We had a counselling session this morning per my husband's request. It was a surprise to me. I was notified at the last minute. It was not the most pleasant of experiences. Apparently, he has been doing research on poly, and he concludes that he shifted from an equal in our marriage to that of a secondary, with my relationship with Si having "couples privilege" over my marriage. She did have a level of veto power. I did put her feelings before his. Everything a secondary dreads is what I did to him. Everything but breaking up per her request. She never asked that I do that. It was like I was married to HER and simply dating him. Is it any wonder that he has zero desire to ever be exposed to poly again? I said it during the session, and I will say it again. I treated him like a second class citizen and a secondary. The amount of time I spent with him and our family...wow. It was like I was just visiting our home and him and not living with him despite my name being on the mortgage. I was at her place just that much. Many times over I would renege on plans with him and go with her. Like I told our therapist, there was no balance. I was complacent with our marriage. I took him for granted because he was the legal spouse, thus in my mind, it made the marriage the more secure of the two. I treated him differently. I held him to a different standard. He was already giving 1000%, but I was pushing for more. It makes no sense to me. Instead of balancing my resources like I did the first eight years, I lost track of that, and I put him in the role of a secondary without even realising it. Making decisions that would affect him and not consulting with him. When I read the proposed secondary's bill of rights, it read like a page from the book of my poly life. He asked me, "Now, do my boundaries make sense to you?" Yes, they do. He is not trying to control me or dictate how I live my life. He is trying to make sure he does not walk through and live poly hell again and become my secondary, while putting in effort like before. He was not receiving what he was giving. While I was being deceptive, making plans without him, and granting another person equal rights and access to our children, his importance was slipping down the totem pole. Our therapist and Matt were waiting on me to come to this realisation.
The other realisation was just how much my choices affected my child. She asked her a few basic questions, and my child being my child said more than the simple, "yes" or "no." It started with a simple, "Do you remember me?" She said yes because they had cupcakes together and played with Barbies. They did do that while we were on our holiday. She said that she spent more time with her daddy and brother than with me because I was always gone with "my friend." She said who it was. Si. She asked her if she missed me. She responded, "Yes." She asked if she spent a lot of time with just Matt and myself? She said, "No. Mummy or daddy." Emphasis on the "or." It broke my heart to hear that. She looked at me several times when answering the questions like she was trying to make sure it was okay to say it and trying not to hurt my feelings. It made me feel awful to hear that from my child. I am sorry I was not there for my baby when she wanted me to be.
Once she finished talking to her, she talked to us. Matt opened up to me. I finally understand the extent of the damage. It was one of the hardest conversations we have had. He said that he went from feeling important in my life to being expendable and like he could be replaced. He said, "I put up with your bullshit and made excuses for it to help myself sleep at night. I tricked myself into believing those excuses and that it would get better. I reached my breaking point. I knew I deserved better than how you were treating me. I was in hell. What you did over the weekend? Sweetheart, you set off a domino effect of triggers and put me right back in the place where I hated and where I have finally escaped from. I have a question for you. What did I do to deserve to be treated like your bitch and your secondary?" It was said in a very calm way and in a serious manner. Our therapist tried to intervene and give us a break. This conversation was bound to happen. With or without her. I told her that I was going to answer it. "Nothing." He asked another question. "Was your treatment of me punishment for loving you, supporting you, meeting your needs, etc.?" I could not answer that. Who punishes someone for being supportive in every sense of the word? Who punishes someone for being that shoulder they can cry on? Why punishes someone for loving them with all your many hang-ups and flaws? Who punishes someone for loving them at what they believe to be their worst and continues to love them just as if they were at their best? Apparently me. He felt like my treatment of him was punishment for him being good to me. People treat their abusive spouses better than I treated my husband, who has never disrespected me or laid a hand on me.
We talked about how he ended up in a relationship with her. Basically, it was the temporary transference of his feelings and emotions. I was absent, and ironically she was around more than me. Even if it was just in a professional capacity, she was still around him more than me. They developed a friendship and spent time together. At that point, my neglect of him and our marriage had been going on for the greater part of four years. On top of that and my fucked up choices, I was busy with work, so it kept me away, too. It all boils down to him wanting to feel respected, needed, important, and loved. The things he no longer felt with me. With me, he felt disrespected, unimportant, expendable, and loved at certain times. He sought someone else to get what he had been telling me he needed all along. He realised that being with someone else was not what he wanted. Thus, poly was not the path for him. Despite how I treated him, he only wanted those things from me. I was too busy with work and Si to tend to his needs. He came out and said today, "She was not you. I cared for her, but I only wanted you, [insert given name]. That is why I stopped sleeping with her and wanted to end the relationship as soon as it started. I knew it was not going to last."
The notion of living of a poly life again is a trigger for Matt. She told me that I was missing that completely and only thinking of myself and what I wanted. He said, "Just like before." He came out and said that the thought of it scares him. It takes him to a place where he can see the past five years happening all over again. He just broke free from whatever he was going through all those years, and I am trying to take him right back and risk it happening again. She asked him, "Is there a benefit in living poly for you, Matt?" He said, "No." She asked him, "Are there any risks in it for you?" He said, "Yes." She asked him to list some of those risks. Each one was valid and very concise. Sadly, they could all happen.
Matt was pretty candid. He is not convinced that I even want to be with Si again. He thinks I am empathetic and wanting to make amends because I am the one who broke her heart. At this very moment, I cannot explain why I want to get back in a relationship with her. I cannot explain what being a polyamourist will bring or has even brought to my life. I do not consider myself polyamourous. It is not my orientation. It is not my state of being. It was something I CHOSE to practice. It is not a need. It is really not even a want. It is solely an option for me. This is not how some others approach non-mono relationships. My way works for me and worked for past loves, but it may not work for this marriage. My therapist was keen to point that out. As well as some other things that I had not thought of.
We have a date tonight, and we have agreed not to discuss anything from today until we have had time to process all that was said. We have our regular marital counselling tomorrow morning. Three sessions in a week? I hope this is not the new standard for us. I know we have issues, but my goodness. I am not trying to see her that much. Twice a week is enough!
I have quite a bit to think about, but I am happy that we had the session. This could not wait until our next poly related session. Some questions have finally been answered. I am not upset about anything he said. I appreciate conversations that challenge me and force us to be vulnerable with one another. I know he is feeling much better. He took our children to get ice cream, but outside of that we have been together all day.
Interesting day, but no one said the repair process was going to be easy or pleasant, right?