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  #11  
Old 05-01-2012, 03:23 AM
PassionFlower PassionFlower is offline
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A book that helped me figure out how to validate myself and the difference between loving someone and my happiness/being responsible for their happiness is 'The Passionate Marriage.' Not a poly book. Also, great resource to help a marriage is John Gottman's 'The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work.' But remember, it does take two to make a marriage work. In my experience, getting to a place within yourself where you figure out what you need and are okay with leaving the marriage because it's part of giving yourself what you need is essential to change--maybe not his change, but your change, in yourself, so that you can change the situation so you're not hurting yourself. If you are willing to walk away, you are in a powerful position. I don't have any comments on the poly aspects, as I'm figuring that out myself, but I've been married for 11 years.
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:02 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Y sounds so much like my husband! I went through the same things, for several years: asking to be complimented, to have more attention, to get the kind of romance and flirtation from him that I could see would be easily available from other men in my life.

Honestly what finally got through to him, I think, was the Love Languages book. He really understood at that point that I didn't feel loved, no matter how much he thought he was loving me, because he wasn't showing it in the way I needed it. Like you, I needed words of affection and quality time. He thought being a good provider was an obvious demonstration of his love. Maybe Y thinks he's showing you love because in his own way he is, and your asking for it in other ways feels unnecessary and frivolous to him. It's really amazing the difference between someone waking up and leaving the room, and someone first rolling over and saying "Good morning," isn't there?

I'm in agreement with everyone here that honesty is the only way to go. I think the more important thing to talk about with Y is your relationship with each other. I would hesitate to start or end anything with E until you've worked things out with Y. Once your marriage is the best it could be, you'll have a better idea of whether you want E for E, or just to fill the gaps.
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2012, 03:56 PM
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PhilosophicallyLost PhilosophicallyLost is offline
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@wildflowers: It's not been easy, but I've been trying hard to do the right thing. I think E deserves some credit for holding back too.

It's odd to hear from others not to beat myself up...I feel very inherently wrong for feeling all these various things. Hate myself even. For feeling Y doesn't give me enough attention, because I feel like it makes me an overly demanding person and that it's my fault I'm suffering. I can say though my first relationship was a messy one and got me into the habit of pretty much thinking everything I do in the relationship is wrong, because that's how my boyfriend treated any concerns I had. I was always wrong for feeling the way I did in his eyes. After hearing it over and over again from him, unfortunately it's left its mark on me and I'm convinced I'm just always wrong. So to hear you say thus far I don't need to beat myself up is just....very foreign to me. I guess I am really way too hard on myself.

I'm not quite sure how Y envisions relationships. I think he really looks up to the example of his grandparents, who were together years and years. I only saw them together a couple times, so I have little to go by, but they seemed to really respect each other and have concern for each other. That's really about all I know, besides that Y definitely loves the idea of being with me forever and stuff.

I'm not the greatest communicator, but I have at least repeated the concern 4-5 times bluntly over the years. And I've tried to get the attention out of him by all kinds of more indirect methods, such as dressing up, asking for it, oogly eyes, etc. Despite my efforts, it still may be a combination of him not getting it and being unable to....
I've asked him so many times if I'm doing something wrong and he's said no so many times I've come to the conclusion he is happy and that makes me feel like a jerk.

When I try to look at myself objectively I think I'm more along the lines of wanting an open marriage, but I wouldn't turn down a polyamorous setting if things just clicked right. I mean, if Y let me have E it wouldn't be cheap sex to me....it would mean the world to me. I don't know that E and I would work out in the long run but it would be a nice experience to have and I'd hope we'd agree to be friends no matter what if it didn't work out. I want to be able to establish meaningful connections with others and be free to express that as I wish, so I think more or less that means I want an open marriage with a flavor of polyamory.

It's just that E is on my mind. Constantly. I feel like I'm rotting from the inside out with not being able to express that.

I'm thinking for the time being my first priority is to get back on a healthy routine. My sleep and food intake has been horrible this week, because of all of my distress. I need to be healthy if I'm going to think straight. After that, I guess I need to make a decision whether to bring up the situation of E with Y now or later after trying to better Y's and my communication.

@PassionFlower: I would like to become more empowered in this situation somehow, as it does take a lot of strength to walk away or suggest something like a huge lifestyle change. Books may be a good way of not only helping me straighten out but hopefully it can involve Y in the process too.

@AnotherConfused: Sounds like the Love Languages book is worth checking out....I keep getting the feeling that Y does love me very much, but just has a WAY different way of showing it. Perhaps it will help open him up. To here him say good morning like that would be wonderful.

And Y has mentioned that he doesn't like giving out compliments because it seems frivolous to him and somehow insincere.

And the suggestion to hold off on E to determine what his role is in my heart may be a good idea. My head would probably be a lot clearer in that circumstance.

Thanks to everyone who has posted so far....further input of course is still appreciated. <3
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  #14  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:19 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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"He says he needs to be reminded, but I've been trying to remind him in my own way all the time and he just doesn't see it. It's a communication disconnect in that regard."
"I'm not the greatest communicator, but I have at least repeated the concern 4-5 times bluntly over the years."

These two statements together stuck out to me. People really do communicate in different ways, and no one is a mind reader, as much as we may want them to be at times. It may be that your ways of trying to remind him are too subtle for him and that a blunt statement that there's a problem slightly less than once per year on average isn't enough for him to think it's a big enough deal to be really hurting you and threatening the foundations of your marriage.

What many of us really want, on some level, is this romantic fantasy that our partners will understand and fulfill our needs without us having to take the scary/annoying step of stating them clearly. Movies and Cosmo and other cultural tropes try to teach us that someone who really loves us will pick up on our subtle cues, that direct communication is unnecessary. But it is, in the end, just a fantasy.

What if you did as he asked and directly, lovingly but bluntly, reminded him on a regular basis that you need to hear compliments from him, that you need some romance, that you need passion. What if you were clear with him that this is not an occasional problem that then subsides for long periods of time, but rather a constant, always-aching problem that you just haven't been brave enough to spell out every time it hurts... but that you wlil try to do so from now on if that's what it takes because the alternative is leaving. That you want to know if he can do this for you, and, if he thinks he can, you will do your part to do whatever it takes (reminding, explaining, etc) to make it easy for him since it doesn't seem to come naturally.

Don't beat yourself up. You need what you need. Loving is never wrong, it's what you do about it that matters. You're not a bad person.
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  #15  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:23 PM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
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A couple thoughts... first, I agree with what everyone else has said. You need to be honest with Y, and counseling is essential. If he won't go with you, go by yourself. Talk to your counselor about how to broach the subject of your feelings for E with your husband.

Second, I don't mean this as a criticism, and I may be reading too much into what you've said, but you seem to keep returning to finances. Are you just staying with Y because you don't want to "rock the boat" in terms of your standard of living?

Third, you say that you have talked to your husband about your problems with the relationship 4-5 times. That might feel like a lot, but I don't think it's enough. You need to tell him EVERY TIME. If you wear a hot outfit and he doesn't compliment you, and you sulk and don't tell him that it bothered you, how could he possibly know? Drop all the "indirect methods." They don't work, they just breed resentment.
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  #16  
Old 05-01-2012, 06:22 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
And Y has mentioned that he doesn't like giving out compliments because it seems frivolous to him and somehow insincere.
This is what my husband said too. Like you I started to think my desires were silly and I should be happy, but the thing is, you not only deserve to be loved, but you also deserve to feel loved. The Love Languages book somehow got through to my husband that I would not feel loved by him, no matter how much he believed he loves me, if he didn't at least make an effort in trying to tell me in the ways that I needed to be told. It also made me realize that my need was valid, and to understand why I felt so drawn to the men who were communicating their feelings towards me in ways that I understood. The book also relates several true stories of couples who fell apart or nearly fell apart because they didn't make the effort to respond to their partner's needs, and that gives a very strong message (Wake up! Your marriage is at stake!). Most of the stories end happily when one or both partners starts putting the effort in, even if a husband has to literally add "compliment my wife" to his daily chore list until it becomes a habit. But oh, what a difference it makes! Please get the book asap!
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2012, 02:01 AM
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PhilosophicallyLost PhilosophicallyLost is offline
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Several seem to be concerned about the communication frequency. Yes, 4-5 times is not enough, though I was thinking of the more serious talks. The talks where I told him this is seriously hurting me and could be an incompatibility problem. As far as communicating otherwise, I've done some of it but I really struggled with doing it much while I was in school. With him working nights and me doing something or another 60 hours a week it was really difficult to ever see him enough to talk about anything bothering me. Also, I don't feel like I "reach" him when we communicate. Like I'm heard completely. I told EVERYTHING to my first boyfriend, and even my second. I never had a problem voicing my complaints to them. Yet with Y I do...it's very strange. I'm just not comfortable somehow with him on it. The other guys I was with got the hint, but he doesn't, so I feel like I'm lost in Wonderland trying to reach him. I'm hoping the Love Languages book helps out with that some.

If anything I think where I've failed the most to communicate is when I immediately was hurt about his reactions, which is when the serious conversations eventually came into play. Even when those serious conversations happened, he had this way of...never really agreeing to address the concern? He'd just justify why he WASN'T doing what I wanted. I never hear a, "Yes, I'm going to work on this." That made me feel like he basically discarded my concern as invalid because his explanation was supposed to cure the "misunderstanding." I did try to communicate a fair amount in the beginning, but this pattern continued to discourage me more and more...so I guess I need to talk to him about his communication style during serious conversations. For what it was worth the letter I wrote him seemed to have an impact though. He has reduced his porn viewing significantly. So right now I'm trying to work myself out of being jaded about it and trying again. I ordered the Love Languages book online, so I'm looking forward to reading it and hopefully he will too....but I can at least say I have been significantly more blunt this month. I'm tired of not being heard anymore, frankly. Screw it if it causes more fights, I'm damn tired of not fighting. What a difference from my first relationship, ha ha.

I mentioned finances again in response to what others said about my reaction to finances...I only mentioned the financial security bit initially because I felt it was a desireable quality in a guy from the perspective of independence and responsibility and that it is not a trait that E excels in so much. Despite that E lives with us, his mom still does his laundry and takes him to work. He and his mom share bank accounts, so his fate is largely attached to his family's. I respect family but I really don't like to be entertwined so much like that. Y and I love doing things our way, on our own two feet.

I don't see a penny of Y's money technically in terms of luxury spending. We do not share bank accounts. His money's about as tied to mine as E's is. I pay my third of the rent and random bills, Y pays his. Y probably has $600 spare a month, I have about a $100. He buys stuff all the time, I don't. I could easily tell you what stuff is his, and what's mine. My quality of living really wouldn't change that much if I moved out as long as I could find a room mate. And I'm not too worried about that. I only work 25 hours a week so if I really wanted more spending money I could work more. I'm not bound to Y financially in this scenario, I promise you. I like the financial security, but if I'm happier with someone else with less income I'm not too concerned. I just like independent men, and Y excels in this quality.
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:13 AM
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Ooookay new development......

I didn't really go into many details on it but almost three weeks ago I wrote Y a significant letter about issues we needed to work on. Primarily reducing his porn viewing and trying to increase the romance in our lives. I poured my heart into this letter, telling him how emotionally devastating the excessive porn viewing was and how desperately I need the romance and intimacy in my life for me to be happy. I was very communicative in this letter so there wasn't any doubt about what I was concerned about. I said I really didn't want him viewing porn more often than he was sleeping with me.

He was good for the first....week and a half-ish? And now he's back to watching it way more than he's with me again, even though I told him the issue was emotionally devastating me.

If it's something I did wrong to cause the resurgence, *he's* the one not communicating to me. I have a problem with that. I am very upset. But I know I can't sulk. We are going to talk about this, if not tomorrow then no later than Friday. I can't keep hoping these problems will go away anymore. He needs to tell me why he's doing this again even though I clearly told him it's been hurting me badly the last four months.

And I will broach the idea of marriage counseling. If my letter isn't getting through, then really I think that has to be the next course of action. I can't believe this....I tried so hard with that letter, and after rereading it I see I was so very clear about the kinds of attention I want and need. I'm still not getting through to him despite that....

I'm feeling so scared all over again.
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  #19  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:33 AM
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He'll go back on his changes if he notices there are no consequences for doing so. Make the consequences happen. Marriage counseling is an excellent idea, especially as your own efforts to create a more harmonious environment have failed. Sometimes we need a third party to look at the whole situation, fresh eyes, to let us know what we can do differently.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:46 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
I poured my heart into this letter, telling him how emotionally devastating the excessive porn viewing was and how desperately I need the romance and intimacy in my life for me to be happy. I was very communicative in this letter so there wasn't any doubt about what I was concerned about. I said I really didn't want him viewing porn more often than he was sleeping with me.

He was good for the first....week and a half-ish? And now he's back to watching it way more than he's with me again, even though I told him the issue was emotionally devastating me.
Okay, you both have to visit this site, which talks about the damage excessive porn does to men's sexual abilities, their relationships, and the brain. Also has articles on porn addiction and how to break the habit:

http://yourbrainonporn.com/
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Last edited by nycindie; 05-03-2012 at 04:48 AM.
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