Forced to be closeted...

amaranth

New member
So I'm in a poly V with my boyfriend of two and a half years and his primary partner.

In much of their life, they are Very Very Closeted. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never meet my beloved's family (which is made somewhat easier by them being in a different country and not particularly close, but still hurts.)

We socialise with some of my metamour's work colleagues, who don't know (or don't "officially" know) we're poly. When they're around I'm not allowed to kiss, touch, speak too often to or even look at my partner in the wrong way. It wears me down and I hate it. I'm not allowed to even be anywhere near anyone connected to my partner's work.

This weekend, we were hanging out with them for a whole day (SERIOUS drain on my mental health,) and then I was unceremoniously ditched in the evening so Partner and Metamour could go out with someone I'm not allowed to meet. Anyway, while we were playing games I was sitting next to my partner and apparently I was too close or something, and the colleagues have commented on me being "clingy" or something to that effect. Even leaving when Partner and Metamour did - for something as totally innocuous as getting a ride home - is being construed as "outing." So now Metamour thinks they know everything.

I feel like the dirty little secret, and it's breaking my heart.

Worse, I feel like if Metamour has any work-related problems ever, I'm now going to be blamed for them.

What can I do? What am I supposed to do? I've had enough. I'm crying just typing this.

Please don't advise "just come out," as that isn't my decision to make. And please, please don't presume to suggest I end my relationship, nothing could be further from my mind.

-- Amaranth.xx
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
What do you get out of these ...dates...gatherings. Who's idea is it to go to these very guarded social events?

Have you considered a primary of your own to have a more " out" and normal social life.
 

Tonberry

New member
It's hard to give you advice when the two obvious solutions are out of the question.
I guess my advice would be, if they're going to be such a pain when you're around others, like the coworkers, I think you probably should stop hanging out with the metamour's coworkers. It doesn't look like you have a good time anyways, and they're denying you the respect of being acknowledged. I would think you should only see your partner when you're allowed to treat him the same way your metamour does. No need torturing yourself by allowing yourself to be treated like a second rate partner.
You probably have other friends you can hang out with at these times, where you'd feel accepted for who you are at least.

Don't let them blame you if problems occur at work for your metamour. These problems would be caused by their decision to stay in the closet, which always causes assumptions that are far worse than the truth.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
You have rights as a secondary. If you wants, needs, and limits you have a RESONSIBILITY to report to the group and take it to the mat for renegotiation. People are not mind readers. Exercise your rights and responsibilities.

If this is the agreement you sign up for?

MUST BE DONE

Report that your needs are changing and your feelings are changing and need to renegotiate the contract, or at least air out and vent. You have the right to support from your people.

STAYING SOLUTIONS

a) Put up with it

b) spend less time in "their" circles when you hang and create new community where you can hang more relaxed

c) stop hanging as a trio so often and/or say NO to all day long things if you KNOW they are a drain.

d) Just don't hang out with work people AT ALL. No just the day long things but ANY. When they invite you say no thanks.

e) Stop attending things you do not enjoy with them. Create space/time for things you do enjoy with them.

f) the group talks and comes up with.... ?


LEAVING SOLUTIONS

Check out. This you had chosen. It worked for a while. You can change your mind and choose otherwise if your needs/wants/limits are no longer met.

It might be hard to feel or hard to hear, but that's about it. You are either speaking up and being heard by your people, or you are not.

But you do need to actually do the speaking up part so you can make a decision about playing ball here or not. Suffering in silence like a martyr is not the answer.

GG
 
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newtoday

Member
I feel like the dirty little secret, and it's breaking my heart.

It's breaking my heart just reading that. I've been there, still am there to an extent. And it really does suck.

I recently attended a work function for my bf. I was awkward, didn't enjoy myself at all, hung out with my kids and his mother, introduced as a family friend, when we all knew otherwise. It was even more awkward given the fact that his SO, my metamour, and I have not been on good terms at all in recent months.

I wanted to crawl under a rock and cry and I swore that day I would never put myself in that situation again.


What can I do? What am I supposed to do? I've had enough. I'm crying just typing this.

I could cry with you right now. I feel your pain.

There is no answer only to avoid situations like that going forward. Fact is, you are a secret. And you deserve better. But , I know, as I have been in this situation for 2 years, it's easier said that done to move on from it.
 

AnnabelMore

New member
Do they understand how hurtful is this is to you? Can they imagine if the situation was reversed, for either of them, what that would be like? WHY don't they consider it acceptable to be out? Just some important questions for context, sorry I don't have any advice at this point. Your situation really is heartbreaking. :( You have my sympathy, being in the closet is a stressful situation that invades your mind and your life and can even affect your health!
 

sparklepop

New member
What can I do? What am I supposed to do? I've had enough. I'm crying just typing this.

Please don't advise "just come out," as that isn't my decision to make. And please, please don't presume to suggest I end my relationship, nothing could be further from my mind.


Hi Amaranth,

(Pretty name, by the way :) )

Honey, I really feel for you. I can absolutely relate and hope I can give you, at the very least, a sense of genuine empathy, if not constructive advice.

You are stuck between a rock and a hard place because you love your partner and I assume, have some love/caring for his partner too. You love and want it too much to leave, but staying in the relationship under its current boundaries is making you unhappy.

I completely understand how draining it is to put on an act and to feel like a secret. It takes a lot out of you. It's exhausting enough when you're monogamous and the in-laws come over. Far worse for you in this situation.

Do you live separately from your partner and his partner, but they live together?

I'm wondering if there is an underlying imbalance in either the way you are being thought of by them; or the way you feel they think of you.

Do both of them consider you part of their relationship, their family? Or do they consider each other the primaries and you the secondary?

I definitely don't think it's a "put up or leave" situation... there might be something that can be done to make things feel better.

My girlfriend and I find that the key to everything is understanding what each other is going through, even if we can do little about it.

For example... to help relate and empathize... I can tell you that:
My girlfriend is out in terms of poly and bi to her mother and father.
It took her one year of our relationship to come out.
It was not pretty and her family situation is now worse than ever.
In terms of me? Her mother doesn't look at me, doesn't talk to me, doesn't interact with me and I'm flat-out not allowed to step inside her Father's house.

My girlfriend is not out to her extended family.
Her grandmother came over and I was introduced as their "British friend who has come to stay for a few months"
I couldn't touch my girlfriend, had to watch that I didn't call her "baby" (luckily, Grandma is quite deaf, haha) and had to watch my girlfriend show her husband affection.
It was hurtful for me and stressful for my girlfriend.
But if she tells her Grandma; the only woman she's close to in the family, she may lose her.

It's strenuous for me... but I don't expect it to change. So I accept it, and that's ok for me personally. It's their small-mindedness: nobody can change that. C'est la vie!

However, even though I've accepted it, it still hurts. It hurts both me and my girlfriend. And I understand that it hurts for you.

What we try to do, because we understand the feelings, even though we can't change the situation, is be soothing to each other after we encounter her family. So in your situation - your partner could give you a long hug, soothing words, take you out on a private date, even just tell you "I understand why this hurts - you are so important to me".

Have you spoken to your partner(s) about how you feel? How it makes you feel? How do they respond? Are they caring and sympathetic? Are they stressed by it? Do you show sympathy to them also, if it upsets them to have to hide you?

Do you have another partner yourself? Would you like one? Someone to be with when they go to their events, someone to be yourself with? These kind of things may help take the edge off.

Ultimately yes... things may never change and you do need to think about what you can handle and what your needs are.

That doesn't mean bail... but it does mean perhaps discussing some concrete things to make your life easier: such as exploring other partners yourself, or having your hurt more openly addressed.

x
 
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amaranth

New member
Thank you, everyone. Some really good stuff here. You're all amazing.

In answer to a couple of questions people have asked:

No, I don't have another partner. I have (sort of, it's complicated) the option to find one, and a very tentative potential, but no-one I've felt that strongly about in quite a long time.

I have no idea if they genuinely understand how this is for me. I think they do try to, but I think - through no malicious intent at all - it's easy for them to forget the amount of privilege and power they have over me in this situation.

It's so difficult for me to express my needs, because I spent 6 years (and most of my formative years, age 14-20) in an abusive relationship in which I wasn't allowed to have/express any needs or wants of my own. I feel like my partner is doing me a huge favour just being with me, and my metamour is doing me a huge favour sharing her partner with me, so I'm really scared that doing anything to rock the proverbial boat might bring everything crashing down.

Hanging out as a trio isn't a problem, I'm allowed to be affectionate and be acknowledged as Partner's girlfriend when Metamour is around.

I'm becoming seriously tempted to just stop spending any time at all around people we're not out too. The problem is, even THAT looks suspicious - if I suddenly disappear off the face of the planet, they're bound to ask why. The other problem is that this will further reduce the already-limited time I get to spend with the person I love.

Ultimately it just feels - and this is probably my personal baggage more than anything they've actually done/said - that my needs and wants aren't important. I spend my life running around after what everyone else wants, yet I feel like High Maintenance Girlfriend Who Wants Everything if I express any emotion beyond happy, shiny, and giving giving giving....
 

sparklepop

New member
I am so very sorry to hear that you were in an abusive relationship.

Have you been into counselling for the effects this has had on you?

As frustrating and sad as it is... we all let our own baggage rule us sometimes. Sometimes we even put ourselves in positions that repeat that behaviour and re-enforce that baggage.

I have absolute sympathy for you.

Unfortunately... and I truly hope this comes across in the right way... it is almost impossible to have your needs met unless you communicate them.

I cannot comment on other aspects of your personality, or relationship, but the simple facts of the situation you've described do not make you overly needy or clingy. They do not make you a demanding person.

I really would suggest that you perhaps look into some counselling for your own struggles, or look at ways you can empower yourself. Nobody is luckier than anyone else to have a partner - we all deserve to be loved and to be happy.

I also do suggest that you speak to your partner and his partner.

If you allow yourself to be treated a certain way and they think that you are happy with it, you may never feel truly at peace.
 

AnnabelMore

New member
Hm, ok, so you have a hard time communicating your needs because of your past. That's totally reasonable and normal, and it's great that you understand and own that. However, it's going to make things hard in a poly situation where the extra-complicated dynamics make clarity even more important than normal.

But, you actually have a perfect opportunity now! You wrote this thread from a place of complete honesty. Because you didn't expect either of them to ever see it, I assume, you've been forthright about your difficulties in a way that you might not find possible normally. So... what if you showed your bf this thread?

I know the idea may sound scary -- complete honesty about something that makes you vulnerable or makes you look "weak" or "needy" is always going to be scary. But you're not weak and you're not needy, you're just a person in love, with completely understandable feelings, who has a hard time expressing them. You can let him know that sharing this with him is not in any way an attempt to guilt him or to force him to change, it's just your way to be honest. Someone who really loves and values you will appreciate that, will want, even need, to know about how you're feeling, about what's working for you and what's not.

Think about it, yeah? It may not change anything if there's a strong reason they need to be closeted, but even just really being understood can be enough to make a difficult situation workable.

As a side note, I'll admit I'm curious about what it means that you're "sort of" allowed to pursue others? But that may be a conversation for another time.
 

dragonflysky

New member
Ultimately it just feels - and this is probably my personal baggage more than anything they've actually done/said - that my needs and wants aren't important. I spend my life running around after what everyone else wants, yet I feel like High Maintenance Girlfriend Who Wants Everything if I express any emotion beyond happy, shiny, and giving giving giving....

I came into a poly relationship with a couple. It was discussed up front that I didn't want to be a secondary, and he agreed that he didn't want me to be in that position either. (His other partner and I were friendly and accepting of one another.) We were "open" with their friends/family.

Ultimately after knowing each other for a year, and living close to one another for 4 months, I was being told I was too needy, wanted too much too soon, and wanted to be treated like a "wife", like his other partner. He told me I would have to "earn" my way into that position over time. He decided he wanted our time together to be "Fun" with "no stress" and to see me if and when it worked for him. I told him I wasn't interested in seeing him under those terms....which was very hard as I cared a great deal for him (and the other family members and friends)...so I broke things off. I thought maybe I was too needy, expected too much, etc, etc., (a "script" from my childhood) and just hadn't understood poly relationships well enough.

I recently had contact with a family member of his other partner. Shortly after I ended things with him, he met someone (who lived much farther away than I did), and within the year they got married. He still has his original partner, but he moved for a job situation to the area where his now "wife" lives.

I do encourage you to make sure you're not falling into an old emotional situation, where your wants and needs don't seem to matter and your partner(s) think you're too needy. I sensed it for myself at the time it was happening, but allowed my doubts and old beliefs to creep in. Luckily I was able to break it off after a few attempts, but it was still a very painful loss.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
It's so difficult for me to express my needs, because I spent 6 years (and most of my formative years, age 14-20) in an abusive relationship in which I wasn't allowed to have/express any needs or wants of my own. I feel like my partner is doing me a huge favour just being with me, and my metamour is doing me a huge favour sharing her partner with me, so I'm really scared that doing anything to rock the proverbial boat might bring everything crashing down.
I am sorry. Nobody deserves abuse. *hug*

On the flip side... have to learn to articulate and take back that power! Your people are not mind readers. Please think about working on healing this self esteem thing post abuse. Stop feeding the bad wolf! If you need professional help to finish processing the abuse, please get it. It is affecting your interpersonal relationship skills and you inner talk - how you talk to yourself and causing you mental pain.

Hanging out as a trio isn't a problem, I'm allowed to be affectionate and be acknowledged as Partner's girlfriend when Metamour is around.

Cool.

I'm becoming seriously tempted to just stop spending any time at all around people we're not out too. The problem is, even THAT looks suspicious - if I suddenly disappear off the face of the planet, they're bound to ask why.

So they ask, and you say "I'm not comfortable around the coworkers/people we are not out to. So I'd rather pass. "

There. Why is this a bigger deal to you than it is?


The other problem is that this will further reduce the already-limited time I get to spend with the person I love.

Not necessarily. You speak up and voice that need and work in time elsewhere.

Ultimately it just feels - and this is probably my personal baggage more than anything they've actually done/said - that my needs and wants aren't important.

And they get to know your important wants and needs HOW when you do not speak up? Expect them to minder reader? If they check in and you say "I'm fine" -- expect them to pull it OUT of you?

Spit it out! It is YOUR responsibility to the group to state clearly your wants, needs, and limits.

I spend my life running around after what everyone else wants, yet I feel like High Maintenance Girlfriend Who Wants Everything if I express any emotion beyond happy, shiny, and giving giving giving....

It's higher maintenance actually if I have to keep pulling things out of you like eye teeth than if you just tell me from the get go.

If they have a problem hearing you and respecting it after you spit it out, that's a separate issue.

But mostly here I'm getting you don't much spit it out... giving them the chance to rise to the opportunity to better care for you.

GG
 
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Tonberry

New member
So they ask, and you say "I'm not comfortable around the coworkers/people we are not out to. So I'd rather pass. "

There. Why is this a bigger deal to you than it is?

I'm pretty sure she meant that the coworkers were going to notice and ask. She can't really tell them that.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
If it's the coworkers who ask, it's on the couple to answer because she's not even there. *shrug*

If they coworkers ask HER where she's been lately, she replies "Oh, I have had serious personal things going on in my life. Thanks for asking though!" She doesn't have to detail it.

Everyone holds their own bag. *shrug*

GG
 
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