Originally Posted by hyperskeptic
This is close to the mark. I think I'm in shock that the marriage I thought I had is gone . . . and not just gone: I think maybe it never was what I imagined it to be.
That's a hard thing to compass.
It's curious to me how quick people on this forum are to suggest pulling the plug on long-term relationships. This is the second such suggestion I received yesterday.
To be frank, it's one of the least admirable aspects of polyamory, and is the aspect of the would-be community here that makes me think monogamy might really be the better way to go.
Interesting. I take the exact opposite view. I think it's a sad waste of our valuable lives when we spend them in relationships that are making both parties' lives worse, not better. I would by no means say that people ought to give up right away, especially when there are kids involved -- what an awful choice! -- but when someone's at the point you're at, when their partnership isn't what they thought it was, maybe never was, when they're feeling hurt, belittled, unhappy all the time, and not just for a brief bumpy period or around something that can be resolved with some hard conversations and compromise, but in an ongoing sustained way and around fundamental core values... well, I think splitting up is a very valid option to consider.
I know that I, personally, have stayed in relationships well after they should have ended. Leaving is *hard*. But in both the cases I'm thinking of, it was so much better for all involved once we could let go. I very much admire life-long partnerships, I just hate the fact that people sometimes feel that they have so much invested that they're trapped, that they can't walk away. I think that sort of feeling just hollows you out over time.
Treating partners as disposable and dropping them at the first problem is obviously no good at all. But neither is blindly clinging to something that's dragging you down. I think it's one of the greatest strengths of polyamory, that it helps you see that you can live and be loved without any one person.
My bf and I broke up recently, and even though I'd wanted to leave for some time, among other things holding me back, there actually was a scared part of me that kept asking "what if I don't ever find someone else who loves me this much?" But my relationship with my gf would then immediately pop to mind and help me remember that, no, that notion was ridiculous, I am loved and lovable beyond this one relationship. I'm grateful for the way that perspective allows me to be more clear-headed.
Fear is a terrible reason to stay with someone, so isn't it better to be free of that and stay or go -- hopefully stay, but with go as an option if necessary! -- on the merits of the connection?