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Old 07-08-2010, 08:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Default Mono secondary--how does this work?

Hello. All of this is completely new to me, so please forgive what is bound to be an awkward post. I feel like I have a million questions, but this post may end up being more of a search for empathy. Weíll seeÖ

My story feels long and complicated, but the short version is that I am a recently divorced, straight, mono (I believe) woman in a relationship with a man who is in a newly open marriage (weíll call him A). We began our relationship with the intent to have something along the lines of a casual physical friendship. I donít think ďpolyĒ was in either of our vocabularies. Initially, our situation suited me perfectly--I was not interested in any sort of committed relationship, given my recent divorce. But I had made a new friend who I enjoyed spending time with and cared about. I was interested in hearing about how this new open relationship was working for him and his wife (she also has a girlfriend). I was happy and felt that both of us were receiving what we needed and wanted.

Well, along the way, we have fallen deeply in love with each other. This complicated things for all the usual reasons, as well as a few other reasons peculiar to our situation. Without knowing how this was supposed to work, I eventually made the decision to stay in the relationship, despite knowing that the situation sometimes made me sad and that it would probably end painfully for me one day (yes, I am an eternal pessimist). The vast majority of the time I was (and am) happier than I have ever been, and there was no question that any pain I might experience would be worth it.

The first issue that arose was, of course, jealousy. I have never been a jealous person, and it has only happened a couple of times now. But I didnít know how to process the all-consuming jealousy that was so intense that I was left curled up in a ball feeling sick and like I couldnít breathe or think about anything else. So awful that I felt I could not continue the relationship unless I found a way to manage these feelings. Those little episodes resulted in an Internet search, where I stumbled across this wonderful forum and learned that there is actually a name for our type of relationship and that itís really not as unusual as we had thought. I also learned that my relationship with A is secondary, while his marriage is primary. And that, within our little universe, Iím now a mono in a world of polys. Just understanding those basic things has done wonders in helping me understand what Iím feeling, why Iím feeling it, what to do about it, etc.

Fast-forward to today: A and I recently agreed that weíre in a committed, long-term relationship. Iím incredibly happy. But now Iím wondering, how is this supposed to work in a way thatís healthy for everyone involved? Most of the time, Iím fine. I understand that A can and does love two women, that that does not diminish his love for either of us, that heís not comparing us, that his ability to love both of us does not represent any void or shortcoming he feels in his relationship with each of us. Although Iím sad that I canít have the same kind of relationship that A shares with his wife, Iím genuinely happy that his marriage makes him so happy, and I would never wish otherwise for him. So with that out of the way--I still get so sad sometimes. I donít experience the insane jealousy anymore, thankfully. But I become so heartbroken when I randomly realize certain things--like the fact that Iíll never get to spend holidays with him; or the fact that the default is that A shares his life with his wife, and Iím the exception; or that I'm always going to prioritize their relationship and his wife's feelings over mine (I already feel guilty for taking up time A might otherwise be spending with his wife; I know, and he has told me, that they are doing great and any issues like that are theirs to work out--but I can't help being concerned). A is incredibly understanding and patient, and anytime I voice any unhappiness, he is quick to comfort me or find a solution or whatever it is I need in that moment. And I love and appreciate that. But I know it hurts him to see me sad, and I hate feeling like Iím so frequently asking for reassurance. So how do I just make myself ok with this?

And, yes, this is jumping the gun a bit (but again, Iím a pessimist)--how is this supposed to work if I want to one day have a primary relationship? I canít/wonít ever ask A to fully incorporate me into his life in that way. So I suppose I would be looking for a second relationship. Right now, I donít want that, and I have no idea if I ever will. I love A and do not want to be with anyone else. But one day, if I decide that I do need all of those things that just are not a part of a secondary relationship, what are my options? I guess Iím hoping that someone has been in a similar situation and can tell me that, at least for them, it had a positive outcome. Iím not used to living with so many unknowns, and it would just be nice to have a glimpse of what my future could possibly look like.

Iím sorry for the incredibly long post! I guess, in hindsight, I just really needed to ďtalkĒ about this. If youíve actually read this, thanks. And even if no one responds to this post, I just wanted to say that Iím so glad this forum/community exists. Reading these discussions has been the only thing getting me through some very rough nights.
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