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  #1  
Old 02-07-2013, 04:50 PM
tiggerdatiger tiggerdatiger is offline
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Default Feeling a little secondary, in the moment...

My partner and I have been together for almost a year and a half, and I'll be moving in within (2) months.

I'm not sure if it's cold feet, or my fear of abandonment, or if I'm overlooking an opportunity to take a step towards feeling compersion for my partner while letting some of my demons go...

But I sure do feel bad.

He can spend a good amount of time having texting conversations with someone while I'm there. I'm not passively asking him to stop, I ask him to stop (after a while, especially when we're at a party with other people, or I feel like he's just not listening to me as I'm talking). And he will stop for a moment just until the person gets back to him, then the phone is back in his hand, texting away.

I know when he spends an evening with someone and it's hot, passionate, for a while with chemistry and all, I've repeatedly asked for reassurance and a little attention afterwards (later that night or the next morn), and this doesn't seem to stick. I'll even ask a question or put out communication and won't hear back until the next day, mid-day.

These are some excuses for him: He rebels against any kind of authority, people telling him what to do (tough to work with... things have to be his own decision a good amount of the time)... he also likes any attention he can get after having been very overweight for many years (along with being celibate), almost to the point where it can be compulsory to feel that. And, he's not always forthcoming with communication (with as much sweetness). It comes and goes. When the sweet moments come, they are full, potent, and awesome. Then, there's a dry patch, which seems to be usually around the time of his encounters, of course.

I was going to text him today with 'Sometimes I feel with the texting full conversations with someone else while I'm there, with my asking for reassurance after you have an elongated evening with someone (and usually not getting it) or not hearing back from you for a while after these encounters... I tend to feel secondary. Not as much a priority as these encounters can be for you'.

And then I think... am I being passive aggressive? Am I being manipulative? Am I acting out of jealousy? I know (to some degree) these things need to be addressed with him, and many folks on here seem to have amazing partners that reach agreements, compromises, are able to talk about these things, and come to an understanding... these are things that I repeatedly bring up, and I think I need a new approach or something.

I hate to think of moving in as part of the solution, but it really might be. I wouldn't have too many doubts, concerns, questions at the end of the day when he climbs into bed with me.

I'm just wondering if I'm overreacting (as I said, I can have a fear of abandonment and my own issues). Maybe this is what polyamory is, and I need to accept this and these challenges in order to be with my partner (the good does outweigh the bad, of course)...

I don't know... and not sure if I should send the text. Any words of advice on my situation would be helpful!
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2013, 07:12 PM
SrAh SrAh is offline
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I can relate, but in an opposite way! I think I'm more in his position. I have a husband and a boyfriend. Both of them complain about the same thing "When you're with me, you're texting him too much"
Ok... well, that's fine and dandy. The kicker? In the same moment I get the "You don't text me enough when you're away from me"
What?
Really!

Ok. So. My solution: apologize. I'm constantly saying "I'm sorry, let me wrap this up and then we'll ____" whatever it is. So, I have some 'rules' per say. If I know I'll be out to dinner, I text the other "Hey, headed to dinner, going to be MIA for a while" and then during dinner, I try really hard to steal a moment to text "<3" or some kind of hey I love you message. I try REALLY HARD NOT to be attached to my phone. However, it's a level of reassurance that I can FEEL vibrating off of the unattended lover, and I CANNOT ignore that need.
How could I ignore someone saying "Hey, I'm feeling left out, I miss you" ???!!! There's no way!

But yes, I see how you're feeling! I haven't had to experience that side too often. For a while my boyfriend was / I guess still is / seeing someone else. He wouldn't always warn me when he was about to "drop off" so to speak, and I would be HORRIFICALLY offended if he didn't respond. I convinced myself he didn't love me. I convinced myself he was off making a life with this other woman! Crazy, right?!
So...
Maybe share this story with him? Explain that if you went out and didn't say "hi" every now and again, he'd be hurt (especially if he was sitting at home alone!).

As for moving in being a "solution".... it might be! I'm very content crawling into bed with either option, but they are definitely much more content when I'm there next to them.
Poly is a lot of things, forcing yourself to accept an uncomfortable situation, should not be one of them.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2013, 07:51 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Default Have your bf read these posts

Here are some wise words posted a while back by Sagency, a member who hasn't been here in a while, but he struck me as someone who found a way to balance having multiple relationships without letting his wife ever feel slighted or dissed. Have your honey read some of the posts Sagency has written. I bolded and enlarged the parts I think will help him most (the first quote is from a thread that's also a good thread in its entirety):

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagency View Post
Learning to recognize the difference and choose an applicable partner is definitely a skill, and sometimes we learn it only after we're in love.

. . . Talk talk talk. Oh my god, poly folks talk so much I want to just strangle them sometimes. But communication is rule #1 (right? Maybe #2. I'm sure someone will speak up if it's not #1.). We talk about everything that any normal couple would or should talk about. We also talk about what's going on with me and others. I don't make the mistake of oversharing though, and she doesn't dig into details. Her personality (see part 1: people) is such that details are not needed. I've seen many folk get obsessed about the details to negative effect (does it matter who's what went where if you're happy with you what where as is? Whose is bigger or is tighter doesn't matter if everyone is happy. Any difference from my mono just makes me appreciate my mono's uniqueness.). We try our best to be proactive in our talking. No waiting for later, and we understand that we always share based on love and respect.

Beyond talk, you must have action. I make a point to translate any NRE or potential NRE that I feel for someone into energy that my mono receives. Thus, any relationship or potential that comes up causes her a direct benefit. Thinking about how delicious someone else adds to my own hunger for my mono. Beside the obvious benefit, this reassures her that she is and always will be a part of my life. Frankly, the influx of NRE reminds me that my first (think primary in a nonhierarchical way for ya'll pedantic folks) relationship also deserves wooing and fun. One of our simple rules is that when either of us comes home, the coming home person is responsible for seeking out the other and giving them a kiss. It's a simple thing, but it constantly reminds us to connect. Even when I give energy somewhere else, I always try to remind my mono how important and attractive she is. Too many times I've seen polys let NRE blind them to the lovely they have right there already. The NRE may get more E, but that no one gets left out in the cold.

Another success factor is selection. Along with NRE-blindness, I've seen polys make partner choices based on personal preference alone. When you're in a poly situation, you don't get to think only of yourself (IMHO). So when I'm looking at a potential partner (yeah for mono who gets that bonus energy!), part of what I'm evaluating is how that person would integrate with the existing situation. This doesn't mean moving in or group time necessarily. It's a recognition that we all react to personalities differently. Will this new person's personality affect me in a way that will negatively impact others? Is this situation likely to be stable or sane enough for all? And most importantly: is this someone that my mono (who knows me well) would be reasonably (maybe not perfectly but with some insight) able to understand why we're attracted? If the person doesn't get along, move on. If the situation is likely to be full of emo and crazy, move on. If my mono would look and her and think, "Wtf, dude!?" move on. When I make good choices that take me and my mono in consideration, then we're way less likely to raise the stress level greatly, and she's reminded that even her poly's mono is important.

That's how we work in a nutshell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sagency View Post
. . . I have found that there are three imortant aspects:
1) Be the type of person someone would want to be with.
Take care of yourself, be active, and be friendly.

2) Be good to your partner(s).
Take care of your partner, express how great he/she/they is/are, and do not let NRE blind you to what you already have. Why would anyone want to be involved with someone who treats existing partners poorly?


3) Speak up about your lifestyle.
You might not talk about being poly at work, but with friends and new acquaintances vocalize your view. If you have friends who are rabidly antipoly, that could be a problem for relationship development (it adds stress to the situation where accepting friends might welcome any new partner). As you identify and talk about poly views, people may identify as well, and you'll become more comfortable with being an open poly (and comfort = confidence = sexy).
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 02-07-2013 at 07:54 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2013, 08:19 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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So you have needs he is not meeting. You would like to make him aware of that.

This?

Quote:
'Sometimes I feel with the texting full conversations with someone else while I'm there, with my asking for reassurance after you have an elongated evening with someone (and usually not getting it) or not hearing back from you for a while after these encounters... I tend to feel secondary. Not as much a priority as these encounters can be for you'.
This does not focus on what behaviors you would like him to do INSTEAD.

Could be like this:
"When you text full conversations while I am in the room? When you have a date elsewhere and do not take time to reconnect with me even after I ask for reassure? These behaviors do not demonstrate considerateness toward me.

Please turn phone off when you are with me. Or schedule separate and not overlapping face-time and text-time dates. Please reconnect with me after a date elsewhere by greeting me, kissing me hello, asking me about my day. This is considerate behavior toward me. Those types of behaviors would treat me how I want to be treated as your primary. Could you please treat me this way?"
Could keep it to the behavior done/not done and focus on what you want more of. Not leave the focus on what you do not like.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-07-2013 at 08:24 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2013, 10:08 PM
tiggerdatiger tiggerdatiger is offline
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I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly, or I should've done just one reply box addressing each before me... but anywho,

Galagirl: I read your response after I sent a text and had a text conversation with him. He could tell I wasn't in a great mood... and his opening this morn wasn't really helpful to my mood after I sent texts last night to no response:

Him: Omg, just woke up. Late night with F.
Me: :-/ I don't know what to say.
Him: I'm just telling you why I didn't see your message until now.
Me: Thanks. (passive agressive, I know, but I just didn't know what to say at that point, and was/am feeling frustrated).
Him: I'm sorry, things went late and I went to bed.. you knew they were coming over. Are you angry?
Me: It's just a point I've talked about before, really liking the reassurance after these long encounters, especially when I know they're happening. Sometimes I feel a little secondary (not the priority) if I don't hear back for a bit, as well... and it's the second 'school night' this week where you've had an encounter, where with me you say you don't feel sexual or romantic on 'school nights'. Just feel a little less than... and/or just not having a good morn.
Him: Sorry sweets, I haven't had time to be reassuring... I woke up late. I love you!
Me: I love you too...and I think it's fair for us to say now that it is possible to feel sexual or passionate on school nights, depending... not to the contrary. (Then another sentence of a different topic inserted here).

Then, I haven't heard back in a few hours. I've worked with kids before, and totally forgot about asking for what you want instead of what you don't want (obviously applies to adults, as well). I think I tried that a little bit in the above messaging. This will bear reminders, though, to hopefully sink in...

Still not feeling great. I think I do have demons that need to be let free. There are 2 different ways of looking at the reassurance thing overall... it's a normal part of a relationship, and a partners job, or it should be organic and I shouldn't look for the attention and reassurance from my partner to make me feel better. I should find that within. Torn between both... I'm trying to grow in the latter reasoning, because I'm certainly not getting the reassurance I need from him on a consistent basis, and am finding myself begging for it sometimes.

Last edited by tiggerdatiger; 02-07-2013 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:15 PM
tiggerdatiger tiggerdatiger is offline
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AJ1... thanks for the response. I agree with you, the texting etiquette is pretty poor. And I like the compromise of doing it once an hour. I might recommend that to him. It's incredibly tough for him to not react to a message on his phone, though (his own baggage of being without many friends for a couple decades of his life, very overweight, celibate)... his need to keep the ball bouncing sometimes in the moment is, I think, compulsory.

I suppose I do feel a little jealous. I think it's the wind down into year and a half land (honeymoon coming to an end) and his NRE with people he's meeting taking up a good amount of energy and sexual stamina...while I'm feeling slighted by his reasoning that he doesn't have that energy with me on a 'school night', yet he had 2 long encounters this week on 'school nights'.

And I agree... having the conversation over text isn't the best. We won't see each other until tomorrow night, and he doesn't prefer phone contact. He would rather wait until we're in person to have these conversations... while I'd rather get my thoughts out sooner than later... and I think I come across better when I can edit, correct, and think out my intentional thoughts...

But it is better to communicate in person, by far, of course...

Thanks for your thoughts...
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:53 PM
tiggerdatiger tiggerdatiger is offline
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Hey there nycindie... those are wise words indeed! Very direct and up front! I think I will let him know (in my own way) the bolded parts, which did speak to me...and what I'd like to have as a reminder that I'm his primary priority, remind himself of why we're in it to win it together...

And I do like the call-to-action things to think about 'Be the type of person someone would want to be with' and 'comfort=confidence=sexy', etc. It's inspiring, and a good reminder in itself.

Thanks for passing those thoughts on...
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:46 PM
tiggerdatiger tiggerdatiger is offline
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Hey, SrAh... thanks for pointing out what the other shoe is like! That's a bit helpful. And I do feel like that on occasion (convincing myself of crazy things):... He'll be with the newbie soon enough instead of me. Why are we moving in together, when he clearly wants to be with them instead, etc., etc.

I don't know that it would benefit the situation pointing out how he would be hurt about things... in the Meyers Brigg personality type, he's an INTJ (basically Spock or Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory'). Not much phases him.

It would probably serve me better to tell him what behavior I want (as GalaGirl recommended): Please pour your energies into us when we're together. An occasional text (not a full conversation) is okay.

Thanks for replying and being helpful!
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:55 PM
AJ1 AJ1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggerdatiger View Post
He can spend a good amount of time having texting conversations with someone while I'm there. I'm not passively asking him to stop, I ask him to stop (after a while, especially when we're at a party with other people, or I feel like he's just not listening to me as I'm talking). And he will stop for a moment just until the person gets back to him, then the phone is back in his hand, texting away.
I think what you are feeling here is totally understandable - and not even 100% "primary" or "poly" related. His texting etiquette is just very poor. I've had to deal address similar behavior with DH, even though he doesn't have other lovers. He just has a lot of friends, and likes to stay in (what feels like constant) touch with them. For the longest time, he would just whip out his phone whenever it vibrated (every text, email, FB alert, etc.) I told him that, while my preference is for him to ignore his phone altogether when we are spending quality time with each other, I felt a good compromise was to check it once an hour, and do all his following up at that time. He agreed that the proposal was reasonable. Full-on text conversations should be handled like phone conversations, they are very similar in the attention they require. If the conversation is going to be lengthy, and it is not an opportune time, it should be re-scheduled.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggerdatiger View Post
am I being passive aggressive?
No, you are being proactive and (as far as I can tell) reasonable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggerdatiger View Post
Am I being manipulative?
Not from what you've posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggerdatiger View Post
Am I acting out of jealousy?
Maybe. Do you feel jealous? Would you feel similarly if he was texting a buddy of his? Needing reassurance after a hot date (while totally reasonable) could be coming from a place of insecurity that you may want to work on in time.

I am wondering, though, why you plan on addressing the issue over text rather than just asking him in person? It seems like the kind of thing that might be worth having a real conversation about. This is a great thing to cut your relational teeth on, so to speak. You're getting vulnerable and sharing your insecurities with him. How he chooses to react to that is important.
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