Hello from the Ottawa area... Kinda feeling lost here
Bit of a poly-virgin here, not really sure where to start... Sorry if it's a bit long
So I'm engaged to a wonderful man, and for the past month or so we've (he's) been experimenting with making this an open relationship. It's something we discussed when we first started dating, but not in great detail. Neither of us have tried this in the past, and I'm not sure I'm handling it as well as I thought I would. Anyone reading this has probably read the same thing a thousand times in this forum, lol
I know part of the problem I'm having is that he opened an account on lavalife, chatted, met, and slept with the woman he's seeing-on-the-side for a few months before I found out (he forgot to delete some text messages and I confronted him). We talked it over, and decided that he could keep seeing her, as long as there were no more secrets or sneaking around (he'd been telling me he was going out with friends when he was meeting up with her). He said he wasn't sure how to tell me, didn't want to upset me, etc....
He's told me that he'll break it off with her if I ask him to, but I know from previous conversations that he'll eventually be miserable again and will most likely find someone else to replace her. He says he loves me, doesn't want our relationship to end (especially since we have children together), and said that if I met someone and wanted to play-on-the-side he would be okay with it.
Maybe I'm crazy for staying, and I very well could be, but here I am! Right now I'm just looking for advice and maybe to rant a bit. I'm not interested in anything outside the relationship myself, but I want to be more accepting of him being with other women. I know I have a few issues of my own to work on (postpartum depression, etc), so I'm not sure if we should try counseling as a couple or if I should go on my own and see what happens. I can't seem to shake the jealousy...
Well, if anyone has managed to get through all that, thank you, lol. Any input is welcome!
Welcome, MissSadie. I imagine you're having a rough go right now. Post-partum depression is not helping at all. I had it myself when my first child was born, and I can't imagine making a big life change like this when I was dealing with that. Just from my own experience, I suggest getting counseling for yourself to deal with the depression. You can also ask him to join you for couples counseling, or perhaps ask him to him to help you adjust to this slowly. Explain how you are feeling and that you want this to work, but let him know if you need extra attention, reassurance, and/or support while you deal with both. I'd be careful to assure him I'm not trying to change my mind or stop him, just feel a need for more help. I hope you get what you need.
I see your tags indicate jealousy and cheating.
I'm assuming this his baby? If so he needs to be helping you and supporting you instead of putting his wants first. If not then he needs to show his commitment to you by being honest instead of hurting you. If he is wonderful, he really isn't showing it.
The relationship needs to be strong regardless of whether it is open or not and if you're making the good faith effort to not lock him out and be poly, he needs to return the favor and be honest.
Note neither you nor I have suggested he can't be involved with other women, just that he not lie to you.
I'm still hurt and feeling disrespected because he didn't tell me about her or that he was looking, and that his friends knew and covered for him. Especially because it happened once before (while I was pregnant), and swore afterwards he would never hurt me like that again.
(He met a woman (B) while at a destination wedding, they had an affair for a few months. I had no idea until he broke up with me and confessed that being in love with her was the reason. We were separated for most of the pregnancy, but since then we've worked things out (obviously)...)
He says that he's not in love with W (the new friend) like he was with B, and he'd never let things get that serious again. But there are times where I feel I can't trust him, like I'm only here because it's "cheaper-to-keep-her".
Originally when we talked about having an open relationship, it was something we were going to do together (swinging, etc), and we agreed that there would be no sneaking around or secrets. Since then it's happened twice.
I don't want to break up our family, but lately whenever he and I are alone we're either f*cking or fighting. We'll talk things through, be okay for a while, and then it starts all over again. I feel like pulling my hair out most of the time, my self-esteem has hit an all-time low... :'-(
He doesn't sound very ethical, I'm not sure what you can do about that since his actions ultimately belong to him.
If he isn't by choice ethical, can he be? Have you either read The Ethical Slut?
Do you need to be with him? Do you just want to be with him?
And, conversely, does he, with you? It's not like you've been acting unethically, have you?
Welcome to our forum.
Re (from original post):
If the only problem here were your struggles with jealousy, there's lots of good stuff out there to help analyze and deal with jealousy, e.g.:
Let us discuss the greeneye monster shall we?
How to slay the greeneyed beastie.
Jealousy, Envy, Insecurity, Etc.
How do you achieve compersion?
The Theory of Jealousy Management
The Practice of Jealousy Management
Jealousy and the Poly Family
Kathy Labriola: Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster
BrenÚ Brown: the Power of Vulnerability
But you know, sometimes jealousy has causes that aren't internal to you at all; rather, it can be your brain's way of sounding the red alert and warning you, "Your romantic partner/s is/are treating you unfairly!"
So, is your fiancÚ treating you unfairly? Why yes he is. He's been lying to you, and seems to have a persistent history of lying that isn't about to end. I mean really? Enlisting his friends to cover for him? That's not just a lie, that's a conspiracy.
True I don't know his side of the story, but based on your side so far, I have to conclude that it's his behavior and attitude that need changing, not yours. You're doing fine. Here you are on Polyamory.com yet, trying to learn more about what polyamory is and how it works so you won't fear it so much -- and asking us what you're doing wrong, cause if there's a problem, it must be your fault, right?
Alas, the propensity to "be poly" [in this case read: sleep around behind your primary partner's back] doth not automatically a noble soul make. Some so-called polyamorists are just jerks who use the wonderful-sounding notion of polyamory (and polyamory can be wonderful if done right) as an excuse and a get-out-of-jail-free card. Don't assume that just because you're the "non-poly partner" automatically makes you the guilty party for shiz that goes wrong.
I'd almost say leave, but I know it's a tough call when you've got kids. Just remember, sometimes it does a number on a kid's mind to see his/her parents struggling to get along and failing, especially when it's because only one of the parents (in this case you) is *really* putting the effort into it. Bad example! Sometimes it's better for kids to see the dissed parent stand up for healthier boundaries and separate from the other parent if that's what it takes to maintain those boundaries. Kids hurt? Yes. But they were being hurt (at least mentally) anyway, and this way at least they know that when they grow up, they should stand up for their own boundaries.
If you do stay, at least tell him in no uncertain terms to shape up.
He promises you that he'll never fall in love with another woman again -- he'll merely sleep with W (or whoever). Who can make such a promise? Who can guarantee their heart will follow this or that strait and narrow course and never a forbidden longing feel? Sounds to me like he's lying ahead of time about the future. At the least, I think he's kidding himself. I don't think he can "stop himself from falling in love" just because he said he could (and would). Falling in love is like a force of Nature. There's virtually no way to stop it. Control your actions in response to it? Yes, you can do that. But to stop/control the feelings themselves ... that's a whopper of a proposition.
It seems obvious to me that you still love him and are in love with him, but that he's tearing you apart with his exploitative behavior. And it only worsens the pain to ask this, but you've gotta ask: Does he love you? Does his behavior show that he loves you?
Technically he hasn't been caught in a new lie yet, so it's understandable that you want to try and give him this additional chance. But I'll say this: Watch him like a hawk. He's not good at being honest. He's used to, and comfortable with, being a con artist. Dishonesty can be a habit, and he's got that habit. It won't be an easy habit for him to break, even if he honestly (!) tries. So ... careful ... careful ... careful. That is all.
I don't envy your position, you've got a fine line to walk here. I hope Polyamory.com can help.
Excuse me, but your husband is acting like a friggin douche.
He's a cheating lying liar. His friends are also acting like bastards and bitches.
You've got a newborn, he cheated on you when you were pregnant, now he's cheating again??? And you're not well emotionally. You've got PPD. ARE you being treated for that?
Stand up for yourself, honey. Get your therapy and meds if needed for the PPD. Insist on couples' counseling. Take a stand. Complete transparency, no more lying, or you're done. No one should live like this.
This is a horrible story to read. Your partner doesn't sound like a wonderful man to me. He has lied to you repeatedly, cheated both while you were pregnant and now again when you have a young child. His agreements to stop contain veiled threats about him stopping but it inevitably happening again unless you get okay with it. This is somebody who falls far short of wonderful.
You have children to think about. If you think it's possible for your partner to change? To stop lying whenever life doesn't go his way and to behave ethically toward those he loves.
If you don't, I would leave. Children pick up lots from how their parents behave and the last thing I would want is any children of mine growing up thinking that it is okay to lie and cheat to get what they want. Or to grow up thinking that being lied to and cheated on by those closest to them is a normal part of life and something that they should just get used to.
Cheaters have methods of convincing the people around them that their cheating was the fault of the other person for neglecting to meet their needs. Once they've done this, they can actually achieve a lot of leeway from the person they cheated on. For one, in a supposedly monogamous relationship, they've sent out a strong message that the betrayed person isn't enough for them alone, so if they still want to be with them, they'll have to accept either a non monogamous situation or live with the fact that their partner has to "settle for" someone who is inadequate. It's a good ploy, it makes you feel shit enough to put up with whatever they fling at you because after all, you're not good enough for them. They're doing you a favour.
Don't be one of those who allow cheaters to manipulate them in this fashion.
Well last night everything came to a head.
I told him he had to stop seeing W, because I couldn't handle that it started with an affair. If this is the life he wants, that's fine, but I needed a clean slate. He said ok, and said he wanted to talk to her and explain things...
No. Absolutely not. I know it probably makes me a terrible person, and I'll catch hell from people here for saying it, but there was no way I was going to allow it. The look on his face and the tone of his voice almost made me snap. In that moment it felt like he was more concerned with hurting her feelings than mine. It was like finding out that he cheated all over again, and it broke my heart.
I sent her a text telling her it was over, and she responded by saying when it started she didn't know he wasn't single, which is BS (I read their messages on LL, she knew). Now he's mad. He wanted to let her down gently because she has low self-esteem etc. Funny, he didn't care to let me down gently when cheating (twice), even though I'd just had his baby and was diagnosed with PPD, and my body image and self-esteem were at an all-time low.
I don't know what's going to happen now. We've talked about therapy but he doesn't seem terribly interested.... Doesn't want me to leave though
In short I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read and comment. I know I've been on a bit of a rant about the whole thing, but this isn't something I'd be able talk to my friends or family about. Thank you!
|All times are GMT. The time now is 12:58 AM.|