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Old 12-01-2012, 11:14 AM
MJNovak MJNovak is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 4
Default In my very first polyamorous relationship...

Hi there.
I am very new to the world of polyamory...
I am 28 years old and earlier this year my husband and I separated.
I have been seeing a man for about three months now, who is in a committed relationship with his girlfriend of many years. They very recently decided to open their relationship. She knows he is seeing me (and she is also seeing someone else).

I have never been in a polyamorous relationship before and I am not sure exactly how to deal with being the secondary/tertiary partner of this man. (I also am not a huge fun of those terms )
He says that he loves me and I love him but I do feel upset and jealous sometimes and although I know that I am not his highest priority in many ways, I do believe that he loves me. It's just... having been in a monogamous relationship for many years prior to this relationship, I guess it is a bit tricky to get my head around the whole polyamory thing.
I don't mean to sound disrespectful or scornful or anything like that - I have spent the week reading a lot about polyamory and I apologise if I sound that way.

I fully respect the relationship that the guy I am seeing has with his girlfriend and I don't want him to stop seeing her to be with me or anything (I do not want to get into any sort of monogomous relationship again any time soon) but I am scared I will lose him because I feel like I am just causing him extra problems. He is very busy with work and his primary (and now secondary, who has just flown over for a visit, from overseas) and I feel like I am just adding stress to his situation with his girlfriend. I don't want to lose him but I am finding it a bit difficult to deal with the small amounts of time I get to spend with him and when I get upset or emotional about that I feel bad and I think that is unfair to him.
We have talked about this, but I do find it hard to talk about my feelings and I don't want him to think I am sulking or being dramatic or anything.
It has been three months and I care about him so much but I am still... insecure I guess? (Or just plain stupid)
Do you think I am just not "cut out" for being in polyamorous relationship?
I guess I am just looking for any insight anyone can offer me on this very new situation
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:58 PM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 712

Having feelings doesn't mean you're not cut out for poly.

Everyone has feelings. Often the 'most' poly people, definitely the most experienced poly people still get jealous feelings or upset feelings. We are human beings, we have feelings.

It's what you think you need to do about them, and/or what you actually do about them, that might affect your poly-ness. Sounds to me like you are working at expressing your feelings, and he's making safe space for you to do that with him. That's a good thing.

There's lots to read on these forums about jealousy, and other feelings, and things to do (look inside, talk them out, distract yourself, get therapy, and probably a hundred others) with feelings. I recommend you read, read, read!
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein

Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who now lives in a house far away-with stairs I can't climb)
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:03 PM
riftara riftara is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: GA / TX
Posts: 188

You seem to have a grip on the facts of poly and you seem like you are maturely trying to handle your emotions and that is great!

Reading will help, as will talking, even if its not to him, is there anyone who knows of your relationship and wouldnt be judgmental for you to usse as a sounding board?

Talking here helps too.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:06 AM
MJNovak MJNovak is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 4

NovemberRain -
*Sigh of relief* That is so good to know.
Like I said, I am completely new to poly and I do feel like I am in a bit over my head, but it is great to know that it's not just me, and that I'm not being childish or anything.
I have been trying to express what I am feeling. I do find this really hard, as it was never something that I did in previous relationships, or if I did, it was always greeted with negativity or anger (or in one relationship - violence) so it has been quite bizarre to be with someone who genuinely wants to know if I am upset or confused or jealous or whatever else. I guess I'm still coming to grips with that whole aspect, But he has been really great - he knows that I was married and knows some of why it didn't work out, but doesn't know the ins and outs of why I have so much trouble talking about my feelings or anything... I guess that's a conversation that should happen too :-)

Thank you A handful of my friends know that we've been seeing each other for a few months, but only a few know that he has other partners but after a few attempts to talk to close friends about it, I haven't tried again.
The reaction has pretty much been "What, that's stupid, he's just using you for sex", or "You can't really be his girlfriend if he already lives with his girlfriend." and things along those lines.

I don't believe that he's just using me for sex - if that were the case he could literally just go out anywhere and pick up a random girl - even though it's only been a small amount of time, I feel like we have a really strong connection and in spite of what my friends think - a healthier relationship than I have ever been in before, because it's basically the first time I have been able to talk about what I'm feeling and the first time in a really long time that I have felt like myself and been a little bit secure in that.
And the girlfriend factor - well, again - new to the whole poly thing, but I know that he loves me. I love him and we are more than just a friends-with-benefits thing, so I don't care if they don't understand that, but it does make it difficult when I don't really have anyone who can get past the thought of "So... he's cheating on his girlfriend with you, but she knows about it, that's stupid" which is what the few people I have confided in seem to say, which just makes me cross because I know that it's not like that.
Sorry... I am rambling now


I am usually a pretty glass-half-empty person - but I am oddly optimistic on this - I don't know how long this relationship is going to last, but at this moment - I think that yes, I can get what I want from this relationship. We are still working at it, I guess - a few bumps (His overseas girlfriend is here for the fortnight and he has spent most of that time with her and has not contacted me much at all in the last week - but I saw him yesterday and expressed my thoughts on that. I know he only has a limited amount of time to spend with her, plus he needs to spend time with his girlfriend who he lives with (not to mention time for work, sleep etc), but I did feel a little neglected for a moment.
Other than that, yes - I do think that the Right Now Me of this relationship is doing well
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:28 AM
blacknwhitelady blacknwhitelady is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 6
Default Normal

I know exactly what you are going through but from another perspective. I have a husband and have recently started dating someone for the first time and I am constantly worried he's going to become insecure and think he doesn't want to do it any more. I think feelings are normal and worry is normal. I can't say im worrying any more or less than i did when i was only with one guy. As long as youre happy then your "cut out" for it. you have to take each relationship as they come and understand youre part of a bigger picture. Openness and honesty plays a big role so be sure to share what youre feeling with the guy
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:23 AM
Lost421 Lost421 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 33

Sounds like you're on the right track to me. You're feeling the same feelings just about anybody would in the situation you're in, and you're talking to your boyfriend about your feelings and how you have felt left out recently and that you feel you're not always his top priority. I don't think it's too much to ask that he makes you a priority at least some of the time, but since his time is limited with his overseas girlfriend who is visiting for a short time it's a bit of an exceptional situation, maybe. I know how that feels, the time my wife gets with her her long distance boyfriend is precious, so I kind of get left hanging when they get to see each other. It sounds like you two really care about each other though, and it sounds like he genuinely cares about your feelings, so make them known. It wouldn't hurt to see if his live-in girlfriend wouldn't mind talking to you, so that maybe you can figure out how to better address your feelings. Here's hoping things work out for you. Take care.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:19 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,342

I am sorry you are struggling. BREATHE. Hang in there!

Advice or suggestions? Well... it has only been a short time. You are still learning each other and how to best work together in partnership. Some wobble is normal. BREATHE. Could this help you?


As for how you write about how you feel/think:
  • I think you could give yourself permission to HAVE feelings.
  • I think you could give yourself permission to let him own his OWN feelings and decisions.
  • I think you could be in charge of your own life and life decisions. Be the CAUSE. Not the EFFECT.

Here is what I mean from how you write:

I am scared I will lose him because I feel like I am just causing him extra problems.
Reframe this:

I can see that being in relationship with me causes time management issues for him. I am not enjoying the thought of having to break up with him because his time management does not meet my needs.

YOU do not cause him problems. Shy of punching him in the face or direct action like robbing all his money. HE is a willing participant in this isn't he? Let him own his end of the sticks. And sure having more than one GF means time management issues! That's a given! He chose dealing in more challenging time management when he chose more than one GF!

He is a person. Not a toy. You don't "lose him." You choose to end the relationship because needs are not met. Or he chooses to end the relationship because his needs are not met.

Instead of thinking from a place of "things just happen to me in my life! I am an EFFECT of my circumstances! Blown about by the winds!" you could try OWNING your own life and taking CHARGE of your life decisions.

Be a CAUSE in your life -- you decide and do things in it. You don't just float along. That could perhaps alleviate some of the insecure not-knowingness. Because as a CAUSE, you KNOW what's going on when. At least some of it. Because you are the captain of your own ship.

I feel like I am just adding stress to his situation with his girlfriend.
YOU are not all powerful. You can't make anyone feel anything. If that were so I could make you feel better just by reading these words. POOF!
(I joke to try to make you smile -- you sound down.)

I learn things from him that cause me anxiety. I rather not know so much.
But seriously... if being in relationship with you tips his polysaturation point and causes him stress... that is for him to own and deal with. If this causes him to not meet your needs in relationship? You could choose to end the relationship. If he decides that this is spreading him too thin, he could choose to change things in his life -- and that could include him choosing to end things with you.

What are your needs here? To not hear about his stressy details and daily play-by-play? Because it causes you anxiety? Could ask him to tell you only the things that affect you -- not stressy work stuff, stressy family calendar stuff, stressy GF stuff, etc the very minute it happens. A weekly summary of the highlights will do. (or whatever "volume" you need to be at to be free of anxiety from hinge oversharing info.)

I don't want to lose him but I am finding it a bit difficult to deal with the small amounts of time I get to spend with him.
Reframe. Specify.

I find it difficult to deal with our having ___ date nights a week/month. I need to have _____ dates.

I have to tell him he is not meeting my needs and if he cannot change it, accept that I'm not getting needs met here. It could mean I break up with him.

When I get upset or emotional about that I feel bad and I think that is unfair to him.
Feeling bad is an emotion. It can be felt. Some feelings are yucky to feel. Some feelings are yummy. It's neither here nor there. Emotions just bubble up. Rain is rain. Sun is sun. Emotion is emotion. Internal weather blowing on through.

You do not get to choose HOW to feel. Or WHEN to feel. Or WHAT to feel.

You get to choose how to behave. Feelings ensue after behavior. If the feeling that ensues is yummy, keep on doing that behavior. If the feelings are yucky -- change the behavior, change what you do for your emotional management. Then see if you feel better.

Why is you being a full spectrum feeling person "unfair" to him?

We have talked about this, but I do find it hard to talk about my feelings.
What was his response in the talk? Did you go to him to TELL? Or did he have to fish it out of you?

If you find it hard to talk about feelings... You could take action to learn to articulate emotion better. Read, perhaps look into non-violent communication classes or CDs or similar. Then you could grow more confident about expressing yourself. You could give yourself permission to just feel whatever it is when it happens rather than shy away from feeling the "yucky feelings."

I don't want him to think I am sulking or being dramatic or anything.
You cannot control his brain. He thinks whatever he thinks.

You can only control your behavior.

And if you are feeling upset, you have the right to say "I am feeling upset right now. I need time/space/tea/whatever it is you need in times of upset."

If you are behaving in less than self-respecting ways while upset -- flinging yourself to the ground and kicking legs and pounding fists like a toddler, throwing rubber chickens at him... well, stop doing that. You can express upset in grown up ways. (again, I joke to try to make you smile.)

Take heart. You will survive this. BREATHE.

Then when ready -- you could choose to take charge of your life and your emotional management in a different way to see if that serves you better.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-13-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:48 AM
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Octovus Octovus is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Posts: 8
Smile Simple enough idea

My main thought on how to proceed is this: Can you get what you want, for you, right now out of this relationship?

You wrote that you do not want to start into a new monogamous LTR just now. OK. But that does not mean that (this particular configuration of) poly is definitely the best possible option.

If you can answer the above question with "Yes, I can," and with some good confidence (only a normal amount of uncertainty or doubt - since relationships are not mathematics where 2 + 2 definitely = 4!), then go for it!

If not, you may really need to reconsider.

Those are my thoughts.

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