The downside of poly
I'm lost in limbo, waiting.
A few weeks ago, I told my husband that our third (his girlfriend) needed to move out of our house because I didn't want her to be part of our family household. She's been living with us for about a year and a half. There were some serious communication issues between her and I that 4 months of group therapy couldn't reconcile.
I don't mind if they continue to date, but with her living elsewhere, and the relationship boundaries changed to an appropriate secondary. This is the only compromise I could find.
I've been married to my husband for nearly 8 years. Its been a good marriage, very strong. We had such great trust and communication, so that's why we both got into poly together. That's why I'm especially stunned and hurt at his response to this. I understand him being upset that I don't want her to be part of the family anymore, and I've given him time for that (and he and I have been seeing a therapist together). I know that it will take time for him to cope with the loss of what we were originally hoping and working for.
But it's been a few weeks now, and my husband still hasn't made any definitive statement or decision on the matter - nothing to suggest that he even really accepts my decision, or my right to make it. They are abiding the rules of the new relationship boundaries he and I put in place when I first brought this up (like reducing their nights together to 2 a week), but he bridles at it. He even casually mentioned this morning about the cell phones that we had been talking about buying for all of us - back when there WAS an "all of us." When I quietly reminded him that things have changed, he just went silent on me.
She's still here, looking for a job so she can move out. She hasn't come to me about anything. I don't even know if she really respects our marriage or not - if she's actually willing to be a homewrecker, or whether she's mature enough to step back. I think she'd continue to date him after she moves out, but he's concerned about her dealing with "having what she can't have anymore rubbed in her face."
I don't understand what he has to choose. Its all of me and some of her; or, all of her. Our 8 year relationship, our marriage, isn't worth potentially losing this 1.5 year one? I feel like shit. I've slept little, cried a lot, and I try hard to maintain myself as much as I can around him so I don't seem needy and pressuring. But we have talked, he knows how scared and anxious I am... but never gives any real reassurances. When I broke down recently and asked him he was going to leave me, he just responded with, "I don't want anything to end." I don't even know what's on the table for him.
Today he's seeing our therapist on his own again. I said to him that I hope he's able to talk it through with her and reach a decision, because this limbo was too hard for me to handle. I don't know what else to do.
I wish I had done so many things differently. But I trusted my husband, so there were a lot of rules that were never really established. Supposedly I had the right to veto his partners, but I've never done that. I tried VERY hard to stay as far away from ultimatums as possible. I never, ever thought we could come this this sort of situation. I never could have imagined he might leave me for another woman. He's a good man, an honest one, and I would have said honorable as well.... but now I have no idea who he is, or is becoming. I feel heartbroken.
merry - I am so sorry you are going through this! As a mono wife I 100% understand how you are feeling - so know you are not alone! A month or so ago - I gave my husband an ultimatum - her or me. He was heartbroken and didn't want to make that decision - as hard and painful as it is for us - it's hard and painful for them to not have their gf in their lives. Eventhough you are not asking him to break up with her - he still sees her moving out as a loss. It will take time for him to adapt.
I think you have the right to not want to have this woman in your house - I couldn't do it! You deserve a lot of credit for allowing it and for trying to make it work. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. All I can say is that ALL of you should be in counseling - preferably the same one because that way they'll get everyones point of view and will be better able to help each of you.
Hang in there - if you love him - it will be worth it!
PM me if you need to!
The thing that stands out as a red-flag after the fact is that you say she is looking for a job so she can move out, which implies that you two have been supporting her financially. I don't know what to make of that without sounding judgmental, but it never seems a good idea when one partner moves in with the other(s) and becomes totally dependent on them.
The whole thing sucks all around but it sounds as though you've gone through all the preliminary steps of trying to make it work out and that you are trying to make the decision that is best for YOU.
I wish you the best possible outcome for all concerned.
One thing that may help smooth the transition is to remove your limitations on how they can behave within their relationship (i.e. they're only allowed to date twice a week).
If you express support of their relationship truly developing in its own right, just not under your roof, then you won't be asking them to give up as much. As it sounds right now, not only are you asking her to leave, but you're also asking her to limit her time with him, according to your restrictions. And you're asking the same of him.
You cleverly used the phrase "new relationship boundaries he and I put in place when I first brought this up" but in all honesty, that sounds more to me like "the boundaries that I forced him to accept." Because I'm willing to bet money that that wasn't his idea...
I have to be entirely honest, given ONLY this post, I think you're being a little unfair to your husband and his girlfriend. That's not to say that what you're feeling is wrong or inappropriate - you feel what you do right now and that needs to be validated - but you seem to think that your husband is being unreasonable without at least giving credit to the feelings, conflicts and choices he's going to have to make.
You mentioned that you have veto rules set up - that's cool, and perhaps your response here IS reasonable and clearly within the boundaries. I personally couldn't have a rule like that.
To me, the first and primary relationship is one with yourself. Any relationship that makes you comprimise YOUR principles or surrender your values is unhealthy.
Keeping in mind that I view the self-relationship as primary, you need to also realize that your relationship with your husband (and his toward his girlfriend) need to respect your husband's values. You have veto power over his partners - but you're not vetoing a partner here. You're vetoing his ability to invite his other lovers into his life and his home in ways that suit him.
Yes, it's your home and your life as well. Again, I don't mean to diminish that. But the way you phrased this comes across to me as an ultimatum. I'm convinced that in a relationship where people mutually agree and evolve a common set of values that ultimatums are entirely avoidable. When you find one it's because there is unspoken disagreement that should have been hashed out prior to the breaking point.
Your husband now has to evaluate what his girlfriend leaving means in their relationship. He also needs to evaluate what it means for YOUR relationship. Even if he agrees and asks her to leave, will he be happy in a household that gives eviction power to you rather than leaving those decisions up to consensus? You changed your mind about her living there after a long period of time. Can he feel stable in making decisions with you when one as large and as important to him ended up changing unilaterally?
I hope you guys are able to come to a mutually beneficial resolution and that your relationships get stronger for this. I also hope that you can empathize with his situation a bit and realize the decision may not be as clear cut as you seem to think it ought to be.
This post was very difficult to read. Although I never lived with my boyfriend, and he was never married to his other girlfriend, our position was similar to what you're describing here.
Like the other posters have mentioned, some stuff stands out:
"I don't mind if they continue to date, but with her living elsewhere, and the relationship boundaries changed to an appropriate secondary. This is the only compromise I could find" which actually sounds like no compromise at all. The idea that relationships are these things that can be managed this way, that they can be clipped and squashed into molds until they are "appropriate", is sad to me, and totally not in the whole poly spirit.
My boyfriend's now ex gf had a similar mindset: she held herself as primary, and wanted to regulate and prescribe rules and boundaries for our relationship. But it doesn't work like that. Your husband has formed a relationship with this woman, she is important to him, but you talk about her as if she is merely an element that can be adjusted as the situation requires - nowhere in your post do you mention her or how traumatic this must be for her (or, for that matter, how this must be cutting your husband up) and you even say that if she were more mature, she'd "back off"! Is this woman and what your husband feels for her so expendable?
I know I'm not being very sympathetic here, but it's coming from a place of having been that other woman. You talk about him "abiding" by your rules, you say that you expect him to be over her after a few weeks etc. but honestly, I don't think ultimatums, even implied ones like this, ever work, in any way, for those involved.
Your husband has said how he doesn't "want anything to end"... if you force him into something he is unwilling to do, it may make him resentful. Forcing all-or-nothing situations can be damaging, and you might not like the conclusions your husband eventually comes to. In my case, an "it's my rules or else" ultimatum backfired. He respected his girlfriend's "decision, and her right to make it" but once she had made it known that those were the rules she was playing by, he opted out.
A number of people I'm wanting to respond to...
I really don't know what I can do. I've given up a lot and I don't get anything out of this, so when I'm being told I'm being selfish for stating my needs, it's just confusing and painful.
She is hostile towards me. I've been under so much stress that it's caused another flare-up of Lupus, and my doctors are a bit freaked. I can't live with her.
The only compromise they've made is that reduced schedule, and even that, he complains about. He's still supporting her financially... she has all the benefits of being his wife and none of the responsibilities.
This is not something all of a sudden - we did group counciling for 4 months, plus I have my own therapist. We tried different things to make this work. I'm unhappy, and I feel horrible for being unhappy. I'm generally the 'doormat' - working with my therapist, she feels I need to stand up for myself. But I get this negative backlash, and seeing him in pain is too much for me.
I need her to move out, for the sake of my health and happiness. How do you find a compromise for something like that? Tell me, I really don't know.
That is what I would be asking for...for her to become less dependant on the charity of your family and home.
You're not asking them to stop, your asking her to grow up in my eyes.
My husband isn't much better, in that he happily enables that kind of co-dependency. He had once told her, without talking to me first, that he'd support her so she could do whatever she wanted. He still sees nothing wrong with that.
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