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cattwoman 08-02-2010 06:30 PM

Where to begin...
 
I am pretty new to poly relationships-little over 7 months... And this is my first relationship... This relationship has so many benefits but at the same time so many problems I am having trouble sorting out my feelings. I would appreciate any insight that any can provide... Where to begin??

We "met" through facebook-the husband and I had a history in high school (nothing major-we didn't even date officially however I was his first). Apparently they had previously talked about introducing a girlfriend for them both to share. I came over one snowy night and we had sex-at the time it was thought to be a one time adventure... The husband started developing feelings for me-more intense than what I think his wife would have expected. We discussed being exclusive-a relationship with them both. I was open to the idea because I enjoyed each of their company, was physically attracted to them both and we had a great time with each other-enjoy same activities, etc. The problems began when he started showing me lots of attention and expressed feelings towards me. She has had moments where she and I are close but her "daemons" creep up and she "shuts herself out". (her words) I do really care for her but she has a lot of emotional baggage that causes her to put up insurmountable walls that I have climbed numerous times. She admits that she closes people out rather than dealing with problems and ignores problems. I'll admit I hate confrontation and dealing with issues as much as the next person but she is really good at this. I have pushed and pushed for her to let me in all the while developing deep feelings and connection with him and juggling the balance of a poly relationship.

Our relationship has had numerous ups and downs-when things are good they are great-we laugh together, enjoy simply hanging out together and she and I share similar interests. He works night shift so there have been lots of nights where we will have a "girls night" in which I'll spend the night and she and I usually do "play" together and I do enjoy the time we share together. When he is at work and I am not there he and I do text frequently-we have a relationship via text because phone calls are not permitted. He and I will "talk" into the wee hours of the morning about everything. We have a very honest relationship, romantic and flirtatious relationship that is limited to texting. When they are having "alone" nights I respect their time together and usually do not interfere with their time.

The problem is that my feelings for her have not developed as rapidly as my feelings for him and I believe that the majority of this is due to her closing every door and window not allowing me entrance. I do care deeply for her and have always said that I would never hurt her-I have even offered that if this is not what she expected then I would leave. I understand when this all started that she expected someone for them to share and she and I have just not reached the level of intimacy that he and I share. That being said he and I have NEVER done anything to be considered cheating. Neither of us have even considered it-he loves her and he loves what she has sacrificed for his happiness. I look at them and can see his love for her. And I care about her to much to consider hurting her in that way-I respect their marriage, her feelings, and their family (they have 2 children of their own and a "foster" child that will be leaving in October). I honestly would never want to hurt anyone in that way and I truly do care about her. There has been incidents in which alcohol makes him a bit more touchy and I have always been the "angel". (at a party once they were he took me aside and kissed me-I declined his advances but that night ended with her berating me in front of their friends and talking about me to my face-alcohol and emotions...) He and I have discussed this at length-he and I don't want a separate relationship-for one I couldn't do for him all that she does (shes home schools their children, basically waits on him hand and foot and is an excellent mother and wife-I'm not so domestic and have no desire to be). Not to mention I actually do like my life the way it is-I work hard and play hard. I have fewer responsibilities and that is how I like my life. Secondly he doesn't want just me-he wants us both.

For the most part I have embraced my role as a secondary-I have a demanding job and lots of responsibilities. As I have said I enjoy my life the way it is. The problems have been creeping up more and more.... She is going through an emotional roller coaster right now. I actually fear she is suffering with severe depression and manic depression. She and I have talked so many times about her seeking someone to talk to (the problems are not solely our relationship but I do see its role in her feelings). She has suffered with bulemia, physical abuse and she has eluded to some sexual abuse. I too have had a severe episode of depression (lost my job and my husband within 1 month of each other and was suicidal and severely depressed but with counseling and medications I have significantly improved). I see the pain that she has and I have encouraged help numerous times. I also know how difficult admitting you need help can be. I have tried being supportive so many times. This includes even when I am not feeling like giving emotionally (due to things occurring in my own life) I still make that effort. Many times my efforts go ignored or un-reciprocated. Recently I have been sick and even hospitalized and the limitations of the relationship became more evident. Initially it was the realization that due to the nature of this relationship I can't have certain things that a "normal" relationship would-a partner that can be with me emotionally and physically when I need them. Don't get me wrong they were supportive but not to the extent that I needed (and I really do understand that-its the nature of their responsibilities and their life but it does still hurt-and I have realized that my feelings are valid. I can be hurt and feel those emotions and I am dealing with them.). At the same time other stresses have made my situation more evident-she is having her "issues" and despite me needing more from the relationship I have to emotionally check in with her and keep her going... It has gotten to the point where I am finding that my emotional needs have not been being met and I need more. However at the same time she has been having more issues with her depression and has been needing more encouragement. I have found myself resenting her more and more because of her demands on my emotional needs and her lack of response to me. This resentment has caused me to be less responsive to her but I have needed so badly to be selfish.
Finally yesterday when I couldn't take the idle chatter and elusiveness from her I asked if we could talk. I have been doing extensive readings and research on my feelings and what could be done to address the problem. I had decided to try and get to the root of the issue-what are her daemons, what can I do to in effect make her more comfortable, tell them my needs and why I have been feeling the way I have and my responses to her. The problem is immediately she came back with "I don't want to be ganged up on" (which we have never done but when she gets in those irrational explosions she is prone to you pretty much have to get in her face and call her out. The last discussion she kept saying we were cheating and having a relationship behind her back-there has been no such relationship and we asked for evidence... there is none bc there has never been any cheating... finally after discussing it she acknowledged it but that is the way things have to be with her-you must literally beat a dead horse... repeatedly!) The problem is that I needed this convo to be about my needs and how they were not being addressed and how emotionally I feel like I give so much support and receive little in return)... I was so hurt because once again my needs gets swept under the rug and her issues are getting dealt with. She has finally agreed to professional help-which I want her to receive not because I do see it as a help to our relationship but also I do see how sad and depressed she is-I have lived that and I don't want to see her go through that. Its scary and sad and you feel isolated and alone! However when do I get to have my feelings addressed?? It pained me so much to say it but I even offered a break to allow her to focus on herself and not have to deal with "us". She accepted the break and I will respect her needs.

I guess my biggest issue is being selfish-I know that she needs this help. I have pushed and pushed for several months as I have watched her become more and more depressed. While she has pushed he and I away. While I have pushed back even when I was hurting myself. I don;t like that I am resenting her and her feelings. I don't want it to be like that-I want to be able to care for her and show her the feelings that I have but at what extent?? Loosing my sense of self and my own self preservation?? I am happy that she is taking the right steps but I was being selfish yesterday-I needed it to be about my feelings and needs for once. So now we are on this "break"-she said he can still text with me and that she will when she can-and I understand that. I hope that she will be able to find a happiness that will include me in their life (I do worry that in this process of healing she will realize that "this" isn't what she wanted or that I'm not what she bargained for. And if that happens I am willing to walk away... it will be painful but I have to respect her feelings).

I don't know what I am even asking for... Some insight??? Any thoughts?

idealist 08-02-2010 10:14 PM

Welcome to the forum!! I read your entire post and I have some feedback for you.
You said that they had previously talked about introducing a girlfriend for them both to share….then you all discussed about you being in an exclusive relationship with them both.

You agreed to that because you initially enjoyed being with both of them, you were physically attracted to them both and you had a great time with them. But, once you realized that wasn’t working exactly as planned, you began to consider yourself as a secondary. Now you realize that your needs aren’t being met in this situation. Not only that, but you are now trying to rescue her and have developed what seems like a codependent relationship with her.

This is what I would suggest. Attend a few Al-Anon meetings which will help you get “detached” from her dysfunction.

The next important suggestion I have is that you begin to give yourself permission to find a partner or partners that can meet more of your needs.

The good thing about Polyamory is that there is no certain set formula for relationship configurations. If you spend some time reading this forum, you will see all types of configurations. There is no reason why you couldn’t take on another lover or two while still seeing him and/or her if you choose.

This is my opinion…….Your triad relationship is under too much pressure because of the idea that it is closed and the three of you went into it hoping you would all get your needs met within the triad. Now that it’s obvious that you will not, it’s time to expand your horizons…..just my opinion!!!

Good luck!!!

redpepper 08-03-2010 05:40 AM

as idealist says, do some reading on here and see what info you can find. There is lots on the rights of a secondary among other things. Perhaps something will shed some light on your ventures and help. :)

cattwoman 08-03-2010 01:17 PM

He and I are completely aware of her codependency issues (and usually I am very independent!) We were discussing things and he joked last night that shes latched to his leg while hes chasing me, my heart and feelings down.... I am aware of my need to be a caregiver (I have had so much counseling, etc-alcoholic abusive father, single mother...). I recognize my need to fix people and when I had gone through my divorce and job loss I had extensive therapy in which we addressed this. My former bosses were a husband and wife team and she was bipolar. I became extremely codependent to the point I completely lost myself and my self-esteem to them and it fractured my life-including my previous marriage. My friends that were present during that time just recently pointed out that my relationship with her is very similar and warned me of repeating old habits... was very sobering!

I have been reading a lot here and other sites and extensively exploring secondary rites and such and was so prepared to discuss my concerns on Sunday and it became all about her again... I know that she has needed help for an extensive amount of time (not just because of this or me) But he and I discussed last night that I just needed to be heard. And while I feel he does listen and hear me (he has dealt with her behavior like this for 14 years) I needed some acknowledgment of my feelings from her. I feel like she is the center of attn and if that attn starts to stray from her she creates something to bring it around... (Every time we've gone out some form of drama or another has occurred...).

I can understand mental illness and can tell myself all I want that her feelings and actions are coming from a bad place and irrational thoughts she can not control but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

I feel like I want to attempt to pursue this-I have intense feelings for him (dare I say love...) and I do have feelings for her-she just makes it impossible for people to show love to her... Even he says that she doesn't willingly accept love from him and even she has said in the past that she doesn't deserve love. (which was so painful to hear because she is a beautiful person inside and out and I have felt that feeling before-its not a pretty feeling...). I can not at this time feel love for her and I have told him that I can not go immediately go back to sharing feelings with her because the way shes acts towards me. She has pushed me away and made me resent her. I don;t want that because during this time apart I have realized that it isn't all about him... I really do care about her and don't want to loose either of them in my life.

I am realistic about all of this. I know that this is going to be a long process and through all of this she may decide that this isn't what she wants. If that's the case I am willing to walk away because I must respect her feelings. He has never dealt with mental illness and just thought she was sad..... so for that I am glad that I came into their life and if anything she can get the help she needs to be happy.

Idk if I'm prepared to move on... Idk if it is just my need to fix people that keep me there or if it is my feelings for them... I can't imagine my life without either of them but at the same time I need a change. I hope that things can improve and we can have more consistent good times like we have shared in the past...


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