One thing that keeps coming up for me is how to deal with the fact that my partner and I really made some bad decisions in all of this.
When I met him, he was married, and we made so many of the typical NRE mistakes it's almost laughable, except of course it's actually quite tragic.
Those mistakes (not spending enough time with his primary partner, not having better more established boundaries, not having better communication and follow-up with his wife) really do continue to affect me and us as a couple in that I get very sad when I look back sometimes, because I really did value his wife and even love her. I wanted to have something genuine and beautiful with her, and I felt so good about it, about her, about the person she was.
But it all ended up so f'd up, so fast. And it degraded horribly to the way it is today, which is that we never speak, and she can't be in the same room as me without freaking out.
I suppose if I had to list my regrets these would be...
1 moving in too fast with them both
2 not INSISTING that he leave me alone when I felt I needed space from the two of them. ( I got a place after the three of us started fighting and when things got too bad for him to deal with in his home with his wife, he'd come over to my place. That really lacked guts because I didn't want him there. I wanted him to be working things out with his wife, or at least not bringing me into the middle of all that s***. I let him stay over because he was so exhausted, so drained, so tired from being with someone who wasn't healthy for him I didn't have the guts to tell him to go sleep on one of his friend's couches... but I wish I would have. Maybe then she'd hate me less?).
3 Meeting her family.
4 Letting her meet my family... I should have waited until our relationship was more stable. My family now refuses to let him in their house, and I can't even tell you how painful that is for a person who loves and values my family as much as I do. This is the man I want to have a CHILD with, after all.
5 Not insisting they spend more alone time as a couple
6 Not telling them they needed to get things figured out more between the two of them before getting to know me
I never thought I was capable of having my head so far up my ass. But I was wrong. What I'm struggling with now is learning to forgive myself. My partner just tells me it's a choice I have to make. I sometimes don't know how to continue on. It's hard because I see so many people I love and admire in "normal relationships"; monogamous, married relationships. They have so much social support, and I can't imagine them ever making the kinds of mistakes I made. I feel like a horrible person when I remember the things I did wrong. Sometimes I go so far as to wonder if I shouldn't just walk away entirely from the poly lifestyle, and call this just some mistake I made when I was not-so-young and stupid. I could say "I'll never ever do that again" and then close that door on my life. And maybe then I'd feel better about myself, about everything that happened....
Things I will never regret
1 Loving and caring for their child when the two of them were in a bad place
2 Praying for them and caring for them as many ways as I could
3 Bringing hope and healing to them both when they were in a very hopeless place (they truly were and every thing honestly changed for the better for them when I joined their lives. Everything completely changed for them both. It was uncanny. It's just that things fell apart very quickly again after they came together)
4 Holding my head up high when people insulted me and thought ill of me
I suppose my hope for the future is that we find more harmonious ways to live. And that this learning, while painful, benefits us for our future choices.