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Old 04-25-2012, 08:11 AM
PolyCurious4 PolyCurious4 is offline
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Default Still navigating.

I've been posting recently about a relationship Hubby and I have with another couple. There have been concerns because of imbalance between my relationship with her Hubby and she with mine, our general navigating because we are poly-newbs & feel like we're floundering a bit because we're having feelings we haven't dealt with in the past outside of one another.

Because there are a few issues/concerns I'm going to separate. Any feedback or input is hugely appreciated!

#1 - Hubby came home feeling very good about his most recent date because a lot of things had been discussed and she had opened up a lot. He has experienced a kind of two steps forward three steps back tango with her from the beginning. Hubby had recently told her he had feelings for her - not in love but definitely in like. So he was really happy to see her open up. They both shared that they were not great at being vulnerable and reasons behind it. She gave more insight on what happened in their last poly relationship. Long story short she fell in love and the couple decided to take a different direction that didn't include them and ended their relationship abruptly. She was very hurt. This ended only a couple months before they met us. She said she is emotionally closed off. She said she doesn't have a problem with the sexual part but it's the emotional part and she's unavailable emotionally. Hubby could understand and felt badly for her and told her he understood. So he felt like they had overcome an obstacle and built some trust because opening up is difficult for her. His feeling was that it was not something she was closed off from developing in the future. There was a lot of good talk too. She said she enjoyed spending time with him and liked the frequency we see each other etc... He expected that she would pull back the next day and not say much but he was surprised to find things didn't seem to miss a step. Now the day following and since is another story... More on that in a moment.

#2 - I had posted my concern because communication with me in between our dates has changed abruptly. He went from talking frequently to very little beyond my good morning hello. On the contrary at the time she was talking to my Hubby very frequently in comparison to the norm, texting often, playing games online, flirtation through out the day etc. It was a flip flop.

Well, the reason for the change came to light. He confided on our date that he had made an error that crossed a boundary (not with me) and they had been working through it. It made complete sense after learning what had happened. He has since gone back to communicating frequently as we had before.

Herein lies the rub. They made up and resolved the issue. As soon as they worked through things her contact with Hubby flipped again. Hubby was not pleased that when she was upset with her spouse she was very talkative. As soon as they made up she stopped playing games online and went back to the short little snippets messages.

#3 - Back to the revelation she made recently about being emotionally unavailable. While Hubby felt empathy for her and because he cares for her wants to be patient and understand. In the same token his feelings are hurt, he feels a bit foolish and a bit duped. We have been involved in relationships that were sexual in nature without emotions. There are things one can do to help from developing feelings but it's difficult now because you can't put the stink back in the bag.

She said they were a true poly relationship but I'm not sure if that applies to her Hubby and if he is in the same place as she is. I haven't had an opportunity to discuss in person with him yet. My impression from him has not been that he's unavailable for an emotional relationship nor that it's purely sexual for him. He talks to me often, tells me he's fond of me and thinks of me often, that he thinks I'm wonderful etc... We have talked about poly and what his ideal is. Early on he told me he liked me, enjoyed spending time with me and would tell me if things evolved into more. His brief explanation of the relationship with the previous couple leads me to think he may not be in the same place. He shared with me that he had wondered early on if they were the right fit because he was not happy with the communication with her. He has shared that he doesn't have an interest in pursuing other relationships because he's happy with where things are going with us. Anyway, all that to say, I don't know where he stands and based upon our conversations I've never had the impression he was only interested in the sexual aspect (though maybe I'm seeing what I want to because when communication broke down during their fight I was worried it was cutting out the vital part that made it beyond sex).

However, regardless from the beginning, from the first emails, we were told they were looking for a poly style relationship. Our first meeting they talked about their affinity for poly relationship. It seems it would have been appropriate to have let us know that sex was the only thing she was interested in. We're not interested in just sex and we were told they weren't either.

Does that mean she didn't realize until she started to get more involved and Hubby reminded her of her previous partner (she told Hubby he said & did all the right things just like her previous guy)? Or are they in difference spots emotionally and their ideal is poly? Is it that he is at a point he's ready to move on but she's not so they are giving it a go until her heart heals?

#4 - So now... after that last date night I mentioned the day after he expected she would pull back. She didn't and Hubby was pleasantly surprised. The next day not so much. This last weekend she was very abrupt in her texts so Hubby decided to give her some space and they didn't talk this weekend. Since then he's tried to keep it light and she's pulled back. He on the other hand texts me as usual and things haven't skipped a beat. So for Hubby he's at a cross roads. His feelings are involved now. He wants to be understanding and is ok with enjoying his time with her, allowing time for her to heal and seeing if anything develops. But to stop communication again feels like too much. He doesn't like feeling like he's ok to get together for sex but unless she's fighting with her Hubby he's not good enough to talk to. Even the swinger relationships we had we were always friends with. We didn't bounce from partner to partner and not have friendships. We talked to our partners often and shared our lives. So he's struggling with being patient when he feels insulted at the same time. And to add to his dilemma he doesn't want to say he's not willing to get together because it would end things with her Hubby and me (I've asked about seeing people separate and they don't).

#5 - Another kink in the works. We have not agreed to any exclusivity but have let it known that both sides are not seeing anyone else.

I have a female friend that is also poly. My understanding was that she was only interested in a friendship. She has expressed an interest in something more - with me. Because it's how I've always done things I need to see how this relationship with he couple plays out. But at the same time I have a woman interested in exactly what I've always wanted - a real relationship with another woman. I wish I didn't feel like my interests were so tied up with this other guy. I know it's poly so I could technically have a girlfriend, boyfriend and hubby. That feels like too much for me. I also don't want anyone to get hurt.

It feels more and more that this quad experiment we're all trying isn't feasible. If any of us doesn't work out the other is done. They aren't interested in being separate. Honestly, if I knew it wouldn't hurt Hubby I would like to know I could have a relationship with the male of the couple completely separate. It's very difficult to let you guard down and share your feelings when you know if things don't go well on the other side you're going to end up with a broken heart. It feels like a lot of pressure.

But I want to 'want' this other situation too - it seems more like a relationship that will have less risk and exactly what I've wanted. But, I also don't want to burn any bridges either way. I am rambling now, just don't want to make any mistakes and hurt anyone or left heart broken either.

Thank you in advance if you've managed to make it through this rambling.
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  #2  
Old 04-25-2012, 11:56 AM
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I've asked about seeing people separate and they don't <-- I find this to be so incredibly foolish, for all the reasons you've described. Different relationships develop at different rates, in different ways. To predicate one upon another places huge pressure on all involved and ignores the way human relationships actually work. Bleh.

Ideally, I would say all four of you should get together in person (or heck, via a skype conference call or a "Google Hangouts" video chat if absolutely necessary) and talk things out. Then you can know for sure if everyone is on the same page, rather than having to guess about it.

That said, there is nothing inherently wrong with her wanting to guard her heart and take things slow, and if her actions are hurting your husband's feelings it's up to the two of them to work that out. If she's open to hearing what he has to say, and she and her husband can state in front of you, at the same time, that they have compatible ideas about this situation, I suppose it's worth trying to continue. But honestly, I would advise never to get involved in "we're a package deal" situations in the first place... it's just not a particularly workable model.

Aside from all that, if you want to date your other friend, just tell your bf you're considering it and find out if exclusivity within the quad is something that's emotionally important to him.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:10 AM
PolyCurious4 PolyCurious4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Ideally, I would say all four of you should get together in person (or heck, via a skype conference call or a "Google Hangouts" video chat if absolutely necessary) and talk things out. Then you can know for sure if everyone is on the same page, rather than having to guess about it.
Here in lies the rub and to me at this point is almost a deal breaker. We did all sit down to have a talk about what we were looking for when this all began. When the lopsidedness began he attempted to talk to her about it and she was very coy and wouldn't give him a straight answer. I attempted to address with him as well. I told him that I didn't want to get too involved and risk getting my feelings hurt if everyone wasn't on the same page. That's when he told me how he felt about me. When I pressed to know how she felt and if she was on the same page he went on about not looking too far to the future (our first red flag and I suppose maybe should have known) and how they wanted things to happen organically etc...

I told him exactly as I've posted here, that I was concerned that is it feasible with four separate people, paces, emotions etc... His take on it was that if everyone works hard and is kind to others it will work out. But I don't really feel she's being kind to other's right now. Protect your heart yes but don't be inconsiderate about others.

All that said to say they are not open to having blunt communication. He addresses how he feels very well. She plays coy and won't talk about it. And when he does come out and ask her to communicate she always pulls back and the next couple of days acts like she doesn't want to talk to him.

As far as my friend who is interested in being more. We did talk today and I shared that I would like not to involve sex at all initially and just spend time together and see how things go. I feel like if I want a true relationship that's built around love, trust and companionship jumping straight to sex may be a mistake. I am a very sexual person, always have been but I think it's gotten me in trouble rushing into things. I don't want to have my heart broken and getting involved intimately seems to deepen feelings more quickly. She agreed so we'll see how things go. As far as discussing with BF they seem to be pulling back now and not interested in scheduling a time to get together - so may be a mute point anyway. Feels like a whole lot of drama.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:21 AM
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The problem I see when you talk about the dynamics of your quad here is that it seems you want everyone to all be in the same place and in agreement and processing whatever they are processing all at the same pace. I know that the other couple is more focused on keeping their dyad very tight and they don't want to get into any kind of "separateness," but you would do well to kind of divorce yourself from any expectations you have that everyone of you all be on the same page all the time.

And as far as having a talk among all of you, I think you can't just rely on one discussion at the beginning. You need to encourage them all to talk periodically and address stuff that is bothering any of you. However, I would let up on this idea that they have to be at some point in the relationship where you think they should.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:47 AM
PolyCurious4 PolyCurious4 is offline
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I'm sorry if that's the impression I'm giving. Yes, as newbs that was the original concern, on Hubby's end especially. It didn't feel so great that BF and I were hitting it off so well but it wasn't the same with her. He has since realized and accepted that its not reasonable to expect everything to go on the same pace. It was a jealousy issue on his part because he wanted what I was experiencing. It was a good lesson for him to learn.

That is not at all what we're asking now. He does feel a bit duped because when we discussed from the beginning we do NOT want just sex, that we are no longer swinging because it's not what we're looking for and then months later to inform him she IS only interested in sex at this point. It feels misleading. However, because she doesn't communicate we took what he said to speak for them. BF and I have talked about poly a lot. He feels the swinger community is misguided to go to great lengths to not allow emotions to develop. Maybe that's part of the problem - after that first night she hasn't said much about poly, it's all been him speaking for what 'they' want.

Anyway, it's not an issue that she and Hubby aren't connecting in a romantic way. It's an issue that she has shut down emotionally because of her heart break. I hate it for her, it's terrible she was hurt. It is hurtful however to mislead someone that you're open to something that you are in fact not. Now the question remains if she knew originally, perhaps it's something that came to light for her as things progressed.

The major issue is that we are not allowed to have separate relationships. It is a package deal. We see each other separately but if they don't work he and I are done as well. Not what I want nor is it what Hubby wants.

With her being open that she's only ok with sexual aspect right now and not wanting to communicate much even on a friendly level outside of their meetings it's hard for Hubby. He's not sure he can continue and he's worried about hurting me by causing things to end with BF and me. He does like and care for her and the worry is he will continue to care and fall in love with a woman that is not in love with him. With only being sexual and not having a true friendship even that's really hard to ask of him because he will be hurt. That's a risk anyone takes I realize but in this instance he KNOWS she's not open to anything but sex per her words.

There's where the balance comes in. There is not an option to build anything.

I'm cautious with getting too close because I know it is a package deal and I will be left with my heart in my hands. I don't think it's fair to ask Hubby to just have sex with her and be hurt himself for me to build a relationship with him.

Does that help to better explain? It's not a matter of equal between the two. Minimum needs have to be met or it won't work on his end which ends my end.

I'm rambling at this point but just briefly the advise has been always to have a sit down talk. The problem is she won't if there is a discussion outside of what she wants to talk about she shuts down more. And I guess that's the big issue above others. Can't have anything successful without communication. The ironic thing is if this were a swinger relationship and we hadn't gotten our emotions involved we would have stopped seeing them at this point just purely because we don't feel we're all able to communicate effectively. But because we like them we keep rehashing in our minds and trying to work on it.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:58 AM
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I really think you need to talk to her husband about the mixed signals you're receiving from the two of them.

Understanding that it will take her time to open up is one thing - holding onto hope that she will eventually be seeking a relationship when she has no intention of getting to that point is another. I think you need to figure out which it really is - Is it just sex for now until she heals from her previous heart break or is it just sex forever because she doesn't want to go through it again?

Also, they seem like much less of a package deal than they are saying. Obviously they aren't expecting simultaneous romantic relationships/a quad situation since she isn't even open to friendship right now.

What are you expecting to happen? It boils down to her not being ready for a relationship. This sounds rude (I feel like I always get rude when I'm tired...), but either he can be with you without her being with your hubby OR you're all done romantically. Unless of course your husband decides it's ok to sleep with her with no other contact at all. Which it doesn't sound like he is.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by PolyCurious4 View Post
I don't think it's fair to ask Hubby to just have sex with her and be hurt himself for me to build a relationship with him.
Not only would it not be fair, it would just be weird and gross to "ask Hubby to just have sex with her" in order to let you keep going with the bf. Seriously, ewww.

Why can't he (your hubs) just continue with a platonic friendship with her and not get into the sex, while you develop a relationship with her husband?

WHY SETTLE FOR LESS THAN WHAT YOU WANT? They seem to be throwing you crumbs.

Sooner rather than later, I think you and hubs will have to speak up to them about feeling duped, and about wanting the relationships to grow and develop separately. If they say "no" and walk away, wouldn't you rather it end now instead of a few months down the road when you might have even deeper feelings for the bf?


The "him" I bolded - I take you to mean your boyfriend, her husband - correct?
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:13 PM
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Yup. Too much drama. I would let them go unless they can agree to "de-package" themselves. Next time, you'll know better than to let one member of a couple speak for both or to get involved with people who think it makes sense to operate as an inseparable package. I think it was really emotionally manipulative of him to redirect the conversation to his feelings for you when you tried to get clarification on his wife's feelings. :/
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PolyCurious4 View Post
Anyway, it's not an issue that she and Hubby aren't connecting in a romantic way. It's an issue that she has shut down emotionally because of her heart break. I hate it for her, it's terrible she was hurt. It is hurtful however to mislead someone that you're open to something that you are in fact not. Now the question remains if she knew originally, perhaps it's something that came to light for her as things progressed.
Is that even relevant to the situation? She is doing what she needs to do, and has her reasons. It doesn't sound like your husband is getting what he needs in the relationship. That means it is his responsibility to end it (instead of both of you ganging up on her to change her feelings and wants).

But he doesn't end it because of this.
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The major issue is that we are not allowed to have separate relationships. It is a package deal. We see each other separately but if they don't work he and I are done as well. Not what I want nor is it what Hubby wants.
I doubt him trying to keep the relationship with her alive (or, make it into a relationship) will work anyway. It is not a good motivation to stay with her so that you are able to have a relationship with her partner.

If he breaks up with her, your guy still has some agency. If he chooses that he will not rock the boat by negotiating with her to keep seeing you, that is his right. But it tells you things about him, doesn't it?

If your husband chooses not to see her anymore he is not causing your relationship with him to end. He is only causing the break-up he initiates. If her husband then chooses to break up with you, that is not your husband's responsibility. You have chosen to enter into a package-deal-situation, so that is the risk you have taken yourself.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:15 PM
PolyCurious4 PolyCurious4 is offline
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Is that even relevant to the situation? She is doing what she needs to do, and has her reasons. It doesn't sound like your husband is getting what he needs in the relationship. That means it is his responsibility to end it (instead of both of you ganging up on her to change her feelings and wants).
That first portion of that statement was to explain in relation to us wanting things equal and that it's not a they just don't click issue but that it's not an option. The fact is not everyone falls in love. Not everyone who dates is a perfect fit. We went into it knowing that. That's different from I don't want a relationship. I do think it is relevant to explain that Hubby felt duped because she told us/him that she wanted a romantic relationship when the truth is she's not open to anything other than sex with anyone. In my opinion it's a reasonable expectation to let prospective partners know what you're looking for. It probably doesn't matter which came first the chicken or the egg. But it does soften the blow when you have feelings for someone to know if they told you they wanted something they really didn't or if they discovered after giving it a try that she really wasn't ready. I guess it shows a sense of consideration for others.

How are we ganging up on her? I haven't said a word to her. I post here because it's a great sounding board and I don't have anyone to talk to about this in my normal life. Hubby has tried to talk to her and it's valid to know where he stands. I have tried to talk to BF to inquire his thoughts if we're on the same page because it is a package deal and I wanted not to get too involved. They set the standard that they *wanted* a community between us and it's not ganging up on her to ask my BF if I can feel safe getting my feelings involved.

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If your husband chooses not to see her anymore he is not causing your relationship with him to end. He is only causing the break-up he initiates. If her husband then chooses to break up with you, that is not your husband's responsibility. You have chosen to enter into a package-deal-situation, so that is the risk you have taken yourself.
You're absolutely correct. I have told Hubby not to worry about it and if he's at a point he's not interested in continuing then not to base it upon any impact on the relationship with BF. If BF wants to continue with me then great. But of course Hubby loves me, doesn't want me to be hurt either and because he also cares for GF he really wants to stick it out to see how things would turn out if she did feel she was ready to be open to see if they are interested in more. Hubby just doesn't want to feel cheap and used while he waits.

Yes, we did take that risk. I knew going in it was a difficult situation to navigate. At the end of the day there are things we need to know so we can decide if we want to make a decision to continue knowing the risks.

Also KM34 mentioned they may be less of a package deal.
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Also, they seem like much less of a package deal than they are saying. Obviously they aren't expecting simultaneous romantic relationships/a quad situation since she isn't even open to friendship right now
My understanding at this point is they are a package deal in that our dates are only to be scheduled on the same night and if either of the four of us they no longer want to continue the other couple is not to continue (this is what I asked him recently). But the scope of how the relationships develop is entirely organic and becomes what it will. It's the issue that she is not interested in building a friendship outside the sex that is the breaking point for Hubby.

Bleh. Everytime I post, think this through it feels like it should be so simple. Have a talk. What does each of us want. Will it work. Do we want to continue. But since the receiving end is coy about communicating about serious discussions and add feelings to the mix it seems to complicate things.

We have certainly learned a HUGE lesson. I don't think we'll give the quad relationship a try in the future.
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