Untenable?

ek0646035

New member
I (F) am the non-primary partner to another woman, “A”. We’ve been involved for about two and a half years, though only strictly dating for one and a half years. “A” has been with her primary partner “B” (M) for about two and a half years; they were legally married about a year and a half ago. I have my own primary partner of four years, “C.” B has a small child from a previous relationship; my understanding is that the relationship both A and B have with the child’s other parent “D” is quite toxic; they’ve struggled a lot to reach a legal agreement with D, and the process is ongoing. Recently, however, they’ve had a significant breakthrough: the child will live with A and B during the week and attend school nearby. A and B and the child are tremendously happy about this, and I am tremendously happy for them.

Less kindly and empathetically, I do wonder what this new situation will mean for my relationship with A. She is fully employed by in a position to work from home, whereas B cannot. The child is too young to be left unsupervised—so presumably A, with the relatively flexible schedule, will step in to care in the after-school hours, and in general I predict that a lot more of her time will go to the daily tasks of parenting, anticipated or otherwise. I want to be clear that intellectually and even emotionally (or at least partially so), I am in full support of this being the case—and I want A and B and the child to get to form the bond they’ve always wanted, and be a close, loving, and supportive family. At the same time, A and I have typically seen each other during the afternoons (typically once a week; on a good week, twice or even thrice). I have always wanted more time with her, but she has always been busy, and on all of the occasions I’ve voiced this request, I’ve felt bad doing so. Over the course of our relationship, we have gradually spent more time together: an hour or two per week (or every other week) has turned into four or five or six hours on a weekly basis. We also text daily. Previously we had planned to discuss seeing each other more often; I feel that the development with the child forecloses this discussion, and that, again, she’ll need me to be more flexible with our time. Seeing each other on the weekends isn’t a possibility, as that time belongs first and foremost to my primary partner C (who lives in another town)

Again, I want to reiterate that I am very happy that A and B have had this breakthrough with the child. I feel that the insecurity is has provoked in me is more indicative of some other issues. C and I have worked through our own feelings about polyamory to let A into our shared lives—they have a friendly relationship, and are quite comfortable talking with each other, and I’m very proud and grateful for C because of it. B and I are not very close, and we don’t know very much about each other. Most of what we know about each other is mediated through A. I’m told that he likes me, generally, and I like him, but in person we are quite awkward—maybe due to both of our shyness, or my fear of him. I might be projecting, but I feel in him a desire to not get close to me, or to keep me as a separate entity, something that is very much a part of his partner’s life and not part of their shared life, which I understand is his right. Above all, I am not really “in” the child’s life—I feel that I know so much about the child from A, who is very loving, and shares a lot, yet we’ve barely met, and the child knows nothing about me or my relationship to A. I can’t really contest that, as I’m neither a parent nor a primary partner. Yet it feels odd to know so much about the struggle A and B have had, and to know so much about the child, and to care so deeply about the child, A, B, and the situation, and be totally uninvolved on a material/practical level. In a way, it feels as if the emotion that the situation provokes in me is directed toward a future that doesn’t exist, since A has made no promises that our relationship will continue after the career circumstances that hold us in the same town come to an end, whereas she plans a future with B and the child (and, as primaries, rightly so?) In the interests of everyone’s privacy, very few people know that A and I are involved, although A has insisted many times that our mutual friends know through the power of gossip (which, for maybe once in the history of the world, often has turned out to be untrue) and that informing them all or “making a statement” is unnecessary. If I want these things—more time, more people who know about our relationship, more certainty about the future—it’s because I want to feel that our relationship is legitimate and secure, if only to match the amount of love and care I feel for A—not to feel that our relationship is one-sided, or that she dictates all of the terms. But I don’t know how to ask for these things now without it seeming aggressive or disrespectful of B or the child or her relationship with either of them. Nor do I know how to deal with the fact that, really, this response is motivated by jealousy: that I’ll lose time with A, and that A is living a life and planning a future that possibly excludes me. This is, of course, her right, as painful as it is. The uncertainty is equally painful, and very distracting and exhausting, and while my impulse is to last as long as I can, and stretch my time with A as long as it will go, it often saddens me, and makes me anxious. It feels as though my mind (which feels that the situation is tenable) is at odds with my body (which feels, and sometimes demonstrates, that it’s untenable). I worry a lot about bringing any of this up with A, as I don’t want B to feel I am encroaching on their relationship. I wonder what others on this forum will think?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
If I want these things—more time, more people who know about our relationship, more certainty about the future—it’s because I want to feel that our relationship is legitimate and secure, if only to match the amount of love and care I feel for A—not to feel that our relationship is one-sided, or that she dictates all of the terms.

So there's going to be a significant life change for A as she becomes a caregiving step-parent person to B's child from previous relationship who is moving in with them. I think it's ok to ask A how this big life change affect her time available to sustain a relationship with you, and what your place in her life is gonna be.

But I don’t know how to ask for these things now without it seeming aggressive or disrespectful of B or the child or her relationship with either of them.

Why's it disrespectful to other people to ask where YOU stand with A?

It's ok for you to take up the space you do in the world. You aren't harming other people by existing.

Nor do I know how to deal with the fact that, really, this response is motivated by jealousy: that I’ll lose time with A, and that A is living a life and planning a future that possibly excludes me.

Again... why's it a bad thing to want to know what's going on in your relationship with A and where she stands, now that there's gonna be big changes in her life?

First, a kid coming to live with them. Second, what happens when the work situation changes?

The uncertainty is equally painful, and very distracting and exhausting, and while my impulse is to last as long as I can, and stretch my time with A as long as it will go, it often saddens me, and makes me anxious.

So ask what you need to ask, have the conversation you need to have, so the uncertainty part ends. Then your feelings can clarify.
  • Then you can either be plain sad that this is leading to a break up.
  • Or plain happy that this is not leading to a break up.
Rather than this weird mishmosh of feelings due to wondering, stressing, and inaction.

I worry a lot about bringing any of this up with A, as I don’t want B to feel I am encroaching on their relationship. I wonder what others on this forum will think?

You have your own relationship with A. It is not "encroaching" on her relationship with B to ask her where she stands in terms of (you + her).

You can't be a mind reader. So ask what you want to know.

How about you attend to managing your OWN feelings of discomfort right now which are real and ARE happening?

Instead of worrying about discomforting feelings B MIGHT feel? Presumably he can manage his stuff, right?

Focus on your own stuff. That would be my suggestion.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello ek0646035,

You may want to move from a secondary relationship with A, to a tertiary relationship with A. That might be more appropriate for the current situation. If you don't expect more, you won't be so disappointed when you don't get more.

It is very weird that you know so much about the child, yet are not involved in the child's life. How does A feel about that? I don't know if she has a right to plan a future (with B and the child) that doesn't include you. It says a lot that A is willing to rely on gossip to out your relationship with her, rather than making a statement. She obviously isn't as invested in you, as you are in her.

I wonder if the thing to do, is to sit down with A and B, and let them know formally that you do not want to encroach on their relationship, but that you would like more in your relationship with A. Find out how they feel about it.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
 
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