Struggling with what I have a right to ask for
Hi all ... this is the first time I've asked for advice from this lovely community, although I've read the forum for a year or so now. I'm in a deep dark hole and don't know how to get out of it. My questions/problems are in two parts.
I've been in a MFM vee for a year now. My husband (D) and boyfriend (C) and I live together. You can read our whole origin story, which is important to this post, here.
D and I have been going through a horrible time lately. He's always been very sensitive to the level of sexual desire (low) I feel for him compared to what I feel for C, my boyfriend. It's very frustrating for me and for C, because no matter how much I reassure him that I'm in love with him and will never stop loving him and how much I value our relationship and remind him of what he provides in my life that I need, no matter how much C and I talk him through his bad moments, it never seems to get better for him. He promises to get his anger under control, promises to work through his jealousy and self-esteem issues, and then the next minute he's throwing me out of the house and calling me a c--t.
The latest blow up happened a few weeks ago. C and I were getting ready to celebrate our one year anniversary by going away together for the weekend. D had supported our trip and said he was looking forward to having the house to himself. In the week leading up to the weekend though, D began having temper tantrums, picking fights with me, and telling me he had expected me to up my level of affection toward him since he was going to be without me for the weekend and he hadn't felt I'd done that.
So, to keep the peace in the house, C and I cancelled our weekend and stayed home.
In retrospect, that wasn't the brightest idea, because it didn't help D with his anger and C and I got a bit resentful that we didn't get to go.
Fast forward: Everyone's mad at each other, a few days go by, and my and C's actual anniversary day approaches. The night before we share a passionate night together. The next morning, our anniversary morning, D completely explodes and attempts to throw me out of the house because of yet another misunderstanding and unmet expectation on his part. C manages to talk him down, but now D and I are in a stand-off. Neither one of us is talking to each other, and C is in the middle as we both talk our feelings and fears out with him -- a wonderful and supportive thing he's offering, but hard on him, you know?
So I'm hurting, wondering if my marriage is over, confused about if I'll even have a home to come to, relying too much on C for emotional support, and just overall having a crappy home life at the moment. D and I do eventually talk things out and reach a sort of peace, but there's still a lot of work to do. Ending the relationship with D is on the table, and I'm scared of the future and scared of the present. I'm in a really, really bad place. C is my only bright spot.
Then, this week, C gets a friend request on Facebook from a total stranger. A woman. She found him attractive and saw they have a lot in common. C has never really sought out new relationships, even though the option has been there. He has always said he wants our bond to be strong and our relationship solid first. But he messages her to talk and they exchange phone numbers. He does tell me about her and that he's interested and I don't object because I don't feel like I have the right to deny him even though my gut is boiling and the situation feels "off." Hey, we're polyamorous, right? That means, I don't own him, can't tell him what to do, and since we don't really have any rules, he's not doing anything wrong.
The next evening, he spends several hours on the phone with her. He doesn't tell me he's going to be talking to her (although he says I should have known that's what he was doing). He just takes his computer down to the patio and leaves me to sit on the couch all evening, alone with D. I go to bed (I alternate weeks sleeping with D one week and C the next -- it's C's week) and wait for him for two hours, not sleeping, and getting angrier and angrier and more upset that he can't even think of me long enough to take a break from talking to this stranger to come say good night.
Finally, I get up and go sleep in D's bed. I'm feeling so hurt and abandoned and unloved and just ANGRY that he choose NOW, when my life and my relationships are so confused and my heart is hurting so much over D, to pursue something with another girl.
So I confronted him about it last night. I told him how it had made me feel and he basically told me to suck it up at first, that we're polyamorous and that's how this shit rolls. Then he says that I need to manage my feelings better and that "I" could have come down to the patio and interrupted his phone call to get some attention before going to bed if I wanted it. Then he tells me that he was feeling a lot of pressure trying to hold D and I together and he thought cultivating an outside relationship would give him an outlet for that pressure. And only THEN does he assure me that I'm the #1 priority in his life and that he loves me. There are a lot of tears, a minor panic attack, much anger and frustration, and I'm still feeling raw and jealous, but I realize that denying him this outlet will just push him away and there's not much I can do about it, so I pull back. We do agree that our time together is sacred and the nights I'm with D would be more appropriate for spending time with someone else. I reach a peace with this and we go to bed, even though I'm still feeling off about the whole thing.
Then today, as I'm talking with D via IM, D tells me that C has talked to him about this girl and it's gotten, from the sounds of it, VERY serious in just those few hours on the phone, that he has a major attraction to her, and that this girl has already started talking like C and she are a couple. They haven't even met in person yet! The flood of anger and jealousy and fear and sadness just washes over me again and all I want to do is say "NO NO NO" to this and have a major meltdown freakout.
So I don't know what to do now ... do I have any right to ask C to cool this down or even break it off until a more appropriate time, when I'm feeling more stable in my mind about my life, until I figure out what to do about D and D and I get fully reconnected? I feel like my whole world is crumbling and C is sending me the message that he's about to cut and run to someone else because D and I can't keep our shit together. Do I have the right to feel as completely shitty about C's new pseudo-relationship as I do? (Can one phone call really be called a relationship?)
Insight and comments are very very appreciated ... I'm at the end of my rope.
Sounds to me as if D is wanting a mono relationship with his wife but is trying to keep wife happy while C is tired of his role of being referee between husband and wife and needs to be more in a womans life.
Yeah, I wonder about that. I've looked into D's eyes multiple times and asked that very same question ... "Do you want to be poly? Would you rather be mono?" and the answer has always been an unequivocal and emphatic "Yes, I want to be poly!" and "No, I don't want to be mono!" He swears to me that he wants C in our life, he is fine with C being my co-primary, he wants things to work, he loves having C live with us.
people are not always truthful with themselves on what they want in their heart. If you tell yourself that you want a particular thing over and over then eventually you will convence yourself that you wanted it all along.
To be frank, no, I don't think it would be fair to ask C to hold off on developing a new relationship. You and he have been together a year and things are still so tumultuous, so if he's supposed to wait for things to finally be stable, how long will that be? Another year? Longer? It sounds like he's been going above and beyond to provide you with emotional support and try to make this work even to the point of giving up your anniversary celebration to help D's insecurities. If, considering all he's given to this relationship, you insist that you get two primaries and he can only have one serious relationship, I can only see that leading to some sincere resentment over time.
What you CAN ask for is for him to keep you in the loop -- he should be the one to tell you if things are getting serious, not D.
I'm amazed the main worry is on the BF having some dinky online/phone date and here's the husband have a mega wigginz! :eek:
Shout you are mad, fine. Slam the door and kick things in the yard, fine. But verbally abuse me and threaten my safety in my home? Hello! That's serious disrespect in my book. Dealbreaker, kiss my grits, game over bad. :mad:
This is getting into abuse stuff. This red flags for me along with all these expectations he gets mad about. Are you supposed to mind reader this stuff? Is he actually spelling it out? The push-pull of give approval for trip then have a hissy -- that's passive aggressive stuff mixed with aggressive stuff. Were indicators here before you opened up? Is he bipolar? Not taking his meds? WHAT is the deal here? (My dad is BPD and when he starts with push-pull wackies I ask him if he's taking his meds or not.)
For me in my world? All relationships have rights and responsibilities. This anger crap -- that's 3 strikes you are out, dude, if there's no damn good reason to explain like bipolar illness you cannot help you have. And if you have the illness, part of my agreement to being with you will be that you care for it properly and not pull wigginz on your loved ones!
Show me you are seriously trying to work on it? Alright, I can try to give support and nurture through the process.
But chronic hooha, escalating to places where I want to pull out the speakoutloud sheet to start checking abusive behavior? MORE than 3 times with the same dang thing and no effort, real effort being made? Classes, counseling something? Bye. I have a limit, and you must be seriously trying or else I don't need to be here as your punching bag.
You have similar prob with BF but it is not red flagging me for possible abuse. What are the rights and responsibilities there? It's the same thing. What are they? Is everyone holding up their end of the rights and responsibilites sticks?
He sounds like he stated his wants, needs, limits but you would have liked a heads up that he was going to have an online date first. Then when you finally came to clarify things, some words of affirmation FIRST rather than LAST. Tell him that preference.
See if you can work on that in your style of conflict resolution with the BF.
And map out your style of "how to best be together when now you are a dating person" because this is something new to you both. You have to learn to navigate it well and need to negotiate framework for. He raises valid points, but the way he raises it at the time he is raising in it -- dude. Could work on being a bit more sensitive.
If DH is not on his 3rd strike, and on the way out...
I'd consider changing the living situation asap. So YOU at least are not being threatened to be tossed out of the house and left homeless. Get finances arranged NOW so you have that peace of mind -- you have funds and can hit a hotel and all that and secure a flat. Because living in economic fear is another crazymaker.
You move out. DH moves out. BF moves out. Whoever. Someone -- for a year's lease as an experiment to see if this helps you get back to the place where you can live under the same roof in harmonious "V" rather than tumultuous one.
And DH must get a good health check up and enroll in some kind of anger management thing because he's not progressing on his own, or with just you guys. This has to change. Get the pros. WHAT is going on here? He need a dx or he need communication skills counseling or what? Whatever it is -- he gets it for him to help move the polyship forward.
Take a step back so later you can hope to move two forward and the overall goal of the polyship making it through being held up all the way. Is that the goal? Are all the poly crew on board with that?
But you CANNOT live together with a volatile person if every time sometime else happens you have to live in fear of being homeless and you cannot go to the BF's place for sanctuary because guess what? He lives in the same home!
DH may not be able to help what he feels when he feels it. None of us do. But damn. Stop REACTING and start learning to ACT WITH INTENT. Beating on your people is soooo not cool. People can manage to be angry without THREATS. :mad:
Something has to give. Because if you do what you have always done, you get what you have always gotten.
It's time for everyone to step up to the negotiation table and get real clear on relationship rights and responsibilities, possible solutions through this mess to try for the next year. Give it a good, serious try. Then assess the situation when time is up. What worked? What didn't? Are we done with the contract? Will we exercise option to renew for another year?
It if turns out polyship won't fly, like THIS but does fly like THAT -- let's go with it! Yay! We learned we can do it but learned we just cannot live in the same house. Too close for comfort.
If it just won't fly at all? We gave it a good SERIOUS try. We can feel good about that. Let's move to disband with some grace and see about being good exes as friends then.
But enough with the caca. That would make anyone nuts. :mad:
You have my sympathies. :(
But be really hard on YOU too -- if DH has struck out WAY more than 3 times by threatening you in anger like that, this is telling you something bad is here. And it may not be fixable. Don't even bother to string it on with more second chances and on trying to "find ways to make it work" if it just has been clear all along it NEVER will, and he's abuser type to you. Take a highlighter to the speakoutloud list and see if anything else in your life flags. I'm not saying you ARE being abused. I am hoping you are not! But this clangs mega bells to me. So at least take it to paper. Do that much and don't wait for a punch in the eye to make it more "real" that this is just no way to behave to a loved one.
I hope things firm up for you and move to the space they need to be at for all of you. *hug*
I agree with BohenianMLHR81. It sounds like D is not being honest with himself or you, for whatever reason. He sounds like he wants a mono relationship with you, but something is preventing him from admitting it. Actions speak louder than words. His actions say he wants you to himself. My suggestion is to keep telling him this. See what he says. If he can't be honest, then real communication with him is not possible. If the drama continues, then my suggestion is to be honest with yourself and decide for yourself what is best for you.
My own life experience has taught me that if someone can't be honest with me, then I have to disregard what they are saying and make any necessary decisions without considering them. This has worked well for me regardless of whether the intention behind the dishonesty came from wanting to be hurtful or because of low self esteem. Both reasons are still dishonest, and therefore ultimately destructive.
My best guess is that D knows you are closer to C in a lot of ways that D wants to be with you. D feels he has already lost a big piece of his relationship with you. I think he knows if he insists on going back to monogamy with you he will not have the same relationship he once had anyway. He knows there is a chance you may leave him entirely for C. The middle ground is to pretend to be OK with it. He is learning pretending doesn't work.
The truth is you are not responsible for D's feelings. He is. It is also true that if you eventually decide that leaving D is the best thing for you, any feelings you have about that are your own. Keep that boundary front and center. It will help you honor you.
D's anger is a sign that his need for being desired isn't being met. He needs to take responsibility for that and be the one meeting girls on the Internet or wherever to find someone who is as passionate for him as you are for C. I'll bet then he can enjoy what his connection with you is without having to blow up as a way to try to get his need met by you.
Boy does a lot of that sound familiar.
I simply can't go through the emotions of responding in full.
But, I would say-please read through my blog (either on here or the one linked in my signature).
THEN-understand that when people say there is a point where YOU have to create boundaries for YOURSELF that require people to treat you with certain levels of respect or LEAVE-it's true.
The path you are on-with the on and off anger, throwing you out-name calling; it's a dangerous path for all of you.
Oops, butterfly137, for some reason I didn't read you whole post. I just did. I see a pattern. D is upset about your relationship with C the same way you are upset about C's relationship with his new girl. Your both complaining about lack of attention - from different people.
You and D are off balance in the same way, but with different people. D is trying to lean on you ( I want attention - now!), but your not leaning back to him. You are trying to lean on C ( I want attention - now!), while he is not leaning back to you. Its like you're both trying to play the game twister. Both off balance, both trying to grab different people to rebalance.
Also, both you and D have the same difficulty asking for the attention you want. D from you and you from C. You and D are like a set of dominos leaning in the same direction. He is leaning toward you, trying to lean on you. You are leaning away from D toward C, while he leans away from you and toward his new girlfriend. Imagine this on a dance floor. What would it look like to you? You two are like a set of dominos leaning is the same direction. You know what the domino's do when they lean in the same direction - they fall over.
Take a close look at what I just said. Stop leaning on anyone. Stand up straight and breath deeply. What does that feel like? Ahhhhhhh ... self esteem... balance. The dominos will stop falling in unison when YOU stand up and breath. Have you ever noticed the only person you can't physically lean on is yourself? I don't know exactly what that means in your situation, but its one of those thoughts that gets me to ponder a bit.
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