I’d like to ask your advice – I am having some trouble getting over a break-up and wondering how to move forward.
Basically, I was seeing a guy for a few months. We had spoken the first time we saw each other about our other lovers, and I understood he had a Domme he saw regularly, and he knew I have a couple of lovers too.
Skip to months later, he came to my house and we had some kinky fun all night. The next morning, I wanted some regular, cuddly, vanilla sex, so I asked him (while we were both naked, aroused, in my bed) if he did too. At that point, he said “I want to, but my girlfriend says I can’t do that anymore with you.”
I immediately burst into tears and asked him to leave. We’ve since spoken about it several times, and he says he told me about the girlfriend the first time (I concede that I must have misunderstood when was talking about his Domme. But I was never aware that he had another partner who could set conditions on/ veto my relationship with him. I wouldn’t agree to that, and I still feel like he withheld information that was important to my ability to consent, in order to get kink play that he couldn’t get from his other girlfriend. He changed the conditions of his relationship with me without asking or checking in with me. We had previously had plenty of PIV sex.)
I don’t mean to make him into some sort of evil caricature: he says he is new to non-monogamy, and that he was simply unaware he should tell me that he had a new agreement with another partner (even though it affected me directly.) He had also told me he didn’t consider it a hierarchy, and felt both relationships were equally weighted. He is submissive sexually, and I think he finds it difficult to speak openly, especially when it may not be something the other person wants to hear. Also, I’ completely aware that the main reason I am hurting so much is my own insecurity. And that I should had asked more direct, probing questions about his other relationships.
The point is, I can’t stop crying about it (weeks later.) I feel like I’m an eternal ‘secondary’ partner, and I’ve had several experiences where a (hetero-) couple assume I’ll just take up any ‘left-over’ emotional space/ intimacy.
I thought I had made clear I wasn’t interested in being in such a hierarchy, but clearly I didn’t. I’d like to add something to me future negotiations that makes that abundantly clear. Non-monogamous people seem to follow the primary/secondary model in a pretty big majority- but I find it to be potentially hurtful, and at the least not what I am looking for right now. But is that reasonable? Do you have any advice for communicating that?
I’m sorry that you’re going through something so upsetting. Breakups suck, no matter how you slice it.
Thing is, you have a right to be treated better than this. You have a right to know agreements that anyone you’re involved with has up-front, including whether or not they have a veto agreement in place.
I’m not a fan of vetos. I don’t think they solve what they’re meant to solve, nor do I think they address the problems that they are, in theory, supposed to address.
As far as how to communicate it to a partner? You’re lucky. This one is really simple:
“Before we get involved, I want to know about agreements you have with your partner. These agreements include safer sex agreements, any activity restriction you have front-loaded and whether or not you have any veto agreements between each other. I do also want to front-load a hard line I have: I do not form sexual or romantic relationships with people who have veto agreements with their partners.”
This has a double benefit. Anyone you want to date will be totally happy to answer these questions and even be glad you brought it up. If they freak? They may not have communication skills that are refined enough to be a good relationship match for you.