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Old 06-02-2014, 12:25 AM
Araneidae Araneidae is offline
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Default What if he doesn't really love his wife?

I'm here to vent because I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I've touched on these issues in another forum, but this is another dimension to my situation.

I was never really poly... I started dating an older man, D, last year, who openly told me that he was married and had just started going on dates because his wife had decided to open the relationship. They were each others' first everything, had married young, and had a daughter three years ago. She was in the BDSM community, and wanted to open the marriage so she could advance in a relationship with one specific man. So for the first time since high school, D found himself looking for a girlfriend. He wasn't really interested in it at all. He only started the whole process to make things seem "fair" and he wanted to give her what she wanted.

Skip forward a year later, and he and I are extremely close. I have a busy life, so it usually mostly works out that I don't have a ton of time to spend with him. We see each other 2 nights a week (one overnight). The rest of the time he's busy being an incredibly committed husband and father. Meanwhile our relationship has flourished. I've never felt this kind of love for another person. So at the same time, since I'm not naturally poly, and I'm relatively young, it is painful sometimes to think that I can't really have him all the way. But mostly I'm ok with dealing with these feelings. He's made it clear that I'm staying no matter what and that I'm a crucial part of his life now.

Recently things have been a little rocky. I've always felt like his wife is jealous of our closeness, and tries in some small ways to make me still feel "secondary". We have to always ask for her approval every time we see each other, etc. I also just found out that they made the decision to have another child recently without discussing it with me or S's partner, and S is already pregnant. I have struggled with this a lot emotionally for reasons that are hard even for me to understand.

I've always wondered a little bit... especially when I'm having a dark time emotionally with this and have what D and I call our "bad thoughts"... why they are together. They don't seem physically close. Their personalities are wildly different. And, at the beginning of this whole thing, she really did hurt him by confessing that she wanted to see someone else (let me make clear again, that neither D nor I started out poly so this didn't come naturally to us). At my worst I find myself thinking that I'm so much better than she is. They don't fight and get along fairly well, but there is just nothing there. I mostly kept these feelings to myself and didn't act on them because I thought there was something I wasn't seeing and I didn't want to interfere if D's and my relationship was still flourishing.

When D told me about the pregnancy, he confessed something else. That what he has discovered with me is something he never had with her. That he is sure that he loves me more, and only married her originally because she was the first person who came along. These confessions are dangerous, but a small part of me still liked hearing them. I know that's wrong. I don't know what to do.

After discussing it later, he said that family comes first, and she is his family. Obviously he had still decided to move forward with having another child with her, because "that was always the plan". But part of me feels like this is not the way poly is supposed to be. Sometimes it seems like they are just friendly roommates raising children, and I am the addition for him that makes it worth it because I provide the romantic connection he's discovered he does need. I guess this can work if everyone is happy with it, but now I find myself really hoping for the alternate universe where things could maybe be different. But I know he's too much of a standup guy to let that happen. He basically told me that he wouldn't want his daughter (and the one on the way) to be raised in a divorced family. Nevermind the fact that they would still be surrounded by a world of love from so many people... his mind is fully made up.

Looking for any kind of advice or any similar experiences. Right now I see myself moving forward preserving things basically as they are. We will all work on communication, I'll be there for his current daughter and future child even though the idea of being part of a complete family is sometimes hard, and keep thinking about maybe having a family of my own with him someday (which we have talked about a lot). I'll do my best to be friendly with my metamour. It's complicated, but maybe it will work out. I'm just wondering if I'm a bad person for having these ideas sometimes.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:59 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I don't think you are a bad person for having these thoughts. They are perfectly reasonable thoughts to have in your situation when you have questions.
  • What about you and your desire to have kids one day? Are you willing to give that up for this?
  • Are you free / emotionally free to date other people?
  • What about the TMI line and him telling you things that you may or may not want to know? Are you happy knowing these things or troubled?
  • What about them making life choices/decisions that influence you in some way (like a new child) without even telling you anything was up? Do you want that to change or are you happy with that?

I don't know how long you two have been together, but it doesn't sound like you talked it all out before, or kept talking along the way.

The beginning doesn't sound auspicious either.

Quote:
I was never really poly
Quote:
He wasn't really interested in it at all. He only started the whole process to make things seem "fair" and he wanted to give her what she wanted.
And then this...

Quote:
But part of me feels like this is not the way poly is supposed to be.
What WOULD poly be for you if it was the way it was supposed to be? What would you want? And how far removed is it from what you actually have?

You are responsible for creating your own happiness and what you do/do not participate in.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-02-2014 at 07:06 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2014, 01:35 AM
Araneidae Araneidae is offline
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Thanks so much for replying.

-We've talked a lot about my potentially having kids. He has confirmed that yes, he would absolutely want to have children with me if that's what I want. And S has also said this is ok, but it was a while ago that it was discussed. But it's 3 years minimum down the road for me as I will be back in school soon.
-I'm technically free to date others. I haven't closed that door for myself completely, but I'm honestly 0% interested. Maybe I'll meet someone, but I'm not looking. Except for dealing with the complications of the setup, he does meet nearly all of my needs.
-Happy and troubled. Yes it did cross a line, and totally shifted my thinking about this entire thing. But it also gives me some comfort and security to know that I still have a unique importance to him.
-I was definitely pissed off that they did this without discussing their plans. I know that they're technically "allowed" to do this but it seems disrespectful and hurtful to not even talk about how it would affect me/us. I've told him that communication absolutely needs to improve and that if they say they want me to be a part of the family... that's part of it.

I know that the beginning sounds bad. This is basically what I mean when I say "not how poly is supposed to be." As in starting when he fell into it mostly against his will to do what his wife wanted, and I fell into it because I fell in love with him (not the poly situation).

What I want is to actually feel like an equal. If I have to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation, I would rather have my metamour happy to see her husband happy instead of complain that they don't have what we have. If I'm going to be somewhat of a co-parent and adult figure to the kids to the best of my ability, I want to feel more integrated into the family. And I also want some more independence in my relationship with D, because I do need that. I also have all the expected selfish worries about time/scheduling/attention when my one-and-only is married with a toddler and an infant. There isn't really a way to work on that part except me knowing that he's such a badass dad, and I'm pretty good with kids, that it'll probably work out in the end even though it keeps me up at night now.

So basically... I'm choosing to continue to participate because I can't imagine my life without him at this point. Sometimes I wish things were different, but also remind myself that I fell in love with him as a whole person, including what an amazing partner and father he is. I just don't want to always feel like I'm always begging/hoping for more time and that I'm taking away from what he already has, which is how she makes me feel sometimes.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:43 AM
london london is offline
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You're both acting more like you're having an affair than anything else. I'd think carefully about staying in a situation where you resent his wife. It will consume you.

She doesn't make you feel like that. He does. He's the one you're dating and he's the one who has chosen not to set things up in a way that stops you from feeling like a secondary. The reality is that with his marriage, kids, work, family commitments etc, he may not have the resources for anything "more" than a typical secondary style relationship. Despite what he would want in an ideal world.

Last edited by london; 06-02-2014 at 03:46 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-02-2014, 07:31 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
What I want is to actually feel like an equal.
What behavior is required of
  • you?
  • Him?
  • Meta?

for you to "feel equal" here? Are you able to articulate it into behavior done/not done by who?

Quote:
If I have to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation, I would rather have my metamour happy to see her husband happy instead of complain that they don't have what we have.
This is not in your control. How your meta or your partner choose to behave or feel is up to them. To me feelings ensue after behavior. Since you cannot control their behavior you cannot control their resulting emotion after their behaviors.

Quote:
If I'm going to be somewhat of a co-parent and adult figure to the kids to the best of my ability, I want to feel more integrated into the family.
I note you keep using the word "feel" to describe things that are NOT emotion words. "Integrate" is not an emotion word. It's an action word. Could change your thinking pattern to action oriented. That sentence could be reframed as

"If I'm going to be somewhat of a co-parent and adult figure to the kids? In order to be able to perform to the best of my ability I will need to BE more integrated into the family. That would happen by me doing A, him doing B, her doing C and the TRIO doing D."

That might help you figure out how to solve your problems more effectively.

Quote:
And I also want some more independence in my relationship with D, because I do need that. I also have all the expected selfish worries about time/scheduling/attention when my one-and-only is married with a toddler and an infant. There isn't really a way to work on that part except me knowing that he's such a badass dad, and I'm pretty good with kids, that it'll probably work out in the end even though it keeps me up at night now.
When one is a parent one does put kids first. But even so, a calendar is a calendar, and all the adults in this family could deal with their calendar management better if there's time management problems in one of the adult couplings. If the problem is about time management, it needs time management solutions.

Trying to fix (external time management conflict with him) by yourself by (internally thinking "he's a badass dad") isn't an external time management solution. You seem to be swapping out apples and oranges and not dealing with him direct. If he blames the wife, you have double problem. Time management, and him passing the buck.

Quote:
So basically... I'm choosing to continue to participate because I can't imagine my life without him at this point.
The way you phrase that does not compute to me. Nobody can divine the future or know the unknown before it happens.

Could reframe that so it is in the present day:

"I am choosing to continue to participate at this time. Because the pros still outweigh the cons for me when I assess it."


If you are still doing the pros/cons list, could finish thinking that out first.

Quote:
Sometimes I wish things were different, but also remind myself that I fell in love with him as a whole person, including what an amazing partner and father he is.
Are you trying to talk yourself into/out of things when you write like that? Baffling. Falling in love is a lovely experience, but you are talking about the past "falling in love" stage. Already did that stage. It is not the present. Instead of looking backward could reframe that to today.

"Sustaining love is where we now are at at the present stage. Are we each able to sustain love in the present day? Do we each have the skills to do that? Do we each put in the time and effort required? "

Don't leap to future or look backwards when there's conflict -- be present in the TODAY.

Quote:
I just don't want to always feel like I'm always begging/hoping for more time and that I'm taking away from what he already has, which is how she makes me feel sometimes.
Could not shift this on to you meta. I'm not saying she's awesomeness.

Could not shift this on to your partner. I'm not saying he's evil.

But if YOU choose to participate here in this polyship in this way going with your needs unmet and not talking about it to your people? That is your behavior. And if you feel yucky as a result? That's your feelings ensuing after your behavior.

Any relationship comes with a price of admission. If this particular one has a price tag of
  • Dealing with a meta you don't esp like?
  • Dealing with the fact your partner has kids and a kid on the way?
  • Dealing with expected to be a coparent to these children?
  • Dealing with putting off your own pregnancy?

That's the price of admission. YOU decide if you can afford to pay it or not and be healthy in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healths. You are responsible for you.

If you find you need more time in order to keep the (you + him) layer healthy, it is what that layer needs. You address it with HIM. Relationships need time/space to happen IN. You either are getting enough time from him or not getting enough from him to do that (you + him) layer TLC. She is not in charge of him or his calendar. He is in charge of him and his calendar. If what time he has available to offer you is not meeting your needs? He is not meeting the needs of the shared (you + him) relationship.

If you are monoamorous but poly-friendly, that means you only want to love one person at a time but are ok being in a poly structure. If choosing to participate here loving only him means you have zero interest in dating other people, it is YOU keeping you from dating other people who might be better able to meet your needs by choosing to continue to participate in a polyship that doesn't meet your needs because you are not willing to detach.

I mean all this kindly. I'm not judging or trying to come down hard on you when you are struggling.

But that's the bottom line as I see it and how I would try to solve it if it were me. If the (you + him) tier is not getting enough TLC, it's not getting enough TLC.

You could talk to him about it.
  • Could address it now before new baby arrives and see if changes can be put into place so your needs can be better met
  • Could let time pass doing nothing and see if things get better over time on their own. (But resolve on a time limit so it does not turn into the perpetual snooze tag button)
  • Could accept this is what you get here and all you will ever get here. No changes will happen. Limit reached.

Weigh the pros/cons here honestly with yourself and if it's still on the plus side, awesome. If it's not, or just barely into the plus? Then you could consider change. You deserve to "thrive" and be happy in your relationships and not merely "survive" in them.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-02-2014 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:00 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Gala Girl had some good practical advice. I just want to give you sympathy that your bf got his wife pregnant without telling you they were trying. That means they stopped using birth control some time ago, and went bareback. I can see how that could throw you and make you feel like an outsider! I may not be as enlightened as some poly people. I'd be hurt and angry if that happened to me. I'd wonder about the trust and respect issues inherent in that situation.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:07 PM
Araneidae Araneidae is offline
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Gala Girl, that is all really practical advice. In particular, you've repeated something I already knew-- I need to take ownership of my own choices and needs. I've been trying to do a better job of expressing throughout this what exactly my needs are.

Yes, a lot of this comes down to my partner not really serving as a great bridge between me and my meta. He's helped contribute to our system where I have to ask for indirect permission for many things in our relationship. We're working on that. Following this new drama, I finally came out and told him that as much as practical, I would like to be an equal. I know this can't mean 50/50 time in our situation and that's fine. I also have a busy life. But, i told him, if he wouldn't ask for my approval before meeting her for an unscheduled lunch, there is no reason it has to be that way for me. It's more a matter of principle, and it's little things like that that would help me.

I do want to point out that before the pregnancy happened, we had all had our ups and downs, but for several months things were pretty good. Just this past weekend, the four of us (me, D, S, and S's partner) had gotten together for a family BBQ and had a great time. Generally there weren't a lot of immediate issues other than the communication/scheduling principles I mentioned above. Which is why it did hurt so much to find out they had planned this huge change for all of our lives.

Magdyln, thank you as well. I really think I needed to hear that from someone in the community. I wasn't sure if my feelings were justified about this at all. It's not really the physical thing (sex, I mean). As far as I knew they very rarely had sex and we are all fluid bonded anyway. And the time span between trying and success was, well, 2 sessions. They had expected this to take many moths though, and I assume they were planning to wait the many months before telling me.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:50 PM
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Yeah, I'd feel a little funny about it, though otoh, maybe they didn't want to jinx the process by telling anyone about ttc (trying to concieve). But, since an infant in the mix will impact not just them, but their 2 lovers, I'd say they made an error that needs to be addressed. Poly is complicated and kids complicate it more. Your bf will be way less available with a newborn/teething infant and broken nights' sleep, etc.

I think sometimes poly people can act like they are single or mono, and go ahead and do certain things, not fully being aware of how what they do with one partner ALWAYS ripples down to the other partner(s).
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

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miss pixi, 37
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:51 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I've been trying to do a better job of expressing throughout this what exactly my needs are.
Circle from list? Could that help?

http://www.cnvc.org/Training/needs-inventory


Quote:
But, i told him, if he wouldn't ask for my approval before meeting her for an unscheduled lunch, there is no reason it has to be that way for me. It's more a matter of principle, and it's little things like that that would help me.
I am going to gently disagree. I could be totally wrong in this case... but to me it isn't about him having some agreements with his wife to meet her needs. It's that he might be oversharing them with you and/or that you might be choosing to get upset over it.

What "principle" you are talking about? I'm not clear. I think he could be respectful of both his partners. That part could be "the same for both."
HOW he demonstrates respectful behavior toward his partners doesn't have to be the same behaviors because you guys have your own preferences. That doesn't have to be the same. One might not care about shoes on the rug, one might want shoes by the front door so the carpet doesn't get grubby. Being "respectful" in each partner's home could be different behaviors. Is that what you mean about having the same principle or did you mean something else?

You guys are different people, and will have different needs. Having "everything the same" in behaviors is not going to work because you may not have the same needs. Like if he passes out chocolate cupcakes to all his partners - that might be "equal and all the same behavior" But if one of you is allergic to chocolate or not into desserts, that's not necessarily "meeting my needs."

If I were dating him? His agreements with his wife could be whatever they are. If they share an agreement that he has to check in with her first before asking me out for a lunch date -- well and good. Their agreement, their deal between them, esp if one of them going out means the other one is on parenting duty with the kid. I get that. But they could sort all that stuff out on their own time.

I wouldn't need to know or be involved in their parenting issues at that stage of the game.

But by the time he asks me out for lunch and I'm involved at that point of the process? I expect it to be good to go. Don't be asking me out for Thurs or Fri lunch, if it turns out he can't actually go because the baby has a doc appt Thurs or something. If he's not actually free to ask me out for Thurs, why's he asking for Thurs? Get it together, dude. Just go with asking me for the Fri then from the start. Organize yourself! Kid emergencies happen, and that's fine, but basic time management, please.

Like I said, I could be wrong, but that's my impression: "Sloppy hinge" with information management (goes to TMI) and not on it with his time management. Then it could get compounded if you choose to take the extra info he overshares personally, or if you choose to think "less than" or "competing with the wife" thoughts. Not fun.

If that applies in your case, maybe those are areas you and he could work on improving. Better info management and time management boundaries.

Quote:
I think sometimes poly people can act like they are single or mono, and go ahead and do certain things, not fully being aware of how what they do with one partner ALWAYS ripples down to the other partner(s).
Yup. The polymath thing.

Quote:
Which is why it did hurt so much to find out they had planned this huge change for all of our lives.
It's not cool to do that when this group is more than the one dyad -- it is a 4 person polyship from the sound of it. That polymath shape has MANY singles, duos, trios, and a quad for communication avenues.

At the same time, if this is a matter of great import to you that is something you could have asked. "Is there to be more TTC going on?" Better the issues get covered from BOTH directions than not at all in my mind. Each person has to hold up their end of the stick.

(Him + wife) <---> you

is a two way communication arrow there. It's not the only layer in a 4 person polymath, but that seems to be one layer you are talking about here with the communication issues.

HTH!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-03-2014 at 07:18 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2014, 02:46 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Adding my perspective:

I want to throw out a caution here with regard to S, due to an experience I had where I really dropped the ball. I (being monogamous) was struggling with the fact that my wife (very monogamous) was showing signs of Alzheimer's (complicated story), she was struggling with the fact that I was rebelling against everything, and along comes a polyamorous dynamic where I fall in love with another woman. Well, essentially, a struggling marriage (my wife and me) combined with NRE (the other woman), and I had a hard time remembering the positives about my marriage. I was very gung-ho about the new romance I had just discovered.

And the "new woman" was a perfectly good person, there was no problem with putting her on a pedestal. The problem was bumping my wife off the pedestal -- something I did in my own mind, and something I deeply regret today (and there's nothing I can do to make up for it -- my wife passed away last year). I just can't warn strongly enough about how powerful NRE is. I know you and D have been together for at least a year, but I swear that NRE can easily last that long. D probably feels it for you, but it's probably been a long time since he last felt it for S.

In the meantime, S is the "chore relationship" -- the relationship with kids to tend to, jobs to do around the house, bills to pay, and on and on. Whereas D's time with you is probably free of all those doldrums and minutiae. You and D = pure romance ... whereas S and D = the depressing realities of domestic living. I don't mean to presume I can jump into your minds and know that's how it really is, but I'm just saying there's a reeeally good chance it might seem that way in D's eyes. Which could be the reason he's thinking, "I've got something with Araneidae that I never had with S."

And actually, that's technically true. What he has with you is different from what he ever had with S. That's because you and S are two different people. Two different people --> two different relationships. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. The day may come when D lives to regret bumping S off the pedestal. The truth is, you and S probably both deserve to be up there.

I know the situation I had is different from the one you have. First of all because yours was *initiated by* "the wife," whereas mine was *introduced to* "the wife." And there are many other differences, I don't doubt. I'm just saying be really careful about the NRE factor, because it can make the whole world look turned upside down.

Other than that, I'm in agreement with all that's been posted on this thread, and I really like the advice GalaGirl's had to offer. Try to work on the problems a little at a time, and make a new resolution to try to be friends with S -- on S's team, not on the opposing team. You need to know that S is on your team, and S needs to know you're on her team as well.

If I am out of line with anything I've said here, I apologize. I guess I just hope others will be able to avoid the regrets that I ended up (justly) experiencing.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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