Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit
Looking back (hindsight always 20/20) was this 'feeling' legitimate ? Is a feeling of betrayal at the same level as an actual death of a loved one ?
That says something in itself. Religion has been responsible for the largest share of brainwashing people in a monogamous direction.
For a majority of people - words spoken on a page. Many people take 'vows' all the time - anything from clubs they join to licenses they are getting that have vows attached. We don't pay a lot of attention to the details of these 'vows' as a rule - it's just a process we go through. Maybe it's different for YOU ?
But generally speaking.........
No, betrayal isn't the same as death. Though it is very similar, because it changes almost every dynamic of your life. I think the differences were in time span, and my ability to talk about it and release the hurt. I think this is because my reaction wasn't what it's "supposed" to be: I didn't want to end our relationship, I wanted to work it out and re-build trust.
And yes, for ME those vows were serious and intentional. For HIM, they were BOTH an expression of love and committment AND a very poor fit. I agree there are a lot of ways the church didn't serve us very well, especially in this.... as you say, we just didn't have any of the tools to talk about it.
Sometimes I wonder, if he had come to me earlier to ask for an open relationship how I would have reacted. It's a puzzle I can't really figure out. It's not like we didn't know about polyamory: we have several friends in common that have practiced poly for several years, and yet it STILL felt so alien to me. It's like I blocked the issue into separate parts of my brain. I guess that's what brain-washing is.
He had three or four affairs over the years, and told me about them at around the same time they ended. The last time, I walked in on him with his lover, and I threw her out of our house and demanded that he never see her again... it ate at me for a whole week, and then I went to her to apologize for being so abrupt and asked if we could talk it through in a kindly fashion instead. I felt crazy. I knew I "should" have thrown both of them out of the house and abandoned them both. But ultimately, compassion for them as individuals and as a couple was too hard to ignore.
If the brainwashing hadn't existed, and if there had been trust remaining on my side, and fear of judgement and consequences for my career, I think that instead of a long drama of her-or-me, okay-both, fuck-no-this-isn't-working, it would have been a story of okay-both-wow-this-takes-work.
How to get to that place where monogamy isn't assumed, THAT is a good question. My lover has a live-in GF, and many of my friends know that. Some are supportive, some accept it but don't realise when their bias shows, and some simply won't acknowledge that the relationship is anything more than friends. And admittedly, I don't push what they're comfortable with very often... though I'd like for everyone to be supportive, I want to respect how quickly they can accept a different paradigm because I remember how long it took me and how hard it was to do. I think we can easily forget all of the real and imagined risks that come from changing our ways once we've experienced the benefits of polyamory.