I feel so guilty
So I have been dating this guy for 3 months. When we met, he was in an open relationship with a long distance gf of 9 months. I stayed out of their relationship, but from what I did see and hear it seemed as though they were very different people and things were a bit rocky because of the distance.
However, he did seem to really be in love with her and their 1 year anniversary was coming up. I wanted to help make it a great weekend (he isn't great at romantic stuff) so I gave him a bunch of suggestions on what he could do with her. He was pleased with the idea, but never really started planning anything specific that I know of.
Since we have met, I have introduced him to both kink and poly. We have had long conversations on our points of view on love, sex and marriage. We are on the same page on almost all of it. He didn't realize poly could ever seriously be an option. He had just never met a woman that could deal with it (she tolerated it because of distance I think) even though he knew it was how he felt.
So a week ago I left the country. We found some time to skype every day and one night, I even took my computer to a restaurant and we had a skype dinner date. During that time, he booked us a scuba trip and made reservations for the 3rd week of July. I thought it was really sweet he missed me and went through all the trouble. When I got home, I remembered that was the weekend he was supposed to leave for their 1 year anniversary. I asked him what he was planning to do, and he told me he was going to break up with his gf. He said its been going downhill a long time and he would rather spend the weekend with me. He told me he dreaded talking to her because there was never any optimism and only complaining.
A few nights ago, he left my home and headed to his. I was about 15 minutes behind him and arrived at his apt. to him on the telephone. He was breaking up with her. He didn't want to talk about it. Before bed, he told me he always had a little guilt calling me his gf when he had another knowing she was simply tolerating an open relationship. He said he was happy to know that he didn't ever have to feel that again (I think he meant since he figured out he was poly).
So, he fell asleep and I got up. I had to go for a walk. I felt like him getting to know me hurt this girl. I feel like a real shit. I started to leave and he woke up. He knew I was upset, but I didn't want to talk about it. The talk wasn't going to change anything that night and he had plenty going on already. I told him I would be back and left. I walked for a long time, feeling like the other woman, like an interloper. As soon as I came back in he woke up and wanted to cuddle. I wasn't ready for sleep, but went to bed anyway because he obviously needed that support.
I know logically, this has little to do with me. This has to do with a long-distance relationship going downhill slowly before we ever got together.
I can't stand cheating or lying. I can't do either in my relationships nor will I tolerate it done to me. It was an open relationship, but I feel like the "other woman". I feel awful. If that girl came here and wanted to kick my ass, I probably wouldn't fight her. I know she is hurting because of things that he learned from me.
I know he needed to understand these things about himself. I understand the logic of all of it. I understand he is a big boy and I didn't get involved in their relationship. They made their choices. Yet, I don't know how to make me okay with myself....
My POV? Maybe you feel like you intruded on an intimate moment. It does not sound like you were asked if you wanted to watch that go down. It sounds like you just walked in on this already happening by phone, and you didn't know if you should stay/leave or what. You were not prepared, and now he's wanting comfort/cuddly stuff you were not necessarily prepared to give.
Maybe could be cranky with BF about putting you in awkward space. So maybe you feel trespassed upon, and in the confusion, maybe hard to articulate because
HEY.... here's this "bigger" break up thing going on... if anything SHE could be feeling trespassed upon so what's YOUR problem? Peanuts! ANd he's grieving here so what's my problems compared to that?Are your thoughts running like that? Swirling around trying to get surer footing? Or trying to remove you feeling bad in an unsatisfactory way like " I have no right to feel bad here because they must feel worse!" junk?"
Could try to not assign value/judgement to it. Don't logic that part of it. Just feel whatever it is you are feeling and let it blow on through. Emotional internal weather is just that -- emotional weather.
I will tell you what your problems are compared to that. They are YOUR problems. Maybe not as VIVID as whatever she has on her plate or what he has on his plate. But still equally VALID. Your plate is your plate. BF could not be piling extra on your plate without your knowing/permission/willing/checking in first.
You still could be treated well in your own right. Their break up scene doesn't negate the fact you could have been trespassed upon by BF.
Could let a day or so go by and ask BF to not do things like that to you in future -- esp if you plan to polyship and both of you see other partners. Could give it a pass for him because he was emotional, needs to learn hinge skills, etc. Could give you a pass because you were "deer in the headlights." Could apply logic in this area -- the what to do next? -- portion of the process. Not the feeling part of the process.
It seems it was the first time either of you dealt with "breaking up" scenes together as a couple. To move it to better spaces in future? Could take the opportunity to talk now then. Could talk about how you want to break up with other partners you each might date (should it come to pass) and how you want to break up with each other (should that come to pass) and get his preferences. So you do not experience something like that again.
I know it is not all of the onion layers going on here right now, but it could be one of the layers that's causing you some stink?
If you don't feel ok in yourself because you were confused and trespassed upon you could assert yourself to clear the air and clarify/clear up the boundaries.
Then see if you feel better after doing that.
I can empathise with some of what you're going through, all I do is remind myself of the logic you mentioned. Easier said than done though.
He made his choices, because he is an autonomous adult - if he did let anything about his relationship with you sway his decision to end it with her, that was still his choice. You didn't manipulate him or steer him to that. So, stop blaming yourself. It's done now, and his ex will deal with it as she sees fit - who knows, she might have wanted to end it, too, and could be feeling relief right now.
Indulging in feeling guilty serves no purpose - guilt is a useless emotion. Make an effort to be aware of those moments when your thoughts pull you out of the present and into dwelling on guilty feelings, because that's just a mind-fuck.
The boat just hit some choppy waters, that's all. You got tossed a bit by the unexpected awkwardness of it happening before your eyes. It's okay to feel weirded out a little, but don't attach yourself to the discomfort. Let it go.
When you start spiraling into those thoughts that bring up guilt and feelings of responsibility over his other relationship (which is exactly NOT your responsibility), do something physical to snap yourself out of that and get back into your body and in the here and now, whether it is taking a walk or snapping a rubber band. Get out of your head and stop ruminating over it.
Not your fault
Probably the worst thing about poly is seeing two people in a relationship (that you're involved in) falling apart. It's easy to blame yourself, particularly if you came into an existing relationship. Even more so if you were only involved with one of them. Because in a monogamous situation, you would have been the replacement. But this is poly. Each relationship is autonomous...they just happen to be interconnected. Be supportive of your partner, but never let yourself take the blame for any of his relationships gone bad.
I understand your feeling of guilt.
I was encouraged by my long time friend to join her marriage. We would be a triad. Her husband and I immediately liked one another, and swiftly grew to love each other. What I didn't realize - and in all honesty they were not cognizant of either - was the problems in their marriage. Probably the kindest thing I can say is that my old friend suffers from a mood disorder. She is capable of holding it together in public, but behind closed doors if she was unhappy for any reason, her husband became an emotional punching bag.
Because she was only his second serious relationship, her husband basically thought this was how women behaved. He didn't like it, but didn't know it could be any different - until I moved in. I am easy-going, rational, and even- tempered. Then he came to understand that it didn't have to be that way.
Fast forward: I move out. They see two different marriage counselor's. She still fails to see why she should refrain from taking her bad moods out on her husband. A year after I left, and they are separated and divorcing.
Do I feel guilty? Yeah, sometimes. I can honestly say if I had never come into their lives, they might still be together - at least for awhile. That said, I did not create the problem between them, nor did I interfere with their attempts to resolve it. The fact that she felt no responsibility for learning emotional restraint, and that he chose not to put up with it any longer are their own personal choices.
So while I can understand that you feel guilty, logically you know the guilt is not warranted, right? You did not cause the issue between them, nor did you interfere in their relationship. The fact that their relationship failed (despite the fact that it was your bf who made the fi al decision to end it) is due to behaviors and choices they made.
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