I've been documenting the rise and fall of my poly experience in a blog thread, but I'm now in need of some more direct advice and perspective, so I'm starting a new thread here.
My wife, "Vix", and I have been struggling with a sudden divergence in our interests and in our understanding of what our marriage is and means. She seems firmly committed to polyamory, and I am riding a pendulum that swings between a principled commitment of de facto monogamy and reluctant resignation to de facto monogamy.
Let me see if I can make a long story short. I have an opportunity to spend some time in the UK this summer; Vix and our two daughters will stay with me for much of the time I'm there, though she will be taking them to Europe a few weeks early to visit her boyfriend there - an American ex-pat I've dubbed "Doc" - before joining me in the UK. Vix and the girls will have to come back home a week before I do, so the girls can start school.
The issue concerns what happens next. Vix once expressed interest in going back to Europe to attend an event with Doc, but she would need to leave for Germany the day before I fly back from the UK, leaving the girls with unspecified friends for a day or two.
She mentioned this in passing; I took it as a speculative possibility, and the coincidence of dates never really reached my conscious awareness. The next thing I knew, it was a plan.
I am very unhappy about this plan. I am not willing to leave the girls in the care of friends while my wife and I are both traveling across the Atlantic - albeit in different directions.
I expressed my concerns to Vix, and she replied, simply: "You worry too much."
The conversation was actually more complicated than this, and some of the back-story I've set out in my blog came into play, how she had sacrificed and sacrificed for the family, etc.
I dropped it, at the time, but it really rankled. I felt disrespected, belittled . . . but, then, a sense of my own insignificance has been growing for months.
I finally began to realize that what I'd come up against is one of my own boundaries: The risk of anything really bad happening, either to us or to the girls, while Vix and I are crossing the Atlantic is fairly small, but it's still not a risk I find acceptable, not a risk I'm willing to take. As a matter of general principle, I have always assumed that one or both of us should be available to our daughters - at least reachable by phone and able to get to them quickly - for as long as they are dependent on us.
Already, with the complications introduced by polyamory, I've had to stretch the definition of what "available" means. There have been times that Vix has been out of town and I've had commitments at work while the girls are at home, but I could get to them within an hour, at need. That's about the limit of what I can accept.
Let me reiterate, this is a matter of principle for me, one that had been unstated simply because the issue never came up. I had assumed Vix and I were in agreement on this point . . . until now.
I tried to articulate all this to Vix today, and her response is basically the same: I worry to much, my fears are irrational, and her life has for too long been ruled by my fears.
I took this to mean she was not going to bend, that she would go ahead and fly off to Europe, in spite of my objections, because she wants to.
She insists she can try to meet me halfway. The problem is that the timing of my return is a matter of contractual obligation; I cannot change it except, I suppose, for some very serious reason. If she waits too long to leave for Europe, there will be no point in her going at all, since she'd miss too much of the event she wants to attend with Doc.
If she doesn't go, I'll then have to bear the burden of her disappointment and resentment.
So, we seem to be at an impasse.
My first inclination is to just shut up about it, let Vix do what she wants, and try not to seethe too much. Then, in the future, I'll try to avoid creating circumstances that would lead to such a forced choice. It's my boundary, my understanding of my responsibility to our children, so I should do what is necessary to make sure I can live up to it, whatever Vix does.
I don't know, though. Such a response seems self-defeating.
Am I completely out of my mind about all of this? How far should I go in insisting on what turns out to be an important boundary for me? How much of the responsibility for that boundary rests on me alone?
Is there any way out of this impasse that won't do further damage to a marriage that has already, over the past six months or so, had much of the life drained out of it?
As a postscript, Vix and I are now approaching the second anniversary of our decision to try polyamory. It's a decision I have come to regret . . . a little more than half the time.
Last edited by hyperskeptic; 03-05-2013 at 04:19 AM.
|boundaries, children, responsibility|