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-   -   GF of 4 years makes an announcement (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23463)

mobetterblues 05-04-2012 09:43 AM

GF of 4 years makes an announcement
I'm a 39 year old straight guy, living with my gf of 4 years. She's bi (which she told me about early on in the relationship) which has never really been an issue. She says it's a 60-40 thing, and that she wouldn't ever see herself in a long term relationship with a woman. We talked about adding an occasional 3rd person to our sex life a while back (most likely a woman) , however never did anything about this - a combination of stress, financial issues (my business is very recession-sensitive so the last 4 years have been a struggle!) and the day to day grind, not to mention neither of us really pushed for it. I'm also guilty of taking my gf for granted, and again, I have things I could use as excuses (work stress etc) but there is really no excuse for this, and I know this. She knows I love her, but I haven't shown it in some of the ways that are most important to her. I feel terrible for this, especially as it was no doubt a contributory factor is the recent crisis, which I'll go on to explain.
My gf has always been brutally honest, and like an open book. However this all changed a couple of months ago, when I suddenly became suspicious, her behaviour changed, became furtive, secretive. I knew something was amiss and so checked her phone, and yes, you've guessed it, I found evidence that she's been with another guy.
All hell broke loose, and all the emotions that come from a situation like this came out. She went away to stay with her family for a month, during which time we were communicating constantly, but not on great terms. I was going through hell, not eating at all, it felt like my life had fallen apart.
It turns out that she had conversations with this guy about her feelings and ideology about relationships, that she would prefer an open relationship (I was of course hurt that she'd never discussed it with me!) They shared the ideology, one thing led to another, all behind my back.
Since I found out, she told me she was going to tell me everything. Since then, we have been trying to repair our relationship, which has been difficult due to the breakdown of trust. She has exchanged emails with this guy, but nothing more since. We have spoken at length about us, what we want etc. she has floated the idea of an open relationship, which is something I just cannot agree to - it's just not me, and this is not borne out of any traditional mindset, social conditioning, or any other external factors - it's just me, who I am. Now all the pain and emotions have died down, we are focusing on the future. The question is, can she continue with me, if she is going to be surpressing this side of her? I've suggested that maybe we are too different in this, important aspect, and should cut our losses now and let each other move on - despite the fact that we love each other. She has been really confused about what she wants, and I have tried to leave things as they are, continue with the reparation of our relationship. However it feels, to me anyway, that this issue is a fundamental part of the reparation - it brought infidelity into our relationship, so has the potential to create further damage in the future, especially if it's surpressed. I'm confused to be honest. I don't want to be with a person who feels surpressed with just me, but I love this woman and we both always envisaged spending the rest of our lives together, she still says this. Her latest position is that she wants to just 'forget the open relationship issue' and concentrate on repairing what has been damaged. However, I just can't seem to separate the 2 issues, as I think they are intertwined.
Does anyone have similar experiences? Any advice? Thoughts?
I'd appreciate any comments.

nycindie 05-04-2012 11:34 AM

There are many people for whom a poly/mono arrangement works, where the monogamous partner accepts that the poly partner has other people in his or her life, but doesn't seek that out for themselves. Perhaps this could be a place you might reach at some point. It would take lots of talking, soul-searching, and negotiating.

mobetterblues 05-04-2012 11:39 AM

thanks for your reply. I have thought long and hard about this, really. And this is one of the things I considered. However I just wouldn't be comfortable in this situation, so cannot honestly see it as an option for me. It would be compromising myself in order to accommodate her, and just as I appreciate that she has to be true to herself, so do I. It would be incredibly difficult to give up on us, but I cannot see any other way, in order for us both to live the lives we want. A sad situation.

dingedheart 05-04-2012 02:17 PM

Has counseling been considered ? ...for her cheating on you and your taking her for granted. Also for discussing the idea and application of an open marriage/relationship and how that could work for each of you. I don't remember the stat but the counselor we were seeing gave the% of couples she/they ( the practice) see's that end in divorce. They discover during the process that they need to split.

A sad situation indeed. Trust has been shattered so anything she now says is tainted with the possibility of it being a lie or half truth or spin. And you're already thinking well beyond the infidelity and trust issues and focused on the philosophical differences in which there is no compromise.

I'd say trust your gut.

Good luck D

mobetterblues 05-04-2012 02:34 PM

thanks for this. Yes, she is looking for a counsellor to address this, and other issues she says has brought her to this point. We have both taken responsibility for the fact that our relationship soured to the point where one of us cheated on the other. She has repeatedly said since, that it is the single worst mistake of her life, and she cannot believe that she would do it to me, of all people, knowing that it would hurt me. She is genuine here, and I have no doubts she regrets her actions so much.
I have never delved into the nitty gritty of exactly what happened, on the 2 occasions she met the other guy, but I think I know it went further than she initially confessed to, and I have just left it that I think it went further than that, and we have kind of left that subject there. Trust has been tainted, but I think I can forgive and move on. The big question for me is whether we move on together, or apart. My gut swings one way one day, and the other the next (literally some days!). Most importantly, I want to make sure, if we stay together, that we know where each other stands, and her ongoing Q mark about her / polyamory is getting to be the elephant in the room. She doesn't think now is the time to concentrate on this, I think we need to know where we stand if we are to go forward together. Very confusing for both of us. Sorry to air my / our confusion on this site, but seems as good a place as any, considering our issues..

dingedheart 05-04-2012 02:52 PM

Her going to see a counselor on her own to sort out some of the why questions might be a good starting point. Let them attack the elephant in the room. They could add you in later if and when needed or appropriate .

How have you been sleeping through out this? That was one of my biggest problems and it really fucks with the decision making or gut trusting process.

Don't be sorry ....this is a perfect place to air such a story or problem....hundreds of stories just like yours:)

mobetterblues 05-04-2012 03:16 PM

thanks again for taking time to add your comments.

We both agree that counselling is the answer. To be honest, I found it therapeutic just churning out my original post earlier...

One point I find possibly pertinent, is that when I asked her if the poly side of her has been present throughout our relationship, she told me that when things were going really well with us, she never gave it a second thought. So maybe it's a side of her that came out when things were going badly, when she felt taken for granted, and when I neglected her sexually (which I admit I did at times, particularly when my stress levels were at their worst).

Is polyamory something that can come and go like this - depending on the happiness of the relationship? From reading this site my conclusion has been otherwise - that it is part of who we are. Maybe she was just able to put it to one side when we our relationship was going really well. I don't know.

Once again, thanks

dingedheart 05-04-2012 03:58 PM

I think people who identify as poly ...no it wouldn't come and go. A lot people find themselves here from situation or of their needs being incompatible. Higher sex drive VS lower. One partner interested in BDSM the other no interest and is very vanilla. Some in long distance relationship because of career choices....physically separated for months.

mobetterblues 05-04-2012 05:13 PM

there's no doubt her sex drive has been higher than mine over the last year / 2 years. I've not dealt with the stress of my business very well and as a result my self confidence has taken a hit (not very sexy for my gf I imagine) and my libido took a nose dive, so to speak. Maybe I'm reaching out for explanations here, or maybe the truth is that she just wants more than one partner. It's not an option for me, so there's an unavoidable ultimatum, which I hate, but which is the only way I can see us both getting what we want from life - if her poly life is so important to her (her statements on this vary from "it's a strong part of who I am" to "it's just a part of me I've not explored" to " maybe I just wan't single long enough between relationships" to " you are the only important thing in my life"

SNeacail 05-04-2012 05:21 PM

One thing you will read over and over again is, when the existing relationship is in trouble, that is not the time to explore poly relationships. Fix what's broken, then spend a few years discussing opening the marriage if she still feels it's necessary.

Communication is key for any relationship. I would guess that she may have tried to hint that the neglect was getting unbearable but you didn't catch on. This is where the counselor will come in and help each of you figure out how to speak each others language and have the other fully understand, instead of expecting them to "take a hint" or "read body language", etc.

PS. Speak with your doctor about the low libido and other ways to manage your stress levels.

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