Originally Posted by LadyMacbeth
He was able to tell me that he has believed that up to this point he has had no say in anything regarding this relationship and has felt he has to "take whatever is offered and try to be happy with it." To clarify...that is in no way how my husband and I operate, but he had initial faulty assumptions that the primary/secondary model involving the primaries setting all rules and parameters was the ONLY kind of poly relationship. ...He explained that feeling like a "secondary" was humiliating for him and destroys his self esteem and so he's had to wonder if there is any way to do this, no matter how much he loves me, and to maintain his own sense of identity. And, of course, he doesn't know yet and is now willing to try to see. He had assumed when I had previously tried to give him things to read about poly or suggested he review this site, it was my way of helping him be more comfortable with "the way things are" rather than "learning how things might be."
That's pretty similar to how I felt and reacted when I was first in a secondary (well, officially not even a secondary, just with considerable life-entanglement) relationship, I didn't feel like I had any ground to stand on to ask for anything, I was just terrified she'd change her mind about the whole thing.
Since then, I've been dating a man whose wife's boyfriend lives with them, and I see how that works and how the boyfriend fits into their household, and has both rights and responsibilities- and that he isn't constantly walking on eggshells for fear that his girlfriend's husband will demand she end it. Oh, and he's officially her boyfriend, not just a roommate, except to relatives or co-workers or other people who they just don't want to explain the whole thing too.