Hierarchical Polyamory Advice

E_Dub

New member
Hi all! Was just curious for those in this type of relationship - what type of guidelines or things do you practice in your relationship? Which partner are you?
 
Hey E!

So I don't mind hierarchy per se, I am in a bit of one now though it was not supposed to be. So here are some tips/things I wish I did differently.

I am in a secondary role, my gf is married. I will be eventually looking for a primary.

First, read the "Secondary bill of rights." I often tried to stomach things that I was not comfortable with by myself. This included my gf's very rare third party hookups, something her and her husband enjoy. Do not *not* communicate with your significant other if you are a secondary - in fact it is more important depending on the set up. If you are in a V where you do not talk with his or her primary they will need to balance the relationship and you will need to be clear as their primary will have their own wants and needs. But do not roll over with what your needs and worries are. I kept quiet for too long thinking I could work through it myself.

This is my second issue/suggestion. Figure out the structure early on. I wish I was closer to her primary partner as he is a bit suspicious of where I am (he thinks highly of my qualifications and that worries him that I will try to scoop her up) so I asked her to have us meet. It will happen, but he doesn't want too be too close. So respect the arrangement and everyone's goals and make sure you can handle it - but the structure will tell you alot about how things will and will not work.

Third, make sure your other partners (or what future partners you might have) are okay with this structure. This structure works for me because of how busy I am, but life will change. You will maybe need to ask for changes or leave the structure as your life changes. But do not ignore your metas and yourself.

I am starving so I will think of more after I eat.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Hi there.

I'm the primary partner to my nesting partner and husband, Adam, and the secondary partner to my Puck, who lives with his wife. Ours is also a long distance relationship which has been royally screwed up by Covid.

Guidelines are for communication, but there are some similarities and some differences in what I tell each person.

I, as their hinge, manage logistics around who I'm spending time with and when (obviously this includes "phone" time). Puck and I have access to each other's Google calendar, and Adam and I have a calendar on the wall, but that's mostly for dealing with other things like our out of town friends visiting.

With Puck, we are quite flexible about rescheduling things when local life gets busy. We aim for as much warning as possible.

When Adam and I have a date planned, we stick to it.

I tell Puck about anyone else who catches my eye. With Adam, I only tell him about someone when it's getting serious, although I'll talk about my (guy) friends and the friend things we do. Like, if I'm out with anyone for any reason I'll tell him where I'm going and when I expect to be home. Just normal stuff.

I'll tell Adam regularly about where our joint finances stand, since I manage them. I'll tell Puck once in a while about the same. And vice versa. When international travel is possible again, there will be more financial planning to have at least one trip a year, either me there or him here.

I'll tell them both about any health things that come up.

They have the means to contact each other (in case I can't) and have said hi on the phone before, but because it's long distance, traditional kitchen table isn't feasible.

I would expect Adam to contact Puck if I couldn't, this is an absolute hard limit of mine in poly. I trust Adam to completely. And when I can finally visit Puck post Covid, he knows full well that Adam is my emergency contact and would call him unhesitatingly.

Adam is my default sole beneficiary if I die first and Puck is not in my Will for division of estate if I outlive Adam, but that's because I've named some younger people, instead, including Adam's children. However, if I died early, Adam would send some things to Puck.

Occasionally, I complain about one of them to each other, but it would be when something is affecting my well being that I can't stop spilling over a little. But most of the time, both relationships are calm and strong, so there's no need.

I hope this gives some insight into the things that I place as top priority communication. Feel free to ask questions.
 

E_Dub

New member
this was all very helpful! To shed light on my situation, my partner and I are interested in venturing into this but I’m sure the way it’s being handled is not the correct way… and I have voiced this to him.
There are 3 of us… I am his “primary”. We have been together for a few years and we have plans that are in play for the future - family, finances, businesses, etc. During a break, he met another woman who is now aware of me. So, when we started dating again, I (for a lack of better words so please forgive me) “inherited” her. She knows about me and I know about her. I’m aware of the extent of their relationship which is much less. I have expressed to him that it would be wise to allow her to choose if she’s ok with basically being her role because although she is aware that he and I are together, I don’t think she understands that he is not going to give her the future she desires. I am aware of the conversations they have and although she says she wants a future (incl marriage) with him he tells her that he does not want or see that with her. She bypasses his comments. In addition, she has a small child from an ex of hers which also makes me feel bad for her. I understand it’s her choice, but I think she should understand the situation fully to make the best decision for her.
I do not have direct contact with her by choice. Although, she does pay attention to my social media in secret… This screams disaster especially on her end.
We have agreed that future relationships will be handled differently. Not sure how to help this or to let it go it’s course but I feel bad for her and I’ve expressed this to him.
I’m aware the current situation is not in the true spirit of polyamory but I am trying to gain insight for future relationships.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki

E_Dub

New member
More fool her.
Yea, he’s told me and I’ve read text convos between them. She’ll say “I love you” and he skips right over it and talks about something else or she’ll tell him she wants to marry him one day and he shuts it down… I feel bad for her as a woman but I guess this is really on her.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
although she says she wants a future (incl marriage) with him he tells her that he does not want or see that with her. She bypasses his comments.
She’ll say “I love you” and he skips right over it and talks about something else
she’ll tell him she wants to marry him one day and he shuts it down…

If he's been clear about what he's looking for from her from the start? And she's trying to make it be more than what it is and not listening to him? That part is on her.

And then it's on him if he wants to keep putting up with her doing that.

If he's not treating her well? She doesn't have to put up with him doing that.

I'd leave their relationship between them. You aren't dating her.

Although, she does pay attention to my social media in secret… This screams disaster especially on her end.

You could block her from your social media if you haven't already.

Galagirl
 

E_Dub

New member
If he's been clear about what he's looking for from her from the start? And she's trying to make it be more than what it is and not listening to him? That part is on her.

And then it's on him if he wants to keep putting up with her doing that.

If he's not treating her well? She doesn't have to put up with him doing that.

I'd leave their relationship between them. You aren't dating her.



You could block her from your social media if you haven't already.

Galagirl
Thank you! All very valid points.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
Yea, he’s told me and I’ve read text convos between them. She’ll say “I love you” and he skips right over it and talks about something else or she’ll tell him she wants to marry him one day and he shuts it down… I feel bad for her as a woman but I guess this is really on her.
It sounds to me like you REALLY need her to understand this because you worry that your partner might change his mind if she doesn't. You're trying to use her to police his agreements with you
 

E_Dub

New member
It sounds to me like you REALLY need her to understand this because you worry that your partner might change his mind if she doesn't. You're trying to use her to police his agreements with you
Ehhh I hadn’t thought about it in that way. I guess I have been in her shoes in previous relationship before and remember the way it broke me from not paying attention to what I was told either from lack of communication, half truths or straight up lies.
 

LilithHp

New member
It’s her job to manage her expectations but I don’t see why he would continue to engage her if he’s made his boundaries and desires clear and she doesn’t seem to be getting it. Even if that’s true, that’s only opening himself and eventually probably you (with the watching your social media etc) up to potential problems. If he has a history of doing this, he should know better and it sounds to me like there’s probably more to the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were only given access to a select few curated convos. He’s keeping her around for a reason and she’s around for a reason. If I were you personally would focus more on working through whether I really want to be involved with somebody who is willing to do that. How do you know he’s not “stringing you along” in y’all’s plans, too?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I guess I have been in her shoes in previous relationship before and remember the way it broke me from not paying attention to what I was told either from lack of communication, half truths or straight up lies.

Well, having learned from those experiences, you could be looking out for YOU and your well being. And don't have any of those again in YOUR life. Rather than trying to guard everyone else. They will learn that life lesson over time if they want to learn it.

I know he has strung along women in the past.

Is that the concern? You want her to understand her place IS secondary? Because you aren't sure you ARE primary?
Because you know he strings people along. And you aren't sure if he's doing that to you?

Does she even know you read their texts to each other? Does he show her your texts to him? What's the expectation of privacy for each partner?

Be careful he isn't setting up a situation where it's supposed to be you and her "fighting" over him because he enjoys being the center of attention or something.

I saw where you and him were on a break and then when you later got back together she was in the picture. So part of dating him again was accepting she's around.

Why'd you take the break/break up? Were those issues resolved?

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi E_Dub,

Just make sure your partner (primary) clearly communicates to this other woman that he will not be providing the kind of future for her that she wants. As long as he is very clear in explaining this to her, if she still bypasses his explanation that is on her, and you are practicing true polyamory to the best of your ability.

If she won't break up with him, maybe he should break up with her. Right?

With sympathy,
Kevin T.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Or maybe he needs to stop and ask her if she understands what he is saying ... like he needs to tell her to repeat it back to him, in her own words.

And maybe she does understand, she just doesn't believe him! Like she believes that he truly does love her, that he just doesn't want to say it.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I see that others have said that same things I said in your other (unnecessary?) thread.

Your partner strings women along. You went on "a break" with him (not a clean final break, a stringing-along break). Now he's back with another woman in tow. He has future plans with you, but they don't include another woman who thinks he's "hers."

What do you want, for yourself? A man with clear boundaries and communication skills?

Btw, in poly it's usually not recommended to read your partner's text convos with your metamour, just like you wouldn't eavesdrop if they were talking in the next room over in person or on the phone. It's not your business. She should have her privacy, as GalaGirl said.
 
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