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-   -   Hiding pain (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10496)

sinew 05-31-2011 07:32 PM

Hiding pain
 
Things have been moving relatively quickly for my husband Charlie and his OSO Juliet. Since they came clean about their affair, we've made halting, difficult steps towards rebuilding as a poly relationship in the spirit of openness and generosity. A month ago, I gave my blessing to poly, and promised to try and make it work on my end, with the caveat that I wanted them to be kind, mindful, and generous with me, too.

At first, very little happened, but then in the space of a couple of weeks, they began holding hands, kissing, and planning to see concerts together again (concerts are how they began having sex behind my back, a year ago). I found my head was spinning, and every week after getting the update on what was happening from my husband, I fell apart. All my "calm abiding" tools weren't enough, and my heart was screaming at me to protect myself. I know the outer circumstances aren't the real problem, it's what I have invested in them - the feeling of fear, inadequacy, distrust, and bitterness are all my own creations. I've been training with thinking about what they will be doing together for months, and forcing myself to stay with the pain. But when it became real things I was dealing with, the urge to run away was stronger than I expected.

And so I reached out, wanting to explain that I was hurting, because I know that my usual state of outward composure hides my turmoil very effectively. I started talking with Charlie last Wednesday, and we talked through the weekend, him even helping me write a letter to send to Juliet and her husband. I sent the letter, and caused a firestorm.

Juliet and her husband said they had thought I was over all of the negative emotions I was describing, and feel misled by me. Charlie, despite having held me through 2am crying sessions weekly for months now, and having read the letter repeatedly in the days leading up to my sending it, also suddenly said that he had no idea I was still in pain, and this changed everything.

Did I hide it that well? I don't think I did, but they have no reason to lie. Did they really think that someone who was as openly devastated about being forced to choose this path as I was had just "converted"? If I am so good an actor, how is it that every friend we've told perceives my pain immediately?

They are confused, I am confused. They say that we cannot proceed if I'm still in pain like this, but I thought it was a given that I would be in pain for a long time to come. It takes time to build up the ability to resist spinning off with my emotional reactions - I expected that. I assume it will be years before I'm really comfortable and skilled enough to lean through the negativity and not stumble each time it rises up.

I spoke about my hurt in more explicit terms to try and solicit help on specific points, maybe for things to move a little slower. To let them know I wasn't feeling like my vulnerability in all of this was being respected enough yet. But now, emotions are running very high, and there is talk of Juliet or Charlie cutting one another out of their lives and just living with their own misery and resentment toward me... Which of course sounds like a disaster to me, and probably the end of my marriage.

I am tempted to go back into hiding. I don't want to lie to them, but I don't think it's inaccurate for me to say this was all a misunderstanding, and let's just go back to where we were the day before I sent the letter. I'll cope with it. That was my plan all along. I would value any help they can give, but I really, really don't want to rock the boat. Showing them my shadow side doesn't help anything... Does it?

Ariakas 05-31-2011 07:51 PM

Hiding it will eat you alive. It's not worth it to try and bury it. Try to learn to deal or work with what you are feeling. Vent, talk about it, whatever works for you.

SNeacail 05-31-2011 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sinew (Post 84093)
But now, emotions are running very high, and there is talk of Juliet or Charlie cutting one another out of their lives and just living with their own misery and resentment toward me... Which of course sounds like a disaster to me, and probably the end of my marriage.

To me it sounds like they are not willing to slow down to allow you to process and deal with things and the statement above (in bold) sounds like cruel manipulations on their part. To me this sounds like they are saying that they don't care about your pain and they will either do what they want at whatever pace they wish to take it (which the affair also said) or they will make your life a living hell.

Do NOT hide your pain. Maybe you do need to make greater efforts to clue everyone in when you are struggling with stuff. Don't wait until you get to the end of the rope, address stuff early. I am also of the opinion that it is your husbands duty to clue HIS girlfriend into the fact that your are still struggling. You shouldn't have to get on the phone or e-mail the next morning after a 2am crying session, just to make sure she is culed in to your struggles, she's not your girlfriend. He's not being honest with either of you. JMO

Hopeful 05-31-2011 09:19 PM

I can only speak for myself, but I could never be in a marriage where my husband offered only black and white solutions to the issues you are describing. If you want to make any relationship work, poly, mono, or what have you, you have to be able to talk about how you're feeling without fear of an ultimatum.

That said, I also wouldn't stay silent if I were hurting as much as you seem to be, and just hope that other people figured it out on their own. I don't say that to be harsh at all, but sometimes people see what they want to see, or they see signs that you're unhappy and assume you'll come to them when you're ready. And sometimes that works out. But in your case, it seems like you held it in to the point where it had to come out in the form of this letter, and at that point it was maybe difficult for you to express yourself calmly? (That's conjecture on my part, based on being married to a man who at first bottled up everything.)

If you need time, ask for time. If they are honestly working to make you comfortable, they'll give you what you need to get that way.

Magdlyn 06-01-2011 01:22 PM

There are different ways to get into poly. As a young single person, as a choice for all future relationships. As part of an established couple who both feel something is missing, and choose poly rationally and with love. And then, as a couple wherein one (or both) partners have cheated, are discovered or come clean. :eek:

The third option is, of course, the most painful, because the cheating has caused a breech of trust. So, suddenly, the cheated on partner has to deal with feeling humiliated and betrayed, and then have to force him or herself into bringing the secret lover into his/her life. Not an easy thing to do, and imo, your h and his gf should not expect you to be on board after just a few short weeks. They should be made aware this process can take years, and much work.

GroundedSpirit 06-01-2011 01:45 PM

Hi Sinew,

I wonder if I can offer anything that might help...........

I wonder if the reason this is coming so hard is that you are thinking (maybe everyone else too?) that this is just all about managing emotions.
It's much more than that !
It's about replacing certain belief systems.

Are you willing to DO that ???

Think about it this way...............

Often when we are young we hear people use words - but we hear wrong. So we pronounce them the way WE understood them. Parents and other adults find this cute, so don't correct us. So it get reinforced.
At some point we either grow up some or someone less tolerant calls/corrects us on it. They instruct us the error we've been making and explain the correct way.

It's a shock to us ! We're embarrassed sometimes. I've seen kids try to cling to their old ways for awhile. But eventually we realize we were just mistaken and have to get with the program.

Becoming aware of poly capacity is somewhat like this. We learned a different interpretation early on and it was reinforced by everyone around us for years.
All that's necessary to move with this is to accept and BELIEVE that we were practicing a myth all this time prior !

Do you believe this ? Until you do, nothing down deep will change !

You can try to 'control' emotions, reactions etc etc But it will never be enough. And it will never feel 'good'. or right.

You have to BELIEVE in what you are doing. Once you have that clarity supporting you everything will fall into place in a pretty short time.

Try it :)

GS

nycindie 06-01-2011 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sinew (Post 84093)
Juliet and her husband said they had thought I was over all of the negative emotions I was describing, and feel misled by me.

Who the fuck are they to judge your emotions as negative? And to assume that you are fine and dandy with all of it when they have not checked with you before your letter to see if that is so? This really gets my goat. They operate as they wish, and when you are being honest about how you feel, they make it seem like there's something wrong with you. I call bullshit!

You feel what you feel. This upset, sadness, anger, etc., isn't negative - it's real. If they want things to be all kitty-cats and rainbows, what are they doing poly for? <snicker>

I say, do not go into hiding. This whole situation needs talking, talking, and more talking.

Hold your head high because you did nothing wrong. Ask Charlie how and why he could have been with you thru all your crying and help you craft that letter to then take sides with them and act surprised. If I were you I would request that Charlie and Juliet take a break until you and your husband have worked things out better and you've reached some emotional equilibrium. If they are so unreasonable as to not want to back away for this, then they really have no sensitivity nor respect for your feelings.

You have been more than willing to confront the cheating and turn it around to accept poly, the least they can do is give you some time to process such a huge shift in the dynamics of your relationship.

redpepper 06-02-2011 06:25 AM

I suggest they do some reading here under "cheating"... it takes years to get over cheating... I dare say that one never gets over it entirely. It is so damaging to the very core of our trust that one is never quite right again... stand up for that! It could never happen. You are being VERY generous even considering her being in his life. Most women would be taking him for everything he has got at this point... I think he needs to find a deeper level of generosity, consideration and compassion. They all do!

GroundedSpirit 06-03-2011 02:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 84331)
I suggest they do some reading here under "cheating"... it takes years to get over cheating... I dare say that one never gets over it entirely. It is so damaging to the very core of our trust that one is never quite right again...

Ok RP - a paddling is in order here :) ((getting out big leather paddle))

You are stating YOUR truth (and wounds) :)

"Cheating" is no different than anything else. Onece you truly understand it and build a framework to eliminate it in the future (as much as possible with humans) it becomes nothing more than just one of the many lessons we learn. Making it more than that gives it power over you it doesn't deserve. But it's US that give it that power - not itself.

:)

GS

River 06-03-2011 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit (Post 84202)
Becoming aware of poly capacity is somewhat like this. We learned a different interpretation early on and it was reinforced by everyone around us for years.
All that's necessary to move with this is to accept and BELIEVE that we were practicing a myth all this time prior !

Do you believe this ? Until you do, nothing down deep will change !


GS has it about right, here. All depends on the love paradigm you're committed to -- emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. The force of habit can still have momentum in our thoughts and feelings for a time while transitioning, but all depends on what you're taking a stand for.

Talk all of your feelings through with your husband, including any hurt about betrayal. Try to do this with an open heart. Try to be forgiving.


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