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Old 07-27-2011, 09:32 AM
paschendale paschendale is offline
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Default Mixed Signals From My Boyfriend's (Former) Secondary

Background Info:

After my boyfriend came out as polyamorous, he told me that he wanted to begin dating another woman in a primary/secondary arrangement. The terms that we both agreed on were that they could only kiss; no sex, nudity or erotic touching of any kind. We thought this would work out well for the secondary because she is asexual (she is fine with emotional intimacy but romance and sexual intimacy freak her out). My boyfriend promised her that their relationship would be an expansion of the friendship that they already had, there would be no romantic obligations of any kind and all emotions would be strictly platonic. At the time, all three of us wanted this.

Unfortunately, my boyfriend did not know at the time what sort of a poly he was. He thought that what he wanted was one strong primary relationship with all secondaries as more like "friends with cuddle benefits" (his terms not mine) but that was naive of him.

He ended up falling in love with her but he had to hide it from her because it was not in the terms of their agreement and he knew that she, being aromantic, would not reciprocate it and could very well leave him over it.

A couple months later a mutual friend of my boyfriend and I, and one of the very best friends of the secondary read my boyfriend's texts without his permission and found out about their relationship. Out of jealousy over my boyfriend's attachment toward her, he then proceeded to out us to all of the secondary's friends. The drama resulting from this fiasco caused the secondary to break up with my boyfriend.

----
Current Situation:

My boyfriend is still madly in love with the secondary, and, now that the drama has blown over, is trying to get them back together without revealing his true feelings. She has told him repeatedly that she is not interested in that sort of a relationship again. Her reasoning changes each time. At first it was because she thought I may not want it (I do), then it was because she did not want to risk more people finding out. Now it's because there is only a month left until she goes off to college so it isn't worth it for her.

At the same time, she also flirts with my boyfriend whenever the two of them interact, she'll give him compliments, act coy, and hold his hand when she feels she can get away with it.

My boyfriend and I are both getting tired of her behavior, him because he is sick of having his emotions played with, and me because I feel like she's trying to get the benefits of the relationship that my boyfriend and her once had without acknowledging its existence.

We're both at an impasse as to what to do about this. My boyfriend uses the flirting as evidence that she actually does want to get back together with him. Currently she has offered to be in a relationship with him only if they're doing "nothing that would constitute as cheating" and if, since they would be doing nothing that constitutes as cheating, I would not know about it. (My boyfriend refused this and then told me about what she said, otherwise I would not know). Her offering this also suggests that she might be interested in getting back together with him and could be gently persuaded into abandoning her notion that I should not be involved.

Yet he also knows that if she doesn't want to get back together with him, he's going to only get more pain and heartbreak trying to ask her and ask her so he's considering abandoning the whole thing, perhaps even including their friendship. He has been going back and forth over which option to pursue. If anyone with more experience should care to weigh in over which would be better for him, I would be much obliged.

So far I have remained impartial in this relationship. I offer my boyfriend support and advice without passing judgment or intervening. Yet no matter what, I feel that the flirting must stop and I am looking for advice on how to politely ask the secondary to cease and detist should my boyfriend prove unable to.
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Last edited by paschendale; 07-27-2011 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by paschendale View Post
My boyfriend is still madly in love with the secondary, and, now that the drama has blown over, is trying to get them back together without revealing his true feelings. She has told him repeatedly that she is not interested in that sort of a relationship again.

At the same time, she also flirts with my boyfriend whenever the two of them interact, she'll give him compliments, act coy, and hold his hand when she feels she can get away with it.
So she does not know what she wants. That's sad and frustrating but cannot be helped. And the bit I boldened worries me. If you bf can't be honest about his feelings from the get-go, why pursue just more heartbreak? She is not interested in what he has to offer and clearly uncomfortable with poly.

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Originally Posted by paschendale View Post
Her offering this also suggests that she might be interested in getting back together with him and could be gently persuaded into abandoning her notion that I should not be involved.
"Gentle persuasion" or just pure manipulation? She's not interested in a polyship, not interested in a romantic relationship, and the two of you should accept what she says. If she's lying about her feelings, it's on her, not on the two of you.

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Originally Posted by paschendale View Post
Yet he also knows that if she doesn't want to get back together with him, he's going to only get more pain and heartbreak trying to ask her and ask her so he's considering abandoning the whole thing, perhaps even including their friendship.

...I feel that the flirting must stop and I am looking for advice on how to politely ask the secondary to cease and detist should my boyfriend prove unable to.
The only person who can make this stop is your boyfriend, through cutting off all contact with her. He has voiced the solution himself, and now only needs to act on it. There is nothing you can do - he will get over her eventually.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:27 PM
paschendale paschendale is offline
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She's not interested in a polyship, not interested in a romantic relationship, and the two of you should accept what she says. If she's lying about her feelings, it's on her, not on the two of you.
That's good advice. I suspect however that even if my boyfriend stopped asking her to renew their relationship, she would continue to flirt with him.

He could isolate himself from her but that would mean losing some of his very best friends, who are mutual friends of hers. Unlike her, those friends are not leaving, and I think he cares more about keeping them around than he does about her.

Therefore, if we both accept what she says at face value, I think it is also prudent for us to tell her to cut it out so we can enjoy interactions with our friends without having to deal with that.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by paschendale View Post
That's good advice. I suspect however that even if my boyfriend stopped asking her to renew their relationship, she would continue to flirt with him.
It's really simple - he would then have to tell her to stop that because it makes him uncomfortable, and physically pull away when she tries flirting and holding his hand. As long as he's wishy-washy about it, she won't stop.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:10 AM
paschendale paschendale is offline
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It's really simple - he would then have to tell her to stop that because it makes him uncomfortable, and physically pull away when she tries flirting and holding his hand. As long as he's wishy-washy about it, she won't stop.
I agree but I also think that if he told her spontaneously that he was no longer interested in her and then began to act cold toward her it would look like he was trying to manipulate her by giving her the old "you made your bed" routine. That is something he could never bring himself to do.

EDIT: Also who tagged this thread?
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:30 AM
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SourGirl SourGirl is offline
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'Why buy the cow, when you get the milk for free ?' comes to mind. She`ll flirt even when he tells her to stop, because he is continuing a relationship of sorts.

Everyone is manipulating everyone. Time for some big-boy pants. Let him tell her he is in love with her, and wants a cuddle-with-benefits arrangement. Period. End of story.

The truth should fix the problem. Manipulation is not a respectable way to work a friendship. Things need to just stand on their own merits or not at all.

The other option is to all drive yourselves crazy with the undercurrent of drama,...which, is exactly what has been happening.

Good luck.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:41 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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I would leave her alone and wait for her to leave. I would also tell her that you'll see her at christmas holidays and talk then. She sounds manipulative and lacks consideration for his feelings. Wait until september and then do some social event thingy for the friends you missed all month. She's got some growing up to do by the sounds of it and likely will get some in her first term of collage.

People tag threads all the time. Usually its me, but not me this time. Its no biggy. No need to be paranoid. Its a compliment actually
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