3.5 Years In: Is this the famous Fork Unforgivable, or can we still travel together?
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I need the objective viewpoint of an uninvolved third party.
Lately, my head hasn't been on straight. This is why I am reaching out for what I hope will be sober advice. Though this dilemma has absolutely nothing to do with poly, I have been impressed by the way some of you on here think.
I need the collective wisdom of, what I came to think are, older and more experienced people who've seen it all.
I've seen a lot of overlap on these forums with respect to how advice given to poly folk applies, word for word, to everyone across the whole spectrum, even to vanilla monogamists!
Let’s call her Bumblebee. Bumblebee and I have been in a relationship for about 3-and-a-half years. It was great for a while, blah, blah, blah. The usual.
I confessed one thing up front, and made a single promise to her shortly thereafter. I stressed that I absolutely do not believe in marriage or commitment. I promised her that if I ever cheated on her, she will be the FIRST one to know. Hell, just a couple weeks in I kept emphasizing: “Let’s not rush into things. I’m not the kinda guy who buys flowers and takes you to Paris, ok. Just play it by ear, y’know? See what happens.”
If you asked me three years ago whether or not I knew anything about polyamory, I’d wrinkle my face and say something stupid like, “The fuck? Is that… another word for plated armor or something?”
It all started about two months ago. Her car broke down and she needed a ride. So she stayed at her friend’s house. Let’s call her friend EvilBitch.
Later Bumblebee got another car from her parents, but she and I were fighting at the time, so Bumblebee stayed over at EvilBitch’s house to minimize stress. So I thought.
I don’t like EvilBitch. I had a bad feeling about her the moment I met her. As I learned more, I hated her more and more. She’s recently divorced, and is recklessly spiraling out of control. She drives while drunk. Like, plastered drunk—eyes wiggling back and forth drunk. She continues to drive that way despite having crashed her parents’ car on the freeway at the beginning of October.
Ever since her divorce, EvilBitch habitually engaged in completely unprotected sex with strangers who look like they’re living off welfare and never brush their teeth. Her precious jewelry got stolen by one of her one-night stands… but that didn’t stop her at all. She was in bed with a new guy just a couple nights later. Again, unprotected sex. Hell, one of the guys she was banging got drunk at her place, WHILE BUMBLEBEE WAS THERE… and was starting to get physically violent.
EvilBitch missed her menstrual cycle two months in a row. Then suddenly she got her period again. Ah-hah. She said “it must have been the stress.” Chick’s hammered 12 hours out of 24, that baby would have had gross health complications if it was allowed to live anyway.
Point is, EvilBitch is aptly named.
Something was off and I wasn’t able to put my finger on it but I just had that nagging feeling that SOMETHING is not right with EvilBitch.
After lots of fighting, I somehow managed to convince Bumblebee to come back home. My anxiety started to ease away, and I thought things were back to normal.
On Sept 23th, Bumblebee’s car breaks down on the freeway (her father’s got a bad rep for thinking he can actually fix cars). So guess where Bumblebee goes? Yep, now she’s going to be getting free taxi rides from EvilBitch.
That didn’t stop EvilBitch from drinking in the morning before the commute, even though she’s still got enough ethanol on her breath from last night to trip breathalyzers two feet away.
On Sept 24th, Bumblebee wanted to go with EvilBitch to a nightclub. Oh, I forgot to mention that EvilBitch doesn’t like that Bumblebee isn’t as single and miserable as is EvilBitch, so EvilBitch kept pushing, over and over, even at times rudely while in front of me, for Bumblebee to find guys to also have casual sex with.
I rolled my eyes, and didn’t really come closer to liking EvilBitch.
I asked Bumblebee to instead stay home and spend time with me, ‘cause I miss her and it would be lonely for me without her here at night. I reached out to her and told her that I’m going through a really tough time, and that, with all the shit going on the past few weeks, her presence is the only painkiller my [figurative] body is NOT going to vomit right back up.
She refused, and said she really needed to go out and relax. I was disappointed, of course, but I still accepted her request. Hell, I vividly remember running that lint roller all over her black, body-hugging dress to make sure she looks her best.
Talk about loading the gun that’s aimed to shoot me… but seeing her get all happy to go on an evening-long vacation brought me more comfort and happiness than did to me bring disappointment and sadness the realization that she’ll be gone away for several hours.
Bumblebee, EvilBitch, and Bumblebee’s homosexual male coworker—let’s call him HappyFlag, along with HappyFlag’s partner, EvenHappierFlag, went out to a gay nightclub full mostly of lesbians and homos. I had NOTHING to worry about.
But there was one thing I specifically asked her not to do. A couple times while she was still getting ready, and finally once more right before she left out the door. I mean, I made eye contact with her, verbally confirmed that she’s acknowledging my request. I got a resounding “I promise not to” from her. She also promised that she’d be dropped off at home, and would NOT go to EvilBitch’s house.
I asked her simply not to drink TOO much. I already stressed to her how I’m not comfortable with EvilBitch’s tendency to drive drunk.
I specifically told her that I’m not going to be there to keep an eye out, so it would put me at ease to know that she won’t drink too much.
A few hours into the night I sent her an email. Getting no response for a couple of hours I thought, “Ah, you know how clubs go. Those things are open ‘till 2:00 AM.”
The email on her cell phone is the same one on the computer at home. Somebody was definitely reading those messages.
Then later I sent another message. And later, again another. No response. Now I’m a little worried. I called, and called again. You know where this is going.
Right before leaving, she put the cell phone in her breast pocket. I figured no matter how loud the nightclub, she should still probably feel the phone vibrating. I mean, her nipple’s like two inches away! How do you miss that??
So now I’m thinking she lost the phone. Oh well. I just hope she’s okay.
I call EvilBitch, figuring they can’t both have lost their phones. No answer! I call again. Nope.
At this point I’m starting to fixate on what possibly could be going wrong. I keep calming myself down by saying, “Relax, she’s probably ok. It’s only been like 8 hours.” But then I relapse and start wondering if she’s maybe bleeding to death in a flipped over car. I start to hyperventilate and wishfully cross my fingers, fighting back tears praying she’s not drugged at some date rapist’s apartment.
Finally, an answer! It was one of the most satisfying puffs of oxygen my lungs ever took in. She wasn’t gone a day and the sound of her voice already felt like an injection of morphine (I think, I have no idea what that feels like).
She was alive. Sounded tipsy. Nothing out of the ordinary. I told her I tried to reach her, you know, that kind of thing. She said everything’s ok. Described her evening as having had “a couple” of drinks, then it got really hot at the club and she left with EvilBitch to eat at a fast food place across the street. Then they went to EvilBitch’s parent’s house.
“Ok,” I asked, “so when will you be home?” She said “in like an hour.” I asked her if she’s sure, she insisted. Her speech was a little bit slurred, so I pressed on and asked her how much she had to drink.
She told me only a couple, just to relax. She didn’t get into a fight, “nothing happened,” and everything’s ok. “I’m fine. I just… needed to relax.”
When I asked her why she lied about it being only two drinks, she got pissed off.
I asked her if EvilBitch was sober while driving her. She told me EvilBitch “didn’t have as much to drink.” She said her intake was “only” about 5 shots of hard liquor’s worth (but we’re Russian, so it’s all good), and they both ate afterwards, so EvilBitch was “ok to drive” and that Bumblebee was making sure to remind EvilBitch to “drive carefully and keep [her] eyes on the road” and that Bumblebee was making sure the speed limit was observed, etc.
SPECIFIC promises unequivocally broken. Promises that I asked her to make not to control her, not to get something out of her, but to keep her safe (both she and I ended up spending the night in jail ‘cause of her drinking—I was very angry with her at the time, but today remember it as one of the most hilarious and satisfying adventures ever).
40 minutes go by and I call to make sure she’s on her way home. Instead I hear an even more intoxicated voice. I’m informed that “You know how things are” and that they drank more.
Ok, whatever. I accept that she’s not coming home tonight. I can’t get any sleep, though.
An hour after sunrise, I call her. Nothing. No answer. I call EvilBitch (who calls herself an insomniac, by the way), still no answer.
I worry now. It’s eating me alive like vermin chewing on sore flesh. I try my best to hang in there.
But I can’t.
I then logged into her email to find her coworker HappyFlag’s number. I figured I’d call him and ask if she’s ok, or at least ask when he’s last seen her.
The phone had two entries: “HappyFlag,” and “HappyFlag work.”
It’s a weekend, nobody’s at work. I called HappyFlag. So I thought. Turns out I stumbled upon OfficerDonut’s voicemail greeting.
“Um, ok,” I thought,”that doesn’t sound like HappyFlag. Must be his boyfriend EvenHappierFlag. EvenHappierFlag probably only goes by the nickname OfficerDonut. Hmmm… EvenHappierFlag doesn’t sound like a bottom. But I was told he is. Strange.”
I keep going at it ‘till I finally get a hold of Bumblebee.
“Hello. How are you?”
“I’m ok, just waking up. Yawn.”
“Uhm… it’s been a while, glad you’re still alive. Hey, uh, I’m curious… who is OfficerDonut?”
She groaned and pissed and moaned, “Ugh, what do you mean. Why, did… did YOU BUG MY PHONE???!?!?!?!”
“No, of course not! You know that’s not my style. I called your coworker HappyFlag and figured I’d reached his boyfriend’s phone. But OfficerDonut doesn’t really sound like some dude’s boyfriend.”
“Ugh, um, I’m still sleeping. You woke me. Look, I’ll be home soon. Just relax. Everything’s fine.”
“Who is OfficerDonut? Just tell me, and I’ll leave you alone.”
“OfficerDonut is… uhm… he’s interesting.”
“… … … Are you ATTRACTED TO OfficerDonut?”
“Uhm. Well. Yeah. Yes I am.”
“You’re attracted to him?”
“YES. I’m attracted to him.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means nothing!!!”
“Well, I… uh, m’kay. But…”
“It’s murky waters with him. Just like with you. I don’t want to pursue it.”
“Uhm. Well, ok. I get it. I understand. I mean, crap, whatever. Anyway, you’re ok, right?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine. I need sleep.”
I should have left it at that. I should have just kept myself busy with something. I should have just taken her word. But I had an old friend visit me. It was that nagging feeling of suspicion that’s NEVER once failed to warn me before. It’s a feeling I last felt a distant 7 years ago.
I have a few scars left from the past. ScarOne and ScarTwo left me for another guy. Both of them kept trying to get a hold of me shortly thereafter, in hopes of somehow rekindling what once was. Even years later, they tried. ScarThree was never looked back at ‘cause she came too soon after ScarTwo—I flinched but nothing painful enough to be worth noting; I had my guard up.
All three scars left another guy to be with me. I should have known better. Bumblebee intimately knows all about the juicy details and history of each and every scar.
I am extremely ashamed and embarrassed because of not being able to resist opening that Pandora’s box. I did something I’m very much not proud of.
I started to go through everything I could. If you saw me, you’d think I’m trying to catch a serial killer. I mean, I combed through everything. I wrote down things as detailed as timestamps and phone calls, etc. I read and reread what I could. I played back the conversations in my head. I thought about the geographical locations at hand and the travel times between certain points. Literally had this shit written out on pieces of paper.
When I go, I go all out.
What I saw in front of me was not very pleasant. After explicitly emphasizing throughout our relationship how critically important honesty, loyalty, and trust is to me… I was disappointed to see this:
* When I asked her, she said to me that she “coincidentally” bumped into OfficerDonut on the night she went out clubbing. Her text message timestamps proved she was chatting with OfficerDonut right before it was time to head out to the club. This is on a busy Saturday in a central location of a city with well over 50 clubs.
* While I was busy calling and emailing her that night, while she was at the club, she would read the emails but not respond. She even ignored emails asking a very simple, “Hey, it’s me. I’m worried. Hope you’re ok. Please send me something to let me know you’re alive and that your phone isn’t stolen. Don’t have to write much. Thank you.” She said her phone was in the car. She read my messages and sent a few of her own at least once every half hour. She couldn’t come up with an answer for when I asked her if she ran back and forth, to and from the car.
* Later that night she got drank more at EvilBitch’s house and was texting OfficerDonut, back and forth, for about 6 hours. The time between each text message was only about 3 or 4 minutes. She read, but did not respond to, my emails, however.
* A few days later she “went to get coffee” with EvilBitch, saying she’ll be back in an hour. Not even 10 minutes after driving away she initiates another several-hours-long text conversation with OfficerDonut. My emails? Read but not hastily replied to.
* This kept up. When I asked her to tell me who OfficerDonut is, and why she’s been ignoring my emails but actively chatting with him, she insisted that he’s “Nobody. Just an interesting person.”
* She stored OfficerDonut’s phone number under HappyFlag’s first and last name. The rest of her contacts were in order. When I asked her about this, she said, “Uhm, it, uh. I must have made a mistake.”
* She deleted all traces of her conversations with OfficerDonut off her cell phone, but kept the other conversations intact. When I asked her about this, she said, “It’s just a habit. I always delete my conversations.” When I asked her why the other conversations were still there, she stuttered and was happy to put the heat on me. “Why are you going through my stuff anyway? You know how much I hate that.”
* While all of this is happening, she is suddenly showing what to a naïve person would look like empathy for my poly tendencies. She said she’s “no longer jealous,” and that she “happily encourages me to seek out the women that will make me happy.” All along, when I ask her if she’s fallen out of love with me, she says, “I… um… I care for you.” She also has reminded me that she’s gotten bored of “who I became.”
* Understanding that shit like this happens, whatever, I’ll live, I asked her about the timing of all of this. I asked her if she became less interested in me upon the arrival of OfficerDonut. She hesitated, but then agreed that yeah, timing does line up.
* I asked her to, if she has nothing to hide from me, save at least one conversion for me to read. She insisted that they were completely innocent conversations, that she did nothing wrong, and that he’s just an interesting person to talk to.
* She saved a conversation for me. It had about 8 messages total. Big whoop. The words were few, and it was an exchange of “how was your day” sort. Lots of winks from both parties. By the way, I noticed also that her words with me have also, all of a sudden, included what looked like a habitual wink. She’s never done this before.
* If she expects me to believe that her 4 and 6 hour-long conversations with hundreds of messages included only “Hi, how are you, how was your day. It was fine, how about yours? Mine was ok to. Yeah? Yeah. Ok good.” then she must think I’m really stupid in the head. She voluntarily handed me the phone and said, “Here. Since you asked me to save a conversation for you, this is just to let you know how the chats go.”
* Once when at EvilBitch’s house, we all had a 1.5 liter bottle of wine each, so I kinda got heated up over a comment from Bumblebee that sounded way too much like, “It’s ok to be different. I want a monogamous guy, and you want you stupid, meaningless fucks. Obviously we can’t be together.” That hurt like a knife through the heart. She clearly did not understand me or where I’m coming from. So I stormed off and left her alone. Her phone got a text from… dun-dun-dun, OfficerDonut, and, yeah, I know, childishly responded. He wrote to Bumblebee saying that the dress she wore to work earlier was very flattering, wink-wink. I let him know that “her ex is being an ass” and he’s trying to get involved with a girl less than half his age (he’s in his 40s). His response was, “We won’t have that problem. I don’t need blue pills. It’s all natural.” I’m like… wtf. I wrote something about daddy issues, and he was confused. He asked what [Bumblebee] wants from him, and I wrote, “For you to eat me out.” Wow, his response was a very enthusiastic “Are you like… shaved?”
* In response to the above exchange, Bumblebee SWORE that this is the first time OfficerDonut got frisky like that. I explained to her that, all things considered, it’s very hard for me to believe that, and pleaded with her to try to understand that. To me, OfficerDonut’s response was particularly eager and unapologetic. Nothing in his words made it sound like he’s crossing a line that hasn’t been crossed before.
* Here’s the kicker… now that she’s grossed out by, and no longer attracted to OfficerDonut, she’s back to yelling at me and calling me a cheater. She’s calling me a cheater even though I’ve never ONCE had a conversation with another woman, in person or otherwise, in the past 3.5 years, never once hooked up, never once did ANYTHING… my sin is in that I made known to Bumblebee that I am NOT monogamous, and that I don’t want to be tied down.
Women, heh. Give them an inch and they take foot. Give them six or seven inches and they swallow you whole. Just kidding, lol. I know that there are many great women out there. I just feel a little bit like I’m on a losing streak.
She has many excuses and explanations for what transpired in the last two months. Comically, her explanations are inconsistent, and they change nearly every time I ask the same question. And when I point out that her explanations change, and that it’s hard for me to know what’s what because of that… she gets irritated! And then when she’s interrogated into a corner, she breaks down and says, “See? This is why I didn’t tell you. I KNEW you’d be like this.” Real smooth Bumblebee, real smooth. Accuse the accuser.
The funny thing is, I already told her all these things I’m telling you guys. I already said, “Look, I want to believe you. I just hope that you can see, how, from where I’m standing, this DOES look a little suspicious. You see what I’m saying? I don’t give a shit that you were attracted to OfficerDonut. I mean, I’d lie if I pretended to give my unconditional blessing if I had a choice, but shit happens. I get it. It’s ok. I can deal with that, no problem. But I cannot deal with how you responded to my questions about him and how you treated me. That’s the part that hurts.”
Personally? I believe she didn’t get anywhere with OfficerDonut. But she slashed me with the sharper edge of the blade of cheating: lying about what was or wasn’t going on.
To me, merely a deliberate fib is more hurtful than to hear the admission of having done something I’d prefer not be done. And no matter how many times I stress this to her, throughout the relationship and particularly now, she still can’t give the same answer twice to any of my questions.
She dismisses all of them. She sighs and bitches and moans and says she doesn’t want to talk about it. “OfficerDonut was nothing. Just let it go. Why can’t you let it go?”
Last part (messages too long, delayed post?)
What do you think, ladies and gentlemen? What should I do, hmm? Like I said, I’m irrational. I’m emotionally attached to this woman with whom I’ve had a generally nice history, and because of my emotional attachment I’m too irrational to behave in a way that makes sense.
If you have any questions that would help clarify some of what I said, I’ll be more than happy to. I’m just… really not good at organizing what’s essentially a rant, so there’s stuff left out because of an oversight, I’m sure.
I mean, a part of me wants to take out the tumor. But every time I look into her gigantic, green eyes… I just can’t. It’s like looking at a puppy. I get visceral flashbacks to our best times together.
Weeeelllll, people wonder what cheating does to relationships after? I would say this is it... endless paranoia and inability to trust.
I don't know what happened, but I think I would try and let it go. I don't know if you rant to her this way, but if I were her I would be clamming up just because you are going on so much. It could be that she is telling the truth. Maybe not, but sometimes silence around these things creates opportunity to express oneself and if she feels at all bad about something she might just say what that is. It could be she got way too drunk and passed out, or it could be she got way to drunk, wanted to be as loose and free as her friend in her stupor and allowed this guy to fuck her... who knows. I don't think you will know unless you leave it alone for awhile.
My biggest worry here is her friend. Next time she is out and you know what is going on with her drinking and driving, call the police and tell them where she is. PLEASE! She's an alcoholic on a binge and needs help badly. Getting her arrested might be the wake up call she needs and might save a life (hers included). You don't have to say anything, just call and be anonymous.
Anyone want to be friends on Facebook?
Send me your name via PM
Yes, clearly she's been lying to you.
What sticks out most to me is this... 3.5 years together, and she says about this new guy “It’s murky waters with him. Just like with you. I don’t want to pursue it.”
I see this as a really telling moment of honesty. She cares as much for him as she does for you, and she says she doesn't care for him.
Ugh. Lots of people have pretty eyes, man. This is just painful. Step back from her and this situation, stop playing amateur detective and stalker-boyfriend, let her make her own (really dumb) decisions. You can break it off entirely or tell her you need some space until she can act a little more mature, whatever you choose, just for god's sake find the self-respect not to engage with this debacle any more.
Note: I originally posted something about "why the heck are you emailing and calling her so much anyways", then reconsidered, since you were legitimately concerned about her safety. Still, I think it's worth thinking about your styles of communication. For instance, by posting such a hugely long story here, you've probably greatly limited the number of responses you're going to get, because it's just too much for people to cope with. Is this maybe something you do in your relationships as well? Could it be that you sometimes overwhelm people and end up pushing them away by because it's too much for them and they just want some space? Something to consider.
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
Last edited by AnnabelMore; 11-03-2011 at 11:32 PM.
You come across as bit of a drama llama. In fact, your story reads more like a short story than a relationship crisis. (You have the beginnings of some nice dialogue in a short story.)
That said, even drama llamas occasionally have a point. It seems like your girlfriend is making some really stupid decisions in friends, drinking, etc. I understand why you are worried about her. Has Bumblebee shown other instances of stunningly bad decision making before?
If I had to place a bet, I would say... this is not the first time, just the most extreme.
You can't control what Bumblebee does. Certainly tell her of your concerns. (Although preferably in a less dramatic fashion, I almost tuned you out and she may too.) But she will do what she wants. You can control how you react to her actions and how she explains (or not) what's going in her head. That may mean moving on. It may not. But you control your reaction. In fact, you can choose not to react or remove yourself from the drama.
Good luck HH.
Next, walk on. It's clear she's playing you. Use your spine and stand upright, then put one foot in front of the other.
Or don't. Stay where you are and be miserable.
In any case, if you keep doing the same things, you'll keep getting the same results. Change what you do.
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.
While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
Cut the line and let her go.
Here's my thing: The continuing to go out with a friend who drinks and drives and then letting that friend drive would have been the kicker for me even before the whole dude on the side crap. I love you and you're going to disrespect that by intentionally putting your life at risk for no reason other than a good time? Fuck you AND your friend. Seriously. And the other dude stuff. Can't tell if she was just genuinely attracted to him and then just decided it was better to lie in spite of knowing you have trust issues or if she was doing it to get back at you for up front unwilling to commit.
That being said....it's ok to heal. You've been kicked in the teeth and your trust and heart have been damaged. That's understandable but it's gonna be hard to have a good time and an enjoyable relationship if you can't move on from that. But just like this girlfriend showed you, a lot of people don't want to feel responsible for dealing with the fallout from other people's mistakes. People have their limits. You can't punish new people for something the old loves of your life have done.