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Old 05-29-2013, 05:28 PM
PolyInNJ PolyInNJ is offline
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Default Validations. Questions. Confusion. Ack!

Hi there. I'm a long time lurker, occasional poster, but I'm not sure if I have ever laid everything on the line like this and opened up with my situation. The reason I'm opening up now? Well, I don't know anyone else who is in the same situation that I'm in. Well, not exactly. I do know one other person... but I'm now sleeping with him, so he's not someone I can turn to for advice these days and he is now one of the elements involved.

A little background.

I'm 40years old, female, divorced. My ex husband is still a really good friend of mine, but we realized we are much better friends than partners.

I have been involved with a wonderful man who lives 4 1/2 hours south of me. He is married, and has been for over 20 years. We don't use labels, but for lack of anything better, I am his secondary. His wife is partially disabled, but has a boyfriend who lives across the country that she sees for about 2 weeks once a year. He is I. She is R. I. and I have been pretty seriously involved for about 2 1/2 years. We try to see each other on average about once per month.

I lived alone, and now live with my dad, who I moved in with when my mom passed away quite unexpectedly. I work from home, and try to get myself out of the house as much as I can, as I am in a position where if I am in front of the computer, I feel like I should be working.

Enter W. W. and I have been friends for a little less time than J. and I have been dating. But to put a figure on it, we have also been friends for about 2 1/2 years. W. is divorced with 2 kids. He has a girlfriend who is long distance as well that he has given his heart to. She is married, also with children.

W. and I have done some exploring, and have taken our relationship to another level. Friends with benefits. Which has very fuzzy lines because the benefits part is, to put it bluntly, amazing. And there was a pretty strong friendship as a basis, which brings up all the feels. But I'm dealing with that - it's a new situation for both of us, and we are learning as we go along. Neither of us really have time for a "primary" relationship. And there is the kids factor for him - he has no real interest in doing anything that will confuse them any further, which I completely get and am on board with.

Here's my new issue, though. And this is something that I completely would have been talking with W. about before this latest... development.

How do you deal with feelings of not feeling like you are first in someone's life?

So with I., It's what I signed up for. And most of the time, I am completely ok with it. But some days... some days I wish that a decision could be made where my feelings are taken into account first, instead of hers. It's not that my feelings aren't taken into account. They are. But she always comes first. And I have no one in my life where -I- come first. And for me, it's something that I am having difficulties with these days.

Even in my marriage things were like this. We were not poly (my ex doesn't understand the concept, but is happy that I'm happy), but he was and still is married to his company and father (who is his boss) first, and then was married to me.

The thought of being in a situation where I am someone's ONLY focus actually feels suffocating to me. And I know that I never want to be in a monogamous relationship again. But how do I get over that feeling of feeling like an afterthought - enough though INTELLECTUALLY I know that this is not the case?

Thanks for reading. If you got through all of this, I give you a lot of credit. And feel free to ask additional questions. I'm sure I've forgotten some details.

Last edited by PolyInNJ; 05-29-2013 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:50 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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I have been involved with a wonderful man who lives 4 1/2 years south of me. ........................


But how do I get over that feeling of feeling like an afterthought - enough though INTELLECTUALLY I know that this is not the case?

Thanks for reading. If you got through all of this, I give you a lot of credit. And feel free to ask additional questions. I'm sure I've forgotten some details.
Regarding the red part-HUH?

The other, more important question,
my answer is-through a great deal of self-introspection.

It sounds like you are fighting the "habitual" thought patterns that come with how we are raised to see things (which is very self-centered, mean that literally not rudely).
It's not an easy thing.

A few steps I find helpful is consciously working on becoming the person who DOES put myself and my own feelings first. As a mother-I found this VERY difficult and some days it goes right out the window to be perfectly honest. But-when I do manage it-it does help. A LOT.

Also, re-iterating reality to yourself-which is that NO ONE, not one single person in the world is ALWAYS the first focus of another person. Doesn't really exist-it doesn't work that way. That is all a construct we are taught to believe (thank you Disney for promoting that continued belief in a lie) but it's all a lie.

Then, work on being conscious of how you prioritize different people's feelings/thoughts/preferences/needs/desires at different times. We all do it, sometimes I bet your dad is top priority, sometimes you, sometimes W, sometimes..... work on being conscious of what changes that, and when. That will help you to be more conscious of how and why other people do it.

Proximity tends to be a HUGE factor of who is "priority" at any given time.
shared responsibility is a huge factor for it.
shared risk is also a huge factor (think of the movie Speed for example).

What other examples can you think of that make one person a priority at any given time or regularly or with frequency.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:53 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Regarding the red part-HUH?
She probably must have meant "Hours" (in other words, it a LDR). It could be "Light Years" but then "South" would not be relevant. "Miles" or "kilometers" would be preferred.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:35 PM
PolyInNJ PolyInNJ is offline
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Sorry - yes - I meant hours, not years. definitely a typo.

I'm really not asking to always be someone's first focus. I know that's impossible. It's not always possible for me. When I am with someone, that person gets the whole of my focus. When I am with I., I am WITH him. When I am with W., I am WITH him, even though the construct of our relationship is very different than my relationship with I.

I have done a lot of growing as a person since the end (and even during) my failed marriage. My ex and I were together for 13 years before separating, and I went from being a really submissive person when I was with him into a person who felt very comfortable walking in my own shoes. I have gotten really good at asking for what I want (I never would have started the situation I am in with W. if I wasn't - he originally asked me when we first met 2 1/2 years prior if I would be interested in a FWB situation. I wasn't then. I am in a very different place now and as was he, which is asking him to revisit was a huge risk, but one that has paid off).

I guess my main issue with I. is that I am feeling vulnerable right now for some reason, and I am sure that it is something that with time I will get over - but I guess part of the issue is that in the construct of our relationship because she is the wife, and I am the girlfriend, she is top dog. I get that. I signed up for that. But I guess just once it would be nice if it didn't feel like I am the one who is always having to make the compromises.

And incidentally - that would be me and I. making the compromises. It seems like more often than not, what R. says goes.... not in terms of how my relationship with I. proceeds, but definitely in terms of when and how I get to spend time with him. Given that he's not exactly around the corner from me, it makes it even more difficult.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:07 AM
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I understand what you are saying.

I don't think it has to be that way-but of course-that would depend upon them and their situation as well as you and he's agreements and situation.

Since it is long distance, I wonder if you can't reframe it in your mind-that it's not "HER" that is the object of decision regarding when you see each other, but that she's a large factors-since she is THERE (vs since she is wife).

I ask that, because for me, I have a home/family with both of my guys. Neither gets to decide for me if I date someone else for example-or when I could see that third person.
BUT-because we share responsibilities of home and children together-all three of us get the privilege of being part of the decision regarding when a good time is for me (or any of us) to be gone for a social activity that takes us away from the obligations we share responsibility for.

Likewise-he has shared responsibilities with her, so she gets to be a part of that decision making with him. Whereas, you don't share responsibilities like that with him (or your other him) and therefore you don't get to share in the decision making privileges...

(I'm just offering an alternate perspective for you to contemplate-no opinion on "right" or "wrong")



This was a HUGE deal breaker with Maca's last potential girlfriend. She wanted he and her to decide when he was going to spend time with her, when, where (where came into is as she wanted to be able to use our home and socialize with our family but not me).

Anyway-that was a huge deal-breaker. What came up was her repeated demands that he bring our youngest child along (who is actually GG and I's child). GG had an issue with that since this lady refused to take time to even meet GG, much less build a friendly acquaintance with GG and I. Maca isn't single. He doesn't have the freedom to decide when and where he can take the kids without any conversation with GG and I.
Likewise, he doesn't have the freedom of just running off to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases without talking to us about who is taking care of kids, pets, etc.

That doesn't mean I am controlling him-which is what she thought. Nor does it mean I have the "trump card" because Maca and I are married. It means he has made prior family commitments to take on responsibility that is shared between three people (he, myself and GG) and therefore he has to ensure that whatever plans he makes fit into ensuring that they don't detract from his part of upholding those responsibilities.

It could seem a fine line. Because some partners may take advantage and use these things as excuses to minimize free time for partners with metamours. But, I choose to assume that people I date are mature enough that if they are being manipulated and taken advantage of-they are choosing to be. Therefore, it's still on them, not the metamour.

That said-I would choose to look at it from the framework that it is unfortunate that he's got so many responsibilities that it limits your time together. Instead of framing it from the perspective that his wife is more important than you.

Ironically, it's been my experience that most often, when the spouse is removed from the scenario, at least mentally, it's easier to get down to basics and identify what the concrete changes are that could make a situation more satisfying.

For example; what is it that he is sayiing to you that leads you to believe that it's always her over you in decision making? Because, he doesn't need to say it that way.
I can say, "let me check my calendar and get back to you" or "I have plans that weekend, can we try xyz date instead".
I don't need to say, "I need to talk to the guys first and I'll let you know what they think" or "Sorry, Maca made plans for us that weekend, so I can't."

Both options may accurately describe the issue. But only one is an example of of me claiming my all responsibility for the choice. One starts hedging some of the responsibility on my other partner.

In your situation, he chooses whether to make plans with you or not. Regardless of her preferences or yours. It is HIS choice if he decides he can't see you because he wants to do xyz activity or take care of xyz responsibility that she pointed out to him, claimed, demanded or whatever.
If he chooses to claim that responsibility fully with his terminology-it may make things easier for you to manage-without in any way manipulating the truth. It's actually being MORE fully honest-because in truth, the choice is his.

Does that make sense?
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:52 AM
PolyInNJ PolyInNJ is offline
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This makes total sense to me, and I know that you're right. She is the one who he has made his home with, and therefore by default, the large amount of his responsibility is going to be there.

Thanks for the reality check... The way you have phrased it makes total sense. And intellectually I know that this is the case. But sometimes the good ol' emotions get the better of me.

Sometimes it's hard to be someone who doesn't have a primary. But then again - when I think about having a primary I begin to feel like I am suffocating, so I know the time still isn't right for that, or I haven't met the right situation where I'd feel comfortable in that roll.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:48 AM
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Believe me-those emotions get the best of all of us at times. Don't feel bad! I am always impressed by people who are willing to say "hey I'm having a suck emotion right now" and then are willing to consider alternative approaches to whatever situation they find sucking.

Sometimes it takes more than a little word to get back on track with living life happy too.
I have a whole blog (or two) dedicated to WTF AM I THINKING/DOING/WANTING/MISERABLE about etc. lol
I find that writing it out helps as well.

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