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  #1  
Old 09-11-2012, 03:06 PM
polyjuice polyjuice is offline
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Default Just bad luck or am I doing something wrong?

Greetings, everyone! After one too many failures at googling things like "What do I get my girlfriend for her wedding?" I realize it's time to jump into this forum and see what turns up.

(For easy reference: R: Wife. M: My Girlfriend. D: Girlfriend's fiancÚ.)

My wife, R, and I have been together for about 9 years, married for two. Although we'd spoken about it for a long time, about a year ago we finally started actively dating and fucking other people.

I hit the jackpot on my first okcupid date. M gives me all sorts of things that R does not. Though M is submissive with D, her fiancÚ, she is extremely dominant with me. There are no secrets between the four of us -- everyone knows everything.

M and I didn't fuck until the 4th or 5th date. After seeing M for a month or two, R admitted to me that she was surprised that M was turning into an actual relationship -- when we decided to Open Up she had imagined just meeting a couple of fuck buddies and keeping them in rotation. But she was ok with my new relationship and managed to keep her jealousy mostly in check. Then she met a man... but that's a story for another thread.

(Sidebar: R and I knew at the start that we were exiting the main trail and embarking on the double-black diamond of relationships. The past year has been even more of an emotional roller coaster for me that I had expected, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone. I really am having a great time, I think that R and I are navigating the waters very well, and I'm grateful to her for making this all possible.)

After the first few months the frequency with which I would see M dropped off significantly. Sometimes I'd see her once every 3 weeks. Sometimes 6 weeks. We're both busy people, live on opposite sides of town, and have our own primary relationships to tend to. But this also means that for many months it was extremely difficult to schedule a time for R and M to meet. Incidentally, R and D met for a few dates around the time that I first met M. (This was facilitated by some previously overlooked okcupid messages between R and D from a few months earlier.) Long story short: R finally met M around June of this year, each having plenty of preconceived notions of the other. They don't get along.

So M and D are to be married this Saturday. First issue, which has been bothering me for a while and which I don't feel I can discuss with either M or D: They had hoped to invite me to the wedding. I would L*O*V*E to go to their wedding. I care very much about M and would like to get closer with D. And I'd really like to meet their friends. But when first discussed, M suggested that they were not comfortable inviting R. Understandably. When I mentioned this to R, she said that she was not comfortable with me attending a wedding to which she had been explicitly disinvited. Understandably. I mentioned this casually to M. Since then, R and M have met, M and D came to a dinner party at our house... but they still aren't interested in having R at The Event. And believing that I wouldn't come alone, and not wanting to give me a plus-one, I was not invited either.

If I was single and M's relationship with me was a secret, this would be the dramatic conflict near the end of the romantic comedy script. My girlfriend is marrying another man! And I've been instructed to steer clear of the wedding! (Hilarity ensues!) Of course, I am already married, and my relationship with M need not actually change following her marriage. But my frustration at the situation is barely lessened by these facts. While I'm not what you'd call "outgoing," I do tend to get along with just about everyone, but the same is not true of R. I'm frustrated that her basic incompatibility with M has cost me the opportunity to attend the wedding. And I'm frustrated with M for not discussing the issue more with me before cutting me off the list -- after all, R has attended plenty of sex parties with her boyfriend to which I was specifically disinvited. (Again: probably a subject for another thread.) It sucks, but I got over it. Probably. I hate to think that I blame or resent either R or M, but I'm certainly upset about how things are playing out. (Maybe this extreme pain in my stomach for the past 24 hours is psychosomatic after all.) Am I being to cautious about protecting R's feelings? Is this a failure of communication?

So the best I can hope for is to find myself something engaging to do on Saturday to keep my mind off of things. But really what prompted this post was the question at the top: What the hell do I get my girlfriend for her wedding? The expensive sheets on their gift registry? (Chances of being invited over for a test-drive with the two of them: almost 100%, but I might have to cook and serve them dinner first. Naked.) The really expensive and fancy quilt for their bed? (She keeps the bedroom SO COLD in the winter!) Of course, I don't want to spend too much for fear of upsetting R, ("Why won't you buy ME expensive sheets?") and I don't have the greatest cash flow at the moment. But I also don't want to just get them the $20 soap dispenser. M is more important to me than that. First world problems.

So that's what has been on my mind this week. Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear someone else's thoughts on the matters.
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2012, 04:24 PM
ahpook33 ahpook33 is offline
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My advice - suck it up and know you are doing the right thing by not going to the wedding. Despite your feelings for M, R is your spouse and it isn't right for you to brush off R's dislike of M that way, as though it shouldn't matter. It should - but as you said, that is a subject for another post.

As far as what to buy M & D for their wedding, I strongly recommend you discuss this with R. Don't just guess what she would be comfortable with - talk to her about it.

That's the short sweet answer to your specific questions, but you really should address what the issues are between R & M, and address them with each of them separately - openly, honestly, and without letting your "hit the jackpot" excited feelings cloud your judgment.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:04 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I don't know, I might ask R if there's any way she could change her mind. This day will never come again. Why on earth would she even want to go to the wedding, when she doesn't like M? Why is it ok for her to go to parties that you're not invited to, but not the reverse, when it would be so emotionally significant to you? M and D are within their rights to not want anyone who doesn't whole-heartedly love and support them at this special event, but why does it matter so much to R? Some things are perfectly ok to forgo for your partner, but a one-time-only event that matters to you but that has no reason to matter to her doesn't seem like one of them to me.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:30 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Why don't they like it each other? Basic personality incompatability? Or something more specific to them and to the relationships involved?

And I get not wanting someone at a wedding whom I do not like. But welcome to real life. Didn't like my former mother in law but she would have been at my wedding to my ex. Some of my exes' best friends can be sloppy drunks. They would have been there too. If M wants you in her life, well, R is now part of the 'you' package too. R is one of her metamours and vice versa. They don't have to be best buds.

I don't see why R can't go as your date, be civil, eat cake and give a nice present from the both of you. Unless you think either R or M can't be civil in public to each other.
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  #5  
Old 09-11-2012, 06:21 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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SHORT ANSWER:

Main gift? Money. In a nice card, toward whatever future savings the couple want to apply it to. Then a small personal gift for my friend. Like I'll give her her fav candy or candle or soap for just HER. There. That's usually how I solve it.

Ask M for single invite for JUST YOU since you want to go.

Tell R you have received single invite and would like to go and want to work on calendar with her to fit in wedding date, as well as before/after dates with R to get your couple time needs with her met also. So please work with you on calendar schedule.

Would R like to share any info regarding her current wants, needs, and limits while coordinating this activity on the calendar? Listen to what she says.

Sort it out.

FOR YOU

  • Stop oversharing between the metas (R & M) and let them deal with their own relationship to each other. They should not put you in middle. But you should not put YOURSELF in middle either.
  • Learn to be more assertive in your communication.
  • Learn to maintain healthier boundaries
  • Put limit on double standards, if there is one with this business of going to parties with/without R.

Long answer below, but it is same advice as above.

Do with it what you will. It is meant kindly, but firmly. Learn to own your own baggage and let other people own theirs.

HTH!
GG

------------
LONG ANSWER

Quote:
But when first discussed, M suggested that they were not comfortable inviting R. Understandably.
Yep, their guest list. Not yours.

Quote:
When I mentioned this to R, she said that she was not comfortable with me attending a wedding to which she had been explicitly disinvited. Understandably.
Why you mention at all? Not her business what M's guest list is or isn't. And she's projecting now. She cannot be DISINVITED when there has been no invite issued to be taken back. In telling tales, you have added to their dislike pot, rather than REDUCE the meta dislike.


Quote:
I mentioned this casually to M.
There ya go. Pot stirring again. What business is it of M what you and R privately talk about? And had you not stirred to start, there wouldn't be a convo to overshare with M. Again telling tales, again you have added to their dislike pot, rather than REDUCE the meta dislike.

They shouldn't put you in the middle. But YOU should not put yourself in the middle by telling tales either!

Quote:
Since then, R and M have met, M and D came to a dinner party at our house... but they still aren't interested in having R at The Event.
So? They came to dinner to make nice. They are working on making nice. They have to cook their (M <--> R) tier of the mini relationship inside the greater polyship at their own speed. Why do you expect one dinner to equal a change in their relationship from "polite metamours" to "friends?"

And again -- their wedding. Their guest list. They may not be able to AFFORD too many "make nice plus one" extras, you know. Who knows what the cost is per head at this shindig? You are a BF. You rank higher than a meta. Probably less than Grandma though. Deal.
Quote:
And believing that I wouldn't come alone, and not wanting to give me a plus-one, I was not invited either.
Sooo... self advocate? Why did you not clear up that misbelief and say - "I'd come alone! I'd love an invite!"

Quote:
I hate to think that I blame or resent either R or M, but I'm certainly upset about how things are playing out. (Maybe this extreme pain in my stomach for the past 24 hours is psychosomatic after all.) Am I being to cautious about protecting R's feelings? Is this a failure of communication?
Are you saying that you DO blame R or M? And you hate to think that you are blaming them? Then stop blaming them. Dig deeper instead. Peel back the onion layers.

Why are you doing that blaming? Could you be blaming them unfairly for your own baggage stuff? Telling tales, not clearing up misbeliefs, expecting them to mind reader you out of your discomfort right now?

Do a reality check -- Are you unfairly or fairly upset with them because they don't help smooth the way for you -- M just issuing a plus one invite to her wedding? R just allowing you to go without being all riled up huffy?

Own your own baggage, please. Everyone own your own baggage. Then we don't get all this tangled up stuff.

If you are upset at how this is playing out? BREATHE. Make you your mind to be more assertive in your communication. Would have gone easier had you done this to start. More assertive, more clear, not oversharing, just keeping your nose clean. State YOUR wants, needs, limits.

1) YOU WANT TO GO. M sounds willing for you to come without R. So get your single invite. Apologize for oversharing info putting her in awkward places.

2) Next steps at home?
  • You go home and tell R you have received a single invite to the wedding and you want to attend. So please work with you on calendar schedule.
  • You would like to set time before or after wedding date or BOTH to make sure R gets enough beforecare and aftercare. You want to make sure you both are getting your own couple time in and couple needs met before you go off to some party thing.
  • Apologize for oversharing putting her in weird position. Ask forgiveness, make ammends.
  • Would R like to share any info regarding her current wants, needs, and limits while coordinating this activity on the calendar?
  • Are there needs you are not meeting with her that you need to know about?

And listen to what she says.

Quote:
R has attended plenty of sex parties with her boyfriend to which I was specifically disinvited.
And she doesn't want you to go to this party with your GF? Why? Because if no reason given, or the reason is not reasonable? Then that just sounds like a double standard to me. That's unfair.

If you are doing something to her that is actually bad, then cut it the fuck out. That is not kind. (Here's where I'd put oversharing/telling tales. Get thee OUT of the middle!)

But if all this hullabaloo is over a party invite where you got one and she did not? Since none was issued, she could not be disinvited. She simply has not been invited at all. Getting upset over not getting an invite is silly. We don't all get invites to everything.

Get more assertive. You do not have to be unkind about it. Just assert yourself enough to maintain healthy boundaries. You can do it!

Let R. own her own baggage and emotional management. If she wants your help, support, nurture in sorting her baggage out, that's fine. You are her partner, you can aid her. The blue shirt is not a good fit and does not flatter, the green dress is still good, keep that.

She must sort out the things in her emotional baggage that no longer serve her well. You can only give feedback. She has to unpack, sort, trash, change her mind to let go of / take in things/habits/attitudes/beliefs. Then pack it up again.

If she wants you to just carry her baggage for her so she never has to deal with it or unpack it? That's fresh.

If you go around carrying it? That's you not saying "No, thanks."

Maybe she can help you unpack some of your stuff and you can sort your own baggage. Then everyone can carry their own baggage in future and travel light and more efficient and more in right relationship to each other.

Hope things work out and get better!

GL!
GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-11-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2012, 11:43 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Etiquette-wise, inviting only one half of a couple, especially a couple that lives together, to a wedding is rude. For him to receive a single invite rather than an invite addressed to the both of them (without prior discussion of all parties) would be a social slap in the face.

Yes, that etiquette is based on couple-centric, even mono, standards, but this IS a wedding. Some couple-centric thought applies, even in a poly universe.

So I wouldn't consider his original actions pot-stirring. They didn't want to invite her, so by etiquette standards they should not invite him. If I were R I would absolutely want to know why the invitation was extended only to him and not to me, and him telling her, "I don't know why" would be disingenuous and a lie.

Unfortunately everyone couldn't put their big-boy and -girl pants on. In a perfect world, they all would have been able to talk about how M didn't particularly want R there, but in the interest of having the OP there they'd invite them both and expect R to do the gracious, mature thing and stay home. It does stand to reason that since R doesn't like M either, she wouldn't really mind not going to her wedding. It sounds to me like she just got possessive because her connection to the OP wasn't being recognized socially.

MC went to his cousin's wedding without me. And planned to go to his best friend's wedding without me, though my pregnancy issues got in the way of that plan. And conversely, I've sucked it up and gone and played socially acceptable when he wanted to go to a wedding of people I didn't particularly care for.

So either way, if he wants to go, the OP should be able to go. Either because R gets over spending one afternoon/evening without him, or because M recognizes that having R there will not drastically alter the happiness of her day. If he doesn't go, then I don't think his wants are being considered enough, only everyone else's.
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  #7  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:54 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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NOW it would be a lie. It is too late to "unknow" that M said things about not being comfortable with R.

The more tactful thing to have done if she really did not want to invite R was to give OP a face saving reason -- like having struggles with balancing the list against grooms family and budget. Who DOESN'T have those struggles in a formal wedding? Or call up R herself and present R with a face saving reason so there is no social sting -- "I have a problem balancing my list... would you mind terribly helping me? I'm sorry I cannot manage two even though we want to share our joy with you. Would you and OP prefer just one invite for OP or no invite and just get together as a quad to celebrate at some other point? It would really help me out and I'd be most grateful!"

Then it is making it THEIR generosity in helping her. Not her cutting either from list.

Then they can feel good, and she can feel good knowing she's got more time (under less pressure) to better sort our her rocky her relationship with R without compromising her wedding day.

If M complains to him again about feeling uncomfortable about R -- gently but firmly tell her -- "This is my wife. I am sorry you feel that way. Please don't put me in the middle. Sort it out directly with her." More assertive, and maintain healthier TMI boundaries.

Rather than going home to R to say "Guess what? M said .... about you."

Same thing in the other direction. Tell wife gently but firmly -- "This is my girlfriend. I am sorry you feel that way. Please don't put me in the middle. Sort it out directly with her." More assertive, and maintain healthier TMI boundaries.

When you add these two together:

Quote:
There are no secrets between the four of us -- everyone knows everything.
Quote:
Long story short: R finally met M around June of this year, each having plenty of preconceived notions of the other. They don't get along.
that's not helping the struggling tier to find a happy medium to get along together better. How did they get preconceived notions of the other if they never met til June? From OP and D? Who are each coupled to one and dating the other?

I'm not saying OP and D ought to be lying to M & R. Just be more firm with TMI boundaries. If M & R ask weird questions say so. "Um... that's a weird question that puts me in an awkward spot. I'd prefer you sort that direct with _____."

Juicemonger's wants are not being considered because he isn't being assertive about articulating them.

But wedding invite or not -- His wife is still his wife. His GF is still his GF. Take heart. This will blow over. Weddings are stressy. Hang in there.

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-12-2012 at 01:20 AM.
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  #8  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:24 AM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Who is instigating all this specific dis inviting (wedding, the parties)?
And with you dating R and M dating D, it seems there was a good bit of gossip mongering all around or they wouldn't have had so many preconceived notions I'd figure.

What was the reason for R and D not dating any longer?
What was the reason for M's reduced frequency of dates?

I ask because it sounds almost like someone is trying to pull a power play in all this what with who is in the in crowd club and who isn't.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:51 PM
lolalondon lolalondon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
Etiquette-wise, inviting only one half of a couple, especially a couple that lives together, to a wedding is rude. For him to receive a single invite rather than an invite addressed to the both of them (without prior discussion of all parties) would be a social slap in the face.
That's the thing... there's no way they don't realise exactly how bad this will make her feel. I'd feel upset too. It isn't about R wanting M or D to like her, or about her jealousy - it's about the sense that the OP's marriage to his wife is somehow implicitly disapproved of. Since this isn't an event he'd be going to with his girlfriend - she's there to get married to another man - I can't see any reason he can't attend with his wife. In fact, refusing to issue a plus one to anyone is pretty usual, and here serves a controlling purpose (would they still mind if his plus one was another friend? I doubt it's a money issue). Yup, everyone has people they're not massively fond of in their wedding, as has already been pointed out. Unless there are things the OP isn't telling us, it sounds to me like:
  • The OP is essentially invited but only if he attends as a single person, he is not invited as a married man
  • The soon-to-be-married couple are being immature and perhaps a bit mean...
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:01 AM
polyjuice polyjuice is offline
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Wow. Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! I was able to read a few responses last night, but didn't have a chance to really respond until now. But even those few responses got me thinking.

First of all, I know exactly how stressed out and busy M is right now. I believe that discussing any of this with her at this point would only serve to add to her stress. I Emailed her a few days ago to try to catch up a little and she basically blew me off with a "Sorry -- too busy." She's getting married in 3 days, she's extremely focused on her Primary, and the last thing I want is for her to feel bad about not inviting me/us, or to stress out further by trying to fit me in with the plans. Besides, I've come to believe that the situation with R was really just a convenient excuse. They probably didn't want me there to begin with. I can understand that. While their friends all know about their open relationship, (and most of them know about me,) their parents and most of their family do not. And their wedding should be all about M and D without anyone feeling awkward about how I fit into the picture or how I feel about it.

So...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahpook33 View Post
My advice - suck it up and know you are doing the right thing by not going to the wedding.

...

As far as what to buy M & D for their wedding, I strongly recommend you discuss this with R.
This response bothered me at first, but I realize now that even if I had been invited, I probably should have "done the right thing" anyway and declined, letting them have their day for themselves. I've discussed a gift with R and still don't have a good idea, but at least we're talking about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Why is it ok for her to go to parties that you're not invited to, but not the reverse, when it would be so emotionally significant to you? M and D are within their rights to not want anyone who doesn't whole-heartedly love and support them at this special event, but why does it matter so much to R?
Yes, R and I will discuss the non-invitation imbalance, but not right now. I think that R didn't see the connection between this wedding and her sex parties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
Why don't they like it each other? Basic personality incompatibility?

...

And I get not wanting someone at a wedding whom I do not like. But welcome to real life. Didn't like my former mother in law but she would have been at my wedding to my ex. Some of my exes' best friends can be sloppy drunks. They would have been there too. If M wants you in her life, well, R is now part of the 'you' package too. R is one of her metamours and vice versa. They don't have to be best buds.

I don't see why R can't go as your date, be civil, eat cake and give a nice present from the both of you. Unless you think either R or M can't be civil in public to each other.
Yup -- basic incompatibility. I seem to have a thing for strong-willed, outspoken ladies who will tell you exactly what they think of you, even at the risk of coming off as a bitch. Sometimes such women get along swimmingly. Sometimes.

But as I said above, now I don't think it was ever about R coming as my date. I think I just wasn't welcome and R was the excuse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Main gift? Money.

...

Stop oversharing between the metas (R & M) and let them deal with their own relationship to each other. They should not put you in middle. But you should not put YOURSELF in middle either.

...

Are you saying that you DO blame R or M?

But if all this hullabaloo is over a party invite where you got one and she did not? Since none was issued, she could not be disinvited. She simply has not been invited at all.
Normally money would be my go-to wedding gift. But definitely not appropriate for someone so significant, especially when I'm not even invited to the wedding.

So, over-sharing. I know this is something I need to work on. M demands to know everything about my relationship with R, and I do need to learn to put better limits on that. And I want to share everything about M with R. But I don't think that I reveal too much.

After D met R a few times last year, he had plenty to say to M about R. (See note, above, regarding strong-willed, outspoken ladies.) M sees herself as the more-experienced poly mentor, and wants to know how things are going with R. I tell her. And she forms opinions. I don't think of myself as a gossip, and I certainly don't complain about one to the other, but if I say "X happened with the other woman" then each will infer her own conclusions. Thus, preconceived notions of each other.

Blame? OK, so I don't think "blame" is really the right word. I like to think that I can get along just fine with almost anybody, especially when it is expedient to do so. I suppose that I regret that R is not always as diplomatic as I am. But in a way I also love that about her.

As for "disinviting" people: M told me at one point that they really wanted to invite R and me, but that it was dependent on M and R meeting and getting along, and R demonstrating that she could get along with D. I suppose I should never have mentioned the potential invitation to R, but I did. I was excited. So then when it turned out that they didn't want her there, it definitely felt like more of a rejection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
Etiquette-wise, inviting only one half of a couple, especially a couple that lives together, to a wedding is rude.
Our biggest regret from our wedding was inviting a childhood friend of mine and not inviting her boyfriend. We said it was about space and money, and it basically was. But we also didn't really like him and didn't think it would last. The friend didn't end up coming, and when I attended THEIR wedding this year... it was very awkward. So if anyone reading this is planning a wedding any time soon: DO NOT invite half of a couple.

But in this case, maybe these were extenuating circumstances. I'm sad that it didn't work out better, but like I said above, I think maybe it was all pretext for not inviting me at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
The more tactful thing to have done if she really did not want to invite R was to give OP a face saving reason -- like having struggles with balancing the list against grooms family and budget. Who DOESN'T have those struggles in a formal wedding?

...

Rather than going home to R to say "Guess what? M said .... about you."

...

This will blow over. Weddings are stressy. Hang in there.
I know this wasn't about money or space at the venue. I think that not getting along with R WAS the face-saving reason for not inviting ME. But, yes, it will blow over and I will hang in there. For almost a year M has been asking me to be patient and I've been telling her I can be. It just sucks.

I really don't think I come home to R and tell her that M called her names. I've been pretty careful about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
What was the reason for R and D not dating any longer?
R found D to be too cocky, overconfident and kind of an asshole. It's possible that M told D before her met R that she didn't want things to go well between them, but this is somewhat speculative based on an off-handed comment that M once made that I barely now recall. I swear, sometimes I feel like I'm back in junior high school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
What was the reason for M's reduced frequency of dates?
An excellent question. I'm not sure. I think that at times it has been because M though I needed to focus more on my marriage, or because D thought that she was spending too much time with me, or because she just wasn't in the mood for me. (I don't know if I mentioned this earlier but outside her relationship with D, M has never really dated another man seriously. It's usually women.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalondon View Post
...It's about the sense that the OP's marriage to his wife is somehow implicitly disapproved of...

...

The soon-to-be-married couple are being immature and perhaps a bit mean...
Disapproving of my marriage? I don't think so. But I know that M wishes I'd assert myself more. Come to think of it, R says the same thing.

I don't think they're being mean. I think they just don't want negative energy at their wedding. Or any weird energy from me. I get it. As I've told M before, we have all the time in the world. Or at least (sigh) all the time until they have a kid and things get REALLY crazy.
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