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Old 07-02-2020, 05:28 PM
VeryVery VeryVery is offline
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Red face Hinge Under Pressure

Hello everyone! It's my first time posting here! I've been reading these messages for a while now, it's always helpful to see that we're never alone in these situations. It's unfortunate that my first post is inspired by less-than-fun events!

Necessary backstory: My husband B and i have been married for 5 years, together for 7. We started monogamously but always talked about opening up. Early 2019, after an episode of drunken infidelity (and immediate honestly about it) we decided to try opening up. Our sex drives have always been different, mine being borderline-demisexual, so we knew right away that he would have more partners, and I would have fewer that would each last a while. My husband and I live together, still check in every day, and have immense love for each other, and a now-thriving sex life.

Over the last year and a half, we've experimented. He has seen, in sequence, about 6 or 7 different women, all variations of intense flings or friends-with-benefits. He's been disappointed because he now realises he wants more long-term relationships, and he's having trouble meeting women, or keeping them interested (he struggled before PandemicTimes too, but obviously everything's more challenging now)

Meanwhile, I had one solid relationship last year for about 9 months, B had lots of jealous issues for quite a while (growing pains), so we went to counseling and read helpful books, etc, we eventually worked it out, but it also helped that he had dates to distract him. That relationship ended for me for natural reasons and i'm still close friends with that guy (he was older and had lots of experience with polyamory)

Now, since March, i've been seeing a new guy, D. We had great luck for a couple months while B was also seeing a new lady, and it was getting more serious for them too. ((aren't those the BEST times, when you're both seeing your own people? so much compersion!!))
D is younger than us and not experienced with non-monogamy, but willing to learn and generally doesn't mind only seeing me once per week (note: this is a sleepover at his place, which is a new step for B and i, but was totally cool when B was seeing his last lady, they had sleepover too), and I've developed deep feelings for D.

FINALLY MY ACTUAL QUESTION: How much of B's issues with me dating D are MY problem? B has work stress, he's recently recovered from a fractured hand, and he was dumped by above mentioned lady, and he's having trouble with all his potential ladies...
I am doing everything I can to balance this. B and I make sure to go out and have super special dates, we have intimate hangouts many nights each week, I make sure i tell him all the time exactly why D is not replacing him, I am trying to comfort him in every way I can.
I still feel so much guilt, because I know that dumping or seriously demoting D would "fix" that... but that's not fair to D or me.

Am i supposed to tell my husband "this is your problem" or is this a sign that maybe Poly isn't working for us... Or should I demote D because he's not truly Poly?
Sometimes B is cool with it, has compersion, etc. And I would love for him to find someone! I try to encourage him to put more effort into dating/ looking around but it only discourages him more when it doesn't work out.
I'm sure a lot of these are common doubts. Wow i wrote a whole novel.

Thanks to anyone who reads this! I hope everyone out there has a great day !
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:55 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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I hope you feel better airing some of that out.

FWIW? My 2 cents? Maybe it helps to see it written another way. I sometimes quote because it is a quote and other times to visually block it off.

Quote:
B STUFF
  • B has work stress.
  • He's recently recovered from a fractured hand
  • He was dumped by above mentioned lady
  • He having trouble with all his potential ladies.
So far? All B stuff. Nothing to do with you. Other than basic concern like "how's your work stress?" or "how's your hand doing?" or similar. None of that stuff is stuff YOU need to fix or do anything about.


Quote:
YOU AND B SHARED STUFF
  • B and I make sure to go out and have super special dates
  • we have intimate hangouts many nights each week
Ok. That is taking care of the (B + you) dyad. I view that as "our shared stufff."

Quote:
  • I am doing everything I can to balance this.
  • I make sure i tell him all the time exactly why D is not replacing him
  • I am trying to comfort him in every way I can.
I am confused. Why do this? Has B asked for this kind of help or reassurance?

Or do you do "automatically" to assuage your own feelings (Anxiety? Guilt? Stress?) that things are going well for you right now and not so great for B?

I believe one does thinking or action behavior. Then feelings ensue.
Quote:
I still feel so much guilt, because I know that dumping or seriously demoting D would "fix" that... but that's not fair to D or me.
What order does this come in? Like this? Or something else?

Quote:
1) I believe B and me have to date "the same" to "be fair." B is broken up right now. I am dating D. It is not the same then.

2) I think about dumping D to make it "fair."

3) Then I feel guilty because that's NOT actually fair to me or D
If so, maybe you need to update your belief rather than dump D or sit around guilt tripping yourself.

You and B have different relationships. Sometimes both of you will have other dating partners. Sometimes neither will. Sometimes just you. Sometimes just him.

Do you see this as a "thing that I have to feel bad about" rather than just "Life happens how it does?"

If so? Could change from

(I believe that both sides have to be exactly the same to be fair)

to

(I believe that both sides having the ability to date (and letting those relationships develop how they will) is fair enough.) How it actually turns out, is not in my control.

instead.

Quote:
Am i supposed to tell my husband "this is your problem" or is this a sign that maybe Poly isn't working for us... Or should I demote D because he's not truly Poly?
How about you let B deal with his recent break up how he wants to deal with it? Offer simple help that is appropriate -- can you get him dinner? Take a walk? Need to listen to his story?

https://goodlifezen.com/21-ways-to-c...end-in-crisis/

But don't leap in to "fix" anything for him. It's not your job to fix his stuff for him.

Quote:
Sometimes B is cool with it, has compersion, etc.
So where is the problem? B sometimes being sad and sometimes compersive after a recent break up sounds ok to me. He is grieving a loss. Can't expect him to be all yippy skippy after a break up.


Quote:
And I would love for him to find someone! I try to encourage him to put more effort into dating/ looking around but it only discourages him more when it doesn't work out.
Why are you pushing him to date if he's still in break up grief? This just happened, right?

Can't you be ok with him figuring out when he's ready on his own? Maybe he wants to wait til work is less stressy. Or his hand is mended.

Or are you pushing him to date to fix YOUR anxious or guilty feelings that you have someone right now and he doesn't?

I think you could care about your spouse B in appropriate ways. And let his stuff be his stuff.

And figure out if/when/where YOUR feelings are clouding the view.

To me it's like there's no problem here for anyone to fix. I mean, yeah, it stinks to break up. But not everyone one dates will be a long haul runner. Fact of life. So B has to do his "recently broke up" self care right now.

Why's him doing that awful to you?

WHO is pressuring you? I can't tell from your writing. Could it be you are the one pressuring yourself unnecessarily? Is B wanting you to dump D or something?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-02-2020 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:49 PM
VeryVery VeryVery is offline
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OMG that really does help to block it off like that. Thank you so much for your insightful reply!

Quote:
Quote:
I am doing everything I can to balance this.
I make sure i tell him all the time exactly why D is not replacing him
I am trying to comfort him in every way I can.

I am confused. Why do this? Has B asked for this kind of help or reassurance?
Or do you do "automatically" to assuage your own feelings (Anxiety? Guilt? Stress?) that things are going well for you right now and not so great for B?
Both, B has asked for these assurances, and I put it on myself. Because it hurts me to see him hurting. And it's hard to go out and have fun when I know he's sad. {{Edit: I don't feel the need to "fix" every time he's sad, but when i'm about to have a date with D, my husband does tend to blame me for his sadness. He gets over it/ knows it's irrational/ apologizes later}}

The guilt comes from me wanting to protect B, when he has a bad reaction to me having a date with D. Not guilt about what i'm doing with D.
That thought helps reassure me sometimes. We are doing what we agreed upon, and we both know it's impossible to keep dating "even" (we know logically that fairness and evenness are not the same)

Quote:
Quote:
Sometimes B is cool with it, has compersion, etc. And I would love for him to find someone! I try to encourage him to put more effort into dating/ looking around but it only discourages him more when it doesn't work out.
Why are you pushing him to date if he's still in break up grief? Can't he figure out when he's ready on his own? Maybe he wants to wait til work is less stressy. Or his hand is mended.

Or are you pushing him to date to fix YOUR anxious or guilty feelings that you have someone right now and he doesn't?
I wouldn't say I'm pushing him to date. It's more like I remind him it's an option when he says he's feeling lonely or unattractive or like he'll never find someone. His main anxiety now seems to come from the fact that I have a long term partner and he doesn't, which is what he WANTS. Textbook jealousy. And he knows it.
As far as i know, he's not so much grieving about the loss of the last lady and his hand, as he is using these instances to accentuate why he's going through an extra rough time right now, and he feels like i'm making it worse by continuing with D.

I don't want this to sound like some rant about my husband. There's one more issue, which is that D isn't ready to meet him yet, which causes some more tension. I'm a little disappointed in D for that, but I can't force him. And I also have put my foot down about that with B, who insists i shouldn't see someone who isn't "poly like us" {{edit: D is essentially monogamous}}

I suppose I feel pressure from both sides because D reacts a coolly whenever i mention that B might need some extra TLC. But i believe D's also correct, that I shouldn't feel pressured to cancel a date just because B was cancelled on (for example). So I feel like, if i concede to B and say "ok i'll stay home with you tonight" he'll be "happy", but D will be disappointed. Sometimes it feels like I must disappoint one of them.

I don't really have anyone to talk to about this... but this helped validate what i suspected, that we're probably just dealing with more growing pains, likely heightened by our new friend Covid

thank you so much

Last edited by VeryVery; 07-02-2020 at 09:35 PM. Reason: re-read replies and realized i missed a point/ wasn't clear
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:51 PM
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FallenAngelina FallenAngelina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeryVery View Post
.... should I demote D because he's not truly Poly?
Why do you say that D (please give him a name!) is not true poly?

Do you know that compersion is not a requirement in polyamory? Awareness and consent are, but not compersion.



Quote:
Originally Posted by VeryVery View Post
aren't those the BEST times, when you're both seeing your own people? so much compersion!!
Sounds like your emotional poly agreement is based on same-sies, which is a very unstable foundation for a polyamorous couple.
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Last edited by FallenAngelina; 07-02-2020 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:59 PM
VeryVery VeryVery is offline
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That's a very reassuring sentiment! Having felt both jealousy and compersion myself, I hope for compersion from all parties but you're absolutely right, it's not mandatory!

And the use of "true poly" was a label put on my relationship with D from outside forces. Aside from mutual consent, i know there are so many different ways to be polyamorous.
I know something like this can be more challenging than say, kitchen-table poly, but i also don't think it affects my husband as much as he thinks. He wants to meet D, which D isn't ready for yet. That's really the only thing that goes "against" our established agreement.

Thank you so much for your input! (I use initials because both of my mens have very unique and distinctive names. i'm sure they wouldn't care to be mentioned here, but it seemed like polite discretion
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:54 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Thank you for more info. That helps.

SHORT VERSION

In light of new info, I think you could stop pressuring yourself so much to fix things for your spouse. Be ok with him being upset after a break up and having to figure himself and his own things out.

And be LESS ok with him acting out at you right before your dates with D. Ask him to stop this poor behavior. It's ok to be sad or upset. It's not ok to act out at you. Much less right before you leave for your date. What's that all about?

LONG VERSION

Quote:
I am doing everything I can to balance this.
I make sure i tell him all the time exactly why D is not replacing him
I am trying to comfort him in every way I can.
You sound like you are doing enough to me. You reassure B verbally. You plan special dates and quality time with B. You listen to B air out and comfort him. That's all fine.

I think if B throws a tantrum right before you go out with D? Could tell him to stop that behavior.

You could put the responsibility for his emotional management back on B where it belongs. How about you ask B what he needs to actually be reassured? Behavior he wants you to start doing/stop doing? Is it rational and realistic? Are you willing and able to do it? If yes, you try to do it. If no, you say "No, thanks. Not willing and able to do that."

And leave it be.

And ask what does B plan to do to reassure himself? So as not to trip his own self up? Behavior he can start/stop doing?

Because you "always telling him D is not replacing him" is not working. You don't need to be "the never ending bucket filler" only to become drained of energy yourself.

Who is kicking over B's bucket? Or is it B himself doing it? Like he thinks things and upsets his own self and kicks his own bucket over? Like he's either acting in at himself or acting out at you? Is that what's going on over there?

Quote:
Both, B has asked for these assurances, and I put it on myself. Because it hurts me to see him hurting. And it's hard to go out and have fun when I know he's sad.
B being sad from a break up is neither yours nor D's fault. It's ok for you to have a date with D even if B is broken up with his lady. It is possible to feel more than one thing at a time. Like feel compassion for B that he is grieving his break up, and at the same time still feel happy to spend time with D. It's not being disloyal to B.

It is also ok for the (you + D) dyad to have its own space. And for you to have personal boundaries around that. Like "No, husband. Just because you are my husband doesn't mean I have to tell you everything going on with me and D. Calendar? Yes. Safer sex practices? Yes. But this doesn't have to be KTP model and def no TMI."

Quote:
I don't feel the need to "fix" every time he's sad, but when i'm about to have a date with D, my husband does tend to blame me for his sadness. He gets over it/ knows it's irrational/ apologizes late.
So is THAT the actual problem? Blue is mine.
  • B thinks you are responsible for his sadness. (not realistic, not reasonable.)
  • He is also jealous you have another partner right now and he doesn't. (Such is life. Dating is not going to be "even." So he could deal with his envy -- wishing he had what you had -- in more appropriate ways.)
  • He waits until right before you are going to have a date with D. Then he picks RIGHT THEN to start a fight or blame storm with you. (This is poor behavior.)
  • And even though later he apologizes and acknowledges it it irrational? You don't like him acting out at you like that. You want him to stop this behavior. And you want you to stop playing into it. Is that it?

Quote:
The guilt comes from me wanting to protect B, when he has a bad reaction to me having a date with D.
Protect B from WHAT? Feelings happen. Sunny days or stormy skies -- they all pass eventually if one lets it. So one just rides them out.

Or do you mean protect YOU from any B unpleasantness right before a date night with D?

Cuz what part of this is a surprise? You both have been poly dating other people for a while.

I think you could ask B more directly to stop acting out at you and stop blaming you. You have no control over the Lady breaking up with him or not. You are not the cause of his sadness.

Quote:
That thought helps reassure me sometimes. We are doing what we agreed upon, and we both know it's impossible to keep dating "even" (we know logically that fairness and evenness are not the same)
It sounds like maybe the problem is B dealing with his emotional management on his own and not putting it on you.

Like why's be blaming you for his sadness? YOU didn't make the lady break up with him. Did he behave like this with her? Acting out at her? Is that part of the reason she broke up with him? And now he's making you be like the emotional punching bag cuz you are the one left?

Quote:
I wouldn't say I'm pushing him to date. It's more like I remind him it's an option when he says he's feeling lonely or unattractive or like he'll never find someone. His main anxiety now seems to come from the fact that I have a long term partner and he doesn't, which is what he WANTS. Textbook jealousy. And he knows it.
Well, maybe he could use the time to evaluate how he dates, how he manages his emotions, and what makes him a good dating partner. Again.. that's for him to solve. Not you.

Quote:
As far as i know, he's not so much grieving about the loss of the last lady and his hand, as he is using these instances to accentuate why he's going through an extra rough time right now, and he feels like i'm making it worse by continuing with D.
How are you making it worse? Is his expectation that you can only date other people when life is hunky dory for him?

Quote:
And I also have put my foot down about that with B, who insists i shouldn't see someone who isn't "poly like us" {{edit: D is essentially monogamous}}
He might be "monoamorus" in that he only wants 1 sweetie. And "relationship-shape flexible." Like ok doing monogamy. Or ok being an end point person in a V or N or whatever. If he was strictly monogamous and wanting 1:1 relating only, what's he doing here?

Have you asked D if he's strictly monogamous? Because to me that means the person is monoamorous (wants 1 sweetie) and only wants to participate in 1:1 models. Like just those 2 people and that's it. And that is all stuff between you and D to sort out. Not really B's business.

Quote:
I know something like this can be more challenging than say, kitchen-table poly, but i also don't think it affects my husband as much as he thinks. He wants to meet D, which D isn't ready for yet. That's really the only thing that goes "against" our established agreement.
Husband wants to meet D for what purpose? And husband expects D to be ready when husband wants? Rather than D decides what he is ready for? And B expects you to just make D do it?

What ARE your actual agreements with B? What are the expectations?

Quote:
I suppose I feel pressure from both sides because D reacts a coolly whenever i mention that B might need some extra TLC.
How is your behavior as a hinge? Maybe D would like (you + D) time to be about (you+D) and not so much (you talking to D about (you+B) things.) Have you considered that? Have you asked D what D might need during this time? Does D need TLC?

Quote:
But i believe D's also correct, that I shouldn't feel pressured to cancel a date just because B was cancelled on (for example).
Yup. So don't pressure yourself.

Quote:
So I feel like, if i concede to B and say "ok i'll stay home with you tonight" he'll be "happy", but D will be disappointed. Sometimes it feels like I must disappoint one of them.
How about you just make YOU happy? And manage your calendar in order of commitments made?

"B, I see you are upset. Right I have a prior appointment to keep. (Your date with D.) When I come back, how about we make an appointment for you and me to talk?"

That is fair.

I get it's a bummer for B to feel sad or whatever, but that is not a critical emergency like a taking B to the ER or something.

You might want to talk with both partners about what are acceptable reasons to cancel a date.

Quote:
B had lots of jealous issues for quite a while (growing pains), so we went to counseling and read helpful books, etc, we eventually worked it out, but it also helped that he had dates to distract him.
Maybe it isn't all worked out yet.

Is everything really healed from the cheating that started all this 1.5 years go? None of that is still lingering, right?

Is it possible for B to return to counseling if he needs more support than you can give him?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-03-2020 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:04 AM
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Hello VeryVery,

This will be kind of a sucky thought, but I wonder if you and B might need to sit down and determine, what happens if B *never* gets the second partner that he wants, and what happens if you *always* have D? Can B accept that kind of a situation (essentially a V with you as the hinge), or is he only okay with it if he is also a hinge (with you) in a Z/N? If the latter, then you may need to reevaluate whether poly is right for you (as a couple). Of course, it would not be fair to D to break up with him, as you said. D started dating you with the understanding that his relationship with you would be safe/protected. Or perhaps there was no such understanding? I am kind of guessing here to a certain extent. In any case, it's not D's fault that B has a problem with him, nor does D deserve to have you break up with him for B's sake.

I don't mean to come down hard on B, I do feel his pain and disappointment when he gets his hopes up to have a deep and long-lasting relationship with someone, only to have that person keep it casual and then break up with him. To be honest, poly husbands tend to be notoriously hobbled when it comes to finding women who will date them at all. Poly wives tend to have a much easier time of it. An interesting article on this topic is, The Switcheroo: when openers become benchwarmers. The bottom line, is that if you're going to continue with this poly experiment, B is going to need to tighten his belt and brace himself for more of the situation where you have a long-term partner and he doesn't. It's not a fun prospect, but it's the likely reality of the situation. D being monogamous (while D accepts that you have a husband) is (or should be) a secondary concern.

Hopefully these are just growing pains ... but do have a talk with B about the possible/probable long-term prospects. B needs to figure out what he can accept in the long term, and you need to figure out whether breaking up with D is at all an option. At the very least, it seems to me that it is not an option given the current circumstances. But think that through, and solidify in your mind where you stand on that issue. I hope the three of you can work this out; keep us posted on this thread if you're willing.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:21 AM
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Nobody uses their partners real names here, but we come up with nicknames for them because single initials confuse some people.

D may never want to meet B. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't formally meet metamours if I can help it.

Some people claim that mono partners aren't poly, but I disagree. To my thinking, if someone is in a polycule they are practicing poly.

I can see where B might get worried that mono D might try to cowboy you away, but he has to deal with his feelings on that. I wouldn't be so blunt as to tell someone it's their problem and deal with it. I would maybe ask them how working through their feelings is going.

As has been said, there are always going to be periods where one of you has a partner and the other doesn't. Or maybe one will have more partners than the other. That has nothing to do with each other's relationships. You shouldn't feel guilty if he doesn't have another partner. All you can do is be there for B like you have been.
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Old 07-03-2020, 03:08 AM
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Other members here are much more detailed in their posts. Honestly I do not have the time nor the energy to construct long detailed posts. Plus I am just direct and to the point kind of person anyway. Please do not think I am criticizing you...

B's insecurities are his to deal with. It is not your job to reassure him or play favorites. The only thing you owe him is to be an ethical partner.

That said demoting D because he is monogamous would be an pretty crappy move. Both my husbands are monogamous. I have been with Butch 19 years and Murf 8 years. They have extremely little to do with each other. Both are not fans of kitchen table poly and prefer parallel poly. Neither Butch nor Murf gets a say in my relationship with the other. They may request things but I do not allow my relationships to bleed over into the other.

Sometimes fair is not always equal.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:44 PM
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FallenAngelina FallenAngelina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeryVery View Post
I use initials because both of my mens have very unique and distinctive names.
Most of us use nicknames. Please give your men names.




Quote:
Originally Posted by VeryVery View Post
And the use of "true poly" was a label put on my relationship with D from outside forces.
I'm getting the sense that even though you know that there are many ways to be poly, you're buying into this person's judgement that there is such a thing as "true poly." What kind of poly situation do you want? What is your heart's desire here?
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Last edited by FallenAngelina; 07-03-2020 at 12:49 PM.
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