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  #31  
Old 06-23-2010, 10:17 PM
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Ariakas is very right, Matilda. The problem here is that you and your husband are, of course, unique individuals, and have made a unique marriage, just like all marriages. Since that's so an outsider can help you only so much. What Ariakas is talking about - and what you've been talking about - only you and your husband can identify those things.

Only you two can do actually anything at all about them.

We're new friends here at the site and we can cheer you on. We can offer a listening ear. We can't tell you to do what you need to do or even identify the problem. You don't get much more personal than marriage, or in this site's case, polyamory.
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  #32  
Old 06-24-2010, 01:21 AM
EugenePoet EugenePoet is offline
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I don't know if this was said already in some form, but Matilda, you DO need to form a very important new relationship, and it is with yourself.

All your married life you have made yourself responsible for other peoples' happiness, and now it's time for you to do it for yourself. I think you have to do it.

You probably remember how to make new friends: join a gym, a book group, painting class, whatever interests you. Look for people who will value you and support you, empathize with you. You're intelligent, articulate, and self-aware (I can see that clearly in your writing) and there will be people who want to be close to someone like you.

If you already have some friends, spend more time with them enjoying yourself. Of course you need people who will fly with you, not drag you down.

Your husband is not the only person of value on Earth, and never was.

I'm not going to pretend I know where any blame lies. I don't know your husband; I don't know you. The past cannot be changed, but the future is yours. Feel what you have to feel, whether it's grief or anger or sorrow or fear, and realize that after you pass through those emotions there is the possibility of greater happiness.

On a practical note, a therapist can probably help you here. Interview a few of them before deciding on one, if you can -- the personality fit is really crucial.

Good luck!
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  #33  
Old 06-24-2010, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I must admit Peppermint's article reflects a hyper monogamy expectation that I truly have never seen in people. You see bits of it but not this level of Walt Disney love.
I know, Mono. It's impossible to achieve. She isn't saying it's possible to achieve it or that anyone has been able to achieve it.

I don't know how old Matilda is, but in my childhood, those Fairy Tales where told over and over in story after story after story. That story is still being told even today, but maybe not as much now. I know you are quite a bit younger than me and you're a guy. I don't know if you had any sisters or not, but any female raised in the 40's, 50's and early 60's heard this Fairy Tale regularly.

Pepper Mint did say that " It forms a sort of reference point, a single shared idea across the culture. While representations of monogamy in culture are varied, the fact that a decent percentage of such representations use this idealized monogamy (even though it is usually considered to be impractical) tells us that this idealization has currency."

So, I can understand how this particular form of Idealized Monogamy might not have filtered into your brain as a child and a teen, but there are whole generations of females that have internalized this as the "ideal" even though they know it's impossible to achieve.
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  #34  
Old 06-24-2010, 04:28 AM
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Peppermint's article reflects the honest original expectations in my marriage.
Going into the relationship, that was what I was promised. That reads as ridiculous, I look back on it now and I laugh at myself for the naivity, but as a teenager I believed every bit of it, and I've always kept 'my' side of that contract 100%.

Even now, just talking about this here, feels like I've committed some huge sin, some huge crime against him, because I'm 'showing him up' by admitting "but that's not what happened"
Just keep sharing Matilda.....Many generations of girls and teens were told this type of Fairy Tale. At least you understand what mindset you had originally that ended you up in the situation you're in. I think you are doing great at sharing and working through your thoughts and feelings. It will take time.....go gently.....it seems a lot of people on this forum are really supporting you!!!
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  #35  
Old 06-24-2010, 04:38 AM
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I once worked with a great many men who had that same behavior pattern--behving poorly then promising to make everything better before behaving badly. I worked as an officer in the state corrections system and those men were all convicted felons. It's not only classic behavior for felons, it's the modus operandus for abusers of every stripe.
It's called the "Honeymoon Phase" by the Battered Women's Program when talking about domestic violence. After the pressure is released, they come back an apologize and promise it will never happen again. It's an identifiable pattern.

Basically, any behavior which is used to control the thoughts, beliefs or behaviours of their intimate partner is considered battering. Even when a person witholds affection from the partner in an effort to control the partner, that's battering.
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  #36  
Old 06-24-2010, 06:22 AM
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So, I can understand how this particular form of Idealized Monogamy might not have filtered into your brain as a child and a teen, but there are whole generations of females that have internalized this as the "ideal" even though they know it's impossible to achieve.
I get it. Your right. Environmentally this was not the expectation of the women I grew up with or the girls I knew. It's like trying to relate to the feminist movement or activist culture...they just didn't affect those around me directly and so weren't a part of my life.
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  #37  
Old 06-24-2010, 08:49 AM
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Matilda Matilda is offline
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I'm overwhelmed by the support. Thank you all so much.

Sometimes I'll read a post and say to myself "oh nononononoooo, that's not it at all, that couldn't be me" - and I'll go away and mull over it as I sort out the laundry and I'll take what applies to this situation, and I'll re-assess my stance on things. At other times I'll read something and can see right away that it's precisely what I know to be true, and when that happens I feel stronger, like having one of you say to me what I have half-thought a thousand times but dismissed as "just being silly" is a reassurance that no, I'm not going out of my mind, I'm not crazy and just imagining things.

Being able to take a step back mentally, so I can re-assess my worldview, so I can re-align the way I live and the way I love is difficult. I am taking small steps, and going slowly.

I know this is annoying my husband, because he is also finding it hard to see a change in me. This manifests by him swinging from being "all supportive" to practically demanding a decision with language I'm not in a position to use. Yet.

He'd like guarantees and "normal service to resume asap" - and I don't know where my head is at or where my heart is at,yet, so I cannot honestly give him a reply...and frankly...he's not used to hearing "no" from me.

What I'm getting from him is a feeling that I'm abandoning my post, so to speak- and it's easy to see that he's having immense difficulty with accepting that I can't just promise everything will be shiny and rosy in the garden any minute now, and he's frustrated with me and with the situation.

He's in a place now where he's crying out for reassurance that the whole world isn't against him, and when he reads posts that are supportive of me he takes everything as a black-and-white attack on him, and leaps to the assumption that the only 'solution' to this logically is that he gets pushed out of his rightful place in my life. He's looking for me to assure him that he's always going to be my Primary (no pun intended!) Concern in life.

I'm in a place now where I don't know how I feel, I am changing how I think, and addressing faults and flaws within myself that have contributed to the situation we are now in. I didn't set boundaries. I didn't say "no". I have the 'need to be needed' and an angel-complex where I self-sacrifice for the good of other people to the point that I'm martyring. I'm addressing those parts of me - seeing what triggers them - and trying to learn how to avoid doing them. I'm trying to focus on fixing me just now, and it's very hard to give guarantees on anything anymore. Before I can do that, I need to know who I am.
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  #38  
Old 06-24-2010, 09:32 AM
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It's pretty much impossible to go back to the way things were. You've come to realize things that have been there the whole time, and starting to question things you've been taken for granted.

You husband will have to make some much bigger changes other than the "tipping point" issues. These past events just caused you to reevaluate your relationship and see things for what they really are.

Abuse is a big word and no one likes to be called an abuser. We picture these stumbling drunk white shirt unshaven guys pushing their wives into walls. And that is, of course, an extreme example. But like anything in life, there are many levels and methods of abuse. Some are so subtle that even the abuser doesn't realize he's doing it.

None of us can tell you whether to stay or go, that has to be your decision. We get pieces of the story, and based on those pieces, things look rough and dismal. It sounds like you have a lot of information and an excellent ability to process it. I think things will start to change for you, in a good way!
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  #39  
Old 06-24-2010, 03:19 PM
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One step forward, two steps back.

Today started well, we had discussed what we thought would be good for both of us today, dropped the older children to school, and then went to the swimming pool with our smallest child together. We took turns with the little one, so we both got some time just to swim by ourselves, and for a while it felt positive, and dare I say 'hopeful' that if we could do things like that without pressure and expectations looming - well then we'd be in a place where we could 'get along' as friends and parents, and keep the lines of communication open.

We stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things we needed for meals tomorow, and that too went really well. We were 'chatting', and the mood, I felt was pleasant, but by the time we'd gotten home again a mood had descended again and the tension is back.

If I could wave a magic wand to make everything 'fine' I would, but it's all I can do right now to hold me together and keep life ticking along for the children. My husband has asked for some unpaid time off work so he can concentrate on 'family' (ie. marital difficulties) and we're waiting to see if that will be granted. Right now, he is feeling very abandoned. I haven't 'gone' anywhere, but there's no way of explaining to him that "look, I'm here, I love you, I want what's best for you, I want you to be happy - but I cannot give that to you - you have to sort that out for yourself this time. Same as I have to sort me out, for me."

I feel like I'm trying to more forward in a productive and healthy way, and he is clinging onto me for dear life in case I escape somewhere, or change into something he can't relate to. I haven't made any decisions in any direction at all yet, I'm still adjusting to a lot of new realisations and accepting a lot of hard truths, and reading and thinking things through. Maybe it's making me quiet, and maybe that's what's making him feel alone.

He's openly annoyed that he joined this forum for discussion and information and support, and then he suggested I do the same. When I joined, he feels I was welcomed with open arms, accepted right away, and am now 'building myself up a little support network'. I'm at a loss as to what he expects. The whole point of joining this forum was to get support and 'get me used to' the idea of a non-monogamous lifestyle. Today he quite plainly told me that when I speak now I'm "sounding very poly". I know I'm not poly-by-nature, if anything, I'm extremely mono (don't label me!! ) and I haven't even suggested the notion that I'm in any way seeking other partners in any capacity whatsoever.

I can't understand what he's feeling right now, he's certainly not making any sense. He says over and over that he loves me and he misses me terribly -- but I'm right here, and I'm doing my best to be supportive of him without slipping back and losing myself. I'm struggling to stay afloat in finding myself, and I feel that a huge part of him would be so-much-happier if I would just conveniently sink under again, because that way he would know precisely where I was and be re-assured that i wasn't 'going' anywhere without him.

His blog on here 'reads' right to me, but it's like it's written by a man I don't see day-to-day here.
I'm trying to see past the anger and the disappointment to what he manages to word calmly when he writes down what he's thinking.
Maybe he *does* want me to be happy. Maybe he *is* accepting that things have to change.
I guess I'm just so familiar with the cycle of "promise everything, deliver nothing" for 15 years, I've become less gullible, and more cynical?

Last edited by Matilda; 06-24-2010 at 03:38 PM.
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  #40  
Old 06-24-2010, 03:58 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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He's openly annoyed that he joined this forum for discussion and information and support, and then he suggested I do the same. When I joined, he feels I was welcomed with open arms, accepted right away, and am now 'building myself up a little support network'. I'm at a loss as to what he expects. The whole point of joining this forum was to get support and 'get me used to' the idea of a non-monogamous lifestyle. Today he quite plainly told me that when I speak now I'm "sounding very poly". I know I'm not poly-by-nature, if anything, I'm extremely mono (don't label me!! ) and I haven't even suggested the notion that I'm in any way seeking other partners in any capacity whatsoever.
The first thing most of us point out is a good foundation for a good poly relationship. Forcing him, and you to look at your relationship through a looking glass has caused pain. I can understand why he is annoyed.

Sounding poly? hmmmm communication, love, understanding......to be honest, if you and I talked, I don't sound very poly. I am not a lovey dovey anything. I just happen to be a relationship person. Foundations of poly are not any different than the foundations of any good relationship. Period (except loving multiple people of course)

Quote:
I can't understand what he's feeling right now, he's certainly not making any sense. He says over and over that he loves me and he misses me terribly -- but I'm right here, and I'm doing my best to be supportive of him without slipping back and losing myself. I'm struggling to stay afloat in finding myself, and I feel that a huge part of him would be so-much-happier if I would just conveniently sink under again, because that way he would know precisely where I was and be re-assured that i wasn't 'going' anywhere without him.
Its been a few days, for both of you. Give it time. Every person processes differently and at different speeds. Every person has a different communication style. Learning how each of you communicate and process information is going to be part of your rebuilding (both of you btw)...I kind of wish LovingRadiance was around. She is a bit of a book worm for this kind of stuff.

You might want to research communication styles, love styles and even look on this forum for book references on those. I have a very different pace than my wife and a very different way of communicating. Understanding what those are may help

Quote:
His blog on here 'reads' right to me, but it's like it's written by a man I don't see day-to-day here.
I'm trying to see past the anger and the disappointment to what he manages to word calmly when he writes down what he's thinking.
Maybe he *does* want me to be happy. Maybe he *is* accepting that things have to change.
Understand, writing for some people is a simple release. It can be calm, thought out and edited...thats not a bad thing, but it allows people who like to write the ability to give in detail, without some of the emotions, exactly what they are processing.

I often write to my wife if my emotions are flying all around. Its my way of calmly conveying the direction I want to go, or want to understand. Even when on the surface I am a bumbling idiot ...Again thats part of my communication style.

I have said it before and will repeat it. You both need to find counselling, the counselor will treat you as two individuals AND a couple. You need that assistance imo. This can be fixed if you want it, and it will take patience and understanding. In my past, I have seen some really miserable relationships get "fixed"...and they were in a far different place than yours. But it took both of them wanting it equally, and willing to do the work.

ps...non-monogamy (in any form) should be a non-option at this point. It would be very unfair to anyone to bring them into this relationship. Thats just my take.

Ari
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