STILL feeling neglected and jealous...not sure what to do now.
Hi again all. A little background...me and hubby married 12 years. "Opened" our marriage this summer for various reasons. I am truly monogamous...guilty of serial monogamy. He is the one with the girlfriend. She recently admitted she is in love with him, but he is not with her...yet. Though i think he is and just doesnt know it. I recently voiced my frustrations with feeling neglected...pushed aside...and unimportant lately. She wants to spend every minute she can with him. And usually spends all day with him when im at work. And then all evening. I have stated that i would like some time with him also but have yet to get it. If i want time...i have to share it. And frankly im tired of it. He is MY husband. I am the one who has sacrificed more than my share in my relationship. Im the one who has to suffer bad times as well as good.
My question is...since i have repeatedly asked that we have time alone...and neither one seems to honor that...and i have repeatedly stated my frustration with felling pushed aside and neglected...what are some steps i can take to get myself through this. I feel very alone. And cant talk to friends/family. Its harder and harder to deal with the jealousy and negative feelings i have toward all of this. Leaving is not an option. I wouldnt consider it anyway. I just want help with getting through these feelings. And since i feel so ignored and disrespected it makes it harder. I am truly alone on this...except for u guys. Thanx for advice and thoughts.
I just had a quick read through your other thread, but haven't finished it yet, as it's a popular one! ;)
Firstly, I understand how scary and emotional poly can feel. Poly in any sense of the word - swinging, polysexual or polyamorous. There's no right or wrong. Polyamory isn't the Enlightened Way - it just fulfills some people's needs. I also understand the uncertainty about whether or not poly is a good fit for yourself. I've been in my poly relationship for two years and used to ask myself the same question all the time. Even now, it crops up.
Why consider poly?
I've always been a serial monogamist too, but here's why I am poly now:
- I believe that by restricting my lover, I am not enabling to be free, therefore, I am treating them as my possession
- I believe that being poly has and can teach me to be stronger, more secure and less anxious about abandonment
- I believe that though I do not feel I need it, I enjoy the benefit of being able to explore my attraction to others
- I believe that my girlfriend is happier and more fulfilled being poly than if we were monogamous
- I believe that it is possible to feel love (of varying degrees) for more than one person, because I have felt it
What I don't subscribe to:
- I don't believe I 'need' other people... I am currently actually happy with my girlfriend and would still be happy if we were monogamous (but who knows?)
- I have not yet loved any other people to the same degree that I love my girlfriend... not in the same way
Loving More Than One
Have you ever read Sternberg's theories on love? It can help to put things into perspective. I believe that consumate love, which comes from the three kinds of love (passion, commitment and intimacy) is more rare... beautiful... doesn't happen with everyone. If the kind of love you and your husband have is consumate, it might help you to worry less about the kind of love he might feel for other people. Even if he feels it... love cannot start as consumate love... it takes time to achieve that depth of emotion... and, in turn, you would have time to cope with your emotions on the topic. You can read a bit more about it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangular_theory_of_love
So.... do you want to talk a little more about why your marriage opened up? You don't have to of course; but I'm really interested to find out more about what's been going on. Before you opened up, how was your relationship doing?
Can poly help a marriage?
My girlfriend, incidentally, has a husband. They were on the brink of divorce when she gave the ultimatum of poly. He chose to continue in a poly marriage, rather than face divorce, and to be honest, it has been good for their relationship, and for them as individuals. (Notice that I didn't say 'easy').
However, because their relationship had cracks before they opened it up, the cracks widened before they started closing (which is common, since many people turn to poly to 'save' marriages). She was guilty of neglecting him and still does a little bit, but has started to grow closer to him. He has started to become less co-dependent and gives her space to breathe. Poly does seem to have helped their marriage in the long-run. It is possible that with time, it could help yours.
In the deep end
So, your husband's girlfriend... what's her deal? Is she single? Or does she have another partner(s)? That's a hell of a lot of time to be spending together. It seems to be like you've been thrown in at the deep end a bit. You became poly in the summer and they're spending every day and night together? Interesting.
Do you have guidelines? Or is he basically free to do what he wants, when he wants? Is he behaving like your husband at all, or not really giving a shit?
As for how much time he's spending with her, what does he want from this relationship, or poly in general? Do you have a hierarchical agreement, where you are considered the primary and she is a secondary? Is that what you want, but he won't commit to that?
It's important to have agreements laid down. Not rules - you can't control each other. But negotiate and communicate until guidelines are set and intended to be stuck to. Don't force a guideline that you know he doesn't want... there's no point.
How about the future? For example, I live in a house with my GF, her husband and our toddler. Our current agreement is that nobody else will be moving in. We use the terms primary and secondary. We are clear about our future hopes - e.g. my GF wants a long term submissive secondary partner, who she can see 1-4 times a month, talk to daily, and isn't opposed to love, but not looking for it either. She would consider having someone else move in, but isn't pushing or hoping for it. On the other hand, her husband has given a flat-out no on moving anyone else in... so that's ok. His wishes are out there on the table. If he was completely 'no' and she was completely 'yes', they would have big trouble.
Mono-poly can work. But only if everyone feels loved and happy. It's not working for you right now.
What is your husband like? Does he tell you how much he loves you, make you feel supported and understood? Is he committed to your marriage? Is he enjoying himself and finding an escape, with the safety net of you around?
Like you, I found the first year of poly very, very hard. I could never seem to find that security, no matter what techniques I worked on and what I told myself. My GF was struggling with being bisexual when I met her and as it turns out... she was only really 90% committed to our relationship for the first year or so. Suddenly, everything made sense to me. How could I possibly be 100%, or even 99% secure and work on my negative emotions, when she wasn't 100% invested? Not going to happen!
We often tell ourselves what we want to hear. I used to try to be secure in my relationship with my GF, but knew deep down that she wasn't completely committed. At the time, she had an online submissive and was about as wrapped up in him as your husband seems in his girlfriend. She'd talk to him on the phone daily, was super sweet on him. The sun shone out of him. He was wonderful and I could see why she loved him. I just knew that she secretly wondered if he would be better for her than myself and her husband. She denied it at the time, but has admitted it since. (Female intuition is rarely wrong!) But... I know that she had to explore that and let time and experience help her find happiness. I had to be harsh with myself at the time (and when she admitted it) and face the COLD HARD FACT that she was having those thoughts.
So I'll say the same thing to you.... how can you hope to work on your emotions, if he isn't 100% invested? How often do you see him? Less than her? More than her? How many hours a week does he spend with her vs you? What's the quality of the time like? Has he verbally insisted on his love and commitment to you?
In the meantime, whilst you maybe reply back :) , rather than waffle on about all the different techniques to cope with jealousy... try having a look at this brilliant article I read recently.... and show him page 6! http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf
I don't have wise things to say - scheduling can help, my husband and I have two nights a week for our own date/chill nights, and we don't talk to other people during our dates. If he is not willing to do that, or is willing to say he will but then doesn't follow through, it seems like counseling would be a smart next stop for you. A good poly friendly counselor can really help zero in on why things are happening the way they are.
Sparkle...extremeley informative. I will answer all of ur questions here now...and give as much info as i can. We opened after a long discussion with her. She had been without sex for a long time...she had left her husband and was without it long before she left. Her and her kids lived with us for 6 months when she left. I dont really remember how it came up...but it started as a joke...and lead to me exploring poly. I realized that not only could it help him and I grow and bond as a couple... but could ultimately help to make me a better person. I was previously EXTREMELY jealous and would flip out if he so much as looked at another woman. I could not continue my life or my marriage in this manner...and wanted to grow personally. I knew there had always been an attraction between them... so i also thought that i would rather know wut was happening and give my complete consent and have knowledge rather than something happening behind my back. Not that it would have happened...but i didnt even want the possibility of cheating out there.
I noticed almost immediately tje ways it HAS helped my marriage. And except for a few issues on my end i think...its still a positive in our lives.
His gf is single. She was our friend long before any of this. Her and her kids lived with us for 6 months when she left her husband. She is scared to death in todays world to start a sexual relationship with just anyone. She was without sex for a year before this started. Part of the reason this happened is so she could be safe while still meeting a physical need. They WERE just fwb. There are boundaries. All ageed on. I have to grant permission beforhand. Only becuz if i am needing him later that day becuz something is going on that is emotionally difficult...or i have something romantic planned for later for us. I do not want to be with him on the days he is with her.
Yes we have a hierarchy. I am primary. Though lately i feel secondary. My husband really is wonderful and tells me always how much he loves me...and is in love with me...and only wants to be in love with me. He says he does not want to be in love with anyone else. That i fill all of his emotional needs. As far as our time together...its not much. I work full time. And hes self employed. Sometimes hes working his butt off and sometimes hes without any work. She goes to school 2 days a week. So if he isnt working and she doesn't have class...shes here all day while im at work and stays until about 9 at night. That varies...but usually its about 9. I get home at 5. Sometimes the only time we get alone is when we go to bed. Most times in fact. Any time i mite have with him is shared with her. But he is very reassuring on his depth of emotion for only me. To this day...he still feels terribly guilty for the physicalness of it all with her. And i honestly think hes flattered that 2 women are in love with him. Since she admitted she is in love with him...now he must also meet her emotional needs too. I will not tolerate her living with us again. My kids are older...hers are young. And destructive. Lol. Shes here too much for my liking as it is. The few hours a week we have alone is usually very good. We talk...snuggle...etc. It just isnt enuff for me. She spends at least 6 times more time with him than i do. And thats a good week. Usually its more like ten. But he is completely invested in our marriage. This i know.
I hope i have answered ur questions. If not...i will if i missed something. Just let me know. Thank you for ur responses.
To anne...i can hardly make ends meet now. Especially with hubby out of work rite now. I had thought about therapy...i just absolutely cannot afford it.
One thing I started to discover a while back is that the old adage 'actions speak louder than words' can be very accurate. As I said; I really, really struggled during the first year of poly. No matter what my girlfriend said to me, something just wasn't clicking. I felt like I had the short end of the stick in terms of time, compared to her online guy.
It seems to me that you are undoubtedly feeling that way.
So... have I got this right? You and your husband live together. She and her kids now live somewhere else... but did live with you for 6 months, as she was going through a divorce and you guys helped her out?
What does he actually say when you tell him you're feeling neglected? Have you tried writing down on paper the actual time you spend together, vs his time with her? He is possibly not seeing it clearly - or, of course, you may not be seeing it clearly.
Me personally? I want a primary relationship that includes the most quality time spent with me. Or at least equal. If my girlfriend was out seeing a secondary more than she was at home, I wouldn't feel like a primary at all. I *want* to spend most of my time with my primary... and I expect my primary to want it too! If she doesn't want it... she has to tell me... that's her responsibility. It's not about forcing a relationship setup; but about being honest with your desires.
If he has deeper feelings for her than he's letting on, then perhaps you can encourage him to be honest about it. Maybe he does... but is scared that you might fly off the handle? Maybe he's telling the truth that he loves you and doesn't want to leave you... but isn't telling the WHOLE truth about his feelings for her?
I don't know... to me... the only reason he would spend more time at her place is a) he's in love with her, b) doesn't want to be with you, c) doesn't think spending TIME is showing his love (i.e. he feels or shows love in a different way)... or d) she's very needy and he wants to help her out?
Either way... you have to get your needs out there! Not just communicating them; but considering your options if something doesn't change. It's not about getting your own way - but he has to hear you. You're not happy. What is he going to do about it?
God, I had an issue when my girlfriend wanted to see a secondary once a week, because she didn't ever take her husband out on dates and I was wondering whether she thought it was ok to just leave myself and her husband at home all the time, but expect to go out with her boy. There's got to be a balance... otherwise... primary becomes safety net - you're just there for the familiarity, house, kids, etc. That's ok if that's the agreement - but you're clearly wanting more.
So, first step... write it down? See what it looks like in black and white over the next week... or if you can remember, write down what last week was like.
Second step... get your point across. Really get it across. You're not happy, right? You feel like a secondary? Don't give up on communicating that until something changes.
Third step... say goodbye to requesting that he comes home, or any kind of ad-hoc arrangement. Get him (and her) to work out a dating schedule. If he wants her as another primary, who lives outside the house, then he can split his time equally. If he wants her as a secondary, then he can spend a bit less time over there. Get him to commit to certain days of the week and set a limit on how often she is there when you are there.
So it could go like this:
Mon - you and him
Tue - him and her - at her place
Wed - you and him
Thur - him and her in the day; him and you at night
Fri - all three of you can hang out
Sat - with you
Sun - with her
Something like that - whatever works. You shouldn't have to share your home all the time. When you get home from work, you need to relax and unwind. Unless you want more, there's no need for her to be there when you are there more than once or twice a week. Having a schedule might make expectations and limits easier to navigate.
Incidentally - he doesn't need to tend to her emotional needs. He doesn't owe her anything. If she's in love with him... well... great... but if he's not in love? He has to stand up and speak, I think... I get the feeling he's not telling you the complete truth... or he's bending over too far for her.
We have an agreement-since we do have kids-that we get a date night each week and IF THAT ISN'T DISRUPTED-we can have a date night with someone else each week.
Additionally, we have specified times when no cell use or computer use is allowed (giving us uninterrupted personal time) this includes bedtime, meal times, date times, shower/bath times.
It sounds like you need to break out a calendar and make a schedule.
Ok. Get comfy. Sparkle...yes. U got the previous living arrangements correct. When i say i feel neglected he says he is sorry, that he doesn't mean for me to feel like that. He knows we dont get much time together and wishes our schedules would allow more. My job makes it very hard at times.
I haven't wrote it down but have made mental notes. But i will from now on.
I eant the same as u. Im primary. Treat me like it. I use primary for a REASON. Because i am and will not settle for less.
I tried again last night to see his feelings for her. He vows there is no romantic feelings at all. Only close friendship. He cares for her...but not in that way. He would tell me otherwise.
On ur multiple choice options...both C and D are accurate. She is very needy and he feels sorry for her sometimes. But he is not at her house much ever. She is always at ours.
I said if it doesnt change i will call it off. Other than making me face my demons and my want for personal growth...i get nothing from it. So i dont care.
I have brought up a schedule before. But our lives are very hectic and schedules aleays fail. We just kinda go with the flow. But limits as to when she is over is a definite. Also...schedules are too restrictive to him. Nobody will tell him when he can and cannot spend time with his wife. And if he doesnt feel like seeing her on a particular day...he will tell her to stay home. My job keeps me late sometimes...and if our scheduled time was cancelled because of my job...he would not be happy keeping a scheduled day with her. Its complicated...but makes sense. To me anyway. Lol. The problem is that even though shes his "gf"...shes also a friend. And since all of her previous friends were through her ex husband...we are literally her only friends now.
And yes...he IS bending over too far. I made it a point to say that she will now EXPECT him to fulfill her emotional needs as well and wasnt sure he was aware of that. The look on his face said he wasnt. I said i dont know if he understands how hard that will be...if hes willing to do that...to have to emotionally keep two women happy. He said he will listen if she needs to talk...as he always has...and be there as a friend...as he always has...but his only emotional concern and obligation is to me...that i am the one he is worried about making happy. He said this with her wont last forever...and when its run wutever course it does...im still the one hes married to and in love with. And hes not concerned about whether that pisses anyone else off or not. I know that sounds terrible...but im rephrasing with the cliff notes version.
So thats it. I understand shes lonely and wants to do stuff with us and be around us. I just cant be mean.And neither can he.
Loving...i LUV the "IF that doesn't get disrupted" clause. Very nice.
Hope y'all arent asleep. Lol.
And if it were up to me with he schedule...i would have every day of the year. Lol. Im greedy. And not ashamed to admit it.
And sparkle...i must agree. Poly is one one of the scariest things i have ever dealt with. Who knew. All those books i read...and i read them all...dont cover the actual truth behind it. Its all sugarcoated. My opinion only...dont b offended pleez.
She has also thot about a schedule... but same thing with her. Her life is very hectic with school...kids...homework...other obligations. But i have made my desire for time with him known. Hell...not even just my desire...my NEED.
And i agree...one of us wont be. But it damn sure wont be me thats going anywhere.
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