Need advice on poly partner

JP1977

New member
My soon to be ex wife and I are in the middle of a divorce and it’s as mostly amicable as it can be. I have a few poly relationships that started during the marriage and I now find myself with more time for these partners. This is all great and I have found a lot of my emotional needs being met.

What I am struggling with is that my main partner is in a DADT dynamic with her fiancée, although he and I have met and have a great dynamic. It’s more that she doesn’t want to know what he or I do. I am getting all of the verbal assurances that I’m #2 and there’s no one else in her life besides me and her fiancée.

Their agreement is they get four free nights per month. She has indicated that she wants to spend those nights with me and there’s no one else.

All of that said, I’m feeling somewhat insecure around the DADT as during our last two dates she was texting with another man. This wouldn’t be a huge deal, but she was spending a lot of time texting, even sending selfies and things like that. With any other partner I wouldn’t mind, to a certain extent, because the communication is very open. With this it felt a bit lacking in transparency and dishonest. That’s how I felt. I do know it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with me. We have generally good communication and I’m thinking I should bring up my uneasiness. I don’t know if I’m overthinking it or not.
 
Hi JP,

Sorry to hear about your pending divorce, although I think it's probably for the best. As for your main partner, she is engaging in some agreements and actions that do not sit with you well. You are worried that she is telling you there's no one else besides you and her fiancé, yet here she is, spending a lot of time texting another man and sending him selfies. Obviously there is someone besides you and her fiancé, and she is not being entirely honest with you about that. I think you would be within your rights to bring up your uneasiness. This doesn't seem like overthinking to me, it seems like you have a very legitimate concern.

I hope you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

All of that said I’m feeling somewhat insecure around the DADT as during our last two dates she was texting with another man. Wouldn’t be a huge deal but she was spending a lot of time texting even sending selfies and things like that.
It's on her to keep her shared DADT agreements with that partner, and to keep her shared agreements with you. If you don't have shared agreements yet, and you want some around date behavior and devices, request changes in behavior.

If she's not being PRESENT on the date with you, because she's all sucked up in her phone, talk to her about it. Ask her if she can agree that both of you put devices away when on a date together.

Texting on arrival or before leaving-- that can happen in her car before she comes into the restaurant with you, or very shortly after arriving at the table. "Hi! I need to text real quick and then I'm all yours. Did you need to text anyone while I do that?" and then she does it and puts it away. And you put yours away.

If she doesn't stop texting other people while out on a date with you, you can decide to end the date early and go home, and not plan any more dates with her, because dating her has become blah for you, not much fun.

If she doesn't want to make any shared agreements, she doesn't have to. But if this is just how she's going to be on dates with you and you don't like it, you can stop dating her.

Galagirl
 
This is weird to me. She wants DADT, yet you know about fiance and he knows about you. You should clarify who this DADT applies to. Maybe she isn't comfortable hearing about your other partners. In that case, she has the right to ask you not to share with her about that.

This would mean you don't share yourself completely with her. You may or may not be okay with that. But if you want her stuff shared with you then express that you want that, and she should do that and be transparent. If she doesn't want to tell you what she is doing, then you are getting her answer: she's not wanting to be honest with you.

Beyond that situation, what I'm hearing you say is what really bugs you is her texting other guys when she is with you. You need to let her know this is not okay with you. If she insists on DADT, then she needs to focus on you when with you, so as not to flaunt something which she isn't willing to talk about. DADT is essentially secretive enough to be cheating. That means she should be hiding any text messaging from you, as well... otherwise she sucks at it and is flaunting her cheating.

Even if you were open, you could rightfully have a boundary of not using devices during your quality-time dates.

At a minimum, maybe you need to set boundaries on her messaging or phone use while with you. If she wants to enforce DADT with you, then she can give you uninterrupted time. What she does on her own time is up to her.
 
Thank you all for the thoughtful advice. It’s something I have my moments with. We went away for a nice romantic weekend. I did take time to talk about this with her and she clearly was shook and denied it. Yet she spent a considerable and noticeable time on her phone, flaunting it, in a way.

I know she struggles with her version of what an open relationship means. It’s something I will continue to bring up, from time to time. It will certainly get old. It’s not enough for her to tell me that her fiancée and I are the only guys in her life, when she was very into her texting with this other guy. It felt rude and disrespectful, for sure, but I found that I’m learning to let these thing go a little better, and have some compassion related to her being her own independent person. I have confusing emotions at times but am happy to lean in and learn, as each partner is different. I realized I was likely feeling more of my needs would be met by her, instead of focusing on my own inner world.
 
Thank you all for the thoughtful advice. It’s something I have my moments with. We went away for a nice romantic weekend. I did take time to talk about this with her and she clearly was shook and denied it. Yet she spent a considerable and noticeable time on her phone, flaunting it, in a way. I know that she struggles with her version of what an open relationship means. It’s something I will continue to bring up, from time to time. It will certainly get old. It’s not enough for her to tell me that her fiancée and I are the only guys in her life, when she was very into her texting with this other guy. It felt rude and disrespectful, for sure, but I found that I’m learning to let go of these thing a little better, and have some compassion related to her being her own independent person. I have confusing emotions at times, but am happy to lean in and learn, as each partner is different. I realized I was likely feeling more of my needs would be met by her, instead of focusing on my own inner world.
Tell me to mind my own business, but from your description this sounds a bit icky to me, like someone playing games. Obviously, we are all our own people, and each of us is at where we are at, but the "no, no, you're not in the cool gang" behaviour sure seems provocative, and not in a fun way.

I wanna type "Beware." So, yeah, from how your description of the situation reads, if it was me, I'd be like "Hmmm, you sure?" But then again, I've been single for yonks, so, what do I know...?
 
On a vacation? That's different than a two-hour dinner date. You might have "regular date mode" and then "vacation mode." Like, "vacation mode" might have free time for both of you from 3PM - 6 PM to nap, do emails, text other partners, etc. (Whatever time you agree on.) A time to be on your own and catch up with your other people. You then spend the rest of the time on the vacation together, with devices put away.

But the same idea applies. If she's just "blah" as a vacation companion because she's all sucked up in her phone, it's okay if you don't vacation with her again. Vacation with someone else or on your own so your vacation time IS fun.

Galagirl
 
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. It definitely has me wondering what the hell is going on at moments. Definitely icky. I don’t love being told a lot of good things, yet seeing and feeling conflicting actions. It would not bother me if she were transparent and said, “Hey, I have these other things going on."

It’s just not as honest or transparent a relationship as I had believed, so I’m in a weird headspace about it all. To be clear, she literally texted with this guy from the start to finish of the weekend. It wasn’t as if the phone was ever put down. So I’m feeling a little annoyed and hurt. I brought it up to her and she denied it, but it was clear as day to me.

I'm sort of at a loss at the moment, but I will think about it and use it as an opportunity to have some open and clear dialogue with her about boundaries and expectations.
 
It sounds like she's gaslighting you a little bit -- telling you that what you saw with your own eyes didn't happen. I'm hoping that she will work with you a little when you bring it up again, but I have to say things are looking pretty grim. I expect that you'll get more denial -- and gaslighting -- from her, but I hope I'm wrong.
 
I tend to agree except there is some hope as she’s started talking with some poly friendly therapisfs and she seems to be set on working on some traumas and anxieties. Im not lookimg to lose myself in her by any stretch. It’s just been challenging to process.
 
Okay, that's a hopeful sign. I just hope that she'll commit to being honest going forward.
 
She can work on her stuff and you can work on finding, communicating and enforcing boundaries. She cannot learn if you enable her. If you establish and enforce boundaries, and she truly wants to work on herself then she will get the picture.

Maybe start simple with "if you so much as pick up your phone the first hour we are together, I will leave and end our date."

Work on extending that time until it becomes during the entire date (if it starts and ends the same day).

Set different boundaries for vacations and agreed upon times daily where you both have your own time to do as you wish, etc.
 
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