Trying to understand

mondosgirl

New member
Hi, this is my second poly relationship I have been in. We are a vee and no one lives together. My hinge and his "primary" have been together since his marriage and she is the "face" of their relationship. He has told me that she is only primary because people found out they were together with his wife. I spend the night at his house when I can on my days off and we talk daily. Is it possible to have two primaries since none of us cohabitate? I feel lost in all of this, I don't know what I am allowed to feel or if I should. I don't know if I should even pretend like we have something. I just don't know. Can someone please help me
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you are struggling, even though I don't really have a clear picture of what's going on.

"Primary-Secondary" is not the only model. There can be "co-primary." Along with others.

http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/poly/Labriola/open.html

I feel lost in all of this, I don't know what I am allowed to feel or if I should. I don't know if I should even pretend like we have something. I just don't know.

You feel whatever it is you do feel.

Pretend you have something to WHO?

Lost in WHAT? Is he smack in the middle of divorce process and that's sucking up all his time and attention? So you are being taken for granted or neglected right now?

I could be wrong but to me you sound like you have a BF who used to be married but isn't any more. So the remaining GF just "inherited" the primary label. Or this GF just happened to be there when he was outted as poly. But now there's you also. So... wassup with the label then?

What do you mean when you say "she is the face of the relationship?" Like... People in his life know about her? And your BF hasn't introduced you to his friends and family as his other poly partner yet so you feel "hidden" or something?

Sounds like you don't love the "primary-secondary" labels or his reasoning for calling her primary.

If you rather drop all labels, or use "co-primary" or "working toward co-primary" instead? Or want to use something else? Want some clarity?

Talk to partner about it. It sounds like you want to know you add value to his life and what your place in his life actually IS. Along with assessing if this is deeply compatible or not.

Not every person you date is destined to be a long haul runner. And you can't be a mind reader. How you want to practice poly might not line up with how he wants to practice it.

So... talk. Find out what you want to know.

Galagirl
 
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mondosgirl

New member
Thank you for your response. He was married and his "primary" was in a relationship with him and his wife. His wife left and outed him and her so they stayed together after the divorce. why I don't know, I try to stay out of that relationship. She did inherit the title. The wife invited her to a party where she outed them. We have been on one date, the rest of the time it's phone calls and the bedroom. I hate labels, I do want to know I add value to his life because he adds value to mine. None of us live together and no one is talking about it. He got a divorce and got his own place. S
I haven't been introduced to anyone but his oldest kid and his roommate knows about me. I asked him to clarify but am still waiting on answers. I don't want to tell people I have a bf if he truly sees me as only primary. I want to introduce him to my friends but if I'm nothing but secondary then do I bother getting my feelings involved?
My last poly relationship was filled with lies and dishonesty and all conversations were told to his primary. So trying to trust in the process
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Out of curiosity, how long have you been seeing him?
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
That's not hugely long, as you've said, you're still spending most of your time in the bedroom. Awesome. Enjoy this phase.

You've also said you hate labels, but you are using them an awful lot. His other partner and him clearly have some history already, which, honestly, you sound rather envious of. Only time can give you guys history. So perhaps just chill.

As for how he sees you, only he can clarify that. I hope he gets back to you soon. Then you'll know if he wants to be your boyfriend or if he would rather keep it as more of a friends with benefits thing.

You seem very quick to denigrate the word secondary, but sometimes that is just a fact of life rather than some kind of actual heirarchy of emotional involvement. However as none of you live together or are planning to, perhaps just not use those words at all until you have more clarity. This very much seems to be a *you* issue rather than a relationship one. Reframe your own thinking and you might be a little happier.
 

mondosgirl

New member
Actually, I am really happy for them. I don't worry about their relationship, I worry about mine. As it should be, he labeled it all, to me he was just my bf. I was a gf. My religion allows men to have 4 wives so that is nothing to me, it is mainly do I allow myself to fall in love and be hurt. Is it okay for my position to fall in love or develop feelings. But thank you, I know it's me, like I said I have a hard time trusting poly but I trust him and that's why I'm back in it. I'm happy when I know what my structure is, where I stand.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Feelings are feelings. They happen. They are neither good or bad, OK or not OK. It's how you manage your feelings (infatuation, anger, grief, etc.) that matters. If you're not sure how you fit into his life yet, and haven't seen a clear development as far as being more deeply involved in his life, you could try to protect your heart, not get your expectations too high, maybe not declare your love just yet, be careful with social media posts.

Wait and see how things go as far as more real dates outdoors, or weekends away, vacations, meeting more of his family.

Also, I am concerned about the religious thing. He's not married to any of you. He's divorced from his wife and he's having sex with 2 women. He lives alone. In other words, he's just a single guy who is dating 2 women. That is not uncommon. Maybe your religion is patriarchal and does not "allow" women to have multiple partners, in other words, there is a sanctioned "one penis policy." How do you feel about that?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thank you for more info. That helps paint a clearer picture.

You have known him for a year but only dated a few months. And you are trying to trust again after a previous poly experience that had a lot of lies and dishonesty. So this time around, you want honesty, truth, and clear boundaries along with a clear structure. Is that true?

It sounds like you want to know if he considers you a booty call, a FWB, a GF or what. Because so far it's been 1 date, a lot of sex, and daily phone calls. You want to know what you both are shooting for here so you know how much time, energy, effort to spend on this one.

I'm wondering why you seem to be waiting around for him to decide what this is? Like passive? Rather than YOU decide what you are and are not up for and telling him simply? Then asking him what he's up for?
  • If you are up for booty calls? Fine. Then align your behavior to this. Stop doing romantic dates, and don't do daily chit chat phone calls. It's just casual sex. Phone calls and text is to arrange the next hook up.

  • If you are up for FWB? Fine. Then align your behavior to this. No romantic dates. Just friends who hang out sometimes. And sometimes call to chit chat. The "we are friends" behaviors are the main thing. And the "benefits" behaviors are not -- it just means sex once in a while.

  • If you are up for poly BF? And you are trying to find some balance? Not always sex? Then make some time for other activities like romantic dates. If you want to introduce him to your friends, ask him if he's ready for that and what he wants to be called, and then get on with it. If you want to meet his people? Say so.
I know the last poly experience was ugh, but you don't have to let that cast a shadow over THIS experience. This new partner and you get to create THIS experience together.

And if this dating partner isn't a match because of whatever? It's ok to part ways and end it peacefully.

Because not everyone you date is going to be a long haul runner. Dating is when you sort out the compatible ones out from the incompatible ones.

So... date him and get on with the sorting.

None of us live together and no one is talking about it.

Why would you be talking about it? You have only been dating a few months. Moving in together too fast would be a mistake.

Also sounds like he just got out of a divorce. He might enjoy being on his own for a while.

And then some people never want to live together or don't want to live with children.

I haven't been introduced to anyone but his oldest kid and his roommate knows about me.

Would you like to meet more of his people? If so, could tell him you are up for that. Could ask him to introduce you when he's ready.

I asked him to clarify but am still waiting on answers. I don't want to tell people I have a bf if he truly sees me as only secondary. I want to introduce him to my friends but if I'm nothing but secondary then do I bother getting my feelings involved?

I correct it in the quote where you said "primary" because I think you meant "secondary."

To me feelings ensue after behavior. Either action behavior or thinking behavior.

Usually sharing regular sex with people leads to "having feelings" for them. And your feelings are already involved from the sound of it.

What are you trying to protect yourself from? Or rather... what feelings are you trying to change or curb?

"Secondary" doesn't mean you have no value or are a doormat. It just means you get less time with him. Maybe a few times a month or something. You are still treated with respect and care when you DO share that time together. Maybe you don't want to be primary -- you want to be dedicated to your career, or date someone else already who is your primary. Or he's doing those things.

But if it's that you don't like doing that primary-secondary model at all? Don't.

Tell him what open/poly models you DO prefer. See what lines up or not.

do I allow myself to fall in love and be hurt.

That is a normal risk to dating. Sometimes things pan out. Sometimes they don't, feelings get hurt and people sort out whatever it is. Or feelings get hurt and people break up. Then they heal from the break up and move on.

Is it that you started dating too soon after the last time and you weren't totally healed yet? So now it's making you hesitate in participating fully here in this new one?

He was married and his "primary" was in a relationship with him and his wife. His wife left and outed him and her so they stayed together after the divorce.
He has told me that she is only primary because people found out they were together with his wife.

I'll be honest. His reason for calling the other GF "primary" sounds dumb to me. Just because him, his ex-wife, and the GF where in a polyship? And then his ex-wife outted him as poly and divorced him? So the other GF was the only one left? That's the only reason he calls her his primary? So what? Anyone could have been the one left after the divorce.

I'd rather he tell me up front this other GF is primary because that's the partner he wants to spend the most time with. Like a "real" reason and not just "happened to be here" reason. Because I might have my own primary -- my career, and I only want to be a part time GF. Or my own primary person, or whatever.

Is that the problem? You are up for participating in a primary-secondary model and have no issues if he wants her to be the primary. But you think he was trying to soft pedal it at you rather than just telling you straight up? And because of your previous poly relationship had lies and dishonesty you prefer he just tell you things straight up and not pussy foot around?

Is it okay for my position to fall in love or develop feelings.

Sure. Why not? What are you afraid of? Feelings are just feelings. Some are fun like sunny skies and some are less fun like stormy clouds. But all of them pass, and new ones happen. It's on your to do your own emotional management.

If you don't WANT to develop deep feelings here? Dial back your behaviors you do with him and adjust your expectations.
  • A booty call is a booty call.
  • A friend is a friend.
  • A FWB is a FWB, but it's friend FIRST, benefits last.
  • A GF is a GF.
I know you said you don't like "labels" but sometimes they are useful so people are on the same page with expectations of behavior and maintaining personal boundaries. A friend or GF might help you shop for your mother's birthday present. A booty call does not.

I have anxiety. I don't like "fuzzy stuff" or "floating along into stuff." I like clear agreements and definitions.

I'm happy when I know what my structure is, where I stand.

Then PARTICIPATE in this relationship. It's ok that you take up the space you do in the world. You don't have to hang back all timid.

A few months in is still the "getting to know you" phase. So get to know him.

Ask the questions you need to ask. State what you are and are not willing to put up with. Ask what he is willing/not willing to put up with.

Get on with figuring out how compatible this guy actually is. It's ok to enjoy the process and enjoy how this one unfolds. It's ok to relax some.

It's ok to think to yourself "Ok, I didn't like the last time I did poly. So if anything hinky happens HERE, I'm out. I can just end this. I don't have to put up with any shenanigans."

You don't have to be afraid if you can trust yourself to take care of you.

That would be my suggestion.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello mondosgirl,

There is definitely such a thing as multiple primaries in a composite relationship. I myself am in a vee, and all three of us consider each other to be primary. Also, you do not have to live with someone in order to be primary to them. There just is no reason why your hinge shouldn't refer to you as his primary, the same as he refers to his other partner. At the very least, you should be able to grow the title primary over time. And in the meantime, he should be telling you exactly where you stand. Does he consider you to be a secondary partner to him? Then that's what he should tell you. Also, he should tell you exactly what "secondary" means to him.

I think it's shitty that he won't introduce you to his friends and family. Also, it's shitty that he has only taken you on one date, he just wants you on the phone and in the bedroom. Even if he thinks you're secondary, secondary partners have rights: https://www.morethantwo.com/polyforsecondaries.html#bor

Stand up for your rights. Tell him that he must stop treating you like a second-class citizen. You deserve to know the truth about where you stand with him. And you deserve to be treated with respect.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Hello mondosgirl,

There is definitely such a thing as multiple primaries in a composite relationship. I myself am in a vee, and all three of us consider each other to be primary. Also, you do not have to live with someone in order to be primary to them. There just is no reason why your hinge shouldn't refer to you as his primary, the same as he refers to his other partner. At the very least, you should be able to grow the title primary over time. And in the meantime, he should be telling you exactly where you stand. Does he consider you to be a secondary partner to him? Then that's what he should tell you. Also, he should tell you exactly what "secondary" means to him.
He can be asked to consider how he defines his terms. I agree co-primaries can be a thing, even if you don't cohabit with either one, or just cohabit with one and not the other.
I think it's shitty that he won't introduce you to his friends and family. Also, it's shitty that he has only taken you on one date, he just wants you on the phone and in the bedroom. Even if he thinks you're secondary, secondary partners have rights: https://www.morethantwo.com/polyforsecondaries.html#bor

I would prefer you don't describe someone's behavior as shitty. If the OP went to her bf and said, "You're acting shitty," would that aid in good communication? Respect is necessary.

There are innumerable reasons why someone may not want to introduce their lover to their family right away. Maybe they don't get along with their families. For just one example, my partner's other partner didn't introduce her to his parents for years, because he felt his mother was a highly critical person and might not be as positive about Pixi as he'd like.

Stand up for your rights. Tell him that he must stop treating you like a second-class citizen. You deserve to know the truth about where you stand with him. And you deserve to be treated with respect.

Regards,
Kevin T.
Sure, but there's no real reason to be so confrontational about it. "You must do this or that," is better stated as, "When you do X, I feel Y."
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
There are innumerable reasons why someone may not want to introduce their lover to their family right away. Maybe they don't get along with their families. For just one example, my partner's other partner didn't introduce her to his parents for years, because he felt his mother was a highly critical person and might not be as positive about Pixi as he'd like.
To echo this - I haven't met Artist's father even though he's local to the both of us. The reasons are myriad - I don't particularly want to as he's the sort of right wing type I detest (and an antivaxxer!); I don't want to spend time with people who I have to do the 'just friends' game with; I somewhat detest the dude because on a lot of levels everything Artist has said about his childhood equals "it was just as abusive as mine" and he acknowledges that and yet doesn't... but most importantly Artist and his father have a weirdly shallow relationship where Artist tells his father almost *nothing* important about his life - if you asked his father, Artist isn't poly, his spouse isn't genderqueer/nonbinary, Artist isn't an atheist, hell, Artist doesn't even drink. Soooooo... somehow not introducing us doesn't feel like a slight.

That said, he DOES hang out with all -my- friends and family and he's introduced me to the people that actually *are* important to him. So.
 
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