new to poly but something has changed

unsureduckling

New member
hello everyone! i am new to this forum so forgive me if someone has posted a similar story.

context; i have been seeing this person for about a half a year now, and when we started dating i knew they were poly and i, at the time, had never considered it for myself. they have another partner that they’d been seeing prior to me, but it’s never been an issue and i like their other partner (in a platonic way) but sometimes i wonder if the other partner likes me? E, my partner, moved out of their old apartment and into an apartment with their other partner, Sara, and made it seem like it wouldn’t be a super long term thing, i even helped them move in.

the situation right now is that something has changed within the last two weeks that has been giving me a lot of anxiety and i don’t know how to approach it. we always would text, send rather long messages, and just generally have fun talking to each other but lately they hardly ever reply or reach out and we don’t see each other nearly as often (maybe 1 time a week in comparison to 2-4 times a week). i thought maybe it was because E was busy with school (they went back to get their masters) but even when i do get to spend time with them i notice that they will still text Sara quite often which really hurt me because it feels like the little amount of time i have with them doesn’t matter enough to them. the other day they were staying here for the night and i thought they might stay another day because they were here until it was later, but they abruptly said they were going to leave soon and Sara came to pick them up to go do something. i think they knew that i knew that was what was happening because they tried to like say goodbye and were acting slightly strange like they were trying to make it okay and i was trying really hard to show that i wasn’t hurt because i wasn’t sure if it was something to be hurt by. it just has really been hurting me knowing that they live with Sara now and see her all the time but the little time they spend with me doesn’t even feel like they want to be there anymore.

i am new to poly relationships, and i don’t have any other partners, so i don’t really know what to do here. is it wrong for me to feel this way? should i say something? does the change in their attitude mean that maybe they just don’t have time with school and their other partner so it could be coming to an end? any advice helps. thank you. :)
 

Czeverny90

New member
I am really new to any of this too, but I think the three of you (or you and your partner) should come to an agreement that allows you to spend quality time with your partner. It is extremely normal to feel neglected in a situation such as yours, who wouldn't? I understand your partner sees the other relationship as primary (?) but it seems like things have changed, so it is really worth discussing and you are entitled to your emotions imo
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
hello everyone! i am new to this forum so forgive me if someone has posted a similar story.

context; i have been seeing this person for about a half a year now, and when we started dating i knew they were poly and i, at the time, had never considered it for myself. they have another partner that they’d been seeing prior to me, but it’s never been an issue and i like their other partner (in a platonic way) but sometimes i wonder if the other partner likes me? E, my partner, moved out of their old apartment and into an apartment with their other partner, Sara, and made it seem like it wouldn’t be a super long term thing, i even helped them move in.

the situation right now is that something has changed within the last two weeks that has been giving me a lot of anxiety and i don’t know how to approach it. we always would text, send rather long messages, and just generally have fun talking to each other but lately they hardly ever reply or reach out and we don’t see each other nearly as often (maybe 1 time a week in comparison to 2-4 times a week). i thought maybe it was because E was busy with school (they went back to get their masters) but even when i do get to spend time with them i notice that they will still text Sara quite often which really hurt me because it feels like the little amount of time i have with them doesn’t matter enough to them. the other day they were staying here for the night and i thought they might stay another day because they were here until it was later, but they abruptly said they were going to leave soon and Sara came to pick them up to go do something. i think they knew that i knew that was what was happening because they tried to like say goodbye and were acting slightly strange like they were trying to make it okay and i was trying really hard to show that i wasn’t hurt because i wasn’t sure if it was something to be hurt by. it just has really been hurting me knowing that they live with Sara now and see her all the time but the little time they spend with me doesn’t even feel like they want to be there anymore.

i am new to poly relationships, and i don’t have any other partners, so i don’t really know what to do here. is it wrong for me to feel this way? should i say something? does the change in their attitude mean that maybe they just don’t have time with school and their other partner so it could be coming to an end? any advice helps. thank you. :)
Nicknames are preferred here to initials. I'm going to call your partner Early. You can choose something different. You didn't indicate gender, so I chose a generic name.

It sounds like Early might be losing interest in you. As you suspect, the change to living with Sara might have caused a resurgence of interest in her. And school might be very busy. But it's rude to spend your limited time together texting Sara, and I could see it hurt you when Early left you abruptly that time.

You would benefit from an open conversation (or more than one) about all this. Ask Early outright if they are losing interest. If they say they aren't, tell them what you need from the relationship. If all they can do now is once a week, it should be devoted to you. Quality time. Texting with Sara could be limited to one quick goodnight message or two. Otherwise, you want Early to devote their time to you, except for TRUE emergencies.

Maybe Sara is becoming more jealous of you over time. Maybe she feels more possessive of Early, now that they are nesting. You need to find out where you stand. Open and honest communication/negotiation is key.

If Early is willing to meet your requests, and their actions match their words, good. If they waffle, or say they will and then don't follow through, you have the choice to keep going anyway and being hurt, or give Early space and see if they are more available once the newness of living with Sara wears off. Or you can decide that you need more out of a relationship, even with a poly person, and let Early go.
 

unsureduckling

New member
B
Nicknames are preferred here to initials. I'm going to call your partner Early. You can choose something different. You didn't indicate gender, so I chose a generic name.

It sounds like Early might be losing interest in you. As you suspect, the change to living with Sara might have caused a resurgence of interest in her. And school might be very busy. But it's rude to spend your limited time together texting Sara, and I could see it hurt you when Early left you abruptly that time.

You would benefit from an open conversation (or more than one) about all this. Ask Early outright if they are losing interest. If they say they aren't, tell them what you need from the relationship. If all they can do now is once a week, it should be devoted to you. Quality time. Texting with Sara could be limited to one quick goodnight message or two. Otherwise, you want Early to devote their time to you, except for TRUE emergencies.

Maybe Sara is becoming more jealous of you over time. Maybe she feels more possessive of Early, now that they are nesting. You need to find out where you stand. Open and honest communication/negotiation is key.

If Early is willing to meet your requests, and their actions match their words, good. If they waffle, or say they will and then don't follow through, you have the choice to keep going anyway and being hurt, or give Early space and see if they are more available once the newness of living with Sara wears off. Or you can decide that you need more out of a relationship, even with a poly person, and let Early go.
Both of those are fake names somewhat related to their real names, don’t worry! :) I wasn’t sure what the guidelines were so I figured I would use fake names just to be safe. E uses they / them pronouns for clarification as well so that’s why there was no specified gender because they are non-binary.

Do you have any suggestions on what to say, or how to start that conversation? I struggle with conflict because of past history with an ex girlfriend that made me feel like I was crazy for expressing my emotions and I’ve been doing a lot of work on that but sometimes I still struggle. And the new poly dynamic for me makes me wonder what the best way to approach these sorts of conversations are? Thanks so much for responding. :)
 

unsureduckling

New member
I am really new to any of this too, but I think the three of you (or you and your partner) should come to an agreement that allows you to spend quality time with your partner. It is extremely normal to feel neglected in a situation such as yours, who wouldn't? I understand your partner sees the other relationship as primary (?) but it seems like things have changed, so it is really worth discussing and you are entitled to your emotions imo
Thank you for saying that, also glad to know that someone else is also pretty knew to this because I haven’t met a lot of people who are! Yeah, it’s difficult with the primary partner bit because they had explicitly told me they didn’t ever like using those titles because they didn’t like the idea.

As someone else who is new to this, would you have any suggestions for how to have the conversation? I’m not so sure how to have these kinds of conversations with someone and any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)
 

Czeverny90

New member
Thank you for saying that, also glad to know that someone else is also pretty knew to this because I haven’t met a lot of people who are! Yeah, it’s difficult with the primary partner bit because they had explicitly told me they didn’t ever like using those titles because they didn’t like the idea.

As someone else who is new to this, would you have any suggestions for how to have the conversation? I’m not so sure how to have these kinds of conversations with someone and any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)
Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I am not actually poly, at least not in practice. I am in some sort of open relationship. Still, I have had therapy to manage my emotions (not necessarily related to the relationship) for a while now, and I have read lots and lots of things online. I think what therapists usually emphasize is to always have these conversations centered on how you feel, without ever blaming the other person. So, for instance in your case you could start saying something like "Sometimes I feel neglected in the relationship and I feel this has been a major change compared to the past where I was feeling more fulfilled. I feel like the changes in your other relationship may have affected the relationship we are in" etc. The other person could still feel "blamed", but that is not your fault because you are perfectly entitled to express how you perceive things and how you are experiencing your own emotions. If the conversation starts off, then I think you could mention that you feel it would be beneficial to the relationships to have an agreement to ensure that everybody is happy and feeling fulfilled. I mean, at the end of the day, everyone's happiness even tho not easy to achieve should be the goal, I think. So I think some kind of compromise and agreement is in order.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello unsureduckling,

Perhaps you could say, something like, "E, I have noticed that over the past two weeks, we've only seen each other once a week, instead of two to four times a week like we usually do. Could you tell me, do you know why that is happening?" Then, after E answers that question, you could say, something like, "E, I feel hurt when we are together and you're texting Sara quite often. I feel like maybe what little time you and I spend together is not very important to you. Am I looking at it all wrong? Why aren't we spending the quality time together like we used to?" This gives E an opportunity to explain things, rather than feel judged or condemned. While at the same time, it does give a voice to the elephant in the room. And you don't have to say it exactly as I have written it here; what I have written is just a general idea, and you could probably take it from there.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
This is the correct way to address these kinds of issues. But you should also repeat his words back to him, as how you heard it, and allow him to correct you if you didn't catch his meaning. Vice versa, he should also reflect his understanding of your POV back to you. Everyone needs to feel heard before you can move to the next step of negotiations, or people can start to act defensive. No one is allowed to tell the other that they are "wrong" for feeling a certain way.

There's a book out there about this kind of communication. Non-Violent Communication. (I'm not crazy about that title. We all need to know this way of talking, whether we are threatened with actual violence or not!)
 

MeeraReed

Active member
It's okay to tell your partner that you're worried something has changed between you two. That they've been seeing you less often in the past few weeks. That they've been texting Sara a lot when they're with you instead of being fully present with you. Ask Early if they've noticed their behavior changing. It's okay to say that you've been feeling hurt by these things.

Talk to your partner specifically about the incident where you thought they were staying with you but then they left to do something Sara. YES, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL HURT BY THAT. It may turn out to have simply been a miscommunication (maybe your partner thought you knew what the plan for the day was). But it's okay to say, "My feelings were hurt the other day when you left to go do the thing with Sara. I had thought we were spending the rest of the day/night together, and I was surprised when you suddenly left. It was awkward and I didn't know how to react. I felt like I had to hide my hurt feelings."

Also, talk to Early about their living situation with Sara. You were under the impression it was a temporary living situation? But maybe now it feels like Early and Sara are becoming serious live-in partners? And you are worried about where that leaves you.

I had an ex who told me his living situation with another partner was temporary at the time that I met him. His partner was married, her husband was working abroad, and my boyfriend planned to move out when her husband came back. But, within a couple months, things had changed for them. Her marriage fell apart, and she and my boyfriend decided to commit to being serious live-in life-partners. My boyfriend never discussed this change with me--it slowly became apparent over his changed behavior. I was comfortable with polyamory, but I hadn't signed up for dating someone with a "primary" partner who would always live with them. I became very secondary, and I was unhappy.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Let me repeat back what I understand in my own words so I know I got it how you mean it. You correct me ok? Maybe it helps to see it this way. I quote and make it blue just to set it off visually.

PEOPLE

  • You
  • E, your partner
  • Sara, E's other partner, who they now live with

PROBLEMS

Every since E moved in with Sara, they are


  • Not texting or talking to you as much. Since they move they hardly reply if you initiate text convo or call. They don't initiate much any more.
  • Not seeing you as much. It's gone from 2-4 times a week to once a week.
  • When they DO see you, they are fussing with the phone taking texts from Sara and not really being present on the date with you.
  • There was a weird overnight. E spent one night and you thought they might spend two. Instead Sara came to get them and it was a weird goodbye.

Basically you don't like that is is not really PRESENT with you any more. Not on the phone or in person. You thought this living arrangement was going to be temporary, but it's becoming a drag. You aren't sure if you are "allowed" to speak up or not.

Is that about it?

If so? Don't focus so much on what E is doing with Sara. Focus on how E is behaving with YOU.This isn't anything "poly special" -- this is just dating stuff. Some will go long haul, some won't.

You can speak up about the things that concern you. Always!

Could tell E that you would like to know what's going on. Ask if they are willing to make a regular date schedule and actually be PRESENT with you. Or ask if they are losing interest and its best to call it what it is and part ways.

Take the bull by the horns.

This stuff is going to happen in dating. Where maybe some not not even a runner and you don't get past the first date. Some maybe are initially compatible, but not DEEPLY compatible for long haul. That's what dating is FOR. To sort out the compatible ones.

You mention you were dating 6 months. Well, NRE lasts about 6-24 mos. After that, the pink fluffy lala clouds lift, and reality steps in. Then you see if things are still compatible or not.

You haven't done anything wrong.

But if E no longer meets YOUR personal standards for how you want to be treated? And you request behavior changes and they won't? Could let it go and break up.

As someone else who is new to this, would you have any suggestions for how to have the conversation? I’m not so sure how to have these kinds of conversations with someone and any advice would be greatly appreciated

Could use the NVC template.


When I see/observe ____ behavior, I feel ____. I need ___. I would prefer you do _____. Could you please be willing to do that?

Then they can answer "yes, willing and able" or "no, not willing and able."

If yes, great. Problems start getting solved.

If no? You accept the answer, and decide if you want to be here like that or not. You decide what you will and will not put up with.

EX:

"When you are on a date with me, and I see you taking texts and stuck to the phone? I feel unimportant to you. Like you are not really PRESENT and don't care to be here.

I need to you be PRESENT on our dates and put the phone away. If you cannot be present, I refer you say "No, thanks" when I ask you out. Could you please be willing to do that?

I've also noticed you don't reply or initiate texts/calls any more. Or ask me out. If this relationship is coming to an end? I need clarity. Rather than drag out, I prefer to just call it what it is. Could you be willing to tell me where you are with us dating? "

You make it be your way though. It is reasonable to expect someone who agreed to a date to BE on the date. Not here in body and mind is floating off elsewhere.

Keep it simpler on you.

Galagirl
 
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