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October 2008

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black crin

obskura in askpoly

How do I talk to my partner about norms in their other relationships that bother me, to the point that they have a negative impact on my relationship with them?

Comments

Can you give an example, possibly?

-- A :)
hmmmm...

(this gets long)

I was over at my partner's, C, place. I hadn't seen him in about 2 weeks. His primary partner, L, a stay at home mom, is playing video games. C had worked all day, he's now cooking dinner. Their 2 month old baby starts crying, her other SO, S (they are a "V") goes to change the baby's diaper. S come back a while later, hands me the baby (I hadn't been over in a while). A bout 10 minutes later the baby and I are getting fussy. I try to give the baby back to L but she's too busy playing her game and S takes her. I ask C if he needs any more help with dinner and he does, so I help with some vegetables. The baby needs another diaper change so C stops making dinner and changes the baby. Mom is still playing video games. C gives her the baby and she starts nursing the baby one arm and playing the game with the other. When was ready L doesn't even stop her game, she asked C to bring her her food, and doesn't even say thank you. Meanwhile, my boyfriend has barely had a chance to kiss me hello.

This is kind of a recurring theme. I find that every time I'd go over, pre, during, and post baby, I'd never seen "Mom" do much other than play video games or surf the internet. Needless to say, after this particular event I refused to come over. I once asked if she had a mobility problem and he got pretty annoyed I'd asked.

The ultimate question - how do I tell my partner I don't think it's fair that he's not paying attention to me when his other partner is perfectly capable of taking care of herself and her child? I eventually stopped going over but it didn't solve the problem of her seemingly not pulling her weight. I understand my partner is a parent, and I don't come anywhere near as important as his family does, but his wife is far from helpless and can turn off her game/computer and help out, particularly if her SO has company.

Edited at 2008-10-05 10:26 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's a really rough one -- if it were just during pregnancy/post-baby, I'd have a different response than if it were like that *all* the time.

My partners have a young baby, so I'm pretty familiar with what that's like (and I have a daughter myself, although mine is 16 at this point -- I still remember what it was like, though!) It actually IS perfectly reasonable to expect that, after a long day of breastfeeding and babywatching and not having any time to herself, for L to expect that C will be primarily responsible for the baby so that she can get some time to relax and chill out.

I don't know whether you have had children, but it really IS draining needing to spend 100% of your time in charge of them, and it's not unreasonable to expect your partner/s to take over in the evenings (especially since a breastfeeding mom is usually predominantly responsible for getting up during the night, and therefore usually doesn't get more than a few hours of sleep at a time.)

Now, if this dynamic was in place before the baby was conceived, and L had a habit of being disrespectful of your time with C, that's a bit of a different story -- you're the only one who can make that evaluation. But, honestly, given the circumstances, it doesn't sound 100% unreasonable . . . although C should have made sure that you had SOME uninterrupted time together and that every visit wasn't spent doing household stuff.

Frankly, though, L doesn't have direct responsibility towards you -- you don't have a right to criticize how she chooses to spend her time. *C* is the one who has a responsibility towards you, and he should have made sure that you had time carved out for the two of you.

Does that make sense?

-- A <3