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Old 10-11-2011, 12:42 AM
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Default Reflections of a Liar

Many of you have read my husband, Podunk's, thread. I didn't want to hijack his posts/advice with my story. But, as I start to feel at a loss for how to rebuild our relationship, I decided it was possibly time for me to put my thoughts out there as well and ask for feedback and guidance. I won't just let this relationship go. I think our relationship is truly special - even if my actions tell a different story lately. This is long, as I have been writing and musing a lot lately. Sorry.

From the beginning of my relationship with my husband, we have discussed polyamory. We actively explored swinging from the start and had a relationship with a couple that was quite close to the type of relationship we were looking for. While it was something we'd been interested in exploring, we didn't devote much time seeking out new relationships. Our 6 years together have been so full of adventure, happiness, growth and love. We have a family and that is our top priority. We've both been amazed at how compatible we truly are – we share passions, dreams, goals, hobbies and an amazing sex life. Others would likely laugh at the thought that we would even seek other partners. We definitely have (had) the whole package.

Over the years. We had mused that it would be much easier to explore our interests in others in a communal setting. My husband had spent some time when he was younger visiting several intentional communities. When the opportunity arose for the two of us to visit one of them for a weekend conference, we jumped at the chance. The timing was perfect as our youngest daughter would be away and we could take this week to ourselves. I felt rejuvenated there. Most of the time in my adult life I have felt separated from those around me – like I don't fit in. Whether that be because I am a vegan, a young mom, or radical living in a very conservative area. The people there “got us”. There was even a workshop on alternative relationships. I was elated!

On Saturday evening of the conference, the community held a dance party. I wasn't sure, at first, if I would even dance – shyness got the best of me and my husband isn't a big dancer. But, one of my favorite songs came on and I had to get out there. I was amazed when my husband joined me a few songs later. It felt so much better to be sharing that experience with him and I could really relax and enjoy the party. Song after song, the room grew so insanely hot that men and women started to remove their tops. I have no problem with public nudity but also have anxiety about my midsection. It's not this taut, smooth, bikini belly. It's chubby and shows signs of my pregnancies. So, I was honestly shocked when I met a guy there that showed continuous interest in me. When other men notice me, I usually write it off thinking “yeah, they think I have great breasts (or even legs) but they haven't seen my stomach yet.” The guy at the dance was persistent, though, and asked me to sit outside and chat. I had already mentioned this to my husband, who supportively introduced himself and joined in our conversation later. Shortly after, my husband and I left to return to our campsite. The guy met us at the conference the next day and joined us in the alternative relationships workshop and our a tour of another intentional community. I was feeling a little giddy. He must really like me and I,too, found him quite attractive. We all parted and shared contact information. I was tickled to find that he had friend requested me on facebook that night.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:43 AM
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Following the conference, podunk and I spent several more days hiking/traveling. I was still thinking of how amazing it was to meet like-minded people and about this potential new relationship. During a hiking break one day, he and I spoke briefly about thoughts on sharing sexual details with each other. This was all hypothetical, as we had only shared experiences through swinging. He expressed an interest in not knowing the details but wanting to know “how far things went”. I wasn't sure at this time if I would even meet up with this other guy again. I have several online relationships that are very casual and distant but still sexy. I put my “new friend” in this same category.

But, after talking about communities for days, podunk strongly urged me to return. I was extremely grateful for his support – and also very pensive. I felt as if I was asking a lot and hoped that I would be as willing to reciprocate when the opportunity arose. But, I allowed myself to follow up and my new friend,Paul, offered to “host me” for a stay. I felt thrilled and nervous at the same time. I was really reluctant to leave my husband home alone. This was the first time in 6 years! I justified this by telling myself that I needed to live a little. We both get frustrated with life in our little town and would love to live in other areas. We live here, however, because podunk's ex-wife settled here with 2 of our kids.

At this point, Paul and I were messaging each other through Facebook. Some of the conversation got very sexy. I was excited about the potential but also about visiting this community for a longer period of time. I didn't want for Paul to feel “put out” by my stay and assured him (and Podunk) that my first priority was living the communal lifestyle. While we had discussed sexual topics – I'd begun to be unsure if he was really still interested in me. I have issues with self-esteem/self-doubt. Days would pass with no communication and I'd assume he just wasn't interested. Right before I left, however, he sent me a message about being interested in hooking up with me. I honestly wasn't 100% sure that I would but I surely hadn't closed that door. I didn't communicate that with Podunk. I did speak with Podunk before leaving about agreements and limitations, though. He graciously offered that I was free to do as I felt – given that I did so safely and that I didn't rush in to something before I was ready.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:44 AM
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The day I arrived, Paul and I hung out in my guest room chatting for an hour and then things got heavier. I didn't have this passionate intensity that I'd hoped I'd feel but I told myself that perhaps that would come over time. We made out heavily and slowly got naked. He was somewhat excited and I grabbed the protection that I brought. He immediately had difficulty performing. This was to be the norm for the first few days of my trip. I was starting to feel pretty insecure at this point – blaming my shape/body for his issues. Sex with Podunk is profoundly wonderful but I also do not have his preferred shape. I focused on oral sex (with the protection on and without). By mid-week, I was anxiously avoiding sexual situations. I was far more interested in actual conversations/hanging out/date-like stuff. But, Paul's commitment to his family made this difficult and I understood that. Besides, I was making new friends and happy to be at the commune- I went swimming, took long walks in the woods, stared at the sky while swinging in a hammock and volunteered at community work projects. I ate lunch and dinner with different people every day.

During my stay, Podunk was always positive and happy for me. On Facebook, he had several posts about how he missed me (and how he was filling my void with cookies). I was feeling guilty even though he wasn't trying to cause me that emotion. I wasn't sure what all was going to happen during my stay and thought that I avoided saying anything sexual about my trip to him on the phone. He remembers me saying nothing happened, though. I'm only now coming to realize how naïve I truly was about the situation. My relationship experience is limited and, much like a teenager, I figured that I could satisfy Paul's desires while building upon my own desire to find companionship. I felt a real void but was optimistic that we would start bonding emotionally any day. I just had to show him how nice it is to connect/chat/laugh/touch. I hoped that we could share a bed just one day. Not for sex but for cuddling and touch. But it wasn't happening. There was nothing there.

It wasn't really until my last hours at the community that I started to realize that maybe attraction/chemistry can be instant -that waiting for a deeper relationship for sparks to fly isn't always necessary or realistic. I met a guy who was staying as a visitor on my last night – we chatted until after 3am. We talked a little about my experiences there and how Paul and I hadn't even shared a bed for one night. This new guy, Bob, was a little stunned. I admitted that I was really looking for that kind of connection but that it did not seem to be Paul's agenda. I told him I was OK with it, though. I didn't have huge expectations. In reality, I was a little disappointed and felt reassured that someone else who had dabbled in polyamory shared my longing for connection. I had started to worry that perhaps I was really being “too needy”. Being clingy is definitely one of my flaws.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:45 AM
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The conversation Bob and I shared did not revolve only around sexuality – we discussed many things and I truly enjoyed his conversation. I considered asking if he'd like to share a bed (in a nonsexual but close and intimate human way) but backed out. I had started my cycle and felt uncomfortable taking things to that level. Afterall, I had just met him. But then we hugged goodnight. And sparks flew. I'd only ever had that type of experience with Podunk. There was a magnetic energy that I could feel. I felt myself fall in to his hug. I let out an involuntary sigh. He felt real! I spent much of the next 24 hours (and following weeks) thinking about him.

How did I feel such a connection with Bob after only 5 hours and feel so little with Paul? I had a million thoughts going through my head. I felt a little ashamed for having hoped that sexual acts might lead to attachment with Paul. I thought about these things during the six hour drive home. I was actually excited to tell Podunk about my connection with Bob. I shared every detail – including that I considered sharing a bed and, had the situation been different, possible sleeping with him. “He'll be amazed that I found that “energy”. It's such a rare thing! “ I thought to myself. I later received an email from Bob expressing that the feeling had been mutual. I shared all of this with Po and details of the emails that followed. Yet, my response about Paul was that “nothing happened”. I'd like to think that said that to mean “there was nothing there in comparison”. But, I likely bold-faced lied for several reasons – mostly linked to my selfishness and immaturity.

I'm still really trying to determine why I didn't just blurt out the details. Heck, I wasn't even being asked details. I wasn't asked anything at all and still felt compelled to say “nothing happened”. A couple of reasons circle around in my head as I try to determine how I could be so hurtful. Why would I be afraid to tell him if there wasn't the connection I was hoping for? Parts of me realizes I was a little bit embarrassed about diving in head first. I think I was a little nervous about sharing what felt a little bit like cheating – hedonistic rather than relationship building. I panicked. I didn't know where to begin. We had talked about not sharing details and I was afraid of saying too much. Hurting his feelings. I was also felt guilty that I had this opportunity and he was left at home to take care of the house/ kids. He also didn't have a romantic interest and I felt a little bad that I was exploring alone. Why didn't I feel that same guilt about not being truthful?! Probably because of some selfish need to remain “pure” in his eyes. I did feel like I wanted him to know. I was sharing bits very very slowly. It took me an entire week to admit to a kiss. And by not sharing more at that point – I essentially lied all over again. I did want him to know but struggled to let it all out. And then, the more I kept it secret, the harder it became to say. I was ashamed of trying to maintain some false image of my trip but didn't really think of the true repercussions of my actions. I think I let myself believe that it would be easier for him to accept if introduced slowly. Clearly a sign of marked immaturity on my end. Perhaps fueled by jealousy at his admission to wanting a wild time with Meghan,I let out that more happened. Part of me was relieved to share more but part of me was still extremely nervous about saying everything. So, I continued to give half-truths and lies and we dug in to a very deep and passionate conversation. This continued for days as Podunk has explained in his post. I am not proud of this in any way. Had I just been honest and given all of the details on my 3rd chance, many issues could have probably still be worked through. But, I didn't. And it is true that during all of this, I went to far as to blame him for not seeing past my lies and realizing that more happened. His accounts of our conversations are accurate. I continue being asked questions as if there are black and white answers. For some there are. For others, I am still working introspectively to understand. And now that I've lied, my answers do not come across as sincere anyway.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:46 AM
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The situation is not helped by the fact that I have been sleeping very little, have no appetite, and now constantly shake. I understand his lack of trust in me and have agreed to to cut off communication with those at the commune and was eager to accept that I not visit that community again. I shared details of my lying with a number of people at the community and a friend that we share. Podunk also had access to the messages I sent and the responses I received. I am hoping that by sharing all of this we can find a place of trust again. There has been a lot of hurt passed between us. I have offered to move out – not out of spike and anger but out of hope that giving him that space would be healing for him. This was one of the initial requests he made. I would never take his home from him. He lives here near two of our children and has poured his heart in to repairing this house. He's done an incredible job. I struggle to find a way to give him what he needs right now. I am unsure, myself. He continues to tell me that we can never have that same love again and I continue to plead for another chance. I keep begging for him to tell me what I can do to begin the healing process. I'm making an effort at the moment to avoid conversation with him and allow things to relax. Trying to keep my distance. I'm hoping that this action isn't misconstrued as being not caring or unsupportive. I realize that I'm going to need to give a lot to prove myself. I can't just expect that he'll instantly forgive me and cling to all of the amazing details of our love. I'm starting to fully come to terms with the idea that I may never be forgiven. What a truly terrifying thought. Still, I have no one else to blame.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:20 AM
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One of the things I've worried about by starting this thread is that it will appear as if I am trying to play the "woe is me" card or that I am trying to make Podunk seem less of a victim. I truly hope that is not what you gather from reading this. I'm starting to learn that often my words do not truly convey what I intend for them to. I'm also learning that I am far more influenced by societal norms that I would have believed. And possibly that I am too eager to please - beyond my own comfort level. And that is just scraping the surface.
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by veganchick View Post
One of the things I've worried about by starting this thread is that it will appear as if I am trying to play the "woe is me" card or that I am trying to make Podunk seem less of a victim.
Hey I'm on a roll offering unsolicited advice so I'ma keep on rolling.

I didn't get that. I also think Podunk is only as much of a victim as he chooses to be right now - his being hurt and sad is understandable, but he's not the victim of anything unless you're going to lie to him again. You seem to be trying to own your own shit. I will say that I think vowing to not be in contact with the people at the commune at all is a band-aid at best, because you weren't cheating, and labeling the people and space as "off limits" isn't really healthy, and it won't fix anything. Hopefully this is just temporary. I don't think having to fess up to a lot of people about your lies was cool at all. If they weren't intimate partners who had a say in your safe sex practices, it's not really any of their fucking business. I do wonder if it was your idea or if it was Podunk's idea in order to humiliate you a bit.

Obviously the one thing Podunk is saying over and over again is that he does NOT feel that you are showing remorse. It seems apparent in your writing that you do, and you're trying to figure out the whys. I don't know if you've asked him what you can do to show him that you are sorry, but whatever you are doing isn't coming through as sincere as you said. But dropping pursuing other relationships, including continuing chatting with other interests, is always a good start.

Maybe he expects you to act how HE would act if he was sorry, but of course if you don't know what that is, you can't show him you feel badly. If he is not being open to forgiving you now, I would not let him keep going over and over it, because it's not going to do anybody any good until you've both had some sleep and a chance to regroup. I don't see there is any reason for him to read any of your past correspondence anymore at this time regarding this issue.

I can imagine that if you said nothing happened with Paul, and then you talk about this AMAZING connection with Bob but say nothing happened there either, well how could his mind not go there and wonder if you were trustworthy at all. Maybe you lied too about that, maybe you had wild orgies all week and laughed at Podunk behind his back. I don't think any of that happened but that is what can haunt the mind of a person who finds out their trusted partner wasn't honest. It takes time to rebuild trust, and hopefully Podunk wants to take that time.

Sure your behavior was a bit shitty, but truth is, it seems very forgivable if he wants to forgive you. It seems while you work to figure out all the reasons you did what you did, and work on showing Podunk that you love him (and figure out how to show you are sorry without having to grovel), he needs to be working on how to love you as the imperfect person you are. His posts show he wavers back and forth, and I really hope you guys get the space and the sleep to be able to deal with this in a calm way. Really I would expect it to take at least a month or few to both feel calm and semi safe again, so hopefully you don't get too despairing if progress is slow.
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Last edited by Anneintherain; 10-11-2011 at 03:19 AM. Reason: cause im redundant as hell, can't finish a sentence, etc
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:58 AM
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I don't think having to fess up to a lot of people about your lies was cool at all. If they weren't intimate partners who had a say in your safe sex practices, it's not really any of their fucking business. I do wonder if it was your idea or if it was Podunk's idea in order to humiliate you a bit.
I wondered this too, and was going to comment about it on Podunk's thread. Whose idea was it for you to write to all your new commune friends to tell them you were a horrible person because you didn't tell your husband you gave Paul a blow-job? I hope I'm not being too frank here... why would they care? They'd only just met you.

I think both you and Podunk had expectations that were too high for this trip. You'd met a new guy and felt some connection, you flirted online a little bit, then he invited you to visit for a week. This kind of scenario is not always going to work out. Sometimes, or even most times, it'll fizzle like it did with Paul. It doesn't mean you failed at poly. It's just how dating works--for everyone!

I think you need to let go of the shame you feel about what happened with Paul. It's okay that you gave him some blow-jobs even though you didn't feel like he was your soulmate. Connections build over time, and it's totally legit to explore a little physically with someone while you're trying to build a connection. It didn't work out with Paul in the end, but that doesn't mean that you should feel ashamed of the sex you had with him while you were getting to know him.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
Hey I'm on a roll offering unsolicited advice so I'ma keep on rolling.

I didn't get that. I also think Podunk is only as much of a victim as he chooses to be right now - his being hurt and sad is understandable, but he's not the victim of anything unless you're going to lie to him again. You seem to be trying to own your own shit. I will say that I think vowing to not be in contact with the people at the commune at all is a band-aid at best, because you weren't cheating, and labeling the people and space as "off limits" isn't really healthy, and it won't fix anything. Hopefully this is just temporary. I don't think having to fess up to a lot of people about your lies was cool at all. If they weren't intimate partners who had a say in your safe sex practices, it's not really any of their fucking business. I do wonder if it was your idea or if it was Podunk's idea in order to humiliate you a bit.
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I wondered this too, and was going to comment about it on Podunk's thread. Whose idea was it for you to write to all your new commune friends to tell them you were a horrible person because you didn't tell your husband you gave Paul a blow-job? I hope I'm not being too frank here... why would they care? They'd only just met you.
This was initially suggested to me as a starting point for proving my remorse and beginning the process of restoring trust. I hoped that by showing him that I was willing to recount the same details with others who were familiar with my stay ( Paul, his wife, Paul's lover - Meghan, Bob and another man I met at the community who spent a lot of time discussing open relationships) that he would find security in knowing that they would respond with "the truth" if I was lying. Perhaps it was for embarrassment? I wondered aloud if I was only bringing more drama to the lives of those individuals who were only loosely involved at this point but I was (am) desperately to try to save my marriage. The honesty felt good, if nothing else.


Quote:
Obviously the one thing Podunk is saying over and over again is that he does NOT feel that you are showing remorse. It seems apparent in your writing that you do, and you're trying to figure out the whys. I don't know if you've asked him what you can do to show him that you are sorry, but whatever you are doing isn't coming through as sincere as you said. But dropping pursuing other relationships, including continuing chatting with other interests, is always a good start.
I have already discussed with Paul and with Bob that I will be simplifying my emotional connections and that I will be stopping contact with them - as I am in need of focusing on my marriage. Podunk and I haven't been able to continue casual conversation well over the past week. Most topics lead to this. We have been sleeping separately since last Monday and spend most of our time at home in different rooms. I have taken over the bedroom and Podunk the living room. Our couch is wonderful but it's not a bed and after a while becomes painful. I offered our bed today and washed the sheets/comforters so that it was less of a "me space" and more of a comfortable clean space. I didn't realize that I still had a condom wrapper in my pillowcase. Eck. Here I was trying to do a nice thing and this happens. Garbage cans at the community I visited are not everywhere - this is a community that focuses on reusing, recycling and composting. I didn't initially know where to put the wrapper and then forgot it was there. God. I can't get anything right. I really should have paid more attention to that.

Quote:
Maybe he expects you to act how HE would act if he was sorry, but of course if you don't know what that is, you can't show him you feel badly. If he is not being open to forgiving you now, I would not let him keep going over and over it, because it's not going to do anybody any good until you've both had some sleep and a chance to regroup. I don't see there is any reason for him to read any of your past correspondence anymore at this time regarding this issue.

I can imagine that if you said nothing happened with Paul, and then you talk about this AMAZING connection with Bob but say nothing happened there either, well how could his mind not go there and wonder if you were trustworthy at all. Maybe you lied too about that, maybe you had wild orgies all week and laughed at Podunk behind his back. I don't think any of that happened but that is what can haunt the mind of a person who finds out their trusted partner wasn't honest. It takes time to rebuild trust, and hopefully Podunk wants to take that time.

Sure your behavior was a bit shitty, but truth is, it seems very forgivable if he wants to forgive you. It seems while you work to figure out all the reasons you did what you did, and work on showing Podunk that you love him (and figure out how to show you are sorry without having to grovel), he needs to be working on how to love you as the imperfect person you are. His posts show he wavers back and forth, and I really hope you guys get the space and the sleep to be able to deal with this in a calm way. Really I would expect it to take at least a month or few to both feel calm and semi safe again, so hopefully you don't get too despairing if progress is slow.
I understand the pain and distrust. It's true that, at this point, it appears as if I'd just sleep with anyone. Especially the Bob scenario. It's not the truth but I can't fault the emotions. Time will tell if he can learn to trust me again. I have asked about ways to show remorse - I cry every day, can't eat...Podunk believes I do that out of self-pity, however, and not out of true understanding for the pain I caused him. I've been trying to explain that it's out of sorrow for the situation I put us in - for the pain he feels - for the loss of trust. Maybe I'm lying to myself? I plan to stick it out. I'm not sure how to know if he's going to forgive me? Should I know already? Knowing that this is a process and having you reiterate that is helpful.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:08 AM
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At some point, the other person has to make a choice to forgive. Until he does, no amount of trying to prove anything to him will be good enough.

Podunk seems to like this idea of being this kind of fatherly guide to you, the sage one who will encourage and direct you toward what he believes is good for your personal growth. Perhaps it was all too much for him to see you find your own way and make your own choices (and mistakes), however insecure and self-doubting you were. He certainly seems focused on how you have "done everything all wrong" and that it is absolutely irreparable.

Also, I have to say that, despite what he says about wanting poly, I keep having this sense that Podunk really prefers swinging. Perhaps the possibility of your having a deeper emotional connection with someone else, as in polyamory, hit him harder than he expected and feels like a threat to him in some way.
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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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