The Needy Partner: Illness and Polyamory
I became involved in a triad a few months ago and I find myself deeply or vaguely unhappy much of the time, but not all of the time. Sometimes it is very nice.
My fiance and I had long talked about how nice it would be for us to find a girlfriend. I am bi, he is straight. So, by some miracle, we meet a woman who would actually really like to date a couple. She is very nice, very kind, very interesting, and we both find her very cute. And she thinks we're cute too, so it sounds good all around. :-)
However, I have an illness that leaves me feeling pretty crummy a lot of the time. Though I fake it to the best of my ability, I never really feel normal. My fiance and I, before our girlfriend came along, had our own rhythms and patterns of doing things, a lot of which were based on my ups and downs. My lovely, dear, fiance would settle in with me and watch movies and shows and rub my back and cuddle on the nights (and there are too many) when I don't feel able to do anything else.
Enter the new girlfriend. Through no one's fault, from the beginning she has stayed at our house most nights during the week. She sleeps in the bed with my fiancee, while I sleep in a different room because I am a very light sleeper. I will go to bed earlier than them often because I don't have the energy to stay up as late. I wake up the next morning to find them very tired from fooling around/ having sex until late. I'll see scratch marks I didn't make on my fiance. I actually really don't like to hear that they've been having sex without me. I know this pricks up all of your poly ears out there as something I should work on not feeling. Maybe. It's so much worse when I don't feel good. I feel so left out. So left out.
When it was just my fiance and I, I was by definition on the inside. I'm not jealous of her. I'm just left out. Sad. Maybe jealous of the situation rather than the people.
When I'm sick, I am not having sex with them and they are having sex with each other. A lot of time my fiance would have formerly spent kinda shootin' the shit and comforting me he spends with our new girlfriend in the next room.
Being sick, my sex drive is sort of inconsistent. I feel inadequate sometimes. Like I'm on the outside of my fiance and my sex life, rather than on the inside, in part because our girlfriend is inclined towards sex more often than me. I feel left out of sexual intimacies and also left out of other intimacies like sleeping closely and waking up together.
I feel like what used to be mine is not anymore. I feel overwhelmed a lot. I keep waiting for me to feel as close to our girlfriend as my fiance does. I feel like that might even things out. She is very lovely in so many ways. I would like things to be working well between all of us. I don't think my fiance would leave me for her. He said it would break his heart to have to break things off with her. I don't want to hurt her at all. I really like her. But I am often unhappy, sometimes miserable.
Words of wisdom?
Sounds to me like you need to set boundaries about how often she stays over. Perhaps if he were only with her on designated days, for which you would be prepared, it would be more manageable and you could better handle them being intimate without you. It sounds like she comes over whenever she wants. You need his attention, too, and his involvement with her should not be at your expense. Some honest talking should help, and you both should look at what it is that he and she are doing, as well as what it is that you need to work on internally, that has you feeling left out. I think you need to speak up, first to him, and then with both of them.
I've told him before that I can't handle us having that much time together, but I think he doesn't want to upset her or make her feel unwelcome by arranging for her to be with us fewer days in the week.
But I'll talk to him again. That is one of the major issues.
What is the deal in most triads? My fiance and I ostensibly went into this as a couple. That's not how it's functioning right now. When she is here, I feel like they are the couple. Which is very jarring. I want to be nice and not spoil anyone's fun. In this situation, when does my discomfort or what I want as far as their behavior trump what they want to do?
Sorry to hear about your health issues. Let's all hope you get that behind you - ASAP !
In trying to offer up some support I guess I could only say....or fall back on, some of the old clichés.
Like....."it's a team effort'.
"Communication is key"
Your illness puts you in a hard position and the trick is to let everyone know how you feel without playing the "needy" card. I think you get that. But there's not a thing wrong with just explaining that because of the situation you are feeling left out sometimes. Part of that remains YOUR responsibility, but team play also gives some of that responsibility to them. Until you get better, you can't ask or expect everything to flow the way it would ideally. More incentive to get better ASAP - right ?
One thing that you might toss out there and try is being part of their sex play sometimes without being physically involved. It really can bring everyone closer if you just sit back and watch and share in the energy being exchanged. That can also help you build skills for dealing with envy, which is what you seem to be struggling with. Different than "jealousy - by far. Think of it like going bowling with them when you were too weak to play yourself. Just be with them and share their own excitement & happiness. It works.
I'm sure down deep they feel uncomfortable with the way things are too but don't know how to express it. And let's face it - horny is horny. Often over-rides everything else - like it or not.
It would also help if they understood that you would really cherish some intimate but NOT sexual time with them. Just hanging out, cuddling, watching a movie. Thinks you CAN be part of that aren't so taxing.
You guys can all have a great, warm relationship as long as you just try to be considerate of each other and talk openly about how you are feeling.
Go for it - and hope you feel better soon !
Thanks for the reply, GroundedSpirit.
I am not very old, but I've actually been sick for about 20 years. I am undergoing a new treatment right now, but nothing is for certain. So...getting better soon and changing the dynamic that way may or may not be in the cards.
I have lain next to them while they are having sex before. It can be fun and sort of more attuned to my current capacities than being totally involved.
I guess I feel so snowed under right now by her being here for several days in a row and by my not feeling too hot, and also by just feeling hurt about the sex going on in the next room, that I don't feel like participating at all.
I feel all too often when we cuddle up that at some point it's going to turn to sexy stuff, and I'm going to feel on the outside again.
Aye..I'm feeling sorry for myself ;-)
I really do need a good block of time with just me and the boy.
p.s. I seriously wondered whether it was a smart idea to enter into a relationship with this woman, when it began. A triad had always been this little dream we had. For me it took place in this mythical future when I was healthy. But this woman seemed to fit with us so nicely. And I knew that it was what the boy wanted. And I'm crazy about the boy. And he thought it would be good for us. So we tried it and now we're in fairly deep. And for me it's yikes.
Its sounds to me like your fiance needs to make some time for you, and there is nothing wrong with asking him to do so.
Maybe he doesn't want to hurt the girlfriend's feelings, but yours are just as important. Make your needs known as calmly and kindly as possible.
I also think you need some quality time for just you and her.
From what I've read, you're feeling left out, and you feel that you aren't being heard, and that he's putting her feelings and his feelings for her before you.
It would seem that "they" think that since you're not available, it would be reasonable for them to spend time together.
They are likely stuck in the throes of NRE and see what they're doing as completely reasonable, and you're being unreasonable, irrational and perhaps controlling.
All the while you simply need something from your fiance that he's no longer giving you.
And you want to be nice, you want to make everyone happy so you acquiesce, even if you feel like you are being left out, and left behind.
You need to clearly lay out what you want, what you need and how you feel. It may do no good - they may be so lost in each other that they can't see, despite you clearly laying it out, how you hurt. But you need to try. And hopefully they hear you.
Keep trying to communicate with them. Hopefully they get it sooner rather than later.
Welcome to the forums. As a husband with a "sick" wife I might have a unique perspective. And one that will hopefully shed some light on his thoughts. I have no idea how long or what, but I am sure the effect would be similar.
At one point I was just asking for some degree of normalcy. I know this appears unfair, as she was suffering, however it was really affecting me. I needed that break.
The not being included part is something I will commend you on. So many triads walk into a site like this and require all sides active at all times. You are past that, now its just time to try and figure out how to manage time so you feel included. Since you aren't as inclined sexually, why not make non sexual time between the three of you. etc
Hope you can figure out how to make yourself more included. :)
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