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Old 09-04-2010, 12:43 AM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Default I need help with preventing messy results

My husband and I have always idealized, even before we were together, a committed relationship that does not involve monogamy. While I always thought it sounded great, I had doubts about how many people were truly capable of living up to it. I've been in monogamous relationships before and did not find it difficult to remain faithful. I try to keep my word no matter what the circumstances are.

We've been together for 6 years. We were apart for 8 months fairly early in our relationship and had a "don't ask don't tell" policy for those 8 months. We weathered it and when I moved to be with him, he asked if we would continue as we had been while long distance. I said no as I felt we needed to establish intimacy in my new surroundings. He was already familiar with the city and had already made friends. I didn't want any weirdness coming up while getting to know the friends he had made if we were in any way not viewed as a serious couple. I understand that many people struggle to respect less than conventional relationships. We remained monogamous for 4 years and it has been really great. I brought the open relationship subject back to the table because I felt we were at a place where we could explore this.

He was happy about it. I pointed out a woman who was on the outskirts of our social circle that I thought was familiar to this relationship style. I thought it would be nice for him to have his first experience in this to be someone he was somewhat familiar with and who was not likely to be confused about our arrangement.

We have friends who know about this. We have friends that don't. The friends we don't tell are the ones we know who have dealt with infidelity and are still sore about it or are more conservative and unable to respect this lifestyle. We also don't just tell every one about it because - well why does everyone NEED to know?

Our boundaries to start out were:

no one long term and/or steady (see someone steady- keep it short lived; see someone long term- only see them very occasionally and we are as yet undecided on what constitutes long term and what constitutes steady TO US)
no spending the night
no forcing the people we see on our friends
no drugs
safe sex only
we each have veto power on who we see for whatever reason
no out of town trips to see someone and no vacations with outside partners
no exes
no one is lied to about our situation
no one who is in a relationship and sneaking around

The problems that have arose is that the first person he went out with, he continued to see. He had a few dates with others and slept with one, but he ended up only seeing the first person after that for going on three month now. On two occasions, he said he was not going to see her while he was out and he ended up seeing her anyway. All this while pushing for her and I to become close friends. We have all been intimate together, but I don't really fancy her enough to continue at that. I do enjoy her company and so I gave it a go and even asked her to help me with the final finish to my project. I don't have a problem with her or really find her threatening. Our problems are due to his actions not matching his words and that she is a big drinker. We don't drink much so he has trouble following through with what he says will happen when he drinks around her.

- On a side note: I'm not sure how I would react to her being over and seeing them be affectionate in front of me while I have removed myself from the sexual aspect of our mutual interactions. I think it would make me feel like a third wheel and compared to them.-

The first time he ended up seeing the woman he has been seeing without clearing it with me, I gave him opportunity to make it a date night with her and he said he wasn't going to. He did anyway and my only issue with it was that I was assured it would be okay to stay up till he got home and he did not call me when his plans changed. I went to bed not sure where he was but suspecting he was with her.
The second time he ended up at her place after saying he would not was by far much more of a blow out than the first time. I gave understanding and communication to deal with it the first time. The second time was not a request to not see her ever, only that he put off seeing her for 5 days so there would be no weirdness coming from me while I worked with her on a project on the last of the 5 days. I had been bogged down by my deadline and missing quality time with him. I recognized within me an impulse to feel slighted in that time frame and only asked for help in avoiding those feelings till I had more time to devote to self examination. I intended to talk to her about it as well after my deadline.
Instead I get a call from her the night I asked him not to make a date night saying he was with her anyway and an intoxicated mess. She let me know he was safe but she was putting him up for the night. I reacted poorly to this because it is HIS rule about no sleep overs and it was still early enough that I had no problem picking him up if he was too intoxicated to see to it himself.

I only found out after the fact that he had not requested to be put up for the night, he only requested for her to call me while he was dealing with his nausea. This poor communication caused most of the problem as well as put a bad spin on my perception of what was happening between them.

He moped around the next day calling himself a screw up doomed to fail at everything. We talked about it and he spent that time reassuring me how important I am to him. He explained that he likes seeing her only because he doesn't have to go through the speech on how I know what he is up to, he doesn't have to put much time or effort into seeing her. I wanted him to stop seeing her, but took a couple of days to think on the points he made. As soon as I said I'd think on it, he brightened up and we got on better.

After a couple of days, I still felt it best that he not see her anymore. I felt that her typical level of consumption and how that effected his own drinking would continue to be problematic for us.
I wrote him a letter explaining all the reasons why I was still not okay with it and also about what I found out he had been saying about our relationship to others. When he read it, he went right back to being upset and moping. I couldn't even try to comfort him, be affectionate, or try to lighten the subject without making him feel worse. He says he is not so much disappointed about not seeing her in that context again as he was to have all his mistakes outlined and listed so soon after he had began to feel we could fix things.

While dealing with all this, I heard from a mutual friend that my husband was over at his house bragging about how he is "living the dream" to all our friend's roomates. These are not good friends of ours but they do know us both. I was told that they all spoke negatively about the relationship style my husband and I have and he went further saying "I don't care who my wife effs, I love her and I got a big d; I know she will come home to me".

I am hurt by all this. I was hurt that he can't tell me he won't see her and follow through I was further hurt by how trashy he spoke of our relationship to people who didn't need to know about it. I didn't think we started this because our relationship needed improving; I thought we were "living the dream' well before we were in an open relationship and this was only adding to that.

I have spoke to him about all this and he acknowledges that he has really screwed up. He still wanted to see the person he has been seeing even though I wanted him to stop and even though the two of them have made some of our friends uncomfortable with their drunken public behavior.

To the boastful moment he had: He says it was a moment of bravado in the face of having his masculinity questioned for my seeing other men and I can understand that. He also said he was given no choice in discussing it with them as our mutual friend chose to make it known to his roomates for reasons I don't understand.

We are currently on hold with the open relationship thing. I'm wondering a bit if he has always been respectful to my face but brag tracking behind my back. I am also sore that I lived up to all our agreements and now I'm also shut down on it.

This has all made me wonder if we should instead take a more poly approach to things. That way who we see would be in communication with us both, we could also see where our limits are rather than just claiming them our of fear and avoidance.
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2010, 03:05 AM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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In a nutshell, he's not being honest. Hubby is not respecting the rules/boundaries you two have and is thinking with the wrong head. It also sounds like a case of NRE (new relationship energy, if you're not familiar with the term).

You sound very committed to your relationship. The two of you need to sit down and figure out the WHY behind his transgressions. Though he's going about it in completely the wrong manner, my first instinct is that he has fallen for her. For better or worse.
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:18 AM
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Just pay attention to his actions and behaviors. Some people can talk a good talk, and if you are viewing that person based on their words alone, then things are great!! But there comes a point when we have to get into reality and look at a person's behavior. Sometimes reality sucks

I don't know how old you are, and maybe age doesn't have anything to do with it, but just life experience. People give off subtle and not so subtle cues about their character. Pay attention. And when you see a person's character, even though it's difficult and you want to deny it (as least for a while) don't forget it.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:06 AM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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I have let him read these posts.

In discussing some of this with him, we are in agreement that to have a good chance of success, we do need to give more acknowledgment to the people we each see. So here we go, another couple decides to let go of the strict rules and try poly!
He feels adamant that he has not "fallen' for "S". He is fond of her, enjoys her company and that she is very aware of how important we are to each other and thinks very highly of me. I felt this from her too. We were friends with her before all this. He can see that his feelings for her were likely to grow since we all got on before any intimacy was brought into it. I think what he, me, they were feeling was natural.
From this we both see where much of the problems could have been avoided by keeping who we see more in the loop of what we ask of each other.
Had I given time to discussing my feelings with them both or prioritized the time I devoted to my relationship on the same level I gave my project, I really feel we would have had a much better result.
Had he kept to his own limitations of tolerance for alcohol rather than "keeping up" with others, he would have been more mindful of calling when plans change and not getting caught thinking with the other head at a time when he had agreements to keep with me. To say he was outright dishonest I think is a bit unfair. He at no point lied to me about the time he spent with her. He is however very guilty of not living up to his word and resorting to honesty after the fact.

"S" was pretty pissed about getting caught in the splash of our blow up and has removed herself from the picture to let us sort things out. I'm not fond of her drinking style, but beyond that the girl is respectful and that is rare. I think I was wrong and even perhaps, motivated by ego, intentionally not keeping her aware of the concerns my husband and I discussed. How awful of me now that I think of it! I didn't want to pay her that respect in return......I think I was in fear of placing what I perceived as a level of importance on outside partners that I initially expected only my husband and I to pay to each other. He and I left her feeling like she was a second class citizen in our attempt to assert our unity. Totally unfair.

To my end of things, I have been seeing "J" casually for a couple months. He is working in a city near ours for the next month if not two. He lives in our city otherwise. Husband would like to meet him, reflective of what we've been discussing, and I do think they will like each other. I am hopeful. "J" has some experience with this lifestyle so I think he will be comfortable coming over for an evening.

I also think I should sit down with "S" and tell her what I thought I could put off prior to all this. Some of why I stopped being sexually interested in her over may be alterable. I was at one point and for many years involved with an alcoholic so her drinking concerns me and eats at the attraction. As well, dreadlocks can smell just awful when they are not well cared for. I know, shallow, but it was a problem. She also has a roomate she is occasionally intimate with. They both refer to each other as "wife" but it is somewhat in jest? from what "S" conveys. What I find unsettling is that "S" finds introducing others to this woman to be distressing. I'm not understanding what her fear with that is and it throws up red flags to me.

My husband is okay with me talking to "S" and seeing if things can be mended, but he did not ask it of me or even bring it up. Should "S" be no longer interested or our conversation doesn't alleviate some of the concern, he will not be put out about it.

This site has been really helpful. I lurked through many stories since finding it and some of what others shared has been enlightening. It got me thinking about the friends we consider to be family and how we have been capable of accepting them and letting them know how important they are to us. Being this way with them not only makes them feel good, it makes me feel good to do it. It certainly doesn't make me feel our relationship is threatened by doing so. I think I can incorporate some of that into people we are sexually intimate with, perhaps even if they are his partner sexually and only my friend. He feels he can give this a shot with someone I see as well.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:50 AM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
I have let him read these posts.
I am glad this is something the two of you can do. Will we see him on the forum?

Quote:
He feels adamant that he has not "fallen' for "S". He is fond of her, enjoys her company and that she is very aware of how important we are to each other and thinks very highly of me. I felt this from her too. We were friends with her before all this. He can see that his feelings for her were likely to grow since we all got on before any intimacy was brought into it. I think what he, me, they were feeling was natural.
Fair enough, but it certainly needed to be brought up!

Quote:
From this we both see where much of the problems could have been avoided by keeping who we see more in the loop of what we ask of each other.
Had I given time to discussing my feelings with them both or prioritized the time I devoted to my relationship on the same level I gave my project, I really feel we would have had a much better result.
Yes, to both points. To successfully continue down this path, you MUST talk about how you feel. The best approach to dealing with problems is AS SOON AS THEY COME UP. I can't stress how important this is.

Quote:
Had he kept to his own limitations of tolerance for alcohol rather than "keeping up" with others, he would have been more mindful of calling when plans change and not getting caught thinking with the other head at a time when he had agreements to keep with me. To say he was outright dishonest I think is a bit unfair. He at no point lied to me about the time he spent with her. He is however very guilty of not living up to his word and resorting to honesty after the fact.
I consider this dishonest, but would probably defend my loved ones to complete strangers, too. Seriously though, the silver lining is that he came clean right after. That bodes well for having the open, honest communication before he goes out.

Quote:
"S" was pretty pissed about getting caught in the splash of our blow up and has removed herself from the picture to let us sort things out. I'm not fond of her drinking style, but beyond that the girl is respectful and that is rare. I think I was wrong and even perhaps, motivated by ego, intentionally not keeping her aware of the concerns my husband and I discussed. How awful of me now that I think of it! I didn't want to pay her that respect in return......I think I was in fear of placing what I perceived as a level of importance on outside partners that I initially expected only my husband and I to pay to each other. He and I left her feeling like she was a second class citizen in our attempt to assert our unity. Totally unfair.
Yup. If you mentioned it, I didn't pick up on the fact that she was not aware of your expectations of hubby, and really her. She has every right to be pissed. The rules you outlined in your first post sound like the third party is a sex toy. This is perfectly acceptable if the sex toy agrees to such a relationship. Adding to this the fact that you get along with this woman, and have incorporated her into you non-sexual life (helping you with your project), and yeah. Unfair. Which you have said, and that is great! Now you can take steps to prevent this from happening to her, your J, and any other people you may meet in the future.

Quote:
To my end of things, I have been seeing "J" casually for a couple months. He is working in a city near ours for the next month if not two. He lives in our city otherwise. Husband would like to meet him, reflective of what we've been discussing, and I do think they will like each other. I am hopeful. "J" has some experience with this lifestyle so I think he will be comfortable coming over for an evening.
More good news!

Quote:
I also think I should sit down with "S" and tell her what I thought I could put off prior to all this. Some of why I stopped being sexually interested in her over may be alterable. I was at one point and for many years involved with an alcoholic so her drinking concerns me and eats at the attraction. As well, dreadlocks can smell just awful when they are not well cared for. I know, shallow, but it was a problem.
Both of these are valid concerns (though in completely different ways!) and while it is reasonable of you to respectfully express them, it would also be reasonable for her to respectfully say she's not going to change.

Quote:
She also has a roomate she is occasionally intimate with. They both refer to each other as "wife" but it is somewhat in jest? from what "S" conveys. What I find unsettling is that "S" finds introducing others to this woman to be distressing. I'm not understanding what her fear with that is and it throws up red flags to me.
Big red flag for me, too. Sort that out.

Quote:
This site has been really helpful. I lurked through many stories since finding it and some of what others shared has been enlightening. It got me thinking about the friends we consider to be family and how we have been capable of accepting them and letting them know how important they are to us. Being this way with them not only makes them feel good, it makes me feel good to do it. It certainly doesn't make me feel our relationship is threatened by doing so. I think I can incorporate some of that into people we are sexually intimate with, perhaps even if they are his partner sexually and only my friend. He feels he can give this a shot with someone I see as well.
YES. And the extra work it takes to make this work for romantic partners is returned exponentially!

I am really glad you two are on the path to working things out, whatever your flavour of non-monogamy and/or poly turns out to be! Honesty, respect, and communication are the keys for ALL parties involved!
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:18 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
I am glad this is something the two of you can do. Will we see him on the forum?
You might see him on this forum soon. He isn't big on posting in forums but I've asked him to at least use this site as reference material. Since we now find ourselves in the "here be dragons" location, I think we will need to look to others who have more experience for how they deal with conflict and managing emotions. Me specifically for having a bit of a queen bee personality when I'm feeling pushed. The other bit of work ahead of me is harder to explain. In all my past committed relationships, I always focused on making sure my partner never had reason to doubt my loyalty. That can be great but I've let it control how much I serve my own connections out of fear of being perceived as.... I don't even know what to call it. If I remained friends with an ex and began to date someone new, I stopped maintaining the friendship with the ex. If I was friends with an ex and they began dating someone new, I disappeared so as to not make the new person uncomfortable. I decide for others what their comfort level should be and act without finding out if it is valid.

For him? He claims he doesn't often feel jealousy, but I think it is harder to say that when you are with a partner who has always sought to refrain from causing that emotion to manifest. He is friends with many of his exes and some he has given "family" status and they've become my friend too. I think he has always fancied himself as being someone who could live this lifestyle. I've always thought he would have a big struggle with it for the very reasons we ended up in conflict. He had to lie a lot growing up about everything due to having a violent parent. I think he struggles with believing he can be honest and not be rejected or take a loss for it. While he very very rarely drinks more than 4 pints in a social outing, he also is one of those people who tends toward blackouts when he drinks to excess. I get surly if I do it while other folks just pass out. The excessive drinking can't go on, period.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
Both of these are valid concerns (though in completely different ways!) and while it is reasonable of you to respectfully express them, it would also be reasonable for her to respectfully say she's not going to change.
Yeah, I'm prepared for that. It is ultimately her choice to continue to binge drink and that might be a clear indication that her ability to become a fully considered partner in all this is not to be a reality. I do NOT NOT NOT want to have a relationship with an alcoholic ever again having already experienced 8 years of that. Husband agrees.
For the dreadlock issue, I don't think she intentionally doesn't care for them. I'm going to try to very tactfully offer to help her care for them. Maybe a sisterly bonding experience? I do things for my husband similar to this to show I care for him and it benefits how appealing I find him. I can distinctly remember him expressing a distaste for how her dreadlocks smelled and (I'm ashamed to admit) I internally found reassurance over it. Woof! I got a lot of work on myself ahead of me!
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:05 PM
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I'm glad you are moving past your initial *rules.* they were a total red flag for me. Vetoing, not getting involved... Bah! Recipe for disaster. As it turned out... And as I would expect, the rules got broken. It seems you are negotiating some new boundaries that make more sense to your lives now. Good for you! Its an on going process and it sounds like that is something to remember in the future. Good luck and thanks for sharing
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:51 PM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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Originally Posted by Vinccenzo View Post
Yeah, I'm prepared for that. It is ultimately her choice to continue to binge drink and that might be a clear indication that her ability to become a fully considered partner in all this is not to be a reality. I do NOT NOT NOT want to have a relationship with an alcoholic ever again having already experienced 8 years of that. Husband agrees.
Okay, I wasn't sure if she was drinking to extremes, or if perhaps her drinking was a trigger for you, but you've clarified that to be the former. I'm happy that husband agrees.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:16 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Okay, I wasn't sure if she was drinking to extremes, or if perhaps her drinking was a trigger for you, but you've clarified that to be the former. I'm happy that husband agrees.
I can see where it might be wondered if I exaggerate her consumption levels; I've been guilty of not wanting to give her credit where it is due in other instances. But she is a binge drinker. A few of our friends who know her decide whether or not to invite her to social events entirely based on how appropriate her style of drinking fits in with the event and attending guests. She has caused scenes before and needed to be ushered home for the comfort level of others now and then. It won't fit in with clear and successful communication in the long run if she wants, needs, or even just simply prefers to continue to drink to excess.

But I know (through having to learn more about alcoholism and Al-anon meetings) that not everyone who drinks excessively is or becomes a real alcoholic and that there are even people who hardly drink at all that are alcoholics. There was even a time for me where I drank much much more than I do now. I only know that I will never allow myself to live in that dark place again. Not even for love. We have a child in the mix here to think about. Mine biologically and the child is quite perceptive. As well, being of an age to remember why my alcoholic ex (bio father) and I are not together anymore. It would make no sense to leave that situation only to have me and my child back in it for someone that is not biologically connected to the kid.

If she ends up not being a good candidate for us, its not the end of the world. It could end up being the same with my "J" for myriad other reasons. Husband is outgoing and has a decent streak of charisma; I'm sure he would meet someone else.
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:44 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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Well, I've spoken with "S" about my concerns with her drinking and ran into a wall.

She explained to me what her drinking is to her and how she doesn't think she is an alcoholic. Her reasoning for not thinking she is an alcoholic is simply - no one in her family is one.

Her reasons for drinking are: relief from being responsible, that the parts of her she keeps hidden can come out, that she believes anyone she cares about will cut out on her and when she is drunk she can behave in a manner that beats them to the punch (pushing them away), and that the people she meets when she drinks will be "fuzzy" the next day so she is less likely to become attached to them and fear their eventual disappearing act.
She acknowledges that she does push people's buttons when she drinks because, she reasons, if they can put up with it and stick around, they are more likely to be a true friend.

To me, this is classic alcoholic behavior. I feel wedged in with her reasoning. I either accept that she will continue to do these things and deal with the drama that will ensue for as long as it takes for her to see me and my husband as "true" friends OR I decide it is too much of the kind of drama I want to avoid and be seen as one of the folks who cut out on her. Combine that with the fact that she believes one has to inherit alcoholism to be one and all I see is the same struggles that led me to get out of my previous marriage with an alcoholic.

On the plus side - she does not wish to jump right back into an association like what we previously had and she is much more wary of my husband and his part in the messiness we all experienced. I do identify with her on that one. Especially now because in this move to poly, we have to be able to trust each others judgment on the people we expose our relationship too. Him wanting a person with what I see as obvious personal and alcohol issues makes it really hard to trust his judgment in people.

We talked about this. How there have been some of his long standing friends that ended up incapable (or just flat out refusing) to accept me in the past. In these instances, it was something I saw almost immediately, but it took them being outright nasty, being warned, being nasty again, back and forth before he would cast them off. His point being "are they gone or not?" and my point being "yeah but look what it had to come to for you to act".

Because my husband does make an effort to remain friends with his exes, most of these friends that have become a problem were in that lot. I get it and why they behaved the way they did. When a relationship doesn't work out it helps to get over it by thinking of your ex as someone who is no good in a relationship for anyone. This becomes a difficult thing to feel soothed by when you see them with someone and they treat them better than they treated you. Some of these friends couldn't see that it had been years since they had dated and how he behaved in a teen relationship isn't going to be how he behaves forever.

With this situation, "S" is still not back in the picture and treating this as a big issue while she is still not in the picture feels premature. It does make me wonder something for the future though.

How do you deal with a stalemate when it comes to pass? With the things I've discussed with "S" (and shared with my husband), I feel even more anxiety at the thought of her being included in our lives. Everything she has shared indicates who she is is someone we've yet to even meet and meeting that person will likely be a hard field to plow. It also indicates that should we even get to that point, we might just be more firmly invested in someone with alcohol issues.
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