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Old 06-14-2011, 12:33 AM
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Default Polyamory and Friendship

I really hate being the new guy starting a thread soliciting advice. However, I plan on sticking around and contributing to many conversations, I promise.

Several years ago, I became involved with the girlfriend of a friend of mine, without his knowledge or consent. I was being heavily manipulated, but I still acted wrongly.

Because of this situation, I decided to stop befriending my friend's partners. The above situation aside, it has caused tension before, so I decided it was best to keep things at the casual acquaintance level. That was working out fairly well, until recently.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine mentioned that his girlfriend wanted me to make an exception to my rule for her. He also mentioned that they had decided to have an open relationship, and that I should take advantage of that.

He lives 2000 miles form me, so I didn't have to do anything about it right away. After evaluating my personal moral code, I decided there was no harm in getting to know her, and I'd think about the sex between that time and when we were able to meet up.

Back in March, I bought some plane tickets and went to visit them for a week. I decided to feel out the situation before deciding whether or not to take advantage of the open relationship. However, I'm male, so of course I did, and I had a great vacation.

The problem is, her and I got along better than any of us expected. Her and I quickly became friends, then good friends, and, while both of us adamantly deny it, it's starting to move into the "more than friends" department. And, I don't think her boyfriend/my friend is too wild about it.

He says he is, but I've known him for 17 years; I know when he's not being honest. It might just be that natural jealousy that we all feel from time to time, but I get the feeling he's going to keep saying "I'm fine with your arrangement with her" until he says "I've had enough. Stop talking to my girlfriend. No discussion."

While talking to her about it, she informed me that in there arrangement, they have no say in who the other is involved with. As far as the agreement he and I made, it was limited to "Don't get her pregnant" (which I'm doing everything I can to comply with), and he agreed to not blame me for doing anything wrong if he decided the arrangement was a bad idea.

While everything is ok as far as what we've agreed to, if he decides he doesn't like it, I don't think the agreement would matter much. He's fine with her and I having sex, and as long as he doesn't start thinking she likes me more than him, he's probably fine with our "friendship." But I'm not sure, and I really don't want to be put in a position where I have to choose between them.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:44 AM
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My first reaction is to say that she's not a toy or piece of property owned by him and you don't need his permission. That does not mean that you shouldn't cultivate a good relationship with him, but she should be the first and foremost person you talk to regarding your relationship with her, as far as I see it. Let her deal with him and his weird possessiveness toward her. Treat your friendship with him as something separate. That's my initial take on it.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:59 AM
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^ I guess it does come off as him being possessive of her, but he's really not. It more has to do with me. He tends to think of me as his sidekick, and he gets irritated when other people don't see me the same way. Which, that sounds worse than it really is as well. It's more of a competition among friends kind of thing. Which, I really want no part of, but it is amusing occasionally.

He's probably worried that I'm going to do something stupid like try to drive them apart so I can have her all to myself. I've already reassured him that I have no intention of doing that and I like the arrangement the way it is. I don't think he believes me.

Last edited by Kommander; 06-14-2011 at 01:02 AM.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:46 AM
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Here is the bottom line: if you had to choose your longtime friend or your new love, who gets the preverbal drumstick? Until you know the answer to that question, you are on very shaky ground, regardless of how he does or doesn't feel about your connection with her.

Also, where does it stand for each of them? If you were to become (inadvertently or otherwise) a threat to the relationship between them, what would happen? Would she choose you or him? Would he choose you, or her? And most important of all, do they agree on that answer?

You need to sit down and sort this all out. Who is primary? Who is secondary? What are the safety rules to preserve the loving relationship?
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erosa View Post
Here is the bottom line: if you had to choose your longtime friend or your new love, who gets the preverbal drumstick? Until you know the answer to that question, you are on very shaky ground, regardless of how he does or doesn't feel about your connection with her.

Also, where does it stand for each of them? If you were to become (inadvertently or otherwise) a threat to the relationship between them, what would happen? Would she choose you or him? Would he choose you, or her? And most important of all, do they agree on that answer?

You need to sit down and sort this all out. Who is primary? Who is secondary? What are the safety rules to preserve the loving relationship?
Wow, there's a lot here for as short as it is. Also, for the record, I knew what I was possibly getting myself into when I agreed to their request. Hopefully I'm prepared for it.

Who I would choose? That depends on the situation if this becomes a problem. Of course, I'd like to work things out so I don't have to choose. However, I am prepared to let one or even both of them go if necessary. Him I have known for 17 years, and we've had plenty of arguments, and have stopped talking to each other occasionally. I've even decided to stop talking to him permanently a few times. We usually work things out, and most likely will this time. Her I've only known for three months, so choosing her would probably be a bad decision. Again, it depends on the situation. I'm willing to make whatever decision I have to, I'd just prefer to make some more than others.

As for who would choose who overall: I would never put either of them in that situation, and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't put either of us in it either. He might put one or both of us in that situation. I'm not sure what decision she would make.

The arrangement, we have figured out, in theory. I wanted to do it more thoroughly, but they both said we'd discuss things as they come up. As per their arrangement, they've decided to stay out of each other's business, as long as they're safe about it. Everything is open for discussion, but neither of them have veto power over the other. Meaning, as far as that goes, he has no say in what goes on between her and I. Between him and I, the only thing we've agreed to is that he would not hold me responsible of any wrongdoing if he changes his mind. So, as far as established boundaries go, I'm good. As I've said, he has said he's fine with the arrangement her and I have. Several times. The problem is we don't believe him. He will eventually say something, I'm just worried it'll be in the form of an ultimatum rather than a discussion.

As far as format, they are definitely primary to each other, and everything else is secondary or other. I'm fine with that. Where I stand exactly is still developing. Her and I have defined our relationship as "very good friends." If either of us wants to change that in the future, we'll discuss it when the time comes.

This might be nothing to worry about. It might just be that it was unexpected and he needs time to get used to it, and says he's fine with it because he doesn't want to make a big deal about things that won't matter in the long run. He might also hate the whole polyamory thing and just tolerates it because he's afraid of losing his girlfriend. Hell, he might be secretly in love with me and wants me to himself. He's not exactly the "talk about my feelings" type.

On a somewhat related note, I'm thinking about buying them a copy of The Ethical Slut, they're both newer to this than I am.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:32 AM
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It sounds like you might be making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I can see how he would be primary in terms of living together (did I get that right?) or just being closer in proximity, or him being in her life and more established, but really primary doesn't mean much other than that.

She can have just as strong feelings for him as she does for you... she might have more, who knows and really does it matter? Its not a matter of choice when you are in a relationship of some kind. The choice comes to BE in it bfore even getting to that stage... you have chosen, you are in it. So I think if I were you I would stop talking about who you would chose and get about talking about how to navigate a friend and a fuck buddy, or whatever she is.

Basically now its time to figure out how to be considerate, caring, communicative, and honest to your self and the others. There are threads here that could help... try a search for "lessons" and "foundations" to see what other have come up with in regards to this.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
It sounds like you might be making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I can see how he would be primary in terms of living together (did I get that right?) or just being closer in proximity, or him being in her life and more established, but really primary doesn't mean much other than that.

She can have just as strong feelings for him as she does for you... she might have more, who knows and really does it matter? Its not a matter of choice when you are in a relationship of some kind. The choice comes to BE in it bfore even getting to that stage... you have chosen, you are in it. So I think if I were you I would stop talking about who you would chose and get about talking about how to navigate a friend and a fuck buddy, or whatever she is.

Basically now its time to figure out how to be considerate, caring, communicative, and honest to your self and the others. There are threads here that could help... try a search for "lessons" and "foundations" to see what other have come up with in regards to this.
I hope I am making a mountain out of a molehill here. I really want this situation to work out.

I just realized I left something out that is very important. While he identifies as straight, he is bisexual. I'm... very open-minded. In addition to being friends, we've had a casual sexual relationship for the past ten years or so as well. (And yes, she knows this. As I know you're all wondering, yes, there were threesomes.) Now that I think about it, if I was in his place, I'd be bugging me to move in and become a triad. I hope that's not what this is about. I'm not too wild about the dude sex, but it might be fun.

And yeah, they do live together. They've been together for a year and a half. As I've said before, I've known him for 17 years, and I met her three months ago.

As for what's going on between her and I, it's complex. I only met her three months ago, so it's still developing. On my end... I've fallen in love and have just been infatuated enough times that I know the difference. What I feel with her, I've never felt before. It feels somewhat like falling in love, but stronger in a lot of ways, not quite as strong in others, and very comfortable... like friendship, but much, much more intense. On her end, it seems like she felt the same way, but not as strongly. However, it seems to be growing stronger.

This may be part of the problem. He doesn't seem to be able to handle it when girls like me more than him. Which, he may be worried is going on here. If he'd talk about it, her and I could reassure him that it's not the case. However, he's not willing to talk about it. We're both trying to get him to open up more. Also, he's still got more of a monogamous mindset than her or I have. He may not realize that what she feels for me is in addition to and different than what she feels for me, and doesn't lessen what she feels for him. I'm sure he'll get there eventually, hopefully before any of this causes problems.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:40 AM
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Well, I talked to the girl earlier. Part of this issue might be solved.

The guy is a little worried that I like her too much. She is too. Not in that she doesn't feel similarly toward me, or that laving her would be crossing a boundary... they're worried that I want her to leave him for me, and that I won't be happy otherwise.

I laughed. I couldn't help it. I also reassured her that was the furthest thing from my mind. I keep forgetting that, while they are adjusting to the lifestyle fairly well, they're mostly figuring it out on their own, and don't know much of the philosophy behind it. Luckily, they have me around, and I'm definitely buying them some books now.

However, there's another side to the issue. I mentioned above jokingly about the possibility of him being secretly in love with me. I have suspected it from time to time in the past, and it would explain a lot of things. I ran it by the girl, thinking she'd laugh. She didn't. She said he's never mentioned anything about it, or given any other indication, but from her reaction, I could tell she knew something she wasn't telling me. She also asked me a bunch of "If he was, how would you go about..." questions, and stated "if that was the case, he would probably be hurt if you don't feel the same way." So, as far as I can tell, she pretty much confirmed it. While I don't feel the same way about him, we may be able to come to an arrangement that he likes better than the current one. He may also be afraid that if the girl and start liking each other too much, he may lose both of us. Which, I don't think he needs to worry about.

While this issue has become much more complex, I think I can actually handle it now. Although, it's going to take some time to figure out. Still, any further input would be appreciated. And thanks to those that have already, you've helped considerably.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:51 PM
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Now you got me thinking if it was a triad they had in mind all along. Like the one thing that stood out in your first post that despite the distance, she wanted you to befriend her, and he basically said it's okay if you two are having sex. I mean, it's weird! Like pre-arranged. Maybe there was background info we didn't get, about you three hanging out and you liking her and she liking you back and tension and whatnot.

Come to think of it, I've been purposefully befriended twice, and those are both very good, ongoing relationships. So it might be she just thought you and her would be super-compatible.

Anyhoo, it seems like you were chosen for a very specific purpose. If I were you, I would ask outright and try communicating as clearly as possible your own feelings. Feelings can grow, but in my experience, it's best if everyone's clear from the beginning who is into whom and how much so.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:11 PM
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^ That has occurred to me. It sounds exactly like something he would do. I don't think they planned it together. When I was talking to her last night, it seemed like she thinks the only way her and I could be more than "really good friends" is if she left him for me. After we had talked I realized some things she said may have indicated that she was thinking of doing that. Which, I need to put a stop to, in part because it's not necessary, and mostly because I don't want to be put in that position. She's no where near ready to do it if she is thinking about it, but it needs to be addressed.

They have been having problems. To me it seems like the sole cause is poor communication. They're definitely still very much in love and the relationship works otherwise, they just frustrate each other because neither of them really knows how to say what they mean. I'm trying to help them with that, but otherwise their relationship is their business and I'm staying out of offering input on their decisions. I'll help, but I will not interfere.

I'd be open to a triad (or quad. Another friend of mine recently informed me she'd maybe like to be more than friends, and plans are in the works for the four of us to all meet up. From what I know of all of them, there's a good chance it'll work out.) However, they should improve the communication situation before adding more people.
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