Help me kill the green eyed monster!
I apologize for this being long and rambly. I originally wrote it for therapeutic purposes, and then realized I could really use some good advice. I'm happy to clarify anything.
So I'm feeling like a failure as a partner, lover and friend. My partner and I have been trying out having an open/poly/swinger relationship, and last night, I freaked out.
He brought home a woman with whom we'd had our first threesome (and it went pretty damn well) after having gone out to a club with her. I knew that this was happening, and I did my best to express my reservations. I've been having a really bad week emotionally, and my mental health isn't at it's best point. I asked him to let her know this, and tried to explain that I would be on my best behavior, but that it can be hard to predict how I'm going to react when I'm cycling (our word for whatever it is that happens) like that. I also tried to make it clear that I had work to do, and while I didn't say it outright I was trying to explain that my focus really couldn't be on a fun night of sex, as getting ready for the opening this week is requiring a lot of my energy (which yes, isn't the healthiest way of looking at things but it's hard enough to get myself to work right now as it is without dealing with an emotionally demanding and unfamiliar encounter). I should have made this more clear to begin with.
So he brings her back home, and things are okay. Awkward, but most social interactions are awkward for me. She drops hints that she's interested in me (I had to be told this later as I was clueless at the time. There was a part of me that registered it, but it wasn't a big enough part that I was really able to take any action) but she kept talking about how he needed to go to sleep because he had work tomorrow and that she had to get up in the morning. Apparently she was asking for one on one time with me, which I really, really didn't get. I thought because she was trying to send my partner to bed that she just wasn't interested. The idea in engaging in something without him just hadn't crossed my mind. Not that I'm not interested in her, I am, but since my abortion earlier this year (which was really traumatic all around) my sex drive has plummeted, which is part of why we're trying a more open relationship. I've only recently been feeling any sexual desire, and it's really hyper-focused on my partner.
To get back to the point, I wasn't thinking in terms of excluding him, and so I was having an even harder time understanding her intentions. He was trying to become sexual with me, but because I thought that she wasn't interested I wanted to wait until she went to bed and not make her feel uncomfortable, so I pushed him away. We all shared massages and that was really about it. Well, when she finally went to the couch to sleep he was out there setting up her bed, and then he sat down and they starting talking. When I came out he asked me if it was okay to have dinner (our code for going down on someone) and I misunderstood and thought he meant me. I stroked under his chin, leading towards me, which was my tiny attempt at being seductive and calling him to the bedroom. He then told me to put the dog in the bedroom as he was being a problem. I took this to mean that he wanted me to take him in the bedroom and wait, so that's what I did.
No noise but laughter came from outside, but I really didn't want to think about it. I wanted to trust that he was going to come in soon. He didn't. I walked out into the hall and saw their legs intertwined. I walked back into the bedroom, incredibly hurt and confused. I wanted to shout, throw things. I didn't know what to do. I tried to hold myself together and finally just felt like I had to leave to take a walk and get my head together so that I wouldn't blow up. I tried to slip out, but in my haste I was loud and it was clear that I was upset. I know that the mature thing to do would have been to talk to them, but by that point I wasn't really thinking straight.
My partner wound up following me out and calling it all off. He was upset and hurt, after a lot of conversation told me that he wasn't going to try to have sexual relationships with anyone but me, and that he was no longer interested in trying to be polyamorous. He said that it was too much drama, and told me that I wasn't ready to handle this sort of relationship. However, he also said that his desire for me for the time being had just been numbed due to everything that happened. He said that he wanted to wait until both of our sex drives come back before engaging in any sexual encounters at all.
I don't know what to do in this situation. I am of course going to respect his decision, but I still feel like I made a big mistake, and I feel helpless to change it. I know that due to the issues that I've been dealing with this hasn't been the most fun relationship, and I really want to bring that fun back in. Instead I feel like I've just created more problems and more drama. I've now started doing research on how to handle situations like this in a poly relationship, and I've started looking at information for newly poly people, but he doesn't even want to talk about what happened, and considers it a closed case.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated, honestly about any subjects covered.
Can't read... wall of text... eyes glazing over... add paragraphs breaks please... hit "enter" one more time after paragraphs... thanks!
Fixed. :) Still something of a wall of text, though...
Now, look at the parts I bolded:
I think it would certainly benefit you to start saying it like it is, sister, and just come out and tell him what you want, ask if you're understood, admit you're confused, and so on. This all was actually painful to read.
There's this phrase in poly circles, which describes this misguided, mistaken idea people have: "Relationship broken, add people." The reasons that doesn't work are many. First, think of the burden you place on anyone you invite into your mess (I use that term figuratively, not to say your relationship is a mess... but you do have issues). That additional person's presence is now expected to fix it. Basically, a couple that does this has reduced that person to a toy or tool to be used as a Band-aid over stuff, issues, hurts, that the couple is responsible for working on themselves. Doing so negates that person's needs, desires, and autonomy, and then fucks with all your heads. It can't turn out to be anything other than a huge festering swamp of pain, drama, and ickiness.
The other reasons have to do with building a strong foundation within your existing relationship, as I stated above. Build self-esteem, learn better communication skills, work on trusting each other, know yourselves well, and renew your commitments to stand by each other and look out for the other, no matter what. So you're not ready for poly, open, or swinging -- there's nothing wrong with that. It sounds like your partner said that to you as if it were an insult or something bad. I don't think jealousy (the green-eyed monster) is even remotely the problem between you two. There's a whole lot of other shit going on, it would seem.
One thing for sure, though. Your partner has no reason to be angry with you and he needs to look at that. He was and is just as complicit in all the wishy-washy communicating and not-so-great choices that were made as you are. He needs to man up and take responsibility as your partner to be there for you while you recover from the pain of what you went through. Why should he just get to go out and fuck other people while you're in a fragile, emotional state or in need of resolving deeper issues. Where is the support? Where is the love and romance? Plus, I don't understand why he feels hurt. Is he just having a tantrum over not getting laid as often as he used to? The two of you would benefit greatly, I believe, from talking through all of this stuff, the pain, the anger, hurt, confusion, wanting closeness again, feeling abandoned (the both of you), etc.
I say all this to be helpful. I'm not judging, but I am direct and tell you what I see in the spirit of tough love, I hope you know.
I don`t think you need to know what you want as far as 'poly/swinging/open' before going in. Sometimes you just go with the flow, and sometimes you don`t know until you try different things.
I agree with nycindie about the passive-aggressive, wishy-washy communication. This is how shit happens. You have to say exactly what you want, feel, and desire. Code words and invisible markers, are just not going to do the trick.
My back is up, reading about your boyfriend a wee bit. So,..you go through a abortion,..and your sex drive went down. This is solved by,....him going elsewhere ? No wonder you are having issues.
Then he had a hissy-fit saying there was to much drama ? That strikes me very much like a child having a temper-tantrum. He might of just said it in anger, and that can happen.
Also,..'freaking out' happens. To a MAJORITY of people. There is no award given to people who STFU and suffer through their hurts. ;)
You two need to learn to be more honest and direct with each other. Much like nycindie said,..this is just blunt-speak, take it for what it is worth. Good luck.
Ha! I just read your thread and had the same thoughts as Sourgirl and NYCindie.
Why the communicating when the chips are down and he decides he doesn't want poly? Why not communicate all the way through... I have not seen so much assuming and expecting going on. I guess as it isn't part of my life so much it kinda floored me right from the beginning.
How's this dialogue as an alternative:
First of all they listen when you say this isn't a good time right now because of my show opening and because I am really not over the abortion I have.
Second, if they show up and she is staying over night how about saying that they want to have sex and spend time with you. To which you can say, "no, I'm not interested right now due to this that and the other thing and further more I would appreciate it if you two wouldn't and this is why."
Third, having dinner.... really? he could of just said, "you know, I would really like to go down on this woman right now, how would that be for you and you? And could you put that dog out? He/she is driving me crazy."
You could of said, "could you come to bed as soon as you have said your good nights? I would appreciate that. Thanks."
Fourth, while sitting in your bedroom wondering what is going on you could of yelled to them, "I sure hope you aren't having sex as I expressed those reasons before that you agreed to acknowledge (provided they did agree as you would of talked to them)."
Fifth, when he ran out sulking (and he had every right as NOTHING was at all clear), you could of said, "look, I realize you are upset right now, but I think we should say goodbye to our friend and talk about it when she is gone, or maybe with her right now. I do not want to give up on what we have started and I am pretty sure you don't so what do you say to COMMUNICATING ABOUT IT ALL. Including what our boundaries are, our thoughts on the future and where our desire lies in terms of what this all means to us."
It seems rather clear to me that if you actually start saying what is going on for you (ALL of you), how you feel and what you want/need, you will actually be in a WAY better position to be fulfilled.
Hear hear to all the advice givers on this thread.
I guess some others have wisely tagged the culprit for you.
Plain old lousy communication.
Don't be too hard on yourself, or anyone else. It's one of the numerous newbie lessons that comes from moving into this lovestyle.
We're conditioned early on to dance around potentially tricky topics - sex being the biggest on of those. Where in fact what is needed is the direct approach.
This will take some time and practice. You'll discover it also applies to all the emotional parts also. Those need to be talked about openly and honestly. This game playing (code words etc) most often just leads to confusion and disaster.
Wash it off. Start again. Smile.
Hun, this isn't a fail all in attempts. It sounds to me that you and the woman just did not click. You weren't very compatible in this sort of poly relationship. Your partner may have said he just is not in to the relationship anymore, being open, but that is not necessarily true. He just was excited to have this open-ness and would just rather not hurt you than to try this again. Instead, if you want this, I would suggest YOU bringing home the woman instead, and YOU take the lead. You feel as though you over-reacted, and indeed you did. They probably just felt you understood what was going on, but just were not in the mood, and seeing as you gave your partner the 'signal', he didn't know he was hurting you at all. You will recover, just pick yourself up, dust it off, and know this isn't the right woman for your relationship. Find someone you really like, a woman who you know you can trust to be in-tune with your relationship, YOUR feelings. Someone who may know very well. :)
Good luck, don't beat yourself up about something you weren't comfortable with. If you truly want to experience a poly relationship, you MUST be comfortable, and it wouldn't bother you if they were having fun while you passed out, or if you'd walk in, you'd be like 'ohhhh, that's what you meant. :) Well make room for one more!' ;) Don't let yourself insecure with this man. You are with someone who you must not have too many doubts about to be open to this. You should know he loves you completely before opening that love up to others.
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