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-   -   Do these things ever end well? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39424)

2nite 01-28-2013 08:34 PM

Do these things ever end well?
 
Hi, I'm rather new here. I've lurked for a while, but decided to finally join.

The reason I'm joining is to ask a question. My husband and I opened up our relationship a year or two ago. I hadn't really pursued much until the past few months, and I ended up meeting someone on the internet that I really liked. He lives a few hours from me, so we met up one time for coffee and really hit it off.

I knew better than to get involved with someone who was cheating, but he was in a don't ask-don't tell situation with his wife. I initially got the impression things were a bit more open than they were, due to my own misunderstandings, not anything he said. Anyway, he said (from one of his first emails) that he wasn't comfortable with this situation, and after we met, he decided he wanted to talk to his wife about being open before things went any further. I felt this was a good idea.

I didn't expect much drama because he described their marriage as close and stable. But now, it's like a bomb went off. He found out that her agreement with DADT was a bluff, and she's flipping out that he wants to have an emotional connection with anyone else. And, of course, they ended up uncovering some other pretty serious issues with the relationship. I'm trying to be supportive and doing what I can to offer advice, knowing full well that if they work this out, I'm out of the picture as she simply won't accept him being with another woman. I have to admit that it's awfully hard. We've only known each other for a few months, but I have gotten to care about him. (And sometimes I kick myself for letting that happen...as well as for my role in this whole thing.)

So there's the situation...and I guess my question is simple: is there any hope a situation like this will work out well for everyone involved or is it doomed to failure? I have to admit that this has put me on an emotional roller coaster. I'd feel better if I had a realistic view of what's going to happen rather than waffling between despair and hope. (I feel bad for putting my husband through this, too, though he's been an absolute rock.)

BoringGuy 01-28-2013 09:01 PM

Of course there's hope for "a situation like this" working out. Just probably not this situation with these people.

Helo 01-28-2013 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2nite (Post 181422)
Hi, I'm rather new here. I've lurked for a while, but decided to finally join.

Welcome to the 'hood.

Quote:

So there's the situation...and I guess my question is simple: is there any hope a situation like this will work out well for everyone involved or is it doomed to failure? I have to admit that this has put me on an emotional roller coaster. I'd feel better if I had a realistic view of what's going to happen rather than waffling between despair and hope. (I feel bad for putting my husband through this, too, though he's been an absolute rock.)
That's a pretty tall order.

They both sound like they have problems with maturity within a relationship and given that, the likelihood of a positive outcome for all in the immediacy is low.

If they manage to patch things together, unless they make some very serious fundamental changes to their relationship and their thinking about it, its going to happen again.

Best thing to do would probably stay clear until all the rubble has hit the ground. Your influence as "the other woman" is unlikely to be appreciated by the wife.

AnnabelMore 01-28-2013 10:59 PM

If you've really grown to care about him, then the last thing you can want for him is the pain of a divorce. Step back gracefully and put him out of your mind as a romantic prospect. MAYBE some day he could be, but not right now and probably not for some time, if at all, so why torture yourself and him?

GalaGirl 01-29-2013 01:16 AM

It's not good to mess with fragile, and clearly he is in fragile mode right now. Not really offering himself as the healthiest dating partner he could be in this state.

He needs "friend" more than "dating partner" right now. And since you are suffering emotional roller coaster? You could choose to just step off the roller coaster. You could choose to help smooth the path for him AND reach out for your own oxygen mask too to alleviate your own suffering and smooth the way for you too.

How? You could choose to end it with him, and tell him to sort out his old business before starting up new things with you. Firm, but kind.

Sometimes letting go is one of the most loving things one can do. Sigh.

Hang in there!

Galagirl

2nite 01-29-2013 02:37 PM

Thanks for your responses.

I suspected the likelihood was low, but I was sort of hoping things might end up okay.

At this point, I am considering him a friend and will continue to do so, especially in light of the comments above. I understand about the 'stepping back' thing, and I've told him that if he needs to cut off contact, I will understand. However, I think it would be really bad if I were the one to cut off contact because he's so shell-shocked by the whole situation and really needs some emotional support. I'm happy to do that and feel he needs it. The emotional roller coaster comes from watching a friend having to suffer through this kind of situation, but I would do the same for any of my other friends. It's just that I'm rather empathetic and it's emotionally draining, but I guess I feel like loyalty is more important. I would feel like a lousy friend if I backed out when someone is facing a situation like that.

GalaGirl 01-29-2013 04:17 PM

You can still be ok. Ok as friends for now at THIS point in time.

And if that changes again to dating partners at a later point in time -- then it is coming at a later, hopefully more stable time and not in a wonky time.

In the "ministry of presence" area -- it is commendable that you want to be a supportive friend and be there for him. Good on you!

Guard against these inappropriate things and keep it at appropriate level support and you could be fine:

1) Exhausting yourself. Burdens shared are lessened. Spread it around, dude. You can be one of the players, but you can't be his entire football team. Encourage him to speak to others -- a counselor, minister (if he has one), a parent or other relative, other friends, etc. It is ok to tell him "Dude, I am FULL UP. I need a break. I want to support you appropriately and I'm not good to you if I get no rest. Go tell someone else and then come back on ___ and tell me how that went. Spread it around."

2) Slippery slopes. Sometimes sharing emotional intimacy like that? Can lead to wanting other kinds of intimacies. Bluntly? Don't fuck with fragile. Firm but kind -- keep it in the friend zone until he is healed. Guard against your own attraction to him clouding your judgement on appropriate/inappropriate behavior for this time.

3) "Put me in the middle" stuff. Don't get caught up in triangulation. Do not allow him to go to her with crap like "Oh yeah? Well my friend (you) says..." He had to own his own baggage. We all do.

4) Taking it personally. Hurt people lash out and say all kinds of bizarre. Don't take it personally, but don't be a doormat. You can always say "I see you are hurting. I see you are lashing out. But don't aim it at me, please. I am here to support you appropriately. Not be your punching bag. I will listen. But let's try to find your healthy "I could do this" options rather than visit the unhealthy ones like lashing out." Remember you can always check out if it gets to be too much.

Choosing to apply the ministry of your presence means you are willing to share some of the burden. Not take it ALL. (I was just there yesterday supporting a friend who was acting out at me so I had to remind myself of the same things. Sigh. Hang in there!)

GG

WhatHappened 01-29-2013 07:23 PM

Sharing emotional intimacy and 'giving support'--when his wife is already unhappy about his relationship with you, when his wife won't accept him having an emotional connection with another woman--is going to look and feel exactly like an emotional affair to her.

If I'm understanding the situation correctly, the very fact that you continue to have this emotional intimacy, to 'be there' for him, to offer support and advice in his marriage trials, is going to be a major issue in and of itself in his marriage.

You've only known this man a few months. As much as it may hurt, disconnect and let him and his wife work out whatever issues they have, without becoming another one.

2nite 01-29-2013 08:15 PM

Thanks, GalaGirl. We've discussed those issues and are very much on the same page regarding each of your points. You have a lot of good advice in that.

WH, I'm not doing anything more than I would for a friend. I did the same thing for another friend last fall who was going through a horrible divorce, and I don't regret a single moment. I'm only trying to be supportive without regard to the potential outcome: I'm not pushing him to 'get this figured out so that we can get together' as all we really discussed is that it might be nice to date...we had this conversation only once, and it is what prompted him to revisit the dadt vs. open status with his wife. His marriage is the priority, and I'm doing what I can to keep him positive about working things out, like encouraging him to continue with counseling and suggesting resources that I've used in dealing with relationship issues in the past.

WhatHappened 01-29-2013 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2nite (Post 181627)
WH, I'm not doing anything more than I would for a friend. I did the same thing for another friend last fall who was going through a horrible divorce, and I don't regret a single moment. I'm only trying to be supportive without regard to the potential outcome: I'm not pushing him to 'get this figured out so that we can get together' as all we really discussed is that it might be nice to date...we had this conversation only once, and it is what prompted him to revisit the dadt vs. open status with his wife. His marriage is the priority, and I'm doing what I can to keep him positive about working things out, like encouraging him to continue with counseling and suggesting resources that I've used in dealing with relationship issues in the past.

I'm speaking from the perspective of the wife who was surprised to hear about the very supportive female friends in my (ex) husband's life. Your friend did the right thing in speaking up sooner, rather than later, to his wife.

What I'm trying to point out here is that your being supportive or involved in any way at all may indeed affect the potential outcome.

Does his wife have reason to regard you as a friend to the marriage?

I believe Annabelle is correct in suggesting stepping back gracefully. And GalaGirl has given some good advice which I believe gives a clear picture of how 'being supportive' often ends with and/or looks to the wife like deeper emotional intimacy, the kind that feels to wife exactly like an emotional affair (because it is), which will only tear the marriage apart further.


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