BALANCING LIFE WITH A HUSBAND AND A BOYFRIEND
I have been seeing someone new.
I really didn’t expect him, or the realizations I would have from meeting him.
A few months ago my husband (Adam), daughter and I moved to a new state. Adam and I decided that we would put dating on hold for a while until we settled in. We agreed that if anyone came into our life unexpectedly then it would be fine to pursue it, but we decided to take a break from actively seeking out new partners.
A few weeks ago I was visiting a friend of mine and I met his roommate and right away we hit it off.
I really like him.
Adam and I have been polyamorous for about a year and a half now and we have met some really great people and some people that, well, would make for some very good stories.
For the most part, we have either been interested in the same partners or only entered into very casual short-term relationships. It has just worked out that way so far.
So, when I met this guy I thought he was great fun, but I thought it would be a one night-casual sort of thing.
I was wrong.
We have been seeing a lot of each other. We have been having a great time, but this brings up lots of questions. For example, the question of how I split my time. I am a wife and a mother and I am making a career switch. So where does a new interest fit into that? And how can I balance my time to make it fair to everyone? Another question is the inevitable “what are we/ where is this going?” talk that I will have to have with the new guy.
We usually date people who identify as polyamorous as well, and often people involved in a couple. It helps when all parties are coming from a similar perspective. But, this guy is single and doesn’t identify as poly. So, in addition to figuring out how Adam and I should navigate this, I realized that this may be quite difficult for the him to navigate too.
I know the hurdles that I have to go through as a married woman dating someone else, but I hadn’t considered the hurdles he encounters dating a woman who is married. If “dating” is even the right word-that is where the inevitable “where is this going” conversation comes in.
Well, we started “the talk” last night, but before I get to that, let’s back up to dinner.
Normally, Adam and I meet the person the other is interested in before anything happens. There are a few exceptions and in this case a text message of approval from Adam was enough for me to proceed. But, no relationship is going to go that far if the person isn’t willing to meet Adam, or in his case, me.
I am surprised at how many people are willing to meet us right away. I give these people a lot of credit. That takes confidence and it never ceases to impress me. I am not sure if it was reversed and I was single if I would go over to someone’s house that I was interested in to meet their spouse.
Adam and I are getting pretty good at the awkward first dinners. Because, as I said several people haven’t made it too far past the first dinner. So there have been a few…
But, the timing with this guy worked out different and we actually saw each other a few times before Adam got to meet him. So, I was a little nervous to pitch the idea of the two of them meeting to the new guy. He gets major brownie points with Adam and I, because not only did he have dinner with us, he came to our home for dinner.
And of course the first few minutes were horrible awkward.
“uhhhh what do you want to drink? Water? Oh Adam likes water too.” Awkward silence. Adam tugs at the collar of his shirt.
Thankfully, someone starts in on the conversation of music and movies and the tone of the conversation relaxes from there. At the end of the night the new guy ( let’s call him D so he isn’t stuck as the new guy) said he was surprised how much more comfortable it was. Adam and I try really hard to make it as comfortable as possible, but it isn’t the easiest of situations.
But there is more to consider for the dinner than awkward conversations. Who do I sit by? If D wants to hug me or kiss me is that fine? Do I kiss them both? When we watch a movie later in the evening who puts their arm around me? Do I welcome this D into my bed at home or is that bed only for Adam and I?
The answer: there is no right answer. It is whatever all three people feel is most comfortable. So there is a lot of feeling things out throughout the night. For us, we feel most comfortable allowing the guest to be affectionate, so they feel welcome and not like a third wheel. But, let’s face it, if you are not polyamorous, even if you have been told it is fine, there is something scary about putting your arm around or kissing someone else’s wife in front of them.
But, overall the dinner was a great success.
So, with Adam’s blessing we kept ummm “dating”. But, as things progress Adam and I had to have the conversation about time. How often can I see D and be fair to everyone involved? Adam and I need guidelines to help us figure things like this out, but most of them are rules of thumb, there are not a lot of hard lines because relationships evolve and so do we. So, we decided that I should see D at least once a week, but not usually more than twice unless it was a specific set of circumstances, like I saw D when Adam was at work and it didn’t cut into our marriage time. For Adam, one or two times sounded good, but three felt like an imposition into our time together which we both want to protect. So, that is how we came up with our rule of thumb, we tried a number of times and felt it out. We have a tradition now. When I am on my way home from D’s house, no matter what time of night, I call Adam and we talk all the way home. I tell him everything about the night and he has the opportunity to ask me anything about it that he wants. That way, when we see each other when I get home we can hold each other really tight, reaffirm our love for each other and feel confident about the level of transparency between us.
I realized yesterday that seeing D makes me a better wife and a better mom. It may seem counterintuitive, but when I go out with him, I am taking time for me, to explore a different part of my being, so when I come home to Adam and my daughter I am ready to be present for them. In fact, I feel better than I have felt most of the year. Losing my job last year hit me really hard, especially in the area of self confidence, an area that I usually feel strong in. So, to have a new affirming relationship in my life on top of the already great affirming relationships in my life, feels really great. Being able to date D make me so proud to be in the marriage that I am in and makes me feel incredibly grateful towards Adam, which in turn shows in my actions towards him. And, as for my daughter. I have spent so much time at home this year because of my employment situation that, while I love her immensely, I just need time away. So, when I get back from a night where I am not required to have mom duties, I feel refreshed and better able to be attentive to her.
I have no doubt that being poly makes me a better version of myself. I know it makes Adam a better husband, and I really believe it makes me a better wife and mom. I am glad all the time that Adam and I chose this life. It certainly isn’t always easy and it comes with its share of awkwardness, risks and heartaches. But, for us, it is totally worth it.
Since D and I are in the midst of our “where is this going” talk, I will save that for another time. I plan to be sharing more with you about poly life soon. I think this relationship is bringing up some really great questions that I think poly people should consider and I would love to share my process with you as Adam and I work through those questions.
As always thanks for reading. Please feel free to share any dating stories you have in the comments section. Or, if you have a specific question related to poly dating please feel free and ask and I can tell you my take on it. I guarantee the answer will be different for other couples and individuals since poly life is so unique to each couple, but I would love to share my answer.