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Old 01-11-2018, 02:54 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Default How do I choose which partner to marry?

This is my dilemma:

I've been in a LDR with Jester for almost three years now. We've been through a lot together and are slowly coming out the other side. He asked me to marry him early on, and at first I wouldn't consider it as I was still married to my husband of 25 years (the divorce should be finalised midway through this year.) However, I accepted a while later, and we are now unofficially engaged. Jester gave me a ring when I travelled to his country last year.

I've been with my other partner, Boho, for almost two years. Likewise, we've been through a lot, including first time in a relationship with another woman (for both of us) and, for me, also the first time being in a true polyamorous situation. (When I was young, I was briefly in an unintentionally poly situation.)

Both my partners live in the same country as each other (a different country to mine) and because of that, we've spent limited time "in person" together, so far, though Boho and I are due to travel together again in a couple of months, without Jester.

Boho has always known and supported Jester and I in our plan to be together full-time, and to marry. The three of us are in a "V" arrangement, but plan to all live together eventually, therefore, Boho and Jester are also - or will be - meta/partners... life partners, in many respects.

The thing is... Boho is better off financially than either Jester or I. She has a good career, higher earning capacity and a more stable lifestyle overall. For these reasons, she has suggested that it would wiser if she and I married, instead of Jester and I, because she can prove to the relevant authorities that she will be able to support me when I apply to residency in their country.

She is wary of stepping on Jester's toes and appearing as if she's trying to undercut him by taking "what's not meant for her", because, as she says I'm already "spoken for" when it comes to marriage. However, realistically speaking, it makes zero sense to marry Jester given his current life situation. (Although he owns property, he is a full-time student and veteran substance user. Moreover, he is extremely idealistic and not terribly practical or worldly, despite this.)

Boho and I love each other too, and know we would have taken this step at some point, regardless. But how do we bring it up with Jester? I really don't think he'll object, per se - he loves her and understands her strengths - however it's a potentially touchy subject and I'd like some pointers on how to address the topic, word it, etc.
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Me, Lunabunny: F, 50, heteroflexible
Jester: M, 59, straight, primary partner (LD)
Boho: F, 57, heteroflexible, primary partner (LD)

Red: M, 53, straight, ex-husband
Bud: early 20s, son
Lola: early 20s, daughter
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2018, 03:04 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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lunabunny,

Is marriage a necessity for you to move to their country and live there permanently? Like you can't stay long term without it? Are there other avenues for you to move to their country without legal marriage? (Work visa? Investor?)

(I distinguish between legal marriage, which is a type of legal contract, and spiritual or secular partnership which may or may not have a ceremony. They often overlap but not always.)

If there is another way besides legal marriage, I suggest considering it. If you can get to where you want to go - living together in their country - without legal entanglements, that can be a less burdensome. There are many advantages to legal marriage but also a lot of potential long term complications.

Also, while you've been with both partners a few years, it seems much of that time has not been physically together in the same place. Is that correct? Regardless of how the legal marriage thing shakes out, I really urge you to spend way more in person time with each partner (and all three together if possible). There is no way to determine what's like to share space except by sharing space. That way if things go awry, you are not also dealing with legal implications.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:37 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Thank you for your well thought out reply, opalescent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
lunabunny,

Is marriage a necessity for you to move to their country and live there permanently? Like you can't stay long term without it? Are there other avenues for you to move to their country without legal marriage? (Work visa? Investor?)
Most likely, yes. You see, up until recently, I'd been a stay-at-home mother/housewife, working only from home in family businesses and the like. I don't have much in the way of marketable skills when it comes to emigrating to a foreign country. And while work is a possibility, it probably wouldn't be of the type that'd guarantee me permanent residency for life.

In all probability, the most expedient method of gaining residency is via legal marriage to one of my partners. Boho has recently been involved in helping one of her adult children's partners move from her own home country. Additionally, she herself (Boho) has moved back and forth between Europe and The States, so she's pretty well versed in the issues, from experience.

Quote:
(I distinguish between legal marriage, which is a type of legal contract, and spiritual or secular partnership which may or may not have a ceremony. They often overlap but not always.)
I understand what you mean. And yes, I am speaking of a legal marriage here. Currently, I wear Jester's ring, as future marriage is, or had been our arrangement. But in addition, we three ALL wear a plain band to signify our love and commitment to each other. (We have yet to have a ceremony, but do consider ourselves already "bonded" in a threeway partnership, on an emotional/spiritual level.)


Quote:
Also, while you've been with both partners a few years, it seems much of that time has not been physically together in the same place. Is that correct? Regardless of how the legal marriage thing shakes out, I really urge you to spend way more in person time with each partner (and all three together if possible). There is no way to determine what's like to share space except by sharing space. That way if things go awry, you are not also dealing with legal implications.
Let me address the very valid concerns you bring up, above:

Jester and Boho have spent a lot of time together over the past four years or so; sharing the same space. (They used to be intimately involved, but their dynamic has shifted somewhat since I've come into the picture.)

I haven't spent much time with either, in comparison, that is true. It has been impossible, considering the distance between our countries, though we talk every day via text, phone, video chat, voice message etc. I did spend a month in their country last year - part of that time with both of them together - during which time, none of us had to work, so we spent 24/7 in each other's company. Still, not long, I know.

For this reason, there will be another couple of trips during which we spend time together, undiluted. (As I said, Boho and I already have something booked for March-April... and I hope to see Jester/both again around the end of the year.)

Believe me, we have been taking our time so far, getting to know each other, sorting out issues that have threatened to undermine the whole thing, building and re-building trust... and have all agreed there is no particular rush. Yet having said that, we do acknowledge we're not getting any younger (see ages in my signature below), and want to get this show on the road without undue delay, if possible, knowing that bureaucracy can be slower than a snail and a hundred times as infuriating.

My main concern is how and when to bring up this subject with Jester.
__________________
Me, Lunabunny: F, 50, heteroflexible
Jester: M, 59, straight, primary partner (LD)
Boho: F, 57, heteroflexible, primary partner (LD)

Red: M, 53, straight, ex-husband
Bud: early 20s, son
Lola: early 20s, daughter
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  #4  
Old 01-11-2018, 04:36 PM
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vinsanity0 vinsanity0 is offline
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The practical side of me says to marry the one who gives the best chance at obtaining your ultimate goal. I see legal marriage as a technicality.

The thought that you are already spoken for is a monogamous sentiment. Trying to fit that into poly is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

So, if it is more practical to marry Boho, hopefully Jester can understand that. FWIW, my wife and I were together 22 years and never legally married. That lack of a piece of paper never had any effect on our relationship.
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:51 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi lunabunny,

I suppose the thing to do is to take up the matter with Jester while face-to-face with him on Skype. I am thinking to not include Boho in that initial conversation because you don't want Jester to feel "ganged up on." As for what to say to him initially ... after exchanging some pleasantries ... maybe, "Jester, with me working on immigrating to live with you, I am thinking it makes sense for me to marry Boho. I don't love her more or anything, I just think it's more practical. I know you and I have been engaged. I feel bad about changing that. But I was wondering if it would be okay with you. For practical reasons." I'm not suggesting you say all that word for word, you can tailor it as needed for your situation. You know Jester better than I do. I might even be completely off-base and you can discard my whole post here. Completely up to you.

It is a touchy situation. I hope all goes well, and that Jester understands (and can accept).

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:57 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Thank you Vince and Kevin for your responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post
The practical side of me says to marry the one who gives the best chance at obtaining your ultimate goal. I see legal marriage as a technicality.

[...]So, if it is more practical to marry Boho, hopefully Jester can understand that. FWIW, my wife and I were together 22 years and never legally married. That lack of a piece of paper never had any effect on our relationship.
More and more, I am also tending to see marriage this way, at my age and with the benefit of experience.

In fact, if not for the immigration issue, I probably wouldn't feel the need to marry in the traditional (legal) sense at all. In just about every way, I already feel committed to both my partners, and they feel the same toward me (and to some degree, each other). We have already begun factoring each other's family, financial and healthcare issues into our thinking and future planning. As best as we can at a distance, we take care of each other. At some stage, we probably would like to have some kind of secular commitment ceremony.


Quote:
The thought that you are already spoken for is a monogamous sentiment. Trying to fit that into poly is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
I realise that, Vince. When I typed that phrase, I put it in inverted commas as it was a direct quote from Boho. That said, I'm pretty sure she didn't mean it in a mono/possessive sense so much as an acknowledgement of that fact that Jester and I have a prior agreement that, as it currently stands, excludes her. She was bringing it to my attention that this needs to be addressed.

To clarify, Jester proposed to me prior to my becoming romantically involved with my gf - which was the first time any of us had chosen to nurture and develop our situation into a committed poly relationship - as opposed to brief non-monogamous episodes we'd each briefly been involved in previously.)

Before my involvement with Boho, I doubt any of us would have considered ourselves truly polyamorous by either choice or orientation. Even now, I'm not sure I "identify" as poly, and have no desire to become involved with anyone else.

Since she and I have become more serious, I have touched on the subject of marriage with each of them separately, but in no great detail - and I've had no indication that Jester has even considered it might be necessary to amend our current arrangement.




Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Hi lunabunny,

I suppose the thing to do is to take up the matter with Jester while face-to-face with him on Skype. I am thinking to not include Boho in that initial conversation because you don't want Jester to feel "ganged up on."
This is very sound advice. Although Jester is an extremely laid-back guy most of the time, he does have a tendency to feel pressured in situations that might be perceived as two against one. The last thing I need is for him to get on the defensive, or worse, feel like I've changed my mind because my feelings have faded or I love him less than Boho.

There is some painful history between us three, going back to the earliest days, that we've worked hard to overcome during the past six months. This is the main reason why I'm wary of making any change of plans look like Boho's idea, though technically she was the one who made me aware of the potential pitfalls.

Kevin, your suggestions for what to say are likewise both sensible AND sensitive, thank you. I don't think you're off base at all.
__________________
Me, Lunabunny: F, 50, heteroflexible
Jester: M, 59, straight, primary partner (LD)
Boho: F, 57, heteroflexible, primary partner (LD)

Red: M, 53, straight, ex-husband
Bud: early 20s, son
Lola: early 20s, daughter
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2018, 08:29 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Happy to help.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:57 AM
MadelinePender MadelinePender is offline
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If your thoughts are matching you need to get marry with him.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2018, 12:20 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadelinePender View Post
If your thoughts are matching you need to get marry with him.
Could you be more specific about what you mean when you say "if your thoughts are matching", Madeline?

Jester and I both have the same thoughts and feelings about wanting to marry each other: we love each other deeply and believe this will be a lasting partnership, as far as anyone can know such a thing.

Boho and I also feel the same way about each other. While it took me some time to feel this strongly about her, or believe that it could be a permanent, workable state of affairs between us (it was more or less immediate with Jester), she and I are now as deeply committed as Jester and I.

*****************

My choice does not hinge on the strength of my feelings for either one of them, however. As stated in my OP, the technicalities surrounding immigration laws are what will ultimately sway me from marrying Jester, in favour of marrying Boho instead.

***************

UPDATE:

I bit the bullet and addressed the subject in plain language with Jester on the phone today.

He understands the reasoning behind this change of plans and doesn't appear to be taking it in a negative way. He stated that we will always be "us" and that we know what we mean to either other in our hearts, and that's all that matters.

Still, I feel a little sad that I won't be marrying the man I love after all, considering that for the past two years I'd been living under the assumption that we would eventually be husband and wife. I felt similarly when I first became intimately involved with Boho (i.e. morphing from mono to poly), as, despite the positive aspects that an additional relationship brings, any change of this magnitude also incurs a sense of loss for what is being given up or will never happen now.
__________________
Me, Lunabunny: F, 50, heteroflexible
Jester: M, 59, straight, primary partner (LD)
Boho: F, 57, heteroflexible, primary partner (LD)

Red: M, 53, straight, ex-husband
Bud: early 20s, son
Lola: early 20s, daughter
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2018, 05:24 AM
1234567 1234567 is offline
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I get all those feelings. And send sympathy, and hope they turn to joy.

It can always be changed- alternated between- later of you feel that way.

Have you considered a handfasting with Jester? Or second ceremony? Does it have to be exclusive?

It might.

You donít say if it is Europe or the States. If the states, know the citizenship requirements specifically exclude bigamy. So wait for citizenship before a second marriage,íeven if symbolic not legal.
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