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Old 08-22-2013, 12:36 AM
baughb baughb is offline
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Default family boundries

I am in a V with R as the hinge, and A as my metamour. R & A have an 8 year old son that I have met a couple times (i.e, was with R when dropping something off to me, went to lunch with R & I once). He obviously does not know I'm "dad's girlfriend", just "dad's friend".

R does the stay-at-home dad thing for the most part, so when something comes up at A's job, he is the default sitter. We have plans for an overnight this Saturday, but there is a chance it may not happen, due to staff changes at A's work, and her possibly having to cover shifts, which would mean he would have to stay home with the kid.

I mentioned today that if we have to cancel Saturday night, that perhaps we (me, him, and the son) could do something during the day together, like the zoo or aquarium. He loved the idea, but said he would have to check with A to make sure it's ok.

I have mentioned the idea of the 3 of us doing activities like this before, and R told me that he would want to clear it with A if it involved his son; he said that she was ok with the 3 of us having lunch together, but he wasn't sure how she would feel about a 'family-oriented' type activity.

This kind of took me by surprise. I honestly didn't see it as a "family-oriented" type outing. PDA with R when his son being there to me would be out of the question, nor would I consider it; he would see it as nothing more than going somewhere with his dad, and dad's friend. A has been ok with the fact that R has brought him around me, and was also ok with him receiving a tablet from me as a gift (I work in telecommunications, so I often have extra products laying around doing nothing that we receive from manufacturers, so I wasn't going out of my way.. more like, here, I have this extra tablet that im not using, give it to your son so he can play games on it), so I figured it wasn't a huge thing to ask about an outing.

A and I have not met yet, as she is working through her personal emotional issues, and I am respecting that right now.

Has anyone ever experienced these kind of boundaries, or have them themselves? I do not have any children of my own, so I don't know if this is something I would understand better if I were a parent, nor have I really ever dated anyone that already had children either.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:50 AM
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Yes-absolutely.

As a parent-that is a family activity in my opinion. Any outing where the kids go is a family activity.
We do allow friends to participate in MANY family outings.
But we also have an agreement that we don't take our kids around new people without checking in with each other first.

More importantly-none of the three of us (we are a V but we are ALL co-parents of the kids) would take the kids anywhere without checking in with each other. Even when I "run to the store" or "go to the gym" with the kids in tow (which is normal) I send a text letting the guys know.

This actually pertains to something I wrote in the threadhttp://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=52825.

It wasn't the whole point of the thread (it was a rant) but it does relate.

OUR kids are my kids. They are also Maca's kids. They are also GG's kids. But they are not ONLY my kids or ONLY Maca's kids or ONLY GG's kids. They are ours and that means none of us as an individual has a right to make exclusive decisions without the input of the others.

**obviously in an emergency situation we would do whatever was necessary-but we would make every effort to notify each other asap and continue making that effort**

The "circle" that includes our responsibility is not one that an outside party can join or wander through without the agreement of all three of us.

The poly math and poly tiers explanations that Galagirl regularly posts about address this to a large degree.

Each duo has a right to make the rules for their personal duo relationship. However-whereever there is cross over (romantic or not doesn't matter) the right to making decisions is no longer strictly that of the duo.

If you wanted to do something with Maca-and I had never met you-the kids would not be a part of that. Period. Until GG and I have met you-you won't be free to socialize with our children. This works any which way you flip our names. That doesn't matter.

It isn't about whether or not we trust each other individually. It's about ensuring that the other party (you) fully and completely understands that we as a TRIO are the parents of these children and as a trio we have expectations for these children.

ESPECIALLY in poly circles there are people who seem to think that because they are sexually involved with one of us-that means that they are automatically a good fit for the kids. The answer is-no. No that is not the case. We each have friends who we don't feel are appropriate for our children to socialize with. We each have family members who we don't feel its appropriate for our children to socialize with. I personally do not date anyone who isn't already a fully integrated part of our family. BUT the guys don't hold themselves to that structure-and there have been women they have dated that THEY did not feel were appropriate for our children to be around.

So-in short-yes. Yes I have encountered such a thing. Yes I do subscribe to "family boundaries", "household boundaries", "couple boundaries" and "individual boundaries" which may all be different but pertinent to any given situation.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:58 AM
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Thank you! This does help me see another perspective. I totally acknowledge that by never having or parenting a child in anyway, it leaves me blind to that perspective, which was my reason for asking.

You response definitely helps me see that other side of it, I appreciate that (so does my irrational brain for not having to wonder 'why' if plans don't happen lol)
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:12 AM
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I try to picture it this way.

There's a circle that is the relationship between you/him.
Another circle is the relationship between him/wife.
Another is him/child.
Another is wife/child.

THEN picture square for responsibility (or use a different color circle).

There's his to child (parenting)
hers to child (parenting)
THEIRS as co-parents to each other (parenting)
Theirs as roommates (bills/home maintenance, pets etc)

That's just from what I read in your post. I have no doubt there are more.

Anywhere that you are crossing into one of her circles or her squares-he is not at liberty to make choices alone.
It isn't that he has NO SAY SO. But that he has no more say so than she does.

If that makes sense.
Much like 50/50 business partners.

(the last page-last few posts in that other thread-are directly addressing issues that have arisen with metamours in contact with children. Might give you some more info to consider)
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:21 AM
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No, totally makes sense. One of my main reasons for the thread was, like I stated, the idea of it being a 'family outing' never occurred to me because I had no plans to ACT like a couple in front of his son. So in MY mind, the thought process went: "I'm not planning on doing any kind of PDA in front of him, so there should be no reason for him to think anything other than that I'm a friend, and friends do stuff all the time, and he's already met me and all that, so what's the big fucking deal?" which with the right push in 'irrational brain' direction (something I have a REDICULOUS natural talent for when I'm in the dark about something).

Having no personal expierence as a parent definitely simplifies it in my head, so it can be hard to remember that sometimes.. it's just not that simple, and HERE, this is why.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:55 AM
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How long have you and R been together?
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:00 AM
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Absolutely!

I have exactly the opposite problem-regularly!
I had my first child at 16. I've never been an adult who didn't have a child responsibility.
In fact the VERY first time I EVER went anywhere without either a child or a lover in tow-was last summer. It was a HUGE big deal. I flew to the West Coast and drove from Seattle to Victoria, to Vancouver, back to Seattle, down to Sacramento and then met my youngest child and husband and drove back to Seattle and flew home.
It was a HUGE eye opening experience for me to do something ALONE.

So one of the posters here, nycindie, I LOVE reading her posts because she lives such a COMPLETELY different life and it allows me to envision the difference between my life and the life of people who don't have the entanglements I have.

It's always good to reach out and ask "how the @)#$(*#@) does that work" when we don't have experience.


FYI-I totally get you on the pda thing. One thing to keep in mind-I used that example in terms of my kids. But-does this guy actually have friends he goes out and does stuff like that with? Because if not-it would be a mind-altering scenario for the kid.
For us-our kids are very socialized with a large group of close friends who are all "adopted" aunts and uncles to them.

But I have a close friends-she and her husband are both very introverted. Their daughters know us (because I babysat them for years and years) but they really haven't ever seen their parents go out socially with anyone else. So they wouldn't be surprised to see ME with their dad in public. But if they saw him with any other woman-even if it WAS just a friend, even if their was no affection at all-would shock them silent and leave them with a lot of questions. Because that hasn't ever happened (and they are 12 and 9).

Likewise with their mom. If they saw her with me-no biggy. But even if they saw her with Maca or GG that would leave them wondering. Because it just doesn't happen in their world.

Obviously-I don't know the dynamics of your guy.

Of course the other thing is-it may just not be that big of a deal. Wife may come back with saying it's no problem. It could be simply that he's being overly cautious to ensure that SHE knows he's not going to "oops" in terms of "their" common responsibility and rights with the child. Especially since you say he's usually stay at home dad AND she's having some emotional issues with the poly situation.

I know for me-I am ULTRA cautious with Maca for that reason. I'm at home with the kids all of the time AND I'm the poly one. He had some MAJOR struggles with this dynamic for 2.5 years.
I don't even leave them with a babysitter without making sure he's ok with everything.
It's made a HUGE difference. My efforts to be sure he BLATANTLY see's me including him has helped a LOT in calming all of the fears and insecurities that were triggered with the change to poly.

So maybe he's just being extra cautious.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagferi View Post
How long have you and R been together?
We have only been poly dating (we dated last year, which was a disaster, because I didn't know about A, so I was a mistress... this is our 'second chance' round) for about 4 months.. which is a short time, also why I'm not stressing TOO much.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
Absolutely!



FYI-I totally get you on the pda thing. One thing to keep in mind-I used that example in terms of my kids. But-does this guy actually have friends he goes out and does stuff like that with? Because if not-it would be a mind-altering scenario for the kid.
For us-our kids are very socialized with a large group of close friends who are all "adopted" aunts and uncles to them.


Of course the other thing is-it may just not be that big of a deal. Wife may come back with saying it's no problem. It could be simply that he's being overly cautious to ensure that SHE knows he's not going to "oops" in terms of "their" common responsibility and rights with the child. Especially since you say he's usually stay at home dad AND she's having some emotional issues with the poly situation.


So maybe he's just being extra cautious.
Their son has definitely been socialized to other people and friends, and they have actually been pretty open with him (to an extent.. he is 8 after all) about times in the past when they shared playmates.. i.e. he has known that mom and dad have had friends stay the night and they all slept in the same bed before.

However, I don't know the extent to how *I* have been explained to him, and being an actual girlfriend, I would understand the reasons R may have for not introducing me as anything other than a friend. even I get that explaining that 'this is dad's girlfriend' opens up a whole world of explanations, and that's a big responsibility to hold on someone that hasn't been around too long.

I get it being out of respect for her too, I probably understand that more than the parent aspect. One time I asked about doing something like that and what she may think, he responded "she would just have to deal with it", TOTALLY joking, but I wouldn't have been ok with him not running it by her approval anyway.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:37 AM
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Honestly at 4 months there is no way I would be ok with someone doing a family outing with my children.

Murf didn't meet my kids until 6 months into our relationship. And that meeting was for an hour and the kids were focused on trick or treating. It had been rescheduled and the kids couldn't go if I didn't take them. Murf slowly was introduced into their regular routine.

I only after I knew he was a keeper and my husband was ok with it. First family outing was for my 6year Oldsmobile birthday a trip to the aquarium. And my husband was along.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Has anyone ever experienced these kind of boundaries, or have them themselves? I do not have any children of my own, so I don't know if this is something I would understand better if I were a parent, nor have I really ever dated anyone that already had children either.
Aye. Parent here.

And good for you in trying to understand that side of the coin though you are not a parent and have not dated parents before. Kudos!

I will assume all players are past the cheating start.

I will try to give you my opinion just on the kid thing. I don't know what might resonate or not. YMMV.

Quote:
One of my main reasons for the thread was, like I stated, the idea of it being a 'family outing' never occurred to me because I had no plans to ACT like a couple in front of his son.
I don't think it could be about PDA or acting like a couple with Dad in front of the kid only.

I mean this kindly ok? But your POV is not the only POV. There's the kid's POV of it.

I think anyone (parent themselves or not) could understand that kids are part of the poly picture when you date a parent. Although children are not lovers, because the parent-child relationship requires intense time/energy/effort? They count in the "polymath/familymath thing." And because they are often underage? They usually come FIRST with the parents because they are dependents. At least until the children are grown.

When you date a parent, that's part of the package.

Sometimes people think they could be ok with this until they try it on and find it a drag to have to revolve around the child's needs. There could be feelings of "It's not my kid, I don't have to be dealing with this!" And this is totally true!

But it is part of the price of admission to date the parent. That is the reality. A parent in the "active parenting years" comes with limitations on their time, responsibilities and a lot of "on call." *shrug*

To me it seems to be about understanding the polymath of your particular configuration and how these particular parents expect to deal with the dependent kid(s) and where/how you as a GF could be willing to fit into all that at the present time and then later on. What are the hard limits that will never change? What are the soft limits that could change over time?

You could talk to R some more about it, AND you could talk to A about it. Separately and together to make sure all are on the same page and there's no triangulation.

Could make them each aware of your wants, needs, and limits. Ask what each of their wants, needs, and limits might be. And the parents could figure out what the KID'S wants, needs, limits might be even if YOU the meta help remind them. (Sometimes parents get so NRE nutty they forget to think about their kids well being. Sad, but true. They sometimes forget to think about spouses, so why not the kids?)

Jealousy is sometimes a BIG problem for adults in polyshipping. Don't need to look far in the forum to see examples of it.

Children are not immune to feeling jealousy or envy and they DON'T have adult emotional management skills or thinking skills to try to cope with it. They are still growing. It's rough for them to deal with getting attached to someone and if something happens later have them disappear. Or have a person around suddenly very intensely around causing the child wants to "compete" with that stranger person for the parent's attention. Polyhell is hard for grown-ups. Imagine what it does to a kid? Esp when they don't choose to polyship. The parents choose and the dependent kids are along for the ride.

For now R is pretty clear that he's got to check in with his co-parent before making decisions that involved the shared son. He cannot make unilateral decisions on the parenting front for both parents. So good for him trying to do his parent job. And good for you -- trying to respect/help your partner having to meet his other obligations and respect the kid's needs for stability.

When you go out with just Dad, that's
[B + R]
Maybe the kid doesn't even know that's a dating couple yet "officially" but maybe the kid is getting vibes. Who knows?

At this time, when you go out with him and his kid? To the kid that is
[B + (R + son)]
That is you going out with the 2/3 of a family. Not all the family, since the other parent A isn't around, but the family nonetheless.

You have not been identified to the child as a GF so the kid could not be seeing this as a simultaneous
[(B + R) + son]
[B + (R + son)]
thing at this time.

And you are not close to him at this point in time so there could not be additional simultaneous
[(B+ son) + R]
dynamic happening because there is not even a
[B+ son]
by itself at this time.

Kid could only see

[B + (R + son)]
Kids are very self-centered when little. They related the whole world back to only themselves.

In your writing you seem to perceive that when you go out with R and son there is a simultaneous tiers happening in such an outing. Even when you are not on an outing, you are IN this polynetwork where R has a son. These tiers of relationship exist.


[(B + R) + son] <-- "Be careful of PDA!" seems to be where your thoughts are on this tier.
[B + (R + son)] <-- "I need to respect his parenting turf" seems to the vibe of thoughts are on this tier. For now that's fine. What about later? Would you be expected to mind your own beeswax or expected to coparent somewhere along the line? What is your preference?
[(B+ son) + R] <--"I've just met this kid a few times" <-- seem to be your thoughts on this tier. What about later? What kind of relationship (if any) would you want with this kid?
For a polyship to fly well, all the "mini relationships" inside the larger polyship network have to be healthy and tended to and know what is expected of it. Or at least it does to me.

Because what happens in one area can and does affect others in another area. Like A's work shifts changing which pings R having to watch kid, which pings you and R's plans, right?

Serolynne does a nice job of writing out one take on the polymath thing. When I write it out for myself, I happen add other tiers to include children and break up scenarios... but it's goes along the same lines of "More people? That's not merely additive -- it becomes geometric!"

At 4 months in, you are still building many of your tiers of relationships within the larger polyship. And nothing is built on ALL tiers instantly. Could enjoy the unfolding and let it be what it will be.

But yeah... choosing to date a parent definitely adds the kid layers in there, and being aware of that and what that might entail could help. Certainly R could appreciate you being willing to try to see that POV, and the challenges of polydating a parent, and polydating AS a parent.

GL!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 08-22-2013 at 12:41 PM.
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