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Old 04-08-2012, 04:00 PM
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Vixtoria Vixtoria is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Originally Posted by BaggageReclaim View Post
I'm not sure where to start but I could use some help with my relationship.

Our discussions started getting really emotional and volatile, and made Bee feel insecure about when she could expect Jay to be home. We all got together and talked (briefly) and implemented a schedule where Jay would be home two nights a week and alternate weekends, which seemed to make things OK between them. Meanwhile Jay and I continued to have issues, largely around time, and my level of inclusion in his life.
Just a few things I thought I'd point out that are just small missteps, or poly pitfalls as we call them. They are just the small things that you don't realize until later and then look back and go 'oooh should have done that different!' With this, I understand you are upset and worried about your own needs and wants to be taken into consideration but it goes a long way to show empathy and have a discussion on what EVERYONE wants. I can see where she'd be insecure not knowing when he'd be home and him spending a majority of his time with you. Wouldn't you feel a bit insecure having no idea when he was going to contact you next or when you would see him? So most likely that wasn't discussed well with the two of them and after a small freak out of not knowing she needed some stronger boundaries. Not really a your fault, their fault thing, just something that wasn't discussed prior because well, no one thought of it! Sounds like you are all learning together and so there are going to be those bumps of things you just didn't think about that make things smoother once you get a little experience. Sadly you know what they say, "Wisdom comes from experience and experience comes from bad decisions."

I expressed that it was important to me to feel a sense of progression in the relationship between Jay, Bee and I - at this point, I want to feel like we're all invested in working towards a dynamic where we're all comfortable in the same room, for a start.
Here's another one. Was this discussion with just you two? If it was about the three of you and you wanting to feel a sense of all three working together, then all three of you needed to be in on the discussion.

Yesterday he came to visit for a couple of hours ... we wound up talking. I started off by saying that I wanted to bring up some personal concerns that we hadn't addressed on Wednesday, the big one being that I was feeling unimportant to him because our relationship discussions centred around the issues in his life, and I couldn't remember him expressing consciousness of our relationship dynamic.
Another oops I think. One of you, if not both of you, should have immediately stopped this conversation with a "Okay I understand there are some unaddressed concerns, sounds like ALL THREE OF US need to get together to discuss them." Now, metamours do not HAVE to get along or be best friends. DH and DC dont' really talk. However, both have expressed that if there was something going on that needed to be discussed as far as boundaries or concerns, they would. All three of us discussing things together rather then me, the hinge, just playing telephone between them. For important things 'telephone' doesnt' work. Remember that game as kids? Things never came out like they were meant to.

The reaction was poor, I think he felt attacked. We managed to smooth it out somewhat, but I'm left feeling like there's no space for me to express wants or needs - that the choice is between sucking it up or having him break down.
I get this. I had this problem with DH a lot of times. I felt that he was getting upset and feeling attacked then withdrawing. He felt I was 'spewing' emotion without giving myself time to think and understand myself and my reaction. In a way both were right. Since then we have both worked on communication. A book called, "After the Affair" has taught me a lot about the fact that I actually listen in a different way. I think I am being empathetic and just noticing the smallest nuances. What I was actually doing was following some 'programming' from my childhood to assume people were reacting to me in a specific way. They may not be, but that's what I'd hear. Communication skills, harder then they seem!

Throughout our relationship I've felt like I've had to meet them more than halfway, which I'm OK with because I recognise they have more constraints to deal with. But now I'm feeling disrespected, like our relationship just fills in the gaps wherever they happen to be, and I don't get to express my own needs.
Now is this what is happening or is this how you feel? An important distinction. I grew up learning to help people, do what I can for others and be happy about it. So I would, I would continue doing for others saying I was happy to then after start looking at the fact that I gave more than I got and then I'd feel resentful. Now my feelings were valid but I had to realize how I put myself in that situation. By not expecting, by not asking and by being willing to give more than I gave. Always assuming that at SOME point, the other person would realize it and be grateful and then start giving more.

He's reluctant to ask Bee to do anything more to make things easier. He feels that she already gives a lot. To me it sounds like, "we've decided to be poly and it's difficult for us, so anyone who comes into our relationship has to be happy with the compromises that we've already decided to make," and there's no room to engage with me as a real person and not just an abstract "other relationship".
Now this may be the case, it may not. Opening a marriage to another relationship, especially the first time, is scary. So it's usually something that goes slow. Maybe they were prepared for the more casual but neither was expecting for it to become so emotional. So now it's opening their marriage in a new way that they weren't prepared for. Again, this is something that needs to be discussed between all three of you. If it's new and they are caught off guard, especially Bee, then all three of you discussing it and how to make EVERYONE feel comfortable, even if it means slowing certain aspects down, will only help you all in the long run.

We're going to meet again to talk about what he thinks is important or reasonable to ask Bee for - basically the boundaries of our relationship that are important enough to him to fight for. But I need to feel like my own wants are being considered - that his conception of "relationship" is not defined only by what he and Bee want, but also by what I want. I don't know how to convey that without him feeling attacked. But I can't be in a meaningful relationship where I feel so incidental.
Do I need to say it again? He doesn't need to ask his wife what is acceptable to do, you three need to sit down and talk. Openly, honestly. If someone gets upset or overwhelmed, take a small break but come back to it!

One other thing is that we never agreed to a clear hierarchy - and I'm not sure I'd agree to it. I need for him to be able to weigh both my wants and Bee's wants and evaluate importance based on situations and not just default to "my wife is more important always". He hasn't been doing that, but I get the impression he wants to,
Do you need a hierarchy? Are you looking to become a co primary? If so then yes it needs to be discussed. If Bee is worried about being replaced or a 'sister wives' scenario scares her then it needs to be discussed. Weighing needs in the given situation is a good idea, and again, bring that up to both of them. Also make sure you reiterate that you DO believe his wife is important to him but that if she's just looking to have a relaxing day in and you have an emergency you would like that the emergency takes precedence. Just like if you and he had a date but she had an emergency you would expect that to take precedence. More than once I was doing something with DH and DC would call upset or need me, just to talk or see me, and DH would step aside to give us that time. And vice versa. But that is born from a mutual respect, even if they aren't friends or chat a lot.

I'm not sure what I'm asking here. I just feel really lost and hurt and confused when I think about this relationship.Any perspective or advice would be appreciated.
It sounds like this is new for all three of you and so frustrating. I am sorry for that. I know it's hard to adjust and really it's three people adjusting to three new relationships because it does change things. I can tell you that this first poly relationship for them and for you is going to have it's share of poly pitfalls but you CAN make it through. It takes a TON of communication and you will get exhausted from talking all the time. There are times you are going to be so tired of talking you just want to BE. That's fine and natural, but this communication will lay a strong groundwork for things to be smoother in the future and if you want this to be long term or even more than just short term, you will be grateful for it later!

Stick to your guns, don't start giving in to what you want or expect thinking it will make things easier. Know what you really want and need from the relationship and convey that. Let them both know that what they want or need is also important to you and that you really want to find a way for you all to get that. Even if it means some compromising and renegotiating again later. Just remember that EVERYONE should be doing the compromising and negotiating. Which means no one person should be giving up all the time! Even if they volunteer to.
Me: 40 pansexual poly.
DH: My husband of 21 yrs and father of 3 teen girls.
DC: LDR of +9 years/former
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