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Old 06-28-2018, 06:25 PM
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VolitileRollercoaster VolitileRollercoaster is offline
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Hi all! This is gonna be a long one...

I'm a mono person who has been dating a poly man for 3.5 years. We didn't start off as mono/poly, just mono. Until about a year or so ago he betrayed my trust in a big way with a friend of mine whom he'd become closer to. He was hitting on her rather heavily and she reciprocated in kind and it escalated. She also told him things I said in confidence, stoking the fire of his frustration at the time (I was going through a strange situation with my vagina (TMI sorry) and couldn't have sex without having to stop multiple times or stop entirely).

She told him he should be with someone "who wanted him all the time" and was definitely undermining me and our friendship. They talked about sexcapades and some replies from him were "I'd like to do that to you". I voiced my concerns and how their conversation made me feel and I was disregarded for months. During this time, we visited some friends (including the one previously mentioned) and they helped him come to the realization that he was poly.

Soon after this an old flame of his came back into his life and I had given permission (in hindsight much too soon) for him to find someone to have harder BDSM that I couldn't provide for him. It was the understanding that it was to be a very casual, almost businesslike arrangement. We did not research anything prior to any of what I'm talking about, he did not go into this knowing what he really wanted, which was, from what I've gathered from research, a secondary/second girlfriend. This was sprung on me during talks with the old Flame AFTER they had had sex. He hung out with her once for a few hours, asked her if she might be interested and he didn't immediately tell me that is what happened, he hid it from me until I asked him outright, because he was hiding his phone from me. He said it was because he thought it would hurt me.

They had sex for the first time the next day, after I was under the impression from what he said that she wasn't sure and was going to think about it.

We hadn't yet recovered from the betrayal of my trust with my friend whom I had cut out by this time. And with this on top of it I was doubly hurt, feeling disregarded because my opinions and feelings were being heard and then ignored or ignored entirely. I asked him to not do anything sexual with her, and lo and behold, as I had since lost all trust in him, I started invading his privacy by reading his messages (I know, I went off the deep end) to my exfriend and the old Flame, and during another "hang out" he finger blasted her. Another blow to the trust.

We then had the aforementioned get together to talk things out and she said we needed to work on us before bringing in a 3rd person, and said she would think about it and get back to us in a week. During that week my boyfriend was increasingly stressed and mean to me. Nothing I did to assure him he wasn't a bad person helped, he tried to push me into possibly looking for my own secondary and was still disregarding my feelings regarding this new dynamic. I was in a very bad place mentally while trying to support my boyfriend, I was self harming and blaming myself for things that, in retrospect, were not my fault.

Fast forward, the trust was still broken and I've been triggered almost constantly, while also latching hard onto my boyfriend out of fear he will treat me badly again when we attempt to try the dynamic again. We're going to therapy since about February or March, and have just started making some real progress. Though he throws out sometimes "It's been a year" and he's not "seeing any progress" on my side, which hurts to hear since I'm doing a lot of soul searching and trying to deconstruct the mono-centric life that's been spoon fed to me since I was born.

I keep telling him I need time and patience. We both make mistakes, I'm not saying I'm blameless in the situation. I just want to make sure our foundation is fixed before we can really dive into having a healthy, open poly dynamic.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:40 AM
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VolitileRollercoaster VolitileRollercoaster is offline
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For extra info...

We've made strides the past few weeks in therapy, but had a heavy backslide this past weekend resulting in us being triggered and old wounds being opened again. We definitely need to work on our communication to get back to where we used to be a year go.

Since I found this forum I feel much more confident in our situation, seeing everyone else in similar dynamics making it work and overflowing with love. It's helped me be more opening to expand my world views.

We both love each other very much but know that this last fight took a huge toll. We both hope that with this forum and over communication of our expectations we can go the distance like we had planned.
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:18 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Welcome.

I'm really sorry you are struggling.

I mean this kindly, ok? Might not be what you want to hear.

I wonder why you cut out the cheating/betraying friend, but are still trying to make a go of it with the cheating/betraying BF who went on to hurt you even more and is still sounding kinda mean to you?

Quote:
I just want to make sure our foundation is fixed before we can really dive into having a healthy, open poly dynamic.
Do you even want a poly dynamic for yourself?

What about this foundation is healthy and trustworthy?

What in his past behaviors leads you to think he will behave any different in a poly model?

From what you write, I'm not sure you could practice poly in a healthy way with him. You use words like...
  • he betrayed my trust in a big way with a friend of mine
  • I was disregarded for months.
  • This was sprung on me during talks with the old Flame AFTER they had had sex.
  • he didn't immediately tell me that is what happened
  • he hid it from me until I asked him outright, because he was hiding his phone from me.
  • We hadn't yet recovered from the betrayal of my trust with my friend whom I had cut out by this time. And with this on top of it I was doubly hurt, feeling disregarded because my opinions and feelings were being heard and then ignored or ignored entirely.
  • I had since lost all trust in him
  • my boyfriend was increasingly stressed and mean to me.
  • he tried to push me into possibly looking for my own secondary and was still disregarding my feelings regarding this new dynamic.
  • I was in a very bad place mentally while trying to support my boyfriend, I was self harming and blaming myself for things that, in retrospect, were not my fault.
  • I've been triggered almost constantly
  • fear he will treat me badly again
  • he throws out sometimes "It's been a year" and he's not "seeing any progress" on my side

None of that behavior sounds "healthy" or "healthy foundations" to me.

You can love someone a whole lot. Up to 49% of your love. But the other 51% you save for loving you. So you are able to say "No. I love you a whole lot. But not even for you will I do stuff that hurts me."

People can cheat on their poly agreements too. It's not like they are magically "cheater proof" somehow. What stops people from cheating on their agreements is the character and trustworthiness of the person. I'm not sure you have that trustworthiness here.

If its been a year, and YOU are not seeing any changes or progress on his side? Treating you with respect and kindness? Being more honest? Being consistent in his changed behaviors and demonstrating that he can start to be trusted? (Because love alone is not enough, there are other things to deep compatibility.)

If his behaviors continue mostly the same? More pushiness, impatience, mean stuff? It's ok to stop participating here. It's ok to let this one go. You don't have to keep on riding the "volatile roller coaster." It's ok not to buy any more tickets for that ride.

It's ok for you to stick to monogamy if you like that model best, or move on to creating a poly model with people who are actually going to treat you nicely rather than being mean to you.

You have inherent value, worth, and dignity. You deserve to be treated WELL. I hope you believe that.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-29-2018 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:21 AM
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VolitileRollercoaster VolitileRollercoaster is offline
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Hi GalaGirl!

I know how my story sounds (haha). And I have asked and have been asked those same questions by friends, family, an old therapist, my SO. And no, it's not a healthy foundation to seek to open our relationship, I wholeheartedly agree.

I have done lots of soul searching on all these questions, analyzing his past behavior and current. Also, I forgot to mention this, I have since patched things up with my exfriend, and she and I have had many hour long discussions on how and why this thing happened.

Quote:
Do you even want a poly dynamic for yourself?

What about this foundation is healthy and trustworthy?

What in his past behaviors leads you to think he will behave any different in a poly model?
I do want the poly dynamic. And this is said after months of thought, my own research and therapy.

Currently, the fact that he has been willing to attend couple's therapy with me, and also seek his own solo sessions plus other various conversations we've had about past behavior (his and mind) leads me to believe that our foundation can be fixed.

I know that nothing can be cheater proof'ed, I don't know what the future holds. I also realize I probably just sound like a stubborn moron, and that I'm making excuses. I've heard all of it, and it's very nice to also have support from someone whom I've never met. I haven't been here long but I know this forum will help.

My SO and I have spoken at great length on how he treated me previously, he even went so far as to try to stop being poly, being attracted to other people. I knew then that it wasn't a possibility for him, and let him know that the option wasn't off the table. And as of now, we have set boundaries (I understand the trepidation some might feel reading this after my introduction). We have come to realize our faults (he wholeheartedly thinks my actions/reactions to his behavior were justified) and accept them. We are attempting to grow together and explore this new dynamic as a couple, not as separate pieces. Both of us now know what exactly we want from polyamory, though I am, for all intense and purposes mono, which is to share our love with someone willing.

I enjoy the thought of someone else appreciating him the way I do. And I have also come to know that polyamory doesn't mean a competition for me. My feelings were and are still valid and deserve to be known and expressed. It may seem like a pipe dream with our history, but I know we've got something worth fighting for. I was lurking earlier today in Poly Vignettes: Sharing Success & Happiness, and Utopian posted something that really struck a chord with me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
It takes bravery to strive to rise above ones own distrust, jealousy, egotism and greed and it's not easy. Especially for such a socially immature animal as the human. We are just learning to walk - of course we're likely to stumble but it's all so worth it for the sake of social progress.
That's how I feel about our situation. Sure our stumbling landed us in a ditch, but with a love and respect and a want to really hear each other and provide what the other needs is what has kept us together.
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:42 AM
powerpuffgrl1969 powerpuffgrl1969 is offline
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Poly does NOT equal cheating. How many chances are you willing to give this guy? Know that ahead of time before you find yourself being a doormat.

Remember your self-worth and self respect. Maybe poly IS for you, but maybe just not with THIS guy. He has done some pretty heinous stuff.

Just keep your eyes open. Sometimes the hardest thing is to walk away, but sometimes that is for the best. Trying to accommodate yourself to a poly relationship does not mean your "evolving" into a better person or anything like that. Some people are mono. Some people are poly. Some people are fluid. It's just like that. It reflects nothing on your maturity level.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:22 PM
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VolitileRollercoaster VolitileRollercoaster is offline
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Hi Powerpuff,

I know that poly isn't cheating. He knows that too, I know what my self worth is. We both know what happened was awful, and heinous.

We both acknowledge that. I'm not trying to "evolve" into a better person. Plenty of people think "once a cheater, always a cheater" I'm not one of them. Yes, the trust has been broken, yes he cheated. But know that from all this has come major shifts in thought and belief of what BOTH of us want from this dynamic, and from each other.

Bottom line, I know what this looks like to outside people. I'm not excusing his past behavior. But in the last several months, he has done all I've asked to give me the time and safe space to be able to heal. He gives me the respect I deserve. Anything less means the relationship will end.

Will the go away fully? I don't know, what I do know is he is wants to make it work. I want to make it work.

Trust me, this story is not glowing, does not reflect how it should start. I'm not asking for anyone to understand my WHY. I'm asking for the tools to help a relationship that y'all only see on a screen, whereas I am living in it, and I feel safe, and respected. Relationships are work, not usually this kind of work, but it's different all over...
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:31 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Quote:
I know how my story sounds (haha). And I have asked and have been asked those same questions by friends, family, an old therapist, my SO.
Why haha? You story is not funny. It's a “tread carefully” story not a “haha” story.

Quote:
It may seem like a pipe dream with our history, but I know we've got something worth fighting for.
Why is it necessary to “fight for” it? Esp when the last fight takes such a toll? What was the fight about? I think love is simply shared. It doesn't have to be “proven.”

I am concerned you are falling to sunk cost fallacy. I'm just a stranger – you could ignore me. But when so many people in real life that are concerned about you are bringing these things up to you as well? That could be a concern.

Quote:
We are attempting to grow together and explore this new dynamic as a couple, not as separate pieces. Both of us now know what exactly we want from polyamory, though I am, for all intense and purposes mono, which is to share our love with someone willing.
Are you talking about trying to form a triad? Where you both date the same person and also date each other?

Quote:
And no, it's not a healthy foundation to seek to open our relationship, I wholeheartedly agree.
Have you guys considered parting ways for now, doing your separate counseling, healing on your own and then getting back together later? Starting a NEW foundation rather than repairing the old one? Because that approach could gives you both time and space apart to heal, time and space to date other people and gain different perspectives before trying to date each other again. Since the goal is polydating together... could start by poly dating separately on your own before trying to date the same person.

A triad is one of the hardest models. It's basically 3 V's stack up on top of each other.

Quote:
Sure our stumbling landed us in a ditch, but with a love and respect and a want to really hear each other and provide what the other needs is what has kept us together.
Is he really hearing you when you tell him you need time and patience? Or is he rushing you/ignoring you again?

If you try this poly experiment... what are the dealbreakers? What's the last straw? Because you have put up with a lot as it is. While I believe in second chances, it cannot be 20, 200, 2000 of them.

Are you able to say “I love you a lot, but NO. Not even for you will I do something that hurts me” to him?

I still think you deserve to be treated well. I also think it is ok for you to pursue the romantic models YOU like best. Be careful you aren't shaping yourself around him and his wants just to keep from parting ways.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-29-2018 at 02:00 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2018, 02:45 PM
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VolitileRollercoaster VolitileRollercoaster is offline
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Hi GalaGirl,

I do understand the concern, and I know that I could ignore you if I chose to but that's not what I'm here for. I'm not here to tell my story and really ignore the people that respond to it. And a lot of the people in this forum might think that it's a fallacy, but from what I've seen from him and me this whole situation has both taught us what we both need from each other.

Our relationship has grown and changed over the years that we've been together. Whether that be from discovering something about ourselves or fights.

Quote:
Are you talking about trying to form a triad?

Have you guys considered parting ways for now, doing your separate counseling, and then getting back together later? Start a NEW foundation rather than repairing the old one? Because it gives you time and space apart to heal, time and space to date other people and gain different perspectives? Before trying to date each other again?
If I understand that terms correctly yes I believe we are trying to start a Triad. We both realize that now, right now, that can't happen. It wouldn't be fair to bring in a third person while our foundation is still shaky.

Currently, we do not live together which we both think is for the best. We spend most of the week apart and see each other maybe twice a week. We have enough time to think about what we want and goals, and can come back together and discuss in a much better and more respectful way.

And we have couples therapy once a week. Sometimes we alternate having solo sessions with our therapist until we both find our own solo therapy. On our first attempt, with his old flame, we were so new to the whole polyamory thing that we didn't take that time to really think or set any boundaries. And I think that was our downfall, because he did have permission to have sex with his old flame, it just happened faster than I had expected. But the bottom line is that he did have permission.

We haven't tried dating other people, because he wants me to be his primary. We have both discussed taking a break from each other the way you said, but after discussing it came to the conclusion that we'd rather figure it out together while doing her own research, like reading the ethical slut, or more than two then coming together and discussing what we both took away from those books.

Quote:
Is he really hearing you when you tell him you need time and patience? Or is he rushing you/ignoring you again?

If you try this poly experiment... what are the dealbreakers? What's the last straw? Because you have put up with a lot as it is. While I believe in second chances, it cannot be 20, 200, 2000 of them.

Are you able to say I love you a lot, but NO. Not even for you will I do something that hurts me to him?

I still think you deserve to be treated well. I also think it is ok for you to pursue the romantic models YOU like best. Be careful you aren't shaping yourself around him and his wants just to keep from parting ways.
Yes, he is really hearing me when I tell him that, he has been very understanding and is only going at the pace I set, and adhering to my boundaries. And I do have deal breakers, they are actually in our future secondary "contract", we've also taken to writing down everything else agreed upon in our discussions and such, so that we both know EXACTLY what the other person is saying and there is no confusion.

I am capable of saying that to him, and I have said it to him before and made it clear that past behavior cannot happen again, or I'm gone.

I DO deserve to be treated well, I agree, and he has been. I cannot tell you how over the moon I am. And I have thought that in the past, "Am I just going along with this because I don't want him to leave?" The resounding answer I came back with is no, I'm not. This is something I'm very willing to do, we've talked about hypothetical situations with a secondary and it hasn't given me pause. I don't react the way I used to, out of fear and "not being enough". I accepted polyamory for other people, but not myself or my SO for along time, which is what also got in the way.
----

My reply to you, Powerpuff seems to not have posted it was longer and more thought out... But I am well aware that cheating isn't polyamory, and at the time of the old flame situation he DID have permission, we hadn't set any rules or boundaries. I don't think I'm evolving, I think I'm just expanding my comfort zone. I've seen a lot in the threads here that it's important to do this for oneself, rather than the other person.
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:19 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Greetings VolitileRollercoaster,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

It sounds like you both need to work on your communication to get back to where you used to be a year ago. Have you heard of NVC? There is a book on it, "Nonviolent Communication: a language of life," by Marshall Rosenberg. (Third edition.) Might be a worthwhile investment. Also I think some trust has to be rebuilt before you'll be ready for the open/poly situation. Hopefully Polyamory.com helps. With a love and respect and a want to really hear each other and provide what the other needs, you can get through this. Hang in there!

Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter"

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:25 PM
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Al99 Al99 is offline
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Hi VolitileRollercoaster, and welcome to the Forum! Looks like you're getting some solid input already, so I will just say "welcome aboard" and wish you the best of luck on your new journey. Al
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Dramatis Personae:
Me: Al99, poly, heterosexual male, 50's
Becky: married to Al99, poly, heterosexual female, late 30's
Bouncingbetty: ldr girlfriend to Al99, poly, pansexual female, early 30's
Ben: Becky's medium-ldr bf, heterosexual male, 40's
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My Introductory Post - An Unexpected Introduction to Poly.
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