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Old 07-14-2011, 07:33 PM
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sagency sagency is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: U.S. Pacific Northwest
Posts: 133

A quick caution, RC.

Ultimatums are really scary. Your plan is reasonable in that it sounds like what you need to process things. But it could come across as aggressive or a threat. When my first wife (also poly) pushed me with an ultimatum, my reaction was to call her on it and walk. To this day I still look at ultimatums as something where if someone will push like that, I'm going to do what I can to mess up their plan and not give them what they want no matter what. I have learned this about myself in the meantime though, so I don't let myself get into ultimatum situations though because my self-destructive streak will push the button.

If you need that plan, I'd advise phrasing it so it has fewer teeth. Let me comment on the plan as is and then suggest a revision...
Originally Posted by RobertCourage View Post
1. The objective is to take a few months to let her figure out what she wants to do to be happy without me constantly in the way.
Me in the way? Dude, self-depricating. Not cool. You're her husband, the primary bread winner, and the father of her kids--so don't sell yourself short. I know your ego is beat up right now, but resist the urge for self-flagellation (unless you're secretly Mel Gibson or you're into that).

Originally Posted by RobertCourage View Post
2. I will still live home. The kids will know nothing. But we are not operating as a couple any longer. This means she does not have to answer to me nor I to her.
Answer to? Ugh. Authoritative and controlling. Being controlling or wanting control is a common reaction when it feels like things are getting out of control. One of the themes you'll hear here and in "normal" relationship forums is that relationships are a balance. Try to let yourself think in terms of balance rather than control.

Originally Posted by RobertCourage View Post
3. We will not have sex. She can do what she wants and I will do what I want.
Two thoughts here:
So you're not ok with sex right now. Understandable. I don't think you need to set up a multi-month sabatical in stone. You might think it's needed so you can emotionally distance yourself, and if that's the plan, it's your call. You might consider internally making that decision without telling the wife that she's cut off. (Yes, yes, I know that's not communication, poly folk. See rule #2 that every situation is different.) You may decide later that sex is ok. But either way, if you tell her no sex, you're really forcing her unto T more.

If your intent is to open yourself up to the possibility of "doing what you want" (i.e. sex with someone else), then I'd suggest you state that explicitly instead (see, poly folk, communication! ). I would expect that as a traveling executive you've had many opportunities, and it says something about how important your marriage is to you that you haven't indicated previous forrays. (Heck, a forray may just show you how freaking complicated poly life can be and raise sympathy for the wife. Just sayin'.)

Originally Posted by RobertCourage View Post
4. Again, the kids will know nothing,
Good to clarify. Not necessary to repeat.

Originally Posted by RobertCourage View Post
5. We will assess progress at some point and determine if we extend the separation, eliminate the separation or just divorce.
Reasonable. I suggest you pick a specific timeframe though. Concrete goals have concrete action easier.

Here's how I would suggest almost the same thing to reduce ultimatum stress and allow a little more flexibility:
1. We need to take a few months to adjust to changes in our relationship.
2. The children are important, and their security is paramount. We should remain mindful of them during this adjustment, but they not be privy to details.
3. We will share our home while each of works on being independent, happy, and healthy individuals.
4. We will assess our status in [TIMEFRAME] and determine how best to proceed at that time.

I feel this retains your objectives but will be less stressful for you both.

As I said in my post above, you need to take care of RC first. Then the wife. Then the kids. If this is what RC needs, go for it. Just do so calmly and deliberately. There's a lot of love in you, or you wouldn't hurt like this. We just want you to find the best way forward.

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