Confused and hurting - Please help.
Hi all. New member here. I am here hoping to get constructive advice or help.
Let me start with background. My wife and I have been together for 6 years. When we first started dating she told me she still wanted to date other men as she had recently come out of a bad marriage. I said that was fine, that I understood since I had left an unbalanced relationship a few years before and I really did understand.
Several months later she told me that she had cut off other relationships with men because whenever she was with anyone else she was always thinking about me instead. From that point forward for 5 years we had a monogamous relationship. During this time period we had discussed her having girlfriends and even fantasized about us both having the same girlfriend but not much happened.
About two years ago my work became very stressful and was making me very depressed. At the time I was not in a place to seek counseling or therapy for it. I admit I started to drink more than was healthy, but it did not impact my ability to work and live. In October of 2011 I was finally fired because I would not let go of my concerns about the ethics of what my work was doing. The next month my wife was fired as well. During this time period my wife started actively looking for a girlfriend and dated a coupe of women. I did not react negatively and I still feel that I am not threatened or have issues with her having girlfriends. At the same time she wanted to start going to some clubs and parties which is not a scene I am comfortable with. She requested to go with a relatively new friend of hers, we will call him Picard for privacy. I had met Picard and felt comfortable that he would protect and watch over her and this also allowed her to express her exhibitionist tendencies and for him to enjoy his own voyeuristic tendencies since his wife, like myself, is very uncomfortable with that scene.
In April my wife got a really good job. Much more money than in the past and really good benefits. I immediately started counseling for the depression and polyamory since my wife was making more and more requests to change the rules for more freedom for Picard. I never said no to anything that was happening except penetration until I had time to address my depression and jealously. As I started the medication and started to FEEL again it became much harder to deal with her developing relationship with Picard. I asked her to stop that relationship for a time, as was the agreement when she first started to look for girlfriends, so I could come to terms with it a little more slowly as I was feeling the hurt more.
Instead of stopping she told me to trust her. A couple months later I expressed again that I was hurting and needed more time. Again she said that I needed to trust her that she would always come home to me.
A couple weeks ago she sat me down and asked me if I would not be happier trying to come to terms with my depression separated from her and if I was only staying with her out of stubbornness and habit. I was destroyed. I told her no I did not want to leave and that I loved her. What I really needed was for her to stop seeing Picard for "six months, three months whatever time you can give" while I came to terms with it and my depression.
Her response was "is that an ultimatum?". Then she proceeded to explain that my behaving jealous and hurt was making her unhappy and she could not deal with them. That she has been desperately lonely since before we were married and that was why she was bending and breaking the rules with Picard.
I admit I was not totally rational that day or the next. That day I again asserted that I did not want to leave. But the next day thinking about that whole conversation I felt what she truly wanted was for me to be out of the way so she could be happy. So I packed my stuff and went to a friends house.
That was handled poorly on my part as I know she has some deep-seated abandonment issues. It is the one thing in our relationship that I truly regret doing.
She did agree to continue seeing my counselor as our marriage counselor and we have had one session to see if we can salvage this. We have also both scheduled appointments with separate counselors as well.
I honestly don't know if I can ever be comfortable with her dating men. I truly have and am trying to understand and become comfortable an accepting of this need but combined with no job and fighting depression it is very difficult.
I feel betrayed and heartbroken that her desire for outside relationships with other men apparently is not subject to compromise on her part and apparently is more important than our relationship.
I really don't want to lose her.
Does anyone out there have any advice or suggestions for reading material for me? I really don't want to lose her.
i am very new to this lifestyle, we in fact have just started digging, researching, learning, and watching shows about it. From everything that i know and have read so far polyamore is supposed to be a "trust partnership" with lots of respect, honesty, and willingness to abide by boundaries set by those we love and care about.
Have you ever really examined closely why it is okay with you for her to be with other women, but not with other men? She could just as easily fall in love and leave you for a woman as she could with a man, if that is what you fear. I think unraveling your prejudice and sense of competition about that would be useful.
It also seems to me that perhaps a good deal of your self-worth is wrapped up in your career and work situation, which is common for most men and another good area to examine. You may do well to find some sort of "back to work" career counseling program to give you something much more constructive to focus on, such as looking at your skills, acknowledging your talents, and developing self-esteem and confidence.
Lastly, I think the two of you need to make time for each other. Go out and socialize together, have fun, give yourselves some good quality times where you are not discussing the relationship and simply enjoying each other's company.
Thank you for the response. I think one of the issues we have been having is I can not get her to actually go out and do something with me. I am not a terribly expressive person and in recent months if I am not almost literally jumping up and down in excitement she feels I am not having a good time. My attempts to address this by vocalizing that I like what we are doing fails to make her understand. She truly seems to want excited little kid reaction to everything.
Oddly, the job thing is part of the issue but not in the way you would think. Yes I am frustrated I can not get a decent job. But I honestly have no passion for a career I can pour myself into. The type of job is not really an issue just that I have one.
Reading some of the other posts here has clarified a few things for me. She has been really on me to find a passion and a hobby. I now suspect that she was encouraging me to find something to keep myself occupied while she went out. I have been putting most of my energy and passion into our relationship and our house when I have the energy to do so. The depression was winning for awhile.
You are correct that I need to examine the other man issue. It is probably tied up in self esteem and social programming. That was the reason I started seeing a counselor in the first place and we have been working on it through various interactive therapy tools.
My hurt feelings are not that she wants to see other men but that she is unwilling to give a little more time to become comfortable with it and to address the depression first.
I don't actually have any advice, but I do think it's rather a blow to lose your job because your job is shady. It's pretty natural to be depressed and therefore not in a place to make major life choices (including decisions about poly) after that hell.
I mean, shit, my dad got fired from the VA because he was a depressed vet working on their suicide prevention program. He lost it completely. So, no, being in a bad place is not unexpected. You'd have been perfectly reasonable to say "Let's wait until we're both doing better."
My wife and I have been reading a book called "Radical Acceptance, Living your life with the heart of a Buddha" There is some very good matreial in there about self-worth that might help your situation. I would reccomend it.
Well, I have been reading through the forum and reading some of various blogs and relationship sites.
To be completely honest with myself I think I am dealing with two issues or mistakes on my part.
1 - I fear losing her. From everything she has said this fear is irrational. I suspect it is deeply seated in concerns I don't deserve to be happy. I will make this the major focus of my one on one counseling coming up as I suspect it is probably the source of my depression also.
2 - I try too hard to make her happy instead of remembering to address my own needs and happiness in conjunction with hers.
I am certain there are other issues involved as well. If anyone has resources or advice on these two please chime in.
I will continue my search for enlightenment and happiness. :o
Allowed her own past emotional health to get tripped up and she chose to avoid it. (Dropped her responsibility stick there. )
And NOW she's not guarding your present emotional health (she's dropping another responsibility stick) despite you clearly articulating your need to slow it down to absorbable speed and throwing out soft limit suggestions to get the negotiation going. I hear you say a hard limit that you NEED time. Period. You are willing to soft limit it on AMOUNT of time. But time must be had.
And you are having mental health depression dx -- so you have mind bucket probs and she's not guarding that either.
We are responsible for our OWN and our PARTNER'S well being. (I believe we all have 4 well being buckets -- mind heart body soul)
If she were bucket skills smart, she'd own she's got challenges owning her emotional bucket, bless you for your patience, beg your forgiveness and fall over backward to make ammends by going with YOUR upper soft limit need if it is reasonable. (So far your suggestions seem reasonable to me! More than fair! You aren't asking for a decade!)
She doesn't like yucky feelings tho and wants to go on ahead anyway to avoid THAT processing time/effort. The very effort that in my book would show me growth is happening, even if growing pains hurt, and would have me considering giving her a pass if she were with me.
Our partners push us to better ourselves, to be our BEST selves. But we cannot do that for people who don't want to play ball for REALS. And they cannot in turn push me toward my best self so I rather not play with them.
So calls YOU jealous. Beware -- She may be trying to get you riled up with "ultimatum" crap. Trolling you on anger. So if you get angry? She can leave feeling good that you are being a *($%)# and "deserve" her treating you poorly. Rather than leave to play picard feeling bad because SHE played badly and is treating you poorly and you do not deserve that. (Don't feed the troll. She's got to own this and stop passing the emotional buck.)
In my book, she was a poor player in the past, and now she's trying to pass the emotional buck on to you. You are free to choose, but are not free of the consequences of your choice. She's a fleer. Does not play ball well.
In my world? For me? That could be a game over. Zip. Zilch. My #1 is DO NOT LIE to me. I play tough, but I play fair. Everyone knows how to play in my ball park. I'd would not consider a forgiveness pass and rship reboot because my game manual is dead clear.
I would reorder that sentence thus:
But I'd be watching VERY closely now to see how she plays. I don't like unserious players. Thppppt. Mistakes I can forgive and forget -- we're all human -- if serious effort toward personal growth and change is being made. But peewee league? NO thanks! It's my heart that's the ball, dude.
So you have opportunity now to see if she'll learn to finally own her own bags or continue to shooshing it on you or under the rug.
And whether or not you want to allow the shooshing.
THAT choice is yours to own. So consider your consequences. I kinda feel sorry for Picard. She wants to rush over there, rather than do it honorably. Maybe she doesn't consider him worth waiting for. More like the next distraction cookie to avoid cleaning rug?
Anyway, you admit you have bag stuff to grow/work on. Who doesn't? But don't let that be a reason to let her stuff her bag shit in your bag. Everyone owns their own shit bag. Stop flinging baggage! Waste we do not need any more we flush and discard. Not fling it about to smear it on our partners.
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