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  #51  
Old 03-06-2013, 12:11 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
For example, I have a husband, a girlfriend, and a busy academic life. Someone like you would fit right into my life. You wouldn't put unrealistic demands on my time, and I wouldn't feel guilty about leaving you with my kitchen scraps.
Kitchen scraps. Why, you make it sound so appealing!

Somewhere, earlier on this thread, I wrote of how troubled I was by the fact that all I had to offer Nyx were scraps of my time and attention; I might even have used "table scraps" as the metaphor. It just didn't sit well with me, as though I was just using her as a means to my own ends.

But, now that my marriage is changing so radically, now that my expectations are plummeting, I have to recognize that it may be my fate to subsist on what little affection and connection people can spare from their own private feasts.

To be quite honest, if I can no longer have a private feast of my own, I think I'd rather be alone.

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The analogy that comes to mind is silly but apt. Suppose you have a peanut and you see a squirrel. Sure, one little peanut won't get that squirrel through the winter. But maybe he's already got lots of acorns to eat, and even though he really likes acorns and they satisfy his hunger, he would enjoy the peanut as a special treat.
Again, a troubling analogy. "Special treat"? Really? That makes it all seem so superficial, so . . . instrumental.

Even if I were to go with this analogy, there isn't exactly a surfeit of squirrels around, just now. Something about me might make them skittish - being a married man in his 40s with two children might tend to do that! - or maybe the peanut I have has gone rancid, or something.

Meanwhile, Vix has to beat the squirrels back with a stick . . . when she's inclined to.

Life is like that, sometimes.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 03-06-2013 at 12:22 PM.
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  #52  
Old 03-06-2013, 04:38 PM
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Default I puzzled and puzzed till my puzzler was sore . . .

Well, this does seem to be a week for trying to puzzle things out.

Because of an exchange on another thread ("Boundary Dispute"), I've started trying to figure out why it is I've had more and more doubts about my own capacity to be polyamorous, more and more of a sense that I should either settle for or embrace de facto monogamy, whatever Vix may choose to do.

Note that this is an exercise in explanation, not justification; what I offer below are possible causes of my doubts, not reasons why they are to be taken seriously.

In other words, this could just be a matter of diagnosing a pathology from which I suffer.

At the moment, I can identify several possible sources of doubt. They are not mutually exclusive.

1) I'm depressed.

The fact is that I have been struggling with depression and anxiety since August, at the latest. I have better weeks and worse weeks, but the general trend has been downward an inward. I've become withdrawn and detached.

I recently rediscovered the Pink Floyd song, "Comfortably Numb," and latched onto it as my current anthem.

(How sad is that? I mean, really!)

Seen from the bottom of a thirty-foot well, the world does not exactly abound in possibilities for warmth and human connection. From such a perspective, I do not seem to myself worthy of intimacy with anyone, maybe not even myself.

That may be part of it. But, also:

2) I'm busy.

I've said this before, but I have a lot on my plate. I have professional commitments from which I have been too easily distracted in the past; if anything, I should be spending more of my time focused on my work, at least in part so I can open up opportunities to get out of this city that is killing my wife.

(In fact, I should be working right now!)

I have commitments to my children. I have a number of active commitments to a community of which Vix and I are part.

There isn't much left, after all of that. If I give time and attention to a new relationship, one or another of those plates might drop.

3) I'm flawed.

I also suggested in a previous post that I may be constitutionally incapable of getting really close to another person. I may have managed an approximation of simulacrum of intimacy with Vix, but only after 20 years of struggle, and then not without inflicting some damage on her. I don't open up easily, I don't trust easily, I'm too easily distracted, and I tend to withdraw into myself too quickly. (See no. 1, above.)

The roots of my impairment may be psychological, or neurological, or both. Or maybe it's just a set of bad habits I've cultivated, if you want to get all Aristotelian about it.

(And who doesn't want to get all Aristotelian?)

4) I'm a victim of circumstance.

The unhappy truth is that the women I might want to get close to have no reason to want to be close to me. As a 40-something married guy with two kids and a lot of strange quirks, I'm not exactly a prize. In fact, my interest in them would probably come across as creepy.

To go with the squirrel-feeding metaphor, I've gotten to the park too late, and the squirrels are all too busy elsewhere to notice the stale cracker I have to offer them.

5) I hold myself to be bound by ethical principles.

This one is slightly more serious, for me, and I've been giving it more and more thought.

I am committed always to respecting other people, treating them as ends in themselves, never merely as means to my own ends, if you want to get all Kantian about it.

(And who doesn't want to get all Kantian?)

Given my circumstances and all my other commitments, it's hard to see how I could give another partner her due. It would be too easy to slip into taking her for granted, using her as a means toward some end of my own . . . and too easy to be used as a means to someone else's ends (a "special treat", for example).

I worry a lot about equity, about fairness, about respect, and it's hard to see how I could have another relationship in a way that would honor all those values, given all the other constraints under which I'm working.

6) I'm uptight.

I can already hear the protests from some on this forum, words I've read before in response to other things I've written: I should get over myself, relax, open up, not be such a prude or a prig or a prick or anything else starting with pr-.

I'm not sure I can get over myself, and I'm not altogether sure I should.

So, six possible causes. Any combination of them might explain my growing doubts, or there might be something else altogether at work here. Maybe I'm just being contrary?

And where does all this leave me?

Well, at the moment, it leaves me with a stack of essays that still need to be graded . . .

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 03-06-2013 at 04:48 PM.
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  #53  
Old 03-06-2013, 04:49 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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2) I'm busy.

I've said this before, but I have a lot on my plate. I have professional commitments from which I have been too easily distracted in the past; if anything, I should be spending more of my time focused on my work, at least in part so I can open up opportunities to get out of this city that is killing my wife.

(In fact, I should be working right now!)
With all due respect, why is it entirely up to YOU to manage family and home and career in order to rescue your wife from this city...largely on your own from the sounds of it, while she's busy building a relationship with another man and traveling around Europe? If it's so vitally important to her to get out of a city that is killing her, maybe her priority right now should be on helping make that happen?

You know, this is the kind of thing people are objecting to in the other thread. Maybe you're depressed because you're carrying too much of the weight in what should be a partnership. Although I do not consider myself poly per se, one of the things I like and respect that I've seen at this board, is the repeated statement that poly does not mean just jumping from one partner to the next, but being able to maintain your commitments to your partners. I don't see her meeting her responsibilities and obligations to you or your children.
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  #54  
Old 03-06-2013, 04:54 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
You know, this is the kind of thing people are objecting to in the other thread. Maybe you're depressed because you're carrying too much of the weight in what should be a partnership. Although I do not consider myself poly per se, one of the things I like and respect that I've seen at this board, is the repeated statement that poly does not mean just jumping from one partner to the next, but being able to maintain your commitments to your partners. I don't see her meeting her responsibilities and obligations to you or your children.
Perhaps that's because I've been the one telling the story, and I've been self-absorbed, sunk in my own misery.

The history of our relationship, and the history of my career, is more than I can really relate in these posts.

I do need to be better at managing my own time. That's on me. Since the post to which you were responding is about causal explanation, the focus should be on facts rather than on blame. Let me own this one fact: I actually suck at time management.

That one's on me.

No blame to anyone else.

It does suggest a basis for doubts about my own capacity to be poly, though.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 03-06-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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  #55  
Old 03-06-2013, 05:04 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Yeah, I suck at time management, too. After all--here I am on the internet instead of doing MY work.

But I can still tell the difference between my poor time management skills where, despite them, I am on the go 14 hours a day, at least TRYING to get it all done, and my XH who sat in front of the TV for 5 hours a day while I was doing dishes, dinner, cleaning, fixing, kids' homework, etc.

That your time management skills are not the best doesn't change the fact that a marriage should be a partnership, not one parent routinely playing single parent while the other skites around Europe footloose and fancy free.

Regardless...good luck with the path you're choosing.
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  #56  
Old 03-06-2013, 05:34 PM
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I posted this on my other current thread ("Boundary Dispute"), but I think it also belongs here:
I'm sorry for posting so many things that have been whiny and annoying, and for occasionally responding with snark.

I am grateful for this forum, and for all the replies to my various posts - those replies that have been patient and understanding as well as those that have been, um, less than patient - for helping me, sometimes in spite of myself, to achieve a small measure of clarity.

I don't know, at this point, what my own choices will be regarding polyamory, but I think I do have some basis for a more constructive approach to my wife's current engagement with poly.
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  #57  
Old 03-06-2013, 06:54 PM
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I just read through this entire thread

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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
1) I'm depressed.
No shit, really? Never would have guessed.

What are you doing about it? Are you seeking professional help? If not, you need to right now!

FACTS OF LIFE:
Raising kids is one huge time sucker! As responsible parents, sometimes our wants and needs are put aside to do what is in the best interest of the kids. As they get older, you gain a bit more freedom. Suddenly, they don't mind having the house to themselves for an entire Saturday, they go away to summer camp for a week, etc. They won't be with us forever, sooner than you think, all of a sudden they are 18 and off to college, the military or elsewhere.

Marriage takes work and needs to be a partnership or it becomes just another source of stress. Okay, your wife may have sacrificed a lot earlier in your marriage and now you feel like you "owe" her. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. The back and forth of shifting responsibilities and overwhelming/overstressing one person as "payback" or whatever is not healthy and won't work (even if it's you that feels she deserves it).

I spent years being resentful of organizations and my husband's involvement because it left me to pick up the pieces of our family. While I would have loved to have a little "payback", I felt guilty every time he allowed me to extended time to do my own thing. Through some counceling, I was finally able to get it through his thick head, that we were NOT acting as partners and should be. When we started acting as partner with regard to everything, my stress levels diminished and all of a sudden I had time to spend time making new friends (all my friends at the time were actually his friends and shared no interests with me).

I don't care if you spent the first 16 years of your marriage being a selfish bastard, you are not that person now. However, you still need time for yourself on a regular basis. Hang with friends, play golf, go listen to a band at the local bar, etc. If you wife's travels and other activities are preventing that, maybe you guys need to sit down and find a better balance. A balance for RIGHT NOW, not who owes who what. If she needs to move for health reasons, actively pursue that and involve her. That doesn't mean the only place to look, is where her bf lives.

After watching my brother go through an amicable divorce only to have things turn ugly with custody after she got remarried, I would STRONGLY advice not allowing your kids to move away from you and especially out of the country much less the state.
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  #58  
Old 03-06-2013, 08:20 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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I don't know. I'm starting to lean toward the "too uptight" hypothesis.

I need to loosen up, let some of this stuff roll off me.

For all I know, Vix and I will work everything out by the weekend and I'll have a girlfriend by the end of the month. Or not. Either way, I'll work out a way to be okay.

Can I hear an "Amen!"?
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  #59  
Old 03-07-2013, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
. . . I'll work out a way to be okay.

Can I hear an "Amen!"?
Amen!!!

There is more I want to say, here and in your other thread, but until I can formulate my thoughts, the above will have to do.
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  #60  
Old 03-07-2013, 11:21 AM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Amen!!!

There is more I want to say, here and in your other thread, but until I can formulate my thoughts, the above will have to do.
Indie,

How did I know you'd be the first to say "Amen!"?

Let me just add, "Hallelujah!"

HS
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