A mono secondary's letter to their poly primary
This is what I wish I had the guts to say to my boyfriend at the moment. The italicized portions are my calmer self explaining what is going on to my emotional self.
When I said I would miss you, you didnít say it back, and said that the reason you didnít was that you didnít want to engage in socially conventional cue-response behaviour.
Instead you stroked my eyebrows, whose perfect arches fascinate you, and gave me your half-smile. I know you love me, even if you can't say it yet.
What I heard was, ďI wonít miss you, because I wonít be alone. I will be with someone else, the important one, the one who really matters, so I wonít have time or emotional space in which to miss you. There will be no void for me.Ē
When you said, as I left, ďHave a good spring break!Ē I heard ďWe will not be in communication for the duration of the spring break, because I will be with someone else, the important one, the one who really matters. I will be completely wrapped up in them and not spare a single thought for you.Ē
You were frantically trying to get your house straightened up before you left it for a week and were bringing your husband back there straight after. You had meant to spend an hour with me; we had been lying in your bed for nearly three.
Eight days went past with no communication. On my side, because Iím trying so hard to be a good little secondary who isnít needy or clingy (and I donít want your husband to be upset by me intruding during the time he has with you Ė I am going to respect those times when you are at his house). I donít know what the justification for no contact was on your side. I imagine you were having reconnecting time, playing with your cats, writing, having your head there and not with me.
Your husband deserves your undivided attention when you are at his house. You have a relationship of much longer standing than ours, cats, friends in his town. He never gets to do couple-y things with you on a regular basis. If he feels threatened by your relationship with me, then this is when you get to reassure him Ė and you canít do that if you are also in regular contact with me. You may also feel guilty that you spend, or have the ability to spend, more time with me than with him because we live and work in the same town and he is in another state, so you overcompensate when you are with him.
I was surprised when you texted me the day before I left for another country on a work trip and your message said ďHave a safe flight and a great timeĒ. But what I heard was ďI donít care enough/Iím having too much fun with my partner to call you to wish you these things, and moreover, you now understand that we are not going to be in contact AT ALL for two and a half weeks, until you are back in fact and my partner has been back in his state for a couple of days.Ē
You were thinking of me and wanted to let me know that without upsetting or being disrespectful to your husband.
I thanked you and said that I hoped you would enjoy your conference this week.
I was trying to convey the sense of detachedness that I was perceiving from you.
Now, Iím tired, lonely, jetlagged, wanting to talk to you and tell you about all the things that have happened since we spoke (I got bitten on the face by a spider, I spent 31 hours on planes and in transit, I am back where I grew up and itís all different and weird), but I feel like I shouldnít ask for your time. You and your husband are back in our town, you are back at work, he is on holiday in a town that he feels is ďmineĒ because I live there, in the house that you and I, and he and you, eat in, watch movies in, cook for each other in, sleep in, wash each other in, have sex in. I am pretty sure that the last time you tried to initiate sex downstairs on the sofa was because you hadnít changed the sheets from the last time your husband had been in your bed. I wonder if you had time to change them before you left for break after you and I had been there? No matter. I have deliberately chosen to go upstairs when you gave me the choice, even though intuitively I knew that you hadnít changed the sheets. I donít care. You, him, me Ė we are all part of something bigger than the sum of our parts. I want to know him, to feel secure in this, to not wonder every time that you see him if you're thinking "Oh, I don't really need her after all".
I am relatively attractive, professionally successful, lots of friends, a beautiful son, financially independent, no want of admirers. And yet I feel more comfortable sharing these thoughts with a forum of strangers than I do with you. I am scared that I will do something that you will see as irretrievably wrong or stupid in poly terms and you will decide that I am NOT worth the trouble.
Please tell me WE are worth the trouble.