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  #51  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:56 PM
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Sounds like you haven't yet come to an agreement about how to handle holidays and special occasions. Without that agreement, drama is sure to arise whenever a holiday or special occasion comes up. It also probably won't help to try to negotiate special occasions when one is already at hand. By then it's an emotionally charged topic and bound to become a contest. The negotiating has to be done well between special occasions, and the agreements will need to be very specific (e.g., birthdays are just for the two of us, but Christmas can include "x" amount of time with the other guy).

Since you guys are both strung about as tight as you can go, all negotiations will have to be done with great care. Remind W that a compromise involves give and take, so both you will need to give up something you want so the other person can get something they want. You may need the counsellor to mediate the discussion about holidays/special occasions.

It's unfortunate that things are as strained as they are, but they'll probably continue to be strained for quite awhile. Take what consolation you can in that factor, as it's bound to come into play whenever the least opportunity presents itself. A birthday is definitely one of those opportunities.

Sympathies/regards,
Kevin T.
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  #52  
Old 02-12-2013, 09:54 PM
learninginTN learninginTN is offline
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Well, the thing about her going to see her guy tomorrow night is now moot, as he has agreed to have lunch with her, which she told me he was trying to arrange anyway, and agreed not to go see him tomorrow night if they have lunch together. She still texted me and was all pissy, with an attitude of "You got what you wanted", as if she would have rather gone to see him tomorrow night than have lunch.

What she doesn't know is I have planned a little surprise party/gettogether at one of our favorite restaurants after the movie tomorrow night. A lot of our friends, PLUS her guy, are coming. I can't wait to see her response to that.
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  #53  
Old 02-12-2013, 10:48 PM
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It seems that she is in a defensive frame of mind. Having been in a place myself where I was caught up with NRE and also caught in an ailing marriage, I know too well how the NRE-infected spouse can feel. Of course, in my case, this happened at a time when I was rebelling against everything. I learned to regret the way I neglected my wife, but at the time, sometimes I almost had the perspective that she was the enemy.

Your wife will probably eventually come around, and feel bad about the amount of pushing she's done. This is a stage she's going through and if it's at all like the one I went through, she's probably suffering within her soul more than she has a "right" to. The natural thing to think is that she should be having a great time in life, having *two* guys with her husband's permission. The reality, though, is that she is probably in a place of inner turmoil. Not everything about NRE is fun and roses; it is also a source of intense yearning that can stretch one's heart and compress it against the walls of the impossible. If you have any compassion to spare for W, I would guess that she probably needs it.

I do recognize that you have pushed yourself way beyond the bounds of social norms in order to be accepting of this foreign relationship situation. W is not extending the compassion to *you* that you deserve. The best you can hope for here is an opportunity to set the better example, to be on her team even if she seemingly won't be on yours.

You've been very generous towards her. Sometimes giving a lot leads to a state of resentment or keeping score. You give a lot and W barely seems to give any. Try not to hold that against her. Polyamory.com is a good place to vent so do take advantage of that resource, but let the venting be an act of letting go if you can.

I hope the surprise party will help her understand that you are on her side. It would be a shame if she felt defensive and guilty about it, though that's an unfortunate possibility. It would go against the purpose of a birthday celebration, which is to bring some happiness to the person whose birthday it is. I hope she won't let her fragile state of mind interfere with that.

You deserve kudos for the patience you've already shown, in any case. I have hope that it will be worth it in the end.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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  #54  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:21 PM
learninginTN learninginTN is offline
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kdt, you are so incredibly insightful. Are you sure you're not a trained psychologist? You seem better than the one we currently have.

She actually mentioned last night she thought I was very resentful of her affair (even though I worked through that pretty well in the year or so of MC we did), and resentful of the fact that she has a paramour and I don't (hmmmm...I don't feel that way. What I dislike is being a doormat and her disregarding my feelings and the no sex thing).

Then she asked if I would be willing to be the seconday relationship instead of her primary. When I pressed her for her definition of secondary she refused to answer, but whatever her definition is, I don't like it, and would never agree to being "secondary" after 15 years of being her husband and 5 years of being the father of our children. I told her as much. And her guy doesn't want to be the primary either, although W said she would like that. But that question of hers about sent me over the edge.

The thing is, I'm not sure how much of this is NRE fog that will change with time or if it's time for me to start speaking with a lawyer. She's been having sex with him for about 7 months, but only expressed the love aspect of it as occuring about 2 months ago.
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  #55  
Old 02-13-2013, 11:44 PM
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Alas, W has presented you with some questions and dilemmas that don't have any simple/easy answers. I am slightly alarmed that she is asking you about being a secondary, and I agree with you that it would not be fair for you to accept secondary status after all the years of loyalty toward her. If she wants two primaries, I would consider that more do-able (eventually).

Re: NRE ... it can last quite awhile; estimates of the average duration run from six months to two years. When the NRE does wear off, I'll bet she'll regret how much she pushed you. But I could be wrong.

So, is now the time to get a hold of a divorce lawyer? Perhaps. With how different each individual is, only you can answer that question. I personally recommend setting a time limit on how long you can/should put up with the unfair stuff, and mark a date on the calendar at the end of that time limit. When that date arrives, you call a lawyer.

But make sure it's as long a time as you can go, as W is not in her right mind right now. She is stumbling in the dark with a blindfold on, even if she wants to pretend her perspective is aligned with reality.

If you have reached the appropriate limit of your endurance, then yes, call a divorce lawyer. Just make sure you think carefully through each step of the process.

Re:
Quote:
"KDT, you are so incredibly insightful. Are you sure you're not a trained psychologist? You seem better than the one we currently have."
I thank you for that sentiment. Alas, the experience I have comes from the mistreatment I once dealt out to others, and somehow I always seem to escape paying the price for my own sins. My wife was coming down with Alzheimer's, just at the time when I was rebelling against everything. Imagine, her memory and cognition are slipping down the drain, and she is clinging on to anything cherished and familiar, and here I am, cutting my ties with the cherished and familiar, and not showing her the compassion I should have. It was a complicated situation and a long story, but the point is, any wisdom I have was given to me by the sacrifices of others.

Maybe that's why I frequent poly forums, is out of some subconscious hope to help others where I hindered others in the past. In any case, I am very sympathetic of your situation, and hope things work out okay.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #56  
Old 02-14-2013, 05:52 PM
learninginTN learninginTN is offline
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Well, the little surprise party worked out well. When we got home afterward she came over to my side of the bed and we cuddled and kissed before we fell asleep. The date night was fun, as I gave her birthday gifts, including a little necklace with her birthstone. We didn't mention the previous nights' discussion at all.
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  #57  
Old 02-14-2013, 10:52 PM
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Well that is a relief. It doesn't take a lot of progress at once; just a little progress at a time will eventually get you there.

Keep us posted on how things are going.
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  #58  
Old 02-18-2013, 08:44 PM
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Well here we go again. W, knowing full-well that I'm not onboard yet with any stays over 24 hours with her guy, is testing my limits again. She wants to go with him to some kind of martial arts conference (he's a teacher) for 2 days. She texted me the question, with concessions like "I won't see him Thursday and I won't see him Sunday."

Decisions, decisions.
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  #59  
Old 02-18-2013, 09:13 PM
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It's NRE talking again. If you can stand the trade-off she proposes, I guess you could agree. It's really up to you though.
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  #60  
Old 02-19-2013, 01:23 PM
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Well, we managed to come to an understanding this weekend, shifted some things around so she's only with him for about 24 hours. So crisis averted.

W and her guy have started looking for a third person (presumably a woman) by signing up on the same site we used to use when we were swinging. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, why should I really care what they do on their time? They're not with me, right. But part of me is really bugged by this. I mean, W and I are not even having sex, and she's moved on to wanting threesomes with her guy. And I miss having threesomes, too. I'm wondering if it will make it even more difficult to re-establish our intimacy if she's doing threesomes without me.
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