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Old 04-26-2012, 05:59 PM
persephone persephone is offline
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Default Etiquette, when a friend is interested in your partner

Ugh. I have a situation now that is troubling to me and I would love to get some opinions from impartial people who are not involved in the situation.

I have a long-distance OSO who is very important to me, but whom I only get to see about four weekends a year. So far, half of those weekends have been spent at a social event with other poly friends around as well.

My OSO and I would both like to see more of each other, but it has not been possible, mainly because of him. I have a little more flexibility than he does, although seeing him is always tricky at best for me too.

I have a close friend who also goes to the same social event. She has always had at least one other partner at the event, but she still tends to stress out over the possibility of being lonely or bored there when her partner is busy with another partner. Usually, that is a non-issue, it is full of congenial people and there is always plenty going on.

My close friend and my OSO got to know each other a little at the most recent incarnation of this event, and liked each other. I was pleased.

My friend knows very well that I feel more than a bit time-starved in my relationship with OSO, as well as sex-starved (his libido is nowhere near mine), and has been sympathetic. I speak with her very regularly, probably three or four times a week, sometimes at length.

I just found out, from OSO, that she initiated an email correspondance with him to discuss doing "energy work" on him the next time we all see each other. (She is learning how to do this from a friend, she has no formal training in Reiki or anything like it.) OSO agreed that he would enjoy this, but specified that the energy work (which I am assuming involves touch) should be non-sexual. He later qualified that by saying that it was not that he did not find her attractive, he did, and perhaps a relationship could form between them in the future, but he did not feel open to one at this time.

She responded by saying that she thought of herself as a "cat" and liked to "rub up against people" and that sexual play was, for her, to be shared freely with people she liked, "like toddlers getting to know each other in a sandbox." She then listed the sex play she would be open to in this context (it included touching genitals, but no penetrative sex). She then said she was not a "swinger" (WTF?), and penetrative sex would have to be cleared with the wife if she was dealing with a married man. (OSO is married.)

She did not actually come out and SAY that she wanted to do these things with HIM, but she did say she found him attractive. She even concluded her message by saying that, in addition to seeing him at the next social event, perhaps she could be invited to my HOUSE the next time he visits me in my area and do "energy work" with him there!

OSO responded jokingly to her by saying that he wasn't that easy. He told me about the exchange, and then showed it to me, because he thought it was amusing. He did not see it as a sexual come-on. I do, though.

I talked to my friend for two HOURS this past Monday, when she had sent that email offering her "services three days prior, and she never said a word about it. I found out a day later, from him.

I am not upset with OSO, who was very honest and transparent with me about what happened, even if his viewpoint on it differs from mine, but I am very upset with my friend, who knows very well that my time with him is precious and rare to me, especially our intimate time, and, beyond that, as my good friend, I feel she should not have been attempting to create a sexual situation with my partner without discussing it with me first. She offered my husband the same thing about a year ago and he declined with thanks. She did ask me about it then, although I do not know if it was discussed with me before it was discussed with him. I knew he wasn't attracted to her that way, so I didn't worry about it at the time.

What is the code of etiquette for this situation? One good thing that may have come out of it is that OSO and I are communicating a bit more about our expectations and what we are and aren't open to with others, but I am wondering if I can ever feel the same way about my friend, whose behavior I see as thoughtless, selfish, and disrespectful.

Last edited by persephone; 04-26-2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:29 PM
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Derbylicious Derbylicious is offline
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It sounds like your friend is quite free with offering these services. I would guess that it probably just isn't a big deal to her and that's why it didn't come up in conversation with you. Since nothing is happening between your OSO and this friend of yours I think I would just let it go if I were you. It sounds to me like this is her way of letting people know that she finds them attractive.

It is your OSO's responsibility to let you know what is going on for him. It sounds like he's done this and has been reassuring to you that there is no relationship between him and your friend. There's always the option of talking to your friend and letting her know that you would like to know from her if she is interested in one of your partners before approaching them. If you have expectations of someone it's best to let them know what those expectations are. If you do tell her and she does it again then you have cause to be upset about it.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:01 PM
km34 km34 is offline
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Originally Posted by Derbylicious View Post
There's always the option of talking to your friend and letting her know that you would like to know from her if she is interested in one of your partners before approaching them. If you have expectations of someone it's best to let them know what those expectations are. If you do tell her and she does it again then you have cause to be upset about it.
I agree with this. You're not going to know what she was expecting or wanting unless you talk to her. You're also not going to get any change in her behavior unless you express your need for a change.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:38 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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It's reasonable to expect that if a friend of yours wants to engage in physical contact with your boyfriend in your own house, she should ask you about it directly. Or at least mention that she proposed the idea to your boyfriend.

But it sounds like your friend has a totally different scale for "reasonable" behavior. I don't think she meant any harm by it.

You could let her know that it bothered you. But I wouldn't make too much of a big deal about it. I don't think she will understand why it bothered you, since she seems to be on a totally different planet in terms of how she relates to people physically & sexually.

It sounds like your boyfriend thinks she's rather silly. I wouldn't worry too much about this.

It also sounds like you're stressed out about the lack of time you have with your boyfriend. Any chance you could skip the poly weekends and have more one-on-one time with him?
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:59 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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First, the touching part -
Different people can have different boundaries as to what they consider acceptable behaviour for friends, close friends, lovers, etc. Often it's important to understand that just because you think that behaviour X goes beyond the limits of what you regard as acceptable, doesn't mean that anyone else should necessarily be thinking the same way. Part of what poly is about is breaking down some of the societal absolutes that most of us grew up with.

So it's important that both your OSO and your friend know about your boundaries, and have the opportunity to respect them. Chances are you have hinted at the fact that you are uncomfortable, but you need to be less subtle and actually express them as a boundary.

This goes doubly-so for what goes on in your own house.

If folks won't respect your boundaries, but instead try to work around them through cajoling, or guilting you into thinking you are wrong to have those feelings, then that should be a red flag to you.

As far as the time is concerned, I am guessing you don't need more time so much as more quality time with your OSO. As others have said, see if you can make this social thing less of a part of what you do together so that you can have more time alone to do that quality things that you want to do. If he has restrictions on his available time, then try to make sure that you both use the time you do have to the maximum.

It sounds like your OSO has a pretty level head on his shoulders, and knows what he wants and doesn't want. Make 100% certain that he knows where you are comfortable and where you are not.

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Old 04-27-2012, 06:23 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Is there any chance your friend was hoping to get your OSO more sexual for your own benefit? (Hence it taking place at your house so you and him could take it from there).
Other than that, I echo what other people said.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:31 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I'd feel it was a bit of a red flag that he said he wasn't interested in it being sexual, and then she pushed the sexual aspect on him. I know if the sexes were reversed, it's not often appreciated when a woman says no thanks to anything sexual with a guy and he starts talking about all the sexual things he'd still be open to doing to her.

I'd probably just confirm with my OSO if they were or weren't going to become involved with them in anyway, and if they said they weren't, leave it at that, and not feel the need to address my friend unless they brought it up with me.

I too wonder why you aren't spending more of the weekends with one on one time, and if your OSO also feels like they'd like to spend more time with you, maybe making that happen would be more satisfying. Can the social event (which I assume you both find important enough to go to) be a lesser time commitment?
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:26 PM
persephone persephone is offline
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I agree with you all that the weekend social event we attend together does cut into our one on one time. I don't know what to do about that. We both really enjoy that event and don't want to miss it, and it also has facilitated OSO getting to know my husband, which is important to me. My OSO's wife just isn't cool with him being gone more than one weekend every few months. She doesn't like what we are doing now, actually, she never wanted him in a LDR, but he was having no luck finding local partners and started writing to people who were farther afield. (I never wanted a LDR either, but have always been open to cyber buddies. He was just too amazing to not meet in person, then he was amazing in person, and now here we are.) He is hoping she will relax, especially as their children get older.

We actually had some tentative plans to attend a different social event our next weekend together, and I did put the kibosh on that since I want our next time together to be just us. My goal is to up the frequency of our visits to once every two months, which would give us four weekends a year that were just us, and two at the social event we both enjoy. OSO wants this too, and is hoping his wife will accept it in time.

I am drafting a letter to my friend that lists exactly where I see problems with her behavior and specifies what my personal boundaries are with regards to her and partners of mine. If she can agree to respect my boundaries, I am willing to let this go. I do agree with you, Anneintherain, that it is pretty creepy that she offers sex when the guy has already said no. She has done this repeatedly with my husband too, even after a phone conversation I was privy too where he gently told her he really sees her as just a friend and does not want a romantic relationship with her. (Husband does not like casual sex and she knows this, if he "played" with someone sexually, he would be dating them.) I think this is how she gets guys, offers them no-strings sex and then expects them to act like boyfriends. That's her business, but it can be annoying when it starts to become my business when she's after my partners. I plan to raise this issue with her as well, as tactfully as I can.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:25 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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Originally Posted by persephone View Post
I am drafting a letter to my friend that lists exactly where I see problems with her behavior and specifies what my personal boundaries are with regards to her and partners of mine. If she can agree to respect my boundaries, I am willing to let this go. I do agree with you, Anneintherain, that it is pretty creepy that she offers sex when the guy has already said no.
The bold is how I looked at it. I don't know if I would let this go. It creates some red flags for me in my head anyways. I think I would be asking her why she listened to me complain about not seeing him much etc. and then approached him with sexual offers. I would express my confusion over that and indicate that it makes me feel really uncomfortable. Call me old fashioned but I prefer to be let in on who is approaching my partners from the person themselves. I just find it more respectful and considerate that way. I wouldn't say no, as it isn't for me to yay or nay, but I just find it polite some how.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:15 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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This may just be a misunderstanding. Here's another perspective:

She knows she will see him at this event you all go to. She's learning a type of energy work right now, something similar to Reiki, and is excited about it. She wants people to practice on and sees an opportunity to do so with people she knows and likes at this future event.

BTW, I used to have a bodywork practice. When you are learning a new technique you want to practice it on as many people as you can. And, generally, energy work is either no touch or very non-intrusive light touch.

Anyway, your OSO writes back and says he would like that, as long as it wasn't sexual, BUT then he further elaborates by saying he finds her attractive but isn't interested in a relationship with her right now, though he might be someday. Why he thought it necessary to add that last part, I don't know. That seems to be what muddied the water. Until that point, she was talking about doing a kind of healing energy work, and then he brought up sex and relationships.

Okay, so she answers to say, yeah, she likes to share sex with people she likes, that she enjoys doing such-and-such, and finds him attractive as well, but wouldn't do anything with a married guy without permission. Nowhere does she proposition him. Then she again offers to do energy work, but by visiting him at your house where she knows he will be, but also perhaps so that you are kept in the loop with anything they do together.

The way I see it, you could very well be blowing this out of proportion. Her intentions could be totally honorable. As a former bodyworker, I can say we love "getting our hands on people" from a purely clinical or professional viewpoint. It's absolutely wonderful to connect with someone that way, and it isn't difficult to keep it entirely non-sexual. But it does get tiresome when people equate touch therapies, energy work, etc., with sex or think that bodyworkers are sex workers or have some kinky ulterior motive. She could simply want someone to try this technique with, someone she likes and with whom wants to share something positive. She probably doesn't want people thinking that sex is what she's after, especially when she is trying to offer a healing service and perhaps deepen her friendship with him. BUT he, for some reason, responded with talk of sex and being attracted to her. He brought it up. Why not ask him why he did that?

Sure, maybe she would be interested in something with him, but she might have just said she was attracted to him because he said it first to her and she didn't want to hurt his feelings. You also seem to be making an assumption based on her past actions, but even then you said she talked to you before approaching your husband back then. Why do you think that now she was "attempting to create a sexual situation with your partner" when she did say she would never do anything with a married guy if his partner didn't approve? And do you really feel that women should ask your permission before expressing an interest in your poly boyfriend? I thought, from another thread you wrote, that he was free to have other relationships. Or are you now polyfi? Either way, you feel she has to talk to you beforehand?
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Last edited by nycindie; 04-28-2012 at 09:25 AM.
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