Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-20-2012, 01:22 AM
noob noob is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 58
Default need advice about serious problems in primary relationship

I just typed this to a friend. I'm pasting it here because I don't have the energy to re-explain. I hope it makes sense. Husband and I have been married for almost 8 years, together for 9, poly for 1, open-ish before that for 1 more.

My husband is losing his mind about my other relationship. He has become super jealous, which has made our relationship deterioiate, which drives us further apart, which makes him more jealous--so now, he doesn't know if he can do poly. I think that I have no choice but to do it if I am married to him because he has made it clear over the years that he can't or won't meet my needs for partnership and emotional involvement.

I have intense needs for a certain kind of life/emotional partner. My husband would actually prefer to live in separate households. I couldn't be more different from that. Because he wants so much more space, I really have to make other important connections in order to feel fulfilled--this is how poly came about, basically. That leads me to sometimes think that possibly I could be monogamous if I were with someone else. But I don't actually know. To make matters worse, I think it's possible that I have an inkling I'd like to be primaries with my boyfriend, but I can't tell if that's simply insanity, and I'm certainly not going to tell him or my husband that at this point in time.

We've only been dating 4 months, he's married, I have no intentions of coming between him and his family, but I have a strong hunch we would make good primaries. And, though his wife is his primary (shared space, finances, parenting, long history and still emotionally close), they are no longer physical partners, and they aren't sure if they will remain married in the long run; they both, separately, speak as though they're staying together "for now."

He only knows the barest minimum about these problems with me and my husband because I am worried that if I tell him things are falling apart, he will assume he is the reason why and end the relationship. He has already indicated that if he thought he was the cause of problems between us, he would feel that he should end things--but he also said he'd have a very hard time actually doing so because he is very attached to me and we are very much in love.

He is not the reason why my marriage is in crisis. The fundamental reason why is that my husband and I have consistently and forever had issues around my needing much greater intimacy, empathy, and involvement than he could or would give, whereas he needs a ton of space and autonomy and wants basically, as he puts it, to be married to me 3 days a week. That is what I think "drove" me to poly--though I think I am poly, I don't think I would've inevitably ended up living a poly life.

So now he doesn't like the poly, but I don't know what else I could've done.

Last edited by noob; 05-20-2012 at 06:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-20-2012, 03:28 AM
NovemberRain's Avatar
NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 695
Default

What sort of advice are you seeking? I can't quite tell. That seems a very articulate explanation of the problem. I can relate, I have a man that would like more distance than that, even.

Why do you suppose he is jealous, when he only wants three days a week?
__________________
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein

Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-20-2012, 06:27 AM
noob noob is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 58
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post

Why do you suppose he is jealous, when he only wants three days a week?
That is an excellent question. I'm gonna ask him.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-20-2012, 05:29 PM
noob noob is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 58
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
What sort of advice are you seeking? I can't quite tell. That seems a very articulate explanation of the problem. I can relate, I have a man that would like more distance than that, even.

Why do you suppose he is jealous, when he only wants three days a week?
Okay, I did ask him--and I'm also elaborating on why I want advice.

Husband says he doesn't like actually knowing what I am doing all the time when we're not together--it's not that he's jealous about needing more time with me; he's happy to let me be away from him, but wants not to know what I'm doing in my him-free time. Right now, he feels he has to know too much about my "other" life because we are living together full-time. I also bring my boyfriend here sometimes when husband is sleeping and we are intimate together in another part of the house, which husband has said is ok (said so before I ever did it; I definitely sought his approval first) but then brings up when we talk about his jealousy as a difficult thing to deal with. There isn't a really logical other place to go. If there were, I certainly wouldn't bring my boyfriend here for that.

I will say, though, that even when he complains about seeing and knowing too much, he also complains that one thing that makes him jealous is not knowing much about my relationship with my boyfriend. He feels like it's some Big Important Relationship that he doesn't understand...So he seems to complain when he knows things about the relationship (D/s elements in my relationship with my boyfriend are very threatening to him, and while I don't tend to explicitly tell him things we do, he sometimes surmises things or sees evidence of them), but then he complains when he doesn't know. It's a catch-22 for me. I never know what to volunteer information-wise or what not to.

I guess what I want evidence about is how to help my husband over his jealousy and try to repair our relationship. Right now our sex life is practically non-existent, but I don't feel like I can just jump back in with the relationship the way it is. I would really ideally like to be with both my husband and my boyfriend, but this relationship with my husband is not working as it is. I am not the best with other people's jealousy--basically, when I feel jealousy (and I do!) I work through it myself or with my friends/extended poly community, and I try not to bother my partner with feelings of guilt when I know they're not doing anything wrong, and it's all my own issues. But it seems like many people say snippy, jealous, passive aggressive shit to their partners when they're envious or jealous. I call that "brain vomit" and I am really not sympathetic about brain vomit. For example, I have gotten passive aggressive texts about my boyfriend's penis from my husband, and that's just not the kind of thing I'm going to tolerate. So where I think some partners might receive those texts and be like "oh, it seems like you're jealous, what can I do to reassure you?", I'm more like "why are you saying this stuff? it seems you're jealous, which is okay, but please just be upfront about it--this is unacceptable, so please stop."

It's almost like I don't want to reward bad behavior, and I feel like reassuring him when he's approaching things on that level is doing exactly that. It's almost impossible for me to consider, in the above scenario, fawning over my husband and having sex with him after he sent me passive aggressive texts, but I think that is what many people would do, and it might actually work in the sense that it would reassure the partner and curb the feelings of jealousy. (Dan Savage seems to recommend this kind of treatment; like "oh, your husband is sulking--sleep with him!" I don't like to sleep with sulky people who are acting juvenile. And feeling obligated to have sex is kind of a trigger for me anyway...)

I feel like I'm kind of babbling...the point is, we have gotten to a point where his jealousy about my other relationship has driven a wedge between us. It's really less the jealousy itself and more his inability to communicate the jealousy in a way I can deal with, as well as his inability to identify what would help--he does say that not being in the same space/house as often would help. But living apart seems like an extreme and drastic measure, when we have lived together for 8 years and have a child together. And financially it's basically impossible at this time anyhow.

Another thing we have tried is him hanging out with my boyfriend. They do get along and they do hang out occasionally, and it does seem to help somewhat, but it's not a cure-all by any means.

And we're in therapy.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-21-2012, 01:07 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Boston area
Posts: 158
Default

Is your husband articulate/self knowing enough to ask questions about what he wants to know? It doesn't seem that you should have to intuit the right amount of information to convey; he could at least give some clues with questions. Of course you still have to figure out how much answer to provide, but it might be clearer what he ISN'T asking.

Also, maybe keep in mind that sometimes these things come in waves, and maybe you just need to hold on a bit to keep afloat through this one. It helped me a lot, when my husband recently had a lot of trouble with jealousy, to remember how I'd felt when cycling through my own jealousy issues, and to recall that sometimes you're in a trough where everything feels really hard, but the feelings can mellow or fade.

FWIW my husband had similar issues with wanting to know more, with feeling my relationship with my boyfriend was something he just didn't understand. One thing that did seem to help him was hearing about some of the issues I was grappling with there, to realize that other relationships weren't always easy either. (To clarify, these were my issues, not couple issues, so it did not feel inappropriate. It made my husband feel he knew me better and was useful as a support; of course, you might not have equivalent issues to bring up.)
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-21-2012, 03:51 AM
mostlyclueless mostlyclueless is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 70
Default

Why are you married to this guy?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-21-2012, 04:00 PM
noob noob is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 58
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflowers View Post
Is your husband articulate/self knowing enough to ask questions about what he wants to know?
It seems like he's not. This is a big part of the problem. He can't seem to decide what he wants to know, what is triggering his jealousy, and what we might do about it.

Quote:
Also, maybe keep in mind that sometimes these things come in waves, and maybe you just need to hold on a bit to keep afloat through this one. It helped me a lot, when my husband recently had a lot of trouble with jealousy, to remember how I'd felt when cycling through my own jealousy issues, and to recall that sometimes you're in a trough where everything feels really hard, but the feelings can mellow or fade.
Yes, I do get that. This has just been intensifying without much improvement at all for 4 months now. I'm tired. And when I think about the back story, the problems that were already in my marriage, I feel caught in a bind: he's jealous but doesn't want more time with me; he gave me space to pursue other relationships, but now is resentful that I found one that I'm holding onto. We did talk about how he's kind of reaping what he's sown (his words)--he asked me to pursue connections with others, but I don't think he expected I would be so "successful" at it.

Quote:
FWIW my husband had similar issues with wanting to know more, with feeling my relationship with my boyfriend was something he just didn't understand. One thing that did seem to help him was hearing about some of the issues I was grappling with there, to realize that other relationships weren't always easy either.

Yep, this resonates--I think seeing other relationships struggle helps him feel better. He said one reason my other relationships haven't bothered him (I've had two other 4-6 month long relationships this year; the other two overlapped) was that he saw the problems and limitations of those relationships very clearly. They weren't a threat; he couldn't see me married to or primaries with either of those people, ever. This relationship he perceives to have fewer dealbreaker-type problems; well, it does. (It has stressors and we've had our things to sort out, but certainly there have been no dealbreakers.) He perceives it to have primary potential; I agree. I feel caught between reassuring and being honest. In different circumstances, my boyfriend could almost certainly be my primary, but he's not. I did end up saying that.

Last edited by noob; 05-21-2012 at 04:07 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-21-2012, 04:05 PM
noob noob is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 58
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyclueless View Post
Why are you married to this guy?
We got married 8 years ago, and we never got divorced?

Seriously, he's intelligent, funny, attractive, has a good career, and we have many values in common, but I think our relationship expectations have always been different, and when we got married neither of us was in a place to understand that or communicate explicitly about what we expected.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:01 AM.