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  #1  
Old 08-05-2014, 05:32 AM
jupitersmuse123 jupitersmuse123 is offline
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Default Trust- what is my role here?

When we first started our relationship, neither one of us had been in anything non-traditional. I'd always made out with girls while dating boys, and occasionally he'd made out with the same girl, but never anything further. In highschool I had dreamed about being in a triad with my best friend and my boyfriend, because I was just so in love with both of them.

So, when B and I first started our relationship, I was excited about the idea of non-monogamy. We were allowed to see other people and while we had to talk about sex before it happened, we were able to have relations with other people. Neither one of us really acted on it, I think on my part it was because our primary relationship was so intense to begin with. We have basically lived together since the day we started dating, and with my history of emeshment problems (really losing who I am and what I want in the needs and wants of someone else), non-monogamy seemed great. Our intention was to push towards polyamory, but to start slowly with non-monogamy.

We made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, I had a lot of trouble not feeling guilt being with other people so I'd sort of pretend to be single in my head, which meant that afterwards I'd realize that I hadn't been acting with the bet interests of B in mind. I also had never really learned to set boundaries, because I'd always dated people who were unavailable and then I never had to challenge myself to set boundaries. So a lot of our issues stemmed from him being pushy and me letting him walk all over me. He also has this knack for being able to rationalize just about anything in the moment, which is not helpful.

So, fast fowards, we've just had a series of mediocre expereinces, and every time we go out together all he wants to do is look for a girl for us to hook up with. It's really exhausting, and makes me want to just hide inside the house. I finally tell him that no, I just want to be with him, and enjoy his presence for the night, and he goes off and finds a girl and starts making out with her.

I tell him I don't think I can continue with this relationship and that I'm ready to leave now, we have one of the worst moments of our relationship and he says, "Ok, I don't think I can ever be happy in a monogamous relationship, but I am willing to stop trying to look for people to be with. I'm willing to wait." So we work on it.

I continue to try to work on boundaries (which are really hard to learn when you didn't have them and you've pretty much been living together all your lives) and I'm really learning to say No. I'd always avoided the word no in my past, and so it made me anxious to say it at all, but he was supportive and helped me feel comfortable saying no.


However, every so often he would ask me again how I was feeling about being poly. I wasn't, but I felt pushed. He began to talk more and more about how he couldn't be in a monogamous relationship, and so I asked him for a number, how often would you need other people to feel comfortable and he said like 2-3 a year. Ok, I figured I could handle that. He was taking off for a business trip, and I decided to let him try being with someone else while we were apart.

It didn't work very well. He had an experience, but I had panic attacks every day. It didn't help that I developed a crush on someone and he told me that he didn't want me doing anything with said someone because he didn't feel it was safe. To be fair, before he'd left, we hadn't talked about things on my end because I'd had no desire to be with anyone else.

So, he comes back, I break down and tell him he has to choose me or non-monogamy. He chooses me, with the understanding that I enjoyed the idea of polyamory at the beginning, but that I have a lot of work to do on myself, and that I need to really learn what it is I want and need before I can be ready to handle anything else. We can only talk about non-monogamy if I bring it up, and I need to be able to ask him questions he judges as "insecure" or "jealous" without judgement. He agrees.

Now, it's been almost 8 months, and we've been totally monogamous. He's occasionally voiced his insecurities about things, and writing about our past experiences makes me feel so nervous I want to cry still. I know I have a lot of work to do on myself, and finally decided I need some time not living with him to figure things out, to journal and really work through things. I recognized that I was unable to feel happy for him in anything except selfishly because I'd become so intensely emeshed.

So, we've spent the better part of the last month apart. I've done a lot of work and realised that a lot of my lack of trust comes from his seeming inability to follow through on commitments he makes. He's constantly late and flaking on projects, and then when something comes up, I feel like he is always asking for understanding and flexibility. Basically, I've realized that if I can't trust him to keep his commitments day to day, I'm going to always feel like he's "late" on our agreements, meaning he's almost following through but just not putting in the full effort to follow through all the way.

He's now on his way here, and he originally put in our joint calendar that he'd be here three days ago, then he told me that he could promise that he would be here by this Wednesday at the latest, and now he's telling me that a real estimate means he'll be here around Thursday. I'm trying to put my foot down and tell him that this needs to change, that I really need him to be trustworthy in all areas of life if I'm going to be able to trust him in other relationships, but he's also been though an experience similar to the death of a family member, and my attempt to create boundaries where there were previously none seems to be eliciting feelings of me being unsupportive.

I also really want to be able to trust him, because I just met someone and or the first time I didn't feel guilty flirting. I'd love to pursue some sort of relationship with this guy, and I think both parties would be totally unchallenged by each other because they both have very different needs. B is hesitant to let me be with someone else if I don't trust him to be with someone else. He's always been ok with me being with girls, but not with guys.

I guess my biggest question is, what is my role? Do I not rock the boat until he's happy again, or do I work on implementing my boundaries because that will make us both stronger and happier in the long term.
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2014, 06:31 AM
PolyinPractice PolyinPractice is offline
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*Do I not rock the boat until he's happy again, or do I work on implementing my boundaries because that will make us both stronger and happier in the long term.*

Not sure I understand this. At least some of his unhappiness seems to be coming from the fact that you won't let him pursue other relationships. But now you want to pursue someone yourself. So...yes, if you want to be able to pursue this guy, you're gonna have to be okay with him being non-monogamous or poly as well (it doesn't have to be equal, if he wants non-mono and you want poly, or the other way around, or you both want one or the other, all are acceptable).

And by the way, continuing to develop any kind of close friendship, ESPECIALLY flirting, knowing you have intentions of it being romantic is pretty unethical (maybe not cheating, but at least unfair), as long as you maintain the premise that you and your guy are monogamous.
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2014, 07:40 AM
jupitersmuse123 jupitersmuse123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolyinPractice View Post

And by the way, continuing to develop any kind of close friendship, ESPECIALLY flirting, knowing you have intentions of it being romantic is pretty unethical (maybe not cheating, but at least unfair), as long as you maintain the premise that you and your guy are monogamous.
We've been talking about non-traditional relationships and our current boundaries are that I'm not comfortable with him doing anything with others, with the understanding that I'm actively working through my issues, but he's comfortable with me being poly with women and flirting with men. He knows about this guy, and about my excitement about finally not feeling guilty.

I guess my question is, every time I try to set this boundary that I need to have him follow through on his commitments, he gets really angry and says that I am pushing him and need to be more understanding because he's been through x, y and z. He says he doesn't feel supported. When I ask how to help him feel supported, he tells me he just wants me to not be upset. I feel like I should be continuing to exercise my boundaries, but he feels like I am being totally selfish.

Maybe you are right, maybe I should approach it from the perspective of saying that me exercising my boundaries is supportive because it's going to alleviate the closedness of our relationship.
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  #4  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:16 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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So what I am hearing you say is that he's flakey. He has good intentions, like coming to see you at a certain time, but he gets blown off course by this and that. I gather that this was an issue before he experienced whatever event is currently making him unhappy?

I, too, would find such behavior difficult to deal with, but depending on the nature of the event that has effected him so profoundly, it may be tough for him to work on changing that flakiness now - if he even wants to. I have known such people myself, and they have no issues being late, changing plans at the last minute, doing whatever is convenient for them with no regard to anyone else. So the traumatic event may yet be another excuse for B to continue his inconsiderate behavior. Has he ever acknowledged that he understands why his seeming inability to follow through on commitments is an issue for you?
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  #5  
Old 08-05-2014, 02:50 PM
jupitersmuse123 jupitersmuse123 is offline
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Yes Bookbug, that is completely right.
Well, like I said, I've had this problem with emeshment to the point that I no longer know what my wants and needs are, but stepping back has allowed me to realize that this is a problem. This, being the flakiness. Additionally, when we are together, which is most of our time, he's not as distracted from his commitments to me because I'm there to remind him.
I'm not thinking about how problematic this behavior could be for me if/when we decide to open up. If he can't remember commitments if I'm not around, he's going to have even more trouble following through when I am there.

I'm afraid that not continuing to actively assert these newfound boundaries (in the most loving, non-violent way) will cause me to lose myself in him again, and while I love him enough that living for his wants and needs is something I've enojoyed doing for a year or more, I am really falling in love with being me again.
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2014, 08:15 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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Does he have ADD?
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-The Philosopher: semi-LDR, 44, male - my intellectual twin; relationship anarchist.
-Intellectual Elf, 27, female, the Philosopher's LDR
-Polkadot, 36, dating the Philosopher
-Wiseman, 68, male, solo-poly, my budding LDR
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:38 PM
jupitersmuse123 jupitersmuse123 is offline
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Yes.
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  #8  
Old 08-06-2014, 01:22 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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Is he being treated for it?

While I do understand your anxiety, given the ADD, a lot of the flakiness is unintentional. For me trust and mistrust speak to intention. So for example if I deem someone untrustworthy, it is because s/he has consciously chosen to act dishonorably.

Flakiness is a different matter, and while it maybe something he can improve, he will never be 100% because of the ADD. It's kind of like telling a diabetic to stop being diabetic. It isn't going to happen, although medications can make improvements.

And in someone with ADD, trauma can cause them to hyper-focus on the issue and be even more distracted about everything else.

I am not saying your feelings and concerns are not valid. You have to decide what you can deal with regardless.
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-Intellectual Elf, 27, female, the Philosopher's LDR
-Polkadot, 36, dating the Philosopher
-Wiseman, 68, male, solo-poly, my budding LDR
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