Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coming In Second: The Poly Conundrum

I have a boyfriend. He has a wife. It's complicated, but not. We are all aware of each other. It's not an OKCupid lie of "oh I can date you because I'm in the process of a divorce" and the guy ends up being still married and the wife isn't aware that he's browsing dating sites. We are all aware. I knew what I was getting into at the beginning, but not. How did I fall down this rabbit hole?

We began as friends. It was right around the time I found myself going through a divorce. A real one, not like OKCupid guy's imaginary separation. It was also around the time I was first exploring my local scene which is how we met. He was very cautious about moving slowly and my current emotional state with everything that was going on. But feelings developed and it didn't move so slowly after all.

I certainly wouldn't call it a rebound since it's been a year now. I had my own worries and doubts about getting involved with someone who is already involved with someone. And I still do at times. At the end of the day though, it is what it is. This is a complex and touchy subject so I want to state up front that this is my blog and strictly my opinion. I care for both of them deeply. I'm not here to talk about them except in relation to my own feelings about my relationship.

I am good about keeping my kink quiet. I don't feel it is necessary to share with my family or vanilla friends that I'm a spanko in order for them to relate to me as a person. My personality remains the same on both sides of that. Once in a while there are questions about how I know so many people outside of this state and why I never have pictures of my vacations aka spanking weekends. That's not a big deal though. With the wonder of the internet it's not all that surprising to know people far away. They are friends of friends. And I constantly forget my camera.

Having a boyfriend who has to be kept secret because of the circumstances is much trickier. I feel that's one of the hardest parts about this. I'm not one to share every personal detail of my life with everyone I know (don't roll your eyes at me because you are anonymously reading this on a blog), but it would be nice to have an unbiased third party to talk to sometimes. If this situation had come about while I was married and we had still agreed to pursue it, I think it'd be much easier to leave unsaid. But post-divorce I'm pretending to be single and often get questions. Are you seeing anyone? What did you do all weekend? You should go to the single's ward to meet a nice boy. Sigh.

I carefully chose two vanilla friends to confide in about it. Thankfully they were very open minded and more curious than anything. I still have never shared the spanking/kink stuff with anyone vanilla so I'm often leaving out part of the story, but it's something. Sometimes it's nice to just be able to say "Don't you hate when guys get sick and isolate themselves? Does your boyfriend do that?" or "Omg he told me the funniest joke last night." It seems if one talks about a male friend much then the question always comes up, "So you're just friends, huh?"

We can hang around other kinky friends because they understand the situation, but I'll never be taking him home for Thanksgiving dinner. I think that any insecurities I've ever had about myself and relationships you times by 10 and that's what a poly relationship is like. Worries about someone leaving me and ending up alone? Oh yeah. And it's much more likely to happen in this situation and I may not even get a say in it.

That is the thought always in the back of my mind. One day they may decide they don't want to do this anymore and return to a monogamous relationship. If that happens, I'm the one left in the cold and helpless to do anything about it. Feeling like my input doesn't matter and I have no control over what is going on is one of my biggest frustrations. Jealousy? Check. And not so much of another person directly but being left wishing I could have more but I know I can't. It's like being taunted by something great hanging right in front of you but you can't have it. Not really.

It's nice to think that we could all exist in our own bubbles and do our own thing without any interference. But that's not real. Stuff  happening between the two of them has affected me and probably vice versa. It takes a lot of patience and communication to fumble our ways through this. It's not perfect and it never will be. I'm not looking for any other relationships. This is enough to handle. I don't know that I'd ever get involved in another poly situation. I've probably lucked out with this one because they've both been pretty great and we generally all get along.
I wonder how many of these hangups are my own or because of what society drills into us about how relationships should be. My whole life I've been taught that you are supposed to find one person who is perfect for you. That one person will be amazing and always put you before anything else. Thinking about anyone else makes you a dirty cheater. You only need each other and will live your life happily ever after. Oh and everything should end in marriage and you shouldn't have sex before then. Hmm looks like I'm already striking out with society.

Well, I'm not first. I'm second. Second child, second place in the second grade spelling bee, second in this relationship. Is that so bad? Does there have to be more? Am I holding onto society's ideals of the path a relationship should take? I try not to think about the long term because I have no idea where this will end up. Why do I continue to be involved in this complicated relationship? Because I love him. He treats me well and he makes me smile. He spanks me too. Bonus! When we're together I am happy. I'd much rather have some of his time than none of it at all.

If this hasn't already confused you, check out the link below to see how much more complicated things can be!
Map of Nonmonogamy


Anonymous said...


I know lots of people in non-traditional relationships. Lots!!

I remember all the TV shows showing happy families in nice neighborhoods who lived happily every after. I wondered where these people lived because I did not know anyone like them. In time, I learned that society's idea of an ideal relationship is BS.

In the last two weeks I met two amazing couples. It is rare to find people who are so much in love. One is a lesbian couple and the other couple are two gay guys. Both are in ten year plus relationships. So, who cares about what society feels about anything involving real people.

I recommend that you have fun and enjoy your relationship. Spanking with benefits, sounds good to me.

I do think it is wise NOT to discuss kink with vanilla folks. From personal experience, it is not a good idea.

Thanks for sharing.

See you soon.

Big Hug,

Marne said...

All relationships are complicated, Lea. The difficulty seems to be that you can't share this relationship with friends and family. I wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that it can be so difficult at times. You make me happy too.

But, I think the best part of your post was where you admit I told a funny joke. At least once! Woohoo!


Anonymous said...

Wow, Lea! This is a lot to contend with! I can't offer much in the way of advice because I don't have much relationship experience. I live a rather solitary life, though I do have plenty of friends, and I'm content with my social life. I'm not dating. I don't want to. When people pry, I say, "I'm single, but not available.", and I firmly leave it at that.

So I don't know anything about anything, but I want to say this: I like your Mystery Man. He's good to you. He IS funny. He seems like a good guy, and I like that his care has brought healing to you. What I don't like: I hate to see you sell yourself short. I think you should be enjoying the banquet from the table, not sitting underneath, accepting whatever crumbs you can get. I want you to know that you really are worthy. I want you to really, truly and fully know that.

But I get that life is complicated and you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. Thank you for being so honest about your struggles. Please know that I am here if you need me.


Anonymous said...

These situations can be heartbreaking. We can worry about so many things like levels of commitment and coming in second or even third...but in the end it's hard not to love who we love.

Erica said...

Here's something I've learned in my way-too-damn-many years. Society is full of crap. So are fairy tales.

Therefore, I would never preach at you what relationships should be, what you should go for, blah blah blah. We love who we love. Sometimes, the relationships aren't textbook. (more than sometimes, I think)

Yes, relationships with these kinds of complications can be frustrating. But (and you know this) so are "traditional" relationships.

You're young, you love this guy, you enjoy your times with him. His wife is on board. I say, have a good time. Someday, you will meet someone you can take home for Thanksgiving. But that's not all it's cracked up to be, either.

Lea said...

@joey, I wonder where all these perfect families live too! Spanking with benefits is nice. :-) Thank you for your comment. Can't wait to see you!

@Marne, Every one definitely comes with it's own set of issues. Thanks for your comment.

@S, Yes, you are funny on occasion. :-P <3 <3 <3

@Regan, He is very good to me. I don't think I'm selling myself short. We feel how we feel and at this time this is where it's led me. Thank you for your thoughts and support.

@Big German, Yes it can come with a lot of different worries, but we feel how we feel.

@Erica, There probably are more "non-traditional" relationships out there than people realize. And you're right, there will be complications with anything involving people whether it's 2, 3, or 10. I'm trying to focus on enjoying what I do have in the present. Thanks for your comment.

Kenzie said...

As long as you're happy, that's what counts! It sounds like it can be a difficult situation for sure, but usually the things with a little extra difficulty, are totally worth it!

He sounds like a great guy, and you sound happy, so i'm glad. :) I do hope it gets easier though.

Kaelah said...

This sounds really difficult, Lea, and I can absolutely relate to your fear about not being in control. I have to admit that I don't think I would be able to live in a poly relationship and be happy. But I think you, your boyfriend and his wife handle this very well and your openness and honesty with each other is great! It sounds to me that the good things by far outweigh the bad for you (at least right now). So I wish you a happy time with your boyfriend and I cross my fingers that you will find a good way to handle the difficult aspects that come along with your relationship.

Lea said...

@Kenzie, He is a great guy and does make me happy. I wouldn't put up with the downsides for just anyone! ;-)

@Kaelah, Yes, the good does outweigh the bad. It comes with some unique difficulties, but no relationship is easy. Thank you for your comment.