I don't know if I want this lifestyle...
Hi all, I needed some advice.
I began seeing a man that was in a monogamous, but long term relationship. They had been on the rocks and he was a long time friend of mine that was living with me, and he was there for me through a lot of personal issues. It started out as just a physical thing. Yes, it was cheating. Overlooking this, I do need help with the bigger issue.
After they broke it off "officially" I let myself have feelings for him. I let him in and let my walls down. I began to fall for him. He was never a person I had imagined being with - not my type at all. And I wasn't someone he'd have imagined being with either. He fell for me too. Those 8-10 months we were together (only around 3 that were really exclusive with us after the break up) we fell in love with each other. We started a life together and made plans for the future. To be honest, I had never been so happy. We worked together in a way that I had never experienced in any other relationship. Though, it had started out as a purely physical thing, and I knew he would leave when she came back, and I was okay with knowing that he wasn't mine. But after they broke up we were a perfect couple. Everything was great. I didn't have to let him go anymore.
She started talking to him again, and he told me about his conflicting feelings. I understood, even empathized with him. She was there first. His past few years had been with her. I was new, and never expected it to happen. But I understood. We had watched "Big Love" - sorry if that show is offensive to anyone because of it's generic or stereotypical or idealized outlook or whatever - but the point is that we had joked and almost considered it when we watched the show. I saw how a poly relationship could be beneficial to a family, and how much support it offered.
So when he brought it up because he couldn't choose (after much crying, sharing feelings, and long, long discussions) I agreed. Sure, I'd been in open relationships before. I could share. I'd even considered allowing a boyfriend a secondary before. I'm really open minded. So I said yes, he could go see her and bring her back. And he did. They came back even though she wasn't okay with it. She and I had been friends before. I cared about her, and she cared about me. We did have our issues with each other over him and the situation, but we were both willing to move past it. But when they came back, he told me that he couldn't lose her. She was not okay with it. She wanted me in her life, but not like that. He had to do something if he could to not lose her. So I was to be the friend, that he could love, and hug, and nothing else.
It killed me. The month we stayed together in a studio apartment drove me to the edge. It got worse every day. I couldn't watch them be together knowing he couldn't be mine too. It wasn't that they were together, but rather that I wasn't allowed to be part of it, or be his. I couldn't call him my boyfriend, I couldn't get much of any kind of slightly-more-than-platonic physical attention. It killed me. So I left. I moved away, and they ended up moving away too.
Fast forward a month after I moved back to my hometown, 400 miles from the town we'd lived in, and two states away from where they moved to. He tells me that he can't look at her without seeing me. He can't stop thinking about me. And I feel like it's just because I'm not there. Just like how he missed her when she wasn't there. Watching them be together without being able to be with him too (in a relationship sense, not sexually - I didn't care about that) was agony.
I don't know that this is something I want anymore. I don't know that I want that life anymore. I want someone that only wants me, and doesn't want to share me or be shared. I want someone that I can be with anytime without any restrictions or sharing. I want a "normal" life. But I can't help but remember a time that I thought that polyamory would work. I remember thinking it could be a good thing for me, my (2 1/2 year old) daughter, and my boyfriend and sister girlfriend. I just can't help but want something "normal" and someone to myself.
What do I do? I don't know what I want. Please give me some input on this situation. I really need help.
I would never have considered sharing him if it hadn't happened this way. She was with him first, but left him and I was with him as his girlfriend, but then she came back. It made it more acceptable to me. I wouldn't ever want him to look for another girlfriend to join us. But I also have prospects that only want me, and don't want to share. I could have a chance at something where I was the only one. And I want that so badly. Which is why it's so hard. I don't want that life, though I did at the time. I want to be the only one, and to not have to delegate days or times when he spends time with either of us. I want to be the "only one".
Let it go
It would appear to me that you have answered your own question, and need some help with the actual letting go rather than resolving a dilemna.
He made a choice, then you did. and you stand by your choice throughout your post... there is no question to be answered - simply moving on that needs to happen. let yourself heal.
My heart really goes out to you.
I really can`t give advice on this, but I can offer some rambling thoughts I have from reading this.
- There is a elephant in the room, so-to-speak, regarding the fact that she left,...and you were then the girlfriend. At this point, you shouldn`t of had to take a 'back seat' to her when she came back.
Why did YOU have to become the friend again ? Why did he do this ?
- The flip-side is, for some reason in your own head, you seem to never of got past the fact you were the 'cheating mistress' at one point. Maybe you felt you didn't deserve to be '#1' with how things started. Maybe there was guilt there, that allowed you to automatically take a back seat the minute she came back.
Does she know you two cheated ?
- Sounds like he took the path of least resistance. He chose her, over you because he knew you would take a backseat easier. Also probably due to his own guilt.
- I understand all to well about being bitter with polyamory. Been there, done that. In your case however, this didn`t start out with 3 people being honest and open. This was an affair. The situation is making you reject the idea, and also lay blame on a easy target.
- My gut feeling is that actions tell a person most of any story. Affairs tend to be things that become more and more complicated as time goes on. Leaving people not only hurt, but also allowing themselves to be treated less then wonderful. If you don`t treat yourself like #1,..the other people in your life won`t either. :(
I think you should move on, and let this relationship be a learning lesson for yourself in the future. Let yourself grieve and keep learning from the experience, and when you are ready one day, you can start a new relationship in a authentic, and honest manner. With history built in a new relationship, is when you`ll know your real feelings on polyamory.
gemzi and i, among many others feel that most things happen for a reason, even though you may never know the reason, and sometimes it slaps you in the face.
everyone involved made choices, as much as they hurt either self or one another. for my $0.03, i say that after not standing up for you, and pushing you back into the friend closet, and having his other girlfriend in your face all the time, that he does not deserve to even be able to tell you how much he misses you.
the conflict now is how do you proceed with your "other options" (ok so i used quotes but may be paraphrasing cause i am too darned lazy to scroll down and find the exact wording. :D ) it seems very simple. explore the possible relationships and see where they lead. maybe they will one day lead you down the poly path, maybe not. its possible it will be something that gets discussed down the road, or maybe it will be the can left behind on the side of the road.
honestly poly is not for everyone, and sometimes even for those who live it, it is not necessarily for them in every relationship. love at its core, is complex, complete, dynamic, boundless, and limited, in expression, comprehension, belief and execution. i believe from my own observations that the same person can experience compersion (youre right, i do not like that word), and jealousy, based on a specific partner, a lot of times its based on chemical response, that transcends the confines of love, and digs deeper into the primal. so what you have to figure out now, is who you want to build a relationship with, and there are no rules saying that you have to commit to a relationship just because you went on a couple of dates.
You're no longer involved in a poly tangle, state your intent is to find a mono relationship in the future, and then post on polyamory.com boards? I find that rather odd.
I also think the thread is off-topic for the board, so I'm going to close it for now. We may re-open it if we can find some good reason to do so.
Edit: I've been asked to re-open this discussion and I'm willing to do that. I'll be watching, however, and if it sinks into an extended bash of polyamory, I'll close it again.
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