This sucks so much
I don't even know where to start. The situation has gotten so out of control. I've never been so hurt and angry in my whole life (and I was a victim of severe child abuse, a broken home, and many other betrayals). I hardly know what to do as everything I have tried has failed miserably to bring some semblance of peace back into my head and heart.
I have been in open relationships since my very first relationship as a teenager of 15. I am no stranger to the pitfalls and the wonders of non-monogamous relationships. My boyfriend and I have been living together for over a year. From the start, we have talked about non-monogamy as a place we might like to explore together. About 3 months ago, I agreed to open our relationship at his request... He had just finished Opening Up and Ethical Slut and felt that he was ready and an opportunity had presented itself. We spent two weeks hammering out our expectations and boundaries. The first relationship he had worked out great... I now believe it did work out because this first metamour and I were friends and she respects me. That relationship ended a little while ago - amiably and responsibly - when she started dated another person. That had been our agreement from the start, along with the agreement that if any one of us became uncomfortable we would call the whole thing off. In that relationship, all boundaries were respected and everyone was open and communicative at all times. We three got to be very close and still are as friends.
As that relationship was ending, he picked up with a new woman who was an acquaintance of ours. The same biundaries and agreement was put into place and agreed upon by all. But that relationship has become a disaster. At first everything seemed ok, but then it started to become very clear that she was quite unable to communicate with me openly. As a few more weeks passed, there were many small incidents of miscommunication and misunderstanding - including twice when she was quite angry with me unjustifiably and bottled it up inside rather than talking to me about it. Then I was asked to reconsider a boundary I had said was very important to me and non-negotiable - no sleeping over - and although I initially stuck to my guns, I eventually gave in because he wished to take her along to an out of state conference that I could not attend. After that point, I had been thinking about telling my boyfriend to break it off as I had become very concerned that she was after more than what was available to her through the open relationship agreement. I decided to give it one more chance after they returned because, frankly, I was very distracted with a big deadline. My stupid.
Several weeks passed, the deadline was met, and we went off together with our extended group of friends to celebrate my birthday. The next week, about a month ago, he informed me that he had fallen in love with her and wanted us to have a polyfamily. I was in such emotional shock that I said 'ok, sure', but after a couple of days it had eaten at me so badly that I told him that I just couldn't do it. The more I had thought about the situation, the more I came to see all the earlier red flags and realized the depth to which I had been lied to and manipulated by them both. A long talk with him revealed that my fears were well founded - while on that conference trip they had decided to hide their true feelings from me (for several weeks until after my birthday had passed) and also proceeded to make a bunch of big life decisions without my knowledge nor a chance to provide input (such as that she would be moving in after her teenage son turned 18 and that we would be building an extension onto the house to accommodate this. I was devastated and - pointing out all these problems and citing our original agreement - asked him to break it off with her so he and I could get counseling and heal our relationship.
That night, she broke it off with him. He came home and promised me that they would just be friends and that he wasn't going to be trying polyamory again anytime soon if at all. We spent the next several days rebuilding trust, being together, and having a wonderful time. However, behind the scenes, his friends were telling him that he should do whatever makes him happy. This advice was given by them without knowledge of his promises to me. He asked if he could talk with her one last time for 'closure' and I agreed it was needed. A couple hours later he came home and informed me that he 'had to put himself first for once' and that he wanted both of us. At the time, I felt I had no choice in the matter ... He said that he wasn't going to change nor give her up, implying tat either I could change or I could leave. I chose to stay. I started reading more about polyamory and came to realize just how wrong this whole situation was. I have made no secret of how hurt I am and how opposed I am to being dragged into this. Not a single day has gone by in three weeks that I haven't cried - hard and long - over the pain he has introduced into my life. I even tried to negotiate a way to go forward with them both, in writing, but within a few days several of the agreed to boundaries were violated or repeatedly challenged. As a consequence, I felt increasingly disrespected and hurt. Further attempts to express my feelings and concerns and negotiate better boundaries for my mental health were unsuccessful because he would mentally check out or else challenge everything I requested as 'unreasonable' (research indicates that my requests - things like going slow and needing time to heal and that she not come to our home) are in fact common.
Yesterday, after I saw my therapist, I wrote a letter to them both explaining in brutal honesty my feelings and my concerns and my decisions regarding the whole mess. I basically said that I wasn't going to leave, that I believe he is blinded by uncontrolled nre and her very subtle manipulation of the situation, that the deceptions that brought about the situation were too many to salvage, that I am not interested in being friends with her at all, and urging him to consider that he and I need to rebuild our relationship first and establish a strong foundation between us before we would be able to have a successful polyamorous experience. In this letter, I let out a lot of ugly emotions - the real brutal truth about my feelings and about the depth to which I am hurt by his continued cheating (because that is what this is to me at this point). I also asked him to honor our original agreement, and said that if he wouldn't do so he would have to maintain two separate relationships rather than expect me to subject myself to the emotional abuse of a triad with a third who has proven herself a liar, manipulator, and disingenuous friend.
After that letter was sent, he made an appointment with a kink friendly marriage counselor for next week. We had a good day... the first in a long time. After dinner, he went over to a friend's place to talk some things out. While there he calls me to tell me that he sent the letter I wrote to his parents (!!!!) and that they are afraid I will become violent towards him because my letter was so 'angry' ... and they urged him to stay overnight at this friend's apartment. So even though he promised me he would come home when he left, he again renegged on a promise and again busted a boundary I had negotiated (that I not be left to sleep alone two or more nights in a row). Fine, it's his parents, i love them and I don't want them to be scared, so I agreed. I asked him to come home for a little while so we could talk and he could then go back over there for the night.
I then had a complete meltdown. It was just too much that he sent my letter to them without asking if it was ok with me. It was just too much that his parents, two people I admire and love, would also turn their backs on me in this situation and make me out to be - as I perceive it from them and Her and some of our other friends - 'the bad guy'. So, after the first day in which I had finally found some peace, the whole mess came crashing down around me again. I cried so hard that I threw up three times and after blowing my nose (did I mention that I have been sick for several days with the flu?) I actually got so dizzy I fell down. That was where he found me when he came home. And again our talk involved me pouring out my soul while he sat there obviously feeling horrible but unable to say much else other than that I am 'wrong about her' and that we should wait for the counselor because he has no idea how to fix this.
So here I am, left alone in our empty house to sleep alone, again, with all this pain and hurt and no one to comfort me. The thing that kills me is that I am not opposed to polyamory and I am willing to work with him to get there as a main relationship goal after we rebuild our relationship from this mess. But this part seems to go in one ear and out the other because he wants this particular woman despite all the red flags popping up everywhere and the obvious issues with her behavior. I just can't get through to him even though he recognizes how incredibly unhealthy this whole situation is for all of us - and now that includes his parents as well as our friends.
Guess that's enough for now. I feel better just to get it out. Because this other woman has pushed nearly all my friends away from me, I really have no one to talk to about this (especially tonight). I'd be grateful for any advice from those with experience. I'll be happy to answer questions if anything is unclear. I will be very disappointed if, like my experience on another site, I am told to suck it up and just accept the existing unhealthy poly relationship or leave.
Hey PH, I'm sorry to hear about the crazy ride you've been on.
Let me say above all else, I think counseling is a very, very good idea.
Keeping the two relationships separate seems like the only possible way to go for now if he won't leave either of you and neither of you will leave him yet you can't deal with each other.
Looking back over the whole thing, I can say that asking a person not to develop deeper bonds with a partner, and asking someone to leave a partner they've grown to love, can both be incredibly difficult requests. This does not excuse your husband for lying and breaking agreements, not at all, but perhaps it can put it all in more context. I think you're right that he's caught up badly in NRE, and it also sounds like he has a lot of trouble expressing where he's at. I won't go into all the problems with his behavior as it's clear you understand where he's been making huge, immature mistakes. As for the gf, I fully accept the possibility that she has been manipulative, but I also wonder if it's possible that she's not a bad person but rather just as confused and hurting as everyone else here.
I look at the patterns and, without trying to blame you in the least for his wrongs, I worry that perhaps you tend to let yourself fall into the role of victim very easily (even to the point of feeling victimized by your reception at the other site). Do you think that's a possibility? Have you been in counseling at any point before now?
It doesn't sound like your boyfriend is deliberately trying to hurt you, but that he doesn't know how to cope with this situation.
On one hand, you say she cannot communicate openly with you. On the other hand, you call her an abusive liar and manipulator. How much direct contact have you had with her? Is your impression based on the information that filters through your boyfriend? Is it possible he's just doing a really crummy job of being the go-between, and both your messages are getting muddied up? That's always a difficult position for anyone, since it requires him to have an impossibly perfect understanding of how you both feel.
Is it possible you have the same inability to communicate openly with her? It sounds like you weren't even talking to your boyfriend about how you felt, until it all came pouring out in an angry letter. Letters like that can be therapeutic to write, but are sometimes best left in a dresser drawer. I read somewhere that Mark Twain used to write very angry letters to all kinds of people: politicians, editors, businessmen... but his wife would always tuck them away instead of sending them, knowing the harm they would cause to his relationships with these important people.
I wonder if his parents got the whole story. After all, most people aren't very progressive about poly and would see his actions as cheating, especially since he is violating boundaries that you both agreed to and so is, in your mind, cheating. If all they know is your angry letter, they may not fully appreciate the situation.
You have every right to be upset that they were making life-changing plans behind your back, such as moving her into your home. However, it doesn't sound like she's going anywhere any time soon. That leaves you with a couple choices. Clearly the status quo is out.
Of course one choice is to throw in the towel. Another is to request that the three of you sit down with the kink-friendly counsellor together and work things out. A good therapist can really facilitate communication, and having an "audience" can help you all tame your emotional reactions as well as rephrase things that you struggle to express. This type of setting can create a safe place for her to communicate. Even if she doesn't come, at least you and your boyfriend going together will help the two of you develop communication skills that seem to be lacking. It's really promising that he is willing to see a counsellor to help fix this relationship. That shows that he's invested in you and cares about how this turns out.
Thanks for the responses Annabel and Schrondinger.
I have been in therapy for over 10 years. I had finally gotten to a point where I was able to fully trust another human being and then this happened. The wounds opened up by this are obviously very deep.
My perception of her is based on many interactions with her face to face since June. We've shared multiple meals and done multiple activities together. She's been to my home many times. She simply does not talk to me. She's literally turned her back to me, ignored me when I offered a hug, and been cold and rude on two distinct occasions. Only two weeks ago did she bother to friend me on Facebook and despite having my email all this time, she hasn't reached out to me at all unless she specifically needed something from me (and even then this has happened only three times). And my boyfriend has made excuses for her for everyone of these incidents.
What in the world was he thinking by sharing your letter with his parents? Who else has seen that letter? How bad was the letter? Could this be a tactic. If you sounded crazy in the letter or acted a little crazy during this could that be used against you.. ala, (Gaslighting) "See... she's blowing everything out of proportion...she's very irrational.. borderline dangerous "
I'd have a real problem trusting him after that. I'd have to know his motivation.
Could you spend some time explaining why you think this woman is a manipulator and a liar? I understand why this has been so hard on you but what I don't understand is why you aren't more angry at your boyfriend when it comes to broken boundaries. He is the one who should be looking after you and your relationship and he is the one who researched and worked on opening your relationship up.
I guess I'm just worried that you are putting a lot of the blame on this other women because things have hurt you badly and you would rather it be her fault then his or no fault but miscommunication or misunderstandings.
I don't know that to be true but I was wondering if you could get into more detail about what rules have been broken (so far they started planning for the future without you there, but no action on those plans were taken? And you had a rule about overnights that you talked about and agreed to change for a special event) and what in her and his actions have been out of line and hurtful to you.
Thank you for your replies dinged and rose.
His motivation for sharing the letter was that he wanted to get his parents opinion on what he should do, if he is doing the right thing, etc. He is very close to them. I don't think his intention by sharing it was malicious, but I did call him on assuming it was ok by me to share it. I fear that my previously good relationship with my in-laws is now broken... And with Christmas day at their house coming up... I don't know how I am going to manage to keep it together while we are there. I am thinking of staying home, but then I am scared that his folks will take that the wrong way (ie she's crazy).
I have read the letter over and over again and it really is not that bad. Is it angry? Oh yeah. I pull no punches. But it doesn't speak to any violence at all. I focused on three things - why it is i feel betrayed, how i feel about her/why it is that i do not trust her, and what i am willing to do to move forward in this situation. He had already heard much of what was said in the letter in many of our talks, but she had not since he was apparently not telling her exactly how much i was hurting. I am considering posting it here, but will talk to him first. By the way, I wrote the letter at the request of my therapist who did indeed suggest that I send it - contrary to usual form of not sending such letters - because he is not communicating between us well and seems to be withholding things from each of us about the other.
I'll be happy to post some details of my interactions with her that we're very sour. I just woke up (have the flu) and am waiting for some coffee to kick in, so I will do so later on today.
Rose, you make a dang good point about me blaming her rather than putting the fair share of the blame with him where it belongs. Food for thought. Thank you for pointing it out.
How could your good relationship with his parents be damaged by the letter. Their advice may have been sort of generic ...stay away let things cool down, no one will say things that will be regretted later.
If the letter was factual and you didn't mention them in it.... I'd hold your head high and enjoy the holiday's.
Reminded me of your situation: http://www.morethantwo.com/polycatlove.html
Regarding the relationship with your husband's parents, I've learned from experience that if you act ashamed, people will react as if you have something to be ashamed of. If you act as if you still care about them and are just in a tough place, that's a different story. Maybe write them an email and tell them that things are crazy right now, so you may need to have some space and not come over, but that you value your relationship with them.
Thanks Annabel... That article is dead on exactly what I needed to read. I sent it on to my partner as well.
Unfortunately, things imploded this afternoon. He sat me down for a talk that went something like this: ' since you seem unwilling to change and I am not willing to change or break up with her, then I think we should break up'. I was devasted. I never said I would never change, I never said I was unwilling to change, I never said I rejected poly... He read all sorts of things in between the lines that just weren't there. And she encouraged him to that interpretation. Then he said something that made me realize in a flash of insight that Rose was right - I had been blaming her for things that really were his responsibility. Like, really truly his fault. I broke down, wanted to call her immediately and apologize, but he wouldn't let me. I offered to write another letter, he didn't want me too... He insisted that he talk to her himself and arrange for us to get together. While we were waiting for her to get off work so he could talk to her, he and I talked some more. I agreed to go ahead and give this thing a real try.
So he went over to a friends... Called her... And she imploded... So he went to her place. He's been over there for over 2 hours ostensibly trying to talk her into forgiving me and giving us a try. The fact that she is apparently resisting makes me think that I am right in my intuition that she actually wanted to break us up and is herself not willing to actually go into poly.
What a fricken mess.
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