Can I trust my intuition when my inexperience is creating a cloud of fear?

Peachperfect89

New member
A little bit cliche, but I'm new to poly and feeling a bit confused 😅

I have recently begun a relationship with a guy online, approximately 4 months ago. Initially the connection was more of an offer to talk about poly things as I began my journey - but it has led to something more. He has lived a polyamorous life for years and from the outside seemed to be doing so rather successfully. I was eager to get insight from those more experienced.

I wasnt looking for a relationship; didnt feel ready and definitely didn't feel ready to enter the poly world. I'm still very much figuring myself out. I had only had casual affairs since the end of my 8 year monogamous marriage.
He pursued me though and I recognised our connection pretty quickly.

Some details about the relationship structure - its a (sort of) long distance relationship where this guy works away for 2 weeks and is home for 1 week. He lives about 90 minutes from my city but does fly in and out from my city to get to site. He then obviously drives home.
Now, he has a primary live-in partner and they have rules. She has veto power, contact with me is to stop when he's in her presence (so the entire time he's home), physical contact between us can only happen upon her say so (which she has refused to give yet so we haven't actually met in person), we aren't allowed to interact on social media (as this is rubbing her face in it).

Birthdays, special occasions and holidays are off the table. He pushed me to be open about our relationship with my family and friends as well as any people I see romantically, but people in his life aren't aware of me.

He says to stop trying to make us fit a box or put a label on things - be open to a bespoke situation that fits us, that can become organically exactly what we need it to be rather than try to make it fit an idea. He says alot of of my uncomfortableness is the fact I'm not used to long distance or a poly situation.
I think that is partly true but not completely. It feels like "letting it grow organically" is really "letting it grow within the box that fits his and his primary's comfort rules".

I have no desire to tell anybody what they're doing isn't the right way. But I need to pursue my own needs right?
I feel like I want to be able to be apart of my partners life, share moments, have a say in our time together and decisions, have them be there when I need them. I want my metamour to respect me and see value in my presence and relationship with their partner, even if they don't personally value a connection with me.

How do I clarify what's something I actually need and what's just confusion over unfamiliar and uncomfortable new concepts?
How do I advocate for myself as a secondary when I'm constantly told how much I'm valued but that what I'm feeling is just due to inexperience and fear?

Im confused, lonely, doubting my intuition and feeling like a drama queen who is hurting someone I care about every time I express unhappiness 😢
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Just because someone has been "doing" poly for a while doesn't mean that he's been doing it *well*. Quite frankly the rules those two have set up are pretty much untenable unless you *want* a relationship that only exists in stolen moments and is pretty much indistinguishable, on a practical if not ethical level, from an affair. The number of double standards here is truly staggering! and on top of that, what he's telling you about "you only feel this way because of inexperience" is... incorrect at best, but frankly feels like he's purposefully gaslighting you to string you along in a relationship that isn't actually right for you, but suits his needs.

This "bespoke situation" fits him and doesn't. fit. you.
 

breathemusic

Active member
Ew. Veto, she gets to say EVERY time you can see each other in person? You have to be out to your people but you're a secret to his? I don't do double standards. drop this nightmare, as that's exactly what it is. This dude is trying to tell you that just because he's been doing it longer, that what he expects of you is ok and normal. It clearly doesn't work for you, which is reasonable because all of their rules are total bullshit. Don't just walk away, run away.
 

Evie

Mod
Run.
Far and fast. This is a minefield and there will be an explosion unless you get out now.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
This sounds terrible. You deserve better. Run away.
 

fuchka

Member
Your intuition is serving you well here. You're doing well to recognise that what may be meeting his (and his primary's) needs is not meeting your needs.

I agree with "run away"; this person doesn't seem capable of negotiating agreements in good faith with you.

You may be "new" to poly but you understand the basics pretty well! Chalk this up to experience. You'll now know some red flags for any future poly relating you get into.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Peachperfect89,

I think your intuition is spot on, all the rules this guy's live-in partner has established (and he supports them) make *my* Spidey-sense tingle. I agree with the others. Run away! Run away!

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
... I want to be able to be apart of my partners life, share moments, have a say in our time together and decisions, have them be there when I need them. I want my metamour to respect me and see value in my presence and relationship with their partner, even if they don't personally value a connection with me.

How do I advocate for myself as a secondary when I'm constantly told how much I'm valued but that what I'm feeling is just due to inexperience and fear?
You know waaaaaaay more about polyamory than these people do. Start with what you know, what feels right, solid and true for you. What you've written here is what you want if you're going to explore poly. Stick with what you know to be true about what you want. Knowing what you want and standing by what you want is the key in poly relationships and in monogamous relationships. Any time you find yourself having to convince someone (or someone is trying to convince you) of a basic relationship value, you're very likely in the wrong relationship.

My experience as the GF of a married poly man is that every situation can be great or horrendous depending on the people involved. The "secondary" label is really just an excuse for people to be abusive or fall into victim thinking. There is no such thing as a "secondary" person because every person is valuable and whole and important, whether that person is a wife or a GF. Falling into less-than thinking isn't reserved for poly roles, BTW. "Just a stay at home mom," "king of the castle," - phrases like these lend false importance or diminishment to the humans who adopt them. Being the GF of a married poly man (or a partnered poly man) can be crippling or it can be glorious - everything depends on how true you are to yourself. If a situation feels heavenly, it is. If a situation feels icky, it is. Never, ever, ever, ever let anyone diminish the importance of your gut fear. It's valuable inner guidance - at very least, screaming at you to slow down and zoom out to get a broader picture. At very least, fear tells you that what's happening is too, too much. No matter what is going on here, respect your fear. You may not have enough information to act on it right now, but you will only benefit by respecting its message to slow down.
 
Last edited:

Peachperfect89

New member
You know waaaaaaay more about polyamory than these people do. Start with what you know, what feels right, solid and true for you. What you've written here is what you want if you're going to explore poly. Stick with what you know to be true about what you want. Knowing what you want and standing by what you want is the key in poly relationships and in monogamous relationships. Any time you find yourself having to convince someone (or someone is trying to convince you) of a basic relationship value, you're very likely in the wrong relationship.

My experience as the GF of a married poly man is that every situation can be great or horrendous depending on the people involved. The "secondary" label is really just an excuse for people to be abusive or fall into victim thinking. There is no such thing as a "secondary" person because every person is valuable and whole and important, whether that person is a wife or a GF. Falling into less-than thinking isn't reserved for poly roles, BTW. "Just a stay at home mom," "king of the castle," - phrases like these lend false importance or diminishment to the humans who adopt them. Being the GF of a married poly man (or a partnered poly man) can be crippling or it can be glorious - everything depends on how true you are to yourself. If a situation feels heavenly, it is. If a situation feels icky, it is. Never, ever, ever, ever let anyone diminish the importance of your gut fear. It's valuable inner guidance - at very least, screaming at you to slow down and zoom out to get a broader picture. At very least, fear tells you that what's happening is too, too much. No matter what is going on here, respect your fear. You may not have enough information to act on it right now, but you will only benefit by respecting its message to slow down.
Thank you FallenAngelina, this made me tear up a bit 🥲

I honestly feel so silly for allowing myself to be in this situation, but I feel even sillier that I'm still struggling to admit he's doing anything wrong. I'm even more embarrassed that I chose so poorly. Whilst I've always struggled with emotional connection, I have never struggled to find a date; have plenty of people seeing me casually atm who would like to progress to something more serious, but I refuse because of whatever relationship hang-ups I haven't dealt with. Despite all of that here I am falling for an online ghost that clearly has no ability to fulfill my needs and fighting the urge to defend his behaviour despite the red flags being so obvious🤦‍♀️

If I honestly evaluate myself here, I think after a lot of what I have been through (childhood/adult trauma, failed marriage) I didn't value myself, and so accepting the mindset I was fed of a "secondary" who is less than is where I felt comfortable and maybe what I felt I deserved. That is clearly something that doesn't truly sit right with me though and something I will make sure I work on.

I am also very much taking on board your message to slow down. I have to remember that there is no "end goal" I'm trying to quickly reach here - my end goal is a life of experience, growth and love (whatever form that takes).

Every day I learn a bit more and slowing down will allow me look around and reset, make my choices and embark again as the new person I wake up as every day. I don't know if that makes sense haha. Basically who I am and what I know in relation to this situation is different to who I was at the start and I'm allowed to make new decisions based off new understandings. Sometimes I forget that.

Thank you very much everyone for giving my intuition the validity she deserved here - as I had lost the confidence to do so and had allowed others to squash her. I look forward to scouring more of these threads and building her muscles even more 🥰
 

Peachperfect89

New member
Just because someone has been "doing" poly for a while doesn't mean that he's been doing it *well*. Quite frankly the rules those two have set up are pretty much untenable unless you *want* a relationship that only exists in stolen moments and is pretty much indistinguishable, on a practical if not ethical level, from an affair. The number of double standards here is truly staggering! and on top of that, what he's telling you about "you only feel this way because of inexperience" is... incorrect at best, but frankly feels like he's purposefully gaslighting you to string you along in a relationship that isn't actually right for you, but suits his needs.

This "bespoke situation" fits him and doesn't. fit. you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. This all hit me pretty hard.

I do feel like I'm existing on a diet of inconsistent "stolen moments" as you put it and that just puts me on an emotional rollercoaster everyday; leaving me questioning my own stability and sanity rather than the situation. I feel embarrassed for feeling so needy, yet he's kind of set it up so that outcome was pretty much guaranteed.

When you likened it to an affair I realised you were right! That is exactly how I feel; like I have to be quiet, not make a scene; not explode anybody else's existence with my presence or my needs because I am already being allowed to have something I'm not meant to be having anyway. Something that doesn't belong to me and I have no right too.

I know in my gut this isn't the type of relationship that I want or that will be good for me.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
I honestly feel so silly for allowing myself to be in this situation, but I feel even sillier that I'm still struggling to admit he's doing anything wrong. I'm even more embarrassed that I chose so poorly. Whilst I've always struggled with emotional connection, I have never struggled to find a date; have plenty of people seeing me casually atm who would like to progress to something more serious, but I refuse because of whatever relationship hang-ups I haven't dealt with. Despite all of that here I am falling for an online ghost that clearly has no ability to fulfill my needs and fighting the urge to defend his behaviour despite the red flags being so obvious🤦‍♀️
I do feel like I'm existing on a diet of inconsistent "stolen moments" as you put it and that just puts me on an emotional rollercoaster everyday; leaving me questioning my own stability and sanity rather than the situation. I feel embarrassed for feeling so needy, yet he's kind of set it up so that outcome was pretty much guaranteed.

These two things actually go together in a LOT of cases. Psychologically, a "reward" that's inconsistent is FAR more addicting than a reward that you get every time you do something. All those people who are seeing you casually are less interesting *because* you see them as a sure thing; ghost boy (yeah, he's probably too old to be called a boy but the immaturity makes it seem appropriate) might give you attention and might not on any given day so you end up hooked on it.

Plus, his very inaccessibility was on some subconscious level possibly something that felt "safe" - you *know* you can't get into a deeper relationship with this person, because of his current relationship, so he makes a good... placeholder? while you work out stuff from your previous marriage. Not a *bad* thing in all cases (I've done it and it worked out fine for a while), but in this case hurting you more than it's helping.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
You may be new to poly, but you are the expert on YOU.

I wasnt looking for a relationship; didnt feel ready and definitely didn't feel ready to enter the poly world.
....

He pursued me though and I recognised our connection pretty quickly.


So what is happening here? He knew you aren't looking but pressed anyway? Does not respect your limits? Well, that is rude, but he doesn't have to respect your boundaries.

Personal boundaries are for YOU to make for YOU to obey to help keep you safe. It's on you to enforce them.

So you could tell him no thanks.

Esp when...

  • LDR.
  • Wife has veto power
  • Birthdays, special occasions and holidays are off the table.
  • He wants you to be "out" but he's not "out" himself.
  • And he wants you "not to limit yourself" but here he is offering you a very limited kind of relationship.

Well, don't limit yourself! Date someone else better suited to you when YOU decided you are ready to poly date.

He says to stop trying to make us fit a box or put a label on things - be open to a bespoke situation that fits us, that can become organically exactly what we need it to be rather than try to make it fit an idea.

Funny how he's the one doing that. He wants you to fit into HIS idea of how it should be.

And what about LDR pen pals was not good enough a "bespoke" situation?

(Although maybe you have decided you don't even want that more. He sounds kinda pushy.)

He says alot of of my uncomfortableness is the fact I'm not used to long distance or a poly situation.

I'd be uncomfortable because he sounds pushy and wanting to be "the expert" and doesn't listen to basics.

I have no desire to tell anybody what they're doing isn't the right way. But I need to pursue my own needs right?

Of course. It's ok to take up the space you do in the world. You can pursue your own needs.

I want to be able to be apart of my partners life, share moments, have a say in our time together and decisions, have them be there when I need them. I want my metamour to respect me and see value in my presence and relationship with their partner, even if they don't personally value a connection with m

This is what you seek. Dude doesn't make the cut. Plain and simple.

That's what dating IS. Figuring out who is compatible and who is not. He's not a runner for a lot of reasons.

How do I clarify what's something I actually need and what's just confusion over unfamiliar and uncomfortable new concepts?

You just did above. There is nothing "special" about poly dating. You still do the same as any other dating. You decide what you want in a companion and what you don't want. What you can put up with and what you cannot.

How do I advocate for myself as a secondary when I'm constantly told how much I'm valued but that what I'm feeling is just due to inexperience and fear

You could have said at the beginning -- "Dude, I'm not into you like that and your poly situation is not what I'm looking for. Respect my limit. I only want a pen pal, not more. "

Or at this point you say "I find this is not the situation for me. I'm bowing out. Thanks."

And you just cut off contact. Sometimes walking aways IS how you advocate for yourself. You don't have to JADE. If people say one thing (they value you) and do another (the minimize your feelings and pooh-pooh them away) that's mixed messages. You don't have to like that. You don't have to (J)ustify, (A)rgue, (D)efend or (E)xplain why you don't want to deal in that and why you walk away if you don't want to.

You could just walk away to make things better for YOU.

Im confused, lonely, doubting my intuition and feeling like a drama queen who is hurting someone I care about every time I express unhappiness 😢

Sounds like head games to me.

If they claim to be hurting all the time because you call them into account for poor behavior, you express your natural needs, or express your own feelings?

Take the out. Could say "You are right. I hurt you too much. We are better off not together. I'm bowing out. Then you don't have to hurt any more."

Don't bother to argue "the truth" or who "is actually in the wrong" because that just keeps you there longer. Get out.

And resist any attempts to suck you back in.

I know in my gut this isn't the type of relationship that I want or that will be good for me.


I am glad you see that. Could listen to your own self. Trust your gut. Trust YOU are the expert on YOU. You get to decide what you will and will not put up with. And it's sounds like you don't want to be putting up with this.

Could chalk it up as a learning experience and walk away. It's ok to be new. Next time you will call shenanigans faster and get out faster. This time? It was prob good that you though to listen to your gut and check in somewhere with other people.

I hope you feel reassured you were not off because several others outside the situation say something smells hinky here.

Galagirl
 
Last edited:

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
... he makes a good... placeholder? while you work out stuff from your previous marriage.
I've been here, too. I tried out quite a few people and configurations in the wake of my divorce. So, PeachPerfect, you are in good company. Every one of us learns the hard way - there really is no other way to learn. You have done nothing wrong in falling for this man, you're only clarifying what you want and what you value. His presence spotlights what is important for you. There is no such thing as a failed relationship or wasted time. Every relationship serves to propel us forward to a better place when we embrace what the experience has to offer. :)
 

MeeraReed

Active member
He is not in a "successful" poly relationship at all if his wife has such veto power, won't let him meet even meet you, and you aren't allowed to be in contact with him when he's home. This is not how happy poly relationships work. I am perfectly fine declaring that he's doing it wrong!

If the wife thinks mentioning you on social media is "rubbing her face in it," then she's not actually on board with being in a poly marriage. It sounds like she's miserable and has no wish to be poly. Your relationship with her husband will NOT go well.

Run away!

It's only been 4 months. You haven't even met in person. It's perfectly fine to decide at this stage that this will not work for you.

Actually I don't like the sound of this dude at all. He's trying to push you to be fine with this with a lot of trendy language--"letting the relationship grow organically," etc. "Bespoke relationship," ugh. I identify with relationship anarchy and I like the idea of design-it-yourself relationships, but there's something unpleasant about calling a relationship controlled entirely by his & his wife's whims "bespoke."

If you're interested in poly or ethical non-monogamy in general, I bet you can find better candidates than this mess of a married man!
 
Top