Is it valid that I'm pulling away?
Hey everyone! I'm currently in a 'semi-triad' with a married couple (where I've been in a relationship with him since last June, and her and I have been on and off - only fairly recently have we decided to become an involved, equalateral triad.) He is heterosexual and poly-capable, she is pansexual and needs poly (as well as errs on the edge of trans/queer, which he does not know,) and I am bisexual and poly-capable.
Recently, I've been running into a wall, and it feels like something I won't be able to return to. Am I missing something?
To preface the current situation, they have been together for eight years and married for nearly two. He has always wanted the hetero-normative, monogamous relationship with the former 'Girl Next Door' that she used to be, but in that time, she evolved into her own being. She came out as being bisexual, then a cross-dresser, then a drag king, than pansexual, and is heavily drawn to the transgender mindset. They have spent months apart (within or outside of a relationship,) have had non-serious polyandrous partners, etc. She pushed for trying to find 'the unicorn,' and that's where I come in.
He and I met through work last year, and although I had two primary relationships in the time I have been with him as my secondary, him and I are now fully invested in our 'triad' with her. Her and I on the other hand have been on and off (as a fault of my own; this is my first poly experience, and at the time didn't know what I was getting myself into. I didn't to enough research, got in too deep too quickly, and freaked out.) Her and I are now trying to take things slower, partially so she doesn't get hurt again, partially to ease me into the lifestyle, and partially to ease him into the lifestyle. We are currently doing a 'trial move-in' and are debating whether or not we want to become public to family and close friends.
When we were discussing becoming a triad, I had recently seperated with my primary partner at the time, and I made a list with examples of what I need within any relationship. Some of the list includes, but is not limited to:
I wasn't there for the ensuing conversation, but it has been said by both of my partners that if we as three doesn't work out, they will never try poly again, and it is very, very probable that they will divorce because she wants polyamory and he couldn't do it again.
While the focus has been mostly on him and his comfort about coming out at a trio, I've been struggling. She keeps pushing me out to left field, and I fear that soon, I won't return. Along with the other points, I've been feeling innadequate. I've tried talking to her about it, and the way she has been communicating with and treating me, but I'm hitting that proverbial wall I mentioned before.
She clearly has been the primary. When I recently brought up my concerns about how our last Christmas was handled, she snapped at me multiple times over a few days. Basically, due to work, he leaves from the end of August to the middle of December, but I still didn't see him until after the new year due to their Christmas plans. Regardless of the fact that he and I have been in a standing relationship since.. last June, she said that because we weren't "really poly" aka in a triad with her, that my holiday time I wanted to share with him didn't matter. He and I have tried to reschedule since, but her plans always seem to trump ours, whether by choice or by hijacking. I felt that I had been swept under the rug and pushed into the shadows; last I checked, he and I were in a valid relationship. Instead, I've been written-off as pissy. Did I miss something there?
Last night, she randomly brought up a possible but being considered 'lateral promotion' where she'd be transferred to another city. "You're gone for six months anyways, and since Larissa can do her work anywhere, I'd just take her with me." Wait, excuse me? Prior to last night, neither him or I heard anything about this.
Then came this morning. She suddenly decided that she's probably going off of birth control because she wants kids pretty soon. Barely any conversation with him, no conversation with me. As she put it, if he's gone for months at a time, why should she pay for birth control? And they both assumed that they wouldn't use any other contraceptive (like condoms) to prevent pregnancy. I just think it's (pardon my words) grossly fucked that she wouldn't consider me in 'the pregnancy conversation,' especially given my stance on kids where I desperately want my own family in my life, but it's highly unlikely due to my medical history (I'm a three time cancer survivor and frankly, treatment has really done damage.) I just don't think that if we're unsure about our triad (and they doubt they'd stay married if I left [remember, he wants mono, she wants poly]) that she should even be considering children right now.
As it stands, I don't feel considered, I feel chastized for my wants and needs, and it seems like I'm just a 'filler' for her when he leaves (which is going to be more often now - he's a hunting outfitter, primarily waterfowl hunting, but has recently agreed to bear and deer contracts as well.) I'm a kept pet. I've felt used for sex through deception. I've felt manipulated. I've had to adjust to their living arrangements and routines, instead of them compromising and including my routines too. I'm still living out of a cloth grocers' bag and a backpack on the bedroom floor after two weeks (although it was stated I would at least have a drawer and some closet space for my clothing, and a shelf in the bathroom for my toiletries.) Am I crazy for saying this isn't what I signed up for?
I really just need some outside insight. Lately, I haven't had the opportunity to talk with just him, and when I've brought things up with her, I feel like I'm being attacked. She's fairly reserved, and I know I wear my heart on my sleeve. He likes everything cut and dry, and dealt with promptly. I really dislike talking about things or moving forward without personally processing first; I find it helps to curb accusations, blame, and personal pain. Regardless, I make sure not to place blame or shame on anyone; I just try to talk out what I need on my end, and end up being catagorized and dismissed. So, here it is. I feel like I'm the variable in this situation, and I'm the iceberg bringing down the Titanic. What do I do? What can I do?
I'm at the end of my rope. Simply, where do we go from here?
(If you've made it this far, thank you for reading, and I appreciated any response. Thanks!)
You could hold her accountable to your agreements. If she attacks you as a person rather than the problems and behavior done/not done?
You could say "Please do not attack me as a person. I am not attacking you. I am talking about behavior done/not done. I want to know your willingness -- are you willing to work with me to meet my needs? Or not willing to meet my needs? Yes/no?"
Here's the agreements we made.
Here are specific examples of agreements broken:
Not being accountable for plans and promises.
This is not upholding our agreements.
Are you willing to apologize for breaking agreements? Yes/no?
Are you willing to make amends for breaking agreements by changing your behavior to get back in line with agreements/promises? Yes/no?
Are these agreements too hard for you to keep any more and you need to renegotiate? Yes/no?
Do you want out of the agreements period? Yes/no?
Are you willing to meet my needs in relationship? Yes/no?
Could wait for her answer, then you choose your next behavior based on information received.
Don't worry about what happens in their marriage. Let them deal with their side of the relationship. YOU deal with your stuff -- and right now, you have a partner who is breaking agreements. Hold them accountable to the standard you all co-created. That is what it was FOR.
Step up to the plate.
If you find she no longer meets your needs for a Jedi Player and she's turning all Muppet Show crazy on ya? Check out. Hard to feel maybe, but pretty straightforward actions! Get yourself out of the line of fire!
When facing a choice that is "this stinks and that stinks?" It feels like lose-lose? Pick the least stinky choice then. You are responsible for your own well being.
Ugh, that sounds like a really rough situation. I'd recommend Veaux's controversial bill of Secondary rights (http://www.xeromag.com/fvsecondary.html#bor). It's a helpful "are they treating me decently?" checklist.
From your post, that sounds like a lot for two weeks. Technically, the Titanic ran into the iceberg, didn't it? It sounds like they are having some problems in their relationship, and they're taking some of it out on you. Not including you in life change things (promotion, birth control, etc)? Bad at communication? Not making space for you in the house? And with all this neglect (at least), they expect you to be the unicorn to hold their marriage together? All red flags, and I think anybody would be upset.
You have lots you can do. Galagirl did a good job of laying out how to talk about things in terms of specific broken agreements. If they (sounds like mainly she) can't find some time to communicate properly on these points... the communication probably will not get better.
Hope things go alright, and the communication does happen. It if comes to lose-lose, you still have a choice.
If you don't feel you are being treated properly then do what you can to politely discuss the issue and attempt to be treated fairly, as the others have suggested. However, I do feel quite sorry for your plight, some people do enjoy being kept as a pet, but if that was not your intention it can be a very painful and hurtful situation. If he is gone most of the time, and she does not treat you well, perhaps you might be better off pursuing your own needs. Judging by your text, you seem to be someone who desires and needs affection and love, yet you feel as though you are being neglected and put down for trying to express yourself and your needs. You sound like a lovely lady, not to intrude, but is there a reason you feel a need to remain in a poly relationship? I would suggest follow the path that brings you the most joy. You sound to me like someone who craves love and affection, being treated as you are, those desires are shot down and eventually your esteem may be hurt. You also seem like you dislike confrontation, so you generally won't stress your feelings towards them, but you deserve to be heard. Please, try and discuss things with them, and if they will not listen, then perhaps its time to find a place where you can be more content. Best of luck to you, I am usually around if you need a chat. Happy Easter. :D
Triads where a third person joins the life of an established couple always seem to be hard and fraught with pitfalls. I think it's possible for it to work if it's taken very slowly, and everyone has superb communication skills and is very, very reasonable and considerate. None of that is that seems to be remotely the case here.
What would you tell a friend in this situation? What would you tell a sister who was being treated the way you're being treated? Do you believe that you deserve better? If so, what's keeping you from acting on that belief?
You are free to walk away any time you want. You are completely free. If I were you, I would have been gone already.
Best of luck.
I hear you when you say if you leave, the married couple will probably break up because he doesn't want to give poly another go, but she does. But I would caution you about shouldering the burden for that responsibility. They made their own decisions when they got involved with you, and they made communication difficult, so they are kind of stuck in a bed of their own making. It's not your responsibility to save their marriage. They have to be responsible for that.
Sounds like you're being tucked away and blown off a lot. Make sure they know you're on the brink of leaving. Set a timetable if you have to. If things haven't improved by a certain date, let that be the date of your departure.
You know, a break-up might not be all bad for them. It would free them up to pursue two very different flavors of relationships, polyamory and monogamy. Could end up being something that makes them both happy in the long-run, and you could be happy too, as you'd be free to seek out a relationship where your feelings, concerns, boundaries, and needs are heard and respected.
Just a little something to add to the five good posts that have been posted so far.
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