Sorry, long, but I need support.
I'm not using my usual username on these boards. I have way too many connections to people in my area and I need some anonymity and support from someone more experienced perhaps.
I'm a woman in a quad for three years now and at my wits end with my relationship with my husband. There's too much to go into, but it's gotten to the point that I'm here primarily still here with him because I know the quad would likely collapse (husband would likely move out of state closer to his teenage daughter from his prior marriage if we split up) and then I'd lose my other partner too. I mean, not immediately, but eventually, it most likely would at least change the nature of the nature of the relationship in such a way that we'd see each other far less (we spend 1-3 nights a week together now) and it would end up being more a friends with benefits type thing maybe once or twice a month. His wife would need him and she's very much in charge. There'd be no "you can't see her" statements, just life worked out in a way to make it more difficult to see me.
My husband and I do not have sex anymore really (maybe once every 2-3 months now). My time is already difficult to divide as it is, but when I'm with my husband, even when we are close, bonding, and getting along where most couples would see that as a wonderful time to be intimate, he can't because he has to call his girlfriend every night at her convenience and I'm just on hold, then he's too tired and has to go to bed. Over and over. The same thing. I've had rational discussions about my feelings, but it's still my fault. I'm "demanding", I "don't care about his needs", "why are you with me if you can't find anything good about me?". Yelling, threats to leave, absolutes. I can tell him until I'm blue in the face how much I love him and all the wonderful things about him, but still, my fault. Always. He's actually been the one say to me, "If our marriage ends, I'll have to move, and I'll lose M too." I've never said those words to him. I never even thought them until he said it out loud about 6 months ago. From that moment on, I'm convinced that's the only reason he's still with me, but he denies that.
It feels like the only way I can please him is by giving him as much time with her as possible, but now, it truly feels like nothing is left for me. When I speak up about it, I'm again "drama" and not understanding or caring of his feelings. I mean, my husband is a good partner around the house. We both share domestic tasks well. If he were a roommate, he'd be a great one. If he were my friend, it would be ok. He's not my friend though. He's my husband.
We went to therapy together over a year ago and he kept saying that I'm unwilling to take responsibility for anything. That's not how the therapist felt, but eventually it was just futile. I still go to therapy on my own to cope and to deal with my own stuff and sort things out. I've asked him to especially to deal with his anger, but he won't on his own. Sometimes he scares me so much because he behaves like a classic abuser and this is the fucking elephant in the room. (Note: I do NOT fear for my physical safety in any way.) I "make him do this" and "no one else makes him do this". I feel, though like the scapegoat here for everyone. He behaves very differently around his girlfriend and I feel like no one believes me. I used to talk about this with my boyfriend, but everything came to a head where he feels in the middle and his wife just thinks my husband is sweet (which he can be) and I'm "drama". I'd love to videotape his tantrums and show them. Now, I just enjoy my time with my other partner for what it is. He treats me well, we have fun and are very physically compatible. I do love him and our moments of joy have slowly turned into years, but neither of us are the types to have planned it like this.
My partner and his wife have very little sex as well. In my opinion, she treats him like a child, not an equal, but he does love her. She's committed to him, but I rarely see much warmth. From my perspective, it seems he spends a lot of energy trying to please her for the scraps of affection she gives when all she tells him is what he did wrong. He does nearly all the childcare as her son makes her stressed most of the time. I say nothing of my opinion in that regard, try to be cordial, and just stay out of it. She puts the good face out to the world and I'm far more likely to express how I feel just in general. I think she's still with him because she fears looking like she failed if she wasn't. Appearances are very important to her it seems. She openly brings up her resentments about him in front of others on a relatively frequent basis. Her and my husband have the same needs, temperament, and sex drive. We make them stressed with simply our inherent personalities. They're very calm together. I have tried to be sensitive, but I want to be ME! I think she's a very good person, but I think she's not happy in her marriage either, but very happy and far more compatible with my husband and is torn and wants to do the right thing by her child.
I can pursue other additional relationships if I wanted, but I really don't have much time between work and kids ). That doesn't really matter though. Not a priority right now.
I just don't know what to do at this point. Last week, he was ready to leave me because of "the tone of my voice" and how I "expect him to be perfect". I expect him to be present with me, not perfect. I expect open communication without verbal and emotional abuse. I verbalize this the best I can, but it seems over and over, he yells and I end up in tears.
Money would be tighter on my own, but I could do it. I make quite a bit more than he does. I'm very attractive, smart, successful woman, but he pushes me away physically and emotionally and it's right at the breaking point. I want to save this, but I cannot take these tantrums anymore. I'm not perfect, but I can't do this. I'm not afraid to be alone. We've been together for seven years and I was married before and left in far more difficult circumstances. I never have trouble with men wanting to date me when I chose to be open to that. I'm incredibly self sufficient. It's just the pain of the logistics of the crap I'm going to have to deal with and the probability of losing not one, but possibly both relationships makes me so very sad. It's almost too much and why I keep trying and tolerating this.
I just can't keep going like this. To be honest, I believe both my husband and his girlfriend are wired for monogamy and probably just belong together and resent us Neanderthals for even being there and hoping for some occasional affection. That's how they have been since the beginning, but I kept hoping. I really love them both and in the best of moments, having these two very different, wonderful men (in different ways) in my life is a beautiful thing. In the worst of moments which have become all too frequent, I feel trapped, rejected and utterly unloved by the man I married. That's not what poly should be about.
Everyone's "ultimate goal" was to buy a house together in a couple more years (big house or possibly a duplex), but I'm not sure if I can live with my husband anymore. I can't like this much longer. I'm tired of being the called "drama" because I want a marriage. I'm tired of his threats to leave instead of being able to have a calm dialog and meet me in the middle. They've said that I'm insecure. I'm not particularly insecure. My needs in my marriage are so far from being emotionally and physically met that I'm simply not happy in this relationship. If we didn't split up, I'd almost rather just move to separate bedrooms and just be platonic instead of letting my guard down to be hurt and rejected over and over.
I honestly think my husband and his girlfriend are simply more unhappy than not with both my partner and I and probably they should just be together. I still love my husband enough to ultimately want to see him happy and I know he isn't with me anymore. I hold no illusions that my partner and I would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. I love my partner deeply, but I've been through too much to have any of those expectations even if we were together even longer term. Promises are empty. It's the day to day that matters most.
What's funny is we've had many people see us and our dynamic and say how the partners are far more compatible than the spouses. What's hard is when we're asked if we've noticed that too. We all have. We all know it, but we still keep trying to fit the round pegs in the square holes and the square pegs in the round holes. When the right ones are together fitting, there's no issues with anyone. (Well there are issues of course after all this time with both sets of partners, just in a manageable way because of inherently similar communication styles.)
I don't know what advice I could expect anyone to give. I'm doing the advice I'd give to anyone. Work on myself. Work on my own communication skills. Be loving, honest, flexible to the best of my ability, but it feels like it's futile. I wish he'd just say it and find a way to move forward. I don't want someone to be unhappy with me. He says he loves me frequently, but seems to forget the most important thing. Love is a verb.
I just wanna (((HUG))) you.
I understand. I really do. And all you can do at this point is make a choice for yourself that is healthy for you.
Check out "Non violent communication" (Rosenburg) that is what we follow. In the stickies there is a thread on communication too, that might help. Or do a search for tags.
Conflict resolution starts with stating what you see in facts... the observations first, then talking about what feelings come up because of the observations, then talking about your needs and then requesting how to make a change to the situation... I don't hear you doing these things with your husband. I think you need to start telling your husband how his words to you make you feel for starters and then what you need from him and how he can accomplish that. Ask him to do the same, ask how he feels in terms of "I" statements, not "you did this," or even "I feel like this because you.." He really needs to check in with himself when he thinks about his feelings... what is underneath what he says for him... it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with HIS feelings and needs.
Your boyfriend has his own stuff going on with his wife and that is not your business unless it effects you. It sounds like it is, so perhaps he could also use some tips on communicating better too... a little conflict res stuff won't go a miss with him either. Why don't you study it together? Make a date out of it... join a class, go on line together, read a book (the NVC book rocks!)... whatever works...
Please don't add more relationships to this... that is not the way to solve things... it just drags more people in and more people equals more mess if the mess that was there wasn't cleaned up (think toddlers being added to a mud puddle).
It very well might be that you all break up and go your separate ways. If so, wouldn't it be great to go on with life having learned something? This kind of communication break down follows us through life, why not get on it now. What do you have to lose? Nothing... you could gain a whole lot of knowledge and respect for yourself and everyone concerned, just by YOU making the change to communicate more effectively.
There are not "different communication styles" as far as I'm concerned, there is just crappy communication and effective communication... you seem to have a whole lot of crappy and not enough effective in your dynamic... so go make the change to make it effective. That would be my advice.
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