"He doesn't deserve it."
Ugh. How to keep this succinct.
I asked my husband early on in the poly thing if I could sleep the night with my boyfriend sometimes (just generic sleep). He said no, and it was still a fresh hurt to him so I didn't bring it up for several months. I waited until he and my boyfriend worked some things out so I can mention it during a time where he'd be more receptive to it. I just asked if we could start with once every week or two to ease my husband into the idea. He said no again, but the reason why is what disturbs me. He said something along the lines of, "I know it's something that would make you happier, but I don't think he (my boyfriend) deserves it."
My husband is still really hurt about the fact my boyfriend agreed to date me. My husband's friends promised that they would never take his wife away. My boyfriend has never wanted to "take me away," but I think they are operating on different definitions. My boyfriend has not been as sensitive to my husband's feelings as my husband wants, so I know this dynamic is generating this reaction. Still....something about the "not deserving it" comment strikes me as not the right way to handle the request. It provided no solutions as to how we could get to the point where we can enjoy that someday. X_x;
What would rub me the wrong way is him thinking to be a superior 'power'/'official' who is in a legitimate position to judge who deserves what and why. That's not his call to make. He isn't the one 'granting' something here. Because that would mean, he is in charge of you and in some weird way able to decide what your friend should or shouldn't get. Like a parent, in a way. The only thing he is able to control is his position. Does he want that? Why yes, why no, but not basing his decision on what he thinks a third person should get or not.
He isn't answering the problem at hand, he is shifting his focus to the outcome of it. The problem are his hurt feelings and his take on the situation (your friend is trying to take you away). He could say:"This isn't cleared at all, I don't feel comfortable, I don't want to proceed until this situation is solved." But he starts with just feeling hurt and therefore thinks the others owe him to do as he sees fit because he is the one feeling hurt.
On the other hand, no one seems to have taken into consideration that he expressed his discomfort beforehand. Did he voice that this wouldn't sit well with him (you and your friend dating)? Because his reaction seems to say "You didn't look out for me when this started, now I have every right in the world to spoil your fun."
Sit down and talk with each other. Express who is hurt for what reason, who wants what for what reason and lay down some clear boundaries everyone is aware of and able to work with. If the only reason he isn't feeling comfortable right now is the thought of your friend taking you away, then this is the thing you should start with. Talk to him, ask your friend to assure him that this won't happen, if he knew that your husband wasn't comfortable with the situation your friend should appologize for disregarding his feelings (and you as well, if you knew). Make clear that no one is able to decide what others do or won't do, but that everyone can express what they need from the other to feel at ease with the situation.
Your husband is right in asking for things to change that make him feel uncomfortable. But the key he is missing is asking for it, drawing clear personal boundaries starting with his person and needs, not demanding what the others are suppose to do from his point of view and trying to control the other people involved.
"You didn't look out for me when this started, now I have every right in the world to spoil your fun."
He definitely would seem to feel this way about E. As far as me renegotiating the marriage with Y, he has judged my actions on that differently. Y told E, "K hurt me too, but I know by her actions that she cares about making things better. I can forgive her largely because of it. I have yet to see the same concern for my hurt from you."
They...were supposed to have worked some of this out, which is why I felt more comfortable broaching the sleep idea again. I guess E didn't uphold his end of the bargain in my husband's eyes. I'm not sure which things specifically hurt my husband, but I've started to write down their agreements. By writing it down, the expectations are crystal clear, and when one is broken we can immediately hold said person accountable to correct it. So far, this has help E stay WAY more on track. (He has ADD, which I wonder sometimes if it contributes to his lack of care to certain details he needs to work on.)
"...if he knew that your husband wasn't comfortable with the situation your friend should appologize for disregarding his feelings (and you as well, if you knew)." I had a part in making my husband uncomfortable, and I addressed it as soon as I was made aware it was a serious concern. My husband seemed to feel less coerced after that. However, my boyfriend, being stubborn, really sucks at apologizing when he doesn't think he's guilty of something. He vehemently believes he has nothing to apologize for since his intention was pure. This pattern of thought prevades in other arguments, and it does leave one feeling not very considered. This is a huge stumbling block for E and I'm trying desperately to get him to understand the cause and effect of his actions on people's feelings, whether they are logical or not. He can apologize for hurting someone without conceding the logic of his position. He's got a lot of family baggage and to him, compromise is an ugly word. For him, it meant he got nothing he wanted and his brother everything. So now he's brought that wonderful perspective to relationships with me and my husband, and I'm beating my head against a brick wall. I'm trying to show him how unhealthy that perspective is in real life.
I am frankly not sure if my words on that subject get through to him or not . . . oi. That's a bit of a side issue, but E's issues in this area are a big contributor to the dynamic between him and my husband.
"But the key he is missing is asking for it" My husband needs to work on this. His communication is pretty lacking.
I am addressing marriage related concerns with my husband. I was very careful to make it about the issues he and I as a unit need to work on, and one of them is communication. Once we get that rolling, I'd like to revisit everyone's train of mind as a group...
I'm with Phy, especially her first paragraph. You could always start with that old Princess Jasmine line -- " I am not a prize to be won." YOU decide who "deserves" your time, no one else.
A few thoughts come to my mind about your issue and I'll work through it bit by bit.
Firstly, how long have you been with your boyfriend? I'm guessing that you're in a mono/poly situation with your hubby?
Secondly, look beyond your husband's words. "He doesn't deserve it" is obviously not his right to declare. But words are just words. What's he really saying? "I think he's treated me badly, possibly you badly, and I really am just not happy about any of this? Stop stretching my limits; I've met you this far." ?
No, of course it isn't 'right' for hubby to flat out say "no". Nobody can tell you "no". What he can say is "I told you I wasn't signing up for that. I cannot reach that point. It is a hard limit for me that is not negotiable as far as I can see. Please decide what action you would like to take now."
We all have our own limitations and for all the personal growth in the world, sometimes we just can't overcome something. If this helps, in our V, we have a 'no sleepovers' guideline. We only request sleepovers in emergencies (i.e. missed last train, too drunk/tired to drive). Planned sleepovers can only be requested after 6 months of dating someone. That way, we are all clear and nobody can be accused of limit-pushing. The first 6 months of a new relationship can be really hard on the existing partner(s), so it's the very best time to show patience, compassion and prove that you can keep your word respectfully. The guideline, for us, isn't in the interests of restriction - it's in the interests of long-term gain. The better equipped we are to deal with new relationships, the more chance they have of succeeding in the long-run.
If you and your boyfriend have been openly involved now for more than 6-12 months, and there are still big issues, obviously there's still work to do and it might be a red flag.
It's not fair to force someone past their limits (you with hubby). It's also not fair to place unwanted restrictions on other people (hubby with you). Then, it comes down to compatibility and priorities.
Importantly - what do you think of his statement? What steps has E taken to make up for any hurt caused? (*was* hurt caused? did you and E do something wrong?) Has your hubby been guilty of bad behaviour too?
For me, nothing crushes my ability to overcome a problem more than impatience. My GF tried to rush me to "be fine" with her new secondary. As soon as she did that, it fell apart for me. Not only did I resent him, but I started to resent her. Is that what could be happening here?
I see that you are trying to knock their heads together and sort them out. I see that you are genuinely trying to help.
However... you are enabling their behaviour by doing the hard work for them. They are free to be lazy emotionally, because they know you'll sort it out for them.
I have ADD and, for sure, written information helps. ADD can cause problems in relationships regarding attention to detail, remembering agreements and conversations, etc. It's also very helpful when a partner suggests things that can help.
But that's the point - suggestion. If you physically do it for them, not only are you taking away their ability to help themselves... but you are also steamrolling them. When I am steamrolled, I feel extremely frustrated and forced - therefore, even more resistant and helpless.
What if they simply do not get on? Or simply do not want to get along? Do they have to? Is there any way that they can exist separately from each other? What steps have each of them taken to improve their relationship? What have they done wrong?
From my perspective, it is a key problem.
Saying sorry is essential in relationships. We all fuck up - we're human. Often, we really don't mean to upset anyone. You're right - saying sorry doesn't mean shouldering all the blame - it means "I'm really sorry for my part; I'd like to take responsibility for what I did to add to this situation". In any disagreement, there are usually two people to blame. My GF struggles to apologise, also because of family issues. It's not a small deal for me - it's a big deal. It's something that I will not accept in a partner, in the long term. She's vastly improved over the past 2 years and when she doesn't apologise, I remind her that it's important to. Is it ok that your BF has this problem with apologising? Is that acceptable behaviour? If he knows you'll stay regardless, how is he ever going to change that behaviour?
The fact is - if hubby feels disrespected by E and you're not doing anything about it, he's also being disrespected by you. I know that you're in a horrible position, being in the middle. Everyone has their flaws and some metamours just do not get on. But, from what you've said, I really think this needs some more thought.
Your BF has trouble saying sorry because of his family. Well... does that make it ok, then? It's one thing when our partners conflict and we can see both sides - but what happens when we really know one partner isn't behaving well? How can we expect our other partner to deal with that? Who we bring into our partners' lives is our responsibility. Who we keep in those lives is our responsibility.
Again, it comes down to considering a new perspective. If both of them are at fault, why do they need to get along?
** EDIT - I've gone and read through your old threads to get a better understanding. I saw your earlier struggles with your husband, in terms of needs not being met. (I completely understand and relate to this). It does make me wonder one thing.... could E have been what you needed at the time.... the extroverted attention that you needed? Sometimes we are lacking in something and someone just happens to drop in our lap, who can distract us from our problems. Is there anything in that idea that resonates with you?
When people feel hurt, genuinely, it is something that happens in the moment. You deal with it, find a way to heal, and make all efforts to move on. But it sounds like your husband has not been willing to forgive and let go of the hurt. He is holding onto it and using it against himself and you. As long as he can say he is hurt, he feels justified in playing victim, being stubborn, and/or demanding some form of reparation from you. It is often difficult to let go of our indignation and sense of having been offended when we feel hurt and are wrapped up in blaming someone for that hurt. But the fact is, as long as he refuses to forgive, and hangs on to the idea that he is hurt, there is nothing you can do or say, and nothing your bf does or says, that will ever be enough to make up for it and erase the hurt. He needs to look at that and move on. He is the only one who can help himself not feel hurt, actually. At one point, his hurt feelings may have been an organic reaction that just arose in the moment when things first started, but now he is just indulging in it and choosing to feel hurt. We all do this sometimes.
When you forgive someone, it is basically starting over and saying the slate is clean. You don't keep punishing someone for whatever you associate with the hurt. What your husband is doing is holding it over your head and demanding that you pay for your "crime" by not giving you what you want.
It also appears, from what you stated, that he feels a sense of ownership over you, and your bf is competition trying to oust him from his place as someone who hold possession over you. Instead of going to him with your hand out and asking permission, if I were you, I would assert my autonomy. All couples, whether monogamous or polyamorous, are individuals with autonomy to make their own choices. I would say to him, "Honey, I know this has been hard for you, but I want to have overnight stays with my lover. This is something important to me and if we are going to have a strong foundation in our marriage, you need to deal with your resistance to this. What can we do to make it easier for you? Let's come up with a plan to make this transition, because it is going to happen eventually but I'd rather do it in a way that eases you into it." Something like that.
Why is just you asking for DH's goodwill? Rather than you and E asking together for something both you and E want?
Cuz you can go ahead and just sleep over. You own you. But you would get that bit and not get DH's goodwill. Right? You want both -- to sleep over AND have his goodwill too. Well, you are there asking for his goodwill. Where is E? Is he asking? Nope. Does not bode well for DH willing to give him goodwill if the man cannot be bothered to come ask for it. :(
In this communication DH was much clearer that the above "he doesn't deserve it (my goodwill) because he tells the WHY.
Sounds like he did. Because you are writing down the agreements and it seems to help ADHD E meet them. That will go a long way toward E accountability with DH if E can execute their agreements.
(Side note: Why is E not owning this responsibility? Why are you doing E's work? Is the goal that you will get him started in his new habit and he will assume it once he has hang of it? Or are you being overburdened as the hinge person? Could guard against that hinge burn out thing.
And note that DH watching you do E's work for him... that's not a juicy goodwill orange there. E is not being PRESENT again for his end of the deal.)
Could encourage DH to talk to E direct AND hold E accountable to their agreements. But... you came to ask. Not even You and E. Expecting the dude who has no goodwill right now for the other guy to be seeking him out to be doing the patch/repair work and tend to him and call him into account? That's not realistic. It is less work for DH to ignore the guy. And rightly so. It is not DH's want to sleep over. It is not DH's need to have DH goodwill.
It's really easy to get sidetracked with DH presentation of his communication. (And it could use polish -- it's a bit rough just like that... so def work on the communication thing). But to me that feels like a side issue.
But to move this bit forward -- could choose to keep it on the feelings behind the words and address that need first.
You and E want something from DH. His goodwill.
(You + E) ---> DH is the polymath tier we're talking about. How you and E (the couple) communicate with DH. Right now? I don't think it's cool that YOU are doing all the work there and it is you doing the asking. E cannot even be bothered to come ask?
When you make your request, YOU AND E could be clear in your communication to DH.
"DH, we have come to ask you for your goodwill. We'd like to sleep over and be able to do that with you goodwill. So... What has to happen (from which player) for you (DH) to be comfortably willing to share your goodwill with everyone?"
So the NEXT thing can happen -- sleeping over experience that is felt as pleasant for all players in the polyship?
Not really expecting you to answer those "thinking cap" kinds of questions to me. Just trying to give you some help so you can ask yourself and your poly peeps in the "sorting yourselves out" time. Hopefully get this moving forward again.
AnnabelMore: I can't agree more with the Jasmine line, but I'm not sure if my husband realizes I'm feeling that way. I might need to address this too when we talk.
Sparklepop: I have been nine months with the boyfriend, in a mono/poly situation.
If it helps for more background, my husband does not like the idea of my boyfriend living with us till the end of our days. He seems to feel it would be easier if the boyfriend had a place of his own, so my hubby doesn't have to see the affection so much.
When I first asked my husband about "sleeping over," he just said, "I'm just not ready yet," which told me he could be in the future. Then the second response....I guess my boyfriend has to do something to deserve it in my husband's perspective. Which is along the lines of something already discussed between Y and E. My hubby kept saying over and over that my boyfriend hasn't cared about his hurt feelings enough, so I begged E to talk to Y about it. I was there for it, and E asked him, "What do I need to do to make up for what happened?" and Y answered that it wasn't a matter of E "making up" for it, but that he just wants E to be proactive in taking his feelings into consideration.
E has tried, in his own way. He invites Y to play video games with him all the time, and tries to be a general friend. Y has told me that he sees this, but it isn't what he needs from E to see that he cares. I don't think E knows what to do, honestly. I think Y just wants to see better manners from E, but other than that I'm not sure what else he wants either.
As far as I can tell my husband's jealousy spells are significantly reduced. My husband does not seem to direct complaints at me, or if he has any he's not communicating them. He just complains about E living with us, mostly.
The actual conversation, the "He doesn't deserve it," occured almost two months ago. It just has stuck out in my mind so much though as a red flag of something going on that needs to be addressed at some point.
Y did ask E, about a couple months before poly happened, to stop tickling me so much. E did continue doing so (I don't think I entirely knew that was requested?), and Y was INSANELY hurt about this. E, again, feels that he was just being friends with me, which makes Y feel like his feelings are not being validated by E. I think he still sees this as a betrayal of sorts, too. E hasn't seemed sorry for this, so I think this has added to the pain.
"However... you are enabling their behaviour by doing the hard work for them. They are free to be lazy emotionally, because they know you'll sort it out for them."
At the time, they got into the discussion of their own free will, and I did insist we come to a written agreement. This was to ensure that the conversation would start going in a more productive direction, since a lot of "but you agreed to...." and "No I didn't!" was going on. It would have been better had they written it down, but I thought of it as a group effort.
In regards to my boyfriend not apologizing, I meant that it was a side issue requiring a separate topic. I didn't use a very good choice of words there. And yes, it's a huge issue within itself. I got into a huge argument with E the other night and it took him having to calm down by himself before he apologized to me. I refused to back down until he did, and the process was painful. I really think he feels that everything will be ok once the other party is converted to his point of view, so then there won't be a need for an apology. That hasn't worked very well for him because different value sets are what they are. I wish I could get him to see that a bit better.
In regards to your edit...this is one of those themes that comes up for me from time to time. I think from a moral standpoint I cannot just rely on E to satisfy the needs Y isn't. I want Y as my husband to work on attending those. In the heart of that concern, I have brought my needs to Y's attention again.
E is very intuitive with emotions and needs. Y isn't at all, or at least isn't with me. It is easy to get distracted with that, but I want a better relationship with Y. Otherwise, my marriage with Y will continue to remain in a bit of jeopardy.
Nycindie: Y does still feel hurt, and it drives me crazy because I want to help him somehow. He's been a bit better lately, but he did say it feels like a "kick to the stomach" when he sees E and I cuddling while watching TV or something. I don't want him to feel that way at all, but I'm not sure if that is something he can get past or not.
GalaGirl: I definitely agree that what I want is my husband's goodwill on it. That is so important to me. And E needs to work on getting that goodwill somehow.
I hadn't considered asking together with E before because I was afraid it would be perceived as double-teaming, but since you have phrased it in terms of goodwill, I can see why that would be so important. E has deferred the harder issues for me to ask because the one time he did ask for goodwill it didn't go so well. Long story, but E's timing on the asking was bad, so my husband was not in a place to react well. Still, I have been often the only one speaking up, and E needs to start speaking up for his wishes and desires with Y directly. I see now that if we had done this earlier, it would have provided better opportunities for the two of them to talk, which is sorely needed right now.
Thanks to everyone for putting so much thought into your responses. We have recently had a very challenging last couple of days, so any insight is tremendously helpful.
"Do not ding me intentionally. But don't ding me THOUGHTLESSLY either. Consider me and my needs when you do things. You are not a footloose single. You are a trio man -- a "V" arm guy. What you do affects not just the shared sweetie hinge but me in my life too. "
Now he has his own work in getting comfortable with seeing displays of affection between you. He too is a trio man as a "V" arm guy and deal with the realities of the configuration.
But you all could talk together about the pace of that. Maybe the "for now" thing is "do what you wish behind closed doors but in "common areas" of the house try to be more chaste for the next month" to give him a chance to put a toe in the water and not be all ACK! about it.
Getting used to the "new normal" takes some transition.
Could be you bring it up to him one day. E brings it up to him another (but still reasonably close together) day. Or a joint written letter so he has time to digest before responding so he doesn't feel "put on the spot."
Easiest is to just ASK him how he prefers the
(You + E) ----> Him
tier of things goes. How he prefers the couple to approach him so he feels emotionally safe enough to give E opportunity to demonstrate better. Because it's DH who has to risk giving the chance to find out E has changed and improved. He's risking the ding.
If he has no goodwill for E, he's not going to feel excited about taking the risk to see that yes, it is true! DH can now do that and come out UN-DINGED by him. And so begin to build trust in E with DH's emotional safety.
Husband doesn't seem very agreeable to the whole poly deal. His comment reads, to me, as "I know this will make you happy but I want to punish him more than I want to make you happy."
Being hurt is fine but it hardly gives one the right to act like a biznitch towards other people.
I'm still for the holmgang idea.
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