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  #31  
Old 07-12-2012, 12:07 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
As time has passed, that possibility has slipped from my mind, although I still can't wrap my mind around a couple going out on their respective dates and coming home to one another, talking about their evenings, and it not seeming as if the other people were pleasant diversions while the couple is the 'real' relationship that really matters. I guess I'd love to hear from a poly couple how that works.
Ironically, the above scenario is more likely to happen between GG (bf) and I than Maca (dh) and I. LOL! It's common that Maca and I go out, and then I sit and discuss the evenings with GG.

In all honesty, I think it really is a matter of what the parties create in their relationship and what their priorities are.

GG and were best friends when Maca and I started dating.
I ended up having a long term affair after I married Maca-with GG.

Ultimately, I figured out what poly was, what I am and what was "wrong" with me.
I wrote Maca a letter and explained the need to really have a heart to heart and my acceptance that the "truth" of who I am and what I need, was NOT what we agreed to when we married (nor was me having an affair) and that I didn't want to destroy his life-but I (obviously) wasn't meeting the demands of our original agreement.

We agreed to give it 6 months for him to decide if he wanted a divorce or not. But, once I let him know that I AM in love with both he and GG and that isn't going to change, I didn't allow for the option of GG being treated like he was a plaything in my life.

I don't often get to go out on romantic dates with either of them-we have too many responsibilities at home.
But, as a rule of thumb I get to see both of them daily.

It TOTALLY pissed Maca off the first year.
It riled him frequently the second year.
This last year he's come to accept that this is what it is and will be, that I treasure my time with both of them and that for ME to be healthy in EITHER relationship-I have to be free to have to be free to love who I love without barriers on that EMOTIONALLY and I have to be allowed TIME to spend with each of them in order for ME TO BE HEALTHY.

He still struggles with the fact that he never wanted a polydynamic, that GG and I had an ongoing affair and the sense that this isn't "fair" (which it isn't).

But, he's come to understand that LIFE isn't fair and it's not about FAIR.
It's HIS CHOICE to be with me.
I will love him whether he's with me or he leaves me.
But, it's HIS choice to be with me and being with me means accepting me for WHO I AM-which means accepting my relationship with GG.

Likewise, being with him means accepting him for who he is-and that means I get to spend a lot of time reassuring him of my love for him-because he IS an insecure and needy person. Shrug..

Frankly, if my husband told me he wasn't willing to associate with GG (which he did at several points) I would tell him point blank that was going to minimize HIS TIME WITH ME (which I did at several points).

On the other side, if GG told me he wasn't willing to associate with Maca (which has never happened), I would tell him point blank it was going to minimize HIS time with me.

The reason I say that, do that and feel that, is this;

any person who attempts to minimize the importance of any other person in my life-is clearly attempting to manipulate and control me. That isn't acceptable to me from ANY of my relationships.
It's one thing for them to say they don't want to socialize with my friends-that's fine. But, they need to understand, I'm not going to reduce my social life for them.
I've done it-and it had horribly devastating affects on me. Not going to happen again.

Ok-rant done. Sorry.
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  #32  
Old 07-12-2012, 06:19 AM
turtleHeart turtleHeart is offline
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Originally Posted by AnotherConfused View Post
Do you ever worry he'll start dating someone who wants him to be mono with her? I'm thinking how much more valued I'd feel if C were able to say, "I wouldn't give you up; I love you too much to do that," but I suppose the fact that he would give me up has less to do with how much he loves me and more to do with his not being committed to a poly lifestyle.
This reminds me of a conversation my wife had with her boyfriend J not long ago. Since J's wife decided she preferred more of a secondary dating interaction with him and moved out, he has been trying to find a new primary and so far has found most poly women that potentially fit his interests already have a primary. He asked Ginko how she'd feel if he found a woman that would be with him but only in a monogamous context.

Her response was that she knows he needs a primary relationship, someone that will prioritize him in a way that she can't, and if one seemed possible Ginko would even initiate the breakup if necessary. J was surprised and happy to hear this, feeling that she has his best interests at heart. Their plan is that if/when anything like that happens they'd remain friends, and that he would NOT consider anyone that wasn't even ok with J keeping Ginko as a friend, even knowing that J doesn't keep up with friends well.
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  #33  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:08 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Are the friends you go out with diversions? Playthings? Or do you enjoy spending time with them because of who they are?

....there have been times when one of the kids got sick or something else came up and rescheduling was necessary, so in that way I can see that me and the kids, his "primary" relationships, come first.
When life is rough, yes, going out to lunch with a friend is a great diversion! Yes, I do enjoy them for who they are, but I expect a boyfriend relationship to be deeper than mere friendship. I expect it to mean we put each other first--as MC does for you--while I don't expect that from friends. And obviously, in the position of secondary, nobody is putting me first.

I even believe BF's wife should come first. She's his wife. But that doesn't mean I intend to spend a lifetime being second. Frankly, I deserve better than that.

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So what difference does it make, to me, if he's spending these 1-2 evenings writing at a cafe somewhere or out on a date? It doesn't. I would similarly support a relationship that was important to him, and he does the same for me.

He understands that time with TGIB is important to me. It contributes to my happiness, which is important to him.
BF has devoted a lot of time and energy to me. And yet, after a particularly emotionally intense time together recently, with conversations that I felt moved the relationship to a deeper level, the phone call I got the next day was, essentially, "I know tomorrow is the one night you're free, but my wife wants to do something." (The something being a thing freely available several times a week.) I admit it felt like a slap in the face, like, I love you, I love you, I love you, I'm so afraid of losing you, I want you forever. But my wife made other plans, so could you just wait over there until I have time to see you again?

I suppose lumping together the writing and dating highlights the point. Writing is an action with pen and paper, or computer--inanimate objects without feelings. They don't care, don't even notice, if he doesn't show up again for a week or a month. The date, by contrast, is a living, breathing human being with feelings. I don't like to feel that I'm just a hobby, just...something...that makes BF happy. And his happiness makes her happy. What about what makes the mono secondary happy?

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A relationship is MUCH harder. We both know we really love each other and are in this for the long haul, otherwise we wouldn't be bothering to do all this WORK!
For me, this is a major block. I can't see any reason I'd deliberately plan to be in this for the long haul. Barring something happening to his wife, what it means is a lifetime of being second, going to bed alone, knowing that if I've had a bad day, I can't call the one person I'd normally count on to be there because he's out on a date with someone else, being entirely on my own financially (they can pool resources and get a nice house, she is safe in his income and future retirement benefits--I must largely provide these things for myself--in other words, they provide and care for one another in a way he will never do for me); as a secondary, I will never have anyone to bring to meet family, never get married again; I will live knowing that if he gets a promotion, he and his wife will move together and I will be even more on my own.

I do understand that in some situations, these things all change for some couples/secondaries. But given certain circumstances, these things won't change for me and BF.

I certainly hope it doesn't come across as argumentative, but rather an exchange of ideas.
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  #34  
Old 07-12-2012, 02:45 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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What I'm gleaning from this exchange (and I feel so fortunate to be able to hear your perspectives) is that a secondary relationship has the potential to make either person feel less valued.
I believe that's true. BF has said from the beginning that the problems rarely arise even between him and a 'vanilla' girlfriend, but between him and an otherwise single girlfriend. And I sometimes bite my tongue not to say, "Uh...you can see why that would be, can't you?" He admits there's far too much imbalance.

For me, the only way it will work is for me to maintain the balance, to maintain God, my children, my work, and myself as my primaries. They all come first, just as his wife will always by necessity come first.


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I don't believe in "veto power" and would never allow another person to dictate who I may and may not spend time with, or love,
See, to me, this isn't about dictating, but about two people who care for one another's well-being. BF says he and his wife have more of a veto over the entire open marriage/poly thing than over specific people. I have no problem with this on the grounds that she's his wife. He darn well ought to put her feelings and well-being before mine or even his own. To me, that's what marriage is all about, each person placing the other's good first.

The problem, of course, is that their arrangement affects all the other people they bring into their lives. Which is one reason I question the wisdom of it all, including my own decision to be part of it.

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...my relationship with C has had to accommodate several changes of shape (amount of intimacy, amount of time together, kinds of time together) due to my husband's feelings. I've always felt this was inherently "unfair" to C, just as I have felt it was "unfair" to my husband for me to start living polyamorously after many years of monogamy...
Sadly, I have to agree that it is inherently unfair. I see the same thing in what I'm involved in. I fully believe a wife should come first. It would be unfair to her to be told he's busy with a girlfriend. It's unfair to me to expect that I'll just happily continue to take second place for the rest of my life. (And I won't.)

As I said, I see inherent flaws with the whole arrangement. Life involves sacrifices. As I try to teach my children, we can't always have what we want, and BF has been saying almost from the start that he should have kept me out of this, that he was selfish, that he saw, he wanted, he grabbed, not thinking about how any of this would affect me.

I take full responsibility for my choice to say yes to this, but I also believe he's 100% right to take responsibility for his decision to open that door. It was a really hard door not to walk through, for many reasons.

I will add here--because I truly do not mean to be critical of anyone on this board or of polyamory in general--that the reason I keep saying yes is that he is offering me many good things, comfort, love, support, a break from kids, encouragement. I feel I'm learning a great deal from him, such as how to talk and be more open and trusting, after years of dealing with a messed-up family and then a messed-up husband, where those things are highly discouraged, even to the point of physical abuse.

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but I've tried (and sometimes failed) to let each of them know how much I value them.
I often feel very valued by BF. But I think what's always there, not even very much at the back of my mind, is that if she and I were in a car accident and in critical condition--he's going to go to her first. And he should. This is the crux of the problem. I suppose one could say the chances of such a thing are next to zero, lol, but it doesn't change the fact that in a crunch, he will go to her first.

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I see the dead end in this now.

When C gets back from camping, I want to walk to him about ways I can still feel valued in spite of the inevitable loss of this relationship, and ways I can help him feel valued in spite of his "secondary" status in my life.
But see, the thing is, it's not just about feeling valued. It's about the future, about all the things I mentioned in a previous post, about bringing someone home to family, marriage, living together, spending time with kids or grandchildren together, knowing someone will be there if you're in desperate need, knowing you can call someone in a crunch rather than knowing you can't interrupt their family time, pooling finances for a better life for both, retirement, having some care for you, having someone to care for....these things are equally or more important than feeling valued at any give moment.
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  #35  
Old 07-12-2012, 03:01 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by turtleHeart View Post
He asked Ginko how she'd feel if he found a woman that would be with him but only in a monogamous context.

Her response was that she knows he needs a primary relationship, someone that will prioritize him in a way that she can't, and if one seemed possible Ginko would even initiate the breakup if necessary. J was surprised and happy to hear this, feeling that she has his best interests at heart. Their plan is that if/when anything like that happens they'd remain friends, and that he would NOT consider anyone that wasn't even ok with J keeping Ginko as a friend, even knowing that J doesn't keep up with friends well.
This is BF's attitude. And despite my turmoil and my issues with the situation, despite my belief that the situation is so inherently flawed it probably should not happen at all, it is one of (many) points in his favor. Because of this attitude,I feel he truly cares for me, that he is placing my best interest above what his desires. And isn't that what real love is all about?

Ironic.
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  #36  
Old 07-12-2012, 04:38 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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I expect a boyfriend relationship to be deeper than mere friendship. I expect it to mean we put each other first--as MC does for you--while I don't expect that from friends. And obviously, in the position of secondary, nobody is putting me first.
I understand having a problem with this. I would too. Even in a primary/secondary model, I feel there are times when the secondary should come first and the primary can be a big boy/girl and deal. Yes, when there are kids in the mix, the primary might end up first-ish (with the kids) much more often, because that's the way kids are, unfortunately.
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And yet, after a particularly emotionally intense time together recently, with conversations that I felt moved the relationship to a deeper level, the phone call I got the next day was, essentially, "I know tomorrow is the one night you're free, but my wife wants to do something." (The something being a thing freely available several times a week.) I admit it felt like a slap in the face, like, I love you, I love you, I love you, I'm so afraid of losing you, I want you forever. But my wife made other plans, so could you just wait over there until I have time to see you again?
Yup, I'd have a big problem with this too. If this were me and MC, we'd never ask the other to give up their *one* night for something that can be done whenever. I don't know if their communication is maybe not as good as it should be, so she didn't know it was your ONE night available, or if she's just not respecting your role in his life and is trying to say, "Well, I should come first just because!" No, she should come first if it's NEEDED. Big difference, in my book.

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I suppose lumping together the writing and dating highlights the point. Writing is an action with pen and paper, or computer--inanimate objects without feelings. They don't care, don't even notice, if he doesn't show up again for a week or a month. The date, by contrast, is a living, breathing human being with feelings.
Well, the act of writing is a hobby, true, but the scheduled meet-ups with his writing partner involve a living, breathing human being with feelings. They've both had to cancel and reschedule for various reasons, but I know she looks forward to their "dates", even (especially?) the ones where no writing gets done at all and they just TALK for hours.
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I don't like to feel that I'm just a hobby, just...something...that makes BF happy. And his happiness makes her happy. What about what makes the mono secondary happy?
Yes, absolutely, you deserve JUST as much consideration as the other two people in this V. Being secondary doesn't (shouldn't, anyway) make you or your value less.
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For me, this is a major block. I can't see any reason I'd deliberately plan to be in this for the long haul. Barring something happening to his wife, what it means is a lifetime of being second, going to bed alone, knowing that if I've had a bad day, I can't call the one person I'd normally count on to be there because he's out on a date with someone else, being entirely on my own financially (they can pool resources and get a nice house, she is safe in his income and future retirement benefits--I must largely provide these things for myself--in other words, they provide and care for one another in a way he will never do for me); as a secondary, I will never have anyone to bring to meet family, never get married again; I will live knowing that if he gets a promotion, he and his wife will move together and I will be even more on my own.
I think is a huge part of why primary/secondary doesn't work for everyone. TGIB doesn't want to get married again. He can always call me, even if I'm out with someone else. We're long distance right now, but if/when he moves here, there will be times I spend the night with him. I'd love for him to live with us, and MC has agreed, but TGIB says no. He needs his space and alone time. And if we have to move for jobs, he may not be able to go with us right away, but we've already been long distance. We can do it again if we have to.

Seems like what you want for yourself may not line up with being in a secondary relationship, which is perfectly understandable.
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I certainly hope it doesn't come across as argumentative, but rather an exchange of ideas.
Nope, I *heart* discussions like this, where everyone's personal perspective is valid, just different, because it's whatever works for you!
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  #37  
Old 07-12-2012, 04:44 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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But I think what's always there, not even very much at the back of my mind, is that if she and I were in a car accident and in critical condition--he's going to go to her first. And he should. This is the crux of the problem. I suppose one could say the chances of such a thing are next to zero, lol, but it doesn't change the fact that in a crunch, he will go to her first.
I hate this scenario, but you're absolutely right. I think about it sometimes too, and the reality is I CAN'T be in two places at once. Yes, I would likely have to put MC first. Well, really, I'd be putting my kids first since it'd be their father, but, yeah. And TGIB's kids, his ex, and his other family and friends would be there for him before I could be. It SUCKS. But I can guarantee you I'd be thinking and worrying about TGIB while thinking and worrying about MC. It'd be my own internal tennis match...
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  #38  
Old 07-12-2012, 06:03 PM
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I'm pretty stubborn myself. I can totally imagine having an attitude and independence where I'm not going to change my life around and make up my schedule based on someone who sees me as secondary in their life. But I would, and have, turned my life upside-down, moving to a different province and having a complete lifestyle change, for reasons related to a life partner.

His ideal partner would enjoy doing many of those activities, and have a lifestyle suitable to allow it. Lots of women like to go camping and adventuring, and there will probably be some give-and-take on both of their outdoorsy activities, and they'll probably both be independent enough not to need to spend every minute of every day together (which he may say he wants, but which gets old after a while, as he also discovered).
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  #39  
Old 07-12-2012, 06:29 PM
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I completely appreciate reading through the thoughts here.

I think it's a good thing that people discuss and acknowledge where the limitations come up in dividing time and attention.

I think it's possible to negate many of the issues by living together. But, it really does come down to how you see the relationship.

For me, there's no way I would walk away from either of my two men. I've got 19 years with bf and 14 with dh.
If there was a car accident and they were both in it-I'd be running back and forth frantically and likely taking turns between the two rooms alternating with my sister-because I trust her to keep an eye on which ever one I'm not with as I go back and forth.
The only thing that would change that is if my kids were in the car and then, admittedly, I'd be with the kids.

BUT-I also have to deal with the reality that dh and I don't see these things the same way. If bf wasnt willing to work with me to make it feasible-we'd have all sorts of fighting.
Fortunately, bf has found a job that allows us to have mornings together while dh has my evenings and that works REALLY well.
I've put in place boundaries with dh that protect my right to spend time with bf as well.
The "in an emergency" thing has never been an issue. If there is something important-that comes first period. They both understand that.

But, we did struggle somewhat to begin with because dh would want to cancel my plans with bf due to his own insecurities. Now, I don't cancel, but I give him a few days warning if we're going to be going out on our own, so he can prepare himself and if possible we arrange for the kids to stay with someone else-so he can go do something on his own instead of sitting at home "waiting" for us to come home.

Mostly-it's been my job-in considering my boyfriend a lifepartner, to make sure that the boundaries in my marriage acknowledge and protect his status and meaning in my life-instead of minimizing it.
It's not "perfect" but we've come a long way.
One of the key things is that he's not secondary.
He's helped me raise my oldest daughter, helped dh and I raise the others.
He is an equal contributor financially and in terms of maintenance and care for the family, household etc.

So, acknowledging that he is as much a part of the family as dh has been important. I love my husband and I don't want a divorce, but he's not MORE important to me than my boyfriend. He's differently important in some areas, but not MORE important and I expect him to recognize that if he wants to be with me-he has to accept that I come with "baggage" and that baggage includes my boyfriend. For life.
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  #40  
Old 07-12-2012, 06:33 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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If there was a car accident and they were both in it-I'd be running back and forth frantically and likely taking turns between the two rooms alternating with my sister-because I trust her to keep an eye on which ever one I'm not with as I go back and forth.
Thank you for addressing this. It's the kind of thing that helps me understand BF's mindset and the reason I appreciate this forum. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe that's exactly what he would do.
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