Wow, Tinwen, you bring up so many great questions to delve into!
Now this thinking is somewhat exaggerated because I know it is actually unlikely and unhealthy to have a partner (or be someones) very top priority and to truly become one with a partner.
I think it can be unhealthy with the wrong person. I currently have someone who seems to want to crawl into my skin and meld with me and I become him and he becomes me and there's no boundary....and it feels terrible and wrong and I'm constantly scrambling backwards.
But I also think with the right person, with balance, with shared vision and goals and direction, with mutual attraction, it can be a beautiful thing.
.... If you leave out the part about number one life priority, it should certainly be possible to have committed poly partner(s). In theory - even better a committed network, but I don't see that working.
I know I just miss that part of setting goals for "building a life together"
....I don't mind being "secondary" in any other way (in fact, I don't think I am secondary for Idealist in any other way), but this is a huge aspect of life. So... I guess I just carry on building a home on myself, but it would be that much more pleasant to have someone to do it with. I need a tribe to belong.
This may be one of the core questions: is it possible to be secondary and yet be building a life together?
I didn't mind being 'secondary.' I'm actually quite happy in my own home, having lots of time to myself. But I had a HUGE problem with disrespect and his wife making SURE I knew where I stood. I had a HUGE problem with being lied to by him, to cover for her games. I had a HUGE problem with realizing there were some ground rules in play that they weren't willing to admit to me--probably because they knew deep down it didn't sound good when spoken out loud in the light of day.
And yes, I ultimately had a problem with him telling me he was retiring to another state one day aaaaaaand.....yet telling me every man I dated wasn't good enough for me (convenient side effect, I stay with him for the next ten years as I hunt for that mythical, elusive Perfect Man) while telling me he's going to walk off into the sunset and wave sayanora to me, saying, Thanks for ten years, it's been fun, but I was never going to build a life with you, so good luck finding someone for your
sunset years now that you're ten years older, ten years more wrinkled, ten years more sagging.
I personally believe that most of us have a need to have someone...call it tribal as you did. Most of us want to know we're not going to die alone. And he wouldn't give me even that much.
And why he wouldn't give me even that much goes to your next point:
And there was that other discussion last week, where it came out that it was very unlikely for FMF V's to work. Is it the same for everyone? Do we girls really need the security of a shared household with someone? (Except for those who chose solo poly, they have my respect, but that's so extremely independent that for me "solo poly"="single mom" and ="completely self-reliant" is freaking scary.) Is that why it doesn't work - either a full-time husband or better no at all? Or do we all feel deceived of our "right" to be protected, when the man has another woman as well?
I think this is a very interesting question. Women are often stereotyped as 'catty.' I believe stereotypes don't hold true across the board, but obviously come from somewhere. I believe his wife is catty. I believe that she saw him fall in love and felt fear for her own position.
[A foolish fear. I respect and honor marriage and NEVER would have asked him to break his vows. In fact, I would have lost respect for him if he could do that. But that doesn't mean I'm his F--ing backseat bimbo and stupid enough to be lied to, either.]
Did being secondary HAVE TO mean I was a single mother? I'm not 100% convinced it has to be that way. And yet what I saw in practical terms was this: in my moment of crisis, no power, kids to feed, trying to bail the basement and prevent a tree falling on the house--he wasn't there for me.
But he took an entire afternoon off work to save her from...dare I say it...please don't spew your drink all over the keyboard...making a phone call to a repairman.
He soundly ridiculed a man who wanted to take her on a date in his work vehicle. Then he expected I would be fine with dates groping in the backseat of his car. You know, all this talk about 'don't compare relationships' is FUCKING BULLSHIT. In the beginning, he showered me with love and admiration. In the end, his words continued the love and admiration, but his ACTIONS said she deserved the best, and I deserved groping in the backseat of a car.
I'll walk through hell with a man...but he damn well better give the same in return. I don't do one-way streets.
I found in poly, I don't need to live with him or be his one and only, but I sure better be valued for what I give and not treated like the dog's chew toy to entertain and satiate him while his wife is off screwing other men. Yes, with poly, WITH HIM
, I was a single mother, I was on my own, and that is not acceptable after two years with someone.
Yes, better off alone than being used as someone's entertainment while his wife is screwing other men. Better off alone...? Well, in moments of crisis, I was alone, anyway, and you know the saying: If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best.
I came to feel that was the case. If he can't be there for me, why the hell am I being the eye candy on the arm for him? If his wife gets all the benefits, she can sure as hell BE THERE and be the eye candy on the arm for him, too.
Which brings us to the last point I quoted:
.... A handful of people from the whole world on this forum. Is poly a chimera? Is nearly everyone secretly struggling?
I can only say that I believe had he and she been different people, it could
have worked. I felt no need to live in a home with a man. I had no desire to take him away.
But they weren't
different people. They were two people who wanted a safe harbor yet all the freedom of being single....and weren't willing to give fully to other relationships.
I honestly came out of this feeling that I, the newbie, did poly way better than the two of them, the so-called experts who had been at it for 15 years. [note that I was his longest relationship EVER in what was then 17 years of them being open.] I also believe they're both entitled, self-gratifying, narcissistic hedonists, and their personal characters are also part of what led to the end result.
But the fact remains: I see a lot of women getting anxious and possessive that their husbands might leave--even on this forum, I see women who have multiple men, but get very agitated if any of those men have other women--always for some reason, of course, and yet...wow, the pattern is always the same. The pattern is: I see virtually no cases of FMF poly working. In theory
, I think it could
. In practice, I don't see it happening.
XBF accused me of 'trying to prove that poly can't work.' The truth is just the opposite. I respected, loved and valued him, and desperately wanted
it to work. I have been coming to this forum for four years now, two of which I was seeing him, seeking
the ways it can work, because he couldn't answer my questions himself.
Are these answers to your questions? No, they're only my own experience, as it pertains to your questions.