Help/Insight/What am I?
My post is very long. I'm going to cut it in half and post the second half as a reply because I ran into this limit with the fourm.
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This is going to be VERY long. Sorry!!! Please excuse the length, I donít know how to portray the situation honestly in less words.
Ok, so I've been in a monogamous relationship for 12 years. I recently learned that my girlfriend and I had a lack of communication about certain things in our relationship. I used to have amazingly bad mistrust issues (even amazes me now). She didnít really know how bad though. I always had the fear she might cheat on me or leave me for another guy. I should specify that I do not have self-esteem, self-worth, or physical appearance problems at all.
Well, I caught her cheating on me as I read some texts on her phone. She left the phone in the car to charge while we were at her sisterís house. It went off and lit up and I was in the car first. Thinking we had nothing to hide from each other, I was going to read it and pass on the message to her, since she didn't have the phone. Well I found out it was sexual discussion with a co-worker that I'd never met.
No need to get into direct details of what they did or when. Long story short, she says she was not looking to cheat on me. It was a surprise to her that she had feelings from their conversations that started at work. She says he is the only one she has cheated on me with. She says that it was only going on for about 2 months before I found out. She started the job 3 months from that time, so she started talking to him 1 month into the job.
After discussing it with herÖ I found out that she was unhappy with the relationship for several reasons that I did not realize. We are high school sweethearts. I was always loyal, but I managed to give her the impression that I would not always be. She would see me noticing other girlís beauty. While that is exactly what I was doing, I thought I was a normal human for it. She even told me it is normal. However, she has had every boyfriend before me cheat on her (all in high school). She always told me that if I ever wanted to be with another girl to simply tell her first and leave her. She always said that she could never understand how someone could cheat on someone else and be ok with it. Well, now that she became a cheaterÖ She still isnít ok with it. She apologizes all the time, she is seeing a psychologist. She isnít in a good place right now emotionally.
She says that nothing in the relationship is my fault. I tell her that half of the fault is in fact my own. I was always really possessive and Iíd worry about things like her shirt exposing too much cleavage and ask her in a pretty harsh way to change clothes and stuff. Back then (many years ago), the thought of any other guy having any sort of pleasure from even looking at my girlfriend tore me to shreds emotionally. Her wearing revealing clothes (without realizing) used to hurt me as bad as her cheating on me when we were in high school. Yeah, I told you I was bad about it then.
Well, she eventually (within the first 3 years) told me that she loved that I cared so much about her that I would voice concerns. She didnít always agree with my concerns, but respected them and was happy that I would be honest about it with her. So for a long time, I didnít recognize an issue in this form of controlling possessive behavior. A huge mistake.
So 12 years go by and I think we are both extremely happy (before I read that text I mentioned). She has always had a view that marriage is a bad idea. Everyone in her family is either divorced or lives together with children and no marriage. She views marriage as an SOís way of tying a partner down and then acting the way they always wanted to before... As if people act different to lure someone into marriage, then apply the ball and chain and turn into assholes. I could never convince her that this was not the case with me. I am explaining all this to provide insight as to why we did not marry within 12 years. I never felt like she didnít want to marry me specifically, just that she didnít like the idea of marriage ever. I was fine with it. I felt we would always be together and had no issues.
Well, now that she has cheated on me, she has told me about all sorts of possessive things I have done that she always hated. She only blames herself for never voicing her concerns. She never truly believed me 100% that I loved her because of how I would look at other girls that walked by from time to time. I should point out that I never saw it as a problem because she told me within our first year together that she is bi-sexual. She looks at girlís beauty too. However, she has only recently been able to show me that her being bi does not mean she wants a boyfriend AND girlfriend at the same time. Merely that she is open to a monogamous relationship with either gender. Well, me being an idiot, I never recognized this. I used to always give not so subtle hints that MFF threesomes would be fun. She even liked the idea for a time. We never did it. Neither of us complained that we never did it though.
Ok, so for a while I was heartbroken over her cheating. I felt like I wasnít good enough for her and that she wanted to drop me. She said that I was always good enough for her, but that her mistrust with marriage and me looking at girls made her feel that she was never good enough for me. I believe her. She has never been a person to lie (just hide things and never mention them). She has such a huge amount of niceness, respect for strangers, charity and courtesy that Iíd dare compare her to Mother Teresa before what she did to me. She feels terrible for what she did. We still discuss the situation all the time. Iím trying to get over it 100% because I recognize my fault in the situation as well as hers. I want to help her get better too. I know that only then will we both be able to consider how the relationship will progress from there. She is far from better though.
I wanted to come here because I find that if she and I are both agreeing that I am normal for looking at girls and whateverÖ. Well, maybe I deep down wanted to be non-monogamous or poly or open or something. I never thought it was an option. I have only recently discovered these concepts existed in the real world within the last week. Iíve been reading about it on Reddit and OkCupid profiles and stuff like that.
I have been able to completely get over her cheating on me. I managed to do that by feeling relief from personally being able to blame myself partially for her life leading to this outcome. I recognize how terribly possessive and controlling I used to be. I will never ask her to do anything like that again. Iíve told her all this. She just says it is her fault for not speaking up and letting it happen. I prefer blaming myself for ever asking in the first place, and she knows this. She is such a nice person that she feels I should not blame myself, because I donít deserve what she did. I think we are both partially right. My conclusion is that we both did wrong with not communicating. She did wrong to be with someone else, sureÖ But I feel it wouldnít have ever been possible without me being such a terrible SO to her.
Part of the way I got over what she did includes learning about non-monogamy. I am not saying that being NM or Poly is at all equal to cheating. Honesty is the cornerstone of poly and I get that. However, if I tell myself she was just exploring urges to be NM/poly (since it isnít a secret to me now) that I am now ok with what went down. I no longer picture her in bed with him combined with notions of suicide and physical mild heart attacks. Now, if that image is in my headÖ Iím excited for her to explore things that she enjoys in the world. If we donít end up togetherÖ I would probably end up in a relationship with someone who is already open to the ideas this forum is for.
-See first reply to continue.-
She has not been speaking to him for 2 months. She knew it was wrong to be behind my back and ended it for me. However, she says she still has feelings for him even though she never stopped loving me. Before I read about NM/poly I couldnít understand that. Now I do. I feel like it truly was normal that I noticed other girls. She has a problem with me not only having eyes for her. From how she feels now, I imagine she is entirely monogamous at this point. Iíve been telling her about these alternative love lifestyles that exist. I told her they helped me get over it. However, Iím afraid I immediately give her the impression that Iím ok with it because maybe I always did want to be with other girls too.
The truth is; Iím still hurt a little bit if I see her use her phone. Remember, I found out she cheated using her phone. Her co-worker lives out of state. However, she has been to his state and I know they have had sex many times. Sheís sent him pictures that originally made me want to die. Iím still learning to be ok with it. I want to never feel jealousy again. Iím getting closer every day to being like thatÖ Thanks to internet discussions such as these.
So you are probably wondering why Iím saying all this. WellÖ I just want to know how the rest of you got started. Were you born knowing you would never be monogamous? Did you start with monogamy and have it end badly and then come to this? I am curious if some people are only NM/poly out of the fear of being cheated on. You canít be cheated on if you consented to multiple partners and you think youíve met all of your SOís partners, right?
Iím not saying that Iím even sure Iím NM/poly/open. I think there is a chance that I might be. However, I still do love the girl Iíve described above. We are still together as monogamous people.
She later found out that the guy she was cheating on me with had lied to her. He told her he was divorced for 2 years. He is still married. The wife found out about her and called her. He didnít have the balls to fess up. My girlfriend isnít the first girl heís been with behind his wifeís back. She knew of 7 others. So my girlfriend is dealing with the pain of breaking her cardinal rule (donít cheat and lie) as well as being duped by the exact type of guy she always feared I would be to her. I feel so fucking bad for her that I donít have any pain of my own over what happened. She has yet to feel stable enough to have the conversation with him to tell him how angry she is. I got jealous when I saw her on her phone skyping him last night. She even pointed the phone cam at me and I couldnít even speak looking face to face with the guy. I didnít know what to say.
I know that I can heal emotionally and move on to any future. Iíd be happy to continue having a monogamous relationship with her. I enjoy our time together no matter what. If she decides that she needs to stop dating me as well as cut him off then I understand. She isnít sure she can stay with me because I remind her of how bad of a person she was for cheating. She isnít sure if maybe she needs to walk away from the whole thing and not even have a relationship to heal.
Thanks to reading about NM/poly for the last 5 days, Iíve been able to heal and come to terms with the fact that I might still lose her now. I told her Iím even ok at this point if she still wanted to date both of us. Remember how nice I told you she is? She recognizes that the other guy has emotional problems. He was recently held in the psyche ward at a hospital for cutting himself straight up both arms. She doesnít want to yell at him yet because she wants him to come out ok too. He lied to her, cheated on her, made her feel like a whore and she wants to help him. I could never claim to be so considerate. I admire her for that strength.
SoÖ How have you all started realizing that you were NM/poly/swingers/open/etc? Are you with a partner now that you were once monogamous with? Did you both become NM together? I want to hear both the good and the bad stories.
Mainly, Iíd like to hear any relation to the situation I am currently in. Can anyone relate to having been cheated on by someone who felt hurt by you? Where they did not cheat out of sexual desire, but out of the feeling of thinking they were not loved by you and that someone else convinced them that they love your SO more truthfully than you do?
Does it sound like I may actually be poly? Feel free to ask questions about anything. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I had to talk about it with someone and I feel like this is the best place.
These boards are jam packed with personal experiences. Do a search for a particular topic or head to the Golden Nuggets listing to get some direction. Good luck, start reading.
I am sorry. I see that you are upset. :(
That's a lot to take in and I don't even know if my response will help you. At least you know your thing was read. Sigh.
"Monogamous" is describes the relationship shape to me. I am polyamorous. I could choose to sign up to be in a monoship. A monoamorous person could sign up to be in a monoship or be a "V" arm in a polyship. They still only love their one sweetie.
A (monoamorous AND monogamous) person is not going to want to be in any polyship, not even as a V arm person. They will want a closed 2 people and ONLY ever 2 people shape thing.
Sigh. This may be hard to hear -- but that stuff just won't wash with me.
Mistakes can happen, but they stop at a kiss, a hug. Maybe one time sex. Carried away. Who knows. But one can pull back and go "Wait. I am not free to pursue this like this" and go home to check in. You don't REPEATEDLY cheat "by mistake." Then it's just doing it on purpose or avoiding responsibility like "Screwed up already... may as well keep on now!"
She didn't own up to it ASAP like a mistake. She kept it hidden and kept going back for more. Now that she's caught? By you and the wife she didn't know existed? I think she could be white-washing as best she can to you or to herself or both. :(
She sounds like she's got a lot of emotional problems herself including not being willing to take emotional responsibility for her choices/conduct.
I don't think you are "over it" hon. I think you want to be, but are not. :(
Was he supposed to be the stepping stone dude? And he didn't pan out? So now you are being kept as a spare? But she feels guilty for using you? What's going on here? Like she doesn't want to be the one to break it up, but secretly hopes YOU will do it? Ugh. Crazymaking. :(
You could be treated WAY better than this. By her. AND by you.
She could have broken up with you and then see him but didn't do that back then. She cheated on you instead. Repeatedly.
She could NOW break up with you to spare you more lalalalalas. But doesn't. So it is neither here nor there.
Have you suggested do you guys just end this and take time out and time apart to heal? And after time apart and healing, if you choose to build something NEW together at THAT time, deal with it THEN? :confused:
I would NOT suggest you polyship with her and the cheater dude or anyone else. He's wonky and she's wonky herself in other ways. That isn't you looking out for your best interests and entering into a healthy polyship with healthy stable trustworthy people from the best foundations.
It's just signing up for crazy town. The odds of it working out in the long run are not zero, but they are not high either. Don't ADD to your problems. TAKE AWAY from your problems.
Rather than start something NEW at this time? Could put energy into cleaning up the OLD first. Could also read this:
http://felislunae.org/relationships-love/coming-clean/ and really, realistically assess if BOTH OF YOU
I believe in 2nd chances, but at the same time... I believe in buyer beware. This is a a time of discernment -- so sort it out carefully.
Could not make life choices while impaired or under high emotion.
Could take a time out and def go get STD labs for your own physical health. People have been lying here.
Could get your own counselor to sort your mental and emotional health out.
Could go do what you do to tend to your spiritual health. You are responsible for your own well being.
Again, I'm sorry you endure this. It's not fun at all. :(
It's up to you how you want to proceed from here and if you want to try trusting her again. You are the one living this reality. Could choose well. We are free to choose. But we are not free from the consequences of our choices.
I'll hope for a good outcome and that things for you improve.
I didn't read your whole thing, but GalaGirl here gives great advice.
Yes my spouse and I were mono...now we're poly and very happy.
As for me, I went through a period of change/rebellion that lasted about ten years, and by 2005, I had put aside virtually all of my previously conservative beliefs. So I was in the right frame of mind to be introduced to poly, and it was around that time that I fell in love with someone who was already married. She did a lot of research on the web and found out about poly, and things slowly evolved to where they are today: a polyfidelitous V, where she has a romantic relationship with both me and her husband, and her husband and I are platonic friends.
I hope your situation works out, and that your SO will stay with you. Perhaps both of you will decide to live a poly life.
I read everything you wrote and honestly... there are a lot of issues between the two of you. Have you two had any space? Are you living together? Did the cheating happen two months ago or have I gotten that wrong?
You should definitely take a look at the life stories and blogs section. As for me personally - I didn't think much about open relationship models. I don't feel like i was 'born' poly. That being said, I've never had good experiences with monogamy. Poly, for me, is a life choice made on my opinions and viewpoints about monogamy and how I haven't seen monogamy work in my life.
My first girlfriend was ten years my senior and was cheating on her fiancť with me. My boyfriend after that cheated on me twice. My boyfriend after that - we were mono for 5 years; but I had always been tempted by other women. Eventually we became mono/poly and I dated a woman at the same time as him for six months, before breaking up with him and being with her for three years. She had a wandering eye and I ended up meeting my current girlfriend towards the end of that relationship; who i am poly with. We are only poly because my GF insisted on it when I met her and I liked the idea. I just accepted it and we got into a relationship. The choice was as simple as that. The hard work comes after making the choice.
Poly isn't without its troubles, but I struggle to think of being mono again. Yes, there is a concern about cheating - though cheating can still happen in poly. But, overall, I like the freedom of being able to act on it if I find someone attractive.
One thing I have learnt is that adding poly to a cracked foundation can be a recipe for disaster. If this other guy wasn't on the scene, I'd be suggesting that you two do some self and relationship work before opening up. However, she still has feelings for him... So what's going to happen there?
If i was being completely, completely honest... I'd be wanting to take a step back. In all honesty, I'd take some space and open up the relationship, whilst continuing to both work on yourselves. Everything sounds very heavy in there right now. What can you do to lighten the current situation?
I eventually made it all the way through, and I think that before you try to find answers to your questions you need to let her off the pedestal you've put her on and (with apologies to any bruised religious sentiments this may cause) get down off the cross you've nailed yourself to. You won't even begin to make sense of anything until you can look at the situation clearly without casting her as an angel and yourself as a martyr.
Thanks for all the info guys. I found out about The Ethical Slut and I have been reading it. I'm down to reading the final third of the book now. It has definitely changed me a ton.
I can now see all the flaws that existed in the relationship I described for everyone involved. I see what was wrong with how I viewed things, how my SO viewed things, how the cheater dude views things and even how his wife views things.
I don't hurt at all now. I think the only thing I'm unsure about at this point is how to feel jealous about anything at all now. I read the chapters describing jealousy and I don't really feel I have any. I'm ok spending certain days alone by myself.
I'm not really the type of person to hold onto negative shit for very long. I'm absolutely healed from the experience I had. I'm thrilled to know what happens next for me. If she and I break up, we will still be best friends and will be open about everything. If we stay together, we will still be best friends and will be open about everything. See what I did there?
I think at this point I feel the most sorry for the cheater dude's wife. She has worse possession/attachment issues than I ever have. I learned that their relationship has gotten physically violent in the past. He has scars from her. They both need the book way more than I did.
I told my SO that she needs to read it as soon as I'm finished. We agreed we wouldn't attempt to form opinions about what to do next until we have both read it and discussed things with informed understanding. At this point I am happy with any outcome. I am happy for her in any lifestyle she chooses after reading the book. With or without me, I will always treat her as an extended family member in the best friend sense. In the book, one of the authors mentioned that one of her male partners stopped being romantically involved with her. She had a child with another man. They all still live together in the same house and both men are friends and take care of the child when needed. The guy she isn't romantically involved with still lives in her house and is still a great friend. I know for certain that this could be the case with my SO if she chooses not to be romantically involved with me after she reads the book. I'm ok with that.
I guess I feel like I would have been poly my entire life if I was raised knowing that it was an option. When I was a kid, I thought that no woman would ever allow me to have a second girlfriend. I thought this because at the time I wouldn't have wanted any girlfriend of mine to be seeing another guy. Well now that I've learned that I can be happy for my girlfriend if she loves multiple people... I think I'm officially open to NM/poly/ and open relationships.
I know I'm a newb and I could have possibly worded my original post better to show you I'm not doing this "for her" and that I in fact do not hold her on a pedestal. But the long story shorter is that I'm learning new things about this lifestyle every day. I have not come across anything that didn't sound absolutely exciting and full of joy.
Thank you for all the kind words. This will be my last long-winded post! Sorry about that!
Sounds like you are getting the pieces of the puzzle put together. It's great that you and your SO are developing and understanding with each other.
When you get done with "The Ethical Slut," you might want to consider also reading "Opening Up," by Tristan Taormino. It's another great book about poly and responsible nonmonogamy in general. Covers a lot of bases.
I wish you guys the very best.
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