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Old 05-25-2015, 09:26 AM
hislittlekitten hislittlekitten is offline
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Exclamation My metamour does not respect me

Sigh. I'm exhausted but I can't get it out of my head.

So, two things:

1) I'm struggling a little with poly lately.

I just... right now... am having a hard time in the 'real' world, getting used to hiding my polyamorous relationship from family. Although it's mono on my end, and poly on his, I struggle with the idea that my man is in bed with another woman right now and if, for some ridiculous reason, someone were to ask, the honest truth would not be that my boyfriend is drinking with buddies, it would be that he's sleeping with his other lover.

I've just been told that I can't sell the cow when I've been giving the milk for free - unsolicited advice from my parents when my brother mentioned I'd been at my boyfriend's house all week - but while that normally wouldn't bother me (ha, they don't know what I truly believe about marriage), it's getting to me due to the fact that I have pretty strong feelings right now about my metamour laying in bed with my partner when she doesn't respect me.

So that is the mood that is exacerbating the problems. I'm feeling down. But... to the meat of the problem, the thing that isn't going to go away with a better mood and a few hours of sleep...

2) My metamour does not accept my position in my boyfriend's life.

My boyfriend says that she doesn't resent me, nor does she hate me, but she does not accept what I am in his life.

It's slowly making me crack. I will not approach her and she will not approach me. She has told him that she'll make changes, but what he has requested of her I'm not entirely sure; I know he has requested that she accept me as part of his life, but I don't believe she does.

I'm trying to be really fair to her, I am. I really want to have more positive feelings about her. I want to like her... but she doesn't even respect what I am to him. "No, she's not as strong as I am," he told me when I asked if she respects that I am his girlfriend. Ugh, red flag anyone?

At the very least, no matter how much I disagree with her life choices - that she's opened up her marriage (personally I feel OK with being involved in open relationships but not open marriages) - I still respect her. I respect that she made that choice, and I recognize my bias that I would not make the same choice. I respect that she chooses to carry on this relationship with my boyfriend and that my boyfriend chooses to carry on a relationship with her.

Part of my respect for her choice is believing that she's responsible for it, not anyone else. And she's also responsible for her actions and feelings. She hasn't owned up to any of those things lately, especially that she does not accept that his other relationship - which should have nothing to do with her - includes love, something she apparently thought was exclusively granted to her.

I've long accepted her position in my boyfriend's life - but I don't think she even knows her position in his life because she certainly doesn't know mine. She's *not* "the girlfriend," she is "the lover." She's a close, intimate friend. I wouldn't call her a friend with benefits - he might, but he doesn't find those words harsh, and I do. He has a close and intimate relationship with her, but me? I'm his girlfriend. We also have a close and intimate relationship, but we are partners. We support each other daily, in practical matters, and as publicly as we can (note: he's in the tail end of a divorce and has been in a long separation - due to my metamour's marriage and the fact that she and my partner are coworkers, they cannot be open with their relationship while he and I can). To some people, she might be a secondary. He might not describe her that way - definitely not to her face - but she isn't a primary.

Yeah, part of me feels guilty that it is part of what makes me feel secure about the relationship - that I am able to be closer to my boyfriend, to even call him a boyfriend, and that she isn't. But I understand that her relationship with him is different; part of that is circumstance (being coworkers, her being married), the other part is feelings (that he feels a certain way for me that he does not for her).

The hardass in me would not accept that one partner does not respect the other. If it were me, I would make it clear to my disrespectful partner that this is not okay, and that it has to stop - otherwise it's done. I do not have patience for such a thing. It would be like a mono partner not respecting my family.

The sympathetic person in me believes that she just needs time to accept that she isn't a primary. That she needs to get real about polyamory and realize that 1) she hasn't been conducting herself as if this is a polyamorous relationship (and yes, my boyfriend states that she "isn't being very poly"), and 2) she deserves the time to let go of the idea that she is his only love, and that can't just happen immediately.

So my questions for you all...

1) what are your thoughts? (Some of you have followed my journey with this relationship and I have gathered great insight from you all!)

2) what can *I* do to make this better?

3) what can I suggest to my partner to help make this improve?

4) where are my blind spots? Are there things I'm not considering, or bias I need to consider to help put this into better perspective?

One of my friends commented that I should be happier that this is my situation. That I have an upper hand. But I don't want to have that attitude. She's a person, too. She deserves respect. But why am I the one who can see that, yet she can't?
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Monogamous (in relationships) female.
Open to non-monogamy, learning about poly now.

I'm in a "zig-zag"/"Vee":
In a primary relationship with Kit.
Kit has another partner, Letty, who is married to Trent.
Trent has a partner, Annie.
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  #2  
Old 05-25-2015, 11:10 AM
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graviton graviton is offline
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You need to stop focusing on her. Get over the fact that you are not important to her. You have no relationship with her so who cares if she's not respectful of you? It seems to me you are pissing around your boyfriend like a cat claiming its territory. You are wrapped up in how much more important you seem to think you are to your boyfriend and you want her to outwardly acknowledge that.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:19 AM
MightyMax MightyMax is offline
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If I remember rightly, she expresses what you label "disrespect" by refusing to compromise on things like when she contacts him. I know others have rightly said that it's up to your partner to control that.

I can't help thinking that your discomfort with polyamory is a big part of this too, though. You make these distinctions between relationships that perhaps they don't subscribe to. It's probably true that he doesn't view her as a primary partner and his feelings for you are more traditional than his feelings for her. I don't necessarily believe that makes you a lot more significant than her in the way that you do. How you describe their relationship is what a lot of my poly friends would label a "secondary relationship". Others who are more mono normative or simply feel that they need that sense of all round partnership in their boy/girlfriends would call it "friend with benefits". I understand that sometimes people rely on these distinctions as a way of coping with polyamory, however, it can cause miscommunication and hurt when it becomes clear through actions that people aren't willing or simply cannot stick to these rigid boxes.

Personally, I wouldn't be with someone who didn't respect my other relationships and said as much. I know other people aren't as concerned about their feelings as long as their actions aren't intrusive or harmful. You know, the reason she may not respect your relationship with him is because she knows you'd prefer to be a monogamous relationship with him and she might feel that is disrespectful to their relationship and not conducive to what he ultimately wants, ie a polyamorous relationship. She might feel that you are ultimately "bad for him" and like many people, she feels the way forward is to be unsupportive of your relationship. That isn't exclusive to romantic or sexual partners; friends and family often do the same thing in their own way when a loved one is in what they feel is a "bad" relationship.

I have to also state that I wouldn't keep a partner who felt like you do about polyamory either. Especially if I was the liberal type of polyamorist like he seems to be.

I don't think there is anything more that you can do other than respect their time together in the way you want her to. I think if these relationships are going to continue, your partner needs to make sure there is no "leakage" from one relationship to the other. If he wants to keep a partner that has no respect for his other relationship(s), he can't share their feelings with you and you can t ask. He has to ensure he isn't spending a lot of time communicating with her during your time and vice versa.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:12 PM
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FallenAngelina FallenAngelina is offline
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Kitten, you asked for responses regarding what you might be missing, so I'll tell you that you sound extraordinarily competitive and in need of a hierarchy of relationships. You're struggling for reassurance of your value in how you compare to your metamoure and those kinds of thoughts will always feel terrible. Your suffering seems to be all around your attempts to get evidence of how you measure up against this woman. I can see enormous relief for you in simplifying everything here by just allowing each of you to be a woman who loves this man. Our perceptions of people just reflect what's going on inside of us and people treat us the way we tell them to treat us. You have every capacity to change your perception of this woman/this situation by changing your own competitive approach. Her perceived disrespect of you is not the problem. Your insecurities and fear of "losing" is the problem. This entire situation is within your control to change, it has nothing to do with her (or his) behavior or attitude.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hislittlekitten View Post
....I feel OK with being involved in open relationships but not open marriages
This is a whole can of worms that deserves its own thread. Wow, that's quite a statement!
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Last edited by FallenAngelina; 05-25-2015 at 12:34 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-25-2015, 12:17 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am sorry you struggle. I see that you want to be acknowledged as having an important place in his life... By her and by him.

I could be wrong in my impressions, but I'll try to give you my POV from what I read.

Quote:
I've just been told that I can't sell the cow when I've been giving the milk for free
I know the parents meant it about pre-marital sex/marriage... but did it bug you because it hit too close to home another way?

That you cannot sell the idea that others could respect you when you yourself are not doing self-respecting behavior? When you choose to continue to stay in a situation that you find disrespectful? That's "giving it away free."

Quote:
I will not approach her and she will not approach me. She has told him that she'll make changes, but what he has requested of her I'm not entirely sure; I know he has requested that she accept me as part of his life, but I don't believe she does.
Is that how she shows respect for you? By steering clear? Is that fair enough to you?

I gather from your other posts that one behavior you would like is for her not to text him while he is on a date with you unless it is an emergency. And his behavior you want is for him to text back "on date, cannot talk right now" an then be present again on the date. Not get all sucked up into his phone.

In that sense maybe she is NOT "steering clear" consistently? And that is what bugs you?

And he's not nipping it in the bud. So that bugs you too?

Like she won't exercise self control, and he won't set and enforce personal boundaries?

Quote:
The hardass in me would not accept that one partner does not respect the other. If it were me, I would make it clear to my disrespectful partner that this is not okay, and that it has to stop - otherwise it's done. I do not have patience for such a thing. It would be like a mono partner not respecting my family.
That sounds like you are bummed out with your BF continuing to date her even though she does not respect you. Are you? And this is more about him that's her?

Is it easier for you to pin it on her like this...

Quote:
I have pretty strong feelings right now about my metamour laying in bed with my partner when she doesn't respect me.
Than write it out like this

Quote:
I have pretty strong feelings right now about my partner laying in bed with my metamour when she doesn't respect me
and think about his role in it and ask yourself why you are not being hardass with him? Or with yourself?

That could be one blind spot to look out for. Wanting it to be all her. When the one who is picking her out to be with is him. And the one picking to be with him is you.

If he is chronically letting you down in various ways, you may have to reevaluate "I continue to date him" like a hardass in order to maintain your self-respect.

I think these are the things you can do to make it better for yourself:
  • Articulate your standards to yourself and what behaviors hold that standard up.
  • Ask yourself/her/him directly if each is willing to do those behaviors.
  • Give it a reasonable time frame for changes to take place in.
  • If it doesn't happen at the end of the time? Walk away. Be hardass with yourself about it too -- even if part of you is sad to leave? You LEAVE.

If your poly people or arrangements are just not up to snuff where you are happy to be in it? Don't be in it.

You cannot change other people's behavior. You CAN change your "staying-ness." Others do not have to respect you, but you can exercise self-respect and remove yourself from those kinds of people.

My 2 cents,
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-25-2015 at 02:07 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-25-2015, 12:24 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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My thoughts on this are you are too hung up on being superior to his other girlfriend. Your posts about her are belittling and condescending in tone. It makes you sound like a bitter and nasty person.

What can you do to make this better? Stop renting head space to her. Mind your own business and focus on yours. Another one would be leave the relationship since you're so miserable.

Stop suggesting anything to him about his relationships that have nothing to do you. Again mind your own business.
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Old 05-25-2015, 02:13 PM
hislittlekitten hislittlekitten is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graviton View Post
You need to stop focusing on her. Get over the fact that you are not important to her. You have no relationship with her so who cares if she's not respectful of you? It seems to me you are pissing around your boyfriend like a cat claiming its territory. You are wrapped up in how much more important you seem to think you are to your boyfriend and you want her to outwardly acknowledge that.
I wrote that whole post to try to avoid replies like this but apparently it's my fault. I guess that's what I get for writing it so late at night?

See, I feel like she's the one who refuses to acknowledge me. She refuses to hear the word "girlfriend."

He brought it up with her in the interest of being transparent with her. Because they have coworkers, for one thing, and didn't want her caught off guard by how he has chosen to refer to me. And honestly? It doesn't matter to me as much as you might think it does. It didn't matter before when I didn't feel like she needed to know the depth of our relationship. But because there's now that aspect - that he's referring to me in a way she didn't expect him to - *I* am seeing the results of her discomfort with it.

Would this have been easier for you to understand had I said, my metamour refuses to acknowledge what our shared lover decides to call me?
__________________

Monogamous (in relationships) female.
Open to non-monogamy, learning about poly now.

I'm in a "zig-zag"/"Vee":
In a primary relationship with Kit.
Kit has another partner, Letty, who is married to Trent.
Trent has a partner, Annie.
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  #8  
Old 05-25-2015, 02:19 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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She doesn't have to give you any recognition at all.

She doesn't need to validate your place in his life. That is your boyfriend's place.

Why do you give a hoot what she thinks of you? What bills of yours will she be paying this month.

Your boyfriend must get off on drama since he seems like he likes working you two against each other.

Can't you see the true problem here?
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Murf my monogamous second husband has been with me since May of 2012.
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Old 05-25-2015, 02:28 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Well, it sucks being a control freak when people won't do what you want them to do, doesn't it?

You've already exerted some degree of control over your bf Kit, by getting him to stop dating others and taking his profile down from OKCupid or wherever, but I am not sure if he is managing his texting others while he is with you. In one thread, you say he won't call you his girlfriend, which pisses you off, but now here you insist you are his gf and Letty is "just" a FWB. She's married, and since you take a dim view of open marriages, you look down on her and how she conducts her relationship with Kit. For some reason, you see her opinions of you as "disrespect." Hmmm. Seriously, what does it matter what she thinks of you? You're in a relationship with him, not her. Why do you deny that she needs, loves, or relies upon him just as much as you do? Besides that, you keep trying to manage his relationship with her, instead of minding your own damn business and just focusing on your relationship with him. But you keep letting her occupy your thoughts!

IMHO, you are just as disrespectful of her position in his life as she seems to be (in your view) of yours.

I see that the one major problem you have it not with her, but with him -- he is not managing being a hinge very well at all, AND simply the fact that he is a polyamorist is something you don't like at all. You want him all to yourself, are incredibly judgmental, want to be in control, and are in a situation you don't like one iota. From what I can tell from your posts, you and he haven't even been together for a year yet, and yet you've participated in quite a lot of drama over him, and keep trying to steer things the way you want them to go.

Why do you stay?
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Last edited by nycindie; 05-25-2015 at 02:43 PM.
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2015, 02:29 PM
hislittlekitten hislittlekitten is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappilyFallenAngel View Post
Kitten, you asked for responses regarding what you might be missing, so I'll tell you that you sound extraordinarily competitive and in need of a hierarchy of relationships. You're struggling for reassurance of your value in how you compare to your metamoure and those kinds of thoughts will always feel terrible. Your suffering seems to be all around your attempts to get evidence of how you measure up against this woman. I can see enormous relief for you in simplifying everything here by just allowing each of you to be a woman who loves this man. Our perceptions of people just reflect what's going on inside of us and people treat us the way we tell them to treat us. You have every capacity to change your perception of this woman/this situation by changing your own competitive approach. Her perceived disrespect of you is not the problem. Your insecurities and fear of "losing" is the problem. This entire situation is within your control to change, it has nothing to do with her (or his) behavior or attitude.




This is a whole can of worms that deserves its own thread. Wow, that's quite a statement!
Well, thanks for psychoanalyzing me. I purposely tried to write this post to avoid this. I'm not remotely trying to compete. The way I see it, when I entered this relationship, I had asked only a few things of my partner and that I not be 'lesser' than anything; that I am not a secondary. He does not attach those labels, and like I wrote, he would not attach that label with her - while others would probably describe her as a secondary, he's opposed to using that label.

(Apparently the way I wrote that didn't read the way I wanted you all too understand it. Instead of viewing it as "he doesn't attach hierarchical labels," you're all jumping on me for painting you the situational hierarchy.)

I'm sorry but I disagree with your sentiment that I struggle with how I'm valued against her. I don't give a shit about how she's valued against me. I've been fine with who she is to him and increasingly, always happier to what he is to me. What it feels like to be on this side of things... when my relationship is able to grow on the outside, yet hers can't because she's a married poly and does not wish to be public about it (plus they can't due to work), she simply can't be public about him. He wishes to be public about me and she acts out when he does.

That's how I see it. That he wants to be public about me and she doesn't like it. She never thought of me as any more than FWB is what he told me, and now she's having to face it.

So yeah. I think it's SHE who has the problem with what we are to him. I welcome her presence in his life. I just have a problem with this disrespect, and I feel like if I were poly in this too that you all wouldn't be telling me these things.
__________________

Monogamous (in relationships) female.
Open to non-monogamy, learning about poly now.

I'm in a "zig-zag"/"Vee":
In a primary relationship with Kit.
Kit has another partner, Letty, who is married to Trent.
Trent has a partner, Annie.
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