Does your wife have a boyfriend? Follow these tips for meeting and getting along with her boyfriend, and how to make the best of it.
In polyamory, open relationships, and various non-monogamous relationship arrangements, we must contend with different emotions surrounding our partner’s metamours. Sometimes it’s easy to accept our wife’s boyfriend or our boyfriend’s fling, but other times it can bring up sticky issues inside.
Even if we have our own lovers or have been cool with polyamory for our whole lives, we don’t always know when insecurities and jealousy will arise. Most of us struggle to various degrees—insecurity is natural in monogamy and polyamory. But since we have decided to live a richly poly life and to strive for compersion, we need to be cool with the wife’s boyfriend.
Here’s how you can accept your wife’s boyfriend and get comfortable.
Meeting Your Wife’s Boyfriend
Meeting a metamour can be a lot of fun and give us more insight into our partners and their needs and desires. It can also be nerve-wracking when you’re having a hard time being cool with your wife’s boyfriend.
Sometimes the best way is just to dive in. Be the one to initiate or to accept her request that you meet. Instead of avoiding the encounter, face your feelings and get on with it.
Meet your wife’s boyfriend on neutral ground over drinks or lunch. Or tell her you’d love to invite him to a party or event that’s coming up.
Shake his hand. Don’t size him up. Say his name. Ask him questions about his life, work, and family. You’ll see he’s just another human being, and you might really like him!
What If You Don’t Like Your Wife’s Boyfriend?
Then again, you might not like your wife’s boyfriend!
If you don’t hit it off, really seek to understand why instead of just grumbling and taking it out on her. Why don’t you like him? We don’t like everyone, so you don’t have to like your wife’s boyfriend, but you do have to be civil to him and treat her choice with respect.
You’ll probably find that if you’re honest with yourself, the reason you don’t like your wife’s boyfriend is just jealousy. He has more hair or more money. Get used to the fact that other guys have different strengths and personalities from you. Be happy for her, and that will make you much more attractive to her.
Very rarely in these cases is your dislike a genuine concern for your wife. She’s an adult and can make her own choices. You may tell yourself that he mistreats her and wonder why she doesn’t seem to mind or doesn’t see it, but this is usually a dishonest excuse.
If you don’t like your wife’s boyfriend, you don’t have to see him often or hang out with him. But your wife will and you have to be kind and loving. Usually your dislike is simple jealousy.
How to Deal with Feeling Jealous
Poly people experience jealousy too. The difference, usually, is that polyamory doesn’t see this natural emotion as something to run our lives by. We don’t let it keep us from more love, more community, and more sex. We live with it and seek to control it rather than letting jealousy control us.
Communicate with your wife the fact that you feel jealous (she knows.) Be honest. Nurture your relationship with her. And work on your relationship with yourself too, owning your choice to be polyamorous and striving for compersion.
Nurture yourself too, and accept your shortcomings and differences as well as your strengths.
5 Tips for Being Cool with Your Wife’s Boyfriend
1. Remember, She Married YOU
It’s natural for people to wonder how they measure up against another. We compete against each other mentally and internally if not in more obvious ways with our behavior, dress, and speech.
If you have strong feelings of jealousy towards your wife’s boyfriend, or feel inadequate, it can be easy to forget that she married you and has a relationship with you. You are not all things, and neither is your wife’s boyfriend. He can’t replace you, and you can’t be him. You have unique gifts and a unique relationship with her.
2. Figure Out where Your Feelings Are Coming From
Try to understand yourself and question the origin of the feelings. We often have instinctive responses but don’t really know what they’re about. We start to blame someone else, even when they did nothing wrong.
But if you can understand your response you can control it. You may be upset at something very trivial, such as your wife’s boyfriend having more hair or your fear that he has a larger penis. These are normal and petty, and when you understand, you can take charge of them.
3. Work on Your Relationship
In polyamory, you and your wife will sometimes or always have one or more other partners. This is the agreement and desire. The worst thing you can do is go back on your agreement and act out.
Sometimes when you are uncomfortable with your wife’s boyfriend, or angry about your wife’s boyfriend, the instinct can be to ignore your relationship, avoid it, or “get back” at her by focusing on another relationship.
But you are in a polyamorous relationship where you agreed to have other lovers. Remembering this and growing in the relationship is the best way to get close—pushing her away or ignoring her won’t give you the reassurance you need, and it won’t be a selling point for her if your wife’s boyfriend treats her better or is more comfortable than you are. Nurture intimacy and closeness with your wife to make that relationship stronger.
4. Communicate Honestly with Your Wife
In the same vein, pursue intimacy with your wife by being open about your feelings. It’s obvious to her that you’re having a hard time accepting her boyfriend, believe me. Have the guts to share this with her and share the ways you are working to move beyond the knee-jerk emotions into compersion. Remember, you and your wife are on this journey together!
5. Sit with Your Difficult Emotions
Our fix-it psychology as a society and our natural inclination as humans is to overcome and get away from negative feelings. But another way of handling them is to accept them and to allow them space. Honoring your negative feelings and giving them room may work better than trying to escape them. You can’t get rid of the problem, so to speak, because there is no problem!
Instead of trying to shake off or ignore the unwanted emotions, practice allowing them. When you let yourself get comfortable experiencing negative emotions, you can control them and stop lashing out or trying to escape them.
Whenever you have the urge to act out against your wife or your wife’s boyfriend, you’ll remember that “it’s just a negative emotion.” It takes the power out of the emotion and puts you back in the driver’s seat.
Are you cool with your wife’s boyfriend? How did you get there?