SL Letter of the Day: Feelings



*slams head on desk*
"He's the one I go to when I have a problem or need someone to talk to and viscera."(?) At first I thought this was some new kink, but then I realized she probably meant "vice-versa" and someone's spell checker kicked in.
"...and viscera"? She goes to him when she needs viscera?

Snark aside, love happens in poly relationships, even when you're not the primary. Sometimes especially because you're not the primary. It's a relationship based on romance and sexual attraction, and devoid of all the minutiae of daily life that can sometimes drain the vitality of it. It's very very easy to fall in love with a play partner when you're poly. It's one of the things to be most careful about; it's okay to fall in love. It's not okay to all of a sudden start letting jealousy and possessiveness take over.

Poly only works with complete honesty, in my experience (I'm sure there are those who have DADT poly relationships, but they don't work for me). Tell him.
"He's the one I go to when I have a problem or need someone to talk to and viscera."

Hehe, she goes to him for viscera? Does he own a butcher shop or a sausage factory or something?
"Polyandrous?" "Viscera?" She sounds like an idiot.

You own her!


Dan if you use the real name they will tots be murdered, then you will have to use all of the Stranger's resources catching her killer!
You should probably take her name out of your response, unless that's some saying I'm not aware of.
great advice.
Sorry, gang, the post went up when I was still working on it—my bad. Name—a pretty generic one—since removed. Let's keep it out of comments, please.
"Modern girl"? People actually describe themselves that way?

Also, yes, teehee on the "viscera" and "polyandrous" slips. Poor child.

Anyway, yeah, Dan's advice: Spot on. Look at the boundaries you've agreed on, and judge based on that. I think adults can understand that things change. Use your best judgment, and try to not to fall into any mental traps where things are one way or another, or black and white.
It's no surprise someone who can't puzzle out what on earth to do in this situation is also someone who's pretty sure "and viscera" is how you spell "et cetera".
"Polyandrous" refers to a relationship where one woman has many husbands. The word you are looking for is polyAMOROUS. But maybe your spell checker doesn't believe in polyamory?
She might've written it on her phone, and cell phones' auto-complete function can come up with the darndest things sometimes...
viscera is probably vice versa (which works more with the her point), not et cetera, 12
I'm course it's potentially possible to have a solution to satisfy everyone here, although I can't imagine it. My fuckbuddy and I fell in love, and the only reason it works is that we're both married. GIP's problem is that she doesn't have a primary, but her partner does. That's almost certainly going to be an issue for her.
GIP doesn't really seem to want a polyamorous situation. She wants a situation with HIM, not him and his "primary", or him and some other guy. She wants him and she'll probably be increasingly unhappy when he spends time with his other partner. Being a modern girl doesn't protect her from that. If they lean on each other, are best friends, have sex together, and of course viscerate with each other, just what's left for his other partner?

Great situation for the guy, though, who probably isn't going to be the one who's hurt.
@15 aha! Let me go modify my commentzzzzzzz
Get out. You deserve better. Somebody who is yours and viceversa.
Yeah, nothing will be gained by keeping these feelings to yourself. I've been in this situation, and tried to convince myself that talking about how I was feeling would be creating drama, or at least, making things difficult and not abiding by the rules/boundaries as they existed when I started seeing someone who was also seeing someone else (we're all friends). But the truth is, feelings and relationships change all the time, and only by being upfront about what you're feeling can you know whether or not you can get what you want out of a relationship at any given time. It's better than trying to force yourself to be happy with something that may not be what you want.

My only suggestion to GIP beyond Dan's advice would be for her -- even as she is very clear about her own feelings -- to be clear about not wanting to hurt her sweetie's other partner when she talks to him. Because what will likely happen is that he'll end up talking to his girlfriend about that conversation anyway, and it will be important for her (if she's open to GIP and her boyfriend continuing to see each other) to know that her feelings are considered important by both of them. And if that conversation goes well, GIP might want to consider talking with the girlfriend to sort out any concerns, or at least feel out what boundaries are at play here (how social might you want to be with or without the boyfriend, etc.). As awkward as that sounds, it will likely make things easier than having him as the middleman (I've seen that work okay, but I've also seen it go really horribly).
vicevisera is my new band name
P.S. GIP not being upfront about her feelings is also likely a surefire recipe for creating resentment and drama later -- i.e., frustration over not getting more out of the relationship (because she hasn't asked) will come out in some form, and it's better to head it off by talking about what's going on, rather than bottling it up in an attempt to avoid awkwardness or even potential heartbreak (if it turns out GIP and her sweetie's relationship can't continue).
My "visceral" opinion:

Great advice Dan! We'll call that Plan #1.

Plan #2: He has a girlfriend. Walk away- create as much distance as possible. Staying around will only make it harder for you. If he asks why you are avoiding him tell him the truth- you are falling in love with him and think it best to create some space seeing how he has a GF and everything... Let him create a solution.

Plan # (?): Can't think of anymore at the moment...
True Love is a monogamous emotion.
People who are OK with poly are not in love
and may not even know what True Love is or feels like..
Sharing and Cheating will always cause pain.
Count on it if you play that game.
I <3 erin
Definitely walk away. That would be my advice. But then, I'm the jealous, possessive type, and I don't like to inflict my asinine character flaws on others.
This is totally normal - her developing feelings, that is.

That said, DTMFA.


Not later.
Vince ftw @19.
No, no, everybody. This can work out fine.

There is no, "What's left for his other partner?" Love is love is love and there's plenty of it to go around. You don't say, "If only I had only one parent, I could really love them with all of my heart" or "The more children I have, the less love I give them individually!", do you? Having a second girlfriend isn't going to take any love away from the first, the only thing it could take away is quality time. Although, it looks like he already schedules some time away from his primary to spend with this other girl, so there shouldn't really be a difference.

As for her side, she says she is down with poly. She is already a secondary partner in this situation, so again, I don't see how getting some love in the mix is going to change anything. She just needs to go in knowing that his main girlfriend has priority, just like she already does.
@24 Why do you feel the need to state what True Love is for everyone? You do your thing, make sure the people you choose to be in relationships with are on the same page, and you'll be happy. I'm a former mono person who wound up in a poly relationship, and I know more certainly than I ever have in my entire life that I'm in True Love with my partner, ant that he is in True Love with me. Intimacy of any sort comes with complications. Get off your high horse.
I imagine the two of them weepily discussing their relationship, chewing thoughtfully on the intestines they have draped about their shoulders...
DMFTA? Maybe she should break up with him, but he's hardly a MF. That's a little harsh.

This guy sounds pretty awesome to me: he's been honest, kind, reliable, and true to the terms he and his girlfriend agreed on. Plus he's probably pretty kinky and fun. No wonder she's falling for him. There's not a lot of guys like that out there.

She should tell him. My guess is that he'd continue to be honest, kind, and reliable. He might not tell her what she wants to hear, but he seems like someone who can be trusted and who deserves to know.
What Dan said, plus:

DO NOT TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT that she is ok with things. Talk to her about it, and have your bullshit detector set on high. If you do not believe her when she says she's fine, run away. Run fast, run far. "Poly" women who aren't big green jealousy monsters hiding in Yeah-I'm Super-Modern-And-Cool-With-This suits are rare, in my experience and the experience of multiple other women I've known who've been badly hurt by poly guys in denial about their partners.

We all know that "I'm starting to fall in love with him" means "I'm totally crazy in love with him but not sure I want to be," so you'll probably ignore me, but . . . be careful. :)
Polyamory is just plain tricky--tricky to spell, tricky to use correctly, tricky to explain to your parents.

@3>Poly only works with complete honesty

I say it only works with very good communication on all sides. Honesty's a big part of that, but you can have too much of a good thing.

Poly's great--if you're poly. It seems to be only a little more common than being gay. And isn't as well accepted.
"Modern girl"? People actually describe themselves that way?
I believe old-fashioned people sometimes do.
Also, think really hard about how it's going to feel to have your love --your heart, your feelings, your needs, your time and attention -- labeled "secondary" and treated as such.

When I first started doing the poly thing, my initial take was that the primary/secondary thing is bullshit, that nobody you love deserves to be treated like they're secondary, no matter how complicated the alternatives. After then wading into the conventional (ha) poly waters and trying that way of doing things, I'm even more convinced that it's fucked up. Doesn't work for me, and hasn't ended up working for most of the other people I've known, if they're honest about it.
She never mentions what she wants. I wonder if she's really thought about it.
I hate to be a wet blanket, but I got way burned in a situation similar to this. My husband and I were in an open relationship for the last three years of our 25 year marriage. He was having fun, I was having fun, we were in love. Then he met a woman who was not about to play fair (but I didn't realize it until too late). She, like you, "loved me and respected me" but not nearly as much as she wanted my husband. It went from how in love with me he was, and how much he enjoyed playing with her (which was fine, like all his other playmates had been fine), to he was in love with both of us, to he loved me but was only in love with her. New love tends to burn hotter than a long-term, stable marriage. So when she started to have LONG talks with him about how she was emotionally unable to handle being in love with a married man who would never leave his wife and children, they kept me out of the loop. Not entirely, but I was only told enough to know I was getting worried. For example, I was told she threatened to commit suicide on my birthday. I even wrote to Dan about it (as FOWSA) but he never wrote me back. So when I finally, after DAYS of their long talks about it, got the first hint he was cooling off of me and was barely able to pull himself out of her arms, I talked to him about my pain, anger and hurt feelings. He asked for a divorce in April, and now I am faced with the end of a marriage that was to the love of my life. I will never trust anyone again, not a man or a friend, never love with my whole heart again, and will certainly never marry again. It's made me hate the idea of poly relationships, when before I was totally GGG, because I thought my marriage was bulletproof. He told me nearly every day how much he loved me, how In Love he was with me, and how he'd never leave, and wanted to grow old with me. He told our kids that too. But now I am raising our two children alone, one with special needs, and it's really hard to imagine how thoroughly played I feel. That he was supposed to be open and honest and tell me exactly what was going on between the two of them, that I knew her and that she called me her best friend, just adds to the betrayal. Walk away, if you truly don't want to hurt her.
Echoing @37. Ok, GIP, so you're in love with your fuck-buddy who's in an open relationship. So? What's the problem? Does this violate his rules with his girlfriend? Do you want him all to yourself? Lay off the drama, figure out what you want that you don't already have, tell him you really care about him and that you don't want to cause tension with his girlfriend.
You don't say, "If only I had only one parent, I could really love them with all of my heart" or "The more children I have, the less love I give them individually!", do you?

No, most people are too tactful to say it, but you're crazy if you think no one has favorites among their relatives or even their own children.
ummm... shouldn't it be GID, not GIP?
@34 - I did say that complete honesty was the only way poly works FOR ME. I also said there are poly relationships that work in other ways, but for me, it's best if nothing is hidden, nothing is unsaid. No cheating, no lying, no minimizing, and no misdirection.
Why is it that so many people feel a tenth-grader impulse to nitpick people's spelling, punctuation, etc.?

Yeah okay, for once you're smarter than someone else. Goody for you, keep it to yourself. As for the people who repeat what the first insecure person said ...
Oh wow HRH, what a story!! I am sooooo sorry.

I've always been on the fringes of poly-ville (I've had a lot of poly apartment-mates), and I've seen so much drama, and lying, crying, and manipulating, that I would NEVER EVER go there
Let's not trash all poly relationships because some end badly. Unless, of course, you're willing to trash all mono relationships for the same reason.
HRH @ 38: our husband did a terrible, terrible thing to you, but if it's any consolation I think he will be suffering badly when (his) novelty wears off...

To GID, I agree, she should talk, then (if that doesn't work out) walk! And FFS talk to both parties, because they are obviously both affected by the situation.
Err, add a "Y" to the start of that post... :D
30 if you say so.....
Virtual hug, HRH. So sorry to hear your story. I hope that in time your heart will heal enough so that you won't need to keep it locked away, but I understand your needing to guard it now.

Beat wishes,
your story is heartbreaking.
and common.
and inevitable when Love and Commitment
are polluted with 'poly'.
Dan is full of shit about 'open relationships'.
he is a 'sex' advice columnist.
he knows nothing about love.
@32 - Will just gets really excited whenever he sees an opportunity to say "DTMFA" even if it doesn't fit the situation. He really likes acronyms (see also: FTW).
I was thinking, "This letterwriter will be angling to replace the main squeeze in 3...2...1..." But then I hit 38's comment, and well, no more need be said.
GID: Did you confirm with the girlfriend that their relationship is in fact an open one. If it is, what are the ground rules, are feelings allowed? Does she know that you and her boyfriend are intimate? You say you don't want to hurt her in anyway, but that may not be possible because you owe it to her to talk to her candidly about what's going on. If you aand the boyfriend are the best of friends, just what is the nature of the couple's relationship if they aren't their respective best friends. Depending on the answers it may be that the boyfriend is just a lying CPOS, which may not be a problem given your description of your attitude towards relationships, but should be one given how you feel aout the girlfriend.
@HRH: That's heart-breaking. ... I don't want to criticise you when something hurt you so much. Think of it as "a different perspective". It's just ... I think you CAN heal, and it sounds like you think you can't. The problem here wasn't poly, nor your ex, but the fact that a Psycho-Manipulative Bitch entered your lives. I dated one once. They're SUCH good manipulators. They're predators. You AND your ex were victims, but at least you got out. He's stuck with her, and I bet he's not happy. I know when I was dating one, I wasn't. It took some pretty messed up stuff to happen before I finally got out. It was an abusive relationship: never physical, but the emotional abuse left scars I took years to heal.

PMBs like her have destroyed lots of relationships. Poly ones, mono ones, long-term marriages, families. There are ... not lots, but plenty of people like that out there. I watched one go after a married (closed), monogamous, religious family member once, even though there was really no opening at all for her. She still tried! It sounds like there were some early alarm bells, but you probably didn't realise how serious they were. I bet you'd recognise them next time around, and for that reason, I think you should let there be a next time 'round.

Part of how humans live, and stay happy, is to love one another. Trust is a vital part of that, and it will be hard to learn to trust again, but think back to all the danger signs. Watch for them next time, and be ruthless about getting out of situations like that. Let the fact that you can spot predators like her coming make you trust MORE.

Maybe next time you'll be hurt, but maybe it will be even more perfect than your previous love. You can never know for sure what the future will bring, but ... let me put it this way. If you'd never taken the risk on your ex, you'd have missed out on 25 wonderful years. The pain at the end sucked, but surely everything that came before it was worth the pain at the end?

I just want to say, don't give up on the rest of us because one human is a PMB. They're out there, they're not in the majority, and you need to keep a weather-eye out and run for cover when you see one coming.
Choose wisely. Sometimes you may think at least you have 25 happy years of memories but those can be snatched away as well.

Shhhhhh. Traditionalists (like, say, @50) spontaneously combust when confronted with the No True Scotsman fallacy. Exceptionalism is part of the conservative character.

After all, all those people whose binary relationships end up in failure, abuse, tragedy, and heartbreak were just doing it wrong. They weren't true monogamists. When open relationships fail, it's because they're inherently bad and wrong and everyone involved should have known better; when monogamous relationships fail, it's because the people in them were bad individuals and weren't trying hard enough.

No True Scotsman would do such a thing.
@24 there's no such thing as "true love"...or rather there's no such thing as untrue love as all love is equally true. It's just that there are as many different kinds of true love in the world as the number of people there are in the world squared. I prefer monogamy but I'm not going to claim that polyamorous relationships are wrong for everyone. I can never really know how anyone feels except myself.
@55: I'm not putting the value on the memories, but on the actual 25 happy years. Memories are a shadow of the past that can't compare to actual experience. It's okay to be sentimental sometimes, but it can't compare to getting out there and living.
#29 says 'His main GF has priority', and at the same time how often does the secondary, bump up to primary?!? I'm curious? Or, with all the love and respest she has for the main squeeze, maybe they'll just get a bigger bed. Just saying!
HRH, here, again, and just want to say thanks to everyone for the comments. Yes, I am sure eventually I will love and trust again. I have a naturally big heart, and I probably will be able to use it when the glue that's holding it together finishes drying. I do believe her to be a PMB, @54, and I do hate that I have to let my children visit him at her place. She is also raising two children, of whom I am very fond, and I worry now that so many of her lies and manipulations have come to light, for all the kids' sakes, and even for my husband too. I do think he was snowed by her, and I do feel he will regret it eventually. Unfortunately, it will be too late for us. What we once had is just too broken. I did see LOTS of red flags, all along the way, and my husband and I discussed them together at every turn. He even told me early on that he didn't trust her, but was excited by her. What I knew about her (two broken marriages, early childhood abuse) made me sad for her, and I befriended her, baked birthday cakes for her and her children, cooked them Easter dinner, brought her kids toys at Christmas, but whatever her need for secrets and lies is, he obviously shared it, and they both played me. I should have known, and I should have kept him far away from her, but that is just not how I am, or how I was at least. I wanted him to be happy, he wanted to be able to play with her, we both had had lots of loving, honest playmates, so I opened our lives up to her, and got burned. I am in therapy now, trying to heal, and it will be a long time before I am able to do that, but I will get there. He is being very good to our children, who have taken it pretty hard, so there is that. But this girl needs to realize that if she does discuss her feelings, it should be with both of them, so that what she says can't be ignored, misinterpreted or hidden by him. Or just walk away. Find a man who is just yours, if you can.
@HRH: I hope the healing goes well.

I had the same kind of pattern with my ex, albeit in a monogamous relationship. A broken past which made me feel sorry for her. She needed lots of care and attention (so it seemed) and I gave it to her. And she kept taking and taking, with never any room for what I needed. Guilt trips if I tried to need anything. I've since learned to be much more careful around "injured puppy" types. I'm sure there are genuine ones, but I sure can't figure out how to tell the difference, and it's such a common (and effective) way to exploit people that it's safer to just stay away.

I know this attitude means I may miss out on a genuine "injured puppy" who just needs a little love to blossom into an amazing person, and that sucks, but there are plenty of other types of people in the world who don't have such a high tendency to turn into manipulative bitches.
@ HRH: Wow, that sucks, and you have my sympathies. I really hope that the LW considers what she may be doing to the girlfriend if she doesn't break up with her play partner.

The LW really should be careful about letting herself get into situations where a person who's loyal to someone else above her, is meeting so many of her emotional needs. This guy has become her fuckbuddy and her best friend... That's a tall order for him and a lot of space in her heart even if he didn't have a girlfriend.

LW, sometimes we all get trapped into wanting something we can't have. Don't do this to yourself. At least take a long break from seeing/contacting this man, force yourself to spend some time on yourself. Hang out with your other friends! Go on some dates with other people if you want! You may love him now, but you'll love again, and in a situation that won't involve near as much drama and pain. Give him up and someone better will come along.


"He even told me early on that he didn't trust her, but was excited by her."

Ouch. This sounds less like a secondary in an open relationship, and more like the mid-life crisis affair, only with your approval. You ex let himself get snowed, and he and you and your children are going to pay the price. If he showed this much poor judgment, you are indeed better off without him.

Know this: you are lovable, and you are loved, and you will be loved, and you WILL love again.
Polyamory is wrong!!!

Greek AND Latin in one word? Sheesh ;)

"multiamory" or "polyphilia" is right.
Gah. What's so wrong with mixing Greek and Latin roots? WHY OH WHY does everyone cry over it?

Neuroscience. Homosexual. Bigamy. The goddamn word which MEANS "someone who loves languages": Linguaphile. Television. Automobile. Electrocute.

My younger sister is 25. If you were her I would slap her and tell her to get the fuck out of there.
@31 hehehehe.
I'm adding viscera to my collection of "celery" (c'est la vie), mercy buckets, and grassy ass.
And it sounds less like polyamory than polygamy, in this situation.
"Also, think really hard about how it's going to feel to have your love --your heart, your feelings, your needs, your time and attention -- labeled "secondary" and treated as such."

Yeah, that's why being poly has never appealed to me. I've been second choice for so many people in different ways, knowing I'm second choice for my boyfriend/girlfriend would be heartbreaking. If it works for other people, that's cool, but I know for myself I would only wind up hurt.

HRH @ 38: That's so horrible. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I agree with what "Cynic Romantic" @ 46 said: "if it's any consolation I think he will be suffering badly when (his) novelty wears off..." Good luck with everything.