When the spouse "plays life" with another...

My wife has had a girlfriend for 3.5 years (formerly a triad for 2 years). They are well suited for each others. In some ways I think she meets needs better than I do but the slice of life they share is small and it’s always “date night”. No worries, no problems. Let’s stroll around the lake.

I am house/dog sitting and the girlfriend slept over the house and they are at the beach together today enjoying the last weekend before chaos strikes again. I’m glad she gets to go today but sometimes it really bothers me when they “play house” or “play life”. When they go to the beach with the girlfriend’s kids it’s like “playing family”. When she stays at the house and I am not there (I usually am) it’s like “playing married”. It feels like an encroachment on my life. As if dating and having a good time is one thing. Playing life is unacceptable and threatening. No, I never say no. It’s just me feeling insecure that she looks more attractive for “life” than I do. That she is a single lesbian with the kids my wife wanted makes me breathe deeply. That she loses track of time and I don’t hear from her for 6-8 hours on a day like today leaves me to dream up the idea they are looking for an apartment together and planning their next step.

Do I believe this? No. Do I fear this? Yes.

Do your partners/spouses “play life” and does that bother you?
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Well-known member
I don't play life I share my life with BOTH my partners.

I just spent the morning buying furniture for the house I share with Murf separately from Butch. Yes I actually have two homes.


Active member
How about looking at it as living life, not playing? How about accepting that this woman is valued, loved, respected, and adds meaning to your wife's life without you seeing it as taking something away from you? Are you this petty if she spends time with platonic friends, or is she not allowed even friendships in her life? How about opening your eyes and recognizing your wife's autonomy, which is her natural right?

You're describing things as if your possession has misbehaved. You don't own her. I think you would do well to cultivate some maturity, instead of "playing" at polyamory.
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Well-known member
I wouldn't care if they did. But they are monogamously wired so they do not have other partners.

We are all grownups able to make our own choices.
Hi, Orlandobif!

Make-believe, fun-and-games, and playing around are all OK, but when things get serious, that's going too far? Am I reading that correctly? As long as it's shallow, fine, but don't get too involved or too real?
In some ways I think she meets needs better than I do
Sounds like a lack of self-confidence on your part. Well, feelings are feelings, doubts should be taken seriously. I don't criticise you for feeling insecure, but I DO think that that's the problem: insecurity. You need to deal with this on (at least) 2 levels: on your own and being open and honest about your insecurity with your wife.
My wife has had a girlfriend for 3.5 years (formerly a triad for 2 years).
Who was the 3rd in the triad? Was it you, and you backed out? This was my first thought, but on re-reading I'm inclined to doubt it.

Like it or not, there are some things that women can get from other women that they can't get from men. In most cases, they get these things through friendships. In some cases, they cross a border and start a sexual relationship. This can make a man feel expendable. "If she can get all the friendship benefits and sex TOO, what's she going to need me for?"

Are they looking for a house together? Are they planning to phase you out? Probably not, probably just your paranoia/insecurity. But unless you can find a solution to this (that is: if you continue to act insecure) there's a chance that she/they give up on you and DO move on. So deal with this.


The analogy I see is when there's a relational breakup with kids involved -- let's say it's Dad that's gone (women tend to get primary custody most often). Say also that it's amicable enough, & each of them has other solid relationships.

A bit down the road, Mom moves New Dad in.

It's really easy for the ex to pop back in & be Fun Dad: always with lots of great gifts, really cool activities, plenty of cash for extras, & he's willing to turn his head from negative behaviors. Get the kids all riled up, then drop them back at home... where there's chores, curfews, boring food, no endless Red Bull, & regular homework. The Grumpy Dad has a budget to mind & isn't much interested in hearing which new Xbox game is on sale. He probably gets an earful about how much better Fun Dad is.

And Fun Dad doesn't even need ANY ill intent!! Heck, he's maybe excited about being with his kids, & he splurges a bit just to fuel the party.

STUDY NOTE -- Here, Orlandobif is Grumpy Dad.


Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Orlandobif,

I am in a closed V, no "life to play" so to speak, just life to live. I don't know how I'd feel if my partner (Snowbunny) played life with someone new (outside our V). I suppose it would depend on how much less time I got to spend with Snowbunny.

That's me, anyway.
Kevin T.


Staff member
Rather than comparing yourself to your wife's gf, think about framing it this way: what do you need or desire from a relationship with your wife?

If you want more fun dates with your wife, plan them and invite her!

If you resent watching the gf's kids while your wife is on a date with her, the gf should hire a sitter, and not assume you will do it. You can go do something nice for yourself while they are out. Whatever it is you enjoy, visiting a friend or friends, going to a sports event, museum, working out, hiking, etc., etc.

Your wife is not "playing at life" with her longterm gf. She is merely living life. Now, you go live life too! With your wife or with whoever you choose. Friends, or maybe even a gf of your own.

Some people don't like to text one partner while on a date with another. My partner and I don't communicate with each other while on a date with our OSOs. We like to focus on the one we are with. Why do you feel you require your wife to interrupt her date with her OSO to message you? Now, if she says she will be out for 3 hours and is gone 6 hours without letting you know... that is rude and she shouldn't do that.

If your wife won't listen to you talk about your needs and desires, and refuses to date you, you've got a real problem on your hands.
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And I would certainly ask (nicely!) your spouse to sit down & seriously consider how SHE would react if your roles were reversed.

How would she feel if YOU were out promenading around, showing the world that you & your New Girl were a couple?

And then how would she feel when you felt it appropriate to stretch that "stroll down the street" into half the day?

...without telling her, much less ASKING?

Though it can be difficult to admit vulnerability, your wife probably won't pick up on subtle hints. You need to TELL her (calmly as possible) that you're worried she's transitioning to a new monogamous relationship. You should ASK for reassurance. You should ASK for clear, prompt, honest communication.

There's a small chance she'll ridicule your insecurity. If that happens, at least you'll know where things really stand.

But the suspense is certainly NOT doing you (or your relationship) any good.
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It is always interesting the different directions conversations take. We interject our experiences of course and project a variety of things.

I won’t address each point that doesn’t quite fit me or my situation but I will clarify. I am a bisexual female and my wife and the girlfriend are lesbian. My wife and I are together 19 years and I have been poly on and off (mostly on) for 25+ years. This is my wifes second venture into poly but was not interested in others for about 14 years.

We were in a FFF triad for 2 years and it wasn’t working for me primarily because there wasn’t enough time with the girlfriend to nurture our relationship and bad day, wrong thing to say and I walked away. I never asked them to discontinue their relationship and she comes to the house 8-10 times a year and spends a night or weekend with us. My wife spends time periodically at her house when her soon to be ex-husband is out of town. 9x of 10 I don’t feel insecure at all and every once in a while it just rears its ugly head. I never say anything to her. I wait for it to pass. It’s my insecurity not hers.
Thanks for the clarification. I agree that the insecurity is your problem, but - as an important person in your life - don't you think that she'd want to help you with this problem? You don't have to describe it as having more weight (or frequence) than it does, but I think it might create a bridge between you if you open up about your worries.

I really like Magdlyn's advice. Make an extra effort to date your wife, do fun things together, bring some romance back. You don't say whether you resent babysitting the other woman's children while she's dating your wife, but if you do (at all), Magdlyn's right here, too: she should arrange another childminder.
"don't you think that she'd want to help you with this problem?"

Yes but I would not describe this as significant anxiety. It just bothers me every once in a while and when the date, day or "playing at" is over, it's over for me as well.

I really like Magdlyn's advice. Make an extra effort to date your wife, do fun things together, bring some romance back. You don't say whether you resent babysitting the other woman's children while she's dating your wife, but if you do (at all), Magdlyn's right here, too: she should arrange another childminder.

I do not babysit her children but I have and I would if asked. My wife and I have date night every Wednesday and they have date night every Thursday and they always help us to reconnect.

I care about her. We have occasional and direct texting and we talk for hours when she stays at the house. She has and should contact me when she hasn't heard from her and I can reach out to her for help in a situation. Overall it is a very good situation. Just stay off my turf! Just kidding!
Sounds like you've got a pretty good deal. It's not everybody who has a positive feeling (ever) about a metamour.

Getting off your turf NOW!


New member
I think I'd struggle in your situation - if you have a hierarchical arrangement then I can see how this could signify something to worry about. It sounds like you like to feel special in terms of you being the one your wife comes home to, builds a life with, and so on, and that one of the ways you have rationalised and become comfortable with polyamory is by compartmentalising your respective relationships into clear categories - 'the one I build a life with', 'the one I have fun dates with', 'the one I have uninhibited sex with', etc. In a way there's nothing wrong with that as long as she is on board with that philosophy. In my relationship I have sometimes felt threatened by the opposite - the fact that my girlfriend's partners don't have to partake in the practicalities of life, don't have to see (let alone clean) her dirty underwear, that every time they meet it can be fun and anticipated time together. I suppose I have never really thought how I would feel if those relationships genuinely did start to become more similar to ours in those more 'mundane' (but special to me/us) respects. I imagine I would find that hard, as it would represent a fundamental shift in the kind of open relationship we imagined having. Neither of us have wanted multiple life-entanglement type of relationships. I guess in your shoes I'd want reassurance from her about whether these forays really were just 'playing' for them both, or whether they represented a genuine shift in how they wanted to experience their relationship in future. I'm not interested in cohabitation with a metamour, nor in seeing less of my partner than I currently do, so any moves in that direction really would represent a threat to our current relationship. One thing is for sure, I'd be wanting to talk to her about those things at the earliest opportunity and not want to speculate based on MY flawed impression of HER mindset.

So, yeah. Talk to her. You might be projecting your fears. You might not be. But the only way to know for sure is to communicate, and share your fears. Maybe you still need to do more digging to get to the root of why you need to have something that differentiates you from her gf, but even if that's the case, it starts by sharing your vulnerability and fears with her. Good luck.


I never say anything to her. I wait for it to pass. It’s my insecurity not hers.
While that is a nice sentiment...

I too have made whine-of-the-moment posts on poly sites. I'm a fast typist. And pretty much every time, a couple hundred words in, the mood has passed & I delete the whole darned thing.

You didn't. And you seem to be saying that this is a recurring reaction. Those suggest that you are gunnysacking, & eventually will unload all this packed-down nonsense in one big load onto your wife.

And even as you feel a massy weight has been lifted from you, she might conclude that you have absolutely lost your mind, & end the relationship.

So, how you deal with your "insignificant" feelings is up to you.


Staff member
So you have identified as poly for 25 years, but your style is to have one primary, and then one (or more) casual partners with a definite line in the sand drawn about how much entanglement you want?

But now your wife, who hasn't identified as or practiced poly much, is continuing to grow more deeply attached to a woman you both had a triad with. You all 3 were in some kind of relationship... but you had a "bad day" and opted out of the romantic bit of it, only maintaining a friendship with this woman.

Now you're feeling fear that this woman meets more needs for your wife than you do, and they are plotting to have your wife leave you, and get their own place.

Even if you think your fears are groundless, it is very important to report them to your wife, and get reassurance. She obviously has a different style of poly than you. Maybe she's getting ready to leave you. More likely she isn't. It's never healthy to stuff your feelings down. Ask for reassurance, tell her you feel nervous that she is getting so invested in gf. See what she says.

Often our fears (of being left, of even talking about your fears) are greater than just doing it and finding out what's going on from the other's POV. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Sorry I misread where you said you were house and dogsitting. Do you mean your own house and dog?