AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Being There

Ben and I had a unique experience, especially within Vietnam, this week. On Monday, Ben had a date with someone just outside Hanoi that went very well. I have to admit that I was a bit jealous about it, but I was very happy for him. The woman is Vietnamese and I was scared that perhaps Ben would want to stay in Vietnam to continue seeing her, but he did assure me that was not the case; she was also interested in living in another country. 2 days after their date, we both went to see her. I was very curious to meet this woman because she seemed very genuine and she clearly really liked Ben; she had been sending him lots of text messages that indicated her feelings. Unfortunately, our meeting didn’t go very well. Ben had spoken repeatedly about me and about how our relationship works, but she didn’t seem to understand it. She was warm toward me and she brought her very cute daughter along, but the meeting felt very awkward. I don’t think she knew what to make of Ben and I and she didn’t feel comfortable being affectionate toward Ben while we were all together.

What sealed the deal for Ben was the fact that she assumed we would pay for everything. After the 3 of us went to karaoke, I asked her if she could help pay for it, since we all sang and had snacks there. That’s when she told us she didn’t have her wallet – we weren’t sure if she was forgetful or if that was purposeful. The price of the karaoke wasn’t that cheap, especially by Vietnamese standards, and given that we had all sung, I felt it was fair to share the cost. After we left, she told us that she needed to take a taxi back to her motorbike and she needed us to pay for that taxi. We felt very taken advantage of and decided we wouldn’t see her again. She did apologize for asking for the money to get back to her motorbike and explained that in Vietnam, men pay for everything. I asked her if that is also the case when women see their male friends and she said yes. Several hours after the date was over, she sent several messages to Ben saying that he had invited her to karaoke, therefore he should pay. Karaoke had merely been a suggestion on our part, not a given. She also assumed that we were earning lots of money and since she wasn’t earning much, we had the duty to pay. Ben told her we’ve been volunteering in Vietnam and that we didn’t have the means to pay for her all the time.

Ben was fairly upset after all of this because he initially really liked the woman. This leads me to discussing one of the benefits of polyamory : After a disappointment, you often have another partner or partners to help you get over it. I pride myself on being there for my partners and I was happy to console Ben. I also know that if I went through something similar, he would be there for me. When I started becoming poly, this is something I had never considered and I think it’s a definite benefit. Although there is potential for more breakups when you have multiple relationships, there is also potential for more comfort.

Thank you as always for reading. Ben and I are about to enter China – we’ll see what the opportunities are like there for polyamory… If you have any questions about any relationship, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

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