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  #1  
Old 11-22-2011, 11:12 PM
mcmctalk mcmctalk is offline
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Default Another mono / poly, don't know how to move forward

First post, so definiteyl a newbie, both to the Poly scene and this forum.

I'll give a quick cliff note version of my gf and my history. Feel free to jump to the question below. Sorry in advance for the long post.

Background:

Basically I was dating my girlfriend of 10 years (we broke up for almost 2 years at the 4th year mark) when a few months ago, I discovered she has been cheating on me with a man she had some sexual relationship with in the past (while we were broken up). This relationship has consistantly being a sore point due to the fact that their "friendship" almost always require exclusivity in activity. In other words, they'd go camping, concert, spend weekends together etc without other parties involved.

I've tried to deal with the exclusivity issue by being flexible and lya down boundries and chalk the rest of my discomfort to my jealousy streak, something I felt very guilty of.

4 months ago, I ran across email that indicated they have more going on than friendship. I also noticed her taking more weekend trips and increase in secrecy. Finally last month I showed up at the man's door and exposed the affair.

When she finally came home, we discussed what to do going forward. She said the man (we shall refer to him as T going forward) is a friend, and that she is in love with him and desire to have him in her life in some form or another for the rest of her life. And how it does not diminish any love she had for me. She has no plans on leaving me for him, in fact, there are no plans to escalate relationship with T to any kind of relationship. She said through this experience, she's learned that she is a Poly person, that her heart of split between the 2 men in her life.

Upon hearing this, I read through "Opening up" and devour the content on thsi forum. My gf and I also learned to be open and honest, beginning with her telling me about the nature of her relationship with T, including email and text communication, this is to try to established the lost trust from the affair.

I tried furiously deling with my jealousy issue, something I'm still struggling with daily. I asked to go at my pace, which is something she has agreed to.


With that background, here are my questions:


1.) I'm not opposed to Poly in an intellectual sense, in fact, the idea of being able to share intimacy with multiple individual has strong appeal to me.

I am however, having a lot of difficulty getting over the issue of jealousy. I've read through the many resources online in dealing with jealousy but just cannot prevent my emotion from taking over every time I read another email from T expressing his love for my gf or plan another weekend getaway. I'm close to giving up on dealing with jealousy issue alone.

2.) GF has asked me to see T 2 times a month with ocassional weekend getawys. She gains most satisfaction from spending the night at T's house. The problem is I experience very strong sense of loss when she spends the night at T's house, how does other monos deal with this? Do you just find some midnight hobby while you're up all night engulfed in jealousy?

3.) GF is currently completely in NRE, which annoys me to no end since every time she sees something beautiful, like clouds, sunset, flowers etc, it reminds her of him. How do you guys deal with NRE? How do you experience "compersion", to share the experience with her? I just cannto find the space in my heart to enjoy her going gaga over another man, I wish I could!

I have so much trouble dealing with these issue that the idea of leaving this relationship is beginning to cloud over my judgement. I don't want to throw away 10 years of history and the beautiful dreams my gf and I have constructed together. I really want this to work, I just feel so lost and don't know what else to do.

Thanks for listening
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2011, 06:24 AM
Nighthorse Nighthorse is offline
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Default Sounds complicated.

I don't know how a person "stumbles across" another person's email. That sounds like snooping to me. In an ideal world, we could talk to our partners about our needs and deeds and desires without turning into secret agents. It sounds like a terrible way to find out about an affair: both because you were lied to and because (it sounds like) you violated her privacy.

The point I'm trying to make is that you need to work on communication. You can't be expected not to become jealous if you feel you're getting tricked. But you'll have to invest some trust too if you want her to be honest with you about how she's feeling (and what she's doing). The same goes for you. You need to be able to talk about these feelings with her. To do that, first own your own feelings. Take responsibility for your feelings of jealousy and understand where they come from.

I would feel jealous too if a partner of mine had cheated on me, and, yes, there is such a thing as cheating in some non-monogamous relationships. If you negotiate an agreement based on mutual emotional needs and it is dishonestly violated, that's cheating in my book. You should discuss the parameters of the relationship you wish to have with your partner.

As for the loneliness, might I suggest a hobby? If nothing else, having a regular hobby to do will get you out of the house and might even help you meet other like-minded non-monogamists. Try bowling. Or, for the nerdier person, Dungeons and Dragons at the local comic book store can be very fulfilling.

To appreciate your partner's NRE, it helps to feel some yourself. Doesn't have to be a romantic relationship. A new friend (or a renewed old friend) can be very good for the heart.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:24 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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If you do a tag search here for "mono/poly" you will find several threads where suggestions are made to the mono for handling such relationships, including what to do with your time when she is out.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:10 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Maybe if reading his emails to her upsets you, you shouldn't do it? It seems a little invasive to me anyways, though I can certainly see how you'd have some trust issues going on right now.

Do you know T at all personally, could you see you and he ever becoming friends? Many people find that helps because it allows them to see the other person not as competition but, perhaps in time, as a collaborator in making the same person happy. It also build trust, which cuts down on fear and jealousy.

If the NRE is too much for you right now, maybe this is another area where she could go at your pace by just not bringing him up all the dang time. I'm not advocating am emotional version of don't-ask-don't-tell, but I don't see that there's any need for her to be telling you whenever he pops into her head, I think that'd get old no matter what the situation, but especially considering that you're healing from being cheated on!

Do you think you may ever be interested in an outside relationship of your own? I'm not saying it'd be the best idea right now, by any means, but when everything is on a more even keel it might be worth exploring if it feels right.
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:52 PM
mcmctalk mcmctalk is offline
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AnnabelMore, you really raise some great questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Maybe if reading his emails to her upsets you, you shouldn't do it? It seems a little invasive to me anyways, though I can certainly see how you'd have some trust issues going on right now.

Do you know T at all personally, could you see you and he ever becoming friends? Many people find that helps because it allows them to see the other person not as competition but, perhaps in time, as a collaborator in making the same person happy. It also build trust, which cuts down on fear and jealousy.

Do you think you may ever be interested in an outside relationship of your own? I'm not saying it'd be the best idea right now, by any means, but when everything is on a more even keel it might be worth exploring if it feels right.
Reading email is a horrible thing, I hate invading her privacy and want to trust her fully. The desire for verification of honest is very strong but I do realize the need to have that leap of faith again.

I met T once a long time ago, and then again when I showed up at his door. GF has always been very hesitant about having us meet. I've stressed that T should be converted to "friend of the relationship", instead of a foe. This is a concept she agrees to, but she doesn't know how to have these worlds collide, and honest, I'm not even sure if she wants to.

I do think I have the capacity to have outside relationship. I'm still recovering from the deep wound from being cheated on; this experience recalled significant self esteem issues like abandonment and inadequacy, I need to recover from these issues before I can feel desired again by a stranger.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2011, 05:03 PM
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rory rory is offline
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I think it's great you want to try and make things work and to rebuild trust between you two. You're doing well coming here for advice and communicating with her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmctalk View Post
I also came up with some boundaries that I felt would be important to me. I've list them out below, I feel quite selfish in some of these rules so perhaps fresh sets of eyes can help straighten me out if I'm asking unreasonable things.

1.) No public show of affection - i.e.. holding hands, hands on thigh, hugs from behind, cuddling. General "couple" behavior. She claims the relationship she has with him are of "friendship" type, I don't see the need to pretend to be boyfriend / girlfriend in public then.

2.) No lingeries. It somehow makes me feel special to have some ownership of this. He doesn't really care about lingeries so don't' think it's a big deal. Somehow it is for me... Some thing goes for Bed & Breakfast.

3.) Honesty, 'nouf said.

4.) Define the relationship with 'T'. Force T to think about what type of relationship this is. Where does he see this going in 6 months, a year, 5 years etc. All 3 of us need to see eye to eye and play our part accordingly.

5.) Be home on time.
Have you and her talked about these things yet? What does your GF think, does she feel these things are unreasonable? Do you have good communication going? When you write these are things you want to ask for, what excactly does ask mean? Is it still open for negotiation, or do you insist on the boundaries you want? If there is room for negotiation, does she know that, too? She was cheating, and probably feels guilty (for a reason), and that might make it hard for her to express an opinion if she feels some of the boundaries are too restrictive. But if she doesn't communicate her disagreement to you, there's a risk that she'll violate the boundaries. If she does that, she'll be totally responsible for that. However, by working together in your relationship to create an open environment for communication you can try and avoid that. Good luck!

In my opinion, number 3 is essential for obvious reasons. About 1 and 2: they are reasonable if all involved think so. What does she think? You're not unreasonable for asking, but she should also get an opinion (and so should he, at some point). If these things are important to her, but you feel strongly about them, maybe you could come to some sort of compromise for now, and revisit the situation after some time. Number 5: what does "on time" mean? If it stands for "at the time I tell you", it sounds too controlling. If it stands for "at the time we together agreed to", it's completely reasonable.

Number 4 sounds a bit confusing to me. What are your reasons behind this? It comes off a bit odd; like you want to make her force him to define their relationship more clearly. Why is that? Isn't it more relevant to you what it is your girlfriend wants from the relationship? If you do want his input, that might be something possibly better communicated between you and him directly. Which brings me to this issue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmctalk View Post
I met T once a long time ago, and then again when I showed up at his door. GF has always been very hesitant about having us meet. I've stressed that T should be converted to "friend of the relationship", instead of a foe. This is a concept she agrees to, but she doesn't know how to have these worlds collide, and honest, I'm not even sure if she wants to.
I think she's being a little possessive here. I don't think it would be wise to suddenly start hanging out as a group all the time, and there must still be alone-time for her to be with him. But I do think it would benefit you to get to know him a bit better, if it is your wish (and his).
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:06 AM
mcmctalk mcmctalk is offline
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Thank you Nighthorse, those are really great advice. Especially the communication bit.

I have to admit, invading her privacy was a major violation on my part. The initial "stumbling across" was literally stumbling across via text message on her phone while I was making a call, but the subsequent snooping that came from distrust were my doing, I feel very bad about it but I also knew that if I don't find out the truth, she'd lie to me for as long as possible.

I even went as far as writing 'T' an email to try to get clarification on nature of their relationship, but she instructed him to lie to me. He told me in email that nothing was going on between them, and that it was purely platonic, much like sibling's relationship.

As you can see, we lost a lot of trust from this affair, and part of me has a difficult time finding he room to trust again. I am forcing myself to, because I know if I don't, we won't be able to go on.

As for the hobby bit, I actually have quite a few hobby. Before all this happened, I was pretty wrapped up in extracurricular activity. GF and I hung out on weekends and some weeknights, but I definitely kept myself busy in the relationship.

My bigger issue is when she's out having sex with T and experiencing this great profound experience, I'm here at home and feeling extremely lonely, jealous and envious of T. I wish it's as easy as picking up another hobby, but at some point, I have to come home, to my empty bed, and with the knowledge that she's sleeping with him. I wish I can switch my brain off and stop obsessing over this fact, but somehow I just can't...

She's requested twice a month session with T. Given there's only 4 weekends a month, I suppose I'm only left with 2 weekends. Add weekends getaway with T on top of that, I just don't know if I have the capacity in my heart to move forward. I love her dearly, but I also cannot lose myself.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:21 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmctalk View Post
She's requested twice a month session with T. Given there's only 4 weekends a month, I suppose I'm only left with 2 weekends. Add weekends getaway with T on top of that, I just don't know if I have the capacity in my heart to move forward. I love her dearly, but I also cannot lose myself.
You don't have to agree to anything you're not yet ready for. I assume you two are having long, serious conversations to figure out where your boundaries are, what you can each compromise on, what you each need in order to be healthy and happy and why, and where something might be able to work in a different way? Why does 2x/month have to mean weekends, does he live too far away to see during the week? Could she get by with fewer overnights (that's a big sticking point for many couples) if she could still see him for, say, a day trip?

She broke your trust, and while she doesn't deserve to be "punished" like a child, she does need to realize that it's put you in a really bad place and that you need her to rein things in a little right now, NRE or not. It's ok to take a step backwards when you realize something isn't working like you'd hoped, and it sure sounds like this isn't working for you but that you are truly trying. I hope she appreciates and respects that.
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2011, 05:00 PM
mcmctalk mcmctalk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
You don't have to agree to anything you're not yet ready for. I assume you two are having long, serious conversations to figure out where your boundaries are, what you can each compromise on, what you each need in order to be healthy and happy and why, and where something might be able to work in a different way? Why does 2x/month have to mean weekends, does he live too far away to see during the week? Could she get by with fewer overnights (that's a big sticking point for many couples) if she could still see him for, say, a day trip?
Work schedule doesn't allow too much room beyond weekends right now, he lives about 30 minutes away so it's certainly not too far for day trip.

She derive a lot of pleasure from waking up with him and enjoying the mornings etc. I want to give that to her, but at the same time, I'm struggling a lot with it. I don't want to become the controlling boyfriend limiting his GF to be at home with him at all times.

Now that I'm writing all these out, maybe my current state is somewhere along the line of once a month overnight + day trip. Since they take so much 'get away' trips, it'll probably end up being more than that by default anyway.


One concern that comes to mind is this. She typically has Mondays off and I work on Monday. Part of me really wants to allow her to see him every Monday since I'm at work anyway. Yet somehow I can't find the room in my heart to allow that to happen. Should I be more open? Am I still too emotionally attached to the idea of monogamous ideals? I can't figure out for the life of me why it bothers me so much that if I allow Monday visits that she'd be seeing him every week + some weekends. Anyone with this type of experience and has came through?
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2011, 04:48 PM
Icewraithonyx Icewraithonyx is offline
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Often, when polyamory is something of a surprise, it's advised to slow down to give the mono a bit of time to adjust. This is VASTLY more important when it's introduced through an affair. Too many people make the mistake of trying to go straight from cheating to polyamory, as if now that things are "in the open", it's all fine. No. The biggest casualty of an affair is the trust and trust is vitally important if polyamory (especially poly / mono) is going to work. Wife and I made this mistake and it left cracks.

I think the next step should be trying to take a break and heal the trust between the two of you.
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