Whoops... How'd I get here?
Hello, I'm Wendy. I am newish to polyamory. In fact, monogamish is probably a more apt description of how I identify, however, that is not where I find myself at this moment.
I had been married for more than a decade. During that time, my husband and I enjoyed a few threesomes that much more closely resembled swinging than polyamory. And that worked for me.
My husband walked out about a year ago for reasons mostly unrelated to whom we were sharing our bed with. I was feeling pretty bruised and in the process of nursing my wounds, reconnected with a woman, Lia, whom has been a friend for many many years. Lia has a boyfriend, Mac. Lia and Mac have been together for a several years, but only just started living together around the same time my husband walked out.
Lia and Mac were both incredibly nurturing. On the nights that none of us had our kids, we were always out doing fun stuff - movies, dinner, dancing. It was a time when I very easily could have slipped into sitting around feeling sorry for myself, but they kept me busy having fun.
Lia had been telling me for sometime about what great sex they had. And that they were interested in having another woman in bed with them. Well, its not hard to guess where that led. About a month of hanging out and more than a few cocktails I suggested that I might like to be that woman.
Wow! What an incredible roll in the hay. And it led to more romps. And then to me spending weekends with them. And joint family outings. And it was so relaxed and so comfortable and then... Oh shit. I'm in love with Mac. i am CRAZY in love with Mac. How the hell did that happen? He was this big, quiet, sort of sullen and sarcastic boyfriend of my friend that I'd been too self-involved to ever really get to know. But he was sweet and attentive and smart and funny and interesting. And really sexy. Really, really sexy. Wow!
I told Lia first and asked permission to tell him. She said "well, i don't know. I guess tell him and I'll see how it makes me feel." He felt the same. It didn't make her feel so good.
But we worked. And communicated. And worked and communicated and yelled and cried and worked and communicated. We all read "The Ethical Slut" and worked and communicated some more. Sometimes I feel communicated out.
We've tried different boundaries and accommodations and discussed everyone's needs and how to meet them. So much so that I feel like we spend more time discussing all the relationships involved rather than just enjoying them. Sometimes it's so emotionally exhausting that I'm tempted to scream "I can't do this anymore!" But I can. And I'm willing to. And it is worth it to me.
So, here's the main crux of the problem. We are all in this polyamorous relationship(s) but none of us really identifies as polyamorous. We all agree that Mac and I share an incredibly wonderful love and have naively fallen into a relationship that can't be cast aside. But in the future, none of us would pursue polyamory. It's just really hard and although we all like the idea of being sexually open to outside partners, managing the pain, jealousy, competition and finite resource of time that goes along with outside loving relationships is just too hard for us.
We have been through a number of versions of our relationship(s). At the beginning, it was always the three of us or just the two of them as they live together. Then sometimes just me and Mac or all three of us, but mostly the two of them. As our relationship grew, she struggled with being present when Mac and I were sexual. She struggles with our romantic relationship. As of the last couple of months, by her request, she and I have not had any sexual contact. That's ok with me. Although we had some fun, I'd say she and I are both more hetero-flexible than bi-sexual. My relationship with Lia has always been almost exclusively platonic until this past year.
But since the threesomes have stopped, Mac and i have been spending a lot more private time together and that has made me more... protective... of that relationship. So much so, that I don't really enjoy the time we spend together as a group.
Primaries, as I have read, often complain about being the minivan to the porche of the secondary, but I am desperate to be the minivan. To share the day to day mundanity of "You make dinner and I'll pick up the kids from practice." When all three of us are together and one of them mentions what they need to pick up at the grocery store, I'm crushed. And then I feel overwhelmingly stupid for being crushed over grocery shopping. They are not insensitive. If I said please never talk about grocery shopping in front of me again, they wouldn't. But how stupid would it be to say "please don't have a life outside of me."
And I struggle with guilt. I'm terribly afraid that Lia is only "allowing" my relationship with Mac because she is afraid that he will leave her if she says he has to give me up. I know that's not the case. I know that if she issued a ultimatum, I would lose. I am simultaneously insecure that she might do that at any moment and horrified that because she doesn't think she is able to do that.
Also, I miss the physical affection with Lia. During the threesomes, it was mostly the two of us giving him attention. But that was very comfortable for me. I totally understand and respect why she needed some space from me sexually, but I feel a little... rejected. It's drastically changed our relationship. All of the relationships.
I like, and am comfortable, expressing myself physically. I'm a cuddly person and physical contact, even if its mostly platonic, makes me feel secure in relationships. She's not as touchy as I am and I want to respect that. But I really liked it when I was able to spend the night with both of them and feel welcome. I don't feel so welcome now.
She and I are so off kilter now I don't know how to get back to pre-Mac times. It doesn't help that we have drastically different communication styles. She's more likely to say exactly what is on her mind at the moment that she is thinking it. I'm more measured and like to have "package" of thoughts and conclusions before I'm ready to present them. Her blasts of emotions erupt upon me and then she seems to be done with them while I'm hurt and recovering for days.
At the moment, she and I are having virtually no communication and I find that incredibly sad. I'm pretty sure she does too. On the other hand, the less she and I talk, the better each of our relationships with Mac seem to have been. So I don't know what to do.