Scheduling is possibly the most complicated thing about my open relationship, and very likely, it's the same across most open relationships. Between working a couple jobs, hobbies, appointments, my husband's dates, and social events with our ‘mundane' friends, trying to schedule my dates is an exercise in juggling and judicious use of a shared google calendar.
Add the spouses and partners of said dates into the equation, it’s amazing anyone ever gets laid.
So when the spouse of one of my partners doesn’t co-operate, and insists that he and I only get playdates when she has a date, it adds another level of challenge. When she blows up our date because hers fell through, that’s simply not cool.
When Flick and I decided that solo dating was something we wanted to explore in our opening up process, I’d thought it would be easier to date other people in open relationships who had spouses or primary partners because they’d understand a lot of the challenges inherent to the lifestyle. I'd assumed it would go more smoothly, but that isn’t always the case.
I’m pretty adaptable and laid back when it comes to plans. In fact, I’m a total pleaser and will bend backwards to make things easier for others. I understand that it’s challenging to plan things, since I’m in the same boat, but after every date with one particular partner has been rescheduled, changed, and/or shortened many times, it starts to feel like it’s not worth the effort. In the past, I’ve just rolled with it, but when the most recent playdate became a maybe-just-drinks date, then a definitely-just-drinks date including the spouse who’d blown up our playdate plans, I’d had enough.
I wasn’t willing to go sit across the table with the person who was fucking with my night and my sex life, and not in the good way. My husband had a date scheduled to come to the house that night, so I needed to clear out for the entire evening. When going for coffee or a drink was offered in lieu of a night of great sex, I was pissed right off. At least if dinner and a walk was on the table, something that would take a similar amount of time to a playdate, I might have felt differently.
So I opted out. I decided I’d rather spend the evening elsewhere, even if that was by myself having dinner, reading, writing, or whatever, rather than try to make conversation with the two of them when I was hurt and angry. It felt rude to insist that only he and I went out, which was one of his offers, rather than the three of us, so I didn't feel comfortable doing that. It is a bit of a peek into my psyche that despite being hurt and angered by someone else’s selfish demands, I didn’t want to seem selfish or rude to her.
Since I needed to be out of the house, I messaged another fella I’ve been chatting with online and enquired if he’d be able to meet for a drink and a meal. We’d tried a few times to make plans without success–due to complicated scheduling–but he was free that night so we met up and had a lovely first date drinking beer and chatting.
The evening worked out as well as I could have hoped for, but I’m left with a dilemma about future plans with Mr. Yoyo. I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the effort of making plans when nearly every one of our dates so far has had to be changed. He and I have had some really hot, satisfying sex, and we have had good times hanging out platonically on our own, and with our spouses as a foursome. I don’t want to throw away the friendship with a couple who is open and understands living a bit of a double life, but I’m not sure if it’s worth continuing the sexual relationship when I’m often left feeling fairly disposable.
Yet I also feel torn because she’s his wife, his primary, and her needs should be most important to him. I want my needs to be most important to my husband as well, and I know if I needed him, I could ask him to cancel his date, but I’d only use that in an extreme circumstance. I think that she takes advantage of this primacy by using her veto for non-emergency situations. I know she is not completely comfortable with his dating, despite their having been open since the beginning of their relationship, but I think she needs to be in or out. Agreeing, then messing with his dates doesn’t seem like the loving thing to do.
And if it only affected my date and I, that would be one thing, but in open relationships, one cancelled date can cascade down a line affecting multiple people. Mrs. Yoyo’s date falls through, cancelling Mr. Yoyo & me. If I’d done the same, that would have affected Flick and his date Hot Mama, which would have affected her husband and so on.
I understand that there are complicated feelings related to your spouse dating and fucking other people. Just because I get a lot of compersion from setting up the bedroom for Flick–making sure the bed is made up with the Liberator Throe; condoms and lube in easy reach; clean towels in the bathroom–it doesn’t mean I’m immune to jealousy over knowing he’s having really special experiences without me. I feel it and accept it as part of the price of living the amazing, fulfilling life we share. A price I gladly pay.
There's a good chance I need to make sure I only play with partners whose spouses/primaries feel the same way.
You are far more patient than my polycule. As soon as we even get an inkling that a potential partner practices poly that way (with less personal freedom than we enjoy and lack of respect/consideration of other partners’ plans), we let them know that doesn’t jive with how we do poly. Then if it happens again we cut off anything more than friendship because we’re not willing to risk the drama and pain. Happy to stay in touch socially, and open to trying again if their relationship dynamic changes, but don’t even want to go down that road otherwise.
I think you’re smart to be practicing that way, Joyful Girl. Thank you for sharing your strategy with me. It’s a lesson I’m learning (the hard way, of course). I’m very new to the open lifestyle, so there are many issues I hadn’t anticipated. I really appreciate the comment.