. In your case, it may help the relationship grow, so it may be worth the effort.

On a final note. If you really can't see good qualities in her, and/or he can't explain clearly to you what those good qualities are ("I just love her, don't question it!" Hmm...), you may need to question your guy's judgment. If he's so in love with a difficult to get along with person - a girl you wouldn't even be FRIENDS with - what does that tell you about him? (Not in a judgmental way - merely in a "is this a guy who is right for me as a major life partner" way.)

Good luck exploring your options, and sending you good vibes,

Random 12-02-2012 03:20 AM

Hi Octovus,

I agree with you- I do not see how he can have an objection to me seeing someone else. But I don't want him to "freak out" for lack of a better term! I am planning on having a conversation with him about it, before I do anything. I feel like he gets the best of the 2 worlds right now- happy marriage, sex and fun with gf. But I don't feel like I am getting much of a return on MY investment:) I need more attention. And feel selfish for thinking that way, when I know he would if circumstances allowed it...

Re: his wife- I have made attempts at friendship, and it is surprising to me because generally I make friends very easily. There have been a few instances in our past where she treated me badly (well ill just say it- she was a biatch), and I am just not very interested in spending time with her. And I can see why he loves her- she does everything for him (to the point where I stop and say- hmmm, I could never live with him- helpless man!), is smart, a good mother etc.

I am sure some of my feelings come from jealousy, as I said earlier- I am working on that as well.

Thanks for you thoughts, I really appreciate it.

sparklepop 12-02-2012 12:29 PM

Hi Random,

I really like your thread - it is very interesting to me. I don't know the wife, or you, or the man-hinge, so I'm only going on what I can see!

Liking Metamours
I'll let you into a secret.... I live with my girlfriend and her husband. We are both her primaries, but we are not involved with each other. From the start, he has wanted a close bond with me. My GF also tried to force, or assume, a platonic love situation. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever get there.

He's a nice guy really and has accepted me into their lives commendably. On the plus side, he can be lighthearted and very generous. On the bad side, he is often needy, overly-physical, inappropriate, unaware of boundaries, can be very miserly, can be extremely moody, very messy to live with, lots going on in his head, doesn't communicate well. We have very little in common and I, like you, used to wonder if our situation would work.

Two years in, I've settled my feelings and see it this way - as long as we can get along ok, not antagonise each other and just live in harmony, that's a good start. When relationships are forced between metamours (which is understandably the case - our hinges love us both and want their two favourite people to get along!) it can make it even harder. I hate being forced.. I am stubborn ;) I'm not saying all this to bitch him out... I'm saying it to show that it IS ok to accept that your metamour just isn't a person you'd choose as a best friend.

How frosty your relationship is will obviously effect the future... but, I see something very positive in your relationship. You've already said you probably wouldn't want to live with him. I applaud you for your realism! So... actually... you are in a situation that could very well work out for the best!!

Early Poly Mistakes

My GF and I refer to the first 6 months of our poly journey, and the lovers we lost, as Casualties of Poly Hell. Like you, the three of us went into poly together with little previous experience. It's like three blind mice trying to lead each other.

It's very, very, very common for people to be overly-controlling at the start of poly. You want guidelines, you want to go at a steady pace, you don't want to mess up by going too far too fast. Some of us are more controlling than others. We cling to control when we feel that something is slipping away from us. Now, none of us would have ever sent each other's external partners schedules; but we have discussed schedules between ourselves - i.e. let's only see other people once a week. Was she being a bitch or could she not trust hubby to be honest with you, or her, about certain things? I've read a lot of threads recently about hubby following his peeny-weeny and not wanting to get involved in fights between wife and girlfriend... so burying his head in the sand and not really being clear with anyone. If your BF needs everything to be done for him, or if he has chosen a controlling partner... there's probably something in that!

How is the controlling, regarding yourself, nowadays?

Ways to Work With Your Metamour
If you are going to stay in the relationship, you don't HAVE to like the wife. BUT... if you do happen to stumble upon a way to feel easier about her, surely it's good for you in the long run, right?

So... start with forgiveness. Understand that she felt the need to control because she was insecure and scared. Understanding that someone isn't a power-house can make them much less of a monster in your mind. It doesn't mean she always acted the right way; but it does mean that you can look beyond her actions and see her motivations. If I can't stand someone, but can see their fear, I start to feel sorry for them, which cools down my animosity.

Next, remember that women are competitive creatures. I don't care what they say about men - I think women are the ones to watch!! You've said it yourself - you've felt jealous about her; so of course she'd feel jealous about you. If anything, she'd be incredibly threatened by you, because their relationship started long before you came along.

Thirdly, remember that just because someone suggests something, doesn't mean they're going to be 100% ok with it. Have you ever suggested a restaurant that sounded good, dragged other people along, then found out that the food was awful? Or a film, or a holiday destination, etc? Something can seem like a great idea until it smacks you in the face. You also have the added responsibility that YOU were the one that suggested this thing... so how can you possibly have a problem with it now? Better hurry up and get on board! Rushed = guilt = stress.

Fourth, look to your own behaviour. Are you being nice? You say your boyfriend knows you don't like his wife.... how much have you said? It might be time to consider being more diplomatic and keeping some of your opinions on a more neutral basis.... only talking to her about issues between the two of you, instead of putting him in the middle (if you ever have). Even if she bitches you out to him all the time and you know it - be the better person and keep a little quiet.

If you can look at all of these things, you might find that it becomes easier to think of your long term future with him.

Now, on his part, he also needs to cut you some slack. Perhaps you can show him some of the threads on the forums about metamour like-levels. You could even ask the question here - "how much do you like your metamour? would you be happier if they weren't around? If you have multiple lovers, how much do you expect them to get on?" Then show him that.

How often are you asked to go out with them as a group? If she doesn't like you much, what's the point of that? To make himself feel better, burying his head in the sand? ;)

One thing my girlfriend did raise with me a few months ago was the family dynamic. I'd signed up to live with them as a V and be a second mommy to their toddler. That means I can't just expect weekends away with my GF, alone, all the time. I was starting to expect it, because I'm just not that excited to spend time with her husband... and she pointed it out to me. She made me think and it was good. I can suck it up and spend time with him, because it makes her happy and it's what I signed up for - she's not single, she has extras.

Now, if I didn't live with them, it would be a slightly different story. She'd probably still want us to do things as a three (or four, with toddler) and I would still do it, to make her happy, even if I had little interest in it. But would I do it every weekend? No. Would I do it more than I spent time with her alone? No.

So... my questions... :)

How often do you currently see BF? How often would you like to see him? Middle ground - how often do you think is possible and fair with your arrangement and his commitments?

How often do you see wife? Do you ever see her alone, or always with him? How often would you like?

You are right though.... you are responsible for vocalising your needs and I do know it can be awkward and uncomfortable to do so. If you realise your needs aren't being filled, you have to tell that to your boyfriend. Just be careful not to put it across in an accusatory or ultimatum kind of way. Ask him what his needs are and what he would like. Also, what his wife's needs are. I do absolutely agree that you should not have to be in a mono/poly relationship, if you need something more. That is absolutely fair. You sound like you've got your head screwed on :)

Random 12-04-2012 04:13 AM

Sparklepop- thank you so much, you have some wonderful questions and suggestions! I haven't figured out the "quote" on here yet- my laptop croaked and I am trying to do this on my iPad- so I apologize for the clunkiness of my reply, but I would enjoy some more feedback if you all are willing!
How is the controlling, regarding yourself, nowadays?

BF and I had pretty much called it quits- we were still friends, but nothing sexual for a few months. And then we started to pick up again- we missed each other, it was painful- especially for me. When we began seeing each other again, I received an email from his wife. She basically stated that if BF and I were going to continue to see each other, she had new rules. She expected to be included in all "fun" plans, and if I was inviting him to do something, I should expect her to come as well. We are not "out" to all of my friends (and none of theirs) so this expectation wasn't really great news to me... But I missed him terribly. We agreed to a FWB situation, which has been much less intense and less controlling. But we still love each other, so that.... Complicates things!

How often do you see wife? Do you ever see her alone, or always with him? How often would you like?

It made sense to jump to this question. For the most part I see her with him. In the beginning there were a couple of times that it was just her- I know they were hoping that we would become close friends as well. She and I did and do communicate directly through email/text. We both agreed this last time to go to each other directly if there were issues, because BF is not a good communicator either. Yeah, we are a great match... And I am VERY careful as far as what I say about the wife, as I know I am on the losing side if it comes down to that battle. He can just tell with how we interact- I just don't have much to talk about with her, that doesn't involve him or the kids.

In the early days, I had made up a compromise- I would do "group outings" as long as I got one night (4-5 hours, didn't demand overnight, and schedule permitting of course- I am realistic re:family stuff) a week. It worked initially but then I seemed to get less and less. Which led me to pull back from the group outings.. And then we blew up. Recently, we had one night (an overnight for my birthday:-).. And since then it has been all group outings- about 5-6 outings, with no alone time. It's wearing on me- I have so much I am trying to work out, and I have been telling him I need some alone time for a few weeks. But I should say- he has been working crazy hours and his mother is very ill, so it isn't entirely his fault- there is a lot going on.

How often do you currently see BF? How often would you like to see him? Middle ground - how often do you think is possible and fair with your arrangement and his commitments?

Right now we are down to once every 2 weeks or so, if I'm lucky. As I mentioned, he is dealing with an illness in the family and a crazy work schedule. I asked him on Sat that if we cannot see each other, if he could check in with me and reassure me that I would appreciate it. That I needed him to do this to show that I am still important to him. I don't need a 10 page dissertation every day- but is a daily text too much to ask? Is it??

I don't have the greatest self esteem in the world, and he tends to not understand this. His response was "your self esteem should not be a factor in this, I have a problem with that." Which is exactly the response I was hoping for of course (I really need a sarcasm font. Seriously!).

I'm feeling very down about how this is all going- I finally gutted up and poured out my insecurities and how he could help me, and he has not followed through with anything yet. But it's only been 2 days, so I'm willing to try and be patient. Not one of my strongest assets either..

Feeling very sad tonight. I hope I answered all your questions, I'm a little ADD tonight as well. Thanks again for your ideas and suggestions, I will read some more of your posts as we seem to have some similarities of situation.

Anneintherain 12-04-2012 09:00 AM

The details you gave certainly complicate things. Those group outings requests from his wife make me feel yucky. I can understand you needing to spend group time with them if you want to see him more than a date night a week or something and he doesn't have solo time. Was a reason given by anybody why 1 night a week used to be OK and it got less and less? Did he volunteer why now you're seeing each other every 2 weeks now, or did you have to ask him for him to explain? Has he expressed a desire to see you more often, or alone, once things calm down?

Would you be/have been content seeing him less often if it meant having mostly solo time with him, or do you like his company so much that if you can see him 4x a week and 3 of them are group outings, that its worth it to you to see him 4x a week?

I can't imagine doing other than saying, well I'll see you just once a week so I can do things I enjoy the rest of the week. One reason is I can see to do this is if his wife thinks you're monopolizing him, that would perhaps make her relax enough to back off on the insisting its time all together or nothing. The other reason is because there's a weird dynamic going on there and I don't want to get involved in weird dynamics.

(kind of a tangent - a daily text isn't too much to ask, but if you're not going to get it, and that is made clear to you either through them saying no, or just not texting you - it's too much for that person to give. Letting go of expectations on what you wish was true vs what is actually true is good for your self esteem because you're not judging your worth by if somebody "loves you enough" to contact you every day. Did you ever have daily contact? Is this something you're asking for this long into the relationship because you have doubt about whether he even wants to be in it anymore so you're looking for reassurance?

It seems all of you could benefit from some self help, reading, counseling whatever, you and him to work on communication issues, her to figure out why she wants to be involved in and exert control on a a relationship that she's not involved with. Or to figure out what is going on - is she scared of him leaving her, is she jealous of the time you spend together, is she lonely because she doesn't have friends and wants to latch on to you since you're a permanent fixture in her husband's life, etc etc.

You say he is your best friend, but I don't see he's treating you as one of his best friends. I know a lengthy relationship isn't something easy to break away from, but your last post really shed a lot of light on a situation that has a lot of red flags and seems to be not working well for anybody involved.

Are you dating other people? If so, do you shape your dating life around the availability, or hoped for availability of your bf? ie leaving Friday free if somebody suggest coffee because there's a chance he will be able to see you?

Also you and the wife agreed if there was an issue you would go to each other with it. Have you told her any of this that you've said here? Been vulnerable and asked that hard question that you really want to know? "I would like to see him by myself most of the time, and I'd like to see him x often. Would that be comfortable with you, and if not could you tell me why, and what would work for you?"

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