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-   -   searching for meaning (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13032)

justlost 08-04-2011 08:06 PM

searching for meaning
So my husband (khas) and I have been married 10+ years, we have together raised (mostly) my 4 children.
We started with nothing but each other and my kids, we worked together and fought and loved and survived to the point of have 3 kids raised and mostly on their own, only one 15 year old still at home.

We briefly discussed poly shortly after our marriage. At the time a dear friend of mine became an sexual interest for my husband. He said he found her compelling because of the friendship the three of us had built and the interaction between her and I was one he found alluring. I didn't understand and in my naive mindset I set up a threesome between us. The problem mostly was I didn't tell either of them how much the whole thing hurt me. I wanted only the happiness of my husband and friend, I tried to put my own feelings in a box. Needless to say on "the night" I broke down and nothing happened besides the beginning of the slow death of a dear friendship. Somehow I thought if I kept her out of our life the whole thing would disappear.

Over the next 10 years our life became centered around work/kids and we had basically no friends. My friendship with B. devolved into a yearly christmas/birthday card relationship. And we moved, and moved, and moved... always searching for who knows what. We never again crossed out of our marriage for any other relationships. But as I am discovering things like this can't be ignored.

Over the years Khas became more and more ... frankly miserable... he was grouchy and awful and though we split for 8 months in 2004, nothing really changed when we got back together.
So all these years later, he finally has the career he was working for and I am now disabled and pretty miserable myself.

1500 miles away from where we started and B is back in our lives. Her daughter moved here for college and she followed. Slowly over the last year we have built our friendship back up. Openly discussing the situation that led to the estrangement and deciding together that she and Khas would never cross into that territory again.

But life is not so simple is it.... a couple of months ago Khas came to me and told me basically that he is poly and he has deep and growing feelings for B. he wants to love her, to hold her, to share life with her and yet he wants me too....
B and I have a deep friendship, we've talked about what is happening and she is pretty unsure of where to go... we aren't in a hurry, we have time to work it all out.

I love Khas, more than anything, I want to grow old with him and I want to share every up and down of life together with him along the way. More than anything I want him to be happy, the reemergence of his dating behaviors is both thrilling and deeply painful.

Why when I want him to be happy and he finally is, does it hurt me so very much?
I have agreed to the move to poly life. Rationally I understand and accept who he is and where this is going... emotionally I want to scream and rip out my hair...

I have been reading this site for the last couple of weeks. I see that I have much to work on personally, I have let my life devolve into the role of wife/mother and left no room to even see who I am.

I know his love is not finite, that his loving another is not an exclusion of me... but it feels like it.

I am sorry this is so rambling... I have read so many of your posts and see how far I have to go, but I have one question....
I keep seeing "it gets better" but.............

Does it ever stop hurting?

Is there ever a time to come when I will feel only joy for Khas' joy, and not just learn how to redirect my own anguish so that it is "better"?

Is there ever a moment of peace to come or will my heart hurt until I can't even define myself as more than pain... ok seriously melodramitic but that is so how I feel..

yesterday I made the analogy that its like he is cutting me with a chainsaw and then complaining because he stubbed his toe in the process... yes he hurts too, its hard to share my pain with him like he keeps asking me to when I then have to see how my pain hurts him, which hurts me.... vicious and endless cycle..
and really in a way I am GLAD it hurts him too.... I would hate to think that 13 years of working together, of the joy and pain of life worked in one direction which is being ripped into a billion pieces in order to create a new life in a new direction is a process only painful to me, and not to him too....

nycindie 08-04-2011 08:11 PM

Hi and welcome. I really can't respond to what you wrote because it's hard to read a wall of text. Please add paragraph breaks - thanks!

serialmonogamist 08-04-2011 08:20 PM

My perspective is that if you just lose someone completely through divorce or whatever, you hurt a lot for a long time but it slowly gets better. If you are in a situation where you have the option of allowing that person to continue loving you despite also loving someone else, can you appreciate the attention for what it is or will you only ever be able to focus on not being the only one? What I have noticed in my divorced life is that I end up becoming friends with women who have active love lives and tell me about them. I don't end up dating people but I enjoy the interaction and attention more than when I'm completely alone.

So what I would really recommend to you would be to live completely alone for a while until you are getting over the pain of separation and loneliness and then see if you would rather have a shared relationship than no relationship. Of course, it might be hard to actually take that alone time without losing your partner completely but, at least in theory, it would allow you to heal from the pain and see what you want out of a relationship in a pain-overcome state. Probably others in this forum will have advice for you about how the pain-healing process goes when maintaining a relationship with a partner you share with another person, though, too.

justlost 08-04-2011 08:23 PM

ok, hopefully that is easier to read now..

justlost 08-04-2011 10:22 PM

I have no desire to separate , khas is my husband and partner and best friend ...
I know this can work, I know it can be good and fulfilling and all of that.
I think one of my biggest issues is that I hate being alone, as a child of a single mother I babysat my 1yr old sister while my mom worked. I was 4, I think that my fear of being alone stems from that time.
Also I am 38 and have spent the last 21 years being a mom and a wife. For while I had a promising career but I have lost that through illness.
In my fear and dismay I have wrapped my life around khas and the kids. Thatneediness is unhealthy and only serves to push him farther away.

Thus my fear... without his undivided love and loyalty... who am I?

trueRiver 08-04-2011 10:29 PM

Two things I notice.
Ten years ago you felt unable to share your negative feelings with Khas until the evening actually happened.
Now, once again the same thing: because your pain at this situation causes him pain, you hold back (or at any rate you feel like holding back).
What he needs from you is that you do not hold back from telling it like it really is for you, both the good and the bad. At other times, you need to hear him without mixing in your feelings. At present the feelings of all three of you are tangling up in your head.
I would like to suggest you take it in turns to talk. When it is your turn, focus on your feelings, not his. Maybe set a timer so you each get equal time listening and talking.
When it is his turn to talk, try to put your feelings aside while you listen, focus on his feelings while he is talking.
What is happening at present is when you talk, you are second guessing how he feels about it, or maybe he is interrupting and telling you how he feels about hearing what you say. That means that
what comes out is a mix of you and him. What is needed before you can get anywhere with this as a couple is for your discussions to have slices of pure you and slices of pure him.
So, take turns, both of you focus on person whose turn it is, no interrupting or responding during the other perons turn.
In your turn:
What is it about his new dating that excites you? Can you articulate that to him? Practice here on us if it helps get it clear for you, but it doesn't matter whether you tell us or not: it matters that you tell him.
What is it about his new dating that upsets you? Frightens you? Again feel free to use as to help you sort out what the issue is, but what matters is not us its telling him.
ln his turn:
Listen to what he is saying: you are good at hearing his feelings and this is the appropriate time to do so. During this slice of time use your well practiced skill in focussing on his feelings.
After you both had a turn, each of you say one thing you really like about the other, and take a break.
Next time, swap round so whoever went first before goes second this time.
Do the same with your friend. She needs to hear the real you speak clearly without second guessing her feelings: that will only happen if she gets a separate slot in which to speak to you. Try to say some of the positives and some of the negatives to her as well.
Let go of the idea that you should be poly, or that you should be allowing him to be. At the same time, let go of the idea that he should be mono. The feelings you each actually have are perfectly fine feelings, whatever they are. The 'should feel' feelings just screw everything into a mess. No pre-conceptions either way, no oughts shoulds or musts. they all get in the way of what is.
I trust the three of you. It is obvious in your post that you have two fine people there who both care for you. It is equally obvious that you care for both of them. When each of you is really hearing how it is for every one of you, including each of you hearing how it is for yourself, I trust that the right way will open to you all. It could be poly, mono, split, or something we cannot even guess at.
Honesty hurts. It may get worse before it gets better, but work through it to wherever it goes and the way will open, and then it will get better. But to get past this thing you do have to untangle his feelings from yours. You may all need help to do that: basically all a relationships counsellor will do is to run the process I described above. Having a professional take care of the process can help, a good one won't give you answers but will walk with you all as you do the work yourselves.
good luck. The far side of the Atlantic you've got someone rooting for you...

River 08-04-2011 10:34 PM


Originally Posted by justlost (Post 95852)
Thus my fear... without his undivided love and loyalty... who am I?

I'm sensing here some significant degree of lack of self-esteem, and some long-lived and unresolved emotional "issues," as they are often called. I'd strongly recommend seeing a counselor / therapist and some diligent contemplative / mindfulness / meditative practice. You are not your role of mother or wife. You are a person, a human being, and your needs matter, and should matter to you.

Take baby steps, or big steps, but take steps to nurture and care for yourself and get to know yourself. Only when you care for yourself well can happy and healthy relationships with others naturally emerge. So this feels to me what you most need: self care, self-kindness, self-respect....

If need be, ask your partner to hold off on other relationships until your own is on a better footing. If he cannot or will not do that, you might want to let him go.

justlost 08-05-2011 12:40 AM

Your right in that we don't let each other explore talking out our own feelings without interrupting each other and internalizing. Personally the voice in my head never seems to shut up.
Maybe the timer is a good idea, our daughter and B are both gone for a week so its heavy talking time with limited interruptions.
I definitely have issues regarding my self worth and self identity.
I appreciate the listening and feedback very much!

justlost 08-08-2011 04:18 AM

baby steps
I decided to take a page from Anne Koller's book 'An unknown woman's and start this part of my life by figuring out who i am, I mean really am. I don't have a strong sense of self so how can I decide how I feel ?
I want this to work, khas has decided to face who he his and his wants and needs.
How can I do less?

I hate how sad he looked last night. He kept apologizing for not noticing how low my self esteem is and has been. I have tried to share my feelings but only I can fix it and life gets so busy it is easier to just keep going.
I am grateful in a weird way right now. Grateful that he trusts me enough to share, grateful for these awful feelings that made me stop and look inside.
And grateful most of all for the brutal honesty required on both of our parts.

I must admit though I could have lived quite happily without my husband falling in love with my close friend.

trueRiver 08-09-2011 04:53 AM

keep going... you are on the true path here. As you and K become more authentic to yourselves you will become more authentic to each other.
You say you could have lived without, etc. but were you living? really living in touch with your true self? were you following your destiny, or existing by force of habit, before this crisis?
follow the path you are on to self knowledge and self esteem and you will know when you get there that the price was worth the prize.
I will uphold you from time to time, as I remember your courage.
your trueBrit trueRiver Friend of Truth.

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