when poly goes weird
I'm relatively new here but reading these posts have helped me to pluck up my courage and join the conversation. I'm strangely glad to hear my problems and situation arent so unique.
So, the past year of my life in a nutshell... I've known a mf couple for a long time, but not well. Then, I moved to their area last spring and started to become a part of their lives much more deeplu, as friends. I'd felt for a couple of months like we were poly without admitting it, because of the way I took on a couple like role in their lives, sharing responsibilities with them for caring for their child, their home, caring for each other. But I was stupid and made the mistake of fooling around with the guy before sitting down with both of them to talk about it all. That was a mistake I will never make again. That coloured everything in our coming relationship horribly, and I still regret it to this day.
Aftr sitting down to talk seriously about what had happened, how we were all feeling, and what we should do about it, we decided to try a poly relationship, since theyd both talked about it for years. Things became very intense and I took on my new role in their family as if I were married to them both. (second mistake, right there, I know). In my defense, I'd never had anyone ever promise me even in jest the stability that this couple showed me through their promises of commitment to me and their inclusion of me, basically full-time in their daily lives. But things started to getbreally rocky, really soon.
It slowly became clear The woman, I'll call her R. was only experimenting with the idea of poly. She was basically doing it to try and save her marriage. I had known that they wee having problems, but wrongly thought that these problems were due to the disability R. has, which affects her mental and physical health. since I have a disability myself, I can understand how difficult it is to try and raise a child, care for a home, work, and somehow find some time and money to take care of yourself. I wrongly assumed that having my presence there in both their lives to help things come together would make a difference in their marriage. I think I can honestly say I did make a difference in their lives, and R came to a place where she was able to take on ,any responsibilities shed been previously unable to do thanks to having some more monetary and social stabiliy in her life. But their marriage was fallung apart before my eyes.
Well, I went through a roller coaster for 9 months between loving my boyfriend, lets say T., and a slow but certain disintegration of my relationship with R. Finally it became clear to me that I had to leave. I told them both I'd be moving in the fall to take some space. At that point in time, I had no idea what would happen, but I knew I couldnt be with R., as she was verbally abusive to me and physically abusive to her husband (yes, that does happen...). He wasnt physically intimidated by her, but the emotional instabiliy of abuse is unbearable, not to mentiin, just not worth it for anyone.
Long story short, they filed for divorce. R. is angry at me for "ruining her marriage" and I had to blocked her from all im and ccommunication with me after she continued to send me texts swearing at me, even contacting my family to call me a slut, etc.
Well, T. and I started ti have a better life, to be blunt. We began to take care of ourselves, get further education, and concentrate on the one thing most important to us.... his daughter. :) We love her to bits.
However, seeing as I'm super duper bi, ie almost a lesbian, I started to miss women very very deeply around this winter, but especially since new years (with its promises of new possibilities). I've felt strange being with a man, not with a woman, and all those typical lesbian type themes a person normalky hears about. T. has always wanted something polyamorous, so he's really not upset by this at all. in fact, really supportuve and encouraging would be the better descriptor. I'm pretty naive about the Lesbian dating world, and my mind seems ti be stuck in the adolescent phase ofdevelopment when it comes to women. they're so pretty. But will they ever like me? And how does a person find a dyke anyway? And what happens to all my fantasies and dreams of a monogamous marriage to a woman now that I've fallen in love with a man, and taken his daughter into my life? Is my family gonna freak out like his did if I tell them? I deeply crave the social recognition of being with a woman, marrying a woman with a big ceremony and flowers and a pouffy dress. Will I always have to hide that I'm poly? everyone knows i'm dating T., how am I supposed to come out about... oh bbythe way, I'm actually deepky bi and love women and this is my girlfriend, and thats very important to me too? ..... continued....
Anyway, this new year a couple of things came out I was none too pleased about with T.
First off, he hadnt cut off his sexual relationship with R. after filing for divorce with her as I was under the impression. I was aghast at this as they are truly terrible for each other. But besides that, I cant have R. in my life. If he wants to be with her, then I he needs to man up, leave me, and fix the shattered pieces of their marriage. He has been quite blunt with me this is the last thing he wants to do, since round one of his marriage didnt go so well. So fine, he admitted he screwed up, because he really does want to leave her.
Anyway, the truly bizarre thing is how I failed to be angry at this for long. That struck me in some other pieces I read here and I can relate. It's so bizarre how I'm not really seethingly angry about it all, but apparently other women feel the same way when their partner breaks one of the boundaries you have? What is it about us? Is it because we're poly we're just not as jealous as other people? Or is it because we understand how it could happen?
Essentially, I get it. He cared about her for a long time. He didnt want to be with her anymore. We had agreed to be poly, but with boundaries.... the boundaries were let go in a feeling of nostalgia or love, and oops. What I dont get is why it isnt a bigger deal to me than that.
Anyway, the respect with which we've talked about that has been meaningful to me. He has emotionally come to the place where he was able to break things off with R., and I can tell the difference, because she is less angry with him now that their relationship is at least defined, rather than being an ambiguous parting. She's still very up and down about me, but I'm not in contact with her anyway.
What concerned me was that R and T together are horrible, and I didnt want crazy in my life, as one of you so aptly put it. R. was very verbally abusive to me and while I should have looked twice before diving into her life, I didnt. The only option I see now is to not make the same mistake twice and stay out of her life. so thats what upsets me more than the breaking boundaries and trust, that what T did was so potentially a landmine of emotional s*** for all of us; confusing for R, wondering if she could save her marriage, awful for T because of having to break up all over again, and bad for me because R takes out the loss of T for the second time by bad-mouthing and hating on me. So no good.
Ok, first a hello, then a lot of pondering.
The thing is, as long as you are seen with a man, known to date a man and publically acknowledge you are dating a man you are assumed to be straight. No way around it. As long as you are seen with a woman, known to date a woman and publically acknowledge you are dating a woman you are assumed to be gay. Welcome to the club.
I understand the craving for a social recognition for your identity. You can hold on to that hope and for example decide that while things with T are wonderful and peachy, you are continuing to look for a female primary to have a pouffy wedding and kids with.
As to coming out, how about doing it in non-verbal ways? Join a Facebook group, wear a badge, post links to LGBT equality campaign websites and videos etc.
As to dating; not many true Lesbians are that keen on non-monogamy, and especially not happy about the prospect of sharing with a dude. There is a sizable number of Lesbians who won't even date bi women because they fear (some rightly so) that they will eventually be tossed aside for a man.
In your situation, the best bet would be online dating, where you can be upfront about what you are looking for, and also not keep anyone in the dark about your boyfriend. Most likely demographic to target would be other poly bi women. If I were you I would make it very clear that you are dating separately from your boyfriend and no unicorn-hunting is implied or assumed. Are there women's groups in your local poly community or bi groups in your local LGBT community? While the emphasis tends not to be on dating in those circles, at least you could meet other women in similar situations.
And onwards on the speed-advice line: maybe the fact that you feel little jealousy or dismay is because you deep down knew all along that this could happen with T and R? From what I've observed, notalgia shags with exes are pretty common, and usually good for one partner to realize why the relationships ended, i.e. that it's only nostalgia and nothing else. However, I've seen that usually the other ex-partner is secretly wishing that the relationship would continue, and keeping them hanging on is just mean in such situations. Good that T broke things off with R!
black unicorn, you are so right. That sums up my feelings exactly about the whole thing. I knew nostalgia sex happens, and absolutely for T, it was affirming that he needed to leave the relationship. But for R, it only gave her hope that things could be repaired. So thankfully, he did end it.
Anyway, writing this has been rwally helpful for me to vent my emotiins, so thanks for replying. :)
R and T have a child. So there is no way you're going to be able to avoid all contact with R. If you and T are going to be together it's probably a good idea to start working on some kind of civil relationship for the sake of the child. You don't have to be best friends or anything but you do have to talk and be able to be on the same page when it comes to raising this child.
I agree with you that ideally, R and I would be able to communicate... but unfortunately, she has a habit of treating me so badly, calling me derogatory names, making a scene in front of other people, that I chose not to talk with her. It is better for little girl's sake that she doesn't see her mother freaking out!!!! On the oen occassion where she has seen her mother yell at me, she's been very very upset afterwards. There's no reason to put her through that. And my boyfriend is able to communicate with her enough that the two of them are able to talk about whatever they need to talk about to share information about little girl.
I'm so so so very unhappy and scared right now. I've actually started to be afraid for my safety from R.
If you need to get a restraining order against her, don't hesitate to ask for one.
Is this something that your boyfriend talking to her about would help de-escalate or would that make it worse?
*hugs* Hang in there. It won't be like this forever.
Thanks for reading and sorry about the double post. I dont know how to make a relieved face so I guess I'll just tell the story...
I've checked in with a womens safety organisation and I feel much better after talking a lot and discussing my situation. I feel much better now and I believe things will be okay.
thank you all for the kind thoughts and concerns!
in the confessional spirit...
One thing that keeps coming up for me is how to deal with the fact that my partner and I really made some bad decisions in all of this.
When I met him, he was married, and we made so many of the typical NRE mistakes it's almost laughable, except of course it's actually quite tragic.
Those mistakes (not spending enough time with his primary partner, not having better more established boundaries, not having better communication and follow-up with his wife) really do continue to affect me and us as a couple in that I get very sad when I look back sometimes, because I really did value his wife and even love her. I wanted to have something genuine and beautiful with her, and I felt so good about it, about her, about the person she was.
But it all ended up so f'd up, so fast. And it degraded horribly to the way it is today, which is that we never speak, and she can't be in the same room as me without freaking out.
I suppose if I had to list my regrets these would be...
1 moving in too fast with them both
2 not INSISTING that he leave me alone when I felt I needed space from the two of them. ( I got a place after the three of us started fighting and when things got too bad for him to deal with in his home with his wife, he'd come over to my place. That really lacked guts because I didn't want him there. I wanted him to be working things out with his wife, or at least not bringing me into the middle of all that s***. I let him stay over because he was so exhausted, so drained, so tired from being with someone who wasn't healthy for him I didn't have the guts to tell him to go sleep on one of his friend's couches... but I wish I would have. Maybe then she'd hate me less?).
3 Meeting her family.
4 Letting her meet my family... I should have waited until our relationship was more stable. My family now refuses to let him in their house, and I can't even tell you how painful that is for a person who loves and values my family as much as I do. This is the man I want to have a CHILD with, after all.
5 Not insisting they spend more alone time as a couple
6 Not telling them they needed to get things figured out more between the two of them before getting to know me
I never thought I was capable of having my head so far up my ass. But I was wrong. What I'm struggling with now is learning to forgive myself. My partner just tells me it's a choice I have to make. I sometimes don't know how to continue on. It's hard because I see so many people I love and admire in "normal relationships"; monogamous, married relationships. They have so much social support, and I can't imagine them ever making the kinds of mistakes I made. I feel like a horrible person when I remember the things I did wrong. Sometimes I go so far as to wonder if I shouldn't just walk away entirely from the poly lifestyle, and call this just some mistake I made when I was not-so-young and stupid. I could say "I'll never ever do that again" and then close that door on my life. And maybe then I'd feel better about myself, about everything that happened....
Things I will never regret
1 Loving and caring for their child when the two of them were in a bad place
2 Praying for them and caring for them as many ways as I could
3 Bringing hope and healing to them both when they were in a very hopeless place (they truly were and every thing honestly changed for the better for them when I joined their lives. Everything completely changed for them both. It was uncanny. It's just that things fell apart very quickly again after they came together)
4 Holding my head up high when people insulted me and thought ill of me
I suppose my hope for the future is that we find more harmonious ways to live. And that this learning, while painful, benefits us for our future choices.
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