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-   -   Dispensable. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=48407)

london 06-06-2013 08:22 PM

Dispensable.
 
I've been seeing this guy, let's call him Frank, for a few months. I'd like to say we have developed a friendship. He has been in a relationship with Pat since August. To cut a long story short, Pat is not happy with their relationship being open. She just isn't, and in my very cynical opinion, she never will be. Frank knows this and very recently, it came to a climax and Frank told Pat that he isn't willing to close the relationship. Despite her obviously hating this, she agreed to carry on with the relationship with it being open, which again, my cynical opinion says is because she, like lots of people, would rather be unhappy with someone than be alone. Just for extra information, I always knew that she had struggled with this from the time I met him and since this,i have decided not to get involved with anything like it again. Simply because I'm used to feeling secure and I don't in this situation. I feel like I could be cut at any time. When we first met, she was travelling and he went out to see her for a few weeks before he returned and she returned a month later. Pat knew from the very start that Frank was not interested in a monogamous relationship. She used to say on her profile that she is in a relationship with Frank, but removed all information about him and polyamory from her profile in March or possibly, early April, before he went on his planned trip out there. This also greatly concerns me.

My insecurity shows because whereas before she was back, if he wasn't free to meet, it would be fine. He saw other people and it isn't any big deal. Now, it feels like we will hardly get to see one another because the time we did see each other, the only time we can see each other is on weekends and I feel like we will only see each other on the weekends that she doesn't require his company. I know that's on him. I feel like he won't protect "our time", and I know he knows that is the right thing to do, really, but this relationship will make it impossible for him to do that.

I know this might sound like I want him to be mine, or my primary, at least. It isn't about that, it's just that I want to feel valued too. The truth is, this weekend for example, I don't even know for sure that he will be with her, but because I'm insecure about this whole thing, I'm making that assumption. I know they are together today and probably other days this week and I feel like she will continually book up his time knowing that it's a way if controlling the emotional attachments he can form outside of them.

We talk, we talk a lot and I've told him my fears about their relationship being so rocky and the fact that I really don't think it's healthy for someone to be in a non monogamous relationship when they obviously hate it. The latest update that I've had is that they've decided to stay together, she doesn't know if she can cope with it long term, but if she wants to close it and him keep it open, then they will part as friends. Normally, that would console me, but because I'm in this state of mind, my first thought was "so there is a possibility of you wanting to close it?". I guess I wanted to hear that he said that he would never have a closed relationship, so I could feel safe.

I really like this guy, and even if we stay as we are, friends and have the great sex that we do, I'll be happy. He had been positive in my life and I know the more we share, more positive things will come out of what we have. But I hate feeling so dispensable to someone who I like and care about but nor do I want to end things. Not unless it seems absolutely pointless. I hate feeling like this though and I hate feeling like I'm doing all the things she does by being insecure, clingy and pressuring him to make some sort of promises.

I really don't want to give up on him but I can't stay feeling so shitty. I have no idea how she stays in a relationship, proper boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, and accepts feeling so crappy everyday.

What I guess I want is things that I can ask him to do to make me feel that he does value me and I'm not dispensable because if I'm going to carry on with this, I can't stay this insecure. I just can't. Any suggestions of concise steps he could take to show (her as well as me) that I matter, or even that the other people he sees, whoever they are, matter? If he chooses not to take them, at least then I know my feelings are not important and I can move on. He is so willing to talk and reassure me verbally, that I do believe that they are but then other things counteract that, somewhat, and I'm left feeling confused.

opalescent 06-06-2013 08:46 PM

A difficult situation. I can see why this is hard for you. I would not be comfortable in this particular set up either.

He, and she, have decided to stay in this uncomfortable relationship and deal with their incompatability by keeping the status quo.

Have you told him that you are fearful he will not protect your time with him? Has he taken away that time before? If he has, then that's a problem with him that you need to address directly with him. You mention you've told him your fears and concerns which is a good idea. How did he respond?

Does he do anything that makes you insecure? Does he ignore you? Not keep his agreements, cancels dates? Things like that? Or is it the situation and your own thoughts about their situation that makes you feel insecure? From your writing, it seems to me to be the latter.

If this is accurate, beyond asking him to respect the time you have set aside for each other, your feeling diminished or dispensable are not his to solve. They are yours. It is certainly not wrong to ask for reassurance occasionally. But he cannot fix a basic feeling of insecurity or worthlessness. Is this a momentary twinge of insecurity (happens to everyone) or an indication of deeper concerns? You're only one who can know this.

london 06-06-2013 10:26 PM

Quote:

Have you told him that you are fearful he will not protect your time with him?
I haven't phrased it quite like that. See, what I fear this is leading up to on end, is an ultimatum. Something I want to avoid giving at all costs. Anyway, I sort of said that I don't want to feel like a backup for when his girlfriend is unavailable.

Quote:

Has he taken away that time before?
No. See the reason I haven't been more direct in my approach with him is because I think it sparks discussions that unintentionally force us into conversations we wouldn't ideally be having at this stage of our bonding. We should be chilling, going with the flow. Anyway, to answer your question, we have always seen each other at weekends, that's when i am free, and now it feels like he checks with her first to see if they have plans and then will say yes or no. I feel like this has only happened since she came back though I am prepared to admit it might simply feel this way because I feel insecure about being discarded or used.

Quote:

You mention you've told him your fears and concerns which is a good idea. How did he respond?
He listens, discusses everything, is forthcoming about where they are in the relationship and verbally reassures me that he is serious about non monogamy and that he absolutely doesn't want me to feel this kind of way.

Quote:

Does he do anything that makes you insecure?
Yes. But I don't think he meant it to make me feel that way. When we last saw each other, he told me that they broke up because of their incompatibility in needs regarding closing the relationship. I was genuinely disappointed that she didn't get on board. She means a lot to him and I care about him, so I wanted it to be ideal for him. That includes her. Now, that he has agreed to continue with how things were with her, it makes me feel like he is keeping a monogamous relationship with her as an option. That makes me feel insecure because it means I will be frozen out.

Quote:

Does he ignore you? Not keep his agreements, cancels dates? Things like that?
No, but then I haven't made any specific demands regarding time or anything really. Mainly because I think it's too early to do things like that but it's getting to the point where I am going to have to say that I need these set things and I need them in order for me to see proof that you care about my feelings, because this thing makes me feel really insecure but I like you too much now to walk away. I hate having to say things like this at any stage, but early on is the worst.

Quote:

Or is it the situation and your own thoughts about their situation that makes you feel insecure?
Yes, this. So many things come into this. For one, it's hard for me to trust women.I know that's terrible,but it's true, unfortunately. The other thing is that I'm terrified of getting attached to someone who either demands monogamy from me, or as in this case, on someone that I am involved with and that forces us to either sacrifice them, or having polyamorous relationships.

Quote:

Is this a momentary twinge of insecurity (happens to everyone) or an indication of deeper concerns?
I am insecure about being discarded or used. That's the crux of it. I don't think she will ever be happy with them not being monogamous and consequently, I think she will do what she can to sabotage it. I can't control their relationship though, or his decisions regarding her, what I can do is give direct demands. Things I need for me to feel less shitty. I think this may speed things up in terms of determining exactly how important my needs are but I'm really apprehensive about doing this so early on. I feel forced into it just because their relationship is so unstable. I don't know what would be reasonable. It's easier to say that when you have established romantic labels like boyfriend or husband, harder when it's this early on.

Marcus 06-06-2013 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208465)
What I guess I want is things that I can ask him to do to make me feel that he does value me and I'm not dispensable because if I'm going to carry on with this, I can't stay this insecure. I just can't. Any suggestions of concise steps he could take to show (her as well as me) that I matter, or even that the other people he sees, whoever they are, matter? If he chooses not to take them, at least then I know my feelings are not important and I can move on. He is so willing to talk and reassure me verbally, that I do believe that they are but then other things counteract that, somewhat, and I'm left feeling confused.

I would say that you have framed what you are looking for exactly opposite to what I would recommend. This post is about what your bf is doing or not doing, what his girlfriend is doing or not doing, and how they need to be better at reassuring your insecurity.

You are currently dating a person who you've known for a very short period of time who is in a very unsteady monogamous relationship with someone he hasn't known very long. The best step for me would be to slowly back away from the explosion to come, because the odds of this working out as a healthy relationship between me and another fully functional adult are basically 0%.

However, I get the numbing power of new love and I understand if you still choose to dive face first into this situation. That being the case I would *still* recommend not framing the problem around what your boyfriend needs to do to console your insecurities. They are in no way responsible for your feelings of security. You are responsible for your feelings in every way - in this particular instance I think you'd be short sighted to ignore these instincts because what they are telling you seems to be pretty accurate (RUN).

Failing all of that, if you must get into these people negotiating how to navigate your feelings for you, I would suggest setting up a calendar. YOU set up a calendar with YOUR time. Share it with him (and her if she requests it) so that he can decide if he wants to 'claim' some time with you or not. You put on there the times that you are available, he sets up an event on your calendar 'claiming' some time with you and viola.

london 06-07-2013 12:08 AM

Quote:

They are in no way responsible for your feelings of security. You are responsible for your feelings in every way
Generally, I agree with this, but, I feel like if one person is displaying behaviour that is unreasonable or even harmful, then they do have some responsibility to why that person is left feeling negatively. I think the behaviour on his part that is unreasonable at this time is continuing this instability where it could have been resolved by now.

I know the calender thing is what needs doing but it seems so... demanding and as I said before, not something I would want to be doing in a relationship at this stage.

And just to clarify, I don't love this guy. I feel like he is a friend that I have awesome sex with and I want to see regularly. I am physically and romantically attracted to him, but he isn't my boyfriend. I wouldn't want him to be my boyfriend yet in any case. I really want us to have a solid friendship but not a stagnant one, one that grows and develops. That is undeniably very important to me to have with him and I feel like this situation threatens the possibilities of us having that. If we can't have that then we could never have anything else.

Marcus 06-07-2013 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208489)
Generally, I agree with this, but, I feel like if one person is displaying behaviour that is unreasonable or even harmful, then they do have some responsibility to why that person is left feeling negatively. I think the behaviour on his part that is unreasonable at this time is continuing this instability where it could have been resolved by now.

Which behavior? Not telling his girlfriend that he doesn't want to be monogamous?

Not that it matters, the rule of my being responsible for my own feelings is not contingent upon everyone around me behaving 'reasonably'. If that were a stipulation I would never need to take responsibility for my feelings!

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208489)
I really want us to have a solid friendship but not a stagnant one, one that grows and develops. That is undeniably very important to me to have with him and I feel like this situation threatens the possibilities of us having that. If we can't have that then we could never have anything else.

I don't have any idea what you mean by this. I have 'solid friendships' with my close friends but I don't know how that would imply that they should 'grow and develop'. Can you clarify what it is that you are expecting from this friend?

What kind of friendship is it which requires that he and his girlfriend make concessions to your insecurity about your... friendship?

london 06-07-2013 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 208490)
Which behavior? Not telling his girlfriend that he doesn't want to be monogamous?

Not that it matters, the rule of my being responsible for my own feelings is not contingent upon everyone around me behaving 'reasonably'. If that were a stipulation I would never need to take responsibility for my feelings!



I don't have any idea what you mean by this. I have 'solid friendships' with my close friends but I don't know how that would imply that they should 'grow and develop'. Can you clarify what it is that you are expecting from this friend?

What kind of friendship is it which requires that he and his girlfriend make concessions to your insecurity about your... friendship?

What I mean is that we are friends at this point, but we met on a dating site. When we first met and talked about this stuff there wasn't limitations. He didn't say 'we can only ever be "x" and nothing more because my relationship prohibits that'. If we end up staying just as friends, that's fine, but I want that to be because that's what we are compatible for, not because it's against the rules. That's something I feel I checked early on and the only rule stated about his interactions with others revolved around safer sex.

What I do know for sure is that if they closed their relationship, we wouldn't be able to see each other anymore because even though we are friends, we aren't "just friends" and I can't see how we ever would be. Anything that we have exists because they aren't monogamous. But I know she wants to be. And that makes me fearful for what we have.

After thinking about what label I would give us at this time and settling for friend, I asked myself if it would be okay for a friend to feel that they are dispensable, and I truly believe the answer is no. I do think one friend has a responsibility to do what is reasonable to alleviate those fears if something they are doing is causing them to feel that way; if they care about them. I don't think that my fears about their rocky relationship and how it might impact on me are irrational. I also know I cannot stay feeling so pathetically insecure about it all. I'm just trying to decide whether it will be horribly inappropriate to say "I need you to agree to us having this set regular time together" at this stage and whether it will be worth tainting the relationship with those kind of demands, wait it out and trust that he will make sure we have regular time together or whether I should just opt out now.

london 06-07-2013 01:09 AM

Quote:

Not that it matters, the rule of my being responsible for my own feelings is not contingent upon everyone around me behaving 'reasonably'. If that were a stipulation I would never need to take responsibility for my feelings!
I think I should explain this better. If in x amount of time, nothing has changed or if it's obvious he isn't meeting my needs from him, and I stay unhappy, then it's my fault. I think I should give him the chance to do what he can to make me feel differently, if that's important to him, and then if he chooses not to do anything to help me feel differently, I can move on knowing that I did my bit by being forthcoming and communicating. Definitely, if I allow myself to stay in a situation that causes me to be unhappy and there is no prospect of things ever changing, that's my doing. There is one thing we could do with the calender booking in advance thing and that, if it works how it is supposed to, would alleviate these feelings. Then, what they did with each other would impact less on me and we could have what we have and will have happily. Again, I just resent all this super serious calender stuff so early on.

Oh, and, they basically have a DADT so sharing calender with her would be a complete no no. She has every tell tale sign of not being okay with non monogamy.

Marcus 06-07-2013 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208497)
I asked myself if it would be okay for a friend to feel that they are dispensable, and I truly believe the answer is no. I do think one friend has a responsibility to do what is reasonable to alleviate those fears if something they are doing is causing them to feel that way; if they care about them.

I feel you there. I've had to make this decision with a friend in the past. I likened it to my place on his priority list - it seemed like I was always on the bottom. We'd make plans, get everything set, then someone more important would call him and need him for something and he'd bail. Once or twice is one thing, but once it became a regular thing I just decided enough was enough and I stopped counting on him and including him entirely.

He asked me at one point "Hey man, what's up, seems like we're drifting apart" and I told him that I wasn't interested in making plans with someone who kept me so low on their priority list. We had a long talk and we are still acquaintances but my position on what I would consider to be his priority list has been fixed to the bottom - so I have long since considered him to be a casual acquaintance.

Note: It was never his job to determine for me what my importance level needed to be in my relationship... that was always mine. I mentioned it to him because he asked, but I didn't expect him to change his ways for my sake.

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208497)
I don't think that my fears about their rocky relationship and how it might impact on me are irrational.

The fears themselves aren't irrational, in fact I would call them "clear observations" instead of "fears". However, the fact that you've identified there is an obvious problem out in front of you doesn't influence how much say you have over the situation itself.

If you're driving up on a cliff you do get to decide for yourself "Hey, that's a fucking cliff and I'm not driving off of it" or you can say "Yunno, I'm guessing that cliff has my best interests in mind and I'm going to drive off of it anyway". What you DON'T get to decide is how gravity feels about your car trying to drive straight across said cliff.

The cliff example is pretty leading but I kind of like it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208497)
I'm just trying to decide whether it will be horribly inappropriate to say "I need you to agree to us having this set regular time together" at this stage and whether it will be worth tainting the relationship with those kind of demands, wait it out and trust that he will make sure we have regular time together or whether I should just opt out now.

Yah, those are all tough questions and the only ones you have any say over. Good for you for actually determining what kind of input you have in this situation. People generally struggle with that realization because, honestly, your actions in this scenario are limited:

1. If you dig him, make sure you say it
2. If he treats you well, enjoy it
3. If he treats you poorly, give him the deuces on your way out

Personally I'd say he needs to figure his shit out and there is not a damn thing you are going to be able to do about it. I certainly understand the URGE to do try and do something about it but that doesn't change the fact that he's got to decide what he wants to do with his relationship with you - and as a separate issue, what he wants to do with this other girl.

Marcus 06-07-2013 01:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208499)
There is one thing we could do with the calender booking in advance thing and that, if it works how it is supposed to, would alleviate these feelings. Then, what they did with each other would impact less on me and we could have what we have and will have happily. Again, I just resent all this super serious calender stuff so early on.

Is there a lot of risk in creating a calendar for YOURSELF and sharing it with him? I am strongly against anyone telling their partners that THEY need to create a calendar. However, if time management is an issue (as it seems to be the primary issue here) then the risk of mentioning "Hey, would it make your life easier if you could see my calendar when thinking about scheduling a date with me?" would seem to be minimal.

Sooner or later I'm going to need to share a calendar with IV, but in a less passive manner. Her work schedule is so busy that I might be relegated to just proposing dates with her on the calendar and seeing if she accepts them lol.

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 208499)
Oh, and, they basically have a DADT so sharing calender with her would be a complete no no. She has every tell tale sign of not being okay with non monogamy.

Who cares, you aren't dating her; that's got nothing to do with you. He needs to work his shit out with her and I hope you figure out how to let go of that.


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