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Old 03-30-2014, 03:24 PM
Sparklepie Sparklepie is offline
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Default Limbo

I'm going to work on getting the words out on the story that I alluded to here:

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69455

The background is that I have been close friends with a couple for quite some time. About a year ago it became evident that there was a mutual attraction between the male partner and I. So we started seeing each other. For a number of months it seemed to be working really well. It came to light that the wife was not coping well and had been keeping a lot of emotions bottled up to the point where being able to work things out in the existing dynamic was going to be impossible. So the husband and I broke up to allow the time and space needed for the 2 of them to work on their relationship.

Which brings us to where we are now. The wife has done a lot of processing and has come to the place where she now knows what it was that was causing the emotions that she couldn't handle. She's aware that now isn't the time to embark on poly again but at some undetermined point in the future she would be open to it again. And specifically open to me and her husband dating again. This revelation has put me into a strange emotional limbo. I understand friendship and what that means and I understand relationships and what that means. I have a much harder time with friendship with the potential but not promise of more. Plus I'm not really a part of a lot of the conversations that are happening, even the ones that specifically are about me. At this point I'm not sure what I want. I'd much rather have a solid friendship with both of them than a fragile relationship where I'm walking on eggshells all the time. Or at least that's what the rational me says.

The flipside is the emotional me. Actions can be controlled. Feelings can't. My feelings haven't changed and I don't know that if it was a possibility that I wouldn't start dating him again right away. I know that the feelings are mutual, without the feelings all of this would be much easier to navigate.

I think what I want is some kind of definite that either this is moving towards a relationship again, so that we can start doing a lot of the groundwork that should have been done the first time. Or is this moving towards being a long term friendship, in which case there's a mental shift that has to happen and I'll have to do some internal work. I don't like the maybe but not now situation that I find myself in. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:25 PM
london london is offline
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This is dicey ground because these lines you speak of are entirely subjective. I think you need to sit down as a three and work out the boundaries together. I always noted that in monogamous relationships, these boundaries about interaction with friends differ greatly when there is prior history.

It isn't always immediately apparent to an individual what actions are appropriate and what actions aren't. It's simply easier to say I don't want you to feel more than friendly about anyone else. But what the hell does that mean?

That's why you and him need to think about where you should put your boundaries to avoid staying into forbidden territory and she needs to decide exactly what forbidden territory is.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:17 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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I understand exactly what you are saying. If the long term dynamic was going to be friendship only, you could separate out that romantic feelings and put them away. But when you're told something as indefinite "as maybe in the future," what the hell do you do with those romantic feelings in the meantime? You don't want to diminish them in case you do get to act upon them in the future, but then there you are with those feelings you don't know what to do with, and you're left wanting.

Two things: first you need more definite answers. I realize the wife doesn't know exactly how fast she is going to be able to reach a place of comfort with poly, but it would be good to know if she's thinking weeks, months, or years. Secondly, in your own mind, you need to figure out how long you can stand to be in limbo.

Lastly, I was in a similar situation. The wife kept saying she was going to work on it, but in reality that never happened. From my perspective, in my case, it seemed like the wife just kept saying what she thought we wanted to hear - afraid of hurting or disappointing us? I don't know. What she did do in fact is prolong the agony. So if possible, I would suggest determining if the wife is really up to the challenge.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:53 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbug View Post
Secondly, in your own mind, you need to figure out how long you can stand to be in limbo.
Sparklepie, I'm of the opinion that this is the one and only thing you should be concerning yourself. The wife working through her stuff, the hubby waiting on the wife to work through her stuff... that's all someone elses business (as in, not yours).

You can put pressure on the wife by asking her for a time frame (even a vague time frame) but I don't think you will actually be helping the situation. You can talk to the hubby about how long he plans on waiting for his wife to come around and what his action will be if he determines the time limit is up but, again, I doubt that you want to get involved in their relationship dynamics.

So the only thing you have any control over at all is what *you* want. This couple has relegated you to a secondary (at best) relationship so you get exactly zero say in your relationship with hubby. If this is an arrangement you are happy with then your only other decision to make is "exactly how long am I willing to put up with being strung along like this". I suggest being honest with yourself in determining this time frame and making it a decision based ENTIRELY on your emotional health and worldview of the future.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:57 PM
Sparklepie Sparklepie is offline
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Sparklepie, I'm of the opinion that this is the one and only thing you should be concerning yourself. The wife working through her stuff, the hubby waiting on the wife to work through her stuff... that's all someone elses business (as in, not yours).

You can put pressure on the wife by asking her for a time frame (even a vague time frame) but I don't think you will actually be helping the situation. You can talk to the hubby about how long he plans on waiting for his wife to come around and what his action will be if he determines the time limit is up but, again, I doubt that you want to get involved in their relationship dynamics.

So the only thing you have any control over at all is what *you* want. This couple has relegated you to a secondary (at best) relationship so you get exactly zero say in your relationship with hubby. If this is an arrangement you are happy with then your only other decision to make is "exactly how long am I willing to put up with being strung along like this". I suggest being honest with yourself in determining this time frame and making it a decision based ENTIRELY on your emotional health and worldview of the future.
This is pretty much the conclusion that I've come to as well. I've been thinking over what that time frame is going to be. I don't have that answer yet.

As for being secondary, I'm very aware that's the case. That's something I am OK with. I have my own primary relationship as well and absolutely no desire for co-primary status anywhere else.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:35 PM
Sparklepie Sparklepie is offline
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If I do work out a time limit on how long I'm willing to go along with the situation as it is would that be something I would communicate to them or is that something best kept to myself? I don't want it to come across as pressure for change since really it's about me taking care of me. But then again to not say anything could be seen as deceptive.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:43 PM
copperhead copperhead is offline
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I feel like being open about your timeframe is a good idea. Just try to find a way to express it in a way that doesn't put pressure on others. Would it help to say
Quote:
it's about me taking care of me
to the others and to say that they too need to take care of themselves (which the wife is doing by asking time to adjust).

Also… I'm not sure how you can put your emotions on hold and not be able to access them later if the situation changes.
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:58 PM
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I feel like being open about your timeframe is a good idea. Just try to find a way to express it in a way that doesn't put pressure on others.
I would agree with this if I thought such a thing were possible. Maybe someone with far better strategic communication skills than me could pull this off, but I have no idea what that would look like.

Personally I would not talk about a time frame; he will have his priorities and a pace in mind and he should stick to it. The heart of the matter is your telling him (not her, he's the one you are in a relationship with) that you need to know which way the wind is blowing or you are going to make the decision for him. Obviously being as kind as you can, but making sure your point is heard and understood.

Then when the time period is up you either have the answer you were looking for or let him know that the two of you are now friends - take it or leave it.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:51 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
I would agree with this if I thought such a thing were possible. Maybe someone with far better strategic communication skills than me could pull this off, but I have no idea what that would look like.

Personally I would not talk about a time frame; he will have his priorities and a pace in mind and he should stick to it. The heart of the matter is your telling him (not her, he's the one you are in a relationship with) that you need to know which way the wind is blowing or you are going to make the decision for him. Obviously being as kind as you can, but making sure your point is heard and understood.

Then when the time period is up you either have the answer you were looking for or let him know that the two of you are now friends - take it or leave it.
I can see Marcus's point of view - stating a specific timeframe will undoubtedly add pressure. However, I do think it is important to let him know you will not be able to tolerate the situation indefinitely. You can be both direct and kind about it:

What I would say is something along these lines: "While I am hopeful that your wife will be able to work through her issues to the point we can regain the relationship that has been put on hold, I won't be able to remain in limbo indefinitely. There will come a point, where for my own sanity, I will need to let that hope go." Then if and when tha time arrives, he won't be taken completely by surprise.

(HA! Just re-read Marcus's comment, and realized I said the exact same thing - except for the feminine vibe.)

Last edited by bookbug; 04-04-2014 at 01:54 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:19 PM
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Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
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If I were in your situation I would just go on living life and if someday things line up, great. If not thenyou ddidn't waste time waiting in the wings for something to happen that may not ever work.
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