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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:07 PM
Passionate1 Passionate1 is offline
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Default Help... I feel like a terrible person

Background: Husband and I married for 17 years monogamously. Me, being the restless spirit that I am, suggests 4 years ago "swinging". After much contemplation he agrees and we begin. Instantly we see differences. We both enjoy the friendships that we made but I seem to need the relationship aspect of it all. Through a few situations I "realize" (something that I knew in but didn't see my whole life) that I am indeed poly (on the conservative side, closed relationships, no casual recreational sex)

Please keep in mind our conversations have remained very open and honest. None of any even came as a surprise.

Last Jan. quite unplanned and very unexpected I met and fell deeply in love with what I believe to be another soul mate. (Husband being one of course) Husband sees and most importantly feels this and the tug of war began. While he was content sharing me physically he is NOT ok with sharing me emotionally. My boyfriend (I lovingly gave the title of my other-other) cautiously begins this relationship with me with eyes wide open. Well aware I would never “choose” between the two… I am not wired that way. After months of talks, tears, and even some arguments Husband agrees to “try” to be ok with this.

For me 6 months of bliss. The happiest most content I think I may have ever been. Other-other spends a good deal of time around our family and starts feeling like a part of our group. His eldest and my eldest (19, 22) children are told and are very accepting and supportive. The balance of time is quite difficult though because husband still very much has a possessive quality about time (overnights, multiple times during a week visits, etc.) This causes problems with other-other (rightfully so) he is unable to really plan time with me (now his official primary and proclaimed only one) Other-other does suffer from insecurities as well as still healing from other hurtful relationships in the past. I make it in deeper with him than any other woman ever has. He is certain I am the person he is supposed to spend his life with and is eager to make this V-triad work. Husband reluctantly even likes other-other. They become friends and watch football, work on things around house together, etc. Sounds fabulous, right?

Husband is still not ok with sharing me this way… our relationship is faltering because he is putting up his own walls and I am unable to reach him. He becomes very miserable and I start feeling like a child in a terrible custody battle. He honestly tells me he feels as though a part of him is “dying” and this weighs heavily on me. My primary loyalty ultimately lies with him. Leaving me feeling “forced” to make the decision to break up with other-other, at Christmas time!

Now I am a mess. Other-other is a mess. And husband sees this and hopes his love will ultimately be enough to get me through this. What I have done to my other-other is akin to a Ty-fighter making it to the center of the Death Star and blowing the whole thing to smithereens. I am left feeling nothing but guilt, shame, and self-loathing that my actions hurt anyone. I don’t think I can ever forgive myself. I feel myself becoming darker. I cannot enjoy the holidays because I know other-other will spend them alone and broken hearted because of me. Husband trying so hard to “love” me through this but I can’t bring myself to connect with him. I have never felt like this in my life.

Are we damned to this circle for the rest of our lives? If I get “my way” then he will be hurting and denying the part of him that desires our monogamous life again. But with him getting “his way” I will be hurting and denying something I fully believe is a part of the genuine me. Add to this the fact other-other will most likely never fully recover from this and (this isn’t out of ego, this is with factual knowledge based on history and what I know of him) he may never let anyone that close to him again to be loved or love. I spend the rest of my life knowing I essentially “destroyed” someone because I couldn’t give him what wasn’t mine since husband held on for dear life.

This is as abbreviated as I could. Clearly there are plenty of other issues lending to all of this, but this is the basic jist. I’d like to crawl under a rock… my heart is in shambles.

Anyone? Anything? Please?
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:40 PM
MikeinYork MikeinYork is offline
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Hi Passionate1. I am fairly new to the whole topic of Poly, but I think I understand how you feel to some degree. I just recently realized I am poly though I never knew what to call it. My wife and I are in very early discussions on this topic. She is working on her insecurities and has come a long way, but I don't know if she will ever get there. We've been married 18 years and I would never leave her, but I feel like I have room in my life to love more than one person. In fact I need to. And loving another will not take away from loving my wife.
For me the major obstacle is overcoming our religious upbringing and still having very religious friends.
I don't know if my reply helps you except to say that you are not the only one in your situation. The question is, how do you deal with one being poly and not the other........ When one is happy the other is not and so the circle goes on. I interested in discussing further if it helps you.
Mike
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:07 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am sorry you are hurting.

He seems to have the faucet belief. Does he? Emotions are not the on/off faucet you can turn on and off at will (If this were so, he could turn off his yucky feelings faucet and be over this, right?)

Husband "does not want to share you emotionally." Feelings ensue after behavior. You guys chose to Open. Here comes lots of feelings for everyone!

He could accept that yes, right now in a "V" configuration he DOES share you emotionally with BF. That part just IS. Can go on all day about not wanting to share you. But here it is. ACCEPT that part.

The behavior of his he can control at this point?
  • He could continue to participate in a polyship "V" shape. He could choose to be in relationship with you in a V and let go of this emotional faucet idea. Choose to change a belief and/or choose to change his emotional management style or approach to something that serves him better. Then see what new feelings ensue from taking that behavior change option. Maybe he could do more page 5 things and ask you to do more page 6 things for jealously management.
  • He could choose to stop participating. He could ask you direct to end it and return to monogamy if you are willing to end it. Then face the next step after that and whatever feelings may ensue -- waiting for your response.
  • He could choose to stop participating. He could choose to break up with you. Then face the feelings that ensue from that.
  • He could do some other thing I cannot think of. What are HIS suggestions? Or is there also the expectation that you as hinge solve all things?

What behavior is there for YOU that you could do? You could just ask him rather than waiting for him to bring it up. Get the communication ball rolling yourself. Maybe it could be something like...
"I see you hurting. I care for you. Clearly something must change. Where does your willingness lie?
  • Are you willing to stay in a "V" shape thing with me? And do the work required to get it to a harmonious "V" relationship?
  • Are you wanting to close back down to a duo?
  • Are you wanting to break up with me?
  • Are you wanting some other thing I cannot think of?

Here's where MY willing it at:
  • I am willing to be in a harmonious "V" -- I am not willing to be in a "V" that is suffering. We must address this. I am willing to do my part of the work.
  • I am not willing to close back down to a duo. I do not want to break up with BF.
  • If you want to break up with me, I am not happy. But I cannot force you to stay where you are not fed. I love you, and I cannot do that to you. Are we negotiating a break up here?
  • Do you have other ideas for improving this situation that I have not thought of? I am willing to talk. Where does your willingness lie? Where are your wants, needs, and limits?
"
Then see what he says. Get the communication ball rolling so you all can move toward your next future happiness. Either all three together, all three single, or something in between.

Staying stuck here is no good. Prolongs suffering for all.

So let's talk and move this forward. Wherever it is that it will go. "Unstick" yourselves.

Hang in there!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-08-2012 at 02:11 AM.
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:53 PM
Passionate1 Passionate1 is offline
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Thank you so much Galagirl for such a detailed reply... i truly appreciate the time you took and have definitely sparked new questions to ask. I honestly feel like I am going to dark places i have never been before and frankly never want to be in again.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:32 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I honestly feel like I am going to dark places i have never been before and frankly never want to be in again.
I know it is not fun to feel. Things seem dark. I am sorry you are hurting. *hug*

But Life choices often come this way. Where it is not about clear cut easy "win or lose" type choices. It's about "This choice stinks... that one stinks...well, which choice is the least stinky then?"

It is a Time of Discernment. It's normal to not WANT to face hard choices. But it must be done whether you want to or not. To be able to move forward.

GL to all of you! I hope you find your way soon.

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-08-2012 at 02:10 AM.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:57 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Has your husband given you specific things he needs to be content enough? X nights home a week, X dates a week with him? Are you doing all the household care you were before poly? Are you spontaneous about how you were splitting your time or specific about scheduling and checking it was not causing problems? What do each of your loves prefer? Did you jump right into spending as much time with er.. I'll call him O.O for the moment. If you jumped in with both feet do you think you could scale back and perhaps a set 1x a week date with O.O to start would be OK with your husband? With a statement that you want to work towards a more equal time share? Sometimes people say they are OK with things when they are not, it sucks to have to deal with it, sometimes that's just how it is - then they implode when it happens.

I understand O.O is insecure and whatnot, but if you could build a foundation slowly with everyone's understanding that you desired it to grow towards whatever it is you want..that might be another way to approach it and slowly work through everyone's feelings. Are you afraid O.O will run if you can't give him what he wants and is not willing to work towards something? Is your husband asking you to stop seeing him or just being passive aggressive about it and you are deciding breaking up would be easier than dealing with your feelings of guilt.

I'm not clear if either your husband or O.O is dating other people (sorry, sleep deprived) and that matters a lot I think. I know it is hard to go backwards when you felt you had so much, but I imagine if you want to make sure your relationship with your husband remains intact, this would probably be a place to start (though I'd have a game plan for moving forward, probably involving counseling)
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Last edited by Anneintherain; 12-08-2012 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:15 AM
Daysleeper Daysleeper is offline
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I'm sorry you're feeling so badly. You are in a difficult situation.

A small note on this topic though: to some extent, you can't choose who you are, but you can choose how you behave. It seems like you may have to choose between your husband and poly (though I think anneintherain has given good advice about how to try to reconcile the two). If you must choose one or the other, realize that it is your choice based on your values and nobody can force you to do anything. Make a decision, accept responsibility for that decision and move on.

If you choose to stay with your husband in a monogamous relationship, your relationship with him still won't work if you blame him for depriving you of your boyfriend. If you choose to stay with him, you need to try thinking more along the lines of, "for the sake of my marriage, I chose to make this sacrifice. I want my husband to recognize what I am giving, but I give it of my own will knowing the consequences and believing it is best for me." If you can't find a similar sentiment in yourself, then perhaps you should make a different choice.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:37 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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All I can say is that your husband needs to get it in his head that he doesn't own you just because he married you.

I never understand it whenever I read (and it happens often) that a couple gets into swinging because the husband is okay with his wife sharing her body with someone else, but will not tolerate her sharing her heart. To me, that indicates an enormous devaluing of women as whole people! It says, to me, that the man sees himself as owner of a woman and that he feels entitled to dictate that she let her body be used by whomever wants it, but yet she doesn't deserve all the love she can find in this world -- real, genuine love that comes her way. Claiming ownership or possession over someone is an obsession based on insecurity, and isn't very loving at all.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:21 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
All I can say is that your husband needs to get it in his head that he doesn't own you just because he married you.

I never understand it whenever I read (and it happens often) that a couple gets into swinging because the husband is okay with his wife sharing her body with someone else, but will not tolerate her sharing her heart. To me, that indicates an enormous devaluing of women as whole people! It says, to me, that the man sees himself as owner of a woman and that he feels entitled to dictate that she let her body be used by whomever wants it, but yet she doesn't deserve all the love she can find in this world -- real, genuine love that comes her way. Claiming ownership or possession over someone is an obsession based on insecurity, and isn't very loving at all.
NYCindie - I've seen this idea expressed here before (perhaps by you) and get confused because it seems like you are conflating two different issues - an "ownership model of marriage" and "physical non-monogamy in the context of emotional monogamy" and coming to a conclusion "swinging is forced prostitution" that doesn't follow logically (for me).

Four years ago SHE suggests swinging to HIM, they give it a go, whether or not this is a successful experiment, I don't see where "he feels entitled to dictate that she let her body be used by whomever wants it."

Incidentally, it is not always men who are ok with their partners having outside sexual relationships but uncomfortable with outside romantic/emotional relationships (or vice versa as sometimes happens). I don't think this is a man/woman thing, I think it is an individual thing. (Largely based, I think, on one's view of sex as a "intimate bond-forming expression of love" or a "fun recreational exercise").

Leaving the swinging out of it, this situation seems like the struggles of a mono/poly pairing where the husband has never been comfortable with the "emotional non-monogamy" aspect and another person was brought into the mix before those issues were resolved (husband agrees to "try" a configuration that he is not happy about in an effort to please his wife).

There is no villain in this story, just three unhappy people with conflicting desires. Nobody is "wanting" to hurt anyone else, but "sacrificing" your own happiness for someone else's is not a good long term solution - you can't "make" someone else happy.

JaneQ
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Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe

Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 12-08-2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:01 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Incidentally, it is not always men who are ok with their partners having outside sexual relationships but uncomfortable with outside romantic/emotional relationships (or vice versa as sometimes happens).
I know that - and I didn't say it was strictly only guys who do that. I was just commenting on the cases where the husbands take this viewpoint, since this is the OP's situation. And I didn't say anything about "forced prostitution," just that one aspect of a whole human being seems valued more than another and a degree of a sense of ownership seems very much a part of it. The OP used the word "possessive" to describe her husband's behavior, and said that she is feeling "like a child in a terrible custody battle." That is a key aspect of her story which prompted my response.
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Last edited by nycindie; 12-08-2012 at 03:05 PM.
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