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-   -   Burned badly by a couple, devastated, desperately need support (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23471)

polyburned 05-04-2012 08:29 PM

Burned badly by a couple, devastated, desperately need support
I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this. I apologize for the length, just want to include all the details. 6 months after getting out of a 4 year mono relationship, I met a couple online that showed interest in pursuing a relationship with me. I dont know if it is relevant to the users here, but I am a 25 year old gay man.

I had never considered polyamory before, but I decided to give it a chance and live in the moment, try something new. The couple had been together for 5 years, and expressed to me that they were unfulfilled sexually and emotionally, and that is why they sought me out. According to them i am the first one they have included in their relationship, but they both said if it didnt work with me they would seek out another, i feel they r using people to prolong their failing relationship. Obviously not the best foundation for polyamory.

But for three months, it was bliss. Heaven. I never knew I could experience something so intense so quickly. I'll call them bob and jay. They showered me with affection and made me feel like the only man in the world. Bob sought me out initially, unhappy with jay. I fell deeply in love with jay, and him with me. Neither of us ever expected such a connection. I think this may be a flaw in this relationship style, as the third wheel how am expected to feel the same way about both of them and be equally attracted all the time? Needless to say, Bob noticed this imbalance as much as i tried to compensate for it, that me and jay had developed a connection that was beginning to rival his own with his boyfriend. One night he exploded at me bc I wouldn't get into bed with him, and literally kicked me out of his apartment at 3am, and has never talked to me again since. It was literally as if a toddler was having a temper tantrum, mind u bob is 38 and jay is 28. Bob banned jay from seeing me, and is already online looking for my replacement. Bob never even gave me an explanation, just used me until he was done then cut me off.

Oh and here's a kicker. He was HIV positive, and never told me until it was too late. We always used protection, but I am anxiously awaiting the day that I can get a definitive test. Bob had lied to jay and told him that I was aware of they're HIV status. The time I spent with them could effect me for the rest of my life, could be the death of me, making it so much harder to let go. My instinct told me to run when I found out about this lie, but the NRE and their promises to love me and support me forever caused an enormous error in judgement on my part. I will always regret it, although by the time i found out i believed it was too late. Anyway, my problem is, I am still in love with jay. I didnt believe in love at first sight until I met him. He told me he would be willing to be my friend in time, but bob makes him feel guilty for even speaking to me. I was cut off without so much as an explanation.

It's so frustrating bc I saw how bob treated jay during those three months, like crap, telling him he was never even attracted to him and that he feels him to be just a friend. If a boyfriend told me he never felt an attraction to me ever, it would be over for me. Yet jay is choosing to stay with him because of their long history. I basically begged jay to give life with me a chance, to no avail. I dont know what I'm looking for by typing this, maybe just some kind of support bc I have been all alone in this. I'm devastated. I truly love jay, and feel so used by bob, he discarded me like a rag doll without so much as an explanation.

Jay told me he saw a life with me, and I saw it too. I put my heart on the line and it was crushed, i just can't understand if what he said he felt for me is true, and if his boyfriend has said he is sharing a bed with his best friend, why won't jay take a chance with me? I realized that trying to maintain a friendship with him was causing him lots of distress bc bob is making him feel like he is doing something wrong by even speaking to me, so I told him i am stepping away and giving him space, to which he said contact him when I am ready to be friends. Even if he cant be my boyfriend I want him in my life in some capacity regardless of how much it hurts, that's how much i care for him as a person, but if bob gets his way I will disappear and they can move on to their next victim. I am sorry if this post is too long and I hope it makes sense. The heartbreak is crippling, I risked so much and was tossed aside for reasons I can't comprehend. I can't eat or sleep, or barely even move. I spent almost every day with them for 3 months, it was so intense and I saw how bob treated jay, taking him for granted completely. I know what I have with him could be so amazing.

Am I being selfish? Should I just let jay go and not even bother with a friendship? I've never clicked with someone so well on every level, emotional physical and ideologically, and he has said the same thing to me, that I am everything he has ever wanted in a person. It's almost as if he prefers suffering that is familiar rather than the unknown, which kills me bc I risked and gave up so much to be with him. Is this an inevitable end in dating a couple? Is it really possible as a third wheel to be equally attracted to both members of a couple and maintain it over time? I feel so naive. I don't want to loose jay, even if it's just a friendship, but bob has told me to get out of his life and leave his boyfriend alone, who he is now clinging to after learning my true feelings for him. Hes clinging to jay even though in the brief time i knew them i talked him out of dumping jay to be with me at least 4 times. Anyway, I sincerely thank anyone that takes the time to read this and give me any kind of advice. The pain is almost too much for me to bear. Thanks everyone. I tried to include all relevant details, I hope I didn't go overboard. Any words would help me right now.

niceinjeans 05-04-2012 09:38 PM

First, be thankful you chose to use protection; I hope your future STD/STI test results show negative for HIV due to that decision. I always have a very frank and honest discussion with any partner about sexual health before becoming physically involved. However, even results can be fabricated, if the liar is determined enough.

Second, I feel for you. Unfortunately, it sounds to me like drama surrounds this couple. They admitted being new to poly, and I feel like Bob has major jealousy and insecurity issues that became inflamed when you were more emotionally involved with Jay. It seems that often couples experiment with non-monagamy when their relationship begins to break down, and you pointed out already that this is likely the case with Bob and Jay.

As for your emotional health, I know you are hurting now and your body may be irrevocably changed due to your relationship with Jay, but I would recommend you make a clean break of it. From what you have said and what I have seen and read before, this will not end well at all. Jay has chosen the relationship he has with Bob over the potential relationship he could have with you. I also find it completely unforgivable that Bob lied about their sexual health; you cannot start a constructive relationship on lies, especially ones of such magnitude.

As for your sexual health, I would get tested immediately and again three months from now. I really recommend that you abstain from sexual contact with others during this period. I am not a doctor, but two consecutive negative tests separated by three months should give you enough comfort in your health to resume activities and regular testing schedules. Please, medical professionals speak up here; I too would like to know more facts.

polyburned 05-04-2012 11:16 PM

Thank you so much for ur reply, niceinjeans, you have no idea how much it means to me that u took the time to read that. It was cathartic in a way just for me to write that and share it with anyone, I havent had anyone I can really confide in. It does seem that making a clean break is best, as much as I want to have jay in my life in some capacity. It just pains me that by me disappearing from their lives, its just so much easier for them, while I may carry a burden from the time I spent with them forever.

My biggest concern at this point is actually the next person that they meet. I fear that bob plans to just keep doing this to people, when I asked him his std history he lied to my face, and it was only by accident that I found out his HIV status through jay who thought that I had been informed. It pains me so much to think about someone else going through what I have. I wish there was something I could do to warn other people. I know that I will never be as trusting again.

In regard to my own sex life, trust me it will be nonexistent for a while until I know what my status is and even then, I wouldn't even kiss someone without letting them know my status if I end up being positive. I would never take that choice away from someone.

Jay has told me he is still willing to be my friend, despite bob banning him from seeing me, but maybe ur right that it's just not worth it. I know one thing for sure, I need space from them. Again i really appreciate u taking the time to respond to me niceinjeans, if anyone has anything else to add I will check back here periodically. This support means so much to me right now.

AnnabelMore 05-05-2012 01:09 AM

So sorry about what you're going through. Anyone who would secretly let someone risk a serious disease is absolute scum.

You've correctly identified the major flaw in "unicorn hunting" (a couple seeking a single person to be with both of them equally), and your experience is one a lot of people have had versions of, unfortunately. There are wiser couples out there who understand how to let a new partner be his or herself, so it's not all bad when it comes to poly and couples, but you do have to be careful.

I'm sure what you felt for Jay was real, but try not to romanticize it too much. In the end, he wasn't willing to take a risk to be with you. Instead, he's standing by a grade-A prick (does he know Bob deceived you about his status?). You deserve a better, braver partner.

Bob will indeed probably keep doing this. All you can do, if you have related social circles at all, is be frank about your experience. But what's really important right now is you living your own life and putting this crap behind you (hopefully!!).

ViableAlternative 05-05-2012 02:43 AM

Sounds like you could use a hug. I'm sorry that you're hurting.

Bob was abusive to you, screaming at you and kicking you out at 3am like that, lying about his HIV status and knowingly exposing you to serious health risks without informing you.

Some of what you said indicates what I'm about to speculate heavily about. I wouldn't be surprised if Jay is abused by Bob as well, perhaps as a result of codependancy. This could explain why he so readily "chose" Bob over you. He may feel or just assume there isn't actually a choice, or that staying with Bob is the "right" thing that he "has" to do. Abuse and codependancy are insidious. If that's what's going on, I personally think Jay needs some slack; it is so, so hard to see it when it's happening to you.

If this (perhaps wild) speculation is true, and if you feel like you can be supportive WITHOUT hurting yourself, then perhaps keep the lines of communication open with Jay. Check in every so often; make sure he knows he has someone who he can talk to. If he says things that indicate abuse from Bob, try to gently point out the unacceptable behaviors. Maybe over time he'll recognize what is happening - and that's when he'll need you as a friend. But if he IS codependant, be wary of any relationship with him even if/when he's available; he'll need to learn to be his own best partner before he can have a healthy relationship.

Wild speculation, I know. But his situation just sounds so familiar.

With that out of the way. Sure it's possible for three people to have a relationship. People that are the most successful at it seem to be the ones who let the relationships between each other form naturally; of course there will be imbalance. No two people are the same, so why should any two relationships be the same? It seems best to just accept that some bonds will be stronger in some ways than others.

And NOBODY can blame you for not feeling as strongly for Bob as you did Jay; Bob LIED to you. Bob mistreated Jay in your view, so who's to say he wouldn't mistreat you? I'm sure that affected how you felt for him, too.

kdt26417 05-05-2012 02:50 AM

Re (from polyburned, Post #1):

"I think this may be a flaw in this relationship style, as the third wheel how am expected to feel the same way about both of them and be equally attracted all the time?"
Sounds like an unrealistic expectation to me. :(

Re (from polyburned, Post #1):

"It's almost as if [Jay] prefers suffering that is familiar rather than the unknown ..."
That's probably the crux of the matter.

Re (from polyburned, Post #1):

"Is this an inevitable end in dating a couple?"
No, I think it depends on the couple. It depends on their flexibility and care for the person they're dating. It also depends on the health/quality of their relationship with each other.

Re (from polyburned, Post #1):

"Is it really possible as a third wheel to be equally attracted to both members of a couple and maintain it over time?"
Maybe in some cases. In most cases, probably not.

Re (from polyburned, Post #1):

"Any words would help me right now, I am a broken person. My spirit is truly crushed."
I'm sorry to hear that. Your pain is very visible in your poignant words.

Re (from AnnabelMore, Post #4):

"I'm sure what you felt for Jay was real, but try not to romanticize it too much. In the end, he wasn't willing to take a risk to be with you. Instead, he's standing by a grade-A prick (Does he know Bob deceived you about his status?). You deserve a better, braver partner."
Exactly: You deserve a better, braver partner.

It sounds to me like Bob is the "controller" in the Bob-Jay relationship, and Jay is the enabler. Bob tells Jay what to do, and Jay does it. Jay relies on Bob to inform new partners about their HIV status, even though Bob can't be trusted to tell the truth. Bob hurts someone Jay loves, and Jay lets Bob do that. Bob treats Jay badly while a newcomer treats Jay good, and yet Jay returns to Bob's side when Bob comes a-calling. It sounds to me like a very dysfunctional relationship. You're better off to be free of that nonsense.

It would be nice if you could prevent others from being hurt by Bob (and Jay -- Jay was a passive accomplice in the physical/emotional blows you suffered), but you can't warn the whole world, and you can't know where all the Bobs (and Jays) are. Unfortunately, this world will probably have many couples like Bob and Jay for a long time, and many trusting victims. Right now, you need to take care of yourself, as well as you can.

Get yourself tested. Take some time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Don't think about being with anyone else right now. Set goals to be independent, to be strong and free. Look for interests and hobbies to help you heal from the heartbreak. Get lots of exercise if you can. Improve yourself. Be the best you that you can be in spite of what has happened.

You've learned that you must be cautious. That's a good lesson to learn. But don't get so carried away with that that you no longer trust people. The world has some good people and some bad people. Some of the good people are really good, and some of the bad people are really bad. You just have to be aware of that. Love is still out there, in a good, healthy situation. Have hope in that.

I would suggest steering clear of any couple that expects you to be equally in love with both persons. That kind of expectation is asking for trouble. Also, watch out for signs of a controlling, enabling, or ailing relationship. You don't need to be saddled with such burdens. Hold out for a life with people who have a good relationship with each other, and a willingness to let you be you, even if you aren't quite who or what they envisioned.

I'm sorry you've had to go through all of this. I hope you can find some healing in the months ahead.

Kevin T.

lovefromgirl 05-05-2012 03:44 AM

Everyone here has made some really good points, but I want to make one more that I'm not sure got made:

If someone who knew he had HIV infected you, surprise! He's a criminal and you can take him down. Abusive assholes get away all the time; HIV has, if I remember correctly, a special test available where you can compare two samples and see how likely it is that one person gave the virus to the other. Should hold up pretty well in court. And if you do have it, and if he is proven to have given it to you without disclosing his status first, you may from there be able to seek damages in a civil court as well. Not a lawyer, but I'd get one if you turn up positive.

It's no recompense, but by God it'll stop the same thing happening to anyone else.

Sending love (and hopes for a negative test)

redpepper 05-05-2012 05:32 AM

I'm sorry that this is such a common story for people entering into a triad as the third. At least you aren't alone in that. It sucks and is unfair.

I really hope that your health isn't in jepordy too! Remember to get tested again in 6 monthes as it can take that long to show up on a test.

I think if you are patient this could turn around. I can't see how their relationship will last now. Once they have had time to sort out their affairs with one another maybe then you can see if this man you love is available.

polyburned 05-05-2012 06:26 AM

I just wanna say the support that I've gotten here from all of u really has meant a lot to me. When I wrote out my question I was extremely emotional and overwhelmed, and it was really the first time I had opened up at all since this happened. Like kevin suggested, I decided that I'm definitely gonna take space to myself for a while, take a break from relationships in general and work on myself. Some days are better than others for sure, but at this moment I'm feeling like its a lesson learned. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I see now that I was extremely naive. I just need some time to process it all.

I do know for sure that my perspective on relationships is forever altered. When it did work, and the NRE was pumping strong all around, I was shocked at how much everything just clicked. I don't know if I'll personally enter into another poly relationship in the future after what i went through with this couple, but I won't say never.

The abuse comment from ViableAlternative rings true to me. I actually asked jay why he stayed with someone who talked down to him and says such hurtful things, and he broke down crying and said that he had "no response that wouldn't sound like a battered wife." he's aware that bob treats him like crap, I just dont think he realizes he can do better. Once I have a chance to heal and get over this, I'll decide if a friendship with jay is one worth having. With his boyfriend having banned him from seeing me, I wouldn't want to make his life harder. We had such a connection, but I realize I have romanticized it a bit and only space will allow me to be certain.

In terms of the hiv risk, I can only stay optimistic and trust that having safe sex was enough to protect me. This period of not knowing will be a struggle for sure, but I've been through a lot in my life. It pains me so much to think that there is nothing stopping bob from continuing this destructive path, and using others like he used me. I don't believe he is truly polyamorous, unless polyamory implies using people as a means to an end. What he did was actually a felony, criminal manslaughter, but I don't want to ruin his and jays life, I just never want them to do this to anyone again. But I know it's out of my hands.

This has been such an emotional roller coaster. I'm curious as to how common this is in a triad type relationship, I wonder if it can work, if it can be successful. But I'm beginning to wonder that about any type of relationship, mono included. The idea of a life partner is starting to seem like a fantasy.

lovefromgirl 05-05-2012 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by polyburned (Post 134964)
What he did was actually a felony, criminal manslaughter, but I don't want to ruin his and jays life, I just never want them to do this to anyone again. But I know it's out of my hands.

It's not, though.

Because a surefire way to get him out of society, stop him doing this to anyone again, and maybe free Jay from the abuse is prosecution.

Hence why I brought it up at all.

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