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-   -   Quad gone nuclear, is there anything left in the ashes? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=34305)

persephone 12-04-2012 02:01 PM

Quad gone nuclear, is there anything left in the ashes?
(This is a bit long.) Until about 36 hours ago, I was in a loving relationship with my boyfriend, J., of over a year. We have been friends for even longer than that.

Boyfriend and I had some bumps early on in our relationship in that he tried to date me along with his wife, C., kept inviting her on our dates last minute, etc. (Both us ladies are straight). I set a firm boundary, early on, that while I was open to being friendly with C., I was not dating another couple on my own and that was that. J. was very resistant at first to this, since both his previous poly relationships (both over a decade ago) were with women who had been good friends with his wife, and all their socializing, even all their sex, took place with C. present. J. told me he never took either woman out on an individual date.

Eventually, J. realized that I was not budging on this boundary. We actually broke up once before he finally realized that I was serious about it. Then he and I reconnected, and we started to finally have an individual relationship. His wife C. seemed supportive of this. About a month later, C. indicated an interest in having a relationship with my husband. If we had to be a group thing with his wife involved, as J. still seemed to want so badly, this group dynamic, a quad, worked better for me than some bizarre triad with two straight women. I encouraged it, J. encouraged it, my husband decided that he did indeed find boyfriend's wife attractive and nice, and we all jumped into a quad. An idyllic month or so for the four of us ensued. Boyfriend told me he loved me for the first time around then, and I told him I loved him too. Our spouses seemed to be good friends who really enjoyed each other's company both in and out of bed. J. and I were hopeful that they'd both eventually "catch up" to us emotionally and also fall in love.

Things started heading south when my husband and I started having issues in our relationship of over 20 years. He broke a relationship agreement in a really disrespectful way, and did a couple of insensitive and very hurtful things on top of that, all of them connected to C. I never blamed C. for any of what my husband did, I know she never encouraged him to hurt me, nor was she even aware of most of what he was doing. Husband and I were definitely tense with each other for a while. Husband confided in C. about our issues. I confided in J. too. We considered them really close friends who cared about us, outside of the romantic relationships we had with them. We both thought that confiding in them and receiving support from them was the natural thing to do. We never asked them to take sides, mostly we just wanted them to listen and comfort us.

Husband decided to enter individual therapy to figure out why he kept screwing things up between us when he was in a new relationship (since we have had these issues in the past too). He and C. agreed to a temporary halt on their romantic and sexual relationship, with hopes of resuming things once he was farther along in therapy. They remained good friends. Things were mostly better with me and my husband. Things were fine between me and J. too.

Then, we spent an evening with J. and C., where my husband and I had a bit of a communications breakdown. I got annoyed with him in front of them (no raised voices, but definitely annoyance), he explained himself, I was fine with that, and the evening continued in peace and harmony, or so we thought.

That evening set off a two-week fit of emailed rage and abuse from C., to both me and my husband. I allude to a little of it in my recent thread on "trashtalking."

I did not engage in the drama, I didn't answer any of the torrent of verbal abuse C. sent me, and I blocked her after her seventh hysterical email, and told J. I was doing so. My husband patiently tried to engage with her for the sake of making peace between the four of us.

While her point of view doesn't make a whole lot of sense to either me or husband, the pertinent parts seem to be this:

1. C.'s anger against me started back in August (a couple of weeks after J, her husband, and I fell in love), when my husband allowed her to overheard an argument he and I had via cellphone. I had not known husband was with C. when I called, I was out of town at the time, and he only told me toward the end of the call. She has been angry at me ever since that night for triggering her (self-diagnosed) "anxiety issue," something neither I nor husband had ever heard abouut, until now. It is clear that her anger has only built since then.

2. While I knew that C. and J. had transparency in their relationship, to the point where C. was allowed to read emails and chat logs that he and I had, even our texting, I had the idea that he shared with her only when something was puzzling him. But it seems to be clear now that C. was routinely reading every single line of everything (and there was lots, over almost two years, he and I IM quite a bit). While I know for a fact that I never said a single critical thing about her, to J., either in writing or in person (because I just don't do that, and also, because I had actually liked and respected her and considered her a friend), J. and I did have some normal couple disagreements (some things connected to his early insistence on a three-person relationship, a couple more recent things where he was insensitive about something or other).

All of these issues were resolved quickly between J. and I without incident. However, apparently, if I have a disagreement with my boyfriend and his wife is privy to it (and she has been privy to all of it, as it turns out), she holds it against me and thinks I am a bad person for being critical of her husband.

C also recalls incidences of me actually shouting at J. in her presence. Nothing of the sort has ever happened, in fact, I have never even raised my voice to J. even when we were alone. J., and husband, also say they don't remember any such thing ever happening.

3. Boyfriend's wife now says she wants nothing more to do with me socially. I feel exactly the same way about her, she said some truly unforgivable, hurtful things in the past two weeks, straight out of the Mean Girls movie. She has not apologized to me for any of it. In fact, she has been demanding that I apologize to HER, for getting annoyed at my husband in front of her that night, and also some other stuff (making her feel "invisible" or some such nonsense).

So, I took a good look at the situation and talked to J., the man I love, who says he loves me. I told him that I loved him, that this situation was very hurtful and stressful for me, but I wanted to get through it with him. I asked for his comfort and support. I told him I believed his wife might be mentally ill, and urged him to get her some help. I told him he and I could have a "separate relationship," meaning he only saw me without her along. I said I knew that wasn't ideal for him, but I said, "We need to deal with the bad hand we've been dealt here."

J.'s response was to wring his hands, tell me that his wife was his number one priority, and that he didn't feel that a separate relationship with me would be "emotionally satisfying" for him. He did not offer one word of comfort or support to me over these past two weeks, in fact, he even tried to prevent me from getting such from another partner of mine, because he didn't want his wife to "lose face" among acquaintances (she has met my other boyfriend exactly twice). As the final slap, J. let slip to me that he was already thinking ahead to a new sexual relationship, with a long-time platonic female friend of his whom I don't know. He shared this with me perhaps five minutes after he told me that he couldn't go on a romantic weekend away with me, which would have been our first, that I had lovingly planned for us.

I told J. it was over the night before last, with tears running down my face, and walked out of the last place we talked. He called after me "I hope we can still be friends!"

I'm not sure what kind of advice I want here, except perhaps some opinions, based on what went down here, if there is any way for me to have a friendship with J. now. We may need time. Or it may not be possible at all. I don't know.

I feel as if I have wasted close to two years of my life on a man who thinks women are essentially interchangeable, who didn't really love me at all.


BoringGuy 12-04-2012 02:20 PM

Were those two years really "wasted"? Did you not do anything else worthwhile during those two years? Do you value your life so precariously that one thing gone wrong means you "wasted" it? How long do you think a relationship "should" last in order for it not to have been a "waste"? I did read your entire post and although some unhappy shit took place, I didn't see anything that was especially unusual to the point where I would consider two years of my life "wasted" - although I realize that when it's not YOU (me) it's happening to, it's a lot easier to just brush it off as "water under the bridge" or something like that. However, you weren't being abused (were you? you didn't say so), you didn't invest a ton of money in some kind of venture with these people (such as starting a business), you didn't tear yourself apart with self-destructive behaviour, or anything else that would impose severe, long-term repercussions, so I don't see how "wasted two years of my life" applies to this. It's just one of those things that didn't work out. They say that NRE lasts anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years, so maybe this relationship was coasting on NRE and finally ran its course. Also, 2 years is not a very long time to figure out if something is right for someone(s).

As for being friends, don't decide that right now. I have seen other people give advice on here that says to take some time apart and THEN re-connect and figure out if "just friends" is a viable thing.

persephone 12-04-2012 08:35 PM

Boringguy, I think I tend to feel that I've wasted my time in a relationship when it has been with someone who was insincere about their feelings, to me. I feel that is the case here. J. has been telling me he loves me since this past summer. Yet, he was perfectly willing to toss aside our relationship the second his wife, a person who clearly has a lot of mental instability, threw a tantrum. He didn't make the slightest attempt to calm her down or go to bat for the relationship he and I had built for almost two years, he just caved, and started to look forward to his next sexual partner. That is not love. That is a guy who had a friendship with benefits and called it love. So yes, I feel that I wasted my time there, not to mention my heart, because I did love him, and it was clearly misplaced.

I did learn a few valuable things from this, so not a total loss, I guess.

AnnabelMore 12-04-2012 09:35 PM

Hey, I don't really have any useful advice, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're going through this. Getting veto'ed SUCKS and what you're saying about feeling disrespected and like his feelings weren't authentic because he didn't fight for you, that all feels perfectly valid to me. In the end, it sounds to me like he was cowardly -- he didn't want to challenge his wife. You could do better, it's just a real shame that it took so long for that to become obvious.

persephone 12-04-2012 10:08 PM

Yes, AnnabelMore, I can do indeed do better, and I already am. I have a loving husband and another boyfriend who truly loves me and would never let HIS wife throw a tantrum and exile an established partner without grounds. My feelings for J. were never as intense as mine are for my other boyfriend, not nearly, and I used to actually feel guilty about that, silly me. So if I had to lose a partner, I lost the right one. I know that now.

Thanks for the support.

northhome 12-04-2012 10:09 PM


Originally Posted by persephone (Post 170504)
I think I tend to feel that I've wasted my time in a relationship when it has been with someone who was insincere about their feelings, to me.

Was there no sign of this during the two years? Did it really just happen 'out of the blue'?

I know how easy it is to see what it is one wants to see, and part of the learning might be for you to learn to heed the warning signs that I suspect might well have been there...

And, indeed, it sucks when one is dumped. Keep breathing.

persephone 12-04-2012 10:17 PM

Northhome, J. and I were platonic friends for close to a year before we actually went out on a date. I had known him for over a year before we started a physical relationship. We broke up, the first time, last February. We resumed things last April, but waited another three months to start sleeping together again. He has been saying he loves me since late July. I had no reason to believe he was insincere. He wrote me love poems (pretty good ones too), he took me on moonlit walks, he paid me all kinds of compliments, he looked me in the eyes when he said he loved me. He was affectionate and tender with me. The bedroom was good for us, and I know I did a few things for him that his wife either can't or won't do. It was all very seductive and I succumbed to it, even though I always knew that he wasn't the kind of emotionally brave person I tend to want to be with, that he valued "safe and comfortable" more than just about anything else. I just never realized that his lack of bravery could impact us like this. Live and learn, I guess.

Thanks for the support.

northhome 12-04-2012 10:22 PM


Originally Posted by persephone (Post 170512)
even though I always knew that he wasn't the kind of emotionally brave person I tend to want to be with.

So it's not really a surprise after all? Sounds like you always knew deep down inside that the whole setup was fragile.

I guess I concur with the previous comment, take what you can from it and leave the rest. It's no good leaving bitterness and upset in your system! Still, it does take time to get over these things.

MeeraReed 12-05-2012 02:20 AM

I'm sorry to hear all this. It's very sad.

I wouldn't try to remain friends with J. It doesn't sound like he cares about your feelings enough to make a friendship worthwhile.

Also, he seems to have no boundaries whatsoever with his wife. Ick.

I totally get what you mean about feeling like you wasted time with someone who was ultimately not worth while. However, the great thing about polyamory is that you didn't totally waste that time--you were building / enjoying / maintaining other relationships during that time.

Jade 12-05-2012 04:16 AM

I get that feeling of having wasted your time on a relationship. Sorry you're feeling it. :(

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