Easier said than done

icesong

Moderator
Everyone forgets in any ethically non-monogamous relationship cheating can still happen. Usually this comes from communication breaking down via things like lying, deceit or inflexibility. That is a decision only you can make if that happened or not.

Ehhhh that's a question of definitions. Honestly I can't think of anything that either of my partners could do that I'd class as *cheating*. Might be lying or deceit, and that's a problem; could be any number of other things that would upset me. Cheating, though, is something different - it's secretly doing a thing that one is not allowed to do - and if there isn't anything that one isn't allowed to do, well, it's kind of hard to cheat.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Ehhhh that's a question of definitions. Honestly I can't think of anything that either of my partners could do that I'd class as *cheating*. Might be lying or deceit, and that's a problem; could be any number of other things that would upset me. Cheating, though, is something different - it's secretly doing a thing that one is not allowed to do - and if there isn't anything that one isn't allowed to do, well, it's kind of hard to cheat.

Agreed; I also can't picture what someone could do that I would consider cheating on me. I don't have any rules about what people can and can't do with their genitals, or their emotional energy, or their available time, so I don't know how they could betray my trust by living their lives. From what I can tell those conversations can only happen when their is an unreasonable expectation in play, one that is not consistent with reality.

On these boards, the "it will just be sexual" promise is one of the big ones. People seem to really want to believe that this is real, contrary to all available evidence. So having this particular rule in play in an open relationship is a pretty reliable indicator that someone is about to get cheated on :p
 

tdh

Member
Cheating, though, is something different - it's secretly doing a thing that one is not allowed to do - and if there isn't anything that one isn't allowed to do, well, it's kind of hard to cheat.
This is where the statement "That is a decision only you can make if that happened or not." comes in.

Your relationships sound like a completely open/free form style so nothing is off the table. If a person went on a date without you knowing or decided to pick someone up while out with a one night stand, you are okay with it and no need to tell or check in with you. You have this agreement. So little worries for yourself or your partners romantically, sexually, or otherwise.

Other people might not have this agreement in place or know actually know where their limits are. Everyone takes time in their own relationships getting to what works for them. If partner(s) have an expectation of a closed group and one of those people steps outside of it emotionally, romantically, or sexually, then that could be cheating. If someone lets their partner(s) pretty much free range but just communicate there is something going on for their own choices and they don't, that could be cheating. It is really based on the agreements they choose to form and sometimes rules in their head they don't know they have. Usually the feeling of being cheated on in any relationship type stems from a violation of trust and how trust is defined will always be up to the person(s) and the relationship(s) agreements.

Note: I separated out emotionally and romantically only because I have seen emotional entanglement that isn't always romantic entanglement.
 

icesong

Moderator
Ok, so what I was referring to when I said it was a question of definitions was this: (emphasis mine):
Everyone forgets in any ethically non-monogamous relationship cheating can still happen.

I’ll agree that it can occur in _some_ nonmonogamous relationships, others it’s structurally (and philosophically) impossible.
If someone lets their partner(s) pretty much free range but just communicate there is something going on for their own choices and they don't, that could be cheating.
Semantically, in my opinion no adult “lets” another adult do anything. They can at most make it a condition of a relationship, but anyone is free to make other choices and take the consequences as bad as they may be.
Probably sounds like splitting hairs but I find it an important distinction.
 

tdh

Member
Semantically, in my opinion no adult “lets” another adult do anything.
Ah...my language is off with any and lets. See where the miscommunication is happening. Would some like expects or agrees be better then lets? Wasn't meaning for it to sound possessive but it did.

"Any" was to strong and thanks for pointing that out. Should have just said "...in ethically non-monogamous relationships cheating can still happen"
 

icesong

Moderator
Oh hey we agree totally! And yeah, expects or agrees would definitely express what you're trying to, I think - I don't have anything against relationship agreements, though I do think that the idea of perpetually binding ones is a bad idea and they should all be able to be renegotiated.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Polyamory is based upon the idea that no one owns or possesses anyone else. Husbands are used to owning their wives. Women are possessive of their husbands because for millennia, their very livelihoods and lives depended upon the support of one man (whether he had other wives or not).

Nowadays, modern polyamory can flourish in certain circles where women are financially pretty independent, educated and able to access and use reliable birth control and obtain other appropriate healthcare.

Therefore, polyamory is practiced among consenting and equal adults. You must throw away all ideas of having authority over another grown adult.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I handled the infidelity of our past 200% better than his secondary relationship.

I totally thought I was ready for this. I'm the one that asked for this...which now sounds insane with the amount discord I am experiencing...I'm 😲🙀😮 SHOCKED at my own responses/behavior.

My husband suggested the just being in an open marriage NOT so much polyam, and I guess it was just that much more shocking to have him practicing polyamory and loving his secondary...and forming that deep bond. It wasn't the jumping point he and I started from so that kind of threw me for a loop. Perhaps it stirred up more trust issues for me...like...THIS ISN'T WHAT WE AGREED ON!!

It has been a bit of a roller coaster, which again, I want to chalk up to growing pains, but when this kind of thing takes you by surprise...at least for me, its a bit harder to work though; adjust to. I appreciate your suggestion of looking into disentanglement. I will do that tonight.

There was some newbie mistakes like with that agreement not to fall in love. That was not realistic. There might be more learning mistakes up ahead -- not from malice, but from simply being newbies and people not being perfect right out of the gate.

Detangling might help, esp if you are kinda caught up in "who does it better" with your husband.

Apart from looking at the work of detangling, you might also let go of "should" thinking. Maybe replace it with "COULD" instead. Like instead of "I think husband SHOULD do this and that" and then being mad from your own thinking/misguided expectation?

Might become "I think Husband COULD do this and that." Well, he COULD. Will he? You could ask him. And then how he answers is up to him. Then expectations have hopefully been clarified.

Dialing your expectations to something more REALISTIC might help you weather things out better as this journey for you keep unfolding.

Also figuring out how to minimize surprises and better handling surprises.

Take it slow and try to be kind to all parties when you are all newbies. The "new normal" simply isn't here yet and it IS gonna feel weird for a bit.

Galagirl
 

MeeraReed

Active member
OP, I think you're being too hard on yourself, beating yourself up because you are struggling with your husband's relationship with your metamour. It makes sense that it was jarring to find out they'd fallen in love when that went against your husband's own rule. It's true that no-falling-in-love is an unrealistic rule for ENM dating, but it was still jarring for you.

Especially if you are happy with your other partner being a "lover" rather than a boyfriend, like maybe a friend you see occasionally and have fun sex with but maybe aren't all love-dovey-in-love with. I can see how your husband's relationship would be an adjustment period for you.

But good for you on being able to stick with it and try to work through it!

I don't think it's worth dwelling on why/how your husband fell in love with his girlfriend or "broke your trust." I can see why it feels like broken trust, but maybe you could try to reframe it in your mind? People can't really control or prevent falling in love, and often it feels very goofy or private or related to intimate sexual stuff. It's also often hard to describe when the change to "in love" occurred, like once you feel it, it's already happened / it's already too late. Think back to when you fell in love with your husband or previous partners--would you have been able to keep someone else updated accurately on the progression of your feelings?

I just mean, I know it feels like a betrayal that your husband didn't tell you right away, but sometimes the logistics of falling in love just don't easily lend themselves to being communicated clearly. It doesn't sound like your husband is lying about other stuff or being shady.

I also want to call attention to how you are framing your issues with your metamour as "She keeps pushing me and my husband's boundaries." I get as sense you don't really trust her. Yet, you say she's an experienced poly person, not a mono person who wishes your husband would leave you, right?

So, about those boundaries. Did they restrict your metamour in ways that made a dating relationship very difficult? Like, sometimes newly poly couples have rules like, you can only see your secondary on Tuesday evenings and no overnights. But the metamour stuck with dating their married partner only on Tuesdays and no overnights might want to push back against that boundary, as it's rather restrictive.

So I would ask yourself if your metamour was really "pushing your boundaries" or was she asking for somewhat reasonable things?
 

MONELLA28

New member
OP, I think you're being too hard on yourself, beating yourself up because you are struggling with your husband's relationship with your metamour. It makes sense that it was jarring to find out they'd fallen in love when that went against your husband's own rule. It's true that no-falling-in-love is an unrealistic rule for ENM dating, but it was still jarring for you.

Especially if you are happy with your other partner being a "lover" rather than a boyfriend, like maybe a friend you see occasionally and have fun sex with but maybe aren't all love-dovey-in-love with. I can see how your husband's relationship would be an adjustment period for you.

But good for you on being able to stick with it and try to work through it!

I don't think it's worth dwelling on why/how your husband fell in love with his girlfriend or "broke your trust." I can see why it feels like broken trust, but maybe you could try to reframe it in your mind? People can't really control or prevent falling in love, and often it feels very goofy or private or related to intimate sexual stuff. It's also often hard to describe when the change to "in love" occurred, like once you feel it, it's already happened / it's already too late. Think back to when you fell in love with your husband or previous partners--would you have been able to keep someone else updated accurately on the progression of your feelings?

I just mean, I know it feels like a betrayal that your husband didn't tell you right away, but sometimes the logistics of falling in love just don't easily lend themselves to being communicated clearly. It doesn't sound like your husband is lying about other stuff or being shady.

I also want to call attention to how you are framing your issues with your metamour as "She keeps pushing me and my husband's boundaries." I get as sense you don't really trust her. Yet, you say she's an experienced poly person, not a mono person who wishes your husband would leave you, right?

So, about those boundaries. Did they restrict your metamour in ways that made a dating relationship very difficult? Like, sometimes newly poly couples have rules like, you can only see your secondary on Tuesday evenings and no overnights. But the metamour stuck with dating their married partner only on Tuesdays and no overnights might want to push back against that boundary, as it's rather restrictive.

So I would ask yourself if your metamour was really "pushing your boundaries" or was she asking for somewhat reasonable things?
Hi!!

My Metamour asked my husband to leave work to be with her...which he didn't do, but i found the request to be a little shady. My husband created visitation times he felt comfortable with, which I agreed to. They see each other several times during the week and she's now pushing for time scheduled between my husband and I as well. Also, she has started frequenting a public location on the same night my husband and I attended together as a couple knowing we would be there...yes, it is a public venue, however, I'm not entirely comfortable with her there. So, my husband and I chose to go to a different location. Now she has stated to my husband, she just won't tell him if she's going to be there or not...which I think is a little bit of a jerk move on her part.

Do these things sound like she's pushing the boundaries to you? Or am I being over sensitive?
 

Evie

Moderator
My husband created visitation times he felt comfortable with, which I agreed to.
Did she agree to them? Or have they been imposed on her? Do they suit her schedule, or was she just told "this is the way it is"?

However...

I know I'd be unimpressed if I had a metamour showing up when I was on a date with a partner, public place or not. Sure, there would be occasional exceptions to this, e.g. all going to the same festival or whatever, but if it's, say, my regular date night with Adam at a place we frequently go for that regular date night, and his (currently hypothetical) girlfriend started showing up there on those nights, I'd be having words with Adam about finding a solution that meant it didn't feel like that meta was trying to see him on our date night.

TLDR: yeah, she's pushing boundaries.
 

MONELLA28

New member
Evie, sorry I missed the first part of your response. I'm not exactly clear on how my husband and his gf came to the agreement about how often they see each other. My husband just shared with me that the agreement between them was that he would not communicate with her whilst he was with me. The agreement should suit her schedule as their work shifts allow them ample opportunity to communicate daily.
 

Evie

Moderator
I realized after I reread that I'd left out that question at the beginning, so I edited it back in.

Sounds like your husband is doing his best to manage her expectations, but she's still trying for more of his time and attention.

That would annoy me, certainly. I don't think you're being over sensitive. She really should be respecting your space and time with your husband.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
You know, your husband doesn't have to share how the gf is asking for more time with him. That's between him and her. If he just handled it properly, it wouldn't have to impact you.

BUT, If he tells her that you and he will be on a date at X place, and she shows up, that's weird and annoying! Gosh, my nesting partner has a bf and I would never dream of just showing up at a place they are specifically going to, on a date together. Who the hell does that? What is her motivation to do that?

He could just not tell her where you and he are going to be, but that doesn't solve the problem, it just makes it all into some kind of cat and mouse game.

It sounds like she's not comfortable dating a man with another partner. We call that "cowgirling." Some people say cowgirls don't exist, that if a person doesn't want to be roped off, he won't be. But it does sound like she's trying!

It's all on him though, as the hinge, to explain to her that you and he get X amount of time together, and all he can offer her is Y time. Time is a limited resource. Hinges need to know how to handle their time.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thank you for more info. FWIW? Here's what I think.

My Metamour asked my husband to leave work to be with her...which he didn't do, but i found the request to be a little shady.

Weird, but his problem to deal with. He doesn't have to tell you that she bugs him at work.

My husband created visitation times he felt comfortable with, which I agreed to. They see each other several times during the week and she's now pushing for time scheduled between my husband and I as well.

Whether she is asking you directly. Or it is husband asking you?

Easy enough for you to go "No, thanks. I don't want to hang out all three together. Please don't ask again. I'll let you know if/when I am ready for handing out as a group" and let the other two deal with the response.

Also, she has started frequenting a public location on the same night my husband and I attended together as a couple knowing we would be there...yes, it is a public venue, however, I'm not entirely comfortable with her there. So, my husband and I chose to go to a different location.

I don't know how she knew the date night plan was to go there, but fine. Go somewhere else for date night if she's also going there when it is supposed to be (you + hubby) date night alone. And you and DH don't tell her the new location.

Now she has stated to my husband, she just won't tell him if she's going to be there or not...which I think is a little bit of a jerk move on her part.

Weird, but does it matter? You all decided to go somewhere else for date night, right? Or is it her plan to just follow him around everywhere all the time?

If she's being intrusive it is husband's responsibility to tell her "Look, I need time alone with wife for our date nights. I know it's a public space, but I don't like you hanging around the edges then. It feels intrusive to me. Just like I wouldn't like wife hanging around on the edges when it is (you+me) date night. Please respect my limit and don't hang around when I'm on dates with other people." If she won't respect his boundaries, he can dump her.

At the same time? It's a public space. If both like going to a bar for the weekly trivia night or something? They could negotiate and split the time. Odd weeks are his to go there with whoever he wants, even are hers to go there with whoever she wants. And STILL not your problem to solve or sort out. It is their problem how to share this space so they don't bump into each other's dates.

Do these things sound like she's pushing the boundaries to you? Or am I being over sensitive?

You are not being over sensitive to want time on your own with husband without his other partners around. Every dyad needs its own privacy, space and time.

Whether or not she is "pushing his boundaries" I do not know. Because I don't know if your husband has actually articulated his boundaries to her like "Look, I need time alone with wife for our date nights. I know it's a public space, but I don't like you hanging around the edges then. It feels intrusive to me. Just like I wouldn't like wife hanging around on the edges when it is (you+me) date night. Please respect my limit and don't hang around when I'm on dates with other people."

You'd think some things are common sense, but people aren't mind readers. Boundaries need to be articulated first. And if he was having the problem, wouldn't it be him posting here about it rather than you? Like...why are YOU all up in this?

If he's already told her his preference/limits? And she's ignoring it and going around like a love sick puppy following him around everywhere? Enforcing his boundaries with natural consequences is his responsibility and his problem to deal with. You aren't the one dating her.

And again... he could call her into account, request she respect his limit, and if she doesn't respect him/his boudaries? He could dump her then. I mean, what else is there? Does he want to date people who don't respect him or his limits? How is that awesome?

If she's taking it to the stalker place? He can dump her, keep a record, and seek a restraining order/injunction depending on severity of the issue. Still his responsibility to deal with.

If he hasn't told her his boundaries? Could tell him to tell her rather than vent his problems at you.

If this is becoming chronic and hearing about his problems with her behaviors upsets you? Set your OWN boundary with husband. Because his problem might be lovesick puppy GF annoying him but the one annoying you is HIM.

Could tell him something like "Look, you date them. Not me. I don't want to hear about lovesick puppy people bothering you. You picked them out. Not me. So you have to deal with them and their behaviors. You might have to change how you vet people or update your personal standards. Turns out you picked a weirdo? On you to deal with it or dump them. "

It's sloppy hinge stuff when the hinge allows stuff from one side to leak over on another side.

It's also the work of detangling if the marriage got too enmeshed. I know some people are so used to having the spouse be their sounding board for everything from habit that they just take the spouse and services provided for granted. They don't seek consent first by asking if the spouse wants to even deal in this conversation. They just start inundating the spouse inappropriately with their polydating problems like "pass the buck" stress whooshies just assuming spouse is up for it.

On your end? You might have been used to always helping him with his problems as spouse/helpmate. But now that you polydate, some areas of his life don't actually require your assistance and may bring to light that you were overassisting before. So it may feel weird to stop yourself and take a step back. "No, that's not actually my job." Or say "Hey, you know just because I'm your spouse, it doesn't mean I have to..." Or say "Hey, you know just because I'm your spouse, it doesn't mean you get to..."

In the past you may have taken things done to him personally. Like you get all annoyed on his behalf, when someone annoys him at work. But is it actually your problem and your feelings to manage? It's ok to let him deal with his own problems and manage his own feelings without you along for the ride.

It's also ok for you to decide you do NOT want to be the consultant on his dating life problems.

Because even if allowing the (you + him) relationship be the platform for processing (him+her) problems might help him? It's not a great deal for you. When do you get to have your OWN relationship with him? You aren't his free therapist, right?

Not trying to be mean here... just encouraging you to have your own strong personal boundaries and detangle from husband stuff some.

It sounds like you all have to live into it, and sort out how to actually BE together in this new model.

So there's just going to be a period of sorting a lot of things out.

Galagirl
 
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MONELLA28

New member
@MONELLA28 Think 2 reads that could help you right now is the Rules Vs. Agreements chapter and the Hierarchical Relationship chapter in the book "More than Two". The very short summary:

1) Rules are inflexible and hard. Agreements can be renegotiated by all partners.
2) Hierarchical designs are focused on the viewed "primary couple" and things that happen that break the primary couple bubble end up really hurting all relationships.

There are other good bits in those chapters but worth a look. However, and I agree the "do not fall in love" rule was not practical, think part of the issue here is him doing without even giving you a heads up. The violation is it feels you were stil lied to either about the rule or the relationship or what your relationship meant or...

Everyone forgets in any ethically non-monogamous relationship cheating can still happen. Usually this comes from communication breaking down via things like lying, deceit or inflexibility. That is a decision only you can make if that happened or not.

Then you have the extra issue of the past. The past feelings can be brought back up if the patterns are similar which is why you are surprised at your reaction it seems. But just because you update the type of relationship does not wipe out the issues of the past.
I've finally had a moment to myself in the wee hours of the morning and I have downloaded this book and I am already on chapter 2. Thank you for the thoughtful suggestions 😊
 

Marcus

Well-known member
My Metamour asked my husband to leave work to be with her...which he didn't do, but i found the request to be a little shady.

It sounds like you might be a bit entangled in the goings on of their relationship. If these inner workings are going to cause you emotional distress, you may consider letting your partner know that you don't want to know these details. That, or deal with the insecurity that is at the core of the distress in the first place.

I've seen people get a little hung up on the "we share everything" arrangement, which leads to over-sharing and frustration. You should instead take a look at what is causing you to have an emotional reaction, and see if this is something that you can moderate to minimize your exposure. While I think it's mean to tell a partner what they ought to be doing with their other partners, I think it's just responsible to moderate what stories and information are making their way to you.

Do these things sound like she's pushing the boundaries to you? Or am I being over sensitive?

It sounds like your partner has hooked up with a trouble maker and I don't see how that's going to turn out well. However, this is an issue for your partner to sort out; it's his relationship, not yours. Your issue is with your partner, with his decision to bring this poison pill into your life, not the poison pill itself.
 
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