New Trio- already falling apart
I've posted her before, about a previous relationship set- me, my husband, and my long distance relationship with my boyfriend/dom, Q. Since then, working through a lot of issues, I decided to finally separate from my husband after being stuck in limbo for years in an unhappy, unfulfilling marriage.
My boyfriend during this time, decided to pursue a relationship with another woman, A, someone he'd known online only but been friends with for many years. After falling into financial difficulty, she offered him a place to stay and had a job lead for him to follow up on, so they made plans for him to move in with her, at least temporarily, while he got back on his feet financially.
After the initial struggle to accept him having another relationship (I believe the situation we have is that I'm mono and he's poly), and actually talking with A, who I had known from online as well and liked before all this started, I had started to settle into the idea of a trio, as we called it.
Q, my boyfriend, did a terrible job of starting us out and I spent a good couple of months miserable and feeling pushed aside and abandoned before working up the courage to speak to A. She seemed surprised that I'd been having that much trouble and told me that she'd been telling Q to slow down, and she also told me that she had been in a relationship where her boyfriend tried to push poly on her in a bad way and it had trashed her and that she refused to be that demon for anybody else. She said that first off, things with her and Q were on pause while I settled in and got comfortable with the idea, and also that she and Q's IM's would be kept in a "trio" conversation box in Skype that I was a part of, so I could see and participate in any serious discussions they had. I was so grateful to her I literally started crying. She gave me hope that this trio thing might actually work, and Q seemed to be greatly relieved as well, and much happier with the idea of trying to make a poly thing work than to lose me.
Things seemed to be going reasonably well for a while. The three of us talked every once in awhile, Q and I talked a lot, and A and I would talk sometimes, getting to know each other. I was feeling kinda hopeful, and started to see how maybe this might be a good thing. I told Q that I realized I was probably mono and him poly and that I thought if we were careful, that it seemed like we could make this work, and that I really wanted it to.
We talked about the possibility of maybe moving in together, the three of us, at some point if it all worked out, and it really didn't seem like such a bad idea. We all talked about respect and consideration for each other and wanting to make something good, happy, and healthy for all of us and take care of each other.
A few bumps along the way, usually Q doing something that made me upset or came off as uncaring and set off my insecurities. It seemed like we were getting better at talking about and addressing those things as they came up though. I read up on various poly info websites, and paid particular attention to mono/poly articles and found a lot of good information. It seemed like the three of us were doing fairly well there for awhile.
But then came the actual move. Q moved in with A Sunday night. It was hard, and I was nervous all weekend, feeling angst and insecurity bubbling up and trying to deal with it as best as I could. I'd let them both know that I knew this was going to be rough on me and asked to please get a little extra care and attention and reassurance from them to help me with this.
Instead, Q got annoyed with me yesterday morning right off when I mentioned being a bit anxious, then was distant and cold the rest of the day. It sent me into a tailspin, from mildly anxious to full on panic and depression. Every time I tried to talk to him, to try to reconnect with him, to ask for just a little reassurance, care, attention, he brushed me off saying he was exhausted, sore, stressed from the move. And I get that...that he would be. But I when I let him know how upset I was, that I was falling apart and needed him, even just a phone call, a little bit of his focused time and attention to help me get through this, he was too busy playing games with his online friends to bother with me. I ended up going to bed at 8pm, feeling terrible, and afraid that if this was any indication, that our trio was over before it even really began.
I'm torn between trying to see his side of it, that I was too emotional, and he was too tired to deal with it; and my side, that I desperately needed his emotional support, and A's too would have been nice, that I'd told them both how hard this was going to be and that I'd need their help, and neither of them were there for me yesterday or last night.
What should I do now? Feeling pretty lost right now.
You could breathe.
You could breathe.
You could breathe.
You sound like you were emotionally flooded and asked for reassure... implying "reassure me NOW." You did not sound like you set an appt time? You do not write verbatim the HOW of the asking so I am guessing here. Sometimes that matters -- the HOW.
He sounds like he was wiped out from the move and not up for a long thing NOW. He also did not suggest setting appt time or instinctively "there, there" you.
Does he know this is how you want to be treated when having anxiety related emotional flooding?
Perhaps it would have been better received had you presented your request in that way -- with acknowledgement of his tiredness that affects his willing/able to give to you RIGHT NOW.
"I know you are probably wiped out from the move. (acknowledge where he may be at.) I am feeling anxious. I need reassure. Would you be willing to do me a short 5 min "There, there, we will all be ok" thing to me right now to hold me, and then be willing to set a longer time aside to process with me? Maybe Friday from 8 to 10 PM if that is good for you? I do not want to be tiresome but I do need support."Then you could have gotten some "there there" to hold you to appt time.
And he could have maybe been willing/able to kick in 5 min of reassure, and gotten it on his calendar at a time/space he negotiated with you on for a longer time frame. Rather than bombs from the sky that are not respectful of what his own needs for self TLC may be after a tiring move.
I know it is not easy. I sometimes have emotional flooding myself. But try your best. Today is new, and it's a new opportunity to try handling this again in a way that better serves you both.
So. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
GalaGirl, you give the best advice...thank you.
Everything you said made sense, and yeah- definitely emotional flooding. Looking back now, I wish one of us had thought to set a time, a day after the move, to try to get together to settle, to talk, to connect. I was concerned about both of them, and every time I spoke to them that day I tried to be sure to say I was glad they made it back ok, and A told me everything went fine...so I did check on them both and expressed concern. But talking to Q especially, I know I was probably letting the creeping sense of fear and isolation and even a little jealousy keep me locked in my own head and when it felt he was brushing me off or didn't care it made it far worse. But I can see how I contributed to it as well, and wish I'd known to do this instead because I did care that he was sore and tired and stressed, and wanted to be there for him, but my own fears got in the way.
Update- and anyone with advice for a new mono/poly triad V would be greatly welcomed. I think we're running into some serious problems with NRE and I'm honestly scared we might not make it through this, despite I think all three of us wanting to.
Q and I have had a romantic and d/s long distance relationship for 3 years now.
He wants to start a relationship with A, and due to financial circumstances, has just moved in with her.
I have come to believe that I am probably mono. He is positive he is poly. A is open to being in a poly relationship, as am I if Q and I can get our relationship back on track first as we've been struggling lately.
Things that are good:
A was really fantastic at first about talking to me, telling me things with Q wouldn't progress until I was comfortable with the relationship thing. She and I had already known each other and liked each other and she had been in a bad poly situation before in my place and didn't want to "be that demon" for someone else.
A and Q have both been trying to be open and honest with me, and I've been doing the same. Q has problems sometimes with holding things back when he thinks it will hurt or upset me till it builds up guilt and resentment on his part, but for a while, he seemed to have gotten better at that and we were all communicating well and trusting each other.
I feel like we could work together and care about each other and would maybe even like to live together at some point if we could make it work and the others have expressed the desire for that as well.
Despite being mono, I do think I could share Q with A if I felt that my relationship with him was stable. I like A, like talking to A and she seems like someone I could really enjoy being close to. I feel like we could all enrich each others' lives if we could make this work.
Since the move, Sunday- it feels as if everything has fallen apart. Q has been short, angry, frustrated, and defensive with me almost every time I've tried to talk to him. He's been busy, which I understand, with all the moving, settling in, and job hunting, but any time he has free which is usually several hours a night, he's been playing video games with his friends instead of spending any time with me. There've been several times in the past 3 days when we'd try to talk and he'd get so upset he'd physically step away to end the conversation.
All that at a time when I am scared and hurting and baffled wondering what the hell is going on and trying to adapt to the huge change of it going from him and me, spending several hours a day talking to each other to him and me and her, and him barely speaking to me for days. I've tried to stay calm and patient and understanding of the fact that he's tired, freaked out, and stressed...but I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever get things straightened out again at this point. It's been days of me desperate for some reassurance from him and a chance to reconnect with him and some signs that our relationship is going to be ok and it's hard not to start to give in to those fears inherent in a new poly relationship.
I suspect NRE may be involved, as they literally just got to meet face to face for the first time Sunday. And I'd seen signs here and there of infatuation, on his side at least, A seemed to be trying to get him to put the brakes on for my sake.
He still tells me he loves me. He says his feelings for me and what I mean to him haven't changed. But one significant thing that happened last night has had me unable to eat or sleep- and I wasn't able to talk to him about it because he had a big job interview this morning and was reluctant to even talk to me at all because he was already so stressed and thought talking to me would be too much for him to handle, which was pretty awful to hear.
Earlier in the day, I'd been trying to quit stressing and worrying about relationship stuff and go through some of the stuff from my dad's funeral (on top of the stress of opening up a relationship to someone new- reluctantly from me at first; my dad just died a month ago, and I'm also separating from my husband after being stuck in limbo in a loveless marriage with him for 2 years). I was sitting there crying and realized I wanted to call Q for a little comfort, and thought to myself, "well, hey- he's supposedly your boyfriend, you should be able to call him for stuff like this." So tried to call him but we couldn't talk because he was sitting with A talking too loudly in the background. Then for some reason after ending the call, I texted him, "Are you still my boyfriend?" hoping, I think for a reassuring "yes, of course." And instead got into an alarming and somewhat confusing discussion about how he didn't think we should use that word anymore, that it had too much meaning to it and that it didn't really fit what we were to each other, despite the fact that he insisted that he still felt the same about me and that nothing else had changed in our relationship. And it threw me into a tailspin again. I thought what a terrible time to be throwing that out, when I'm trying so hard to get some sense that things are going to be ok, and believe all those times he'd been telling me, things would still be fine after he moved, and nothing would change for us.
So we called, finally- after him putting me off for hours, and talked briefly, and I took a friend's advice and didn't bring up any of the relationship stuff, any of the things I'm upset about, just spoke to him briefly and supportively, wishing him luck with his interview, asking him how he was settling in, etc. and telling him I loved him and was glad things were going well for him.
I'm going mad with worry, frustration, sadness about all of this from the last few days and his abrupt change from someone who'd been very loving, caring, wanting to talk to me and spend time with me to someone who seems to want to avoid me and can hardly stand to speak to me at all. Yet, bafflingly, is still telling me he loves me and misses me. I'd told Q and A both, I knew this move would be hard on me and I asked for a little bit of extra concern and attention from them to help me get through it ok. I had faith in them to understand and do that for me, that they both cared about me, and wanted us all to be ok. I really thought we'd be able to get through this alright. But instead, A hasn't spoken to me since I brought up being upset and sad about things, and Q can't hardly have a single conversation with me without getting angry and ending it.
I don't know what to think anymore. I'm heartbroken and disappointed and feel so very isolated and left out right now. They're doing stuff together, getting to know each other, getting settled in, and I'm suddenly cut off and pushed away. I am trying to tell myself that's just my insecurity and fears talking, that they're just busy and stressed and that things will settle, but right now I'm so scared it's more. That everything changed and that this is the end, or the beginning of the end of our relationship.
And I did take GalaGirl's advice and have been trying to be calm, patient, breathe, and be more considerate of what they're going through- but it's getting harder as time goes on and things just seem to be getting worse, with them being uncommunicative, him being almost hostile at times, and me just sitting here wondering what the hell happened.
Was it too much to ask to get some consideration from them after the move? It wouldn't have taken much, just a call from him, affectionate instead of hostile. A group chat with the three of us touching base about things and reassuring me that things were still what they'd told me it would be, that we were fine. But it's going on 4 days now and nothing I do seems to help, instead just make things worse. I hate the thought of just giving up and walking away, and hope and pray it doesn't come to that but I don't know how much heartache like this I can take on top of everything else I've got going on.
Any advice, stories on going through similar things, even constructive criticism would be greatly welcomed. Feel like I'm barely treading water right now and I'm very sad about things at the moment.
I understand that you are hurting right now. In your words I connect with my own experiences of feeling a panicking need of something outside myself. I have experienced that, need for attention, gentleness, hugs, urges/cravings for food, scent, substance (tobacco and caffeine, etc...), another person...
Sometimes it feels very difficult and uncomfortable to sit in one's own skin. It can hurt, heave, hack, expel, fall, flail, fly, slumber, sail, soar...
Right now it seems Q (and A) is (are) unable to provide for your emotional well being right now. This is very unfortunate because you may feel very vulnerable right now and in panick mode perhaps, fight or flight...? I have felt that before in myself. It can feel so crazy. so scary and overwhelming.
Keep breathing we have to always re-remind ourselves... and then actually do it. Don't just type it, say it, whatever. Actually keep breathing. . .
Listen to healing music. Eat healing and comforting food. Sip calming/energizing tea. Thrash about with some words. or colors. Express... Cry. Accept that this sucks right now. It is. And it sucks. Attempt to comfort yourself. Move your body. Hug your body. Sweat. Breathe.
Place that pent up crazy energy/emotions into making a positive change for YOU. Not for the relationship but something just for you. Adore yourself and pick yourself up. Can you show up for yourself in your own time of need?
One small act and one moment, one smile and enjoyment at a time.
I hope your time of limbo passes swiftly. I have found that those times are for me the best times to dive deep into the feeling that is showing up. I allow myself space and permission to let it come up. After acceptance it is easier for me to move forward and to initiate and practice on my own inner strength and happiness more deeply.
Sometimes I can feel things so strongly that it is debilitating and I need to let them pass through. My feelings seems compounded when they are connected with a person who I love and "need" and I associate them/depend on them to help soothe it. Sometimes my Love and others cannot be there for me when I am in the need for soothing/coping and I have to stand up/lie down on my own.
There are so many reasons why loved ones might not be available. Sounds like Q has a ton on his plate. He may require space more than anything right now without knowing how to ask you for it without hurting your feelings. He may know that you need him and still be unable to show up at this moment. The lack of knowing why may seem unbearable. I do hope this passes. Sometimes our emotions can be overwhelming for others. And sometimes boundaries need to be more clearly defined.
Is it possible that you are leaning on Q more, wanting more entanglement, than you ever had with Q while you were married? Are you changing the nature of the relationship and your needs/expectations in it more than he wanted to change it?
I have found the writing of Karla Maclaren (The Language of Emotions) to be very helpful to gain insight into my own emotional workings and how to be more compassionate with myself and my emotions.
It is hard right now. Going into the move, I had pretty good feelings about us making this trio thing work. I was feeling pretty hopeful about things, about all of us wanting to make it work and caring about each other. Now I am in panic mode, after the way the last 3 days have gone and I'm doing my best to breathe, take care of myself, stay calm, be patient and try not to drown in my fears and negative thoughts but it feels like I've got nothing from either of them to hold onto right now. My worst fear was that they'd move in together and suddenly their relationship would take off and mine would end and even though they both assured me that that wouldn't happen, that neither of them wanted it to happen, that's what it feels like right now.
I'm scared to even talk to Q right now about anything that's bothering me, because any time I do he gets defensive and angry. So I'm having to keep all this fear and hurt bottled up and it seems to get a little worse every day.
I'm trying my best to take care of myself. Exercising every day, trying to force myself to eat, trying to rest when I can't sleep at night. Trying to read anything I can to get a better handle on what's going on and what I need to do or not do...trying to just go on with my life and do what I have to do from day to day.
I've tried asking specifically, and as gently and considerately as I possibly can, for some help from them. I've tried asking for some reassurance from them. For a little time with Q. I keep trying to tell myself things are just crazy from the move. I keep trying to hold out a little hope that things will settle and get better soon. It's just so damned hard to make it through the day right now.
And just got to talk to him a few brief moments on text, he got the job, which is wonderful and I congratulated him and told him I was happy for him and asked him about the details and was very supportive and encouraging. I didn't bring up any of the relationship stuff because I know he's exhausted from the job stuff and in fact he had to go take a nap after talking for 5 minutes.
He'll be working 2:30pm-11:00pm with Thurs. and Sat. off. And so now, looking at that...another major adjustment coming up for us, if we even manage to make it past the move. We used to spend our nights together, talking, for hours online. We had a weekly date night on Fridays where we'd hang out together on a video call, watch movies together, play video games together...but now he's going to be working. And my new fear is that he's not going to have any time for me anymore. That in between his new job and starting up a new relationship with A, who he's living with (her and her 2 roommates), that I will suddenly be too much trouble and either be pushed, edged, or allowed to drift out of his life. And right now that thought is heartbreaking.
I'm sorry if I sound so negative right now. It just seems like everything is going wrong, and I'm so very sad about it and wishing so badly we could turn things back around and make it work.
Lesson learned here: sometimes things really aren't as bad as they seem to a poor, nervous, panicking mono in a long distance relationship with a poly with NRE.
FINALLY was able to sit down with Q and talk to him in a calm, relaxed manner without either of us over-reacting emotionally. We were able to bring up the things that the other had been doing that bothered us, and also addressed some misinterpretations that had set things off in the first place- he'd taken my asking for reassurance there at the start to be blaming him for making me feel bad and it made him feel guilty when he was already stressed and exhausted, and I'd taken his reactions as him suddenly turning on me and assumed it was due to him and A suddenly being together. We were wrong on both sides and apologized and were able to reconnect in the phone call. He reassured me that nothing had changed, not how he felt for me or what I meant to him or our relationship, and I thanked him for that and told him how happy and relieved that made me, and he said it made him feel a lot better to hear that. We were able to talk about him and A, and he said that was still on hold, that they were starting from scratch and just getting to know each other and that the most they'd done was chill out and watch TV together. I said I had hoped that maybe we could keep that on hold for just a little bit longer while we all settled into this new situation and he said that was fine. Later when I talked briefly to A to try to reconnect with her, she echoed that sentiment, so we're all good there.
I asked Q about the possibility of starting to try to schedule date nights since his job is going to drastically cut down on our chances to talk/spend time together and he said that yes, he had already been planning on doing that. I asked him if we could try to get a date night in sometime in the next few days and he said he needed to see how thing were shaking out time-wise but that he would check and let me know.
I'm still wishing this week had gone smoother, and can see mistakes on both sides that led to both of us being upset, but I think maybe we're ok now. I hope. I am hoping he will get more settled and that we'll be able to re-establish the closeness we had before...though I'm also telling myself that with the new situation and the new job/schedule, I may have to be ready to adapt to what's to come, things are still in flux, especially with me moving out on my own soon as well. But least things are much better after our talk last night.
Very nice :)
I am so happy things have worked themselves out and that you all are able to feel more comfortable and connected now that you have both cleared the air. It feels so good to set aside the troubled feelings we can generate within ourselves and get back to loving each other.
I have learned many times (and will continue to do so) how my emotions/fears/thoughts can jump ahead of me. I practice not giving in too deeply to the "negative" thoughts. Especially when they seem unusually out of character to what I believe my reality to be up till that point.
If my DH has been loving, supportive, affectionate... for the past 6 mos (or years) chances are he is STILL loving and supportive NOW even if it seems like it has stopped or changed. I have found this is especially true when we are separated by time zones/distance. In the past I would get super sensitive when my DH traveled and was offline without contact.
I have come to recognize that DH traveling can be quite triggering for me if we lose touch. When I own my own sensitivities I can deliberately and consciously give DH space and try a be patient with myself and my passing feelings about it.
It has taken a lot of practice and several experiences of me feeling uncomfortable (high anxiety, panic) for a while until DH and I finally get to reconnect and touch base and nothing has changed and everything is good between us. Usually DH has had a stressful or super busy time.
This is why when we are separated for some reason or another I do try to focus on myself a bit more (self care, projects, passions) and my own internal happiness which is independent of any relationship. I learned for myself a few years back not to tie my complete happiness to my marriage relationship. If I cannot be happy/fulfilled on my own how can I be fully present in my relationships?
It is can be easier said than done. Feelings can surge like a tsunami. I have tried to shift my perspective in difficult moments to just be present and loving to myself and allow the ebb and flow to happen while I try to keep the larger picture in my mind. That what I feel now will not last forever. And that what I feel now is not necessarily based in reality but rather my own flawed projections of reality which can FREQUENTLY be misguided.
Katrpillar- thank you for your post, that really does sound just like what I need to do right now. Q is busy, stressing over all the changes in his life, and I think A has sort of stepped back to let things settle, so despite the fact that this is a scary time for me and I wish I could get more time, attention, and reassurance, I believe that right now- he is doing the best he can and I am going to have to give him some space and patient with him and myself.
What you do with your hubby sounds just like what I need to do right now with Q. So I am going to do my best to just- have faith and try to remember to breathe and hope that things will settle for us soon and we'll be better able to reconnect as a couple and a trio again. Still a little nervous, still a little bothered by a few things, but trying not to stress over them or stress him over them right now and just be calm, stable, and supportive of him while we try to get through this difficult patch.
|All times are GMT. The time now is 02:53 AM.|