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Advice – I might be stressing my partner’s other relationship. [NSFW]

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/u/boundandunbeaten on /r/relationships writes…

“I [23F] started a DDLG relationship with my Daddy, C [57M] about a month ago. He has been in a relationship with his girlfriend and submissive, N [44F] for 5 years.

They don’t live together, have no plans of it. She spends every other weekend with him (so 4 overnights a month), and they don’t talk much /see each other in the interim.

We are all poly, and everyone is on board with all relationships here.

Now C and I have been spending a LOT of time together. We have had 14 overnights in the last month. I spend time with his kids, he hurt his arm so I massage it almost every day, we go out and do vanilla things, etc.

He has vented to me a couple times recently about N. Some problems he’s been having with her. And he says he doesn’t want me to think bad about her (I dont, I like her) but he’s just seeing things he didn’t before.

And I think I’m the reason. He asks her for a massage, she refuses. I offer and am doing it before he even thinks to ask.

I am pretty good at intuitively doing things for people. My last relationship was a monogamous cohabitation that lasted 6 years in which I did practically everything for my partner. Not even in a kink sense.

It just makes me happy.

Now I’m conflicted though. Obviously any issues they have, have been there regardless of me. I am merely providing another frame of reference, which is highlighting some of the differences in how she and I interact with him.

I think in part because I offer to do things for him, and even when he asks her she refuses, is a big thing.

I don’t want to break their relationship. I’m perfectly content sharing.

But… I’ve never been in this situation before. And I’d appreciate any thoughts.

Followup context: My current relationship of one year is my first poly relationship. My primary partner, B has been Poly for 7 years. My partner C has been in the lifestyle for over 30 years. And has had multiple long-term poly relationships. Oh and with N, her relationship with C is her first poly or kinky relationship.”

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Dear Bound and Unbeaten,

I have been going to the same hair salon for the past eight years. It is owned by a couple who do a really great job of styling my hair. The owner couple has gotten to know me along all different phases of my life. They are always very friendly and I always tip very generously. I first walked through their door because they happened to be the only Korean hair salon within the twenty mile radius. But I’ve kept returning to them even long after I’ve moved away. What can I say? Good stylists are difficult to find. Ones that I connect with and trust to do my hair right are even more difficult to find.

When both of the owners were occupied with cutting other patrons’ hair, there was usually a third person who cuts my hair. There was one that I connected with really strongly. Her name was Sunny. She did something different with my hair. Instead of cutting my hair the way I wanted them to cut it, she tried completely different styles with me (after giving me an idea of what it might look like). Most of the new styles she wanted to try out actually ended up looking really great. I ended up working with Sunny until she got a gig elsewhere. And I was loyal to the salon, so I went right back to the owner couple who implemented what Sunny did with my hair, and expanded upon her direction. I was very pleased.

I think it is important to consider that not all relationships are created fairly. Love isn’t meant to be equal. And there will be times when you have much more chemistry with one partner than another. There will be moments when you would miss your one partner even when they’re still with you, and not think about your other partners. But each partner will bring something that is unique and special to each of their relationships. Just like Sunny brought something different to styling my hair, both you and N bring something special to each of your relationships with C.

Multnomah Falls!

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I’ll add here that being a proper and respectful hinge in a V-style polyamorous relationship is one of the most difficult roles to play. Communicating in no uncertain terms what you like about another partner while decoupling exclusivity from uniqueness can be really difficult. While C has had a significant amount of polyamorous relationship experience, this is the first serious poly and kink relationship you’ve been a part of. So understand that this could be one of the ways NRE manifests in new relationships. It sounds like you understand that these issues that C and N might have been having is completely unrelated to your relationship with him. But his budding new relationship with you might have also given him some newfound courage and energy to bring those issues into the light.

That leads me to my next point. Let C and N figure out what their own deal is. Instead of projecting the kind of love you like to provide and doing mental comparisons to how N loves C in her own unique way. Even if you were directly responsible for the issues between C and N, that is their own responsibility, to be resolved through their own respective emotional labors. If you are struggling from hearing these negative aspects of his other relationships, then establish a soft boundary for yourself so that you can remain unbiased and supportive of their relationship. Venting to you about problems in his other relationship requires a whole different level of emotional connection and faith, not just in your relationship with him but also in your faith and trust in his other relationship as well.

Polyamory is all so new to you. It sounds like you are having a great time. So take a sit and enjoy some tea. Sometimes, a breather is nice too.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at teatimetomato@gmail.com.

Categories: Advice

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