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-   -   compersion? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64689)

tabitha40 11-23-2013 03:28 PM

compersion?
 
Iím looking for help on developing compersion.

This past year I have had a series of affairs. Not poly relationships since they were begun in secret. The first one was open enough that my husband felt comfortable asking for his own relationship with my friend. He has continued this relationship for a year, including dates, kissing, making out, and texting. I have had several relationships, all of which have caused him great angst and I have had to end due to their secretive nature and the circumstances surrounding how they were begun.

I want to feel compersion for him, rather than the anger and resentment I currently feel. But I donít know how to get past my feelings.
I did feel compersion for them at the beginning of the relationship.
Having to end my relationships has caused that to turn to resentment. Why does he get to continue when Iím forced to end?

Any help or advice about this is welcome.

I have purposely not told you my life story but I am willing to answer questions of clarification.

PolyinPractice 11-24-2013 01:55 AM

Well
 
So, your issue is that you resent that he can tell you to stop your relationships, and you can't tell him to do so?

Firstly, no one can "make" anyone do or feel anything. It's a personal choice on how to react to a situation. You chose to end the relationships after he asked you. But you could always refuse if you liked.

Still, you specifically said that yours "had to end due to their secretive nature," whereas his was begun open and honestly.

So, yeah, you could refuse to give up your affairs, but frankly that doesn't show a lot of respect for yourself or for him.

Is there something else to the story that you're not sharing that would put a different light to this?

WhatToDo 11-24-2013 02:00 AM

I don't understand. He started a relationship with your knowledge and approval while you have had a series of cheating incidents over the last year yet you resent him? Confused.

graviton 11-24-2013 12:17 PM

I am the husband. My wife started by having a secretive relationship with my cousin which ended due to my ultimatum. She since has started a relationship secretly with 3 other men which she agrees were done to hurt me because of my relationship with S. The last man she feels she loved, but the manner in which I had to find out about him (again secretive) and his complete lack of respect for our marriage and family and the way in which he tried to convince her to run away with him basically has caused him and I to become bitter enemies. I asked him to back off at least for a bit so that she and I could work our marriage out due to many issues (including her depression) that needed to be addressed. That is when he became a cowboy and tried to get her to leave with my boys. It devolved from there he said so many hurtful things to me and about me when he had no idea the extent of the problems my wife and I have been trying to overcome. I told her that his stomping about in our marriage and trying to convince her to leave so far crossed over the line that she needed to stop communicating with him because she became an emotional basket case. She already is suffering from severe depression and he basically came and flipped over our marriage. We are in marriage counseling right now trying to work through our problems. I told her that I am willing to give poly with another man a chance but that she needs to stop using it as a weapon against me and we need to get our shit together before we even start. Its not fair to the other men and it has only created an unstable living environment for our children.

london 11-24-2013 12:35 PM

Absolutely right. Cheaters often seem to have these kind of feelings when they go into poly relationships. Still seek to betray, control, manipulate, etc. It's just part of their selfish, cowardly behaviour that prompted the cheating to begin with. She is the one that has done wrong, she is the one who isn't trustworthy in regards to other men so why should fixing your relationship mean that you need to end your relationships that weren't begun that way, or why should you have to have the same rules as her surrounding this issue. You might have flaws in other areas, and in those areas, you might have rules that you need to abide to that she doesn't, but when it comes to her having other relationships she should expect that ending the cheating ones is a reasonable condition to continuing her marriage. Anyone with a moral compass would understand that and not try and force a way to keep them going or resent having to end them. Anyone that loved and respected their partner anyway.

GalaGirl 11-24-2013 05:24 PM

I am sorry you struggle. :(

Quote:

I want to feel compersion for him, rather than the anger and resentment I currently feel. But I don’t know how to get past my feelings.
I did feel compersion for them at the beginning of the relationship.
Having to end my relationships has caused that to turn to resentment. Why does he get to continue when I’m forced to end?
Feelings ensue after behavior. You feel yucky as a result of previous behavior? (ACTION type behavior or THINKING type behavior?) You could change your behaviors and then wait to see if you feel better.

But that statement is mixing things that don't need to mix. You could organize those thoughts into behavior done/not done for separate issues instead.

ISSUE 1: Hubby wants to date.

HIS BEHAVIOR:

He asked you for your goodwill and blessing to start an extramarital relationship.
YOUR BEHAVIOR
You gave it, and felt compersion.

(Was it truly compersion? Or was it to make ammends for the first cheating affair somehow? Or was it to make YOU having a new cheating affair "ok" in your mind because "he has someone too?")

ISSUE 2: YOU CHEAT... A LOT

YOUR BEHAVIOR:
You had cheating affairs in the past, and recently.
HIS BEHAVIOR:
He's asked you to stop cheating each time he finds out.
YOUR ACTIONS BEHAVIOR:
You seem to stop cheating... and start up again. He asks you to stop again. You feel yucky. So you... start ANOTHER affair?

How is this YOU helping you to feel something new inside your marriage? When you keep doing the same behavior? Do you have the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to launch a relationship in non-cheaty ways?

I can see where a new cheating affair relationship causes you to feel something new, but that is distraction -- something new (inside the cheating affair). It is not anything new (inside the marriage.) It's just more old cheating stuff feelings in that bucket. What are you running away from?
YOUR THINKING BEHAVIOR:
You could sort out your thinking behaviors -- this area seems all muddled. I'm only guessing here... and I could guess wrong.

You feel anger and resentment that he asked you to stop cheating this time.

Do you then think he's to blame because he's holding you accountable? HE is keeping you from another lover because he holds you accountable? Rather than YOU keeping you from another lover because you keep building cheating relationships? So "now he gets to have other lover and you don't" seems to be the attitude here.

Or is it not even about the other lover -- it's that in asking you to stop cheating, you think he's "taking away" the distraction that makes life bearable for you, and is asking you to be present and attend to the marriage... and that's what you are busy trying to run away from? You don't WANT more ugh in your life?

It makes me wonder if your "compersion" wasn't really joy that he has another lover and are happy for him. It was about what YOU get to have. "I'm happy for him to have someone if it means *I* get to continue mine!" type thoughts. Or thoughts of "nobody here in the marriage -- he's off with her, and I'm off with mine so YAY! We don't have to deal with ____ in the marriage because everyone is too busy elsewhere! Woot!"

So maybe that is why you mix the two issues rather than keeping them separate? For you they are not separate -- one it a means to an end. "Letting him have his GF" is the means to "you getting your BF" and/or "Nobody has to attend to marriage problems -- not even me!"

He claims you went on to more cheating like a weapon of "revenge affairs" -- what's that all about? Is that claim true? You don't like him holding you accountable for cheating? You can't begin dating a BF openly? What blocks you from just telling DH you want to date?

Since your husband seems open to you having another lover if you go about it in ethical ways rather than cheaty ways -- what are you after?
  • That you fear you don't have the skills to form a relationship in up front ways WITHOUT cheating so prefer to build other relationship that way? :confused:
  • Or is the "risk/danger of being caught" thing the thrill angle you are after here?
  • Or is the "hurt my husband" thing the power angle you are after here? You form relationships this way so you have that power card in your hand to hurt him when he discovers you cheated again?
  • Or you want (to not have to deal) with something? The marriage? Your depression? And the "not have to deal" is the thing you want? To be off THAT hook and be able to avoid -- even if it means creating cheating behavior so the focus is on THAT rather than the avoiding behavior you do?

You do not WANT to have open, honest, ethical polyamory with your husband the the other partners for him/you because_______?

You WANT to have open polyship on his side and his GF and cheating affairs on your side because then you get to _________?

Could you be willing to fill in the blanks?
Quote:

Why does he get to continue when I’m forced to end?

  • You haven't been forced to end having other BFs. (If you want to stop having other BFs you could just stop dating.)
  • You haven't been forced to end your marriage. (If you want to end it, could treat it separate and end it CLEANLY first.)
  • You have been asked to START something -- begin having relationships in honest and open ways.

It's all up to you how you want to live your life. Are you enjoying this way of living it -- with cheating? :confused:

You could work with your marriage counselor to process these emotions and sort out your thoughts so they are organized.

You actually have opportunity here some people don't get -- the opportunity to rebuild a marriage. With this many affairs he'd be totally justified in walking away from your repeat behavior and not trying any more. Yet he's willing to see a marriage counselor and work with you.

This is opportunity for growth for you. You could work on your stuff and come out of this NOT depressed, still married, and with a shot at polyamory and having a new BF that is NOT begun out of cheating ways.

You could choose to keep it in the angry cloud or you could choose to move it forward toward something better for you.

Up to you.

I don't know if this could help:
http://felislunae.org/relationships-love/coming-clean/

If you lied about your blessing for him to open, and are doing revenge affairs rather than just telling him you lied to get him to break up? You could just stop with the cheating and be emotionally honest.

Or maybe you didn't lie -- maybe you thought you could handle it but are afraid to discover that you actually can't, experienced poly hell stuff, are now desperate to find a new partner for a safety net because you fear husband leaving you for the other lady since things seem great for them and things in your marriage seem rocky? So it went from first cheat affair "frying pan" into the polyamory "fire" with you more and more in over your head?

Why did you launch the first cheating affair? What need were you trying to meet?

I don't know what's going on in your head. But you could sort out what your thoughts are and try a new behavior thing with you and with your spouse -- total emotional honesty. See if that serves you better. Go ahead and risk being vulnerable and risk sorting this stuff out. Risk growing the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills stronger. So that you can have a better outcome.

Hang in there,
Galagirl

Vixtoria 11-24-2013 05:30 PM

Okay I'm going to answer the OP with all the information out so far. Here's how we started with poly. I was suffering major depression. I've been a depressive for over 20 years, most of my life, and this was a pretty bad spot. Worse, a therapist sent from work to check on me agreed that 'whatever you have to do is fine.' Oh yeah, that did NOT go over well. It was basically giving me permission to do nothing but sit online and start an emotional affair. So yeah, started out cheating.

It came out and hubby was INCREDIBLY understanding even being as hurt as he was. When things went bad he actually tried to help us talk through things! That is so beyond fair I can't even explain.

It died, of course it did, it was an affair, it was all about secrets and lies. My second relationship wasn't a whole lot better. I wanted to be honest and up front but being scared I was basically lying to myself. No no, it's not love it's just, really good friends! Well, lying to yourself is lying to everyone else too.

The relationship I'm in now, is good. We all started out open and honest and transparent.

So the reason I'm going with all this little synopsis? I don't want to beat up the OP as someone with no moral compass and no right to be upset. I have been there and have screwed up big, and yes depression was part of that reason but what I had to learn was it was NOT AN EXCUSE. You can not say because you are or were depressed you made bad decisions and that's the end of it.

Forget getting to compersion, so not your priority right now. Get to a better place. Admit your wrong doing, work to repair the damage done by the lying and the secrets. Own your shizz! It's not going to be fun, no lie, it's not going to be easy, but it's worth it. We are now years from the affair, the emotional one, and there are still things to work through but we are in a better place and MOST of that is because I can own what I did, work to make amends and now work to prove I am trustworthy again. That meant with this new relationship, I kept hubby informed from the get go. We are talking, this is what we talk about, it's gone to this level, hey he asked about an actual relationship, told him I would think on it. Okay we are at the I Love You stage. Hey there's cyber sex going on.

So yes, it may seem unfair that you have to go through all of that and he doesn't, but YOU had the affair, so YOU have to repair the damage done to the foundation of your marriage. Build it up again and get to a better place. It's possible. If compersion is that important to you, look at where hubby and his gf are and change your thought process. If you've suffered depression for long I'm sure you heard about the cognitive behavior thing. How you think, how you act, how you feel. Change one. So look at them and change how you think. To change the resentment change the thoughts. Try, "Wow, I hope I can work my way into having a relationship that open and honest." See it as a goal, not something you CAN'T have, or was taken from you, because it wasn't. See it instead as what you are working towards by working on your marriage and learning to regain trust.

graviton 11-25-2013 01:01 AM

Thank you galagirl for the thoughtful response, you truly are one of the best things this forum has going for it. A little more clarification...I'm not even poly with my "girlfriend". We do have feelings and poly is what we intended at the beginning but both our spouses were so yucky about it that we have kept it at very close friends. I see her on occasion and we sometimes go out for dinner and discussion but its always on egg shells. Not enjoyable, and a hurtful situation for all involved. It use to be her husband who hated it most and my wife that defended it, now they have traded places. My wife agrees that her initial compersion was fueled by guilt of her behavior. I will let her answer to the rest and clarify if she wishes to. I agree that her depression is first and foremost our biggest concern. Compersion and acceptance are on the back burner as being very hard to handle even for non depressed individuals. I love her deeply and have forgiven her because I see a bigger picture and understand the hurtful behavior was an element to her depression and guilt.

LovingRadiance 11-25-2013 02:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tabitha40 (Post 249211)
Why does he get to continue when Iím forced to end?

I think when you internalize the answer to this question, you will find it much easier to find compersion.

The answer is-because he was honest and forthright. Lying and sneaking has consequences. In your situation, the consequence was losing the opportunity with those guys.
That doesn't mean you can't meet someone else. If you managed to have that many in the last year or so-you clearly don't have an issue meeting people.
But-it does mean you have to accept the consequences for your choices.

**I say this with a lot of sympathy and understanding. Because I was the one in my relationship that cheated. But I also say it with full knowledge of how we got past that.**

LovingRadiance 11-25-2013 03:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vixtoria (Post 249413)
Okay I'm going to answer the OP with all the information out so far. Here's how we started with poly. I was suffering major depression. I've been a depressive for over 20 years, most of my life, and this was a pretty bad spot. Worse, a therapist sent from work to check on me agreed that 'whatever you have to do is fine.' Oh yeah, that did NOT go over well. It was basically giving me permission to do nothing but sit online and start an emotional affair. So yeah, started out cheating.

It came out and hubby was INCREDIBLY understanding even being as hurt as he was. When things went bad he actually tried to help us talk through things! That is so beyond fair I can't even explain.

It died, of course it did, it was an affair, it was all about secrets and lies. My second relationship wasn't a whole lot better. I wanted to be honest and up front but being scared I was basically lying to myself. No no, it's not love it's just, really good friends! Well, lying to yourself is lying to everyone else too.

The relationship I'm in now, is good. We all started out open and honest and transparent.

So the reason I'm going with all this little synopsis? I don't want to beat up the OP as someone with no moral compass and no right to be upset. I have been there and have screwed up big, and yes depression was part of that reason but what I had to learn was it was NOT AN EXCUSE. You can not say because you are or were depressed you made bad decisions and that's the end of it.

Forget getting to compersion, so not your priority right now. Get to a better place. Admit your wrong doing, work to repair the damage done by the lying and the secrets. Own your shizz! It's not going to be fun, no lie, it's not going to be easy, but it's worth it. We are now years from the affair, the emotional one, and there are still things to work through but we are in a better place and MOST of that is because I can own what I did, work to make amends and now work to prove I am trustworthy again. That meant with this new relationship, I kept hubby informed from the get go. We are talking, this is what we talk about, it's gone to this level, hey he asked about an actual relationship, told him I would think on it. Okay we are at the I Love You stage. Hey there's cyber sex going on.

So yes, it may seem unfair that you have to go through all of that and he doesn't, but YOU had the affair, so YOU have to repair the damage done to the foundation of your marriage. Build it up again and get to a better place. It's possible. If compersion is that important to you, look at where hubby and his gf are and change your thought process. If you've suffered depression for long I'm sure you heard about the cognitive behavior thing. How you think, how you act, how you feel. Change one. So look at them and change how you think. To change the resentment change the thoughts. Try, "Wow, I hope I can work my way into having a relationship that open and honest." See it as a goal, not something you CAN'T have, or was taken from you, because it wasn't. See it instead as what you are working towards by working on your marriage and learning to regain trust.

Great advice.
I too suffer from depression.
And as this post said-it can't be used as an excuse for crappy behavior. Crappy behavior hurts us as much as someone else.

You need to focus on fixing yourself.

What drives you lie?
For me it was fear.

I had to face that fear. Which meant-I had to start telling the truth about things I thought were going to upset Maca. It was HARD AS HELL. But-it was so worth it.
Learning to deal with myself. Learning to be honest with my emotions. Learning to be honest with my needs. All of that-not just honest with him-but honest with MYSELF.
It isn't easy. But it's critical for being able to be healthy and happy and whole.


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