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-   -   First 'challenge' and I am not dealing (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50878)

Anyanka 07-28-2013 07:23 AM

First 'challenge' and I am not dealing
 
My guy (I have no idea what to call him so .. for the sake of brevity, this will have to do) and I are in a LDR. He is planning to move across the country to be with me but .. this is a couple, if not several months away. (I should start a thread on this as it's .. well, yes .. complicated).

He has always been open to his poly inclination and while I have always been mono - I am actually okay with the idea/s premise/s of poly and - I want him to be happy and free .. I really do.

When we met, he was in a very controlling relationship with a mono woman which he ended .. so, for three years, he has tried to live as somethin he is not and this, above all else makes me desire for him his freedom.

We have begun talking about having 'others' in the bedroom - I appreciate that this is not poly and I am not collapsing it into a definition of poly .. I am unsure if he wants to expand our relationship to include other relationships of his own .. we haven't gotten that far in our discussions and as we have only been together 9 months, the lust apsect between him and I is still very strong so, talks/fantasies have involved me _ him with an abstract 'other'.

Last week, he told me that he had been in contact with a woman who was keen to see a couple .. we were talking via skype and I messaged him that as I was not over there, perhaps he should see her on his own.

***moment of truthfullness***

I was really, really hoping that he would say something along the lines of not wanting to meet without me - but he didn't .. and I reacted by withdrawing a bit - which he recognised .. it got messy, but not overtly so .. this is new territory for us both. I knew that my reaction was my own and I needed to deal with it .. and I did, well, I thought I did. MY problem wasn't jealousy per se .. I found myself compounded with feelings of being threatened - absolutely .. but the main issue was a concern that he seemed to be looking to establish himself even further where he is - thereby delaying his move here.

We have been in a lot of contact over this weekend - hours and hours in skype talking about life, love and the universe, his search for new digs (he is staying with his parents after splitting with the ex) etc .. it has been a lovely weekend.

However, this woman that he has been in contact with came up again.

He told me that he had sent her some erotica that he wrote for her (this i shis thing, he likes to write erotica and get to know people in that way) .. and that she had called him last week for phone sex - but that she had since disappeared. His reason for telling me was to express exasperation at the 'disappearance'.

I am currently a crazy mix of emotions - non-the-least of which is betrayal.

I REALISE that this was just some writing and some phone sex - but, we are in a LDR so really, when we aren't together in the flesh, that is all he and I have as well.

I don't know if I have any right to be feeling the way I do .. I can barely isolate what exactly is wrong - and on top of that, I feel 'wrong' for feeling anything - like I am being ridiculous.

I just keep thinking that the days when I didn't hear from him and assumed that he was busy/tired, he was probably in contact with this woman - which makes me feel stupid ..

I really, REALLY need some perspective on the politics here - I have a handle on the 'it was just some emails etc' .. it's not about that .. I was just stunned that he was and possibly would still be in sexual contact with her on his own.

I don't know how to deal with this or whether to just let it go. Like last time, I just got very quiet and left soon after .. I didn't and don't know how to approach or deal so, I bury.

I hope this doesn't come across as ridiculous.

sparklepop 07-28-2013 11:46 AM

Hi Anyanka,

~grins~ No.... no feeling is ridiculous. It is what you feel. And you are trying to work through it.

Quote:

My guy (I have no idea what to call him so .. for the sake of brevity, this will have to do) and I are in a LDR. He is planning to move across the country to be with me but .. this is a couple, if not several months away. (I should start a thread on this as it's .. well, yes .. complicated).
How long have you been together? You don't class each other as partners? What is the commitment level like? Do you operate as a couple, or individuals, or is this part of the muddiness?

Quote:

I was really, really hoping that he would say something along the lines of not wanting to meet without me - but he didn't .. and I reacted by withdrawing a bit - which he recognised .. it got messy, but not overtly so .. this is new territory for us both.
Good for you for recognizing your moment of truth. It actually sounds to me like there was an (unwritten?) expectation that 'extra person' would be in bed with the two of you. You are realizing that expectation now, with your reaction to him meeting her. This is bound to make you feel betrayed; like he agreed to something, but is not sticking to that agreement. In reality, I'm guessing there was no actual agreement, just ideas shared.

Quote:

the main issue was a concern that he seemed to be looking to establish himself even further where he is - thereby delaying his move here.
So, what was it that made you think this? Have you been having that general feeling and you need to explore that further? Did he imply that he wants to stay where he is? Or are you assuming that if he starts casually dating or getting to know someone where he currently lives, he'd want to root there?


Quote:

He told me that he had sent her some erotica that he wrote for her (this i shis thing, he likes to write erotica and get to know people in that way) .. and that she had called him last week for phone sex - but that she had since disappeared. His reason for telling me was to express exasperation at the 'disappearance'.
Ok, so what you have here are two cloudy areas.

Do you want to know about these things? Is this over-share? When do you want to know about them? (before they happen. i.e. permission style; after they happen i.e. information style? randomly dropped into conversation? dealt with more carefully / at a better time for you?)

The other is the whole idea of him dating someone alone in the first place.

Quote:

I am currently a crazy mix of emotions - non-the-least of which is betrayal.

I REALISE that this was just some writing and some phone sex - but, we are in a LDR so really, when we aren't together in the flesh, that is all he and I have as well.
You feel betrayal, because you feel that he is doing with her what you two do together. You are even potentially feeling that him doing that with her took away a moment where he could have sent you the erotica and had phone sex.

I understand this. My GF and I are LDR (different countries!) and I struggled with her last partner, who lived in a different state to her for 6 months. She'd be sexual with him via emails and online, but completely non-sexual with me during this period. Though, it sounds like you and your 'guy' are still in a good sexual place. So perhaps the issue here is time/attention sharing. Perhaps it's expectation. Perhaps it's something else.


Quote:

I don't know if I have any right to be feeling the way I do .. I can barely isolate what exactly is wrong - and on top of that, I feel 'wrong' for feeling anything - like I am being ridiculous.
There is no right or wrong. You feel what you feel. If you got on the phone to him and called him a selfish bastard and a liar and a cheater, that would be a touch unproductive. ~grins~ But *feeling* something isn't wrong. Now you need to process it, analyse it, then communicate it to him, to work out a solution.

Possible things that could be wrong (all of which are valid *feelings* to face up to):
- you are struggling with sharing his attention. there may very well be times that he was emailing her, or thinking of her, instead of you.
- you are struggling with *hearing* the information
- you are struggling with the *way* it was shared
- you are struggling with a lack of boundaries and guidelines
- you feel like an audience, rather than a participant in his decisions with her
- you don't trust that he does really want to move to your area
- you don't trust that he wants threesomes; but instead, wants genuine poly


Quote:

I really, REALLY need some perspective on the politics here - I have a handle on the 'it was just some emails etc' .. it's not about that .. I was just stunned that he was and possibly would still be in sexual contact with her on his own.
You have to remember that you gave him your blessing, so he thinks that you are ok with that. We can all be guilty of agreeing to something for our lover, whilst seething inside. Then, we end up blaming them for betraying us. It's a fucked up system that we can all fall into.

What would be better is to have a new agreement. Either, you don't date separately and this is the agreement for the next 6 months. Or, you can date separately, but you require XYZ things around that (guidelines). Or, you can date separately, but you have to agree to be honest straight away when you're uncomfortable - and he has to agree to hear you out in that moment. Basically, making an agreement and pretending you're happy with that agreement isn't fair - to you, or him.


Quote:

I don't know how to deal with this or whether to just let it go. Like last time, I just got very quiet and left soon after .. I didn't and don't know how to approach or deal so, I bury.
I don't believe in burying feelings. I genuinely believe they come around to bite us in the ass. I do believe in experiencing the feeling, analyzing it, coming up with the deeper reasons for feeling that way, then communicating it *so* that solutions can be found.


Honestly, at this point, I would tell him that you would like to talk about some things and ask him when a good time for him would be. Try to create the most productive environment to talk in.

Avoid blame talk and focus on what you are feeling, what you could have done differently and what you are wondering. Have your worries on your mind and voice them.

For example, "I'd really like to understand and you haven't done anything wrong. I'm worried that perhaps you don't plan to move here and i'd like you to be honest with me about where you feel you are at with that. I'm also worried that I'm not emotionally ready for true polyamory; but that I've put you in an unfair position by saying that it was ok. I've realized that I'm struggling with you and this other woman and I'm trying to work out what I can do about those struggles. Would you be willing to talk about how you feel and perhaps come up with solutions together?"

Finally, you know, reading about polyamory is a wonderful thing. I would definitely suggest you keep doing that. But so often, we forget to read about ourselves. Conflict resolution, anger management, assertiveness... all kinds of skills that are necessary in relationships of any kind.

I found a website yesterday that I thought was amazing. The woman who runs it is a psychologist, largely talking about letting go of negative feelings. The website was designed for parents to model good behavior to their children. But their are certain sections specifically for adults, that I think are amazing useful when dealing with issues. It talks about things that "keep you angry" - but really, anger is being used as an umbrella term for feelings of upset, betrayal, resentment, etc. It is here, if you want to read it:

http://www.angriesout.com/grown14.htm

bookbug 07-28-2013 12:42 PM

I am confused. Even though you recognize that he is poly, you didn't think he was ever going to act on it? Or did you have an agreement whereby you two would only act on poly together? (Of course if that was the case, you gave him permission to do otherwise.)

While yes, many have to work through insecurities and jealousy, you say that you are feeling betrayed. A very strong word. What is it that he has done that makes you feel he betrayed you?

As for your concern that if he becomes involved with someone there, it may change his mind about the move, just ask him if he sees that as a possibility.

bookbug 07-28-2013 12:52 PM

On the idea of trust and betrayal, a member of this form wrote the following (and if the author reads this, please take credit, because I unfortunately saved only the concept - not the name of the poster who penned it):


what is a trust issue ?, i thought you were X, i wanted to believe you were X, i would not want or accept you to be anything other than X, ... and now i see your Y, you broke my trust! ... ??? WTF people, you've set yourself up to have trust issues because from day one you decided what you wanted the other person to be, it wasn't about accepting who they were, you decided who they were to be and finding out they were not that person you suddenly can't trust them ???

here's on, ... "the truth never hurts, it's the realization of the lies that hurt", ... those people that have trust issues, that's total BS, there's no trust issue, theres a major acceptance issue,

your projecting your wishes onto the other person and when they reach a point where they have to be themselves you blame them because you were not willing to accept them for who they are.

YouAreHere 07-28-2013 01:41 PM

To be fair, if this is someone's first experience in Poly, they may well not realize what their expectations are, or what the reality will be. It's a completely different animal from what they may be used to, and I know I went through my own growing pains in my relationship as well.

Ignorance of how something works, and trying to muddle your way through it is hard as hell, for everyone involved (been there, done that), but it's certainly not malicious. The fact that the OP is here talking and asking questions is a good sign.

bookbug 07-28-2013 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YouAreHere (Post 217533)
To be fair, if this is someone's first experience in Poly, they may well not realize what their expectations are, or what the reality will be. It's a completely different animal from what they may be used to, and I know I went through my own growing pains in my relationship as well.

Ignorance of how something works, and trying to muddle your way through it is hard as hell, for everyone involved (been there, done that), but it's certainly not malicious. The fact that the OP is here talking and asking questions is a good sign.

Totally agreed! It is also very common for people to not really understand why they feel as they do when they are upset. When I am the one who is muddled, I appreciate people asking me pointed questions as it helps me get to the bottom of the issue.

YouAreHere 07-29-2013 03:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bookbug (Post 217546)
When I am the one who is muddled, I appreciate people asking me pointed questions as it helps me get to the bottom of the issue.

As do I. :) Unfortunately, text without facial expressions makes it tough to figure out tone, so I probably read your post a bit harsher than it was meant, and internalized it a bit. D'oh.

I blame the mold in my cellar slowly taking over my brain.

(And now, I shall have cordyceps nightmares... thanks, self. Thanks a lot.)

bookbug 07-29-2013 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YouAreHere (Post 217620)
As do I. :) Unfortunately, text without facial expressions makes it tough to figure out tone, so I probably read your post a bit harsher than it was meant, and internalized it a bit. D'oh.

I blame the mold in my cellar slowly taking over my brain.

(And now, I shall have cordyceps nightmares... thanks, self. Thanks a lot.)

LOL. Yeah, I understand how lack of seeing facial expressions is a detriment. Somehow smileys didn't seem appropriate to the conversation. :). I appreciate you drawing attention to the possibility that what I said could be interpreted as harsh, so it gave me a chance to explain my intent.

Anyanka 07-29-2013 04:11 AM

Thanks
 
Thanks to everyone for the response - much appreciated (especially the first poster who took so much time/effort)

I really want to answer/respond to all individually - and I will - but I have broken things off with my guy and so ... amd a bit messy right now.

Just to clarify the betrayal/trust:

We had discussed and agree to have other people in 'our' bedroom .. but, we have not yet discussed having separate relationships .. as we are quite new - about 9 months - this isn't a need/want that is being surpressed .. it is just something that isn't a need/want YET. But, we had no poly agreement in place - none.

My sense of betrayal is because he told me he was in contact with a woman who was looking for a couple - fine - that bothered me only in that she is based in his current city and it indicated to me that he was still looking at that city as 'home' .. to me, we should have been looking for somebody here. Yes, I was slightly (but only slightly) jealous about the contact but I trusted him to be open about this .. I guess my expectations were a bit fuzzy .. but as she was looking for a couple, and there was talk about me visiting in a few weeks, I assumed that they were talking logistics of he, me and her possibly meeting.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and far from it being something about three people, two people (him and her) are actually writing intimate, erotic letters and having phone sex .. this was not discussed, in fact I had no idea that they were still in touch, let alone that things had gotten to an intimate nature - and lastly - I am left completely confused as to why a woman who was looking for a couple was engaged with the male solo. I also feel that I have found myself in an almost poly scenario without talking about it or agreeing as to what that meant etc .. - it is only writing and phone sex but, this is intimacy and therefore, I think it comes under the same umbrella and I see it as a breach of my trust that he would never do anything to undermine or hurt me - because I do feel undermined and hurt by the way that this all went down.

I have spent 24 hours thinking about my reaction - whether or not I was being fair, if it was just a knee-jerk response etc .. and I'm afraid that I still felt/feel the same way - mu trust has taken a hit and given that this is a distance thing .. there is nothing without 100% trust.

I also do think that perhaps he and I are on different pages regarding things .. he has just come out of a 3-year relationship with a very, VERY mono woman who made him feel guilty for even having poly thoughts - so, I am also inclined to think that it may be a good idea for him to be single for a while (sans me I mean) and explore himself a bit.

I am not dealing well with the distance, I am not dealing now with this breach of trust - and I do see it that way - and I don't see how that can be rectified.

The irony of all of this is that this weekend, we spent 8-10 hours a day on video chat just lying in our respective beds talking about life. love and the universe .. we are best friends and I just want him to be happy - I really do .. but I also want me to be happy .. and I'm not.

Thanks again everyone

WhatHappened 07-29-2013 04:18 AM

How do you get to know people by writing erotic stories?

As to your feelings, you may feel anything you like, and it sounds to me like he wasn't clear that he would be, and was, still in contact with her as a thing between the two of them, rather than as a joint...friend?...toy?...as you were led to believe. That becomes a violation of trust. That's a problem. If there are continued violations of trust, you eventually won't have a very good relationship.


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