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-   -   Need some perspective (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19254)

bookbug 12-25-2011 04:34 PM

Need some perspective
Need some perspective from people who understand. Sorry this is likely to be rather lengthy.

Back story:

I was part of a long term MFF triad that only ended upon the death of our spouse. She and I are still in close contact, but felt like we needed to explore the world on our own after his death. I reunited with a childhood friend to whom I've always felt very close, although life took us in different directions and our contact was sporadic. It was fantastic. Turns out she and her husband had, had an ongoing threesome with a woman over a period of time. She did not live with them. It came to an end because the woman had a mood disorder that became very difficult to contend with. It was very tough on my friend because she loved this woman; my friend's husband liked her well enough, but did not love her.

So when I came into their lives my friend's husband and I found we had great connection, and the triad scenario comes up. I'd had such a good experience that I was eager to experience the magic again. My friend was a little worried given their previous experience but supported the idea. Once we began discussing my moving in, my friend began painting beautiful mental images, speaking of a moonlight marriage, rings, and tattoos. If I had any reservations she erased them.

Everything went well at first. My friend's husband was so sure this would be a beautiful thing because he loved his wife, I loved his wife, and he and I had a very strong connection. And yes, our connection quickly became love. And that's when it hit the fan. Apparently, it was all okay, when we were just fucking, but when he and I developed a love for one another, my friend freaked. It was all downhill from that point and no matter what we tried, there was no fixing it. We tried for the better part of a year, but she decided that he had betrayed her in coming to love another woman. (I really wonder what she thought was going to happen.) Throughout the downhill, which included a cessation of sex (months ago), I kept trying to remove myself from the equation, but neither one wanted that. The unfortunate truth is that my presence seems to have exposed problems in their marriage that they both knew would not be fixed with my leaving. However, I finally did leave.

So although we are still in close contact (despite everything) I find myself living alone, and their marriage is full of contention, no real intimacy, with underlying fears of divorce. Oddly enough my friend doesn't seem to want me out of her life. And the bond I have with her husband is stronger than ever. (The sad truth is that he and I are more compatible than they are. After being privy to their private lives, I have no idea how they made their marriage work as long as they did. They are so different from one another.) I still love them both. (I mean really, how do you “un-love” someone?)

I know her husband will not divorce my friend. He believes that once you make a commitment you stand by your word. (One of the reasons I love him, although it's definitely not working in my favor at the moment.) And they have two children. My friend is the wild card in the divorce scenario. She does not believe that he can love her as much as he ever did and love me too, and she seems unable to re-frame this so it is any way acceptable. The knowledge of the existence of his love for me is intolerable. It matters not that he has done everything she's asked in regard to me. He offered to cut off all contact with me, but my friend regarded that as harsh and told him it wasn't necessary (after harping on him for weeks after I moved out about how he had more intimate communication with me than her. Of course it doesn't help that she has little interest in discussing the topics that interest him. That was a problem before I entered the picture). My friend is in school at the moment, and her husband fears that once she is finished with it, she will leave.

So I here I sit loving them both, mourning what could have been. And the truth of the matter is if my friend did divorce her husband, he and I would be together. Although he knows it's unfair to ask me, her husband would like me to wait before getting on with my life to see what happens. While my most fervent desire is to be with him (no actually, my most fervent desire would be to have what the three of us initially had, but I've given up hope on that), I'm finding it psychologically difficult to do that. First of all, it makes me feel like a vulture, hoping something bad will happen to them (although honestly their marriage is so injured that I'm not sure divorce would be that bad). Secondly, it makes me hold out hope for something that may not come to pass, which will only add yet another layer of disappointment and pain on to what I've already suffered.

But the fact of the matter is the love I have for this man is like a siren song. I keep trying to think about just dating, in order to get another perspective. I went out with one guy a couple of times, and it really didn't work for me. I can't tell if he just wasn't the right guy, or if I'm just too fucked up emotionally to deal with it. But I know I'm not going to un-love my friend's husband, (or her for that matter although she has made me very sad and at times angry), so while yes, it may come to pass that they will divorce, and I will have the man I desire, if they do not, I must be able to move forward at some point in spite of the the strongest emotional tie I've ever experienced in my life. I've got no freaking clue how to do that.

With all of the emotions involved and unlikely to change, it's like we're still in a triad, albeit the most fucked up one on the face of the planet.

So any perspective, advice, insight would be wholly appreciated.

Jericka 12-26-2011 03:48 PM

That sounds painful, and I am sorry.

I do have a couple questions though. It looks like MFF polyfi triads are the way you do poly? That seems to be the way you have settled in comfortably in the past. Is that also the form that the guy in the picture would be looking for, and is his request for you to hold on and wait related to that?

bookbug 12-26-2011 06:56 PM


Originally Posted by Jericka (Post 117326)
That sounds painful, and I am sorry.

I do have a couple questions though. It looks like MFF polyfi triads are the way you do poly? That seems to be the way you have settled in comfortably in the past. Is that also the form that the guy in the picture would be looking for, and is his request for you to hold on and wait related to that?

The MFF triad has been my only experience with poly, but it lasted for the better part of two decades. So I haven't had experience with other versions.

As for the guy ~ their first experience with the threesome was promoted by my friend; not him. Meeting me and finding us so compatible he regards more as being struck by lightning ~ an accident rather than being basically poly himself. He had said he'd always felt alone in the world, but because he and I are so alike, meeting me changed all of that. (And yes, I feel the same way.) That said, he no way wanted to give up his wife for me. In fact before she freaked, his affection for her grew. He immediately understood that the two of us were not interchangeable (sadly she did not). So I would suspect our relationship, should it come to pass, would be basically monogamous unless lightning were to strike twice.

nycindie 12-26-2011 09:07 PM

What a load of drama. You can't wait for him; it is selfish of him to ask that. Don't let their toxic relationship become a part of your life. Move on. Date. Date many many people. Mourn the loss, but start creating your own life without them. Let it just be a friendship. Love is infinite, and you will find others to love, whether they are partnered, male, female, poly or not. Take the steps, walk away.

BigGuy 12-26-2011 11:25 PM

Very sorry to hear about your situation.

In my experience, its near to impossible to move forward into the future when you are tied to the past. In order to move on, you may have to cut all ties with them for your own emotional health.

Definitely not an easy thing to do, but it may be something you'll have to do.

bookbug 12-27-2011 01:04 AM

Yeah, you're telling me what I know logically. :-) I guess, I'm trying to figure out how to move forward and still leave the door open should the opportunity come to pass ~ either through a change of heart (not gonna happen unless a miracle occurs) or divorce.

Phy 12-27-2011 06:03 AM

I am sorry that you are hurting.

But if you really want to leave that door open, bear in mind that you will invite all of this quite difficult past into your new relationship with him. I don't think that you will manage to stay friends with her. She doesn't sound like she would be able to tolerate it. He and you will always have to deal with the way things went with her and you two.

As you said: how to un-love someone? You will hurt from this if you stay involved, even if it's just with him, because she can't be part of it as well but will always be on your and his mind. For your own emotional health, make a clear cut, hurt as much as this situation will inflict on you and try to find another love that is free of all this drama and burdened history.

I hope you can figure it out. I know logical advice tends to be easily given and how difficult it is to rule your heart out of the equation. Despite that, good luck.

risingscarlet 12-27-2011 07:03 AM

Bookbug - I'm so sorry for what you are going through. As I read your story I felt a real connection to you because of my experiences over the last year. I was part of a MFFM quad which was powerfully passionate and eventually exploded brilliantly due to inherent personality clashes. We each contributed our own issues to the mix, and my husband and I discovered some marital issues of our own but one of the most significant problems with the quad was the terrible quality of the other couple's marriage.

When we first became involved Star and Carter* gave the impression of a stable open marriage, and were very much convinced themselves even that they were in a healthy relationship. Over the next months though we began to discover the cracks in their foundation, each of which my husband Jute and I tried to rationalize away because we deeply loved them by then and wanted the poly family of our dreams so badly.

I'll avoid the sordid details, but long story short they are divorcing now, and Jute and I were separated for a few weeks, but are now together and happy again. Star and Carter get along much better as friends than spouses. Jute is still trying to be friends with them and is still mourning the relationship I think. I can be friendly with them but we are not close friends. Personally I finally decided the drama was too unhealthy for me to be close to them, even though I miss them very much. I decided I needed to move on.

I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they needed help. I know what you mean about not being unable to 'un love' another. But I also had to decide to take care of myself. I couldn't wait (potentially a lifetime) to see if either of them could become healthy for me to have a relationship with. I couldn't put myself on hold while they were figuring out their issues, and trying to do so was literally causing me to question my sanity.

In my opinion these people need to become your distant friends for your own good. Focus on yourself, and what you've learned from this experience for a while. Throw yourself into a new project or activity. Meet new people, but you don't need to date others if you're not ready to do so. It took me a while to even feel ready to be with my husband again. About 6 months from their exit I have just now began developing a relationship with someone I've known a long time prior. Dating someone brand new at this point is probably beyond my emotional capacity.

Good luck and Blessed Be

*all names changed for the sake of everyone's privacy

risingscarlet 12-27-2011 05:38 PM

wrote a beautiful reply yesterday and no idea where it went

My sympathies on what you are going through. I tried to write you yesterday, but I don't know where that reply has gone... I shall try again.

When I read about your situation I felt so much empathy for you, I feel like your situation mirrors some of the things I have experienced over the last year. I was involved with a MFFM quad which was powerfully passionate and ended up brilliantly exploding. The relationship was lost due to each of us having issues leading to irreconcilable personality differences. One of the largest factors was the inherent instability of the other couple's marriage.

Star and Carter* gave Jute and I the impression that they had a stable happy open marriage initially, and by the time the cracks in their foundation showed up we were all desperately in love enough to try to rationalize them away. It's not that they intentionally mislead us... they didn't even realize how unhealthy their relationship even was. Without delving into the sordid details, the result was our quad falling apart.

They are divorcing. From what I can tell they get along better now than they ever did while married. Each of them has found another partner, and are seeking monogamy with their respective partners. Star has told me she feels like she was actually never polyamorous, rather she was just unhappy with her marriage and looking for something better. Jute is still trying to be friends with them both and I can see that causing him heartache. I am friendly with them but do not want them to be close in my life. I finally realized the drama was too unhealthy for me and I needed to take care of myself.

I would still be there for either of them in a heartbeat if they needed my help. I know exactly what you mean about being unable to 'un love' another. However my advice is to move them to the outer circle of your life, even as your heart is crying about the move. You need to take care of yourself and staying so close to the situation is tearing up your soul. You can't wait in limbo for potentially a lifetime to see if they resolve their issues. I think you should step back and consider what you've learned about yourself and relationships for a little bit. Throw yourself into a new activity or interest. Nurture some other relationships... your other friends and loved ones, family or new people you'd like to know. You don't have to date until you're ready. Personally I had to step out of relationships, including my marriage for a bit. Six months after the dust settled over the quad, I'm starting to explore a love match with someone who's been a friend for quite some time. Even now, I don't think if a brand new person entered my life I'd be ready to date them yet.

I wish you well with your endeavors. Have peace.

*all names changed for everyone's privacy

bookbug 12-28-2011 02:37 AM


Originally Posted by Phy (Post 117477)
I am sorry that you are hurting.

As you said: how to un-love someone? You will hurt from this if you stay involved, even if it's just with him, because she can't be part of it as well but will always be on your and his mind.

Yes, you're right. Not to mention their children (who I also became well-attached to over the last year).


Originally Posted by Phy (Post 117477)

I hope you can figure it out. I know logical advice tends to be easily given and how difficult it is to rule your heart out of the equation. Despite that, good luck.

It's good to hear logic from others far removed from the situation. When such strong emotions are involved, it's hard to know if I'm analyzing well. And I appreciate your compassion.

While the pain waxes and wanes, today I am doing better. Thank you.

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