The past couple of months in our triad have been rough. Our GF got a crappy new work schedule that results in her being gone from about 1:30 pm to 12:30 am. My husband works until 3:00, and until last week, I also worked until three three days a week. I lost my job, but that's a whole other story (& mostly not relevant). She is also now off Fridays and Saturdays, so we only have one day where we are all together for an entire day.
Just to make things more fun, she's had oral thrush for a very long time... it's been - and I am not exaggerating - over ten weeks since we've been able to kiss her. It has gotten to a point where we barely think about it. We just don't kiss her anymore. We're used to it. In two weeks, it will be 50% of the time she's lived with us.
As I posted several weeks ago, I read stuff I shouldn't have (see that post here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=939). In doing so, I discovered that all of us have screwed up in some way. We knew she lied to us about something, because we caught her red handed. It wasn't a BIG thing, but it was a bold faced lie, which neither him nor I tolerate. We understand WHY she lied (she's terrified of conflict), but that didn't negate the fact that she wasn't honest with us when confronted on something. And in some ways, the fact that she lied about something small was even more concerning... because big stuff is even harder to be truthful about for a lot of people.
As for him, I'd been insecure about a few specific incidents. When she first moved in, as I've mentioned in earlier posts, I was on a medication that was quite literally making me crazy. There were a few times during that where they were alone (once when I was napping and they were in another room, and once in our bed when they both happened to wake up in the middle of the night, but I remained asleep) and things got heated between them... however, primarily out of fear of hurting me and having to deal with the fallout of that, they didn't have sex. The first time that happened, I told them to feel free to wake me up any time to have sex. I have the highest sex drive, and I have no issues with being seduced awake! I think it's kind of hot, frankly.
Anyway, a few weeks after the first incident, there was a second time. This was the time when I was in bed with them and they didn't wake me. Now, at the time, we were having issues with her withdrawing from us, both sexually an emotionally. She has no coping skills, and whenever life is stressful, she retreats into a shell. So, he told me about the moments they shared, but told both me and her that he didn't have sex with her, at least in part, because sex doesn't fix problems, no matter how nice it is.
It nagged at me, though. These incidents bothered me. I felt like the real reason they didn't wake me wasn't fear that I'd be upset that they'd started without me, but because they wanted to be alone - and THAT would upset me. I've never gotten caught up with either of them and didn't want the third involved. Now, that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed having one of them all to myself when the third declined... but I've always wanted the other person there. This excludes any planned alone time, obviously... though, honestly, there've been times even when alone where I wouldn't have minded invited the third person to join. I didn't, because that sort of defeats the purpose of alone time... but the thought crossed my mind more than once.
Anyway, in reading their transcript, I discovered that at least the second time, he did, in fact, want to be alone with her. Worse, that night we were all together, and they were talking about this... and about how they wanted to be together, but he felt like he "owed" me sex... so he was with me, instead of with her. I remember that night because I'd been clued in on what had happened between them that morning... and I was really surprised he decided to have actual sex with me over her, because I figured he'd go to her given what they'd shared earlier. I remember feeling wanted and relieved... and when I read what they said about me, I was crushed and felt betrayed.
(This is gonna be too long, so continuing this in a new post)
But I had betrayed them, too. We all talked, and sorted it out. My husband and I are good now. We both behaved in ways that aren't characteristic for us... and it sucked, but I think we learned from it and grew as a couple and as individuals. Still, what I read does haunt me some.
In the past two months, between her new schedule, and her thrush and stuff related to her just-out-of-the nest son, she's been really stressing, and once again, withdrawing. We talked to her about it, and she said she'd try harder... but she's seemed so utterly unhappy. Well, a week ago, I was frustrated and feeling disconnected from her. She posts on another poly site, and had asked me to join some time back. I did, but at the time, didn't read her old posts... but then I decided last week to go back and read them. She didn't care if I read them, so this wasn't any sort of betrayal... but this was a curiosity killed the cat sort of situation.
What I uncovered was that she talked about her two previous attempts at a triad in nearly identical terms as she's talked about our triad with her. Her last triad ended, in part, because it was a poly fidelity situation and the wife of the couple decided she didn't like that and found another girlfriend. Her husband could not handle that, and ultimately left (not only for that reason, but it was the catalyst). When he left, our GF stayed together with his wife. But she then decided to go back home where she was from... and they stayed together, at least in theory. What was really happening was that the GF was using our GF to pay her storage and cell phone bills. They were allowed to see other people, but the agreement was that they were supposed to share this information with one another before anything major emotionally or sexually transpired.
Well, the GF got a boyfriend and didn't tell our GF until they'd been involved emotionally and sexually for weeks. We had plenty of evidence that this woman was a piece of crap (she abandoned ALL of her storage stuff, despite repeated attempts to get her to come get it, and all of her daughters' baby pictures, toys, clothes, etc, etc were in there - lots of irreplaceable things, and never even made the slightest attempt to come get any of it - in fact, she didn't even return emails or phone calls).
Anyway, the point is, that relationship was, from what we'd heard, never all that healthy. We then read about it in glowing terms. Our GF told us she'd never loved that woman, and realized it in retrospect, but only a year ago, she was talking on her forum about how she'd never loved anybody so much ever. Things she's said to us, in some cases, verbatim, were said about her relationship with the two of them... and especially where the wife was concerned.
(Part III coming)
So, we confronted her with all of this last week. I am scared that she doesn't have any clue whatsoever what love is... she's been drawn to very badly damaged people her entire life. She has two failed marriages under her belt. One was with a man who beat her, the other was with a man who she met in a treatment program for drugs... and he eventually returned to drugs after they'd been together over a decade, and that ended their marriage.
She was abused as a child. She has had a lot of very, very bad things happen to her. What I don't think she's ever experienced before, though, was real love. And there are times when I think the responsibilities that come with actual love overwhelm her... she's used to being able to fix things, either with money or with sex. We don't work that way. We don't want her for her income, no matter how much we financially depend on it. We don't want her only for sex, no matter how much we love having sex with her.
Anyway... I am struggling. It was starting to look like this might all end very soon. But we talked to her, and she's trying. Problem is, I am worried she's trying to force herself to fit into something that doesn't actually work for her. I don't want to be the cause of her unhappiness, and what we learned in reading her posts about her previous relationships, is that when she is feeling unhappy, she withdraws - just as she's been doing with us. So, it's hard to not see a pattern in her previous attempts at a triad and her current attempt with us.
She's wanted this type of relationship... where she had one man and one woman and all were involved and in love, since she was about 14. I am worried that she's trying to make it work because it is a fantasy she's carried with her more than half her life.
Well, I have only been able to handle the sexual aspect of our individual relationships with her because I believed that all of us loved each other. Now that I am not sure about her true emotions, I am not comfortable having sex with her alone, nor with him and her having sex alone. My husband understands this reasoning and supports it, actually, at least for the present time. So, right now, sex with her is reserved for when all of us are together. She's not overjoyed by this, but understands... or claims to, at least.
Anyway... with her gone most nights, he and I have had a lot of time alone. Add her recent withdrawal to that, and what he and I realized is that our relationship does not depend on her even slightly. We are just fine alone - which is how it should be, even if we want her with us. We're married and have almost eleven years of history between us. She is with us for only eight months.
Now I find myself so scared she's going to realize that she only truly loves him. It happened in her last two triads, where she really only loved one person, but tried to force fit the other half of the couple. I worry that she wants something that doesn't actually work for her.
Let me just clarify - I do not, for a second, believe her to be intentionally deceptive. If I did, she'd be out of here. I believe she wants to love us, I believe she realizes that if this relationship doesn't work, none will... because while we're not without our flaws, he and I one of the strongest marriages of anyone we know. She has said often that we are the best thing that ever happened to her. We feel that way about each other, and considering her past relationships, we are undoubtedly the best thing she's ever been part of by a country mile.
But I am finding myself so uncertain. I never identified as poly. Not even close. This was about her, the person she was... and I'm not entirely sure now that I can trust that impression of her. I am worried that this is going to end and that it is simply a question of how soon. I find myself enjoying the time when she's working and my husband and I are alone because there's less tension. She's definitely trying to connect more... but I almost feel like she's doing it in such a way that's it's not natural. Like she's so scared of losing her dream that she's desperately trying to overcompensate for her withdrawal in the past couple of months... it feels forced and inauthentic.
My emotions where she's concerned are hot and cold. I can't figure out my own head, and it scares me. I have a lot going on outside of the triad, and I'm sure that's not helping. I've told myself that I need to be patient and give all of it more time and see what happens... but if I have walls up, it's not going to make it any easier for her to connect with me. And part of me wonders if I'm not so afraid of getting hurt that I am intentionally disconnected... is the "no alone sex" thing really about not being sure she loves us? Or is it partly that, but also that it helps keep me somewhat emotionally withdrawn from her? I don't know. I know it's at least partly the former... but is it also somewhat the latter? I suspect it might be.
Soo... I'm just utterly confused. I don't know how to move forward without being haunted by the knowledge that she's said things about other people that are identical to the things she says to me and him. I know I have to let it go. She can't undo her past. I know I have to give her the room to grow and become a whole person. I am not sure she can do that within the confines of a relationship, and I've told her that much. The question is, can I allow myself to risk the pain of this ending and give her the chance to prove to herself - and to us - that we can and do make her happy, and she truly does love us?
Okay, I could go on, but I'm done. As much as I've said, that's still the broad strokes of all of the emotional turmoil I am feeling right now... but if anyone is still reading at this point, I'll be impressed. LOL.
Our hearts go out to you. Thank you for sharing your experiences, even though they've been traumatic. If you need to talk, feel free to contact us.
Ben and Bex
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