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Old 07-22-2011, 01:05 PM
tsl1966 tsl1966 is offline
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Default New to Polyamory and recently hit a huge stumbling block

My wife and I opened up our marriage this past January after kicking the idea around for almost a year. (No, we didn't just jump blindly into it.) Before we agreed to embark upon this venture, we discussed and agreed to a set of rules designed to protect our marriage. The rules are as follows:

1) Family always comes first.
2) We will always be up front, open and honest with one another.
3) We always come back to each other at the end of the night.
4) Whatever we do with our secondaries, we will always be at least that attentive to each afterward.
5) We do not do anything with our secondaries that we have not first done with each other.
6) Either one of us can say "Stop" for any reason and we go back to being an exclusive couple.

We've hit a couple of stumbling blocks over the last six months and we've learned from them, adapted accordingly and moved on. But this latest stumbling block is a big one as it involves ignoring one of our rules.

First let me say that these rules are not rigid. I have consented to my wife spending the night or even entire weekends with her boyfriend. Essentially, I allowed a suspension of Rule #3. I have no problem with this because it is something we discussed beforehand.

But lately, my wife has been ignoring Rule #4 without talking to me about it first.

Earlier this year, anytime she went out and played with one of her secondaries, she always came back and showed me the same level of attentiveness. But in the last two weeks, that has changed.

Two weeks ago, I consented to letting her boyfriend spend the night in our own house. It was three days before she even let me touch her. I spoke to her about it and let her know how I had been feeling during those three days and she said she understood.

This past weekend, I again consented to allowing her boyfriend to spend the night here. Again, she did not want anything to do with me afterward and still hasn't.

When I explained that this was causing a problem for me, it started an argument.

I tried explaining that I was feeling rejected and that I was starting feel as if her boyfriend held a greater importance in her life than I did. She didn't see it that way.

I haven't revisited the issue with her yet because she is going in for a medical procedure and is very keyed up about that. After her recovery I do plan on bring the subject back up and discussing it fully and at length.

Basically, we agreed upon Rule #4 precisely so that neither one of us would begin to feel less important than a secondary. But as things stand right now, it seems as if my wife wants to unilaterally toss that rule out.

(I think she even had an idea of tossing out Rule #2 as well, but that is another point I have to revisit with her.)

So, I will be having this discussion with her after she recovers from her procedure. Any insights or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:06 PM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Why don't you just stop having her boyfriend spend the night??? It sounds as though she is having a hard time transitioning from being intimate with him to being intimate with you after each night. It's your house too...no more overnight visits. You pushed that rule (which is great and shows flexibility) but it isn't working.

Of another concern is your rule number 6. It's easy to say either one of you can say stop (essentially a veto power) but what about the other human being's heart involved? I'm not slagging you but this type of rule makes anyone who comes into your life seem more of a casual play thing than a person. I guess as long as you are upfront about this rule and any potential partner is also good with it then it's fine, but if it is not something they are aware of you are somewhat deceiving them.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:30 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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WHat stuck out for me is where it says "we will be attentive to each other AFTERWARD."

I think you should amend that to "all the time" or "in general" because it's unrealistic to always expect each other to be in a certain mood at a particular time. Maybe she's not in the MOOD "afterward" but is "beforehand" or whenever. I think that "afterward" puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on both of you to "perform" for each other.

And what mono said about not having the bf overnight at your place is not a bad idea either. It doesn't have to be a permanent thing , it can be revisited, but you can say now that you tried it that you're not ready yet.

I also think the rule about not doing things with other people that you haven't done with each other is kind of silly. What do you do, stop in the middle of sex and say "i can't do that until i do it witb him/her. ". Then go back to your partner and say "so and so tried XYZ on me so can we do that so i can do it with other people?"

I know it doesn't really play out like this in real life but that's the sort of thing my mind comes up with whenever i hear that rule.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:21 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hi TSL,

Hmmmm aren't humans funny creatures !

Only my gut, but I have a feeling she's struggling with the 'at home' part. It's one thing to have extra curricular activities and then come home. It's quite another to bring those activities within the castle walls. There's just something about it. I don't know as I can explain exactly what it is. Sanctity ?

I seriously doubt is has anything actually to do with 'you'. I think she just sensing this discomfort - part maybe from you and part internal and is confused by it. And doesn't know how to handle it.

Probably just be nice if you could have a conversation - nothing intense, nothing confrontational. Just express your concern, and confusion too, and that you don't want to read between lines something that's not real.

You may discover that bringing things inside the castle walls is not something either or both of you are quite ready for yet. There may be stuff to process.

Check it out, proceed accordingly.

GS
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
It's quite another to bring those activities within the castle walls. There's just something about it. I don't know as I can explain exactly what it is. Sanctity ?

GS
I've experienced this sort of thing when RP had Leo over to her room...which is i the middle of my suite LOL. It was a lingering energy that made me want distance from her. Hmmmm interesting.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:42 PM
tsl1966 tsl1966 is offline
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Of another concern is your rule number 6. It's easy to say either one of you can say stop (essentially a veto power) but what about the other human being's heart involved? I'm not slagging you but this type of rule makes anyone who comes into your life seem more of a casual play thing than a person. I guess as long as you are upfront about this rule and any potential partner is also good with it then it's fine, but if it is not something they are aware of you are somewhat deceiving them.
Thank you for your response.

We make sure that all potential secondaries know what our rules for each other are and that those rules should be respected. We are not deceiving any of them.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:46 PM
tsl1966 tsl1966 is offline
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Originally Posted by NeonKaos View Post
I also think the rule about not doing things with other people that you haven't done with each other is kind of silly. What do you do, stop in the middle of sex and say "i can't do that until i do it witb him/her. ". Then go back to your partner and say "so and so tried XYZ on me so can we do that so i can do it with other people?"
Thanks for responding.

That particular rule does make perfect sense if you seriously want to follow the Primary/Secondary role definitions. Doing something outside of your primary committed relationship implies that your primary isn't really your primary. It reduces everyone to a secondary role and very few (if any) relationships can survive that.

Keep in mind that we talked through these rules at length for a very long time before opening our marriage. These rules are design to protect the marriage and also designed to ensure that beither one of us is ever made to feel less importaqnt than we really are.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:07 PM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
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Originally Posted by tsl1966 View Post
That particular rule does make perfect sense if you seriously want to follow the Primary/Secondary role definitions. Doing something outside of your primary committed relationship implies that your primary isn't really your primary. It reduces everyone to a secondary role and very few (if any) relationships can survive that.
I see that for YOU this rule makes sense... for a lot of people, doing something else with your secondary you don't do with your primary doesn't at all erode the primary relationship. In fact, many times that is WHY people have multiple people in their lives, because they want x and z as well in their lives and their primary isn't into x or z.

My hubs has things he does with his secondary(ies), that are something he likes and they like, but I'm just not all that into. I'm happy he gets to experience that, and I don't need to do something that doesn't do that much for me (not that I wouldn't but it isn't the same when somebody is doing it just to please as if they're doing it because it pleases THEM).

We do often bring new stuff that we learned or found back to our relationship, which has definitely helped us grow a bit and discover new things we wouldn't have otherwise. So in that way, doing something with another partner has opened our universe to things we now enjoy together.

This is not to say that rule doesn't work for you... just to say that there are many ways of looking at it.

I would be more worried, personally, about the fact that you're bringing up something that is bothering you (communicating an issue), and she's not listening openly and taking it into consideration. Whether or not she agrees with you, or sees it the same way, one of the points that in my mind is completely vital within non-monogamous relationships is the capacity to hear your partner, listen to what they say and take it in-- whether or not you agree with it. Sometimes, just listening, and validating the feelings and reassuring your partner is all that's needed.

It could be the situation as others have stated, or maybe there's some NRE (new relationship energy) that's clouding her judgment. You can search NRE on this site or others to see some issues that can come up during that time that can cloud people's judgment (you may have already done that, I realize). Regardless of how *she* is seeing the situation, though... you are her partner and she needs to consider your thoughts and feelings and communicate with you about them. If she's just dismissing them without consideration that's an issue by itself.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:10 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Originally Posted by tsl1966 View Post
Thanks for responding.

That particular rule does make perfect sense if you seriously want to follow the Primary/Secondary role definitions. Doing something outside of your primary committed relationship implies that your primary isn't really your primary. It reduces everyone to a secondary role and very few (if any) relationships can survive that.
False. You should change this statement. Perhaps that's what it means to you, but you may not make that assumption about any, all, most, or many other people's relationships, because frankly, you don't know what you're talking about.

Last edited by NeonKaos; 07-22-2011 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:17 PM
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Keep in mind that we talked through these rules at length for a very long time before opening our marriage. These rules are design to protect the marriage and also designed to ensure that beither one of us is ever made to feel less importaqnt than we really are.
I always find it interesting that people want to protect their marriage and make each other feel that they are not less than the people the "bring into" their relationship. I wonder if you have thought that perhaps you are NOT poly as its not really a loving attitude towards your "secondary." You could be "open." I dunno, your choice really, but just something to think about.

I just find that heirarchies are a place to start, but really making sure that anyone "coming in" knows that they will not have the same rights and allowing the "rules" to become more fluid and become boundaries that are movable is more respectful as relationships develop.

There are some really good discussion about primary/secondary on this forum. Try a tag search for "primary/secondary," "secondary," or "boundaries."

The primary/secondary merged thread might be a good place to start.
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Last edited by redpepper; 07-22-2011 at 06:25 PM.
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