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-   -   Unsure how to proceed. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30184)

MusicalRose 10-11-2012 06:19 PM

Unsure how to proceed.

Hey Everybody,

I've introduced myself so some of you may know a little bit about my situation at the moment. I (23) am a female in a V relationship with two males with me as the hinge. My fiance (R, 26) and I have been together for almost 4 years. My boyfriend (D, 23) and I have been involved for about a year and dating officially for about 9 months.

R and I started our relationship open, but closed it after a while when it became obvious to us that he wasn't really prepared for me to be involved with others while involved with him. We opened and closed a few times, before finally opening up for good about 2 1/2 years ago.

Neither of us really had many other connections outside our relationship for a while. R had some hookups that didn't really turn into anything emotional, and I didn't really do much besides kissing and dancing with people at clubs. When I met D, we fell pretty quickly into something more akin to a relationship and he was the first new person I had intercourse with outside my relationship with R. There was a lot of struggle on R's end to accept this, but ultimately he has accepted it and we recently have moved into an apartment big enough for the three of us to share at the beginning of last month.

Now D, before I met him, was struggling with a lot of personal responsibility issues. He had just graduated from college and was having trouble adjusting to his 8-5 work schedule. He would frequently pull all nighters playing video games or only get three or four hours of sleep most nights. Many times, he would oversleep his alarm and go in late to work or take PTO at the last minute because he just didn't want to go in. He had also had an OVI (new term for DUI I guess) before I met him. He was still struggling a bit with a relationship of his that had ended months before.

I didn't learn many of these things until I had already formed quite an emotional bond with him, but at some point I told him that I needed to be with someone who wasn't quite so self-destructive, and that if his behaviors continued I didn't think I had the emotional strength and energy to continue our relationship. Shortly after that, he found out his ex that he had been still struggling with had gotten engaged to someone else, and went out drinking that night, and came home with a second OVI.

After that night, he seemed to come around a little bit and losing his license with this second OVI (he didn't lose it the first time on some technicality) seemed to be a wake-up call for him. His family lives in another city a few hours away, and this made it impossible for him to go visit them like he was used to doing. He started going to bed on time and making it into work. He started biking to work instead of relying on other people to give him rides. He even decided to stop smoking cigarettes.

So I guess his work habits have improved, he has mostly successfully given up smoking (sometimes he still has some when drinking) and he has been getting appropriate amounts of sleep.

I guess lately I've just started to realize that the problems run deeper than that. On a very fundamental level, he has never learned to be personally responsible for himself. He suffers from some pretty severe mood swings, and when these happen, he shuts me and R out and just plays video games all the time. He was seeing a psychologist for a while, but our new apartment is too far away for him to bike there, and he now relies on me and R for rides to work as well because of the new apartment's location. So it is difficult to find a way to make rides work for him to have these appointments, especially since he already has a chiropractor he needs to see once a week as well.

I'm not really sure how to help him with his depressions and anxieties. He still has a number of really unhealthy lifestyle choices that I can tell contribute to his mood swings. He still has a caffeine addiction, and will frequently drink pop as late as 9 or 10 at night. He doesn't exercise. He just sits at his desk and plays video games all day. He tries to say that he will try to work on exercise or meditation to help calm himself, but he never remembers to do it and is now in the mode of wanting to do it himself, and if I try to remind him he gets irritable. He still doesn't remember. On Tuesday I talked to him about what he wanted to do to try to get himself feeling better, and he said he really wanted to start exercising on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and he wrote that down as something that he wanted to do for himself. Well, yesterday he came right home and sat down on the computer and completely forgot, the very first day he was supposed to start his new exercise habits.

The forgetfulness extends to things beyond just his own personal habits though. He will frequently spend more money than he has and me and R have to pick up the tab for him. He pays us back, but sometimes unexpected expenses like that can hit at really bad times. He forgets about appointments or events he has to be at, and won't tell us until the last minute that he needs us to take him there. I feel like he is just constantly on autopilot, and is NEVER present in his own life.

And between the two of us, now his mood swings are starting to impact our relationship pretty heavily. While in the midst of NRE, he and I would text each other pretty frequently and we had a pretty active sexual life. This was important to me because I have a very high sex drive and R and I just haven't been as active with each other (fairly mutual, we have different tastes and just don't have as high a drive for each other). D and I also started exploring some more BDSM concepts (which he actually initiated to begin with) that I found I REALLY liked. His mood swings have killed the mood for any of it entirely. His sex drive is even lower than R's at the moment and I have been left feeling rejected many times.

Lately, I feel like I just haven't been connecting to D at all. We don't talk much anymore in general. We don't connect physically. Much of our conversation is him talking about how he has just been "feeling out of it" or "not feeling like himself" or "feeling anxious" and me trying to get him to talk to me about the specifics of why he feels that way and him just clamming up. He doesn't even want to do the mental legwork to find out why he is upset. He doesn't want to do any of the actual legwork to make him feel better, like making better habits or trying to go to the doctor. He says he wants me to help him, but then he fights me tooth and nail and doesn't put any effort into fixing it or carrying any of his own weight. I have to be the one to get him to talk about it, to try to come up with all the possible solution ideas, to get him to choose one, and then to get him to remember it and actually do it.

I'm getting exhausted, and I'm starting to doubt our relationship. This is scary for me because we JUST moved in together, and he is truly dependent on us now until March, when he gets his license back.

I guess my problem is, I've seen him make a lot of improvements over the past few months. He really has drastically improved his work and sleep habits. He gave up smoking, and he went through a few periods where he was really positive and motivated (this is when he really tried doing breathing and meditation as well). I don't know if maybe I'm just not being patient enough and I just need to wait this phase out, but then again, if these phases keep happening I don't know if I can handle the toll they take. I don't mind supporting someone through rough times, but when he is in these times, he gets really unpleasant and recalcitrant and self-pitying and it is damn near impossible to get him to come out of it. He digs his heels in and refuses to do anything to get out of them.

Another thing I'm worried about is that if I try for us to take a break or give myself some space, that it will send him into a tailspin. He seems really emotionally fragile at the moment, and he is terrible at handling stressful situations without backsliding into his really ugly self-destructive behaviors (usually starts with drinking too much and then leads to him smoking more cigarettes and staying up later and lots of other shit in general).

I guess I'm just hoping someone can give me some perspective. I don't know if I'm overreacting to this latest mood swing, or if there is a serious problem here. I don't know if he really ever will take charge of his life and get it on track without the threat of something being taken away from him or something actually really bad happening to him (losing his license, the fear that our relationship might end, the fear of him losing his job). I'm starting to wonder if I got lost in NRE and that he and I really aren't all that compatible. When he hits his high points, I truly see his potential to be the person I thought I fell in love with, but I'm starting to wonder if he'll never stabilize and will just keep swinging in and out of these high and low points.

Sorry I know this is an insanely long post. I just wanted to give as much information as possible and hopefully someone can see something in here that I'm not seeing, or help me on the process to puzzling it out. How long is too long to wait him out?

nycindie 10-11-2012 07:21 PM

The forgetfulness and problems managing his time sounds a bit like ADHD. You may want to visit this site for some info: http://www.additudemag.com/

Even so, your complaints about him make you sound more like his mother than his lover. You can't monitor him like that and set yourself up for disappointment over and over again, and not feel the stress.

Why did you choose to have him move in with you so soon? I think you may want to ask him to move out and work on his shit, and maybe take a break from this relationship until you see some genuine effort on his part to grow up and get the help he needs for whatever he's got going on, whether it is ADHD or some other psychological issues. And it may very well be that you two are not as compatible as you once thought, and that it is time to let go and move on. You have to do what's best for you - if he goes into a "tailspin" that is on him, not you! I wish you well.

MusicalRose 10-11-2012 07:32 PM

To add, D's mood swings and habits are incredibly frustrating to be around because he completely lacks any kind of self-awareness, impulse control, or decision-making/problem-solving skills when it comes to his emotional life.

He is constantly "working on it" and "trying" and he doesn't realize that unless he is actually DOING something in the real world that nothing is actually happening. He just does what he feels like in the moment and doesn't realize that he needs to pay attention and make changes and actually think about things in order to effect change.

Any time we try to talk about it, he claims he is exhausted and that "he knows he's an asshole" and he's being trying really hard and that he doesn't have the energy for it right now. He runs into self-pity and self-hatred as an escape mechanism from actually dealing with any of the issues at hand. He constantly feels like life is just too hard and that he "deserves a break" when a break means continuing to indulge in the same self-destructive behaviors that brought on his difficulties and mood swings in the first place and just perpetuating this ridiculous cycle.

I'm really starting to feel myself emotionally withdrawing from this, but I don't even want to begin to think about the impact it is going to have on our household. I know I can't string him along if I want the relationship to end because that will be terrible for both of us, but I don't know if I really want it to end, or if I want the style of relationship to shift.

I really think I'd just like a break or a shift to a secondary or tertiary type relationship for a while instead of him being a co-primary with R. I would like for my time and emotional energy to be available to invest more in myself and potentially looking for another secondary or tertiary relationship that can meet my physical needs and not be a drain on me constantly.

I just don't know how to make that happen without sending D into the aforementioned tailspin and causing mountains of turmoil in our household.

MusicalRose 10-11-2012 07:35 PM

The choice for him to move in so soon was made so that the three of us could have a better place to live in and because when we made the decision he was at the apex of making all the positive changes in his life. D and R were getting along really well as friends and D had been living in a single and really wanted roommates and people to live with because he felt like living by himself was causing some of his problems.

Our new place is much nicer, and R and I could not financially support it on our own. We also are all on the lease, so he has as much right to the place as we do. I don't feel like we could financially or legally ask him to move out. There really isn't anywhere for him to go.

MusicalRose 10-11-2012 07:45 PM

I've been doing some looking into Adult ADD/ADHD at your suggestion, and all kinds of alarm bells are ringing in my head. I may bring this up to him.

GalaGirl 10-12-2012 02:25 AM


Another thing I'm worried about is that if I try for us to take a break or give myself some space, that it will send him into a tailspin.
Perhaps that is what is needed. Not just for you to heal, but for him to seek medical attention. Because for sure staying the SAME and you doing nothing different is not helping him. It is not helping you either.

We cannot help how we feel when we feel it. We do not choose it. We can only choose how we behave in response. REACT or ACT WITH INTENTION.

I am not familiar with ADHD. He def sounds depressed and self destructive.

I will point out you are not his wife or his mother. You are his GF, and you have every right to end if if this is not satisfying for you. Your whole first post is a long list of why this person is a HUGE drain for you and their unwillingess or inability to seek health help for themselves.

Do what you have always done? Get what you have always gotten. You do not like what you are getting. So... Someone must change their behavior to the situation. He is not changing his much.

It is you then.

Call his parents up perhaps? Tell them to get down here and do an intervention for their son?

Break up with him? Tell him to move out?

Ask him to commit self to hospital?

Determine the best course of action based on whatever your options are --- then ACT. Make a change.

Hang in there!

MusicalRose 10-13-2012 08:48 PM

Feeling emotionally flooded about this right now. I think I am going to ask for a break tonight and I am dreading it. I hope that I am able to be done flooding by then.

MusicalRose 10-13-2012 11:59 PM

Okay, I asked for a break and he is accepting of it. Hurts right now, but I think I'll be okay. My fiance is out of town with one of his interests at the moment. Fortunately I have a party I can go to, but it is going to be a long night methinks.

MusicalRose 10-18-2012 04:35 PM


Originally Posted by GalaGirl (Post 159988)
Do I want to split? Hell, no!

But let's not be ostrich about it. The ultimate price of admission is a split. That price tag is ALWAYS there. Even in monoship, even in closed polyship of 2. That price tag is always there. If you stop tending to your partner's well being in the way you agreed to sign up to tend it? Watch that relationship wither and die on the vine. Your partner may exercise their right leave and choose to go. They do not have to choose to stay in a place where they are not fed.

They may even still love you and wish it could work. But loving you doesn't automatically mean staying with you. Feelings are separate from behavior. Perhaps it's healthier for them to love you from a distance.

I need this here. Living together during a split is not fun, but I am still managing to be a good friend and roommate, and mostly successful boundaries have been set in place.

We had a long talk yesterday, he mentioned a really bad depression and anxiety spiral he has gotten into. I listened to him and talked to him. Told him I am no longer giving unasked for advice, but that I will ALWAYS be there for help if he wants to ask for it.

Clarified with him why I am making the choice to not be together right now. He argued, saying it was my choice to be apart and that we could be together while he worked on it. I told him that we could go back together now and have three weeks of happy happy joy joy we didn't break up relief, and then old patterns would emerge again. I care enough about him that I need us to have a healthy and positive relationship for BOTH of us to want to get back together, and I don't think we can have that until he gets into a stable and dependable place. I asked how he planned on meeting my needs and helping me to keep my sanity if we were back together now, and he did not have an answer. I think he is more accepting of my reasoning now that I am framing it in terms of the hurt our relationship was causing me, because he does not want me to hurt.

I restated that if he does not get into a stable place for himself that we will always have these cycles of distance and pain from each other and that is not the kind of relationship I want to have with anybody. Struggles are valid, and I am there for support through them, but he needs to learn to hold some of his own baggage right now. He needs to learn how to make a plan and find a way to heal so these cycles do not continue. I am seeing some positive direction from him. I hope it continues. If not, I am glad I reaffirmed that I want distance physically and emotionally from him if he is not willing to do the self work. I don't want to stay around and sit on a bomb set to self destruct and I can't disarm it.

It is still painful, but I'm getting a better handle on the pain. I have started meditating again and I'm able to wrestle with those self-doubt demons when they start whispering in my ear.

GalaGirl 10-18-2012 06:08 PM

Glad that helped you from my blog thread.


He argued, saying it was my choice to be apart and that we could be together while he worked on it.
That is correct. It IS your choice. You are NOT WILLING to do this -- be together while he works on himself and endure these cycles of distance and pain from each other. It is NOT the kind of relationship you want to have with anybody.

You are allowed to feel that way and you are allowed to choose your own behavior.

He is allowed to feel however he feels. He is allowed to choose HIS behavior.

Good for you! I hope you start to feel better now that you navigated this rough spot. Everyone has to hold their own baggage. Sometimes it is hard to do, but you did it.


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