Displaying gifts

Starburst

New member
My husband's girlfriend's love language is gift giving. She also loves to paint and craft things. With that said, he has a few different personalized gifts that he doesn't see as a problem displaying. He also has a ton of things from her, like shirts and stuffed animals. I struggle with seeing these gifts every day. I have started to feel like they are taking over all my safe places. I can't go anywhere without being reminded that he has another he loves as much as me. Is it common to feel this way? Is it common to have these types of things displayed around around a primary?

I know I am having a hard time just accepting how our relationship has changed, but feel this just makes it hard to heal. I attempted to talk about how I felt about it, but couldn't word it without sounding like a fight. Needless to say, it didn't go well. Has anyone else gone through this, or am I overthinking it all?
 
Hi Starburst,

That does seem a little excessive, for him to be displaying gifts from her all over the place. It is your home too, you should have some safe spaces where you don't have to be reminded of his other relationship. I can see how it would be hard to talk to him about that, I'm sorry this is happening.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 
That is difficult.

Does she spend time in your home?
Does she see nothing but pictures of you all over?
Does he have a space that’s his? Could you create one?

I would try to negotiate space in the house that’s common space, your space and his space. He can display what he wants in his space, you display what you want in yours and you negotiate common space.

Maybe common space has nothing personal in it. Maybe you equally have items/pics of you, him, his partners and yours. Maybe you limit to 2 each.

If she doesnt spend time in your home, maybe the limit of what’s out can be established. She wont know what’s out, what’s not. He can pick his favorites and have a shelf or area.

I have cards out in my room and pics of us together in there, but it’s my room and it’s limited. I’d have a big problem if my NP‘s girlfriend was a gift giver. I live minimally and HATE clutter, dust collectors, and the look of stuff and would go crazy if that stuff was filling up my home. IT‘S MY HOME! not hers. I would put it all in his room. We get permission to add anything to the living room and dining room (common area).

Is it common to feel this way?
Sure! I would not be okay with feeling like my home is starting to feel like theirs, even if she doesn’t live there. That’s what happens when her stuff is all over, gifts or not.

Is it common to have these type things displayed around a primary?
It’s your home. That being said, it’s his too, so the best thing is to find a compromise. He can’t have everything out, but you can’t limit him to nothing either. Some couples don’t display anything at all, but if he really wants to, then you’ll need to work that out.
 
Hi Starburst,

That does seem a little excessive, for him to be displaying gifts from her all over the place. It is your home too, you should have some safe spaces where you don't have to be reminded of his other relationship. I can see how it would be hard to talk to him about that, I'm sorry this is happening.

Regards,
Kevin T.
It’s in his office (we work in the same building across the hall), our living room, bedroom and bathroom.
 
That is difficult.

Does she spend time in your home?
Does she see nothing but pictures of you all over?
Does he have a space that’s his? Could you create one?

I would try to negotiate space in the house that’s common space, your space and his space. He can display what he wants in his space, you display what you want in yours and you negotiate common space.

Maybe common space has nothing personal in it. Maybe you equally have items/pics of you, him, his partners and yours. Maybe you limit to 2 each.

If she doesnt spend time in your home, maybe the limit of what’s out can be established. She wont know what’s out, what’s not. He can pick his favorites and have a shelf or area.

I have cards out in my room and pics of us together in there but it’s my room and it’s limited. I’d have a big problem if my NP‘s girlfriend was a gift giver. I live minimally and HATE clutter, dust collectors, and the look of stuff and would go crazy if that stuff was filling up my home. IT‘S MY HOME! not hers. I would put it all in his room. We get permission to add anything to the living room and dining room (common area).


Sure! I would not be okay with feeling like my home is starting to feel like theirs, even if she doesn’t live there. That’s what happens when her stuff is all over, gifts or not.


It’s your home. That being said, it’s his too so best thing is to find a compromise. He can’t have everything out but you can’t limit him to nothing either. Some couples don’t display anything at all but if he really wants to then you’ll need to work that out.
She spends time here sometimes, but not often. We barely have pictures together. Mostly what is seen is pictures of our kids. I’m glad I’m not alone in this feeling of being overwhelmed with their stuff. I’m a practical and useful gift giver, so most the stuff she gives definitely bugs and feels like clutter.
 
It’s in his office ( we work in the same building across the hall) our living room, bedroom and bathroom
Say NO to the bedroom. (I assume it's yours together.) Your bedroom is your sacred couple space. You should not have to look at anything of hers AT ALL! That space should nurture your and hubby's relationship. This would be non-negotiable. The bathroom too! Who puts stuff in the bathroom, beyond a toothbrush? (I'm assuming she doesn't need one there. If so, give her a bin hidden under the counter.) He can keep her gifts in his office.
 
To add to the above, the bedroom would be a dealbreaker for me. If hubby doesn't respect space as ours, then he doesn't see me or our relationship as important. If you aren’t important, why is he staying with you?
 
To add to above, the bedroom would be a dealbreaker for me. If hubby didnt respect space as ours then he doesn't see me or our relationship as important. If you aren’t important, why is he staying with you?

Let's parse this out a little. Personally, I'd have no issue with stuff like that in a shared bedroom, so I don't see it as an inherent lack of respect for someone to want to place those items in their room that they happen to share with me.

Seeing it as "sacred couple space" isn't universal. A lot of people see a bedroom as somewhere they sleep and don't have much attachment to it beyond that. Others feel very differently. You seem to be in the latter group, which is fine, but isn't the only correct way to feel. It might be common.

Generally speaking though, someone who said the things you've said about these gifts isn't someone I'd see as peaceful with their choice to be part of polyamory. It definitely isn't the type of metamour or partner I'd have these days, because I feel like it would necessitate a level of compartmentalisation of relationships (parallel poly) that isn't suited to my lifestyle at this stage. It seems a little intense and dramatic, rather than warm and content for all.
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

I struggle with seeing these gifts everyday. I have started to feel like they are taking over all my safe places. I can't go anywhere without being reminded that he has another he loves as much as me. Is it common to feel this way? Is it common to have these type things displayed around around a primary?
In the shared home, what are your safe spaces?

Polyamory means "many loves." Is seeing all this stuff around the home making you anxious that one of them is going to ask to change from a primary-secondary model to a co-primary model sometime soon? Is it less the gifts, and more the anxiety about what might be coming?

Is it that you are a neatnik/minimalist and all this extra stuff is bugging you? It is possible to have separate bedrooms, and he keeps his clutter/stuff in his room, so you don't have to deal with it in your bedroom or in the common areas?

You mentioned depression in your other post. Are you dealing in poly hell, and it's making the depression worse, so all these gifts seem intrusive/too much?


Maybe it is something else, or a combo of things.

Galagirl
 
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My nesting partner gf and I are not minimalists. In fact, we are collectors of various things. Therefore, who bought each item is not important. One piece maybe I bought myself. One was a gift from her. One was a gift from her to me. One was something she bought for herself. One was something we bought together.

And then, we have gifts bought or made by other partners (even ex-partners) displayed around our house, or clothing that we regularly wear on our bodies. Pixi's bf Malachi even bought her a Stitch Fix account, so a lot of her clothes are technically from him.

Likewise, when I go to her bf's house, I see some items she has displayed there (like, a few fairy statues, for example), that I bought for her.

Her bf is more of a minimalist that we are, but he has realized his house could use some warmth, so over the years he's become fine with her adding decor, plants and so on. He doesn't have another partner to object to anything.

We are not practicing hierarchal polyamory though. We have a lot of compersion. So I am happy to see my partner's gifts to me around our house, or gifts from me to her, or gifts her or my partners or exes may have given us. It's just the tapestry of our lives, so to speak.

Now, if your living spaces were pretty blank before, and all you see are gifts from the gf around, and you're more of a minimalist, I can see that bugging you. But like GG said, are these gifts more like symbols of your anxiety about the gf's becoming more and more important? If you felt more secure, would the material items not matter so much?
 
I'm sorry you struggle.


In the shared home, what are your safe spaces?

Polyamory means "many loves." Is seeing all this stuff around the home making you anxious that one of them is going to ask to change from a primary-secondary model to a co-primary model sometime soon? Is it less the gifts, and more the anxiety about what might be coming?

Is it that you are a neatnik/minimalist and all this extra stuff is bugging you? It is possible to have separate bedrooms, and he keeps his clutter/stuff in his room, so you don't have to deal with it in your bedroom or in the common areas?

You mentioned depression in your other post. Are you dealing in poly hell, and it's making the depression worse, so all these gifts seem intrusive/too much?


Maybe it is something else, or a combo of things.

Galagirl
Safe spaces used to be bedroom, work and our bathroom. It definitely is a mix of feeling I won't be primary soon (even though it's not feasible, really) and the clutter. We already have a ton of stuff we have been trying to go through and get rid of.

I am in poly hell and haven't been able to cope with the depression in the way. I think it wouldn't be so bad if it was contained to at least one place, home or work, at the very least. Just the last time I said anything, it caused a fight, and is now seen as he isn't allowed to do certain things. Basically, he took it as an attack and less like I was trying to voice my concerns.
 
Now, if your living spaces were pretty blank before, and all you see are gifts from the gf around, and you're more of a minimalist, I can see that bugging you. But like GG said, are these gifts more like symbols of your anxiety about the gf's becoming more and more important? If you felt more secure, would the material items not matter so much?
We have never done much of decorating, due to moving around a lot, due to renting. The gifts are more like symbols of my emotions about her becoming more important. I think if we hadn't just been us for so long, and they hadn't developed this connection so fast, it wouldn't be as bad.
 
To add to the above, the bedroom would be a dealbreaker for me. If hubby doesn't respect space as ours, then he doesn't see me or our relationship as important. If you aren’t important, why is he staying with you?
I don't mind our bedroom as much. I think my issue started because it wasn't talked about how to handle where things should go before they just started being placed around.
 
I don't mind our bedroom as much. I think my issue started because it wasn't talked about how to handle where things should go before they just started being placed around.
That’s a great thing to recognize. That’s something you can actively address with your partner.
 
I think my issue started because it wasn't talked about how to handle where things should go before they just started being placed around.
Then this is the conversation to have! Instead of making it a negative, focus on how you discuss where new things will be placed, if there's a limit to the display (number of items at once, locations, etc.), how things could be swapped out or rotated so everything gets a chance to be on display, etc. This becomes more important as the number of things grows over time. You currently say it's “everywhere,” and my mind is picturing at least 10+ things per room, where, to you, "everywhere" might be one thing per room.
feeling I won't be primary soon
What makes you primary? Being loved MORE than anyone else; living together; sleeping in the same bed together the most; sharing bank accounts; being there above anyone else when you are sick, injured or otherwise in need; doing taxes together; being able to kiss him goodbye in the morning when he goes to work, and connect when he gets home; spending the most time with you?

Have you thought about the possibility that there's no such thing as Number 1? Can she become just as important as your other important family members? I'm sure you don’t rank your kids, and love them all deeply, but recognize that you might love them differently, because they are different humans with different gifts that you relate to differently.

Is it okay for hubby to love her strongly, but differently than you, or do you really need him to love her less to feel more secure?

Sometimes the feelings in your body dictates fear, and not the mind. Thoughts can come second. The sensations in your body can bring up horrible thoughts. Just because you feel something doesn’t make it true. Figure out your markers of primary and ask if he is taking those away from you or giving them to her.
 
Not specifically re: metamour gifts etc. but I am a HUGE proponent of having "own spaces" within the overall living space. In your own space you can rearrange furniture, decor, determine function however you like and can decide whether other people are welcome to share it with you or not at any given time. Some of our shared spaces (bedroom, bathroom) are for function - anything not directly related to function has to be agreed upon. Currently "his" rooms are the kitchen and his man cave, and "my" rooms are the library and the dogquarium/workshop. Things were arranged differently when Dude was here but everyone got at least one room that they have 100% say over and input into shared spaces.

(We also believe that everyone needs some amount of personal funds for which they don't need to account to anybody else.)

JaneQ
 
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