Its our first big hiccup and Im in need of advice
Hi there, Im Bex.
My husband and I decided at my request to explore a poly relationship nearly a year ago. In that time we had been pretty open with each other about interests and he had one connection with a woman when he was away for work. When he got back we discussed it and I was fine. I clarified my need to know what is going on (I think that might be a personal kink - which Im not sure is normal or not), and that he needed to tell me asap when things arose. From my point of view I have been proactive in letting him know before anything happens, so that he knows where I am at and how I am feeling about the interactions and attractions I have with other people.
We recently hit a big road bump...
He slept with a number of my friends and did not tell me about it. He insists that he was planning to, but once he hadn't said anything about the first one, he felt that if mentioned the others he was concerned about how I would react around them since I was working on a project with them. Most of them were single events, one person he slept with twice and there was also a girl he was seeing for a few weeks (which ended up being the reason I found out, from a friend and not him). When we first discussed it I was upset, I felt he had plenty of time to tell me, and he was being open with her around our friends when I wasn't there. Just not with me. He told me about 2 of the people he had slept with when I asked if there were more. As I was starting to get myself out of my slump, I bumped into another friend of mine and gave her a run down of the stresses in my life she let me know that he had not disclosed all of the truth, and that I needed to re-approach him. This was a week after first finding out he had been decietful. We had another arguement, and I told him that I knew he had been lying, and that I needed the truth. It was a total of 7 of my friends.
I feel really stupid, and I am completely blown away by his actions. In my mind, entering a polyamory relationship with my husband would give us the opportunity to share more love, to explore that new world together and still check in to make sure the other was ok, and we weren't moving too quickly. I realise now that we have serious communication issues, and I have lost my trust. I dont want to give up the idea of being poly - it just resonates for me, but I dont know whether I can come back to the middle with him on this one. Its not that I dont love him, I do. I just feel really hurt, and left out. I feel like all of my friends were party to a big lie, and of the multitudes that knew, only one could be honest with me. Even the person who I thought was my best friend couldn't give me that, and for me communication is the non-negotiable. Open and honest on all fronts to all parties.
I dont know if I am over-reacting, but I am not sure that I want to continue to be with him. He says it was all one big mistake.... to me it feels like many.
I read a few of the advice forums and I really appreciated the range of perspectives that you gave. I could use some of that myself if anyone has the time.
Hey there, welcome.
You are seriously doubting yourself here? I can't really see any reason why you should feel like you are overreacting right now. I would be through the roof. It doesn't matter what name you give this or he is trying to excuse his behaviour with ... he completely broke and violated your trust, as well as your 'friends' (I would seriously reconsider if I would call those people friends any longer as well). What is this situation?! Poly doesn't mean that you have an excuse for sleeping around as long as you plan to tell your partner at some uncertain point about what you are doing. Even one friend would be a total deal breaker for me as well as one stranger, friend makes it even worse from my point of view, let alone a whole bunch of them.
I can only tell what I would do: I would distance myself from those people and him. No one who is able to go behind my back and look me in the face afterwards without feeling the need to tell me what happened is someone I would want in my life in any thinkable way.
Sorry that this happened.
You are not over-reacting. You had agreements in place, you had communicated with him your need to know about anything that came up asap.
"Planning on" telling you? Worried about how you would react around them because you were working on a project together? Perhaps he should have thought about that before he slept with them! And why is he worrying about how you would react around them when he should be worrying about his relationship with you!
I, too, would be completely blown away by his actions - they are unconscionable. Even one "slip up" - getting carried away with a good friend one night at a party, for instance - could be a deal breaker for many people (mono or poly). But seven - seven is no "Ooops, honey, I screwed up." Seven is systematically taking advantage of the situation with no regard for you, your friendships, or your relationship.
To be successful, poly requires honesty and trust - and even then there is no guarantee that things will work. He failed on the honesty and destroyed your trust.
"Poly" is not an excuse for being a FLAMING ASSHAT!
First of all, you seem like you're handling this really well. I mean, I haven't been there for your discussions, but in your writing I see a gentleness and a bravery.
It seems to me that your husband went a little berserk on testing boundaries, that he might be one of those people who needs to step over limits to understand them... and that he may have gotten a little high on the new-person-to-sleep-with thing. He may be a little addicted to it. And he may be ashamed of that addicted, ashamed of his new sexual freedom, and deeply afraid of losing you and probably pretty conflicted about his actions.
Yes, he acted a FOOL.
But that doesn't mean you ability to communicate is broken.
How is he behaving now? Do you believe in his devotion to you? Does he understand the multitude of boundaries that he crossed? Is he even asking for forgiveness? Is he trying to re-earn your trust?
You guys can work through this if it's what you really need and you will come out with an arsenal of new knowledge and deeper love.
First I would like to thank you all for your responses, I feel a little lonely at the moment, and it feels great to have the support.
Phy - What have said was exactly how I felt at first. My instant response was to tell him and everyone that was involved to go to hell. And some days that same response rises up in me. Mostly because honesty and open communication is No. 1 when it comes to any of my relationships, friends or otherwise. But I know my mum was a black sheep in her family, and I understand that honesty and openness is not the 'norm' for a lot of other people. I have definitly reshuffled these 'friends' around, but what I have also tried to do is include them in the process of what I am going through, and the expectations I have of friends. I guess everyone can learn from the mistakes of others.
One of the girls has blatantly denied anything happened and that my husband who we shall call (c), is lying. The only reason I know that isn't the case is because the situation when he slept with her was a threesome, and the other part of the threesome has been supportive of my need to be able to talk about the whole mess. The girl who cannot be honest with me is definitely gone from the friends list. The others, I am reserving judgement. Some thought that it was his place to say - others thought he had said something and that I just didn't want to talk about it.
One of the greatest fears I have is that if I stay with him, that his behaviour will continue to dishonest.... and the recent situation will just cause him to be more secretive. I dont think I could manage another situation like this.
JaneQ - I totally agree that he has taken advantage of the situation. I know there is no excuse for the 'oops I slipped and fell on top of one of your friends' thing. He kept saying 'situations just came up', but I know him well enough to know that he is a man that is very capable of making such situations arrise.
I agree that he had no regard for me, but I do believe in his head he lied to himself, and that is how he was able to justify it. It freaks me out that he is capable of convincing himself of a reality that is so far from the truth and so hurtful to others. I really appreciate the comment that you make about the fact that he should be worrying about his relationship with me rather than how I would react when I found out. That really gives me some food for thought.
Eudora - Whe I am not completely of my rocker and bouncing from tears to anger what you have said is pretty much the best conclusion I can come to about it
He is a fool, but he does seem to know that. At first he was very defensive about his actions, and would throw some blame my way.... but he has since settled back to earth - Im not sure which planet he went to, but I really think it all went to his head (pardon the pun). I really think he had convinced himself his actions were fine, and then when he realised the consequences and looked at his actions from a perspective other than 'I was just having fun', he realised that he wasn't single, and that consideration of the other person in the partnership was part of the deal.
He is trying.... I am just so afraid. I am afraid that he is just going to wait until I am back in a place where there is no doubt, and then abuse that space.
I have asked him to do a couple of little communication exercises, to try and engage his mouth and get him a little more aware of what is happening in his head.
I have moved out, for the mean-time because I am in desperate need of my own safe space, and he can be invited in.
Everyone believes he is devoted to me - even the people he slept with, a couple of whom were very clear that he always spoke of me with respect and love if a conversation about me came up.
Do I believe it? No - but I know that I have a bunch of my own issues that I carry around anyway...
I have given myself a timeframe of 6 months, to see if we can work through the issues that this has brought up.... I know that if I continue to feel the insecurities that I have at the moment then it will never work - he wont be able to go to the cornerstore without me thinking there is something going on.
I guess I dont even know right now what to think. My instant reaction was to leave, and to be mean and nasty to everyone involved.... but that isn't who I am. That reaction is the one that has been born out of an ugly situation, but the people are not bad people. But I am hurt as a result of their actions. It has brought up huge buckets of shame for me, which is why I think I want to leave.
If I stay what will people think, if I go what will people think ... blah blah blah I know it doesn't matter... but it does.
Im not perfect, I have made plenty of mistakes in the past, but I have generally learnt from them. And I would like to believe that he can learn from this, as can all the people who were involved.
I just struggle with it, it has been a month and a half, and still feels very raw.
I have pulled in all the 'guidelines' for our relationship because I am feeling very insecure.
Its hard, there are no rights and wrongs in how do deal with it. There is no guide book that says - if this happens, do this. I feel like I am walking through all of this stuff, and Im doing it alone.
I want to be able to work through it, but I dont want him to abuse that. And I feel like I dont know. I know he will never do "THAT" again. But that doesn't stop him from doing other things that aren't "THAT", but just as difficult to deal with. He is a man that does not put a toe in to check the water.... he jumps.
In the end i need communication... I just dont know if he knows how.
Thanks all for your input x
Sigh. I do not envy your position. *hug* I am sorry you are hurting. :(
We have our playbook. It is meant as a tool in times of having to discern, solve things, or call into account.
Say it were me and my DH.
I find out he's had 7 people and not told me? I check playbook. 7 strikes for lying. He's out.
Say it were my DH trying to determine his best behavior as the things unfolded in slow motion:
"I want to hit on her friend/coworkers that she's having a project with without telling her. Can I do that? Check playbook."
"I messed up and got all sexy with her friend. What do I do? Check playbook"
Lies or lies of omission are a one strike. I don't want that. Better to hard truth it and apologize and ask to work it out on 3 strikes."Do I have 6 more affairs? Check playbook."
Hell no, I already have to make good on the first one!
Are you even willing to trust him again? You don't sound like you are.
If you not not willing to be sloshed up, end it. I know I wouldn't be willing for more of this.
Polyamory and polygamous relationship can be done well -- but not like this. He's got weak interpersonal/honesty skills and he's got "kid in the candy store" probs.
Knowing what you know about him -- why would you want to sign up for more? What's the return on continued investment here? Is it worth while for you?
Only you can answer that kind of thing while you are in your 6 mos of soul searching. Be careful and take care of yourself as you heal.
Thanks for your thoughts
It was great to go through your rule book... and the point system is very clear.
Thank you for taking the time to respond.
I am really doubting... but with emotions still so high, and being in a foreign country, I am going to work through stuff before deciding. And I figure that what ever my decision is, that we have spent enough time before this as good friends... that we can both take some learning from the situation.
It has been such a curve ball as we had been planning on starting a family next year, and I know now that I cant rely on him to consider my emotional and physical health and safety, I am really at a crossroads of - OMG!! I had a plan, what happened to my plan..... That is certainly off the books now.
He isn't the person I had convinced myself he was. I think I had been fooling myself the whole time.
I find myself pulling away more and more, and as I do so he is more and more desperate for reassurance, and I have none to give.
He has just recently publicly appologised to all of our friends, and the project team for his actions, which I didn't really expect.
I guess if I had been behaved that way - it would have been because I was going in for the "I dont respect you, and am a chicken" relationship ender. So really trying to get it from his point of view.... And even if this is the end, I dont want it to end it the bad state of affairs that it is in right now.
< Sigh >
At least I now I have reached out and have a community to talk to.
Which I appreciate.
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