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  #11  
Old 06-03-2011, 08:06 PM
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It depends on a lot of things mostly the type of cheating. I can't think of any couple, with mutually exclusive boundaries around sex and intimacy, that is un affected in some way for the majority, if not all of their lives. It can and does disabate, but it takes time and is forever changing in some way as far as I have witnessed. I don't think the OP should in any way believe she is wrong or bad for being, what seems to be, devistated over again. She has every right and its totally normal. It might even hapopen again and as far as I am concerned they should all have heaps of compassion for her and wait, patiently until she feels ready to move forward again.
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2011, 05:57 PM
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Thank you everyone for your advice and understanding.

One thing that has become clear to me is that I don't express emotions well. My ability to put on a neutral face has definitely made the situation worse, as it seems no one else realized the depths of my hurt over what was moving forward.

I realize in retrospect I thought that I was *not* hiding pain before, because I could regularly talk calmly about what I was feeling and have the occasional quietly tearful night. To me, this was as close to wearing my heart on my sleeve as I get, but from the outside I looked like someone who was handling everything quite well - having a few bad days here and there but generally coping successfully. But my communication habits were obscuring the intensity, frequency, and depth of my pain. I was hiding it without thinking I was.

It's not enough just to talk about it, I think. I have to figure out how to externalize raw emotion in ways I have practically never done. I've been thinking a lot about how to make friends with emotion, so that my instinctive reaction of shame toward feeling something strongly doesn't cause me to clamp down. I don't have any answers yet, but it is at least useful to be conscious of the problem.

And Juliet and Charlie - they need to listen more openly, not try to hear what they want to hear, which is of course that I'm fine. They need to treat me like I'm trying to do something that's incredibly hard for me. They need to keep in mind that while everything they're doing with each other now is old news to them (they did all this and more weekly during the affair), it's the first time *I've* had to deal with it. They need to remember that even though it seems like they're doing the right thing when they ask me "so, can we do X, now?", it really just puts me on the spot. I feel I can only say yes if I want them to be happy, and no if I want to stand in the way of their happiness. I want them to approach me with more sensitivity than that, knowing that the answer will probably be "yes", because I very much want them to be happy, but that it may also be very hard on me. I look strong, but they need to remember how vulnerable I am.

I think they're willing. They offered to take a 3-week break to give me some time to decompress, starting today. I feel lighter, knowing things aren't going to continue accelerating for now, and I hope to make some progress on my ability to externalize by the time things start up again.

I don't want to become the vocally bitter mono who ruins her partner's every enjoyment of poly by reminding him that she's still hurting. But as you guys have pointed out, if that's where I'm at, it's not much use to suffer quietly until something like last week comes along and blows the lid off. I'm not sure how to find the middle ground, but it's got to be there somewhere.

One step at a time...
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  #13  
Old 06-05-2011, 07:10 PM
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Good for you, it sounds like they are trying to be reasonable and doing their best to accomodate.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinew View Post
They need to remember that even though it seems like they're doing the right thing when they ask me "so, can we do X, now?", it really just puts me on the spot. I feel I can only say yes if I want them to be happy, and no if I want to stand in the way of their happiness.
I think one way to derail being put on the spot is for all of you (perhaps you and Charlie first, then meet again all together) to set up boundaries and ground rules that cover everything -- or as much as possible. Maybe start making a list of your concerns, things that are important to you, how you want to be treated, and then schedule a time to talk. Then, make sure they both understand all the points of these rules (by having them repeat back to you, or discuss it).

This way everyone knows up front what they can and cannot do going forward and no one has to then ask you if something is okay. You can even put a time frame on it, like here is what I can live with for the next three months, of five, or six, whatever. Then you all meet again after that time period is up and discuss any problems, successes, etc.

If they ask for something AFTER boundaries are established, that probably means that either something came up that hadn't been discussed, or that they are attempting to cross those boundaries and renegotiation is in order. But make sure that you are not a patsy to be walked all over, that you do not want to be pitted against the two of them (Charlie is YOUR husband after all), and these are your terms in order to go along with it. They should know that you are coming back, very bravely, from being cheated on and that is no easy feat. More sensitivity on their parts is called for, I think.
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Last edited by nycindie; 06-05-2011 at 08:35 PM.
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  #15  
Old 06-05-2011, 09:09 PM
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It's rare that I agree with NYC but in this case I do.

Poly after an affair is hard. And it take A LOT of work. Karma and I are a little more than a year out from me finding out abot all his affairs. It took a lot of work to get where we are now.

What worked best for me was expressing how I felt. And it changed everyday, every hour at times. I was okay and moving forward and then I was 30 steps backwards. Karma listened, everytime. Even if it was just going over and over the same things. He got frustrated, but he never made me feel bad for not healing fast enough.

That allowed me to really look at things and start taking the action I needed to take. To learn my boundries. Sometimes what I thought I could handle turned out to be more than I could handle, so I told him and we worked through it.

None of it was easy. I was full of raw emotion for quite awhile. So many nights I cried. And then I started boxing so I could work out the anger.

Do not hide your emotions, you feel them for a reason. But you also need to know that they feel theirs as well. Karma was frustrated a lot of the time. He had a right to be. I kept going up and down like a yo-yo. But I had never dealt with this before, not only his string of affairs, but also him dating one of them. We had to rebuild our marriage, while he was in another relationship.

The best thing I did was realize I was only responsible for me. I was so caught up in the fear-"what if he lies again, what if we went through all of this and he still can't be honest and cheats again, I'll be such a fool." No I won't be a fool. It is my love for him and us that allowed me to forgive and try to work through it, if he screws that up, it's on him. It was the most freeing realization I made.

Once I got there, it was all about moving forward.

Red Pepper told me in the begining of my journey that it was up to Karma to make it up to me and prove to me he wanted this to work. At first I balked at that, thinking we had to do it together. But she was right, I wasn't the one who betrayed the trust of our marriage.

So in a nutshell, don't hide your emotions, own them, learn from them and move forward. Don't allow anyone to make you feel like you need to apologize for those emotions. Go at your pace and ask them to respect that, that doesn't mean stand still, and they may not respect that, but if either way you'll see their true colors. Be flexable. Some boundries you may need right now, may need to change in the future, that's okay. Some may not, that's okay too.

And some advice for You and Charlie-Some things I needed to do, like see Karma and his then g/f hug, kiss, hold eachother, hurt me. But I needed to see it to make it real in my brain. Karma felt that the pain meant we were going backwards or that I was changing my mind. I wasn't, I knew it would hurt, but I also knew it had to happen. It's like pulling off a band-aid. You know it's gonna hurt, but in order for the wound to heal it needs to be cleaned and open to the air at a certain point. Somethings you need to experience will hurt, but that doesn't mean you are going backwards.

I hope that all makes sense, I'm on pain pills at the moment and tend to babble.

I just wanted you to know it can get better. Karma and Cricket are no longer together. But Karma and I are stronger than ever and I am encouraging him in his new love interest. This journey was painful and difficult, but I can look back now and say without it we'd be nowhere near as strong or as happy as we are now. I trust him more now than I ever have. After 9 yrs of lies and affairs, that's huge for us.

Good luck to you.
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  #16  
Old 06-06-2011, 02:07 AM
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I have to admit, the idea of setting boundaries still fills me with dread. How do I select which things I'm supposed to be accepting and which I'm not when I can't promise not to be upset by any of them? Something as simple as them holding hands - when Charlie mentioned it, I felt ill. I thought about it every time his hands touched me for days after, and I still feel my heart start to race when I think of it.

They certainly didn't do anything wrong by holding hands. In theory, I had already given it the green light. When I felt terrible upon hearing that it was actually happening again, I was ashamed of myself. I tried to tell Charlie, but he was perplexed by my muddled message. I'm sure I came across a lot like how I felt - conflicted and unable to own my pain without feeling like I was letting him down.

I'm not at peace with any of their non-platonic feelings or actions toward each other yet, no matter how committed to getting on board with it I am intellectually. The best I can do is say that I feel I can practice with the pain of them snuggling and kissing for a while, and see if I can get to the point where that feels more okay. I have to be able to give them *something*, but there's nothing yet that would actually be easy on me.

And then I wonder, how fair is it to tell them to go ahead and snuggle and kiss, while I in my suffering make them feel bad every time they do? And how frustrating will it be if I promise to try to get comfortable enough for the next stage within a couple of months, but then it takes much longer?

I'm working to overcome bitterness about the affair, a lifelong problem with jealousy, and a painful history with poly from my college years. I know that practically speaking it may be years before my reactions to what they want are actually easy to deal with. And I know they don't want to wait that long, so we're all going to have to learn to live with pain somehow...
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  #17  
Old 06-06-2011, 03:27 AM
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I dunno if you have this kind of support, but for me feeling out boundries was easier because I knew I had Karma's support. When we discussed it I told him "I am trying to learn to be okay with this and to deal with all these emotions. I am honestly trying. I need your support and your patience. I may give you the green light for something and have to retract it later. I need you to know this is not out of malice, it is out of my own needs. I need to know I have your support in that. I know you won't be happy and I will try my best to not yo-yo you, but I need you to understand that this is new and raw to me and I'm not going to know what I am okay with and not okay with until I step off the ledge and see what happens." And Karma was loving and supportive, frustrated, but supportive.

You can't promise not to upset them, did they promise not to upset you when they had the affair? No. From my experience I can say there will be times when any or all of you will be upset over something in the dynamic. It's gonna happen because it is so new and raw.

It sounds like you have a lot of healing still to do. I encourage you to stop worrying so much about them and their dynamic and your dynamic with them and look more inward. Take care of you and what you need to heal. They may not be happy with holding on while you find what you need, but ya know what, you didn't ask to have your world rocked and you're working on healing a lot of wounds and they need to be patient with that.

Boundries for me were baby steps.

The first time they saw eachother after I found out it was here in the living room with me in the bedroom. I couldn't see her, see them. It was too much. I spent those few hours crying into my journal. But I wasn't going to go forward by standing still. So my first boundry, rule, step, whatever was you can see her here only. I go with you to pick her up and drop her off. That lasted a few weeks. Then I would let him pick her up and drop her off without me but visits were still here and only with me home. Slowly we went to parties together. More for me to adjust than anything else. To put a social face out there so no one felt need to pitty me.

As we moved forward I became more okay with them being alone together.

Things ended about 7 months after I found out and by that time I was okay with everything other than sleepovers at her place. I need him home at night.

They didn't like a lot of the boundries and restrictions. They didn't like having to sleep on the couch, they didn't like waiting for me to give the go ahead for them to start sleeping together again, they didn't like having to relay every detail of their time together. But that was what I needed to regain trust. Right wrong whatever. It's what I needed and I'll not apologize for it. I made him give me his e-mail passwords and his voicemail password. He was not allowed to delete anything. Any phone conversation happened in front of me. Karma had NO privacy for a long time.

And now, I could careless. I trust him. I know why he was afraid to be honest with me and we've worked on it and moved forward.

I still have things that will trigger the trust issues, but they are few.

I can't tell you what boundries you will need. I know for me at first the thought of them holding hands hit me like a brick. the thought of them kissing, expressing any form of emotion towards eachother just ripped me apart. But I realized, mostly through reading on here, that this was my problem not theirs. I had to work on me to be okay with it. Other than respecting my boundries and working to regain that trust, there was nothing they could do to make me heal. I had to make me heal.

I found a lot of confidence in myself in this time. I relearned how to be self aware and self relient. As painful as it was, this was one of the best things to ever happen to me because I am now so much more aware of myself and my needs. I am so much more confident in who I am. I have a lot more respect for myself now.

It is hard, painful work, but you can move through it. Sometimes it may seem like you are standing still. Karma and I had a few fights because to him I wasn't making any progress, but I was, it was internal, he couldn't see it, so he got frustrated, but I knew I was making progress. Which is way I say don't hide your emotion. I hid a lot of the hurt at first and to me, as I slowly became more okay with things, that was progress, but since Karma didn't know where I started, he didn't know how far I had come.
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2011, 02:37 AM
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WOW!! OP you and I must be cut from the same block!

I grew up in a household where I was the one expected to "hold it together" in crisis, and learned early on to push emotions as far from the forefront as possible.

I am the woman who runs to the bathroom to cry or has a standby smile ready to screw on when time gets tough. I have mastered the art of the game face, but I have found that philosophy will not work in this type (actually it should be in any type) relationship.

As hard as it is to swallow, vulnerablility comes with the territory, and acknowledging and expressing your feelings (and having the freedom and comfort to do so) as they happen seems to work better than allowing them to fester (I learned this the hard way this past weekend)

Take your time and ask for time. No one said this was easy, but I think this poly thing can be rewarding if handled properly.

Best of luck to you!
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  #19  
Old 06-08-2011, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinew View Post
The best I can do is say that I feel I can practice with the pain of them snuggling and kissing for a while, and see if I can get to the point where that feels more okay. I have to be able to give them *something*, but there's nothing yet that would actually be easy on me.

And then I wonder, how fair is it to tell them to go ahead and snuggle and kiss, while I in my suffering make them feel bad every time they do? And how frustrating will it be if I promise to try to get comfortable enough for the next stage within a couple of months, but then it takes much longer?
You won't make them feel bad. They will feel what they feel. You are taking care of you. Remember, it is you who were wronged, deceived, and betrayed and it is you who are laying the ground rules they must abide by to earn your forgiveness and acceptance in order to move on. They should be grateful and feel blessed by your generosity.

I think your terms of allowing snuggling and kissing is more than a fair place to start.
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2011, 09:28 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the support and advice. It really does help.

Sometimes my husband is great, and sometimes not great. For him, the idea of supporting me is, I think, very tough. He says he feels like he messes up on this front all the time, but that sentiment doesn't seem to actually compel him to work harder at it. There is definitely an element of frustration on his part that what he believes ought to be plenty isn't enough (for me or Juliet, frankly).

I don't know how to effectively ask for more support. Juliet's husband referred me to this article on emotional vs logical arguments, and I've been turning it over in my head for a few days. Admitting irrational emotional responses to things is probably good when you're talking about dirty dishes, but isn't it just annoying if the issue is more subjective?

For example, before my business trip this last week, I was trying hard to not let things with Charlie bother me. I tried to just move on when I felt shot down, tried to remain positive when it felt that he was showing little or no interest in me. It was sort of working. But the night before my flight, I couldn't sleep and finally woke him up to lay out my hurt and anxiety over the way he had been treating me the last few days (since he and Juliet started their 3-week break). I was afraid he was already resenting me. I tried to ask to be reassured and comforted, but it became obvious very quickly that he felt that he was already doing plenty to reassure and comfort me, and we ended up arguing over specific incidents. My interpretation was that I was having to drag him into interacting with me at all, while he felt that he was being supportive and open. I was asking him to show more interest and warmth toward me, and his answer was that I just wasn't seeing all that he already was doing.

In the end, I want to tell him when I'm in pain, but it causes so much confrontation that I dread it, too. It makes him defensive, and that doesn't help either of us.
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