Should I be with the third wheel? Or should he get over it?
My husband and I have been together for five years, married for one, and from the beginning we agreed that we would have a polyamorous relationship, without question. We have both had relations with other people over the last few years.
My husband has become involved with another lady (who is also married), and its proven to be a bit more than I am able to handle this time because they are also close friends. They also work together so they see each other probably more if not the same as he sees me. My jealousy trigger is not so much sexual relations, but emotional attachments.
I've met her and hung out with her several times over the last two months, and I honestly didn't have anything against her, personally, until I discovered communication between the two that I feel was disrespectful to MY relationship. With the way she was speaking to him I feel that she had crossed a line that out of respect no one should ever cross, though I realize as I read other entries in this message board that line is very circumstantial and varies from couple to couple. She has also been slightly stalking him and sending him text messages basically every day all day, even when him and I are on date night or hanging out alone.
I did speak to my husband about this (we have very good communication and I am very lucky to have that with him). However, in his mind, she did not really cross any line. We discussed some more about how we were both feeling about it and he agreed to ask her to stop out of respect for my wishes, and according to him, she agreed to. I told him that hopefully over time this will help me to feel more comfortable with the situation and that I do not want to stand in the way of having what he has with her, but they are getting too close, too fast.
In response to all of this he has told me before and told me again that she understands her place, and she will do what she has to in order to make me feel comfortable with the situation.
Now he is asking me to sit down and talk to them both to try to alleviate some of the negative feelings I have for her. Though I see what could benefit from this but I also see disaster happening, I only see me yelling at the two of them. I also don't think I could personally handle being friends with his lover at this point in time. I don't feel secure enough to be with them both at the same time, I don't see me coming out of this any more comfortably, so I have been telling him flat out no. This upsets him, and it starts an argument because he thinks I am being irrational and that all of my problems would be resolved by a mutual discussion.
Because of this I feel like he is not sticking up for me and defending her, which makes me feel like he cares about her more than he cares for our relationship. I know that he thinks I am wrong to feel this way, but instead of leaving me out of his situation and letting me have my opinion or at least some time to let things soak in he is pressuring me to talk about it, which again leads me to think he cares more for how she feels, or at least cares about what I think of her, which again leads me to the place where I feel that he is putting her in front of me.
I guess, in the end, my question for you, internet, is what do I do here? I have been trying to swallow the feelings I have because I recognize that some of them are not warranted, but I cannot.
So do I sit down with both of them? Do I try to reach out to just her? Do I try to convince him to leave me alone for awhile?
I'm sure some of you are friends with your partner's partner, were you able to accomplish that easily, or over time? Am I being irrational, should I take a step back? Or should he generally leave me alone until I feel I am ready to take another step?
I would love some feedback, some personal stories of how you may have handled this, maybe a word of encouragement and even a "get over yourself!" reply.
Thank you for reading!
There are so many directions I could go with this, but let me pick one, the one that I think is most important.
Right now you are in a "V" relationship. If there is no functioning relationship between the "arms" of the V then everything has to get put through the person at the "base" of the V. This has several effects - first, it gets filtered according to this person's paradigms. Stuff that you want to express forcefully may get softened, and less important things may get emphasized - not that this is done deliberately or with bad intent - we all have our own filters and paradigms that we have to work with.
Second, it puts the person at the base of the V under huge amounts of pressure to act as a go-between to resolve things. In my own personal experience this is nasty. Ever seen that old roman torture where they tie each arm of a man to a different horse and get the horses to run in opposite directions? That's about how it can feel.
You don't have to be friends with the person, you don't have to socialize with them. But in my opinion you do need a direct line with them. You need to be able to get direct feedback from the person as to whether they really understand your concerns, and you then have a chance to understand that person's concerns.
Discuss priorities for the relationship - and that includes time together, including "quality time" where the other should only make contact in a dire emergency if that is what is appropriate. What about vacations and holidays (ok, you can get Thanksgiving but we get Christmas). It also includes what I call "decency and privacy boundaries" - things that you regard as private to each relationship and things that can be talked about freely.
Putting all that stuff on the base of the V means that the result is often sub-optimal and the person at the base starts to resent the whole process, because they quickly get worn out.
The other thing that having this functioning relationship means is that, should something be not to your (or her liking) you can feel like you can get in touch with each other directly to work it out.
So this isn't about negotiating rules or anything like that, it's forming the basis of where you can work as a team to sort through issues, with a full knowledge of each other's boundaries and personal comfort levels. You can't really respect them (or expect them to be respected) if not everybody knows what they are.
Try to get to the point where you are thinking of the "third wheel" (a term you used) as on a tricycle (a part of the machine), rather than a spare wheel on a bicycle, added on for convenience, but not really necessary.
Hi, enoki. Welcome to the forum.
I know you asked the internet for a reply; I hope you don't mind if it's me instead.
It sounds to me like you're at the boiling point over some disrespect you feel has come from your husband's girlfriend, and are now feeling pressured to put it behind you.
If I'm reading it right, it looks to me like y'all are moking all the right moves:
You felt your relationship was being disrespected, so you
Discussed your feelings and concerns with your husband, and came to an agreement (which his gf also agreed to). So far so good!
Now, you feel your husband is pressuring you to have a sit-down meeting between the three of you, to alleviate your continuing negative feelings. That's not an unreasonable request, but you don't feel there's much potential for a positive outcome for you, so you're telling him no. Are you also telling him why not?
I know when my negative emotions are well and truly triggered, it takes me a LONG time to get over it. Even when the problem is solved and there's nothing else to be done. It takes me a long time to get upset, and it takes me a long time to get over it; that's just the way I'm wired. And the people who know me well, know to just give me time and space to find my center. And I always do come back to my normal sunny self. Is that the case here, perhaps? Because it sounds to me like the problem (the disrespect you perceived) has already been solved.
There's nothing wrong with taking the time you need to process your emotions. Just let them know you do need the time.
Good luck to you.
Thank you both for replying. I was a bit worried that I shouldn't really ask these questions because a lot of people on this messageboard seem to have their act together a LOT more than me.
I am really grateful for the advice you both gave me. You're both absolutely right. I am wrestling with a lot of rage over the situation even though it has been resolved, and I shouldn't be putting all the pressure on my husband to deal with it.
I think reading these replies made me kind of realize that I do need to talk to her, regardless of if it involves him. I know that he spoke to her on my behalf but I cannot shake the feeling that he worded things softer than I felt it should have been expressed, or twisted things around to make her feel more comfortable with what I had to say. I also am in full belief that he made me look a bit looney in order to stay in better form with her. The only way that I can be assured that things have been resolved the way I want is to express my feelings myself.
I am worried though. I am not a malicious or mean person, but I do get very hot headed. I do feel that there is a risk of blowing this up. I also have a problem with expressing how I feel to her because I feel like I would be having to "explain" myself to her as if I am the one who is wrong.
Maybe the bigger issue is that since they are so comfortable with the way things were between them that they are inadvertently making me feel like I am in "the wrong". There is no real wrong or right here, just agreements on what works for everyone, but I cannot shake the idea that they are looking on at me as "the wrong one". If I am brought under scrutinization for this during the conversation it might trigger some bad feelings in me and make everything go sour.
What you both did though is help me to see further that there is no "wrong", only what works. I wish I could get more of an affirmation from the two of them on this as well.
CielDuMatin, I would love to hear anything else you have to say. The more I hear from other people the more I am able to rationalize my situation. Its hard, as I'm sure a lot of you know, to talk to your monogamous friends about a situation like this, and apparently harder to talk to your spouse when things get rough sometimes!!
It sounds like (and please correct me if I am wrong) there was no discussion at the start of this to find out how everyone could be comfortable - assumptions about comfort levels were made which turned out to be wrong.
I really think you have to try to get the three of you feeling like "we're all in this together" - whatever that takes.
The other thing that I would suggest, if things are really looking like they are going bad because of the communication dynamic, is to find a professional relationship counsellor who can help you each work through your "stuff" individually and then together.
For that matter, you could just give it to her once you have it as you want it, with the addition of your contact info and the message that you would appreciate a call if she has any questions.
The thing is, the more comfortable you feel with them, the closer they will be able to get, and they should realize this and do whatever it takes for you to be comfortable... not on their schedule, but on yours.
Good luck with this!
No biggy hopefully, there is just some time needed to adjust to this. You can certainly ask for that under the guise of not wanting to blow up and to make sure you are feeling confident when you all come together, but I really think coming together to discuss is the best bet eventually.
As to your concerns about him siding with her, having deeper feelings etc, I think that you might be looking into that a bit too much. He is doing well at keeping you in the loop and keeping on top of his communication. Do you really believe that he isn't thinking of you when he encourages you to talk and get together with her? It sounds to me like he is exited to share his findings about her with you and to encourage you to be apart of his life because he cares and loves you... at least that is what I get anyways.
I think a request for time before a deep conversation about where to go next and some boundaries about texting and time together are in order really... then take it from there once you feel more comfortable and grounded.
If you are worried about saying the wrong thing because you are too hot-headed, is there a way you can plan to talk by IMs or something like that? You would still be talking, but typing takes longer and you would have time to see what you wrote before pressing "enter" and potentially change your mind.
I do think that talking directly is important. First, because your image of one another is skewed right now, both because you don't know each other well and because what you do know is by proxy. That needs to be fixed, as feelings you have for one another are now feelings for people who don't actually exist, but that you created for yourselves.
Secondly, because, as it was stated, it can be hard being in the middle. Not having to be the middleman would be nice for him. Also, if he's not there you'll be able to talk more freely. You might even ask her directly what he said about this or that, or if he did mention this and that. Talking about him can also make you grow closer as metamours, as sharing something like that can be wonderful.
Think about it: talking about the man you love, how much you love him, etc, with someone who doesn't think you're being silly, someone who understands, and someone who feels the same! Or if something goes wrong, having someone to go to who knows him and can tell you what she thinks he meant, and how he acted with her, and what he told her about it.
Of course, you need to trust each other first. Otherwise, you might feel like the other would be happy that things aren't going well, and wouldn't try to help.
Also, you said you felt he was on her side when asking you to talk with her... I think what he's afraid of is alienating you. You're the one distancing yourself from the two of them, he's trying to bring you back. I think it's because he cares about you, about your relationship with him. Your feelings towards her are making your relationship with him tense, and he doesn't want that, so he's trying to solve the problem. To get you to talk about it.
I think he's offering to be present for it to be more comfortable for both of you, but for the reasons stated, I think it's best if he isn't there. Plus, give him a taste of what you both got: he won't know what the two of you might be saying about him :p
What a second here..........
"both agreed you'd have a poly AMOROUS relationship"
"they are such 'close friends'" and " jealousy trigger.....emotional attachments"
So what do you THINK polyamory is ???????????
Are you in the wrong forum or was this just what you understood poly to be ?
I really don't mean this to be sharp tongued, but think about it. Call a spade a spade. It would appear from this you intended to dabble at swinging maybe - but NOT poly. Poly is all about emotional attachment and more !
Maybe backup and rethink what you really want ?
Before he met me,my partner was involved in a V with his now ex wife and his new girlfriend. When both of those went sideways and he began to see me,the ex girlfriend behaved irrationally and abominably and has tried to keep us apart(they have a child together). My partner was living in some kind of fantasy realm that we would all get along until things came to a head and there was a big blow up between me and the ex,so now we have decided(for the meantime) to keep everything seperate because I know my temper(and so does he) and I couldn't possibly be nice to her AT THIS POINT,after everything that's happened. Maybe somewhere down the track,but not now.
If you feel you're not ready to meet her,then you need to explain why,my partner fully understands my reasons and doesn't push it,he knows we all need time to heal. I am jealous because they have a child together and I can't have one,so I need time to get over that.
It almost sounds like that with this new woman,some trust issues have been triggered. I guess what I'm still learning is that the way my partner works his polyamory is by compartmentalizing his relationships,and he does not compare one woman with another..
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