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Old 10-19-2012, 02:17 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Default Need some advice for my first real negotiating meeting

My husband and I have been together for almost 2 decades, opened our marriage a couple of years ago. Right now we seem to have a reached (after a particularly drama-filled summer) a new place of relative calm, where we both have our other relationships and also get along really well together.

However, the past months have taught me that the way we go about negotiating, discussing rules & boundaries, etc. is not exactly ideal. For instance, we often seem to do this after an evening of drinks, or when one of us comes home and is emotional, or right after a fight, etc.

So about a month ago we set a date for a 'meeting' which will take place next week where we will sit down, without wine to discuss in a business like manner where we stand, what our expectations are, possible new rules, stretching boundaries. My husband is a bit flippant about it, but I actually have a couple of things that I want to discuss that are new, and will possibly freak him out.
One of them is that I want him to think about the possibility of my BF spending the night with us, on occasion. (he lives in another city and lives alone, which means I always go and see him, but I would love to have him visit my city every now and then, meet my friends, hang out, and then be able to spend the night at my house). I haven't really thought about the logistics yet (like, who I would sleep with on these nights - or if maybe we should all 3 sleep in different bedrooms?).

Any advice how I can bring these sensitive things up? I should probably add there is no way that I would ever be ok with my husbands GF spending the night while I was in the house. But to me this is very much related to her as a person. (she cheated on my husband - they broke up and only just got back together). I could see me having no problems with another woman spending the night - though maybe I'm just thinking this because its hypothetical?
How can I bring this up with my husband and let him think about it rationally without him getting defensive or going 'ok then I want this too?' or am I being naive, in wanting something I'm not (right now) prepared to give him?

Should also add that he has met the BF a couple of times and likes him - they even had coffee together one day without me.
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early forties, straight.
the guys: Ren - husband; Curlz - bf of 2 years, Brig - bf of 7 months; Knight - non-sexual bf; MrBrown - it's complicated
Ren's girls: Lou - gf of 2 years, Liz - very new gf
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2012, 02:46 PM
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gomugirl1656 gomugirl1656 is offline
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Default Hey Cleo

I just wrote about negotiation on my blog. These are the things we keep in mind ourselves it may be helpful your you. Been poly and married 13+ years we are happy and it's working. Also check out the post on Fighting vs P/S communication. The link to my blog is in my sig. Good luck.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:38 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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If your husband has forgiven the cheating, do you think it's helpful for you to hold a grudge?

You don't have to like your husband's girlfriend, you don't have to spend time with her. But if you're going to expect your husband to approve of your boyfriend staying a night in your house, then it seems only right that he should have the same privilege. I'm big on "What's good for the goose is good for the gander," provided the goose and gander actually want the same thing.

As for how to bring it up, I think you're right that just taking alcohol and reactive emotions out of the picture will help a lot. The exact wording isn't important as long as you're being supportive and open-minded. Remember to let him speak his feelings without judgement. But also, be prepared that he may not agree to your request, especially if you're not willing to return the favour. In other words, don't get too attached to that outcome because you could end up mad if he says no, and then the discussion may spiral downward from there.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:42 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Treat it like a business meeting.

You seem to have set the appointment date.

Send the agenda for points needing covering. Over email maybe? Then he has time to prepare and not be blindsided. Does he have agenda things to bring up? Are they best served at THIS meeting or does he need to be given an opportunity for a separate but equal meeting? Then he is also having opportunity for his own air time for his own things.

Then navigate it rationally. This is not a conflict, but a negotiation.

http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/NegotiationSkills.htm

If someone emotionally floods, adjourn and plan to continue business meeting later, and TLC the flooded person.

You already know you are not up for his GF spending night as a trade. Expect he will bring that up. What would have to happen for that to BECOME a "tradeable" for you? Think those sorts of things out.

Think also where else it could go. What is the goal here? BF to visit you in your city? Or BF to visit you in your city AND stay in your house while visiting?

That's 2 different things.

GG
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:24 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I would probably go with an email too, tell him I'm sending an email with bullet points I want to cover, and including a few topics we haven't discussed before, or that were sources of conflict in the past. Probably send it 2-3 days beforehand, and say I don't want to discuss it until our meeting, but that I wanted him to have a chance to think about the topics before the meeting.

I'd encourage him to send me a list of bullet points he'd like to discuss if there is anything not on the list that he'd like me to think about ahead of time too.

I'd be clear that we wouldn't discuss anything until the meeting.

Err, and I'd make sure not to drink in those 2-3 days and go to bed early to stay out of impromptu late night talks!

Really this is because I don't like things sprung on me, I like having a bit of time at least to think about things. Adam usually doesn't have anything he wants to talk about unless he's prompted, so I'd also hope the bullet points would stir up if there was anything he wanted to bring up.

I also dont see a problem with a double standard of who stays over. People I don't like wont stay in my house while I'm home. People who negatively affect my life don't stay over in my house while I'm home. Your bf doesn't live that close, and it sucks to be the one doing all the travel. I would have a few options available to suggest to your husband
bf stays over on nights your husband stays elsewhere
bf stays over and you agree to curtail all potential noise making activities past X pm so your husband can relax and not worry every noise he hears is you thumping against a headboard
your husband agrees he stays over on a night he has plans elsewhere, your date ends at X pm and you go sleep with your husband and your bf sleeps alone.
bf spends a night or two over first and sleeps separately but spends a bit more time getting to know your husband (if they both want to or think that would make it easier) before staying over and sleeping with you. I think the offer to all sleep in different rooms is a great one because it shows your concern isn't being able to get busy in a more convenient way.

now that I write all that out, maybe less is more...I tend to have too many options for my dear husband sometimes...
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:33 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I have to pipe in. I have a very difficult time putting off discussions. If something's bothering me, it will eat away at me until I deal with it.

If I was on the receiving end of an email that said "We have something really serious to talk about, it's about __this__, but we can't say peep about it for three days" then I would spend three days worrying about what's going to happen at that meeting. I admit, I have mild anxiety and tend to worry more than I need to, but this approach would not work at all for me.

That being said, the fact that your husband and you agreed to this talk some time ago, it doesn't sound like you guys suffer from my disposition.
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Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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  #7  
Old 10-26-2012, 08:16 AM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
If your husband has forgiven the cheating, do you think it's helpful for you to hold a grudge?

You don't have to like your husband's girlfriend, you don't have to spend time with her. But if you're going to expect your husband to approve of your boyfriend staying a night in your house, then it seems only right that he should have the same privilege. I'm big on "What's good for the goose is good for the gander," provided the goose and gander actually want the same thing.
Wanted to respond to this as well. I don't hold a grudge, but I've never really liked her, and the cheating part hasn't helped with that, and I don't want to share my space (and my bathroom) with someone I don't like.
Also, because I spend 1, sometimes 2, nights a week at my BF's house, she can spend those nights in my house with my husband - which is fine with me. And, because my husband often works from home, she sometimes comes by for lunch and I'm pretty sure a lot of those lunchdates stretch into afternoons in the bedroom... which is also fine with me, as long as I'm not there and as long as the house is tidy when I get home!

So these are all opportunities for my husband to spend time with his GF in our house that I don't have with my BF. And because my husband can't spend the night at her place, (roommate issues), I don't have the same privileges he has when it comes to having people spend the night. But on the other hand, I can stay at my BF's lovely house and take little minivacations there, which is something my husband can't do. So there is an imbalance already... and btw, my husband never even mentioned that he would want her to spend the night while I am home. I don't think he'd even want that, for fear of drama
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early forties, straight.
the guys: Ren - husband; Curlz - bf of 2 years, Brig - bf of 7 months; Knight - non-sexual bf; MrBrown - it's complicated
Ren's girls: Lou - gf of 2 years, Liz - very new gf
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:18 PM
AggieSez AggieSez is offline
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Cleo, I'm glad your negotiations went well, congrats.

I understand that your preferred negotiation style is not to include your additional partners directly in negotiations about your network of relationships; that you and your spouse choose to "represent" your respective additional partners in negotiations, and convey the decisions you make back to them. I'm glad that so far this seems to work well for you. I hope it's also working well for your additional partners.

I'd ask you to consider the long-term implications of this negotiating style.

What often happens in the long run when negotiations are handled hierarchically and indirectly is that a "game of telephone" crops up. In any situation where people are speaking and negotiating on behalf of others, and direct communication/negotiation isn't part of the process, errors of interpretation or omission are especially likely. That's not a big deal when things are running relatively smoothly -- but during a conflict or crisis, indirect communication often amplifies problems or misunderstandings and prevents collaborative solutions.

That's why it's usually easier and safer in the long run (though at first perhaps a bit awkward) to do at least some regular direct communication/negotiation that involves additional as well as primary partners. If you get used to this process on small issues, when things are running well, you're more likely to navigate inevitable major crises, changes or conflicts with less stress and risk.

You might want to clarify *why* you don't currently include your additional partners directly in negotiations about your network of relationships. What are you trying to preserve, protect, or avoid? There may be other (and fairer, and less risk-prone) options to achieve those goals.

Also, from the perspective of an additional partner, this direct approach to negotiations is more fair and respectful. Many poly people prize fairness as a value, and this is a key way to walk that talk.

Whenever someone is deprived of a direct voice in matters that affect them directly, that set up an unbalanced power dynamic that puts the voiceless at a significant disadvantage. The effect, too often, is that their needs (as well as whatever ideas or resources they have to offer) are more likely to get less consideration, and they may be treated more disposably.

Just something to consider.

- Aggie
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  #9  
Old 10-29-2012, 06:47 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Cleo, I am glad to hear how well the conversation went for you -- and I look forward to reading your posts after your bf starts staying over!


Aggie, not everyone wants or needs to conduct their relationships like one big happy huddle. It's perfectly fine and valid to manage multiple relationships separately, whether there is a hierarchy or not. They do not live communally, are not all involved with each other, and it seems they have a method that works for them and respects their autonomy. I see no problems in how Cleo and her husband communicate with and on behalf of their lovers. Just because her bf wasn't sitting down at the table with them doesn't mean he didn't have a direct voice. Cleo expressed for him what he wanted expressed, and posted that the bf is happy with the results of the meeting! If it ain't broke...
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-29-2012 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:26 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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GLad it went well!

GG
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