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  #11  
Old 01-12-2012, 01:27 PM
awakeandready awakeandready is offline
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Of course it's important to gauge S and T's feelings as well. Are they interested in putting in the work to turn this from swinging into poly?
Just to be clear, we have not discussed this as a quad and have never used the term poly. Poly is a scary word! And I say that with the greatest respect for all of you who are living such authentic lives and calling it what it is. R & I have used the poly word in our own talks. We have long, deep discussion about what is going on and when we were having trouble trying to figure it out we did some research and reading about poly relationships. But we still shy away from the word in labeling what is going on with us.

You have to remember that we came at this with a swinger mindset. I think this friendship that has developed has taken us all off guard. Not the friendship necessarily, because we all wanted that and a deeper connection than just sex. It's the emotional attachment that came with the friendship that was surprising. We are currently at the point where if you were to ask any of us separately, we would probably describe it as "friends with benefits." Very, very close friends with benefits. Beyond that I don't know if any of us are ready to put labels on it.

But I came to all of you for advice because I thought you might have a better understanding of the relationship dynamics going on...regardless of what we call it.
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2012, 02:02 PM
polyq4 polyq4 is offline
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If you read some of my posts you will see this is exactly where we went. My wife and I were swingin and we met this couple that we clicked with , and the one half of the group fell in love and the other half wasn't far behind, we now consider ourselves a fourple.

If you would really like to talk about this , I hate writing novels so...pm me.
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2012, 02:12 PM
Jade Jade is offline
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Originally Posted by awakeandready View Post

The majority of the time he simply acknowledges it, acknowledges that he is wrong, and tells me he feels like a shithead for what he's putting me through.
Fair enough. I give him credit for the honesty. But as long as he can't control being a shithead, I would pull back. If you don't, you may wind up being the emotional punching bag.

I totally understand your thoughtfulness with respect to not wanting to label. You can't just jump in and say, "we're poly," because four different people will have four different points of view, etc.

Hang in there.

Last edited by Jade; 01-12-2012 at 02:13 PM. Reason: punctuation
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2012, 02:50 PM
awakeandready awakeandready is offline
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Annabel, Black Unicorn, Redpepper -- thank you so much for hearing the pain and heartache in what I wrote yesterday. There was a great deal of that. R and I have a very deep soul connection. Even as angry with him as I was, when he hurts, I hurt. Of course, I am also hurting for myself because I care for this couple that have become such an important part of our lives.

I cried last night when I read the first couple of responses. I cried again this morning when I reread them.

In some ways, you are right. R has NOT shown much emotional maturity about any of this. The way he is treating me is NOT right. His emotional blowups are NOT healthy. It is absolutely clear that he is NOT in touch with his true feelings about all of this and he is letting himself get carried away by the waves of emotion.

As a result of the above I AM suffering. I am the one getting hurt now, but you are all right that I am also VERY concerned that T&S will also get hurt. If R can't get a grip on his emotions and can't learn to control his anger and impulses, it is truly only a matter of time. If I care about them as much as I say I do, maybe I DO need to let them go. Yes, I am grieving over that and yes, beyond my concern for my own marriage, that was a big part of the heartache behind what I wrote yesterday.

I am well aware of the dynamics of abusive relationships.

But, I need to defend R here.
I think it is unfair to label a man abusive because of a few moments over the course of 30 years. And really, that's all we're talking about. I can think of maybe a max of 20 times in almost 30 years when he has blown up in the way I described. Unfortunately, everything that has been happening over the past year has pushed all his buttons and about 5 of those 20 have happened in the last 12 months. But, I can count on one hand when those blowups have become physical (a shove, a raised hand, etc.). So maybe 5 instances in 30 years. Yes it is wrong. Yes in those moments of time it is abusive. Yes I am emotionally bruised when that happens. But no, my husband is not an abusive man.

In fact, with the exception of those moments above I have an incredible husband and a relationship that very, very few people are ever fortunate enough to have.

He is an extraordinary, very involved, and very loving father and together we raised a beautiful, intelligent, healthy child to adulthood. We both have a very good, very strong relationship with her.

I am a business owner and a very successful one, and he is happy to be the man behind the woman. He has always given me all the support I need, both practical (doing more than his fair share around the house) and emotional. From my perspective, we are a team and I could never have accomplished all I have without him. In addition to this, he is extremely hard working and very respected and successful in his own profession.

He is a very compassionate man who has cared for three elderly members of his family in the time I have known him -- including one right now for which he is the primary person responsible for (a stressor that probably isn't helping the situation we are going through now).

With the minor exception of the problems I described yesterday (and clarified today) he is ridiculously loving to me. He tells me he loves me every day, even after all these years. He is very touchy feely and loves to hug and kiss and cuddle with me. We have a great sex life. He tells me all the time that I am beautiful, that he is proud of me, and that he is a lucky man. He tells anyone that will listen the same thing.

Yes, he has an anger management problem. Yes, this whole swinging/friends-with-benefits relationship with T&S has brought those problems to the forefront. Yes we have to deal with them. Yes I am hurting and hurting badly over this. But R is not an abusive husband.

But really, I want you all to know I am listening to and considering everything and all the advice. I just needed to clarify the above.

Last edited by awakeandready; 01-12-2012 at 03:08 PM. Reason: Added emphasis
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2012, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by awakeandready View Post
Yes, he has an anger management problem. Yes, this whole swinging/friends-with-benefits relationship with T&S has brought those problems to the forefront. Yes we have to deal with them. Yes I am hurting and hurting badly over this. But R is not an abusive husband.
Sorry to say this, but: It isn't the frequency that makes a deed abusive. It's the nature of the act itself. He may be really nice most of the time, but you are already tiptoeing the moment you get the right signals from him. You know that there is a pattern, you are able to read the signals when his buttons are pushed and are instantly afraid of him exploding again. There is already an established pattern between you two in that regard.

I can't accept this as healthy and a minor problem.

While giving credit to him acknowledging the problem, as long as he doesn't really start working on solving this, nothing changes.

Hoping that you are able to start the processing soon and successfully. and that you will be able to stay strong and healthy during that process.
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2012, 04:06 PM
awakeandready awakeandready is offline
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A question...

Assuming R recognizes that this is a serious problem (which he does, by the way), and assuming he would be willing to work on it with some counseling, where would we ever find a counselor that would be knowledgeable and understanding of the non-monogamous choices we have made (and may choose to continue making)?

We live in the Northeast. Is there some sort of listing somewhere?
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2012, 04:19 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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NYCIndie just posted a few links on poly-friendly marriage councelling, but I can't for the life of me find it now. I hope she pops up on this thread to share .

Regarding abusive relationships; it's not the frequency, it is the emotional impact of fearing certain situations and certain triggers that marks out an abusive relationship, just like Phy said. I was very infrequently abused physically in a close relationship but all those times left lasting marks on my psyche. We get along great these days, but we can't live together anymore. Not all abusers are bad people, but they should get help regardless.
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:42 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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You've mentioned several times that when he hurts, you hurt. Is the reverse true? When you hurt, like the current situation with T and S, does he hurt with you? Does he have empathy with and for you? I understand that he had apologized for past poor behavior but has he actually changed his behavior?

Has he done anything to address his anger issues? And promising to change does not count. Apologizing does not count either. Has he gone to counseling? I realize that you love this man and he is a good partner to you in many ways.

BUT, this is his problem to resolve. You can't fix this for him, you can be supportive of course but this is his problem. You are not at fault, you did nothing wrong. You are not the problem. T and S are not the problem, swinging or polyamory are not the problem. R's rage, passive aggressiveness and so far refusal to deal with his emotions in any constructive way are the problems. He is the only one who can resolve them.

And you show many of the classic signs of being in an abusive relationship. You minimize the impact of his behavior on you, you emphasize the infrequency of abusive actions and words, you have taken on all the emotional burden of anticipating, responding and soothing to his emotions, you put a higher premium on his feelings over your own. You emphasize the good things in the relationship while tolerating completely unacceptable behavior. You rush to his defense when others point out that his behavior is unacceptable. His behavior is abusive. Yes, he is more than that extreme reaction. I realize that we only know what you have written and we are all more complex than posts on a forum. But what you have written is very disturbing at best.
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:02 PM
swmnkdinthervr swmnkdinthervr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awakeandready View Post

The majority of the time he simply acknowledges it, acknowledges that he is wrong, and tells me he feels like a shithead for what he's putting me through.
Acknowledgement and acting on the knowledge are two entirely different things, the anger issue needs to be addressed with or without your continuing the relationship with the other couple...NOW.

I have no certifications but have led several group meetings centering on anger management. His act of acknowledging "he is a shithead" is a disarming tactic and as long as you allow this behavior it will continue. The scary part is that nearly all unresolved anger issues eventually escalate. You also have to understand that the continued use of anger is most often less a vent for emotions than it is an attempt at psychological/emotional control.

I put on my flame retardant suit and I can take the heat but these are my very informed opinions! John
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  #20  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:06 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Found Nyc's links!

http://www.polychromatic.com/pfp//main.php?groupid[]=5

http://www.lovemore.com/polyprofessional.php

http://m.therapists.psychologytoday....find_therapist [With this one, you can select "Relationship Issues" after you narrow it down for your zip code.]

When I hear it's "only" happened x number of times, it's like hearing "he's only cheated on me 20 times in the last 30 years" or "he's only stolen from me 20 times in the last 30 years" etc. That may sound extreme, and I promise I'm not trying to vilify your husband, I'm sure he truly does love and cherish and respect you, it's just that to me this is a very serious issue that corrodes trust and a sense of safety. Once or twice is bad enough.

That said, I don't think we'll get far arguing the semantics of what's abusive versus what's "just" unhealthy, so I'm not going to press on that point -- I'm just really glad that you realize that there's a serious problem here and that it needs to be addressed. That alone can be hard enough, so good on you for facing it.

Everyone who gives advice on poly will say you need a strong, durable foundation to even consider it, because it will test you (as you're already seeing). It's graduate-level relationship stuff, is one way to put it. To be frank, you guys aren't there yet. If you think it would hurt to lose T&S now, imagine how much worse it would be if you'd gotten to the point where you had all decided to let love blossom, they had become a vital party of your heart... and THEN R freaked and unilaterally pulled the plug. It's one thing to lose a relationship because it just doesn't work out, you can get some closure there, but there's no closure to be had when a healthy relationship is veto'ed.

That is not to say you should dump T&S to protect yourself or "for their own good", far from it! I don't believe in dismissing a good thing out of fear when there's a chance to work things out. But I do think things should maybe cool off a little for now, maybe focus more on the friendship side. Be honest with them that you're having some relationship issues that you're working on, and that it's not their faults at all and you both care for them... hopefully if they're good friends they'll respect you for that and be patient!
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