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Old 03-11-2013, 01:59 AM
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AlbertaBea AlbertaBea is offline
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Default My boyfriend's wife wants him to break up with me

Hi poly people! This isn't my first time in a poly situation but I'm having some difficulty deciding how to navigate some things at the moment.

The characters in this scenario are me (Berta), my primary (Doug), my significant secondary (Red), and his wife (Jordan). I am a 26 year old female in the San Francisco area and my primary lives in Seattle. We open our relationship when we aren't getting along and my primary is no longer interested in being in an open relationship.

He has been making a lot of efforts over the past few months to make some changes I needed to see and I'm happy about that, but he's made these changes before and they haven't stuck. I don't feel like exclusivity with him is a healthy choice for me right now but it is something I could see us doing down the road. I had two secondary boyfriends and to compromise I am breaking up with the one Doug dislikes. That's not going to be easy but I'm not conflicted about it because Doug is very important to me.

Segway to my significant secondary and his wife. Red and Jordan are in an open marriage. I met Red last summer and we clicked, but he thought I lived in Seattle and I thought he was in a monogamous marriage. His wife Jordan told me around Halloween that their marriage is open and within about an hour of learning that, Red and I were making plans for a date. I was looking for casual sex and after negotiating the terms of what our relationship would look like we started hooking up. Jordan and I check in with each other frequently and we're friendly. Red recently reached out to Doug via email and that went well too. Things are fucking awesome with me and Red and things with Doug are pretty great too.

Red and Jordan's marriage is not that great though. Jordan dates a lot of people and also has significant secondaries. Red was monogamous until he met her and adjusted to her needs to be with her. She has broken the rules they've tried to set and is very inconsistent about what she needs from him. She moved out of their apartment and stopped having sex with him, but still wants him to be there for her emotional needs.

Red and I talk online and via text all the time when we're not together. We haven't had overnight stays for the six months we've been dating, by my request. We made some plans for a sleepover so we can have morning sex, and Jordan got upset so Red cancelled our plans at the last minute to attend to her needs. I was really hurt by that, but he apologized to me and I got over it. Jordan also apologized because she didn't mean for him to cancel our plans. I realized that I shouldn't be getting that upset about him attending to his wife's needs and I apologized to them both, and things were going smoothly again for all of us until this past Thursday.

Red and I had been making plans for a few weeks to stay at a haunted hotel together and we were both really excited about it. Jordan told Red she was upset because he doesn't take her to haunted hotels, but the trip was my idea and I booked the room. We had already changed the date of our trip once so they could do something together.

We had a great time. It was an amazing night and an amazing day after that. When Red got back Jordan was really, really upset. She gave him an ultimatum: monogamy, or they're breaking up. Red said he would resent her if he had to break up with me because he hasn't been this excited about a relationship in a long time. That's part of what I told Doug when he brought it up as well.

So, I proposed a compromise for Red to offer Jordan and she accepted it. Red and I won't have overnight stays or plan adventure trips together because that seems to be Jordan's trigger and I respect her needs. I'm mad at her though because she just doesn't care about my needs right now, she seems to believe hers are just flat out more important. When Red has asked her for monogamy or for more emotional support, she has told him to work it out himself or seek the support outside of their marriage. Now she's asking him for monogamy and he doesn't want it. Isn't that how it always seems to go??? I'm glad because I don't want to stop seeing him either. I fucking love the guy! He's amazing.

I need to express my feelings to Jordan though, because that's the nature of our relationship. We are open and honest. But I've never had to express this kind of frustration to my secondary's primary partner before. I don't want to comment on their relationship because that's up to them, but I'm frustrated about her double standards. I want to work them out with her but in the past when I have helped couples I've dated improve their relationship I've gotten dumped or hurt. What do you guys think I could say to her to make my feelings clear, while respecting their marriage and her feelings?
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:43 AM
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AlbertaBea AlbertaBea is offline
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Default Additional info

My relationship with Red started off as casual sex, and it has blossomed into more than that. Since Doug lives far away and Jordan has moved out and pushed Red away in many ways, he and I have leaned on each other for emotional support in ways that are more characteristic of a primary relationship. This was unexpected and is also difficult to negotiate.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:06 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I'm not sure that I have any good advice yet, but I'm just curious about something -- what does "primary" mean to you guys? What does it mean that you're primary with Doug when you guys don't live together and don't agree on the parameters of your relationship (open vs. closed)? What does it mean for Red and Jordan to be primary if they also don't live together, don't have sex, and also don't agree on the parameters of their relationship? It seems to be different from how I'd use the word.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:17 AM
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AlbertaBea AlbertaBea is offline
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Default You're so right!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
I'm not sure that I have any good advice yet, but I'm just curious about something -- what does "primary" mean to you guys? What does it mean that you're primary with Doug when you guys don't live together and don't agree on the parameters of your relationship (open vs. closed)? What does it mean for Red and Jordan to be primary if they also don't live together, don't have sex, and also don't agree on the parameters of their relationship? It seems to be different from how I'd use the word.
I know, girl! I know! Doug has been my primary for years because he was my primary source of emotional support, and he is the one that I have been building a future with. We bring out the best in each other and we interact with each others families extensively. We haven't always lived so far apart and we have many common interests, we see each other at least every month and when we have vacations from school one of us moves closer to the other for that period of time.

For Red and Jordan, they are best friends and husband and wife. They have been going back and forth about breaking up for awhile. I think that the circumstances have caused a lot of confusion about who our primaries are and that's part of what I'm struggling with, and I believe that's what Jordan and Doug are also struggling with.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:45 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Maybe these aren't the right words to be describing your relationships at all right now, maybe the paradigm of hierarchy has ceased to be useful. Maybe it's getting in the way to run yourself around in circles by thinking "Well, Doug is my primary, so his needs come first, except that his needs DON'T come first because he wants monogamy and I'm not willing to give it to him, and Red is my secondary, so he's a lesser part of my life, except that he's NOT a lesser part of my life because he's actually physically here right now and is my primary source of emotional support."

Maybe just take each relationship as its own thing, assess the role you see it playing in your life now and the role you want it to play in the future, and go from there. It might not make much of a difference, but I believe that the words you use matter a lot.

I mean, you say you're mad at Jordan because she's acting like her needs come before yours, but, if she's supposed to be Red's primary and you're supposed to be his secondary, then isn't it perfectly within her rights to expect that her needs should come first when it comes to him??? Again, I think the paradigm has ceased to be useful.

Anyways, advice right, hmmm, advice. Ok, how about this.

"Hey Jordan,

I hope you're doing well. I'm glad that you and Red have come to a workable agreement, and I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, I hate to see you hurting.

I have to be honest, this is really hard for me. Red has become a very important person to me, and giving up things, especially overnights, is rough. That said, I know you're still working stuff out, and I wouldn't have offered this as a compromise if I didn't think it made sense. Still, I hope it can be a temporary fix, and that relaxing the boundaries can be on the table in the future, assuming you guys work things out.

I understand that it might be too soon for you to say, since you're in the midst of so much heavy stuff in terms of your marriage right now, but I just wanted to put it out there because I feel like being open and honest has been so important, and so beneficial, to our relationship.

Wishing you the best,
Berta"
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Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:26 PM
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AlbertaBea AlbertaBea is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Maybe just take each relationship as its own thing, assess the role you see it playing in your life now and the role you want it to play in the future, and go from there. It might not make much of a difference, but I believe that the words you use matter a lot.
You're right about the term "primary" being of little use in this situation. I'm coming to terms with my own need to end my relationship with Red if he chooses to marginalize me, and I guess thinking of myself as my "primary." I'm not willing to be the only partner of Red's who will compromise.

You gave me some very solid advice and I appreciate that. I rewrote your letter almost word for word to Jordan. She hasn't responded yet, but the letter you wrote was less emotionally driven than the drafts I have made until now. That's exactly what I needed and thank you so much for taking the time to think about it objectively, when I couldn't.
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