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Old 08-21-2011, 07:00 AM
Rayek Rayek is offline
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Default What to do when metamour's needs conflict with mine. [long!]

Hello. This will be a long one, I'll try to make it as sweet as possible.

For the sake of clarity I'll use some names, none of which are the names of anyone involved.

I met Beth when she was bound to blossom into the world's best lesbian ever. She was learning the ropes, meeting new people, and had just come out to her family. Then I stepped in...

Because I don't like the idea of me being "the man" and pulling her away from what could've been a road to self-discovery, I told her to continue searching for women. I couldn't be happier that, after two years of sleeping around (Not to mention us having a wonderful, worry-free, almost perfect relationship), she's finally found someone (Mary).

Then the poly stuff got a little crazy. Beth wasn't respecting my boundaries, I felt like she wasn't aware of my feelings, and she was giving Mary our time together. For example, Beth had gone on a trip with her family and was gone for several days. The first night she returned, she spent with Mary instead of me. Now I know that maybe I should have not felt so bad about it, but it really hurt my feelings at the time and I broke it off with her for about seven hours of traumatic sobbing.

Since then, we've really opened up to each other, we've worked through a lot of trust and other issues with each other, and she's been reading Ethical Slut, and I've felt more and more comfortable sharing how certain things make me feel. We spent a week together sobbing it out, and have come back stronger. I feel like being polyamorous is and has been the best way for us to be together.

Her partner, on the other hand, isn't as forgiving.

Not to say that she doesn't care about the situation, because Beth assures me she does, and she was very nice about giving us a whole week to ourselves, but one of my main 'working through jealousy moments' was realizing how much I wanted to meet her partner.

I mean, regardless of what kind of time we have together, Mary and I DO influence each others lives, and without being able to put a face to a name it becomes easier to loathe, disrespect, and make assumptions about one another. Moreover, it would be much easier to be amicable to each others situations if we were to meet in a non-confrontational place just to get to know each other.

But Mary seems to think my need to meet her, just to be friendly, makes me seem like she'd be "asking [Beth's] father for permission to date her". And she's very much against any awkwardness. I went out of my way to make the request as non-threatening as possible, having Beth text Mary my number so when she was ready she could set up something.

I can't dissuade someone from thinking something incorrect about me if I cannot talk with them face-to-face. Also, I feel a little bit apprehensive to feel okay with Beth being with someone who doesn't even want to meet me at all.

Tonight the situation almost erupted.

Beth and Mary were spending the night together, and obviously, the details are none of my business, I don't care to ask, and Beth doesn't care to share, which is totally fine. I went for a night out with my girlfriends, and turns out the bar we decide to start the night out with, Beth and Mary are expected anytime. I clam up, get a leaden feeling in my stomach and need to leave immediately.

Imagine that meeting! "Oh, hi. I'm glad to meet you. I see you're taking my partner to meet with our mutual friends. Why didn't you want to meet me? Oh well, now you have. This is MUCH better." How would anyone and everyone react? It would have been a shit-show had I arrived a half an hour later. That's not how I want to be presented with the situation.

Beth says, "I'm sorry, I need to respect her wishes too." In that Mary wishes not to meet me in a comfortable environment.

I really want to respect Beth and Mary, but Mary is making it harder and harder every day that she shies away from meeting me. I want to respect her wishes, but it was like I was giving an olive branch to her to say "I'm no longer jealous of the time you and Beth spend together. I would like to learn to be genuinely happy for the both of you." and she calls me a 'doting father' in so many words, and refuses to take my offer of peace. I know it might have been a little awkward, but now it certainly WILL be awkward, no matter where or when it happens.

Please read, and help. Give some examples, help out in any way you can. I can never forget how I felt tonight, and that feeling could've been completely avoided. we could've had a good time chatting together.

-Max

Edit: There's surprisingly little information anywhere on dealing with matamour's needs, and conflicts therein. I've perused the internet for a few weeks about the subject, and haven't found anything really. Or what one should expect from a partner's secondary. I know all situations are different, but I need to know what's "red flag" behaviour and what's my own issue.

Last edited by Rayek; 08-21-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:53 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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First, Mary is a metamour, not a tertiary. You're not dating Mary so she isn't primary/secondary/tertiary to you in any fashion.

Next, Mary has no obligation whatsoever to meet you and spend time with you. It is as simple as that. Whether or not the two of you meet has absolutely nothing to do with showing respect for the other's time with Beth.

Third, your reaction to going to the same bar they were scheduled to arrive at later is entirely your problem. You could have stayed there and enjoyed yourself--you had no obligation to leave just because Mary doesn't want to run into you. Piss on that--you don't have to schedule your life around her desire to not meet you. How 'bout you stop worrying about that and schedule your free time without giving her a single thought? Life will be much better that way.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:19 AM
Rayek Rayek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
First, Mary is a metamour, not a tertiary. You're not dating Mary so she isn't primary/secondary/tertiary to you in any fashion.
Sorry if my terms are incorrect, I'm Beth's primary, Mary is her tertiary. I don't think I said she was my tertiary or anything, just that the relationship they have together isn't the primary one.

Quote:
Next, Mary has no obligation whatsoever to meet you and spend time with you. It is as simple as that. Whether or not the two of you meet has absolutely nothing to do with showing respect for the other's time with Beth.
I'd like to know why/how not wanting to meet me is in any way showing respect for the fact that I exist in Beth's life.

Nearly everything... No, everything I've ever read on the subject says otherwise. In fact, some people here have put "not wanting to meet their partner's other partners" in their list of 'red flag behaviours'. As I said, our lives are already affecting one another's, and if situations like this occur more often than we would want them (and it has already, once) then meeting in neutral territory will help diffuse situations. Also, I think it does very much have to do with respect for Beth and I. The idea that in many ways she can pretend that Beth and I don't exist is a big hindrance. And quite a worry, too. And it slightly offends me.

Quote:
Third, your reaction to going to the same bar they were scheduled to arrive at later is entirely your problem. You could have stayed there and enjoyed yourself--you had no obligation to leave just because Mary doesn't want to run into you. Piss on that--you don't have to schedule your life around her desire to not meet you. How 'bout you stop worrying about that and schedule your free time without giving her a single thought? Life will be much better that way.
Maybe I didn't explain very well. We are new to this. I'm posting in the "New to Polyamory" forum. I'm not an expert at wishing away jealousy and pretending like it doesn't exist. Also, Mary doesn't just not want to 'run into me', she doesn't want to know me at all. I didn't want to just 'run into her' while dealing with my jealousy issues. To be honest, I was "scheduling my free time without giving her a single thought", I was having a night out with my friends to forget about it. Also, I realize that a lot of my jealousy is internal, and Beth has been very good about helping me work through it, but there comes a point where all that can be done is done and I just have to 'bite the bullet' so-to-speak and work through it on my own. This is not one of those issues, this is an easily avoidable situation that would have been a whole lot better had Mary and I met.

Also, I've not felt more talked-down to about something serious that's happening in my life, I think ever. I think you have a rigid view by which you view polyamory which somehow doesn't include feelings like jealousy, or recognizes when people fought for a long time to acknowledge what they need from a situation in order for things to work. To be honest, I kind of feel like you're projecting onto me, turning me into this 'doting father', when that's not the situation at all. I didn't do this to you, I didn't do anything to anyone, please don't talk to me like I'm a child. That response was not helpful at all and I don't see how it could've been meant to be.

Thanks, internet

Last edited by Rayek; 08-21-2011 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:00 PM
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Mohegan Mohegan is offline
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Why do you feel the need to meet Mary? I'm curious if it's because that's what you read should happen or if you really want to. It sounds like there may be other underlying issues that you want to work out aside from jealousy.

I haven't met Karma's girlfriend Cookie. I'd like to...maybe...one day. And she feels the same. And to be honest so far it's worked out really well. Not knowing eachother has made it easier to keep the relationships seperate. I'm not sure how Karma feels about it, but it makes things a hell of a lot easier for me. But I don't have jealousy about her or their time together. I do get angry when Karma doesn't balance time well, but that's a balance thing and not a jealousy thing.

Can you move on and past your jealousy over their time together without meeting her? I get wanting to meet her and clear things up, but if shes not willing why push it?

As for the bar. You know what you are willing to deal with and not willing. Had it been me, I'd have enjoyed my night out and gone about my night whether she was there or not. Nothing said you had to talk to her. Nothing says she and Beth would have stayed upon realising you were at the same place. But it sounds like you were given the heads up, which makes me question if Beth knew you were there, why didn't she go ahead and make arrangements to go somewhere else?
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:54 PM
Rayek Rayek is offline
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Originally Posted by Mohegan View Post
Why do you feel the need to meet Mary? I'm curious if it's because that's what you read should happen or if you really want to. It sounds like there may be other underlying issues that you want to work out aside from jealousy.
With the initial invitation to have coffee, it's true that I really wanted to meet her. I was interested in knowing the person Beth felt so much about, I didn't see us talking poly, or even Beth for that matter. I imagined us waxing intellectual about music, gender things (hang out with me for a half an hour and it'll come up...), coffee, the East Coast, anything. But I think now that she somewhat has closed that door in such a way... I don't know. It allows a lot of distrust to build. She obviously has misconceptions about the situation and about me, and now I think it's just to get the record straight, to make sure she's on the same page as Beth and I.

I'm wondering what other issues might I have other than jealousy? I'd like to know some possibilities, perhaps I'm not aware yet. I've done a lot of soul-searching and I have some abandonment issues, but most of them revolve around Beth and my relationship, not necessarily between Beth and Mary.

Quote:
I haven't met Karma's girlfriend Cookie. I'd like to...maybe...one day. And she feels the same. And to be honest so far it's worked out really well. Not knowing eachother has made it easier to keep the relationships seperate. I'm not sure how Karma feels about it, but it makes things a hell of a lot easier for me. But I don't have jealousy about her or their time together. I do get angry when Karma doesn't balance time well, but that's a balance thing and not a jealousy thing.
That seems to work for you, I think Mary hopes that it works that way as well. I trust Beth, the problem is I don't know if I trust Mary, and I don't really like the idea of someone who seems like she doesn't like me being close to the one I love. I hate to not be able to set the record straight about myself, especially to someone who's affecting my life so drastically. Maybe after we're all more well-versed in the ways to go about things I will feel more secure with not knowing who Beth is seeing, but as of now I saw a way for all of this to work smoothly and that way was closed by Mary.

Quote:
Can you move on and past your jealousy over their time together without meeting her? I get wanting to meet her and clear things up, but if shes not willing why push it?
I had been relaxed about the meeting thing since Beth and I had our 'week of catharsis' together. After Mary refused the invitation I got a bit irritated and felt a little helpless, but they've been seeing each other since then and I wasn't going to bring it up until we were all ready. But last night is a prime example of how a few minutes of awkwardness over coffee could have dissolved the whole situation. It makes me frustrated, I feel like I'm seeing two steps ahead and trying to mitigate worse awkwardness in the future, while Mary is thinking about how crappy meeting me now would be.

Quote:
As for the bar. You know what you are willing to deal with and not willing. Had it been me, I'd have enjoyed my night out and gone about my night whether she was there or not. Nothing said you had to talk to her. Nothing says she and Beth would have stayed upon realising you were at the same place. But it sounds like you were given the heads up, which makes me question if Beth knew you were there, why didn't she go ahead and make arrangements to go somewhere else?
Yes. I might have gone on with my night, but I was getting "the bad feeling". I don't know how to describe it other than that. A public place that serves alcohol is nowhere near the place to work with "the bad feeling". Especially when the source of it all is outside having a grand ole time. I'm still working around a lot of things, it's gotten much better, but something about it doesn't sit right with me, mostly Mary's attitude regarding me. I of course would like to say that my escape from the bar was a way to respect Mary's feelings, but to be honest I just didn't want to meet her there. I didn't want to be in that situation, then, in public, with mutual friends around. Especially with "the feeling" tearing away at my chest.

Also, what happened was, a few of Beth's friends were visiting from New York. Usually I'm appraised of that situation, we all hang out together and such and have a good time. So I arrived and saw them there, and said how "I didn't know you were coming up, does Beth know you're here". I had no clue Beth and Mary were to show up at any point, they didn't know we were going to the same bar.

Regardless, my girlfriends and I bar-hopped around town and had a good time, and I almost forgot about everything til I was at home alone.

Thanks for the reply.

Edit: Also, I want to not interfere at all with their time together, if possible. I won't text or call, or anything while she's with Mary. I want to respect their time and space together. So if they're gonna be where I am and it's their night together, I don't want to get in the way at all. I want not to be "The guy that's friends with everyone sitting at this table but refuses to say 'hi' or look our way." A lot of this is because I'm aware of how I come off to Mary. I want to be friendly, I want to be happy for Beth. I want Beth to explore this.

Last edited by Rayek; 08-21-2011 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:19 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Hey Rayek, please don't give up on this board because of one comment. We all have differing opinions here, and different needs for certain things to happen to feel comfortable and deal with jealousy.

However, I do get Mary's feeling you are Beth's "doting father." Sometimes when I am helping my gf get ready for a date, I feel less like a lover, and more maternal.

It's too bad M is so afraid to meet though, since it's important to you. Maybe she'll come around. You can't change her or force her though. All you can do is deal with your own issues.

You could have stayed at the bar. Maybe meeting her in your group of friends might've been a good neutral way to meet. Maybe not, but now you don't know.

BTW, M is B's secondary. A tertiary would be M's 3rd lover, if she were to have one. M is your metamour, and if B had a 3rd partner, s/he would also be your metamour.

I realize this is all new to you, and I wish you the best of luck as you proceed! It's a rollercoaster. Take care of yourself. Be kind and patient with all concerned.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:34 PM
Rayek Rayek is offline
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
It's too bad M is so afraid to meet though, since it's important to you. Maybe she'll come around. You can't change her or force her though. All you can do is deal with your own issues.
That may be the solution, and if the situation wasn't so cathartic for me last night, I would have been into 'toughing it out'. But knowing that it all could have been avoided with a simple chat, and even ended up being an awesome time makes me frustrated.

Maybe I can forget it and try to work through, it's going to be hard because I feel like if we met it could only get better from there. As it stands now, it's getting worse.

Quote:
I realize this is all new to you, and I wish you the best of luck as you proceed! It's a rollercoaster. Take care of yourself. Be kind and patient with all concerned.
Thanks for the support.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:17 PM
CranberryStardust CranberryStardust is offline
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I am new to all of this as well but...

I totally understand your need and desire to meet Mary. It would also concern me if I asked to meet someone, anyone, who was in my partners life and they were soooo opposed to it. What's the big deal? Why is she so adamant with her refusal? To me, it almost sounds like she realizes how important it is to you and is using it to exert some control.

I am curious. Again, new to all of this, but traditionally, when we are dating someone, we meet their friends, families, coworkers eventually...its part of knowing someone, it brings you closer. So why would it ne abnormal or wrong to want to meet your partners other romantic partner? Question for those who expressed that he shouldn't want to meet Mary.

Also, the father comments? Completely rude. She is taking the sex and love out of your relationship with Beth with that comment and making you a stuffy, stodgy old man character. Hmmm...maybe that's how she prefers to think of you? Maybe she feels more threatened or insecure than you know and wants to pretend you are just a Platonic fatherly figure in Beth's life rather than a person with feelings and desires just like her.

Just musing.
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:26 PM
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Bahalana Bahalana is offline
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I understand why you left the bar, if you felt that was best for you, good job doing it. You just have to specify that so nobody thinks your trying to say that somebody else is responsible for your feelings and actions.

Yes, she doesn't have to meet you and you can't force her. It might feel like she's being disrespectful to you, but she is being respectful to herself, just as you were being respectful to yourself when you suggested meeting in the first place. If you can't respect and take care of yourself, it's unlikely you'll be able to do either for anybody else.

Lastly, while this could just be an insecurity that you need to work through, it could also be a new boundary for you. You're bound to have a few come and go over the years, as you grow and develop. Though they can often cause problems/drama if you discover one in the middle of a relationship because it will feel like you're changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Example: There are a large number of people that use the term fluid bonding, which is an agreement to have unprotected sex within the fluid bonded relationship and protected sex outside of the relationship. People that ask for this agreement have a boundary about safe sex and look for partners that either respect that boundary or share it, and we subsequently call it an agreement.

My personal boundary is to meet anyone my partners have sex with, within geographical reason that is. I assume Beth and Mary are sexually active, I doubt however, that they are using dental dams, gloves, condoms on toys, or separate toys. Suffice it to say I am super STD/STI conscientious, if I were in your place I'd be freaking the fuck out, but that's just me. I haven't always had this boundary, and was once quite unsafe, but I can only be in a relationship with people that respect my boundaries.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:10 PM
Rayek Rayek is offline
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Originally Posted by Bahalana View Post
Lastly, while this could just be an insecurity that you need to work through, it could also be a new boundary for you. You're bound to have a few come and go over the years, as you grow and develop. Though they can often cause problems/drama if you discover one in the middle of a relationship because it will feel like you're changing the rules in the middle of the game.
I do feel a bit bad for bringing it up after so long, but honestly, once it became clear that what we were getting into was polyamory and not just "sex with friends" I had the inclination immediately. Not to say that I set it up as a boundary, or a personal need from the relationship from the start, but now that I've recognized that meeting her IS a boundary, have made that vocal to all parties involved, and still feel trapped by Mary's decision, and will have to be for who-knows-how-long, I can't see an end to it.

Actually, come to think of it, I had mentioned that I'd wanted to meet or hang out with Beth's "friends with benefits" before, and her sexual partners were always against the idea. So, this has come up before under different circumstances.
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