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Old 04-06-2011, 04:16 AM
habitat habitat is offline
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Default A letter to my love - Needing space.

So... Basically... My partner, Pretty, and his other partner Ladybug, scheduled a date on the one day that we've always agreed would be preserved for us, Tuesdays (tonight). He basically said he could not reschedule this date, even though he "accidentally" made it on the night that we've been sharing exclusively for 4 months, and had agreed to keep as "ours". He said this scheduling mishap was just an error, but won't fix it. I view this as another breech of boundary, and feel that it's especially ill-timed, given that we're still healing from some hurt left over from recently, when they blatantly engaged in intercourse against mutual agreement. (here's some insight into the first transgression).

I've decided that I"m going to take two weeks away (after thursday). I feel yucky. I feel very yucky. HURRRTINGGG.

I never thought he would do this kind of thing to me.

Here is a document I'm going to send to him:
Quote:
Pretty,

I feel pretty hurt about recent transgressions and the feelings I'm having. i care about you so much and I don't want to put all the blame on you, because I want to be able to keep you. Please help me gain some insight by giving me a couple weeks of space and adhering to some requests in the mean time. I need some perspective.

Things that I think are unhealthy about this relationship:
  • The speed at which things progressed, with little to no attention paid to this relationship. Starting a second relationship in a poly scenario carries staunchly different consequences than starting an only-relationship. New relationship energy is taking precedent over old relationship energy.
  • You have no support from others with Poly experiences. You're getting no feedback from anyone except myself and Ladybug. While I've been talking it out with good friends to gain some perspective, you've been diving into NRE. You've done no reading. You talked to your best friend who is poly, even. It seems that you're being reckless and focused on your new relationship energy and I am essentially doing all the work that has gotten us this far through it all. You're not educating yourself, even after making transgressions. I have made every suggestion. I have spent a lot of time on this because I care about you and I care about this relationship.
  • I end up doing a lot of consoling. You really need to work on getting through this response of guilt. It does little to no justice to my feelings and it paralyzes you. It is destructive and creates scenarios where you've made decisions that hurt me, but I end up consoling you. This is not forward-moving.
  • “Better to ask forgiveness than permission”. It hurts that you're crossing very reasonable, fair and minimally-instituted boundaries about sex and scheduling. It hurts that, while I've wanted to ease into this giving you as much leeway as possible, you “take a mile”, so to speak, for every inch I give. It hurts that, in the midst of our healing about the first sexual transgression, you made a supposed scheduling error that you didn't seem willing to fix on behalf of the security and health of this relationship. It makes me feel like the NRE is making you take our hard-fought relationship for granted, in favor of something newer and more exciting... and perhaps more “fragile” seeming, which may be why it takes precedent.
  • I feel like you are taking our relationship for granted. I have told you that I will fight long and hard for this relationship, and I will. But I refuse to do it myself. I don't want to feel like you're being reckless and that you expect me to clean up the mess though research and finding support from others picking up pieces and working at it – talking until I'm blue in the face. I want you to prove it to me. I want to feel secure, loved and cared for. I want to feel safe.


So, basically I request that you do all of the below:
  • Be honest and up front with her about this list, immediately.
  • Spend at least 11/15 nights alone. Call/text her as often as you need to, but please spend the bulk of your time with yourself. Spend time thinking.
  • Read stuff. Like... Poly stuff. I'll send you some.
  • Schedule your nights with her whenever you first get your work schedules. Make all of your dates 100% SOBER for both of you. Please make sure she knows this before hand.
  • Let me know when your dates are. Let me know if you have to reschedule.
  • Engage in whatever dry/sober/protected acts of sex that you want.
  • Think about whether our relationship is worth it to you and whether you're interested in keeping it for the long-term. Think about whether you want to keep it. Think about whether you can respect boundaries. Consider that I am flexible and open to change, but not willing to be trod on.
  • Get intimate with her feelings about the situation.
  • Don't exchange fluids.
  • Get tested with her.
  • Talk to her about safer sex and what fluid bonding is, and that you plan on being fluid bonded with me.
  • Ask her about whether she's comfortable discussing poly with all of us together sometime in the near future.
  • Ask her whether she's comfortable with all of us spending time together once every week or two weeks.
  • Be honest with yourself about the health of your relationship with her. I'm not there so I don't know how healthy it is. How much alcohol is involved? Is she healthy and grounded enough to be in a poly relationship as someone who doesn't necessarily identify as poly?

We shall reunite on the 23rd of April (A Saturday) and spend the day being honest and working it out.

I love you immensely. I want you in my life. Let's do it.

Love,
Habitat
note - we've already agreed to be fluid-bonded, so that's not a new demand out of nowhere. I just want him to talk to her about it in a sit-down, serious kind of way. I'm not sure his definition of a "conversation" is the same as mine.

What do you think?

Last edited by habitat; 04-06-2011 at 04:24 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2011, 05:30 AM
dragonflysky dragonflysky is offline
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My $.02....For someone who hasn't been willing to follow many of the limits and requests you've agreed on in the past do you really think he's going to be willing to follow these requests???? And.....even if he says he will, do you feel you can trust him to do what he says he'll do?? If he doesn't, what will be the "consequences", if any? (I'm not saying you need to share the consequences with him ahead of time, but do YOU know what you intend to do or not do if he doesn't meet your demands?)

I've found that it's most often helpful to say what I will and/or won't do and not tell someone else what they "should" or need to do, e.g. "You really need to work on getting through this response of guilt." Instead...."I'm no longer willing to console you when you are struggling with guilt over some of the choices you've made."

I wish you well....not an easy situation!
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:55 AM
habitat habitat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonflysky View Post
My $.02....For someone who hasn't been willing to follow many of the limits and requests you've agreed on in the past do you really think he's going to be willing to follow these requests???? And.....even if he says he will, do you feel you can trust him to do what he says he'll do?? If he doesn't, what will be the "consequences", if any? (I'm not saying you need to share the consequences with him ahead of time, but do YOU know what you intend to do or not do if he doesn't meet your demands?)

I've found that it's most often helpful to say what I will and/or won't do and not tell someone else what they "should" or need to do, e.g. "You really need to work on getting through this response of guilt." Instead...."I'm no longer willing to console you when you are struggling with guilt over some of the choices you've made."

I wish you well....not an easy situation!
Dragonfly, I'm intent upon leaving the relationship if he's not willing to or doesn't complete this list (or some close, reasonable variation of it). It's an ultimatum.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:10 AM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Reads as a reasonable list of requests to save this relationship. There are a lot of people in here who know a lot of stuff on non-violent communication, which I understood was something dragonfly was referring to.

Maybe Pretty is just not cut out for poly, and is more comfortable with serial monogamy instead?
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:01 PM
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Wow, I would feel threatened by this letter. I don't think I would be overly keen to hear this stuff said as it is. Its demanding and has no sense of consideration for his feelings... I'm not saying that you don't have a right to be very concerned and that I don't understand that you are hurt... I just wonder if there is a way you could use some "I" statements more? Its all you did this and you did that. It's all put on his shoulders and if he doesn't do as he is told then that is it? Geesh, harsh no?

I agree, some people are not cut out for the practice of poly and are more supporters of the theory rather than the practice... perhaps he is one of those, but I think that re-writing with a different perspective that comes from your feelings and asking him how he feels might help also. I dunno, maybe he is the type that would jump to the occasion and do everything you say... chances are, even if he did, he could fuck it up again as the root of the issue is not really addressed and he has no way of having his needs thought of... hmmmm. ya, I personally would have a hard time with this ultimatum.

I suggest doing some reading on non-violent communication. There are a lot of websites and a book by the same name by Marshal Rosenberg. Very good stuff and well worth beginning to practice. He got his beginnings by bringing together gangs and getting them to talk about what their needs are... turns out they all and we all have the same needs. Instead of yelling at each other and telling each other what they should do to make it right, they started talking about how they felt about what had gone on between them and asking how each other experienced the situation... they ended up realizing how they had similar feelings and goals and working together rather. His stuff is all over on video also. There is some stuff on the communication thread if you search for it on here.

Good luck. I love communication stuff! I'm actually excited for you because I remember how my own life was changed so much!
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:15 PM
habitat habitat is offline
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RedPepper,

Pretty and I practice NVC regularly. We try really hard to use "I" statements and to express our needs as just that - our individual needs, and assess whether they're being met. I work with children and am way into gentle discipline and peaceful parenting/communication, and I have made NVC a way of life. By no means am I perfect at it, but I've learned to use it over the years and I love it. But I don't look at it as some kind of Holy Grail of communication. It doesn't always work.

How NVC looks in my relationship now is a lot of me talking, and a lot of him seemingly listening quietly, and then failing to follow through.

I have not sent him this email because I do agree that it is harsh. Harsher than anything I've ever said to him and yes, it contains a lot of YOU YOU YOU. It is scary to me that I feel this way and scary that I would write these things. I am so upset that I can't even stand it.

I will admit that I am in a fit of grief unlike anything I have ever in all my life experienced, which is taking me by surprise, and perhaps I'm not being as classy as I would otherwise be.

I have never ever talked to him in an ultimatum-y way. I have never threatened him or removed my affection, even in the wake of the mistakes he's made.

Maybe I'm just incredibly jealous and unable to deal.

I don't know.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:52 PM
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I work with people that I talk like your letter sounds. I also have a child. I get it, its hard to adjust... I do my best as I'm sure you do...

I'm glad to hear you haven't sent it yet and its still a work in progress. The only thing I suggest is to pick it apart and think of what you "feel" like and then write a separate letter just on feelings and request to have your needs met... you might want to write a list of questions for him too.

I had a land lord once that was used to students who left his place a mess when they moved out. He did a pre-moving out inspection of my place and was really angry as it was a mess. It was right during exams and I hadn't had time... besides I had two weeks until moving day!

I wrote him a letter out of anger and "you'd" all over the place and then settled in to write one that was "I" statements and sent that instead.

I basically said that I was feeling under pressure to do well in my exams and that I didn't think the place was clean either and that I was hurt that he had accused me of being a lazy student when in fact I had considered myself quite neat most of the time... I reminded him that I had two weeks and assured him it would be clean when I moved...

To my amazement he wrote back and apologized and said he had not thought about my exams and that I had two weeks left and that of course I had time and that he was really sorry about the name calling but that he too had been under pressure for various reasons...

It was a really amazing moment where NVC really worked. Why? Because I made myself vulnerable by expressing how I felt about the situation.

I try to do that all the time, even though it puts me in a position to be at the mercy of others. I find, surprisingly, most of the time people empathize and feel bad about what they have said and apologize or approach me differently and with more respect!

It works best with kids because it teaches them to empathize. Quite often I will express feelings to my son about not leaving the house on time (etc) and it changes his whole attitude to one of being willing to work with me to achieve things together rather than FOR ME.

Maybe thinking in terms of what to say that would inspire working together than FOR YOU. would help? Just a thought.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:01 AM
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I don't think it sounds that unreasonable given the breaches of trust and all. Sometimes you have to put your foot down and be firm. It is, after all, an ultimatum.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:25 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I agree with Penny and don't see what you wrote as too unreasonable or harsh. Some people just won't hear what you're saying, plain and simple, unless you put it to them in a not-so-gentle tone. Sometimes people don't take a woman seriously if she is all polite and "non-violent." Often, they need to be shaken up a bit, especially if there's a pattern if ignoring what's been said before or they're sort of lost in their own daydreams, or NRE, whatever. I mean you have to let him know what is unacceptable to you in no uncertain terms. You have put up with enough already.
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Last edited by nycindie; 04-07-2011 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:39 AM
habitat habitat is offline
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Thanks, everybody.

I don't think the letter was too harsh. We don't speak that way to each other in person, so the letter was meant as a "wake up call". A kind of: this is how seriously you're hurting me, type of thing. Again, I've use NVC in the every day and I love it and think it works. But Pretty and I know each other very well. I've made a ton of concessions in this situation.

The point is moot, however. The night after I wrote it, I called him and told him that we needed space, and that I would send the email, but I never did. I needed to talk in person. The next day, we talked and he said he needed space to figure stuff out for himself. He's torn because he loves both of us. I need to be stabilized again and feel respected, so I suggested that we be exclusive for a while, until we work things out, and then open our relationship back up. He's unable to commit to leaving her (I really don't blame him for that, it's just that we're not getting anywhere in this V) and is overwhelmed with the intensely emotional repercussions of his actions. I feel terribly threatened that he could leave me for her. It's definitely a possibility. Perhaps a probability.

I'm prepared for a total break-up after this week, but who knows. I cannot stop crying. On the bright side, maybe I'll finally get some cleaning done...?
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