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-   -   The other side of the pain barrier (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7949)

Thespian 03-18-2011 10:01 AM

The other side of the pain barrier
 
Hi, I hope no-one minds me joining this thread. I haven't posted anything on the board for 18 months, which is when my experience with polyamory began. Now it has ended - and I'd just like to share if that's OK.

I've appreciated reading the mono side of the discussion. I admire you all so much.

My story is told from the other side of the fence, a poly married to a mono.

I've been married for over 30 years, and so you can guess I'm at the mature end of the spectrum, though we married young and grew up together. I'd have said it was a happy marriage, both of us working hard at interesting careers and making the most of life. No children. My wife, T, is a beautiful woman and I love her to bits, but of course there were tensions from time to time. She's much more extrovert than me so you can imagine some of the issues.

I've always enjoyed the company of women more than men. I've had and have women friends without wanting to have affairs with them.

Then I met another beautiful woman, A, and fell in love with her. Ironically it was T who got us together, suggested A join the team on a community project I was running. I wasn't thinking about having an affair, or being polyamorous - I didn't know the meaning of the word. But I didn't fall out of love with my wife.

Before A and I started our physical relationship she spoke with and got her husbands agreement. A had discovered the concept of polyamory and realised that it fitted her. Her husband was and is relaxed about the idea "I love A and what makes her happy makes me happy" is what he wrote in an email.

This is when I came on this forum for advice, which was of course to talk to T. Of course I didn't and I started cheating on T.

Inevitably T found out. She knew that A and I had emotional ties but didn't think I would actually be "unfaithful". However T immediately confessed to a 5 year affair with a work colleague, which ended 15 years ago. Amazingly I'd had no inkling, though her job and mine took us away from home which made it easier to hide I guess.

T and I did a lot of talking, A and I did a lot of talking, but T and A didn't talk. I did everything I could to re-assure T, she was the number 1. Our sex life improved, T acknowledged I was much better to be with because I was happy. I made time to do things with T (after 30 years it's easy to get into ruts and not make time for each other). I arranged dates with A when T was doing something else so that she wouldn't be sat at home worrying. A wrote to T re-assuring her that she wasn't trying to steal me away (A loves her husband and has children still at home). T acknowledges that it has been a good time for our relationship. But T resolutely refused to discuss polyamory, or read anything about it or look at this forum.

I could see that it was tearing T apart. Even though she says that when she was having her affair she loved both her lover and me, it was impossible for her to be on the other side of the equation. T says that A "betrayed" her. There's something about having a physical relationship that freaks her out.

I'm not very good with emotional conflict. I came to a snap decision to dump A. Unceremoniously, brutally. A came round and tried to talk to T and to me. But T resolutely refused to discuss the situation. "It's not polyamory unless everyone consents and I don't consent". I was distraught. How could I have caused so much pain to the only two women I've ever loved?

So, I have sacrificed my happiness and A's for T. The community project probably won't continue as A and I won't be able to work together after what I've done. I'm trying not to resent T (after all 99% of the population would say she was right). I can see her point of view. Her unhappiness was real.

Both T and I have childhood issues, to do with not being given love when we were children. This doesn't help either of us.

So here I am, it's like bereavement. I'm OK for a while and then I think about texting A ("what are you up to today?") and remember I can't and the tears well up. I hate myself for hurting A and the position I'm in. I feel weak and helpless - surely a stronger man would take control of the situation - but I can't leave T, I love her. She loves me and walking out on her would hurt her more than anything. Why would I do that?

The sadness is that I know I had enough love for both of them.

Thanks for reading this far. It helps to write it down.

bella123456 03-18-2011 11:36 AM

Thespian - I'm very sorry to hear of these hard times, the pain in your words is audible..

Yes - very much like grieving, a deep loss.

best wishes

Anneintherain 03-19-2011 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thespian (Post 71613)
So, I have sacrificed my happiness and A's for T. .

I got stuck on this. My husband does this a lot. I question or worry or am upset about something he has done or wants to do, then he gets all melodramatic self sacrificing and says I WONT DO THIS AT ALL THEN. Really, you aren't doing your wife any favors.
COMMUNICATION. That is where it is at. It seems like you are being a jerk to A. You are also being a jerk to T by being passive aggressive and sacrificing yourself for her when..if I get this right...she didn't ask you to. She just is not ready for what is happening, and cutting things off with A is not the only solution. Nothing wrong with putting a hold on your relationship with A, it might be hard but not the end of the world, and if T feels you are putting her needs first, that may go a long way towards her being able to get around to reading and learning about polyamory.

I do wish you well but I think you need to be kinder to yourself, and the women you care about. Feel free to sacrifice if you are asked, but I am pretty sure from experience that you are playing the martyr more than perhaps is necessary, because it is easier than really working at your relationship with your wife. So, that's my two cents as a woman who has had somebody "sacrifice" multiple things that I never wanted him to. Just talk from your heart to those you are saying you love.

Hope I haven't been too harsh, that sacrificing bit is one of my triggers apparently! Perhaps your wife told you they don't want you to talk to A at all, in which case, you can ignore most of what I said :)

FlameKat 03-19-2011 07:23 AM

Quote:

So here I am, it's like bereavement. I'm OK for a while and then I think about texting A ("what are you up to today?") and remember I can't and the tears well up. I hate myself for hurting A and the position I'm in.


I so hear you on this.

Big hugs.

Thespian 03-19-2011 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anneintherain (Post 71771)
I got stuck on this. My husband does this a lot. I question or worry or am upset about something he has done or wants to do, then he gets all melodramatic self sacrificing and says I WONT DO THIS AT ALL THEN. Really, you aren't doing your wife any favors.
COMMUNICATION. That is where it is at. It seems like you are being a jerk to A. You are also being a jerk to T by being passive aggressive and sacrificing yourself for her when..if I get this right...she didn't ask you to. She just is not ready for what is happening, and cutting things off with A is not the only solution. Nothing wrong with putting a hold on your relationship with A, it might be hard but not the end of the world, and if T feels you are putting her needs first, that may go a long way towards her being able to get around to reading and learning about polyamory.

I do wish you well but I think you need to be kinder to yourself, and the women you care about. Feel free to sacrifice if you are asked, but I am pretty sure from experience that you are playing the martyr more than perhaps is necessary, because it is easier than really working at your relationship with your wife. So, that's my two cents as a woman who has had somebody "sacrifice" multiple things that I never wanted him to. Just talk from your heart to those you are saying you love.

Hope I haven't been too harsh, that sacrificing bit is one of my triggers apparently! Perhaps your wife told you they don't want you to talk to A at all, in which case, you can ignore most of what I said :)

No, not too harsh at all. I appreciate such an honest response. You might be right. I certainly feel very sorry for myself which is not a good state to be in. My inability to deal with emotional conflict, mine and others, is at the heart of this. The fact that I used the word "sacrifice" is significant.

No, T didn't specifically ask me not to talk to A, but I'm not so insensitive that I didn't pick up signals (like weeping under the covers for example). I had hoped that by focussing time, attention, love and reassurance on T she would be able to accept A as my lover.

But I was fooling myself, and fooling A (who wanted to be acknowledged as my SO rather than being hidden away as a secret mistress). We'd talked ourselves into an impasse, T talking of A's betrayal, wanting A "out of our lives", A being pretty undemanding but letting me know she wanted to be acknowledged, open to love me, me trying to keep everyone happy.

What I wanted, to keep the love of the two women I loved, was just not possible. My choice was to leave my wife or dump A. Whichever way, two broken hearts. I clung to the familiar, wife, home, friends, family and A was the loser.

I'll try not to play the martyr but I really did try, we did an awful lot of talking, but we were just going round and round in circles.

Thanks again for the responses

Magdlyn 03-19-2011 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thespian (Post 71613)

T and I did a lot of talking, A and I did a lot of talking, but T and A didn't talk. I did everything I could to re-assure T, she was the number 1. Our sex life improved, T acknowledged I was much better to be with because I was happy. I made time to do things with T (after 30 years it's easy to get into ruts and not make time for each other). I arranged dates with A when T was doing something else so that she wouldn't be sat at home worrying. A wrote to T re-assuring her that she wasn't trying to steal me away (A loves her husband and has children still at home). T acknowledges that it has been a good time for our relationship. But T resolutely refused to discuss polyamory, or read anything about it or look at this forum.

I could see that it was tearing T apart. Even though she says that when she was having her affair she loved both her lover and me, it was impossible for her to be on the other side of the equation.


Ummm, hypocrisy much?

So you and T tried for 18 mos to work out how to be poly with A?

How could she feel it was a "good time for your relationship," but still be torn apart?

Frustrating! Maybe some couple counseling would lead to better communication skills.

Poor A. :(

Both of you cheated. This calls for deep honest communication. I am now separated from my ex of 30 years, btw, and it was because of bad communication skills (on his part... our counselor assured me I was doing and saying all the right things, and my ex just couldn't hear it).

MonoVCPHG 03-20-2011 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thespian (Post 71613)
I feel weak and helpless - surely a stronger man would take control of the situation - .

What?? Listen man, you stopped having an affair, came clean with your wife and ended a relationship with a woman you love. Who the fuck is any stronger than you? If you ask me, putting the big picture of your family and the life you have built before your own desires is an amazing display of strength. I had an affair for two years and never once did I feel strong or in control. Instead, I spiraled out of control and laid waste to more than a few hearts that belonged to the people I cared for the most.

Only through counselling and the influence of Redpepper did I find the strength to end it with this woman. It was too late for me, my marriage was done (not just because of the affair) but hers was intact. She was devastated but I tried to point out the good in my decision. Did it hurt me? It sure did but that pain diminishes as does the pain of any breakup.

I'm not saying you should deny yourself anything but I am saying you should not downplay the strength you have.
I do have a question though..what would happen if you asked your wife to open up your relationship to other relationships in general but not this woman? Would you still be interested in poly?

Take care my friend and keep your chin up...you are not a man with a glass jaw. You took the hit and are still standing. Be proud.

Thespian 03-20-2011 01:04 PM

@Magdlyn - We are heading for couples counselling. Actually we are communicating better now than ever before. If we had had this level of communication earlier, and I'd felt able to discuss polyamory with T before embarking on the affair I wonder if things might have been different. I'm not sure they would though. As for hypocrisy. Yes it does sound like "one rule for me, one rule for you". I had hoped that T would be able to come to terms with Polyamory because of her own experience. But it was not to be.

@MonoVPCHG. Thanks for the supportive words. Means a lot. Along with other responses yours encourages me to not feel sorry for myself, which is good. As to whether or not I'd consider another polyamorous situation - at the moment no. I didn't set out to be polyamorous, it was something I discovered about myself by falling in love again. I can't see me falling in love again so I don't think it's going to arise. However if it did happen I hope that T and I would be able to talk first before I acted.

Can I say how much all these responses have helped me? You are wonderful people. Thanks.

Thespian 03-20-2011 01:12 PM

The other thing is that deep down I don't believe it's over, even though t is. How long does it take?

FlameKat 03-20-2011 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thespian (Post 71924)
The other thing is that deep down I don't believe it's over, even though t is. How long does it take?

not to be a misery guts - but I am still hurting/ yearning/ internally screaming in pain... going on 6 months now.. but mine was also not my decision...

Given that it WAS your choice, it will probably be easier for you. At least I will hope it is...

hugs to you my friend... you are NOT alone


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