First time posting here, but been reading here for a while. So I am wondering how I should feel about this.
I have been poly my whole life, and my wife and I have done some swinging over the 10 years we have been married. I had 2 relationships some years ago that might have been potential poly relationships, but she reacted badly (and I didn't do a good job of reassuring her) so I let them go. There were other things going on besides her reaction. She has always said she was mono, but willing to participate in this in order to make me happy.
So a few weeks ago, she finds a guy (she has been looking for awhile, open to the idea of poly just never finding someone) she connects with. She goes out with him, and sleeps with him on the first date (Friday). They had been hanging out as friends before that (long story, just happened to be at the same place a lot, think coworkers) for a few weeks so it wasn't totally out of the blue, but still very quick. I spent the next day (Saturday) with very mixed emotions, and asked repeatedly throughout the day to give me some time to process my emotions. When I spoke to her that night, I told her the unexpected and sudden change had just unbalanced me but that I was OK and she should go ahead and continue to pursue her relationship.
So Monday, she tells me she is going to go out with some coworkers after work for free pie night at a local diner. Something didn't feel right, plus I knew that they were having a potluck at work that night so why would they want to go out to eat afterward? That night I was responding to an alarm call in that area at about the time she gets off work, and drove over to the diner. She is there, but it is before she usually gets off (and before she told me she was getting off that night) and she is there with her new guy. I don't go in, not wanting to make a scene, but watch for awhile then head home. About 4 hours later she comes home, and makes a big deal of being very loving and attentive with me. She sits next to me, rubs my leg, looks deep in my eyes with a sweet smile and proceeds to lie to me. She gives me a huge, detailed story about her evening with her coworkers, why it went so long, what everybody said, etc., all while staring me straight in the eyes and being physically affectionate. At one point I looked at her phone, and saw that long before heading to work she was planning to get together with him, and had then asked me about getting together with her coworkers as a cover.
I was stunned at first that she would lie so blatantly, and let her continue for quite a while and finish her whole story before telling her I knew she was lying because I had gone by after an alarm call and it was only her and him. She tried altering her story a bit, tried changing little details (coworkers were there for a bit then left, some had been there awhile, her guy hadn't been there until later) then tried to claim she had never told me she was going there with coworkers/had gone with coworkers. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I had actually been there and knew all of these new stories were also complete BS and told her so, and after a good hour of trying to finesse the situation she finally relented and admitted she lied.
I feel as if she has cheated on me. I have never had an issue with her having sex with other men, with or without me (and she has had several one night stands or even repeat dates). She told me that this was the first time she has tried lying to me, and it didn't go well, and shouldn't erase over a decade of good faith. I hear her, but it does. The lying, the sense of betrayal, and the way she was so affectionate and looking me in the eyes as she told me about an evening she didn't have in order to conceal spending time with this guy, it doesn't make any difference to me if sex was involved or not.
Unfortunately, my lack of trust in her over the last few weeks (looking at her chat history, checking to see if she is actually at work) has caused her to start concealing everything from me in some attempt to get back at me. She has stated she now does not trust me, because I am so suspicious and checking on her. I feel like saying "tough shit, I don't trust you for GOOD REASON and you are going to have to put up with a level of paranoia until you can start rebuilding that trust". She keeps saying "I apologized, why do you keep bringing it up." and "If you can't ever get over it, how do we go on?" I keep saying it's only been 3 weeks! It is like she either really believes it wasn't that big a deal (because they were only spending an evening together at a diner, not sleeping together), or she is trying to minimize it in her mind and mine.
Any advice from the experienced among you?
Lying is bad for relationships-doesn't matter whether its consummated with sex or not-lying destroys trust.
So, yes she destroyed trust with lies of omission and trust has to be re-earned.
You gave her the go ahead. So she isn't cheating. But she did LIE about where she had been. That a different kind of betrayal. Sigh. (In my universe that's a strike 1 offense because SO MUCH relies on truth in communication. )
Also did not give you enough time/nuture/support when you asked for extra help in that area. That all can be chalked up to newbie mono person trying on poly. Perhaps drunk on first time in a long time NRE? Def neglecting ORE needs. And for a monoamorous/monogamous raised person, lying may be the only model they know where they can have both. Does she have enough polyamory reading under her belt?
You could choose to give her a pass with a stern warning not to be so rushy. Esp since you have cut off potential polyships of your own to accommodate some of her needs. That IS her reward for never having lied to you before. A second chance.
Make the plan for how you agree to be together while she's dating and suffering NRE clouds impairing her judgement. It's a hormone high. Not excuse to neglect you or treat you bad, but a reality you both need to address. And lying? That must STOP.
If she's mono, maybe lying is the only way she thinks she can have both of you? We teach others how we want to be treated. If you want her to feel she can come to you with hard truth without you having a cow, after this time?
You have to be open to her making another date with the guy and this time doing it RIGHT with full honesty according to the agreements you made. And you have to receive it without having a cow. She has to be able to trust you too to feel emotionally safe in this new situation of poly dating.
When you make the dating agreement -- be specific.
Are you specific about needing ramp up time to deal with her new dating status? (ex: I need to know about your dates X days ahead of time so I can prepare)
Are you specific about your needs for before care (before the date) and after care (after the date) needs? (I need time before and after your date to reconnect/bond with you.)
Are you specific about what things around the house need meeting? No fair shirking chores/childcare/pet care/bills whatever it is. (Don't know how you arrange your household.)
Things like that.
Loving Radiance had a nice model over there. Maybe look at it to start the discussion ball rolling as you make your own agreements?
You have to talk it out and make the reconcile plan after getting the full info from both parties on why this happened and where you both could have done better/prevented this, etc. Share the info in a constructive way. Not tearing each other down or playing the blame game. Each one owning their part of the puzzle. Break down that elephant! Both of you agreeing to put in your own share of this work for healing your SHARED relationship
together. To be able to move forward and back into right relationship instead of all misaligned.
Think about your conflict resolution skills.
Use SMART goal setting techniques if you want for making your reconcile plan.
Do put some kind of time limit on the plan -- for checkpoints. Maybe once a week? Once a month? To see how it is chugging along on the areas of
1) Do not lie to me
2) Do not get so drunk on NRE time that you neglect ORE time.
3) Keep to our "dating as marrieds" agreements.
Don't leave her hanging open ended like you will NEVER grant trust again despite her work to repair the rift. If you know that right now? Just break up. Spare yourselves the extra work and suffering.
The whole thing of rebuilding trust is a PROCESS, not a single one time event where she goes "I'm sorry" and that's it. And both of you have to be willing to do the work of it.
Hang in there.
Why did she lie? Did she give you any reason? Does she really not get why this is such a huge game-changer, to know that she's perfectly willing to smile while feeding you an elaborate ruse, with no shame? Really, really problematic behavior.
Okay so I'm coming from this at the opposite side. When hubby and I started this it started badly. In other words, I was neck deep in the asshattery of lying and trying to cover those lies. I can give you all the reasons, embarrassment, NRE, blah blah blah. The truth is, at the core of it, I knew that feeling I needed to lie about it, meant it was a problem. So I won't go over all the excuses she is probably feeding herself.
What I will say is that we got through it. How? Transparency. That meant if hubby wanted to read my emails, he did, my chat logs, check my phone. Whatever. Oh sure there were times I was still embarrassed, but I knew that I put myself in that position. Slowly, it got to the point where I could say, "Well this is a little more private I'm not sure XYZ would want to share it, but yes that's who I'm talking to." And that was enough. That took time though.
I get she may be feeling embarrassed and want to apologize and clean slate it. Sadly, life doesn't work that way. Oh and as far as the years before the lying? Hubby and I have been married more than 15 years. So this wasn't a newlywed, newbie mistake. So it was something I had to understand and hubby has mentioned that it wasn't the talking with someone else that hurt, it was the lying. We have talked to many other people that came to poly through cheating and the main thing we say is that the lying is like destroying the foundation of a house. Sure you can try and ignore it and keep living in the house but it won't last long and it's not safe or good. You need to rebuild that foundation. Which meant for us not just promising to be honest, but showing it by allowing him to see and read and hear and know everything I did. Even sitting next to me while I was emailing or IMng the other person(s).
After me screwing up there were two simple rules really:
Rule One: Transparency, he wants to know, he gets to. He wants to see, he gets to. I'm earning back trust by having nothing to hide.
Rule Two: I hurt him, as much as he needed to talk about it, I needed to listen. Even if reminders of my asshattery made me cringe horribly.
Hi and welcome,
I agree with Anna Why lie....
On Saturday when you asked for time to process did she agree to that ? and was there a specific time discussed ?
And yes this episode could wipe out years of good faith at least for a time . And the reason IS it brings into question someones credibility, is it the first time or the first time caught. The thing I found most troubling was looking you in the eye and using a loving caressing touch or physical attention to sell the lie. Pretty manipulative.
I think Vix is right about transparency. Which is in effect TOUGH SHIT I don't trust you anymore it has to be re-earned....personally I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that.
Let her read this thread she'll get that from several others .
Is your universe a strict one or a lenient one?
NRE , mono years of mono programing , newbie sounds like excuses. Excuses or reasons for not 2 or 3 bad decisions ... but maybe 10 or 20. Perhaps starting with having sex with a guy on the first date. Asked for time to process ... Did she agree to that....Yes, NO ...or ok I'll hide my next few encounters while he processes. Are you looking at all the decisions that had to occur that got her to that final confrontation and all the decisions made during that discussion? Doubling down lie after lie. Using charm and smile and some loving touch to sell it. Over what ...A lie about what...... having pie with a guy she is dating and already sleeping with ... that makes absolutely no fucking sense. At least not to me :confused:
Which in my book raises more questions outside of that event.
The other interesting aspect of this is she was on the flip side of this and you would think there would be some sensitivity for what you were going through or asking for. Could there be an element of payback here or if not payback, using your playbook. I never got time to process ...you frequently had sex on the first dates ...you hide and told white lies ...stuff like.
Good luck to you both D
My universe? Lies to me are a one strike you are out.
It would have to be pretty extenuating circumstances for me to slide on that. It is a hard limit for a reason. It would be on me and DH to use our playbook as a guide to help us discern where we stand if something came up to challenge that limit. But I have the right to end the relationship for a lie told. It's an agreed to limit! Whether or not I exercise that is up to me. NOT my DH. Because he would have been the liar that got caught out.
Because the OP is posting about it and not firmly calling it done? I tried to answer from his position, not from my personal life. The position of he still sounds like he is processing. He sounds like he wants to stay in it but needs help coming to grips with the whole problem/betrayal/forgive thing. (Be nice if they had taken the time to write out their own playbook to help them in these tough times though.)
So going from that position -- well, what can be done then? Is he willing to give her the second chance? That's on him to decide.
IF he is willing to give her the pass for previous good behaviour, NRE, first polyship, whatever she says it happened for?
They are reasons why she messed up. But reasons are NOT excuses for lack of truthiness. She can explain why she did a bad breaking of boundaries, but it is still a bad.
She still has to make good on her bad, IF he allows the second chance. But only he can answer IF he is willing to grant the second chance or not.
They are at a place of discernment for themselves.
If he gives it, he has to give it all the way. Not partially. He cannot hold it over her head all the time and punish her endlessly for the breaking of boundaries. If he plans to do that? For his OWN mental health it is better to cut the cord. Move HIM to a more healing space. Not continue the drain in a new shape. That is not a real second chance -- that would be holding them both emotionally hostage at this point in their timeline. Frozen.
If they go for the second chance -- well, they need to work on making good then. HOW to move it forward? I just gave some suggestions. In the end, ideas is all we can give. It's on the actual people to figure out how to use it or not use it. It is their choice, because only they know what is going on in their real life.
Polyfamguy -- hope you are doing a little better today while you process. BREATHE.
So your universe is fairly strict :D. And doesn't play much baseball:D.
NO strikes just an automatic out for lying ...zero tolerance. :p
I've said this in other threads about other topics but to me judgement plays an equal role in a lot of these situations or the lack of. And in this case I think I'd be equally upset over that...maybe more so.
Yup. Pretty strict. Nope. I never played baseball. I was horrible at softball as a kid so never got promoted to baseball. ;)
If my partner? You can tell me you are not sure how to tell me something. Fair enough. I'll take that. Mistakes happen, we are all human. So long as you own it? I'm still willing to listen and negotiate and see what we see. Just do not LIE. Hard truth it to me. We teach others how we want to be treated. I don't want to deal in lies. I rather deal with hard truths, even if they are hard for me to hear or hard for partner to say to me. Spit it out.
Which is why anyone wanting to play in my playground gets the rship playbook first and the chance to add to it/negotiate it with me before they agree to sign up to fly under that banner as my lover/partner. Here's our agreements we made together -- THIS is how we agree to be together and hold each other accountable.
Don't find the terms suitable? Cannot negotiate acceptable framework? Let's not be lovers/partners then. No harm, no foul. We can leave it as good friends.
Like Vix, I came to poly thru cheating and like Vix, that resulted in years of consequences.
Both he gets to see, read, hear anything and everything
I have to patiently listen as he vents his hurt over the breach of trust.
I also happen to agree with GG, lying is a dealbreaker and only the lied to may chose to give another chance. And, imho, the lied to person gets to choose the terms of a second chance. Period.
And, I say that as the one who was the LIAR. It took 2 years and 5 months of PERFECT behavior, total transperency and a LOT of listening and tolerating his angry reactions, before peace was made over my cheating/lying.
2 YEARS and 5 MONTHS.
I think I would let her ponder that a bit, in light of her '3 WHOLE WEEKS'. Then after that sinks in, time to negotiate. Assuming you want to give her that second chance.
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