Tired of being the obstacle
I'm not really new to poly although I'm mono, but I'm new to a healthy poly dynamic that works.
I've been lurking here for almost the year that I've been with my boyfriend (I'll call him C) and you guys seem really nice and Sage and Mono in particular have been very inspirational to me. So now that my relationship is drastically changing - we broke up, got back together, but now I'm moving out sometime in the next few months and will be seeing him as a secondary - I've finally got around to creating an account so I can say hi and ask for some help.
I'll try and keep this down the tl;dr version (which, wow, I so did not do). Just over a year ago I moved cross-country to live with C. I knew he was poly, we were all twitterpated and said stupid things like "I'll go as slow as you need to and I'll work with you on whatever jealousies and insecurities come up" and "I know that you being with other people doesn't change our relationship and I'm willing to share you because I know you have my best interest at heart." Well, turns out neither of us really meant the things we said when we were infatuated and now we're dealing with the reality of C being impulsive, self-absorbed and impatient and me being incredibly insecure and jealous and possibly selfish. Additionally, I'm finding that adding other people to a relationship does in fact change everything, including how he feels about me and how our relationship suffers or flourishes.
C's first other girlfriend did not go well for any of us and she didn't really want very much to do with me but became quickly frustrated about the amount of time he had to spend with her. We were both lonely and miserable a lot of the time and C felt pulled in too many directions between us and work and school and just wanting to have some free time to himself. She called herself the part-time girlfriend while I came to think of myself as the default girlfriend. As in, yeah, he's home and I'm here but he's not spending time with me. We just happen to be in the same place while we're doing different things. When he went out to be with her that was time dedicated to being with her. When he was with me he was working on work stuff, playing video games, reading or posting on various message boards while I was cooking, vacuuming, doing laundry and wondering when we could spend just a few minutes talking. (I'm not really that domestic - it's just that at the time I had no job which really didn't help things but that's a whole 'nother story.)
So they broke up and now he's found another other girlfriend (I'll call her Misty) who I actually suggested he pursue and I thought I'd try to put into practice some lessons I'd learned from the previous experience. I really thought I was being fair and friendly and reaching out to her early on and letting her know how things had not worked before and what I thought I might work for both of us this time. She's mono, as am I, and I wanted to stress that I came as part of the package and we should develop a relationship with each other as well as getting comfortable with the three of us together so that we both got more of C's time. I know private time is important but it doesn't have to be every time, does it? I mean, if there's an event or activity that comes up I'd like it if we could all go instead of one person being left out because an either/or situation has been established.
Without going into too much detail, we tried going out to dinner, the three of us and it ended up in a bunch of mismatched expectations, hurt feelings and jealousy. I broke up with C the next day. C and I didn't talk much about anything for about a week after the big, ugly fight we had but now that we're talking again, he tells me that Misty feels like the daytime girlfriend. She feels that way because he sees her during the day while I'm at work and about the time I'm getting off he starts looking at the clock and preparing to leave so he can be home when I'm there. I think that's pretty interesting considering that when we broke up I told him that it would take me a few months to get enough money together to move out and while I was still here he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted and with whomever he wanted, the only condition being that he doesn't bring any of them home.
Funny how when I let go and gave him the freedom to do almost anything, he suddenly starts being concerned about my feelings. That definitely wasn't happening with the previous relationship where he'd tell me he was going to be out all day or overnight and then ask me if I was okay with that. I'd say no and he'd do it anyway. Big fight would ensue but there wasn't much I could say at the time because I was financially dependent on him and scared that if I made too much of a fuss he'd decide things weren't working and I don't know what I'd do. That's not the case anymore and now I have the larger income.
But to get back to the point, it apparently doesn't work for Misty to only see him during the day. Meanwhile, I still feel like the default girlfriend. What she doesn't realize is that while I may spend more time with him, most of that time is just us occupying the same space while not interacting much. I hate that she sees me an obstacle in getting what she wants; which is him and his time and energy. I don't know how to fix that. I hate that despite my earlier efforts, she probably doesn't really want to create a threesome (or moresome with whoever else C decides to have in his life) and just wishes I would have stayed broken up with him. And I hate being the default girlfriend, despite whatever she may think goes on between me and C at home. It's no picnic, really. He's distant, he's preoccupied and I've got my own stuff to take care of. When you add up the total amount of time each of us spend with C focused solely on one or the other, I'm pretty sure she comes out ahead. The only thing I get is cuddling while sleeping and honestly, after everything we've been through together, and how I kept track of every penny while we were broke, making tasty meals on a shoe-string budget, nursing him back to health after a horrific case of mono (which I swear, the previous girlfriend gave to him), taking care of his many car problems and new glasses with a very expensive prescription when he broke his old ones, I think I'm entitled to say that's the single most important thing to me and I'm not willing to share at this point because I struggle with feeling abandoned all night. Am I wrong?
Maybe it doesn't really matter. I'm sick of being the default girlfriend. I'm moving out in a few months and as much as I had really wanted to buy him a new car and take on a 4 year lease to pay for that, and make sure he wasn't struggling financially, neither of us think we can come to a compromise that works for both of us. I know I'll see him a lot less, maybe only once a week, if that, but I want the time I do get to be my time. I want to be the chosen one and not the default. I want to know that when he does come to see me it's because he wants to be with me and not just because he's home and I happen to be there too. I want to come visit him and be the one that gets to hole up in the spare room behind closed doors and not be left out. And most importantly, I want to know when I can expect to be alone and when I can see him and I want to have control over that.
As much as I love living with him, there's a lot about the lifestyle he'd like to lead that I just can't deal with. But I do have to deal with Misty for now. He's over there now and will be until late tonight; probably talking a lot about her feelings regarding C and I getting back together. She doesn't feel like it's enough time. I feel like I want him home and it's not enough time for me. I read here about new people coming into established relationships and how they're concerned about the feelings of the other partner and I'm so envious. How does that happen? How should the original partner reach out to and handle the new partner? Either I'm doing something horribly wrong or C is just choosing people that ultimately aren't going to work. I don't want his other loves to see me as the obstacle they have to work around to get to him. I want to be recognized as being important to him, part of his life and therefore part of the package. Am I asking for too much?