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Old 02-19-2012, 10:33 PM
BlackRoseImmortal BlackRoseImmortal is offline
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Question Negotiationg boundaries from a "secondary" position?

Hi everyone!
I am hoping to seek some input about my position and rights as a secondary. I am fairly new to poly, this is potentially only my second relationship.

I have a long-term relationship, and was the V between him and another partner. So I have some understanding of that role and negotiating between the two of them. I am currently only with my long-term partner, but am slowly starting negotiations with another partner that I am very interested in. My partner supports this new potential relationship and has given me the go ahead to expole the possibility and decide for myself.

The potential partner identifies as poly, but is new to it. Her primary identifies as strongly mono. So they are working on accepting this and what it means for them. I feel that in my own relationship we still have a ton to learn but have fortunately made it to a more comfortable place of acceptance and happiness with this lifestyle. I can understand her position, with alot of pressure in all directions.

We had a long talk last night and I feel very confused. She needs to respect her primary relationship. Her partner is not poly and they are already treading on thin ice with just accepting this lifestyle change and figuring out what is comfortable for them. She is struggling with feelings of guilt, the need to appease her primary partner, and with identifying as poly and wanting to pursue this lifestyle. I have been there so I completely understand. My main concern is having so much emphasis being put on the needs of her primary relationship, that mine may be overlooked.

I am willing to wait patiently and be only a friend and support to her. I don't want to jump into a relationship until things are more stable and healthier boundaries are negotiated.

My struggle is that Ive never been in a secondary position. I feel that my feelings are valid and Im scared they arent being taken into consideration at this point. I also fear the potential for our relationship to be vetoed if her primary partner becomes frustrated. She asked me last night what my expectations are and the conversation was already very emotionally charged and I just couldn't negotiate at the time. When I go back to discuss this with her I want to have a clearer idea of what healthy boundaries I can have. Ideally I would want us to be free to spend the time together and navigate our relationship without the control of her other partner.

My concerns are that her other partner is a bit controlling of the situation. Coming from a mono person I understand the panic and need for control. But this will need to be healthy for me too, or I will not get involved any further.

She lives out of my town and commutes in to spend time with me. Her partner allows this about once per week. She works until 8pm and then commutes into town, and has to leave rather quickly as she has a curfew of midnight. She is never allowed sleepovers, she is not allowed texting while she is at home (our primary way of communicating) because her partner needs her full focus. So she can only text me on breaks at work. As of this point we are not allowed any physical contact other then a bit of cuddling up when we watch movies.

I certainly need more then what is currently comfortable with her other partner. Im wondering if there is ways I can respect her partners needs for security and comfort, without allowing her to control our relationship....
Can anyone please chime in with thoughts and ideas that I can work with to develop some boundaries that would be healthy for everyone involved please
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:39 AM
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This situation of yours has a number of red flags for me. Granted, I have just been dumped by someone after three years of being a secondary and I have little to say that would be positive. I will likely never put myself in a position again where my metamour is unexperienced with poly. I will not be someone else's guinea pig again.

Hierarchies suck and if this woman is saying that he comes first, is going to control everything, and that she feels guilty, I hate to be the one to tell you, but it likely won't work out and you will end up in a world of hurt. Sorry, not fun to hear, but its what so many experience and why sugar coat it. Of course it could be fantastic, and then you can make me eat my words... I love when that happens.

Having said all that, what I would do in your situation (I realize that love conquers all most of the time and that it makes us blind... I am have been blind also), is back right up and take it really slowly. I would let her know that I would be coming to visit her, get to know my metamour, talk with him and seeing how he does with a bit more time and getting to know me. If he decides that he doesn't like me and would rather veto me than see me be in his life as his wifes lover, then I would walk. To me metamour relationships make or break partnerships.

If I can't be an equal in her eyes and his after that, then I just wouldn't do it. I'm not saying spending the same amount of time, buying houses together, having kids together etc. which is what I see a primary partner as, I'm taking consideration and caring in the relationship. I would need respect in terms of negotiating boundaries and communicating needs. If I am not treated like I am just as valuable as he is, in my own unique way, then I would be walking. I am worth more than that. They would need to be autonomous from one another and be see each other as separate people, rather than a couple where one person has a girlfriend. Its just too depleting to my feelings of self worth and value and I just wouldn't do it.

There are many threads on here on secondary issues. I suggest you do a tag search for "secondaries" "secondary" "secondary rights" and read up on "vetos" "veto" "ultimatums" "ultimatum" or anything else that looks like it might help. The more you educate yourself about what could happen the better prepared you will be. You could also read my blog from mid Jan 2012 on and see what I have been through. Also several of the other blogs that are in the lifestyle and blogs section.... really, just stay here and read everything.... this is far too big and popular topic to focus on one particular thread.
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Last edited by redpepper; 02-20-2012 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:51 AM
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I agree with RP on this one. To be fair, last year I was burned pretty badly in a secondary relationship where the metamour was less than enthusiastic.

If your metamour deep down doesn't like you or want you to be with their spouse, even if they won't admit it, it's probably not going to go well for you. And if ultimately, you need more than they jointly are comfortable with, then it's not a good match. I remember that sometimes I would ask my BF at the time if something was ok. And he would often forget think of the question in reference to what his wife wanted. He'd be like well, I'm fine with it. And I would have to prompt to hear what she might think. And often he didn't know. HUGE RED FLAG.

Often if the spouses are worlds apart regarding poly, you can be getting yourself into a pickle. If that is the case, then they have a lot of work to do before they can have good poly relationships. ESP, if one of the partners doesn't really want to do the work in the first place. Now, this may not be what's going on with you. But be careful. Don't be afraid to demand equality as explained by RP. I remember also that I once told my former BF that I felt powerless in the relationship (negotiationwise) and he told me that I had the power to leave (and was being serious) (oh, and said it like it was some kind of boon to me). Don't settle for that kind of relationship.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:00 AM
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Also don't settle when someone tells you you are being self centered, that everything revolves around you and that you should not be so particular about what you want. If they tell you that your communication is over thinking things and dwelling on things that are not that important then also don't settle for that too. You have every right to ask for what YOU NEED in your relationships. Its not about all give and no receiving... if you aren't being treated as they would want to be treated, then end it before its too late and you get masses of hurt.

It isn't your fault that they are not on their game and have an unsteady foundation coming into your situation... but it is on you for staying and allowing that foundation to crumble the relationship you have with yourself when theirs crumbles. You are your own primary, treat yourself well by asking those you love to treat you well also.


Here is a link that might be helpful
amongst many others....
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Last edited by redpepper; 02-20-2012 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:56 PM
Icewraithonyx Icewraithonyx is offline
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I would tend to agree with the other posts about really considering whether this situation will work for you. I'm looking at this from the perspective of the mono husband whose wife wants to be poly and he's trying to adjust. Just about all the resources about opening up a marriage advise taking things VERY SLOWLY. Which may be great long-term but is apt to be very frustrating for the new relationship. Not the mention the possibility that the husband may freak out and just veto the whole thing. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the new relationship when the couple is not only opening up to them but to the idea of non-monogamy. (Keep in mind, the husband is likely not completely happy either, as he's having to compromise and adjust to a "new" marriage, one he may not have been expecting.)

Have you tried meeting with the husband and wife together to discuss things? That might be a good next step. Might help husband see you as less of a threat. Also, if he balks at meeting, I would think he's not ready for this and you might want to steer clear.

Last edited by Icewraithonyx; 02-20-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:10 PM
BlackRoseImmortal BlackRoseImmortal is offline
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This situation of yours has a number of red flags for me. Granted, I have just been dumped by someone after three years of being a secondary and I have little to say that would be positive. I will likely never put myself in a position again where my metamour is unexperienced with poly. I will not be someone else's guinea pig again.

Im sorry for your relationship breakup But it sounds like you made the most healthy choice for yourself!!
I am very torn about this. Mainly because I know how it feels to be inexperienced and learning and it would have felt awful to be rejected based on that alone. But I completely agree. The idea of being someones guinea pig while they navigate this (and possibly fail miserably) is not something Im interested in putting myself through. Fortunately my "friend" is very conscious of this. Which is why we are not proceeding with a relationship until things are more stable and secure and we all agree and are comfortable with the arrangement. Her respect of both me and her other partner and huge things that make me still consider this. We feel very strongly about one another, yet she still is maintaining the need for us to proceed very very slowly. She doesn't want to mess this up with either partner.

Hierarchies suck and if this woman is saying that he comes first, is going to control everything, and that she feels guilty, I hate to be the one to tell you, but it likely won't work out and you will end up in a world of hurt. Sorry, not fun to hear, but its what so many experience and why sugar coat it. Of course it could be fantastic, and then you can make me eat my words... I love when that happens.

I agree about this too! This is not the situation I am comfortable getting into at this point. Im hoping that with some negotiation we will be able to proceed with more healthy boundaries. She is concerned for her partners position, as she is the only one who didnt choose this. Right now everything is negotiating and compromising. She is certainly considering both of our feelings and also the bigger picture in the outcome of this whicvh I appreciate. But at this point her primary partner holds the cards and Id like to gently move away from that. haha

Having said all that, what I would do in your situation (I realize that love conquers all most of the time and that it makes us blind... I am have been blind also), is back right up and take it really slowly. I would let her know that I would be coming to visit her, get to know my metamour, talk with him and seeing how he does with a bit more time and getting to know me. If he decides that he doesn't like me and would rather veto me than see me be in his life as his wifes lover, then I would walk. To me metamour relationships make or break partnerships.

As much as I can see this could be a horrible train wreck, my heart is also completely running in her direction So I would like to at least attempt to see through some healthy boundaries here. I am sure I would regret it for a very long time if I didnt try.
With that said I completely agree that I should get to know her wife. Fortunately we have met and she has expressed she really does like me. I feel like that is a huge hurdle we have already made it past.
I really believe this was one of the hugest reasons my last relationship ended, so I am VERY wary of this. My ex and partner really struggled in their relationship. He completely disliked her as a person, and she was constantly overstepping the boundaries we had set up, and could not relate to him or communicate effectively. (recently Ive learned the term cowboy/cowgirl.... makes perfect sense!) This spoke volumes to me about the importance of the metamour relationship. I think this is my dealbreaker. So thank you for bringing this up! If her partner doesnt want to work towards a comfortable relationship with me, I will have to walk


If I can't be an equal in her eyes and his after that, then I just wouldn't do it. I'm not saying spending the same amount of time, buying houses together, having kids together etc. which is what I see a primary partner as, I'm taking consideration and caring in the relationship. I would need respect in terms of negotiating boundaries and communicating needs. If I am not treated like I am just as valuable as he is, in my own unique way, then I would be walking. I am worth more than that. They would need to be autonomous from one another and be see each other as separate people, rather than a couple where one person has a girlfriend. Its just too depleting to my feelings of self worth and value and I just wouldn't do it.

During this time while we are slowly working on things, her main goals have been to have a more comfortable autonomy in their relationship. So something she has been considering and really working on. I think that this was the concept in my head the other night that I just couldnt formulate into words. I do believe in equality with partners when it comes to respect and value. I think alot of how you phrased it will be key when I speak to her next.

There are many threads on here on secondary issues. I suggest you do a tag search for "secondaries" "secondary" "secondary rights" and read up on "vetos" "veto" "ultimatums" "ultimatum" or anything else that looks like it might help. The more you educate yourself about what could happen the better prepared you will be. You could also read my blog from mid Jan 2012 on and see what I have been through. Also several of the other blogs that are in the lifestyle and blogs section.... really, just stay here and read everything.... this is far too big and popular topic to focus on one particular thread

vetoing is also something I will walk over. If that is even on the table I cannot be a part of this There was a point where my husband and I considered this to be reasonable. But once living in the poly lifestyle I realized that I value my relationships enough that I would never consider letting someone else make my choice about continuing my relationship.
Thank you so much for the feedback! and Id love to prove you wrong
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:11 PM
BlackRoseImmortal BlackRoseImmortal is offline
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Can someone please tell me how to multi quote posts so that it is easier for me to respond?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRoseImmortal View Post
Can someone please tell me how to multi quote posts so that it is easier for me to respond?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:58 PM
BlackRoseImmortal BlackRoseImmortal is offline
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Thanks so much! My first long-winded post isnt in that format.. but the next will be
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:20 AM
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BlackRoseImmortal, sorry I mistook genders in your post. Genders shmenders... I never really bother with them, but I apologize all the same,

Good luck to you. It sounds like you are in for quite a ride.
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