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  #1  
Old 03-07-2015, 03:00 PM
Oreadne Oreadne is offline
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Default Dealing with resentment

I have been with my boyfriend for a year and some major life and relationship changes for us lately have revealed that I have a great deal of built up resentment, towards him and his (now ex) partner.

He is my first poly relationship after ending my marriage, and going into it I thought it would be no biggie that he was married. I mean, they said they were poly, right? But we fell very hard for each other quickly, and turns out that they were quite hierarchical. I didn't find out he wasn't allowed to give me oral sex until after the first time we had sex. Then I found out we had to be closeted because her family lived in town and she didn't want them to know. Because she didn't want to be poly at all (she had done it before, as the unicorn for other couples) and their relationship had been monogamous for 4 years.

I was madly in love with him and tolerated shitty behavior that I would now run screaming from - his partner had a total freakout one day when I went to visit him where he worked, because she didn't want us seeing one another every day (which wasn't made clear beforehand, and I wouldn't have agreed to unless he was the one who preferred that).

In my mind, it was super obvious that she was trying to retain as much couple privilege as possible, and I wasn't having it. And slowly things did change, and restrictions were lifted, but it made me feel constantly small and unimportant and really ravaged my self-esteem and self-respect.

Just a few weeks ago she found another boyfriend, then immediately came out to her family (which I had been told was absolutely not possible), then broke up with her husband (my boyfriend) and moved out. Now suddenly everything is SO different. He wants our relationship to go forward more anarchistic, which is what I have wanted all along, I have no desire to control his other relationships.

However, he refuses to hear a negative word about his ex or to acknowledge that some of how they treated me was unethical or in any way unnacceptable. He thinks it was perfectly in her right to closet our relationship. He has already started to pursue another (luckily, distance for now) relationship right in the middle of us moving cities and moving in together, and I am not handling it well. I am not as confident, secure, and independent feeling as I need to be to deal with so many huge changes gracefully - I have a lot going on in my personal life (divorce, child custody, major dental issues) and I feel like he hasn't taken my mental and emotional state into account. Ultimately it is my responsibility to work on myself and my own esteem issues, but I need to move on from the huge amount of pain and struggle in the beginning of our relationship. He wants me to forgive him, for the things that I "perceived" as being hurtful, and has apologized for how much it all hurt me, but still refuses to admit that any of it was bad/mean/wrong/unethical.

How do I move forward from here? Just I just forget it and move on? We are now in a position to build a new life together and organize our relationship together however we want to. But seeing him start a new relationship already is triggering some really horrible feelings - his sex acts with her won't be restricted, she will be able to hold his hand from day one of they want instead of having to hide in public for a FULL FUCKING YEAR.

I have a lot of anger and resentment and don't know how to just make it disappear or act like none of the shitty stuff happened, just because things suddenly change. Advice please!
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2015, 03:36 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am sorry you deal in this.

It sounds like some of the resentment you carry is aimed at you. Like "I could kick myself for staying in that that so long. Today I would not put up with that!" Beating up on you is no good. The lesson just took as long as it took. Make peace with you.

You seem to be struggling with envy watching the new dating partner. She does not have restrictions. You wish you had had that for yourself. That is envy. You could remind you that when you date a new partner you too will not have restrictions.

I think the bigger problem is his behaviors.

"I am sorry you feel yucky" is not the same thing as "I am sorry my behavior contributed to you feeling yucky. In future I will consider how my choices affect you and modulate my behavior."

Sounds like you want the latter. But he was not taking some personal responsibility back then. Blaming the wife for his choices, even if she was a pain? Does not recuse or excuse him from his share of personal responsibility. You all had a share in that situation making. It may be the wife had the biggest piece of pie, but all had some pie in that. He is not owning his part in it.

He is also not taking some personal responsibility now. All kid in a candy store. While you have a lot on your plate...a move. Divorce. Custody. But again... His current behavior once again contributes to your stress load. And he doesn't see/own that. Have you told him?

It is hard to feel safe with someone running roughshod over you in certain ways, adding to your stress load in others, and not wanting to work it out.

If you guys cannot sort that out? Could see a counselor. Could date but not move in together. Or could not date.

It is on you to discern what best suits you at this point in time.

I am sorry you deal in this his though. It sounds rough.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-07-2015 at 03:45 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-07-2015, 04:04 PM
Oreadne Oreadne is offline
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Thank so much for your thoughtful reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
His current behavior once again contributes to your stress load. And he doesn't see/own that. Have you told him?
Yes, he knows it is very stressful for me. But his response is along the lines of "I'm sorry this is hard/stressful/hurtful" and then he feels a ton of guilt for his part in it, but it doesn't actually seem to affect his decision making or prioritization.

I think there is a crappy dynamic sometimes where we end up going around in circles. We are about to move cities, somewhere thousands of miles away that I have never even been to (he lived there for years before). Someone from OKC messaged him, and in his years on the website only a handful of women have ever messaged him first. They have been texting and talking non-stop now for about 2 weeks (immediately after his wife moved out).

The girl will only be in the city for about 3 weeks after we planned to arrive, then gone for a few months. I think, and told him, that just because he has the opportunity for relationships doesn't mean it is always a good time to pursue them. I was so excited to move with him, but now I know that as soon as we get there he will want to spend time with her and get to know her in person. Who knows, maybe they won't hit it off. But if they do I would have probably several nights a week alone (with my kid, so I can't go out too) in a new city, without even my own place to live yet. That sounds terrible to me, so I decided to wait another month before going down, which is really disappointing to both of us (looking for a place together, exploring the city, etc) but that is the only way I could make things tolerable with my own behavior instead of controlling him.

He agrees it is a terrible time, and understandably very difficult for me. But that didn't stop him. I feel like he has prioritized a new relationship with someone he hasn't met, over helping me get comfortable in a totally new place where I have no support network. So we can all agree it's shitty, but then it just turns into "are you telling me to dump her? I am tired of feeling bad about poly. You know I never get opportunities with women who are interested in me, blah blah blah"
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  #4  
Old 03-07-2015, 04:13 PM
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HappilyFallenAngel HappilyFallenAngel is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oreadne View Post
...I was madly in love with him and tolerated shitty behavior that I would now run screaming from......I have a lot going on in my personal life (divorce, child custody, major dental issues) and I feel like he hasn't taken my mental and emotional state into account. Ultimately it is my responsibility to work on myself and my own esteem issues, but I need to move on from the huge amount of pain and struggle in the beginning of our relationship....... We are now in a position to build a new life together and organize our relationship together however we want to. But seeing him start a new relationship already is triggering some really horrible feelings - his sex acts with her won't be restricted, she will be able to hold his hand from day one of they want instead of having to hide in public for a FULL FUCKING YEAR.

Years ago, Dr. Phil drummed into us that "the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."
Not that we want to build our lives on advice from Dr. Phil, but I think his point is well taken here.
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:24 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
He agrees it is a terrible time, and understandably very difficult for me. But that didn't stop him. I feel like he has prioritized a new relationship with someone he hasn't met, over helping me get comfortable in a totally new place where I have no support network. So we can all agree it's shitty, but then it just turns into "are you telling me to dump her? I am tired of feeling bad about poly. You know I never get opportunities with women who are interested in me, blah blah blah"
He sounds like he likes people telling him what to do so if it does not work or he does not like it he is "not responsible" because he did not pick it directly.

Or he is directly manipulative to get his way. By shutting you down or not acknowledging.

He escapes responsibility though either way.

Maybe he feels bad about poly because the way he goes about doing it stinks? But changing that would mean taking ownership and taking personal responsibility for his behavior yielding outcome he dislikes.

Again... I see it as "not taking personal responsibility stuff" in his character. Circles back around to that each time.

He also sounds like he confuses "urgent" with "important." This girl being in town seems urgent. But it isn't like he cannot get settled and then plan to visit her. There is no fire here. You are not telling him to dump her, just to finish moving first.

Some things in life are important and urgent.

Some things are important but not urgent.

Some things are not important but urgent.

Some things in life are neither important nor urgent.

He is going to alienate you over time by taking you for granted. Or you will go back to feeling small over time if you stick around with this kind of behavior from him.... With you always being the solution finder to his messes.

I do not know what you want to do about it. I just see that it is an important problem for you to resolve to maintain your own well being. It might not be urgent like a house on fire, but it is sure important!

I would let it go and stay in the town you know. Or if you move? Not in with him. Your own space.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-07-2015 at 09:44 PM.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2015, 04:35 PM
GreenAcres GreenAcres is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappilyFallenAngel View Post
Years ago, Dr. Phil drummed into us that "the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."
Not that we want to build our lives on advice from Dr. Phil, but I think his point is well taken here.
I have to agree with HappilyFallenAngel here. Your BF is behaving poorly, and has been since the beginning of your relationship. He uses manipulation to get what he wants (btw, some people do this without even realizing it's what they're doing; but, that doesn't make it okay), he refuses to genuinely listen to you and validate that you have feelings, he refuses to accept his responsibility for his part in shitty relationship dynamics, he is utterly selfish, Take some time to look at manipulative communication:

The Five Communication Styles
Manipulative Communications
Psychological Manipulation


In all seriousness, why are you even considering moving so far away from your support network with him, to a place where you (and your child!) will need to rely on him despite his continued actions showing you that he is utterly unreliable as a partner?
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Last edited by GreenAcres; 03-07-2015 at 04:45 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2015, 09:27 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Ugh, he really doesn't sound like much of a prize after all you've been through, and now you haven't even had a chance to catch your breath but you've got to get ready for more drama -- plus he's basically silenced you on anything that has bothered you about the way things were. How can you build a new dynamic if he won't acknowledge what was rotten about the old one?

However, the fault is not all his. My dear, it sounds like you need to build up your sense of self-esteem and establish stronger personal boundaries. Personally, I would never have tolerated what you did. Loving someone means jack shit if you let people treat you as inconsequential. You should have walked away from that bullshit a long time ago.

MY final opinion: DTMFA and move on with the goal of strengthening your self-esteem and self-worth.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2015, 05:42 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi Oreadne,

It sounds to me like you want to forgive your boyfriend ... but you can't trust him. It sounds to me like he admits that things have been hard on you ... but he won't admit that he did anything wrong.

You are trying to tie your life to a man who allowed his wife to place heavy burdens on you through him. You know for a fact that he treated you unethically in the past. If he refuses to admit that was unethical, how can you trust him to treat you ethically in the future?

And, nycindie has a valid point in saying that you, too, have to accept a share of responsibility if you knowingly subject yourself to unethical treatment, and tie yourself to a man you know to be unethical.

You want to deal with your resentment and that's fine, but you can deal with it without continuing to trust this man who has wronged you in the past. In fact, breaking up with him is the only way I can think of to deal with the resentment. You can move past the resentment by moving past the relationship that caused (and causes) the resentment in the first place.

Normally I advocate doing everything possible to save a relationship, if there's any hope it can be done in a fair way to all parties involved. But because of your boyfriend's deep denial about his own culpability in the problems, I have to suggest breaking up.

The one possible way the relationship might be saved (in a healthy way) is if he's willing to do sessions with a couple's counselor with you. I can post ways to look for poly-friendly counselors if you're interested; just let me know.

Sorry you have been through all the crappy stuff you've been through. I feel that you were trying to be loyal and not give up too easily. And now his wife is gone and it seems like such a perfect opportunity to start over with him. But alas, his personal vices are still intact.

Whatever you decide to do, I'll try to help. Keep us posted on how things are going.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2015, 03:09 AM
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Infinity Infinity is offline
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This discussion is really helping me; thank you.

To Oreadne: I agree that some of this anger might be at yourself. Deep down, you know you deserve great things. So when you don't treat yourself right, there can be anger there as to 'why would I let myself be treated this way?'.

I moved to a city with a partner that was unreliable once. It was horrible. I strongly suggest you stay with your support network and consider breaking up with this guy too. He doesn't sound like he values your relationship as much as you do. You deserve someone who knows you're the world.
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