Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-30-2013, 09:47 PM
Stellarmoon Stellarmoon is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1
Default new(ish) and struggling

As many before me, I find myself struggling with my open relationship. I’ve read some of the posts here and find your advice to be grounded and balanced. So, here I am asking for insight to navigate my relationship.

My boyfriend, S, is hardwired as poly. I’m more hardwired mono. I’ve agreed to our open relationship out of my love for him, a desire to learn a way of relating that I’m unaccustomed to (but believe to be viable) and because I believe that everyone gets to be who they are and I want to support him being who he is. In addition, I’m not interested leaving this relationship. However, I also acknowledge that I entered in to this agreement not as a deep set desire, but because I want to find a way for us to continue being together in a way that meets both our needs.

My understanding of what he wants is, what I believe to be, an open relationship: One where I am his “primary” partner who he has intimacy, support, longevity and a life path and he is able to have un-committed sex with other women. On occasion we will also include another woman in our playtime.
Our relationship started when he was married and I was his secondary. That was 11 years ago. Nearly 2 years ago, he and his wife (after trying counseling and working very hard to preserve their relationship), decided they were no longer able to and split up. It was very hard on him and he was careful to not jump right into a primary relationship with me until he had done some unwinding and work around the loss; that being said, I was very much part of his support system. I held my space so he could process as he needed to and supported him as I could without getting overly involved. At this time, he says he very much wants to spend his life with me and considers us primary partners.

So, here I am. Even though I started as the secondary I’m having a very hard time navigating being a primary. I am jealous in ways I never was with his wife or another casual relationship he had that has since ended.
Part of the problem, as I see it, is he doesn’t really understand some basics that I believe are necessary for a healthy open relationship. We have talked about what my boundaries around it are, but I feel like he only pays lip service to them. He says he agrees to the “rules” but he doesn’t really adhere to them if they go against his impulse to act.

The current situation is that he started a casual sexual relationship with a new roommate who is half his age. She’s a 22 year old woman. It’s a situation I had said would make me very uncomfortable, but he went with it. He has told her that I am, in no uncertain terms, his primary partner and that he considers their relationship recreational sex. He has told her what he’s willing to do (play) and what he’s not willing to do (get emotionally involved). But, she’s 22. And this is her first time being involved in an open relationship.
When I agreed to be open with him, I told him that I wanted to know about partners, but did not want to bear witness to the relationship.
In addition, I have never really liked her. I don’t necessarily dislike her, but she’s not someone I felt compelled to be friends with. I always kind of just tolerated her. And now I find myself in a situation where my partner is living with his casual sex mate and I’m not feeling especially comfortable going to the house they share (with another couple – also open).

When they began, I asked him that I be given respect when I’m at his house. As I had not wanted to see his other relationships, I asked that I not have to see her be sexual with him (kissing in front of me for example). Now I feel like she’s very careful to make sure I find evidence of her having been in his bed. Leaving underwear in the sheets, a vibrator on the table etc. I have repeated my request that I not find her things in his room. He does not understand why this is upsetting to me. Since the last time I asked, I have not been presented with more of the same. I’m hopeful that he has finally heard me. I do feel, however, that she is “power playing” me on some level. She continues to make sure that I’m aware of what they’ve been doing.
I have chosen not to communicate with this person, as I believe she is mischief making, very possibly trying to undermine my relationship and for the fact that I have stated that I don’t want to be involved.

So, that’s a lot of back story to sort through. I guess as far as questions, though there are many, I’ll start here – 1) How would you navigate this situation? 2) Am I being unreasonable to request I not find her things in his room when I come over? 3) What advice do you have for a mono to deal with NRE?
Not my best piece of writting, but I have watched you all sort through many a convoluted story. Many thanks in advance.

Last edited by Stellarmoon; 10-01-2013 at 01:18 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-01-2013, 02:27 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,275
Default

What's has being " primary " gotten you ?

What's primary mean to you?


Having been 9 yrs a secondary do you think you were trading up ? Was this suppose to be the brass ring ?

Don't go to his house or his room/ bed ....home court advantage

Mono dealing with nre .....get a hobby...volunteer at an animal shelter ...take up auto racing most fun I've ever had

Last edited by dingedheart; 10-01-2013 at 02:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-01-2013, 03:21 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,059
Default

I assume you mean "mono" as "monoamorous" and not as "monogamous." Because by agreeing to participate in an open relationships, you are not currently IN a monogamous relationship and you choose to do this of your own volition.

Quote:
1) How would you navigate this situation?
I would go with "Behavior done/not done" and "examine expectations."

Could take it in chunks starting from inside and moving on out.

YOUR INTERNAL PROBLEMS

You don't like your metamour. (So? You don't HAVE to. You are allowed to not like her. Did you expect yourself to like her just because?)

Jealousy/lack of trust. (Why? Because you don't trust him to stick to agreements. Can't solve your internal prob without addressing this with him. If he's not trustworthy in his behavior you just can't trust him to deliver. )


YOUR EXTERNAL PROBLEMS WITH BF: MESSY ROOM


You go to his home. You find panties and things in the bed.

The agreement with your BF is something like...
"When I agreed to be open with him, I told him that I wanted to know about partners, but did not want to bear witness to the relationship. This means not kissing in front of me when I am visiting you. No panties and things in the bed. CLEAN YOUR ROOM"
He doesn't have to UNDERSTAND it. He has to DO it. So is he willing/not willing to do it this behavior? You called him on it and he got on the ball so that one seems solved. He cleaned up.


YOUR EXTERNAL PROBLEMS WITH BF: LACK OF FOLLOW THROUGH


If this is more to it than this one housekeeping area? He is chronically messing up other agreements to the point where you feel he just playing "lip service?"

You could take a time out to discern this:
  • Is the agreements not understood well? Need to be rephrased differently so he gets what behavior you want/don't want?
  • Is this him needing time to learn a new skill so he can do it consistently?
  • Or just how it is here? A price of admission to be in relationship with him is accepting he's chronically messing up agreements and has lack of follow thru? He has "unreliable" as a character trait?

In the end? Only you can determine what you are willing to tolerate or not and if you get enough back on the return for your investment or not.

Quote:
I feel like he only pays lip service to them. He says he agrees to the “rules” but he doesn’t really adhere to them if they go against his impulse to act.
Could ask him what makes it hard to stick to? How can you help remove this obstacle? How could he help remove it?

If it is "not willing to think ahead because I rather be impulsive?" in the end? Is it big stuff or small stuff to you? You don't have to continue to be in relationship with this impulsive person if he does not meet your need to follow through on things enough so you can trust him.

YOUR EXTERNAL PROBLEM WITH YOUR METAMOUR

You don't like her.

You go to her house where she leaves her crap around. You don't like that habit either.

You go because your shared hinge lives there and you want to see him.

You could
  • Don't go to her house and see him somewhere else.
  • Ask her not to leave her crap around directly
  • Ask your BF to deal with this -- no crap around when you come over. (HOW he deals with it is his problem -- he cleans, she cleans, who cares,. Just DO IT. )
  • Ignore the crap around.
HIS PROBLEM (?) WITH HIS NEW GF

His new GF's sloppy habits annoy his established GF and her sloppy habits do not help him keep agreements with his established GF.

a) He sucks it up and does all her cleaning for her before established GF comes over.
b) He tells her to stop being a messy person and clean her stuff up.

Quote:
2) Am I being unreasonable to request I not find her things in his room when I come over?
It is reasonable to not want to sit in other people's underpants when you visit your BF. Just ask...
"Thanks. Will the room be clean if I come? Or shall we meet elsewhere? "
Quote:
3) What advice do you have for a mono to deal with NRE?
What about the NRE behaviors that he does bother you? You are not specific beyond the room cleaning -- and he's cleaned it.

I wonder if it is lack of following through on agreements without reminders in part? That will be there later too, right? NRE or not.
  • You could accept he needs prompting to meet your personal standard and you expect yourself to remind him sometimes.
  • You could expect less of him and change your personal standard.
  • You could choose to ADAPT if it is minor. (Ex: My dad always shows up 1 hour early. So I tell him the party is at X and figure that in. I tell everyone else the party is at Y. Then they all arrive when I want!)
  • You could choose not to deal with this aspect of his character at all and break it off with him.
  • You could do something I cannot think of right now.
  • You could do a mix and match thing of the above.

(He could ALSO step up to the plate and just deliver without you asking/prompting, but that is a behavior for HIM to be doing. Not a behavior YOU could be doing. But you could ask if he's willing to do that. )

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 10-01-2013 at 06:00 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-01-2013, 03:34 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 551
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellarmoon View Post

2) Am I being unreasonable to request I not find her things in his room when I come over?
No.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-01-2013, 04:06 AM
Marcus's Avatar
Marcus Marcus is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Haltom City, TX
Posts: 1,289
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellarmoon View Post
Even though I started as the secondary Im having a very hard time navigating being a primary. I am jealous in ways I never was with his wife or another casual relationship he had that has since ended.
This new title seems to be pretty important to how you view your relationship; you mention it several times and it is apparently a central issue. Why is that? Is the hierarchy important to the health of the relationship? Would something fundamental change if he decided "yunno what, I don't like the hierarchical classifications anymore, let's just be 'people who love each other' and leave it at that"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellarmoon View Post
Its a situation I had said would make me very uncomfortable, but he went with it.
Why is that? What about it made you uncomfortable enough that you told him before anything started?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellarmoon View Post
He has told her what hes willing to do (play) and what hes not willing to do (get emotionally involved).
While I'm sure there is the rare example of this actually working, the vast majority of people who try this discover pretty quickly that emotions don't ask our permission... sometimes they happen against our best wishes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellarmoon View Post
When they began, I asked him that I be given respect when Im at his house. As I had not wanted to see his other relationships, I asked that I not have to see her be sexual with him (kissing in front of me for example). Now I feel like shes very careful to make sure I find evidence of her having been in his bed.
  • You never liked her, but merely tolerated her presence
  • You have made rules about how she is supposed to interact with her lover when you are around (and in HER house)
  • You presume that she is maliciously trying to injure you emotionally
  • You refuse to speak to her to make sure this situation can't get better

As an alternative approach, have you considered not putting rules on how he and his lover must function in your presence? If you want to be able to avoid any evidence of their relationship wouldn't it make more sense for him to visit you at your place?

When you say "be given respect" what you mean is for both of them to capitulate to your preference in how they conduct their relationship... in their home. This approach is probably not going to be very fruitful and appears to have had no success thus far.

I would suggest move away from focusing on the authority inherent in your position as "primary"
__________________
Independent (Anarchist) Non-Monogamy

Me: male, 40, straight, single
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-01-2013, 04:40 AM
london london is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: UK - land of the free
Posts: 1,635
Default

You don't want your partner to be polyamorous, you wish he wasn't, and therefore you will oppose any signs that he is. Even if some of the things are unreasonable, the fact that you are not okay with polyamory means that you will constantly find new things that are issues in an attempt to further and further restrict his relationships because like anyone else, you crave a relationship that will make you happy. Unfortunately, you are not willing to admit that you are incompatible with this person and you want to stay in a relationship that cannot make you both happy at the same time, so there is nothing anyone can say really. I mean, you might be able to suppress that major part of you that needs monogamy to feel valued but I never think that is a good thing.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-01-2013, 01:02 PM
chg2winter chg2winter is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 27
Default

For myself, the part that I am not hearing is his attitude about this.

If his attitude is "I know this is hard for you and I appreciate your willingness to let me be my authentic self. How can I help you with get through this?" then I would rely on his help, and ask him to make sure he does what he promises to do. I would also not meet him at this shared

Ok, nevermind, I just reread your post and saw this part
"He says he agrees to the rules but he doesnt really adhere to them if they go against his impulse to act"

I would recommend you break up with him and find someone who wants to be your partner. Even if you are only one of many partners
__________________
Beyond The Love - The Polyamory Summit, 3 days of classes, social spaces, and more, this November!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-01-2013, 05:38 PM
gorgeouskitten gorgeouskitten is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: New England
Posts: 364
Default

Just gotta pop in here to say, it sounds to be like you want two differnet things. it sounds like, he wants poly (yes?) but what you describe (casual sex, no emotions) is swinging, NOT poly. poly is about building multiple sustainable relationships, swinging is having casual sex. (i dont know if any more senior members with rebut me on this, but this is how I see it). So you two need to talk.

I find it suprising you are more jealous as the primary than you were as a secondary. I am far less jealous (not at all) of my husband dating because he and i live together, kids together etc, than my boyfriend dating because i am NOT his primary (though ive mostly gotten over this)

I think you nee to figure out what open relationship it is you two are having.
__________________
keep on keeping on
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:05 PM.