Polyamory.com Forum  

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

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 02-12-2013, 12:33 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 264
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post

Love isn't about the things you do. Sure, loving someone will make you more likely to do nice things for them. But doing nice things for someone doesn't mean you love them..
Yes, this is true! I have also had to admit that sometimes I've tried to do "loving things" just to be able to say, "See? I'm doing this!" At the same time, I think that when I can't find it in myself to feel tenderness and affection, I should at least try to behave in a loving way. Love is a verb, after all -something you do, not just something that happens to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
In essence, we both re-committed to our marriage, and it's made a huge difference.

Note: the crux is "both." Neither one of us could have fixed it alone. It takes two to tango.
I think maybe he feels like he is trying, but I am not giving it 100% because I still love C. And I feel like I am trying, but he is not giving it 100% because he doesn't think the ways I need to be loved are valid, or possible for him. (He says he can't flirt, etc.) Just because two people are willing doesn't mean they can figure out how to tango. I guess we just need to keep practicing.
__________________
Married to a monogamous man 15 yrs, mother of 2, dating C 3 yrs, and in a romantic friendship with L more than 20 yrs
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:03 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,223
Default

Quote:
I think maybe he feels like he is trying, but I am not giving it 100% because I still love C.

And I feel like I am trying, but he is not giving it 100% because he doesn't think the ways I need to be loved are valid, or possible for him. (He says he can't flirt, etc.)

Just because two people are willing doesn't mean they can figure out how to tango. I guess we just need to keep practicing.
Yes. Do keep trying to bridge the emotional distance if your goal at this time is to keep the marriage.

"Thinking" or "feeling" is not "knowing"... Like you KNOW the green is so because you talked and verified that YES. This IS how he feels. Have you talked? and KNOW that is how he currently feels?

Could you ask him why your loving C means he feels like you do not love him? (go into it knowing he may not be able to articulate it well.)

Could you be helping to create the emotional distance by being too "C news broadcasty" in your enthusiasm and alienating him? (Sorry, I cannot think of a better way to express that.)

Sometimes the existing partner is not ready to hear your love for your Other at "full volume." It's natural to want to share it, and it's natural to want to share it with your closest people -- and he's one of them. Disclosing personal things creates emotional intimacy.

But if it comes at "too loud a volume" and pushes his "Ack!" places could it be "feeding" emotional distance between you right now? Like he's not ready to hear it at that level? Could you perhaps could try to "lower the volume" temporarily? See if that improves the emotional distance?

Could share your joys here or with other friends or with C in the meanwhile.


The other part
could be you accepting his personal limitations maybe? I have a friend who is borderline Asperger and he's not always on the money for emotional intelligence and can mess up with people.

If you husband cannot flirt -- could be specific. Like...

"These things are "flirty" to me. Please do them once in a while."
I listen to shared friends sometimes express frustration with Asperger friend. I listen to Aspserger friend sometimes express frustration with shared friends. I don't seem to have a problem with Asperger friend myself because when we interact it's pretty straight up black and white.

I want something, I say "I want this, like THIS." He can do that. I do not interact with friend expecting him to be able to pick up on all the paraverbal or pick up on emotional moods. So I try hard to not "go into gray spaces" that would frustrate both of us.

He sometimes tells me things in the weirdest ways but I try to overlook the awkward "packaging" of the words and look at the feelings behind the words. Could you try that?

When he talks about boring tech things... I would say your husband is trying, he cares for you. Could kiss him, praise him and tell him thanks for talking to you, you love hearing his voice.

Focus on what you want more of. Talking to you. Worry about WHAT you talk about later. I know it is dull now, but maybe he's a carrot dude and not a stick? My Asperger pal does better with positive reinforcement than negative. Could perhaps try that?

I'm sorry this hard -- but I see you trying. I'm assuming you want to be present in the marriage and I am assuming that the marriage is just in a rough patch, not like "dead man walking." (You are the one actually there to be able to discern that kind of thing.)

So keep going and keep trying to tend to the marriage. Sometimes a harvest takes a while to reap.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-12-2013 at 05:05 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 02-12-2013, 09:07 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 264
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Have you talked? and KNOW that is how he currently feels?

Could you ask him why your loving C means he feels like you do not love him? (go into it knowing he may not be able to articulate it well.)
We've talked, lots. We have different definitions of love and loyalty, and of course he has a monogamous mindset, so for me to say I love him and also say I want to have an intimate relationship with another man, seems illogical to him. He feels it is not loyal to share my body with two, whereas I think of loyalty in terms of sticking by my husband through thick and thin, and being honest, and sticking to our agreements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Could you be helping to create the emotional distance by being too "C news broadcasty" in your enthusiasm and alienating him? (Sorry, I cannot think of a better way to express that.)

Sometimes the existing partner is not ready to hear your love for your Other at "full volume." It's natural to want to share it, and it's natural to want to share it with your closest people -- and he's one of them. Disclosing personal things creates emotional intimacy.
My husband has made it clear that he doesn't want to see C or hear him spoken about, so I pretty much limit it to the minimum info needed for planning. For example, C and I are attending an event this weekend, but when I bring it up with my husband I refer to the event and not to being with C. "I'll be leaving for the camp after the girls leave for school on Friday," etc. I guess I'm not sure how I can "lower the volume" any further. I try to do my packing subtly in the back of the closet. The only time I talk about him at all is in marriage counseling, and even then we tend to talk about the struggle with my polyamory in general and not my specific relationship with C.

I understand that its a painful subject for my husband, but at the same time it does make me sad that I have this big chunk of my life that I don't talk about with him. C feels like he'd like to get to know my husband a little, or at least not be ostracized from our house, simply because they share the common desire to love me and make me happy. When they do cross paths at the occasional dance event, C wants to greet my husband and give him a handshake, but my husband prefers that they stick to opposite sides of the room and avoid eye contact. He feels that C has, by becoming intimate with his wife, committed an unforgivable crime against him (even though C has always been mindful of the agreed upon boundaries). Obviously the whole situation is painful for my husband, but he hasn't wanted to try to discuss or understand the root of his pain, because I think he feels like my interest in going there is to try to convince him that it's based on false assumptions and he should be ok with all this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
When he talks about boring tech things... I would say your husband is trying, he cares for you. Could kiss him, praise him and tell him thanks for talking to you, you love hearing his voice.
Good point. I think I've been getting cross and critical when our conversations become one sided (he talks, but doesn't listen to my responses, or I talk and he doesn't listen at all). More praise is in order.
__________________
Married to a monogamous man 15 yrs, mother of 2, dating C 3 yrs, and in a romantic friendship with L more than 20 yrs
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 02-13-2013, 05:21 PM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,423
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherConfused View Post
It has not always been this way for us. For 4 years he was playful, lighthearted, emotional, warm, and affectionate. Then we hit a period in which his dad died, our first child was born, he was promoted into management, and his mother came to stay for three months, and everything between us shifted drastically. The tenderness and affection were replaced with a kind of hard work ethic that he applied to himself and to me. I know people change, and I've been trying to love who he is and not just who he used to be. I do want us to stay married, and for our marriage to be strong.
I think this period of your lives together is something that needs examination in your therapy/counseling. What happened when his mother stayed with you? Is she warm to you? Is she very traditional in her culture, as far feeling that Indian women should be subservient to their men? Because I wonder how much judgement she directed at your marriage, about you not measuring up as a suitable wife or anything like that, and if so, how it affected your husband as far as the role you are supposed to fill as his dutiful wife - there isn't a lot of room for a woman to be an individual in Indian marriages, and the parents are also very dominant over their sons and daughters. He could've felt that he disappointed his parents by not marrying an Indian woman, and so tightened up his boundaries and expectations around how everything should be if he is supposed to be seen as a husband who is respected properly. I know I often mention his culture when I post to your threads, and it is just an assumption on my part, as I don't know how steeped in his heritage he actually is - but these sort of things run deep and often play a very unconscious part in how people are in relationships, so forgive me if I am way off base.

Even if it wasn't about being Indian, what was it that changed him so drastically after she stayed with you? There was an event that took place early on in my marriage that took me years to get past, and it hit me hard and strongly affected how I related to and trusted my husband. Then, later on, when my mother passed away, my sense of who I was radically shifted (I was her caregiver and legal guardian), and affected my relationship to my husband in very insidious ways. So, I still think it could be important to discuss that time in your lives in therapy.

I hate hearing how much you have to keep under wraps, even in your counseling sessions. I think he just needs to hear more, no matter how painful it is. He'll get over it. He is cocooning himself from anything that might upset the apple cart, and this is not really satisfying to either of you. You want to save him from the pain of hearing what you want but why martyr yourself? Is protecting him from pain more important than protecting yourself from pain?
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 02-13-2013 at 05:23 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 02-14-2013, 11:07 AM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,772
Default

Wow, Cindie, I really feel like you're on to something!

His dad died. Maybe C then felt a big shift from being a more carefree, fun-loving playful guy, to being the new patriarch. And now he was himself a new father. Pressure, pressure... time to buckle down. Fun time is over.

I know having kids affected my ex-h in deep (although different) ways. He was the first born and in 4 years after his birth, he suddenly had 2 baby sisters and he was expected to be a big boy now, not need cuddles, or stories before bed, or really much parenting at all. Once we had 2-3 kids he was able to vocalize feeling like "low man on the totem pole," jealous of the attention the little ones got from me. This was on the table in our couples counseling sessions but he never really delved into it.

Anyway, I digress.

We used to sign up for marriage, for better for worse, sickness, health, etc.

But that was when people died young. And also had more social support, unlike our more alienated culture today.

C has changed, and changed a lot. So have you. He's become less playful and open-minded. You've grown into practicing your poly nature. It's like your individual train tracks were parallel and close, and now have diverged.

When relationships have more negative than positive going on, for a good couple years at a time, you've got to wonder, is it really going to work to fit myself into this box he wants me to be in? Packing my suitcase in the back of the closet? Not having oral or PIV with my lover? Barely being able to mention his name in THERAPY SESSIONS?

DADT is tough. It makes you have to hide. Do you want to live hiding, stealthy, lying by omission all the time? When C is still so continually dissatisfied?
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
miss pixi, 37
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 02-26-2013, 09:01 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 264
Default

Just another update. I feel like I post when things are getting rough and I need help and encouragement, which paints a one-sided picture. Things have been sweet lately. My husband has been putting in a lot more effort to be with me, and talk to me, and has even been affectionate. I had a weekend away with C, and came back to a family that was pleasant and casual in greeting me upon my return, no drama. I was full of gratitude. The good stuff just snowballs along.

I requested another night away next month, a week before my birthday, and my husband said, "Ok, if that's how I can make you happy for your birthday." I said, "No, how YOU can make me happy for my birthday is to spend the day with me, have dinner with me, and go dancing with me!" I think he heard that.

C and I have some mutual friends, one of whom approached him recently with "Can I ask a personal question? Oh no, I shouldn't," and then didn't. She had also asked whether he stays with my family when he is in my town, so we think she is suspicious that we are having an affair. I don't mind telling friends about being poly, and have told several, but we both have the concern that people who know us and haven't been told will assume we are sneaking around. We try to be discreet in public, but someone who barely knows either of us asked at a dance if we had done our hair similarly on purpose. "I know you're buddies," he said. Maybe we're not discreet enough? Or maybe he just meant buddies.
__________________
Married to a monogamous man 15 yrs, mother of 2, dating C 3 yrs, and in a romantic friendship with L more than 20 yrs
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 02-27-2013, 01:26 AM
SchrodingersCat's Avatar
SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,130
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherConfused View Post
C and I have some mutual friends, one of whom approached him recently with "Can I ask a personal question? Oh no, I shouldn't," and then didn't. She had also asked whether he stays with my family when he is in my town, so we think she is suspicious that we are having an affair. I don't mind telling friends about being poly, and have told several, but we both have the concern that people who know us and haven't been told will assume we are sneaking around. We try to be discreet in public, but someone who barely knows either of us asked at a dance if we had done our hair similarly on purpose. "I know you're buddies," he said. Maybe we're not discreet enough? Or maybe he just meant buddies.
Wow, I can never let someone open with that and then not actually ask the question. I'll pester relentlessly until they get it over with.

Discretion is challenging. You can try to control your body language and think you're doing a good job, but unless you're a sociopath, you're inevitably going to leave tell-tale signs. It's pretty much impossible to be in a room with someone you love, and not allow the entire room to get a sense of that.

Of course, it's your decision whether to officially tell people. If they've already guessed that "something is up," it might not hurt to clear things up so they don't think of you as a cheater. But given that your husband isn't 100% on board, it might not play out well. In our culture, sadly, cheating is so prevalent that people pretty much just shake their head and mind their own business. Not that that will stop them from gossiping about it to anyone who will listen. Ok, scratch that "mind their own business" bit. Everyone will know you're having an affair, except you. I don't think there's anything you can do about that, so just ignore it and carry on with your life. They're merely acquaintances for a reason; if you really cared about their opinions, they'd be friends.
__________________
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 02-27-2013, 03:57 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 264
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
They're merely acquaintances for a reason; if you really cared about their opinions, they'd be friends.
That's true for many people in our shared social circles, but the one who almost asked (I assume... maybe she only wanted to know what toothpaste brand he uses) is a friend, to both of us, and to my family. I wish he had pushed the conversation forward, but he said he wasn't quite sure what to answer. We came up with, "We have a very special connection but we aren't doing anything behind her husband's back." Then we had a laugh at how silly it was to be so vague, when the alternative might be, "At her husband's request, I don't put my penis in her; only my fingers." Whose business is it, anyway? :-)
__________________
Married to a monogamous man 15 yrs, mother of 2, dating C 3 yrs, and in a romantic friendship with L more than 20 yrs
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 02-27-2013, 02:56 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,223
Default

I'm glad things are sweet right now for you.

If the "onlooker thing" should arise again at least now you guys have a response you are both happy with. But don't fret about it. Just live your life.

GG
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 02-28-2013, 03:31 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: East Coast, U.S.
Posts: 352
Default

I'm glad to hear things are going better with your husband. I've worried that he might be deeply resenting you no matter how much you bend over backwards to make him comfortable; I'm glad that's not looking like the way things are.

Like Magdlyn, I'm biased because your husband reminds me so much of my ex. Your story is very touching, but I have struggled to sympathize with your husband. You are incredibly patient with him! (And C is incredibly patient, too).

Glad things are working out right now.
__________________
Single, straight, female, solo, non-monogamous.
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 01:47 PM.