I’ve been in a relationship for 10 years with a married woman. I am surprisingly comfortable being in this relationship considering her wife does not know. The married woman and I have been doing this without any idea of polyamory anything. This is Issue 1 and that last sentence will make more sense in a second.
My 10-year partner has recently fallen in love with another woman (Issue 2). I found out because I saw all the signs and asked. It was at this point that my partner told me that she loves us all and that even after I said I wouldn’t stand in the way.
The new woman and my partner have been together now for two years. The new girl knows about me and the wife. She has expressed to my partner that she is most jealous of me and says things like “I can work with the wife, not [me].” She started making demands and requests that my partner (sadly) has accommodated, thinking it would make this woman happy and feel secure. Requests such as I stop picking up my partner from work, that I not send flowers, that I not call her when they are together – all of which has created two years of arguing hurt and resentment (Issue 3).
Now I want to make something clear: when my partner told me she loved this new girl and I offered to leave, I was devastated. I thought it was over. When she told me that she wanted me to stay because she was still in love me, and loved us all, I thought OK, I could probably do this because I am pretty much doing it already. I was open to everything. I even extended an olive branch and us three did a lunch (which backfired).
Now things are bad with me and the new girl. She has placed crazy boundaries that limit my interactions with my partner, and my partner accommodates all of them. I don’t understand this. When they fight, the new girl tells my partner she is monogamous and that she can’t split her time with my partner three ways, that she doesn’t want to share. Right now I have one set night a week for a date; they work together so they have 60-70 hours a week. they are intimate every day/night and when they go out, my partner makes arrangements to be out late. This does not happen with me. We get home early because she has to get home.
The worst thing that happened this week was Monday and Tuesday I made plans to meet my partner on train platforms to travel to our neighborhood together – not on their date night. She can’t tell this new woman because she flips out – cries, screams, tells my partner she can’t stand that she is with her all day and then ends the night with me. Mind you, I am only traveling home – not on a date! So what my partner does is she leaves me waiting on the Union Square train platform. She can’t text me because the woman would flip out. On Tuesday she told me to meet her at 42nd Street and that she was only going to walk with the woman to Brooklyn Bridge and take the train to meet me. Well, the other woman decided to travel with her to 125th. My partner said nothing about me waiting for her or us having plans to meet. She literally leaves me there at 42nd Street and she passes by. Calls me when she gets to 125th, where I guess the woman parted ways with her, and tells me where to meet her. I felt and feel destroyed. Disrespected.
Am I wrong? This is all a slow death of my relationship and this is my partner’s way of breaking up with me. Right? Because at this point, my hatred for this new woman is off the charts. I want her gone.
Lady Kept Waiting
Dear Kept Lady,
Usually when poly people (or those acting poly) are having problems, it can be traced back to a communication problem. In your case, it’s not so much a problem with communication as a lack of basic human respect on the part of your married partner.
No matter how much it aggravates her new girlfriend, to leave you stranded waiting for her due to changed plans is inexcusable. Where are her manners? This is beyond the bounds of common decency. I wouldn’t do that to someone I’d just met, let alone someone I’ve been with for 10 FREAKIN’ YEARS! I’m sorry, but there is no justification for anyone to be controlled to the extent that they cannot tell someone they are running late or have to reschedule – especially in New York!
If your partner says she wants you to stay, then you should ask her to show you the basic courtesy and respect that you deserve. While you generally don’t get to dictate how she handles her relationships with other people, you can and should demand that she treat you the way you want to be treated. If the new girlfriend can’t handle her treating you like a human being, that is for your partner to work out with her. But no one deserves to be treated that way by someone who claims to love them.
Leon, over to you!
She’s not trying to break up with you. She’s trying to accommodate the wishes of someone else she loves – that squeaky wheel is taking up a TON of oil here. This monogamous woman doesn’t care about anyone other than your mutual partner and herself, and she makes no bones about it. Your partner is bending over backwards to accommodate more and more of this woman’s demands because she’s trying to “hold it all together” – but it’s obviously taken its toll on the rest of the people in this scenario.
You can’t have any sort of healthy relationship with this needy monogamous woman involved to such an extent that it’s pushing you out, and I’m betting you’re much more passive than aggressive. You’re going to have to start asserting your needs with your partner and make clear what you want and expect out of your relationship – including picking her up at work, spending time together, telling the monogamous woman off to her face, whatever you feel you need to get back on track again – or ending the relationship to save your sanity.
Out of morbid curiosity, how can the wife not know there’s something going on? I wonder whether she does and is ignoring it all, or whether she herself has a lover or two? I’d love to pick her brain.