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  #21  
Old 07-22-2012, 03:55 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Just wanted to throw out a third option beyond P primary and C secondary versus C primary and P secondary... P and C co-primaries, which it sounds like you are acknowledging will to some degree need to be the case anyway if, in fact, C ends up taking on a more primary-type role. This, of course, would be predicated on her being willing not just to meet you but to embrace you as, basically, a sister-spouse. May or may not be a workable option, but it seems to me like it could work just as well as either of the other two options.
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  #22  
Old 07-22-2012, 11:41 PM
pocketpoly86 pocketpoly86 is offline
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CielDuMatin - I hadn't even thought of the kids being in a position where one female would say something and the other would contradict it. While it should be an obvious concern, I guess I didn't even think about it because I'm clearly the primary parent for all my children and I wouldn't expect that to change. I encourage support from others and don't mind sharing but when it comes to big decisions and day-to-day child rearing, I'm definitely the one that is in charge (thought don't let me sell Piper short, he is an excellent, involved parent too - I just tend to be in the more primary role for a variety of reasons - work, travel, experience, etc.). Having said that, you bring up a good point that should be discussed explicitly should we get that far with Colada or anyone. I wouldn't expect it to even come into play with the older two - as they have one foot out the door already. But the younger one could be different and that would need to be explicitly discussed.

AnnabelMore - yes, you are also correct - and that has been discussed as well. I think my struggle lies in that I'm not sure I share as well as Piper would like if I'm in a primary role. But in total honesty, I think at the end of the day I'm at a point of being able to say: 1. Poly is intriguing to me 2. My husband is clearly Poly 3. I don't like feeling trapped and burdened without the reward of time and attention one gets in a mono relationship - but beyond that, I'm totally unsure. I am a very resilient individual and so I tend to just go and go and go and go and make things work. Barring safety issues, I will make a relationship work one way or another. Even facing Butterfly's death, I work hard to remember her with a smile. And in the wake of Pea's longterm hospital stay, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other - sometimes praying she'd live and sometimes wondering if she'd be better in a place with less pain. But regardless, I just keep moving and working and caretaking. And here we are now - a whole new reality. My ex can't harm the kids anymore, Butterfly has been layed to rest, Pea is fully recovered, my new job (which I took to be home more with Pea) has settled into a nice rhythm, and now...Colada...now I can focus on this question of what do we do? My typical tendency is to jump in with both feet and say - I can make this work! But this time, I've said no. I need time. I need peace. I need to get back on my own two feet. I need space. I told Piper it's like playing golf. Sometimes, when you're in the rough, it's smarter to hit the ball backwards into the fairway so that you can get a clear shot to the hole, rather than chopping away at the ball trying to hit it directly to the hole because with all the trees and tall grass, you're actually more likely to miss. So the punchline is: I'm making no decisions at this point. Rather, I know what it's like to be a mono wife with Piper. Right now, I'm exploring what it's like to sorta be a secondary. My hope is that with time, space, and a lot of breathing, I will be able to see more clearly where I need to ultimately land and my ability to ask for that will also be clearer. (doesn't that just sound so good? hahahaha - we'll see if I get anywhere close to my goals - but hey, ya gotta start somewhere, right?) PS - I follow your blog too and have learned a lot from your thoughts, insights, and wishes - thank you for sharing.
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  #23  
Old 07-23-2012, 01:59 AM
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Aww, that's nice to hear! And everything you said just now made perfect sense, I'm wishing you luck.
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  #24  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:16 AM
pocketpoly86 pocketpoly86 is offline
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Default Day 8

Well, Iím afraid today was not as jolly as I would have liked. Weíre now 2 days into our family vacation Ėbut I canít say itís been relaxing even a tad. Child #2 is at sleep away camp, Child #1 is in day camp, Child #4 isnít sleeping through the night (and is getting FOUR new teeth), and Piper has worked a full day and then some. :/ And if that werenít enough, hereís my sharing too much info, but letís just say itís not my happiest time of the month. So sigh, I was hoping to be able to lounge in bed, watch the baby play, spend the afternoons talking with my son, share a drink and a few smiles with Piper in the evening. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? Apparently, the answer is a resounding, yes. <sigh> <sigh>

Having said all that, a few things have been accomplished nonetheless. First, Piper has started emailing Colada and me each day and this has worked out really well for several reasons. A) sheís replying to all B) He asked us to share specific information Ė it was rather prescriptive Ė so basically, itís quick, itís easy, and therefore, it doesnít allow anyone to overthink, and C) the emails are about our real lives and not about sex so weíre getting to know each other at least a little. I think itís a good start. Second, Iíve started seriously shopping for my new suite dťcor. I want, above all, a calm space. Iíve been googling Ďspa roomí and looking at all sorts of images. Iím trying not to go overboard Ė at least until they decide if they want the upstairs or downstairs space. Pragmatically speaking, they should take downstairs. It is a space Iíve never occupied and it has an exterior door Ė it also has the option for adding additional space (bedrooms, kitchen, LR, etc). Also, upstairs is kid-ville so it would allow all the bambinos to continue to wonder into my room without wondering whatís up. Still, I suspect they will choose upstairs so Iím preparing for both options at this point.

The other Ė well, Iím not sure what to call it Ė experience? Thing? Event? Realization? Ė well anyway, what Iím trying to say is that Piper and I have been in the same room now for a few days and weíre falling back into old/bad habits. Mostly, weíre bickering and our communication is poor. Itís so very depressing that we canít figure out how to share space in harmony but we just donít seem to be able/know how to do it. I donít know if I expect too much from him (e.g. heíll say something is going to take 30 seconds and 30 minutes later heís finally ready Ė which thoroughly drives me insane because I have several other people Iím trying to wrangle and I rely on accurate information to be able to plan; or I expect to be able to talk to him throughout the day Ė but I generally end up interrupting him working, which thoroughly drives him insane). And then we get to the end of the day and we are both just plain tired of each other. It makes me so sad. And itís the primary reason I think maybe Iím better as a secondary. On my own, Iím stronger. I donít rely on his input for things. I just plan my day and the kidsí. I also donít care if heís working because I make my own plans and donít worry about him or his Ė if he wants to hang out with me, heíll ask, and if Iím available fine and if Iím not so be it. Maybe most people do this naturally? I guess my idea of being married is being involved in each otherís life Ė but that means that I expect to be part of decisions, planning, day-to-day thoughts, etc. And that makes me too needy Ė and annoys Piper to no end. But without that level of involvement, I feel rejected and disliked Ė which makes me feel sad that Iím not wanted. So bottom line, Iím feeling like shared space and shared lives doesnít work for us. Iím not saying that Piper doesnít want to be part of my life Ė Iím just saying that I donít think he wants to be so wrapped up togetherÖor at least, thatís my impression. Piper Ė certainly clarify/correct if needed. Iím just giving my interpretation. So when Iím a little detached and donít feel so much ownership/involvement with him, I donít seem to bug him as much. The cost is that Iím more distant but maybe the benefit outweighs the cost. I would rather we get along during fewer days of the week than be together during all our free time and be angry/resentful toward each other.

Rule #6: Facilitate communication between all parties if you are the hinge.

Task #6: Ponder how one might be both involved with Piper and yet also not so entangled.
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  #25  
Old 07-25-2012, 12:43 AM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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I have just one comment...
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketpoly86 View Post
Rule #6: Facilitate communication between all parties if you are the hinge.
I am the "hinge" in our relationship, and, while that is a good idea, it can only go so far. I have two strong-willed borderline introverted women in my life and at some point my efforts at facilitation back-fired on me - essentially they both told me to stop trying so hard and that if they want to talk to each other, they will!

Good idea in a case like your, though, and while everyone is reacting positively, I can certainly imagine it helping your situation! Glad that this seems to be improving for you!
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  #26  
Old 07-25-2012, 01:25 AM
pocketpoly86 pocketpoly86 is offline
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Default Day 8

Well, itís day 9 and weíre several days into our trip. I canít say itís going well or that it has improved since yesterday. He worked, I worked a little and watched Pea, we managed to watch a movie Ė but not without tears and stress. We did talk some tonight Ė a little eye opening, I suppose. The short, short version is that heís felt pressured to keep his job which requires a lot of travel. Basically, I was supportive of him taking this job and told him that he needed to travel Ė in other words, he likes to have control over his time and has trouble separating from his work (which I did say at the time) Ė so I figured this job would allow him that time and then allow him to be more present when home. I *thought* he would be appreciative that I was supporting him in this because it puts a lot of the housework/bills/chores/childcare on me. But he is not appreciative Ė rather, he is resentful. Heís angry and prickly when he works and it has never made any sense to me. So basically, itís a colossal misunderstanding? I have no idea how we got here but what a mess! <more sighing>

Needless to say, I havenít worked on me or my thoughts todayÖthis was enough to learn for one day I think. Maybe tomorrowÖ

Rule #7: Poly or not, if you think anything negative about my actions, come talk to me. Itís more likely to be a misunderstanding than an attempt to make you miserable. I find vindictiveness to be a lot of work and very stressful Ė so I just donít do it. If Iíve got an issue, Iím generally straightforward, to the point.

Task #7: Breathe.


CielDuMatin - Good point - haha - I can see that being an issue. I love that they both told you that though - It gave me a great visual of two women, saying - leave it alone already! We may eventually get there too, I suppose, but for now, I think we're trying to help Colada past her anxieties - so we have a different issue afoot. But in the future, that may change. We'll see!
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  #27  
Old 07-25-2012, 09:56 PM
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lovefromgirl lovefromgirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
I have just one comment...
I am the "hinge" in our relationship, and, while that is a good idea, it can only go so far. I have two strong-willed borderline introverted women in my life and at some point my efforts at facilitation back-fired on me - essentially they both told me to stop trying so hard and that if they want to talk to each other, they will!
Being one of them: it worked. We communicate better on our own terms, in our own time, than we do when we feel we have to. On the other hand, a) I met them at the same time, so no hiding allowed and b) I would've wanted to meet her regardless. Been eager, even. So I am a very different "newcomer" from Colada.

I have to say, this is an interesting experiment in "making it work". It's a brilliant idea, really. She wants to be his person? By God, she can sweep and cook and do laundry just like you do. You're right about the need for balance. FWIW, I think you would do better upstairs with the kids if you want to communicate that you, not Colada, are Mom. You can be there when they need you without risking Colada seeing you (in the same house? Okay, I said it was interesting...) and the upstairs is more yours, emotionally, because you've been there longer. I like your logic. I also like the idea of making over and marking out what space is yours. I would so be putting in a spa tub.

Is she aware that, sooner or later, she may well run into you? Or have to meet you, what with the same-house thing? I mean, what if you two get the munchies at the same midnight hour? Are you going to text Piper "Hey, I'm going to the kitchen"? Nobody can function in the house if two absolutely must not come in contact with each other. To be an effective parent, for one, right now you need the run of the upstairs, so Colada needs to stay confined to Piper's bedroom. Presumably it has a toilet, which is good.

But! One day at a time. You will either deal with this in your time or you will be forced into dealing with it. Consider which you prefer.
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  #28  
Old 07-26-2012, 01:48 AM
pocketpoly86 pocketpoly86 is offline
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Default Day 10

Ok, I followed my own advice Ė I breathed. Itís about all I did today, but I did relax some. I took two, yes, two bubble baths, had some wine, and just let things go a bit. Partly, as all women gloriously experience (ugh), my hormones are righting themselves right on time. So I was bound to be less stressed, even if nothing changed. But still, I tried to relax a bit and the feelings of hopelessness have subsided. I canít say that Iím feeling good about Piper and I, but I am feeling less horrible about the situation. In a nutshell, Iím really struggling to understand how he feels about work. It seems that bosses always manage to make him feel like he has to work long, long hours or heíll lose his job Ė which then stresses him Ė and then Iím standing behind him upset too Ė which stresses him even more. Itís a vicious cycle. And because I donít get wrapped up in work in the same way he does, I donít understand how it gets out of hand, and consequently, I feel like a secondary to his job. I hate feeling this way.

In other news, I am beginning to decorate my suite. Iíve been shopping on ebay and picked out a few things. Iím trying to stick to a budget, but weíll see. Iíve got a whole theme, wrapped around serenity, calmness, and things that make me smile. I intend this to be a peaceful space that will help me relax and stay centered. I find myself craving to be there now. I was just starting to warm up to the idea of having some control over my little area in the house, a little control over my emotions and time, and a little less stress Ė all of which has unraveled since coming on ďvacationĒ. Being second, and shedding all the responsibility that is lost with that status, is sounding good, at the moment anywayÖ.

Rule #9: Donít go to bed angry (havenít we all heard that one before? Well, itís worth revisitingÖ.)

Task #10: Keep breathingÖI think I need one more day of bubbles and wine before moving forward (look at me taking it slow! Ha! I never do that!)

And to lovefromgirl: I couldnít agree with you more. I do think upstairs makes more sense for all the reasons you noted on the kid front. As it were, all the kids and the upstairs bedroom are on the same floor Ė also though, there is a full kitchenette, bar, and living room/playroom up there too. So I could conceivably have munchies, etc., entertain, have a full space, etc. without issue. The upstairs space is about 2400sf Ė so there is plenty of space. Alsooo, there is a lovely 6ft spa tub in the bedroom and a lovely balcony. So yeah, it would work But also, downstairs spans about 1900sf and the other suite has an exterior exit which would allow Colada and Piper privacy when coming/going. They also have access to the downstairs living room, pool, etc. So they could entertain, hang out, etc. in adultville quite easily Ė and probably better.

As far as seeing one another Ė I assume that will be a short-lived issue Ė but weíll see. She isnít exactly rushing to meet me, eager, and only maybe is she even interested. So I canít say for sure there. But I believe Piper will not continue to see her if she is unwilling in the near future. Itís just too stressful the way it is, and frankly, impractical. But for now, I stay in my area from 9pm to 6am unless we talk about it in advance.
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  #29  
Old 07-26-2012, 02:11 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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What if the experiment fails? Or rather what would a failed experiment look like?

Does colata know she's part of an experiment ? Her up side is permant primary . Whats the downside for her ? Is there a possibility that she could have that title stripped from her for no fault of her own....." sorry it didn't work out the way we thought " ....
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:14 AM
pocketpoly86 pocketpoly86 is offline
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Default Day 11

Spoken like a true experimentalist, Dingedheart, you made my day! I do love a good, challenging questionÖI had some hulabaloo to talk about today but I think your question is so much better for a topic, so Iíve decided to address it instead. What does success look like? Failure? Do Pied Piper and I have a shared mental model? Have we operationalized these points? In a manner of speaking, I think we have. (whew! Ė we passed something!) As I considered your questions today, I decided there were really 3 points of view wrapped into your general overarching questions. Specifically, thereís the ďhow does this experiment affect Colada? Can she be ousted despite no fault of her own? Does she benefit/lose out based on the outcome of this experiment? Etc.Ē Then there are the questions that relate more to Piper and I, ďHow do you two define success? Do you two have a shared mental model? How does this look/not look long term? Or if it doesnít ďworkĒ?Ē And finally, there are the questions that pertain to me alone, ďWhat do you want? What will that look like? How will you decide if youíve succeeded or failed? How will you determine what the future looks like in theory? Day-today? Etc.Ē

So, first, Colada. With regard to her directly, I donít know exactly what Piper has told her but obviously, she is aware of some things. For example, she knows that he and I are using condoms now, she is aware that he is spending more of his free time with her than me, she knows Iíve moved downstairs, and she knows that he is pursuing a relationship with her directly Ė and that he wants to at least consider the two of them dating me together. Having said all that, I doubt he has said that living downstairs and the other accommodations are an Ďexperimentí of sorts. Maybe he has but I donít think so. I suspect, instead, he has told her that Iím trying to figure out my part in this poly relationship and that Iím not quite sure how to handle it. In total truth, though it hasnít been much discussed here, the majority of the changes have come about in order to accommodate her needs, not mine per se. For example, she has basically had panic attacks with regard to her relationship with him. Now, it would be easy to say that itís because of me but based on various bits of information, I donít actually think it is only the Ďweirdí part of the relationship that is freaking her out. She hasnít ever been in a serious relationship and is old enough that it should have happened a good 5+ years ago (and thatís assuming a super, duper late bloomer). So many of the changes have occurred in an effort to help her calm down, give her more time, and allow her to have more control. SoÖ.

for Colada, I believe success would look like:
1. Her feeling calm and secure and
2. Her feeling comfortable meeting me and interacting with me in a low-key manner and frequently (a few days/week)

If she canít achieve both of these over the next several months, I believe Piper will end the relationship with her Ė though it will not be because this experiment didnít work. It will instead be because their relationship wonít be going in the direction he wants. I believe he is willing to bend in many areas but he has one deal breaker Ė he wants the three of us to interact as a family of sorts Ė how that looks exactly is up for debate but whether or not it exists, is not. So my experiment or not, he has expectations for her and their relationship Ė which Iím told she is well aware of.

Next, Piper and I. I believe success for us is also not tied to my experiment. I donít think Piper really minds how it shakes out per se. I believe heíd prefer that I take a primary role in the triad but really, he just wants us to all get along. So if I am happier and our relationship is less stressful with me in a secondary role, he will accommodate that without issue. So

for Piper and me, success will look like:
1.Two smiling people who:
2. Spend more time happy together than sad, hurt, or misunderstood, who also:
3. Communicate better (more clearly and less emotionally Ė both of us) and who can:
4. Raise all the kiddies in harmony

Since what we were doing wasnít working, I think if my Ďexperimentí isnít successful in full then, we would assess which areas improved, which didnít, and discuss some ways to address the remaining issues (e.g., maybe a full secondary role isnít a good idea Ė maybe a combination of sorts? Maybe we could divide primary roles up according to each personís strengths or something?). If weíre not doing better in any of the areas aboveÖthen we need to be having other discussions :/

Now for me ĖMaybe, I just need a time-out from life Ė that would certainly be reasonable given the last year. Or maybe, Piper and I just need a little breather so we can each regroup and then reconnect. Or maybe, since I lost my personal office/retreat when Pea came home, I just need a permanent escape pod that I can use Ė but only as needed, not all the time, every day. Or maybe, I need separation. At this point, I just donít know Ė hence the experiment. But so really, success for me will be characterized by:

1. Feeling emotionally settled and able to handle day-to-day misunderstandings in a less sensitive manner
2. Feeling confident and strong at home
3. Feeling less resentment toward Piper for the messes heís made over the past several years and for asking me to deal with his poly needs
4. Feeling like I can identify positive aspects of having an additional person in our family and feeling happy, or at least accepting, of her presence

Failure would be characterized by:
1. Feeling left-out
2. Feeling needy
3. Feeling replaced
4. Finding that my emotional and sexual needs are not met
5. Finding that I still have the majority of the household chores and little or no free time to myself
6. Feeling sad or depressed, caged, or repressed

Rule #10: If you want me to try something new, give me the emotional freedom to react in any way I feel (at least the first time) because if not, I may shy away from new experiences that we might like Ė also, check in with me often to see how I feel about these changes/activities because I might be afraid to share without an explicit request

Task #10: Compare being on vacation without Piper to what it was like when he was here (he left today for work reasons and will be spending the rest of the week with Colada Ėin our house Ė entertaining her friends Ė no, Iím not totally comfortable with the entertaining to the level it has grown Ė it feels violatingÖbut no one asked me how I was feeling) (but thatís a whole other discussionÖfor another day)
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