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Old 04-16-2018, 06:05 PM
Lonlygirl64 Lonlygirl64 is offline
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Question Husband wants me to end relationship

Hello! Husband and I have been married for 15 years. We've been swinging on and off for about 18 (started while dating). He is much more active than me in the swinging community -- I live for the social aspect. About 18 months ago, we met a couple who we clicked with instantly. They became and still are our best friends. We even moved 30 miles to live near them.

Shortly after we all met, I started falling in love with the husband. It made him nervous --he didn't believe in poly-- and this, plus other disagreements, ended our friendship for a few months. My husband adjusted fairly well to all of this, but I was devastated. I cried constantly until I finally admitted to my husband how much I missed the other man and how much I loved him. My husband was very supportive and encouraged me to repair the friendship/relationship.

The other man and I began talking again, the wife and I talked, my husband spoke with them both...and slowly we all rebuilt our friendship. And the relationship between me and the other man dove straight into a full blown love affair. He admitted to being deeply in love with me as well and we now live for the moments we can be together. We still are very committed to our spouses and work hard to make sure they know how loved they are....but after 6 months, my husband still cannot come to terms with it all and he wants me to end the relationship again.

My husband admits he is jealous that I have something he does not (my husband does have a women he sees regularly but not as often as he would like and she is not interested in exploring things on a deeper emotional level), and that he feels "lesser than" my boyfriend-- that this other man is better than him-- more successful in his job, in bed, etc. He also admits that he feels like an outsider when the 4 of us are together. You see, the 4 of us are not only friends but I have also made a concentrated effort to be friends individually with each of them, independent of our "couples friendship" while my husband has not. My husband is friends with the wife but they are not separate lovers outside of our 4-some play and he is barely friends with my boyfriend (he has not forgiven him for some of the things that were said and done when we had our falling out last summer)

For the record, my boyfriends wife handles most of this fairly well and when she doesn't, she and I talk. But again, she and I have become very good friends. We even play as a team in the lifestyle together sometimes.

I have weighed my husbands feelings with mine....the impact this will have on our marriage if I end things and if I don't....and I am at a loss. If I remain in this relationship with my boyfriend, I feel as though I am slowly torturing my husband every day and I love him too much to see him struggling. However, I also feel as though some of his feelings are things he needs to work on-- his codependency of me for one. Yet, if he forces me to end this relationship and deny me this love and who I truly am, I feel I will resent him and not be able to stay in the marriage in time. And if we end up divorced, I am fairly certain my boyfriend will no longer be "allowed" to continue his relationship with me. Either choice I make, I feel like I lose.

I've contacted a poly friendly counselor to see if she can give us some advice and am waiting to make that appointment. I've also encouraged my husband to speak to my boyfriend and build a friendship outside of our couples friendship so that 1) he feels less on the outside, 2) learns more about my boyfriend and feels more confidant in his position in our relationship, and 3) builds a male/male relationship with someone to give him a friend and who he shares a common interest-- me.

Does anyone have any other advice? Thank you.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:22 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Hello and welcome to the forum.

Swingers for 18yrs and sort of trying to transition to poly for 15months or so.

Was that discussed and planned ??

How long were the other couple swingers and are they both cool with the transition to poly / emotional side of romantic love ?

What hs your husband done to solve or work through his problems?

To me it sounds like he needs to self reflect, fine a therapist, find a new GF, get a hobby/ whatever. Its not up you to manage his poor self esteem. Doesnt sound like anyones actively doing things to demote ot devalue him its just the way things are.

Maybe instead of trying to force togetherness you should try for some separation from group activities. Or at least the triggering type activites whatever those might be.

Last edited by dingedheart; 04-17-2018 at 06:46 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04-17-2018, 06:20 AM
Ravenscroft Ravenscroft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonlygirl64 View Post
[I] am waiting to make that appointment.
Why waiting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
Doesnt sound like anyones actively doing things to demote ot devalue him
...except perhaps for making clear to him it's all HIS fault for getting in the way of Happily Ever After --
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonlygirl64 View Post
I've also encouraged my husband to speak to my boyfriend and build a friendship outside of our couples friendship so that 1) he feels less on the outside, 2) learns more about my boyfriend and feels more confidant in his position in our relationship, and 3) builds a male/male relationship with someone to give him a friend and who he shares a common interest-- me.
So I agree more with the "some separation from group activities" part. Here, I see a clashing of various types of "couple front" thinking; therefore, the situation needs to be depressured a bit, though I can't see a path that's either easy or simple.

Call the OP Laura, husband Harry, boyfriend Bob, wife Wanda.

Harry is a swinger, & wants a sexually open marriage. This has been the dyad's dynamic for 18 years. This is how they met Bob & Wanda. The relationship between Harry & Wanda is cordial enough, but mostly about the sex.

Therapy is great, but a therapist isn't there to sprinkle on some fairy dust & miraculously fix everything, & "poly friendly" does nothing to turn couplists into polyamorists.

The "poly" content is low, beginning with basic communication. Laura (already considering divorce as a "solution" to various shortcomings) assumes Wanda would veto Bob being involved with an uncoupled woman. If at all true, Harry is no more "the problem" here than is Wanda. In any case, how does Wanda feel about this, right this moment?

As Harry "is much more active in the swinging community," he could find a steady girlfriend of his own rather that trying to wedge himself into a cozy closed foursome. And how would HIS coupling up with an unattached woman sit with Laura?
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:17 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenscroft View Post
Why waiting?
Good question
but don't you think if he's got codependence tendencies that she should just hand off the number and let him set the appointment?




Quote:
...except perhaps for making clear to him it's all HIS fault for getting in the way of Happily Ever After --
And perhaps that only happened in your head. And perhaps its the opposite everyone is concerned / worried that he’s struggling and isolating himself.


Quote:
Call the OP Laura, husband Harry, boyfriend Bob, wife Wanda.

As Harry "is much more active in the swinging community," he could find a steady girlfriend of his own rather that trying to wedge himself into a cozy closed foursome. And how would HIS coupling up with an unattached woman sit with Laura?
Did you miss the part about Harry having a women he sees regularly but not as much as he would like and shes not intersting in having a deeper emotional comnection or are you saying Harry needs “girlfriend” instead of a fuckbuddy.

I think harry might be more envious of some of this stuff than jealous.

Last edited by dingedheart; 04-17-2018 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:33 AM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Note: Lonlygirl64, I'm going to go with the nicknames Ravenscroft ascribed to your foursome:

*************

It seems to me that all four people concerned were comfortable with the status quo - i.e. swinging (a couple centric activity/lifestyle) - for years.

That was until the OP ("Laura") fell in love with her now boyfriend, "Bob"... unilaterally changing the group dynamic... which seems to have thrown a wrench in the works, in actuality and potentially.

Firstly, the change caused problems for Bob, who couldn't deal with her feelings and/or didn't want to admit to his own... causing a temporary rift in the couples' friendship. (Part of Bob's hesitation back then may well have had something to do with how he perceived his wife Wanda would deal with a change from swinging to poly.)

Due to some things Bob said due the "split", and the greater intensity of feeling that exists now between Bob and Laura, husband Harry has grown increasingly insecure/jealous/envious of Bob/Laura. He feels excluded as he does not have a similar relationship with Wanda, and doesn't get to see his own FWB as often as he'd like, and wants Laura to end things with boyfriend Bob.

Do I have this right so far, Lonlygirl?

As far as I can see, there may be a couple of things going on here:

1.) Swinging and polyamory are barely more related to each other than cheating -vs- consensual non-monogamy. None of us can help our feelings, true, but when the OP/"Laura" fell in love with Bob and he finally admitted he felt the same and they began a loving dyad separate to the prior swinging arrangement, they irrevocably changed how the entire group and the individuals within that group relate to each other.

Nowhere in the OP's post did I see that the other people involved were consulted or had agreed that poly would be on the cards - it was just foisted upon them. Most people don't take kindly to that and it goes against the tenets of polyamory.

2.) While boyfriend's wife "Wanda" has been making the best of it (so far), OP's husband, "Harry", is not coping well. This is partially the result of his personality (co-dependent relating style; feelings of jealousy/envy) and probably partly due to feeling he wasn't given a choice, which is understandable.

That said, and without anything "solid" to base this on, I'm getting the feeling Harry likes for things to be on his own terms. The OP says Harry has been very "active" in swinging circles for eighteen years - even before Laura and he married. (I got the impression that this activity was more sexual in emphasis than social.) He was happy to move house to live closer to "best friends" Bob and Wanda, and to share sex with them regularly, AND to have another unnamed female FWB on the side (who the OP states he'd like to see more often, but can't, which displeases him).

However... unrealistically perhaps... Harry expected that this level of enmeshment with the other couple (plus the amount of time he and wife Laura had been involved in the swinging lifestyle) would NEVER result in emotions developing between his wife and anyone else (?) Either Bob, Wanda, or any other play partner.

Maybe despite the swinging Harry is a true "mono" at heart and only has eyes for Laura, or maybe he is just really good at compartmentalisation, but I think it has been proven that, for many people if not all, regularly sharing sex WILL often cause deeper feelings to arise. Therefore I don't think it's all that strange, wrong or unnatural for Laura and Bob to have fallen for each other. In fact, given the situation, it was probably only a matter of time before at least one of the couples involved would have developed feelings of love.

Now both Laura AND Harry have to deal with the result of their life choices.

Therapy seems like one obvious go-to... both couples therapy AND individual therapy for Harry since he's dealing with issues of co-dependency, jealousy and insecurity.

If the OP and her husband can't work this out, and she and Bob decide to stay together, then divorce is an option - for one or both of them. A lot will depend on Wanda's attitude here. So far she's been supportive, but the OP obviously fears that may change if she, Laura, extricates herself from her marriage. Her presence in Bob's life may well be seen as more of a "threat" in that context... and Wanda may fear Laura will try to "cowgirl" Bob away from her. Wanda may not have any such insecurities, but personally I believe this issue would crop up in some form should Laura choose to leave Harry.

I'm wondering, OP, if all four of you have ever sat down and tried to hash this out? (In recent times, I mean, not the first time the friendship broke up.) If so, what was the result of those talks? Or are all four of you careful not to rock the boat when you're together?

After all, successful polyamory hinges on effective and timely communication. I am not a swinger, but I can't imagine sharing sex with someone regularly AND considering them my best friend/s... yet merely having a "cordial" relationship and NOT being able to be totally open and honest about how I'm feeling.

You don't say, but are there children involved at all? If so, their best interests should be paramount when considering your next move.
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  #6  
Old 04-17-2018, 01:18 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I'm sorry you struggle. I don't know if this helps you any. FWIW, this is what sticks out to me.

Quote:
My husband adjusted fairly well to all of this, but I was devastated. I cried constantly until I finally admitted to my husband how much I missed the other man and how much I loved him. My husband was very supportive and encouraged me to repair the friendship/relationship.
What was he supporting there?
  • You actually having the relationship again?
  • Or him not having to feel yucky while witnessing you crying/upset/healing from a break up?

Because to me... I find break ups sad/hard. But given the time? It passes. People heal. Here you didn't seem to take enough time to fully heal before the plan changed again -- to reconnecting with Bob.

And now that things ARE connected again... he's witnessing different feelings in you. And he feels uncomfortable with that too. So now he wants you to end things.

Which makes me wonder... is this more of same? Last time he felt yucky watching you deal with break up stuff. Now he feels yucky watching you deal with loveydovey stuff. Why not just be honest? If he doesn't want to be in a poly network, why not just say so? If he only wants swinging, he could state that.

Is that his habit? Like he's not entirely honest with you? Or like a "fair weather spouse" who doesn't want to deal with you when you have challenging emotions? Or like he's too up in all your stuff -- like trying to manage his OWN anxiety feelings by controlling what you do rather than dealing with himself and his responses to things? Or is it like everything has to be about him -- he's the most important and all his stuff has to be first?

(Is that also BF's habit? Where he was pushing you away, and then admits he loves you? Why be attracted to this trait? Guys who don't do their own emotional management but seem to expect other people to do it for them?)

I think you could tell husband "no." You do not plan to end it at this time. Instead, to relieve his yucky feelings, you would prefer it if husband would consider trying building a relationship with BF and BF's wife outside of the couple's friendship as you have so he feels less of an "outsider." Or something else of his own choosing -- like talk to a therapist to learn to manage his own stuff better, become ok with not having the same friends as you and that being a healthy thing rather than it meaning he is "less important" to you etc.

If in the end, he gave false info -- like "have the relationship" when really he meant "stop being sad so I don't feel yucky looking at you" -- that's something you guys have to deal with. Being more honest with each other from the BEGINNING. As well as developing better emotional boundaries so you are less caught up in each other's stuff when it is not appropriate.

I could be wrong, but I almost get the impression you are a bit like him.
  • He's not comfortable watching YOU deal with YOUR yucky feelings.
  • And here you are not comfortable watching HIM deal with HIS yucky feelings.

If he told you he supports you getting back with BF when really he didn't? That is not honest communication. If that behavior that led to him feeling yucky NOW when you chose to get back together with BF? All he did was postpone feeling some yucky, possible making it a bigger pile of yucky to process.

I think it is ok for him to feel yucky. Not FUN, but ok. It's ok for him to learn that behavior did not serve him well, it led to feeling yuck, and for him to think about changing his way of going next time in favor of being more honest from the start. So maybe then it leads to feeling something better.

Are you not comfortable with him learning that?

I think you each could think about doing your own emotional management and letting the other spouse deal with heirs. Not like you don't care, or lack compassion. But not so enmeshed and all up in each other's stuff. And not preventing the other one from learning needed skills even if the price of admission is having to feel some yuck while learning it.

I also think you each could learn to speak your truth from the beginning. Kind but firm. But speak it all the same. More honest communication from the start rather than saying things/not saying things from worry how the other one will take it. Esp if it leads to messes like these when you don't. You both could learn from that.

Quote:
I have weighed my husbands feelings with mine....the impact this will have on our marriage if I end things and if I don't....and I am at a loss. If I remain in this relationship with my boyfriend, I feel as though I am slowly torturing my husband every day and I love him too much to see him struggling.
You are not torturing him. He agreed to be here. If he gave false info or changed his mind? He can bow out. He can leave. Or you can end it with husband.

Both ways remove husband from the new poly network.

Quote:
However, I also feel as though some of his feelings are things he needs to work on-- his codependency of me for one.
You could encourage him to do this. And you can support it by letting him experience the feelings he feels without trying to fix them FOR him. Say "No. I'm not willing to end it with BF at this time. Is there another way I can help you?"

I wonder if you are starting to outgrow the codependent dynamic and he still wants to be codependent? And that is why he feels less important to you?

Quote:
Yet, if he forces me to end this relationship and deny me this love and who I truly am, I feel I will resent him and not be able to stay in the marriage in time.
That is not fair. OWN your choices. You are not "torturing" him above. He is not "forcing" you here.


If YOU choose to end it in order to please him, you will resent yourself for making the choice to let this love go and deny who you truly are.

It's not fair to park it in husband's head like "he made me do it." If you choose to do it, YOU chose it.

If you seek to disentangle selves and build a healthier dynamic between you? It has to work both ways. It cannot be he works to untangle whatever codependency he has while you still keep putting things on his plate that belong to you. Take responsibility for your own choices.

Quote:
And if we end up divorced, I am fairly certain my boyfriend will no longer be "allowed" to continue his relationship with me.
Why not? If BF not in charge of his own self? Does he not make his own choices? Or is the other couple enmeshed? Where they trade responsibility? Like the husband is the driver of the "wife car" rather than the wife. And the wife is the driver of the "husband car" rather than the husband?

I think you could cross that bridge if/when you get to it. Deal with one thing at a time rather than spinning "what if this? What if that?" anxieties.

I am not diminishing what you feel. But you could take a step back from this and consider... Maybe this BF is not meant a permanent BF, but a relationship that made you wake up and realize who you truly are. You aren't into the swinging thing. You prefer polyamory. Just took you a while to realize that. (Over time, maybe this BF relationship does go long haul. But that cannot be determined yet. At this time though, it might be reasonable to say it HAS been an eye opening experience.)

Is it that you are afraid having this "wake up call" relationship is making you also realize you have outgrown husband entirely? Not just the codependent dynamic you have with him?

Quote:
Either choice I make, I feel like I lose.
I can imagine all this is hard to FEEL, but the actions seem straightforward: When all the choices stink? You could pick the least stinky choice that honors who YOU truly are.

I would plump for you being the driver of your own car, and making your own choices about things. Let the chips fall where they may. Expect other people handle their own feelings and make their own choices. Instead of you or them expecting you trying to "pre-manage" or "manage" their feelings FOR them.

Drive your own car. Not other people's. I think it would be a healthier way of going.

Then however it turns out in the end, you can take comfort in the fact that you were doing your best, owning your own stuff, and not putting your stuff on other people's plates, and not letting other people dump their stuff on to yours. Things that line up will. Things that don't, won't. And however they fall, you CAN cope.

Everything cannot be YOUR stuff like everything from everybody is your responsibility. There is...
  • Your stuff. You have a stick here to hold up.
  • His stuff. You have no sticks here to hold up.
  • "Our shared stuff." You hare a stick here to hold up.

Only hold up your fair share of the sticks and responsibilities.

Maybe you and husband could talk (with or without a therapist's help) to determine where all the stuff goes if it has all fallen in a muddle. This stuff is yours, this stuff is his, and this is "our shared stuff" -- so you all know more clearly. Better boundaries.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 04-17-2018 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:43 PM
Lonlygirl64 Lonlygirl64 is offline
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Thank you all so very much for your opinions and points of view. Let me try and clarify/answer some of the questions you brought up. I will continue with Ravenscroft's monikers.

1) I was waiting to make that appointment only because I was waiting for the therapist to return my call and schedule the appointment. It is now scheduled for Thursday.

2) Why did I not hand him the phone to make the call? Good question. I suppose as in most marriages, each partner has certain roles and mine is that of "coordinator". I plan and manage all of our social activities, make appointments, make vacation arrangements, etc. It's just something I do so I never even thought to ask him to handle it. Plus, he works from home and I do not so I am better at knowing my schedule than he is. Harry is very happy to be going, by the way.

3) We have not been in the LS for a consistent 18 years. Life, work, and kids got in the way and we were out for about 10 years. We only started back in about 3 years ago when we stumbled on a meet and greet near us.

3) Was this discussed or planned?-- Becoming poly? Yes, sort of. We discussed the idea of an open marriage, swinging, and even poly prior to our marriage. We had both had extremely stifling first marriages and did not want to be with another partner who was not willing to be open to exploring some of the things that interested us. Harry has always been aware of my great capacity to love and care for others and when I admitted my feelings for Bob, it came as little surprise. We talked at GREAT length as to how we would move forward-- should I even tell Bob how I feel? How will this change our friendship? How will this affect our marriage? Their marriage? This is not something I simply dropped on him and demanded he accept. Ravenscroft, I did not mean for it to seem that I am blaming Harry for anything. I am very grateful to him for trying to come to terms and accept and understand my love for another man, while still loving him.

4) How long has the other couple been swinging? -- About 5 years. Married for 27. Poly was not something they had ever considered either but apparently while I was discussing my feelings about all of this with Harry, Bob was discussing his with Wanda. Bob and I absolutely never would have moved forward with a deep emotional relationship-- and yes, we would have had to end our friendship-- without both of our spouses (continuing) support.

Wanda had a boyfriend of her own for most of this past year but that relationship recently ended (he was single and we believe, deeply in love with her.... but he knew that he could never have her 100% and he could not deal with the situation). I was worried that this would put a strain on my relationship with Bob as Wanda is very demanding of his time when she is not otherwise occupied but so far she has been fairly good about realizing that just because she no longer has a boyfriend, he and I still need alone time together.

5) Have we all sat down and talked this out? -- In a manner of speaking. We did not all sit down and say, "Ok, Laura and Bob are in love, now what do we do?" But we did talk with our respective spouses and we do all talk often and try and be aware of everyone's needs and wants. However, they are not aware of Harry's current struggle as he is not inclined to share his feelings right now. Yet, he HAS asked Bob to get together and talk, telling him he needs some "guy advice", plus he wants to get to know Bob on a more personal level, like I know Wanda.

6) When I say that Harry is much more active in the LS than me, I mean he is more likely to have play partners than I am. I am very often the girl standing in the kitchen for an entire party while my husband is off busy somewhere. I have a much harder time clicking with people. I don't just say, "you're hot, let's go". That's never been me so my list of partners has been very small in comparison to his. And I am ok with that. In fact, Bob is very similar to me. Wanda has far more partners than he does.

7) What has Harry done to solve or work through his problems? Right now, not much. He doesn't have any friends but wont make the effort to make any. We have couple friends and I encourage him all the time to call one of the guys and grab a beer or go do some sort of "guy thing" but he doesn't. Then he gets angry when I want to go out (with Bob) and he has nothing to do and nowhere to go. He has no hobbies-- work has always been his whole life. And yes, he does see someone but only when her husband is out of town which is only 2-3 times a month. He wants to see her much more but they aren't in our circle of friends and have no interest in joining us (we invite them out constantly but they always decline) and she won't leave her husband home alone. That situation, coupled with the fact that I get to be with Bob all the time as we do everything with Bob and Wanda, adds to his unhappiness. Dingedheart is correct in that Harry admits he is envious of what Bob and I have.

8) Lunabunny was correct when she said she believed part of the rift we had last summer was due to Bob's hesitation as to how Wanda would handle this transition from swinging to polyamory. This is something Bob and I discussed during our initial conversations while trying to repair the relationship. But Wanda saw how unhappy Bob was without me in his life and eventually she, like Harry, encouraged Bob to reach out to me and repair our relationship/friendship.

Today, Wanda is very supportive of Bob and me. She and I are very close friends and talk when there are problems. Wanda has said over and over that she has never been jealous of me. She is very confidant in her marriage and does not see me as the threat that Harry sees Bob. But again, Bob and Harry are not close friends and do not talk every day like Wanda and I do.

9) No one is talking divorce and that is something none of us has even considered. If Harry simply could never come to terms with my relationship with Bob and I chose to leave, where would that leave me? Bob is still married to Wanda and I don't think Wanda would allow Bob to continue to see me. Would Bob leave Wanda then? I don't think so and I wouldn't want him to. Besides, I love Harry and want to be married to him.

10) Children? -- All grown, graduated college, and self-supporting. Bob and Wanda have grown children as well. The kids all know we are BFF's but know nothing of our relationships. Nor does anyone in our families though Bob's sister teases him about me being his "girlfriend". (she has NO idea she is right)


11) GalaGirl -- You brought up an excellent question: what was he supportive of? I assumed he was supportive of me repairing my relationship with Bob. He SAID he was but maybe he just wanted to stop seeing me cry.

12) Is this Harry's habit, to try and manage my emotions rather than his own? -- No, not normally. I would say he is more of the "fairweather spouse" description. He struggles with his emotions when things get tough. Is that Bob's habit? -- No. I believe he was simply afraid of how Wanda would adjust to all of this and having never considered the idea of a poly relationship, I believe he was frightened by it all.

13) I could tell Harry, "No, I will not end the relationship with Bob." -- You are right and for now, I have. I understand that having never been involved in a poly relationship of any kind before he may not have realized what this all was going to involve and now that Bob and I are deeply enmeshed, it is more than Harry can handle. But I DO agree that it is unfair of him to come back and say, "I thought I could but I can't so you have to end it." And I HAVE asked, "what else can I do for you to help you with this?" but never get a clear answer other than, "you're doing all you can."

14) Codependency and growth-- Yes, I have outgrown his codependency. And not because of Bob. I outgrew it quite some time ago. But old habits die hard and I find myself sucked back in from time to time and admittedly, find myself trying to fix things for him, rather than letting him do the hard work himself. I need to let him work through his feelings himself. I know that.

15) Bob and Wanda-- If Harry and I were to divorce, I do not believe Wanda would approve of Bob and I continuing our relationship and while Bob may love me, he would choose to do what Wanda wants, which may very well be end the relationship. But that is getting ahead of things....

16) I believe GalaGirl's observation is correct-- I am probably not so much of a swinger but am polyamourous. I don't believe this "wake up call" has made me afraid I have outgrown Harry, but I think Harry might be afraid I have outgrown him. Harry definitely enjoys the swinging lifestyle whereas I very much prefer my (nearly exclusive) relationship with Bob.

Better Boundaries. Pulling out some of my old books and articles on that now for a refresher course....

Any additional thoughts anyone?
Thank you again.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:37 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hello Lonlygirl64,

It sounds like your husband needs to work on his own issues ... even if he has to go through some ouch in order to do so. I am inclined to suggest that you don't break up with your boyfriend at this time. Ask your husband if there's something else you can do to help him meet his needs.

It probably would help if your husband would foster a friendship with your boyfriend. Hopefully he'll be willing to do that. Other than that, I agree with what GalaGirl and the others have said.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:49 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
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Hi Lonelygirl,
you don't seem willing to end the relationship with your new lover ('we now live for the moments we can be together'), but you don't want to be 'torturing' your husband either.

I think what you could realize is, that your husband does have the choice to divorce you if he's in so much torture. This has two implications:
In a sense, by staying, he's torturing himself - it's not your responsibility that he's unhappy with the choice you made for your happiness.
But also, realize that a month or a few years down the road, he could really leave if he makes up his mind. I encourage you to set focused time aside live through that worst case scenario in your imagination.

Also realize, that your husband can't "force you" to end the relationship with your bf any less than you can force him to stay. It will be always your decision, even if he wants to leave it's you prioritizing one relationship or the other.

If the imagination exercise doesn't shift your priorities (which is ok),
I think what you could do is keep boyfriend, but also try to be a better partner for your husband, so that his needs are met and he doesn't have to care about the other relationship that much. From what you have written I see one thing that could help, and that is dropping your expectations about him, such as expecting him
  • to adapt to a life-changing change in six months
  • not to be jealous, not to feel lesser that your boyfriend
  • forgive your boyfriend
  • to make effort to be friends with your bf and his wife
  • to feel less exclude from the relationship if he makes friends with the boyfriend
  • etc.
I find these expectations all to be unrealistic or untrue. You're basically trying to change him and make decisions for him about which direction he should grow. That must feel ... suffocating to him. And they make you lose respect and love, and yes, get resentful.

Question every one of your "shoulds" about him, and find ways in which it is not true. Think of ways you are contributing to your husband feeling the way he feels. Seek the ways in which you can express your love for him more, and do it. Maybe in another six months... you'll have a happy poly relationship.
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2018, 03:21 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Thank you for more details.

To me? These are things that are Harry's job only:
  • He doesn't have any friends. If he wants that to change, he has to make the effort to make some. And make the effort to do the coordinating on that himself -- not you doing it.
  • When you go out with Bob, he has to learn to cope with his angry feelings. It's not your fault he did not plan to have things to do and he does not have hobbies and he made work be the center of his life. He's allowed to be angry at himself for neglecting his self care. Maybe he needs to feel it in order to motivate him to change his behavior around that.


Quote:
That situation, coupled with the fact that I get to be with Bob all the time as we do everything with Bob and Wanda, adds to his unhappiness.
Why do you do everything with them? Couldn't it be less?

This I think is a "shared job":
  • Both of you could be asking the other one out on a date on your OWN.

That part could change. STOP doing "everything" with the other couple. It is ok to see them sometimes in couple double dates, and it is ok for you to see Bob on your own. But have some dates that are just (you and Harry) on your own too. Ask him out. And ask him to ask you out too so it's not always on you to coordinate it. Both of you attending to the health of the marriage and making some couple time alone -- that's a shared job.

Quote:
12) Is this Harry's habit, to try and manage my emotions rather than his own? -- No, not normally. I would say he is more of the "fairweather spouse" description. He struggles with his emotions when things get tough.
Another one for the Harry job list.
  • The only way for Harry to get good at doing his emotional management is to willing to feel yucky things and learn how to get THROUGH them. To practice with it rather than avoid it

I think it is ok to struggle. Just as one who wants to get better jogging would have to struggle through some beginner workouts in order to gain the strength and skills for better ability at running workouts later. The skills do not fall out of the sky. They are grown by doing.

Quote:
Codependency and growth-- Yes, I have outgrown his codependency. And not because of Bob. I outgrew it quite some time ago. But old habits die hard and I find myself sucked back in from time to time and admittedly, find myself trying to fix things for him, rather than letting him do the hard work himself. I need to let him work through his feelings himself. I know that.
This is a job for YOU then:
  • You have to start backing off and coordinating less, not fixing things automatically, living with some discomfort yourself.

Could start small. Like STOP telling him to get a beer with guys. Let his social life be HIS job.

STOP making his appointments for him. Let his health care be his job.

Over there I am the "coordinator" but not first batter up. We both have a shared Google calendar, and we each put things on there. With doc appointments, I do me and kids. Spouse does his own.

I expect him to do it and get it on the Google calendar. If I don't see it within a certain window, I check in. Like "Hey, we all got our dentist on there. I do not see yours. Have you scheduled it or do you need my help to do it?" I don't just leap to doing it for him. I give him the chance to do it first himself. But sometimes he does need help because he's got a lot going on things fall off his radar.

Just like I don't do his laundry. He does his laundry. But if he's been swamped at work, and I notice the basket in the bedroom I will ask -- "Hey, that's been there a while. You need a hand with yours this week?" But the expectation is that he does it FIRST. My role as his spouse includes being his helpmate, but that's helpmate. Not "do-it-for-me-mate."

You could back off. Let him do stuff FIRST, and then after a certain window ask if he needs help. Don't be his "brain" and do it all for him. Be his "cane" and offer assistance when needed. Not leap in and take over. And that is where you being willing to live with some discomfort comes in.

The kids often have messy bedrooms. I remind them to clean it. I do not do it for them. Yeah, I could clean it all faster with one hand behind my back and not be living with this "learning experience" grubby. But a clean room that *I* cleaned is not the big picture goal. The big picture goal is kids getting the hang of housekeeping tasks so when they move out they have the skills. So they try, and it's not always to MY standard. But I praise what I can and ignore the rest as "work in progress."

Quote:
16) I believe GalaGirl's observation is correct-- I am probably not so much of a swinger but am polyamourous. I don't believe this "wake up call" has made me afraid I have outgrown Harry, but I think Harry might be afraid I have outgrown him. Harry definitely enjoys the swinging lifestyle whereas I very much prefer my (nearly exclusive) relationship with Bob.
You could ask him. Like "Harry, I've been wondering. I want to make you aware that this Bob relationship isn't making me outgrow you or our marriage. I love you and I want to be here. But I wonder if YOU are going around thinking that? Do you want to talk about that?"

You can offer. But if he doesn't want to take you up on it, leave him be. Let him go through this and sort this own things out. You cannot do it FOR him.

It is ok for you to prefer poly and him to prefer swinging. You are two different people, not cookie cutter copies of each other just because you are married.

Hopefully you guys review the marriage boundaries and get those into a healthier balance. They sound like maybe they've been tilted for a long time with the codependency.

I'll be frank too -- if Harry's been enjoying a "free ride" with your doing a lot of the work? He's going to be doing more work now to get less.

It might move toward being "more fair" so each part of the couple is holding up their fair share of the marriage stick and getting their fair share of the rewards of marriage. But if Harry's more into "what do I get?" then you may have resistance to these changes because he might not care about "fair."

My parents are like that. For their WHOLE marriage my mom always carried my dad. Now that she's older and she's getting tired, she wants to do LESS. Less cooking, less cleaning, etc. But Dad thinks he is ENTITLED to her work. And he does not view it like "Well, she's done a lot all these years. It's fair for me to take more of a turn now."

He views it like "Where's my dinner? You are neglecting me!" because he takes her work for granted. He doesn't view it like "She doesn't HAVE to make me dinner. She's just been nice to me all these years doing it for me."

So...be prepared for some pushback if you do decide to back off to move toward a more balanced division of labor in the marriage and healthier boundaries. What you see as "restoring balance so each gets 50% of the marriage pie" he might view as "I'm getting short changed. I'm supposed to have 75% marriage pie."

And if he's tantrum-ing or crying or whatever over it? And it is your habit to swoop in and be the "fixer" for him so he's not feeling yucky? If you really want things to change you are going to have to resist that habit of yours and keep saying NO. Kindly but firmly.

Hopefully he is not like my Dad and he can see the value of restoring better balance to the marriage, can see the value of becoming more confident in himself and his skills, and can see the value in becoming less dependent/codependent on you.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 04-18-2018 at 03:51 AM.
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