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Old 01-09-2012, 02:36 PM
gwendolenthefair's Avatar
gwendolenthefair gwendolenthefair is offline
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Default Weird relationship model?

I just got into some difficulties with a good friend who would like to be more to me. My husband and I are friends with both my friend and his wife. The problem came about when the man started to want more from me than friendship. I like him a lot and there was definitely a spark, but it turns out that he and I had very different expectations about how we would pursue our relationship, and some frustration and hurt feelings arose out of this. After one rather nice one-on-one date with him (which I know his wife expressly told him to arrange,) he kept doing stuff like inviting me out on what I thought was a date for just us, and then, all of a sudden, his wife was coming too. So I'd invite my husband, and my romantic relationship with my friend did not proceed, as I saw it. This grew very frustrating over time, especially because my friend acted like we were dating, and I did not see it that way at all, since I wasn't getting any alone time with him to speak of.

I just found out some details that illuminated why he was behaving as he was. In his previous "poly" relationships outside his marriage, he and his (heterosexual) wife had only gotten involved with women who were already close friends of hers, and his wife was ALWAYS along, whether they were hanging out, going places, or having sex. Both my friend and his wife seem to think that he was having serious relationships with these women, not friendships with benefits. I don't see how, if the other women never had alone time with the husband.

Overall, I find dating as a couple reasonable if the situation is a quad or a triad, but it does not compute to me if the situation is a vee.

Has anyone else encountered this, a couple who dates a third person as a couple even though the potential relationship is a vee, not a triad? That's all we could ever be, I am very straight, and I was told that his wife is too. I'm not talking about having some hangout time with the wife, I'm talking about her being there just about all the time.

I have told my friend that I don't do romantic relationships this way, that it's totally unacceptable to me. I am 95 percent sure I only want friendship from him now, it feels like he's killed whatever might have been special between us. I am curious about what others would think about this though. Has anyone else encountered people like this?
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Old 01-09-2012, 03:05 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Sounds insane to me, on their end. But I'm curious as to his response -- when he realized that this wasn't what you wanted, was he willing to do things differently, or do they feel she has to be there for some reason (insecurity on her part, need for a security blanket on his part??)?
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
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Old 01-09-2012, 03:55 PM
km34 km34 is offline
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The only reason I could think of (besides what Annabel said) is that maybe the wife enjoys the more intimate/emotional connection with women even if she doesn't enjoy PHYSICALLY being with women.

I agree though, that I wouldn't be able to have a romantic relationship with someone without some alone time. I think even if I were to someday be in a quad/triad I would want a bit of time to spend with each person individually every now and then.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:01 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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I had been talking to a guy 2 years ago who does relationships like this. That he and his wife have found that everything works better for them if she's involved, especially in anything physical. It was weird to me, I had another friend who was interested in being more and so I declined the offer to be in a relationship with the man whose wife would be involved in our relationship.

I'm not interested in dating women, since I'm not sexually interested in them. I'm happy to be friends with women, especially the partners of people that I'm involved with but to have to agree to allow a partner to be an integral part of my relationship is just odd to me. I don't blame you for finding it weird.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:07 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Sounds insane to me, on their end. But I'm curious as to his response -- when he realized that this wasn't what you wanted, was he willing to do things differently, or do they feel she has to be there for some reason (insecurity on her part, need for a security blanket on his part??)?
I have known of people who show up on first dates with their partners. I really don't mind if somebody wants to show up with their partner on a first date, but I expect to be told of this ahead of time. Somebody just showing up without warning me, wouldn't be seeing me again.

Yes, what did he say? After one or two times of his wife being invited. I'd specifically say "Is your wife coming or is this a date" If he is told you don't consider it dating HIM if it's not just you and him, I would say "not interested in a dating if it's always in a group situation" and expect an answer right then and there.

If he said he didn't date one on one and that wasn't for me, I'd just tell him I was only interested in friendship then. He could decide if he wanted to pursue a relationship with me anyway, and then negotiate with his wife to come up with a different dynamic where they aren't joined at the hip.

Have you even broached the subject of if that means he expects his wife will show up in the bedroom if YOUR relationship gets to a sexual stage? That is something I'd really be concerned about bringing up ASAP. If you have zero interest in it he should know. If you don't have any desire to have nothing but FMF sex where he is the center of the universe, dating him doesn't seem to make any sense.

As to if any of the relationships were serious relationships and not just FWB, I'd say that was up to the individual involved. Some of them might have been content with that and did feel it fit their definition of that. It doesn't fit my personal criteria for a serious romantic relationship though.
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:22 PM
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SourGirl SourGirl is offline
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I don`t even see how it is 'friends with benefits' if you get no alone time ! None of my FWB`s ever tried to keep their spouse in the mix.

There is definitely a control/trust issue at play. To each their own, but I have never worried about 'what' someone is doing, but more so 'how' they do it.

I`ve known spouses that need to meet, spouses that need to converse, some right away, some later on. All that is fine. Many times, it can feel quite natural.

There does seem to be a 'creep factor' with some who seem desperate to meet, follow along, and keep an eye on things.

As a friend, I would tell him honestly, what puts you off,...Then let them chew on it awhile, and see if they change for the next person, or at least understand they need to be upfront about how things work for them. I think that is the part that bugs me most. It seems underhanded.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:19 PM
faraday faraday is offline
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It doesn't sound like you'ed been talking to him very much about what you think a relationship would be. It sounds strange to me and I would have a very hard time dating someone who needed to function that way. But have you talked with him? Is this a "always and forever" thing or just a "while we both get used to you" thing. You said you know that his wife was okay with the first alone date but have you ever talked with her about it?

I don't know if I'm reading this wrong but to me it sounds like you weren't communicating with either of them about your expectations and they weren't communicating with you so when you hit the (inevitable) wall you got angry at him and told him it couldn't possibly work without ever sitting down and talking about what all three of you need/want from this relationship. There are so many ways to do non-mongamy and it sounds like all three of you were assuming that the way it was in your head would be the way it worked on all sides and that clearly isn't true. If you like him I wouldn't give up until you figure out what there real limitations, boundaries and desires are. Give them a chance to hear your feelings and be willing to work with them to find something that works for all of you. Maybe that something doesn't exist but if you really like someone it's well worth a shot.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:18 PM
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gwendolenthefair gwendolenthefair is offline
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But have you talked with him? Is this a "always and forever" thing or just a "while we both get used to you" thing. You said you know that his wife was okay with the first alone date but have you ever talked with her about it?

I actually met my friend J. and his wife in person last spring, after several months of IM friendship with just J. I brought my husband along that first time because I am not comfortable with meeting a couple on my own. I've done it but do not like the power imbalance in those situations one bit. All four of us got along well. We continued to socialize as couples. J. was deliberately not dating at that point anyway because of a lot of family obligations, his situation was "let's be friends now and maybe someday that can change." I was fine with that, especially since I was pursuing another relationship that I found extremely compelling.

J. knew these things about me up front:

1. I was absolutely not going to go out on dates with just J. and his wife, and if he wanted to bring his spouse, I was going to bring mine too.
2. I was absolutely closed to the possibility of having sex with a man and another woman. I WAS open to foursomes with my husband and another couple in the context of a poly quad relationship, although since J's wife is supposedly not interested in partners for herself at present, I considered that option just theoretical (at least where J. and his wife were concerned).

We did NOT discuss how we would proceed otherwise, since, if a three-person relationship was not on the table (and it emphatically was not), I assumed (I think reasonably) that the default would be me dating him on my own, at least most of the time.

In early November, J. told me that his life had changed enough so that he and his wife both felt really good about him pursuing a relationship with me. He and I went out on a one on one date. It was literally the first time we'd ever been alone together, and it went well. Then J. asked me out on a second date, and I happily accepted. A day later, J. told me that his wife wanted to come along too, so I shrugged and invited my husband. The four of us had our usual good time together. Several weeks later, J. and I got together at a local cafe one on one to talk about something that hadn't gone well in our communication. To my surprise, he invited me back to his house that night, saying that his wife was away (I had not been told that beforehand). As it turned out, he also wanted to have sex that night. (We'd previously done nothing more than kiss.) I told him that I wasn't nearly ready to get sexual with him, since it was only the second time we'd ever been alone together, and we limited ourselves to kissing and clothed cuddling.

I would have thought me saying "I'm not ready to sleep with you yet because we haven't spent enough alone time together" would have inspired J. to make it possible for us to spend alone time together. Instead, a week later, he asked me out on what I thought was a one on one date, then told me 45 minutes prior to it that his wife (who was supposed to be sick that day) was coming too! I was extremely irritated, considered not going at all, scrambled to call my husband and see if he could get there as well, and then, J. and his wife canceled at the last minute anyway (she didn't have a valid photo ID with her to get into the pub we were supposed to meet at). It was the last straw, and I have told him that we need to be just friends now.

J. is now saying "Oh, maybe we DO want a quad, my wife is suddenly interested in your husband." I threw my hands up and told my sweet husband to have a great time dating J's wife if he wanted to, but that a quad does not feel right to me anymore.

That's where we are at the moment.

Last edited by gwendolenthefair; 01-09-2012 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:12 PM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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What a cluster fuck of miscommunication, lack of really listening and communication tools and possibly disrespecting your boundaries. Ya, I'd throw in the towel. At least for now. Maybe just staying friends would be less confusing. It sounds like you aren't interested any more anyway. I wouldn't be either as lack of good communication skills is a real turn off for me.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:23 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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If he really wants a relationship with you, it has to be either with her along or in a quad... geez. It sure does sound like his wife is super insecure and controlling if she has to be there and have a say in every little thing. Are you friendly enough with her to talk about it and find out? Even though you've pretty much written him off as a lover, I'd be curious.

He sounds like someone who thinks that's how poly has to be. Like, he's not even hearing you because what you're saying goes against his ideas of poly. Or he's just whipped.
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