The wife and i agreed to try an open relationship. We agreed on the rules of engagement: use a condom, be discreet, and don’t put one above the other. But when I set plans to go out with the my secondary she gets angry and tells me she wants to go there too, ie drive in or dinner theater, or whatever i pick and then sets other plans so that i cannot go. Then when she is invited to the local gay bar to go dancing or watch the shows, she is dressed and out the door. If i say I’m gonna go out with a gay friend of mine and it might get randy, she is all for it but if i want to go out with my secondary she acts weird.
You know, I rag so hard on the One-Penis Policy that it’s actually a delight to be able to have the opportunity to rag on its evil twin, the One Vagina Policy. In both cases, what’s going on emotionally is that one feels threatened by partners of the opposite sex, but partners of the same sex somehow don’t count and aren’t as real. I suppose it’s no real wonder that there are lots of people in the gay community who eyeroll bisexuality in the face of that. How could you not?
The problem in your case, like so many times with the OPP or the OVP, the explicitly-negotiated rules and what actually happen are at serious odds. I have some general recommendations, and I hope they’re useful.
Communicate what you’re thinking and feeling
You have to be specific. Generalizations won’t work here.
- Identify the behavior
For instance, you could say, “Honey, in the last three times I went on a date with another partner of the opposite sex, two of those you were very insistent that you wanted to come along. The third time, there were in a bad emotional state and asked not to be left alone, so I cancelled my plans. When I go out with partners of the same sex, the last three times there have not been any changes in plans or requests to come along.”
I cannot re-iterate strongly enough the importance of being specific. This is not going to work unless you’ve got concrete instance to which you wish to refer.
- Say how you feel about the behavior
Notice, there was no blaming going on. There were no accusations, no name-calling, no accusations of thwarting. You stated what actually happened and then said how you felt when it did.
- Ask if your partner has any reasons for the behavior that s/he’d like to share.
It’s entirely possible your partner doesn’t feel like she gets enough alone time with you and it’s brought most sharply to mind when you’re going out with a partner of the opposite sex. That’s doesn’t excuse passive aggressiveness, mind you, but if you open the lines of communication, you might encourage her to communicate directly. That’d definitely be a win-win.
It’s also possible she just doesn’t want you to date women. If that’s so, she needs to ask for that directly. You’re under no obligation to agree, but being truthful about wants is really important in a good relationship, even if the answer is no.
Act on your partner’s words
One good way to cure passive aggressiveness is to act on your partner’s actual words. If she directly states that she’s all good with you going out with someone, make the dates and remind her that’s what she said. Keep in mind that people are allowed to change their minds, but if after reflection people do, then they are also responsible for communicating that and re-negotiating their wants – always keeping in mind there is a risk of being told no. True for any negotiation, of course.
I hope this has been helpful and that you can work things out for a happy poly experience.