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-   -   Advice for a 2nd? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44436)

Tsukune 04-10-2013 02:19 AM

Advice for a 2nd?
Hello everyone. I'm new to the site and polyamory. I recently got into a poly relationship as the second bf. She means the world to me. However recently I seem to be messing up constantly. She told me that she's starting to get paranoid about showing affection to him when I'm around, how do I let her know that I don't mind if she does it? The only thing that I'm awkward about is when I happen to be standing and facing them when it happens, even then that's cause I don't know where to look. I don't want to stare at them but if I stare elsewhere then it seems like I'm avoiding cause it makes me uncomfortable, which i'm not. I was weird about it at first but now I'm fine. As long as it makes her happy then I'm okay with almost anything. If any other 2nd's have advice, related to what I said or not, it would be much appreciated.

I feel I should mention that they were strictly monogamous before this. They have been together for a few years and have lived together for over a year now, meanwhile I am currently staying with family which means we don't have a place to be alone together except at their place. Even then we only really have alone time together for a few hours once or twice a week.

Note: Me and her other boyfriend are friends, have been since before me and her started going out.

Marvin 04-10-2013 05:07 AM

My wife and her GF were together (and both very close friends of mine) tor about 10years before I became a part of the relationship. I VERY much felt like a third wheel; a side order sometimes. Once the relationship between S and I began to strengthen it would be somewhat uncomfortable for both of us to be affectionate when we were in the presence of R (our other wife).

What turned out to be a very important step in solidifying our relationship was overcoming that awkwardness and being open and honest with one another about how we were feeling. Once we all faced our own jealous feelings toward each other for the affection that the other was getting we were able to finally enjoy what makes each of us happy- to be in love and to be able to share intimacy and affection with one another.

I say if seeing her happy (with him ) makes you happy then that's how you tel her - encourage it and enjoy making your love happy.

Tsukune 04-10-2013 03:00 PM

I've told her this before. However I don't think she believes it anymore. Recently I was over for our weekly tv show. I'd been there all day due to me staying over the night before, all three of us had gone to an event together. Normally that day is reserved for them. I'll come over in time to watch the show and hang out, unless they decide to cancel and go out together. That morning they both told me they were fine with me hanging out all day. I was mildly uncomfortable doing so but decided to ignore it and hang out, I had no plans that day except to come over later on anyway. Me and her ended chilling in the living room most of the day while he took a nap in their room. We spent most of the time watching tv and doing things on our laptops. I could tell she had stuff on her mind but she didn't want to talk. Later on when he came out she went straight to him to be held. I'll admit, it hurt. I'd barely seen her over the past week and had just spent the last few hours with her and during that time she didn't seem to want any physical contact. Then he comes out and all she wants to do is cuddle with him. so yes, it hurt and it amplified the feelings of comfortableness I was feeling. Apparently my body language showed this. Which made her paranoid for the rest of the night about showing him affection. I had no problem with her showing him affection, granted it may have been hard to tell due to me kind of trying to stay in my own little corner. I realize now that I should have left that morning and come back later on to hang out. We talked the next morning, I usually stay over those nights, and she told me about the paranoid feeling along with other things that were on her mind. She didn't seem to understand why I felt like I was intruding the day before. She made the point how it's not two relationships, and I agree. While I wouldn't say me and him are dating, cause were not, we know that we are all in this together. What I'm wondering is does anyone get why I felt uncomfortable? She also mentioned how she's felt like she can't relax and be herself around me. She says she feels like a wet blanket. I've been telling her that she's not and that I want her to tell me if she thinks I'm doing something stupid. I value her opinion more than anyone else's. Granted I may still do it, but I take what she has to say in account before I do. and i just realized I'm rambling. I'll let off for now

nycindie 04-10-2013 03:22 PM

It sounds like you each have your own individual beliefs and perceptions about how relationships and displays of affection "should be" and they are not exactly matching up.

Sometimes people who are very comfortable with outward displays of affection just do not get that other people find that "too much" or feel like they are intruding if they are near someone who is being demonstrative. She might even lean toward having exhibitionist tendencies. Just tell her you are not a voyeur, and that you look away because you feel you want to give them privacy. I think it is perfectly fine that it makes you uncomfortable to see them being physically intimate, but she should know that it is out of respect for their privacy and the fact that voyeurism is not your thing, and isn't based in jealousy or possessiveness.

It also sounds like you are the type of person who likes your relationships managed separately and somewhat compartmentalized, while she likes having a lot of togetherness and would probably really dig being part of a big poly commune. To me, for her to say, "these are not two relationships" doesn't make any sense at all. Sure, you and he are friends, but she is in two relationships -- and you are only romantically dating her, not him, so why does she think it's all one big relationship? There are actually more than that: You and her; him and her, you and him (as friends); and all three of you together. That is FOUR relationships and each dynamic needs to be nurtured independently!

Why is she forcing you to change your comfort zone when she is unwilling to to make changes to her own comfort zone? She is being selfish and demanding. For her to call you a wet blanket is very inconsiderate of your feelings.

If I were you, I would show her this thread and ask her to add her perspective on it so you both can get more responses that help both sides of the issue.

Tsukune 04-10-2013 03:46 PM

I think I miss communicated on a few things.
I'm actually perfectly okay with them displaying affection when I'm around. I only felt like I was intruding because normally that day is for them only.

As for the "voyeurism/exhibitionist" part I think it's actually the other way around. She's not comfortable showing too much affection in public, while I don't care where we are, I've actually been working on trying to tone that done.

You are correct that normally I like things compartmentalized, I know that for this to work we all need to be comfortable being around each other. And yes while they are separate relationships that need separate nurturing, they are also part of a bigger one that needs the same.

You're also right that she is big on togetherness and I know she wants to be part of a the poly community, she's the one that found and pointed me and him towards this site.

I'd show her the thread except that, at least for now, we've decided to remain anonymous to each other on here. We all feel more comfortable sharing these kind of things knowing the others won't know it was us, hence the vagueness. We're all new to the poly community.

I feel I should mention that some details were left out due to them being to personal.

I do appreciate the advice, and I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on some points, I'm not used to talking about these things on a forum.

Marvin 04-10-2013 03:57 PM

Have you and the 1st BF discussed this with each other- I can only assume so. She may be over compensating with him to ease his feelings...(??)
One thing that I suggest is to promote (actively while you are all together ) the intimate contact between her and him and likewise between you and her while he is present. Voyeurism is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, and intimate contact doesn't always have to mean sex, but it sounds to me like she is afraid of distancing one by loving the other...
I completely understand your feelings- I have been exactly where you are and on the other side of the coin as well. It might sound a little cliche but some open communication might be just what you all need to clear the air.

Tsukune 04-10-2013 04:21 PM

Me and him talked a few times in the beginning but it was weird. I'm going to try to talk to him when I see him tomorrow.
As for the intimate contact part, so far the most me and him have done while the other is in the room is cuddle, hug, and kiss, although I'm still weird about doing more than kissing her cheek or head when I know he can see me, that's something to talk to him about.

westVan 04-10-2013 05:29 PM

From another second
Yes I get what your trying to say, and yes I feel that way too.
But I put it up to respect for their relationship(my part) and their need to still feel connected when I am in the room.
But ya I totally undertand what your saying.

NutBusterX 04-10-2013 06:16 PM

the intricate juxtaposition of actions and words
I empathize with all involved on this one. My advice would be to remember that to many people, actions are far more important and meaningful than words. She may hear your words of reassurance and simultaneously find a contradiction in your body language. Nonverbal communication is a significant portion of how we perceive people's position on a topic, even when the ideas they verbally express are 180 degrees from what we perceive based on physical actions. I bring this up because just as a conversation can produce a miscommunication, so can nonverbal clues such as turning away, averting your eyes, fidgeting, etc.

I understand the reasons for you to turn away as a means of providing privacy and feeling uncomfortable about your own sense of "intrusion" on their space. I also understand that in the absence of her security about your feelings, the flames of fear and fiction can be fanned by her/their perception of your (subconscious) actions.

I suspect that when they embrace, your feelings are positive and genuine, but your "oh shit! now what?" response to it is to retreat and provide them space. Read as "recoil and retreat." Those actions come form a noble place, but do not convey to your lover that you are comfortable and happy for her. Perhaps some practice of an action that communicates support and respect nonverbally would be helpful. I'd suggest some research on nonverbal communication skills that you could modify and try out.

In any event, I hope you find a good way to navigate this issue and by all means let us know what works and doesn't.


Marvin 04-10-2013 06:18 PM

I agree with Jim here.. Very well said!!

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