Dishonesty, and can trust be rebuilt?
OK this is not a completely poly orientated question, but I have asked on a hetro/norm forum and the poly element seems to really confuse the issue, so I thought I could do with some input from more open minded types. It's a bit long, so sorry!
I am pregnant with our second child, DS is 20 months. I have been with DH for nearly 3 years, but we were close friends for 8 years before that. He and I have both been in open relationships before, but this one was exclusive at the outset.
In February, the day before Valentines (nice) He told me he wanted a break from our relationship. We have been having issues that mostly revolve around our sex life declining while I was pregnant and looking after a small child. We have had a bad few months, a miscarriage, SS intervention (from a false report), me being bullied at work and antenatal depression. For completeness I should say that he also told me he had considered leaving when I was 36 weeks pg with DS, but sorted himself out and told me he was in it for the long haul. He told me he had cheated on me (oral sex) twice, since I was pregnant.
We had discussed him seeing other women previously, but I realised that I would have difficulty with this, and he had agreed not to. I have been in open relationships before, but this is marriage, and I considered that to be exclusive.
The next day he told me he had thought about it, my reaction (I was devastated) showed I still cared about him, he thought I didn't, he cheated because he was lonely and felt unloved, and I agreed to try and work things out. We agreed to go to Relate, but this never happened as we didn't have childcare.
Shortly afterwards, my best friend who had recently split up with her boyfriend came to stay with us. Both she and I are bisexual, and have a fairly flirtatious relationship, DH encourages this, he is happy for me to have relationships with women separately to our marriage, but I have never acted on it. While she was with us, one thing led to another and she and I began a relationship, with full disclosure and DH's blessing. It was completely unexpected, but actually had a positive impact on me and DH, as I was generally happier having the company and affection from her.
She (and me and DH) has an interest in BDSM, I have always been OK with DH taking part in non-sexual BDSM (like spanking) with other women, and it was proposed that he could do that with BF. I had no issue with this.
Then he came to me and asked how I would feel, hypothetically if things got sexual with her. I was surprisingly OK with this, it was a "sometime in the future, maybe, as part of a BDSM scene" sort of question, and she was about to go away on work for a while, so I felt we had a cooling off period, I also didn't think she was into him like that, and a bit like I had to say yes as he was OK with me sleeping with her. I told him I didn't see it as a huge problem, as long as their relationship wasn't romantic, and they took precautions. I also wanted him to disclose if anything happened, just so I knew, not gory details, just a heads up so I wasn't in the dark. We were actually very settled in this poly type of agreement, I knew he wasn't going to go off with a stranger, and I love them both dearly. We discussed a long term idea of all living together and things were looking good.
So time went by, she went off for her work, then she fell ill. She went abroad for a bit, and was still ill, she stopped talking to me and DH got a bit stressy and short with me. He was generally being an arse and I seriously started reconsidering the idea of working things out with him.
Then he dropped the bomb. The day after he had spoken to me about it, when dropping her back home, he had slept with her. She was pregnant, and planning a termination when she got back to the UK, he was sad, as a father that his child would be aborted, and she was feeling terribly guilty. For several weeks he had lied to me, we even joked about how he wasn't getting sex with her any time soon as she was busy or ill and maybe fate was cockblocking him. But it wasn't. Eventually (days later) he admitted they had sex 3 times, twice when she came and stayed with us to recuperate as she was feeling ill.
I am not bothered that they had sex, I had agreed with that, I am also not bothered that she accidentally fell pregnant, it is really sad to see them going through the angst of it all, but is was an accident. I am really, really bothered about the lying. He had many opportunities to tell me, but he hid the fact that they were having sex, and the pregnancy from me, even when we talked about it. I am also angry at him for putting our health (his, hers, mine and my unborn child) at risk by having unprotected sex without the precautions or tests we had agreed upon.
So last night we sat down and I told him that I was really fed up with the lies, and hiding things from me, I can't keep trying to rebuild the relationship when he keeps breaking my trust. I wanted to hear about the circumstances in which he cheated before, to clear the questions and start with a blank slate and no secrets. Then he tells me that actually he had previously cheated on me 3 times, twice 2 years ago when I was pg with DS, when our relationship was good, and we hadn't discussed any level of openness, before we were married.
I feel completely betrayed, it's like he can't actually tell me the whole truth about anything, when stuff has come out he has drip fed me the details, telling me that is it, then later it comes out that there was something else.
I love him, I want to raise our 2 babies with him, and for everything to be fine again, but is it even possible to rebuild trust after all this?
I would say "not really possible, though if you're determined, maybe". Also that I am so sorry you're having to deal with this.
Thank you, I really want to sort it, we have big lovely life changing plans together and I love him so much, I really want it to work, but everything he says lately seems to be half-truths and deception. I don't think it's malicious, just very, very misguided and hurtful.
It is also so refreshing to have input that isn't criticising me for being bi, or for having a poly relationship so it's all my fault.
IMO, that's really up to him.
Is it possible for HIM to commit to being honest and rebuilding the trust? I would say, yes, it's possible especially since you seem open to giving him the opportunity to do better.
Is it possible for YOU to rebuild the trust if he keeps being dishonest? No.
I'm not sure from your post, but you two sound rather young, and your DH very immature. It doesn't sound like his lies are malicious, but borne out of not being able to stand up and act like a man. I don't mean that as a slam. Men often take longer to mature then women. What I'm saying is that he may "out-grow" this need to cover up issues that he is not fully ready to deal with. How long it will take is hard to say, and whether you can exist through it is also difficult to say.
I'm curious. What were his reasons for keeping this from you? He is acting like a little boy who thinks he was going to be in trouble.
His behavior also speaks to some impulsivity. He agreed to the testing rules, but got horny and broke them.
I believe these are behaviors that can be overcome, but it's going to take some work from him to learn to "man up" so to speak. It would seem some outside help ~ counselor, trusted mentor ~ might be helpful, but again I know the poly issue will confuse most people.
I am 31, he is 26. He is very impulsive, optimistic, not a fine details kind of chap.
He says he didn't want to tell me because he doesn't like to upset me, I have made it very clear that the way to not upset me is not to *do* the upsetting thing, not talking about it only makes it worse.
He didn't tell me about having sex with BF because... he told me he had kissed her, and stopped there, I was surprised, as I thought theirs was a friends with beatings and perhaps benefits arrangement, a lone kiss to me speaks romance. If he had told me they kissed, and had kinky sex, I wouldn't have been surprised (does that make sense? I've had lots of friends with benefits and never felt inclined to snog them outside of the sex window) and so he thought I would react badly if he said about the sex. I have no idea why he went on to have sex with her twice more if he thought I wasn't OK with them having sex anymore. He is a lot like a naughty boy about it actually, he was really anxious when we talked last night and his body language, tics etc, seemed very childish to me.
Ice, I think that's right on the mark. Yesterday I actually wrote out how I was feeling and listed the parameters I felt we needed to work within to put things right, including going exclusive for a while, full disclosure and having a cooling off period after discussions about changes to our relationship where nothing would happen, so we could digest, consider and speak to third parties. The "big" conversation where the stuff about previous cheating came out was supposed to be a clean slate job, as in, lets get rid of all the lies and start afresh. I wasn't expecting to hear that he had been hiding sexual liasons for 2 years.
I've lurked here for a long time and I often find that many shared experiences leave me with more questions than answers.
Im sorry for what you're going through, it doesn't sound like much fun and believe me I am hardly an apologist for DH.
From what I've been able to gather from your posts he is someone you love and have been close friends with for 8 years --- been together with eachother nearly 36 months, currently pregnant with your second child and your first child is 20 months old ..... So you both had to deal with the idea of being parents at most 6 months into your relationship
You both have had poly relationships in the past but this one was exclusive from the outset.
You have difficulty with him being with other women, he does not have difficulty with you being with other women ( not sure about men) ... And before all these revelations you benifited from the relationship with your friend and if I understood correctly some of this benefit spilled over into your relationship with DH In a positive way.
You brushed over a couple things including a miscarriage, SS , depression etc
You also said, again if I am interpreting this correctly that you were fine with him having sex with this friend, as long as it didn't become romantic and in some part because well he didn't have any trouble with you sleeping with her, she was leaving soon etc.
Now as far as the lieing, cheating etc from both of them ... His and perhaps your immaturity -- can it be worked out I dunno and I expect neither does anyone else.
I believe this can be a wonderful place for ideas and support, I hope you find that and I sincerely wish you the best in all of this.... I mean as much as one can when so far removed with anonymity.
I do think in addition to his cheating and dishonesty you have a number of things to work out that would be true even if none of that had happened. That doesn't mean I'm dismissing it, and by the numbers can you trust him again --- I don't think I could --- but the larger question might be can you trust yourself
It may be helpful to learn how you (and he decided) that this relationship was going to be exclusive from the beginning...... And does that mean you had a discussion about it before you entered into a romantic relationship, or before you decided t get married? I mean given your collective backgrounds and experience in what you term poly relationships .... And then you decided that an exclusive mono relationship would be best .... Why is that?
Given what you pursued with your girlfriend inside of the past 36 months does it really seem like mono is the best choice for you .... Or is it Mostly the best choice for him from your point of view? I guess what I'm getting at is would you really like to have other romantic meaningful relationships in addition to the one with your husband .... But can't tolerate him having the same experiences? And if so why do you think that is?
It also sounds like you have been pregnant 3 times in the past 30 months or so (counting the miscarriage) .... And have been married for at most 36 months. That can be a beautiful thing but as you know it comes with some hardship as well.
It's really easy for me to say, you shouldn't walk away from DH ... You should run. It's also easy to focus on his colossal errors, dishonesty, and immaturity. At the end of the day, you're the one that loves him so I can only assume he has some redeeming qualities you have failed to mention.
Whatever you decide however I would think it unwise to go to all the trouble, effort and heartbreak of addressing this ( clean break, reconciliation or whatever form that takes) ... And not pay more attention to what it is that you honestly need from relationships and why.
I wish you well.
I wouldn't say we were both in poly relationships before, I have had open, non-exclusive relationships where sex with others was not a problem, he has been more in relationships where sex with others was allowed usually in a BDSM way. I don't think either of us have ever had poly emotional attachments.
I also should make it clear that the relationship between me and BF is very new, late Feb, up until then we were supposedly mono. That was by default, he tells me now that he never realised that would be the case, I suppose I have a more conventional view. We agreed before BF and I got together that he could do non-sexual S&M with her, it is not unusual in our relationship for him to spank/beat other women, in clubs or whatever. He then facilitated BF and I getting together, we had been friends and jokingly flirtatious for about 10 years, but neither of us realised that the other actually fancied us, until he pointed it out. After she and I first slept together, he asked if I would mind him having sex with her in the aftermath of S&M play. I would not be comfortable with him having a romantic attachment, I feel that is something that has to be just for us, if only because I need that security from the father of my children. He doesn't feel that for me and other women (I wouldn't want to be with other men, and he wouldn't like it outside the odd D/s arrangement, so it's never been considered) he was very happy me and BF got together, he gets a lot out of knowing we are making each other happy.
When we first considered having a relationship, he asked me if I wanted marriage and kids, because that was his priority, to me that means mono unless stated, I don't think in hindsight it did to him, but at the same time he knew it was not OK for him to be with other women. When he first rang to ask me out he asked me to marry him, I told him not to be so daft, but from the very beginning it was on the cards. We had been close for a long time, talking through our relationship issues with each other and giving advice, we felt we knew a lot about each other in relationships, quite objectively. We both felt we had been fucking around (figuritively and literally) for too long, we wanted to settle and have a family.
And you are right, it has been an intense 36 months, as well as a baby, and a wedding, we have both lost our fathers and gone through some major personal development. We have been very strong as a couple and very good for each other throughout. It's not about to get easier quickly, we are moving house, having another baby and I will stop work so I can look after a newborn and a 2 year old.
It's fairly impressive that the only thing we seem not to be able to handle is his bloody dishonesty.
The plan was to move to somewhere quieter and pretty much take 2 years out to just focus on getting things right as a family unit. I just feel now like things have not been what they seem for too long.
He is a lovely guy, the sort of person who will do anything to help someone in a fix, he is a loving father and he cares for me a lot, although often that seems to be more talk than effective action.
A question for the OP: How are you feeling toward your (ex-?)girlfriend right now? Has she been put completely out of your life? Her own problems aside, it sounds like the two of you could support each other. I'm not sure I'd trust that he's been completely honest with her, either; have you two spoken about him?
To me, she actually sounds the better prospect for helping you raise children and being part of a family unit. Bless him, your man sounds like a flake at best. He'll help you in a fix, but he can't be consistently honest with you or show that he cares (though he'll say it all you like)? Then his head's not in a place to be a proper partner to you.
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