Does putting the needs of your primary partner first come naturally to you?
I am thinking of a situation where a poly person has two partners, one primary, one not primary, and the non-primary lover wants something that directly conflicts with what the primary lover wants.
I have been having difficulties with my primary partner (a very loving 28-year relationship) lately because we have gotten into a couple of situations where the desires of his very short-term girlfriend took priority over mine.
This girlfriend only wants the best for both of us, and, in both situations, had she known that her expressed wants conflicted with mine, she would have told him to do what I wanted/needed. But he didn't communicate with her, put her wants first, and I got upset. He's upset with himself too, to the point where he is seeking therapy to discuss this exact issue.
This is all the more frustrating to me because I recently hurt one of my OSOs in a situation where I had a knee-jerk reaction to put my primary's desires first, at the expense of the OSO. I was spending the weekend with my primary partner and OSO (not really sure if OSO could be called secondary or tertiary, he loves me and I love him, but his level of actual commitment to me is hard to quantify these days). I suggested to my OSO that he and I be sexual together at a certain time, and he liked the idea. Then, my primary wanted to be sexual with me at the same time and I made OSO wait (sadly, OSO does not enjoy group situations, otherwise we would not have had a problem). OSO got upset because he feels that I broke a promise to him. I was perfectly willing, even eager, to be sexual with him after I was with my primary partner (which didn't take very long), but OSO no longer wanted to that day.
I think OSO is getting over it, but I thought it was curious that I didn't even think twice about breaking my promise to him, because my primary partner wanted the same thing from me at the same time.
This got me thinking about whether other folks deferred to the desires of their primary partners automatically, the way I did, or was is there more of a thought process involved? I asked another partner of mine, who is also in a long-term loving primary relationship, how it worked for him, and he said it was the same as it was for me, that he automatically deferred to his primary and what she said she wanted/needed. Is it like that for others in long-term primary relationships? Has anyone else got into difficulties when that was not the case? How did you resolve them?
Last edited by persephone; 10-22-2012 at 01:30 PM.