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  #131  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:58 AM
mercury mercury is offline
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Originally Posted by ViableAlternative View Post
But there's an enormous difference between "You can't date him/her! Waa!" and. "I can't have that person that close to my life. Date them if you choose, and that's okay, but I need to remove myself from this situation." One of those statements seeks to control another person's autonomy. The other is practicing my own autonomy. Though the end result may in fact be that my lover chooses not to involve him/herself with the person because they want to keep their relationship with me intact, it is not because I am forcing their hand. The end result might be that I leave the lover instead, and while that would suck, I couldn't live with myself if I were to be so controlling.
I understand the distinction you're making, and I don't think you're wrong to make that distinction. But I myself see the latter as still controlling. It's creating a huge 'penalty' for the person (your partner) seeing his or her new gf/bf. Some people call that practicing autonomy, and it is. But it is also creating a very large penalty.

I wouldn't do it, myself. If I were in a poly couple and were feeling jealous of a new girlfriend that my boyfriend started dating, I'd say "See her. It's going to be hard as hell for me because she scares me big time, and you liking her so much scares me, but I don't want to take the path of least resistance by just vetoing her. I am going to need a lot of reassurances while this happens, but let's go with it."

If I tell him, "I understand you want to see her, but know that I will have to depart if you do so," I'd just feel....immature.
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  #132  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:00 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by mercury View Post
The poly couple in my situation had circumstances very different from from a life time (or even a decade or so) of being a "team." They met in March of 2010. Heck, *I've* known her for longer than he has (although...as I mentioned, I only knew her as a distant classmate). At any rate, they've only been together two years, and they're not married.

Also, as I understood it, she didn't want to live with him. There was a lot about them that struck me as "you guys aren't so together, are you?"

...


I respect your ability to respect a wife who's been there for her husband for years and years. And on some theoretical level, I would too and know that I should. But emotionally, for me, it wouldn't matter what she did for him for how many years; I don't want to be significantly less important than another woman. I just don't think I could be happy that way.
Yes, I do think that 25 years together, financial support, marriage, all of it makes for a very different situation than yours.

As to the bolded part, I completely agree. And that's why I think the system has inherent flaws, why I would probably not agree to be part of this again, and why I will not let him be the love of my life without whom I cannot live.

In part, I worry about him, too. He's very, very emotionally invested, although he himself told me from the start that he can't offer me any real future and I MUST keep myself open to someone who can and he knows it will end someday. But he would ideally like what we have to last forever, even when he knows it can't and won't. In part, it can't or won't for exactly the reasons you said. I love every minute with him, and it suits me very well right now; I like him very much. But I'm not going to spend my life as second fiddle. To be fair, he went into this knowing that as well I went into it knowing there's no normal progression of the relationship with him.

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, no matter how much I understand it, there's still an inherent unfairness to one person, and I'm not willing to live with that longer than I'm satisfied with the situation as it is.

Last edited by WhatHappened; 06-27-2012 at 03:04 AM.
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  #133  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:28 AM
mercury mercury is offline
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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Yes, I do think that 25 years together, financial support, marriage, all of it makes for a very different situation than yours.

As to the bolded part, I completely agree. And that's why I think the system has inherent flaws, why I would probably not agree to be part of this again, and why I will not let him be the love of my life without whom I cannot live.

In part, I worry about him, too. He's very, very emotionally invested, although he himself told me from the start that he can't offer me any real future and I MUST keep myself open to someone who can and he knows it will end someday. But he would ideally like what we have to last forever, even when he knows it can't and won't. In part, it can't or won't for exactly the reasons you said. I love every minute with him, and it suits me very well right now; I like him very much. But I'm not going to spend my life as second fiddle. To be fair, he went into this knowing that as well I went into it knowing there's no normal progression of the relationship with him.

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, no matter how much I understand it, there's still an inherent unfairness to one person, and I'm not willing to live with that longer than I'm satisfied with the situation as it is.
How long have you two been together? Does his wife support you having a primary role or does she actively want to keep you at some secondary level? Are you and the wife friends?

I think it might be more satisfying to you if it were more of a live-in thing. I hear that poly couples who are a "family" work a lot better. Do you have such circumstances or is it more like he sees you for dates a couple times a week?
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  #134  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:32 AM
strixish strixish is offline
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Originally Posted by mercury View Post
He said, "I don't know what's going to happen. I may end up breaking away from her. We just have to see what happens."
You mentioned that you're probably not going to be pursuing a poly relationship in the future, and I get that. Still, I wanted to point out that this is a huge red flag for me.

If I'm just starting to date someone who's already in a relationship, it's important to me that the relationship be strong and stable. If it's not, and if the person I'm interested in indicates that it may be breaking up in the near future, I want to get far, far away from that.

Also, I feel uncomfortable with a veto situation. It's too much of a shorthand for a dynamic that actually exists in any relationship, and which actually requires a much more nuanced conversation. If someone's primary (or partner who preexists me) really doesn't like me, then they may decide that at any point that it's me or them, regardless of whether a veto agreement is in place. The veto just cuts short what may be productive and important dialogue.

But honestly, if someone's primary (or preexisting partner) really doesn't like me, that's another big red flag. I think I'm easy to get along with. If the partner really doesn't like me, then either (a) the couple has issues with polyamory, so red flag, or (b) the couple has issues with drama, another red flag. Also, if she doesn't like me, and they are a well established couple, then maybe he won't like me either once the NRE wears off (if they're a solid couple, they share values, so maybe we're too far apart in various ways).

In any event, if a veto card is being drawn (or circumstances exist to support a veto card, if there were a veto agreement), then I am probably better off elsewhere.

Back to my original point, though-- if the primary/preexisting relationship is suffering, then now is not the time to get involved. You were lucky to get out when you did, for THIS reason more than anything else.
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  #135  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:54 AM
mercury mercury is offline
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Originally Posted by strixish View Post
You mentioned that you're probably not going to be pursuing a poly relationship in the future, and I get that. Still, I wanted to point out that this is a huge red flag for me.

If I'm just starting to date someone who's already in a relationship, it's important to me that the relationship be strong and stable. If it's not, and if the person I'm interested in indicates that it may be breaking up in the near future, I want to get far, far away from that.
What's your reason for wanting to stay far from it? Is it because you think it automatically means drama will ensue?

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Also, I feel uncomfortable with a veto situation. It's too much of a shorthand for a dynamic that actually exists in any relationship, and which actually requires a much more nuanced conversation. If someone's primary (or partner who preexists me) really doesn't like me, then they may decide that at any point that it's me or them, regardless of whether a veto agreement is in place. The veto just cuts short what may be productive and important dialogue.
Yup, don't like that either. How can one feel safe and secure (things that one should feel in a relationship) when there's the possibility some other party might soon be saying that you must be gotten rid of?

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But honestly, if someone's primary (or preexisting partner) really doesn't like me, that's another big red flag. I think I'm easy to get along with. If the partner really doesn't like me, then either (a) the couple has issues with polyamory, so red flag, or (b) the couple has issues with drama, another red flag. Also, if she doesn't like me, and they are a well established couple, then maybe he won't like me either once the NRE wears off (if they're a solid couple, they share values, so maybe we're too far apart in various ways).
I feel the same way. I'll grant that not everybody is going to think (of me) "oh she's so my kinda girl" (as in some kind of 'exact personality' match), but there is nothing contrary or blatantly red flaggy about me that people just find problematic. I am congenial and easygoing and totally clean-cut. The girl in my situation has every reason to like me. And she knows good and darn well that she basically does. (As do I her -- well, not as much now, obviously). She has no reason to not like me. It's all about not wanting a threatening presence around.

I think they have 'issues with polyamory' like you said. They're not ready for it at all.

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Also, if she doesn't like me, and they are a well established couple, then maybe he won't like me either once the NRE wears off (if they're a solid couple, they share values, so maybe we're too far apart in various ways).
I disagree here, though. I think one party in a couple (the person you're dating) can like you a lot even though the other has issues with you. Granted, they have some shared values, but they're not replicas; they have distinctions of personality and taste.

Think about how you are friends with Person X who is friends with person Y. Well, obviously you and Person Y really enjoy Person X as a friend (meaning there is some overlap in your taste in friends), but that doesn't mean you and Person Y would make good friends.

Some friends of my friends don't appeal to me at all, even though you would think they would because we both like at least one same person...

Likewise, in my situation, the girl and I showed ourselves to have the same taste in guys when it came to HIM (her long time boyfriend and my new boyfriend). Yet, I don't think she'd like my ex-boyfriend. Our taste overlapped in a particular guy but not necessarily in all men.

Besides which, I don't think a poly person in a couple having "issues" with their partner's new gf or bf is about a beef with the personality of that person. It's more about jealousy. Hence, it's easy to see how the guy or girl your seeing really DOES like you while their partner doesn't. It's because their partner's "not liking you" is based on jealousy, not on your personality. The guy or girl you're seeing, on the other hand, has no jealousy of you because they're dating you; they like your personality and aren't biased against it.

Quote:
Back to my original point, though-- if the primary/preexisting relationship is suffering, then now is not the time to get involved. You were lucky to get out when you did, for THIS reason more than anything else.
Yeah, I think I definitely dodged a bullet. It's a shame, though, because he was wonderful.

Last edited by mercury; 06-27-2012 at 03:57 AM.
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  #136  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:55 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by mercury View Post
How long have you two been together?
Six months.

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Does his wife support you having a primary role or does she actively want to keep you at some secondary level?
I don't think they really think in terms of primary and secondary. She has a long term boyfriend and several others she sees. He spends sometimes 3 or 4 nights a week with me; if my schedule doesn't accommodate that, we might only spend a couple of nights a week together. We talk on the phone pretty much every day. But I don't think she has any fear of him moving out or leaving her or anything like that, either. So I guess in some ways, it's about as equal as it could be.


Quote:
Are you and the wife friends?
No. I've met her and liked her, long before I knew they had this sort of marriage. But honestly, I can't get over the discomfort at the thought of sitting in a room trying to 'act normal' with a woman when I'm very sexual with her husband. I know she has no problem with it, obviously, and in fact, is encouraging more. I know he's friends with her boyfriend and none of them thinks anything of walking in while the others are having sex, but, frankly, this is not my world.


Quote:
I think it might be more satisfying to you if it were more of a live-in thing. I hear that poly couples who are a "family" work a lot better. Do you have such circumstances or is it more like he sees you for dates a couple times a week?
I'm a single mother with kids and pets. They're child-free in a very small apartment. Between that and my discomfort at this stage with all of it, no, there will be no living together! To be honest, I'm very happy in my own home, going to bed alone in my own bed every night. I like my privacy, I like my freedom, I like not having to worry about things like who keeps the bathroom cleaner and who leaves toothpaste stains all over, lol! I wouldn't move in with anyone at this stage even if I had no children and they had a big, roomy house.
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  #137  
Old 06-27-2012, 04:26 AM
mercury mercury is offline
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Last point. While I do feel that it is "wrong" for the girlfriend to have vetoed you, the only person you can blame for your ex-slash-potential-boyfriend's actions and choices is, actually, him. And only him, really. He accepts a veto condition in his relationship. That's his prerogative. Don't villainize her more than him; neither are without responsibility here. I can sympathize with the desire to condemn her because you don't want to be angry at him, but he is entirely responsible for his choices. And that sucks pretty bad.

Sorry you're going through this.... take good care of yourself while you're healing from this hurt.
Actually, want to add something to what I said earlier.

Even though I do blame him, too, I blame her more. Here's why. I don't condemn him for being loyal to her over me because I don't condemn him for caring about a woman he's been with for two years over a woman he's been with only for seven weeks. She's an attractive and (probably) basically good person who he has feelings for, and I don't blame him for not wanting to lose that to a relatively unknown commodity - me.

I mean, when I think of a particular past relationship of mine at the 2 year mark, and how, if we were poly and another guy had come into the picture and I really really liked the new guy, I still would probably cut the 2nd guy loose (after just seven weeks) if the first guy said he would leave me if I see the other guy.

The guy in my situation wanted to date me. He was the one who pursued me in the first place. He was also the one who, when I got back in touch with him and just had a friendly conversation, said "We should spend some time together again." He made that move, not me. He was embracing me with tenderness when I saw him in person. His words to me when he told me that he and I could not date again, after all, were "I know you're okay with it, but she's not, and I just can't deal with all that with her." (presumably, 'her emotions about it')

I don't think that a woman who's involved with a poly couple should play obvious second fiddle to the wife or long-term girlfriend LONG TERM. But at the point that he and I were, seven weeks of knowing each other, and then an attempt to rekindle, it is a little understandable that he obeyed her.

Now, if he and I had been together a year (and they had been together for two years) and he drops me at her behest, then IN THAT CASE, I blame him more because by then he and I should have gelled more and his letting her chop me out would have been more offensive.

It's in that sense that I don't blame him as much.
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  #138  
Old 06-27-2012, 04:31 AM
mercury mercury is offline
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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
Six months.

I don't think they really think in terms of primary and secondary. She has a long term boyfriend and several others she sees. He spends sometimes 3 or 4 nights a week with me; if my schedule doesn't accommodate that, we might only spend a couple of nights a week together. We talk on the phone pretty much every day. But I don't think she has any fear of him moving out or leaving her or anything like that, either. So I guess in some ways, it's about as equal as it could be.
Yeah, I would agree that everyday contact plus a few times a week together is fine. I would have no problem with that. That would even be my ideal.


Quote:
No. I've met her and liked her, long before I knew they had this sort of marriage. But honestly, I can't get over the discomfort at the thought of sitting in a room trying to 'act normal' with a woman when I'm very sexual with her husband. I know she has no problem with it, obviously, and in fact, is encouraging more. I know he's friends with her boyfriend and none of them thinks anything of walking in while the others are having sex, but, frankly, this is not my world.
Nor is it my world. I'd be comfortable knowing the woman and having sort of a respectful and congenial but relatively distant friendship. Like, maybe a phone conversation between me and her once every two weeks. Maybe a coffee outing once a month or every six weeks. But I'm not down with live-in situations, nor even with hanging out all together or lying around on a couch all cuddling together. That's totally not me.
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I'm a single mother with kids and pets. They're child-free in a very small apartment. Between that and my discomfort at this stage with all of it, no, there will be no living together! To be honest, I'm very happy in my own home, going to bed alone in my own bed every night. I like my privacy, I like my freedom, I like not having to worry about things like who keeps the bathroom cleaner and who leaves toothpaste stains all over, lol! I wouldn't move in with anyone at this stage even if I had no children and they had a big, roomy house.
I'm similar. I don't have kids, but I like freedom and autonomy. That said, I could live with a guy as long as we have a pretty spacious living space and can have rooms to ourselves at times, etc. I wouldn't have wanted to live with him *and* her, though. At one time, the guy in my situation said he could see me living with him, and I don't think he meant with her too. He meant me live with him but her still in his life as well. I think he was really down for making me a huge part of his life but having her in his life as well.

But that was then. Things changed because it (the experience with me) affected her (and subsequently, him) in strange ways.
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  #139  
Old 06-27-2012, 04:38 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I know you are disappointed and didn't get a good closure on that one. That stinks.

But I think it boils down to understanding polymath and good communication and being a good whatever you are in the config you are in.

Be it as the GF, BF, Husband, Wife, Metamour, Paramour, whatever it is in the config... all players must understand who they are, their responsibilites for keeping up good communication and how to weather the storms -- be it storms of rainbow joys or storms of yucky ughs.

It sounds like s/he didn't have all their cards together before he rekindled with you and ooops! Got step back and bam. Hurt feelings. Sigh.

It would have been better to connect with you and have a chance to talk it out as a trio and not just get a brusque veto chop.

An apology would have been nice, ykwim? It's not anyone's fault that wires got crossed somehow and I think everyone learned something from the experience. You go with your gut and clear the air before going in, them be more up front about what parameters it is they are looking for in particular.

There's no one size fits all poly config! Everyone has different needs, situations.

GalaGirl
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  #140  
Old 06-27-2012, 08:35 AM
ViableAlternative ViableAlternative is offline
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Originally Posted by mercury View Post
I understand the distinction you're making, and I don't think you're wrong to make that distinction. But I myself see the latter as still controlling. It's creating a huge 'penalty' for the person (your partner) seeing his or her new gf/bf. Some people call that practicing autonomy, and it is. But it is also creating a very large penalty.

I wouldn't do it, myself. If I were in a poly couple and were feeling jealous of a new girlfriend that my boyfriend started dating, I'd say "See her. It's going to be hard as hell for me because she scares me big time, and you liking her so much scares me, but I don't want to take the path of least resistance by just vetoing her. I am going to need a lot of reassurances while this happens, but let's go with it."

If I tell him, "I understand you want to see her, but know that I will have to depart if you do so," I'd just feel....immature.
To be clear, I am do not mean random people I haven't met and don't know. The very few specific people that fall into that area for me are individuals who have committed a rape or sexual abuse against myself or a family member, and one person who is an actual danger to me. If a lover of mine elected to date one of these very specific people, that lapse in judgement is not safe to me, and I won't date somebody who is not safe.

On the other hand, the chances of anyone I choose to love wanting to date any of those very few people is.... highly unlikely. I don't forsee me dating someone that.... Un-good. All the same, I will NEVER compromise the safety of my self, my lovers, my pets, my future children, just because I love someone who makes dangerous choices. I would instead remove myself from the danger.
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