Advice for adding non-poly to poly household?
Here's an introduction and a request for advice...
I've been in a handful of polyamorous relationships in the past, as well as a couple of long term monogamous relationships. All my past relationships have been good (warts and all), but seemed to run their various courses in due time and come to an end. Currently, I'm in a fantastic (actually the best relationship I've ever had) and partially poly relationship where I'm not currently with anyone else, but my SO is. Everything has been great for the past couple years.
Now here comes the advice/other ideas/suggestions portion of my post...(sorry this is very long -- if it smacks of "I've seen this before" please email me directly or link me to the related post)
As I said above, I'm currently monogamous with an SO who has a relationship with a person (we'll refer to him as HOBF "her other boyfriend") who has been in her life for quite some time - years longer than myself. The current set-up is that SO and I live together, and she travels to visit HOBF once every three months or so on a long weekend. He doesn't travel away from home very often, and seems to have an attachment to where he lives. As it is now, the set-up seems to work well - we have a great relationship and she travels every so often to HOBF.
When we started our relationship, my SO expressed an interest in having HOBF move in with us at some time in the future. I told her I was open to the concept, but I wanted to give us some time to see how things moved with our own relationship, which she agreed with. During that time, I've tried to get from her a feel for what HOBF's opinion on the matter. She told me that he didn't have much to say, other than the fact he was happy to have any amount of time with her and he wasn't a poly person. During that time, my SO and I have built quite a happy life with each other and we both have worked hard what we have emotionally and materially.
Enter the HOBF at this point. During the last two years, I met him a couple of times. He's a nice guy, someone I can get along with as an acquaintance or occasional friend. Recently, we decided to give the "move-in scenario" a dry run. He traveled from his place and stayed with us for 10 days. For me, the stay had a mixed review. He was a great guest, but it was evident that he wanted the time with my SO to be only his time. We were out with our friends (the non-poly sort) and HOBF was a little bit grabby/clingy in public. I noticed a couple of awkward glances, but nothing was said. I trusted that SO would address the issue with him when we were home, so I kept quiet. He only had one annoying habit that got under my skin - talking loudly over TV shows to my SO that she and I watched but he wasn't interested in. Things like that can be worked on, so I just left it to my SO to address.
Since this was her visit with HOBF, SO set the time she wanted to split between us. I assumed that she'd give him more time, and she did, but she'd check with me every so often to make sure everything was cool. For the first few days, it was good, but at the halfway point I started to feel some tension develop between HOBF and myself. I assumed it was from my side, so I dealt with my feelings and kept the issues in pocket for the time being. As the week passed into the weekend, I had a day by myself to reflect on how I really felt. Things weren't settling on me quite as well as I had hoped.
The major theme passing through my mind was that I felt I was the only one making sacrifices if HOBF moved in. Like I said before, SO and I have worked hard to get to a great relationship. I felt that I'd be giving up a lot of that relationship and hard work for nothing and sharing it with someone who isn't poly or isn't sacrificing very much to become part of the household. Additionally, I feel that there would be a fair amount of tension with the competition of affection, and I'm not sure I want such an environment. Bear in mind that HOBF and myself are straight and not emotionally involved, so the relationship as a whole would be a "V" rather than a "triad". Needless to say, I had some time to think, and later that evening she and I talked about it. She's great about listening and asking questions -- we communicate very well -- but we decided to simply allow things to play out and really discuss it after HOBF visit.
I'm writing this post a week after the visit, and SO and I have talked about HOBF's visit in small doses. After he left, she said although she enjoyed his visit and missed him, she also felt scared, upset and a little mad. She said the scared part came from feeling that she screwed up our relationship and we might start drifting apart. I reassured her that wasn't the case, but maybe the stay was a bit too long and we need to keep his visits to a long weekend for the time being. The mad part came from the feeling that her time was being treated like a commodity. My response was that she needs to realize that her time is finite, and has to be divved up in some fashion between two others and herself. She has indicated she wants this set-up to become a reality at some point, though.
OK, now the advice part -- I think I've covered the issues as honestly as I can from my point of view. The first question -- am I being petty with the sacrifice and competition for affection issues? The other questions can be listed as: Are there red flags I'm not seeing in my assessment, or am I being the red flag? Do I or my SO need to change approach? Do we need to reassess changing our relationship to poly or keep it as it is? I'm open to any and all constructive answers. Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Syrus; 05-26-2010 at 06:25 PM.