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  #31  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:45 PM
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Thank you so much for your kind words Carma. You truly understand how much I need that right now. It saddens me that you are going through the same thing. It is extremely difficult to go from happy, grounded and on top of the world one day to not knowing what the next will bring, especially when it is no fault of your own. I have been there before, but still didn't see this coming. This was more solid than anything I had ever dared to dream. Only time will tell how it plays out. I wish you well and hope your heart can heal. Mine at least feels some comfort in not being alone. Thanks for sharing.
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  #32  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
Dude, walk on. That bad behavior is too egregious to tolerate.

Were it me, I wouldn't even bother trying to find out the extent of the lying, nor would I care why it happened.

The single greatest lie I see is the one where she claims to love you. There's no love or respect involved in behavior of that sort.

The notion that anything can be worked out or that you should make an attempt to work it out is so much nonsense. Nobody should tolerate behavior of that sort from anybody else. It is not a virtue to put up with that and try to work things out--it is dysfunctional.
You might be right, that was certainly my initial reaction and still a large portion of how I feel. Part of me wants to look away from your words and part of me is very grateful for the validation. Not sure what's right at the moment, but like many of the sentiments above I will carry these thoughts with me as I navigate the coming days. Thanks for the input!
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  #33  
Old 10-07-2011, 03:39 AM
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Okay.

Whenever a big, relationship-breaking problem rears its ugly head, you have to go through a process together to see if you can work things out or if it's not going to be possible to stay together. While you're going through that process, it can be helpful for both partners to try to find some understanding for the other.

My post is, therefore, about ways that you, Podunk, can find some understanding for Veganchick. I don't know if my ideas will be helpful or relevant or not. I don't know everything about the situation. But here are some things to just to think, just to mull over.

I don't know Veganchick's side of the story because she hasn't written it. So I can't give her advice, and I'm not even going to chastise her for her behaviour. This post is for you, Podunk, because you can't change what she did (not even she can change that now, actually) and you can't change how she's behaving, but you can change how you're reacting if you want.

Something to understand I: It can be hard to tell your partner about your sexual adventures, and it looks like it was hard for Veganchick, since she let you know in little trickles.

You know, both me and my husband have done a similar thing. Before we were open, officially, I cheated on him with another guy. I was pretty sure it would be okay with my husband. We'd talked about being open before. But we hadn't made an official agreement about it yet, and I knew I was supposed to ask first before I went and had sex with someone else, but... I didn't. Once I did the deed, it was done and I couldn't take it back. But what if I'd just ruined my relationship? Oh god.

So I didn't tell him for 2 months, and I was so miserable in that time, dropping little hints and worrying about hurting him. When I finally told him, my husband said, "Oh, you only cheated? Thank goodness! I thought it was something serious, from the way you were acting!"

We officially opened up our relationship, but even then, many months later, when my husband first slept with someone else, he didn't tell me right away, either, even though he knew he had full permission. He came home the next morning after staying overnight at a friend's place, and said that nothing had happened. Later on that day, he managed to blurt it out. I asked, "Did you not tell me earlier because you were afraid to?" He nodded, and I gave him a hug. "I know what that feels like," I said.

Veganchick was obviously afraid of your reaction to her news, because she couldn't bring herself to tell you the truth. A lot of that is her issue, but we're not focusing on her right now, we're focusing on you. Are there things about the ways you relate to each other that would make it extra hard for her to tell? Or can you perhaps forgive her for being afraid, if she can find it in herself to come clean now?

Something to understand II: She may have been afraid of how you'd react if she told the truth. I'm not saying that excuses her lying, but it's Something To Understand.

You imply that you'd have been mainly fine with her actions if only she'd told them to you straight-up, but I don't think that's true. There are some things you've written that... give me pause. Some things that sort of smell very faintly of slut-shaming.

Quote:
I didn't hear much from veganchick these first few days, guess it's hard to talk with a dick in your mouth?
Woah, cheap shot alert! Do you exude that attitude when you talk to her usually, buddy? Take a deep look inside and ask yourself if you're the easiest person to be honest with.

I also hear just a little patronizing language in how you talk about Veganchick. You constantly refer to her "youthfulness" and portray her as a naive. You cast yourself as someone who can guide her into her true potential or maturity. If there's a little bit of that dynamic in your relationship, that could also be making it difficult for her to "confess" to you, because she doesn't quite feel equal.

Something to understand III: Reconsider your rule about unprotected oral sex. The studies are pretty good that it's low-risk behaviour.

We have to think carefully about the risks of having several sexual partners, but we all do take some risks. Would you require her to use a dental dam to kiss another guy, for instance? No, probably not... but some people have herpes simplex on their mouths, which can technically shed asymptomatically. Yet kissing is often a risk we take, because it's such a small risk.

I'm glad she's having an STI screen now, but that shouldn't be something that she does just if she "cheats". She--and you--should have updated STI screens done every 6 months or so if you're planning to continue sleeping around. She could also insist that her outside partners do the same. Perhaps that might be an easier rule to enforce than "no blow jobs without a condom"? Just a thought. Obviously, if you're absolutely not comfortable with that, disregard this.


Okay, those are some things to think about.

Also, moving forward: maybe it might take some pressure off if you took a break from negotiating this for a day or two? Say, "Look, Veganchick, you haven't been honest with me about what happened while you were away. I don't know if it's because you were afraid to tell me or what, but it's hurt me a lot. But we've been over and over it and we aren't getting anywhere. Do you want to, like... get a babysitter and then go to a movie and take a break from this for a few hours? I really want to talk about this more, but let's just relax for a minute."
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  #34  
Old 10-07-2011, 03:49 AM
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Ahh, MZ has hit on some very good points here. I think I also sensed some condescension toward Veganchick that came across in your writing and it intimidated me so much that I wrote a very brief response. Of course, it could have all been fueled by anger and hurt, but maybe that's an underlying energy you have that she is scared of. I think MZ's points need to be seriously mulled over by you, Po.
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  #35  
Old 10-07-2011, 08:18 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I am really sorry for what you are going through. And certainly MichelleZed has some great points. (Though probably the last thing on your list to think about is deciding if you think unprotected oral sex = safe sex.)

I was married to my first husband for over 10 years when we decided to try poly. I felt it was from a safe place, with somebody I trusted, who I had no doubt that was my soul mate who I'd been on a decade long honeymoon with, etc

After months of discussion we had our plan of action, I was inviting my trusted (and interested in me) good long distance friend to visit for 5 nights while my husband went out of town for a cross state bike trip where hundreds and hundreds of women would be around. The only "rules" we had for him were for condoms for sex, to be honest with each other, not to sleep with anybody who was in a relationship and cheating, and that three women who had tried to sleep with him before when he was on these yearly bike trips, knowing he was unavailable, were off limits.

During and after his trip we communicated, he told me about woman who he had an encounter with on the trip, life went on, we both dated some, and 9 months later we were both in lovely relationships with other people and he was making plans to go on that next years bike trip.

Something felt off, but I didn't know what it was. We had started having arguments here and there that weren't making sense to me. He was saying I was angry, and I didn't know what he was talking about, since as far as I could tell I wasn't... He walked into the room one day and said he wanted to talk to me about something. He told me that he had made up the woman he said he'd slept with originally, and he had actually slept with one of the three women who had hit on him before. She was married and cheating on her husband. He'd told me at the time she hit on him originally that she had said she had an unhappy marriage. He decided that since she hadn't cheated on her husband before (even though there were good chances her husband had cheated on her if they were that unhappy) that she wasn't a risk for STI's. He'd had a vasectomy too, so it seemed extra safe for him to not use condoms and not worry about consequences. Instead of the one sexual encounter he said he had it turned out they'd slept together the second day and every day after every chance they got.

Obviously I was immediately crushed. I could have probably forgiven even the breaking of our safe sex rules if he hadn't been making plans to be in the same camp as her on the next trip and repeat the affair. I couldn't understand why when he had permission for SO much freedom that instead of taking it he would choose to break the rules and lie instead. He seemed to have tried so hard to step on every agreement that we'd made that I felt his subconscious was screaming SOMETHING so loudly he must be able to hear it.

Now in my case our romantic relationship was over pretty much as of that day. I fell out of love with him. More and more details came out and it turned out that he'd been dishonest about some little things over the years - nothing that was a big deal, just ones that showed a pattern of being afraid of being honest, and to agreeing to things, then going behind my back and doing what he said he wouldn't, instead of being brave enough to negotiate with me for what he wanted.

If we had children, things may have worked out differently. As it is we closed a business we had just opened, and sold a house we had just purchased. I wish some of the reasons that came out for why it happened were more fresh in my mind, so I could offer some better insight about some things possibly going through her mind. It has been almost 7 years though, and the only thing I really know from his perspective is that he couldn't handle that I had sex with my friend and he couldn't find anybody the first night, so got angry and retreated to the safety of a sure thing instead of telling me he wanted to call it off.

I urge you to spend a lot of time talking, but with lots of breaks for yourself to regroup. What happened with my husband and I was that we married young and as we matured just wanted different things but he didn't have the skills to communicate about it. He's now my best friend...but he is a free spirit, daily pot smoking, living in rural areas for months at a time with no electricity, camping and hiking addicted, otherwise up all night partying, drum circle loving, healing circle attending, money wasting loon. And he is the happiest I have seen him in years. We just weren't that compatible anymore, and it took something extreme to bring this to light. We did try to date right after we broke up, but the revelations that came about why he had done what he had made me realize that we needed different things in life. It was a sad and angry time for us both, but by remembering the good things about him I was glad not to ditch somebody who had been in my life for so long, just because I was so hurt.

In time I am sure you will get to the bottom of her fears of why she felt she had to lie. I am guessing there was guilt, fear that even though things were OK to do, how COULD they be OK? Shame that she was allowed freedom that you hadn't had the opportunity for yet. I imagine you'll find out things about her that totally surprise you (and maybe even her), and be even more angry that she didn't feel she could share them with you, or to figure them out for herself before you had to get hurt in the process. Maye you aren't compatible enough to want to be together anymore, but you don't have to rush to that conclusion.

I don't know that this is helpful at all. I know when you're in pain that making big dramatic decisions is easy, and it gets harder to do that the longer you put them off. I think it's good you've stuck it out through the first round of pain without doing more than trying to find out the truth and being angry and hurt. I hope you can figure out if you two still have goals and hopes that coincide with each others, and are able to figure out just what made it so that something so unexpected could happen.

I'm wishing you luck, and want you to know that couples can get through stuff like this even if the outcome isn't predictable. I'd go more into the impact the unprotected sex had on me, us, his at the time girlfriend, my friendship with his girlfriend etc, but I'm pretty sure I've gone on long enough for now. I guess if I were to start a blog, most of what I just wrote would be the first entry...Some of the issues or patterns I point out in my relationship are for you to see if there is anything similar in your interactions that might help start any useful discussions.

I hope she is able and willing to refocus all her energy on your relationship while you work this out. I know it's hard to set aside the bitterness and anger you feel to give your partner a "safe place" to do the work to understand why they are acting the way they are, but I hope you are able to as much as possible.
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Last edited by Anneintherain; 10-07-2011 at 08:20 AM.
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  #36  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZed View Post
We officially opened up our relationship, but even then, many months later, when my husband first slept with someone else, he didn't tell me right away, either, even though he knew he had full permission. He came home the next morning after staying overnight at a friend's place, and said that nothing had happened. Later on that day, he managed to blurt it out. I asked, "Did you not tell me earlier because you were afraid to?" He nodded, and I gave him a hug. "I know what that feels like," I said.
Wow, even after your cheating, he had a hard time telling you. That gives me a lot to think about!

Quote:
Veganchick was obviously afraid of your reaction to her news, because she couldn't bring herself to tell you the truth. A lot of that is her issue, but we're not focusing on her right now, we're focusing on you. Are there things about the ways you relate to each other that would make it extra hard for her to tell? Or can you perhaps forgive her for being afraid, if she can find it in herself to come clean now?
I'm still having a hard time believing anything she says right now, but if she really is being honest, this makes some sense although it is more complex than just being afraid to tell me.

Quote:
She may have been afraid of how you'd react if she told the truth. I'm not saying that excuses her lying, but it's Something To Understand.
While I'm sure that was part of it, from what she has told me so far it wasn't a big part. My understanding of what was going on in her mind.

1. The sex was over by the third day and she hadn't made any emotional connection with Paul. Even though they remained friends, she basically rationalized the lack of connection to the point of it becoming in her mind that "nothing had happened".

2. She felt like she was cheating even though she had full permission and was not.

3. She had made that emotional connection she was craving, with someone else on the last day of her visit. There was no sex, but this connection had diminished her connection to Paul to the point where it was insignificant outside of the interesting friend level.

Quote:
You imply that you'd have been mainly fine with her actions if only she'd told them to you straight-up, but I don't think that's true. There are some things you've written that... give me pause. Some things that sort of smell very faintly of slut-shaming.
I am honest (with you and with myself) when I say that her actions would have been fine. She could have done anything sexual really. Sadly this whole mess seems to have happened over some really bad sex! I think she would have had an easier time telling me if it had been something good and meaningful or at least hot and steamy!

I'm not saying there wouldn't have been emotions, or difficulty or process. This was our first solo venture, our first venture with the possibility of an outside commitment or long-term relation. I so wish we'd had a chance to do that work without this extra baggage added on.

Quote:
Woah, cheap shot alert! Do you exude that attitude when you talk to her usually, buddy? Take a deep look inside and ask yourself if you're the easiest person to be honest with.
I may have heard that before. But this was a particularly cheap shot and I was well aware it would be transparent as such. Remember this was my rant and it came from a very dark and lonely place.

Quote:
I also hear just a little patronizing language in how you talk about Veganchick. You constantly refer to her "youthfulness" and portray her as a naive. You cast yourself as someone who can guide her into her true potential or maturity. If there's a little bit of that dynamic in your relationship, that could also be making it difficult for her to "confess" to you, because she doesn't quite feel equal.
I think you're reading more in here than there is. We're very much equals in almost every way. The helping her find/live her passions is more in context of this specific venture. We share a passion for intentional community and living close to the land. I have had many years of experience in that and up until now she had none.

In other ways we are very equal. We tend to earn close to the same income. We have the same level of education. We were both single parents when we met. We are both from the bottom end of the middle class. Both vegan activists... I could go on and on about the ways we are equal. I don't think there is any general feeling of inequality.

Quote:
Reconsider your rule about unprotected oral sex. The studies are pretty good that it's low-risk behaviour.
We don't have a rule about unprotected oral sex. Stopping short of ejaculation and swallowing has been our norm. I don't know if that has any scientific basis or justification. It just is where we are or I should say were.

She actually can't remember now if this happened. She has gone so far as to email Paul to see if he remembers. I think that's a pretty sad statement about her actions. If she is to believed, there were now only two sexual encounters. And she can't remember? Maybe that would be the norm if we had multiple or casual partners, but this is a first and it was one person. How do you not remember that?

Quote:
I'm glad she's having an STI screen now, but that shouldn't be something that she does just if she "cheats". She--and you--should have updated STI screens done every 6 months or so if you're planning to continue sleeping around.
We have not had a sleeping around component to our relationship up until now. Some swinging, but the last time was almost 3 years ago.

Quote:
Also, moving forward: maybe it might take some pressure off if you took a break from negotiating this for a day or two?
We have a children's birthday party/outing/sleepover today, so it's break time like it or not. Our weekend is going to be kidtacular!

PS I was unsure if I would ever share this thread with veganchick. After reading your post I think that I will soon.
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  #37  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Ahh, MZ has hit on some very good points here. I think I also sensed some condescension toward Veganchick that came across in your writing and it intimidated me so much that I wrote a very brief response. Of course, it could have all been fueled by anger and hurt, but maybe that's an underlying energy you have that she is scared of. I think MZ's points need to be seriously mulled over by you, Po.
There is definitely some condescension there! The lies made all of this feel like little more than cheating, not poly. Worse even than cheating really.

It is fueled by the anger and hurt, in a big way. But I'm here to grow and so I'll take your words in stride. I'll look deeper. May be that a much more subtle version of that dynamic is there on a regular basis? There is a lot of work to be done at this point, may as well throw everything out there and deal with it all. If there is any chance of rebuilding, may as well make sure the foundation is solid.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
In time I am sure you will get to the bottom of her fears of why she felt she had to lie. I am guessing there was guilt, fear that even though things were OK to do, how COULD they be OK? Shame that she was allowed freedom that you hadn't had the opportunity for yet.
Funny thing is that I don't think she did feel that she had to lie. As of now I don't think she even meant to lie. That's just the first thing that popped out of her mouth. Maybe shocked herself even? Only then did all of the dynamics discussed in the last few posts came in to play, not for fear of telling me about the sex, but fear of telling me she had just lied to my face.

Quote:
I imagine you'll find out things about her that totally surprise you (and maybe even her), and be even more angry that she didn't feel she could share them with you, or to figure them out for herself before you had to get hurt in the process.
I imagine you are right about that, has played that way so far.

Quote:
Maybe you aren't compatible enough to want to be together anymore, but you don't have to rush to that conclusion.
Oh, that would make all of this too easy. Compatible? We are beyond compatible. Our relationship is HUGE! Maybe even big enough to absorb this as a mere speed bump. It's too new and devastating to know right now, but I can't imagine anyone in the universe that could fill her shoes. My life is going to be one seriously lonely place without her, maybe it doesn't have to come to that.

Quote:
I hope she is able and willing to refocus all her energy on your relationship while you work this out. I know it's hard to set aside the bitterness and anger you feel to give your partner a "safe place" to do the work to understand why they are acting the way they are, but I hope you are able to as much as possible.
I'm trying to find it in myself to give her that.
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  #39  
Old 10-07-2011, 12:49 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Can this marriage be saved? Yes, I think so.

So, her first foray into poly, as a solo girl, not as a swinging couple, went a bit wrong. We're all human, we all make mistakes.

Maybe she doesnt remember if he came in her mouth because she was pretty stoned or tipsy? Just assuming there were substances involved, you damn hippies.

You gave her a very long leash, Podunk! A whole week on her own without her partner, in a party atmosphere (topless dancing!), lots of attractive cool people about. She might have sort of "forgotten" she was married in the midst of all the stimulation. (Not sure how young she is, but the brain isn't fully developed til age 30. There can be disconnects with reality in the teens and 20s.)

Added to that, with our culture's incessant mono programming, even poly people can feel guilt over extra-marital sex, especially newbies. You might want to read the last few pages of Carma's blog, when you have the energy.

I understand how upsetting and frightening and frustrating it has been for you this week to have to pry the truth out of her bit by bit.

Take a nice break this weekend, eat, sleep, try and relax a bit and then revisit the issue of expectations and boundaries.

*hug*
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  #40  
Old 10-07-2011, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podunk View Post
My understanding of what was going on in her mind.

1. The sex was over by the third day and she hadn't made any emotional connection with Paul. Even though they remained friends, she basically rationalized the lack of connection to the point of it becoming in her mind that "nothing had happened".

2. She felt like she was cheating even though she had full permission and was not.

3. She had made that emotional connection she was craving, with someone else on the last day of her visit. There was no sex, but this connection had diminished her connection to Paul to the point where it was insignificant outside of the interesting friend level.


. . . She actually can't remember now if this happened. She has gone so far as to email Paul to see if he remembers. I think that's a pretty sad statement about her actions. If she is to believed, there were now only two sexual encounters. And she can't remember? Maybe that would be the norm if we had multiple or casual partners, but this is a first and it was one person. How do you not remember that?
The fact that you say it's "pretty sad" that she doesn't remember hints at the judgment you have that she may be afraid of. Believe me, there are lots of reasons why someone can forget stuff like this. Adrenaline and other brain chemicals happening during sex, possibly with a feeling of being so forbidden, especially if she had rationalized it in her mind as you stated above in your numbered list. Plus the intensity of your reaction, could easily have clouded her memory. The experience could have been traumatizing in its own way to her, and that often makes people submerge memories.
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An excellent blog post against hierarchy in polyamory: http://solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-i...short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 10-07-2011 at 01:18 PM.
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