To be honest, since you've been on here trying to be real, I think you have a better handle on poly than he does.
Whether he wants poly, soft swing, hard swing, or some other kind of thing and a new framework for your relationship, you guys MUST talk.
I operate on KISS -- keep it simple, silly. Below may be hard to hear. I know it runs on long but ETHICS in relationship is a push button issue for me. I am passionate about that.
Feel free to skip. Or take it as you will. It's offered in hopes that you get you to a better place. However it is that manifests.
He told me do you know how often and how crazy that would make you?
He is not holding up his stick in doing the telling
is he now? To even give you the opportunity to rise to the occassion. He is not letting you hold your own bag to find out. He is either speaking to unwillingness to play ball and just spit it out and thus play fair or speaking to fear at what your reaction might be. Either way he is not speaking to YOU. He is not doing the telling.
He is not holding up his stick in being responsible for your emotional safety either. To me it sounds like the NOT KNOWING is making you crazier than having an agreed to framework you both created and knowing what's what in there.
I will then say let me know what you are proposing- let me know how it looks. Then I often wont hear about this again for a long time until I hear "We need more friends." And then I need to be in multiple relationships. And I say how does that look? What are you asking? And he never pins it down. And then because I do not hear back- I assume the conversation has gone to a back burner and not an issue for now. I guess almost like I feel we are still at the negotiations table- and he it seems never really pulls up a chair.
Lame. Partner has to engage with you. That kind of avoidy would smack of emotional weenie to me. I had a relationship that was like that and it drove me nuts. I broke it up. I can't play with someone who will just not play fair.
That's a big red flag to me -- gaslighting, avoidy, shifty, never pin downy, UGH. I'm not saying you are in an abusive relationship. But it's not esp kind right now and since it dings a red flag for me I'm going to throw this out there -- the tactics of power and control.
If any more of that is red flagging for you, well. That's not cool and I hope things change for the better chopchop for YOU at least.
You sound willing (if not actually to GO there) to at least talk it out -- what would a more open configuration be like and how would it be managed so all needs are met. And get the lay of the land of how it will be. So you are holding up your end of the stick in the current configuration (a closed marriage of two people) -- or at least trying
to. As the cheated on partner, you are behaving with admirable control and grace here when you post. I'd be freakin' PISSED.
He's not sounding willing to talk to you about this, and that means he's not
holding up his end of the stick for clear communication even in the CURRENT configuration of a mono-marriage before wanting to rush off into new config without pausing to lay out the framework first.
Just leaping on.
I can't give you counselor names -- I'd Google I suppose. Or look for the nearest les-bi-gay-poly-trans type center and call them to help point you on to resources. If he's not willing to talk straight up with you would he even be willing to talk to a counselor to help you guys through your process and learn better skills? Or will that be expensive lip service and avoidy?
while "these poly people seem to have some interesting views" he is "not sure that it is quite what he is saying. he is not sure he can buy into such a rule based structure"
Lame. You already BOUGHT into a rule based structure by marrying. You have to be in right relationship to each other.
The actual details you guys have to work out for yourselves. But the rights and responsibilities are pretty much straight up. The bullet list below is straight out of a topping book but it covers ANY relationship -- friendship, marriage, mono, poly, bdsm, WHATEVER.
All the people in the relationship structure have rights and responsibilities to hold up. Him acting like it's a foreign language is disturbing to me. Aren't you IN a relationship already? Aren't there basic marriage rules you play by already? And he's broken some with the cheating.
So if parties are not in right relationship, you time out, and get it back up to par. You GET back into right relationship.
You call into account, process, apologize, forgive, make ammends, renegotiate the rules if needed and both parties agree how to move it forward from there... or agree you don't play any more. You man up, and deal as a team, a play ball as a that team.
Or you man up and decide to stop being that kind of team and move to being good exes. Break up, he can be a free agent and do whatever in his dating life and you can be a free agent and not be be run through the mill and have a safer emotional distance.
Either way you both man up, play fair, and you both keep it clean.
You being run through the grinder? Unless that is your agreed to pleasure in this relationship? That's his pleasure coming out of your hide at your expense... not
at your consent. That's just messy.
That might be hard to hear or hard to feel, but let's just keep it simple and not obfuscate. It is what it is. If all parties are not gonna play ball and play fair,
then it's just not gonna work. Period. Game over.
(Worse, this isn't even a real game. This is real people and their lives and well being! Being so flippant cavalier about it is just... ugh.
In relationship (whatever config) -- people have worth and dignity and it demands
respect. You show it by holding up all your ends of the all the sticks.
- The right to clear communication
- The right to expect support from partner
- The right to be nurtured
- The right to get your needs met
- The right to responsiveness
- The right to constructive feedback (positive or negative. Critique, not criticism.)
- Responsible for knowing and stating your needs, wants and limits (Other people are not mind readers!)
- Responsible for following through on promises
- Responsible for your own and your partner's physical safety
- Responsible for your own and your partner's emotional safety
- Responsible for emergency preparedness
- Responsible for caring for your own equipment
In your case "emergency preparedness" might cover the line on a counselor if things get hot, the line on a divorce mediator/attorney type person if there has to be a clean amicable split, protecting the kids, a health emergency while on a date, getting outed if you don't plan to live "out" -- what have you.
In your case "caring for your own equipment" might cover not just labs and sex health stuff, but budget for dates, and so on. It's not fair to date SO much that the family is taking hits and going without needs (groceries, bills, children's things, home things, time, emotional investment, etc) just to float your free time stuff. Maybe YOU come to find you want to start dating on your free time. Who knows? Sort it out.
So as long as he is with me- he wants to be with me. And if that changes he will let me know.
Yup. So long as we play fair there and list the whole thing. It takes two to tango.
So as long as he is with me- he wants to be with me. And if that changes he will let me know. So long as you want to be with him -- you want to be with him. And if that changes you will let him know.
Sounds like you (and him) need to get the list of dealbreakers out on the table crystal clear.
One of MY automatic dealbreakers is lying. (Of any kind, direct, by omission, etc)
I won't throw in the towel just because there's a rough patch, but I also operate on 3 strikes you are out.
1, 2, 3 times on the same issue, I'm willing to take it to the mat and negotiate.
4th time on the same
issue? You are just not even trying to hold up sticks -- following thru on promises, lacking in respect, not caring for my safety, respecting my limits, etc.
Game over. Done. (That was my ex who would namby pamby about the Big Talks. Would squirm around and just NOT engage. Well, I can't play like that. 3 strikes you are out. )
Again I apologize if this is hard to hear. But it is what it is. I just cannot see how this is going to work if he's not wanting to engage with you at the talking table and play fair.
If this is the case one of you needs to man up and call it what it is: You have a dying/already dead relationship due to lack of communication and people not holding up sticks.
Then decide what you want to do about it. Give it CPR or give it the mercy shot and negotiate how to be decent exes. That's another kind of conversation.