Dealing with another's issues and making boundaries
Haven't posted in a while, but have been reading and still learning...
A brief re-introduction: I’m a straight, mono
female with a straight male partner (D) who has two other
straight mono female partners (Ki and Ka). None
of us are legally married to D and none of us live with him.
We’re trying to build a sustainable, loving relationship
among the four of us and though the 3 of us girls are not romantically or
sexually involved with each other, we do have deep bonds.
I’ve adapted a pragmatic approach of what works for me personally, our
group and the individual relationships within the group. It’s an
on-going process and sometimes I feel frustrated beyond words with the
whole idea of poly (in any form)!
I’m all for personal growth and knowing oneself and I have worked on that
over the past few years. I DO know myself better and feel more centered
and at peace with myself than I ever have. I discovered things that I
may have never discovered if I’d been in a mono relationship and I’m very
grateful for that. I love D and the relationship we have. And I love Ki
and Ka too.
It’s just very draining to deal with another’s (SAME) insecurities,
fears, jealousy, baggage, etc. over and over and over and over. I know
that, in some cases, when the same issue keeps reappearing, the root
cause of that issue has not been addressed and no matter how reassuring
or comforting another person is, it doesn’t reach the source.
Sometimes, though, it’s not just a matter of dealing with a root cause;
sometimes it’s part of an individual’s personality. For example, I have
never been a jealous person – it takes a very specific set of events for
me to experience jealousy and even then, it passes quickly. Ka, on the
other hand, is extremely jealous and when she is triggered, it produces
hurt feelings and DAYS of talking and processing.
She gets jealous of me if I spend more time with D than she does and
almost has a fit of apoplexy if she thinks I’ve gotten more sex than her.
Never mind the fact that SHE almost always spends more time with D *AND*
has more sex with him than I do. She has no problem with the “inequity”
when she “wins”, but on those rare occasions when I “win”, she gets bent.
(And that’s happened maybe 5 or 6 times in TWO YEARS!)
I think Ka’s jealously is also related to her trust issues. These are
due, in part, to baggage from her previous marriage, but also because
it’s part of her personality. So if she “feels” that D (or I) haven’t
told the truth (as she sees it, regardless of the facts), no matter what
he says or does, or what I say or do, or what proof we present, she reads
deception into his/my words or actions, when there is none. I do try to
be patient and understanding as she deals with her baggage. But, her
actions impact me.
I get tired of “being on trial” when I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t
lie to her (or Ki) and I won’t. I insist on honesty so I’m going to be
honest. And it gets so old when she’s pissy and complains about any
“extra” time I spend with D, which leads me to believe that she feels
entitled to that time. Then my hackles raise because she has no more
“right” to it than I do.
She also asks D questions about what he and I did when we were together.
Is it a jealousy issue? A trust issue? Or, just plain nosiness?
Whatever the reason, it’s none of her business what we do or if we have
sex 10 times or not at all.
My impression from all of this is:
1 - She wants to be the most loved, the most important woman in D’s life
–and she has said that she wants to be number 1. That’s not the
structure of our relationship. D doesn’t love any one of us “more” than
the others. However, as long as she gets more time (and possibly more
sex) with D, she can feel like she’s number 1 and then she doesn’t have
to deal with underlying jealousy or inadequacy.
2- She wants to exert control over my relationship with D so she feels
more secure. How D and I do our relationship is for us to decide. And
the same applies to her and Ki in their individual relationships with D.
How we interact as a *group* is for all of us to determine, but she
wants to cross a line and have a say in my individual relationship with
D. That isn’t going to fly.
My questions are:
How do I deal with her on-going issues to the extent that they affect me?
I know they are for her to work through and process and I tell myself
it’s her stuff, not mine and try to let roll off of me. That becomes
increasingly difficult when her stuff directly impacts me and my
relationship with D.
How can I respectfully convey my discomfort over her asking for personal
details of my time with D? And to make sure she knows that she does not
have a say in our private relationship?
Thanks for reading and for any suggestions.
It seems like you are still having the same old problems with your metamours that you had when last you wrote. I haven't re-read your previous thread, but I do feel sad for you that it hasn't been resolved. Why hasn't D stepped up and put the kibosh on this sort of crap from her? Weren't you going to have a group meeting with everyone to talk about this?
Seems to me that D is ineffectual in handling his relationships, and this is really where the problem lies. He is the one having multiple relationships, so he has to learn to manage them better. He should be the one who will not tolerate one gf disrespecting another and letting Ka know in no uncertain terms that she cannot get away with it. Sorry, that is all I can think of right now, as I am really tired at the moment - perhaps I'll write again after re-reading your threads.
The world opens up... when you do.
"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "
An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
Time to get assertive.
Hrm. Tried "lather, rinse, repeat?"
Next time she acts out? Say nothing. Walk away. Email her and D the following report. (see below for idea of a report)
Always the same. The only thing changing is the next "acting out" time added to the table. Then there's a list of the happenings.
We feel whatever we feel when we feel it. We cannot control that. We can only control how we behave in response. List the behavior then! For yourself as much as for them.
We also teach others how we want to be treated. Start teaching!
And think about your own limit here -- if Ka is not doing all her page 5 stuff? D is NOT shouldering his page 6 duties to Ka, and he allows her to leak on to you all the time?
How much are you willing to put up with from a shirking D hinge? Put your limits and the consequences on your report. And follow through.
You CAN break up the Ka friendship and just reduce her metamour "volume" you know. Polite, but not buddies as well. Manage your calendar stuff via D. There. Prob solved on your end on Ka kooky!
Because if you allow her to leak on you, what motivation does she have to stop the leaks? She has your friendship and she is leaking. That's great for her! Not great for you. You are being drained.
You CAN choose not to schedule fresh dates with D until he solves his Ka problem. Because if you keep making dates with him, what motivation does he have to stop shirking his duty by you?
It's great for him! He doesn't have to do changes to his behavior -- he's getting what he wants from you -- dates. While you do not get what you want from him -- boundaries respected.
So consider changing how YOU behave toward this problem. See if that works any better for you.
Your own behavior is all you can control anyway.
Date of incident:
Time of incident:
Location of incident:
What happened: (describe with no emotion or judgement. Just this and that happened.)
Ka did this in response:
D did this in response:
WHAT I HAVE DONE IN RESPONSE
LINKS FOR KA AND D
KA: Please read jealousy page 5. Are you doing all these things toward me and D?
D: Please read jealousy page 6. Are you doing all these things for Ka?
I am willing to do page 6 to a degree as Ka's metamour / friend if both Ka and D are doing page 5 and 6 respectively FIRST.
Otherwise, I am not up for foot dragging or up for doing other people's work for them. More links for jealousy help are:
I have a limit. If this report grows to ____ entries, and I have had to give it that many times to Ka and D?
Thanks for your responses Cindie and GG,
I do agree that *part* of the problem lie with D's handling of our multiple relationships. Despite a lifetime of various forms of non-monogamy, D has never dealt with a dynamic like we have. He was used to being in situations where he lied/she lied or DADT. Being in this relationship has been a learning curve for him - hell, for all us! We all came in blind and have stumbled and fumbled, bumping into each other in the process.
We've had meetings about other and related issues and we have made a lot of progress. And D, Ka and I have also talked about the time issue and how she usually gets more time, so why is it a problem on those rare occasions that I get more time. She doesn't really have an answer - she gets so focused on what she is feeling RIGHT now and she just wants it to stop. She hasn't learned to let the emotion blow through and that you don't have to act on it. She is seeing a counselor to deal with some underlying issues that she's never addressed.
I already do some of your suggestions, GG. I do disengage from her when she is "leaking". I strive for a healthy balance of being supportive and taking care of myself. I do agree that I need to be more assertive. That doesn't come naturally to me. I HATE conflict. Always have - been a peacemaker my whole life.
To another subject - We have the following set date nights: Friday - me; Saturday - Ka and Ki; Sunday - Ka. Of course, we allow some flexibility due to circumstances. I think we need a meeting to discuss Monday through Thursday nights. In my view, if D wants to spend time with any of us on one of those nights, it's his choice as to whom it will be if she is available.
I say that because this latest episode started because D asked to me to come over and spend last Thursday night and Ka got a little snippy - with him, not with me - because he didn't ask her. This is where he gets frustrated. It *is* his time and he gets to decide how and who he spends it with and he's told her this. She is still so tied up in "measuring" his love through time (and sex) that she doesn't truly feel his love. And her obsessing over every little thing and jumping up and down about it damages her relationship with D; then he doesn't want to spend as much time with her! It also damages her relationship with me.
We also must discuss boundaries around individual relationships and sharing. It does bug me that she asks D if we had sex and how many times. If she was asking because it was a turn-on, while that would still bother me, it wouldn't be as much of an issue. But, she wants to know how for for score keeping. She wants to make sure that I'm not "getting" more than her. I am going to ask her not to ask him any more and I'm going to ask him not to tell her and to request that she not ask him anymore as it's not her business. I don't ask.
Once things have settled down, I am requesting a group meeting.
Thanks again for the responses.
Sounds like you are doing what you can. It's good you are working to improve your conflict resolution skills. WTG!
The only thing that popped into my head reading that was -- Maybe don't bother asking WHY it is a problem any more? Just let her solve it with her counselor.
Just accept it as it IS a problem. Then focus on management of the problem where it affects YOU.
So I am glad to hear you tackle that part like this:
The world opens up... when you do.
"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "
An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
Last edited by nycindie; 10-04-2012 at 06:19 PM.
This hits a grey area to me and one I don't see as being realistically resolvable simply down to one important factor:
You don't ask for this information and that works for you as part of the things you need or don't need to know to continue on in your relationship with D. You don't have a personal need to know this information and that is why you don't ask. It becomes easy (for you) to consider this information to be unnecessary.
It is entirely possible there is a type of information that you do prioritize and consider necessary for your continued association with D that someone else might not feel the same about. In that instance someone else could say "well I don't ask to know that; it isn't necessary for me to know so why does Pipersgirl even ask for that information?"
At what point is it okay for us to decide what information should or shouldn't be important to others?
D could have a partner with a wildly different set of priorities. Someone who doesn't want to be involved with someone who engages in particular acts and those acts could be going on with one of his other partners. Do we tell that person its none of their business? That they shouldn't be able to ask for assurance that one of there partners is indeed someone they would have no qualms about being intimate with?
I get it can be frustrating especially when you end up dealing with the fall out. Were it me, I wouldn't tell someone what they can or can't ask to know unless its getting right down to the gritty of details (which whether or not you had sex isn't but whether or not you had particular sex acts is). I would just ask that if it causes a disruption in THEIR association that you not be made aware of it. Ka should be able to ask whatever she feels she needs to know but you shouldn't have to manage the fallout when she asks and then objects to the answer.
I also noticed that you get one night to yourself with D and Ka gets one night to herself with D but it seemed unclear if Ki doesn't. At least that is how I read it.
"We have the following set date nights: Friday - me; Saturday - Ka and Ki; Sunday - Ka."
Is Ki a lover to Ka and D only? That would make this all make much more sense. Ka wouldn't ask about Ki and D because SHE ALREADY KNOWS - SHE WAS THERE. And that may be something she needs to feel comfortable with a lack of exclusivity with D. This wouldn't be your fault but it would add up to a big "ohhhh that's why".
Last edited by Vinccenzo; 10-04-2012 at 07:28 PM.
Thanks for another perspective. I’ve been pondering this for a couple of days…
If there is a particular act that someone isn’t comfortable with, they have every right to say so and to not engage in that act. I even agree that they can ask their partner if they engage in that act with others and then choose not to be with that partner; they don’t have a right to insist that their partner not engage in said act with another willing partner. And if they ask and are told, yes, I do engage in that act with my other partner/s, they have their answer and it is really none of their business how often said act occurs.
But, when she asks, doesn’t like the answer, gets pissy about it and then the fallout hits me, my instinct is to pull back, close up and say it’s none of your business! What D and I do when alone is between us. And I do believe that D and I should have things that are just between us; this applies to his other relationships as well. Ka wants to know EVERYTHING because she needs assurance that she is “special” and she seeks that by a) spending more time with him and b) getting more sex. She want to be most important, number one, QBIC and that irritates the hell out of me as we’ve ALL discussed and agreed that the relationship is not structured that way.
Her jealousy of me has waned, but it’s still there BECAUSE she isn’t there for my one on one relationship with D. She still views me as “competition”. To be honest, there is some truth to that. Love may not be limited, but time is limited and so is attention and energy to include sexual energy. Any time spent with me is time not spent with her; any sex with me takes away potential sexual energy from her. And the same is true for me. Plus, Ka and I are very similar in our sexual tastes and appetites, while Ki is more vanilla and less libidinous.
On to the more in depth (romantic/sexual) dynamics:
D-myself: regular scheduled one on one date nights
D-Ka: regular scheduled one on one date nights
D-Ki: occasional one on one date nights
D-Ki-Ka: regular scheduled date nights (they’ve been in this threesome for almost 2 years)
D-myself-Ka: semi-regular threesomes
D-myself-Ka-Ki: occasional foursomes
D-myself-Ki: haven’t done it and not forcing it
(Of course, there are the friendships between and among myself, Ka and Ki, but I’m only dealing with the sexual aspects of our dynamic.)
So, we are very comfortable with each other and pretty familiar with each other’s sexuality. Maybe that’s why some boundaries are blurred. And to be fair, I’ve never asked Ka not to ask about my private time with D, nor I have asked him not to tell her. Like I said above, my renewed desire for more privacy surrounding my sex life with D, is due more to the fallout from her reaction to his answers, than anything else.
And the only one of these dynamics that Ka has a real issue with is the one between D and myself for all the reasons outlined above. At this point, I’ve accepted that there is a problem and I’ve done what I can to be supportive and understanding, but it’s not my issue to resolve. I’m just trying to effectively deal with and minimize the impact on me, my relationship with D and my relationship with Ka.
Thanks again for the responses. They were great tools in helping me clarify what I’m feeling.
hi hun, I hope I can help out.
have a 1on1 time with her alone so noone can put in their comments etc, talk though them point by point and try to find a way to work though them.
I would say what we all do with our private time is bewteen d and that person, if you don't have a say then neither should she or anyone else. xx
in a relationship with A, open to women only.
Do you ever feel like you're tip-toeing around her, altering your behaviour in order to appease her? If so, stop. You say that you've only gotten more time than her a few times in years... So be more assertive, and get more time with him. Then let her keep score, let her complain that you spend more time with D than she does. And then say to her: "So what? Deal with it. You're not #1, and you are not entitled to special treatment. Get over it, or find someone who wants a #1." The only reason she continues these outbursts is because they're working for her. The only way to make them stop is to quit allowing them to work for her. Even that doesn't guarantee they'll stop, but you can be sure they won't stop as long as they're creating the outcome she desires.
People will tend to behave the way they always have, until they begin to behave differently. If Ka shows no signs that she's going to stop asking, quit hoping that repeatedly requesting it will magically make it happen.
I agree with previous posts that it's D who's dropping the ball here. After a certain point, the "he's new to this" argument stops holding water. You've told him explicitly what you want him to do: Stop sharing details about your relationship with Ka. There's nothing about being new to poly that makes that unclear or especially difficult. There is something about being a passive person that makes that difficult, and if that's how he is, then it's not likely to change. Don't make excuses for him.
Unfortunately, from what you've said, it doesn't sound like the situation is likely to change. You're doing everything you can to cope, and it's not enough to make you feel comfortable. You might need to consider that Ka's baggage is "the price of admission" for being with D, and then decide whether your relationship with D is worth that price.
“As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.” —bisexualbaker