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  #21  
Old 12-20-2012, 07:17 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Perhaps that is part of why I am so anxious to make this work. To somehow not have done something morally wrong for no real end result. I don't know.
Sigh. Make peace with that. It was poor judgement, but don't beat up on yourself. Forgive yourself, raise the standards bar. Move it forward. Choose to expect more from yourself and deliver.

Don't just stay to "make up" for the cheating start. Two wrongs don't make right. You staying in a relationship that does not meet your needs is not healthy, and it just continues the self-disrespecting behavior. Respect yourself more than that.

You alone cannot MAKE it work. You hold up your end of agreements and he holds up his end of agreements. Then it naturally works because both are sharing the load of relationship responsibilities.

You went against "that part of my brain" before in cheating start. Don't go against it now that you are returning toward being in right relationship with yourself.

Focus on behavior done/not done. See what happens:
  • You do what you said you would do.
  • See if he follows through on his things he said he would do.

If he hits your limit? Honor and respect YOURSELF and walk away. You deserve better treatment -- and it starts with you treat you better and not tolerating disrespect either from him or from you.

You raise self respect by the behavior you choose. That in turn feeds your self esteem. It's hard to think much of yourself when you pick poor behavior. That inner critic is LOUD. But you can shut it up and reduce the volume when you have list of good behaviors you have chosen TODAY. Can't change the past, but can learn from it, change your present, and face the future with your chin up.

You can do this. You have worth, dignity and value. Let yourself shine.

I have faith in you. Hang in there.

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-20-2012 at 07:28 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-20-2012, 06:19 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Originally Posted by SJJ View Post
It is like in whatever state he was in after our 'talk' was making it difficult for him to not slip back into cheating behavior - something never needed with me ever - rather than just be honest.
Learned behaviour is difficult to change. Old habits die hard. Practice lying enough, it becomes second nature. For someone like that, he doesn't even think about lying, he just does it automatically.

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Originally Posted by SJJ View Post
I feel like he was maybe slowly coming back to us being 'us' after his trip and I am hoping that asking those questions about her (where I have previously not mentioned her since the trip) hasn't set us back. I do think though, I have a right to be hurt and I feel like I have no where to express that without damaging things further.
To me, that's a red flag. Whenever my husband and I have a "difficult talk," it brings us closer together in the end. It doesn't drive us apart.

For this to work, he has to want to communicate. He has to understand the value of honesty. Right now, it doesn't sound like he does. It sounds like he thinks relationships can be successful if you just put your head in the sand and pretend that everything is okay. It doesn't work that way.

My other concern is that he's practised at only showing his partners what they want to see. He showed his wife a devoted, honest, monogamous husband. That man does not exist. How can you be certain that the man you thought he was exists, either?

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Originally Posted by SJJ View Post
So, I'll see what really happens. I'm not wearing blinders on the issues. He was told pretty firmly that if I do find out anything else has been kept from me (told him that omission is indeed lying) I would leave him. I don't want that to be the result but I will do it.
The thing is, he's already been there. Lying is second nature for him.

Your threat only makes him more likely to be careful. You've put him right back in the same position as when he was married. You're telling him "you can't just do whatever you want. You need to be accountable." He doesn't want those limitations. He wants to do whatever he wants. He doesn't want to be accountable. So his response will likely be to make sure he doesn't get caught.

On one hand, you tell him it's okay to be nonmonogamous with you. But as soon as you "have" him, you change the rules. You tell him you now want monogamy. You didn't mean it as permanent, but that's not how it would have come across. You changed the rules to make your relationship more like the marriage in which he was trapped. So he changed his behaviour to be more like the husband he was in that marriage.

So where do you go from here?

You don't trust him to tell the truth. He needs to earn that trust with complete transparency: giving you permission to access his facebook, phone, and e-mail.

He doesn't trust you to be truly comfortable with nonmonogamy. You need to earn that trust with permission that you don't retract when life gets tricky. For where he is right now, if he's going to learn that polyamory can work, he needs to do it on his terms. From your perspective, boundaries are reasonable. I agree. However, for him, right now, those boundaries are more likely to make him return to his old ways.
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  #23  
Old 01-05-2013, 06:55 PM
lolalondon lolalondon is offline
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There is something here that confuses me... and SJJ, please correct me if I'm wrong; I read through all your original posts but I'm very tired today so might be out of focus.

What I understood is:
  • Yes, he cheated and yes, you were part of it. But you also helped him see he might not be wired for monogamy (not an excuse, but I know it's in the personal history of many poly people I've met before they learned to know themselves and got over the shame and guilt).
  • He then left his wife and refused to pretend to be mono or act mono; e.g. learning to stand up for himself and not apologising for who he is.
  • He tried to be honest with you by texting her in the open and talking about her openly; you freaked out, so he reverted to his learned behaviour of keeping things underground...
  • He only lied (from what I gathered) about his flights, when feeling very stressed, cornered and controlled, clearly triggering past (regressive) behaviours for him. Not an excuse but hardly the making of a habitual liar?
  • It sounds like every single time you asked him a question he told you the truth, however difficult. For example when you asked if he told her he loved her.
  • You have betrayed his trust by going through his messages, and you haven't made sure you took precautions so that you are stable (e.g. have mental health support or meds for anxiety - it sounds like a problems which occurs regularly enough for you to have a management plan and I'm sure you know stress levels increase with major life changes) when you started living together. Of course you were distressed and I empathise, but it still must have been difficult for him.
  • He has now made attempts to do poly better; for example taking note of important dates and sharing with her so they can work around the primary relationship; do you give him an positive reinforcement when he does things right and makes efforts, or only telling him how much he's hurt you when he does things wrong?
  • Did you make it clear he had to report to you when they use the "L" word or tell you how they communicate all they time? If not, I really fail to see how he was dishonest to you about the nature of their relationship...

I'm sure there are many things I've misunderstood here, but it does sound like you're blaming his behaviour for the difficulties you are having with managing your own emotions and fears of abandonment (and boy, do I understand how difficult this can be), but he sounds like he was under the impression that he'd get to fully express himself when he's with you and then you started putting walls down and changing boundaries which is making him sad and resentful. Just a thought... I'd say you need to try to trust him more, not less, if you really want to see if you have a future because you are creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
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  #24  
Old 01-05-2013, 06:59 PM
lolalondon lolalondon is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post

On one hand, you tell him it's okay to be nonmonogamous with you. But as soon as you "have" him, you change the rules. You tell him you now want monogamy. You didn't mean it as permanent, but that's not how it would have come across. You changed the rules to make your relationship more like the marriage in which he was trapped. So he changed his behaviour to be more like the husband he was in that marriage.

...

He doesn't trust you to be truly comfortable with nonmonogamy. You need to earn that trust with permission that you don't retract when life gets tricky. For where he is right now, if he's going to learn that polyamory can work, he needs to do it on his terms. From your perspective, boundaries are reasonable. I agree. However, for him, right now, those boundaries are more likely to make him return to his old ways.
Exactly. And I agree - he has to learn to be accountable for his behaviour. But when he did try to be transparent and show her facebook messages, she reacted badly. And the OP also needs to be accountable for her behaviour, and how it triggers him.
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  #25  
Old 01-05-2013, 11:06 PM
SJJ SJJ is offline
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Well, that is sort of the right summing up and I think in what I originally posted, I was trying to convey that I felt somewhat to blame for having a freak out.

However, it is not the case that he only lied about the flights. He lied - when directly asked several times - about the nature of his relationship with the other woman over a course of months. He may have been honest that he was texting but he wasn't being honest about what was going on. He consistently told me that he was not in love with her, it was just sex, etc. It was not that I was asking frequently and nagging but now and then because I could sense something.

Repetitively , he was only honest on several topics when cornered into giving me a straight answer after deflection attempts. To me, I see that as a hang over from cheating and I tired to give room for that and still am trying but it doesn't stop it from hurting and causing me to question realities.

I am poly and yes that I helped him to realize that and that is why I was (attempting) to convey that I felt some guilt.

However, that said, I don't think that absolves him from responsibility to me and my feelings. I told him from the very start of our relationship that I need honesty and that it would be the one thing that cause my head to go into a swirl if violated. In the course of the last year (and yes I put myself there), I have done a lot of waiting, a lot of trusting, a lot of hanging in there and understanding things take time.

Maybe I should have waited until I was more stable. I did attempt before moving to get preemptive prescriptions but I was without insurance and with it being such a quick move I couldn't get somebody to see me in time. I am not meaning it to sound like an excuse but I have told him since perhaps the second time we slept together everything about my abuse history and whilst I, of course, have a responsibility to his emotions that I take very seriously, I feel that there is some responsibility to me too. Not least when part of the 'chase' of me was to go out of his way to tell me he would protect me emotionally and be the honest partner that others proved not to be.

Now, you are correct that I violated his trust myself with Facebook and not only is that very much against my character but I understand the hypocritical nature of that in relation to what I just said. So, much so that since writing my original post, I have told him about it because I can't sit with dishonesty in my head. I told him what I saw and how I saw it. We discussed what he said and he put it somewhat in context. I am not totally sure how much I believe but I am attempting to conquer my trust issues with him.

I also asked to speak/type with the other woman. He assured me that she would not want to do that but we did actually have a short chat conversation. She is not poly and told me that she would not be comfortable in engaging with me again because she can not understand being friendly or even talking to the main woman when she is the 'other' woman. Whilst that is contrary to my instincts, I am attempting to not let that bother me as much as it could. I have no need to know the full details of their relationship but prior to moving in with each other we had talked about being each other's primaries and how respect had to be shown to each other by any additional partners at all times or things would end with that person. I am not sold on the fact that I am being respected but I am trying to give the space for whatever plays out to play out. I have trouble seeing how a non-poly woman is going to be okay with not being with him solely but time has to tell.

There are other issues that have 'wrong footed' me and part of that has been a change in his employment status right after we moved in which has seen me being the financial support for both of us. He has been toying with the idea of going to Texas for a few months to help his parents fix up a rental property so there can be some income coming his way. I will tell you, that in many ways bothers me more than the other woman. I understand the motivation but I moved to LA to be with him not to be alone with out knowing anybody in the city for months with the occasional visit. I think perhaps I could deal with one situation or the other but both piled on top at the same time really set off the abandonment thing. If we have to survive that separation, I think we can. It is just scary for me.

We have had a lot of conversations since this posting and I think he is trying to be more open and in exchange I am trying to take down my walls that snapped up to protect myself. I feel he is worth the effort and I know that I wasn't fully without blame. I love him a great deal and I am willing to put in the work we both need. I think he is having as many 'sudden change of life' issues as I am. I hope we come out of it together but if we don't it wouldn't have been for a lack of trying.

I hope one day, not to answer in novel length.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalondon View Post
There is something here that confuses me... and SJJ, please correct me if I'm wrong; I read through all your original posts but I'm very tired today so might be out of focus.

What I understood is:
  • Yes, he cheated and yes, you were part of it. But you also helped him see he might not be wired for monogamy (not an excuse, but I know it's in the personal history of many poly people I've met before they learned to know themselves and got over the shame and guilt).
  • He then left his wife and refused to pretend to be mono or act mono; e.g. learning to stand up for himself and not apologising for who he is.
  • He tried to be honest with you by texting her in the open and talking about her openly; you freaked out, so he reverted to his learned behaviour of keeping things underground...
  • He only lied (from what I gathered) about his flights, when feeling very stressed, cornered and controlled, clearly triggering past (regressive) behaviours for him. Not an excuse but hardly the making of a habitual liar?
  • It sounds like every single time you asked him a question he told you the truth, however difficult. For example when you asked if he told her he loved her.
  • You have betrayed his trust by going through his messages, and you haven't made sure you took precautions so that you are stable (e.g. have mental health support or meds for anxiety - it sounds like a problems which occurs regularly enough for you to have a management plan and I'm sure you know stress levels increase with major life changes) when you started living together. Of course you were distressed and I empathise, but it still must have been difficult for him.
  • He has now made attempts to do poly better; for example taking note of important dates and sharing with her so they can work around the primary relationship; do you give him an positive reinforcement when he does things right and makes efforts, or only telling him how much he's hurt you when he does things wrong?
  • Did you make it clear he had to report to you when they use the "L" word or tell you how they communicate all they time? If not, I really fail to see how he was dishonest to you about the nature of their relationship...

I'm sure there are many things I've misunderstood here, but it does sound like you're blaming his behaviour for the difficulties you are having with managing your own emotions and fears of abandonment (and boy, do I understand how difficult this can be), but he sounds like he was under the impression that he'd get to fully express himself when he's with you and then you started putting walls down and changing boundaries which is making him sad and resentful. Just a thought... I'd say you need to try to trust him more, not less, if you really want to see if you have a future because you are creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
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  #26  
Old 01-05-2013, 11:12 PM
SJJ SJJ is offline
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Originally Posted by lolalondon View Post
Exactly. And I agree - he has to learn to be accountable for his behaviour. But when he did try to be transparent and show her facebook messages, she reacted badly. And the OP also needs to be accountable for her behaviour, and how it triggers him.
He never showed me anything. I saw messages that obviously I should not have seen but beyond them just saying 'L' caused me to wonder if I was being 'played'. Given my (recent) history, it did send me for a spin. It is fair to say it triggered but my emotional safety is as important as his first steps into poly. I'm trying my best and putting in a tremendous amount of effort into us trying to repair. It is time for me to exist in a larger capacity than I do now in his outward life. If I am no longer the 'other' woman, it is time for that to be shown. Hopefully, it all just serves to eventually help us come out the other end stronger.
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  #27  
Old 01-05-2013, 11:18 PM
lolalondon lolalondon is offline
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Apologies SJJ, I was referring to what you wrote in the beginning:

"One day, he was texting her in the wide open - not really trying to hide anything..."

And sorry if I was being harsh, was just trying to balance what others on the forum were saying because I felt it was a bit one-sided, but re-reading my messages I realise I might have been heavy handed in what is clearly a delicate and complex situation. I hope things work out for the best x
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  #28  
Old 01-05-2013, 11:58 PM
SJJ SJJ is offline
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Originally Posted by lolalondon View Post
Apologies SJJ, I was referring to what you wrote in the beginning:

"One day, he was texting her in the wide open - not really trying to hide anything..."

And sorry if I was being harsh, was just trying to balance what others on the forum were saying because I felt it was a bit one-sided, but re-reading my messages I realise I might have been heavy handed in what is clearly a delicate and complex situation. I hope things work out for the best x
It is more than okay. I didn't post here just to be told how right I was on everything. I appreciate all views and they help me focus. I am mostly a very together person that doesn't outwardly show distress. This makes me feel weak.
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  #29  
Old 01-06-2013, 01:12 AM
lolalondon lolalondon is offline
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Originally Posted by SJJ View Post
I am mostly a very together person that doesn't outwardly show distress. This makes me feel weak.
I wonder... do you think it's part of the problem? I'm only asking because I'm the same in a way, and there's a big price to pay - if showing distress makes you feel weak you might bottle it up and when it explodes your self-preservation mode might kick in in an OTT way.

Also, I know I really struggle with the difference between the way I'd like to be (totally chilled, secure, not finding poly difficult) and the reality that sometimes things make me feel sad, anxious, stressed or jealous. I have found that trying to put a "brave face" without listening to inner voice has resulted in me tying myself up in knots and I'd also feel guilty about finding it difficult in the first place, so when it finally comes out it's completely overwhelming to me and my partner. Another thing was that I associated him being with others with me being miserable and found it increasingly hard to forgive mistakes and move on, so my boundaries became stricter to the point that they've been suffocating to my partner. Since letting go of the idea that I "should be" stronger/more ok with things, accepting we've both made mistakes, separating my insecurities from the dynamics of his other relationships and accepting my own distress by simply being able to say "I feel sad" before it escalates in my head, things have been much better... perhaps accepting yourself and your feelings - without seeing them as a weakness - would help with the healing...
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  #30  
Old 01-06-2013, 03:56 AM
SJJ SJJ is offline
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I'm pretty certain that is part of the problem. Between being a young widow and trying not to let that destroy me and then being immensely private about my abuse for years until my life was threatened and I felt I needed to find solace in a friend, I am almost trained to swallow my feelings as not to upset other people. It so happens that the friend who was the first person I told about my abuse was the man that was later part of my triad who cheated on me. I am classic over thinker and it really hard for me to trust but when I do I am extremely loyal a partner (even in a poly sense). So, when I do and it is violated I take it into my brain far too deeply.

So, I recognize where a lot of my issues probably originate. My health insurance kicked in this week and I intend to find a therapist. Though, I really want one that understands poly which is likely going to be challenge on insurance. I have never been comfortable with the idea of therapy because of the difficulty I have opening up but I know I have to attempt to take care of myself and deal with the abuse aftermath if nothing else. I would probably like it if he would eventually go with me but I don't think that is all that likely. So, for now, it is going to be me looking after my own mental health.
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