feel like there might be an answer I'm too inexperienced to see
Yes I'm new to these forums, nice to meet you too.
Ok so I know that as a group, poly ppl have a lot of stored relationship experience and that is really what I want to tap into right now.
K(partner of 6 years)
H(Third for about 6 months, known for 5 years)
about a year ago, me and k started reconnecting with some of our friends that we had fallen out with while I was in the army. H was one of those friends. I soon saw that well, this was going to be deeper this time. K and H were falling in love. K started asking me how to deal with H, how to not fall in love with her since we were together. I said, don't, its ok, fall in love. I am for more love not less. This is not a new concept for me and is something that I feel is totally doable for everyone involved. So we went all in.
H lives in another state, might be a big cause of the following, but I more want to know if I am somehow evaluating my emotions wrong or somehow putting pressure I don't intend to somewhere.
I am feeling, rejected, or neglected or something. I am a virgo, I am a toolbag, I do not want to act on my emotions just cuz they are there.
I work two jobs, from 0900 - 2200 every day except friday and sunday. K is struggling to find a job with her brand new bach degree in accounting. H is a student. They are connected as much as they can throughout the day, NRE being a strong gravity between them. I work in a building and at a job that I can't really do much but get an email or post out every once and a while. Not even text, no reception. When I get off, I attempt to communicate, and even though I know that they arent on purpose attempting to make me feel like an outcast, I dont feel like they want to pay any attention to me.
Last week I called when I got off work on Friday at 1700, I was elated that it was friday and I didn't have to work until 2200. I called K, she was asleep and I had woken her up, she was grouchy and flip. It really brought me down, like, the whole weekend. So today, expecting that tomorrow I might like to be excited about my work day ending in daylight, I called her and asked if she was expecting to be asleep around the time I was going to be off work... I want to avoid calling her until she is awake and prepared to talk. This didnt go well at all. She says to me all the time now that we are in this: " i just dont know how i am hurting you, its like youre just mad at me all the time" which is categorically untrue, yes, I feel a lot of pain that I never see her, sometimes for weeks at a time, I feel bad at night when i go to sleep. But I try every day to reset, emotionally, and be encouraging in her relationship and her job search... I feel like I am trying so hard and shes holding my emotions against me like if I dont just "be" happy, she might call " pattern of unresolvable disputes" and leave me...
Please tell me how much, if any, of this is unique, please tell me if my fear is irrational, please tell me if I am the one being an asshole, If you know of any way of thinking or acting that could somehow make her feel like I really do just want everyone to be happy, cuz thats what i spend all my time trying to do.
Thanks for your help.
Thanks also if this is just too much and you dont want to comment.
Thanks if you find im such a noob and want to joke about me.
Thanks for anything really, I'm kinda feeling alone.
I don't see anything in your example that tells me this is your fault, but I suspect there is a lot more going on. A few items:
- She just graduated and is having trouble looking for a job. She could be depressed, maybe very depressed. This is reinforced, to me, by being asleep at 1700. Is she normally a night owl?
- While she is possibly depressed, you are working insane hours.
- While you are working insane hours, you have zero reception and limited ability to IM and/or email with her.
This adds up to a great deal of loneliness (even if she isn't depressed). It isn't surprising that she might take some of this out on you for not being around, nor that she might become strongly attached to someone who is around more to connect with.
You quoted her: " i just dont know how i am hurting you, its like youre just mad at me all the time" Have you told her what you posted here? Did you tell her, "I feel a lot of pain that I never see her, sometimes for weeks at a time, I feel bad at night when i go to sleep." ? What did she say?
I have been in a similar position, and am in a slightly similar position now. After she graduated and before she found a job, ThatGirlInGray (my wife) struggled with depression. I wasn't there, as I was halfway around the world at school finishing a semester abroad. I have had jobs (as has TGIG) that greatly limited our contact during work hours, thought nothing like 0900-2200. And at the moment, both TGIG and her OSO ThatGuyInBlack are both home most of the day (both are unemployed, both are caretakers for family members in their respective homes). They spend a lot of time talking to each other while I'm unavailable at work. It can suck, sometimes, because they have all this time to share during the day. But, TGIG does really well at making time for just the two of us, and we also have chats with all three of us(since he's long distance), and sometimes email chains riffing on jokes or such.
Did you two ever talk about polyamorism before things started up with H? She may not actually be ready for this, or may turn out to be intrinsically mono. Some people, like myself, are unlikely to be capable of having romantic feelings for more than one person at a time. That could be the case for her, even if she wishes that were not the case.
I'll also say that if you are feeling neglected, scheduling dates/times to just be focusing on the two of you would be good. If K and you had a plan to meet at a certain time, then presumably she'd be ready, awake and interested in doing so. It sounds like there is probably a lot more going on, but at least maybe having your time spent together be planned and purposeful gives you the opportunity to practice asking for what you want and trying to get your needs met, while you work through any other issues that are happening.
Talk it out
Mono made some excellent suggestions in his reply, take them to heart. My biggest suggestion would be to talk to K about this.
Keeping it bottled up is dangerous in any relationship.
How do you talk to her? Verbatim?
Because if you and I were dating and you called me and said this to me exactly like this...
"Hi. Are you expecting to be asleep around the time I am going to be off work?"If I was feeling grouchy from other reasons that day, I could feel annoyed like you are acting entitled to my time. It could come across as terse, bossy, or judgy like it could be implying I'm lazy and sleep all the time. :( And nothing in there tells me what your need is. You are just calling me from nowhere to do what? Bossy boots me about my need for sleep? I could feel annoyed.
HOW you say your content matters sometimes as much as WHAT the content of your message is. So does the TIMING of your message. I may not be grouchy at the time but I really do not like it when my kid yells at me when I'm trying to pee that she needs lunch money. It is NOT the best time to be asking me that! ;)
I would feel more kindly disposed to hearing your message if you said it to me like this:
"Hi. How are you? Is this a good time for a 5 min talk? (wait for answer.) I really miss you and need to reconnect. I'd love to make a date for after work sometime later this week and wanted to ask you out. Could you be up for that? If so... I get off work today at ___ so that could be a good planning time on my end. Could your schedule fit a longer planning phone call today after work or could another time be better for you?"Then I could feel respected, my own schedule and willingness considered, and more inclined to negotiate a planning time phone call because I know what's happening and what the need is -- am I willing to have a date with you? am I willing to make a longer planning phone time to work that out?
Then I can decide if I am willing to meet your need or not from a place of full information.
She's not a mind reader. But you do have needs to articulate. Could try again and think about the TIMING and the HOW delivery of your message.
Perhaps when you talk to make the date you could also express the need for a "known schedule" because of your tight work hours. Could she be willing to make a standing date with you? (Ex: Every Friday after work) or a standing pattern if your work hours shoosh around (Ex: We check in every Sunday to get the lay of the land this week after your schedule is posted). Maybe talk about it on the date?
Could that help meet your need to connect and spend time together? Not just in the short term (the date) but in the long term too? You could articulate your wants, needs, and limits to her so she is aware.
You could also inquire about HER needs. Is she feeling pressure? Time management problems being the hinge person? LDR stresses? How can you support/alleviate some of that burden in appropriate ways? How can you meet her wants, needs, and limits? How do you both want to deal in your shared emotional management -- because there's a lot of emotion in polyshipping.
Sun is sun. Rain is rain. Emotion is emotion. Some is yummy to feel. Some is yucky to feel. Internal emotional weather just IS. It needs expression in appropriate ways. Could just decide to report the weather so your poly people are aware, and then just choose to let it blow on through together. Not have to DO anything about it if it doesn't need more than just reporting.
"I feel tired from work today" could be an example of letting it blow on through. There's not change required. There's nothing really that needs doing by you if she says something like that other than listening to the report and seeing it. "Yeah, I can see where that kind of work day would make you feel tired." There. Processed. Done.
"I feel hurt when you hit me in the face with a frying pan. Could you please stop doing that so I can be free of hurt?" That is a report that requires a change, and comes with a specific request. (I exaggerate, of course. Hopefully nobody is actually whanging partners with pans!)
Too many times people feel over-responsible for other people's feelings. Could let her know you are prepared to hold your own emotional baggage. You just want to report. And if there's a report with a request, it will come with it. Maybe you could agree to that? If SHE has a need to report internal weather, great. If she has a need to report and request, great.
Nobody can be a mind reader here. But you all ARE going to be weathering this polyshipping together. So report weather. If action is required, take action. If not? Just weather it out and let it blow on through.
No, I am not mad. I am lonely, miss sharing time with you... etc. What behaviors of mine are reading like "mad" to you? Maybe I could explain those behaviors and/or adjust my behavior so I am not broadcasting weird to you. But no, I am not mad at you. I am _____.Galagirl
It isn't you, your timing, your wording, or your style of delivering your message. The simple fact of the matter is that Girlfriend is Just Not That Into You, as the kids say these days. She's irritable toward you because you exist. I'm sorry if you wanted something out of this that you aren't getting. Look at the situation as it is and move forward from there. You won't get the results you are seeking just by following the proper-poly steps; it doesn't work that way. You can do everything by the book and still not get someone else to feel the feeling if they aren't feeling it.
tl;dr. Girlfriend is into Husband. When OP gets out of work, sexy-time is over and Girlfriend is tired and bitchy.
Some great advice already. I'm just going to list some things that are jumping out at me and I hope they land in the right way:
1. How long were you in the Army for? Did this mean a lot of time away from K?
2. How long have you been working two jobs?
3. How is your general mood, working such long hours?
4. How was your relationship with K before opening up to H?
5. K and H pretty much alone 'together' all day, since K is looking for work and H is a student? (i.e. IM/Skype/Phone/Chat time?)
6. Do you and H talk much? Are only K and H in an NRE love zone? How is your relationship with H? Is it what you want it to be?
I ask this because I'm wondering if there might be a pattern going on here. If you work long hours before (and maybe were away in the past, too), K might be very used to having her own time. As others have said, this can be lonely. On the other hand, maybe she loves that and gets thrown when that spontaneously changes.
I ask about your general mood because my GF's husband works long hours, like you, 3 months out of the year. He is a nightmare to live with when he's going through that. He moans and is huffy and constantly talks about his job. He sleeps all the time and basically.... doesn't encourage people to want to be around him, because he sucks the fun out of everything and brings people down. If you recognise that you might be offloading your workday stress onto K (especially if you're calling her as soon as you get out the door).... could this be changed? Hit the gym, listen to music, get home and eat first; do something to shake it off, then call for romantic, happy, light talk?
I am hearing alarm bells that K and H perhaps chatter away to each other all day and bask in NRE, whilst you have to be more and more distant because you cannot communicate all day. It concerns me, because without honest communication and ensuring that you both inject enough fun into your relationship, you could disappear into work and she could disappear into her NRE with H.
I wouldn't put it the way BG did, but to be fair, he's always honest and this can be very helpful.
My GF is kind of like this with her husband. She loves him dearly, but she just acknowledges that the way she keeps loving him is to have a good amount of time away from him. She's happy being pretty reclusive, having quiet time to herself, doing hobbies. He's a non-stop chatterer and can be obnoxious and loud. When he arrives home early, or hangs around the house when she thought he'd be going out, she gets frustrated and snappy with him. Basically, if we're going to avoid sugar coating - she simply doesn't want to have him around a lot. Does that mean she doesn't really love him? She says she loves him deeply. Does K love you? Only she knows. Does K find your personality differences annoying at times, even if she deeply loves you? Only K knows!
The second possibility is that she might be someone who hates having her time interrupted, or her plans changed. I love being around my girlfriend. I have an amazing time with her. But, if I think I've got until 10pm alone, house to myself, me-time... and she comes home early? Yeah, sometimes I feel a bit frustrated, because I had all these plans for the last five blissful hours of solitude. Sleep, watch porn, eat ice cream and get going on a solo Netflix marathon. Certainly, I adore the ground she walks on and don't find her annoying in the slightest. For me, that issue; that grumpiness comes from my *plans* being ruined.
So, possibly lack of love OR mild irritation with your presence for personality reasons OR hates having plans/schedule changed.
Why not have a clear conversation about this - ask the questions you need to ask. Do you still love me? Does my presence annoy you? Do you just not like having your alone time spontaneously interrupted? Would it help if I text you before I call? How is it that I hurt you / you think you hurt me, etc?
Thanks for answering, I'm sorry it was forever before I could reply.
Here is some more info for those of you who asked.
1. K & H are in NRE but having a hard time since H is in another state.
2. The army kept me away pretty much non stop for two years, I have also been home for two years. Most of those problems seem to either be worked out or pushed far enough down that they don't show up a lot.
3. I could go either way with H. She's been my friend for years. Right now I am still just her friend, but I would be open if that ever changed. I have yet to get a single angry or otherwise seemingly bad feeling about her in this whole situation. I am relatively sure I am not envious of her time simply because she has more of it than me.
4. We had talked about the subject of polyamory, both being gay it came up in the circles we hang out with. I have never had any issues with the idea. K grew up in a very conservative household and still clings to a few guilty feelings even if she makes a decision regardless of those feelings.
a few problems that I have and the steps I have taken to work on them:
1. I do know that I am feeling entitled to be paid attention to during the time that I am not working. This is a struggle for me since I work very hard and my first reaction to being pushed away is that she could at least make a small effort while I am free. This taints all my conversations, but only when she gets defensive. If she remains happy or neutral I can also stay that way.
- this one feels mostly on me, like I should re-frame this to myself, like I am the one who is working and taking up that time I should work harder to make time that fits her schedule. It is hard since our workload has never been equal, which mentally I can see that it has to be that way and I should not be holding the needs of life against her. My emotions do not mold themselves to my decisions unfortunately.
2. I am not a person who uses soft or sideways communication. I attempt to only say what I mean. Usually, K is rather adept at dealing with my blunt communicative style, however living with her parents recently has required her to regain skill in interpreting speech to understand them and make them happy. She will be taking my words out of context before either of us knows it and then #1 comes into play as the emotions run their course.
- we both try to make clarifying statements, but we haven't had to since we first got together so its a hard habit to pick back up.
3. It is hard to come to terms with what my needs really are, much less communicate them expertly. I am feeling a very lonely emotion, something to do with sadness or something. There is also a lack of physical closeness which we have been struggling with since I got out of the army. This really bothers me more than her. I have more need in this area than her. I am not sure this is necessarily sexual either. I do not feel overwhelmed with a super sexual desire, more like I have to hold back more tears the less we kiss and hug, which I feel is a very odd situation. I could be wrong and most people have these feelings, I simply do not see them discussed in these terms often enough to consider this "normal".
- at the moment I am pushing back at these emotions with happy thoughts but I have not been entirely successful with this approach. I have been able to take the urgency out mostly, which helps some.
I try to have talks a lot but often if we are on the phone she feels pressured and attacked with my emotions, if we are in person, I am just so happy to be near her that I can't think about the bad in a coherent way it seems. Overall our relationship doesn't seem imperiled, since we have been through rougher times than these, with the army and all, however, it does feel like our communication is slipping at a time when we might need it most (new polyship, change in living, change in patterns ect.)
I have listened to your comments and I am trying to put into action all the communication steps that we used to have but had fallen into disuse since we have been together so long, but it is a long process.
You have a hard limit to contend with -- your work schedule. It is what it is if you cannot do anything about that right now. If she is in relationship with you, she has it also.
Could ask her if she's still willing to share HER time and deal with the limits of your work schedule.
Is this (like army) a temporary thing? Will your job be changing in schedule later down the road?
You can't monster spend more than what you have and be ok. You'd face monster debt.
You cannot change when your off hours are from work. They are what they are. If you are not able to change jobs, goofing off your work schedule could get your fired. You can't call in sick just to date her at another hour of the day. You only have so many sick days. what if you get sick? That's not a good solution.
At this time, THIS is your job. THIS your time off. THIS is the space you have to work with to have the relationship IN. Could she be willing to work with you on time management to share time? Or not willing? Could ask her.
To me it sounds like you are trying.
Hang in there!
Okay, I'm being extremely harsh (or should I say blunt) - the above responses were initial knee jerk reactions to your statements. I've heard similar statement from my husband for 20 years, especially the "I don't do sideways communication", "I say what I mean", "I'm just being blunt" and even "you should never assume I'm trying to hurt you". It's all bullshit and it took a year in therapy for my husband to realize that this is a MAJOR problem. Truth is you are really NOT communicating, you are speaking Japanese to someone who speaks English, while she may have a basic understanding of YOUR language, she is far from fluent. Your statements above makes it sound like you are unwilling to learn her language so the two of you can communicate effectively.
If she is taking things "out of context" on a regular basis, there is a problem with how YOU are communicating. Constant "blunt" communications can come across as demanding, self centered and puts people on the defensive. Others have given you good advice, give their suggestions a try. Schedule times to talk, show some care for HER time and well being. Do a google search on "Non-Violent Communication" (horrible name for it), it's a great help in learning how to communicate.
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