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-   -   Emotional clusterbombs (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18389)

sickday 12-06-2011 07:40 PM

Emotional clusterbombs

I've been lurking the the threads for a few weeks and now I've finally decided to get a bit of advice about my own situation.

I'm a 23 year old bisexual woman who is in a 5 year relationship with a 36 year old straight man. We're involved in our city's BDSM scene and are sort of evolving from a semi-monogamish relationship into - well I'm not really sure where this is going.

For years we had been having semi-irregular threesomes with great women and had relationships with them but eventually things would fizzle out or circumstances would sort of end our relationships. Then we came into the BDSM scene and I was quite popular with the pretty young girls, unfortunately my partner wasn't as popular because he would shut down and wouldn't engage in flirting etc. I continually tried to help him and advised him on how his approach wasn't working - this situation continued for months. He wasn't entirely unsuccessful we have now several partners together and continue to see them. After awhile I succumbed to the desire of having lots of lady sex and asked permission for it and we evolved the relationship a bit, I encouraged him to do the same but he continually told me it wasn't possible. I forced him to negotiate with me and to create an agreement for us so that I would know what was ok and what was not and how I could avoid hurting him. But then for the 5 or 6 months I had tons of lady love (and also planned tons of regular fun with our shared partners for both of us), he continually made comments about 'how much fun' I was having, and how he was having no fun. Completely ignoring the two partners we shared together and the several women we had had great scenes with. When told he was being mean and passive aggressive, he refused to acknowledge any problem and told me that I couldn't expect him to not comment on my doings but then continually told me he was ok with what I was doing. Not only that, at parties and events I always tried to plan scenes with him, gave him first dibs on my dance card etc - but he NEVER seemed interested and the few times I forced him to play with me and set up dates with others for us both, he completely sabotaged them. Or worse made it seem like it was a chore for him.

Finally after a melodramatic crisis (where he threatened to leave the BDSM scene he brought us to and tried to convince me I didn't need to stop), I managed to convince him to try for himself and explained EXACTLY and brutally what he was doing wrong and how it was hurting him, and me. Eventually he listened to what I had been telling him for months and started looking but refused to negotiate the new terms of our relationship. For another Month and a half he continued to refuse to negotiate the new terms of our relationship and the new boundaries etc.

Two Saturdays ago we woke up in the morning and were about to do some work in the basement, I again tried to get him to negotiate with me and at least have a conversation about him getting his own play partners which he told me he was pursuing. He then told me it was totally irrational to say that it was likely he would get a play partner easily and he would discuss it when it seemed likely to happen. I told him that I didn't like surprises and that I wouldn't appreciate being surprised by something and that I would rather discuss before it's likely. He refused to discuss it again and I let it go. that evening we went to a party we played a bit together, he was in a good mood and we played with another friend of ours and then I went out for a cigarette.

When I came back in 5 minutes later he was tying up, fondling and beating another girl. No warning, no notice, not even a glance while he was doing it. I stayed calm. It was a small apartment so I had a drink, stayed a bit then quietly went to the rest room to have a mini-freak out. I came back out they were still going, so I quietly sucked it up and chatted nervously with friends. When they were done, I waited a bit - chatted quietly and then went out for another cigarette. My partner came out looking at me nervously - by then I was livid and a bit tipsy. I quietly and privately told him that I didn't appreciate being surprised, brought up the morning's discussion and told him that I had stepped out for only a moment - he couldn't have let me know about what he was about to do?!

He apologized acknowledged that he was wrong and we went home a short while later. It was late and I was a bit drunk so we didn't negotiate then, but I had a bit of angry sex with him. The next evening we had an already planned date with a partner who was quite skittish and busy so we went ahead with the date and she ended up leaving early anyway - so after some dinner I brought up the situation the night before and told him I still wasn't happy with him and the way he had gotten his play situation, but that I was ok with him having play partners. He got angry at me, saying how I didn't have a right to be angry because of all the partners I had. I reminded him that I always had a conversation with him beforehand and sought permission. He told me it wouldn't have been possible to get permission. I asked him how it was that he couldn't have said " just one moment let me go to the bathroom, get my supplies, got talk to my partner... etc". Would she have immediately run away or something?

Anyway we were both pissed at each other and the negotiation went badly. I ended up capitulating and he got the right to do whatever he wanted without permission or even talking to me - including going out on dates alone. And when I brought up the possibility of me doing the same he became vengeful and asked me if it was so I could be out 6 nights a week on dates. Then told me I was trying to keep score.

That last part really hurt my feelings and it still hurts a week later.

I have previous permission to go out on dates with shared partners when he is out of town, to do relationship upkeep and because I get lonely (and he's often out of town for a few weeks at a time). I rarely do anything with our other partners than cuddle a bit and then we talk about him, or her other partners. I don't get to be particularly intimate with any of my play partners and avoid it because he has always said that he doesn't want to shared my affections. But now he wants to go out on dates alone and get play partners but won't concede that a date is generally more of a connection builder than sex, and that it's emotionally threatening to me.

How can I approach fixing this situation? How can I make him believe that I value him and our relationship, even though he assumes I don't? How can I make him understand that he needs to be open and honest about his desires and needs?

I don't know what to do with this situation - it hurts because I feel like not only does he assume I don't value him, he doesn't value my opinions or my feelings.

redpepper 12-06-2011 09:11 PM

I haven't even finished reading your post and my back is getting up with your excessive use of the word "force" when it comes to including him in scenes. Bingo, first red flag for me. That and how it seems you are all about YOUR feelings and needs and not his at the beginning of your post.

It seems to me he is did/doing most of this for you and you are either not listening to him when he says he doesn't want to or he is not communicating that. Maybe both? It seems to me this is a matter of not expressing what is really going on for you both because you are spending more time playing with others than working on your relationship.

I would wonder if he doesn't just want to find someone that will respect his boundaries when he says "no." Without there being a consequence. I would really wonder about the amount of disconnect you both have from possibly spending way too much time doing BDsm stuff and dating. I see no time in here for the two of you to just hang out. If I had your pace (and have in the past so yes, projecting here), I would think this might lead to disconnecting permanently and getting burnt out of excessive overly sexualized experiences.

sickday 12-06-2011 09:35 PM

That's all possible. But the problem is that he wants this style of relationship and continually pushes for it. I have offered many times to take a break, to stop, to not seek out anyone else without him. But he has told me every time that he doesn't want me to do that. He usually explains that he feels happy to know that I'm enjoying myself and other women and is happy when he can be a part of that as well.

We live together, we spend a lot of time together and enjoy cuddling near the fire, reading and other activities. I've tried setting up a "just us" date night, but I can't really 'force' that one. The problem from my point of view is that he gets in these moods where he starts to think no one likes him, that he's unattractive, etc where he will ignore everything around him. We were sitting on a bench with some friends of ours at an event I casually suggested a scene, with both my partner and I, she responded excitedly and my partner was stone-faced. After complaining all afternoon how bored he was, how I wasn't flirting enough with girls to bring them back to us, how I should be doing more. Obviously the scene didn't happen because I was waiting for my partner to respond and all he did was grunt. Later when I discussed the situation with him and how odd it was (especially after he had told me I SHOULD pursue that specific girl), he told me that he hadn't even understood the situation.

But maybe if I explain a bit more how we got into BDSM. He was the one pursuing and wanting to go to munches and parties and things. He continually encouraged and pushed me to go, finally I said sure and we went. He encouraged me to go flirt with other girls. We went to a rope skills party and he tied me up, while encouraging me to go flirt with the other girl being tied up. He would continually push me to flirt and kiss other girls. He once (the 4 or 5th happy hour we went to) held me down during a happy hour and encouraged some friends of ours (some nice girls we had just met) to molest me a bit. I don't feel like my behavior is out of the blue, he continually encouraged the behavior and sometimes it felt like he was using me as bait to get other girls interested.

Once I discussed the issue with him, he realized his behavior wasn't very nice and we started together dating a girl whom we have a pretty good emotional connection to and truly liked us both.

When I say "force", I mean that it often feels like I'm pulling teeth when I ask for him to have a conversation about what he wants out of this. He never gives me a definitive answer. I would be happy to stop doing any of this if thats what he wanted me to do, but what he has seemed to express in actions and words before we started talking is that he wanted me to go off trapping and catching girls for him.

sickday 12-06-2011 10:01 PM

Let me explain what I titled the 'melodramatic' discussion about stopping BDSM.

He's a very introspective and quiet person, he until getting into the BDSM scene was never timid though and had great success picking up girls online etc. But his behavior (sometimes he would walk away from conversations - something he's done to me for YEARS), pretending to not hear about parties or telephone numbers when people were clearly trying to invite or giving you a telephone number came off as rude and impolite. People were trying to be friends with him and he just didn't get the memo.

In the talk I told him that whatever decision he made I would respect it and that if he didn't want to do any of it anymore I would stop and it wouldn't be a problem. It wasn't something I expected to do for the rest of my life with such energy. He told me that he really didn't want to stop, it was just that he felt like no one there really liked him or found him attractive and that he wasn't getting any play - which was demoralizing and hurt his feelings. So it wasn't that he DIDN'T want to be involved, it's that he felt he couldn't get involved. So less than a week later, he wanted to go to a party - I said if he was sure then ok. We went out with friends and a lesbian couple we knew wanted to sleep at our place. We ended up in a foursome, where I was very happily marginally involved (happy for him). After that he was happy, ecstatic, etc and told me that he was happy that I had been encouraging him to do what he did.

It has worked for me to go off and pick up girls for us, a few girls came over to play, he would have sex with me and have light involvement with the girl (out of his own retiscence). Finally with one of our partners he told me that I should escalate the situation because he would never do it on his own. So as a scene for them (a shared partner I knew would enjoy it) I 'locked' them in a closet for a quickie alone while I watched. He always wanted me to escalate the situation with other partners for him, it's not that he didn't want to do this - it's that he wanted me to make it happen and I'm not really sure why.

nycindie 12-06-2011 10:15 PM

Hmm, this really isn't about poly, is it? This sounds more like a situation in which BDSM agreements are not being kept or negotiated, but I don't see anything here related to loving polyamorous relationships. It's all about negotiating sex.

It sounds like communication is a big issue between you. You both seem to have a lot of pent-up feelings that are not being expressed in a productive way. Maybe a kink-friendly therapist can help you two? It seems like it is super frustrating and detrimental to continue as you have been - you are both going around in circles.

sickday 12-06-2011 10:27 PM

Hmm, well the thing is I'm having difficulty figuring out how to get him to discuss what he wants out of our relationship and the other relationships we have. How do you get to the point where your partner will do that without having to force the issue?

I would like a relationship where I don't feel like I'm bait to be used to bring other girls in, and to have some deeper relationships with my partners. I would at some point like to be poly (with a primary) and have some partners we share and some we don't. He would like to not acknowledge what he wants using words. But he'd like to go out on some dates alone... and have sex with some people alone.

But you know, 'let's not talk about it'.

sickday 12-06-2011 10:39 PM

Thanks and we'll definitely look into Kink-friendly therapists, but I think what I'm really after is how other people get to the point of having a partner actually be honest and open about their feelings and desires? I would like to move into polyamory and actually have relationships with our partners bit I know I shouldn't because our relationship isn't strong enough at this point that I feel like I can trust him to be honest with me and actually discuss the things we'd need to be able to discuss. Plus he wants to date his partners on his own, which to me seems kind of like it will end up being polyamorous - and like most situations I predict will happen and he says will never happen - it probably will end up being poly. My whole partyline here is that I just want to KNOW and be aware of it before it escalates to that, so that I don't end up feeling like I did that night - I felt like an idiot for believing he would tell me and negotiate before it happened, and a chump for believing he would be responsible enough to at least tell me before something happens. Like I couldn't trust him to even be alone for a few minutes without him violating an agreement.

sickday 12-06-2011 10:54 PM

I would add that he's on OkCupid with a blip about being in an open relationship and being able to see people on his own (which is not something we had discussed and before the negotiations which clearly got out of control, wasn't something that was without limits). So he's representing himself to others AS if he were poly, but then throwing me at girls afterwards. Which I'm sure I wouldn't appreciate if I were them.

So another issue here I think is that he tells me I'm keeping tally, but really he's using what I've done (with his foreknowledge and enthusiastic permission) as a way to tell me that I should take what ever he does without issue. And that since 'in practice' so far, he's not dating girls on his own, I should just be fine with not knowing what he wants to do because I should trust him. But he just showed that I can't trust him to tell me things before he does them. And that clearly I can't trust him to communicate clearly his desires with me so that I even know that he wants to do something roughly before he does it.

I also can't trust him to actually want to play with just me sometimes, he doesn't usually think he'll enjoy it until he's doing it. Which confuses me, because it was my understanding that we are interested in the same things. So unless he's not telling me basic things about what he likes, it stands to reason that he doesn't think he'll enjoy playing with me. Which besides the whole "I'll date 6 nights a week if allowed", the thought that he doesn't want to play with me and doesn't enjoy it really quite hurts.

We'll see how another discussion goes - he's on travel this week, so tonight I'll see a shared partner to go to a movie and a drink. I'm trying desperately not to dump our drama on her.

AnnabelMore 12-06-2011 11:19 PM

To me this sounds like a pattern of him just not connecting at all to your desire for communication. I don't think any of us have the tools to tell you how to fix that, and it's very hard to do poly without it. Therapy is a very good suggestion. Is it possible he could have Asperger's Syndrome? The stuff about just walking away during conversations and pretending not to hear things sounds like more than just shyness to me.

AnnabelMore 12-06-2011 11:24 PM


Originally Posted by sickday (Post 114759)
I felt like an idiot for believing he would tell me and negotiate before it happened, and a chump for believing he would be responsible enough to at least tell me before something happens. Like I couldn't trust him to even be alone for a few minutes without him violating an agreement.

I have to ask, why are you with someone you can't trust, who makes you feel bad about yourself and him? It really seems to me like there are some big, underlying issues here.

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