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  #821  
Old 05-02-2014, 05:37 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Re:
Quote:
"I have the propensity to love more than one, but I am finding that I hate it and wish it was not so."
There are those who regret the propensity to love even one. Love always comes with the risk of heartache -- tears in the fabric of an otherwise beautiful life.

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"I am not a polyamorist now. I am not polyamorous. Maybe in theory but not in practise. What label would fit that?"
Monogamous but poly-friendly. How's that?

It almost sounds like you need to forgive yourself for being poly-friendly -- or at least for letting poly go too far in the past. So I guess ...
  • you must let go of whatever pain you brought into your own heart,
  • you must learn to sympathize with your past/poly self,
  • you must do something nice for that part of you,
  • you must learn to trust yourself again.
What are a reasonable set of steps you can take to restore that trust? and what part of the four-step process do you think you're on?
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  #822  
Old 05-02-2014, 09:11 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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I honestly feel like I had an affair all those years. It sounds irrational because I was not doing it behind his back, but it is feeling all the same right now. What is the difference between what I did and having a long-term affair be revealed? I lost his trust and his respect. He wanted a divorce. I hurt him and caused him pain. I almost broke up my family. The aftermath was all the same. We had to rebuild. Maybe I need to resume therapy. I am not even sure how I got to the point of feeling like I had committed in plain sight adultery, but I might need to work from a new angle. Maybe it is not me feeling like I cheated on him but cheated him and myself out of something.

I like the steps you listed. I think I need to restore my trust in myself, learn to love who I am and what I have become, embrace my past, and learn how to not feel shame surrounding it. I foresee years of therapy in my life.

Last edited by FullofLove1052; 05-02-2014 at 09:14 PM.
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  #823  
Old 05-02-2014, 09:54 PM
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Well polyamory is generally assumed to be based on two important things: knowledge, and consent. If your partner knows what's going on but doesn't consent, then by definition you're not practicing (healthy) polyamory. If your partner consents but doesn't know what he's consenting to, then by definition you're, well, cheating.

In your case with Matt and Kensi, Matt had knowledge, but did he really consent? I think at first he did. But the nature of the relationship changed over time so that Matt didn't feel like he wanted to consent. So at that point you had lost one of the knowledge/consent pair-elements so essential to polyamory. If it had been the knowledge element you had lost, you definitely would have been in the cheating realm. Since it was the consent element you (arguably) lost, it's uncertain whether to call it cheating, but it certainly seems to have something important in common with cheating.

So if you see in your prior relationship with Kensi an affair, you aren't necessarily misconstruing your terminology. It was a type of an affair: the knowledge-but-no-consent kind.

It's okay to confess these things; I think it's part of the repentance process. But somewhere later on in the process, you'll still need to forgive yourself. Otherwise the process is incomplete.

I'm sure there will always be things to remind you of the past. When you remember the past, you also remember your regrets. Regret is a mourning process. It takes time and processing through steps to wash the poisons out of your system. There's getting the regret out of the main part of your mind and heart, and then there's scouring it out of the furthest recesses; the deepest parts of your subconscious.

Perhaps more therapy will be needed. I think you'll know if and when you need to sign up for some more of that again.
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  #824  
Old 05-02-2014, 09:59 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
  • you must let go of whatever pain you brought into your own heart,
  • you must learn to sympathize with your past/poly self,
  • you must do something nice for that part of you,
  • you must learn to trust yourself again.
I agree!

Be VERY careful about re-labeling the reality, this can be as destructive as pretending it didn't exist. When we re-label things, we set the focus in the wrong place and the real issues don't get addressed or fixed and later down the road, the pattern repeats itself. My husband does this and it drives me bat-shit crazy. He spends so much time focusing on what he thinks is the problem based on his new label, that he completely misses the mark and doesn't even see the original problem anymore, because he has convinced himself that it is this other thing. At which point I throw up my hands in frustration and defeat of ever getting a resolution.
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  #825  
Old 05-02-2014, 11:41 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Well polyamory is generally assumed to be based on two important things: knowledge, and consent. If your partner knows what's going on but doesn't consent, then by definition you're not practicing (healthy) polyamory. If your partner consents but doesn't know what he's consenting to, then by definition you're, well, cheating.
Tis true.

Quote:
In your case with Matt and Kensi, Matt had knowledge, but did he really consent? I think at first he did. But the nature of the relationship changed over time so that Matt didn't feel like he wanted to consent. So at that point you had lost one of the knowledge/consent pair-elements so essential to polyamory. If it had been the knowledge element you had lost, you definitely would have been in the cheating realm. Since it was the consent element you (arguably) lost, it's uncertain whether to call it cheating, but it certainly seems to have something important in common with cheating.
I am viewing it like...cheating equates to rules or boundaries being broken. The first analogy that comes to mind is using your hands while playing football. Using steroids in any sport is another. Sure, it gives the player a boost and makes them feel good, but it is wrong. Obviously both against the rules and such actions constitute cheating.

In our case, boundaries were given and asked to be respected. The consent was lost. What he was initially indifferent towards was her being in my life in the capacity that she was. His consent had stipulations. All parties agreed to them. She was never to be involved in our relationship, engagement, or subsequent marriage. It was to be compartmentalised and separate from our relationship. He was happy as long as she was not in his path and did not infringe on what we had going on. He kept his end of the arrangement by rarely having contact with her outside of being cordial. Paths never had to cross. He did not have to pretend to be friends with her. She was never to be part of raising our children. Any and all decisions regarding them were to be made by the two of us. He did not consent to them having a third parent or even being one of two co-primaries. He resisted and fought me with those two changes. He was clear about those things. In that aspect, consent was not given. He said that long before the "I" and "will's" were exchanged and repeated them as often as necessary. Consent was nonexistent then, so I feel like I need his consent now for the most trivial of things. He has the knowledge, but knowledge does not equal consent.

These wonderful cheating thoughts hit me earlier in the week. I tried to ignore them first, but my efforts failed miserably. The trigger was feeling like the friendships with my ex and Kensi were stepping on the line of emotional infidelity. I am getting closer to Kensi. That night I was at her home I felt the shift in the atmosphere. I actually wanted to kiss her. My brain immediately knew it was a red flag and quickly dispelled that thought. I felt wrong about getting caught up in the moment, and I could not wait to tell Matt. It if it feels wrong, it must have been wrong, or did it feel wrong because I do not trust myself or my judgement? Was there any reason for me to even tell him about private thoughts that were not even shared with her? Other than practising full disclosure.

The same applies to my best friend. He knows the love is mutual, and he trusts me not to mess up. My best friend has been working in the region and surrounding areas since March, and I just saw her for the first time last week. I was avoiding her because our friendship felt like it was bordering on inappropriate. We are not doing anything that we have never done before. It is strictly platonic--as she respects my wishes to not act on any available feelings, but I was feeling shady when it came to her.

Quote:
So if you see in your prior relationship with Kensi an affair, you aren't necessarily misconstruing your terminology. It was a type of an affair: the knowledge-but-no-consent kind.
Absolutely.

Quote:
It's okay to confess these things; I think it's part of the repentance process. But somewhere later on in the process, you'll still need to forgive yourself. Otherwise the process is incomplete.
I suppose I will have to forgive myself. First things first, I need to figure out what I need to forgive myself for and call it by name.

Quote:
I'm sure there will always be things to remind you of the past. When you remember the past, you also remember your regrets. Regret is a mourning process. It takes time and processing through steps to wash the poisons out of your system. There's getting the regret out of the main part of your mind and heart, and then there's scouring it out of the furthest recesses; the deepest parts of your subconscious.
You are a very wise man. Can I power wash my system and be done?

Quote:
Perhaps more therapy will be needed. I think you'll know if and when you need to sign up for some more of that again.
I think my desire to be the perfect, little mono wife has lead to me driving myself mad. I have become obsessed with honouring our marriage and not hurting him again. I am not doing anything wrong, but I believe I am because I do not have his consent to do it. He trusts me and my judgement at all times, but what about consent?

It might do us well to discuss boundaries, what constitutes cheating, what constitutes an emotional affair, what is crossing the line, etc. It is in writing in a legal document, but we have not sat down since Kensi rejoined my life.

I feel like I need Matt's consent and stipulations in order to feel comfortable being close with people I have feelings for. Maybe his trust should be enough. Maybe I need to learn how to trust myself. Subconsciously, I know what is wrong because I dispel any thoughts that would be destructive if I acted on them.

My therapist is going to love having me back in her office.
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  #826  
Old 05-03-2014, 12:03 AM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
I agree!

Be VERY careful about re-labeling the reality, this can be as destructive as pretending it didn't exist. When we re-label things, we set the focus in the wrong place and the real issues don't get addressed or fixed and later down the road, the pattern repeats itself. My husband does this and it drives me bat-shit crazy. He spends so much time focusing on what he thinks is the problem based on his new label, that he completely misses the mark and doesn't even see the original problem anymore, because he has convinced himself that it is this other thing. At which point I throw up my hands in frustration and defeat of ever getting a resolution.
I am trying to be cautious of that. It is frustrating for me because I have no idea what the real issues are at this moment. I think I need to do some investigating or just shelve this and deal with it later.

Matt was recounting everything I have done to reinvent myself (i.e. erase the past and pretend that it did not exist). Quite an extensive list. I had no idea how bad it was. Prime example. While at my ex's birthday dinner, I controlled how I was introduced. Ex-girlfriend was never mentioned. Old friend was sufficient. Despite not knowing any of them, I still felt like I needed to hide that past part of me.

I believe I quit therapy too soon. Our marriage is healthy and strong, but I am a hot piping emotional mess. My head and my heart are opposing forces. My heart is like, "Oh, I still have feelings for her," but my head is saying, "Do not put yourself in a position to do anything stupid."

Meanwhile, hubby dearest is trying to send me away for the weekend to de-stress. He has been trying to help me, but like you. He has thrown his arms up , shook his head, and laughed while walking away.
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  #827  
Old 05-04-2014, 06:47 PM
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Re (from FullofLove1052):
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"You are a very wise man. Can I power wash my system and be done?"
Haha ... sure you can but that costs extra. Get the deluxe wax job too as long as you're going all-out.

Re:
Quote:
"It might do us well to discuss boundaries, what constitutes cheating, what constitutes an emotional affair, what is crossing the line, etc."
Sounds like a good idea.

Re:
Quote:
"My therapist is going to love having me back in her office. "
Her cross to bear.

We can only do the best we can, right? Use your best judgment, and let your therapist help you to make good judgment calls.
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  #828  
Old 05-07-2014, 07:45 PM
FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Good morning. Happy Thursday. Last day of the work week. (!!!)

My mum and daddy have made it to 39 years of marriage as of yesterday (today for them), and I am looking at them in awe. 42 years together, 39 years of marriage, 3 adult children (two of whom are married), 1 teenager, a five year old, and six grandchildren. They have weathered some of the toughest times imaginable including but not limited to: losing a child shortly after birth (my sister's twin), burying parents and grandparents (both of my father's parents/mum's two stepfathers, her biological father and my great-grandmother--both in 2008), etc. Yet, they are still in love and with one another because they genuinely want to be. My mum said if she had to do any of it all over again, she would still choose my daddy--tough times and all.

As a small child, their relationship was the first relationship I saw day in and day out. I knew I wanted a bond like that. They have this admirable mutual respect for one another, and it is a breath of fresh air. I see the way my mum looks at my daddy when he is not paying attention. It is the look of love and admiration. I want to wish them the happiest anniversary, and I look up to them a great deal. I aspire to have what they have, and we might actually be on the right path now.

I wrote the following passages on 2 May 2013:

Quote:
It does not help that my own parents have been married five days shy of 38 years. We just hit the 11 year mark, and I swear that we have been doing it wrong the whole time. I am envious of what they have. I know it is not fair to compare my marriage to theirs, but that is something to aspire to have. I see the way they look at each other, and the way my daddy talks about mum is indescribable. After being together all these years, he still makes her blush. When I was growing up, I remember thinking, "I want that one day." My parents have always been honest and said that it was not always easy, but the bad times were worth it.

My mum urged me to take some time off and spend a week alone with my husband. Her exact words were, "Leave those grands with us, get out of London, and take that husband of yours with you. Talk, reconnect, and for God's sake, act like you care about your marriage. Stop treating it like a business arrangement devoid of any emotion and full of board room style arguments. Your marriage needs your undivided attention. Not a two minute chat while you are brushing your teeth and mumbling some incoherent words due to sleepiness." My mother always could humble the hell out of me and bring me back down to reality.
Last year, we were in the early months of recovery around their anniversary, so there were pangs of envy. Matt and I were taking shots at each other left and right. He was being a dick. No other way to put it. He was hell bent on making me feel what he felt. I cringe at some of things he said and his overall attitude towards me. For the first few months, I was no more than a roomie with benefits. I barely touched on it here, but he was something serious. At one point, he flat out told me he did not want to be around me, excused himself, and left. He was spending more time away from home--to avoid me--than anything else. 4-5 AM nights were his norm. If I asked where he was going, "Out," was his chosen response. If I asked when he would return, "Late," was the chosen response. He had more walls up than the Great Wall of China. When he was not doing that, he was reminding me how much I was gone or reiterating his part-time (read that as 20%) wife beliefs. I spent a lot of time being ignored or trying to get him to thaw out. Affection was unreturned, and he pulled away more often than not. It was too much to get a half-arse hug out of him on some days. No "I miss you," "I love you," or even words were exchanged. There were bright spots, but he would shut down with no warning and pretend like I did not exist.

I tried to be the person who never complained or showed cracks in my strength, but privately, I did some crying during that period. The bad part is he had hardened himself to the point of not feeling any empathy or even caring if I was crying. He went as far as to tell me, "Your tears aren't moving me, Princess." If anything that made me cry even more. It was terrible, and I was not used to his icy nature and overall coldness towards me. He was a stranger, and I just could not understand. He walked and talked like the man I had married, but there were no reminders of that person. The man I married would never have treated me the way he did. I had undergone mammograms and pap smears more pleasurable than being around him in those beginning weeks. I hope we never get back to the point. I must say those were our darkest hours.

Matt and I have been together a few days shy of 14 years in totality. 14 years as of 11 May, and I feel like we have been through some tough things. They are rather minor when you compare them to what my parents have overcome. We are soft as cotton and need to toughen up. We have been married 12 years, and honestly, this past year is how I wish all the others had been. I actually believe this marriage will last now. Considering divorce was a real possibility this time last year, it is a stark contrast. Lord knows we have come a long way. Will we make it to 39 years like my mum and my daddy? I certainly hope so.

My mum might be on to something with what she said: "Never put anyone but God before your marriage and spouse. That includes your children. Friends will come and go. You won't always be working. You won't always be who you are now. Your marriage is an investment. Protect it from anything and any person not in it." I now understand what she means. I originally believed in the notion that the marriage needs to be before the children and by proxy, additional partners. I let go of that believing it was "couple's privilege" (complete and utter bullshit), and it was a mistake. When all the children leave home, a couple only has whatever they have built. They have the second half of their lives to live minor child-free, and the relationship has to be taken care of all the time. A career, children, taking care of elderly parents, etc. are not excuses for neglecting the core. My mum says that her and my daddy are the best of friends and companions before anything else. They put their marriage before us because when we are all off living our lives and blazing on our trails, they will be there together, and they have to make it last. A marriage cannot be built with the children as the centre and the only conservational piece. That is not to say that if we were ill, she would go on a date with my daddy and leave us to fend for ourselves. It was never like that, but now I get what she means. We are in agreement that we need our marriage to be healthy and happy because we have three little duckies who are looking up to our example--just as we looked up to our parents as children.

I am in a blissful mood, and I will not let anyone steal my joy. I hope everyone has a superb morning, afternoon, or evening.

Last edited by FullofLove1052; 05-07-2014 at 10:26 PM.
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  #829  
Old 05-07-2014, 09:36 PM
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Glad to hear that your ship is now sailing in the direction of your parents' marriage.
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  #830  
Old 05-08-2014, 12:08 AM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Default Beautiful.

I find such inspiration in your honesty, and your ability to reflect on such a painful time. I have so much respect for both you and Matt for finding your way through the jungle of hurt that you were both in. You have come so far, and your marriage is a testament to what true commitment contains. I wish that my own story had experienced this same re-centering and re-commitment, but we are all on different paths. You are incredibly brave, and I take my hat off to both you and Matt.
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