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  #21  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:16 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by Lydia1 View Post
The thing is - he WILL feel loss if he loses his romantic relationship with Sarah. So if they have to break things off entirely, and just be friends, I don't think it's emotional blackmail or even unrealistic to foresee that he will resent me for it if I am the cause of that loss.
But you need to take care of how YOU feel. Let him take care of how HE feels. Yes, i know that's the textbook thing to say, and sometimes it's easier said than done. But if he's calling you "pessimistic" (translation: don't agree with him) and being all pouty, then he's not taking care of how YOU feel, either (and someone has to say it - so it might as well be me) but he's taking care of how his DICK feels. Someone upthread said that you don't have to have sex to love someone and be in a relationship with them, or something to that effect. But whatever, I have nothing invested in your relationship and it doesn't make any difference to ME, especially if everything I said turns out to be incorrect.

So, John (and Sarah), if you're reading this, it's nothing personal. I'm just spewing out free advice based on what I imagine COULD be the case, in the absence of further information. Please enlighten us all to the contrary, or whatever may be the case. I am sure most people would agree that we'll progressively give more useful as more information becomes available.
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  #22  
Old 10-25-2012, 11:03 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I understand he'd feel loss, but to punish you for it is not loving. It's also not healthy to resent you when the situation has become untenable (you did say you are fighting every couple of days) if he won't step back to focus on the foundation of his relationship with you. Or at the very least to focus on figuring out himself before acting on anything.

Besides, I suggested a 3 month sexual interaction hiatus to work on things, not an eternity. Is three months without sexting and making out with Sarah worth risking years of a relationship with you, and bulldozing over your feelings? If so, I would even more strong urge him to pull back and get a bit more of an objective view about what is going on with everybody. I find it telling if you skipped over considering that as an option, perhaps you have other things that you were unhappy about that you hadn't really thought about until now?

This is what you said about Mike and Sarah
"They had had fights for years about various things, but focused on raising the children and getting by day-by-day, instead of really digging down and solving the roots of their problems as they came up (as so many of us do). Mike was afraid of conflict - because in his experience it lead to abandonment. And Sarah was afraid of conflict - because in her family it lead to divorce. "

Do you think that if you put your name and John's name in there instead with different reasonings to explain why, you would find that you also had not really dug down and worked on the roots of your problems? I'd reckon that because of the scope and repetition of your fights about the same thing over and over again, that the answer would be yes.
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  #23  
Old 10-26-2012, 12:32 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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In the best of circumstances, maybe we could make our hybrid of monogamy and polyamory work, without there being resentment of the limitations. I don't know.
You seem stuck on worrying about however it is they may or may not feel. Let that go for a moment and concentrate. Stop focussing on what you do not want.

Alright. Focus on what you want as best compromise thing. So what would this "hybrid" look like to you?

So far I'm hearing people going round in circles and nobody putting an offer on the table but you.

So... flesh this offer out. What does it look like?

(But if you are not wanting to compromise or feel put upon to compromise half heartedly because you just fear a resentment thing? You are better off sticking to monogamy and breaking clean NOW.

No half hearted efforts here. Are you IN or OUT? Can't sit on the fence forever.

Or you could, and time will sort it all out for you guys. Someone else will pop like Mike seems to have.

Galagirl
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  #24  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:16 AM
Lydia1 Lydia1 is offline
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Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
Do you think that if you put your name and John's name in there instead with different reasonings to explain why, you would find that you also had not really dug down and worked on the roots of your problems? I'd reckon that because of the scope and repetition of your fights about the same thing over and over again, that the answer would be yes.
Well, yes and no. Our fights lately have overwhelmingly been about one thing - my needs. At first the specific exclusive act in question was John not being able to kiss Sarah hello and goodbye, because that's our greeting. (Remember that at some point I had still been open to the idea of John and Sarah having a sexual relationship while also in love.) John says he has started to question if exclusivity is necessary for a relationship to have value. In our first conversation about this, before it became a fight, I said "I'm sure it's not necessary for everyone. There are lots of ways to be happy. But I know it is necessary for me." And then he asked me, "but why." So I started talking about how it's probably a combination of my personality, and the culture I grew up in, and my life experiences. And that answer wasn't good enough for John.

That's when I started to get suspicious that what John was really asking me was why my need for exclusivity should be considered valid. And I said, sometimes your needs just are what they are. This is one of my needs. And that certainly wasn't a good enough answer for John. He kept pressing the question, saying that it's an important question, a fundamental thing, and that if I refused to answer I was refusing to talk about my limits (which is a bait and switch). Voices got raised, and it got heated..

Finally, while sobbing, I told him - "This is one of the few things we have left. You are in love with Sarah, and you are in a relationship with her, and at some point you'll be having sex, and this is one of the few things we have left. It has to be okay for me to have limits. We said when we started all of this that it was okay for me to have limits."

And his response was, "Of course you can have limits, but why are these your limits. Can you explain it to me." Which to my mind, I already had. It's part personality, part culture, part life experience, and it is what it is. And curiously, he was never interested in my deep feelings or motivations about why I said yes to things, only the things I said no to apparently needed to be picked apart.

But when I've confronted John on this, that he's asking me to validate my needs, he completely rejects that that is what he's doing. But if I walk him through it step by step, he agrees with every step -

- He questions whether exclusivity is necessary for a relationship to have value.
- But we're not talking generalities, we're talking about us.
- So he's really asking - why is exclusivity necessary for me.
- And he won't accept that it's simply part of who I am, he wants an external reason.
- So what he really wants is to be able to point at some "flaw" in me, say that my need for exclusivity is a character flaw, and brow beat me out of saying I need it while under the guise of having an important philosophical discussion.

So, to answer your question more directly, no, we've never had this fight (over and over again) until this whole thing happened.

But yes, we have had fights before, and we're not perfect people. We have our fair share of flaws and bad habits. I don't listen we'll enough and sometimes my tone of voice in a fight can sound authoritative and superior. John channels his frustration from fights he's had in previous relationships and projects the issues that he and his ex had in the past onto our relationship. In the first year of our relationship John had done things that hurt me, because there was social pressure for him to participate in things that I was excluded from by his then recent ex (different person) who hated me. We've got our fair share of battle scars. BUT, John and I have talked about all of those things, faced them head on, dealt with some of them, and continue to work on the rest day by day. So, though we're still not perfect, I'd say that John and I have had very good levels of communication over the years and have never avoided conflict.

In that regard, I don't think we're anything like Mike and Sarah. I don't think Mike would have ever survived having someone like me as a wife. Lol!

Funny side note (or at least funny to me) - Sarah is petite and I imagine of average strength for a woman. I'm a good 4 or 5 inches taller, and I am incredibly strong. At one point in the very beginning the four of us got into a hot tub together naked (that was my idea). Sarah and John were cuddling in one corner and that left Mike and me in the other. Now, I made it clear to everyone multiple times that I'm only attracted to John. I just want to be in the room or in the know. But Mike, who likes to be a dom, didn't really know what to do with himself in that hot tub. And Sarah and John, feeling self conscious about the fact that they were cuddling (really just Sarah leaning back on John's chest) verbally encouraged me to cuddle with Mike. And something in Mike's facial expression and body language told me he was about to put on the false confidence and swagger of a dom as he sidled over to me (and though I never begrudge anyone their preferred brand of fun, the Dom/sub thing is kinda gross to me).

So I picked Mike up and held him like a baby, resting him on my knee. I kinda felt like - you guys really aren't listening to me when I tell you this is not a symmetrical thing, and your awkwardness is not my problem to solve. Mike was a bit mortified (because I think in part he defined his strength and masculinity in contrast to Sarah's relative weakness and femininity) , but you really should listen to strong naked women in hot tubs.

Last edited by Lydia1; 10-26-2012 at 03:07 AM.
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  #25  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:38 AM
Lydia1 Lydia1 is offline
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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
So... flesh this offer out. What does it look like?
See, that's the thing. It's hard to say. I can tell you a list of physical acts that are considered okay. I can tell you hypotheticals, like they can have date nights. But I can't tell you they will have a date every Tuesday night because our schedules are based on many things. And at the moment only our own home will suffice to keep them out of the eye of the public so that we aren't out of the closet. So that means to give them alone time, I either have to leave my home or risk getting outed by them dating in public.

The difficulty is that if I don't give John enough specifics, he's left guessing or unsure about what's okay. If I give too many, I'm micro managing. And to be honest, I feel like too much of my life already is dedicated to playing referee. I want to be in a relationship with my husband, not chaperoning him.

I don't have all the answers. But I feel like I'm willing to try.

If you asked me what do I want - if I had a magic wand? It would be for none of this to have happened and for my marriage to be completely monogamous again. But I'm all out of magic wands.

Last edited by Lydia1; 10-26-2012 at 03:10 AM.
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  #26  
Old 10-26-2012, 07:33 PM
Lydia1 Lydia1 is offline
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I want to take a moment to mention - this has all be extremely difficult on both John and Sarah. I say this not only because it's true, but because as you all give me your advice and insight I want you to keep it in mind that these are good people, just like you and me, who never set out to hurt either Mike or myself. It's complicated.

For them, this whole relationship has felt like one long good-bye.

Sarah's feeling like the few close friends she's confided in are judging her and telling her she's wrong. One of the subjects in contention is preserving my privacy. We all agreed that if we needed confidants, the others in the group had to agree to it first. In a fit of self-indulgent maliciousness, Mike "let it slip" to a mutual friend what was going on. This friend is a nice person, but just a few weeks before he absent mindedly talked about another couple's separation thinking that it was common knowledge. Mike wants to hurt John and myself, and doesn't care if he harms Sarah or even his own children in the process. But Sarah's friends told her that it should be okay for Mike to tell someone, and that it wasn't that big of a deal that he didn't talk to the three of us about it first.

Life isn't easy for Sarah. She's being asked to give up a lot for a husband who's been lieing to her, treating her like a posession, being passive aggressive and manipulative, and the world's biggest hypocrite. And here's John, who really is a wonderful and amazing person, and they're in love. I think if it weren't for the children, Sarah would have already left Mike. But he's a stay-at-home dad and they home school, so it's not the easiest thing in the world to just grab your clothes and your toothbrush and head out the door. With all the crap she's living through everyday, her children and her interactions with John are the brightest glimmers of light in her life.

And life isn't easy for John. He has so much difficulty getting close to others. His father left him and his two siblings and mother when he was a baby, and later died when he was 16, never to develop a relationship with him. His mother worked two jobs to try to support the family, and he was raised by the two older kids, until they were old enough to work as well. Because of that he was never close to his mother, or his oldest sibling, who by the time he was in kindergarten were out and working. He has no closeness in the world but me, Mike and Sarah. And then Mike not only ended their friendship but hates him. Wishes he could punch John in the face. Told him to die and go to hell. John loved Mike, let him into his heart. And he lost him. And now he's afraid he's going to lose Sarah too. Before any of this happened, I had only seen my husband cry once - when he talked about how sad it was that his father never felt like he could be a part of his children's lives before he died of what they are guessing was AIDS. But since all of this has happend, John has been weeping on a regular basis. The pain of guilt for not being the husband he should have been to me; the pain of losing Mike; the fear of losing Sarah... sure, these are emotional pains. Sure they are results of things in his control and out of his control. But the pain is real. And anyone who has experienced the pain of a kidney stone or child birth can tell you - when you're overwhelmed with pain - the world shrinks, the edges blur, and you're driven by the pain.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not excusing anyone's bad choices. I'm just explaining them. And I'm hoping you won't view these good people, who I love very much, as "the bad guys".

I asked them, as I said I would, if they'd like to join this thread. They've each read it, and said they didn't think they could. Sarah's already bombarded by friends who don't know the whole story telling her she's wrong, and John feels like since I'm the one telling the story you will only empathize with me as the protagonist.

Last edited by Lydia1; 10-26-2012 at 07:38 PM. Reason: spelling mistakes
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  #27  
Old 10-26-2012, 07:55 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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I asked them, as I said I would, if they'd like to join this thread. They've each read it, and said they didn't think they could. Sarah's already bombarded by friends who don't know the whole story telling her she's wrong, and John feels like since I'm the one telling the story you will only empathize with me as the protagonist.
That's too bad; that's their choice. We will never have the opportunity to know their side of the truth, therefore the only person we can empathize or sympathize with IS you.

Another thing that's too bad is that you seem to be concerned with everyone else's social and emotional welfare and they don't seem at all concerned with yours. Is that a motif that has always been a feature of your personality and relationships? You try to take care of everyone around you and the less concern they show for you, the more you reach out and try to defend their position?
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  #28  
Old 10-26-2012, 08:55 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Look, if the problem is overcoming some communication hump and there's only one player trying to articulate here (however struggling) you and your group of people aren't going to get over the hump.

Not on your own -- because if you could, why would you be posting in the first place?

Not with you posting on here -- because basically you have to pick from this:

You have to decide if you

A) value strict monogamy more

or

B) value being with John more.

Because without more information from other parties we can't go "Well, you are putting her in a place of having to pick A or B. Have you noticed you are willing to ____? That would give her the option of C. Have you guys considered that?"

You are sounding like you are still flip flopping between the two and not ready to pick. Largely because you know you cannot have strict monogamy without leaving John. He won't give it or at least doesn't sound like he's willing to give it right now.

And largely because you don't know what KIND of open relationship model parameters he IS willing to give because he's not articulating that.

You are having a hard time articulating an open model you could live with because

a) Your trust has been broken, and John and Sarah are not yet articulating how this will be considered and repaired. So why would you want to sign up for something at this point where your return on your investment is not clear? Of course you do not. Not even if you design it! It requires their buy in and their promise to stick to agreements.

b) Your few attempts at designing some offers yourself are still in the "rough draft" place. Because you feel like you are stabbing in the dark trying to take them and their wants/needs into consideration (and you get no feedback) and you are not sounding comfortable asserting yourself and just stating "Well, how about THIS then? For the next 3 mos and then we adjust it at the checkpoint if it doesn't feel right. Because you fear resentment/accusation of micromanaging ang you are tired of being the referee.


You are very stuck on the kissing hello/goodbye. I see that you value that. I also see you fear being outed.

But John is bugging you on it without offering anything. Have YOU offered anything -- "Can't I have this mouth kissing greeting just for ME? Why can't Sarah have a hug and cheek kiss?"

Because I sense you have a need to be primary, recognized as primary with something saved only for you, and in public displays of affection, you need their expressions if accidentally seen to still be able to "pass" as close friends.

Is THAT the reason you struggle to articulate for the kissing greeting?

I don't view ANY of you as bad guys. Right now I view you as a bunch of people in a big mess.

You write this:
Quote:
I want to be in a relationship with my husband, not chaperoning him.
Ok. Stop. Let him own his part in this. Just report your own internal emotional weather. State what you are and are not willing to do right now. Perhaps things change later. Perhaps they don't.

Take a time out and just be "The Weather Channel" when asked. It's too hard for you to see or do anything in the middle of the storm. So... wait. Give it a week and see if things look different or you feel different or variables have changed.

Galagirl
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  #29  
Old 10-26-2012, 09:41 PM
Lydia1 Lydia1 is offline
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That's too bad; that's their choice. We will never have the opportunity to know their side of the truth, therefore the only person we can empathize or sympathize with IS you.
Well, if it helps, John said that my telling of the story sounded very fair and accurate to him. So to some extent you can assume you've had his side of the story.

Quote:
Another thing that's too bad is that you seem to be concerned with everyone else's social and emotional welfare and they don't seem at all concerned with yours. Is that a motif that has always been a feature of your personality and relationships? You try to take care of everyone around you and the less concern they show for you, the more you reach out and try to defend their position?
Lol! You have no idea how funny that sounds to me. No, I'm not a bleeding heart or a martyr.

What I do have is a combination of a rough origin story and a strong character. And of course, I know myself - which makes it easier for me to see others for who they really are.

I have plenty of experience with not being cared about - alcoholic narcissist mother who viewed her children as status symbols and accessories; disinterested father who lived vicariously through and idolized his son; spoiled older brother who was physically abusive and never learned what limits were (and is now paying for it as an adult who self destructs in life). And not for one second of my life have I internalized any of it, though for many years as a child I was depressed by the abuses and neglect I experienced.

I was blessed to have a wonderful Grandmother who saw me and my life for what it was, and she made all the difference in the world. Because of her love at a young age I knew I had value. Because of her confidence in me, I had the strength to face adversity, to lead when no one might follow, and to say no to people I loved. I was 11 when I knew I couldn't depend on my parents but that I was strong enough to get through, and I did.

I don't need to be needed, or fear abandonment. I don't show compassion to others (even to people I dislike) because I fear what they will think of me if I don't. I show compassion to others because that's the person that I am. That's who I choose to be.

When I look at Sarah, John and Mike, I don't see villains twirling mustaches, or universal victims who aren't responsible for their own choices. I see people, with all of their strengths, weaknesses, scars, hopes, and feelings.

It's been said that if I had a super power, it would be to show people exactly who they are.

So no, I don't think it's a problem that I can empathize with them and see what's been going on that lead them to where they are - to know how difficult their lives have been. It doesn't mean they made all the right choices. It means they're people, just like you and me. And I think being able to see others for who they really are, and to truly know ourselves, is a goal we should all strive for.

But I agree with you, John and Sarah can't really see me and my needs right now. They are drowning in a stormy sea, and they can't see that they've broken my legs.
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  #30  
Old 10-26-2012, 11:21 PM
Lydia1 Lydia1 is offline
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You are sounding like you are still flip flopping between the two and not ready to pick. Largely because you know you cannot have strict monogamy without leaving John. He won't give it or at least doesn't sound like he's willing to give it right now.
I'm not sure that I'd agree with that characterization. The first aspect is that I don't have to choose between monogamy and polyamory. Because as I've said before, polyamory (as in a fully realized sexual relationship) isn't even on the table. It's not option B, it's simply not an option. Monogamy is an option, if John is willing (and he might be, with possible fallout), but it's not a choice I have to make. That's a choice he would have to make. I've said I'm willing to try a monogamy-poly hybrid where he's not having sex with Sarah or do other specific things, but he still gets to have a romantic relationship that can never take priority over ours. That's the best I got, and that's what I'm offering.

You're a perceptive reader, GalaGirl, and I can see where the easily made confusion is coming from. There are two very different things: my Needs and my Wants. I NEED a level of exclusivity that is somewhere between monogamy and polyamory, where certain things are reserved for only us and our relationship is absolutely, unquestioningly, the priority. I don't NEED strict monogamy, or at least I don't need that now.

What do I WANT? A happy simple life, and the marriage that we had before all of this started. Want is not the same thing as need.

Quote:
You are having a hard time articulating an open model you could live with because

a) Your trust has been broken, and John and Sarah are not yet articulating how this will be considered and repaired. So why would you want to sign up for something at this point where your return on your investment is not clear? Of course you do not. Not even if you design it! It requires their buy in and their promise to stick to agreements.
John has agreed to stop questioning the validity of my need for exclusivity. That is a step forward. He's apologized for the first two instances of breaking my trust, and said those types of things wouldn't happen again. I think at the point what we need is simply time to build back the trust. These things don't get fixed overnight.

Quote:
b) Your few attempts at designing some offers yourself are still in the "rough draft" place. Because you feel like you are stabbing in the dark trying to take them and their wants/needs into consideration (and you get no feedback) and you are not sounding comfortable asserting yourself and just stating "Well, how about THIS then? For the next 3 mos and then we adjust it at the checkpoint if it doesn't feel right. Because you fear resentment/accusation of micromanaging ang you are tired of being the referee.
That's true. I'm not getting anything from Sarah or John about what they absolutely need. They say they are intentionally holding it back because of their own fears of loss. I'm going to have to work with them over time to get them to feel comfortable enough to communicate.

I have pointed out your post (#5) to them where you laid out ways to organize the conversation, and lots of references we can look at. I believe John and Sarah have talked about taking a break after November 4th, but I'm not sure what they exactly mean by that, since during the week that Sarah told Mike it was "over", they were still in constant contact. I think those are all things we're going to have to discuss.

Quote:
You are very stuck on the kissing hello/goodbye. I see that you value that. I also see you fear being outed.

But John is bugging you on it without offering anything. Have YOU offered anything -- "Can't I have this mouth kissing greeting just for ME? Why can't Sarah have a hug and cheek kiss?"

Because I sense you have a need to be primary, recognized as primary with something saved only for you, and in public displays of affection, you need their expressions if accidentally seen to still be able to "pass" as close friends.

Is THAT the reason you struggle to articulate for the kissing greeting?
I'm actually a little confused about that bit. I definitely am not okay with them kissing hello and goodbye, but I don't think I have had or currently have trouble articulating that. It's been very clear with John and here. I think John just has trouble accepting it.

Now, after all the damage to our relationship, I'm now okay with much less. But I didn't have trouble articulating that to John either, in real-time. I don't think communicating my needs has been a major problem for us. It's the fights and resentment that have happened after those needs have been clearly communicated that have been a problem. :-/
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