Can't Wrap my Head Around This
Hey guys. I've been lurking like a fiend the last few days and reading everything I can find, but I'm still really struggling with something and if there's a better group of folks to discuss this with I haven't found them.
This is going to be a long post. Sorry in advance.
I've been the secondary in my first poly relationship for the last year and a half or so. S is married to B, and I'm seeing S with B's permission. Their sex life had dried up two years prior, and my involvement got S interested again which led to them being intimate again. B gets turned on by me being with S, and he likes having her describe the things we do together in detail. It started out with me coming over at night and leaving right afterwards, but early on I started spending more time with them outside of the bedroom as the relationship matured. They seemed surprised when I wanted to get to know B - I guess the previous people they were in a relationship with didn't even want to meet him, while I said from day one that I thought it was important for B and I to know each other so that everybody was on the same page.
The intimacy between B and S stopped a few months back because B started smoking, and S's mother died a few years back because of lung cancer attributed to smoking so it's a huge turn off for her. Four or five days ago, B cheated on S rather than talking to her or to myself about whatever he was dealing with. And everything just fell apart at that point. They were talking about getting divorced, S kicked B out of the house for a few days, and the whole thing just exploded.
Because I'm the secondary, I don't really know much about what has been happening because I'm not there, but suddenly they're saying things are OK again. Apparently, B was saying yesterday that they should buy a house with a basement apartment so that I can move in with them.
I'm having a lot of difficulty reconciling this in my head. For things to go so wrong and then suddenly be OK again after such a short time just doesn't make sense to me.
Part of what really bugs me is that I've been going out of my way to talk to B, to make sure he's happy with the arrangement, and he's been telling me everything is good on a weekly basis. Not a brush-off "fine" kind of response, but heartfelt expressions of being happy. So this came from out of nowhere as far as I can tell, and that really worries me. How do any of us know it won't happen again if there's no warning signs or indications to tell us there's a problem to deal with? S is telling me not to worry about it and that it's a problem between them, but that sounds to me like I should just ignore the problem and I don't see how that ever helps.
I'm also questioning what this relationship is, and what my role in it is. While I used to think everything was well laid out and clear, I'm now realizing that a lot of things just haven't been discussed. Is this a three person relationship in which everybody is involved, or is it two separate relationships with S in both? I've been thinking it's the former, and now it seems like they're treating it as the latter. And that completely changes where I sit when things like this happen, whether I'm part of finding the solution or whether I just vanish until they get it sorted out.
Anyway, I was hoping some of the folks here could offer some perspective to help me understand what's happening here. Right now I feel overwhelmed just wrapping my head around it. Thanks in advance!
It sounds to me that taking yourself out of the emotions that you are feeling and looking at it that way might help. To me it seems you should decide it is whatever you want it to be, regardless of what they think.
That being said, it is important that you tell them what your thoughts are so that they can adjust if need be. I would also do as they ask and stay out of their dynamic. At least enough to let them deal with each other. You can have whatever boundaries you like around the time you spend with them and how that is managed; whether it be no talking about their issues on certain date nights, and leaving a night to talk, or no talking at all about their stuff only, or whatever you want.
The point is to figure out your needs and then request them. This is the beginning of negotiating. Ask them to figure out theirs too and tell you what they are so that you can compare and move forward from there on what works and working on what doesn't. It's okay if there has been no discussion up until now. You just start now and work from there.
All I have to add is that moving into a basement suite of a house that they own while the relationship is on rocky ground probably isn't the best idea. Especially with the talk about divorce only happening a week ago! It sounds to me that they need to do some work on what they want from each other.
To answer your question: "is it possible for things to seem really bad and then be great?" I would say yes, it is, depending on the circumstances.
I broke up with my husband in December (I still need to talk about it in my journal, which I think I'll do in about a month when things are sorted out more). Now, I'm not back with him, but that's the background information.
It stirred up a lot of things, and I had very strong arguments with my boyfriend, Sean. In the end, we seemed to be in a situation where nothing would work, we were doomed, everything sucked, etc. He said we should probably end it, and that he'd send me my ring back, and it really seemed final. It was very hard on me, because I had just lost a relationship with my husband, which was already hard (although I initiated it) and now I was seeing myself lose my other relationship.
But... we ended up getting back together the next day. We were both adamant that we were ready to do anything to make it work, and our attitude changed from very negative to very positive. Having thought about it, we realised what was important for us, and we felt closer than ever.
I think it's possible that something similar happened to S and B. The affair probably started a big argument, as things like that can, with a lot of stress involved, etc. Once it settled down, they could see things in a clearer way, and when they talked about future projects, they realised they wanted to live with you. And from then, things started to make sense, they knew were things were going, they were feeling like everything was great.
I think it is possible that something like that happened. Sometime when you're dealing with strong emotions due to another situation, a big argument can start, and after you calm down you realise what it was all about, that you were just stressed out. And sometimes, almost losing something makes you appreciate it even more. So I don't think it's necessarily something for you to worry about. Of course, I don't know their specific situation, but it's quite likely that things are indeed fine.
So I'd suggest you stop asking him before he gets annoyed :P
I think this relationship has just been 'coasting' along without any real definition. And that's perfectly fine, until as you've discovered, something goes 'bump'.
No doubt it's been looked on as just primarily about sex, some friendship etc.
If I were you............
I would just get the 3 of you together and lay it on the line. Explain to them both that you consider them both MORE than friends, that you care deeply about them both, and that trauma in their life affects you too - whether they realize it or not. Don't say this in a needy way, but just a straight forward way to make them aware that you do care that much. You can't turn a blind eye to it without feeling guilty.
This is just 'notice'. It's not an obligation on their (or your) part. Just an expression of willingness to help whenever and however you can. An expression of true caring. Isn't that love ?
From there the ball is pretty much in their court. I hope they accept you with open arms but don't get your hopes up either.
Even if not, if you offer IS sincere, you can continue to be on the bench waiting to be called up. It's hard for some people to be that open, and trusting, to allow someone else in that deeply. Sometimes it takes time, small steps.
I hope for you all it works out.
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