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Old 05-24-2014, 09:06 PM
Alexander Alexander is offline
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Default The Tragic Tale of Alexander

Ladies and Gents,

I've tried to keep away from the forum in dealing with this really f-ed up thing that's happened in my life, but, sadly, I find that I am failing at dealing with it as well as I want to, and I need your two cents, or to vent at least. Sorry about the absurdly long post, but here are the facts:

1. I dated a girl for about two years. It was the best relationship of my life, but I was always rather ambivalent, thinking that I could do better. I loved her, but I couldn't shake the ambivalence no matter what I did.

2. I broke up with her two years in, we didn't speak for six months, she dated someone else, but a year later, we got back together. We were together for another year and it was pretty awesome. I had that ambivalence every now and then, but overall, I was very happy.

3. Here's where things get messy. My girlfriend is an actress. And she auditioned repeatedly for plays that would take her out of the country for six months at a time. That's the nature of her job - actors travel. Seeing her do this repeatedly, and having saved up some money, I decided to do what she would do if she was cast in these plays. I went to Thailand for six months to pursue my dream - writing a novel. We decided to try an open relationship.

4. Pretty much the only rule I asked for is that she doesn't date actors she's worked with in the past, is working with or is likely to work with in the future. About a month in, she told me someone had asked her out. I felt pretty terrible about it and I found out that it was an actor she had worked with in the past. I checked him out on facebook, didn't feel TOO threatened, and decided to make an exception to my rule and said she could date him.

5. I went to Thailand in October. In January she visited me. We fought a lot because I'm a bit of a hippy and she's more of a city princess and she didn't really enjoy the 3rd World aspect of Thailand and I kind of resented her for being anxious and annoyed all the time, even though we were in an incredibly nice place with incredibly nice conditions.

6. She left. We talked on the phone. I told her that it was really no good that we were fighting all the time. We had fought a bunch on previous trips together as well, again because of different traveling styles, me being more into adventure/carousing, her being more into pampering/relaxing. I asked her to order a Buddhist book on Anger. She did and told me so. I told her that's great, but that I had seen many people order that book and not actually read it, so we had to see if she would finish it. This was pompous and condescending and rather assholish, I know, but it's what happened.

7. I think that being apart for months and months, and the negative experiences together in Thailand, and me being frustrated with how angry she was all the time (she has a tendency to react to anxiety with irritation at times), led her to feel more distant from me. We also exchanged e-mails about how we see our lives in the future, and I pointed out to her many ways in which I wanted my life to be different than how she wanted it. (Less of an emphasis on material things, more on traveling to exotic places). In a certain way, I was pushing her away with this e-mail. I think a part of me wanted our relationship to end, so I would be free to pursue girls who were more on the same page as I was in terms of love-of-adventure, easy-goingness, etc.

8. I should add that about a month into my trip, my girlfriend had decided that about a month after I come back, she was going to go Portland in order to pursue certain career goals. There's a great theater scene there, a better quality of life than in New York City (where we live), it made sense as a career move. But because this long-distance open relationship was really taking a toll on us, we decided that when she goes to Portland, we were going to break up.

9. Then came Valentine's Day. She called me and asked if I was still okay with the fact that she was dating someone long-term. I had told her originally that I would have been fine with that. I said that's fine, but would they be seeing each other for Valentine's Day? She said that they would be, but that it was only because they had not been able to find a time to get together that week, and she didn't think Valentine's Day mattered to me.

10. This fucked with my mind to no end, as you can imagine. She ended up cancelling the Valentine's Day date with him, but I was pretty much never the same. I became really worried about our relationship, would ask her for reassurance. We seemed to be growing more and more distant.

11. Finally, about four weeks before I was coming back, I asked her if we could close the relationship for the last two weeks that I was away. I wrote her an honest letter, telling her that I was feeling very vulnerable and that all kinds of abandonment issues were coming up for me (father stuff) and asking her to please help me out and not see this guy for the last two weeks.

12. The thing that crushed me, is that, when we spoke about a day or two after I had sent that letter, she said that she didn't want to do that. She said she wanted to be with me when I returned, but she felt that it was unfair of me to ask to close the relationship whenever I wanted, and that she wanted to "ride it out". You can imagine how much that fucked with me. I said that that's fine, but that then we can't be together. We broke up, and I suspended communication with her for the last three weeks of my stay in Thailand.

13. I returned from Thailand. I was sick, jobless and had to stay with a friend. But I was able to quickly recover my health (Chinese herbs) and recover my job (I work, ironically, as a psychotherapist). I didn't focus on how much her not closing the relationship had hurt me and her and I got back together.

14. She hasn't seen the other guy since then. In a way, we've grown progressively closer. I know she loves me. She has a picture of two stuffed animals that represent the two of us on her phone wall paper, she wants to not break up when she goes to Portland, she wants me to go visit her there. When we are together, there is a lot of sweetness between us. I love her, and, honestly, I wish I had realized that before going to Thailand.

15. At the same time, I feel traumatized by these events. I get profoundly anxious thinking about them. My mood cycles between fear, sadness and anger all the time, with only momentary returns to sanity. I am usually a happy, optimistic, positive person, so this is really different and really devastating for me. I feel like I don't have control of my own mind.

16. I've been trying to deal, I really have. I've been doing yoga, working out, biking to work. I've been journaling, meditating, talking to friends and listening to Buddhist teachings. I've been trying damn hard to stay positive and in the month and three weeks that I've been back, I've managed to do a lot of good. But I can't shake the sense that I was betrayed, the anger, the anxiety, the sadness, the fear - I just can't shake them.

17. She is leaving for Portland next Wednesday. I am not going to stay together with her because I know I won't be able to handle it. I am also thinking of asking her to not speak for two months - I need some time to heal. Sweet God, I've been suffering a lot and I just need to recover a slight sense of ease, a slight sense of hope, optimism, well-being.

I know that I did some things wrong in this very long story I told. But if I could get any insight, any clarity, any relief or any good advice from you guys, I would truly greatly appreciate it.

Keep on rocking as always,

Alexander
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2014, 09:16 PM
PolyinPractice PolyinPractice is offline
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Doing things wrong? I don't know what that really means. Obviously, you two were not on the same page.

I can't really speak for her. But I can give you an insight into how I would feel if I were here (and a possible way, of many, she could feel). If I were to put myself in her shoes, I'd just be sad at how little you understood me. Closing the relationship, at a whim? I get that two weeks without dating isn't very much. But the idea that my building other relationships is akin to some casual hobby? That I can stop and start it at any time? A friend viewed my poly like that; I was less offended and more sad that she really didn't understand me at all. Telling me I can date, but than putting rules on who I can date? Especially when those rules virtually ensure I can't be with anyone who I could develop a real relationship with (I'm guessing other actors are the only ones who understand her lifestyle and are around enough to build any kind of significant relationship) Especially the "no people I might work with in the future"? Very hard to swallow that one.

But I guess she's not the right one for you, anyway.
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:39 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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You have chosen to view her refusal to close your relationship as betrayal. Understand this interpretation of events is a choice you have made and are choosing to hold onto. Did you ever talk to her about how you felt? Give her a chance to explain her reasoning, her feelings? Have any discussion which might have permitted you to change your view of that exchange?

I highly doubt that your gf thought to herself, "Hey, I'm going to fuck up Alexander and make him feel betrayed." No one can make you feel anything. She probably thought your request was unreasonable given you were out of the country for two more weeks. Not only that, but your request dismisses her feelings for her other partner as unimportant, and dismisses the other partner's feelings as well. You're not likely to be well-received when you place your emotions as paramount to everyone else's.

I do understand that emotions can run counter to logic and reason, and the can be difficult to change. But I can't tell from your description of your various healing activities if you are just "trying to accept the 'betrayal'" or actively trying to change the interpretation.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:37 PM
LoveBunny LoveBunny is offline
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Personally, if I were her I'd have found your requests unreasonable. You didn't want her to date anyone actually in her dating pool (other actors,) you demanded that she stay away from her other, long-term lover on Valentines day, and you asked her to close the relationship while you were out of town. You only allowed her to date this other guy because for some reason you looked at his FB and found him "non threatening." It sounds as if you didn't really want her to date anyone else. I'm guessing you wanted an open relationship only so you'd have the option to see other women. But you don't really want your girlfriend to do the same, and you seem dead-set on sabotaging her other relationship. You have to remember this guy is a person who is in her life and deserves to have his time with her too.

I'm not surprised she didn't do what you wanted, she has no reason to put you first above her other, possibly more suitable/less ambivalent suitor.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:02 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
Pretty much the only rule I asked for is that she doesn't date actors she's worked with in the past, is working with or is likely to work with in the future.
So your rule precluded any dating prospects outside of people she randomly meets in a supermarket? This rule is basically saying "yes you can date other people, just not any people who have a possibility of existing in your life"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
I think a part of me wanted our relationship to end, so I would be free to pursue girls who were more on the same page as I was in terms of love-of-adventure, easy-goingness, etc.
Yes, dating someone who you have activities, interests, or overall approach to life in common is a good idea.

You two sound like you have pretty much opposite ways of looking at the world and your relationship has been difficult and dramatic because of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
I asked her if we could close the relationship for the last two weeks that I was away... The thing that crushed me, is that, when we spoke about a day or two after I had sent that letter, she said that she didn't want to do that. She said she wanted to be with me when I returned, but she felt that it was unfair of me to ask to close the relationship whenever I wanted, and that she wanted to "ride it out".
Good for her, I am in complete agreement that it was an unreasonable request.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
I know she loves me. She has a picture of two stuffed animals that represent the two of us on her phone wall paper, she wants to not break up when she goes to Portland, she wants me to go visit her there. When we are together, there is a lot of sweetness between us. I love her, and, honestly, I wish I had realized that before going to Thailand.
Ah love, it heals all wounds and rights all wrongs... except the wounds and wrongs which exist in reality. Love isn't what keeps relationships effortless and healthy - compatible personality types and worldviews have far more to do with whether or not people can get along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bookbug View Post
You have chosen to view her refusal to close your relationship as betrayal. Understand this interpretation of events is a choice you have made and are choosing to hold onto.
Listen to bookbug.

You say you are a psychotherapist? Can I take that to mean that you have comrades who are also therapists? I highly suggest you do some work on yourself because you sound like you could really use some constructive introspection.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:36 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Why do you expect her to take your current anxiety and distress seriously, when you did not take her anxieties about traveling in Thailand seriously?

I'm no "city princess," but I have enough minor health problems, dietary issues, and anxiety issues that traveling is very stressful for me, especially if I had a partner who brags about his adventurousness (while wallowing in self-centered pity) and thinks I hate third-world countries just because.

Also, as others have said, your "one little rule" that she dates only people she has never and will never work with is a non-starter. No wonder that one didn't work out.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:01 PM
elemental elemental is offline
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Interesting story. Kind of highlights a lot of the problems couples who are new to open relationships face. I agree with the above comments that your requests around rules ect where unreasonable. Changing the rules at the last minute as well is a complete recipe for disaster. Sounds like a lot of unrealistic expectations on your behalf.

Interesting also is your background in Buddhism. The feelings of hurt, anger and betrayal are all an excellent opportunity for you to see your dharma. I agree that these are your choices and they speak of your internal world and process over your GF. This longing of the heart over the logic of the mind around the long term prospects of this relationship is a very common conundrum. I would suggest using these feelings as fuel to look deeper at yourself and your relationships with women and your attachment to that. That suffering, indeed the title of your post as "tragic". Sound pretty standard stuff for a lot of new posters here.

My 2cents. Enjoy your time together, love in the moment. Don't get caught up in the swirling eddies of your emotions, and your expectation about who the people you love should be. See and accept things for what they are, not what you want them to be. These are very basic Buddhist principals. See the suffering as attachment and free yourself from expectations.

Last edited by elemental; 05-25-2014 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:24 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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Your former girlfriend was a saint I would have told you hug a root and hit the road.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:28 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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There's a lot there, but it sounds to me like you guys agreed that once she goes to Portland you are broken up. You assumed/hoped that you'd spend as much time together as possible before the break up despite the LDR.

It started with wanting Valentine's Day and then wanting to close for 2 weeks -- but did you articulate it to her in that way? Something like...
"I want to be as close as possible before our pending break up date. Could you be willing to postpone seeing other people so we have that bubble space together to end our relationship well?"
It doesn't sound like you did to me. I think you guys got caught up in the asking -- you asking her to close/dump her other BF is a different thing than asking for extra attention/focus at this time. When she declined to give you the bubble space/focus of attention, you guys broke up right then and there rather than at the scheduled Portland date. Now she DOESN'T want to break up when she goes to Portland.

Which leaves you like a big ball of anxiety. You have been stressy for almost 2 mos since your return?

Quote:
17. She is leaving for Portland next Wednesday. I am not going to stay together with her because I know I won't be able to handle it. I am also thinking of asking her to not speak for two months - I need some time to heal. Sweet God, I've been suffering a lot and I just need to recover a slight sense of ease, a slight sense of hope, optimism, well-being.
Limit reached then. Nothing wrong with knowing your own personal limitations. You seem to want closure, and and END to the limbo. The limbo of (being together with impending break up date) was really stressful for you. You could not relax and enjoy being together because the clock was ticking. You can't relax now because it isn't DONE done yet... she is not helping it to move into DONE done because now she is not wanting to break up despite you guys already having broken up earlier than intended.

It may not have been the break up plan you wanted it to be... and you sound sad/upset about that. But it's reasonable to remind her you guys already broke up, you are not up for dragging it out, and ask for time of silence after the break up to heal.

Then set a date for a phone visit later on to start to figure out how to be good exes/friends after that.

Hopefully you find the peace you seek.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-26-2014 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:05 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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You seem to be very high maintenance and addicted to drama to me, despite the odd fact that you see yourself as "easygoing." How can someone so easygoing talk about "allowing" their girlfriend to make the choices she wants to make? You've acted like a dictator in this relationship, probably because you don't want to accept how obviously incompatible you and she are. Let it go and do yourselves both a favor. Time to move on.
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