Advice on dealing with it all...
I've lurked here for the last few months and enjoyed several threads - lots of interesting thoughts on relationships and self-development! Made an intro post about 3/4 weeks ago.
Recap - My wife (A) and I have been together for 11 years, but married for 7. We have three kids aged 8, 11 and soon to be 16 - hectic house! I'm 31 and my wife is 36. A got involved with a 24 year old guy (S). Originally supposed to be a Friends With Benefits arrangement, but things got messy.
The problem - things have been hugely challenging since A got with S, spent time with him and slept with him. At first everything was going very well. S seemed to be an understanding guy who seemed to be interested in A, but also didn't want to split us up. I was happy enough for my wife to see S even though she's my wife and I didn't lose the plot when she finally did have sex with him. And she was happy she could have both of us in her life for different reasons.
But since that night, things went pearshaped. S made no effort to keep in contact with my wife even though he'd agreed doing so showed her respect. We all agreed that respect was important all round. S talked a lot about being detached to A the whole time, so when she did spend time with him she was confused by his behaviour. He seemed to be developing some kind of attachment to her and they had sex for 30-45mins out of the 6 hours they'd spent together. So, after that, it looks like he's blanked her and chosen to run away from the situation. Last week he texted her "maybe we should call it a day...we're playing with fire." By then, he'd already slept with her and there was consent from all of us too. A thinks someone has talked to S and said he shouldn't be seeing a married woman at all.
His lack of communication with my wife has pissed me off a lot. I've seen her upset and it's on her mind a lot which I felt was getting in the way of our time together. She's told me more than we originally agreed to because she wanted me to understand how hurt she is, she's not trying to hurt/offend me. I've struggled with that too and my response was to start demanding she doesn't see him again and stop talking about him, etc. A correctly pointed out I have a control issue and have been trying to control her. She's told me several times I have to let her make her own choices/mistakes and to do my best to support her. A has tried to reassure me, but has pointed out that she can't battle my demons for me - only I can.
On top of all that, she bled at some point when having sex with S. She had done with me weeks before, but had not when I had sex with her before she did with S. That night he seemed concerned for her and asked if she needed a doctor. A made an appointment and had a colposcopy which made her highly anxious. She's been terrified the results will say she's got pre-cancerous cells, but her doctor doesn't think she does. We get the results soon. But she says she feels like S has stabbed her in the heart as he hasn't acknowledged her medical issues at all since that night. She's told him about it, but nothing.
I've told her I believe he had used her for sex that night. She thinks he is the type who runs away from things when emotions get involved, but agrees his treatment of her is unacceptable.
Things came to a head the other night and we had an argument (wife and I) which ended up with me punching a hole in the door as well as saying I'll deal with him myself. I have had anger management 18 months ago and know I need to deal with it again. This is the first real test of my ability to control my anger since the course ended. I also struggled to deal with the different dynamics too as I've felt jealous that he's new and exciting to her while I'm not after 11 years. She's tried reassuring me what she has/had with him is separate to what she has with me, etc.
It looks like S and I have had a harder time dealing with this while A has been able to separate her relationships. She has a hard time with him cutting her off and not getting the answers she needs from him. She wants to see him one more time to talk about where it went wrong, why he treated her the way he has, etc, before going separate ways. I still think he is a user, but she feels he's confused. I've had no problems with A actually having sex with S, but struggle a lot with the emotional side of it all.
At the end of the day, we both realise we need to develop better coping strategies here! One of the kids almost overheard everything which we don't want to happen. So, how do other people handle mess like this?? Especially when one person isn't communicating at all and my wife's been in limbo for 4 weeks.
Thanks, folks! :)
I get that her relationship with S is bumming her out, which impacts your life, but how do you handle it when her work puts her in a bad mood? Or she has an argument with her mother? Do you smash a wall and go "handle it yourself"? I hope not, because it is not your business. If she asks you to get involved it seems like something to consider (maybe), but otherwise it is truly not your business to control the details of her life.
I imagine this control issue is at the root of your "anger problem" (as A pointed out). Anger is just how it is manifesting itself, the anger isn't anything on its own. If you were not trying to heroically control the world and people around you... what would you have to be angry about?
She had a romantic encounter with a friend and it's getting a little weird. Who knows what is going on with him and hopefully he will talk to her (her, not you) about it. That is a bummer, and I'm sure she is pretty let down by the whole thing... but if that's as bad as it gets I think you're doing fine.
Op this is going to sound harsh.
Your wife is a grown up.. You need to let HER deal with this and you MYOB. She needs to not bring you into things.
You have no right to dictate how his relationship with your wife goes. That is between them. If she allows him to treat her poorly then SHE needs to deal with it.
Closure is not a right. Ever. It is not the responsibility of the other party to give a reason. Unless they want to. Closure has to come from within.
I find it slightly ironic. Most people are fine with fucking, but don't want the emotional side. So a FWB situation where the other side is walking away from the emotions (if thats what is happening) would be ideal in some non-monogamous circles.
I could also guess you are at different points in your lives. He's early 20's.. your 30's and kids. Your viewpoint on what a relationship even is, is likely very different.
Hes 20ish.. hes horny.. he thought he liked your wife and maybe didn't feel anything after the sex. Sex is not a pre-cursor to a relationship. Sometimes, shit happens and you realize there isn't a compatibility. I would hate to be on the other side of your opinions. I can like a girl, when I do have sex with them, its always an on/off switch for me. Yes or no.. this can continue or not. I didn't use the women in my life, it just didn't happen.. I am also at an age where I would tell the woman just that.
and I have had it happen to me.. (and it sucked for the record, but I dealt with it.. )
For the record, the best closure for me has always been rebound sex. Doesn't work for everyone, but its a great way to emotionally close one door and prop another open, and its more fun than sitting around moping.
However, you guys are kinda too attached. You may just scare a 20 something off with your emotional intimidation..
Ces La Vie..
Good luck, hopefully you can loosen up your need to control, hopefully she can find closure somehow, and hopefully both of you can look at the world through his eyes and maybe not see what he did as this great slight against your wife.
Last note, take it as a lesson, now you know a bit more about what your are looking for and can hopefully figure out where you might have gone wrong. It should help for future relationships. :)
I'm sorry you guys are struggling. :(
Here's how it appears to me. I could be wrong.
HER TRIGGER is BF not being responsive like she wants him to be.
To solve this BF thing, she broke agreements with HUSBAND? This does not compute.YOUR TRIGGER: She told you MORE than you agreed to share. She crossed the TMI line.
HEALTHIER RELATING IDEAS
I assume agreements/limits between you are to encourage healthy relating behaviors between you.
You punching the door does not sound healthy. That's way overloaded.
If you were sitting on other unarticulated frustrations that came out in the "WHOOSH!" or contributed to your angry meter rising? You could express your emotional state more often to your wife. "Nip it in the bud" action. You both could take steps to prevent "overload" in either direction.
You both could remember spouse is a person too -- they are not on call to meet needs 24/7. One could ask spouse if they are willing/able at this time to meet a need request. Not just ASSUME. Spouses deserve basic polite -- in fact, they could get MORE consideration than random strangers.
You both could become more "need" articulate and use “need words.” See need inventory. I think she could be saying "I need to be understood" when she means "I need to be comforted."
In this case? She actually doesn't have to detail her hurts TO YOU. You are there. You have eyes. You notice her hurting. You notice it affecting your time together already. You already seem to understand she hurts.
If she needs comfort? You could remind her that she could ASK you if you are willing to provide comfort first. Then after you give consent, NEGOTIATE what form that comfort could come in. Pick a "comfort thing" you could do for her that serves BOTH your needs. http://goodlifezen.com/21-ways-to-co...end-in-crisis/ You get "no ambush" and she gets comfort.
If she still wants to tell her story to air out, she could pick a different person than you to tell it to. You are too close on this one and are in the kvetch circle.
You are ALL in the kvetch circle because you are ALL in the polyship. Maybe BF needs to be offered comfort rather than kvetches. Maybe (Wife + BF) need to agree on conflict resolution style they will use. Maybe all could assume positive intent.
He texted her – “maybe we should call it a day...we're playing with fire." Face value? He seems overwhelmed. If you and she are struggling with polyshipping realities – he could be also!
When you guess he used her for sex? And she guesses he's an “avoid” style conflict person? You are guessing. This is not KNOWING. Rather than keep on guessing and crank yourselves/each other up? You could focus on constructive solutions. Step OFF the destructive merry-go-round.
You both could take a time out to cool off, and then examine behavior done/ not done BY WHO that set off WHAT part the chain reaction. Figure out where the deeper problems lie between you in communication, boundaries, and dealing with conflict resolution.
Otherwise, even if she breaks up with this BF? If you and wife continue to polyship? You could find yourselves here again. Same ol' song. Different day.
You can do this. BREATHE. Take it one layer at a time here. Take breaks, but keep breaking it down and solve it. Talk about poly hell feelings, jealousy feelings, more jealousy feelings. Make the plan for coping with feelings/emotional flooding. This time? You had no map, and it seems that ADDED to the problems.
Hang in there!
Having re-read my post again and seeing everyone's replies, I can see that I haven't got the full situation across or represented my wife very well here. I can take what I feel is useful for me from each post so far, but I personally didn't feel anyone was being harsh.
Hopefully, the following should be more helpful!
A and S first met up on the internet through a 'cougar dating' site with my full consent. There was texting, e-mails, pictures being swapped. S and A liked each other and arranged to meet in person. They spent 5 hours together talking, socialising, flirting, felt chemistry and arranged to meet again. They said they wanted a Friend With Benefit relationship and kept in touch via texts. A booked a hotel room for her and S with my consent as before. They spent lots of time together talking, watching tv in the hotel room and the actual sex part lasted less than an hour. All in all, they spent 6 hours together that night.
There appeared to be an emotional bond happening and S became protective when A mentioned a 'cry for help' suicide attempt a few years ago. He hugged A and said, "I'm glad you're still here..."
At one point, A asked S if he'd ever 'been in love' as she was curious about his past. S seemed awkward and said, "I don't know...Maybe...I don't know." A found this a little strange and the atmosphere between them after that seemed to change. S became more evasive, but did ask A if she could stay the night in the same bed. A did say no out of respect for me - remember this was the first time in 11 years she'd seen someone other than me. S agreed that they shouldn't take advantage while I had told A that my feelings on that might change in future, but I'd let her know.
Then, they had a confusing 30min long confrontation before A left. Both S and A seemed confused as to what was happening between them, S admitted he was confused and said, 2Maybe I'm in too deep." A asked what he meant by that which he wouldn't answer. Then he told A he needed some space and that his mind was "fried". They hugged before A left, but didn't say goodbye. That was 4 weeks ago tonight.
Since then, things have been strained between A & S and between me & A.
3 weeks ago, A got a text from S saying, " It seems the deeper things go between us, the more confusion and hurt there might be. If your fella isn't happy with us, I'm not sure we can keep going." Then he left for Wales for 3 weeks and visiting his family in England. His contact was sporadic. He did text briefly a couple of times and said his phone didn't have a signal in certain places. S told A he still wanted to see her, but that it was a "mind melt" and he was "finding it hard". A didn't hear from him again before he went to Spain with his parents where he said he was "thinking about you (A)". When he got back from Spain, A got a text saying, "I think we should call it a day. can't keep it up and I feel like we're playing with fire here And it's not fair on you because you never know how long I'll be gone for when I'm away. It can't end well. But I want to see you face to face to talk about things. It's been stressful for both of us."
Since then, A heard from him again on Sunday when he said he'd be back up the road at the end of the week and apologised for his lack of communication. He said he still wants to see A face to face to clear up any misconceptions.
A feels she has been left in limbo with S for the last 4 weeks. She keeps flitting from accepting that it's probably over to sending him messages about reconsidering. S hasn't said (yet) one way or the other if he will reconsider. Just "we'll talk."
A has tried her best to communicate with him by text and email, but often gets no response. She understands he has been busy with his family and a course he was on, but is still confused about what happened between her and S prior to that.
However, A definitely feels that what goes on between her and S is her business. It is her choice to give him chance after chance. She is uncomfortable with me imposing so many rules on what she can and cannot do, even how she feels about S. Basically, she feels her relationship with S will only be acceptable to me if it meets my required standards. She has problems with my need to pull the strings and has tried to rebel against that on occasion saying, "I'll see him whether you like it or not!", etc. A feels like she's 'a dog on a leash', 'allowed' to do certain things with S and 'not allowed' to do other things in case it rocks the boat with me. She does her best to be respectful and has even left her wedding ring at home on the night she slept with S as a mark of respect to me and our marriage. She believes the ring should not be worn when she has intimate times with S as she finds it disrespectful to the marriage. It also helps to keep husband and toyboy 'separate' in her mind.
A sees her husband and toyboy as two separate entities in her life. She isn't 'with' S because she feels something is missing from her marriage with me. He's different to me - quirky, unusual and has a 'non-conformist' lifestyle. A different relationship dynamic.
She has admitted she has romantic feelings for S and has been smitten with him since their first encounter 2 months ago. A has told me she feels guilty and like she's emotionally betraying me as her husband. She would prefer not to talk about the emotional side of her relationship with S, but sometimes we have a heated debate about it when I ask questions. She feels that's not helpful.
We did originally agree on a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on what they did or didn't do. Things didn't work out that way, especially when things started to go wrong with S. A didn't want to talk about him to me at first, but was glad of my love and support when she did. However, the downside to that has been my wanting to 'control' her personal situation with him. Now, she regrets telling me certain things and realises we have both breached our agreed DADT policy. Of course, neither of us can undo what has been shared. A feels some damage has been done by this and hasn't been good for my self-esteem.
My wife is currently waiting for S to come back to Scotland after his 3 week trip to Wales/England. S has promised her they will meet in person when he gets back to "clear things up." A wants S to re-evaluate and reconsider their relationship, but is worried about MY reaction if he agrees to giving things another try. She's also told me she's worried about my reaction if he doesn't want to reconsider.
To her credit, she has warned me that she'll need time to heal if things end with S, but I'm an impatient person who takes things personally and will see her refusal to engage with me as a personal insult. A has said to me that's not the case and it's not personal, that she just wants to deal with letting go of S on her own if it comes to that. It's no representative of how she feels about me in her words.
She's a friendly person who would rather part with people on good terms, has a good heart and doesn't like bad feeling. I know if it does end with S that she wants to keep his contact details so she can wish him Merry Xmas, Happy New Year, etc. I probably won't like that, but I know I can't dictate any of that to her.
Anyway, that's a fuller, more complete picture of everything. Gives an idea how things started and where we are right now. I'm aware that my control issue is still in there - A has said the same things Dagferi and Marcus have. I definitely have a hard time letting go and not trying to control things.
Thanks for the background, that helps paint a more clear picture.
You've identified that you have some issues to work on, and that's good. The next step is to realize the reality that this is ALL you need to work on.
The rest of this stuff is not your business. Your wife has told you explicitly that she wants you to stay out of it. If you have even a scrap of respect for her this should be a very important factor in what you do next. They are dealing with a new relationship which has quickly hit the rocks and I'm sure they can handle it just fine. If they *can't* handle it just fine then maybe they'll break up... also not your business.
I know we've already said this, more or less, but I hope you really take it to heart and learn to respect your wife and the people around you as adults who are quite capable of taking care of the details of their lives. If they want help, they'll ask.
I wish you luck, I really do. However, it seems a foregone conclusion that until you can learn to live your own life and let others live theirs... you are in for some more drama and heartache.
They met on a cougar-dating site because he was there looking for sex with an older woman (ie, to fulfill a fantasy) and she was there looking for sex with a younger man (ie, to fulfill a fantasy). They met twice, had sex, he's said from the start he's not entirely comfortable with this, feels he's in too deep, expressed reservations, and she's not clear what's going on?
He had sex with her, it was fun, but he's apparently 1) not that into her and/or 2) not that into the idea of being the boytoy with no hope for a real relationship. It could be either, it could be both. This isn't terribly hard to understand. There are some real major drawbacks to dating a married person. There are generally some limitations to how far such a relationship can progress.
They've met twice? A 5 hour meeting and a 6 hour meeting? And the second meeting ended with a half hour confrontation? And she hasn't seen him or heard much from him in something like 4 weeks and what contact she has had has been 'strained?'
Do you and A realize that this means you're talking about a 'relationship' that can literally be measured in hours? And if we throw in the 4 weeks, that makes something like 95% of this 'relationship' strained.
I'm trying to put myself in S's shoes: I see a guy twice, for a grand total of 11 hours, and he now spends 4 weeks telling me he wants to 'talk,' wants me to 'reconsider,' wants to know 'what went wrong,' telling me he 'needs answers.'
I'd be seriously considering getting a restraining order.
Honestly, I think the answer is, this guy had a cougar fantasy, he fulfilled it, it was fun, he kind of liked her, but not enough to continue, he doesn't want to be involved with a married woman, and now he'd like to be left alone.
The answer is: he thinks they should call it a day because they're playing with fire.
Maybe it's time she backs off and leaves him alone. If he's that into her, he's got her number.
He is just not that into her...
Or her being married (and possibly knowing of your controlling nature via your wife) is a deal breaker for him.
Yeah, after reading your posts more closely, I agree with WH. Romantic feelings developing? She wants to know "what went wrong?" Egad. This wasn't a relationship! This was a 45-minute romp in the sack with a stranger who now doesn't want to be bothered anymore. Face it. He's done. Why be angry when you didn't want emotions involved and he obviously didn't, either. She set herself up to just get fucked, so why all the melodrama? You both need to start seeing things more clearly and get a grip on reality. She needs to stop bugging him. Sorry to have been so blunt, but it's time to move on! I think you both need to re-asses what kind of non-monogamy you are going to pursue and do some research beforehand, connect with experienced people, and go about it with more forethought and care.
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