So yeah, this is kinda turning into bloggy #2 for me, I can admit it that it's happened.
I read all these posts out loud to my boyfriend the other day and he was really touched. It helped us a lot. It also helped me to reflect in a more positive light on some of our experiences.
I think I've been really overwhelmed by guilty feelings. What we're doing is so outside of the normal and so often labelled as horrible and wrong that it's easy for me to super overly scrutinise all my actions and worry that I haven't been perfect. What I've sort of started to see from lots of people's posts on here is that triads, ESPECIALLY when they break down into vees, get very complicated.
For us, when our tryad broke down into a vee, everything got very messy. The hierarchy issue of "primary" vs "secondary" partner came up. Because of social pressures and the newness of everything we were doing (and probably doing too fast, I can admit in retrospect!) R essentially withdrew her sense of building a relationship with me and building an ally with me and then pretty much focused on trying to push away the equality that we'd established as a baseline normal for our relationship, and re-establish herself as the primary partner. That did not go well for any of us, because T wouldn't let that happen, for better or for worse. I can finally understand now the complexity of the situation; T wanted equality, I certainly wanted equality, R wanted equality for a while... then R wanted her and T's relationship to be primary, and mine to be secondary to theirs. But I had already TOTALLY thrown in my lot with theirs, sharing with them literally everything I had; my time, my finances, and my love. Yikes! Not a great time to backpedal on the whole equality thing! Because I was certainly sharing in equal of the responsibilities... so not having equality in the emotional and decision making aspects of our household would have been really terrible.
The moral judgements of others have NOT helped at all in this situation. Essentially, the only way to keep society happy with all of this would have been...
1. to never have tried
2. For T to leave R and then date me a respectable year later
3. to have remained very much the outside partner, long-suffering in my patience and waiting for a relationship to open up and give the equality and commitment I so deeply craved and needed.
And to give credit where credit is due, T really was quite insistent on equality for all partners from the very beginning; I think the difficult part of all of this, is that when walking into an established relationship, how does a person create equality while still affirming the vibrancy, the feelings, and the strength of the existing relationship? And reassuring both partners of the security of their love?
The only real "answer" I have for this is that it takes time. But for a secondary partner, how much time is too much time to be reasonably stomached? The only real model I have for this to follow is that of a monogamous relationship. That model seems to tell me that "as things get serious, and you can trust each other more and more, you can start to talk about sharing the big things" and then once you get to the level where you've declared long-term commitment to each other, that's when equality comes in. (To me, equality really means equality of responsibilities and care for one another; therefore, "sharing the big things.)
But what happens when some partners feel committed and the other partner isn't ready yet for that level of commitment?
My boyfriend was recently dating another woman. I did have some pretty firm boundaries (ie no sex without us talking about it first) with him. I wanted to feel like my relationship with him was being respected and valued. Also, I didn't feel like him casually dated her gave them a high level of commitment to each other that sex implies for me. So that wasn't "equality" because I can have sex with my boyfriend whenever we both want, I didn't have to ask her permission. As the relationship continued, I realised that I might have to modify or change my boundaries to accommodate their growing relationship. Ie, their commitment to each other needed some space to grow, and to be reflected in changing boundaries as they could share more. And I wasn't opposed to that; I just felt that it would take time, conversation between my boyfriend and I, and lots of visioning of what our relationship would look like with her in the picture, and what he wanted out of that relationship before I was ready to give him that "free reign" of go ahead, share sex and emotions and all those other really highly important things that signify a deeper commitment.
Eventually, the two of them realised that they preferred to be friends rather than anything else, so I really didn't have to re-examine those boundaries too much; but it did go on long enough for me to at least sit down and think to myself "I'm going to have to reconsider my boundaries so their relationship can grow".
Anyway, I have so many more reflections, but who wants to read a super long post anyway? lol. So those are my thoughts on boundaries, triads, vees... and trying to negotiate some of those different aspects of polyamorous relationships.