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  #1  
Old 07-31-2011, 04:55 PM
hopefully hopefully is offline
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Unhappy Boyfriend led me to poly then freaked out when I began to practice it...

I am new this forum as I seeking support for my current situation....

I have been divorced over a year and in the course of dating the past year was introduced to the concept of polyamory. I feel that I could be very happy in a polyamorous relationship and that i have the emotional, psychological and intellectual maturity and awareness and communication skills to make it work with the right partner(s). I have met a wonderful man and have had a very exciting and loving relationship with him monogamously thus far. Within days of meeting, we discussed that we both felt we were poly and if our relationship progressed, would want to pursue a poly lifestyle together. My boyfriend is 9 years older, very experienced in life and relationships, intelligent, successful, etc. I trusted him deeply and did not feel that pursuing a poly lifestyle with him by my side would be like playing with fire (as it might be with the wrong partner).

Recently, a man I had previously dated and been in love with called me. I told him about my current relationship and that i was very much in love. He said he did not want to interfere in that but we discussed the feelings we had had for each other and the attraction we still felt. I ended the conversation saying I as unavailable at this point. When I talked with my boyfriend about the phone call, he encouraged me to feel free to explore my feelings and to even meet with this former love if I felt like it. He reminded me that we had agreed we would be open to a poly relationship and reassured me that it would be ok if I still had feelings for this man and wanted to consider seeing him as a secondary. It felt amazing to hear that and to feel so loved and supported and free. Not to mention to feel as though I was truly understood. To jump ahead about a week, I planned a meeting with my former love and explained all the details of the situation to him and what the relationship dynamic would be if we decided to pursue this. The former love was in agreement. I made it clear to my boyfriend and the potential secondary that my boyfriend is the primary. That my long-term commitment is to him alone. I felt great and that we were handling things appropriately on all fronts. My boyfriend and I were in communication via text, even while I was meeting with the secondary.

About two hours after I met with the secondary for that initial poly conversation, my boyfriend started to lose it (for lack of a better term). His tone of voice completely changed and he started to express that he was concerned that he was going to be the one stuck with the "burden"of my daughter and I and that this secondary is going to get all the "benefits" of being with me without having to "take on the burden." He has formerly been very generous, kind, loving, protective and promising to build a life with me. Suddenly, he says that I cannot visit him with my daughter with me and that he is not going to make himself as available to me (to even talk or text) and that things should be equal with him and the secondary in terms of "taking on the burden of me." I assume this also means he intends to be less generous with me in other ways. I told him that its not necessary for me to see this secondary and we can just forget about it if we need to. He said that I am lying now by saying I don't "need" to have this secondary relationship and the he is going to require me to see the secondary now or "push me away to the point that I do it." Obviously, that conversation was and is hurtful to me on many levels, but I want to try not to judge him for his emotions and initial reaction. I want to respond with compassion and try to manage my reaction as much as possible.

I feel terribly guilty for opening up about the former love calling and then seeing him. Though, it is complicated because my boyfriend is the one who led me to consider the former love as a potential secondary. I can't help but feel that I should have kept my feelings about the former love and the fact that he had returned to myself and just let it go. I am also confused because I thought I was doing the right thing by reassuring him and making it clear to the secondary that my boyfriend is my primary, my #1, and my future husband. That is how he reassures me when we talk about the possibility of him ever having a secondary relationship. For some reason, though, that made him feel like I "using him to be responsible for me" and just "having a good time" with the secondary. I guess this is what jealousy looks like??? Its been 24 hours since I had the meeting with the secondary and my boyfriend won't speak to me, not even to tell me goodnight and say I love you, which we have done every night since we met. I feel like I am begging him to forgive me and return our relationship to its former state. I don't want to do that though and really need a better course of action...

Should I be alarmed by his response? Or is this something that is commonly experienced the first time that someone allows their primary to consider a secondary? I am very concerned that our relationship has been destroyed by my following his lead toward a polyamorous relationship. I never would have considered this without his permission and suggestion in this case. Honestly, this situation would make me say, 'You're crazy!" and walk away were my boyfriend not a really incredible and loving man. I'm just confused, sad, concerned and hoping for some support or encouragement that maybe this incident will pass and there will still be hope for our relationship to be polyamorous or to continue at all, poly or not.

Thanks, in advance xoxo
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2011, 05:12 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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You should be alarmed at his response. I am alarmed at his response. I don't know where to start, with my outsider's objective advice, or with my knee-jerk gut-reaction to this.

You say you've been divorced for a little over a year. This suggests to me that you have not been with your boyfriend for very long. Often, it can take years, or some kind of crisis, to find out what someone is really like. It seems that you have barely scratched the surface with your boyfriend, and it seems that he's more of a "boy" than a "friend".

Also, why would you want to stay with someone who refers to you as a "burden"? I am assuming he actually used the word "burden" since you put it in quotes several times. If I were you, I'd go be with the other guy, whom you seem to know better and who seems to treat you much better than your "boyfriend".
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:16 PM
hopefully hopefully is offline
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Thank you for responding. I appreciate the feedback. This is so tricky since I don't feel I can discuss this with anyone I know personally. I am pretty shocked and unhappy with his response. I guess I just wish it was different or somehow justifiable. What a mess!!!
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:44 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Yes, be alarmed!

As someone still wrangling with my divorce, I can say that it is real easy not to see clearly while still processing the emotional ramifications of starting over. Professionals generally agree that the first two years after a divorce are the most difficult. Some call it "crazy time." That being said, at the same time, it is a brave and wonderful thing that you chose to take a risk and embark on a new life with someone so soon after your marriage ended. So, I acknowledge you for that.

HOWEVER, my first reaction to what your boyfriend is telling you is that... he's nuts! Well, I'm saying that to be humorous, but really, it isn't funny at all that he thinks he can dictate to you how to live your life, as if it's up to him, and then call you and your child burdens. These are some extremely serious red flags and I would wonder a bit about his mental/emotional stability.

He simply cannot forbid you to see this former love of yours with your daughter -- he has no parental rights. In fact, I would be very cautious about him being around her -- what a strange influence he might have, or worse. My gut instincts are telling me you should get out of this relationship before he fucks with your head so bad that your own mental state and self-esteem are entwined in pleasing him. He's already got you feeling sorry for contacting your old boyfriend! This guy is the one who should be sorry, not you. This could be a mark of someone who knows how to psychologically twist things around to hold power over someone.

Get out! Now!
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-31-2011 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:56 PM
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Give it some time and see if the "primary" will open up and communicate better. If not, just let it go. It isn't worth the bother to try to make something work when there's no good communication. Most of all, treat yourself well.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:37 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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It sounds like it's a money/responsibility issue going on. It seems like people are willing to share their lifestyle with someone as long as they don't feel "used." Your bf sounds like he is feeling used by sharing material aspects of his life while you start a relationship with a new guy (old flame) that doesn't do the same. It also sounded like he felt like you were using him as a babysitter to date the other guy. It sounds like he's stressing because he's investing a lot in terms of money and time in your relationship and he's afraid this new guy is going to get the same benefits as he does without the same investment. It almost sounds like a prostitution mentality, but I think many men look at relationships in this way. There is a taboo about communicating directly about it with women, so many just act chivalrous and generous while quietly conducting cost-benefit analyses.

Just out of curiosity, if you were to leave this guy and date another guy who was contributing less materially to the relationship than you were, would you mind "supporting him" while he dates other women? I wonder, in general, about how people combine the feelings that come with monetary contributions to relationships and entitlements with polyamory. I would find it easier to mind my own business if my poly gf was completely independent of me financially than if our finances were interwoven. I guess some people can be very liberal with money and not worry about what their partner's are using it for, but many people are watching their budgets closely so when someone is using money they contribute in ways they consider non-beneficial to them, they get upset. This seems quite evident from the current budget battling in politics.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:56 PM
hopefully hopefully is offline
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Default Clarification points....

Thank you to all so much for responding!

To clarify a few things....

1. I live separately from my boyfriend and he is not fully supporting me financially. He is generous in giving me gifts and taking me out to wonderful places, theater, travel, etc. Our future plans were to marry and that I would not work and we would have at least one more child together. He is financially very well off, so this its reasonable that he has offered this to me. I am also a professional with a graduate degree, so I do have the potential to work and be self sufficient and certainly am at the moment.

2. The issue with my 4 yr old daughter was that my primary/boyfriend had said I could no longer spend time with him with my daughter in tow. I would never take my daughter to see my primary or leave my daughter with anyone but her own father. My primary has previously been wonderful with my daughter and we only occasionally spend time with each other's children. My child is with her father 40% of the time, so there is plenty of free time. He was communicating that because my secondary would not have to take on the additional "burden" of caring for, providing for and dealing with my daughter, he didn't want to either. At this time, I provide for my daughter, so my primary is mostly thinking of the future, but also the fact that he was seeing it that my secondary would get to just have fun with me (mostly sexually) and that he wanted the same chance to just have fun with me without responsibility. It should be noted that 4 out of 5 times we are together, it is without children.

I know that my boyfriend desires to be a very confident and evolved man, but reality can test us. Actually putting his beliefs into action, seems to have brought up some deep insecurities....

So, I do wonder looking at my situation and the feedback...How do folks handle polyamory where there is a primary relationship and the secondary relationship is separate and is not a relationship where both primary partners are involved? Especially the first time? If I have a future with this man, and wind up being a stay-at-home wife, I wonder how others make poly work with that lifestyle. Seems like this issue of any male secondary "free loading" off my husband's support of me could keep coming up in this potential marriage.

Thanks again! xoxo
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:32 PM
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You (both) are thinking about marriage and having another child together ... and he is freaking out because of the responsibility and time he has to spent with your daughter? Because he wants "fun" with you without responsibility? I am astonished that you yourself are not allarmed by that situation or sit up and take notice of this fact. I mean honestly ... this doesn't sound reasonable at all.

What is it that this other man in the picture changed from his point of view? Did he suddenly see the possibility to be with you without making all those plans because you can have such a relationship with another partner and are fine with it? I would ask him what he really wants and if he feels confident about the plans he made with you.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:43 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I would seriously stop and ask yourself if it isn't a bit looney to already be thinking of having a child with this man, whom you do not know for a very long time. You and he already have kids, why bring more into the world? Sure, his being well-off financially can be a real carrot to dangle in front of you, but do you really want to throw away your graduate degree and be a SAHM? For a guy who has such a tit-for-tat view of things?

If I were you, I would slow down your relationship with him and explore the relationship with the former boyfriend some more. Dating after divorce can blind us to real problems because there is a real temptation to fill in a hole we feel in ourselves and find a replacement for our ex. But there are real warning signs here that it seems you are trying to shrug off.

As to the poly question, even if you do marry or move in and he supports you, why does he think another man wouldn't spend his own money to be with you? This just does not make sense. If you are working now, why not just keep working and make sure you have your own money, even if you do marry this [seemingly pompous] boyfriend of yours? However, having another kid with him is, I think, crazy.

Also, until you are actually in and managing polyamorous relationships, I think it's a bit premature to refer to your bf as your primary and this other guy as secondary. You are trying to fit real life into a script, and things just may not happen that way. Give this former love of yours a chance, and see if you can enjoy his company without thinking too much of the boyfriend you're with now or of hierarchies. You might fall madly in love with him and want him as your primary - you never know! It's not always useful to have a primary, secondary, and so on.
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-31-2011 at 11:35 PM.
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2011, 11:18 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefully View Post
Seems like this issue of any male secondary "free loading" off my husband's support of me could keep coming up in this potential marriage.
I'm trying to picture what would make your primary happy. Is it that he wants you to spend time with your child and your secondary so he can spend more time with you when your child is with dad? I think doing childcare with a woman makes a lot of men feel secondary regardless of their status. There are probably some men who would like to have a playdate relationship with you and your child and that might be the ideal situation for you and your primary bf.
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