Rebuilding: Has taking a break from outside relationships worked for you?
I'm hoping for some advice from those who have gone down this path.
My husband (Twitch) and I are struggling. A little back history: we've been together for nearly 15 years, we opened our relationship up 16 months ago, we were married last October. The majority of our history has been rather mediocre, but nearly three years ago we did a major overhaul which breathed new life into it. We delved into BDSM, explored D/s, S/M, found a wonderful group of friends to socialize with, and in the process a marriage proposal/ultimatum was issued/accepted. Nine to six months before the wedding I was trying to come to terms with getting married (been there once before) and one of the things I thought might be a godsend was opening our relationship up. I proposed the idea, he shot it down, I backtracked. He spent a considerable amount of time pondering it. We had a foursome with a couple (m/f) that was poly. He reconsidered things, we opened our relationship, he started dating the lady (Shasti).
I started therapy in June. In late July after having some profound discussions with Twitch I fell in love with him deeper than I have ever been in love with anyone before in my life. Wow, totally in. No holds barred. And he started falling in love with Shasti.
End of July/early August Twitch went to see Shasti that I had a total panic attack. I had never experienced anything like this before in my life. I needed him and he wouldn't pick up his phone. I had no idea how to reach him. I didn't know her address, her contact information, and evidently his phone was not on or wasn't close enough for him to hear. The next day when he finally called me he just didn't get that I needed him to come home. I needed him desperately. He didn't come. My trust was shattered.
I asked him to take a break from seeing her to give me time. Our wedding was just around the corner (10/12) and there was so much stress from that alone on top of all of the other life stress (youngest child left for college, dealing with loneliness, fiance's attention elsewhere, fiance gone for work majority of work week, off to gf's in two day stints several times a month.) I just wanted to feel loved and secure going into this marriage/wedding. He wouldn't do it. He didn't see the point and how it could change anything.
This year has been the hardest year of my life. Every visit he makes to Shasti is a stab to my soul. Sometimes I deal with it very well, sometimes not so well. Having it on the calendar in advance helps.
In May, I was finally to the point where I thought everything would be right again. I was to the point where I could accept that he meant it just as much when he told me he loved me as when he told Shasti he loved her. That I was doing him (and me) a disservice when internally I added qualifiers to what he was saying. That if he could tell me once again the message he was telling me the previous fall, that he was happy I was his wife, that I was his chosen one, that he loved me...that I could take it in and believe his words and still the fears. I was at the point where I could feel secure in things again. He told me he couldn't do that. That his feelings for me had changed. He wasn't sure what he felt anymore. That was on my birthday.
This has been a summer of trying to learn how to live without being loved. How to be okay with going it alone. Of letting go, or rather attempting to let go. I love him so much and this just flays me to the core.
He's not making plans to exit our marriage, and is asking for time. I suspect that his taking on the role of accepting the blame (even though I try very hard to not use shaming/blaming language) got to be too much and he has just exited the relationship. He has agreed to start seeing a therapist. He is totally risk adverse and will avoid conflict at all costs. I am hopeful that he finds via therapy that he isn't always the one in the wrong and that he learns why he feels so threatened by things and flees rather than tackle the situation. Whether we survive this or not, these are things that will affect his relationships until he develops better tools.
Once again we discussed taking a break from outside relationships. He doesn't see the point. IMO, taking a break a year ago would have made a HUGE difference. Taking one now, may make a difference, if he can do it without feeling resentful. I think it would help to not have outside distractions. But I'm not sure if it's possible seeing as he is now head over heels in love with Shasti. The two of them click very well, as you'd expect when NRE is in full bloom.
Opinions? Breaks can be useful? Breaks don't really work? A break at this point in time would/wouldn't work?
Petunia: 48 year old, straight, cisgender female married to Twitch
Twitch: 41 year old straight cisgender male
Shasti: Twitch's 41 year old straight cisgender girlfriend