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Old 06-21-2010, 09:23 PM
joyfulgirl26 joyfulgirl26 is offline
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omg, this thing is so huge and detailed, i don't even know where to start. i think i'll just lay out facts and then say where i'm sitting right now and see if anyone has any thoughts. i don't know if i'm looking for advice, per se (although if someone has some great advice i'll certainly listen), maybe just some sympathy or empathy.

joyful - me: 28
bi since forever
poly in thought forever (and sometimes in action, i encouraged my boyfriends in mono relationships to "go have fun" and had a great open relationship with a female roommate throughout college)
first poly-in-name relationship with my husband, we never closed off our relationship and made "agreements" 2 years in
hubby and i have been together 5 and married for 2.5
boyfriend and i have been together for 1 year
raised catholic, catholic family, currently atheist with a yoga/buddhist slant
not out to parents/gparents
out to siblings, most friends and friendly coworkers

perm - husband: 35
straight
poly in thought since i came along
raised methodist, EXTREMELY religious and conservative family
emotionally/physically abused by his father growing up
sexually abused by a caretaker at ~5
not out to anyone he knew before i came along

cue - boyfriend: 40
straight
poly to some degree for ~15 years (started out with BDSM play, evolved to more serious poly relationships)
has been with L for 5 years (last weekend, yay!), engaged for 1 year
clinically depressed (mostly under control w/exercise)
out to anyone who is interested, but a private person

L - cue's fiancee and my...something: 37
homoflexible (yay fetlife!)
poly in thought since cue came along
has had some jealousy/security issues, but she and i communicate RIDICULOUSLY well and we have helped each other through a ton of stuff in the last year
she and i fooled around a little on new years, then she went to school for 5 months and we talked via letters/email...we hooked up once when she returned in may
recovered alcoholic
out to anyone who is interested, but is a private person


so that's the basic picture. there are tons more details but that should give you general ideas of what we're all about.

long story short, while L was away at school, cue became pretty integrated into our lives. perm had a girlfriend who was living with us at the time. our marriage got off track for a number of reasons. one being that i didn't initiate intimacy and 1 on 1 time enough and got wrapped up in the shiny of cue (assuming, incorrectly, that perm was wrapped up with shiny too). another being that perm had/has trouble speaking up (or even identifying) when he needs something and it comes back later and bites us in the ass.

perm has since broken up with girlfriend (they dated for ~6 months total), had a series of flings (and he broke our "condoms unless discussed" agreement 3 freaking times), and dated a (really awesome) chick for about a month before breaking it off with her about a month ago.

so throughout my relationship with cue, which has admittedly been very intense, there have been a series of "enough!" discussions with perm: regarding time/money spent with cue, lack of intimacy in our marriage, etc. each time i was quick to accept responsibility, work with perm to determine a positive way forward, and keep cue in the loop so he could know what needed to change and why. the problem is that a lot of these things (especially the time) happen because perm is unable to express to me when he needs time. he was always quick to say "yep, go have fun!" and then 3 weeks later, blow up at me about it. i suggested non-verbal "red!" signals, counseling, weekly check-ins...i mean, anything to make him feel like he could talk to me. anyway, that happened maybe 2 or 3 times leading up to this last one. and each time i felt like we came to a good resolution, had a good talk, felt closer afterwards, etc.

but about 3 weeks ago, i came home one night and it was an argument, then a progression of restrictions regarding cue over the next week (all of which i went along with), ending with a final ultimatum: that cue has done too much damage to our marriage and that he has to go. !!!! i mean to me, this literally felt like it came out of nowhere. i mean literally there was NO BREAKING POINT. damage? what?

perm says the ultimatum was the culmination of the thought process from his flings + latest breakup...which, ok, i can see how you would get introspective. so i'll hear him out. he lists some legitimate problems.

- i spend a lot of money going out with cue. however, i am not in any debt because of it, and i can easily rein that in (and had already started doing that a few months ago) by making dinners at home, renting a movie instead of going out, etc. easy fix within my comfort zone and cue was on board with helping.

- i spend a lot of time with cue. this one seems like a simple fix. when i ask perm if we have plans on a given night, either say "yes" (and make some!) or say "no, but i want you to stay home tonight." or just start giving me more positive verbal feedback and i'll naturally gravitate towards that. easy fix within my comfort zone and cue was on board with helping.

- i wasn't pulling my weight around the house. this is the one i really got pissed off about, because i did/do most of the cleaning and laundry. he organizes the bills, i do the housework. but we bought a house in august and there have been some projects that he didn't feel i was helping with (frustrating, because i offered...), but this is the one where i can really make a compromise and start doing more than i'm usually comfortable with. and i am totally willing to do that since the house is new and perm is feeling off.

so then the not-legitimate stuff. he starts ripping into cue's personal shortcomings and accuses him of being irresponsible, a loser, a mess, "trampling" on our marriage...i can't even remember everything he said because it honestly made me sick. i am ok with discussing issues that may cause problems in our marriage...i am not ok with him dehumanizing someone i love, and (tearfully) said as much. he is a person, and despite his mistakes and shortcomings (which he DEFINITELY has!), he has feelings and fears and hopes and dreams just like anyone else. it's also been a red flag to me that he has been willing to dehumanize the chicks he's dating (calling them crazy, psycho, just generally really negative stuff) in order to feel closer to me. so this is not ok, and i unequivocally told him that during our arguments (one of the few things i really got riled up about...i'm generally really calm).

we ended up in a counseling session (which i posted about). it was marginally helpful in that the counselor pointed out that expecting me to anticipate his needs without him saying anything (which he outright says he did, and still does) isn't exactly fair. and also that it really seems like he wants something more traditional with a side dating relationship thrown in here and there, whereas i want people IN our lives. she said perm needed to define his needs and decide whether i can meet them (since i have already laid out on the table all my needs, all my abilities, and then some).

after our session, he said he doesn't think our poly models line up anymore, wondered if they ever did, and then told me that i can either "get on board to getting back where we were" or "move out and get an apartment and be fine".

...

so. there's no room for this person who i've been with for a year and have come to love dearly to fit into this picture? the answer has pretty much been "no". or that if he is to fit into the picture, he has to get "whatever is left over" from out marriage relationship.

one of the things that makes me really sick about all of this is the verbiage perm is using. it just feels hateful and negative and it makes me so so so sad that my husband has clearly been really unhappy for a long time and has just let it fester into this hatred and resentment towards cue.

so anyway, that's where i sit. we've been living in limbo since then, because i think we're both scared to make the next move. he's told me that i need to go back to counseling, but i dunno man...like i said, i feel like all my shit is on the table. if anyone goes back, i think it should either be as a couple or him solo, so he can sort out his real needs.

i'm just...heartbroken. i don't feel like i recognize the person i'm dealing with here. i thought he liked cue (and up until 4 weeks ago, ACTED like he was a good friend). i was happy. there were things to fix with perm, sure, but i was focused on moving forward and figuring out solutions...not going back to "the way things were". cue HAPPENED. he changed me (i think for the better), he changed my relationship with perm, no question about it. but this is not the time to wish him away...it's a time to grow from that, to learn from it. this has shown us our weak points, stuff we can fix, stuff we can make stronger. instead i feel like perm wants to rip out the growth (or opportunity for growth) and go back to this "perfect" life he thought we were living before.

so yeah. sympathy, empathy. hell even: you're fucking nuts woman, dump your boyfriend. i mean, anything. my catholic upbringing is screaming "FIX YOUR MARRIAGE", but my heart and brain are telling me that it may be time to throw in the towel...

Last edited by joyfulgirl26; 06-24-2010 at 01:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2010, 01:00 AM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by joyfulgirl26 View Post
so yeah. sympathy, empathy. hell even: you're fucking nuts woman, dump your boyfriend. i mean, anything. my catholic upbringing is screaming "FIX YOUR MARRIAGE", but my heart and brain are telling me that it may be time to throw in the towel...
I find it saddening to hear what you're going through. Were it up to me, I'd have a magic wand to wave that would compel everybody involved in a relationship to step up and deal with things in a forthright fashion. Of course, it's not up to me.

I think the marriage is broken. I also think that your husband is unwilling to work on saving it. I don't see any way you can save it without him being willing to work on it with you.

Dumping your boyfriend would accomplish nothing, as I see it. Your husband's history of regarding other women as objects, coupled with his repeated serious lack of respect for you (the lapses in condom use), suggests that at some level he regards you as an object. He's uncommunicative and given to deceit (saying one thing while apparently thinking/feeling something quite different)--so how can you trust him?

I'm of firm belief that each and every relationship has to be evaluated on its own merits. It's not a case of "this one has been in existence longer than that one so it automatically has precedence." It's purely a matter of how well the relationship works *on its own* and whether the other person involved is working fully to support all the different parts of it (You, Me, and Us).

I don't know. Perhaps with some time, he may decide to work with you on it instead of simply treating you as an object that must do as he wills. There's no way I can say and I've never been in a situation near that bad. Perhaps somebody else has been in much the same boat and can offer better observations than I can.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:37 AM
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so anyway, that's where i sit. we've been living in limbo since then, because i think we're both scared to make the next move. he's told me that i need to go back to counseling, but i dunno man...like i said, i feel like all my shit is on the table. if anyone goes back, i think it should either be as a couple or him solo, so he can sort out his real needs.
I think you're right. If this marriage can be saved, it's going to need couple's counselling as a bare minimum. It even sounds like you have a supportive and intelligent counselor.

You husband may not have liked the fact that the counselor seemed to take your side in calling his expectations unfair. Seems a lot of people who need counselling the most want it the least. They don't hear what they want to hear, which is that they need to change.

Ultimately, you're the only person who can make the tough decision he's laid out for you: him or poly. It's not really "him or cue" because it seems clear enough that your husband has issues extending far beyond poly. He needs to learn to communicate and share his feelings and fears. In essence, he needs to learn to trust you.

Even if you were to breakup with cue, these kinds of issues are detrimental to a relationship and will find other venues to rear their ugly heads. If he outright refuses to change and grow, then there's only one thing you can do.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:33 PM
joyfulgirl26 joyfulgirl26 is offline
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Even if you were to breakup with cue, these kinds of issues are detrimental to a relationship and will find other venues to rear their ugly heads.
this is my real fear...this is the core of what terrifies me. i have dated other people (not as seriously) that perm has had "issues" with, and he's pulled this same kind of shit-talking about the other guys too. and in the past i indulged him, heard him out, respected his fears and what he was working through, and broken off those relationships. again, they weren't as serious, so it wasn't a huge issue, but the fact that it's coming up AGAIN (with someone who is experienced in poly and mature and has really been good for me!) is really disheartening.

and it's most frustrating because i've told him from the beginning that it's OK if he's not poly or if he has certain limits or anything like that...because if i know that BEFOREHAND, i can limit who i see and the extent to which i integrate them into my life. but he's always insisted that he really is poly and really is ok with whatever i want...he just has some things to work through. and i've really put a lot of trust in his ability to talk to me about this stuff he's working through and that has been just absolutely destroyed. because not only has he not talked to me, but he's let the things he's trying to work through simmer and become destructive.

i'm really just miserable. i love this man so much and i really want to help him work through this, but at what point do i decide that it's too much for me to handle? like i said, my catholic upbringing is telling me to sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice...i am TERRIFIED of "failing" at marriage (not least of all because my family would just be devastated). but my logical, independent streak is just RAILING against it. =/
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:37 PM
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It sounds like he is giving you an ultimatum, using a veto and expecting you to compromise all because his poly life isn't working as well as your and he is jealous.

I know you love him, but that is unfair and I think he needs to find the root of the issue rather than expecting you to solve it for him by being a good girl and doing what he tells you. Bullshit. That will not solve it and that will only make it worse if you ask me.

I think it is possible to work on creating a balance and harmony within your relationship if he looks inside himself and finds what it is that is not working with out blaming you or your boyfriend. he needs to do that for himself and needs to do it in order to have compersion for what you have. Perhaps if he really studies what is working for you then he will find what isn't working for him.

Excuse me for the brashness but he sounds like a whiny child that isn't winning at a board game and is stamping around flapping his arms and getting ready to hit the edge of the board so the pieces go flying off. Not okay.

How does one deal with a whiny child? Talks to them about the game. It isn't about winning or losing it's about learning and strategizing when you find you are losing... figuring out what went wrong and where you could of done better and then trying again. When one is winning it is important to stay humble and pass knowledge on on how to win.

I know that poly is not a game, but perhaps if seen in this context there will be some light shed on what could be going on.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:21 PM
joyfulgirl26 joyfulgirl26 is offline
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yeah, i'm with you RP. another one of the many things i'm sad about is that he doesn't seem to feel any compersion here. i mean, i truly derive JOY...giddy, blissful joy from seeing perm with his gfs or cue with L (holy shit they're cute). and i WANT that for him. i WANT him to feel that joy.

but he says he feels insulted, emasculated, trampled, etc. knowing that i want to be with cue. i've tried to work with him on these things and help him see that 1) cue is still "the shiny" to some extent and that 2) the fact that i have feelings for cue does NOT mean that i do not still have deep, strong, committed feelings for him!

i also agree that he is incorrectly placing blame on cue (and i don't just mean on my relationship with cue, i mean ON CUE) and pointing to that as something that needs to just disappear instead of putting in the work for HIMSELF and for US. if that makes sense. i don't disagree that i could cut back on...whatever...with cue to help perm feel more secure. but letting cue into our life, into our home, and definitely into my heart and now saying that he needs to be GONE and if i see him, it has to be a total separate affair is just totally heartbreaking.

talking about any future plans now just make me miserable, because i know that someone will be missing from my future. whether it's perm or cue/L...walking around my house makes me sad. it feels empty and hostile. i'm just sad. so sad.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:53 PM
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Oh I feel for you. I can't imagine not being with either one of my men. They come together now, not one or the other. If I was faced with having to chose, and I've told them this, I would chose neither and leave. I would take my boy and start divorce proceedings. It would break my heart, but I would rather have neither than one gone.

You have some work to do. Perhaps your perm would benefit by reading on here about other peoples stories in order to deal with his emotions? Maybe he could ask his own questions about this? It doesn't sound like either of you are willing to budge, but really, he will have to or lose you. Not to mention the amount of growth potential he has.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:55 PM
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Before I write, can we get a mono's perspective here? I feel way to attached to your situation as a poly bi male who's been in your situation to a lesser extent to react to your predicament with objectivity, and clarity.

As i've said, I have been in your situation before to a lesser extent. At the point where your partner brings you an ultimatum, thing have gotten to the tipping point. Since he was the one who presented it, what's going through his head is most likely something more extreme than any of us can imagine. To to be married for almost 3 years and say something like,
Quote:
"get on board to getting back where we were or move out and get an apartment and be fine"
He's got to be at an extreme emotional place right now. When an ex gave my current g/f an ultimatum like that, he was literally having a psychotic breakdown! The world he lived in was crumbling because a polyamorous relationship was too far beyond his boundaries to consider.

I know that some people mentioned above, he seems to be throwing a fit because his other relationships failed; but i'm not convinced that's the case given your current information. What are the details of his relationships? It seems logical to me that he was only dating other people to adapt and get over what you were doing. However he never thought of it the same as you...ever, hence his "thoughts" on the girls he was dating and maybe how he never seemed serious about them. I would agree that this is his own fault, and most likely like a lot of men, he has some deep seated objectification of women issues. His logic in dating other people was seemingly far different than the reasons you are with cue.

I wish I could give some definitive help but to be honest, but I just can't. IMHO, I think you're at a different "level" in your state of being, than he is. I don't want to say "higher" but...yeah. It seems all you are doing is trying to compromise. However this is just my opinion, and we obviously don't have his side of the story. Maybe he could write on here and get others' opinions?

god, my heart goes out to you. Keep us updated!

peace & love
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:53 PM
joyfulgirl26 joyfulgirl26 is offline
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The world he lived in was crumbling because a polyamorous relationship was too far beyond his boundaries to consider.
which is why i'm posting here, trying therapy, etc. and not just saying "screw you man, i'm out of here!" he is clearly massively distressed. and in our session the therapist even said to him "you are in a constant state of stretch, aren't you?" and he agreed. which sucks, because starting out 5 years ago, i NEVER got the impression that poly felt like a "stretch" to him.


Quote:
I know that some people mentioned above, he seems to be throwing a fit because his other relationships failed; but i'm not convinced that's the case given your current information. What are the details of his relationships? It seems logical to me that he was only dating other people to adapt and get over what you were doing. However he never thought of it the same as you...ever, hence his "thoughts" on the girls he was dating and maybe how he never seemed serious about them. I would agree that this is his own fault, and most likely like a lot of men, he has some deep seated objectification of women issues. His logic in dating other people was seemingly far different than the reasons you are with cue.
yes, yes, yes! i think you are spot on. both of the women he dated became pretty deeply emotionally attached to him, but he seemed to maintain a level of emotional detachment from both of them...kind of held them at arms length (which made me sad). in fact, he even acknowledged at one point that he was only dating the girlfriend who lived with us because she pursued him pretty heavily. when it was just me and him, he had absolutely no interest in her and resisted her attempts to date him, but about a month after cue came into the picture...surprise, surprise, they hooked up!

and both of these women made reference at one time or another to being in his life long-term and both times he came to me absolutely freaking out...and i was stumped! they both loved and cared immensely for him and were just talking about how they felt and what their hopes were for the relationship. and honestly, if perm had shown real emotional attachment to either of them, i would have been 100% behind finding an arrangement that facilitated whatever long-term integration they (as a couple) were interested in.


Quote:
I wish I could give some definitive help but to be honest, but I just can't. IMHO, I think you're at a different "level" in your state of being, than he is. I don't want to say "higher" but...yeah. It seems all you are doing is trying to compromise. However this is just my opinion, and we obviously don't have his side of the story. Maybe he could write on here and get others' opinions?
i think the fact that i even posted here would make him really upset and angry. i told him that i talked to L about what's going on and he was REALLY upset about it. but that's a huge part of why i am out as poly to the majority of my support system, so i can talk to them about this stuff when it comes up! we're really at a point now where any discussion makes him angry and indignant, so i'm hesitant to bring up ANYTHING (which i know is cowardly and irresponsible...i've gotta knuckle down soon, cause living with this level of anxiety is making me physically sick). i'm certainly not at all opposed to him reading/posting here, but i have a bad feeling that i'd get a lot of blowback about it...can't quite put my finger on why or what he might accuse me of, it's just a gut feeling that it would be ugly. =/

thanks everyone for the support and sympathy and thank you to gabe for the thoughtful response, i really appreciate it.

Last edited by joyfulgirl26; 06-23-2010 at 07:17 PM. Reason: i can haz spellingz
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:22 PM
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This isn't a mono perspective, this is a human perspective. Each one of us has a criteria to invest in others. That criteria governs our actions and also determines what the actions of others are to be if we are to invest in them. This is not about one sided control of a partner or trying to fit a square peg into a round hole...it's people who have the same shape coming together to fit.

Sometimes these criteria change - mono to poly/ poly to mono for instance. At these pints everyone should consider if the relationship can be sustained in a healthy fulfilling manner. If not...then it is time to move on and perhaps seek someone to invest in who does meet our ctiteria.
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