Advice Appreciated: Staying “Patient?” for Equal Partnership?

PizzaHut79

New member
Hi there!
New to the forum and hoping for a space to share some thoughts and questions about my polyamorous partnership, if that’s okay.

Have been intimate and sexual with my polyamorous partner (Tiffany, hinge) for about 16 months. She is married to her partner of 10 years (Paul). She and Paul have a two-year old child together, to whom I have become a de facto third guardian of sorts. The three of us all get along well and enjoy our company, but Brian and I do not engage in affection or romance. We do all engage in sex together; but Tiffany is the attention of both Paul and I. Tiffany and Paul sometimes have sex with just the two of them, but Tiffany and I cannot.

Within the past month we have begun to tell our family and friends about our polyamorous partnership (we were open with our affection in a few, but not many spaces the first 14 months). Tiffany and I have felt seen and validated in this, but Brian has felt unsure and a bit forced by Tiffany to take this step.

I (non-binary, demisexual) have openly hoped to become a third equal partner to Tiffany (pansexual) and Brian (straight man), living in the same home and waking up in the same bed next to Tiffany (with whom I am intimate and sexual with). While Tiffany has been open to that, this week Paul has shared with me that he is not wanting that forever-ness and has felt that is life has become a bit of a runaway train where he is just has to do what Tiffany wants. He shared that he enjoys my friendship a lot, but does not foresee me ever being an equal partner.
Being great friends with Paul I respect and understand that, but my feelings are hurt and I am worried about the misalignment between what we both are wanting long term. I have spent the past 16 months nearly every day with Tiffany, Paul and their child, but not being able to share the same home, bed, nor being able to be seen as “equal” is hard for me to imagine, and thus I have been really emotionally hurt. It feels that Paul may be fine with things staying the way they are to appease Tiffany, and Tiffany is hopeful we can make it work somehow, but I am feeling hesitant and scared to keep hoping for something that Paul does not ever imagine wanting.

I want to stay in both of their lives, especially since I have become so close to them, Tiffany’s family and their child, but it’s also painful to imagine a non-affectionate, non-sexual relationship with Tiffany after how deeply we have fallen in-love.

Tiffany is hoping I can stay patient and wait for things to find a happy three-way solution, but I’ve learned over the past 16 months I want to share a home and bed with my partner or partners, and perhaps now have ambition to have a biological child of my own someday (marriage is still not something I want).

All of this to say, I’m wondering if it makes sense to stay patient and be willing to be hurt about not being “equal” while we navigate what the three of us could look like since I love Tiffany and enjoy Paul platonically, or if it sounds like we all are wanting different things and if I should, out of respect for Paul and maybe myself, engage in a conversation with them about if I can’t imagine a future being an equal partner how we can be best friends, but not being intimate. The latter hurts my heart and makes me so sad - Tiffany is my first love, kiss and sexual partner and I can’t imagine losing those things. I morally won’t ask or hope for Tiffany to choose marriage to Paul or a polyamorous lifestyle with me, but I also am feeling a bit taken advantage of being asked to wait for Paul to change his mind or give-in to what Tiffany wants.

Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated. Even just having this space to share has helped me feel a bit more at ease. Thanks ❤️
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
All of this to say, I’m wondering if it makes sense to stay patient and be willing to be hurt about not being “equal” while we navigate what the three of us could look like since I love Tiffany and enjoy Paul platonically, or if it sounds like we all are wanting different things and if I should, out of respect for Paul and maybe myself, engage in a conversation with them about if I can’t imagine a future being an equal partner how we can be best friends, but not being intimate.

It might be to your benefit to lay cards on the table plain sooner rather than later. End it, because you all want different things and you don't want to drag out a break up or cause people more pain than necessary.

Talk it out. If it's better for you to change to exes and friends and go seek other poly partners who might be more compatible for the things you want in life?

End it with Tiffany and Paul. And seek more compatible people.
I also am feeling a bit taken advantage of being asked to wait for Paul to change his mind or give-in to what Tiffany wants.

People are not mind readers. They have to ask you things to find out where your willingness to do stuff or not lies. You could be up front and say

"No, thanks. I don't want to just wait around until Paul changes his mind. I prefer to talk it out now, assess likelihood, and just part ways peacefully if the odds don't look great rather than hang around waiting and hoping indefinitely."

Or "No, thanks. I see you want me to do X, Tiffany. But I'm not up for that."

I get you might be experiencing anticipatory grief that this might not pan out long term and are thinking about letting go. And since NRE lasts 6 - 24 mos and then reality hits? Well... maybe some reality is hitting here. You seem to be realistic about it and wanting to deal with it up front and honest.

Well...

Paul's been kinda floating along into this just to please Tiffany and it's starting to pinch for him. So it's in his best interest to say "I can do AB. Don't ask me for more. I can't keep floating along."

And it is starting to pinch for you too. "I don't mind starting with AB, but I need to know we are working towards ABCD to be fully happy participating in a romance here. If it's just AB, tell me now."

And Tiffany's kinda floating along on hope and/or avoiding hard conversation. Like hoping Paul will become more willing to do more than AB or you will become willing to wait or accept less than ABCD so it can all work out for her keeping both partners around.

But just hoping while being like ostrich with head in sand? And not talking about it doesn't make a thing so. Wishful thinking doesn't make things happen.

I'd encourage talking this out with both of them. If it turns out it was initially compatible but not deeply compatible? As painful as it is to realize this is as far as it can go? And that this is not what you want long term? Better to part ways at 16 mos and you move on to the healing place. Than to float along with vague pinching/hurt for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, right? Just dragging on and on. Where's the good in you doing that?

Tiffany is my first love, kiss and sexual partner and I can’t imagine losing those things.

She will always be your first love, kiss, sexual partner. Even if you end up breaking up? You aren't losing those things.

And yes. If she's been your first lover, it's hard to imagine breaking up, healing, and finding new lovers if you never did that before. Where if you had those experiences in the past, perhaps letting go might be easier because you know you did it before and can do it again. It can be hard when it's the first time around because it's not just the (breaking up with this person) but (breaking up with this person) AND (first time breaking up EVER). Like double load.

I tell my kids that SOMEONE has to be the first. First kiss, first lover, first whatever. Movies and books make a big deal about those. And yes. There's a charm to those first experiences. But perhaps rather than trying to hang on too tight to the first JUST because they were the first... they could think about deep compatibility and find the one(s) that are going to LAST.

Galagirl
 
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Inaniel

Well-known member
I morally won’t ask or hope for Tiffany to choose marriage to Paul or a polyamorous lifestyle with me, but I also am feeling a bit taken advantage of being asked to wait for Paul to change his mind or give-in to what Tiffany wants.

I think you are already living a polyamorous lifestyle with Tiffany. Maybe I am splitting hairs... The way I interpret your situation is that you desire a relationship configuration that you aren't getting... You aren't working with any promises of ever attaining the relationship structure you desire. You can hope for change, but ultimately you don't know if you are moving in a direction of personal fulfillment and happiness.. You are at a crossroads. Do you keep going the same direction, hoping and praying that someone will change their mind? Or do you take the new path, and determine your own future for yourself?

Where do the feelings of being taken advantage come from? Is it because the couple invites you over, and you care for the kid, play family time, only to be sent home to an empty house at bedtime?
 

PizzaHut79

New member
I think you are already living a polyamorous lifestyle with Tiffany. Maybe I am splitting hairs... The way I interpret your situation is that you desire a relationship configuration that you aren't getting... You aren't working with any promises of ever attaining the relationship structure you desire. You can hope for change, but ultimately you don't know if you are moving in a direction of personal fulfillment and happiness.. You are at a crossroads. Do you keep going the same direction, hoping and praying that someone will change their mind? Or do you take the new path, and determine your own future for yourself?

Where do the feelings of being taken advantage come from? Is it because the couple invites you over, and you care for the kid, play family time, only to be sent home to an empty house at bedtime?
Thanks for the reply!

I definitely am living a polyamorous lifestyle with Tiffany, and there are a lot of great things about it. I think the questions you offer are ones that I definitely am wrestling with now. Which path to take is the ultimate question. ❤️

I almost didn’t use that phrase “taken advantage of,” because it has a much more negative connotation than what I feel. I think, yes, we spend 98% of our time daily at their place, which is 20-25 minutes of car time for me daily. It definitely is hard to drive home at 11pm some nights to an empty place.

I think I mostly was using that phrase because I feel I am being asked to hold out hope for the structure I dream of, by Tiffany, when I feel that Paul has told me pretty explicitly he does not see that ever happening. Tiffany has expressed that she does not want our love to feel dependent upon Paul, which is definitely not how I feel. And my love for Tiffany does not feel like something that will ever wane. But, if this type of structure is not what I feel like will make me most happy, I don’t want to be tethered to it forever, I don’t think? Or maybe that’s my question to answer. I don’t know.
 

PizzaHut79

New member
It might be to your benefit to lay cards on the table plain sooner rather than later.

Talk it out. What does each one want? What lines up across all three? Is that enough for each to continue investing here? Or maybe not?

If it's better to change to exes and friends and seek other poly partners who might be more compatible for the things you want in life? Back off and seek more compatible people.




People are not mind readers. They have to ask you things to find out where your willingness to do stuff or not lies.

You could say

"No, thanks. I don't want to just wait til Paul changes his mind. I prefer to talk it out now, assess likelihood, and just cut my losses if the odds don't look great rather than hang around waiting and hoping indefinitely."

Or "No, thanks. I see you want me to do X, Tiffany. But I'm not up for that."

I get you might be experiencing anticipatory grief that this might not pan out long term. And since NRE lasts 6 - 24 mos and then reality hits? Well... maybe some reality is hitting here. You seem to be realistic about it and wanting to deal with it up front and honest.

Well...

Paul's been kinda floating along into this just to please Tiffany and it's starting to pinch for him. So it's in his best interest to say "I can do AB. Don't ask me for more. I can't keep floating along."

And it is starting to pinch for you too. "I don't mind starting with AB, but I need to know we are working towards ABCD to be fully happy participating in a romance here. If it's just AB, tell me now."

And Tiffany's kinda floating along on hope. Like hoping Paul will become more willing to do more than AB or you will become willing to wait or accept less than ABCD so it can all work out for her keeping both partners around.

But just hoping while being like ostrich with head in sand? And not talking about it doesn't make a thing so. Wishful thinking doesn't make things happen.

I'd encourage talking this out with both of them. If it turns out it was initially compatible but not deeply compatible? As painful as it is to realize this is as far as it can go? And that this is not what you want long term? Better to find that out earlier and maybe part ways at 16 mos and move on to the healing place. Than to float along with vague pinching/hurt for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, right? Just dragging on and on. Where's the good in doing that?



She will always be your first love, kiss, sexual partner. Even if you end up breaking up? You aren't losing those things.

And yes. If she's been your first lover, it's hard to imagine breaking up, healing, and finding new lovers if you never did that before. Where if you had those experiences in the past, perhaps letting go might be easier because you know you did it before and can do it again. It can be hard when it's the first time around because it's not just the (breaking up with this person) but (first time breaking up EVER) AND (breaking up with this person.) Like double load.

I tell my kids that SOMEONE has to be the first. First kiss, first lover, first whatever. Movies and books make a big deal about those. And yes. There's a charm to those first experiences. But perhaps rather than trying to hang on too tight to the first JUST because they were the first... they could think about deep compatibility and find the one(s) that are going to LAST.

Galagirl
Thanks so much for such a thoughtful response. And I really appreciate the perspective that Tiffany will always be my first love, kiss, partner no matter where the rest of our lives go ❤️

I agree that it’s a conversation that the 3 of us need to have. I think it’s not happened yet because I am afraid of it sounding like a “break up” conversation to Tiffany, Paul is worried about hurting Tiffany’s feelings and/or mine, and…I’m not quite as sure about Tiffany.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think I mostly was using that phrase because I feel I am being asked to hold out hope for the structure I dream of, by Tiffany, when I feel that Paul has told me pretty explicitly he does not see that ever happening.

Do these people actually talk to each other?

It's ok for you to say to Tiffany something like...

"Tiffany, Paul told me directly that he doesn't ever see a co-primary thing ever happening. He's going along with stuff he really does not want just to please you. He's also upset he got "outted" as poly when we came out because he doesn't want to be out as poly. Now that I know he feels like that? I can't continue to be a part of this in good conscience. It is not kind. I'm bowing out for my own well being. We can be exes and friends if all three want that, but I'm not going to be in a wonky polyship. If things change for you in future, look me up."

Blue part optional. If you just want to be done, don't include it.

But, if this type of structure is not what I feel like will make me most happy, I don’t want to be tethered to it forever, I don’t think? Or maybe that’s my question to answer. I don’t know.

I think you ARE answering it. Working through it in your thoughts. Just maybe not at final acceptance.

You don't want this wonky structure because you ultimately want something like a co-primary model that could include having kids. And this isn't it. Not at this time, and uncertain to become so in future.

So if you don't want to put your eggs in this basket? You don't have to.

I think it’s not happened yet because I am afraid of it sounding like a “break up” conversation to Tiffany, Paul is worried about hurting Tiffany’s feelings and/or mine, and…I’m not quite as sure about Tiffany.

What's wrong with a break up conversation? It's a reasonable risk of dating. The only way to avoid it is not to date at all. And we can't all go around with a string of incompatible people trailing behind us because nobody wanted to speak up break up. Even a simple...

"This isn't working for me. I enjoyed getting to know you. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I wish you well in future." Shake hands. Done.

People who want to get back together after a break up? Do so. Some divorce and get remarried. Two of my friends are like that.

I could be wrong in my impression. To me it sounds like 2 conflict avoidant married people and then you. You sound like the most willing to deal with things up front. Could finish your thinking and then deal with it up front.

You aren't hurting people on PURPOSE if you say "This isn't working out for me. I just learned Paul's not actually ok with all of this, and this won't ever be the co-primary model I seek. So... I'm bowing out. If we can be exes and friends, I'd like that. But out of respect for Paul and for myself I can't participate in wonky poly that is hurting people."

You are being honest with them, and trying to be respectful.

Where if you now know all this stuff about Paul and turn a blind eye to his pain... is that doing behavior on purpose or not?

No break up is fun like "Yay! Let's have ice cream!" Not all things in life are the fun feeling things.

But honest, peaceful partings where possible can help people get past the break up grief. Because the thing lasts however long it did, and ended with some dignity and grace.

Sometimes the last loving act is to let go. I encourage you to do your soul searching and then have the needed conversations this group needs to have.

Galagirl
 
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PizzaHut79

New member
Do these people actually talk to each other?

It's ok for you to say to Tiffany something like...

"Tiffany, Paul told me directly that he doesn't ever see a co-primary thing ever happening. He's going along with stuff he really does not want just to please you. He's also upset he got "outted" as poly when we came out because he doesn't want to be out as poly. Now that I know he feels like that? I can't continue to be a part of this in good conscience. It is not kind. I'm bowing out for my own well being. We can be exes and friends if all three want that, but I'm not going to be in a wonky polyship. If things change for you in future, look me up."

Blue part optional. If you just want to be done, don't include it.



I think you ARE answering it. Working through it in your thoughts. Just maybe not at final acceptance.

You don't want this wonky structure because you ultimately want something like a co-primary model that could include having kids. And this isn't it. Not at this time, and uncertain to become so in future.

So if you don't want to put your eggs in this basket? You don't have to.



What's wrong with a break up conversation? It's a reasonable risk of dating. The only way to avoid it is not to date at all. And we can't all go around with a string of incompatible people trailing behind us because nobody wanted to speak up break up. Even a simple...

"This isn't working for me. I enjoyed getting to know you. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I wish you well in future." Shake hands. Done.

People who want to get back together after a break up? Do so. Some divorce and get remarried. Two of my friends are like that.

I could be wrong in my impression. To me it sounds like 2 conflict avoidant married people and then you. You sound like the most willing to deal with things up front. Could finish your thinking and then deal with it up front.

You aren't hurting people on PURPOSE if you say "This isn't working out for me. I just learned Paul's not actually ok with all of this, and this won't ever be the co-primary model I seek. So... I'm bowing out. If we can be exes and friends, I'd like that. But out of respect for Paul and for myself I can't participate in wonky poly that is hurting people."

You are being honest with them, and trying to be respectful.

Where if you now know all this stuff about Paul and turn a blind eye to his pain... is that doing behavior on purpose or not?

No break up is fun like "Yay! Let's have ice cream!" Not all things in life are the fun feeling things.

But honest, peaceful partings where possible can help people get past the break up grief. Because the thing lasts however long it did, and ended with some dignity and grace.

Sometimes the last loving act is to let go. I encourage you to do your soul searching and then have the needed conversations this group needs to have.

Galagirl

It's definitely my impression that they check-in with each other, but I think I am unsure if Paul has told Tiffany what he has told me. I’ve been a bit afraid to talk to Tiffany about some of those specifics, because I’m hesitant to tell Paul’s feelings to her in case he was telling me in confidence. And, I don’t know how much would be news to Tiffany. It’s definitely a disconnect for me how Tiffany describes Paul’s feelings and what he is telling me.

I definitely don’t want him to be hurting. My enjoyment and love for Tiffany makes it hard imagine to push back, and not sure if that’s what I want.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello PizzaHut79,

I guess the thing you need to do, is decide how long you are willing to (patiently) wait for things to improve with your status in this poly relationship. It troubles me that you and Tiffany are not allowed to be sexual with each other without Paul present, and I see that it troubles you that you can't share a home and bed with her (and Paul), it hurts you that you are a secondary partner in this relationship, it makes you feel like a second-class citizen.

So how long are you willing to wait for Paul to come around? a month? a year? five years? ten? fifty? and whatever timetable you are willing to commit to, what happens when the time runs out? If you just still keep on waiting, then really the timetable is longer than you originally said. Let's be honest here, are you you willing to wait for the rest of your life? Now is the time to say so.

What about the idea of breaking up with Tiffany, but continuing to be friends with both Tiffany and Paul? Is that something you could consider? Is it something you could stand to consider?

When Paul says, "You'll never be an equal partner," could you say, "Have you said that to Tiffany?" and, "Please say that to Tiffany."

You're in a tight spot.
Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I’ve been a bit afraid to talk to Tiffany about some of those specifics, because I’m hesitant to tell Paul’s feelings to her in case he was telling me in confidence.

I guess you could examine why you are afraid to talk to your partner. Is that a healthy thing in a relationship?

You could bow out of this structure with or without revealing what Paul said. Or ask Paul to talk to Tiffany first. And if he doesn't? Well, you gave him opportunity.

And then you just tell Tiffany you are bowing out because this is structure isn't looking likely to end up at co-primary structure. She wants you to hang around waiting on Paul. But you already know what Paul said. He doesn't want it. She doesn't know that, but you do.

So you could decide you don't want to wait because it's not likely to change.

GG
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
So imagine Paul has indeed told you this in confidence, I'd think he'd do that because he thinks you may feel in the same boat as him. It seems like both of you are racing along to keep up with Tiffany's desires while your needs are both dismissed as secondary.

It feels like he's saying to you that despite what Tiffany may be saying to you, he isn't going to change his mind on this, even if he eventually relents. I think he's giving you a warning that you're more likely to get the short straw here because objectively, she has more to lose from her marriage. You're already getting the raw deal.

It's a reminder that Tiffany looks after Number 1 and although he might be Number 2, he's not Number 1 either and more importantly, you're Number 4 (after the baby). So if you're hanging around thinking that it will all work itself out where you get what you need and he is still content with his marriage, it won't be like that. The only one who has Any chance of contentment is Tiffany.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Have been intimate and sexual with my polyamorous partner (Tiffany, hinge) for about 16 months. She is married to her partner of 10 years (Paul). She and Paul have a two-year old child together, to whom I have become a de facto third guardian of sorts. The three of us all get along well and enjoy our company, but Brian and I do not engage in affection or romance. We do all engage in sex together; but Tiffany is the attention of both Paul and I. Tiffany and Paul sometimes have sex with just the two of them, but Tiffany and I cannot.

Within the past month we have begun to tell our family and friends about our polyamorous partnership (we were open with our affection in a few, but not many spaces the first 14 months). Tiffany and I have felt seen and validated in this, but Brian has felt unsure and a bit forced by Tiffany to take this step.

I (non-binary, demisexual) have openly hoped to become a third equal partner to Tiffany (pansexual) and Brian (straight man), living in the same home and waking up in the same bed next to Tiffany (with whom I am intimate and sexual with). While Tiffany has been open to that, this week Paul has shared with me that he is not wanting that forever-ness and has felt that is life has become a bit of a runaway train where he is just has to do what Tiffany wants. He shared that he enjoys my friendship a lot, but does not foresee me ever being an equal partner.
Just a quick question Paul and Brian are the same person right ??
 
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