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Old 01-20-2013, 06:50 PM
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Default Why do I feel like a monster?

I've been struggling with a relationship for two years. Here's the Cliffnotes:

I met a couple at my church, and we hit it off as friends. The husband was poly and we started a relationship. I sat down with them, and the agreements his wife wanted were, "Act like friends, not lovers, when we're together or in public, practice safe sex."

Just a few months into our relationship, he started having sex with someone he met over the internet and didn't tell me except by accident when he was yelling to me about how awful his wife was.

Every time I wanted something in the relationship, his wife vetoed it. If she changed her mind, months to years later, I was expected to be overjoyed... not irritated because I'd given up on that and wanted something different (which wasn't ok).

I frequently had to step in and provide emotional care and support to his wife, sometimes while he was with other women and I needed care myself.

I broke up with him once because of his wife. I got back together with him trying to proove I didn't have ptsd and that the break-up wasn't about my previous relationship history. Then, I had a psychotic break because I wasn't admitting when I did have problems and it just built up until I snapped (1 week with no food or sleep sent me right to the nutter house), and he broke up with me. We tried to stay friends. He dated some people. His wife didn't seem much better. I got stable and got a job I really wanted (I work for Planned Parenthood). We got back together (stupid, stupid, stupid me).

He spent several months of our relationship talking about all his relationship problems with his wife and how much and why he liked the women over the internet (one who has five partners who have other partners, and one who has that plus she's only 20 and he's 37) he has recently been seeing even though I told him I did not like it and didn't want to continue a relationship with him if he continued seeing them.

He told me he is not certain our relationship is good enough or worth closing off the possibility of having other relationships.

He has all sorts of kinky sex with other partners, but won't have sex with me. He will, however, bring over food, fancy desserts, and a movie to watch while cuddling up in my bed. He'll make out with me and tell me he wants to have sex with me, in explicit detail. He won't do it, though... I think he is concerned about ptsd... I think he doesn't trust me to be better, to set boundaries that won't trigger me, or maybe he just doesn't think it'd be fun enough. But it sucks to be told, "I have sex with them and not you because it doesn't fuck them up, and it fucks you up."

He tells me he is in love with me and wants to be with me. I asked him on a date, but he said he wasn't sure.

The other day, I saw he had invited one of his new partners to an outing he has invited me and also our church youth group to (he and I are advisors). I'd told him I did not want to meet these women. I flipped. I actually got angry and showed it. I texted him and told him I never want to see him again and I don't want to be his friend. I packed up the presents he had given me (right down to the roses he gave me on our first date, which I had dried and saved) and put them in a bag. I went to his house and returned them. I felt and still feel awful. I told him I was sorry, and he said he is too.

I am so, so sad. I wanted this to work so badly. I hated being told that when I was upset, it was because "You are (meaning I am) not ok with polyamory." I always had to prove something. That I was ok with not being given affection when his wife was around. That I was ok with him having sex with strangers. That I was ok with him telling me about his fantasies and then acting them out with other people. That when we had sex, I never got triggered. That I didn't need care. That I could, effectively, be their marriage therapist.

I just wanted to be with him... because I liked him. Because he's UU (liberal), good with kids, good with animals, geeky, kinky, sexy, cuddly, patient, and well-meaning. I feel like a horrible person for "un-friending" him (I did that too on FB... god, I feel so petty) and returning his gifts. If you looked in the bag, it would look like everything needed for an ultra-romantic, fancy date.

I am so, so sad. I have talked with friends and family about this... but I think I have exhausted them on the subject. Part of me still wishes this could work, but I am pretty sure there is nothing I can do now. I don't have anything left to give or prove.

I don't know what I want here... feedback is welcome. Maybe someone could tell me why I feel like a monster?
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:59 PM
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Hopefully this will be a learning experience for you and you will find a relationship in the future that more suits your worldview. What you have described sounds to me like a very dramatic relationship in which all parties involved want competing things out of it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:06 PM
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As for your question, you have already answered it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine View Post
Maybe someone could tell me why I feel like a monster?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine View Post
I feel like a horrible person for "un-friending" him (I did that too on FB... god, I feel so petty) and returning his gifts. If you looked in the bag, it would look like everything needed for an ultra-romantic, fancy date.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:19 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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The guy sounds like a user and abuser.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
The guy sounds like a user and abuser.
Wow, that isn't what I got out of this post at all. How do you come to that conclusion WH? I'm just curious.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:13 PM
RockerChick RockerChick is offline
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Default Take Care of Yourself

I gotta admit, I'm with WhatHappened on this one.

This is only my opinion based on your side of the story, of course, but a guy who will not have sex with you but will not break up with you, will not respect your feelings about other relationships, etc., is clearly not really in love with you. At least, not in a way that would be nurturing for you. Your description of him, to me, makes him sound confused and unable to truly give of himself to any one person, let alone to many of them.

In my view, true poly love does not result in a psychotic break. Unresolved feelings, unmet expectations, unrealistic hopes -- these are things that drive us mad, and these things we do to ourselves. How many bad feelings compared to good feelings do you really experience from this relationship? Are you taking care of yourself? Are YOUR needs getting met? If not, I believe you have every right to protect yourself, because no one else will do that for you.

One of the toughest things I'm learning right now is how to be my own best friend. And not in a sexual way, either. I'm talking about learning to pay attention to MY needs as well as those of my two lovers. I'm just as important, and I've only recently realized this myself.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:36 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Marcus, I don't know what post you read, because there are SEVERAL Red Flags here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine View Post
Just a few months into our relationship, he started having sex with someone he met over the internet and didn't tell me except by accident when he was yelling to me about how awful his wife was.
HUGE flag.

Quote:
Every time I wanted something in the relationship, his wife vetoed it. If she changed her mind, months to years later, I was expected to be overjoyed... not irritated because I'd given up on that and wanted something different (which wasn't ok).
Perhaps not a red flag, but definitely a yellow one that needs to be resolved, which doesn't sound likely as all parties would have to be willing to work together on a solution.

Quote:
I frequently had to step in and provide emotional care and support to his wife, sometimes while he was with other women and I needed care myself.
FLAG

Quote:
I got back together with him trying to proove I didn't have ptsd and that the break-up wasn't about my previous relationship history. Then, I had a psychotic break because I wasn't admitting when I did have problems and it just built up until I snapped (1 week with no food or sleep sent me right to the nutter house), and he broke up with me.
Perhaps not a Flag in the usual sense, as he wasn't causing this, but still QUITE bad. Regardless of the Who and Why, this relationship was obviously toxic for the OP.
Quote:
He spent several months of our relationship talking about all his relationship problems with his wife and how much and why he liked the women over the internet (one who has five partners who have other partners, and one who has that plus she's only 20 and he's 37) he has recently been seeing even though I told him I did not like it and didn't want to continue a relationship with him if he continued seeing them.
Flag! So much disrespect of your feelings!

Quote:
He told me he is not certain our relationship is good enough or worth closing off the possibility of having other relationships.
"I don't want to close off other relationship possibilities." is a fair statement and could be considered the heart of being poly. But telling you your relationship "isn't good enough"?? That's just being a jerk. Run, don't walk. You don't need that crap.
Quote:
He has all sorts of kinky sex with other partners, but won't have sex with me. He will, however, bring over food, fancy desserts, and a movie to watch while cuddling up in my bed. He'll make out with me and tell me he wants to have sex with me, in explicit detail. He won't do it, though... I think he is concerned about ptsd... I think he doesn't trust me to be better, to set boundaries that won't trigger me, or maybe he just doesn't think it'd be fun enough. But it sucks to be told, "I have sex with them and not you because it doesn't fuck them up, and it fucks you up."
Again, maybe not a red flag, but a yellow one. IMO if he's honestly worried about your PTSD then he needs to be doing a lot of work to learn appropriate ways to deal with it, not just cut off sex.

Quote:
He tells me he is in love with me and wants to be with me. I asked him on a date, but he said he wasn't sure.
...wtf??

It makes sense to regret flipping out. It wasn't a conscious choice on your part. However, I think your reaction was understandable and hopefully you are working on forgiving yourself.
Quote:
I always had to prove something. That I was ok with not being given affection when his wife was around. That I was ok with him having sex with strangers. That I was ok with him telling me about his fantasies and then acting them out with other people. That when we had sex, I never got triggered. That I didn't need care. That I could, effectively, be their marriage therapist.
Flag, flag, flag, flag, flag, flag, FLAG! To be clear, the flags aren't because he wouldn't give affection when his wife was around or because he wanted sex with strangers. The flags are because it was all about what HE wanted and you were pressured to go along with things you weren't really okay with, in the name of "proving" you were okay with poly.

Quote:
I just wanted to be with him... because I liked him. Because he's UU (liberal), good with kids, good with animals, geeky, kinky, sexy, cuddly, patient, and well-meaning. I feel like a horrible person for "un-friending" him (I did that too on FB... god, I feel so petty) and returning his gifts.
There will be other people to like. There are other guys who have the qualities you list. Again, it makes sense to feel a little bad about HOW you ended things, but I think it was good that you did. And perhaps you feel some guilt for finally putting your own needs first, since you're not used to it, but you are NOT a monster.
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Last edited by ThatGirlInGray; 01-22-2013 at 05:38 PM. Reason: clarifying
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:40 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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RockerChick and TGIG, I'm so glad you had the time to post all those details. Yes, ALL of that. Possibly even more if I took the time to re-read.

Quote:
True love does not result in a psychotic break
YES YES AND MORE YES!!!!!

One of my major steps in deciding to divorce was the realization that I was going steadily downhill and 'love' should not be tearing a person apart. Love should uplift and help both people to become better people, happier, more fulfilled, to grow.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:58 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Yes, you already answered yourself several times. He is not good for you, and it doesn't sound like he's a considerate partner. It's fine if he doesn't want to have sex with you and you want to accept that, but then there isn't anything kind in informing you how much kinky sex he is having with other people.

Trust your gut here, you gave him his stuff, told him you didn't want to be friends, you think it's stupid that you got back together with him before, and you said you couldn't be with him if he continued to see some of his other partners (I assume for whatever reason you had a problem with the number of partners they have). You told him you don't want to meet his other partners and he ignores you.

I guess you feel like a monster because you think you're supposed to sacrifice yourself if you love somebody? Is that something you get from your churches teachings or earlier in life? You think you're selfish to put yourself first? Obviously love isn't enough, and you'd do better to change your attitude around and realize the best thing you can do for yourself is to put yourself in a position where you take care of yourself, shuck this guilt you have that isn't healthy for anybody.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:40 PM
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An explanation:

Ack, there's a rather important thing I left out. We've actually been "broken up" since early November.

Here is what happened:
His wife is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and one night she was upset and broke her laptop in half with her bare hands. Then she tore her dress in half. Then he went to the store, and she walked barefoot a mile to meet him in the parking lot. He was really disturbed and angered by this, because he had asked her if she would be ok and stay put while he went to the store. So, they got in the car and went for a drive and a talk. As they were driving around, she tried to throw herself out of the vehicle. Then he took her to the hospital to see if she'd go in for emergency mental health services. She refused, and he took her home. He dropped her off and started to leave, and when she asked him where he was going, he said, "You don't get to know that," and went to his best friend's place... incidentally in the same apartment complex I live in. Then he came to my place and told me about it. He intended to spend the night in the youth group room at church, but he ended up going home eventually.

A couple days later, his wife informed him that while he was at his friend's place (and mine), she had gathered up all the pills in the house she could find and a razor blade. She took them out to the hill by their house, wrote a suicide note, and sat there thinking about it. She didn't self-harm or take the pills. As he told me about this, he stated that this is actually an improvement on her behavior... they both came to an agreement that destroying her computer and all the rest was better than her cutting herself (which she has a history of).

Around this same time is when he started seeing his most recent partners also. When I told him I was not comfortable with it because A) HPV can't be tested for and can be spread even with condom use, and these partners are too high risk for me to want to continue having sex with him if he has sex with them, B) HIS MARRIAGE HAS HUGE PROBLEMS that he doesn't admit to, and C) I would really like a relationship with him that doesn't revolve around the above two issues... he was mad. He offered to stop seeing the new partners, and I asked him how he would feel if I was never ok with him seeing other partners (he'd offered to be monogamous to his wife before and he was ok with it, I wanted to know he'd be willing to be polyfidelitous). That's when the whole "not good enough" statement came up.

Shortly thereafter, I told him I thought it would be best to break up. It was really hard for me. I really didn't want to, but the whole situation was just too crazy and chaotic. He said he thought we needed a "temporary separation" and we could come back together later. He also said he thought it'd be ok for us to still get together, fool around, or even have sex during this time. I didn't ask... those came out of his mouth unbidden. Since then, little has changed aside from not having sex. We still see each other just as often. He still sees his new partners. His wife still has anxiety (but she is seeing a therapist and taking medication now and the outbursts are only once every couple weeks instead of every week now). They have new stressors... her LDR partner is moving to the area and is living with them until he finds a place.

During this "broken up" time is when he has being doing things that I would consider courtship, but refusing to actually make anything of it. I keep trying to get distance, and then I go back to it because I don't want to lose my place to the new partners or I want to prove something or I just like him and it hurts to end things over and over again.

This is so fucking unhealthy.
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