From the wife's POV...?

WhatHappened

New member
I realize everyone is different, but please remember as I ask that this is a completely foreign world and concept to me. And in fact, coming from a background of infidelity (x-husband's, not mine), I'm probably seeing things completely wrong.

But my boyfriend has told me from the start that things virtually never work out between a married person and a single person, and has told me specifically about instances where the (single) girlfriend thinks she's okay with things, and as her feelings get deeper, she started having a harder and harder time dealing with the boyfriend being married, until the very thought of his wife made her burst into tears.

For those of you who have been in the wife's position, knowing your husband's girlfriend is having a hard time coping with your existence--not trying to break you up or anything like that, but just simply having a hard time coping with something completely foreign to her--what goes through your head?

I picture the wife in such a situation being a little smug and feeling a little bit of ownership along the lines of 'that's right, he's always coming home to me.' Or possibly, being used to the situation herself, feeling like, "What in the heck is wrong with her?" Or perhaps looking down on her for being not quite so enlightened.

I'm just curious from anyone's experience...how does the wife regard these women and their difficulty accepting that he's married? (Men whose wive's boyfriends have struggled, I guess I'd be interested in your view of things, too.)
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
As a wife-I haven't thought either of those things actually. I tend to be over-concerned for the other woman's needs-to the point where I end up screwing myself. :eek:

In one case, it wasn't a problem, because she was also that way-so we tended to be ultra considerate of each other.
But, in another case it was a freaking FIASCO! I ended up emotionally bereft and totally messed up because I wasn't ensuring that my own needs were taken into consideration also.

I think it really really depends on personalities.

Mind you-I also have little use for hte "institution of marriage" as a legal thing-and would welcome a "second wife" in our situation.
I just want her to be someone who treats me with consideration and family love and care the same depth as I do my chosen family. If it's OUR family-I feel WE should be equally committed, responsible and privileged.

For example; I wouldn't have any issue sharing the bed with a woman I wasn't sleeping with-(I would prefer for sex we take it to our own personal space),
but I would expect that she's going to participate in cleaning, maintenance, childcare etc.

Shrug.
 

WhatHappened

New member
I talked to BF more about this tonight. He said his wife felt sad that the GF was hurting. He himself seemed rather puzzled by it, when he first told me of it, like, What got into her? I don't understand.

I struggle with this, because, to be honest, I'd think most women outside of the poly world, as their feelings for the boyfriend get deeper, are going to have an increasingly hard time coping with going home alone while their boyfriend goes to bed with his wife.

From my perspective right now, it looks almost cruel, at the very least thoughtless, to invite this woman into his world, being kind and loving and giving till her emotions are deeply involved, all the while assuming she'll adjust to this worldview contrary to the rest of society and everything she's ever grown up expecting, assuming she'll be quite happy always being the one to go home alone while he always has either her or his wife--and then being surprised when she hurts.

I guess I feel better having asked him directly how his wife felt about her very presence causing this woman pain, and I guess I'm glad she didn't feel smug or possessive (I kind of figured I was off base there), but feeling 'sad' also doesn't sit right with me. It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?
 

Glitter

New member
It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Perhaps look at it this way, she understands that we, as humans, have needs that need to be met. We have wants that we want met. Being in a poly relationship is about striking a balance with all parties involved. It means everyone needs to be on board and in agreement of that balance. Perhaps (and I speculate only), she's saying she gets how it can be difficult and it makes her sad to see someone in that kind of pain.
 

turtleHeart

New member
Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?

Attempting a poly relationship with someone that is new at it certainly may be more challenging, and many people set rules for themselves that they'll only date people already in relationships, or people that are already used to polyamory.

This gets weighed against the reality that there are only so many experienced polyamorous people out there, and only so many places for meeting such people to date, vs the masses of people one comes across day to day that might be okay with polyamory but don't yet know about it or have limited experience.

Most people that are in polyamorous relationships are 1st generation poly. They had to learn/experience it themselves. So far out of the 100+ poly people I've spoken with face to face, only two grew up in poly families. Everyone else started with no experience.
 
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Cleo

New member
For those of you who have been in the wife's position, knowing your husband's girlfriend is having a hard time coping with your existence--not trying to break you up or anything like that, but just simply having a hard time coping with something completely foreign to her--what goes through your head?

I picture the wife in such a situation being a little smug and feeling a little bit of ownership along the lines of 'that's right, he's always coming home to me.' Or possibly, being used to the situation herself, feeling like, "What in the heck is wrong with her?" Or perhaps looking down on her for being not quite so enlightened.

I was in this position with my husbands first serious GF (after opening up our relationship).
She was single, never been in a poly type relationship, just had a bad break up, still very good friends with her ex husband with whom she shared custody of her kids (ex was not bad break up). She initially said that a relationship with a married man, in openness, was just what she needed (she had had affairs with married men (in secret) prior to meeting my husband). She wasn't looking for someone to live with, was happy with once a week dates, etc etc.
But after about 6, 7 months she started having problems. Some of these were related to the fact that she told friends and family about my husband. They were very disapproving and this made her realize that this relationship would not be a 'normal' part of her life. She also said "if you were single, I'd want you all to myself". They broke up pretty soon after that.

I never felt smug when thinking about her. I met her, I liked her, and I thought she was a good match for my husband (unlike his current GF - but that's a whole otehr story :) )
When she broke up with him he was very sad and I was upset and I remember feeling a bit angry with her, I felt that she had given up too soon and that she had not given it, and us, a chance to grow into this and to develop something good.

They still see each other as friends with very minor benefits (lots of cuddles and hugs and sometimes a couple of passionate kisses) and I have a secret hope that they will get back together. I have learned so much since the last time they were together, I know I would be a much better metamour to her.
 

nycindie

Active member
It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Wow, lots of assumptions in this one sentence you wrote. Unfortunately, there are far too many couples out there (mostly, it seems, when they are new to poly and fumbling about) who look at it this way, too - ie., that they are "bringing in" someone from the outside to be part of, or a subset of, their relationship dynamic. Essentially, a "Couple Plus" scenario instead of a group of separate relationships that all manage themselves. Eccch, that viewpoint always rubs me the wrong way. And perhaps those kinds of situations are "bound to hurt," but thankfully there are many people, married or not, conducting their poly relationships with consideration and thoughtfulness, and do not operate that way.

But think about this: what of the new person's own agency, choice, and decision-making in the matter? When one or both people in a married couple pursue a relationship with someone outside their marriage, that person is not an indentured servant. They can leave at any time, set their own boundaries, have other lovers. If a person goes in with eyes open and is making their own choice to be there, it is their own responsibility to make sure their needs are known and, if not met by their partner, restated. If that person is not getting what they need and desire from the relationship to be fulfilled, and they "go home alone and lonely," why would they stay?

As a solo polyamorist, I know it is up to me to make sure that any married poly guy I get involved with is able to work within MY boundaries, as well as whether or not I can work within his boundaries that he has with his wife. I have a say, as does anyone who chooses to get involved in a poly arrangement. You paint such a picture of a victim at the mercy of the married couple.


Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?

Pet peeve of mine: Vanilla has nothing to do with poly, as poly is a relationship structure, NOT a kink. Anyway, to respond to your question: why would it be any wiser to only seek out experienced poly peeps? Then we would all only be dating within a small, insular community, and limited in our choices. And polyamory is not just some thing that a select few are involved in; I really see it as a part of a whole restructuring of society, as we are in a wave of global upheaval and everything we used to count on is changing. Poly is becoming more known, and is a choice that should be available to everyone.

I believe that eventually polyamory and monogamy will be two choices considered equally by most people, and monogamy won't necessarily be the norm or standard expectation. We're a long way off from that, but still, most of us come to poly without prior experience. For that matter, at first, most people enter marriage without prior experience either. Any relationship involves a learning curve for everyone, because every person is unique. The only way to understand and learn about relationships, and our relationship to ourselves, is to dare to be in one.
 
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Cleo

New member
I guess I feel better having asked him directly how his wife felt about her very presence causing this woman pain,

just reread your post and wanted to comment on this line.
So you actually think my very presence and existence is causing my husbands GF pain?

Besides being a married woman, I'm also a secondary. My one BF has a girlfriend and though he doesn't speak in terms of primary and secondary, I would say she technically is his primary - they see each other much more often, share much more of thei lives and socail life, and are thinking about having a baby - if that doesn't make you primary, I don't know what does :).
Sometimes I'm jealous, yes. But I would never ever say that this woman is causing me pain. It is my choice and my choice alone to be in a relationship with this man. Its up to me and me alone how I deal with everything that he brings into the relationship.
 

nycindie

Active member
But my boyfriend has told me from the start that things virtually never work out between a married person and a single person . . .

Oh, that is bullshit, by the way.

He is making a rather broad statement that he thinks applies to everyone, based on his own experience and a mono-ish perspective, it seems.
 

Vinccenzo

New member
The situation being what it is, couldn't the GF find someone primary for herself? Being a married man's secondary doesn't mean the GF has to be mono to him if it doesn't provide what she needs to be satisfied.
 

Dagferi

Active member
Pet peeve of mine: Vanilla has nothing to do with poly, as poly is a relationship structure, NOT a kink.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! I am the poly one in my relationship and my sexual tastes are VANILLA. My husband is mono and is the one into BDSM. Thank god my bf is vanilla like me. He is a relief from the pressure I get from my husband.
 

WhatHappened

New member
Perhaps look at it this way, she understands that we, as humans, have needs that need to be met. We have wants that we want met. Being in a poly relationship is about striking a balance with all parties involved. It means everyone needs to be on board and in agreement of that balance. Perhaps (and I speculate only), she's saying she gets how it can be difficult and it makes her sad to see someone in that kind of pain.

Thank you, Glitter, that helps me understand another way it could be and I do believe that most people in this world mean well.

So you actually think my very presence and existence is causing my husbands GF pain?

Besides being a married woman, I'm also a secondary.

Thank you for your first post, Cleo. I have no idea about you and your husband's GF. In the story I told, that particular GF did feel pain because BF had a wife. I believe hers is a very typical story of someone unaccustomed to poly being fine with it at first, and as her feelings deepened struggling with the idea that someone she loves is going to be with someone else most of the time.

I would say that being married and poly already, those are two things that change the situation completely for you, as compared to for this woman or anyone single and with no prior knowledge of the poly structure.


bringing someone into a situation
Wow, lots of assumptions in this one sentence you wrote. Unfortunately, there are far too many couples out there (mostly, it seems, when they are new to poly and fumbling about) who look at it this way, too - ie., that they are "bringing in" someone from the outside to be part of, or a subset of, their relationship dynamic. Essentially, a "Couple Plus" scenario instead of a group of separate relationships that all manage themselves.
I think I should have phrased that differently, given how that that exact phrase often is used just as you said. When I wrote it, I was thinking very specifically more that BF himself invites women into a relationship with him, but that it is also a joint decision on their part to live this lifestyle; thus, in a small way, she is part of this invitation being extended to someone with no experience in this.

And yes, I do think, from what he's told me, from what I'm experiencing, and from what I read right here, that being new to poly, particularly for those who did not decide it's what they wanted, for those who did not seek it out, but who met someone who wanted that relationship with them, who invited them in...yes, I do believe that the probability of it becoming painful is very high.

But think about this: what of the new person's own agency, choice, and decision-making in the matter?
I absolutely agree.


If that person is not getting what they need and desire from the relationship to be fulfilled, and they "go home alone and lonely," why would they stay?
If they stay, it's because the good outweighs the bad. I imagine in this particular instance that this woman was not 'going home alone and lonely' in the early stages of their relationship, and that as her feelings progressed and became deeper for him, she found herself struggling more. I think this is natural for many or most people. I would guess that as it became a struggle, that's exactly why she didn't stay.

I agree with you that if needs aren't being met, if people aren't happy with a situation, they should leave. She did. Plenty of others eventually do. I myself am considering doing so because I believe that as my feelings for him grow, I will be less and less content with the situation and that eventually it's impossible for a married man to meet my needs.

If I painted a picture of a victim, I didn't intend to at all. I don't regard her as a victim, nor myself, nor any of us in this position. We all made our choices, but it doesn't change the fact that when a golden ticket to the promised land is offered, so to speak, it's very hard to say no, when someone appealing wants to give you the world and love and admiration and affection. Both these things are true at the same time: he offered something very hard to resist and I made my choice to accept.

He himself is asking the question: should he have offered, having seen from his own experience that the married with single imbalance often leads to exactly the kind of pain his former GF experienced?

And I wouldn't say he has a mono-ish perspective at all. They've had an open marriage for the majority of their 25 years together.

why would it be any wiser to only seek out experienced poly peeps?
For the reasons I first brought up. And I am posing it as a question, not as a foregone conclusion on my part or his that the answer is negative.

Someone asked why not just go out and get another boyfriend. I think some people just aren't interested in having two boyfriends if they're truly mono. For myself, with a house full of kids, a couple of them special needs, a house falling down around my head with its own needs, two jobs, and deadlines breathing down my neck, I wasn't looking for one boyfriend. I certainly don't have time for two.

This discussion, especially after a night to sleep on some of the things he and I talked about, brings me to another question:

What success stories do people have of married poly with single mono? I've seen only a couple and those seem to involve the single person moving in with the couple eventually. Barring that (because it absolutely will not happen in my situation for several reasons), are there such situations where everyone remains happy?

I apologize for misusing the word vanilla. BF used it early on and I think at that point I misunderstood him.
 

newtoday

Member
The situation being what it is, couldn't the GF find someone primary for herself? Being a married man's secondary doesn't mean the GF has to be mono to him if it doesn't provide what she needs to be satisfied.

With Mono people, it's not about having a Primary of their own with a poly Secondary...they are Mono, remember? The Mono person will typically want only one. Hence the term MONO.

Leaving the relationship isn't usually an easy option as Mono people have feelings of love and commitment, too! :D

I agree that if the level of satisfaction is below where the Mono partner needs their life to be, they should leave the relationship, but it gets old hearing some poly folk provide an easy solution to the mono folk of "just find another one to supplement."

Really, ya think?
 

CielDuMatin

New member
it gets old hearing some poly folk provide an easy solution to the mono folk of "just find another one to supplement."
A fantastic example of how our different mindsets come up with logical solutions that just don't work for those of the other mindset.

This comes up most often when a mono person is trying to come to terms with the things that a poly person wants, but, as you so wonderfully showed, it most definitely can go both ways.

If you are in a mono/poly relationship, BOTH sides need to take the time to understand the mindset of the other and adapt their language to make for an efficient communication dynamic. So often the poly person complains of "why don't they understand me"... it goes both ways.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
my boyfriend is mono.
and none of us had experience with poly.

We've lived together now for nearly 10 years.

I know other poly's who don't live together and are happy.

I would say it really is IMPOSSIBLE to define what will work and what won't-on a broad scale.

EVEN in "typical" monogamous relationships, there isn't a "typical". There's a typical PUBLIC persona-but behind closed doors-there's so many variables a person would keel over dead trying to reason them out to find the "perfect match for everyone".

We are each unique individuals and therefore, each "perfect coupling" will be different. In point of fact, "perfect" for me and DH is COMPLETELY different than "perfect" for me and bf. Because they are different, so what works perfectly in the couple-is different by the variables in which they differ.

EVEN IF I WERE MARRIED TO BF and DH was my BF-these differences would remain. I would not be "like I am with Maca" if I was married to GG. Because-GG and I have a totally different "perfect" and that would show up in differences in our marriage.

You're questions can't be solidly answered by anyone here regarding the example you gave-because we dont know the people in question. And, we can all give personal examples of what works for us-but they will all be different and very possibly-none of them will pertain to the example you gave-because we are all unique and our needs are all different.
 

kkxvlv

New member
I agree with you that if needs aren't being met, if people aren't happy with a situation, they should leave. She did. Plenty of others eventually do. I myself am considering doing so because I believe that as my feelings for him grow, I will be less and less content with the situation and that eventually it's impossible for a married man to meet my needs.

Needs are a very individual thing

...when someone appealing wants to give you the world and love and admiration and affection....

There are some people who may not be looking for more than that

He himself is asking the question: should he have offered, having seen from his own experience that the married with single imbalance often leads to exactly the kind of pain his former GF experienced?

Often maybe but not always. Should he assume everyone in the single category has the exact same needs and close himself to all of them? Or does he have the right to expect people to open themselves to him based on the knowledge of their own needs?

Someone asked why not just go out and get another boyfriend. I think some people just aren't interested in having two boyfriends if they're truly mono. For myself, with a house full of kids, a couple of them special needs, a house falling down around my head with its own needs, two jobs, and deadlines breathing down my neck, I wasn't looking for one boyfriend. I certainly don't have time for two.

This sounds to me like one kind of person who might be looking for less than a full time relationship. You might just as easily not be able to meet the needs of a particular single mono person if your time and energy are extended with your commitments to your children and household already.

What success stories do people have of married poly with single mono? I've seen only a couple and those seem to involve the single person moving in with the couple eventually. Barring that (because it absolutely will not happen in my situation for several reasons), are there such situations where everyone remains happy?

I think situations where everyone remains happy can exist depending on the kind of relationship both the poly and mono person are looking for. Some people (poly or mono) are extremely independent and actually want to be able to go home alone to their own space at night and that can present difficulties for any relationships if two people aren't looking for the same thing. For example my bf's father was divorced many years ago and has now been dating the same woman for 9 or 10 years. They are monogamous, care deeply for eachother but don't live together. It seems to me the woman is always pulling these power games with the man and his children because she is uncomfortable their relationship hasn't progressed into more defined commitments and joint property and responsibilities after all these years. He is happy with the relationship where it is. I imagine that he might be happy in a situation where he was in a stable long term relationship where he wouldn't be expected to move in or be with her all the time. That might be found with a more independent mono woman or maybe it could be found with a woman who has that marriage type relationship with someone else already.

I imagine there must be other situations that would create people who don't want a marriage type relationship. People who are married to their job?

My bf has been in a LDR with me for the last 5 years and I'm married. He's been free to date other people but never has. I can't say I understand why that is working for him because I'd sure like more of him but you could call that success for him? I guess I should have noticed the guy in the first scenario and my bf are related huh?
 

SNeacail

New member
I talked to BF more about this tonight. He said his wife felt sad that the GF was hurting. He himself seemed rather puzzled by it, when he first told me of it, like, What got into her? I don't understand.

I struggle with this, because, to be honest, I'd think most women outside of the poly world, as their feelings for the boyfriend get deeper, are going to have an increasingly hard time coping with going home alone while their boyfriend goes to bed with his wife.

From my perspective right now, it looks almost cruel, at the very least thoughtless, to invite this woman into his world, being kind and loving and giving till her emotions are deeply involved, all the while assuming she'll adjust to this worldview contrary to the rest of society and everything she's ever grown up expecting, assuming she'll be quite happy always being the one to go home alone while he always has either her or his wife--and then being surprised when she hurts.

I guess I feel better having asked him directly how his wife felt about her very presence causing this woman pain, and I guess I'm glad she didn't feel smug or possessive (I kind of figured I was off base there), but feeling 'sad' also doesn't sit right with me. It seems patronizing and even hypocritical, to be part of bringing someone into a situation that's almost bound to hurt them, and then pose as the compassionate person who feels for that pain.

Maybe what I should be asking here is the broader question behind this: how wise is it to invite vanilla, mono people, with no experience in open relationships whatsoever, into a poly relationship?

How fair is it for a military man or women to "invite" people into their life, knowing they may be sent off to war and never come back? How fair is it for a divorced person to "invite" someone into their lives knowing they will have to deal with raising another person's children, an ex-spouse and ex-in laws? How fair is it for someone with a disability or illness to "invite" someone into their lives, knowing that person will have all sorts of crap to deal with? How fair is it to date anyone with responsibilities and commitments that pre-date YOU? This sounds a bit like, "poor me, I'm dating a man who actually stands by his commitments instead of dumping everything and everyone to worship me. How dare he!":eek:. Would you really want to date someone like that anyway?

Why don't you try talking to the wife and at least get to know her so she becomes a real person, not someone who is in competition with you. She is likely sad, because she knows you will break her husband's heart since you can't accept HIS reality, you want a fantasy life he can't give you. Have you tried talking with her or the three of you together to see if there is some kind of compromise you three could work out to give you a little more of what you need?
 

AutumnalTone

New member
I struggle with this, because, to be honest, I'd think most women outside of the poly world, as their feelings for the boyfriend get deeper, are going to have an increasingly hard time coping with going home alone while their boyfriend goes to bed with his wife.

Change that to "some" and you've got a valid point. Otherwise, you're simply positing that most adults are incapable of evaluating circumstances and figuring out what their likely responses will be--and I find that unconvincing.

From my perspective right now, it looks almost cruel, at the very least thoughtless,

Um...no.
 

Dagferi

Active member
My situation is reverse.. With my husband being mono. My boyfriend is single and Mono too.

I split my time between both men. I stay with my boyfriend overnight a night or two on weeks he is working the weekend. I spend his weekends off with him.

There are ways of spending time with both people...
 

nycindie

Active member
We all made our choices, but it doesn't change the fact that when a golden ticket to the promised land is offered, so to speak, it's very hard to say no, when someone appealing wants to give you the world and love and admiration and affection. Both these things are true at the same time: he offered something very hard to resist and I made my choice to accept.

He himself is asking the question: should he have offered, having seen from his own experience that the married with single imbalance often leads to exactly the kind of pain his former GF experienced?

Hmm. It sure sounds like, to you, that "golden ticket" of love, admiration, affection, and commitment can only be had in a relationship in which two people are entwined and focused solely on each other. You don't seem to believe that love is expansive, and can include many people. But a person's satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness should never be dependent upon their relationships anyway. That is an inside job. And, believe me, that golden ticket can be had in other scenarios. One can find love, admiration, affection, and commitment and not be totally dependent on one person to give that, nor to expect exclusivity in order to have all of that. For me, my poly dream is to have several lovers and remain independent, without having my life totally entwined with anyone else's. My poly dream is not that rare, either. You seem to assume that disappointment is automatic when someone loves a person who also loves another.
 
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