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  #21  
Old 09-27-2018, 02:34 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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To me it sounds like you were right. He didn't want to do the work.

I'm glad things are resolved so this suffering can stop for you.

But I'm sorry he didn't want to change his way of going any to try to meet you halfway and that it had to be break up. I can imagine it is very disappointing to have invested so much here and find he does not wanting to invest back.

Do take care of yourself in the healing time.

When you are ready to date again? Remember this:

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What I do know is that before poly, if I'd been dating either of them I would have gotten frustrated and moved on. Poly can't become the reason that I stay in bad relationships, sort of shifting them around on a given day/week and hoping they'll fit together somehow to make one good one. You're right. I want a whole partner or partners too. Not partial puzzle pieces.
If you would have moved on before poly? Move on after poly. Don't try to "puzzle piece" partners any more. They have to stand on their own too feet and meet your personal standard for what you seek in a partner. If they just don't make the cut? They just don't. Spare yourself the grief.

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Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-27-2018 at 04:21 AM.
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  #22  
Old 09-27-2018, 03:57 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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I'm sorry things didn't go the way you'd hoped with George.

If anything has been learnt by this experience, it's probably that you now know yourself even better than before, especially regarding how you prefer to conduct relationships, moving forward.
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  #23  
Old 09-27-2018, 05:26 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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I'm very sorry that George broke up with you, not being willing to lift a finger to meet you halfway.
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  #24  
Old 10-16-2018, 08:11 PM
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BelleRose BelleRose is offline
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First, thanks to everyone who has been here for me. It's been a few weeks now and I definitely feel better about the fact that things ended, if still a bit annoyed by the way that things ended. I do apologize for going MIA for a moment. Besides the breakup, a LOT of other things happened three weeks ago and I just needed a moment in time to get myself together. Or three weeks worth of moments.

Gala, Luna, Kevin, Teal, Mags - your advice has been invaluable (as with award show speeches, if I'm leaving anyone out it's not on purpose and I appreciate you too!). Tomorrow will make three weeks since the breakup, and I'm doing very well. Although now that I have a bit of distance and clarity, I see that the relationship was problematic from the start.

I started this thread because I felt empty, drained, tired and needed a break. While I was disappointed that George wouldn't meet me halfway, I wasn't really surprised. Since we broke up I feel so...light. And calm. And happy.

So what I noticed is that although I was happy when our relationship began, the initial period of calm I felt was very short lived. When I first started posting here about this particular relationship, it was immediately after an incident with Lucy, which at the time seemed like an opportunity to clarify boundaries and make relationship agreements. But in retrospect? Now it looks like triangulation.

So then I started thinking about his partner, Gina. Shortly after we squashed the Lucy mess, the triangulation with Gina began. I didn't see it at the time. I wasn't looking for it then. I didn't pay attention to how often she came up once we started dating officially, even though they'd been together for a year and a half before us and I never heard a mention of her once during that time. In retrospect, all of the boundary issues I was complaining of in previous threads seem very much like triangulation to me now. The KTP vs. parallel poly dilemma. I was so angry with Gina for suddenly just needing to schedule dates on the one night that I worked with George, but what about George? Why was he okay with that? Why did it take me essentially drafting a legal contract between the three of us to resolve that?

I don't think it was really all that hard to understand when I was upset with him for not only breaking a standing date with me, but for additionally trying to start his night with Gina (the date he chose instead) in my presence while I'd be working. Serving her. I also don't think it was hard to understand why I was upset about him cuddling with Lucy in front of me after he'd told me she'd made a pass at him several months prior, or why I was so upset when he not only shared our show with Gina but skipped ahead without me. All of it just seems so, so obvious now. When I really stopped and asked myself whether it ever seemed like he tried to purposely make me jealous, I realized there were a lot of instances where it absolutely seemed like he did.

One night in particular stands out to me now in a way it never did before. It was early on, in the happy bubble before things shifted (and I realize that the language I'm using sounds a lot like the "manipulative shift" in abusive relationships, but I'll get to that later). I had been in the bar hanging out with friends, and he had been outside working (bouncing). I'd texted him, because as we were still heavily in NRE we were constantly texting even though we were in the same place, and asked whether he ever experienced jealousy. My timing had no particular significance. I'm always reading a few books at a time and had been rereading The Ethical Slut so it popped into my head. We were in a new relationship. I wanted to know how he handled that when he felt jealousy. So I asked. When he answered, his answer was brief and vague, but then he followed up by asking if I'd been asking him about jealousy because I'd noticed him talking to a woman outside. I said no, I hadn't noticed. He then when on to say that maybe I subconsciously noticed him, noticing her. I said, nope! I hadn't even been facing that direction and didn't know he'd been talking to anyone. And in response to that? He began to tell me about her. It's funny because I wasn't jealous in the moment, nor did I become jealous. I remember sort of skimming over the details of the woman because I was focused in on hearing about how he handled it if and when he experienced jealousy, so I didn't even fully process that he was bragging about the amazing qualities of a strange woman he'd been conversing with in the SAME conversation in which I'd ask in about jealousy, in which he'd misinterpreted my question to mean that I was jealous in that moment. So...his response to thinking I was jealous was to...fuel it?

Essentially what I'm realizing is that I think the reason the relationship was so hard on me was because I was in fact doing a lot of hard work the whole time. Not just relationship work, but working not to be manipulated via triangulation. I think the boundaries I set with Gina, establishing very clear parallel poly, made it really hard to keep triangulating us. Hence the return of the Lucy sitch, except instead of playing games, I just left. I set new boundaries to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. In retrospect I think that treating Gina and I as interchangeable - doing the same activities with us and telling me about it - was another attempt at triangulation.

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

Outside of processing that relationship, I have learned some things about me from this, and what I want going forward. I've been taking time for myself, as I wanted to. What I find, though, is that without any drama weighing me down I'm just using that time to enjoy myself! I splurged on some amazing running sneakers and have been running and doing yoga on the beach. Before it gets cold. I've been planning solo activities, seeing my friends. I have been going on dates with someone new, but I am taking things very, very slowly. I almost feel like I'm going out with him from behind bulletproof glass. Which brings me to my last topic...

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This isn't the first time I've talked about triangulation on this forum. It was first introduced to me here, years ago, when I dated the guy who first introduced me to poly. I have been in multiple abusive relationships and dated multiple narcissists (probably because one of my parents is one). I am in therapy and doing the self-work to hopefully never remain involved with one for too long again.

What worries me is that my relationships with George and Luke - while I'm not diagnosing either of them - both fit a relationship pattern that occurs with people who are interpersonally exploitative. Even if they aren't narcissists, or overt abusers, or what have you. I tend to have issues with boundaries - though I am getting better, so maybe it's time to rethink that label I'm giving myself - and I can be excessively empathetic. The boundary issues I'm glad I'm overcoming. But the empathy...I don't want to hold back my empathy. I don't even know how I would manage that. I don't want to be less human. But I also don't want to keep being taken advantage of.

I'm trying to learn from these experiences, but I worry that I'm going to overcorrect and just close myself off. Or mistakenly think I'm passed it, as I have before, and then end up with a similar person in a different package.

Has anyone ever experienced any sort of relationship abuse before, or dated a narcissist? Mags, I know you shared your experience with Ginger. I just feel like I've done SO much reading, and research, and therapy, and work trying to recover from relationships like this, only to end up in similar experiences. I do notice that when I encounter experiences like this they don't last as long as they once did. I have the vocabulary. I wise up faster. I think it's called hyper vigilance and it's probably been turning narcs or people like narcs off. But still...I'm not really feeling to hot at the moment about getting out sooner than before. I don't want to win, or escape. I just don't want to keep dating people like this. At all.

I'm very weary of NRE now, and that saddens me because I've had good relationships with partners who weren't exploitative that started with NRE, and it was lovely. And the feeling of being behind thick glass and observing my date very, very carefully...that doesn't seem healthy either.

Enough Belle thoughts. Your thoughts?
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  #25  
Old 10-16-2018, 09:11 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
Since we broke up I feel so...light. And calm. And happy.
I'm glad you are feeling better and took some time to yourself after the break up.

Quote:
Has anyone ever experienced any sort of relationship abuse before, or dated a narcissist?
Raised by one. And now I help mom do his alzheimer care. Which I do mostly for my mom's sake than his.

Quote:
I do notice that when I encounter experiences like this they don't last as long as they once did.
That is a sign of your healing and your BS meter improving. Keep working on your therapy and healing. The work you do shows.

Quote:
I have the vocabulary. I wise up faster. I think it's called hyper vigilance and it's probably been turning narcs or people like narcs off. But still...I'm not really feeling to hot at the moment about getting out sooner than before. I don't want to win, or escape. I just don't want to keep dating people like this. At all.
All natural to feel. You JUST broke up. It's ok to be vigilant and it's ok to end it if you date a new person and they give you "those vibes." You do not HAVE to keep on dating people like that. You can end it!

Quote:
I'm very weary of NRE now, and that saddens me because I've had good relationships with partners who weren't exploitative that started with NRE, and it was lovely. And the feeling of being behind thick glass and observing my date very, very carefully...that doesn't seem healthy either.
If it is what it necessary? Go with it. Because you can always choose to take the "glass" down later after a certain point when you have vetted them and you find that they aren't that type. The NRE will still be there to be enjoyed when you do.

Be ok being as you are -- a culmination of all your experiences to present date. You will view the world through the lens of that experience and it is OK.

Being careful doesn't mean you are not empathetic or cutting yourself off from the world. Just like looking both ways before crossing the street or locking your house door doesn't mean you are paranoid or untrusting or something. It's simply doing basic self care.

Galagirl
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  #26  
Old 10-16-2018, 09:30 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi Belle,

To me it is healthy to have a good dose of skepticism when you are first getting to know someone. After you get to know them a little better, sure, some NRE is nice. But you know of your own tendency to be attracted to people who are interpersonally exploitative. So it's not just skepticism about the person you're dating, it's also self-skepticism. "Uh-oh, am I doing it again?" That type of thing. Not that you are putting yourself down, just that you know you're not out of the woods yet. If the person you're dating turns out to be a cool dude, that's awesome and it means you can relax your skepticism a little bit, both on this person and on future people. Hopefully I'm explaining this adequately.

To summarize, I think you are doing the right things, given your current situation. You can adjust things in the future, after you gain more confidence. It's not that you need less empathy, it's that you need more skepticism (at this time). And that is what you are doing.

I think you'll get better at spotting problem people sooner and sooner, til you eventually reach the point where you can pretty well spot them right away. Problem people tend to hide their dark underbellies, so spotting them requires considerable skill.

For my own part, I've learned the hard way that I can be too trusting of people. It is okay to use that bulletproof glass at first. Kind of makes me sad to say so, but there it is.

Sincere regards,
Kevin T.
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  #27  
Old 10-17-2018, 11:09 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Hi Belle Rose, I am sorry I didn't notice you'd broken up with George! Somehow this thread slipped by me.

I'm glad you realized he was treating you badly and you are done.

I think it's very natural to be very wary now that you are single. Especially since you've dated narcs before, and been abused! And were raised by a narc as background.

I wasn't raised by a narc, but my dad has Asperger's and my mother catered to him and interpreted the world for him to a large extent. Bent over backwards. Did all the work of keeping him connected to the world and commonplace social behaviors he had no concept of. She also placated him so he didn't have to deal with hard emotional things. She hid her own feelings. She asked my sister and me to not tell Daddy when we did certain questionable things as teens that she was willing to deal with, but he'd have a cow over. Etc.

When I split with Ginger, I talked to a couple guys on ok cupid a couple weeks later. But they were being annoying in their expectations and I had NO energy for it. So I purposely took 6 full months off of dating after the breakup. To heal. To research narcissism more. To grieve. I made the mistake of meeting him about 40 days after the breakup. He was doing the classic "reel her back in" narc move I'd read about. The meeting was gross and I practically ran to my car.

Then oddly when I did start dating, one of the first guys turned out to have what I perceived as narc characteristics. But I'd learned the red flags to look for. I learned to have compassion for myself, to protect my heart. I didn't let the nice dinners and fancy hotel rooms and intense fun kinky sex blind me to the fact that he was emotionally unavailable to me. He even said once at dinner, his sister had once told him he treated women badly and to stop it.

I listened to that. I didn't send "empathy" his way for being misunderstood by his sister or whatever. I took him at his word. He had a pattern of treating women badly.

I was already very wary and then he did a weird thing. He told me a day before a date, he'd spend the night. I hadn't asked him to, but it was to be the first time. I was like, OK, sure. Then after the chats and the sex, he withdrew and said he was going home after all! It's like he promised to stay just for the fun of breaking the promise and "disappointing me." He said, he'd spend the following night instead, tonight he had to do "mumble mumble."

So OK. The next day I didnt hear from him all day. I texted him at 8pm. He texted back 20 minutes later saying he was in a "business meeting that had gone late." I had no idea if this was true or not. But that was enough bs. I broke up with him.

So, long story short, after a 2 1/2 year relationship with a narc, I dumped the next one after a half dozen dates.

I need to keep my standards high. Honestly? We are still in a culture where men will say and promise anything just to get in a girl's pants. This year, Kahlo ended up devaluing me me and sexually molesting my gf Pixi while she slept. But I wasn't distraught like I'd been 4 years ago. It made me angry, but I kinda rolled with it and got back up again much quicker than I had 4 years ago.

I wish you healing and learning and self respect.
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