Advice, poly etiquette, has he lost the plot?
Apologies for the length and the rantiness and thank you for your time. It is very much appreciated.
I need some advice and input from people who are experienced in these things and who can be objective about my current situation.
Summary: My partner of last 12 years and husband of last 7 and father of my two little boys has just told me he has feelings for a friend he used to 'know' from back before we met. (Thanks to damn Facebook after all these years!!!)
Warning: rest is a bit of a long rant but I need to get it off my chest. I have no one in my life close enough to discuss these. He was my best friend but seeing as he is the main culprit I can hardly talk to him anymore than I already *have. He says he is done talking about it anyway.
So, he told me this and then told me he still loves me and doesn't *want to leave me etc. Basically asking for permission for a poly arrangement sometime in the future. (not quite practical at this point of time due to distances involved).
He met her the other week*and said that confirmed his feelings.
We talked the night he told me and the next day I got more upset than I thought I was going to get and he apologised and we talked about the problems we have been having and how to rectify them and at this moment we are determined to work on the problems rather than getting things complicated.
All this is good but it just keeps whirling in my head and I can't stop thinking about his suggestion and I have no one to talk to about it. No one I know would understand even the existance of poly and hence would think badly of him. I don't want that so I am stuck posting on a board to strangers =\
I am aware of poly stuff. *I don't know too much but enough to know It is not for me especially at this point in time. I am not against it and I understand why people might go for it but not for me.
He should have known this. When he first asked me out all those years ago he specifically asked for a monogamous relationship even though he had a very colourful history behind him. I understand people can change but the more I think about this *the more it feels like an escape on his part to his past rather than a genuine desire for a poly relationship.*
He used to get so jealous and possessive, he would get pissed off if I hugged friends and I even ended a friendship for him in the past. When he made his suggestion I asked if that would mean I can go off with other guys and he said 'well dunno would have to think about it maybe' he did not seem pleased with the question at all. And I have no desire to either but had to see where he was drawing his lines and how reciprocal the arrangement would be.*
It all feels so one sided. It feels like he doesn't have the guts to leave me and the kids (2) and wants it all. Wife to do all the boring chores and looking after the kids and the house while he goes off having his fun on the side*.
The other thing that upsets me is that maybe it'd be better if it was just fun as we haven't been having much of that with a 3 year old and a 6 month old around! He says 'feelings' so maybe deeper but I am very jealous of the time and attention he may give to another when I have been yearning *it from him for years.
He is a good man but he is lazy. He never helps around the house or with the kids. He goes to work then comes home and sits in the corner with the computer or even better on the loo for hours whilst I hacen't been to the toilet or had a shower in peace and alone in the last three years. A lot of the time I feel like a single mother with a good income support coming in. I do everything for all of them and always put myself last and I get so so very tired physically, emotionally and mentally of course I get grumpy and not in the mood. Everytime I have asked for help it lasted a few days. We live on the other side of the planet from family and friends so have no support. Every time he talks about how nice it'd be to have family for help the way he phrases it is as if he is shirking of his responsibility as a father. They can do the work so he doesn't have to.
I was very surprised with the extent of the jealous ness I felt and how selfish I started to think when I have been so selfless regarding them all. I have given him breaks, lie ins have done everything for everyone. It counts for nothing that's *what it feels like. he has had it so easy but still feels like hard done by while I keep going like a robot. Everyone tells me I do too much and half the time I end up having to lie and defend him so they don't think he is as lazy and uncaring as he has been. I guess I am at fault here giving him a cushy life and causing disappointment when I didn't just give him the green light to go ahead just like that.*
I can't stand *the thought of him doing fun things going out to places investing time and energy with someone and not doing those things with me and taking time away from his kids he doesn't *spend enough time with anyway but still coming home to clean washing. Etc
I reckon he is in the middle of a mid life crisis. He has a boring job and a family that is hard work if he steps out of the toilet and yearns for the fun of uni days that was a decade ago.
He had a five day relaxing trip to a tropical location with his mother when I was 6 months pregnant leaving me alone with a toddler. I was fine with it hoping he would unwind and come back relaxed and make it up to me with helping snd being attentive. He came back slotted back to grumpy mode and threw things at me when I asked for support.
I am not perfect granted and I hold up my hand to my faults but no one is perfect. I love him despite his faults for one thing.
How can he have the energy and time to keep two relationships going one with young children when he didn't have the time to make me a piece of toast in the morning when I was suffering from morning sickness??
Am I unreasonably being anti-poly due to the emotional rawness of what has happened in just the last few days? Despite discussing different ways of it working for other people I told him I do not want to share him.*
Whether or not his feelings are genuine is it right to make such a suggestion under these circumstances? Should he not either try and fix the broken thing first or leave it altogether before getting a new thing on top?
Is he being too 'clever' with his 'plan'? Let's not wreck the family if we can but still make room for more! He is not the scheming sort but subconsciously he always ends up making a rash escape route decision.
Without thinking about the consequences.
The following might sound too petty but since the kids I have yearned for some time off just so brain doesn't turn to mush. He saw my twice a month knitting group too much hassle to look at what was the one kid at the time. But he goes to meals and fun days out with work, joined a society with social functions and has lots of kid free adult time. Now this feels like another to the list. You wifey stay at home do wifey things while I go off relive my uni fun days to supplement the domestic boredom.
Sorry it is very ranty and long but I have no one to speak to about all these things.*
I initially wanted to message the girl and with my initial anger I wanted something like 'go away' but then thought that's not very nice*
so wanted something more along the lines of 'be friends by all means but please don't complicate things for us' but then didn't do that either. Part of me still wants to say something but I can't decide if it is a good / right thing to do and if so what it should be. I think it is mostly in his head but she knows he likes her and she has been suggesting threesomes to us over and over lately so she is not entirely innocent. She is poly so will be used to stuff and considering their past she probably doesn't think anything is wrong with it but I am not sure. It has been 12 years and he is married with two kids. Should that not matter these days? =\. Was it right on her part to suggest the meet up the other week? He wouldn't have bothered if she hadn't he would have been too lazy to arrange anything! Lol
once we decided to work on improving our relationship he said he doesn't want to talk about it anymore and dwell on it. Within 24 hours we put a line under the polygate as I have already started to call it. We have had a few -gate moments in the past. But I am not sure if one can so easily dismiss something like that although what talking about it more going to achieve I don't know either.
Apart from boring all you folk that is.
Starting to think about relationship counselling but not sure if he would go along with it. It is going to be me nagging a lot and he hates that!
Welcome to the forum TR! I'm very sorry to hear about all the difficulties you are struggling with in the relationship with your husband.
I'm not sure how else to come about to it, so I'll be blunt and to the point. There are a lot of red flags in your relationship, of which poly is only one. It sounds throughout your whole post as if your husband has been a spoiled child for the vast majority of your relationship together, and that you let him walk all over you and quietly clean up his messes behind him. You don't address your needs to him, and if you do he fights with your or flat out ignores them. He does not seem to care about the wants or needs of anyone besides himself, which is a very alarming quality in a husband and father.
If he is not willing to consider relationship counseling, I might suggest going to some counseling on your own without him. The relationship between you two seems to be flirting with the line of emotional abuse. Your husband always gets his way, and he is very good at avoiding or squashing your complaints when they arise, painting you into the corner of the "nagging wife" that is ruining all his fun.
But what happened to your fun? You are a human being that has needs, wants, and dreams just like he is. You BOTH have children that you have a responsibility for, as well as your responsibility to each other as husband and wife. It isn't reasonable or fair for him to expect you to do all the work and to make you feel guilty if he isn't being entertained or pampered every hour of every day.
It sounds like he may very well attempt to have a sexual or romantic relationship with this woman regardless of whether you approve of it or not. He will probably badger you until you give some kind of white flag to him that amounts to "Do whatever you want." It is up to you to decide if you are going to continue to stay in this kind of one-sided partnership where you are always left holding the icky bag of doing all the work so that he can play for his entire life.
I'm sorry to hear that things are going so terribly for you at the moment, though. If poly isn't something you want, it isn't something you should be forced to accept into your own life. It is hard to even sift through to the poly itself, though, as it seems like there are quite a few other really concerning problems with your relationship already. Trying a polyamorous lifestyle can be difficult even for very healthy and well-balanced couples. Trying out a polyamorous lifestyle for people who are already on the rocks usually doesn't end well at all.
I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are able to find some good advice here, even if my post doesn't help. I'm relatively new to this forum and there are some really great posters on here that seem to have a really good way of explaining concepts related to relationship dynamics and health.
I'm glad you used metacommunication to warn us it was a rant. :) Great skill that is actually!
I didnt read the whole post-I read enough to come to my first conclusion (I do tend to read some, then go back and read more).
FIRST AND FOREMOST-
POLY IS NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER an acceptable addition to an already rocky and screwed up relationship.
it's not fair to the people IN the relationship
it's not fair to the people who would be added
it's not fair to the family (in your case-kids)
NO IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE at this time to consider a poly-dynamic REGARDLESS of where this person lives.
Therefore-there is NOTHING on that topic to discuss today.
FIRST you two need to repair your own relationship.
YOU need to stop allowing yourself to be taken advantage of.
HE needs to take responsibility for his share of the kids and housework.
Having a job does NOT reduce ANY of the responsibility he has as a father. A paycheck DOES NOT build a relationship.
If he's gone for work 10 hours a day (I allowed for drivetime of one hour each way)-
there are still 14 hours in a day which need to be spent attending to children needs. OBVIOUSLY they are asleep for some of that-which is great. Lets say of that 14 hours they are asleep 8 (you can figure out precisely how much it is), that would leave 6 hours-and 3 of those are HIS RESPONSIBILITY.
You can break it up by he does feeding/meal making every other day and he does bathtime and bedroom clean up (toys/books etc) with them every other day. He can do bedtime routine every other night too.
These things are what create a familial bond and it's not only his JOB it's also his GIFT to himself and the child.
Don't short change your kids by allowing that to continue to go unchecked.
We had issues with the "I worked all day" followed by computer vegging out too (we have 4 kids).
Flat out-no joke-time to go AA style and give up the video games and tv. He needs to get out of that addictive pattern and start focusing on his REAL LIFE instead of the imaginary life in those electronics.
If he's bored-it's because he's not doing his share of the work-if he was, he'd be exhausted.
SECOND piece of advice-no parent is a great parent if they don't take a break. YOU NEED TO SCHEDULE a break EVERY DAY for yourself.
He checks in for parenting duty and you check out.
Go for a walk-go take a bath-go read a book-go have a coffee-go shave your legs-go do something NOT MOMMY ORIENTED.
THIRD-you two need time to negotiate. So, tell him that for the next month-the topic of poly is OFF THE TABLE and explain in concrete (not abstract) form what 5 things you need him to do CONSISTENTLY for the next month and list out 5 things you will do CONSISTENTLY for the next month to better YOUR relationship.
Reiterate that YOUR RELATIONSHIP is having ISSUES and until THAT has been resolved-the option for DOING poly isn't there.
But, that you will re-address the TOPIC of poly in 1 month.
At that time-you address what has been going well, what still needs work and you each add 5 things to the list of what you need to do/change for your relationship.
Continue until your relationship is healthy and happy for both of you and the kids.
THEN you discuss the options of DOING poly (or if its not an option-whatever)
Thank you both for taking time to read and respond. As I said before it is very much appreciated.
We have talked again and he has seen that this isn't something he can just sweep under the carpet and not talk snout again. He can't one day say what he said and the next pretend he didn't say it.
He is willing to go to relationship counselling and we have already talked about each of our faults and both agree it has been a good reboot to the relationship.
Despite all that it still bothers means I keep going through all kinds of emotions but I guess counselling can help with that.
He wants to stay friends with her sand I told him I can't demand a stop to it. He doesn't want me to contact her and say anything as apperantly despite her offering threesomes and stuff she doesn't know anything and it is all his doing. Not quite decided how I feel about that. Feels like he is protecting her and wants to wrap it all up and away. Still think about contacting her or asking to read their messaging history to get an insight into what actually happened but not decided whether this is a good thing or not either.
Maybe counselling will help with that too...
I am glad you are going to counseling.
You have a lot broken in that marriage.
YOU are not sounding like you want a polyship. That is your right.
Yet YOU are the one asking the practical "Is this the time to open? How would it be"?" questions though. Not him. That tells me that he's sooooo not prepared to do ethical polyamory.
That sure ain't it. :eek:
So... Proceed with caution and see what you glean in counseling. Has this been an emotional affair? I dunno is this article helps you to take to counseling.
I am sorry you are going through this. I hope he straightens up his act.
This is SO inappropriate in all sorts of ways and esp this.
"No talking to her til our counseling appointment so we have a counselor's help in setting reasonable boundaries that are healthy for the marriage while we try to rebuild trust/connection here! We are in a time out!"
How is that unreasonable!? Sheesh. He's being so fresh.
Again I am sorry. :(
I see no reason not to contact her. If he wants to be involved with her, and she is poly and open to such things, she would probably be able to handle a simple thing like a conversation with you. It is affecting you, so go ahead and call her!
However, I wouldn't just use the opportunity to be mean -- she may not know what the hell he's been up to and might even have been told that you have consented.
I would say to her: "I am aware you and my husband are attracted to each other, but I want you to know I have not and will not consent to any type of poly or open arrangement. Any involvement he has with you would be cheating, and will further disrupt his responsibilities as a husband and father. Therefore I am requesting that you leave him alone and let us attend to our relationship without interference. His family needs his attention here. I wish you no ill will and hope that you will respect my request."
She's right -- you CAN do that too on the other side of the equation. Tell the person what the status is here so she has her BS meter on. Who knows what he's been selling her.
You do not have to like her. But since you spouse has been so fresh to you, who knows if he's also being fresh to her.
I'm still stunned.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
You mentioned not having anyone to talk to -- If you need to vent through your process you might think about asking a mod to move this thread to the Life Stories section.
BREATHE. Hang in there!
I didn't realise until now there were new posts. Thanks everyone =) and Thanks for all the hugs =)
Well, I did something I thought I would never do before and checked out his messaging history when he wasn't there. We have never been people to hide stuff like that (I wish I was nosey before lol). We know each other's passwords and can log in and out of accounts as needed but in the past never had to so never did it hence felt a bit wrong doing it.
Anyway, there wasn't any. He had erased it all apart from the last message wishing her a happy birthday! This made me furious! Not the birthday message, the fact that rest wasn't there.
I confronted him when he came back. Not just with that but other stuff going on in my head. He panicked. Nearly had a panic attack. I guess he thought he got away with it but when I kept pushing for the details he couldn't hide anymore and admitted flirty talk and stuff and that it was all his doing. I guess he didn't want me to know how 'bad' he had been. Although still don't know exactly what happened and how long. Asked for him to ask her for her history but didn't want to do it. I don't even know why I am so hung up on this thing. I am after a cathartic act to get it out of my system and that's the only thing I can thing of. That and hearing her side.
Everything I have been reading about poly relationships, he would be terrible at it! He would be very good at fucking what came his way animal, mineral or vegetable but he does not have the skills for one relationship let alone many.
I told him this already. He is yearning for the life he had at 19 at uni fucking around then vegging out in front of the telly and computer (didn't even get to finish properly he had so much fun). He is a 33 years old husband and father of two. The two aren't compatible. Poly seems to take so much effort and caring and thinking and planning. He does not have those qualities. He says he sees that now.
I see it as emotional cheating because he did not come to me with the offer of poly saying he feels like he needs something more and then going out finding it if and when he was given the green light. He flirted and talked and kept at it behind my back to a point where he thought he developed feelings then put the offer on the table. (Now he says that he was confused with his emotions and mistook past lust and friendship for deep feelings and says he won't talk to her again and will stop the friendship). I understand we can't always plan life and sometimes people meet people and fall when they weren't planning to but he did it on purpose.
I wouldn't be mean. It's not in me. When this first happened I wanted to swear at her, within ten seconds I thought to myself 'oh that's not nice at all!'. I do however need to be more assertive.
About 4 months ago I was feeling really low and wrote down everything that I felt was wrong between us but he did not want to read it at the time. I have made him read it the other day and he has apologised and promises to be a better husband and father and has started to work at it. We will still go to counselling. Now we are back from holiday (yeah spoilt that too) I am looking into arranging something.
It's been a massive wake up call for him. It has been a good re-boot to the relationship. It has been good for me to find out how much I am willing to fight for what is important to me. Something has been lost though. Some of the trust. We used to joke in the past if he looked at anyone I would always say it's cool, you can look but you can't touch. I feel I can't be jokey like that anymore. I guess trust issue will take time.
Thank you for that article. I have only just got to reading it. It is perfect.
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