I am glad that if my metamours have issues with things going on between my boyfriend and I (he has a wife and a very long term serious girlfriend) they work it out between themselves. I would gladly be part of a solution in a case like this if wanted, but if his girlfriend has any problems with me/us, I have no clue, they're working it out. I know his wife had some issues with time/overnights etc months ago, but besides her notifying me of her feelings once, it hasn't been brought up again by her or him, and they have been working it out between themselves, and as long as nothing makes the relationship untenable for me, or keeps me from getting my needs met, I am thrilled to have them figure out what will work for them.
That (in the primary relationship) is where I think problems that involve negotiating "primary" needs and boundaries should be handled first, unless they require input or want to talk to others about it to negotiate everyone's needs all at once (and that's something I'd consider more important in a poly-fi sort of situation). Not her complaining to or about you, or her venting but not trying to find a way to fix it with Joshua. So if this is the case, I'd say a few things.
"It's a bigger emotional drama if it involves a gift, or a more involved date activity, or something sexual"
1. Joshua and her should be working out issues of time/appropriate gifts/sexual boundaries, etc so they have an agreement of what is or isn't OK. If a problem comes up once, that's a great time for them to sit down and negotiate something that will work, if there's a problem with current agreements.
2. She is bringing up things about your sex life with him. Is that OK? If the four of you share info to that level in general it can be hard to draw boundaries, but that doesn't mean you can't and shouldn't do so. If there are activities or..frequencies...she isn't comfortable with, well really, that's not something you should have to be hearing about IMO, unless she is trying to negotiate a compromise directly between you and her and just leaving out the middleman.
3. If Joshua oversteps a boundary for one of the above things that she and he (or you and she and he, or all four of you) have agreed to, then she should take it up with him first, unless you purposefully pushed the boundary.
I think in this, Joshua should both be active in working out these things with her so these situations aren't happening, and be your advocate if she is "venting" about this stuff instead of talking to him first, and trying to deal with it that way. Telling you she is hurt or sad or insecure about something once is one thing, but the extent to with which you describe her going to seems as if she's glad to rain on everybodies parade. If Joshua can't or wont help lower the drama level, you should probably accept that this won't change, and you'll have to decide if you can put up with that long term.
I also think you'd benefit if you directly told her that you want her and him to work out these things themselves, and if they agree to something that makes you unhappy, you talk about it then. There are ways to do this that can make her feel loved at the same time. Once I had to say something hard and awkward to a metamour to draw boundaries, and I had to write it down and practice it, but when I worked up the nerve to say it, it did have the desired effect.
If you don't do poly in a way that "primary" partners get to say "Listen hon, I don't like it if you buy her X/she buys you X" Then I think it's fair if she is complaining because you X happens, you kindly but firmly tell her that you're sorry she is unhappy, but you'd appreciate it if she didn't try to make you uncomfortable for doing something that had no motive except to bring positive things into your life. I know lots of people do the less rules the better thing, but if this is causing your relationship problems, maybe they do need to be having a few more "rules" so she isn't bringing up lots of things that are making her unhappy.
(Sigh, I meant that to be 8 paragraphs shorter, AND I stopped making sense a few paragraphs back too, I suck at short posts...)
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
Last edited by Anneintherain; 01-11-2012 at 06:49 PM.