I'm pretty confused right now
Iíve gotten frustrated with my husbandís relationship and his GF. Iím sure some of it is due to the circumstance of her being intimate with my husband. I also suspect my growing feelings about being open in general adds to the mix too. I had a 1 Ĺ long relationship with another guy and it got to be too much; had to end. This took place right as Husband and GF began dating. Not the most fair foot to start off on for sure. But it is made more tense by:
When they began dating I said to her and Husband that Iím hesitant to mix the kids quickly. Shortly thereafter, she wants Husband to bring son to something with her kid during a time when she knows I canít go. This was only made worse due to it being the first time Son was to meet her. But I knew it was something my son would enjoy so I was stuck between my feelings and being the party pooper for others. I shared this with her after the fact.
I have shared some hurt feelings with my husband and he in turn shared them with her, once while not letting me know it was shared. That part is on him. Her part is that it became a subject she sought him out on later concerning management of my feelings without either of them finding out just what my feelings were. It felt like I was being painted as someone Iím not - over wrought and fragile. The issue involved was not a big deal and had been resolved the same day it happened. I couldnít understand why they would want to talk about me in that manner.
Another time involved a car situation during one of their dates. He said it would not be a sleep over night but then called at 11:30 to ask if he can sleep over at herís due to car issue. I was annoyed because I was once again being put in the position of the heavy and a downer. I told her later why I was annoyed. I didnít even have a choice on that - he pulled her in to defend him when we argued about it the next day. I said it wasnít on her to get in the mix over it. But I also let her know that I struggle to tell Husband no when I can tell what heíd prefer to do especially when its in the moment and I have to decide something quickly. I shared that I donít want their relationship to be built on putting me in the position of the heavy and a party pooper.
So I have been trying to be open in communicating with her and keep feeling like I should just give up on that. It is due to speaking with her about things I struggle with only to then feel like she later capitalizes on that info. A clear example would be troubles over activity X with husband.
I told her in conversation over lunch one day about themes in poly that rub me the wrong way and one of these themes was finding someone to enjoy activities your primary partner isnít that into. I shared this in a thread on here and wondered what her thoughts would be on it. I said I see the sense in finding someone to enjoy activities your partner isnít that into but that I thought we called those people Friend. So why do you have to also fuck that person? I said for me, any initial relief of not being asked to participate in activity X would turn into feeling like Iím being punished for not being so into activity X if the person filling in for me was an intimate partner. One week later she is all about doing activity X with him when it wasn't something she was into before. I wonder does she want me stressed and feeling punished? No, surely thatís silly and paranoid. Unfortunately I keep seeing that this might well be the case.
When I am dealing with an interpersonal struggle that doesnít make sense to me I usually look to what the other people tends to assume other peopleís motives are when trying to figure out what they are likely doing. Like the whole accusing someone of cheating because you are likely to cheat kind of deal. So part of why Iím beginning to see her in a more manipulative light is because she has accused ME of capitalizing on info she shared with me to try and sabotage her time with Husband . She really shares so little with me at all and is very guarded.
The accusation was over something I knew almost nothing about. She was going out of town for her class reunion. Nothing odd to me about that; I assumed her husband was going with her. It was however odd to Husband because he knew she was going alone and he was noticing more and more that her and HER husband seemed to do things that if they were going on in our relationship it would be perceived by Husband as trouble brewing. He was troubled about how often they didnít travel together but did travel with secondaries. He told her he would step out of the picture if her marriage needed working on. I only knew about the details of his concerns AFTER he talk to her about them. She accused me of pointing things out to try to sabotage her time with Husband. Husband told her that wasnít possible and Iíd pointed out nothing. I was left wondering why her first thought was that Iíd set him on her. It has made all that happened before seem more intentional on her part.
She asks to bake a cake for Husbandís bday. I say sure neato. She asks if she is to be involved with Husbandís bday at all beyond that, offering options for me to consider. One being cake at her house and I say that is fine and might be nice thanks for offering. I tell her his bday this year has me down because many friends we usually celebrate with moved away and vacation made money tight. She buys presents knowing Iím feeling down because we canít afford me to buy him a gift. Then she wants his friend invited knowing Iím down about our friend base shrinking. I tell her Iím feeling sore over things I usually handle being taken on by her. Her response is nothing about what I said, only ďhey I got a piŮataĒ and other food details. I feel like she heard Iím feeling sad and then poured it on more while ignoring my words. I feel this way mostly due to having told her more than once that I canít feel good being the bad guy and ruining fun for others. So she knows that Iím already feeling bad and would only feel worse if I said hey this is all too much for me please stop.
I try to talk to Husband about my growing concern over sharing info with her and then it being capitalized on. Because its always fun stuff for him or the boy he doesnít see it in the same light. Instead he asks me who would benefit by her doing what Iím suggesting. I feel she does as she ends up looking like she is fun and giving while Iím always either shredded emotionally and withdrawn from Husband or have to take the role of being the stopper and ruining everyoneís fun AND emotionally shredded and withdrawn because I ruined the fun. He doesnít think itís in her to be as conniving as I keep trying to not believe she is.
I know that she had a rough start into poly with her own marriage involving a bad metamour situation. So I end up feeling like she should be at least somewhat aware of the struggles a primary might go through OR she knows just how to push buttons without being obvious. Iím getting worn down over wondering which one is what is going on.
Without the above factored in I donít find her interesting. A nothing for her or against her kind of deal. I am struggling with wanting to be intimate with Husband most especially when he has been with her but also in general. I feel shut down. Iíll have sex if he wants to but donít care otherwise. Iíll talk to other guys via OLD but feel very apathetic towards the process; it seems too much effort with little gain. I meet someone and it will go where exactly? Nowhere or hurt for me and or them eventually is what I see. Plus I worry if I do find someone I enjoy while Iím struggling with desire for Husband that it will only make things worse.
Anyway, Iím supposed to go help with the cake tomorrow afternoon. I am dreading having to spend so many hours in a row with her. The alternative is I am entirely uninvolved in my own husbandís bday festivities. I keep bouncing between trying one more time to talk to her about this stuff and just not saying as little as possible.
DISCLAIMER -- I have to go to work so can't read this all but just wanted to shoot you a quick response.
This reads like a journal entry. I can see you are hurting. :(
You have a LOT of layers of issues there.
I'm seeing people pleaser habits.
I'm seeing where you could be more assertive about knowing, stating AND enforcing your own limitations. You ignore your own limits a lot.
I'm seeing where you could be more assertive about knowing and stating your wants and needs. You project your feelings on to other people but don't sound like you say it OUT LOUD. "They should just know...they put me in this position... ugh! " type stuff.
I'm seeing not liking to make decisions on the spot -- but not owning that personal limitation and giving the thing the chop with a "Thanks! But too short notice for me!"
I'm seeing no confidence with conflict resolution skills -- you avoid conflict and then get grumpy later on it.
Honestly overall? You sound in need of a general check up. You seem run down. That can take time to schedule at the doc, I know.
But you also seem like a passive style person... http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/sba/comm_style.htm
and that style no longer serves you well because you sound stressed out -- maybe to the point of going emotionally numb/depreseed? You could think about learning to be more assertive. Stop putitng your wants and needs on the back burner. Speak up and self advocate rather than expecting others to do it for you.
Do more self care. You can decide TODAY to start behaving in ways to take back some control of your life in the areas where you can. OWN your own limitations.
Do not beat around the bush.
Do not assume, project, expect mind readering.
Just speak your truth politely and FIRMLY.
This is NOT being a "party pooper." This is being allowed to take up the space you take up on this Earth.
Hang in there!
I know its forever long but thanks for taking the time.
I get about not making people to read my mind. That part really doesn't apply to my style. Pretty much my whole life has been learning to hold a little back because I can be TMI and intense. I DO speak up when I have feelings I'm working through. I cannot however speak up to her when it isn't something I felt she had a responsibility in or that her behavior was in question. If I have a problem with him and he quietly takes it to her, not sharing is not sharing because I don't know she needs any clarification.
I do get the rest though, I am struggling with being too accepting. Largely it is due to how often Husband sat at home alone during my relationship. Now things are going good for him and I want to be happy for him and let him enjoy it. I try to head problems off at the pass by communicating my needs to both him and her before any issues occur. To hear "hey let's not rush to mix the kids" and then quickly get asked to mix the kids feels pushy. I wonder am I speaking English?
I did tell them that if ever they are wondering if something will bother me, they should ask rather than figure out some way for me to just be unaware of what they think will bother me. That was what ended up happening and I only found out months later. They thought something would bother me and just went about making sure I didn't know when it happened. It was something dumb and petty but bugged me that their solution was to not ask and just make sure I never knew.
I've made her very uncomfortable and embarrassed by trying to communicate too much. I'm dealing with knowing I have to speak up for myself and also knowing I freak her out by doing so. She doesn't feel comfortable sharing with me and I don't like baring my vulnerabilities with someone who can't handle being vulnerable. Husband says I'm the odd duck and while he likes that I'm not afraid to talk about what I'm feeling, not everyone else is. He is getting better about remembering what I ask of him and fielding things that pop up in the moment without making me have to tell him what to do. He has learned to inform me of what (when it has to do with me anyway) gets shared with her. This isn't something she is comfortable with on her end. I repeatedly get the feeling she worries what she shares will be used against her by me. This is the big hurdle I'm dealing with.
How do I keep speaking up for myself when speaking up for myself only disappoints people and pushes them further away? In my book that results in me wondering WTF are we doing this at all? And how am I suppose to trust someone who expects me to be untrustworthy? I don't have to be welcoming but I want to be. I don't have to interact with her and they could still date. I'm fine with only taking my stuff to him and as long as he lives up to our agreements whatever goes on with her is between them. But it also means issues between he and I stay issues between he and I and she is left to twist in the wind and wonder. It can be that way, its just not ideal. Especially now that they've been dating for 10 months. It would be nice if things could get more relaxed rather than more tense.
What is "too soon" to you? A year? What is too soon to DH? 3 months?
Be clearer when stating a soft limit and some of this headache will go away.
"Let's not rush to mix the kids too soon. Let's give it 3 mos and then talk and assess if we're ready to mix or want to extend it out a bit more. 3 mos work for you? We need to negotiate on that time frame for what is "too soon?" Speak now or let's roll with 3 mos." You agree on the time limit. Call it 3 mos.
THERE! That is a CLEAR soft limit. Bugging me before 3 mos? Shoo! :)
It's been 3 mos? Alright. Let's sit down to Big Conversation and have an assessment then.
Really must dash but I'll check back in.
Hang in there. *hugs*
BREATHE. You will be ok,
OK, I'll reply to your second post then. I'm back. :)
Like that soft limit thing. No time frame was given that was clear. So what YOU think is "too soon" might not match what I think is too soon. It's not like we agreed on 3 mos so there's no arguing possible. 3 mos is 3 mos. "Too soon" is different things to different people.
Also with how your "V" agrees to be together. Do you have agreements? Or is it loosey goosey?
Everyone holds their own baggage. Learn not to freak out. Everyone deals with their own baggage.
You communicate. (The style could use a little more assertive maybe, and a little more clarity maybe, but you are spitting it out and getting it out there. Good for you!)
She needs more practice in not having a cow when receiving feedback? (Read a book, go to not having a cow class, own your own bag! She could say "thanks for the feedback. I will try to take it on board. For future reference, I prefer feedback come at me like ____by email, phone, whatever it is___ so I can receive it better. )
Let's be grown ups here.
Tough. In my universe you sound like you are trying to hold up your end of the sticks.
You are responsible for
You would have the right to
THERE you just say "Thanks for checking in. No, stick to original plan. You need me to come get ya or is GF dropping you here or you take a taxi?"
It is his problem to be the TMI wall as the hinge. If she is not comfy with that, she can talk to the hinge about it. This goes both ways no -- he can tell YOU to step off if you encroach on TMI business or he thinks you are projecting/assuming things about her. Hinge can arrange for a talk in TRIO to hammer out a new TMI agreement if people are reporting the old way is feeling burdensome.
HER? If she really is worrying about what she shares being used against her by you? She can learn to speak up. Or if you want to clear it up just so YOU are off the hook? Ask. "Hey! I get the feeling that you worry about what you share with DH being something used against you by me. If so? Know I would not do that. He does not overshare with me and if he does I tell him to cut it out and respect the TMI wall. Just wanted to reassure. Was my radar totally off or on the spot?"
Keep your own nose clean.
If HOW you state your limits is not rude? Then just state it. I can tell DH my need for him to call me before he leaves work so I can get dinner going so we can all share a meal together when he gets home.
Polite but firm:
"DH, please hear me on this. I need you to call me before you leave work so I can have dinner ready by the time you get home. When you do not call, I feel frustrated with my dinner timing so all things are ready at once. Since I am doing you a kindness in cooking for you, please do me a kindness and work with me. What is the challenge to making a call? Discuss."
"You shithead! Why can't you bloody call? I work and I slave and what thanks do I get? You suck!"
If I had been rude he would have shut down and I never would have learned he needed new cel phone. Duh. There. Got one. Problem solved. Now he calls like clockwork. Cupcakes for all! :)
The one of "So... been dating a while. Not so newbie around here any more. Let us review our covenant for how we agree to together and decide what still works and what needs to change for the (define hunk of time before next check in. 3 mos? 6 mos?)"
Do you have any kind of framework for how you agree to be together so people can hold each other accountable?
I am concerned or struggling with something. I make a decision on how to handle it but when it has to do with him, I run it by him at least to let him know what I'm going to do. He is such a I'll fix it type that his initial reaction is always to remove whatever he perceives is the source of the concern. He thinks he is being sweet and helpful and I just feel neutered in the moment because it often makes my decision impossible or pointless. I rarely get to make a decision and then find out if it solves my problem by implementing it. I'm not kidding. I tell him I don't like it. He responds with whats wrong with trying to make life easier for you? And it can take about an hour or two to get him to run out of white knight steam. It doesn't make life easier; quite the opposite. Somewhere into the second half hour of that's sweet but no thank you I don't need you to do that, I snap and start to get angry.
Just last night, I tell him about this thread and he starts talking about cancelling cake and bday and breaking up with her. This overkill solution only makes me regret saying anything to him at all. I tell him he is drowning me out again and I'll never get over hurdles if he just goes about removing any that I have. I'm telling him very clearly what I need and what I'm willing to do to help make it possible and he isn't hearing what I need. Nope he is too busy trying to build this unrealistic world of serenity to keep the princess in. It took two hours to get through to him that I can't live like that, he has to allow me to speak up for myself and find solutions that work for me. I am feeling flat and running around trying to remove anything that causes emotion is not what I need. Maybe its why I'm feeling flattened out in the first place?
Maybe its time she knows how often he jumps right to I'll break up with her as a solution? I don't know. That feels like it might be TMI if I'm the one cluing her in. My gut says no don't do that. It was just hard last night with him saying he was calling bday off and ending things with her for two hours knowing she was probably home doing cake prep work for what appeared to be no reason. I actually felt very protective of her and the effort she has been putting in for his bday. It also just feeds my growing feeling that all this open relationship stuff is just eventual pain for someone in the equation.
I'm trying to play it safe on that one and instead just bring my feelings about things to her if she has any part in them. Like maybe she needs to know that if its come down to me saying "Wow this has gotten tougher for me to deal with as you keep making offers and requests" it means I've hit my limit and please don't add more to the pile. Aaaaand maybe I need to just say I've it my limit; please don't add more to the pile. :rolleyes:
Thanks GG. You're very sweet to take the time on me.
Eventually, I learned to start my conversations with: "Honey, I need your ear. Right now, I don't want you to solve anything for me, so please just listen and let me get it out, okay? If I do need your help on something, I will let you know." I explained to him that, quite often, simply the act of saying things out loud enabled me to arrive at my own solution. He got it after a while, and became a much better listener.
And we do have to have this refresher argument every so often because it doesn't stick well with him.
At least after last night, the afternoon of time with GF making cake and the festivities afterwards seems like small potatoes. If I can handle his large personality I'm pretty sure I can handle this.
Awesome advice above-I won't reiterated it all. :)
I found myself in a similar situation this last winter-very frustrating and my own failure to uphold my own limits resulted in severe anxiety issues that nearly sent me to in-care hospitalization (and I am NOT prone to anxiety issues in the first place).
I HIGHLY suggest using the following criteria which have helped me TREMENDOUSLY (suggested by therapist to me):
1) state your requests as concrete actions. Include dates/time frames and specific details.
"I'm not comfortable with the kids meeting. We can rediscuss this at the 3 month mark. I will be looking to see that the relationship between myself and metamour is stable with us able to discuss (list 3-4 important topics) ourselves, not having you be the 'middle man' for us, agreements on rules/expectations for kids so that there won't be issues with discipline AND the first (pick a number) times the kids meet will include all of the adults-not just you and her."
2)Make it an agreement that you don't make decisions on the fly. Anything that needs your input outside of emergencies is given a minimum of 24 hours advance (you are always free to respond sooner if you wish) and if its a difficult topic, you reserve the right to delay your response for up to 72 hours for example.
Part 1 of 2.
DISCLAIMER: Late at night. Just took meds. I tend to get very rambly, so bear with me. :)
You talk a lot. Like I do. :)
My anthropology pal told me women need 30,000 words a day to feel good. Men need 15,000. SOOOO much was made clear when she told me that. LOL. :)
So I gotta roll with NYC and LR there.
It's the woman/man thing. Women want to process it. Men want to fix it.
Women need lots of words. Men less.
Try to calibrate what "It" is that you are talking about FIRST before entering conversation. Over here I try to go very clearly --
"DH! Your mission if you choose to accept it...And there we go. We do really well when I'm clear from the start about my needs in This Time and in This Place.
I would do some condensations. I would also hold my own bag. Here is what I mean.
I'm not hearing a mission with spec there. It derails and I am not sure you hear HIM. (more in a sec on that.)
HOW exactly do you do the telling? Do you use the imperative when you run it by him? Something like
"I have made a decision! I will be doing X tomorrow! If this is a problem with your day tomorrow, this is the time to speak up. Give feedback, please. So we can come to agreement. You good or not?"is a different thing than
"I am thinking about doing X. Is that ok with you? How would you feel about that if I did that? I'm not sure if that's what I want to do but I think I do. Maybe tomorrow?"Because a basically people pleaser guy is gonna go "Aw, I perceive you to be stuck and not sure. And I can do that for ya, babe! There. I solved your stuck- not-sureness!"
If that is NOT what you want, you need to change how you play your song. Tell him want you DO want from him.
Smaller, shorter words, more direct. Condense. Not into a QUESTION. Into an imperative statement.
There. Much clearer, he has a job to latch on to if he's one of those "acts of service" people who like doing that as their love language expression thing.
You cannot change him. If you KNOW he goes all white knight on ya when you sing the song that way? Why KEEP singing it that way?
You can only change YOUR tune and how you communicate with him. Only HE can change him. So sing a different song. See if that works better. :)
(part 2 coming up)
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