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  #11  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:27 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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You are doing exactly the right thing by trying to distance yourself and your marriage from this woman. This essay speaks to me of your attempts to do the healthy thing here and your husband's problem in not being able to do so: http://libidablog.com/how-to-avoid-problem-people/2011/

He can't save her, and allowing her to cultivate a false belief that he will be in a position to date her again isn't helping, it's enabling. There's a very important distinction -- does he get the difference? She needs to find her own ways to be strong, not build her emotional strength on a foundation of sand, i.e. misplaced hope.

So, she feels the situation is "hurtful and unfair". Yes, being dumped hurts. And no, life is not fair. But she's not owed a shot at your husband just because she's into him and is willing to claim whatever changes it takes to get back into a relationship with him. Nor just because he feels sympathy and affection for her, which he's allowing her to manipulate in unhealthy ways.

This is all sooo messed up! If I were in your position I'd be feeling insecure in my marriage too inasmuch as I'd be shocked by my husband's series of poor judgement calls -- sleeping with her without talking to you about it first (wtf?), keeping the relationship going even when it became clear she was a cowgirl (what person who prioritized their marriage and had good sense would keep someone close who would love to see it destroyed??), and now refusing to cut ties even though it should be clear at this point that it would be better for ALL involved to do so.

I'm not sure what there is to gain in you talking to her. She's not a reasonable person, so what fruitful outcome could there be?
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2012, 07:58 AM
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Some thoughts on your situation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
[...]However, she is awfully clingy to him and he can only do so much. [...] he has been trying, in his view, to set boundaries with her and make the nature of the new (friendship/support, not romantic) relationship clear to her and also make it clear(er) that a new romantic relationship is unlikely at best, but she doesn't want to hear it and says she needs the hope to stay stable.

I do think he's got a bit too much white knight in him and may be being manipulated, though. Consciously on her part or not.
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Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
[...] she moved to our city to be closer to us/for this relationship and he promised to support her before she did, so he feels responsibility and like he can't be that much of an asshole to completely drop her as a friend.
She is showing some codependency issues all over the place. First thing for her to do seems to get a grip on her life. She will be the source for problems as long as she isn't able to support herself, constantly relying on others to manage her life for her.

You have done the only right thing in my point of view. As long as she hasn't proven that she is able to respect your marriage, acknowledges you as a solid part of his life and your feelings for each other, I wouldn't tolerate her in my direct surroundings as well. No one needs a cowgirl in a poly relationship structure.

And I would start to address my partner with some basic wishes as well. He entered into this relationship the worst possible way. Being cheated on takes time to heal. It's valid that he wants all his loves to feel 'happy', but he has to commit to your feelings as well. He has to see that the behaviour of this woman will not change when he starts to solve her problems for her, she has to do this herself for the process to be long-lasting. And there is obviously still some untreated damage from the start of things and the latest episode between the three of you. He should start by fixing those, not creating new problems in an already established way by inviting her back into your lifes.


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I think the chaos of the months we were all in a V just freaked me the f*** out.

I agree that somethings can't or shouldn't be fixed... but if 2 of the 3 people want it to be, what kind of wicked witch of the west does that make me, you know?
This isn't a matter of democracy ... Poly relationships don't function properly if one is unhappy, just like mono relationships don't work when one partner isn't stable and satisfied with it. That's not how you will be able to pull it off. You don't have to lock her out of your or better his life completely, but set some clear boundaries about what you are comfortable with and what not. And make sure that they understand that you need time to stomach all that went wrong during your last mutual attempt. They should need the time as well to sort it out.

Good luck.
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2012, 06:19 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Ahem, how exactly does cheating and then trying to make it all go away by turning it into a triad constitute a solid relationship? The initial mistake was him cheating, something you guys probably would have needed a lot more than a month to get over. Frankly, him saying he will be unlikely to get involved with her again sounds like he is continuing the relationship and waiting for you to give in on this issue.
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2012, 06:52 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Is there any possibility for you to be what he claims he is trying to be for her? I don't mean sexually but the friendly support she needs but can't utilize when it is him for the romantic angle.

I experienced this dynamic early in my own relationship. I'd met someone fresh from a break up with a troubled ex partner. He still cared for her and wanted to be a supportive friend for her struggles but it was the very fact that they had been involved that she couldn't take his support and not want to be in a relationship with him. So I tried to be there for her myself.

In the end it didn't work. She couldn't let me help her either. She acted out in one last desperate move to be with him. It made him realize the only way he could help her was to make her stand on her own and trying to help any other way was keeping her unstable. He saw that if he couldn't fix it and I couldn't fix it there was just no room for her if he wanted a life with me.

But had she been able to see me as a real friend, we could have learned to care for each other and who knows where that would have led?

Do you have it in you to give that a genuine shot? Because if you cannot there is nothing in it for you to relent your opposition to this woman as a possible other to him.
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2012, 10:28 PM
ForestFloor ForestFloor is offline
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Okay, I feel the need to give my spouse a SLIGHT defense. The sleeping with her without talking to me, in my humble opinion, WAS a violation of trust, but not on a level it might be with many relationships. When he told me, I didn't get upset or start crying. I did respond with some anger-- an "excuse me, where did you get the impression from our poly discussions that this was okay?" reaction. Honestly, I kind of expected he might end up sleeping with someone that month. Never did I give him permission and he certainly never had the impression that I would approve (he was terrified when he told me), but I was still kind of prepared for it.

For context, I love him with all my heart, but he's definitely a "dreamer" and I think got caught up in the fantasy of it all. He was on a post-depression soul-searching trip of sorts, driving up and down the coast, visiting old friends, visting temples and obscure coast-lines, etc. The girl in question he met up with again (earlier high school friendship) in San Francisco... and she's quite the dreamer as well. She's been living in a yoga center for years and felt this really "psychic" energy between them, so she asked to go on to the next few city stop with him and then take the train back. It just "felt right" like "where they needed to be." (insert my rolling of eyes here)

I guess my point is that I TOTALLY agree that the cheating was NOT okay and really, really, really stupid. But what was REALLY stupid was for me to get caught up in this and actually AGREE to try a relationship with someone he slept with ahead of time... Sigh. I guess as someone who lives in a world of books and stories and logic (i.e. me) the whole "light and life" aspect of their interaction (and the promise that we would all feel that together- koombaya m'lord) was very appealing for me.

So, yeah. He's a dumbass for getting caught up and cheating. I'm a dumbass for agreeing to begin/be involved in this relationship and getting caught up in a similar feeling. She's a dumbass for thinking that this relationship would be at all positive if she had such stong, singular feelings for him. Excuse me while I go buy three duncecaps...

Vinccenzo, as for the "friend support," I don't know. Honestly, I'm far more hurt and angry with her than I ever was or am with him. I have found her far more directly manipulative and I have a LOT of resentment over interactions which were just between her and I. (I have two lovely memories of her screaming at me hysterically and with a lot of in-the-moment hatred...) What YOU mention is what my spouse wants. I'll have a clearer picture if that's even remotely possible after coffee today. If she's more open to what I have to say than to what my guy has said, then maybe. I have my doubts, though, and I think she may just hate me more for being clear in my "no way, Jose" line on her getting back together more officially with my spouse.

*facepalm* Thanks again, all. I have the Ted book on my to-do list and a lot to think over.

Last edited by ForestFloor; 01-17-2012 at 10:34 PM. Reason: clarity
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2012, 11:09 PM
polyq4 polyq4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
Okay, I feel the need to give my spouse a SLIGHT defense. The sleeping with her without talking to me, in my humble opinion, WAS a violation of trust, but not on a level it might be with many relationships. When he told me, I didn't get upset or start crying. I did respond with some anger-- an "excuse me, where did you get the impression from our poly discussions that this was okay?" reaction. Honestly, I kind of expected he might end up sleeping with someone that month. Never did I give him permission and he certainly never had the impression that I would approve (he was terrified when he told me), but I was still kind of prepared for it.
ok i think one of the issues is 'permission'. Is he 5 , does he always need your permission? maybe some boundaries are in place, but giving permission is counter to the teachings of poly. You can say things like if you do this it will make me feel uncomfortable or whatever you are feeling, but permission dictates a certain level of control. And he is his own person and so are you.

Don't get me wrong , cheating is also against the ideas poly brings but.
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  #17  
Old 01-18-2012, 12:09 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polyq4 View Post
ok i think one of the issues is 'permission'. Is he 5 , does he always need your permission? maybe some boundaries are in place, but giving permission is counter to the teachings of poly. You can say things like if you do this it will make me feel uncomfortable or whatever you are feeling, but permission dictates a certain level of control. And he is his own person and so are you. Don't get me wrong , cheating is also against the ideas poly brings but.
Giving or getting permissions is not part of how you and your partners manage your poly relationships. That's a good thing to know about oneself and how one 'does' relationships. But giving/getting permissions might really work for other people who also consider themselves poly. It depends greatly on agreements and how folks structure (or not) their relationships. Some folks have very explicit rules, some have definite hierarchies, some have general understandings, others talk about every little thing. Some go with the flow, abhor hierarchies and generally refuse to have explicit boundaries or rules.

I dislike very much DADT or OPP agreements. They ick me out and I have difficulty imagining a scenario where I would ever agree to such a thing. But sometimes they work for people in positive ways. So I have, reluctantly, decided that I think they have a place in ethical non-monogamy and even poly despite my squick factor.

Permissions don't work for many but others find that way of managing conflict useful and positive. It's not how you do poly but others do.
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  #18  
Old 01-18-2012, 12:31 AM
ForestFloor ForestFloor is offline
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Ah, quick point of clarification maybe? We hadn't even finished a discussion on being Poly when this happened. Started the 'so, what do you think?'

He is VERY much about the way you think of it, polyq4 -- "you can say things like if you do this it will make me feel uncomfortable or whatever you are feeling, but permission dictates a certain level of control." I actually do feel that, if we say that we won't do X, Y, or Z without checking to see that each of us is comfortable and okay first, that that is a level of "permission." A "I won't do this if it hurts you, so I want to make sure it won't hurt you." Maybe it's the connotation and not the denotation, but that's how I see it. Either way, discussion wasn't had.

Thanks, though. I think it's good that I was called out on that.
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  #19  
Old 01-18-2012, 10:45 AM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
Okay, I feel the need to give my spouse a SLIGHT defense.
Yup, sorry, this cowherder stuff just triggers me. Shouldn't have posted when I knew something was annoying the heck out of me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
Honestly, I'm far more hurt and angry with her than I ever was or am with him. I have found her far more directly manipulative and I have a LOT of resentment over interactions which were just between her and I...
If she is stressing you out, the last resort I can think of is to erase her from your life completely. Cut off all contacts online and IRL, and request your spouse not talk about her or communicate with her while the two of you are together. I know people who have saved numbers on their phone and the contact info says "Don't answer". If you feel she is bringing nothing positive to your life, then ultimately you should leave it to him to deal with her alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
What YOU mention is what my spouse wants. I'll have a clearer picture if that's even remotely possible after coffee today...
Tuning in for the post-coffee post .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestFloor View Post
I think she may just hate me more for being clear in my "no way, Jose" line on her getting back together more officially with my spouse.
But your hubs has said "maybe", hasn't he? To get into my trigger mode for a while: cheating with her on you is all the cowgirl encouragement she ever needed. Not dropping her the minute she confessed to wanting him all for herself was another heap of encouragement, and saying they might get together again if she starts getting better is just persisting in feeding her little tidpits from the table. While your hubs may think he's doing her a favour, he sounds very cruel to keep her hanging on like that. Cutting her loose would be the humane thing to do, if that is what he really wants.
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  #20  
Old 01-18-2012, 01:53 PM
ForestFloor ForestFloor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post

Tuning in for the post-coffee post .
Ha, okay, I wasn't sure if I was going to write one because it was SO weird, but how can I not after that smiley-face. (Sorry about the triggering, BlackUnicorn!)

For anyone who wants to know the weird next step in this drama-saga, after work yesterday I went to a nearby coffee shop to meet with the Cowgirl. She and I both admitted nervousness-- she was shaking like a leaf and looked really scared. I was calm on the outside, but feeling like my skin was about to crawl off. But then we started talking... and it was so easy. The conversation lasted 3 and a half hours. I made it clear that I had a lot of hurt and fear about how things went, and no matter how she SAID that she had gone through a lot of change in the past month, I couldn't believe it without data and that would take time. I also acknowledged that things between the hubs and I are, for lack of a better word, a bit broken right now. There's some instability there that terrifies me and we still have a lot of healing to do. So, even if she feels that the current situation is 'unfair' to her (which I acknowledged that I'd feel the same way), that didn't change my feelings and that the amount of contact she was currently having with him made me very uncomfortable. (And seemed irreconcilable with the fact that she felt she didn't have *enough* time with him...)

As she explained her perspective and her connection with him and how she was feeling, and I felt myself soften. I wasn't mad or nervous. I was reminded that she was a beautiful person and potentially full of light and why did I want to stand in the way of their relationship again? I mean, he and I had stuff to work out, but when that was over I could at least be more open and less crazy. I started to feel like the anger I had toward her was really misplaced fear and that it ALL stemmed from trust issues with my spouse. After all, why would I be nervous about her if I fully trusted him? He proved he couldn't be trusted with her with the whole cheating thing and the amount of time/how he spent time with her. Yep, his fault. Totally his fault.

So, after it came close to 4 hours, I went home. I told hubs that we needed a serious talk, that it went wonderfully and horribly. That I saw her as a whole, wonderful human being again, but that it brought up issues between the two of us based on trust. I started to explain, and he listened carefully and calmly. When I brought up my fear and trust issues, he asked me a few questions about what had changed. The more questions he asked--not hard questions, but basic clarification ones--I started thinking, "Wait a minute... this isn't how I feel at all. What the hell?"

When I started getting a look of real confusion on my face and started to explain my confusion, he sighed and half-smiled sadly. "Yeah," he said. "That's kind of what she does. Kind of understand my problem now?" (Just last week, when I was semi-angrily laying down why the relationship was so toxic, he had sobbed into my shoulder, "Why don't I see it when I'm with her?") Oh. Damn. Yeah.

Remember my original post where I said she was manipulative and the relationship with my husband was semi-abusive? Well, the good ol' boy pulls up this document on abusive relationships and starts pointing out to me what he's been going through. I realize that, while I don't think she did it consciously, she sucked me in using the EXACT same tactics she uses to manipulate him. He showed me some texts from JUST that day (about 16 from her within the space of a couple hours, I think?) and I saw the patterns again, not to mention how NOT healed she was and saw signs of the original pattern continuing.

So, wow, then I was PISSED. I'm not sure with who or what. Just with the situation and how I had somehow ended up emotionally compromising on my 'no way, Jose' position. Not completely verbally, but certainly (at the time of coffee) emotionally. So, I confronted hubs and asked WHY, dear God why, if he fully--with eyes wide open--sees that this is an abusive relationship and that it's hurting us, why he wants to save ANY of his relationship with her.

What he described was classic 'wishful thinking' abusive relationship pattern. (Two months ago, a friend of mine--actually the one who convinced me to put my foot down--described this for me, as one who had been in a 6 year abusive relationship). He explained his pattern with her, how and when he felt coerced, when it was "good" and gave him hope.

We ended the night in a state of uncertainty. I feel a kinship with BlackUnicorn's stance: End. Now. Under no uncertain terms.

He... is confused. He knows he should end it, he knows what's wrong. But things COULD be "so good" (I sent him the link AnnabelMore posted and highlighted the Wishful Thinking section and how "Hoping that someone will treat you better in the future won’t make it happen. Nor will hoping that the other person will change. Realistic people assume that people are most likely to do in the future what they do now").

So, one more crazy "date"... he's talking with her today, armed with a written out and prepared list of behaviors and concerns. Then I'm joining and ALL of us are going to talk (unless, he says, there's no need because he's already ended it totally). I think he NEEDS to end it, but I also don't know how to 'force' him to do that. All I can do is say what I'm okay with (a distant friendship with her while we heal, though even that I'm concerned with) and what I'm not (a romantic relationship with her, or a "too close" friendship that may as well be a romantic relationship).

*headdesk headdesk headdesk* Okay, I'm at a wall. Short version: coffee sucked in a way I didn't expect/plan for. Any more advice for this crazy situation? Besides just 'get the hell out of this drama'? (you know, the logical answer, ha...)

Did I mention you all rock? Because you do. Peace.
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