What if I don't like my partner's girlfriend?
I've been poly my entire dating life. Most of that has involved me being a secondary because I didn't want a primary relationship when I was in my 20s. Now I'm in my 30s and I have a primary partner I am deeply in love with and I'd like to have kids with him eventually. We've been together for 2 years now and we plan to get married at the end of this year.
We have had a poly relationship from the beginning. I have one secondary D/s relationship with another man and he has had several "play partners" (BDSM play that may or may not be sexual). There's not a deep emotional connection with our other partners. They're more like friends than lovers. We knew that the possibility of a deeper emotional connection with one of these play partners was something that could come up one day and now, indeed it has. He says he's not "in love" with her like he is with me but she is "a lover" now, not just a play partner.
This has been difficult for me and I've struggled a lot since they told me but I'm trying to work through it. We go to a poly-friendly counselor and I think he has gotten more understanding and patient with me than he was at first. Initially I doubted his love for me but over the past few weeks I've resolved a lot of that uncertainty. I know how much he loves me. I know he doesn't love her in the same way he loves me but she is an important relationship for him. When I focus on how she makes him happy it is easier.
Here's the thing: When I was really struggling with the jealousy right after they told me and I asked them if they could kinda hold off a bit while he and I worked through it, they both said no. They told me their relationship was what it was and they weren't willing to deny their feelings for each other. This made me feel like they didn't care at all about my feelings or the health of the primary relationship that he and I have. With the help of our therapist he and I have been working through that. But she has been unwilling to talk to me even though I reached out to her about 5 times now.
I really believe that successful poly relationships require open participation and communication and maturity on the parts of all involved. When I was a secondary one of the most important things to me was that the other person's primary relationship was healthy and stable and not threatened by our secondary relationship. I'm really disappointed, hurt and yes, angry that she doesn't seem to operate this way, especially since she claimed to be a friend of mine. If she was really a friend I would expect her to be more considerate and understanding of my feelings and to work with me on this like he has.
I do understand her reluctance here. I think she probably feels intimidated, especially since she knows I'm not very happy with her right now and she'd just rather not deal with it. Much more fun to just have sex with my boyfriend, why do I have to complicate that?
I chalk this up to her being young (25 I think) and still building her relationship skills and I also think she has a tendency to conflict avoidance. She seems to think that polyamory is all about having fun with lots of lovers and I think she's overlooked all the work that goes into healthy long-term poly relationships. She doesn't seem to be willing to do any actual work here. I don't think this bodes well for a sustainable long-term poly arrangement.
So my question is: should I just drop it and accept the fact that she and I are just not going to have a good relationship at all? I really want to like my partner's lovers. It's extremely important to me that he like and feel comfortable with my lovers. I do wish he felt the same. Surely this has come up for other poly couples. What are your experiences?