I don’t know if I’m not really poly or just got myself into a bad situation my first time out. I met a man who said he was poly, and I liked him. I thought about it really long and hard and decided that I would like to explore a relationship with him. He is married and told me that he only has one other partner at a time. His wife is not poly, I have met and socialized with her a few times. I have zero jealous feelings towards her, we aren’t close but we are cordial. I felt that my lack of jealousy for her was a sign of poly being the right road for me because I do have a problem with jealousy one on one.
So far, so good. You don’t have to be bestest buddies with partner’s partners, but cordial is good.
Then, six months into the relationship he started putting up ads for a third woman. He didn’t hide it from me, he just told me one evening after he had gone to lunch with one of them. I felt betrayed, horrified, furious and freaked out. He told me that he just needed to do it to feel good about himself and that I shouldn’t be worried. I’m ashamed to admit that I started looking for him on the site he uses and confronting him every time I saw the ad back up
He needed to pursue relationships to feel good about himself. Well, bless his heart. I’m curious, does he need to maintain his old ones to feel good about himself?
Then he found a woman at a bar whom he is sweet on and is spending his time with her. It’s absolutely killing me. I’m as jealous as I was as a serial monogamist, and it’s really bad, I can’t think of anything else. I go between wanting to cut him out of my life and begging for his attention many many times a day. I’m so confused.
Don’t snark monogamy. It works for some people. Even serial monogamy isn’t bad. It’s how you treat people in the face of it.
I don’t know if I had just somehow mentally connected his wife and him as one person and I was monogamous to THEM, even though there was no sex or romance between me and her, or if I’m just hurt that he changed the rules without giving me a chance to discuss or leave gracefully.
This is not a poly v. monogamous thing. I’ll get to that in a sec.
Prior to his finding the new woman I was not getting as much of his time as I was previously and I had told him and asked if we could see each other as much as we were before. I wasn’t getting the amount of attention that I need. Then I found out that was giving his time to this woman. I feel that I would even have been able to handle his NRE if I had been getting my previous level of attention. I do love him but I don’t know if I can handle losing “my” time to this third woman when I wasn’t getting enough as it was.
You don’t say what his answer was to what you asked for, I note.
So am I really just a monogamist person who somehow became attached to a couple, or did I just get myself into an unfortunate situation were my heart is slowly being broken? Or is there a way I can just get over this and save the relationship and deal with number 3? I’m I just wrong for taking this so badly?
It sounds to me like your expectations were set for something specific. Your partner commented that he only has on outside partner at a time. You entered the relationship with that expectation.
Now, it is looking like this isn’t the situation at all. I could scream about lying, but I’m not going to, here. Even though some of what you report gives me a bad taste in my mouth, that’s okay. We can still give him the benefit of the doubt, because what you really need to do isn’t materially changed by his intentions, anyway. Let’s say that he told you the truth as he knew it at that moment, but had a change of heart.
He still owed it to you to discuss that with you, and find out how you’d feel about it. No, not to get your permission, but to find out if you wanted to stay in a relationship where circumstances had changed from the original expectations.
You’re not wrong for feeling badly. You feel how you feel. It’s not this fellow’s responsibility to fix how you feel, of course. But you’re not wrong for feelings. You have no responsibility at all to suck it up and deal with a relationship you don’t like.
Your options are pretty simple. What you have stated is that you want X amount of time with a partner. You said you did that. Your partner owes you an honest yes or no on that one. If you get a yes, from what you’re saying here you’re golden.
If you get a no, you’re faced with more decisions. Is a certain amount of time together a condition of a relationship? For what it’s worth, I do expect a certain level of contact with partners. It’s dependent on the relationship, certainly. I have a partner that strongly prefers that we hang out an hour a day and go for a long walk together without distractions of household, electronics and what have you. I have another that likes for us to get together a weekend a month or so. These are things that work for us.
What you need to decide is what works for you with this person, and it’s sounding like you’re not getting enough time with him to make you happy. You mention that you feel that you’ve had the rules changed on you without a chance to discuss it or leave gracefully. I think you’ve put your finger on a significant point. However, you still have a choice whether or not this relationship is for you. If you decide it isn’t, there’s nothing stopping you from being graceful as a queen when you leave you know. He can’t take away your choice or personal agency.
4 thoughts on “Bait and Switch in Polyamory”
At the risk of being horribly tactless, it is entirely possible that the LW’s jealousy is well founded. There is a post somewhere on this website or one of the recommended ones making the point that a good way of dealing with jealousy is to ask exactly what fears lie behind the jealousy – what the worst case scenario is. Once you have that worst case scenario out in the open, you will (mostly) be able to see that it is absurd, at least on an intellectual level. However, the fears lying behind the jealousy might be entirely justified. (Sorry I can’t find the post in question).
Of course, this is just going out on a limb on insufficient evidence, but what if the LW is afraid that her partner’s initial statement was correct: he only ever has one partner other than his wife, and he has just found the next one? In order to feel good about himself, he needs a constant stream of new NRE from new women, in addition to the security provided by his wife?
What if he is, in other words, a Tarzan? http://theferrett.livejournal.com/997692.html
Of course, this is only a possibility, and I hope it isn’t the correct one. A better possibility would be that the LW and partner have problems with communication (and he has problems with prioritising), and they will be able to sort this out and all shall be well. Another, also preferable possibility would be that the time she needs from him is far more than the time he is willing to give, and they will be able to break up in an amicable, no-harm-no-foul manner.
Unpleasant though it is to contemplate, I do think the first possibility needs entertaining, if only to be thankfully dismissed. If he really is like that, then the sooner she leaves him, the better it will be for her.
Yes, the guy could BE an utterly selfish asshole. But materially, it doesn’t matter in how she handles the situation. You can do a no-harm-no-foul breakup with him no matter what.
I’ve gotta agree with you. Jealousy generally has a root cause, perhaps arbitrary and silly root, but still a cause. Once you figure out /why/ you are jealous, then you can decide if its a valid and likely response to the situation. I almost never get jealous, but I have once or twice. Usually the reason is a fear of them moving on and being “infatuated” with some one else before I’m over my own infatuation. Usually at this point I let the relationship slide the way its going to slide and top fretting about it. If they leave me, they leave me, if they come back then great!
@sehrrhes: LW? Letter writer? Lonely woman? Lively wombat?