A New Reader Asks:
I have been seeing a guy,living and working with him for about 4 months. He introduced me to the idea of polyamory. I had honestly never heard of it, but the more I learned the more I wanted of it. Secretly I had been bisexual and interested in women for some time, and finally I met a guy that wasn’t just interested in having a threesome, not jealous of my relationships with my girl friends, but promoted it. I was in awe. Now suddenly something has changed. Since finding this love inside of me, I have felt insanely happy, giving, loving, and learning more about plolyamory and yoga each day. We run a yoga center with two of my old roommates (how i met him), doing massage, etc.
The thing is this, we have had some good times with girls we’ve met, and some good times with friends of mine, and it all goes cool. About 2 weeks before he met me he was seeing another girl, and then me and we are on a much deeper level with one another, and see eye to eye on many things. Not that it really matters, this guy loves everyone and I know thats the way it should be. The thing is, this girl wants nothing to do with me. She isn’t interested in group sex and it really makes me feel left out and alone when she is around. He has agreed to not be with her alone, but this girl won’t even hug me for a picture. What to do? When she’s around he completely drops me, doesn’t even pay attention to me at all, rarely talks to me. It’s like I’m put on the back burner. When I ask why I’m being treated as if I don’t exist, or I’m just the back up babe, he tells me it’s my fault for not involving myself, but I try…I just know this girl doesn’t want anything. He has told me int he past that she says, lets get alone and we’ll do anything you want together. I mean, what the hell!! I live with him, can she not respect that and try to include me? This morning we were all in bed together and he asked how we both slept, we both said fine. Then they started talking to eachother in spanish, I’m in Panama if I didn’t mention that and am still trying to learn spanish. They continued for a very long time and the next thing I knew, I realized no one was talking to me at all. Instead of trying to butt in their conversation and be rude, I just got up and left. I find myself crying and unhappy and I just feel like I want out. I don’t know how to handle myself,but how can this be? I believe all that he has taught me, yet he seems to act like a different person when she is around. He says she needs more attention than me because I’m stronger, yet I am the one here crying. Please help Goddess of Java, give me some helpful advice.
Okay, first of all, just because you’re poly doesn’t necessarily mean that all loves will sleep with all other loves. The woman you’re discussing doesn’t owe you physical contact just because she’s sleeping with your boyfriend. If the girl isn’t into group sex, she isn’t. Not every polyamorous person is, I assure you. I wouldn’t be very pleased with anyone who felt I owed them hugs and would be pretty unlikely to have much incentive to cultivate their acquaintance, much less a friendship.
Since you’re trying to learn the language, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to ask for the occasional translation when you don’t understand it when they’re speaking Spanish. Since you live in a Spanish-speaking country, I can’t imagine they’d be foolish enough to think they were speaking in a private code in front of you (which would be pretty rude). Learning a language is pretty intense, but if they’re bilingual, they know that. It might be that they think they’re including you and don’t realize how much you’re feeling confused and left out.
I do sometimes discuss letters with partners, and mentioned this one to The Prince. He frowned and said that the idea that your boyfriend has tried to turn this around and put it all on you doesn’t have him feeling very confident about how well the two of you are communicating.
He’s right, as it happens. Relationship problems just aren’t on one person, any more than wonderful relationship interactions are. While it’s certainly possible you’re holding yourself aloof (and God knows that North Americans can seem damn emotionally reserved in the face of some Latin American cultures), it is also possible there’s an expectation that you should be “convenient”.
I suspect that there’s some cross-purposes are going on here, and something that might help is to think clearly about what it is that you want. I don’t mean the band-aids that you think will make you feel better (i.e. your boyfriend never being alone with another woman), but what it is you really want. Maybe it’s more focus when you’re together. Maybe it’s clearer communication. Maybe it’s a backrub. (Hey, wants aren’t always complex!) But do think hard. Because in good relationships, you’re totally responsible for figuring out what it is what you want, and then communicating that.
Here’s the scary part. Sometimes, when you ask, you don’t get a “yes”. Getting a no sucks. The thing is, sometimes it’s something you can suck up, and sometimes it’s something you can’t.
Sane polyamory is damned near impossible without a certain degree of not only self-knowledge, but a deep understanding of what’s acceptable to you and what is not.
Probably the best thing for you at this point is to find a way to think uninterrupted about what it is you really want out of life and a relationship so that you can ask for that. What are your dreams? Your goals? Things you love to have happen? What are your dealbreakers? When you know all of that, you’ll be in a better position to know where you want to go with this.