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  #11  
Old 05-10-2011, 12:00 AM
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cxJvak cxJvak is offline
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First my story then some advice!

I've been in a relationship with my husband for 8 years, 3 years ago we got married and 1 year ago we moved far away from our conservative and religious families. We were always very open with each other in our relationship and he was very accepting when I shared I was bisexual. (a struggle I had going through a Christian highschool) We didn't ever go "looking" for polyamorous relationships, but when he met Sarah through school she naturally fell into our lives.
I gave John permission to pursue a relationship with her as long as she didn't feel uncomfortable.
Sarah admitted to me that she was attracted to John and I shared with her that I was fine with that.
Sarah was raised fairly conservative as well and we helped her out of a bad long-term and long-distance relationship. She moved in with us about 5 months ago.
We're all students and take turns taking care of each other. We describe our relationship as genuine concern for the other's wellbeing.

So clearly, there's a "dominate" relationship in our triad as well. My Sarah believes she has problems with insecurities because of her past relationship. We try to focus on constant, honest communication. It's really hard sometimes and requires a lot of rational analysis. By attempting to discover when and why someone feels left out we are able to identify when our relationships struggle.

I try to keep communication open by leaving them both note, texts, and messages to remind them that I have unconditional concern for them. I try to make it a point to let them know that I am here to take care of them. This helps to alleviate feelings of insecurity. Jealously, which leads to insecurity, is based on fear. Attempting to identify the source of the fear (infidelity?) and confronting the issue may help to remove this dilemma from your relationship. You can't do much about Tom's past, but you can let your Sarah know that you will be as honest as you can.
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2011, 03:00 AM
polycouple polycouple is offline
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
It sounds like she is doing her best to get there, but it will never be even. It just doesn't work like that. Love is never even with anyone. It doesn't mean one is more important than the other, its just different.

Your situation would be my nightmare (I just wouldn't put myself there any more, I likely would only chose people who are experienced at poly at this point) but I think if I were you I would keep doing your best to accommodate her if she is working on loosening her control issues. Keep your agreements and don't agree to stuff you can't do. You get to put your foot down when necessary. Pick your battles.

I hope it is made very clear to her that primary/secondary relationships only work if all agree. If you intend to be in a position of equal, then make sure she know that and are investing in that. That you are agreeing to her whims because you intend to be there for the long haul and expect to be treated as equal.
You give some really good advice, thank you! I am patient with her needs at this point but I do communicate that I am in this situation because I love her, and I hope for it to last. I also remind her that it will only last if we are moving towards equality (as much as it can be equal). I understand there is no genuine equal relationship. I guess what I mean is that we each have the same freedoms within the relationship.
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2011, 12:09 AM
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So it has been a while since I started this thread.

Things have not gotten any easier in terms of things being even in the relationship. I have been with Tom and Sarah now for five months, and Sarah still does not want Tom and I to be intimate when she is not around (so we aren't, usually). We have had a few slip up. I know this is wrong, but considering we are together 5-6 nights a week with just the two of us, I am actually surprised we manage to control ourselves to the extent that we do.

My main challenge is dealing with the resentment, and feelings of being marginalized in the relationship. On a rational level I know I am not a victim, that I am making the choice to be in this relationship, that I am making the choice to act lovingly towards Sarah by not pushing her to move the relationship faster than she is ready for it to go. Knowing this rationally is not helping though. I find myself annoyed with her more frequently, jealous when I hear of her and Tom being intimate, and resentful when she wants to know every detail about what Tom and I do when she is not around. I am less and less sensitive to her emotions when she gets insecure. It frustrates me that she can not see beyond her insecurities and fears, and just be happy that when she is at work the two people she loves are taking care of each other.

All of this scares me. I love Sarah. I don't want to hurt her. I don't want to resent her, yet I feel a need for this relationship to include me as an even participant How do I balance my want to be an understanding and accommodating lover, when doing so is making me feel like a second class citizen in this relationship?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2011, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by polycouple View Post
I find myself annoyed with her more frequently, jealous when I hear of her and Tom being intimate, and resentful when she wants to know every detail about what Tom and I do when she is not around. I am less and less sensitive to her emotions when she gets insecure. It frustrates me that she can not see beyond her insecurities and fears, and just be happy that when she is at work the two people she loves are taking care of each other.
When she wants to know every detail, does she come right out and ask you both, or does she quiz Tom in private about it? If she asks you, why can't you sincerely respond with, "Why [or what] do you want to know?" and then break down her questions to get to the heart of the matter.

Have the three of you all sat down for a meeting to check in (and perhaps bring up the topic of renegotiating boundaries) yet? If I were you, I would request one and then very lovingly express what you wrote above:
"Sarah, your need to know every detail about what we do is frustrating. It feels like you don't trust us. I understand, but perhaps it would be better to talk about your fears or insecurities in a way to work through them instead of requiring us to report to you. I love you and care about you, but I just do not feel like I'm being treated as an equal here. I'm starting to feel resentful about it, and I don't want to feel that way. I want the people I love to trust me. Can we talk about another way, a compromise, that will still put you at ease but that does not make us feel like we're being constantly watched and micro-managed?"
How does Tom feel about it? Oh, and have you made an effort to spend lots of time with her alone, just the two of you (socially, not just sexually)? That would probably help a great deal, to do something with just her at least once a week.
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Last edited by nycindie; 06-24-2011 at 02:40 AM.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2011, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by polycouple View Post
So it has been a while since I started this thread.

Things have not gotten any easier in terms of things being even in the relationship. I have been with Tom and Sarah now for five months, and Sarah still does not want Tom and I to be intimate when she is not around (so we aren't, usually). We have had a few slip up. I know this is wrong, but considering we are together 5-6 nights a week with just the two of us, I am actually surprised we manage to control ourselves to the extent that we do.

My main challenge is dealing with the resentment, and feelings of being marginalized in the relationship. On a rational level I know I am not a victim, that I am making the choice to be in this relationship, that I am making the choice to act lovingly towards Sarah by not pushing her to move the relationship faster than she is ready for it to go. Knowing this rationally is not helping though. I find myself annoyed with her more frequently, jealous when I hear of her and Tom being intimate, and resentful when she wants to know every detail about what Tom and I do when she is not around. I am less and less sensitive to her emotions when she gets insecure. It frustrates me that she can not see beyond her insecurities and fears, and just be happy that when she is at work the two people she loves are taking care of each other.

All of this scares me. I love Sarah. I don't want to hurt her. I don't want to resent her, yet I feel a need for this relationship to include me as an even participant How do I balance my want to be an understanding and accommodating lover, when doing so is making me feel like a second class citizen in this relationship?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
So committed to achieving equanimity turned into I want what I want and will do exactly what you feared to get it. All the ethical methods Tom needed to learn to be poly rather than just a garden variety cheat have been scrapped. PS we love you Sarah.
You get 5-6 nights a week with someone who was originally another's primary? No wonder she feels insecure and left out; wanting to know all the details.
This will end badly because she has been demoted and the two of you have left her out of the progression towards intimacy that you once wanted all three of you to have equally. You wanted equanimity in this triad? If that was what you wanted you wouldn't have cut her out. Equanimity would be all of you sharing the intimate moments. I don't think you ever wanted that. You just wanted to be in her position when she wasn't around. 2 of the 3 in this triad are getting together without 1 all but one or two nights a week. This isn't a triad; its a sneaky V.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2011, 04:22 PM
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and Sarah still does not want Tom and I to be intimate when she is not around (so we aren't, usually). We have had a few slip up. I know this is wrong, but considering we are together 5-6 nights a week with just the two of us, I am actually surprised we manage to control ourselves to the extent that we do.
I suggest you come clean to Sarah about this right now, if you haven't already. And talk about how the 5-6 nights alone per week are eating away at your self-control. If you honestly don't want to continue cheating with Tom, DON'T hang out so much together 'unsupervised'! There is really no other way around it.

And yeah, I'm with Indie; where are all the date nights with Sarah?
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2011, 08:00 PM
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That resentment is going to build if someone doesn't come out with some real feelings and requests to make some changes to your boundaries I think. How about 3 nights a week and intimacy. She gets him 3 nights too and one can be a fly by the seat of our pants night. Take the emotion out before its too late and strategize.

This doesn't seem like a triad. A vee maybe? Some clarification there might help. Jsut because its a vee doesn't mean the arms don't talk. Metamours can be as close as loves.
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2011, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ignorant View Post
You get 5-6 nights a week with someone who was originally another's primary? No wonder she feels insecure and left out; wanting to know all the details.

. . . 2 of the 3 in this triad are getting together without 1 all but one or two nights a week. This isn't a triad; its a sneaky V.
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
And talk about how the 5-6 nights alone per week are eating away at your self-control. If you honestly don't want to continue cheating with Tom, DON'T hang out so much together 'unsupervised'!
Somehow this important detail did not register with me. I imagined that the two are home all that time and Sarah has a heavy work schedule or something. Polycouple (interesting name, considering you're in a triad, hmmm), it seems to me that you need to get out more with friends and create a social life outside this dynamic so that you are not so focused on Tom when you have time off. Sarah is perhaps sensing a neediness on your part, if all your activities outside of work involve Tom (just a guess) - and so it makes sense that her inner alarm bells are going off! Just wondering... do you think your feelings have shifted to such a degree that you might really be entertaining the thoughts of having Tom to yourself?
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
How about 3 nights a week and intimacy. She gets him 3 nights too and one can be a fly by the seat of our pants night.
^^ I second this!
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 06-24-2011 at 11:02 PM.
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  #19  
Old 06-24-2011, 10:44 PM
polycouple polycouple is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
When she wants to know every detail, does she come right out and ask you both, or does she quiz Tom in private about it? If she asks you, why can't you sincerely respond with, "Why [or what] do you want to know?" and then break down her questions to get to the heart of the matter.

Have the three of you all sat down for a meeting to check in (and perhaps bring up the topic of renegotiating boundaries) yet? If I were you, I would request one and then very lovingly express what you wrote above:
"Sarah, your need to know every detail about what we do is frustrating. It feels like you don't trust us. I understand, but perhaps it would be better to talk about your fears or insecurities in a way to work through them instead of requiring us to report to you. I love you and care about you, but I just do not feel like I'm being treated as an equal here. I'm starting to feel resentful about it, and I don't want to feel that way. I want the people I love to trust me. Can we talk about another way, a compromise, that will still put you at ease but that does not make us feel like we're being constantly watched and micro-managed?"
How does Tom feel about it? Oh, and have you made an effort to spend lots of time with her alone, just the two of you (socially, not just sexually)? That would probably help a great deal, to do something with just her at least once a week.


Thanks for your good advice. We do sit and communicate together, but not nearly enough, due to conflicting schedules. Also, when we get precious time together with the three of us we tend to want to enjoy it, rather than have intense conversations. I know this needs to change!

I like the compromise idea. It occurred to me that perhaps she would be ok with intimacy between Tom and I if it were only to occur a certain number of times a week, or only on certain days. I might bring this idea up!

Tom and I are pretty much on the same page. We want an even relationship, but we also want to go at a pace that Sarah is comfortable. We have made slip ups, yes, but we really want to do this the right way.
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  #20  
Old 06-24-2011, 10:53 PM
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So committed to achieving equanimity turned into I want what I want and will do exactly what you feared to get it. All the ethical methods Tom needed to learn to be poly rather than just a garden variety cheat have been scrapped. PS we love you Sarah.
You get 5-6 nights a week with someone who was originally another's primary? No wonder she feels insecure and left out; wanting to know all the details.
This will end badly because she has been demoted and the two of you have left her out of the progression towards intimacy that you once wanted all three of you to have equally. You wanted equanimity in this triad? If that was what you wanted you wouldn't have cut her out. Equanimity would be all of you sharing the intimate moments. I don't think you ever wanted that. You just wanted to be in her position when she wasn't around. 2 of the 3 in this triad are getting together without 1 all but one or two nights a week. This isn't a triad; its a sneaky V.
Well, you have come to a lot of assumptions that are simply not true. I think once you understand more of the context you might see that. Sarah works second shift. Tom and I work first shift. When we see each other 5-6 night a week Sarah is completely aware, and supportive of that, so there is no sneaking there. Yes, we have slipped up a few times with being intimate together sexually. I'm not proud of this. I don't think it is right. However, I do not think what we did was cheating. This is a relationship within which we are all knowingly and openly in love with each other. Sarah believes Tom and I should be able to be intimate with one another when she is not there, she does does not feel emotionally ready for it yet. Sarah and I are able to be intimate with one another without Tom because he does not have the same reservations.

I would never want to cut Sarah out of this relationship! In fact, I am so excited because she may be getting to work from home which means I will see her more. I think if we could see more of each other than the relationship could grow in a positive direction. When we are all together, these issues dissipate.
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