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Old 07-12-2013, 08:38 PM
9minutes 9minutes is offline
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Default Frustration negotiating boundaries

Hi all. Iím hoping to get some advice (or just to vent) about some issues that have been coming up in my relationship. Iíve been with my partner, J, for four years and weíve been living together for almost one. A couple months ago, he started a friendship with a woman, M, which evolved to include intimacy. They see each other pretty regularly, have had sex once, and continue to fool around. Iíve been struggling with my jealousy over this, which is compounded by the fact that Iím finding it difficult to accept that heís interested in a woman (Iíve known him as a gay man for four years, and this sudden attraction to a woman is strange to me, but thatís not up to me to make a judgment on, and is neither here nor there).

Anyways, Iíve been trying to allow myself to examine my jealousy and fully feel it, etc., because I know itís my own issue to work out. Lately though, Iíve been feeling like J isnít on my side in all of this. When we talk about things that Iím comfortable with, my jealousy seems like more of an inconvenience to him than something he wants to help me through.

As an example, Iíve previously told him Iím uncomfortable with the idea of him having sex with someone else in our bed, because I need to feel that thereís a private space thatís just for us. A few days ago, he asked me if that was still the same, or if there was some leeway (we live in small apartment in nyc, so thereís not much space, and apparently M, who lives alone, only has a single bed). I reaffirmed that I still wouldnít be comfortable with it. He said he respected my feelings on that, but then asked me for suggestions on what he can do if he canít use my bed. I couldnít think of anything, and he kept pushing, asking if he could use our bed if he changed the sheets, etc. I didnít like the implicationóit felt like he was implying that since I wasnít comfortable with them using our bed, it was my job to come up with a solution. I told him that I didnít have any other suggestions, and that frankly I felt like it wasnít my problem to solve. This led to snide remarks from him about buying a separate bed for our room, and how space in new york doesnít accommodate ďmy rigidity.Ē I felt like even though he stated that he respected what I was comfortable with and what I wasnít, it was just something he said to try to convince me to be more comfortable with what was convenient for him.

Another example, the other night we were both going to hang out at Mís house to watch TV. He asked me if I was comfortable with him kissing her in front of me, or holding her hand in front of me. I told him that I didnít think I would be, and he said that he was going to try it anyway as a way of testing to see if it made me uncomfortable. Well, we get there, and after a while, J and M are full on cuddling, fully embraced on one couch, while Iím on another by myselft. I hated it. I was expecting him to put his hand on her leg, or hold her hand or something. They even kissed goodbye when we left. I felt like the third wheel with my own boyfriend. After we left, I told him that it went too far for my comfort, but that it might have actually been a good thing that it went too far, because it made me more sure of my boundaries. He asked me what those boundaries were, and I said that I would be ok with some affection, but that the way they were full-on spooning made me feel like I was a third wheel. His response was just: ďWell, if it were me, I wouldnít mind feeling like a third wheel for an hour or two per weekĒ and accused me of being selfish and only thinking of how things affect me.

Iím starting to feel like I donít even want to talk about what Iím comfortable with or not, because itís just met with hostility and resentment. Am I way off base here? Iím not even trying to tell him what he can and canít do with M when Iím not aroundóthese issues that have come up recently are related to things that directly affect me (i.e. our bed, and how comfortable I am with him being affectionate with her when Iím around.)

I donít really know if Iím asking a question, Iím more just frustrated and needed to vent. I donít really know how to go about discussing these things with him in a more productive way.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:15 PM
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Iím starting to feel like I donít even want to talk about what Iím comfortable with or not, because itís just met with hostility and resentment.
And it sounds like he has no intention of taking your feelings into consideration in any case. Honestly he's not being a very respectful human. Regardless of his motivation, he asked you about your feelings and promptly blew them off because he didn't like the answer... which is bullshit.

I don't have much in the way of advise for you. I don't know how to deal with someone who is blowing off my feelings. The only thing I could say is that I wouldn't go out with the two of them again until either he chooses to respect your lack of comfort or you become more comfortable with it.

As far as the bed is concerned... remind me why they can't go to her place?
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:37 AM
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You've obviously agreed to him seeing other people so I personally don't think it is fair for you to constantly put barriers in the way of him doing so. When they are hooking up, why don't you go out? See someone yourself instead of hanging around worrying about whether they kiss or hold hands? If you don't want to see them being cosy, why go to her house? You think you should be able to go there and they just act like buddies? Let him go and see her whilst you enjoy your own life.

I am all for compromise and respecting each other's feelings, but what are you doing to compromise? What are you doing to embrace his other relationships instead of merely tolerating them? Think about the ways that you are actively preventing them from having a relationship that develops as they want it to. I am really not a believer in the idea that poly works at the pace of the slowest person. I do not think it is ethical to agree to polyamory and then put restrictions on who the other person can date and how they can date them. I think you need to work on your jealousy, alone, and only then will you be able to view the situation objectively.

What you need to ask yourself is whether you can feel valued whilst he is seeing other people. Those people may be women. If you cannot, perhaps it would be better to move on because he obviously wants to have relationship with other people, including women. That is what makes him happy. Having multiple romantic relationships. Not having one romantic relationship and then little liaisons outside of that.

I hope to God that since you have all these hang ups about the affection they are allowed to display, you stay true to your own boundaries and would never expect him to be affectionate to you in front of her. He may be your boyfriend, but polyamory means that he may be other people's boyfriend too.

I think that the separate bed idea is great! What issue do you have with that? I can see the only issue being that you thought stopping them sharing a bed would limit the intimacy they share, and now this suggestion completely halts your plan to obstruct their relationship. Your issue was you two having your own private bed that nobody else entered, you'd still have that. What a great compromise, right?

If, in the time that he isn't with her, he is meeting your needs. You still have a healthy romantic relationship and he is still the boyfriend you have always had. I really think this is all on you and you have to cope with your feelings of jealousy. Right now, all I can see you doing is making boundaries based on fears and insecurities that you won't examine and deal with, which prompts you to try and control his other relationships. That will only head one way: a way where you get dumped for being domineering, controlling and jealous.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by 9minutes View Post
Anyways, Iíve been trying to allow myself to examine my jealousy and fully feel it, etc., because I know itís my own issue to work out. Lately though, Iíve been feeling like J isnít on my side in all of this. When we talk about things that Iím comfortable with, my jealousy seems like more of an inconvenience to him than something he wants to help me through.
On the one hand you say you know it's your issue, but then your whole post is a rant about how he isn't doing enough to "help you through" your jealousy. It isn't his job to help you through your feelings. The things he is doing know are only a trigger, not the cause. You could have him shackled 24-7 and still feel jealous. They are your feelings, so own them and deal with them. Look at your insecurities and ask yourself where they're coming from. Dig deep and examine your expectations.

That being said, it is not unreasonable to ask for a physical boundary such as no sex with anyone else in your bed. He should go over to her place to shag. So what if she has a twin bed? They can get an air mattress and do it on her floor. It's not your job to find that solution for him.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:32 AM
london london is offline
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in theory, i don't think the nobody in our bed rule is unreasonable. However, not many people can afford a home that allows a "date" room, thus a limitation on people staying over is immediately put into place.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:47 PM
9minutes 9minutes is offline
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Originally Posted by london View Post
If you don't want to see them being cosy, why go to her house? You think you should be able to go there and they just act like buddies? Let him go and see her whilst you enjoy your own life.

I am all for compromise and respecting each other's feelings, but what are you doing to compromise? What are you doing to embrace his other relationships instead of merely tolerating them?
I guess part of this is due to my confusion about her role in his life. M has a primary partner as well, whom she has been in a relationship with for a number of years. I have spent some one on one time with M to try to get to know her better (which I consider to be one of the ways that I'm embracing J's other relationships), and when I asked her what she was looking for out of her relationship with J, she said she didn't want to be anyone else's girlfriend; she just considers J a friend who she's attracted to. I talked to J as well, and he also said that he didn't want to date her, but just maintain a friendship with her that includes sex. So when he invited me to her house to watch TV, I wasn't expecting it to feel like I was tagging along on a date they were having. The three of us have hung out before and they have indeed just acted like "buddies"--which is what they both told me they are, which is why seeing them be that affectionate with each other threw me off. I kind of feel like I'm being told one thing about the status of their relationship, and witnessing another.

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Originally Posted by london View Post

I hope to God that since you have all these hang ups about the affection they are allowed to display, you stay true to your own boundaries and would never expect him to be affectionate to you in front of her. He may be your boyfriend, but polyamory means that he may be other people's boyfriend too.
The thing about this is, J is usually pretty private with affection. He's never been one to be very affectionate with me in front of other people. I've never had a problem with this, as I feel most comfortable being affectionate with him in private as well. I don't think he's ever held me in front of someone else the way he was holding her in front of me. I think that's why it hurt to see them like that. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me since he was comfortable with (and even insisted upon) displaying affection with her in front of me, but has never done the same vice versa.



Anyways, thanks for the comments so far, everyone. It's helping to put things in context for me.
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:51 PM
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It sucks to feel like the 3rd wheel.

Have you 2 always had an open relationship? If so, what boundaries or rules did you have previous to this?

It must be jarring to see him exploring his bi-curiosity. Maybe he feels more cuddly with her because she's a woman? More affectionate overall. If there were previous lovers, maybe they were more sex based and now his heart is opening to a full on emotional relationship with her.

I do think he's being a bit harsh while you attempt to adjust to this deal. You're reeling, and he's all, "Get over yourself, dude. Ima do what I want!"
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:08 PM
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I agree with magdlyn. perhaps his public display of affection to her feels more liberating because she's a woman. I don't pretend to know what its like to be gay or bi but I imagine showing affection to members of the same sex in public is hard as its still taboo and frowned upon by large segments of the population. Hell even showing PDA to the opposite sex makes people uncomfortable. So maybe he feels more "normal" and accepted when he's with her.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 9minutes View Post
The three of us have hung out before and they have indeed just acted like "buddies"--which is what they both told me they are, which is why seeing them be that affectionate with each other threw me off. I kind of feel like I'm being told one thing about the status of their relationship, and witnessing another.
That might well have been their intention but sex and closeness can encourage intimacy and there isn't much anyone can do to control it. They might be discovering that what they want is to be fuck buddies who are very affectionate with each other.

I encourage you to re-read what nycindie said to you about owning your jealousy. Your relationships will improve across the board the better you get at taking full ownership of your feelings. Your concern about his being "on your side" when it comes to your emotional issues is an indication that you have some work left to be done.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:27 PM
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in theory, i don't think the nobody in our bed rule is unreasonable. However, not many people can afford a home that allows a "date" room, thus a limitation on people staying over is immediately put into place.
Yes but it sounds like she has her own place, her own couch, her own floor, her own bed. Plenty of places they can have sex. This guy sounds very disrespectful and doesn't give a shit about OP's feeling.

If I were OP I would stay away from them. There is no reason you need to be involved in their dates. He can go to her place alone or if he wants her to come over you can just go hang out and read in the bedroom if you don't trust he will respect your no sex with others in your bed.
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