Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-08-2009, 06:55 PM
JuneBug JuneBug is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 6
Default Nowhere to turn - need support

Hi Everyone,

I'm feeling really heartbroken right now, so I thank you for listening, and I hope you have some advice you can share, whether it's tough-love or not.

I have been actively poly for 15 years, and with my current partner for 8 years. I am not currently seeing anyone else. We recently moved to a new area for career reasons, and left behind our wonderful, supportive social network. My partner is casually dating someone from that group, as a LDR. We've been hit or miss in attempting to find new social circles that we fit into, but my partner was recently introduced into one that he is overjoyed with. I like many of the people, but it's not quite my cup of tea (some of their lack of boundaries make me nervous, to be vague).

The short story is that despite being in a poly relationship, my partner cheated on me, and I'm feeling sick, angry, and lost. The other person is poly too, and maybe should have known better, but didn't ask my permission first--probably trusted what my partner said or implied. I don't know if it is appropriate for me to talk to her at this juncture without making things worse or sounding like the jealous wife.

The longer story is below, so more is clear .....



My partner casually expressed interest in one member of this new scene, who had always rubbed me the wrong way, and I said, 'no, you definitely cannot get involved with X!'. I had my reasons, but didn't give them at the time because I thought his comment was just a passing observation of her attractiveness.

This weekend we went to a small, intimate party and this girl was there. Many people were nude at the party, but it was a casual thing, not sexual. She and my partner spent a lot of time together, and there were many times that she acted too familiar with him: touching his genitals, etc. I started to feel uncomfortable, but trusted my partner to tell her if she crossed the line. We've been together for a long time and are usually in tune that way.

Around midnight I got tired and went to our tent to go to bed. I woke up at 5am realising my partner had never come to bed. I got up to go look, and found them together (asleep). I didn't know what had happened at that point, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I wish instead I'd woken him up, kicking and screaming. In fact, I didn't know until the end of the next evening (weekend-long party) after spending an awkward day with everyone, and them continuing to be cuddly. The more I silenced myself because I didn't want to make a scene, the harder it was for me to talk. I wish I had pulled her aside and said, "You do realise you do not have my permission to fool around with my partner, right?". That is my biggest regret.

When my partner and I finally had some privacy to talk and I asked him what the heck was going on, he said apathetically, "I know you said I couldn't do anything with her, but I decided to anyway.". I was just flabberghasted. I said, "So you're willing to throw away or damage 8 years together for a little fling?' He continued to be apathetic and said all sorts of uncharacteristic things. I tried to take it with a grain of salt because I was sure he couldn't mean them; that it was said out of anger.

On the drive home he told me he did finally tell her that nothing could happen between them and that she accepted it, saying 'she's not interested in breaking anyone up'. The crux of the matter seems to be that my partner feels he's fallen out of love with me because our relationship has been rocky the last couple years (our lives have been very stressful--deaths, failures, financial loss, etc. taking their toll); that he's become so apathetic that he just didn't care about whether it was right or wrong. He just wanted to do something for himself. There's a part of me that can understand that, but it has also completely broken my trust in him. He says he is on the fence about whether we should try to make our relationship work; whether it's worth it after how volatile it's been. (To be clear, he says he 'loves me dearly' but isn't sure he's 'in love'. anyone who has been married a long time can understand how emotions ebb and flow, and I think it's possible to fall back in love with someone.)

So now I'm heart broken over potentially losing this relationship and my life as I know it, on top of the betrayal.

While I know he broke the rules, I've been stewing over many things, namely, should I have been more proactive? Should I have said something to this girl? I didn't at the time because I thought it was too aggressive. I told my partner that as part of his reparations I expected him to tell her that he hadn't had permission and had done stuff with her anyway. I'm not sure he'll do that, if only out fear. He'd have to admit to a girl he likes that he deliberately cheated. I want to email her myself and make sure that point is clear, but is that psycho, or is it asserting my position as primary? I don't really have more than an acquiantance relationship with her. It's been clear from both of them that they hope something can still happen in the future. That thought makes me sick. Am I just trying to punish them both by thinking that will never be allowed to happen, or is this a reasonable right to revoke: You broke the rules with this person and your consolation prize is never being able to have them. ?

I don't want to be a bitch to her, or take my anger out on her, I just want to say something like "I just wanted to clear something up, and that is that I told my partner he couldn't get involved with you, and he decided to do it anyway. My acting uncomfortable later in the party was due to me sensing his deceit and what I thought was you pushing the boundaries that had been set. Now I realise that he never even informed you of the rules."

I'm not sure why my fixation on wanting his crime to be acknowledged by all parties. I guess I just don't want him to get away with it, or get off easy because no one knows he broke a cardinal rule. I'd appreciate a reality check on this one.

I'm sorry for dumping a sad story in this forum, I just was making myself sick not writing it down somewhere. I don't want to tell our old friends because cheating is really taboo with those guys and it seems like too private a thing to tell our mutual friends.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-09-2009, 01:27 AM
Catfish Catfish is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: America's High Five
Posts: 299
Default

June,
I'm really feel for you. I'm new to poly and I'm not sure how qualified I am to speak on this, but I'll do my best to give you my perspective.

a. You are not psycho to want to disclose what actually happened with X. I think she should know, but this should be done without judgment on her, as she is not the one who broke any rules.

b. Relationships do ebb and flow, and I also believe it is possible to fall in love with someone multiple times, (necessary even) but this would be a deal breaker for me. Or at least it would take some serious action to repair the damage done to the core value of the relationship... trust.

c. I believe one of the most honest and loving gifts one can give is forgiveness. Everyone is flawed and deserves to be seen as the imperfect human they are, but there is a fine line between forgiveness and being a doormat.

All the best to you as you wade through this. You sound like a lovely person and you deserve an honest love.
__________________
Concern yourself less with love and more with loving.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-09-2009, 02:03 AM
JuneBug JuneBug is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 6
Default

Thanks for your kind words, damncatfish. i don't think you have to be a poly expert to give your opinion, so i thank you for replying.

You have some very perceptive words, about human flaws, and forgiveness.
Yes, I am concerned about the damage done to our trust, and if I were living apart from this man, and hadn't built up a life together, this would be a deal breaker for me too. This wasn't an ongoing affair. He owned up to what he'd done immediately, without subterfuge. Perhaps his actions in the coming days will determine whether he deserves forgiveness. I promise to take your advice and not be a doormat
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-09-2009, 06:04 AM
JonnyAce JonnyAce is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NY
Posts: 456
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuneBug View Post
He owned up to what he'd done immediately, without subterfuge.
I can't say i agree with that, as it took a while for him to admit to it. if he had owned up to it immediately, and then wanted to discuss it, and try to get through the hurt, and broken trust with you fixed i would see it as a major mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. To me this seemed to be a deliberate act, possibly to find an "out"

The fact that he's on the fence about wanting to fix the relationship is a red flag for me, as from my own experience as a guy when we say that it usually means that we've already "checked out" of said relationship. I'm very sorry he hurt you in this way, but i appreciate the fact that you are able to discuss it with strangers. I know you're asking for advice, but this can, and probably will help other people who are, or become tangled in this difficult situation. So, thank you.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-09-2009, 06:04 AM
redpepper's Avatar
redpepper redpepper is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,639
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuneBug View Post
The crux of the matter seems to be that my partner feels he's fallen out of love with me because our relationship has been rocky the last couple years (our lives have been very stressful--deaths, failures, financial loss, etc. taking their toll); that he's become so apathetic that he just didn't care about whether it was right or wrong. He just wanted to do something for himself. There's a part of me that can understand that, but it has also completely broken my trust in him. He says he is on the fence about whether we should try to make our relationship work; whether it's worth it after how volatile it's been. (To be clear, he says he 'loves me dearly' but isn't sure he's 'in love'. anyone who has been married a long time can understand how emotions ebb and flow, and I think it's possible to fall back in love with someone.)
It sounds like he is crying out for a bit of help. The two of you have had a rough go of it and I can see how wanting something for yourself within that would make him think it would be okay. Unfortunately he has created something else for himself and that is guilt and your lack of trust. If someone were to do this to me they would be out on their ass. At least until the whole thing could be sorted. Because I think there is potential for forgiveness.

There are two things that concern me here.

One being that he did this right in front of your face! What kind of respect is that?! I would think that he made you feel like an idiot in front of all the others that were there as they had to of noticed the "air" between you.

The other is that he acted apathetically. He seems to be completely stuck/fenced in/boxed in about your relationship and where it is at. This deserves a long hard look at, possibly with a counselor, to find out what that is to him and how to work out some way of freeing him up somehow in a way that works for you too. It could be about unfinished hardship or about how you both have been dealing with your relationship... only you two could figure that out.

As for telling the woman... I wouldn't be holding back on that personally. She should of asked and he should of told her what your thoughts were on him getting together with her. While I think she is less to blame, I still don't believe it wasn't in the back of her mind as the heat of the moment arouse.

I wouldn't be surprised if she rationalized it all away at that point as it wasn't sexy to talk about. Much like some do around safe sex... it isn't sexy to talk about your partner with a person you are just about to have sex with, as it isn't sexy to talk about wearing a condom. He did wear one right? That would create a whole other issue for me!!!!
__________________
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
My blog
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-09-2009, 02:23 PM
Quath Quath is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 504
Default

It sounds to me like the big issue is with your partner. That other woman seems to have just been caught up in it. If he is that apathetic about the relationsship that he doesn't care if he has your trust or not, then that sounds like the crux of it all.

I think you should find out if he is really apathetic. Does he really want to continue the relationship? Maybe it would be good to allow the relationship to grow apart as opposed to try to stick something out that could cause resentment.

You sound very reasonable in dealing with this. It would be very easy to forgive and try to forget or work past this. However, I think that this is a huge warning sign that needs to be addressed instead of dealing with the symptoms of the cheating.

i wish you well in dealing with this.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-09-2009, 03:34 PM
JuneBug JuneBug is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 6
Default

I hope redpepper is right, and it was a cry for help, and not as JonnyAce thought: that he's looking for an out. I don't know which it is. He did go talk to a counselor last night, and wants me to go alone, then us together. This is a poly/relationship counselor. I have to think that it's a good sign he went independently. He does feel bad about what he did, but we haven't had a lot of opportunity to talk about things further because of our different work schedules and him being at the counselor for a long time last night.

I find it interesting that everyone here thinks it would be ok to talk to the other woman, but the person whose advice i trust the most irl said no, it's your boyfriends problem/mistake, not hers. he thinks it would complicate things, or i would get upset and make it worse. now that redpepper has put it into words, I do think one of the big reasons I want to say something to her is because he did make me look like a fool in front of other people. I was very good about keeping my composure so most people did not know (this from the party host), but she did and I want her to know. I do think her actions played a part in this and I don't want her to be a part of a Next Time with some other unsuspecting couple. But I can tell I'm still coming from a place of anger with regard to the part she played, so I'm on the fence about it. Perhaps my friend is right: no good result can come.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-09-2009, 03:58 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
Custodian
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: new england
Posts: 3,221
Default

I am a cynical person and I would have to venture that maybe the two of them deserve each other.

I realize that this is not a constructive thing to say from the poly point of view, but sometimes you gotta call 'em as you sees 'em. Of course, I don't know any of you and I'm just disembodied text on a screen so don't listen to a thing I say if it ain't what ya wanna hear.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-09-2009, 04:10 PM
JuneBug JuneBug is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 6
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by YGirl View Post
I am a cynical person and I would have to venture that maybe the two of them deserve each other.
She is an apparently happily married woman, so is not available for that. And despite whatever he's going through right now that is making him act this way, he has been a good guy.


I understand where your cynicism comes from, but it would make me feel like shit to be cuckolded like that. I have previously had another woman break up a relationship (but she was quite deliberate--it's such a shame when your partner is too blinded by love or lust to see the other for what they really are. It may be that past baggage that is fueling me to be more assertive.) and I can't tell you how relieved and redeemed I felt when they finally broke up. I don't want to go through any of the above ever again. I knew from the getgo that being poly had the potential for both more love and more heartbreak, but in times like this I find it very hard to keep seeking out more love.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-09-2009, 04:22 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
Custodian
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: new england
Posts: 3,221
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuneBug View Post
She is an apparently happily married woman, so is not available for that. And despite whatever he's going through right now that is making him act this way, he has been a good guy.

If she's so "happily married" then you should DEFINITELY have things out in the open with her. And if all of you are into this poly-lifestyle, what makes her "not available for that"? Is she going against a boundary-agreement she has with HER husband, maybe?

I realize I may have my head up my ass, but I understand your situation less and less the more you try to explain it.

I am sorry that I can't say something more constructive to you.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:19 AM.