Polyamory.com Forum  

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

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-05-2013, 04:54 PM
Petunia Petunia is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Talula
Posts: 104
Question Rebuilding: Has taking a break from outside relationships worked for you?

Hi All,

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: 49 year old, straight, cisgender female divorced from Twitch
Twitch: 42 year old straight cisgender male
Shasti: Twitch's 42 year old straight cisgender girlfriend
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-05-2013, 05:10 PM
herstory herstory is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oregon
Posts: 26
Default Hugs

I'm new to poly stuff so I can't offer solid advice. But I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling in that relationship and that you aren't getting the security you need from him.

From some of the other threads I've read it seems that taking a break from other relationships may not help, especially if he's not onboard with the idea.

It may help if you try to address the personal issues directly. It sounds like you needed to know he was still there for you even though he as with someone else. I totally get that.

If he decides that he wants to work things out in your relationship, maybe set up some expectations like what's considered an emergency, how can I contact you if it's an emergency, etc. And then maybe you could think of support people you can call or visit when he's with other partners and you are feeling worried but it's not an emergency.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-05-2013, 05:58 PM
Marcus's Avatar
Marcus Marcus is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 1,308
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
Opinions? Breaks can be useful? Breaks don't really work? A break at this point in time would/wouldn't work?
I do think that a break from relationships can be healthy. However, I think the relationship with the problem is the one that needs a break.

Which one of these concepts makes more sense:

"This kind of sucks, I am going to stop doing it for a while"
"This kind of sucks, I am going to stop doing other things that I enjoy"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
He was probably having a good time and didn't want to answer the phone.

What trust was shattered? I mean, did you "trust" that he would always drop what he was doing (no matter how awesome it was) to come coddle your panic attack? Do you have panic attacks often and has he proven in the past that he finds them to be his utmost priority?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
I think he made the right call. These issues you are listing are all your responsibility and there isn't much he could do about it. Your security is determined by you, not by the illusion of commitment brought on by a marriage contract, a coddling partner, an obedient partner, or anything but *you*. If you don't feel good enough or important enough that is something you need to work on.

It sounds like you are in therapy, which is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
Love and dependency tend to look a lot alike. What you are describing is more of an obsessive dependency than anything resembling love. Putting this much pressure on someone isn't a very loving thing to do; it makes sense that he needs some time off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
It's good to hope for the best for someone we care for. However, you've got your own therapy to deal with so I wouldn't worry so much about his progress. Focus on dealing with your own issues; I'm sure he can handle his own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
There is no way that his "pausing" his relationship with Shasti will do anything but breed seething resentment for you. I hope that you decide to drop that thought process entirely and get on with dealing with your own shit.
__________________
Independent (Anarchist) Non-Monogamy

Me: male, 40, straight, single
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-05-2013, 06:26 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,279
Default

hi petunia ...sorry things aren't going well.

The concept of "The Break " is a confusing one. To rebuild ...implies something got broken along the way ...if so why wasn't it addressed and dealt with then. Most cases it was addressed, ...discussed ... but those concerns were dismissed or better yet ignored.
To work on communication ....why cant that happen right a way. Why the need for the break.
To refocus time and attention ...wasnt that all negotiated in the first place. Everyone like the way it is ..example ( "hell you made the schedule" )
To help an insecure partner with his or her feeling .... But everyone's responsible for their own feeling ....the partner or others can't make them feel anything so why punish the group.

So now everything comes to a halt ( all other partners get put on the shelve ) to do what ? Spend more time ...say loving things ...to do spontaneous loving things?

My question is that organic? I'm sure it could be but if we're in the mandatory time out period and I got this hot lover on the other side of the wall ....what dumb ass isnt going to go out of his way to do whats "expected" ...calm things down. Bring some flowers ...fold the cloths ...give a back rub ...whatever the love language his partner is. WOULD that work ? If so why not just do that ?

What's your goal in having the break ...hoping he falls back "in love " with you ? ...getting more attention, etc



And what about the fairness to the other partners ?

What about the concept we created this disconnect while poly we should fix it being poly.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-05-2013, 06:43 PM
Dagferi's Avatar
Dagferi Dagferi is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,103
Default

Honestly I think you and your husband need to take a break. Almost sounds like you want to punish him because you are insecure and miserable.

I am not going to rehash what others have said better than I can.

My husband and I are at a crossroads ourselves . He like you wants to work it out. Me I am tired of dealing with it. I have spoken my wants needs and boundaries until I am blue in the face. He has never respected that and has trampled over agreements over and over. He denies doing so. Lucky for him he hasn't made the request that I take a break from my bf. My bf is the one good thing I have to look forward to. He brings me peace and is my rock. If my husband made the demand you're thinking of making my husband would be gone. I am not going to throw away 17months of happiness for someone who is a source of stress.
__________________
40 yo straight female
Married in the eyes of the government to Butch since 2001...
Murf my monogamous second husband has been with me since May of 2012.
In a V relationship with an average 60/40 split of time. Only due to Murf's and Butch's crappy work schedules.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:28 PM
LovingRadiance's Avatar
LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,438
Default

I'm going to answer the title.

I don't see how this can work. If a problem exists in a relationship-then THAT problem in THAT relationship needs addressed.

When my DH and I were having issues-WE separated, he got his own apartment and we reverted back to dating each other with specified times and availability. We did counseling, we worked on OUR issues.
But taking a break from my relationship with GG because DH and I were having issues? No.
__________________
"Love As Thou Wilt"
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-05-2013, 07:48 PM
Petunia Petunia is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Talula
Posts: 104
Default

Thanks for the feedback. I can see where a break might not work well at all, so thank you for that. dingedheart, you're points were very helpful.

I do feel quite defensive about some of the comments people have posted. Things were discussed as we went. There were many instances of him not honoring agreements/boundaries, not that we have many boundaries.

I will not be made to feel shameful to want to preserve a relationship that has brought a lot of joy and love and stability into both of our lives. I am not a harpy. I am not insensitive. I am very easy to live with. I'm not some two-headed monster that is selfish and self-serving.

You know, there is a cardinal rule in opening a relationship to move at the pace of the one struggling. Until I had that panic attack, I'd NEVER experienced anything like it. I'd never gone down that road. At time, asking him to pause things for six weeks until we were past the stress of our upcoming wedding was NOT an unreasonable thing to ask. We were so busy trying to get everything done that him being gone was a real burden on me. Not pausing things was incredibly harmful in that my trust was broken. I no longer believed he'd be there for me if I needed him. That what was supposed to be a primary relationship wasn't actually primary.

As far as not being concerned with what he gets out of therapy...wtf! I do have the right to hope that he feels some relief and that he has a positive outcome from it that will help him down the road whether that is with me or not. I have the RIGHT to want good things for him.

I have been trying to separate the love from dependency. I have stepped back from the D/s as it has totally messed up my autonomy. I put myself through all sorts of hell learning to be less independent, more compliant, more accepting of someone else controlling my life, just to be cut loose with no interest in my well-being.
__________________
Petunia: 49 year old, straight, cisgender female divorced from Twitch
Twitch: 42 year old straight cisgender male
Shasti: Twitch's 42 year old straight cisgender girlfriend
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-05-2013, 08:22 PM
WhatToDo WhatToDo is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 120
Default

I think it is an unreasonable thing to ask him take a step back from someone according to you that he is in love with. It's to late to pump the breaks at this point in my opinion. You were fine with them getting to this point in their relationship but now that they're there it's too much for you? So now you want two people to put their feelings on hold because you're struggling? And from what you've written it seems like you still get treated like the primary relationship if they're only together a couple of times a week.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-05-2013, 08:26 PM
Flowerchild Flowerchild is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 145
Default Hold on, please

I understand you feel defensive, but these people are trying to help you. Your tone in the post, granted that's not you, that's just a specific instance of yourself, comes across as very dependent, nervous, insecure. Please understand that. No one here knows the details, they just know a bit of what you share.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
Again, shattered? Not knowing what was going on, not knowing his side, it could have played like this (from his perspective). He leaves for the first time, or the first time where's he's gone overnight, or any significant amount of time. He gets panicked voicemails, calls, texts from you...and feels pressured and guilted and wants to avoid you. Your "trust" is broken, and he comes back and is made to feel guilty for something you both said was okay at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
Regardless of the situation, taking a "break" may seem impossible to someone who loves more than one person. How do you stop seeing them, stop being involved with them? He may not have understood how to accommodate your request, despite loving you fully. If he couldn't figure out how to vocalize that complexity, he may have simply said, "No," as a sort of defensive measure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
If it's truly that painful to you, he surely sees that. But instead of bringing him back to you, your insecurity is likely pushing him away. What he probably wants is to love both of you; the worse you make him feel about himself, and the worse you "punish" him, however you may or may not do so, the more that will drive him to her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
Again, you're asking him to say you're his one and only, his "chosen," etc, and if he feels strongly about this other woman, he may not feel he can honestly tell you what you really want to hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petunia View Post
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.
Learning to live without being loved? You've shown nothing here that "proves" he doesn't love you; only that he can no longer love JUST you. Asking him to take a break from her WILL cause resentment, and why do you need that? Part of being poly is understanding that each individual relationship btw people (you and her, him and you, him and her) needs to feel secure in itself. Problems with feeling that you have "enough" love and time can be spurred by a partner spending time at work, at a hobby, with outside friends....this relationship just happens to have a romantic aspect to it.

I'd say, if you truly don't feel poly works for you, a monogamous relationship may be better (clearly your husband is poly, or he would simply have left you for her, but he's trying very hard to make his relationship with you work, going to counseling, for example). If this relationship has brought you the happiness you say it has, working on it may be worth it.

But don't think a temporary break from his other love will help anything. Going at the pace of the slowest is one thing....but Shasti is a real person with actual feelings. You can't ask him to discard that, no matter for how short a time.

Why don't you try getting to know her?

Last edited by Flowerchild; 09-05-2013 at 08:30 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-05-2013, 08:39 PM
Petunia Petunia is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Talula
Posts: 104
Default

1.) I conceded in the previous post that taking a break is not a viable idea.
2.) We are losing what we had. It's painful. I am looking for ways to fix things.

I think I may have come off really bad in this post. All I can say is that my therapist (who is poly) is always impressed with how hard I work on issues, how I don't cut myself a lot of slack, own my own shit, etc. I'm not perfect. I'm not trying to say that. I'm human. I'm struggling. She has briefly met my husband (one session) and she's been a part of my processing for over a year now. In things that have come up she's questioned if something happened during his teens to have emotionally stunted him in that period of his life.

I'm also deeply in love with my husband. This is incredibly painful.
__________________
Petunia: 49 year old, straight, cisgender female divorced from Twitch
Twitch: 42 year old straight cisgender male
Shasti: Twitch's 42 year old straight cisgender girlfriend
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
breaks

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 03:38 AM.