Originally Posted by WhatHappened
I think that's ultimately the question in this situation, and the challenge, as it's hard, at least for me, to visualize what that even looks like. Right now, to me, it means loving someone who spends a limited amount of time with me--although to be fair, I myself limited the time even more after our discussion--and knowing it will always be limited. I'm pretty sure I won't want to live like that forever.
His solution--again, spoken in agitation, I think--was that everything would be fine if I had another boyfriend from the poly world. To me, raising a bunch of kids and working two jobs and not having had any interest in dating to begin with, this is not even remotely a solution, for me to exert effort to 'find a boyfriend' I never wanted in the first place to make this work for the current BF.
I suppose so far, I've pretty much taken it a day at a time, and I don't know what the future holds. I see positive changes in my life and his both, as a result of this relationship, so I suppose I need to continue the one day at a time and seeing where this goes approaches.
All I can share is my own story, which of course is personal and doesn't necessarily transfer over to your situation. That said, I've been dating a married woman for three years and I'm afraid that it does, indeed, look like loving someone who has a limited amount of time and energy for you. It can be really frustrating. You just have to figure out how to accept it and work with it. In some ways, it's a little like an LDR.
It helps immensely that I'm good friends with her husband. The three of us share hobbies we can all do together, from as small as sitting around watching the same show together to as big as going on a week-long camping trip together. I'm involved in the life of their child. I babysit frequently, and because of that I have the security of knowing that I'm not just drawing away precious resources and energy from her family, I'm adding to it. I can't ask her to live two lives -- she doesn't have the time -- but I can be as big of a part of her life as possible, and she a part of mine. In these ways, our relationship has grown closer and our lives more entwined, even while it's still fundamentally a secondary partnership.
I do have a boyfriend, who I've been with for about a year. Getting together with him in no way diminished my desire to be as close as possible to my gf. On the other hand, it is nice to know that I'm *someone's* first priority, when I can't often be hers. I don't know if my bf and I will stay together indefinitely, we've been having unrelated difficulties, but I do think that if he and I broke up I'd eventually begin to search again for someone else aside from my gf. Not because it takes pressure of our my relationship with her, but simply because I *do* have time and energy that I'd like to share with a partner, and that she can't always be there for.
It's a funny life, and I too wonder at times where it's going. Will I build a primary partnership with someone else, maybe even get married, so that she and I have mirrored lives? Will I eventually find that I have to, for my own emotional well-being, make a bid for co-primary-hood with her husband? Will I stay in a secondary relationship with her and be involved also with one or more other secondaries, and only ever be my own primary?