An update on my mono/poly situation and some questions.
Hello, everyone. I'm going to apologize in advance for a LONG and possibly exhausting story. There is so much going on that I feel like I need to give background on everyone's involvement. (It also looks like I'll have to divide it into two posts because I've gone far over the character limit.)
Three months ago, I posted about being a mono in love with a poly long distance who was experiencing NRE with someone else locally and letting it negatively affect our relationship. We managed to get past that which was great. This being my first foray into this type of relationship, I have gotten much more comfortable with the fact that there are others. There are a few things I'm working on still, but I am proud of how far I've come because I love him and want to support him. I referred to him in my introduction post as K so I'll stick with that. In order to explain everything, I'll call her L. In this time that he and I have been involved, there has been M (she's the one who comes and goes) and he also has S who he met two months ago. Those last two are also long distance.
The way I understood his relationship with L was that there was an intense emotional connection from the beginning, nothing physical had happened, but he wasn't opposed to the idea (I had asked him if anything was going on and that's what he told me). When she expressed that she wanted a monogamous relationship, he explained to her that he saw her more as a friend. She accused him of sending mixed messages (I can't argue with her on that since I was even confused on the nature of their relationship) and left.
M knew about his polyamory, but invoked a DADT policy. She wanted monogamy from him with the desire to someday get married and have kids. He was very clear that he could never give that to her or anyone (he's not the marriage type and he doesn't want children), but she wanted him anyway. Her leaving each time was a result of being confronted with the reality of who he is, not wanting to accept it, and leaving until she was ready to deny it again. When he told me this, I explained to him that if she can't accept who he is, it was always going to be that way, but the decision to put an end to it was not mine. Sticking together and working it out or severing ties completely is their business. DADT just isn't healthy to me.
S did not know from the beginning and I'm honestly not sure how much she knows at this point. He said that he would talk to her about it but I haven't received an update. Constantly asking starts to feel like nagging so I decided to leave it alone for a bit.
He and I haven't seen each other for nearly six months. I only have so much vacation time, I do work most weekends, I don't have the financial stability to go see him every weekend that I have off, and because he doesn't always get along with his family who live near me, I told him he doesn't have to come down here. If he comes to see me, he'll feel guilty about not going to see them as well and neither of us want to lie to them by hiding the fact that he came down. I prefer going up there anyway because there's more to do where he lives. When he told me that he was coming down for his sister's wedding, we both got excited at the idea of seeing each other. Then the fighting began.
Before M left him again, they had made plans to get together just before he comes down here. Things between them had never gotten physical because they'd make plans to get together and then she'd cancel the trip and leave him. This time it seemed like a sure thing so we talked about it, he explained things would most certainly be physical, and he wanted to check on my feelings about it. I told him that I appreciated him talking to me beforehand as I'm still working on being okay with his being sexual with other people (mostly for my sexual health), but to not let that stop him. I felt like that was fair to both of us and the idea of it has given me less knots in my stomach over time so I know it's something I'll fully accept eventually.
Then he asked "What about telling you after the fact?" I have always known that it was a possibility because while I prefer to be told beforehand, that's not always realistic because every social encounter whether it's platonic or not, is different. I knew he had met S and though he hadn't immediately told me they were romantically involved, I knew something was developing. When he asked me that question, I automatically felt it pertained to her. I asked him when it happened and he told me it was when they met. That was when I got upset. Not because it happened, but because he waited two months to tell me. I'm not expecting a status report on every encounter he has immediately after he has them, but knowing that I'm still working on being completely comfortable and that I rely on his honesty to help me with that, waiting two months was too long. Especially since he was informing me of his planned meeting at the same time. It's easier for me to accept if I can process one thing at a time and not have everything thrown at me at once. Had he told me about what happened with S at the same time that he was telling me about his feelings for her (a few weeks after he met her), I would have been more ok. Waiting two months makes me feel like he doesn't trust me to be rational and like he was protecting himself from whatever reaction I might have had. He confessed that he doesn't trust himself to be as rational as I've been because he still can't believe that I'm willing to support him since all of the others haven't. That's why it took him so long to tell me. After a lot of fighting, I apologized for reacting that way and he said wouldn't do that to me again knowing that it caused me harm. I explained to him that in order for any of it to work with any of us, he HAS to be ethical which means being honest and respectful even if he's afraid of the reaction. Things started going well again.
In the span of a week, M came back and then left again. He was sad about it and since I've been the person who accepts him the most, he's come to lean on me when things go wrong. I wish he could be as comfortable with the others, but sadly, that's not what's happening right now. Then he confessed that leaning on me made him feel guilty because it made me feel more like a friend than a lover. I wasn't even aware that he separated the two so much because I've been both to him the entire time. It's important to be both when you love someone and that especially includes being there for that person during the hard times. I don't think I've ever been more confused in my life about my role in his. It turned into a discussion (a fight according to him) about his interpretations of the people in his life and asking me why I've never left him like the others have. Four hours later, we hadn't really gotten anywhere and he said "This is exactly why I separate the two. I try to tell you about what's going on with me and it turns into a fight about us." I told him that I didn't even want to fight. I wanted to talk about him and his issues with the others but that he brought me into it with that statement. How am I supposed to ignore something like that? We both decided to step back for the night because we were really tired of talking about it and getting nowhere. We came back and it seemed like we were both willing to move past it. We were talking and laughing and saying loving things to each other.
Last week was another argument about how the more loving and accepting I am, the more trapped he feels. He's gotten used to the game playing, emotional abuse, and "does she/doesn't she love me?" aspects of his past relationships and my enduring faithfulness is confusing to him and makes him feel like there's no excitement because there is no chase. I don't give my heart easily but when it came to him, it was easier than other times because there was so much honesty. There was never much of a chase because I had made the decision to trust him and his actions in the beginning helped me trust him sooner than I had expected. Now there's no excitement because of that? We had talked about my steadfastness being confusing to him way before we started fighting so it's not like that was news, but he was more appreciative of it back then. Suddenly, it's a problem.
I have two gut reactions about this. The first is that he didn't like being called out on his behavior in that first fight and he's still harboring some resentment even though I told him that I was willing to move past it and followed through on it by never using it against him in the other arguments. The second being, we've been apart for so long and we have this inevitable routine of just talking instead of going out and doing things together. That can get boring and frustrating because we're both people who enjoy going out and doing things. When we go out separately, we can talk and exchange pictures about what we did but there are no activities nurturing our relationship, no new memories being made. I told him I needed a break for at least a day or two. We wound up only making it a day because we missed each other. He's supposed to be here late next Monday night. We plan on seeing each other Tuesday evening after I get out of work. At this point he said he doesn't know what's going on in his head when it comes to us but that he's still excited to see me and we're both hoping that we can fix whatever has gone completely wrong with us.
Second part. Again, sorry it's soooo long!
I don't want to give up on us because what we have has always been fantastic despite the rough patches that are inevitable since no relationship is ever perfect. I believe in working on problems if the love still exists and so far I still feel it from both of us. I just wonder sometimes if he expected us to be perfect and now that it isn't, he's throwing out all sorts of conflicting excuses as a way of trying to break me so that I'll leave like all of the others and he won't have to deal with confrontation. Confrontation seems to be one of his biggest fears.
I am very proud of the strides I've made in accepting a lifestyle I've come to respect. It's not an overnight change for me but because I love him, it's important for me to not deny him his polyamory. I want to get to the point where I'm completely okay with it and be able to meet the other women in his life because I believe I can. I just want it to be ethical for everyone involved and sometimes I worry he doesn't understand that.
Here are my questions:
Was I wrong for reacting the way I did in that first fight?
Does it seem like he's using poly as a cover for wanting to have as many relationships as possible sans the guilt? In my darkest moments, I've felt that way but the pessimist in me can be very strong and deceitful so I'm not sure if it's just making things up because I've been betrayed so much in my life. I've been prone to self-fulfilling prophecies as a result of negative thinking and it's something I've worked very hard to change in myself.
Am I giving myself false hope by believing we can get back to where we were and maybe come out stronger?
You mean that fight that was a discussion, that he decided to label a fight so you could feel bad for having a fight instead feeling good that you were trying to discuss what was going on so you could be clear about what is going on?
I think it doesn't matter why he is using poly as the reasoning for what he is doing, he is for some reason choosing to pretty much only date monogamous women, making a hell of a lot of drama along the way for everybody. He sounds like he is not in a mature place in his life, and he is actively acting out to push people away. That's hard enough to deal with in person, in a LD mono/poly relationship, that's a giant burden, especially if he's not actively trying to work on it with counseling.
So what if he feels guilty for not seeing his family if he visits, that's something for him to deal with. It's not very fair to get into multiple long distance relationships then put the burden of all the travel on his girlfriends so he isn't inconvenienced. Let him visit you half the time if you want to continue the relationship. He doesn't have to mention visiting town, and really, a grown up can say "I'm visiting my girlfriend and am not free to visit family because we will be busy together." If you haven't seen him for 6 months and he's not making the effort to come visit you, I think that says a lot.
He kept being sexual with somebody else from you for for two months before telling you? He lacks self worth but isn't doing anything about it except dating multiple women who would like to be monogamous with him instead of seeing it's not good for anybody and stopping the cycle? He treats somebody working really hard to support him in being poly shabbily?
I don't remember if you are both going to be living in the same city at some point in the next year or so, but if not - no, I don't think you will come out stronger, and I would guess that getting back to where you were would take a couple of years (of both of you trying, not just you), counseling and learning communication skills on his end at the least. Sorry, I'm sure that's not what you want to hear, but that is my feeling on the situation.
edit: I'll suggest this book, when I was struggling with a relationship, and I loved him, but the relationship still wasn't working well, it helped me a lot to disengage from "but I love him" to "is this relationship a good and healthy one for me to be in" I hate seeing people suffer and suffer because they love somebody, instead of being able to look at things objectively and make good choices for themselves. Love is Never Enough
Thank you for responding. Of course, none of it is what I want to hear, but life isn't about what I want to hear.
We got around to talking about it again last night. I prefaced by saying that I didn't want it to turn into a fight. I just wanted to calmly discuss everything. Turns out he has felt terrible ever since that initial fight and hasn't been able to shake it. He had gotten caught up in the euphoria of everything without thinking about the consequences. Not a justification of his behavior, but an honest response which I'll take. When we had that fight, I pointed out that what he did wasn't only wrong to me, but to everyone he's involved with. He's decided that he's better off single right now while he works on himself so he's ending all of his relationships, including ours. Something like this is always sad, but it's for the best. We're going to remain friends because we don't want to lose each other. We agreed that we're still important to each other. I'm not closing the door on us romantically because once he's in a better place, I think we still have a chance if we both want it. I'm not waiting around for him either though. If I meet someone else, I meet someone else and I'm not going to have him be a reason to stop me from finding that happiness.
I don't regret any of it either. Because of everything that has happened, I have had my eyes opened to a lifestyle that I find beautiful. I don't post on here much but I visit often. I've read so much, I respect the paths you all have chosen, and I wish everyone well. I don't think I would have done that without falling for him.
I'm glad you found a solution that works for you both, although it might not be what you'd have wished for.
And I hope you'll manage to keep it on the friendship level, since your relationship was LD and the difference might not seem so obvious at first, with the risk of falling back into the old patterns and you never being truly free to go on.
I wish both of you much luck, I hope he is able to figure out some of the stuff driving him , and I hope you find happiness wherever your path leads you.
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