Sometimes I feel so lost with this open relationship stuff. It’s like there’s nowhere to turn when I have questions and doubts about how to handle things that just don’t come up in a traditional monogamous framework. Even a lot of the articles and materials directed at swingers are assuming that a person is coming into The Lifestyle with a serious “primary” relationship.
In my case, the Professor is sort of my primary relationship but he also has someone else, someone that was there first. Only she is married, so it’s not like they are each other’s primary relationship either. This is where the bulk of our issues reside and I find the relationship he has with this other woman the most difficult to handle.
Technically I guess we are “polyamorous,” or at least he is, because he says he has feelings for the both of us. Me, I tend towards emotional monogamy, so this is difficult for me to really understand. I’d much rather he just have feelings for ME, even if he is going to sleep with other women. Sharing someone I’ve fallen for emotionally is not easy!
When we first started out I thought of us both as single but having fun. I didn’t realize he was so entrenched in something already and that epiphany left me with a rather sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now, he will admit she is in love with him but says he is not in love with her. However, he is not saying he is “in love” with me either only admitting that he has feelings, which is pretty unspecific.
To be fair I don’t know that I am “in love” at this point either. I think I’ve retained a certain amount of guardedness due to the presence of this other woman. It’s like deep down I WANT very much to let go but because of her I am too afraid. Only, I suck at regulating and covering up my true feelings and I keep allowing myself to get more and more vulnerable, then reality hits and I snap those walls right back up again.
I think the hardest part, for me, is not KNOWING for sure how he compares and rates us in his mind. He is saying that we are equal to him but I find that hard to believe and accept. It’s like my competitive instinct goes into OVERDRIVE and I MUST be #1, at ALL COSTS, or nothing. Grrrrr…. I didn’t sign up to be anyone’s “secondary” dammit, and if that’s the case you’ve insulted my worth as a woman and I want OUT.
So my inner demons and jealousy are making me want to look for PROOF of who he’s REALLY more emotionally invested in. I’m looking for any evidence that he’s lying and she’s really his favorite and using me as the sidepiece. I KNOW it’s irrational and probably unfair, but that’s what’s bubbling under the surface.
Now, he hasn’t actually slept with her, to my knowledge, and if he is telling the truth, for over 3 months. For that matter he supposedly hasn’t with anyone but me. However, I HAVE slept with other guys, mainly my fuck buddy, but also once around Thanksgiving with the guy I had an affair with (but now haven’t talked to in quite a while). I’ve even gone on a date or two. So how come I’m even threatened by this??
I think it’s just the IDEA that they have a “love” type thing going on. It doesn’t help that I saw a note she had written to him lying on his dresser recently and stacks of cards calling him “baby” and saying how she misses him. It doesn’t help that he once texted her “goodnight” right as we were in the middle of a break during sex. It doesn’t help that when she comes down she stays for days at a time and they go out on dates together and she sleeps in his bed at night and has a key to his place. 😦 I don’t get that kind of stuff very often at all, even though a lot of it is because of my schedule and children, it still hurts.
To add insult to injury, the first weekend he ever had her down after we met he completely DISAPPEARED on me for like 3 full days. I didn’t even get a single text. I felt so abandoned and I thought it meant he was done with me forever. Turns out later that he claimed she was soooo upset over some guy standing her up that she cried and cried and needed his attention the entire time. At least that was his excuse and at the time it really pissed me off and made me feel like SHE was trying to sabotage his relationship with me and he was allowing it to happen. Who cries for days over getting stood up by someone they’ve never even met?
I’m still not entirely sure that she’s not doing things to try and cause problems for us but of course he thinks she’s innocent. Men are so blind sometimes. Leaving notes all over his house on brightly colored cards seems kind of obvious to me.
Also, on my birthday he had offered to take me out and go bowling but she decided to come down the weekend before, which made it impossible due to our weekday schedules. THAT really pissed me off. He still took my kids and I out for ice cream and dropped a bottle of wine and a cake off at my door on the actual day of but it just wasn’t the same.
Apparently she comes down whenever the hell she wants. He says her husband only lets her at certain times so he takes what he can get, but whatever. She also once decided to stay an extra day, which happened to be a day I had offered to make him dinner and he was supposed to be coming over to my place and completely forgot. He told me she was staying but apparently forgot we had previous plans. Nice. Not sure if he really forgot or if she had known and deliberately stepped over that or what. When she is not around the Professor is very attentive and thoughtful and doesn’t forget things like that so it rubs me all kinds of wrong ways.
When I have a moment of clarity and am being fair towards her or putting myself in her shoes I can understand that she would feel threatened by ME. I came along AFTER they were already in an emotional relationship and I’m nearly 20 years younger than her, live close by and don’t have a husband telling me when I can and cannot meet. He also takes me with him to swinger parties and has spent more time with me overall lately. Still, I don’t have a lot of reason to care about HER. Mostly, I feel like I want to tear her hair out… but I’m above that…I hope. :p
So last weekend the Professor happened to have a tournament he was coaching in another city, which is right near where she lives. He neglected to tell me this until Friday morning when I asked what he was doing that day. He said “I’m at work” and I’m thinking well, duh, and said “no, I mean tonight”. He then mentions that he has a tournament that weekend and finally that he was leaving early that night and planning to see her when he got up there.
First off, I was kind of pissed that I had to seemingly drag that information out of him, especially in light of his recent lie to me about having attended a swinger party when he said he wasn’t going to. He also kept pussyfooting around the questions of whether he was planning to see and sleep with her. He claimed that it all depended on her husband and he wasn’t sure yet what would happen.
So I was fuming a bit but went ahead and made plans with my fuck buddy. He had stated before that I can come down and see him whenever I want so for the first time I decided to drive the hour and a half to his place to spend some time with him. That all went swimmingly and we had fun and good sex and talked quite a bit more than usual since I was there for 3 hours. I told the Professor what I was going to do.
However the Professor and I kind of got into it. He seemed to be avoiding telling me whether he was going to spend the night with her or even admitting that there was likelihood they would have sex. I told him I felt like I needed some reassurance from him. We hadn’t seen each other since the blowout after me discovering his lie about the past swinger party and though we had made up somewhat we really hadn’t had a chance to talk it out. I was feeling insecure and uneasy about our relationship already and on edge about him going to see her. I made a comment about how he probably wouldn’t bother texting me all weekend and he said stop it, he would make a point of keeping in contact with me.
So he finally says he talked to them and that she and her husband were going to have dinner with him. I was kind of snappy and said something like “you never go out to dinner with ME”. He said that wasn’t fair because he has taken me out before but I usually can’t take enough time and that he hasn’t seen her in three months and she is his friend too! Left me with a bad feeling because he was going on about her being his friend again and I was still without the reassurance that I had asked him for.
So I just said I was going to go see my friend and that I guess there was no need to contact him after that. I said it because he was on his way to dinner with her and I wasn’t going to notify him again that I was leaving for my fuck buddy’s house while he was busy. I MEANT that night but also kind of deliberately left it ambiguous as to whether or not I meant EVER because I wanted to see what he would do.
Still, he didn’t contact me for TWENTY FOUR HOURS after that. And then it was when I finally sent him a text. I was pissed because he broke his promise and I assumed it was because he was either still with her or so happy to have seen her that he couldn’t be bothered with me at all. I didn’t know if she had stayed the night with him (I didn’t sleep over with my fuck buddy) or if he was taking her with him all day to his games or what. Of course he has never taken ME to anything like that so I was speculating all kinds of things and not feeling good about it at all. My imagination can sometimes get the best of me. Of course he said the reason he didn’t text was because I said there would be no need to contact me again…and he didn’t know if I meant ever, and admittedly I left it open like that on purpose because I was upset.
He said they didn’t even have sex. They went to dinner and because he had a slight cough left over from having been sick the week before I guess they didn’t feel comfortable being “intimate” with him. They didn’t want to get sick. He says it was the husband’s decision. He’s told me before that she and her husband don’t communicate well and she is in love with him and doesn’t want to sleep with anyone but him and her husband wants her to be with other guys. The whole situation is kind of fucked up and I know how those “secret” feelings for another person can be and how bored married ladies who aren’t getting the attention they want will be seeking it out so she is probably EXTRA in love with him. UGH. I so just want her GONE.
Meanwhile the Professor can’t get why I am still upset because THEY didn’t have sex, and I DID!!! LOL On some level I can see how he feels that way but again it is the emotional thing with me! He gets upset every time I have sex with another guy and it takes him awhile to get over it, though logically he is okay with it. It gets to him on an emotional level so I think he should understand MY feelings as well.
My fuck buddy I have NO emotional attachment to. We fuck and that’s it! He is in no way a threat to the Professor and I have no problem telling the Professor I like HIM more and HE is number one to me! He knows that!! I want to be special like that to him too!
Barring that, I at least want to know SOME ways in which I am special to him. I’m not really getting that and I feel like I’ve asked for it in several different ways. I just need to know MY unique place in his life. We did get into a really long emotional discussion (drama, drama, fun, fun) where he said the following.
1. I spend more time with YOU!! That should tell you something!! (But, spending more time with her would be kind of difficult since she lives far away and her husband won’t “let” her- I don’t know if that is simply a way to bide his time since they can’t have each other or what).
2. Neither one of you is more special to me, you both have different qualities and different things I like about you, else I why would I be with TWO people? (Okay, I do get that, see my post on Comparing Lovers– but I still want to know WHAT it is that is different- curiousity? Or just a need to feel special in some way I guess).
3. I shouldn’t have to reassure you about anything. Just the fact that I do things with you and spend my time with you and spend time TALKING to you and buy things for you and your kids should be enough reassurance. I don’t express my feelings like that. (Gah! Men!! I hate this about them!!!! Why is giving reassurance hard? It’s like the easiest thing in the world to me and I give him boatloads if I even think he is hinting at needing a little and he seems to appreciate that!! I’m more than happy to TELL him I think he’s the bees knees! Yes, he does do these things for me and it means a lot and I love it but that doesn’t mean when I am faced with a scary situation where he is off with another woman I don’t need a RE-assurance of that. Tell me again, and again, and again!! Please!! Yeah, I guess I’m being needy. )
4. More logical crap about how he takes her out more because she has that available time and how he would do the same for me if my ex- husband wasn’t always pestering me to come back and get the kids after 2 hours of being away. Plus, he takes me to the swingers parties AND he HAS taken me out a couple of times before. (Okay, he has a point here but also if he was offering to take me out more I’m sure I could manage to get a little more time. I do have time constraints but it makes it hard to tell if he would really do that stuff or not).
5. Do you think I would spend all this time TALKING to you if I didn’t like you A LOT?? Don’t you know men hate this stuff and I have better things to do with my time? (Well, yes, this is very true and also why it’s a damn good test of how a guy feels about you to throw a huge fit and see how he reacts. I hate that I do this but it has the end result of proving his emotional investment in me…, not that I think it out on a calculated level like that but yes I can see the reasons why afterwards).
So anyway, we are all back to normal and happy now. After a lot of testing him on my part. I have to admit that NOW I can see it for what it was but at the time I was a mess of emotion and unable to think clearly and just ACTING on feminine whims. I am so such a girl…and also was at the start of and on my period, when I tend to sink into insecurity and hit my low point of the month. The rest of the time I feel like I’m fairly easygoing and happy. It doesn’t probably help that it seems like every time he has gotten together with this woman has been right around my period. He’s asking for it!!
Despite recognizing what is going on I still feel like I could benefit from more advice and examples of how people get on in everyday polyamorous relationships. Reading the blogs can offer tidbits here and there but it never seems like enough. Where do I go for ideas on how to cope with “the other woman” when it isn’t an affair situation and he is ALLOWED to do this? I’ve read The Ethical Slut and that had some ideas but it was also just skimming the surface of all the possibilities out there. Does anyone else deal with this stuff? How do you do it?