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Old 05-26-2010, 05:38 PM
Syrus Syrus is offline
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Default 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.

S

Last edited by Syrus; 05-26-2010 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:27 PM
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Danny40179 Danny40179 is offline
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Thanks for sharing your story. In regards to your first question, your feelings are never petty. We are human and are entitled to feel whatever it is that we feel. You said that you and your SO are great at communicating and that's a huge step in the right direction. You said that you and your SO have talked about HOBFs visit in small doses. Any particular reason?

As far as your second question goes, based off of what I've read, I'd say that HOBF is the one with the issues and concerns that need to be addressed. Of course that's without actually being there. I do commend you for trying to figure out if you're the "red flag" where as most guys would immediately assume it's the other man. That in itself gives me some perspective about your character.

My only piece of advice has already been stated. In my experience there isn't anything that can't be worked out through good, HONEST, communication. Heavy emphasis on the honest part.

Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:22 AM
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Danny -

Thanks for the reply, my answers are below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny40179 View Post
Thanks for sharing your story. In regards to your first question, your feelings are never petty. We are human and are entitled to feel whatever it is that we feel. You said that you and your SO are great at communicating and that's a huge step in the right direction. You said that you and your SO have talked about HOBFs visit in small doses. Any particular reason?
I appreciate the assurances Danny. In the past, I've always had the habit of placing my feelings in the backseat for the "greater good" of the relationship, and then I got some great therapy. I've learned to be up front about what I feel, or at least put those feelings on the table and seek advice. That's really helped me in the communications department, too.

To answer your question, SO feels that HOBF's visit brought up a lot of issues to mentally and emotionally process, and I concur with that thought. So we've talked about what things we can both agree to talk about, leaving the other bigger issues to think over before talking about them. My concern at this point is timeliness -- I'd like to get all the issues on the table as soon as we can.

Quote:
As far as your second question goes, based off of what I've read, I'd say that HOBF is the one with the issues and concerns that need to be addressed. Of course that's without actually being there. I do commend you for trying to figure out if you're the "red flag" where as most guys would immediately assume it's the other man. That in itself gives me some perspective about your character.
I've had enough knocks in the past to gain some humility and understand that all parties are responsible for resolving a situation, starting with yourself. To that end, I wanted to be careful not to heap blame on HOBF. He does care very much for SO, and they have a great relationship which I'm respectful of, it's just the moving in issue that is the sticky wicket, and that's where I need the clarity to make suggestions that SO and I can discuss.

Quote:
My only piece of advice has already been stated. In my experience there isn't anything that can't be worked out through good, HONEST, communication. Heavy emphasis on the honest part. Good luck!
It's always good to be reminded about communicating! So thanks for the reminder and your post, and I very much appreciate your thoughts on my situation.

S
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:14 PM
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My sense from reading your description is that you're really good at doing smart thinking about this stuff, which bodes well for working through poly- issues in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syrus View Post
he was happy to have any amount of time with her and he wasn't a poly person.
From this, I am assuming that it would be his preference that you weren't in her life. If I'm wrong about that, then the rest of what I write isn't going to be very relevant. If I'm right, though, that's a red flag for me. I avoid involvements with people who would prefer that I not be involved with my partner(s).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syrus View Post
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.
The scheduling stuff is always a challenge, and gets harder when there's something wonky in the relationship. It might get easier when the relationship isn't LD, since there might be less pressure to get in as much time as possible over ten days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syrus View Post
am I being petty with the sacrifice and competition for affection issues?
I don't think so -- I think that you're probably picking up on something being off in this dynamic. Do you think that you would feel this way if your potential new housemate was cheerful about and supportive of your relationship?

Quote:
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 think you need to not live with someone (HOBF) who resents you. That would be really, really unpleasant!

There are lots of people around here who have made poly- relationships work where one partner is tempermentally monogamous, and I suspect that they would be a good resource for your GF (and/or HOBF if he was open to it) on how to make that work.

I'll just note that I think that the brakes need to be firmly applied to any living together plans (if not that relationship) if HOBF can't demonstrate that the three of you can spend the vast majority of your time together free of tension, in public or private. That's a little unfair, since he doesn't travel much, and he's the one who is always getting less attention, but he's also the one "auditioning" to live with you two.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:15 AM
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I think you are asking the wrong questions really.

I am not an advocate for moving distant lovers into ones home without a trial period of living apart. I really have seen very few situations where moving someone in that is barely known by one or both partners triad or Vee has worked out. I see no reason why this would be different. Especially with the impending issues that have come up.

I think he should move near you all and find his own way in your location. Especially if he isn't a fan of being away from where he lives right now. Then he can fit into more of a routine of every day than visits back and forth. You can also establish a relationship with him... something that is essential when someone moves into your house. Who knows, maybe just living in the same area will be plenty for all of you.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I think you are asking the wrong questions really.

I am not an advocate for moving distant lovers into ones home without a trial period of living apart. I really have seen very few situations where moving someone in that is barely known by one or both partners triad or Vee has worked out. I see no reason why this would be different. Especially with the impending issues that have come up.
You've put a light on one of the underlying issues - I really don't know very much about HOBF to feel comfortable with him. More importantly, I don't have a good fix on what his expectations or views are for the relationship. That in itself is stoking some of my concerns. Frankly, everything I know about HOBF's views are via SO, and she has told me he isn't a great communicator. Some of SO's current frustrations stem from the fact that she has to really dig out what little information she can get from him. So, with that being said, he's really still a stranger who is looking to move in and join our relationship from my viewpoint.

Quote:
I think he should move near you all and find his own way in your location. Especially if he isn't a fan of being away from where he lives right now. Then he can fit into more of a routine of every day than visits back and forth. You can also establish a relationship with him... something that is essential when someone moves into your house. Who knows, maybe just living in the same area will be plenty for all of you.
Thanks for that piece of advice - that's an option that we haven't explored.

I really appreciate your views on my situation RedPepper. Along with everyone who has chipped in time to express their views, opinions and suggestions, and very kind words (including Grounded!), I have some issues to discuss and ideas to consider with SO. I'm so glad I've found this forum!

S
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:08 PM
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Default I'm going to speak definitively, and assumptive here, I apologize

First off I want to say my hats off to you sir. Your respect, grace, examples of loving concepts, and understanding are commendable, and you deserve all the praise in the world for your high amounts of virtues. I've only met a few people who displayed the same amounts of wisdom in their relationships and they are far too few in my opinion.

2nd, this thread is super graceful, and I apologize if I ruin that grace...however, with the information that has been presented(all thx to your thorough sense of writing) I feel the danger level of the flags presented are !critical! level and are being underrated.

Red pepper sort of the beat me to the punch but i'll further add to her advice. Simply put, I believe fully, that for you and your SO to be happy and have what you want; the HOBF needs to move out there, transfer his job or attempt to get a new one; get a low-rent apartment that's somewhere close to you guys and make a commitment to his girlfriend(your SO), and to creating a co-existence between their relationship, and her relationship with you(all being relative to his perspective). That's the only way I see this playing out, from a futuristic perspective. Because, IMO, they're relationship can't last forever in "visits". Eventually they're going to need to be closer to each other. Your g/f already knows this and wants it.

I have a few assessment from the facts you've given.

1. Investigation needs to be put forth towards the true nature, and character of HOBF. I believe that he isn't simply "non-poly", but more like a poly disaster waiting to happen. Some basis for my conclusion comes from a blind personality profile. 1. He's happy with what he gets. This is telling a lot about the kind of person he is. He possibly hasn't really figured out what he really wants in life, or hasn't fully developed his true self and feels inclined to not think about what he wants. He's possibly depressed; either chemically, interpersonally, or both. A lot of ideas pop up. 2. She's been dating him and has known him longer than you, however he lives in a different state now. So either she moved, or he moved. I'm going to assume that she moved, given his "comfortability" to his location. This is also telling of the kind of person he is and adds to macro-reasons why he has problem communicating. He isn't matured, he's generally a fearful person, the list goes on...

2. Regardless of my assumptions, and including the information you've provided, it is my opinion that the majority of work is going to have to be with your SO and HOBF. He is the weakest link, simply put. As stated before, you are in a poly relationship, him included...Despite if he's poly or not. So basically, he needs to be...educated. It's really that simple. It would be different if your relationship with SO was different, but it seems you guys are in a committed partnership, and that's not going away(yay!).

For everything to work out in the future, HOBF needs to educated about communication, the important of compersion for his girlfriends' relationship, how his life is going to change, why you aren't going away, why it's important that he needs to figure out if he wants this relationship dynamic, and further concepts that are involved in your poly relationship. That's the skinny...

I wish all the luck in the world my friend. I believe if you keep your strength, and your SO really works with you on this, you can guys can have something beautiful. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY!


peace and love...
-gabe
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:51 PM
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well, Mr.rp man.... you said what was in my head, but elaborated... I await more on the character of this fellow...??? Perhaps your assumptions are right?
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpcrazy View Post
First off I want to say my hats off to you sir. Your respect, grace, examples of loving concepts, and understanding are commendable, and you deserve all the praise in the world for your high amounts of virtues. I've only met a few people who displayed the same amounts of wisdom in their relationships and they are far too few in my opinion.
gabe -

Thank you so much for the complement, and as I wrote jkelley, everything I am now came from tough lessons, good communication and therapy. I'll also add that admitting to and then embracing the fact I am poly has helped me become much more loving and accepting of who I am, and knowing what kind relationships and people I want to be involved with. It's very liberating!

Quote:
2nd, this thread is super graceful, and I apologize if I ruin that grace...however, with the information that has been presented(all thx to your thorough sense of writing) I feel the danger level of the flags presented are !critical! level and are being underrated.
The fact that you're adding your experience and wisdom to this thread is grace in itself, and something I very much appreciate, gabe. I really value caring people telling it to me straight. One thing I don't want to do is get into the habit of denial and not dealing with the problems as I see (or don't see) them arise. My SO is the most reasonable communicator that I've ever met, so I feel anything I lay out is going to have serious consideration and discussion. All I need is assurance that the situation goes beyond my feelings and I can gain some clarity and advice of what issues I really need to put on the table.

Quote:
Red pepper sort of the beat me to the punch but i'll further add to her advice. Simply put, I believe fully, that for you and your SO to be happy and have what you want; the HOBF needs to move out there, transfer his job or attempt to get a new one; get a low-rent apartment that's somewhere close to you guys and make a commitment to his girlfriend(your SO), and to creating a co-existence between their relationship, and her relationship with you(all being relative to his perspective). That's the only way I see this playing out, from a futuristic perspective. Because, IMO, they're relationship can't last forever in "visits". Eventually they're going to need to be closer to each other. Your g/f already knows this and wants it.
I think the visits are wearing thin with SO, who has put in most of the miles to facilitate the relationship. The trip is four hours one way, and I know from experience that traveling like that on a semi-consistent basis becomes tiring over the long run. The move-in issue has also become more urgent for SO due to the fact that we're planning on moving to the southwest in the next four or five years. I'm not stuck on the timetable myself (I've wanted to move back out there for a while), but SO wants this to happen sooner rather than later (the move would put her closer to her folks). SO feels like she needs to make something happen with HOBF, or lose the relationship all together. I have cautioned her to not to push the issue with him, and have him come to his own decisions about what he wants to do. Sounds like good advice, except for the fact he doesn't communicate very much.

Your and RedPepper's advice is great for this situation, because it won't matter when he is ready to come closer, he can pack up and come to either location. On the other hand, the move to the southwest would turn four to six visits a year into one or two, so it's incumbent on them to come to a resolution on what needs to happen. I'd be very happy if he were closer for both of their sakes, but it's apparent that the moving-in part at this time would be a disaster, and cost everyone great relationships.

Quote:
I have a few assessment from the facts you've given.

1. Investigation needs to be put forth towards the true nature, and character of HOBF. I believe that he isn't simply "non-poly", but more like a poly disaster waiting to happen. Some basis for my conclusion comes from a blind personality profile. 1. He's happy with what he gets. This is telling a lot about the kind of person he is. He possibly hasn't really figured out what he really wants in life, or hasn't fully developed his true self and feels inclined to not think about what he wants. He's possibly depressed; either chemically, interpersonally, or both. A lot of ideas pop up. 2. She's been dating him and has known him longer than you, however he lives in a different state now. So either she moved, or he moved. I'm going to assume that she moved, given his "comfortability" to his location. This is also telling of the kind of person he is and adds to macro-reasons why he has problem communicating. He isn't matured, he's generally a fearful person, the list goes on...
You've pegged a couple things -- I really don't think he's figured out what he wants, and I'll add that I think he has found super security where he lives. It's a small community with a college at it's heart, so there is enough change to keep things fresh, but nothing really changes much. Plus, I think he has sweet memories of the past, so he has more reason to stay than to leave. You're right, SO used to live in the area, and moved to the area where we live about 16 years ago. We do live in adjacent states. (Gosh you're good! )

I'm not sure of the depression part, but SO has said they did consider marriage when they lived in the same place, but maturity issues got in the way. The fearful part does make sense -- unless she raises a fuss about him coming down, he prefers her to come up to visit.

Quote:
2. Regardless of my assumptions, and including the information you've provided, it is my opinion that the majority of work is going to have to be with your SO and HOBF. He is the weakest link, simply put. As stated before, you are in a poly relationship, him included...Despite if he's poly or not. So basically, he needs to be...educated. It's really that simple. It would be different if your relationship with SO was different, but it seems you guys are in a committed partnership, and that's not going away(yay!).
SO has been talking to him about a poly relationship, but he doesn't give her much feedback about it. The lack of communication leads to lots of speculation on my part, as well as with SO, who is left trying to figure things out with what information he provides and passing it on to me. My concern is that he simply gives her lip service as long as gets what he wants. SO and I are in a committed relationship, but her relationship with HOBF is strong too, which leads to conflicts of the heart at times. Some speculation on my part is that she's trying to "spin" the poly angle so he'll go for it, rather than putting the information on the table and discussing. But then again, communication is key and that will be a point to discuss with her.

Quote:
For everything to work out in the future, HOBF needs to educated about communication, the important of compersion for his girlfriends' relationship, how his life is going to change, why you aren't going away, why it's important that he needs to figure out if he wants this relationship dynamic, and further concepts that are involved in your poly relationship. That's the skinny...
My hope is that he sees the advantages and is willing to accept and participate in a great relationship, but the work is for everyone. I'll be as supportive as I've always been with their relationship. My hope that SO is able to to either educate him or at least come to a decision of where their relationship is ultimately going to go.

Quote:
I wish all the luck in the world my friend. I believe if you keep your strength, and your SO really works with you on this, you can guys can have something beautiful. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY! peace and love...
-gabe
gabe -- thanks for the advice and observations. I was hoping for a little clarity, and I got the bright lights and a clear path of the direction I need to take discussing this with SO!

I'll post to this thread what comes of this discussion. Again, thanks for the wonderful words and support. I have the confidence SO and I can work positively through this issue.

Love to all -

S
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:07 PM
Syrus Syrus is offline
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Originally Posted by jkelly View Post
My sense from reading your description is that you're really good at doing smart thinking about this stuff, which bodes well for working through poly- issues in general.
jkelly -

Thanks for the complement, but I do admit that the "smart thinking" came after a few years of mis-steps, hard knocks and lots of soul-searching and therapy. But without the tough lessons, how do we gain real wisdom? At the very core of this smart thinking is the fact that I don't want to see a better than great relationship turn sour.

Quote:
From this, I am assuming that it would be his preference that you weren't in her life. If I'm wrong about that, then the rest of what I write isn't going to be very relevant. If I'm right, though, that's a red flag for me. I avoid involvements with people who would prefer that I not be involved with my partner(s).
She has mentioned after his visit that HOBF wouldn't be adverse to SO dumping me and moving up to his area to be with him. That being said, your assumption is accurate. BUT, I'm not sure if that was something he actually said, or that is her read on his general attitude towards their relationship. I'm fairly sure that SO has thought about this for some time before HOBF's visit, and she mentioned it in the course of discussion afterwards. I admit that I do feel bit in the butt, considering the fact that I've been very supportive of SO keeping up her relationship with HOBF. It is a red flag we'll be discussing.

Quote:
The scheduling stuff is always a challenge, and gets harder when there's something wonky in the relationship. It might get easier when the relationship isn't LD, since there might be less pressure to get in as much time as possible over ten days.
Scheduling is a pain, a necessary evil, but something I work very well with. One of my fears is that since polyamory isn't HOBF's thing, he'll constantly petition for more time and create continuing friction within the household. However, this last visit probably did more harm than good with that particular feeling, owing to the fact that he was trying to get in as much time as possible with SO before going back home.

Quote:
I don't think so -- I think that you're probably picking up on something being off in this dynamic. Do you think that you would feel this way if your potential new housemate was cheerful about and supportive of your relationship?
Probably not on the sacrifice part. I do feel if you expect someone to sacrifice something, they should receive something in return, even if it's a small consolation. To me, if everyone contributes (or sacrifices), everyone gains. As for competition for affection, I would feel much more comfortable if HOBF was cheerful and supportive of my relationship with SO, but I'm not sure that would really fix or even help the underlying issues that would bubble up from mismatched expectations.

Quote:
I think you need to not live with someone (HOBF) who resents you. That would be really, really unpleasant!
That kind of resent would be my fear, not only from HOBF, but from myself also. Resent is a difficult feeling to deal with.

Quote:
There are lots of people around here who have made poly- relationships work where one partner is tempermentally monogamous, and I suspect that they would be a good resource for your GF (and/or HOBF if he was open to it) on how to make that work.
That's the hope of my SO, but that has to include work on HOBF's part. I'm not sure if he really has an interest with doing that. The big unknown at this point is what exactly he wants, since his personal communication is spotty at best.

Quote:
I'll just note that I think that the brakes need to be firmly applied to any living together plans (if not that relationship) if HOBF can't demonstrate that the three of you can spend the vast majority of your time together free of tension, in public or private. That's a little unfair, since he doesn't travel much, and he's the one who is always getting less attention, but he's also the one "auditioning" to live with you two.
I'm reluctant to attempt to put the brakes on their relationship as it stands now, mainly because SO and HOBF have kept things decent and unobtrusive. Although the current visit set-up does seem unfair, it has been in place since long before SO and I got together and it seems to work well to everyone's benefit. As far as moving in and living together, I think you're correct. As it stands now, I think everyone's perceptions and expectations are too mismatched for it to work. I'll also keep the "auditioning" thought in mind -- thanks for mentioning it!

Quote:
Best of luck.
Thanks so much for your time responding back to me, and I deeply appreciate your responses and opinions.

S
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