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  #1  
Old 07-16-2018, 04:04 PM
1234567 1234567 is offline
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Default ex-poly recovery group

Does anyone know of an online group for people who tried poly (in my case for several years and with over a dozen relationships, so I know conclusions aren';t just a matter of "time") found it traumatic, and are working through the aftermath? I know that it wasn't poly so much as I shouldn't have been putting myself in a situation where it was so easy to retraumatize myself. But I'm pretty sure this is not uncommon.

Last edited by 1234567; 07-16-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:19 PM
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Hi 1234567,

I found an archived reddit thread, https://www.reddit.com/r/polyamory/c...orous_and_why/ ... no new comments can be posted but. I couldn't find anything else on Google.

What about the idea of using this thread here as a recovery group? There are probably other ex-polys who use this forum. Maybe the mods could turn this thread into a sticky?

I know FullofLove1052 is an ex-poly. But it has been a few years since she last posted.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:38 PM
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I guess that I'm an ex-poly, but poly was a wonderful experience for me so I wouldn't say that I'm in need of recovery from it. Through my poly experiences, I came to see how my heart is mono, but I still support and encourage the poly way of life for people who love it.
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:18 AM
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I think there is the very real probability of people feeling attacked or getting defensive or explaining why feelings are “wrong” if done here, or it would be a good idea. The community here is awesome.
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:19 AM
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Kevin, thanks for looking.
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1234567 View Post
I think there is the very real probability of people feeling attacked or getting defensive or explaining why feelings are “wrong” if done here, or it would be a good idea. The community here is awesome.
Seems that people can feel attacked here no matter the subject. That really depends on the individual questioner and the respondent, not on the topic. All manner of topics are covered here, including unpleasant experiences with poly. Actually, that topic is covered a LOT here. How the discussion develops depends entirely on the individuals involved. I'd think that if you were left feeling wounded by your poly experiences, you'd benefit most from poly people who know and practice loving and respectful poly or by people who practice loving and respectful relationships in general. I dunno, just a thought.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:55 PM
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That makes sense to me.

I’ve done some exploration, and I think I might post and see what people’s thoughts are.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:29 PM
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Complicating my relationship with poly is that negotiating nonmonogamy is a second generation thing for me, and not done well. My dad is non-monogamous; my mom monogamous. They did monogamy because it was assumed— only my dad did not. There were affairs— emotional and otherwise— and he always left a sufficient trail to be discovered.

Once, he left us on a family vacation before the days of cell phones, camping, so we really had no phone either, to spend time with another woman.

My mom knew exactly what was going on, and in her pain, we entered into a situation that was unsafe for all of us, deadly even, and she was not together enough to guard against. Two of us survived, by sheer coincidence, highly traumatized. One did not.

We could not reach my dad for nearly 24 hours to let him know we had lost a family member.

He then entered into a 30 year
relationship and eventual marriage with the woman he was with during the accident and death, who was jealous, and could not handle my relationship with him. Artificial barriers to me seeing him were set up, a lot. They were non-monogamous— at least, my dad was, during it. It was again, known. I don’t know about my stepmom.

I recreated so much of this in my poly life. It’s notable that I freed myself from the poly relationship that was the most retraumatizing within months or even weeks of my stepmother’s death—- or was freed.

My stepmother and meta fit the same role in my life, with jealousy, sabotage, and even both of them making a veiled death threat, that I didn’t quite believe, but was scary enough to take seriously. (With my meta, it made their house the only place in the world to give me panic attacks.)

So, what I originally listed as traumatizing in poly— all could be not only found in monogamy, but is all recreations of my childhood. Causing painful emotional flashbacks (poly hell)— and as a bonus, threats on life, if only implied.

Here is an unedited list, before I made the connection, of what felt traumatic:

Lack of support during an emergency for easily solved reasons. (All that needed doing was communication with a partner.)

Having to fight and argue for basic good treatment

Being asked to subdue obvious and genuine needs of my own for wants, disguised as needs, or lack of skills/function on a third party’s account.

Having it assumed it was okay to ask me to overgive, or bear the brunt of any compromise necessary with only cursory attention to fairness paid

Betrayal in the form of acting like my needs and wants did not exist in the presence of another partner— even though if a situation was made clear to the other partner, they would have accommodated graciously and felt good about it. Or backing out of a promise much needed and expected of any decent person in the circumstance because of a summons home— without even trying to negotiate or explain with the other person, and not bring open to negotiation with me. (Minutes before she had said she would stay as long as I needed; checked a text, and said she would be leaving early, because partner had asked her to- meta was sick, but had 4 other adults at home and had deferred when asked before if partner should stay home; I was needing aftercare we had negotiated, with meta getting it was needed, and to top it off, had been as sick or sicker and alone all week prior. And we were supposedly “equal”.) Both of these were not just betrayal- but betrayal that the other person could not have continued through had they received it. So, sabotage. Under the excuse of another relationship.

Being strung along.

Someone limiting themselves with me to artificially create or prop up a structure that was not healthy or right.

———-

Skills I developed through going through this really boiled down to learning to value myself and what I needed and learning to end relationships that had good reason for me feeling bad.

I think the trauma was inevitable— without giving further identifying details, the accident swung me full into horrific PTSD, and I had already had a childhood ripe for C-PTSD.

The retraumatization/healing pattern was in a way, the healthiest choice I had available. I was too much of a mess for a relationship without mental health concerns to be even, and I was with morally conscious people who were capable of adjusting (some) and who tried their best, but through lack of skills and experience, started at a very poor place for treating other significant others well— mainly because there are so few conscious role models for poly and the culture is filled with couple centrism.

I outgrew the original patterns— thanks in large part to my partners encouraging my speaking up for my needs — and kept on going. I wish my partners could have also kept growing, and we could have kept together, but I think while I might have started more damaged (had just exited an abusove marriage a few years ago, plus past trauma) I also had more potential for recovery.

I grieve to see my last partner, especially, still stuck in her own trauma, but am really glad she is taking care of it and making progress.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to that particular set of people, while they are together. I never got reassurance that betrayal was out of the vocabulary. In fact, I got evidence to the contrary. And I’m fairly close to mental health that really works and relationships that really work, based on several I had while also with my original girlfriend, and there would have to be a lot of mental health growth to make us compatible.

And— while I can do poly and do mono, I think poly is too big a lifestyle adjustment to just do it because someone I’m interested in is doing it.

It has strikes against it for me.

Unfortunately I could lose my jobs if I uncloset.

There is lack of support, and lack of role models in healthy-for-all-poly in our state. And I rely heavily on role models to develop behavior. Our state is largely hierarchical in its support structures in a way that dismisses the new people’s needs, though I have found (and dated) several examples to the contrary.

And one thing I’ve found is that I’m not quite ready to be the change here. I feel I have done my share, and SO appreiciate the role models here on this site but I really need a healthy live community, and at the moment, need to join one, not found one. (I’m looking outside dating for this community at the moment, because of much lower stakes.). I think our state’s poly/kink community has a lot of health to it—- but while I’m kinkier than average, because of the trauma potential, and it being a new situation and therefore ripe for me getting into something bad for me, it can’t be a large part of my life.

So that’s my story.

I’m certainly a part of my own dysfunctional circumstances.

I at least got to grow through them with poly— and it was very much the personal growth of poly that appealed to me.

But... I’m kind of ready to take a break from the AFOG’s. Or, I’m sure I will still grow, but time to do so solo - or do so in more conventional circumstances where I’m not QUITE so responsible for forging a pattern of what healthy behavior looks like on my own.

Last edited by 1234567; 07-17-2018 at 11:54 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2018, 12:27 AM
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It sounds like you have some damage from your past. And some more damage from your recent past. You do not have to be a role model for others, you are not responsible for others' growth. Be solo for awhile, unless/until you feel up to trying another relationship.

Kevin

P.S. I just remembered, sexyserb is also an ex-poly
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2018, 02:58 PM
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Hi there,
I am just getting around to reading more boards on the forum and just saw this one. Thank you so much for putting this out there and sharing your story.

I cannot fully fathom everything you have endured, but what I did pick up from that post is all the self-awareness you have and how you have learned to take care of yourself through all of this. I think it's really important for anyone to understand how their past experiences and thought patterns shape the way they manage relationships (and feelings, for that matter) going forward. I think some people never fully realize this, and continue in the same patterns for a long time. Poly surely isn't right for everyone, and it is very emotionally intense and draining for most. Couple that with a trauma history, and it can set even the most healthiest person with the best boundaries up for a lot of pain.

I am still in the process of mentally negotiating what poly is to me and what I can handle. I think when my husband and I opened up, we had different ideas of what poly was going to be, which has since come up and been realized. We can't go back now though.

I just wanted to share my response to your story. I hope more people read this and will chime in. While relationships can sometimes be restorative and healing, they can also be re-traumatizing, and perhaps this can be prevented if more people think about how the past shapes who they are not.

I wish you the best in your journey, however that looks like.
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