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  #11  
Old 06-11-2011, 04:23 PM
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When my husband cheated on me, I remember feeling like the world was falling apart, in the same way as when a family member died. How I got to poly is a long story...

We had grown up together, and were super-christian. Our wedding ceremony included vows that indicated fidelity in an obvious and explicit way. It didn't feel like an *assumption* of fidelity to me. I think that if he had wanted non-monogamy, he was responsible to ask first. And like Mono, I found the betrayal to be quite self-centred of him. I believed that he hadn't thought of me at all when he made the choice to have affairs.

In the present, I can see that he did think about me, and that the lying was a huge part of the feeling of betrayal. But beyond that, there was a feeling of being disrespected... of being duped into giving my rights away. For one, he left me behind in the emotional space where I stayed fidelitous for a very long time. But also, it didn't give me choices: to state my preferences or negotiate our life together, to get to know his lovers in a positive fashion, or leave until it was already a huge deal.

Ultimately, though, his habit of doing things in secrecy and without my input led to the end of our relationship as husband & wife. Though not of our friendship, or of my exploration of poly.
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  #12  
Old 06-12-2011, 02:02 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hi Seasnail,

Thanks for chiming in because from your writing it sounds like your situation (and reaction) are great examples of what we're talking about. And trying to gets some ground laid to do 'better'.

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Originally Posted by Seasnail View Post
When my husband cheated on me, I remember feeling like the world was falling apart, in the same way as when a family member died.
Looking back (hindsight always 20/20) was this 'feeling' legitimate ? Is a feeling of betrayal at the same level as an actual death of a loved one ?


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Originally Posted by Seasnail
....We had grown up together, and were super-christian.
That says something in itself. Religion has been responsible for the largest share of brainwashing people in a monogamous direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasnail
... Our wedding ceremony included vows that indicated fidelity in an obvious and explicit way. It didn't feel like an *assumption* of fidelity to me.
For a majority of people - words spoken on a page. Many people take 'vows' all the time - anything from clubs they join to licenses they are getting that have vows attached. We don't pay a lot of attention to the details of these 'vows' as a rule - it's just a process we go through. Maybe it's different for YOU ? But generally speaking.........





Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasnail
.....I think that if he had wanted non-monogamy, he was responsible to ask first.
Wouldn't this be great ?
But this is kind of at the heart of this discussion. We don't know HOW ! Don't even know (or believe) that's an option. No training/education/examples to follow.
That's what's so broken.
It's NOT that monogamy is automatically a bad thing. It's that we aren't told it's not the only option. And like you alluded to, these great sneaky little traps that are embedded in vows, culture etc that set the scene for drama and crying foul.

Wouldn't it really be entirely different if in your prenup sessions you had been aware of the fact that relationships grow and change over time and that monogamy was a totally negotiable thing (without impacting the quality of the existing relationship).
But that isn't what most people believe when they enter into a relationship. Especially in the first one or two (youth/inexperience). We're drowning in NRE and heavily injected with the "happily ever-after" myth.
And for a majority, that bubble eventually bursts and here we are with little education & training on where to go from there - physically or emotionally.


The rest of the stuff you touch on that you felt or were shortchanged on are great examples of how different it COULD have been had the knowledge been there.

Thanks again........

GS
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2011, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Looking back (hindsight always 20/20) was this 'feeling' legitimate ? Is a feeling of betrayal at the same level as an actual death of a loved one ?

That says something in itself. Religion has been responsible for the largest share of brainwashing people in a monogamous direction.

For a majority of people - words spoken on a page. Many people take 'vows' all the time - anything from clubs they join to licenses they are getting that have vows attached. We don't pay a lot of attention to the details of these 'vows' as a rule - it's just a process we go through. Maybe it's different for YOU ? But generally speaking.........
No, betrayal isn't the same as death. Though it is very similar, because it changes almost every dynamic of your life. I think the differences were in time span, and my ability to talk about it and release the hurt. I think this is because my reaction wasn't what it's "supposed" to be: I didn't want to end our relationship, I wanted to work it out and re-build trust.

And yes, for ME those vows were serious and intentional. For HIM, they were BOTH an expression of love and committment AND a very poor fit. I agree there are a lot of ways the church didn't serve us very well, especially in this.... as you say, we just didn't have any of the tools to talk about it.

Sometimes I wonder, if he had come to me earlier to ask for an open relationship how I would have reacted. It's a puzzle I can't really figure out. It's not like we didn't know about polyamory: we have several friends in common that have practiced poly for several years, and yet it STILL felt so alien to me. It's like I blocked the issue into separate parts of my brain. I guess that's what brain-washing is.

He had three or four affairs over the years, and told me about them at around the same time they ended. The last time, I walked in on him with his lover, and I threw her out of our house and demanded that he never see her again... it ate at me for a whole week, and then I went to her to apologize for being so abrupt and asked if we could talk it through in a kindly fashion instead. I felt crazy. I knew I "should" have thrown both of them out of the house and abandoned them both. But ultimately, compassion for them as individuals and as a couple was too hard to ignore.

If the brainwashing hadn't existed, and if there had been trust remaining on my side, and fear of judgement and consequences for my career, I think that instead of a long drama of her-or-me, okay-both, fuck-no-this-isn't-working, it would have been a story of okay-both-wow-this-takes-work.

How to get to that place where monogamy isn't assumed, THAT is a good question. My lover has a live-in GF, and many of my friends know that. Some are supportive, some accept it but don't realise when their bias shows, and some simply won't acknowledge that the relationship is anything more than friends. And admittedly, I don't push what they're comfortable with very often... though I'd like for everyone to be supportive, I want to respect how quickly they can accept a different paradigm because I remember how long it took me and how hard it was to do. I think we can easily forget all of the real and imagined risks that come from changing our ways once we've experienced the benefits of polyamory.
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  #14  
Old 06-13-2011, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasnail View Post
When my husband cheated on me, I remember feeling like the world was falling apart, in the same way as when a family member died. How I got to poly is a long story...

We had grown up together, and were super-christian. Our wedding ceremony included vows that indicated fidelity in an obvious and explicit way. It didn't feel like an *assumption* of fidelity to me. I think that if he had wanted non-monogamy, he was responsible to ask first. And like Mono, I found the betrayal to be quite self-centred of him. I believed that he hadn't thought of me at all when he made the choice to have affairs.

In the present, I can see that he did think about me, and that the lying was a huge part of the feeling of betrayal. But beyond that, there was a feeling of being disrespected... of being duped into giving my rights away. For one, he left me behind in the emotional space where I stayed fidelitous for a very long time. But also, it didn't give me choices: to state my preferences or negotiate our life together, to get to know his lovers in a positive fashion, or leave until it was already a huge deal.

Ultimately, though, his habit of doing things in secrecy and without my input led to the end of our relationship as husband & wife. Though not of our friendship, or of my exploration of poly.
Wow! This sounds scarily familiar. The first time my husband cheated, I refused to see the signs and told myself that he would never do that. We were also raised in "super-christian" households. It wasn't until years later that I put all the pieces together. I knew it was too late to just up an leave, but the hurt cut deep, it ate at me and resentment built up, which effected nearly every aspect of our marriage.

When I caught him this last time (cheating, getting ready to cheat, whatever), it sent me into anxiety attacks. I have never had one before and it was seriously scary. I spent alot of time thinking about the real issue, my first instinct was that it was about the sex, but that really wasn't it. I told myself that if we stay married, I will have to live with him looking for others (which is how I found myself here ), I quickly realized that I could live with him having sex with others, but not the lies, that was the deal-breaker. The hurt that hits me when it looks like he is keeping secrets again, is overwhelming, as if I had just discovered his betrayal all over again.

I'm told that the secrets were to just save my feelings, but I say "Bullshit!" The lies were to avoid the fall out of my reaction and therefore avoid the consequenses. I truely don't know what I would have said if he had asked to open our marriage. The first time, probably "No Way", but that was only 6 years into our marriage. However, if he had been serious and had good arguements that didn't put me on the defensive (that's hard for him, even now ), I might have changed my mind, I tend to be swayed by logic.
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  #15  
Old 06-13-2011, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
Wow! This sounds scarily familiar. The first time my husband cheated, I refused to see the signs and told myself that he would never do that. We were also raised in "super-christian" households. It wasn't until years later that I put all the pieces together. I knew it was too late to just up an leave, but the hurt cut deep, it ate at me and resentment built up, which effected nearly every aspect of our marriage.

When I caught him this last time (cheating, getting ready to cheat, whatever), it sent me into anxiety attacks. I have never had one before and it was seriously scary. I spent alot of time thinking about the real issue, my first instinct was that it was about the sex, but that really wasn't it. I told myself that if we stay married, I will have to live with him looking for others (which is how I found myself here ), I quickly realized that I could live with him having sex with others, but not the lies, that was the deal-breaker. The hurt that hits me when it looks like he is keeping secrets again, is overwhelming, as if I had just discovered his betrayal all over again.

I'm told that the secrets were to just save my feelings, but I say "Bullshit!" The lies were to avoid the fall out of my reaction and therefore avoid the consequenses. I truely don't know what I would have said if he had asked to open our marriage. The first time, probably "No Way", but that was only 6 years into our marriage. However, if he had been serious and had good arguements that didn't put me on the defensive (that's hard for him, even now ), I might have changed my mind, I tend to be swayed by logic.
I knew, shortly after each affair. I just blinded myself to the possiblity that he would do it *again*, because it was *just wrong*. It took me a LONG time to figure out that the part that was *wrong* for ME was the lying & secrecy, not the sex, like many of my role models indicated.

After a time, I asked him about opening our relationship, because I finally saw that trying to be monogamous and failing was hurting him as much as I experienced catching him... we're not together anymore, but last week when we had coffee together, he mentioned that he was proud of me for continuing to make my own choices rather than to conforming to the "shoulds" of society. What a strange life we lead!
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  #16  
Old 06-13-2011, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedPep
there is a purpose to holding on to anger, hurt and pain over cheating for a time, sometimes always, even just a bit. It protects and keeps a person safe.
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Really ? Does it ?
How does feeding negative emotions - giving them power - which DOES affect our daily lives (and health) and interaction help ?
Or is it the lesson we hope we've learned that can protect us from future pain ?
sorry, kinda late chiming in here.

(I will refer to cheating in terms of unknown sexual infidelity that comes from casual sex as well as from emotional infidelity...)

I think that allowing people to stew in their anger is part of grieving and necessary to move on. One can move on from the anger etc. of someone having cheated on them but still rise to anger when they think about the incident... the protection comes in from experiencing it and knowing how to handle it next time.

I don't think anger, hurt and pain are negative.... they are useful in getting us to a place we have never been before and make us realize we need to protect ourselves from that person in case they do it again. The negativity comes in when a person is always angry, always hurt and never trusts anyone again. That person might never do it again, and might even be forgiven, but it still happened and the emotions that come up with that have every right to be their if it helps in keeping a person safe by remembering what it felt like to be cheated on.

Complete trust is just not an option again after cheating I don't think. I wish it were, but I don't think its necessarily wise... at least not for me. That innocent and vulnerable connection is precious and very delicate. I don't believe that innocence is ever achieved again in a relationship where their has been a partner cheating on the other.
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  #17  
Old 06-14-2011, 01:47 PM
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Complete trust is just not an option again after cheating I don't think. I wish it were, but I don't think its necessarily wise... at least not for me. That innocent and vulnerable connection is precious and very delicate. I don't believe that innocence is ever achieved again in a relationship where their has been a partner cheating on the other
I totally agree with you here RP.

You can't recover loss of innocence or illusions. I think I was alluding to that somewhere. And THAT is part of maturing / living. And I hate it (that loss of innocence). I hate that it can turn us in a general direction of pessimism. But it is what it is. The only thing we can always trust is that when push comes to shove people will "generally" act in their own best interest - not ours. There are fleeting exceptions to that, but if you don't want to be let down/hurt/ etc you're wise to expect it. If it doesn't happen it's like a surprise bonus.
Where we're talking about 'cheating', I feel it's best in any relationship to "expect" a partner to avail themself of an opportunity under the right circumstances. In other words - for that to be the expectation and the 'norm'. Because that's a lot closer to the reality of being human than to 'expect' fidelity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RP
...........I think that allowing people to stew in their anger is part of grieving and necessary to move on. One can move on from the anger etc. of someone having cheated on them but still rise to anger when they think about the incident... the protection comes in from experiencing it and knowing how to handle it next time.

I don't think anger, hurt and pain are negative.... they are useful in getting us to a place we have never been before and make us realize we need to protect ourselves from that person in case they do it again.

The negativity comes in when a person is always angry, always hurt and never trusts anyone again. That person might never do it again, and might even be forgiven, but it still happened and the emotions that come up with that have every right to be their if it helps in keeping a person safe by remembering what it felt like to be cheated on.

.
The anger issue - especially carrying it - is kind of a topic all in itself.
I'd say we'd have to agree to disagree on this.
I don't believe there's literally anything positive about anger - at least more than fleeting - because it is a natural emotion. It's an emotion that can -and does - destroy people and everything else around it.

At the bottom line, anger basically means we don't TRULY UNDERSTAND something. When we do, it just becomes another fact of living that loses it's emotional hold. We tend to put the facts/actions in their proper cubby-hole, are watchful for them in the future. Just integrate them into our filter system.

Anyway - like I say - a topin in itself.

GS
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  #18  
Old 06-14-2011, 03:40 PM
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"Cheaters" get a horrible rap in our society, and I agree with others here who think there ARE worse things a person could do!

My two youngest daughters are in high school/jr. high, and you should hear the hatred these girls spew out at each other. If nothing else, one thing I've learned -- it starts EARLY, this training, that it is only acceptable to have ONE love interest at a time, even if we're talking puppy love! You better not kiss another boy on the playground; if you have a "boyfriend" you are expected to be "faithful," even as early as the 7th grade!

This is ridiculous to me, but I can hear the echoes of the Puritans in these kids' voices. I am sure they get reinforcement from their parents, as well as songs on the radio about jilted lovers. My youngest daughter instinctively knows this is BS, but she struggles with the slut label already -- at 14 -- because she loves EVERYBODY and she is beautiful. My 16-year old is the opposite -- had a boyfriend who "cheated" on her and now she "HATES" him and won't go anywhere near the crowd of friends they used to share, because that cheating jerk might be there. He has even encouraged the other kids to invite her! But to her, "cheating" is a capital crime, even though she has gone on to find a very nice boyfriend with whom she is far more compatible and very happy.

Sorry to go on a rant about my teenagers' love lives but like I said, this crap starts early on.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:59 PM
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How DID sex - or even emotional connection get put on a pedastle so far above so many more obviously damaging things.
I don't think trying to deconstruct how some things got put on that pedastle is important really. I think it is more important to make sure whatever partner you choose has the same values as you do around the things that are up on the pedastle. For some it could be any other value such as how to raise children, the environment or faith.

Recognizing what is on the pedastle for each individual and finding a partner who respects those values is the key to avoiding damage.

What is important to you may not be important to others...that doesn't make it wrong. It might just make you incompatible with some people. That's normal. I value lots of stuff that others don't and alternately I don't value a lot of stuff that others do...but that doesn't hold me back or surpress me.
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