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  #11  
Old 05-19-2009, 12:45 AM
Mark1npt Mark1npt is offline
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What's that saying?...."What's good for the goose is good for the gander"?.....I don't necessarily think you need to drop old lovers or friends....they are often our best and deepest love connections....why would we want to never see or love them again? Makes no sense to me......
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2009, 01:06 AM
theque theque is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quath View Post
theque, I don't think you are alone in what you are going through. I think many people find polyamory from falling into it as opposed to deciding that it is what you want from the beginning. So like any other major change to your life, it can leave you very disoriented until you get your bearings.
That's putting it lightly! I would think that after nearly 9 months I would have a better handle on what I want or where to go, but I don't really. I still feel just as uncomfortable and at odds with myself as I did in November when this suddenly became a real thing. In fact, in some ways it's gotten worse in that I don't know if what I think I'm striving for is something that I really want, or it's something I allowed myself to get involved in to numb the pain and now I've just become used to to it. My desires and motivations have become well and truly muddied.

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Originally Posted by Quath View Post
I like your view that it is a continuum. Polyamorous people do tend to vary in the openness of their relationship from polyfidelity to complete openess with no rules whatsoever. Most poly people fit somewhere in between.
That is an image that a (non-poly) friend of mine introduced me to when I first came to him for support and he suggested that lots of people have happy poly relationships. Ironically, at the time I discounted that as a possibility for me pretty solidly, one might even say vehemently. But that conversation, that image, ultimately is what got me to really give it serious consideration as a possibility.

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Originally Posted by Quath View Post
It sounds like you want to get over your anger and fear of Justme and your friend being together. Is that right?
At the minimum, I feel I need to get over the anger and hurt that thinking about what has already happened brings up. It's keeping me anchored in the past in an unhealthy way, and is really interfering with my/our healing. I'm reading some general materials on forgiveness which I hope will help with that.

I don't know what I want to do for the here-and-now. One difficulty I've had with with a lot of cognitive therapy techniques I've looked at in dealing with this is that they feel like a form of self-delusion to me. They seem like ways to trick yourself into believing you are ok with something that you really are not, and that seems to be undermining of one's self. Compound that with our severely compromised trust and my general confusion about my own feelings on the subject, and I have a recipe for being highly resistant to attempting to actively manipulate my own thoughts. It just feels dishonest. It causes my a lot of stress to even write about it here. In fact, we picked up a copy of Opening Up on a recommendation from elsewhere on the forum yesterday, and on the way home I had to ask JustMe to move it so it wouldn't be in my line of sight. Everytime I saw it I got an adrenaline surge and it was interfering with my ability to concentrate on driving.

Also contributing to that resistance is the idea that if I do embrace this life, that JustMe will "win" through her deceit, ultimately being rewarded for all the hurt she caused. I know that's juvenile and simplistic, but it is yet another roadblock for me.

But at the same time, I know that to a large degree my value system has been learned during my 30 years here, and I really truly believe that a lot of values are simply wrong. In an attempt to reconcile all this, I'm attempting to perform what I think of as a "values transplant", so I'm expecting a lot of discomfort as I tease apart what feels true to me, and what I simply accepted in the absence of a plausible alternative. Starting this process from a net-negative point of safety and trust is undoubtedly complicating it. But I really truly believe that I would not have ever started on this journey had it not been for all that pain, I'd have never opened myself up to all that has an could be possible through my relationship with Her. I just never would have seen the point.

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I had a hard time visualizing my wife with someone else. However, once I really thought about the idea of compersion (or frubble), I realized I could focus more on her happiness and try to focus less on my jealousy.
I believe I have experienced what I would now call compersion in a few instances, some of which were so.... strong(?) that I actually felt an intense desire to participate in those imagined scenarios. These new-to-me not strictly hetero feelings did nothing to clarify issues for me, but that's something of another subject. Those moments of compersion are very very rare though, and seemingly becoming more rare. When I first had the epiphany of how this all could be, I spontaneously had a handful of moments like that when thoughts of JustMe and Him would materialize, but now I only get a shadow of them when I'm "high" from my time with Her, it never happens outside of that frame of mind anymore. Overall, I think my thoughts on JustMe sharing intimacy with other people have gotten darker as my anger over all this has inexplicably started to grow again. That scares me. We had some pretty big waves this weekend that might have reversed that trend a bit for me, but only time will tell.

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Originally Posted by Quath View Post
I would suggest reading some books on polyamory if you think that could hel you. Sometimes it takes listening to what others have been through to help you find the ground for your situation. If you listen to podcasts, you could listen to Polya,ory Weekly. That is a very good forum for a wide range of polyamory issues and discussions.

I hope you and JustMe can find the happiness you are looking for.
I will check that out. Perhaps getting the information delivered via a means other than text will help me get over the block I currently have in really truly researching this and learning.

Thanks again for your time, compassion, and insights.
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2009, 01:13 AM
Mark1npt Mark1npt is offline
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theque.....you sound just like my wife in all your arguments/statements...and I mean that in a good way.....
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2009, 01:41 PM
Quath Quath is offline
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Originally Posted by theque View Post
I don't know what I want to do for the here-and-now. One difficulty I've had with with a lot of cognitive therapy techniques I've looked at in dealing with this is that they feel like a form of self-delusion to me. They seem like ways to trick yourself into believing you are ok with something that you really are not, and that seems to be undermining of one's self. Compound that with our severely compromised trust and my general confusion about my own feelings on the subject, and I have a recipe for being highly resistant to attempting to actively manipulate my own thoughts. It just feels dishonest. It causes my a lot of stress to even write about it here. In fact, we picked up a copy of Opening Up on a recommendation from elsewhere on the forum yesterday, and on the way home I had to ask JustMe to move it so it wouldn't be in my line of sight. Everytime I saw it I got an adrenaline surge and it was interfering with my ability to concentrate on driving.
I am very similar in feelings about therapy. However, one thing I had to learn is that the brain is not a pure thinking machine. It has a lot of biases and flaws naturally. One example is post tramutic stress syndrone. A person can get stuck on a memory so bad that it feel like the memory may be real and all else is an illusion. So sometimes therapy helps push past biases in our brain which may be stuck on feelings or patterns.

It sounds like you have been through a serious amount of stress that you are trying to overcome. You seem to have a lot of powerful associations that bring you back to those feelings. But I am not a therapist, so I can't really recommend much. However, I think it is something that could help you out.

Quote:
Also contributing to that resistance is the idea that if I do embrace this life, that JustMe will "win" through her deceit, ultimately being rewarded for all the hurt she caused. I know that's juvenile and simplistic, but it is yet another roadblock for me.
Yeah, I understand that feeling. It will seem that you have ultimately rewarded her for giving you pain. Maybe it will help if you see that she suffers for the pain she gave you. That may could lead toward some stronger forgiveness.

Quote:
But at the same time, I know that to a large degree my value system has been learned during my 30 years here, and I really truly believe that a lot of values are simply wrong. In an attempt to reconcile all this, I'm attempting to perform what I think of as a "values transplant", so I'm expecting a lot of discomfort as I tease apart what feels true to me, and what I simply accepted in the absence of a plausible alternative. Starting this process from a net-negative point of safety and trust is undoubtedly complicating it. But I really truly believe that I would not have ever started on this journey had it not been for all that pain, I'd have never opened myself up to all that has an could be possible through my relationship with Her. I just never would have seen the point.
I went through this, but without dealing trust issues a long time ago. It is disorienting, but I think it is healthier long term because they values you derived will be yours ant not just something you inherieted.

Quote:
I believe I have experienced what I would now call compersion in a few instances, some of which were so.... strong(?) that I actually felt an intense desire to participate in those imagined scenarios. These new-to-me not strictly hetero feelings did nothing to clarify issues for me, but that's something of another subject. Those moments of compersion are very very rare though, and seemingly becoming more rare. When I first had the epiphany of how this all could be, I spontaneously had a handful of moments like that when thoughts of JustMe and Him would materialize, but now I only get a shadow of them when I'm "high" from my time with Her, it never happens outside of that frame of mind anymore. Overall, I think my thoughts on JustMe sharing intimacy with other people have gotten darker as my anger over all this has inexplicably started to grow again. That scares me. We had some pretty big waves this weekend that might have reversed that trend a bit for me, but only time will tell.
It sounds like you are really opening youself up for a lot of re-examination. Does it bother you mostly to think of JustMe being with your old friend or is it the thought of her being with anyone?

Quote:
Thanks again for your time, compassion, and insights.
I wish you the best in this. Sounds like you are on a rough journey.
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2009, 08:54 PM
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River River is offline
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Theque,

It is a matter of some serious curiosity to me that some people are emotionally triggered so intensely by the thought of their lover also having another lover -- which is a different issue, altogether, from the matter of deceit and hiding of "an affair". Part of my curiosity relates to the fact that I'm not entirely sure how, in every detail, I transitioned to the "place" I am with regard to this matter. What I am sure of is that if my partner, Kevin, loved (and made love with) someone else as well as me, that would be fine--so long as he took appropriate precautions vis--vis STDs, was honest and open with me about that relationship, and didn't retreat or neglect my need to share quality time with him.

It wasn't always the case with me. I used to be situated on the monogamy end of the spectrum pretty solidly. I think that was mainly because I bought into the pervasive belief/attitude that love ('romantic' love) is only love, really, when it's expressed in a dyad--and anything "less" would "cheapen" it or ruin it. I suppose I got that from the culture (parents, 'society', Hollywood...).

Anyway, you've got SO MANY issues to examine and re-examine all at once. I think it is best to deal with them individually, rather than let them all be a mush of interconnected confusion. They are all intertwined in some way, but can be teased apart enough to be examined individually. First, you need to decide whether you are willing to forgive and move on about the matter of your having been decieved, or "cheated on," as they say. It really is cheating when there is hiding or deception, so you have every right to feel hurt about that, but you have to decide if you are willing to forgive -- and also whether you are using your justified hurt (read: anger, resentment) as a manipulative ploy. I'm not saying you are, but you need to look at that carefully and ask yourself whether that's happening and how you feel about it if you are. Just because anger or resentment are justified is no good reason to harbor them. It isn't good for you and it isn't good for your relationship to harbor resentment and anger.

Also, look to see if there isn't any past experience (wound) being triggered here -- one predating this present experience. If there is such, this may be contributing to the intensity of your hurt, anger, fear, resentment.... By seeing that the present experience and the past experience are distinct from one another you may begin to discover how you can better deal with these feelings.
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  #16  
Old 05-20-2009, 03:36 AM
chad chad is offline
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Theque,
Something I wrote earlier to Justme, but it is worth saying again maybe, is that your being betrayed must really mess with you. I think that the foundation of your world comes apart when you are betrayed by the people you love and trust most. It is a hard thing to heal about. I don't think you are very juvenile, but just coming out of the other end of experiencing deceit. You all seem like good people and like you are trying to do the right things. Good job and best wishes.
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2009, 05:03 AM
theque theque is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quath View Post
I am very similar in feelings about therapy. However, one thing I had to learn is that the brain is not a pure thinking machine. It has a lot of biases and flaws naturally. One example is post tramutic stress syndrone. A person can get stuck on a memory so bad that it feel like the memory may be real and all else is an illusion. So sometimes therapy helps push past biases in our brain which may be stuck on feelings or patterns.

It sounds like you have been through a serious amount of stress that you are trying to overcome. You seem to have a lot of powerful associations that bring you back to those feelings. But I am not a therapist, so I can't really recommend much. However, I think it is something that could help you out.
Very true, hence my continued effort to push past these blocks. There are times where it seems impossible. I've been on the verge of just giving up more times than I care to count.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quath View Post
Yeah, I understand that feeling. It will seem that you have ultimately rewarded her for giving you pain. Maybe it will help if you see that she suffers for the pain she gave you. That may could lead toward some stronger forgiveness.
Right, I do try to focus on things like that. In my heightened state of distrust, my natural tendency is to question virtually everything she does; to examine if it might be some sort of manipulation. This includes a lot of her outward signs of pain, particularly when I am "in it" and my mind has become very black. Those are the times where it is most difficult to open my heart to the empathy that I know I need to have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quath View Post
I went through this, but without dealing trust issues a long time ago. It is disorienting, but I think it is healthier long term because they values you derived will be yours ant not just something you inherieted.
That is my hope as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quath View Post
It sounds like you are really opening youself up for a lot of re-examination.
I am, and this is something that I have not done in a very, very long time. I "matured" very early and have not made any substantial changes in my basic world views, beliefs, etc since I was about 15 and turned my back on the Lutheranism I had been raised with. Until this, of course. In contrast, JustMe has changed substantially in the time we have been together, far more than I had guessed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quath View Post
Does it bother you mostly to think of JustMe being with your old friend or is it the thought of her being with anyone?
Both. However, to different degrees, and both substantially less than it used to. There was a time where those sorts of thoughts would make me physically ill. (I plan to go into this more in my next post) That is no longer the case. Now the primary emotion when I think of JustMe and Him is anger, and it is very strongly directed at him. More generally, I'm not sure how I feel about it. If I had to classify it now, I'd call it "negatively neutral" in that I don't like it, but I don't feel particularly strongly about it. I wonder though if that is partly due to the fact that I've become so acclimated to such extreme emotional swings in the last 9 months.

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Originally Posted by Quath View Post
I wish you the best in this. Sounds like you are on a rough journey.
I am. Thank you again for your time and compassion.
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  #18  
Old 05-20-2009, 05:41 AM
theque theque is offline
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JRiverMartin-

I want to reply to this message in more detail and after more thought than I have time for right now, but for now I want to address this:

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Originally Posted by JRiverMartin View Post
Also, look to see if there isn't any past experience (wound) being triggered here -- one predating this present experience. If there is such, this may be contributing to the intensity of your hurt, anger, fear, resentment.... By seeing that the present experience and the past experience are distinct from one another you may begin to discover how you can better deal with these feelings.
I know that I have past experiences that are contributing negatively to this, and were likely indirect contributers to JustMe's affair in the first place. Now, I have a problem with recalling the past in that beyond a certain point my memories tend to lose their chronology with everything falling into a single bucket of "the past". Hopefully if I get anything substantive wrong in this chronology, JustMe will correct me...

I have had only one other "serious" relationship prior to the one I have with JustMe, which lasted almost 3 years. Shortly after it ended I discovered that my partner in that relationship had been sleeping with an ex-boyfriend for about the last 6 months we were together. That set me up to have a lot of fear and mistrust around fidelity.

After JustMe had been dating a couple years I had my first "attack". I had this intense fear that she was cheating on me, going to leave me, lying to me, etc. The kind of fear and anxiety that keeps you from working, collapses you on the floor. It degraded to a low-level anxiety that lasted a couple weeks, and then went away. About a year later we were married and move to our new home.

Some years pass, and the anxiety is more or less absent, until I notice that JustMe is changing, she is becoming a very different person in a lot of ways. Her interests, and most importantly, her spiritual views are changing quite a lot, and becoming seemingly less compatible with my own. Now the anxiety returns. I know it's irrational, I have no reason to doubt JustMe. She's never lied to me, she's never lied to anyone so far as I know. She is one of the most forthright people I know. That's part of why I love her. I try to control the anxiety on my own, but I can't, and eventually I enter counseling to get a handle on it. I of course talk to JustMe about it during all this, but never make any accusations because I know full well it's a problem solely with me. The counseling helps, I get things under control, and move on. By this time Him has entered our lives, but is not yet living with us. Time passes, and we get closer with Him, and the anxiety flares up again. Shortly after this, Him moves in with us.

The anxiety continues, I go back to counseling off and on, and manage to keep it as a "dull roar", but it gets to the point that it is genuinely interfering with my ability to work, to live my life. This is not helped by the obvious strong connection between JustMe and Him. So I try cranio-sacral therapy, which I know looks like total shamanism snake-oil, but it worked for me. After several sessions, I have an "emotional release" (laughing / crying hysterically in the car on the way home) after which the anxiety basically just stops. I enjoy a few months of a quiet mind, and then it returns...

But now, it's not the undirected anxiety it was before, the outlandish imaginings. I swear I'm seeing things, knowing looks, casual brushes of the hand, etc, etc... But of course, I'm so accustomed to having my mind generate these things, I count it as another relapse. Until, finally, I find somethings I cannot deny, and the truth is squeezed out. I learn that all of the shame and disappointment I felt about relapsing was for nothing, because I hadn't relapsed, what I was seeing was real.

*Boom*

So yeah, definitely got some pre-existing baggage here...
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  #19  
Old 05-20-2009, 01:41 PM
Quath Quath is offline
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Wow, theque, that sounds rough. I had a similar, but not as bad experience. My highschool sweetheart and I were together for 4.5 years. Since I was in college, I was moving around a lot and half the time, I was a state away. So I find out one summer that she met this guy and he was sleeping over for a few weeks before she told me. We broke up. A month later, she was married and pregnant (by choice). That did a lot of damage to my trust issues.

It took me a couple of years until I was ready to start dating again. I was definitely not as innocent as I once was. However, I think I understood people and human nature a little better. And I kept relearning lessons on trust. I have been in an open relationship where the woman I was with lied about who she was sleeping with even though it was ok with me.

It sounds like you and JustMe are doing some heavy growth and changing of values, spirituality and feelings. I hope you can grow in the same direction so you can work it all out.

Do you ever try to talk to Him and work it out with Him? (That almost sounds religious. ) It is hard letting go of feelings that don't quite want to leave. I hope that if you keep re-examining your life and morals, you will be able to align your feelings to your beliefs.
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  #20  
Old 05-21-2009, 01:24 AM
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Lemondrop Lemondrop is offline
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Originally Posted by theque View Post
Also contributing to that resistance is the idea that if I do embrace this life, that JustMe will "win" through her deceit, ultimately being rewarded for all the hurt she caused. I know that's juvenile and simplistic, but it is yet another roadblock for me.
This really stood out for me. I don't feel qualified to hand out advice...but I do think you might want to ask yourself, do you want to hurt her? Are you trying to punish her? If so, what would that achieve for you? I think you should try to figure out what direction you want your relationship to take.

I just read a wonderful part of a book on polyamory that really resonated for me: it's not productive to tell yourself that you shouldn't have certain feelings, because you obviously do. Perhaps you need those feelings acknowledged before you can move on. Also, maybe reading a book on polyamory can help you identify how you feel about it--I know I've certainly had quite a few "a-ha" moments in the last hundred pages.
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