Lost on a rollercoaster of confusion
The past few weeks have been a crazy rollercoaster so I am not really sure where to start. I recently came out to my husband as being poly. He is mono. We have been working on communication issues and since I told him our communication has been amazing. He has never beent his open and connected to me. He had a big issue about lying about other women in the past and though he says he never cheated, I still am unsure. We have had severe trust issues because of this. I told him that other women wouldn't bother me, it's the lies that always bothered me... but I can get to all that at another time.
My husband knew I met someone that I liked very much and he kept telling me to go ahead and do what I needed/wanted and just not to tell him... I resisted very much to any form of temptation and continued to focus on my relationship with my husband however he kept the same stance each time.
Then the other night, after a few drinks with friends, I kissed, very briefly, the man that I like very much... I didn't know if I should tell my husband or not due to his no tell policy that he had been reiterating.
So the next day my husband asks if anything has ever happened... me being the honest person I am told him... he then got very mad/upset. He told me he only told me to do what I wanted to see if I would actually do it... he then took that ability back.
But the next day my husband decided to meet the other person. We all hung out (with another female friend) and it was quite tense but it wasn't dramatic. My husband has been very back and forth with everything at this point. I don't blame him.
Unfortunately the person I liked turned out to be a completely different person than I thought he was. It's a hard process letting go since I've known him for quite some time now as we are friends.
So now here I am, on this crazy rollercoaster. A partly broken heart because I am losing a man I care about, the rest broken when I see my husband hurting. I know this takes time and my husband has been surprisingly more supportive that I anticipated.
My head is just spinning. Any advice would be great. I feel so lost, we feel so lost.
I'm glad you think he's being supportive otherwise and I'm sorry about the other guy. Between the trust and communication issues I'd recommend you guys talk to a marriage counselor and get your own relationship solid before you try to make a mono/poly relationship work.
He needs not to play games. What did he hope to accomplish? Telling you it was fine was a sure way to get you to go further than he was comfortable with, and then blame you for it, even though he told you to. This is very passive-aggressive.
He needs to learn to be honest, and tell you how he actually feels, and then you can work with that in mind. If he feeds you lies, you'll make decisions based on these lies and it will end up badly.
I hope you can work on your trust and that he'll learn to be more straightforward. Good luck.
Look, the back-and-forth as folks are getting used to poly and a new relationship configuration that breaks open accepted norms is quite normal.
However, it has to be done in a team approach. You discuss things, you decide to try something, if it doesn't work, then you take a step back and analyse, if it does work, then you file that away.
The big thing is that if he doesn't want to be told what goes on, then he has no right to be asking you, you telling him the truth, and then being upset. If he doesn't want to know, he shouldn't be asking, and putting you in position where you have to lie.
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate, because I'm naughty that way, and take a slightly different approach...
People are human - we all make mistakes. Especially when we're freaking out about something.
Obviously, playing "test" games aren't a great idea. But... is there a chance that rather than trying to be cruel, he was clinging to the hope that if he didn't seem bothered, your cravings to do it would go away?
Ultimately, I think it's important to keep the end goal in mind -
Do you both want to be poly? Do you want to be mono/poly? Are you open to loving others, or just sex with others? Dating multiple extra people, or just one person?
Then try to work around/towards that goal. Obviously it's probably going to evolve; but it helps to have an idea in mind, rather than blindly muddling through.
You've taken the first step and started communicating - that's brilliant.
The fact that he agreed to meet him is a promising thing.
God, I'm no Poly Guru - I've been in one mono/poly relationship before and my current poly relationship for 16 months. Because you say you've "come out" as poly... I'm guessing you mean you have been poly before? Or do you mean that you feel poly/want to be poly? :) I don't want to teach you how to suck eggs.
However, the one piece of advice I'd give you is take it slow. Oh my God, take it slow! My girlfriend and I refer to the mistakes we made in the first few months as "Casualties from the Great Poly War".... and there will probably be some! In five years, we'll probably look at this period right now as the "Second Great Poly War". ;)
My advice would be to sit down with your husband, over a period of time - not a weekend, or a week, but more like a month, at least, and start working things through. Give it time to adjust and feel secure before dipping your toe into the waters.
Again... if you know all this already... I'm sorry!! If you don't .... consider some 'poly guidelines'? Some people don't like using them, some people do. We used to hate the idea, but having none created a complete mess of dashed expectations and double standards.
Though I'm very sorry to hear that the person you liked wasn't all he made out to be; try to see it as a positive thing that you've learnt a good lesson early on... My girlfriend and I picked so many 'toxic' people during the first 4 or 5 months. Now, one of our guidelines is that we all try to meet each others secondary partners and get to know them. We communicate if we get a bad feeling. And we try to take it slow (unless it's meant to be a one-off fling), because people don't tend to show their true colours straight away. Maybe that's something you could talk about.
I would definitely recommend looking online for the various poly resources that are out there. Depending on your area, you could consider poly groups and meetings?
One thing I have personally just learnt, due to the people in this forum, is that there is no "this is how I should feel" in poly. They are just feelings and they just evolve. Ideally, you work together to do that.
Finally... would the idea be that you see other people, but he stays monogamous? This can work... it actually did for me, for a while... but it's not without its problems. Sometimes an even playing field helps balance things out, helps to create empathy for each other (because you can relate to the same experience). That's really between the two of you, though.
Ultimately, bottom line, my advice would be to take everything really slow and steady. I don't mean a false sense of security by staying monogamous for a year - but a compromise of time to keep the boat steady.
I've learnt from recent arguments (yum :rolleyes:) with my girlfriend that if the boat's not steady to begin with... dumping a bunch of extra bodies in isn't going to help. To use a cheesy metaphor - life jackets help!
Mixed messages much?
If he means "do not tell me" then why is he asking if anything happened? I thought you were not supposed to tell? If he does not mean for you to go ahead, then why get mad when you do? What's this business of only offering to see if you really would go there? Why is your mindreader-ability being "tested" like that and your trustworthy meter taking hit points?
It is clearer communication for him to just state his own wants, needs, and limits from the get go up front. It is clearer communication for him to just state that he does not KNOW his own wants, needs, limits just yet on this issue and needs time/help to figure it out. Saying one thing and meaning another and expecting you to divine it out of the skies is anything but clear communication!
You don't need to be lost. It takes some getting used to, but get your ground rules pegged down first. Since the date guy wasn't a runner after all, and since you know you have communication work yet to peg down, you have a window of opportunity here. I'd close back up for a little bit and pause the dating so you can work on strengthening communication with spouse before trying anew with a new date.
Review what happened.
Where the the communication break down happen?
Who will own what piece of the puzzle there? Did he expect you to mindreader him in his discomfort? Will he start just spitting it OUT and own that? If he said he did not want to know and slipped up, did you ask him for confirmation that the "don't tell me" is still the rule before just spitting it out yourself? If not, will you own that -- the need to go "are you sure?" before revealing.
I didn't want to know anything until there was something for me to get excited about. Where my line in the sand was at anything that could cootify me seriously -- I wanted a heads up if another dating partner was looking to go loverly. Oral, PIV, anal sex -- things like that. Some hugging and kissing and light petting wasn't going to bother me too much. I trusted my partner to just give me the heads up. That worked for us, I don't know if that could work for you. But find where your lines in the sand are.
How will each do better next time to prevent this from happening again? This mixed messages thing?
How will each deal with emotional upheavals in themselves? In their partner? While the emotions are high? Give each other space? Go talk to a trusted friend? What? Because you can't be snipping at each other in high emotion. It's just emotion anyway. Let the storm blow over, then deal with picking up the pieces with intent. When emotions take a chill, how will you act together to solve the issue that caused the emotional whirlwind? (you can choose to ACT with intent, rather than merely REACT all willy nilly).
What's the goal here? You with a steady he can get used to and then not be all shook up any more in dating world? A V with you as the hinge? Something else?
Get the goal down of what you seek -- a "V", triad, one partner extra, two extra partners, WHAT? Get your spouse's buy in on that mission so they know what to expect and aren't all afloat in weird unknown.
Then get the broad strokes of "this is how we agree to be together in my dating time" down.
Just take it one thing at a time. But know that if you want/need to date, his need/want for comfort, safety, security is going to have to be addressed too.
Obviously you tried "do what you want and do not tell me" was fingers in the ears lalalalalala I wanna know but I dowanna know aaaaah! -- and fell flat. Was he offering this just to avoid having to have a Big Talk to lay it all out more clearly?
If so, then you need to work on his Big Talk skill building before you even go further. Poly has a LOT of Big Talk times. You can't hack Big Talk time as a duo, you won't hack it as a trio. And when it's schedule calendar crazy time -- hello! Resentment, jealous, weirdo mess spilling into Small Talk time because nobody wants to do the Big Talk work in Big Talk time.
So that open wide DADT approach will not work in your dating time in your couplehood. What will then?
Find the happy medium. Get talking.
First up, I'd sit him down and explain that you will take him at his word. That means that if he says he's ok with something he's not actually ok with, then he doesn't get to blame you when you do what he said you could do.
Then do it. Take him at his word.
He says he doesn't want the last cupcake? You eat it. He doesn't care what you watch on TV? You choose and he doesn't get to complain. He says to do what you want with a new friend? Do it. He asks for the juicy details? Show him the video (ok, that's probably going too far, but you get the point). Eventually he'll get used to expressing himself honestly because he'll have learned that doing otherwise is counter-productive.
Absolutely agree, Emm - we allow ourselves to get into the habit of playing too many games and not saying what we mean. We have to train ourselves and our partners to express clearly what they want and react to them as if they are doing it - it's a feedback loop that is tough to get going, but becomes a lot easier once you start getting into the habit.
These last few weeks we have opened up more than ever and I have felt closer to him than ever... I've decided to just pull the reins back on the mono/poly and slowly dip our toes in the water as time goes on. We are just going to take this day by day as they come our way :)
I am not an overly sexual person, he has the sex drive as a teenage boy, constantly wanting it. I am more of an intimate, emotional connection type of person with kissing, cuddling, etc. I am not sure now at this point what we will be open to. I am open to anything but I am also the one that wants this, so this is something that we are going to continue to work on.
Thank you for all the great advice!!!
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