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Old 04-10-2011, 11:42 PM
koifish koifish is offline
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Default I'm Afraid My Fiance Is Thinking Of Leaving Me

We had been in a triad and our girlfriend broke up with us a couple weeks ago. She was not happy in the relationship. She needed really to have a primary partner rather than dating a couple. I knew she was unhappy for a long time, and it really ruined the relationship for me. I could never tell when the next upset was coming and I lost trust and was worn out from all the reassurance that I gave that she could, in fact be happy, in this relationship. I stayed in the relationship partly out of not wanting to rock the boat and partly out of wanted my fiance to be happy and have what he wanted and partly hoping that because the thing works in theory that it would work for us. I am bi, by the way.

My fiance really loves her, and really enjoyed his relationship with her. While that was going on, I was so uncomfortable and unhappy and we spent so much time together the three of us, that I was significantly less affectionate and more withdrawn, not from him, but withdrawn from the situation. Unable to interact with them in an openly loving way, therefore spending a lot less time actingly lovingly towards him, since we didn't get a lot of time just the two of us.

Add to this the pressure of planning a wedding, and the fact that GF was deeply uncomfortable with the wedding.

My fiance always that when times get tough, it's going to be him and me. Him and me.

He was extremely sad when we broke up, naturally. I was sad, but also terribly relieved and looking forward to more time and attention from him, an opportunity for us to build our lives together.

He met with GF to have closure, and she brought up the idea of him seeing her separately but they both dismissed the idea he said, thinking we would just have the same problems as before.

Then a couple days ago, I had gotten insecure because his sadness and withdrawnness had gone on so long, but he told me he had told GF that he was with me not by default, but because he loved me so much. That was good enough for me.

Yesterday, he was withdrawn, listless, uncommunicative. I tried to take care of him the best way I could. It was almost like he was mad at me though, but wasn't saying it. He assured me he was just really tired.

This morning I wake up to find him angry and resentful. He told me he doesn't believe I will ever be able to meet his needs the way GF did. His evidence was the few months prior to dating GF, where we had moved in together and I had trouble being instantly intimate in this way and would tend to create emotional distance in place of the physical space I used to have. That got resolved just fine. And then he adds the evidence of how I've acted while we've dated GF, while I was desperately unhappy most of the time. He has an idea that I was in fact very unhappy, even as he was happy.

He is extremely resentful right now. He was mean when I brought him lunch, and has basically asked that I leave him alone at least for today, and I don't know how long.

He's been drinking more, and also hates his job. I know he dreams of just running away. GF also dreams of just running away. Because of various things, I can't just run away right now.

I feel like it's deeply unfair to think our relationship is unworkable now when he has loved me a whole lot in the past. I know in his mind he is comparing this 8 month relationship with GF, which was largely fun and enjoyable times for him, a honeymoon period after all, with our relationship. He showered affection and baby talk on GF, and saved the nitty gritty, all of his serious issues for me. Because we had a deeper relationship than he and GF did, he said.

Nobody matches up completely, nobody thinks about things in the same way. Long term relationships always involve conflict in the way that shorter term relationships don't.

What is he doing here? Is this a stage of grief? Or something worse?

This man is the love of my life, and honest to god, I can't imagine my life without him.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:16 AM
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MindfulAgony MindfulAgony is offline
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I'm really sorry that things have gone in this direction.

If you apply the seven stages of grief, it sounds like your fiance is stuck in what we used to call "the pit of despair." It's the middle stages of 3. Anger and Bargainning and 4. Depression, reflection and loneliness. My view is that you can't presume any particular outcome while someone is in that state. You just need to understand that he's grieving and do your best to be helpful while he is. There's no easy guideline as to how long this will take.

This is one of those moments where you simply have to realize that you can only control what you do and say - your choices. Your fiance will make his own choices in due time. The only advice I can give is to not shy away from seeing his pain (even if it manifests as anger and blaming you) and respond lovingly to that pain and not the particular manifestation (assuming it's not harmful to you).

While he's grieving, I'm not sure there's anything else to be done.

Once he starts making clear choices, then you can choose your own reactions to deal with that...

I feel for you though, it's a sucky place to be. Exercise some patience plus a high dose of loving behavior until things become more clear.
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Last edited by MindfulAgony; 04-11-2011 at 02:19 AM. Reason: spelling!
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:37 PM
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Good luck, Koi, as you and your fiancee reassess this situation. Sounds like you and the gf were both unhappy for most of the relationship, while your guy just reveled in having 2 women, while leaving you both emotionally unsatisfied!

The heck with that! And I agree, he enjoyed the NRE mooshy gooshy stuff while you were left with mundane day to day shit. Seems to be such a big problem in poly relationships, and it's just not right.
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Good luck, Koi, as you and your fiancee reassess this situation. Sounds like you and the gf were both unhappy for most of the relationship, while your guy just reveled in having 2 women, while leaving you both emotionally unsatisfied!

The heck with that! And I agree, he enjoyed the NRE mooshy gooshy stuff while you were left with mundane day to day shit. Seems to be such a big problem in poly relationships, and it's just not right.
Such a great point! Seems that his feelings were certainly out of synch with the folks around him. That's an interesting point of self-reflection right there, if he's open to it.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:58 PM
koifish koifish is offline
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He likes giving affection, he loves loving, he loves taking care of people, and he's great at commitment. In retrospect it becomes a little more obvious that he was enjoying this situation, whereas the GF and I were just trying to make it work. And not that often being successful at it.

If we try this again, it will have to be different.

I am recovering well, and GF is recovering well from the breakup. We are going to be good friends, I think. That's sort of what we mostly were anyways.

I have found a lot of peace in thinking about the stages of grief (I think he is in stage III - anger) and that some people experience the anger stage so intensely that they lash out and damage or permanently destroy relationships. They resent and blame those who are closest to them regardless of actual fault.

So. I'm taking a deep breath. This is the man I have committed my life to. I will let him know that it's okay for him to feel angry and to want space, and that I love him and will be there for him. I will honor his grieving process. It's out of my hands anyways. I also think it's interesting how I'm probably seeing him at close to his worst even before we get married. It's weirdly freeing.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:11 PM
koifish koifish is offline
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Anyone have any ideas about how to facilitate the grieving process when someone is in this state?
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:06 AM
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Ultimately, the goal is to help someone work out their feelings. Work out doesn't mean expedite. Rather it means giving them space to feel (and not suppress) their emotions and a non-judgmental ear that allows them to work through those feelings.

This can be hard to do if you are very close to the person. This is why therapy or other type of counseling is so useful when someone is grieving.

I always fall back on something that a professor told me a long time ago. The first duty of a friend when someone they love is grieving is to be there. Not to talk. Not to fix it. Nor expedite it. Just the willingness to be present.

People often struggle with this advice as they can feel so helpless. Like they "should be doing something." What the willingness (or maybe stubborness) to be present means to me is that I:
  • Don't let my discomfort in seeing them in pain make me shut down
  • hold them when the want to be held
  • Leave when they want me to go (but be close by)
  • Listen when they want to talk
  • Wait when I don't know what to do next

I abandoned the idea of becoming a therapist because I couldn't separate others pain from my own. And, so I'd be useless doing this on a daily basis. But, the above is how I approach being a friend to someone in pain.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:55 AM
koifish koifish is offline
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All of this is really challenging:

Don't let my discomfort in seeing them in pain make me shut down
hold them when the want to be held
Leave when they want me to go (but be close by)
Listen when they want to talk
Wait when I don't know what to do next

I'll add one more: Don't take the grieving person's actions personally.

You are totally right, though. That's what I need to do. I did some more reading about grief, and those things are what's needed. I'm settling in for the long haul.

My wedding is quickly approaching and I'm trying to keep my heart out of my throat. I think he has moved away to some degree from the caustic anger.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koifish View Post
I'll add one more: Don't take the grieving person's actions personally.
Yes, absolutely that too! Hang in there and try to find some time for some self-care.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koifish View Post
If we try this again, it will have to be different.
Both having partners of your own or a gf who has a primary of her own?
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