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Old 02-14-2013, 01:21 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pennsyl-tucky
Posts: 1,856

Thanks for posting!

Just a few thoughts as I read your post (don't know if they will be helpful but thought I would share)

Originally Posted by lemonhead View Post
...He and his wife have been poly for about three years, though she has had one long-term serious relationship and he has not had a serious other relationship yet. My husband and I have been poly for about 13 years. ...
Thanks for talking about everyone's level of experience because I think it helps to know kind of where everyone is "at" to understand their reactions better. Although they have been poly for 3 years they have been "being poly" from different perspectives. She has experience being the hinge person / the shared sweetie - and balancing time/expectations that way. He has experience being the person sharing their sweetie - and balancing the jealousy / insecurity that often comes with. Now they are each experiencing the "other side" seriously for the first's all new again. They will make mistakes (I know I did, I suspect you did as well) - as long as they take the time to communicate and work on them mistakes can be overcome.

Originally Posted by lemonhead View Post
Finally, we had both gone for testing and test results came back clean, and we had sex. Unfortunately it turned out that he had promised his wife, P, that he would take certain actions before and after we had sex for the first time (I don't know specifics but they were along the lines of comforting, disclosure, and making sure she had support in place at the time it happened), and when it happened we hadn't actually planned it for that particular night so he did not do these things. This happened right before Christmas and led to a lot of hurt and feeling forgotten on P's part, and a lot of healing and processing for them to do.

Thankfully, we had a meeting and talked through it and P expressed that there are some things D needs to work on as far as communication (I am still not sure of specifics).
There are a couple of ways to look at / handle this. I'll give my perspective. I think that you have to be rather careful to let them work on their relationship foibles themselves. The fact that you were not aware of what her pre/after care requirements are from him is actually FINE from my perspective. That is HIS responsibility and he needs to really OWN it. These are agreements/boundaries/expectations that HE has with HER.

Yes, if you are aware of a boundary and know that he is close to breaking it then, as a friend, you can be supportive of him and encourage him to keep those promises. But it is not YOUR job to babysit his relationship with his wife and enforce their boundaries FOR her. It is your job to respect their relationship and follow the agreements/boundaries that YOU have agreed to. (There are other valid perspectives - my husband and I actually do not agree on this one.)

Originally Posted by lemonhead View Post
I chose to step back a fair bit for the month of January, both in the amount of affection/urgency I was communicating to him, and physically - making it clear to him that all of this had brought up anxieties from my past (think along the "homewrecker" internal dialogue track), and that I didn't feel safe emotionally doing anything really intimate.
To be clear, P is not putting any limits on our relationship, no rules or anything. But I do know (and she has said) that any progression of our relationship will be a bit difficult for her. She has made it clear that she is committed to working through that.
So there are two parts to this part of the post:
1.) the effect of escalating the relationship on her
2.) the effect of escalating the relationship on you

It seems that she is not really pressing you to wait - she has been open and honest about the fact that this will be difficult, but that she is willing to do the work on her end. I think that you recognize that, as she hits rough patches, it WILL affect your relationship with D - he may need to take more time with her, he may need to ask you to slow down or pause while they work on certain things, etc.

Something that doesn't seem as clear is whether D realizes all of this and is willing to do what HE needs to do to navigate this well? What are his feelings/responses to "escalating the relationship"? Again, I don't think that it is your responsibility to decide how things need to progress in terms of their relationship, but I think you might feel a lot "safer" if you knew that he had a solid plan on dealing with issues as they arise and doing the work on their "old issues" that will come into play.

It's good that you and P can talk and are friends. But, just as many people advise against the "hinge" always playing the "middle man" in metamour communication, I also think that it is a bad idea for the "arms" to try to "fix" the things that ARE the hinge's responsibility. (You don't want her to be coming to you later and saying "He was supposed to do this-and-that, but he didn't" and you saying "Oh, sorry, I didn't know - I'll make sure he does that-and-this" in the future." You are his girlfriend/lover, not his mommy/babysitter.)

Originally Posted by lemonhead View Post
I'm now wondering how much longer to wait. Do I wait until I get a clear signal from them that they're doing better? P says these are old issues - what if they don't work through them? I really don't want to be caught in the middle of that. I'm unsure of whether I should make a greater investment, or not... or just wait a few weeks and see.
This is up to you...or you and D. It sounds like you have a good handle on where P is, you know what your issues are, sounds like a conversation with D is in order to come up with a tentative plan. Could go like this:
"D, I am interested in ramping up what we have started but I have concerns that you and P are not in a good place for that right now. Are YOU interested in starting things back up again or do you need more time to set things right with P? I'm worried that if we cool off much further then I am going to start suppressing my feelings, so I don't get hurt. On the other hand, I am worried that if we don't do this well that we will lose you two as friends. What are your thoughts?"

Originally Posted by lemonhead View Post
I'm not a patient person, and I've been really feeling proud of myself so far.
You SHOULD feel proud! I think that you have been very patient and considerate. But you don't have to stretch that out indefinitely. If you can only maintain a "holding pattern" for so long - then that is a personal boundary for you. (You describe yourself as not patient - yet you are talking about weeks/months here - you aren't giving him a 48 hour time frame to make up his mind and nagging him for a decision. It is OK to ask how much time someone needs and then bow out if it is too long for you.*) If now is not the time for you to have a relationship with D then ... it isn't. Sometimes we meet the "right person" at the "wrong time"...that's ok.


*PS. And sometimes life turns out funny - at one point (as I saw things were starting to implode from my jackassery) I told Dude that I had deluded myself and that this was not going to work. He asked if I thought we could ever have what we had been envisioning...I said "Ask me in 10 years." (i.e. no hope, Dude, get on with your life). 6 months later (after a bunch of stuff happened) we were on track, this time with MrS sharing the same vision...who'd have thought?
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (24+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (6+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic hetero girlfriend and BFF
MrClean: hetero mono male, almost lover-friend to me, FWBs to SLeW
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.

My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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