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  #1  
Old 04-01-2014, 12:35 AM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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Default At a loss

Today my BF surprised me with a visit. We havent seen each other much lately because he is working a new job. Havent even had any alone time for each other for almost a month, and I have been missing him a lot. We spend as much time as we can texting, talking on the phone, but those are not really good substitutes for face to face time.

So, knowing I was feeling down and under the weather, he drove to my house when he found out he wasnt needed at his job today. He talked to me on the phone the whole way here, not letting on that he was on his way. After informing me that he needed to go because he had arrived at his destination, I then heard a knock at my door. Needless to say, I was thrilled beyond measure that he made the effort (he often cant do spontaneous things like that), and that we were able to spend time together. It wasnt even alone time, as I was home with the 3yo. It didnt matter, I got to see him. Two and half hours! Woo-hoo!

So, my conflict comes in because my husband wasnt informed beforehand that BF and I were spending time together today. I will usually tell him that I am seeing BF so that there is disclosure. Hubby still struggles a great deal with me having this relationship, and we are still trying to get to a place where things are just okay. It would not have been an issue if I had told him. When hubby got home, he asked about my day and I immediately told him that BF had come up to surprise me today. When I told him that I did not know about it ahead of time, he looked at me with that "Sure you didnt" look on his face. He was upset, not just because we had seen each other, but said that he was upset because he felt like he was being "penalized" for working a job. That HE doesnt have the ability to just go and surprise someone in the middle of the day, and HE is stuck at his job all day long.

We devolved into an argument about whether it was okay for BF to do something nice for me. This was an unusual opportunity for us, and BF really wanted to do something nice for me. He did not feel as though he needed to get hubbys permission to do so. I was really upset that he would try to make me feel shitty about something that I didnt even plan, that was designed to make me feel better when I was in a crappy place. Hubby would just turn it around and say that I should be coming to him when I feel that way, and that I could get comfort from him. But I find that when I am missing BF, snuggling with someone else doesnt replace that at all. If I am sad, It can help. But they are not interchangeable.

I have been in this second relationship for 14 months now. We are fully sexually involved, condoms off the table, everything. Hubby knows all of this. However, he still struggles every single day with the fact that I am poly and that I have this other person. Hubby is convinced that if he just had a relationship of his own, he would not feel so left out and hurt and alone. I have explained to him that I dont think he should go and get himself a girlfriend just to make himself feel better. As he and I continue to try and make things work between us, I feel more and more distance between us. His insecurities are constantly coming up, and I feel like I am always dancing around him. Making sure I am anticipating his needs, troubleshooting his emotions, making sure I am not doing something to hurt him. From my perspective, it is constant work, every hour of every day, to not hurt him deeply.

From his perspective, I have something he does not. I have another to love, and love me back. Another outlet for sexual expression, someone who completes me in a completely different way than he does. I understand why he feels the way he does. He loves me passionately and deeply. We have a family. He would be perfectly happy being mono with me forever and ever.

I am feeling very much at a loss right now. He says he wants to keep trying, to keep making the effort to nurture each other, and make it work. I dont know if I can. He has made so much effort, has come so far from where we were when this all started, that it makes me feel as though I am just giving up on him. I dont want to be that person. I do love him. He is an amazingly wonderful man, father, partner, etc. I just always feel like his dims my light, you know? He cannot handle the person I want to be. I want a very different kind of life, more sexually open and expressive, BDSM play with people other than him. I want to be the Real Me. And every time I open that door, he has to brace himself, and I close it again to spare him the pain and "go at his pace".

Poly is hard. I could really use some support. How do I support him, when I feel so much like he is dragging me down and keeping me back? I have waited 17 years to have the poly life I wanted. I cant wait anymore.
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Willow ~ 44yo bi woman, married to Bear (formerly known as TB) for 18 years
Bear-Maybe poly/maybe mono straight man, still feeling it out
Armadillo (formerly known as BF) - currently out of the picture. Depression is evil...
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2014, 01:10 AM
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Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
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Im on the other end, I want nate to find a girlfriend because o know that will make him feel better andlless left out. He'd love to experience the excitement of a new relationship. And in my opinion it's fair that if I have another partner then he should be able to as well.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:21 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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When you told me your husband's reaction to your bf's surprise, it reminded me of a similar story, but a different context (no poly): an acquaintance got an unexpected day off from work. When his gf found out, instead of being happy at his unexpected good fortune, she was pissy and pouty. She was asked, "aren't you happy for your bf that he got a day off from work? She replied, "No, I want a day off." Needless to say, that relationship did not last.

Now I realize there is a huge difference between a day off from work and a relationship. But to rain on another's good fortune regardless of circumstance is not kind behavior. After all, your bf's presence took nothing away from your husband. And if husband's goal is to light up your life by surprising you, there has to be various means at his disposal - far more opportunity because you two live together. (But maybe he's not interested in treating your relationship as fresh and new? Maybe he likes being comfortable and not having to work so hard?)

Next point: perhaps having a gf would give him the insight that he needs to better traverse the poly landscape. That said if his general worldview is to be envious of others' good fortune, it's not all that attractive. So I guess my question is does he display envy in regard to this situation specifically? Or is it his general attitude toward life? If you won an award; got flowers from a platonic girlfriend; got your name in the paper...., would he be happy for you then? If the answer is still no, he would be envious, downplay it, then you've got other issues besides poly.

Last edited by bookbug; 04-01-2014 at 01:23 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:31 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbug View Post
But to rain on another's good fortune regardless of circumstance is not kind behavior.
And that reminds me of the time my MIL literally said "Well, if I can't be happy, I don't see why anyone else should be." Her. Exact. Words. I mean, I'd always known she felt that way, because she always acted sour about everything and anything good that other people had. But when she actually said it? I was still blown away.

Then she got cancer and died, and we all lived happily ever after.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:20 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
And that reminds me of the time my MIL literally said "Well, if I can't be happy, I don't see why anyone else should be." Her. Exact. Words. I mean, I'd always known she felt that way, because she always acted sour about everything and anything good that other people had. But when she actually said it? I was still blown away.

Then she got cancer and died, and we all lived happily ever after.
Oh wow! Yeah. Hrm....
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2014, 05:13 PM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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Default still struggling

Well I didnt make it to therapy last week, we had sitter issues so I let him go on his own. He didnt tell me much except that it was "heart-wrenching as usual". He does not like to share with me much about his process. He was struggling with something the other day and I called him on it, asked him to let me in and tell me what was the issue. He just said he didnt want to talk about it because I would "get mad". And he doesnt want me to be angry. He does not understand that sharing with me about his struggles, AND his progress helps our relationship grow because it increased our intimacy. We do have some really good talks where we feel as though we connect deeply. But I do wish he would tell me more about his personal journey.

His insecurities mean I also feel like I cant really share things going on with my BF and me. We are having struggles of our own, with him not having time to get together any longer. It is becoming a true LDR and I have never done that before and dont know how to adjust to it. It is becoming almost a 100/5 texting relationships, which is not really a relationship at all in my eyes. So much of our connection to each other is about our physical connection and our attraction. Very NRE, I am aware.... o.O I am worried that I will need to scale it back to a friendship level only just to keep from being devastated over and over when he cant make time for me. I really should be better able to handle my emotions, at least thats how I see it. But this is the first time I have really opened up my heart to another in a really long time and I have not really learned how to find my happy poly medium yet. I think I am expecting him to live up to mono standards (being available for me to chat daily, setting aside time for me, etc.). But perhaps I am just not wanting to speak my truth and set actual boundaries.
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Willow ~ 44yo bi woman, married to Bear (formerly known as TB) for 18 years
Bear-Maybe poly/maybe mono straight man, still feeling it out
Armadillo (formerly known as BF) - currently out of the picture. Depression is evil...
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:27 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
He just said he didnt want to talk about it because I would "get mad". And he doesnt want me to be angry. He does not understand that sharing with me about his struggles, AND his progress helps our relationship grow because it increased our intimacy. We do have some really good talks where we feel as though we connect deeply. But I do wish he would tell me more about his personal journey.
It takes time. A lot of time. I've been working with Gralson on opening up for 7 years, and it's been slow going. I'm up against 35+ years of being taught that having feelings is weak and having needs is selfish. Those were formative years and now the patterns are set, so I don't think we'll ever fully "get there."

And to be fair, if you're like me, there have been times where I've gotten upset (interpreted as "mad," again by patterns set before I was even born, let alone in a relationship with him) by the things he did tell me.

You also need to learn to respect his process. Your way, that is talking everything through and finding solutions together, is only "one way" of resolving issues. His way is to work through it internally and come to you when it all makes sense. It took me a long time to learn to respect Gralson's personal space when he needed to just think something through without being pestered. Usually he's able to come to resolution on his own. Would I love it if that were different, if he involved me in his process? Sure. But it's his process and he needs to be safe to process his thoughts the way he prefers.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:25 AM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
He has made so much effort, has come so far from where we were when this all started, that it makes me feel as though I am just giving up on him. I dont want to be that person.
Guilt is pretty much never sound motivation for taking action (or inaction).

Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
Poly is hard. I could really use some support. How do I support him, when I feel so much like he is dragging me down and keeping me back? I have waited 17 years to have the poly life I wanted. I cant wait anymore.
Poly can be hard, but so can monogamy. I've had both kinds of relationships and some were very difficult while some were effortless. The emotional stress level of a relationship is due to the people involved, not the fact that you have one or two relationships at a time.

Personally I think you can support him by treating him like an adult. I don't know your back story but it sounds like you are coddling him and agreeing to rules which go against how you actually want to live. If you expect that you will ever be accepted for who you are without catching an emotional beat down then you may have to just stop taking said beat down. You are both grown people and if you feel that he is trying to put his emotional issues on you then don't allow it. As gently as you can I suggest you pry yourself away from taking on all of his issues. Surely he has a friend or a therapist he can vent to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
I want to be the Real Me. And every time I open that door, he has to brace himself, and I close it again to spare him the pain and "go at his pace".
Are you under the impression that your coddling his feelings and "going at his pace" is doing some good? Is it helping foster a healthy and happy relationship with him?
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2014, 03:16 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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My experience-with a husband who wasn't interested in poly-to where we are today-living a poly life under specified compromised terms;

Is that coddlign them never ever ever evver works well.

Not to say you should run ramshod over their feelings either.

But-you do need to EACH define your hard limits (non negotiable, won't change) and soft limits (negotiable or can be changed with time)
INDIVIDUALLY

Then sit down and figure out if it is possible to find a middle ground.

There are things Maca isn't ok with; that OTHER poly people would htink are NOT acceptable limitations, but they don't bother me.
On the other hand, there are things that he would PREFER not to be a part of our dynamic, that are hard limits I MUST have.

We figured out that there was a middle ground and we were able to negotiate how to find it together.
But-that was impossible for 2.5 years, while we both were trying to do it without having laid out in concrete and clear terms what our hard limits were.

You need to define those; because those will tell you if it's EVEN POSSIBLE to make this work-without drama-ever.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:43 AM
Maleficent Maleficent is offline
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Has your husband dated at all since you began practicing poly? It seems that you're not open to the idea of him having a relationship because it would be a distraction from working on the marriage. Sometimes it is benificial to work on individuals first.

Hanks experiance with dating did help us all move past the insecurity and jealousy he was feeling about what Darla and I shared. It was a new perspective for all of us and in the end we are all better for it.
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