"Examples of what I can live with. If I'm working overnight, which isn't unusual, it's cool if she's there with my wife. I know they havetheir Lifetime movie nights. Saves me from crazy movie central. No issue. She comes over on Sunday's to watch that show Downton Abbey, maybe? Cool, but here's the problem. She doesn't leave that night or the following morning or even ask if we mind if she stays longer than expected. It's assumed that it's wanted by both of us. (If asked, the answer would be no from me every time.) She'll leave to go to work or visit her apartment to get clothes, and then she returns like it's her house. We get home around 6 or 7, and when we get there, she's already there. I didn't want to treat her like the hired help and tell her that her services were no longer needed for the evening. Maybe I should have, and this would be under control. As a goodwill gesture, we've asked if she wanted to stay for dinner. I thought it would be understood that after dinner, she could politely exit the stage on the left and enjoy her night-at her own apartment. Never panned out that way."
This is something I struggle with as a secondary partner to a woman with a primary partner in almost EXACTLY the ways you're describing here. I babysit a lot, I have a key, we hang out for one reason or another, such as doing a craft thing together or working out together and then I end up staying for dinner and then continuing to chill with them afterwards. Exactly the same. And it's often subtly awkward for me because I don't know where the lines are... am I a welcome guest whose company is valued, or am I intruding? If I excuse myself after dinner on a given night, would they say "oh, it's a shame she didn't want to hang more, I guess she's tired of our company" or "phew, glad she knew better than to overstay her welcome."? I can't know, I'm not a mind reader, and it often feels like to ask would be to sound insecure.
I think I need to get better at asking rather than just staying. I usually stay as the default because I like their company so much. It's not like there aren't other things I could be doing -- there are loads of things! -- but I just enjoy being with them. However, that's no excuse to potentially be impinging on their family time beyond what might be wanted. However, as I mentioned, it can be hard to ask! And sometimes I might just not think of it.
Still while I'm willing to take more responsibility for that, it sounds like Si probably has no idea that she needs to, may even think quite the opposite if you're always welcoming in words (if not in your heart). Like I said, people aren't mind readers. I'd hope that my gf and her husband would trust my level-headedness enough to know that if they said "Hey, you're the bee's knees, but we've noticed a pattern in our interactions where we all hang out all night long even though the two of us could use more just-us time... would you be offended if we made a habit of one or both of us checking in with you on whether we're in group hangout mode or couple mode on a more regular basis? Full disclosure, this will almost certainly result in less group hangout time. We know that's a change, but we think it'll result in better quality hangouts when we do hangout."
Clear, direct, honest, no blaming, no guilt. I'd totally respect that, and I'd be grateful to them for saving me from the awkward position of having to guess as to whether or not they wanted me around. Do you think Si wouldn't? Is she not someone whose level headedness you can trust? Why does it necessarily have to be an argument?
The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
Last edited by AnnabelMore; 03-06-2013 at 08:48 PM.