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Old 11-08-2017, 09:48 PM
Goldfish Goldfish is offline
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Default From open to poly. First time as the hinge in a V.

Hey all.

I have been in my relationship with my primary partner for 4 years. At the beginning I didn't realise poly was important to me, so let the individual people be dismissed, as they were not worth hurting my partner over. Now I'm seeing that was a mistake, but that's hindsight. Last year I opened up about this and we went into an open relatioship. He took another partner (he doesn't call her partner, more of a casual sex thing his end, though she has feelings for him) last year. I tried to start something similar but it made him so jealous that he made rules, which were too constricting for my first other partner last year, and so they walked away.

The past month I've fallen for a friend and now I feel a deep connection with him. Life changingly, like I've never felt broody before, never felt the urge to be romantic before. Never felt that love was equal before. We fantasise about a future we couldn't have with him being a secondary. It's like a path has opened up where any monogamous person would seriously consider taking. Of course, I'm poly. But my primary partner is monogamous. He is shutting this down. I told him about my feelings, and at best there will be x nights a month, they'll never be friendly with each other, he won't ever accept that he's a 'partner', secondary or not, we started a group chat so everyone could talk logistics and be heard, he's stopped checking it.

I have my first councelling session with my primary partner tomorrow. I'm not in a good headspace for it. Honestly part of me thinks the road to breaking up is easier than making it work, which I see as nearly impossible. I feel awful for my primary. I love and care for him. When I was telling him, it was through breaking up with him, as I thought I saw he couldn't do it, but he painted a picture of the life he wanted with me, he made first contact with my secondary, and promised me he'd do what it takes to stay with me. I want to believe him but I can't accept limitations on this one. I think I'm asking too much of him. We've agreed no rules, but everything is a conversation. but he expects to lay down rules with the reason of they make him feel bad being a good enough reason. Such as no collars. No holding hands in public. No kissing at new years. When I say okay, that I wouldn't mind but let's let my other partner have a voice in it too in case he cares a lot about it, my partner gets angry and dismisses it as not a real relationship.

If I were fighting for both to be in a happy V in this case, what should I co into councelling or future discussions with? How can I support my partner's feelings while being true to my own? Is it possible? It's very early, but these next days and weeks will be the foundation. My secondary partner is starting to feel like a door mat with the way he's being treated by my primary. Not listened to, not wanted, and being thrown scrap days my primary can't see me. Every time I let my primary have a rule without discussing it with my secondary, it would make that feeling worse for my secondary. Originally of course I had visions of a happy triad forming, my primary will never let that happen and that's upsetting. I know it's early, I've bonded with my secondary as someone I would love to bear children for, I imagined that I would raise one of each. they'd get along, talk about their shared interests, play games together. That will never happen. When I think logically, I think I should break up with my primary. So also, how would you advise me to go about that kindly in case I do decide to walk that path?
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:33 PM
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vinsanity0 vinsanity0 is offline
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Start with no more rules. Nobody gets to make rules. Everyone is supposed to be an adult having adult relationships. Rules are for children and prisoners.

Next, your primary can only work on himself. You can't do that for him. He needs to set his own boundaries and stick to them. If he can't handle it he needs to leave. Boundaries aren't supposed to be hoops for you to jump through.

You know he can't handle poly so you have to decide how badly you want poly. Keep in mind you are under the influence of NRE. Is the grass really greener on Mr New and Shiny's side?

Personally, I wouldn't be able to deal with a person who thought they could tell me when I could or couldn't kiss someone. It probably would have ended right there.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2017, 07:36 AM
anamikanon anamikanon is offline
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You say you are poly, so start acting poly. How is your partner unilaterally making rules for your life? If he can't cope, he can walk out. You thought he couldn't cope and tried to walk out, he insisted he can handle it. But he appears to be handling you and your other partner rather than managing himself in the situation.

This is his headache, not yours. You don't like how your secondary is being treated by your primary, why are you allowing it? Does your secondary have a relationship with you or your primary? They are not required to be friends or even like each other as long as they are aware that you are in a relationship with both and still willing to be in a relationship with you. The rest is on YOU. So tell me, why is your secondary being treated unfairly?

Is it that you are catering to the preferences of your primary and taking his compliance for granted? Is it that you are complying with the more difficult partner at the cost of being unfair to someone else or hurting them? If your secondary shouldn't get "scrap days" from you, why are you doing it and why are you not scheduling your time in a manner YOU believe this relationship deserves?

Your primary can't run your other relationships for you. If he finds it hard to cope, he can find support. There is plenty of help coming to terms with a poly partner, dealing with jealousy or possessiveness and so on. Offer him support, give him a lot of understanding, know that this is hard for him, but obeying him in a manner that violates your responsibilities to another person is you ADDING to the problem, not resolving it.

Highly suggest that you have a discussion with him that clearly states boundaries. You aren't a personal possession of his, that someone can take on loan only when he doesn't want it. You are a person with a desire to meet two people, both of whom you care about and he may not consider it a real relationship and he is not required to, but you do, and you WILL plan your life accordingly.

If he cannot handle it, or does not wish to make any accommodations, he is an adult. He can opt out. If he wants to learn to adapt because he values your relationship, support him how you can, but don't sacrifice other people at his feet. You are being a lousy hinge if he is able to do that.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:42 AM
anamikanon anamikanon is offline
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If you want suggestions on things to work with in therapy, I'd recommend beginning with personal autonomy and boundaries. The difference between learning to adjust with a situation and manipulating others to reduce own discomfort for him. You probably also need to work on assertiveness and not letting yourself be controlled to get around conflicting interests.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:54 AM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldfish View Post
He took another partner (he doesn't call her partner, more of a casual sex thing his end, though she has feelings for him) last year. I tried to start something similar but it made him so jealous that he made rules, which were too constricting for my first other partner last year, and so they walked away.

But my primary partner is monogamous. He is shutting this down. I told him about my feelings, and at best there will be x nights a month, they'll never be friendly with each other, he won't ever accept that he's a 'partner', secondary or not, we started a group chat so everyone could talk logistics and be heard, he's stopped checking it.
Excuse me if I'm misinterpreting your situation, Goldfish, and this may be a case of confused semantics, but how exactly is your partner "monogamous"?

You say he has another relationship with a woman who has feelings for him, albeit, he (conveniently) refuses to give her the title of "partner", as it's more a FWB situation on his side. Still, he IS participating in non monogamy/open relationship all the same. And from your account was the first to do so.

Therefore it seems rather hypocritical of him to attempt to assign rules by which you and your secondary must abide, including what title you're "allowed" to use to define the place your OSO holds in your life.

If you AND your OSO have progressed to a place whereby you're considering bearing his children, this is a Major Big Deal and I feel it is time you addressed this situation head-on with your primary partner. If he simply cannot see a way to accept that you feel genuine love for your "secondary" and wish to increase the quantity and quality of his participation in your life - even with the aid of counselling - then you may have to make a choice about who you'd prefer to be with for the long haul.
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2017, 08:46 PM
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Hello Goldfish,

It seems to me that you and your primary partner are not compatible with each other. He insists that you obey rules that he sets. The rules that he sets drive your partners away. It has happened once and it is already happening again. Your secondary partner feels very mistreated. He is likely to walk away much like your first other partner did.

Your primary partner seems sneaky to me. He makes rules for partners but then finds a way to say, "But she's not a partner," about the person he himself is seeing (nonmonogamously). He promises to do what it takes to stay with you, but then he makes more rules (that you have to obey). I don't trust him, I think he wants to control you. I know you love and care for him, but you have to take care of yourself too. You can love him from a distance. You don't have to love him up close. You don't have to live under his thumb.

It's your decision, of course. But I suspect that your primary partner is building a situation where you have to choose between him and your secondary partner. And if you wait until you're forced to choose, it might already be too late to choose your secondary, your secondary may have already decided to walk away.

Counseling may help. I guess it's okay to give it a chance. But handle things carefully, and set a time limit on how long you'll tolerate your primary's behavior. Be careful about how much you'll let him control you. Be considerate toward your secondary. You value both relationships, I can appreciate that. Unfortunately, you are walking a fine line between them. What satisfies one partner, angers the other. I'm sorry you're in this position.

If you're willing, keep us posted here on the forum, let us know how things are going as your situation evolves. If you do that, it will help us to give you updated advice and feedback. I hope things will work out for you.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2017, 10:15 AM
Goldfish Goldfish is offline
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Hey, keeping you all updated

I read your responses before councelling, they really helped me get everything out. They went in depth for why my primary might be struggling to do this. Losing his mother suddenly, and sharing his affection with a disabled brother. Means that my fantasy of the two of them playing games together while I work in the other room is unlikely to happen.

Currently, I'm on the way to meet my secondary for the first time overnight and leaving my primary was really hard because he's been ill with a cold and it seems to have hit extra hard this morning. With the underhand behaviour I don't even know of I trust that he's as bad as it seems. He's been like this before and wanted me to stay and take care of him, but knowing what's going on he didn't ask me to stay, and I didn't. But I feel guilty about it now and resent my primary for it. I worry he's going to bring it up later. Me and the secondary have a hotel booked, he's had to drive a long way and is also ill right now. Maybe a cruel timing of us all getting the same illness.

I would agree he's trying to steer the relationship into a him or me situation, and good point that my secondary may have left before or even gets to that point. Ugh. It looks so hopeful but every time is a real struggle. My primary bought up a penciled in date yesterday and said he's got a day off that day, even though my secondary already has that days booked off work for it. Then when I said I'd like to secure it for my secondary by booking the hotel we want early enough so it doesn't sell out, my primary said, because it was last night, that I was being insensitive to him by talking about it. How do I make a good time to talk about it without nagging? Ideally a time to talk in the group chat so my secondary feels included.

I really whine about my primary a lot here :/ I do care about him, he does add value, we have a relationship I don't want to lose. I just wish this could be easier. I feel like I'm not compromising for him like relationships should, I have no budge in what I ask for and I feel like a bad person for it.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunabunny View Post
how exactly is your partner "monogamous"?
My take was that this is just Monogamism: he feels it's okay to screw around "on the side" so long as emotional entanglement is avoided. Where we see different shades of the same thing (nonmonogamy), the wider culture separates swinging & affairs as part of monogamy, & polyamory as a countercase.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:38 PM
anamikanon anamikanon is offline
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Oh. I thought it was more like he had a relationship earlier but freaked out when she had one and decided to call a halt to the whole thing.
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:23 AM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldfish View Post

I read your responses before councelling, they really helped me get everything out. They went in depth for why my primary might be struggling to do this. Losing his mother suddenly, and sharing his affection with a disabled brother. Means that my fantasy of the two of them playing games together while I work in the other room is unlikely to happen.
I'm afraid I didn't understand what you meant by this at all. Who is "them" in this case? Your primary and secondary(?)

Was your fantasy that they'd get along with each other, platonically, and hang out together while you worked? Or did you mean you had fantasies that they'd "play" together sexually? Either way, I think you're about as far from fulfilling either as it's possible to get right now.

Originally Posted by lunabunny View Post
how exactly is your partner "monogamous"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenscroft View Post
My take was that this is just Monogamism: he feels it's okay to screw around "on the side" so long as emotional entanglement is avoided. Where we see different shades of the same thing (nonmonogamy), the wider culture separates swinging & affairs as part of monogamy, & polyamory as a countercase.
Oh, I understand this, Ravenscroft. I guess my question was aimed at getting Goldfish to think about if, and how, this (some might say faux) distinction applies to her primary and his relationship with his other partner - a woman who seemingly isn't engaging with primary on only a casual level. Where is that line drawn? Because to me his whole attitude smacks of hypocrisy and a desire to have one's cake and eat it too.
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