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  #61  
Old 11-04-2013, 02:03 PM
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YouAreHere YouAreHere is offline
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Originally Posted by FullofLove1052 View Post
He has made the choice to maintain both relationships, so he should suck it up, cope, deal with it, work on his shit, do something different, or read a self-help book.
To be fair, my adding that moment in was to illustrate that his emotions were running pretty high, too. He said what he did, then he went off to process before he ran his mouth. When emotions aren't running high, he's the first to admit that he's here by choice and he's not complaining - whether it's the added commute when he comes home to me (and the gas prices that go along with it), or the added work when it comes to having an LTR with someone who isn't poly. He wants to be here, and he wants to keep putting in the work. As do I.

Things got a bit escalated that night, however.

This weekend, though, was a really, really good one.

One of the issues we've been dealing with isn't a "poly problem" at all - it's basically the conundrum of integrating our lives, especially where it relates to him and my kids. He doesn't want a stepparent role (and they're old enough where they don't want that, either - their dad lives two miles up the road; they don't want or need another one), but then, what "role" does he have in the house when they're around? What relationship is there between him and my kids?

The kids don't grok the whole "P has two homes" thing. He has a place down south, so to them, that's his home. In their minds, he's a guest here. Mom's boyfriend is spending the day.

My oldest daughter usually keeps him at arms' length. She's 12, almost 13, so that's to be expected anyway, I think, but she's never really loosened up around him. My youngest opened up a while ago, and likes him.

So this weekend seemed like an interesting turning point.

A bit of backstory: my ex-husband is verrrrrry judgmental about alcohol use. To the point where, one night when we were all meeting up for a local minor-league ballgame together (I drove in separately from work and met them there), we met at one of the local brewpubs for dinner before the game. I ordered a 20-oz beer. My ex looked at me and went, "Well, I'm glad we have two cars so YOU don't have to drive the kids home."

Had to go into the science behind it and point out that one 20-oz beer three hours before driving home (with a meal in my belly) was NOT going to mean I was driving drunk, but the seeds are planted in the kids that any alcohol intake = bad / death on the roads.

I hate teaching the kids binary extremes, because when they grow up and realize it's bullshit, they have no yardstick for measuring what *is* reasonable or not. And they tend to wonder if *everything* you've said is bullshit. But I digress.

This weekend, we went out for dinner (I was DYING for Lebanese food), and ordered a beer with dinner. My oldest pointed out that I shouldn't be having a beer if I'm driving home, which led to a really good discussion about the science behind it, how having a drink with dinner doesn't make one an alcoholic, and how we all understand and work within our limits (and how, if we make the choice not to, we also make sure we're not going anywhere and are safe at home). How we learned our limits by making dumb decisions and learning from them, and how everyone goes through that. Even me. Even P. Even their dad.

My youngest is still a bit of a worrier and wants the reassurance that I'm not an alcoholic (sigh), but my oldest seemed to appreciate and enjoy being spoken to like an adult. After that conversation, she seemed to open up to P, including him in conversations ("Hey P, look at this...") when she never did before, etc. The change was abrupt and really very cool to watch.

There are other things going on, too - I seem to be the only one working on enforcing general respectful behavior with them (saying "hello" or "goodbye", for example, rather than totally ignoring people, not backtalking, that type of thing), and that all kind of gelled this weekend. The kids were happy, we were all happy, and while I'm not expecting it to suddenly go this well all the time, it was a nice thing to have happen.

P didn't feel like he had to step out to give me time with the kids. We were all together, and it felt normal and relaxing. And fun.

As an aside, playing "Apples to Apples" with a house rule of "you don't get to look at your cards before you put them down" is a HELL of a fun time.

So, yeah. Good weekend. The roller coaster is getting out of the trough. Yay that.
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Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids, two cats, one house with many projects.
Chops (previously 'P'): My partner of ~3 years. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena (previously M1): Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa (previously AG): Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

My navel-gazing blog thread:
A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")
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  #62  
Old 11-04-2013, 02:34 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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His initial emotional reaction basically was a modified "why isn't anything I do for you enough". And yes, he does go through hell trying to maintain both relationships. I understand that.
I have to agree with FOL. He chose this. And this, to me, is exactly why poly is not a good idea. At least, or especially, if you want a relationship with someone who is otherwise single.

I get this, too, from BF: I give and give and give, and nothing I do is good enough for you.

Well, yes, he's made great sacrifices and changes to his lifestyle, that's true. And yet he still expects that a half-time relationship should leave me completely HAPPY at all times. Sorry, but I'm still left to fend for myself, as you are, when the hard stuff hits.

I have some of the same home issues you do (generally speaking) and you know what, I'm not going to apologize for saying it feels like a slap in the face when I'm about collapsing under the weight of home repairs, children, two jobs, and trying to downsize the house so I can focus on my business, wondering how I'm going to manage everything and he simply isn't there and isn't going to be. (Bonus points when he tells me how he worries how his wife will manage if anything happens to him. Uh, I guess she'll have to do what he takes for granted I do: get out of bed in the morning and work. )

The fact is, no matter how much he's given up for this, he's still only giving me half a relationship, half the time, and absolutely none of the things one would eventually expect from a relationship. I think it's emotional blackmail to complain that giving me (or you or anyone) only half time is supposed to be good enough.
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  #63  
Old 11-04-2013, 02:36 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Maybe your children just were not sure how to react to him because he does not have a specific role in their lives. Nothing is cut and dry with children. He is just the man their mum is dating and someone they see however often. Too distant to be a friend but not close enough to warrant a parental figure role in their lives. Odd place to be. As long as they are being respectful and at least cordial, just leave it suspended in midair. Some things are best left alone. Maybe once they are older or more used to him, they will become friends. 12 year old's are funny little beings. I dread the pre-teen and teen years.

It sounds like the wrinkles have been ironed out for now, and I am glad you guys enjoyed your weekend.
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  #64  
Old 11-04-2013, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by FullofLove1052 View Post
Maybe your children just were not sure how to react to him because he does not have a specific role in their lives. Nothing is cut and dry with children. He is just the man their mum is dating and someone they see however often. Too distant to be a friend but not close enough to warrant a parental figure role in their lives. Odd place to be. As long as they are being respectful and at least cordial, just leave it suspended in midair. Some things are best left alone. Maybe once they are older or more used to him, they will become friends. 12 year old's are funny little beings. I dread the pre-teen and teen years.

It sounds like the wrinkles have been ironed out for now, and I am glad you guys enjoyed your weekend.
And that's kind of what we've done. We haven't really had any particular discussion with the kids, other than telling them both a while back that he's not trying to be another dad to them, and that I'm just asking they respect him as an adult in this house. It was nice to see my oldest and P enjoy a conversation, and see her open up.

I would eventually like to have that talk that, yes, this is his home too, but it's not a burning need, and maybe over time, they'll understand that at some level anyway.

Part of the whole "being respectful to people" thing was getting to him in the past - my oldest would rarely acknowledge his presence at all, and that stings. I kept my eyes open and realized that she does this in many situations - I had to get her butt back in her aunt's house after Easter dinner because she'd left and gotten in the car without saying goodbye to ANYONE. So I work on it in a more general form than "P wants you to say hello to him", which I feel would drive a bit more of a wedge between them.

My oldest daughter went out fundraising for her dance company this weekend, and I made a point to mention it there as well, "Please remember to say 'thank you' so they can hear it." She was friendly, and loud enough to be heard, and it was nice to see her own it.

So, it's a combination of things, but it did gel this weekend, and it made for a really nice time.
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Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids, two cats, one house with many projects.
Chops (previously 'P'): My partner of ~3 years. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena (previously M1): Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa (previously AG): Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

My navel-gazing blog thread:
A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")
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  #65  
Old 11-04-2013, 02:56 PM
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I have to agree with FOL. He chose this. And this, to me, is exactly why poly is not a good idea. At least, or especially, if you want a relationship with someone who is otherwise single.

I get this, too, from BF: I give and give and give, and nothing I do is good enough for you.

Well, yes, he's made great sacrifices and changes to his lifestyle, that's true. And yet he still expects that a half-time relationship should leave me completely HAPPY at all times. Sorry, but I'm still left to fend for myself, as you are, when the hard stuff hits.
Part of our talk after the emotions died down was basically to say that yes, while I value being independent, there is this part of me that feels like I'm left to fend for myself when things get overwhelming, and that this part of me is going to keep jumping up and yelling (evidently) until I get the experience with whatever it is that's causing the problem.

He wants to swoop in and "save" me, but also holds back because he wants me to gain that independence (and not need him to get the wood stove going every damn day). It's a funny balance, and sometimes it swings way out of whack on both sides.

FWIW, I got a system now for the wood stove. And I got it before he came home to help. Yay me.

P doesn't expect me to be happy at all times, and has said in the past that if it's not enough, he needs to know - needs me to be honest with him - so that we can figure out where to go from there.

Personally, I'm also working on finding more friends of my own in the area - I spent so long in a marriage where the area in which we lived, the family we hung out with, the friends we shared, were all HIS. I need something of MINE now. Signed up on a couple groups on Meetup.com (woodworking, photography, and "makers" - should be fun if I can ever make the meetings ).

And like I said, he really doesn't use this argument much, and just blurted it out when the emotions ran high. I think he doesn't know what to do sometimes (when it comes to the family thing - does he reject his sister and niece because the time they can make it doesn't jive with the time I can make it). It's not an easy decision, and with all my emotional "why's", he didn't know what to do in the thick of it.

We do talk more later, and we do try to use those experiences to find a way we can better work through it the next time. And then the next time after that, if we still dork it up.
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Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids, two cats, one house with many projects.
Chops (previously 'P'): My partner of ~3 years. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena (previously M1): Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa (previously AG): Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

My navel-gazing blog thread:
A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")
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  #66  
Old 11-06-2013, 03:25 PM
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I hate teaching the kids binary extremes, because when they grow up and realize it's bullshit, they have no yardstick for measuring what *is* reasonable or not. And they tend to wonder if *everything* you've said is bullshit. But I digress.
One of my favorite phrases is "it's the dose, not the poison."

There's all kinds of things that if you have a little (relative) there's no harm. If you have a lot (relative), you're toast.

It's so hard to get across though with the fear monger society we have though.
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  #67  
Old 11-06-2013, 09:46 PM
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One of my favorite phrases is "it's the dose, not the poison."

There's all kinds of things that if you have a little (relative) there's no harm. If you have a lot (relative), you're toast.

It's so hard to get across though with the fear monger society we have though.
Agreed. I made the mistake of telling my ex that I have no problem with the kids getting hurt from time to time and learning from it. Good lord, you'd have thought I was an abusive mother from the way he carried on... How could I dooooooooo that to my own children?

Seriously? We learn from our mistakes. We learn our limits by pushing them (and going beyond them). If we don't make mistakes, or challenge things from time to time, how do we learn anything?

Then again, I was always told that nothing's ever good enough for me, simply because I feel that, as human beings, if we don't keep learning and doing, we get stagnant. Apparently, I was supposed to be happy stagnant. Who knew?

Ah well. Not trying to trash the ex here, but with philosophies so widely different, I'm surprised we were together as long as we were (married 17 years, together 22).

We'll see how things go as my youngest gets out of thinking in absolutes. You can see the gears turning in my oldest's head, and it's interesting (and nice!) to see her process things on her own. I'm looking forward to seeing them grow up into the women they'll be.

Oh, and as for the fear-mongering, my local PTA group had the market cornered. Swingsets that had been in the ground for decades? Dangerous. Why? The exposed steel wasn't coated and there was a bit of rust on them.

Wha??
Nothing a little sandblasting couldn't fix... and it's not like there's anything wrong with licking a pole and getting a bit of iron in your diet.

No more big slides. Nobody rides a bike anymore, and God forbid you let your child outside ("Um, I think there's ticks in there... you shouldn't let her play there."). What have we become?
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Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids, two cats, one house with many projects.
Chops (previously 'P'): My partner of ~3 years. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena (previously M1): Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa (previously AG): Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

My navel-gazing blog thread:
A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")

Last edited by YouAreHere; 11-06-2013 at 09:51 PM. Reason: Fear-mongering - save the children!!!
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  #68  
Old 11-10-2013, 07:56 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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So now I get to figure out when to have THIS talk with him, without ruining our own dinner tonight. These heavy talks are really getting to be a drag... I'm getting back to the point where we're doing more talking about our relationship than actually enjoying it. Boo.
I wonder how much of this is because of the time of the year? Since there's so many family things that happen over the next few months, it's a time that a lot of people have a lot of really heavy conversations, trying to figure out how their non-traditional life can fit into the more traditional lives of the people around them. I know last year I had a lot of heavy conversations at this time of the year, I came out to my family so my ex-boyfriend could go to Thanksgiving dinner with me and my husband at my sister's house instead of being by himself. So there were heavy conversations with my husband and one with my mom, on top of feeling marginalized by most of my siblings, since the best reaction was "we love you anyway" and the worst ones were the ones that wouldn't even talk to me about it but told my mom all about how I disrespected (I brought my boyfriend, as a friend, to my sister-in-law's father's funeral luncheon, because I wanted to support her but he was at my house fixing things and it seemed rude to leave him there as I ran off again. We didn't even touch.). My husband felt incredibly envious, because his girlfriend is married and has her own family things to do on holidays, so this opportunity would never present itself for him. My mom as amazingly supportive, but it was still a difficult conversation.

I think this time of year is just more fraught with emotional situations anyway, since we're all trying to make everything live up to the perfect vision we have in our head and it's never going to.
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  #69  
Old 11-11-2013, 01:43 PM
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The holidays can definitely be stressful, and I know that's part of it. Trying to see everyone I'd like to see (regardless of the day) is difficult. For Samhain dinner, the tradition was that it be on that night, so the family dinner wasn't moving. I understood that the folks with the little one wouldn't be able to stay, but when it's difficult to find time to see his family (especially when he says he sees them enough), it's emotionally difficult to see plans made that I really have to jump through hoops to make, just in the hope that someone will stick around.

But his mom and his son did, so I was happy about that.

Thanksgiving and Christmas, we're a bit more flexible on - I'm used to spending the holiday on an "off day" with my family (usually the weekend before or after Christmas, and the weekend after Thanksgiving). This year, we're doing an early Thanksgiving (and double birthday party) with my family next weekend (eek!), so we can knock off a couple celebrations without having to go mental.

Thanksgiving itself, I'll do the normal early morning turkey trot I do with the kids every year, then bring them to my ex's mom's house for the traditional dinner there. I'll say my hello's, then head down to P's sister's house for dinner with them. Busy, but good.

P's mom has offered up a Yule celebration at her place, since Christmas Eve was getting out of hand.

Christmas itself is going to be up in the air, due to my mom's health - she's done with chemo (yay!), has an Oncologist appt this Friday, and we will determine when her surgery (and subsequent radiation) is then. The kids spend the day at their aunt's house, so I will "do up" Christmas Eve with them and we'll spend some good non-chaotic time together then.

On a side note, it just seems insane that, the day after Halloween, BAM, the Christmas decorations and songs are out in full force. I did start shopping (because I was LATE last year), but jeez... Christmas season really doesn't begin for me until Santa crosses Herald Square - KWIM? Stuffing sandwiches late at night are a great lead-in to Christmas shopping on Black Friday.

(Not that I do that anymore, except for online shopping, but still... mmm... stuffing sammiches...)
__________________
Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids, two cats, one house with many projects.
Chops (previously 'P'): My partner of ~3 years. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena (previously M1): Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa (previously AG): Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

My navel-gazing blog thread:
A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")
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  #70  
Old 11-11-2013, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Hannahfluke View Post
I came out to my family so my ex-boyfriend could go to Thanksgiving dinner with me and my husband at my sister's house instead of being by himself. So there were heavy conversations with my husband and one with my mom, on top of feeling marginalized by most of my siblings, since the best reaction was "we love you anyway" and the worst ones were the ones that wouldn't even talk to me about it but told my mom all about how I disrespected.
Ugh. Nothing like adding stress on top of stress. Have things improved with your family?
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Dramatis personae:
Me: Mono. Divorced, two kids, two cats, one house with many projects.
Chops (previously 'P'): My partner of ~3 years. Poly. In relationships with me, Xena, and Noa.
Xena (previously M1): Poly. In relationships with Chops and Noa, and dating others.
Noa (previously AG): Married, Poly. In relationships with Chops and Xena (individually).

My navel-gazing blog thread:
A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")
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