I apologize for being a bit of a lurker and then springing out with an issue.
I seek... something understanding, open poly ears. I'm so lost.
In the end this may not be a poly issue. It may just be different personalities. I am in a triad, it's my husband, our girlfriend and me (i'm a woman). We began the triad about 3 years ago, we are currently preparing for a wedding ceremony.
I officiate weddings. People who know me know I do it, so I get somewhat regular requests to perform ceremonies. My girlfriend feels the weight of the marriage between my husband and I and hurts her intensely.
For me the commitment is between the people in it, I wouldn't have gotten married to my husband if I didn't need the insurance for our child because the commitment for me to him doesn't need the Church or State to make it real.
It's not for the State or Church to preside over, so for me being able to officiate, and being asked by my social circle to do so, is a bit of a form of subversiveness. It's my way of fighting the system from within the system. I've performed 6 ceremonies and all but 1 knew that i was in a triad. It's an example of how I "fight the man" by inclusion, not exclusion. If someone or something is hurting I try to be more inclusive, not less. I invite everyone to the party, because I know how it hurts to be left out.
But it breaks my gfs heart that I do this. I guess her party is the one of legal marriage which, if she stays with my husband and I she will never have. She says my actions by performing these ceremonies hurt her. I really get the imagery of when I officiate I punch her in the stomach. She's called me a backstabber, a liar, a bullshitter, and a traitor in the heat of the moment in a recent argument.
I am a woman of action, to my detriment at times. I feel I pursued my gf too hard. That this differentness that comes with being in a triad while she says it's her choice and she chose it, that well... I think she carries resentment toward me for it. Last night she chose to sleep apart from me, and hasn't spoken to me since. Normally as a doer, as a pursuer I would reach out to her, to say that I want her, to tell her something comforting, whatever I could think of. But I just can't right now... I can't seem to find the energy to do it. After all those words she used last night, after all the times I've forgiven her for name calling me in the past in the heat of the moment, I'm just... tired.
I'm left with the thought that she really does think of me as a backstabber, and a traitor, and a liar. I'm sorry for hurting her, she tells me again in the heat of the moment how she's sacrificed for this relationship, and I guess she thinks in fairness I should make this sacrifice to her.
In the end I can give it up, for now. I am fine not performing anymore ceremonies for a while. But there's this part of me that screams against doing that. I can't tell if it's stubbornness or... trueness to myself.
I'm so tired. I think of myself as a genuine person, I really strive for that. It's not the first time she's called me names in the heat of the moment, another time it was cheater, backstabber, etc (for having sex with my husband, which by definition of our triad is acceptable).
It feels to me like the marriage certificate is the thing that is most important to her. It means very little to me.
I'm very hopeless right now. Normally I chase after her and tell her everything is going to be alright and reassure her that I want her. And while I have done that, reassured her that I want her, I just can't chase after her. It's like this last time these names have really stuck. THIS is how she really feels about me or something.
I don't know what to do. I'm so tired and lost and overwhelmed.
And there's still so much to do in preparation for the wedding, sad haha on that one. I'm assuming it's still proceeding, but what the hell do I know.
Having sex with your husband is never an instance of cheating or backstabbing or any other bullshit. And being called such names is abusive behavior.
I'd walk her to the car and wave bye.
She is probably frustrated that you downplay the significance of something you have and she doesn't. I.e. you don't see your marriage as more than a formality but it sounds like she values the idea of marriage more deeply. Maybe you should offer to perform a wedding ceremony for your husband and her to make her feel included as one of his wives - or get someone else to marry the three of you together.
I am going to first say that the name calling is not Ok! She can't expect to have a grown up conversation with you, if she is going to act like a child.
I would agree with the above post to say that she might see marriage as an entirely different entity than you do.
I am sure it hurts for her to know that you and your husband will be married and if she stays with you guys, that, that will never happen for her. While you may only see it as "paperwork" marriage can mean a lot more, even if you don't take it that way.
I have been in a similar situation, and although much like you my partner did it for the sake of the children. I was aware that it had a lot more social meaning behind it. If anything ever happened to her, her husband would have say and I wouldn't. If she was in the hospital he could see her and I could not. It was an indication to me of not only love, but of the idea that there was enough trust and long term commitment between them and that it was officiated and recognized, and though I may have wanted and felt the same way about her that he did, it was not recognized for me. That is probably very hard for her to deal with.
I don't know the details of your relationship with her or your husband. I was often frustrated, by the idea that he was the husband and I was often see as "oh, your just the GF". We couldnt change "paperwork" at that time, but we could change how people who didn't know the details saw things and that helped a lot. Instead of refering to me as her GF, my partner would call me her "partner" or "wife" I wasn't in a relationship with the husband so, if she is I am not sure how that will work for you, but for us people treated me differntly and had a little more respect for me, than they did when I was GF.
When things calm down, I would ask her to explain to you how she views marriage? If you can see where she is coming from without her BS than maybe you can make her feel more comfortable.
Just a thought I wouldn't down play the marraige as only being paperwork, I would up play the idea that you think is sucks that you can only marry one person, or that women can't marry or something like that...
I would also remind her when she calls you a traider or whatever...that straight people, and married people are not the enemy. Not marrying somone will not give others the right to marry, it only takes more rights away. What your doing by being open about your situation and still having people come to you to preform their ceremonies is giving them the oppertunity to open their eyes.
Best of luck to you!
I think that the names she is calling you are most certainly not okay. That kind of behaviour is not in any way productive and is not, imo, how to go about resolving an issue or point of conflict within a relationship.
You mention that you normally chase after her, tell her that she is wanted, but that this time the names that she calls you have really stuck. If you don't feel that you can chase after her then don't. If you continue to play that game it won't ever stop. Why not take a bit of time to think things over, tell her once how what happened has made you feel and then leave it at that. The ball will be in her court, let her do what she will.
So after reading your post I have a few thoughts:
1. You're doing nothing wrong and you should not feel guilty for doing what you do. If she has issues with you doing other people's weddings, it's her issues and not something you need to feel you caused.
2. As for her hurt, she is lashing out and perhaps she is not able to handle being in a triad; did she not realize that short of bigamy going into a triad with a married couple meant there was not really chance of her marrying your husband. By no means should you feel guilty for sleeping with your husband, being married, or performing ceremonies. Your girlfriend is way out of line putting all her hurt and issues on you.
3. If my wife's boyfriend ever, EVER said anything even remotely close to what she has said to you. He'd find himself not welcome in my house until he damn well apologized for it.
Ultimately I can understand your emotional exhaustion, but you have to realize there's very little you can do to alter her perceptions of marriage and your relationship. Live your life and leave her issues to her.
This woman seems to suck your energy. Why are you with her? I don't get why anyone would be worth staying with if she spoke to me that way. I think I would invite her to a course on how to communicate, find a counsellor that is knowledgeable in how to communicate and send/pay for her to go to anger management classes. She is one class act Drama Queen; complete with passive aggressive manipulation... geesh. unappealing.
I think its awesome you are not rewarding her behaviour towards you by following her to tell her you want her. What you are saying in that moment is that it's okay for her to call you names. No wonder its sticking!
I think if I were in your situation I would do as I said above about learning new communication skills, and go ahead and plan weddings to my hearts content. This is her shit, not yours. Not that you have a right to be cold about it, but you could be loving and tender when you put it all back on her, with words such as, "sweety, I can see you are having a hard time with this, it means so much to me that I can do what I love. I hope you will find a way to adjust. Please let me know how that goes for you."
You might want to do some reading on secondaries. She's a classic example of a secondary not getting her needs met. I wonder what more can be learned from that? There is some good threads here if you do a tag search for "secondary" one of which is about a secondaries bill of rights. It might help to read that and see if there is something more you can do to help her feel more a part of your dynamic.
Have you also posted here with the username koifish?
Is this you?? - http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8610
Edit: Hmm, maybe not. But the similarities are interesting.
Thank you all for your observations and comments, i take them to heart, and appreciate them. It's a relief to hear from people in the know... :)
Without a doubt any number of incredibly reasonable, loving people would have left this situation a long time ago and not dealt with the outbursts or well any of the crap any of us bring to this relationship.
One thing that has kept me going through all this is that her emotional explosions have been followed by very reasonable discussions where we find that we're not that far from each other. Frankly her emotional side is refreshing to me as I come from a very stoic and reserved family and community. It seems like... a thing that could be worked through. I stick through my husband's depression, is this anger really that much worse than the neglect that is a side effect of depression?
In this conflict though she and I still land on seemingly opposing view points. And at the risk of making the conflict too much, many things said in the heat of the moment indicate big big big differences in how we operate in the world and relationships. So... If what she said in anger is true in calm, well it gives me cause to worry.
Why would I stay with her? Because of course this isn't the sum total of our relationship. There are times when it's fun and loving. There's a stretch here that's been particularly stressful, and my strength has waned. We are preparing for a commitment ceremony for the three of us. It would be this thing which is enhancing the stress. It's like any wedding after all, money, emotions, decision making, family and expectations all rolled into one big hurry up and get it planned. Being who I am, I must follow through the ceremony. Frankly, I'm really looking forward to it for so very many reasons. Relationship, party, location, ceremony, all of it. Hah! Afterall I do like officiating for a reason!
However, everyone's comments here have helped me to focus my... self. It's pretty safe to say that I'm just now, at the ripe old age of 35, learning what my personal boundaries are. It was not something I was strong with before. I know who I am, but I don't have a good "hey stop that I don't like it" trigger. I also think of Dan Savage and "the price of admission". I think it comes into play here.
The neat thing I've learned about being at the boundary is that being so emotionally drained makes it simple not to cave to the "I must make amends" urge. We'll see where this all ends up when I have opportunity to assert and address those boundaries.
Oh I am not the other koi lady, but I do remember being struck by the similarities in our situations.
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