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Old 03-18-2014, 04:09 PM
Devirajni Devirajni is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 17
Default A mono secondary's letter to their poly primary

This is what I wish I had the guts to say to my boyfriend at the moment. The italicized portions are my calmer self explaining what is going on to my emotional self.


When I said I would miss you, you didnít say it back, and said that the reason you didnít was that you didnít want to engage in socially conventional cue-response behaviour.

Instead you stroked my eyebrows, whose perfect arches fascinate you, and gave me your half-smile. I know you love me, even if you can't say it yet.

What I heard was, ďI wonít miss you, because I wonít be alone. I will be with someone else, the important one, the one who really matters, so I wonít have time or emotional space in which to miss you. There will be no void for me.Ē

When you said, as I left, ďHave a good spring break!Ē I heard ďWe will not be in communication for the duration of the spring break, because I will be with someone else, the important one, the one who really matters. I will be completely wrapped up in them and not spare a single thought for you.Ē

You were frantically trying to get your house straightened up before you left it for a week and were bringing your husband back there straight after. You had meant to spend an hour with me; we had been lying in your bed for nearly three.

Eight days went past with no communication. On my side, because Iím trying so hard to be a good little secondary who isnít needy or clingy (and I donít want your husband to be upset by me intruding during the time he has with you Ė I am going to respect those times when you are at his house). I donít know what the justification for no contact was on your side. I imagine you were having reconnecting time, playing with your cats, writing, having your head there and not with me.

Your husband deserves your undivided attention when you are at his house. You have a relationship of much longer standing than ours, cats, friends in his town. He never gets to do couple-y things with you on a regular basis. If he feels threatened by your relationship with me, then this is when you get to reassure him Ė and you canít do that if you are also in regular contact with me. You may also feel guilty that you spend, or have the ability to spend, more time with me than with him because we live and work in the same town and he is in another state, so you overcompensate when you are with him.

I was surprised when you texted me the day before I left for another country on a work trip and your message said ďHave a safe flight and a great timeĒ. But what I heard was ďI donít care enough/Iím having too much fun with my partner to call you to wish you these things, and moreover, you now understand that we are not going to be in contact AT ALL for two and a half weeks, until you are back in fact and my partner has been back in his state for a couple of days.Ē

You were thinking of me and wanted to let me know that without upsetting or being disrespectful to your husband.

I thanked you and said that I hoped you would enjoy your conference this week.

I was trying to convey the sense of detachedness that I was perceiving from you.

Now, Iím tired, lonely, jetlagged, wanting to talk to you and tell you about all the things that have happened since we spoke (I got bitten on the face by a spider, I spent 31 hours on planes and in transit, I am back where I grew up and itís all different and weird), but I feel like I shouldnít ask for your time. You and your husband are back in our town, you are back at work, he is on holiday in a town that he feels is ďmineĒ because I live there, in the house that you and I, and he and you, eat in, watch movies in, cook for each other in, sleep in, wash each other in, have sex in. I am pretty sure that the last time you tried to initiate sex downstairs on the sofa was because you hadnít changed the sheets from the last time your husband had been in your bed. I wonder if you had time to change them before you left for break after you and I had been there? No matter. I have deliberately chosen to go upstairs when you gave me the choice, even though intuitively I knew that you hadnít changed the sheets. I donít care. You, him, me Ė we are all part of something bigger than the sum of our parts. I want to know him, to feel secure in this, to not wonder every time that you see him if you're thinking "Oh, I don't really need her after all".

I am relatively attractive, professionally successful, lots of friends, a beautiful son, financially independent, no want of admirers. And yet I feel more comfortable sharing these thoughts with a forum of strangers than I do with you. I am scared that I will do something that you will see as irretrievably wrong or stupid in poly terms and you will decide that I am NOT worth the trouble.

Please tell me WE are worth the trouble.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:05 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 918

I can totally relate to these emotions. I have posed the question to a few people who are part of a couple, looking for an outside relationship: what do you have to offer this other person? How do you see it working for them? The question has been brushed off with platitudes, and yet, it strikes me that there are very few secondary singles, or mono secondaries, and not even that many secondaries, posting here. I see what they post elsewhere on forums and e-mail lists more geared toward the mono secondary, and what I see is a lot of pain and uncertainty for the person outside the core couple. Yes, I know there are exceptions. That doesn't change the amount of pain that does exist.

For reasons related to what you discuss in your letter--for reasons including the fact that you don't feel you can say these things to your girlfriend, just as I have found that when I raise similar issues with my boyfriend, he tells me I'm imagining things or gets angry--I would never do this again.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:16 PM
Devirajni Devirajni is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 17

Thanks, WhatHappened (and the other person who sent me a private message) - it really helps to know that I am not the only person to have felt like this.

Incidentally, it's a boyfriend, not a girlfriend. My boyfriend is bi, married to a gay man, and I am a straight(ish) woman (I like to joke that I just haven't met the right woman yet, haha).

I honestly think that maybe his behaviour has less to do with being poly than being simply clueless a lot of the time! He would be appalled if he knew how much some of his behaviour, which he thinks is appropriate, has hurt me. That's why this forum has been so helpful to me.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:10 PM
jadedone jadedone is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1

This post breaks my heart. Thank you for sharing, it serves to remind me to take care of all of my relationships. I hope you find the ability to share these feelings with your partner.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:36 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Eastern US...
Posts: 182

Thank you for writing the letter that I have never actually written to the woman whose secondary partner I am.... and for a letter that I know I've "received" a few times from the woman who wishes she were more primary with me (and I with her - circumstances have intervened so far, and perhaps our timing is such that we won't resolve the situation before someone moves on).

(whoops - first post since writing my signature - gotta go edit that thing, serious typo! laughing)
Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:20 AM
happytovee happytovee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 28

It seems like being secondary isn't ok with you. I don't blame you; it wouldn't be for me either. I'm in a vee with a married couple (husband is the hinge - his wife and I quickly became dear friends). I'm not secondary, and his wife has referred to me as Co-primary from the beginning as she said it was the only way (in her opinion) to make this work.

I would ask for your relationship to be considered as equal to his other. I would ask for communication that shows his feelings for you if that's what you need. If he can't or won't give it then you have a hard decision to make.
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mono/poly, secondary, vee dynamics

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