The long wait, and these false starts basically chewed up the entire time of my wife’s entire relationship with her first gf.
The gf was experimenting with her hubby...and they were starting to venture further...as I suspected they would eventually. She was loosening her grip on him and they were starting to talk about threesomes or foursomes. And she was trying to drag me into it. I think my wife knew better. Her gf was a nice girl and all, but not really my type. More importantly I’d compartmentalized her as off limits long ago since there was an understanding right from the beginning that the husbands wouldn’t be involved in the women’s intimacies. That had been somewhat relaxed on the other side, but I just wasn’t interested in altering that boundary.
By this time I was also getting a little frustrated at my metamore. She didn’t really treat my wife the way I thought she should. I didn’t see my wife’s needs being met. Plans were few and far between...and only when convenient for the gf. She had a husband to watch the kids, where I was gone a lot of the time so my wife had to find sitters. And more often than not the gf would cancel at the last minute and stay home with hubby, leaving my wife with a sitter and nothing to do. Not cool. Once in a pressing urgency would be one thing...getting sick on occasion maybe. But this was becoming a consistent pattern.
She was also trying to press monogamous type rules on my wife...there wasn’t much she could do about me, but she was making up rules that would make it hard for my wife to date anyone else at the same time...and the rules never seemed to apply to the gf. Only my wife. The final straw when I really started to reel at was when the gf started expressing an interest in having an opinion about what I was doing, and who I’d be dating. It was about the same time as the first false start, the possible FWB mentioned earlier. My wife may have been content with the one sided rules in play for herself when at that time she didn’t have a reason to argue with them...no one in the wings that might require a renegotiation. But I was having enough trouble negotiating with my wife...I certainly wasn’t going to suffer her gf’s interference in my affairs. And couldn’t that sentence sound wrong out of context.
And then somewhere along the line I got word that my wife had been dumped...again. The gf had done this before when her and hubby started thinking about unicorn hunting the previous summer. Now they had some other girl that they were trying to pursue a relationship with...and so she acted in accordance with the regular mono scripts and dumped her current gf. The summer before I figured after a couple months of fruitless searching for the mythical, she’d come back, and she did. And again, I figured that when their new playtoy relationship didn’t work out (they just didn’t prepare themselves for this kind of thing, and she’s a little self-centred, so I wasn’t optimistic about their chances) that she’d again come back to my wife. And she did. Damn I’m good...at predicting the behaviour of predictable people.
Fortunately my wife is a quick study...and didn’t take the gf back the second time. She had gotten what she needed from that relationship. We both had. I think she had learned not only that she was no longer curious, just bi...and that she needed someone she could establish a friendship with first. And I think she learned more about what kind of communication she would need, what boundaries may or may not work for her, and what kind of respect she would need from a prospective partner. She started attending more of the local poly meets somewhere in there too...only a few at first. But I think it started helping her develop the language, and skills...and the relationships with other poly folk who she could sound off with...who understood the issues better than the now ex-gf ever did.
And I learned a fair amount too. I can learn a lot from observing others, which is why places like this forum or the local meets are so important to me. There were several traits about the ex-gf which I knew wouldn’t be compatible, and more importantly the attitudes and lack of communication wouldn’t have washed. I knew better now what to look for, what I should avoid. I also had a better understanding of what I should be doing as a metamore for my wife’s partners. And perhaps better what I should be doing for my wife as a paramour. I had been largely hands off, and let her find her own way with the gf. And while I still don’t figure I need to try and get in the way of anything, I did learn that I should be more involved. That I did need to stay engaged with her relationships to make sure that she was being treated properly. And perhaps to be a little more insistent that something be done if she wasn’t.
I think we both also learned that while boundaries still needed to be fair, they were not always equal...they were linked to the needs of the person who required them to feel secure.
But where was that dividing line? Where does the need of one person to be secure start infringing on the other’s freedom to make decisions for themselves? Or become an unfair burden on their ability to pursue relationships with another?
For all the heated discussions, the tears and heartache that occurred from time to time, my wife and I were learning more about each other as well. We were learning what we needed from each other. Where our own relationship, while solid, may have weak points or cracks that needed careful attending, or mending. Most importantly, we were learning how to talk to each other about poly. How to communicate about other partners, our hopes, our feelings, and figure out what information was required, or prudent, or overshare. We had a solid base to start from...but this was taking things to the next level, and addressing concerns that we simply never had as a monogamous couple.
We also learned that there was still a long way to go. I still was bound by some boundaries or limits that seemed somewhat one-sided, and occasionally ambiguous. My wife had far more issues or concerns with my dating than I seemed to have with hers. Why was that? How do we work through that? Does it need to be resolved before trying at another relationship? Or does it require a trial by fire so to speak to work it out? And I wasn’t sure where that line between equal and fair was...it’s something we continue to work on.