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Old 05-07-2014, 12:25 AM
PolyButTorn PolyButTorn is offline
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Unhappy Torn.... In love, but feel devalued

Hi. First, let me clarify that I'm actually a member of this forum under a different user name, but needed to create this post "anonymously" because of my paramour and metamour both being on here as well.

Because of that, I'm phrasing things carefully as to not out myself, but I'm in one hell of a predicament and I'm emotionally falling apart and am not sure how to handle these feelings.

I'm relatively new to poly. I'm a man in my late 30's who is an arm of a hinge with Jill, my girlfriend (the hinge) who is near my age and her husband Jack, who is her senior by quite some number of years as the other arm of the V.

Since Jill and I have begun dating, life has been an emotional roller coaster. Jack had some jealousy issues and caused Jill a lot of grief, but that all has been "worked out" at this point. Jack and Jill now live separate, but married.

Jack and Jill have 1/2 of Sunday, all of Monday and all of Tuesday together (Jack does not work). I get Wednesday night overnight and Friday evening until late Sunday afternoon. (Sounds reasonable, right?) Thursday night is Jill's night to go out and have time for herself whether it be dating, doing things with her teenage child, etc. (Important note: Jack is not Jill's Daughter's father)

Jack and Jill do not have any veto rights and Jill tells me (always has) that there is not a hierarchy structure to our relationships. She says at this point in our relationship that we are "equals" when it comes to importance in her life.

Here is where the problem occurs. First, Jill knows that every other Friday evening, I cannot spend with her due to my responsibilities with my children (which is ok, I can accept that... I'd rather make up the time, but I'll take what I can get, right?). While she says we are "equals", she always refers to Jack as her "husband" and I'm her "SO". (She doesn't say 'signifigant other', she says "SO"). When she is with Jack, I'm expected to avoid contacting her unless it's an emergency. (This is new within the past few weeks since Jill and Jack have resolved his jealousy issues) Prior to this, Jill and I had significant daily phone conversations (usually an hour in the morning and an hour or more in the evening).. Now, it's all of the sudden an issue for her to talk to me for more than 15 minutes a day.

I have been told I need to 'adjust' to the new way of things, but it feels like a 20 year drug addict being told to quit cold turkey. Even her text conversations have become abrupt. Now, when we are together, she shows me unequivocally that she loves me dearly. She is very affectionate, genuine and intimate (physically and emotionally). Our relationship continues to grow deeper while we are together. The only other 'caveat' that bothersme is that I am 'expected' to allow Jack unlimited access to Jill during my time with her. (Mind you, they are not living together, have no shared financial responsibilities and he is not Jill's Daughter's father) it's simply because he is "her husband" that I'm supposed to be ok with it.

(Also, she makes all of her plans for her Thursday night dates, etc. when she is with me to avoid upsetting Jack.)

I think that while her intentions are to have "equality" among partners, her actions are saying "primary/secondary", but when I breech the subject, I feel like I'm wrong to express how I feel about it. I feel like I'm complaining when in actuality, I'm really trying to express my feelings and how it hurts me to be made to feel "less than".

Now, since Jack doesn't work, he also sees Jill for an hour of two each morning (he offers to take her to breakfast or give her a back rub to get time with her). Now, Jill and Jack have not been physically intimate for over 6 weeks at this point and Jill still says she's not sure WHEN she will feel like being intimate with him again, but realistically I know that eventually they will be, which I'm completely ok with.

Next thing I'm beginning to notice is that Jack is now planning "family activities" on my days with her. Last weekend, while I was at her house with my children and her daughter, she left us for several hours to go be with Jack because he was "struggling" knowing that I was there with her and we were doing our own thing. So, being the caring, compassionate woman she is, she went to him to comfort him and reassure him.

Now, tomorrow is my "day" to be with her. I had plans to cut off of work early and go over to her house because there are so many things we need to talk about and I'm.... well, missing her. So, I am now informed that.... "Jack has made plans for us to go to his parents to reassure them our marriage is still strong even though we're not living together" (Jack is not out to his parents) - Jack's parents live almost 3 hours away and in a different state.

Jill said that she intends to be home later tomorrow evening and I can just "come over and hang out" with her daughter until she arrives. Worst case, I get to spend the night with my new "bonus daughter". (Whom I love to death and enjoy spending time with - that's not the point) I have to work on Thursday morning so I can't be up all night waiting on her to get home so we can talk about issues that are bothering me. So, I'm kind of feeling less than important again since his plans are now taking away from the short amount of time I have with Jill.

So, at this point, I feel some jealousy of Jack monopolizing Jill's time, I feel some resentment that it is probably intentional (Jack will be the first to tell you that he doesn't likeme, but he's accepted that I'm not going anywhere), and I'm feeling hurt that Jill is allowing this to go on without standing up for our relationship, which she says she values equally as she does her husband's.

There are so many times during "their" time I want to pick up the phone and call to see how she's feeling if I know she's been sick or tell her about something good/bad that happened to me, etc. but I can't. It's like those days of our relationship "don't exist" to her, it feels like I'm more of a FWB that she cares about instead of her serious committed boyfriend whom she loves.
  • Am I being petty?
  • Should I just accept the time I'm given and be thankful?
  • Should I be content just being in a part time relationship with her?
  • Should I resign myself to the fact that I may always be secondary to Jack even though she says differently?
  • Do I even have the right to expect equal treatment as Jack, considering they have been married for 5 years and I've only been with Jill less than 6 months?

(I have changed all of those 'should's into 'can's and I'm honestly not sure if I can)

I know this much... I'm hopelessly in love. I don't want our relationship to come to an end yet. She gives me such a taste of hope when we're together to keep me dangling at the possibility of a long, loving, lasting relationship in the future. She asks me constantly to "be patient" with her...

I'm trying so desperately to hold in my feelings as to "hang in there" until things get better, but I literally feel like I'm literally being torn apart inside. I have lost weight because my appetite is gone, my sleep patterns are so erratic anymore that I would be thankful to get 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep (I sleep perfectly when I'm with her, which only makes my desire to be with her even stronger). I am noticing signs of depression setting in, I've lost interest in watching TV shows I've always loved, I don't feel like being social.....

I've got to do something, but I really don't know what... My options (I think..) are to either a) leave her, b) express my feelings and take a chance of her leaving me or c) adjust and learn to be content with what we have.

Has anyone ever felt something like this before in a relationship?!?! If so, please tell me how you handled it. I need advice desperately.

Keep in mind that I DO want this relationship to work. Is it silly to think that maybe even we should try to go to a poly friendly "couples counseling" only being in the relationship for less than 6 months?

Thank you all in advance for the honesty (even if it is hard to read), thoughtful and compassionate responses I know everyone here always gives everyone.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2014, 02:32 AM
PolyButTorn PolyButTorn is offline
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Smile Aha! Moment...

I think I figured out a majority of my issue, but want to bounce it off all of you for your thoughts.

I've searched within myself deep and I keep trying to figure out "why" I'm feeling these issues of insecurity, envy and jealousy... (Among other emotions)

What I think I've come up with is that I have placed myself in a position where I have all my eggs in one basket. I'm looking to someone who is already in multiple relationships to fill all of my emotional and physical needs.

I think... I need to date someone else to help occupy the time that I'm not with Jill. I think that I can see someone else and have them help "fill" me up emotionally. If I am being honest, I think I'm envious (not jealous) of the fact that she HAS two people who deeply love her and want her to spend time with them and I don't.

Thoughts?
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2014, 02:40 AM
BillNIndy BillNIndy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolyButTorn View Post
If I am being honest, I think I'm envious (not jealous) of the fact that she HAS two people who deeply love her and want her to spend time with them and I don't.
That line of thinking is understandable. I believe that even I long for something similar. After all, isn't poly about "many loves"? If you are poly, you almost have an innate need to feel love towards and from multiple partners. (I know I do)

Maybe getting out and dating someone else will help you feel more emotionally complete and less reliant on Jill. It may even possibly help improve your relationship with Jill as you will find that you are looking forward to being with her and not so hung up on the time you are apart from each other.

I hope that you find an answer to your question, this is just my opinion. I know the feelings you are going through can be pretty tough to deal with.

Best of luck with it all and please let me know how it works out!!
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  #4  
Old 05-07-2014, 02:54 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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The fact that your metamour dislikes you, and I suspect is probably not happy with your gf being polyamorous, emotionally escalates the issues. For example, if you two liked one another, and your gf felt the need to go reassure him, you would probably feel more compassion.

I tend to agree with your assessment that he is manipulating the situation. That said, you do not have a relationship with him; the relationship is with your gf. And that is the only part of the equation you can address. It won't be helpful to talk about his behavior. This is where you need to think hard. Is it important that the inequity be addressed?

"If I can't call you during his time, he can't call you during mine." This may be a losing battle, because you are trying to dictate his behavior. Neither you or she has any control over that.

Or can you address it in terms of what you need. "I really need to be able to communicate during our off days. Can we agree to talk x amount of time twice a day?" (Or whatever suits you.)

The problem when the metamours have an adversarial relationship is that the hinge ends up trying to appease the one who is most demanding and emotionally volatile, trusting the one who is more understanding and emotionally secure to cope. Unfortunately - and I know this from experience - one can only cope for so long. Yet, the hinge keeps hoping that with time the volatile one will settle down and become more reasonable. They don't.

So yes, a discussion of your needs in terms of your relationship with her is the next step. Before it happens, you ought to consider what you can tolerate at a minimum. I understand that you love her, but sometimes it is not enough. I stayed way too long at the continued behest of my hinge (the Philosopher) to give it more time. Each time I tried to suck it up. Eventually, it eroded my sense of self-worth.

And eventually, their marriage failed.
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Both poly-experienced, but not looking.
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2014, 04:24 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I'm sorry you struggle.

SHORT VERSION

I mean all this kindly ok? I encourage you to see a counselor. You have a HUGE load. Go easier on yourself, dude. You have depression -- that's big illness.

Check your self talk and your expectations of yourself. Sort out your expectations with Jill. It will either work out in the end or not, but talking to yourself like this and depression management -- that's heavy load! Sorting that out will help YOU regardless of how it turns out with Jill.

If being in this is affecting your mental health to harder degrees -- maybe you pull the plug and see counseling to heal and cope with depression management FIRST. Rather than that AND trying to keep going with this polyship at the same time.

Everything has a price of admission. Maybe this price is too steep for your budget. Only you know. But I think cracks are showing and you know it.

You guys are in transition toward an unusual model: (husband - wife - BF) V where the husband and wife are not living together and separated. They might stay together in their marriage or not. To me that is messy. I would not go there. I'd rather let them sort it out without me in it. You are free to choose differently.

So you pick this at this time. Alright then. You have been together less than 6 mos. How long has it been since the separation and moving to separate homes? Things don't happen instantly. How long do you expect yourself to try this on?

Her intention may be "equal time" or "coprimary" but she just separated and moved out. There's going to be a transition time. The reality is more like "working towards equal time" or "working towards coprimary."

Have you guys set a framework? This transition experiment is for 3 mos? 6 mos? Put a time limit on it -- so a conclusion can happen. Either it stops being struggle and Yay! You renew. Or is still struggle and you let it expire and do not renew.

LONG VERSION

You have many layers, but the one that pops out the most is this to me is "self talk" and "expectations." I will go through some but not all...

EXPECTATIONS/ACTIONS

Quote:
While she says we are "equals", she always refers to Jack as her "husband" and I'm her "SO".
She calls you SO. You prefer to be called _______?

Yup. He's the husband.
  • You want her to call him (Jack?) around you?
  • Something else?

Quote:
When she is with Jack, I'm expected to avoid contacting her unless it's an emergency. I am 'expected' to allow Jack unlimited access to Jill during my time with her. I am expected to be ok with this because he is "her husband"
So it's not that he is the husband that is the problem. It's that you don't like him having unlimited access to Jill during your time with her. And you having zero access the other way. Could talk to Jill about meeting your connection needs.

Quote:
I think that while her intentions are to have "equality" among partners, her actions are saying "primary/secondary", but when I breech the subject, I feel like I'm wrong to express how I feel about it.
Could stop with evaluations like "I feel wrong to express how I feel." She's not a mind reader. How would she know how you feel otherwise?

I think you mean you need help for HOW to phrase it? Is that what you mean?

Quote:
I feel like I'm complaining when in actuality, I'm really trying to express my feelings and how it hurts me to be made to feel "less than".
Do you have the belief that she has the power to "make you" feel things? The one blocking the expression of your feelings is YOU. You think to yourself it is "wrong" to express. You need to express. Hello, internal conflict!

You could learn to express how you feel without judging how you feel when it happens to be one of the less yummy feelings. Some feelings are fun to feel. Some are not. They all blow on through if you let it. Emotional internal weather is just weather. Sunny days, stormy skies -- it all passes.

Quote:
Now, since Jack doesn't work, he also sees Jill for an hour of two each morning.
Could you request she stop telling you so you can see if knowing less about how Jack spends his time helps you feel less stressy in this transition time?

Quote:
Last weekend, while I was at her house with my children and her daughter, she left us for several hours to go be with Jack because he was "struggling" knowing that I was there with her and we were doing our own thing.
So you observe him contacting Jill to provide support. Does she check in with you first to see if you are ok with this since it is (you + jill) time? Or does just rush off to Jack like a "dump and run" without checking in first?

When you struggle to adjust, and you tell her, Jill provides _____ when you tell her you need help. (???)

You are dating a package here, not a single woman. You could be generous with her time. At the same time if he's abusing this, you could ask Jill to respect your time together and tend to Jack in a way you can deal with. How about taking 15 min to talk to him in the bedroom to soothe? Rather than up and leave you in charge of all the kids for the day?

Quote:
Now, tomorrow is my "day" to be with her. I had plans to cut off of work early and go over to her house because there are so many things we need to talk about and I'm.... well, missing her.
Was she aware of your plan? That you wanted to do relationship management talk?And you had a need to connect? I see that you are bummed out she went to tend to in-laws with Jack, but she said she'd be back in the evening. It isn't NO time with her. Did she know you were having a struggle time?

Quote:
So, I'm kind of feeling less than important again since his plans are now taking away from the short amount of time I have with Jill.
Your weekly schedule seems pretty balanced to me. It doesn't seem like you get less time on the schedule. Is Jill not sticking to it most of the time?

Could leave Jack out of this so you can let go of Jack resentments. Him having plans isn't the problem. He could have plans to go to the moon. So?

Jill choosing to (deal with inlaws, go bowling, bake cookies) bothers you because Jill is ok with last minute changes to plans and you are not? You wanted to do something else and she knew/did not know about it? This is a (you and Jill) time management thing.

What "topics" are ok for last minute changes? (Important AND urgent?)

-- problem with any of the kids?
--someone having a heart attack of similar health emergency?
-- pipe broke, water leaking in ceiling

What is (important but NOT urgent)? Can be set on the calendar certainly, but NOT last minute pass?

-- visit in laws
-- slow draining tub. Need to call repair dude. (But not raining inside the house, so it can wait.)

What topics are (URGENT but not important)?
What topics are (neither urgent, nor important)

They ALL cannot be high level emergency "important and urgent!"

Quote:
I'm feeling hurt that Jill is allowing this to go on without standing up for our relationship, which she says she values equally as she does her husband's.
What would you like for her to have done instead in these situations that would meet Jack, Jill AND your needs in a better way? How can you contribute to that happening more?

Talk to her about last minute planning and what is acceptable to you and what is not. Ask if she's willing to work within that.

Maybe you & Jill Google Calendar as time management solution?

Quote:
There are so many times during "their" time I want to pick up the phone and call to see how she's feeling if I know she's been sick or tell her about something good/bad that happened to me, etc. but I can't.
Sure you can. Could email instead of call. Focus on desired outcome (connection need) and be flexible about method (call vs email).

Then you are meeting your need to connect and express to Jill in your time of need. Without disturbing her with a ring of a phone and respecting her limit.

This is part of information management. Talk to Jill to see if that is a solution she's good with.

CONCLUSION


There's a lot of areas here I identify that you & Jill could need to work out in a transition time. But I suggest taking a step back first before diving into that.

You feel unwell. You are losing sleep. You cannot eat. Those a BIG signs this is going against the grain for you.

Are you able to see the problems I see?
  • Your talking down to yourself -- does this add problems or take away problems from your depression management?
  • You choosing to participate in a difficult model at this time -- does this add problems or take away problems from your depression management?

You could take better care of you.

Desire is there, but ability is not at this time. Nothing stops you from dating Jill LATER down in future, you know.
  • You could take a time out to work on your depression management so it's in better order and YOU are in better shape before attempting polyshipping
  • She could take a time out to deal with her marriage separation issues so she's in better shape before attempting polyshipping.

Could give (you and Jill) a better foundation to begin from than going at it all wonky.

Hang in there.
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-07-2014 at 06:35 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2014, 04:29 AM
Eclipse Eclipse is offline
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I agree with bookbug, and I definitely feel you need to address the issues with your partner. You are completely correct that you do NOT have the equality that she has promised you. There are a lot of issues because of this, and it doesn't even matter whether you are right or wrong in what you want... they are YOUR feelings and you have the right to speak your mind to her. If she loves and cares about you as much as she says she does, then she will listen to them with understanding.

Keep in mind that her answers to your problems might not be what you want to hear, though. If that happens, that's when you have to make the hard decisions. You need to decide if you can be okay with being secondary, or if it's time for you to bow out.
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2014, 05:08 AM
westVan westVan is offline
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Default This...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbug View Post

The problem when the metamours have an adversarial relationship is that the hinge ends up trying to appease the one who is most demanding and emotionally volatile, trusting the one who is more understanding and emotionally secure to cope. Unfortunately - and I know this from experience - one can only cope for so long. Yet, the hinge keeps hoping that with time the volatile one will settle down and become more reasonable. They don't.

So yes, a discussion of your needs in terms of your relationship with her is the next step. Before it happens, you ought to consider what you can tolerate at a minimum. I understand that you love her, but sometimes it not enough.
.perfect assessment bookbug
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  #8  
Old 05-08-2014, 12:45 AM
CosmoMcKinley CosmoMcKinley is offline
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Actions speak louder than words. If she incessantly tells you that Jack and yourself are equals relationship-wise but isn't behaving in that manner, then it simply isn't true. The mere fact that she's playing the husband card is all you need to consider. If the rules change that much depending on who she's with at the moment, there is no equality.

The real question then is "what's really going on?" Does Jack even know that she's supposedly poly, or are you just the guy she's seeing while they're separated as far as he's concerned? Is "Jack" really the impetus behind all of these changes, or is she invoking his name (and maybe yours) to open up time for yet another lover?

From your description of the events, I have to call shenanigans on the whole setup. When deeds don't match words, there's a problem. I'd suggest that you gently hasten down the wind and away from the whole mess. If you're not ready to do that, maybe a phone call to or a beer with Jack is in order to see if Jill is telling the same stories to everyone.

Probably the most important phrase in your entire post is this one:
Quote:
Since Jill and I have begun dating, life has been an emotional roller coaster.
Are you really that big a fan of roller coasters that you'd spend six months on one? There are a lot of other rides to choose from at the amusement park we call life.
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