GalaGirl, I guess I don't understand what expectations there are in a V, although I think I understand the concept.
You and your polyship people CREATE the standard of relationship here for yourselves.
You do not sound like you have done so yet. So you don't know what you have or what you can expect or what rights and responsibilities there are to each other or how to hold each other accountable to the standard. Could talk and sort that out.
If it helps, here is my personal standard. I expect to be treated this way. I expect to treat my partners this way. I expect to hold us accountable to that standard.
PARTNERS HAVE RIGHT TO:
- Clear communication
- Expect support from partner
- Be nurtured
- Get needs met
- Constructive feedback
- Constructive conflict resolution
PARTNERS EACH BE RESPONSIBLE FOR:
- Know and state needs, wants and limits
- Follow thru on promises
- Know the polymath tiers in this configuration
- Your own and your partner's healths: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual. Do not ding them intentionally or thoughtlessly.
- Emergency preparedness
- Care for own equipment/stuff
- Tell if keeping a confidence can hurt someone/is hurting someone
A) No lying / lies of omission. 1 strike you are out. Just hard truth it to me.
B) Anything else I'll negotiate on 3 strikes you are out. More? You are not a "give serious try" player who gives holds up responsibilities and gives me my fair rights. Don't play with me. Bye.
If someone is really trying to make changes, that's one thing. But the same thing with no effort to progress? That's another.
I do not find it useful to try to predict each little thing ever. I find it more practical to agree on HOW we will behave toward each other should Life pop something up unexpectedly.
The triggers are usually me being upset about something he said or did. Such as I will see a text he has sent her, or he will tell me something that happened. These are things that I should be ok with and I'm not. My reactions, I am ashamed to say are horrible. I will yell and scream at him, accuse him of things, jump to conclusions, threaten to leave (these are the reasons i am seeking counseling), etc
How about dropping the word "should" for a minute and change it to "could" instead?
"My partner turns to me to share his emotional inner life. Do I want him to be able to do that? Yes/no?"
"He tells me things like _______. These are the things that I could be ok hearing about, but I am not. To be ok with them, THIS has to happen...."
Maybe that could help you articulate your wants, needs, and limits here?
You are demonstrating fearful behavior -- "get them before they get me!" type stuff. Are you worried she's a cowgirl because she said she wishes she could have him for herself? Now acting out at him because he cares for someone who doesn't seem to acknowledge you exist or respect that he's not a single dude but a married dude?
Do not threaten
to leave. If your needs are not met here, ask for change. If your needs are not met after that? Just leave.
Don't polyship if you are just NOT willing to polyship. If you feel like you are "taken along for the ride" you could obey your own limits of tolerance and say "No. I am not willing to do that like this/at all."
But if that is not the thing, and you are actually willing to polyship and the thing is being frightened and in poly hell
while you figure out HOW to be in a polyship.... could deal with each thing so you can feel reassured, cared for, considered, treated well.
Again -- could read jealousy management
and see if both agreeing to do page 5 and page 6 things would help. Have you both
read that together?
Here is another good one to think about together.
Perhaps looking at articles together and talking about THE ARTICLES could help you communicate because there's something to point to and look at. Going at it with nothing to look at -- can derail you off into emotional flooding. With an article at least, you could make a mark and go "Ok, let's stop here and do more later. I feel overwhelmed and need a break" and you both know where you pick up again later. It is not like you will NEVER talk and sort it out. Nobody is being avoidy -- just taking it one small bite at a time. Maybe that could be reassuring?
Maybe you want reassure from him to be him telling her
"I see that you care for me a lot. You wish it were just us. I am flattered you like me so much. I'll give it a pass this first time.
But I need you to understand it is NOT just us and you cannot have that. I am not a single dude. If that is what you seek, best you go find that.
Because I'm a married man and I come as a package deal. Not a solo unit. Please respect me, my marriage, my wife when you date me. Do not devalue me or my marriage by expressing a wish that it would just not exist."
The reasons I feel he is not honest with himself or me, is I feel he is in denial about how deeply he cares for her. After about 3 weeks, I could see that he had deep feelings, but he denied it. Then she ended it for about a week, and he was devastated, and realized his feelings were deeper than he realized.
Welcome to the Johari window.
You could relax a bit and let him arrive to self-awareness at his pace -- even if from your POV you know some things before he does. That does not mean he is "in denial" about that. It could just be in the box for "stuff about me others know that I don't yet."
People go at their own speed.
Your need here is what? To feel connected and emotionally close to him? Get "along the way details" to avoid being blindsided again? Is that the fear?
He also has started keeping information from me because I was freaking out, so yes, lies of omission. Some of the things I found out proved to me that his feelings are deeper than he lets on to me.
That is not lies of omission. You and he both know he cares for her deeply. He's not trying to create deception about him feeling strong feelings for her.
He was initially willing to tell you things right?
Such as I will see a text he has sent her, or he will tell me something that happened.
When your acting out behavior helps create a hostile environment... are you surprised your partner withdraws to protect himself from more acting out temper? You are surprised he gets defensive and not willing to disclose? That is him shutting down
because his partner freaks out at him when he tries to share.
You could begin to change the climate there rather than letting it spiral.
Could apologize to him for acting out at him when he tries to disclose and share with you. Learn to do a soft start
so he doesn't flood. Guard against emotional flooding in yourself. That whole "fight or flight impulse" is strong. I know it is hard. Keep trying. You can do this -- learn emotional management.
Could let him know you easily trigger, need reassure, and can only deal with small bites with big breaks. Perhaps in time you can hear more about his inner life, but right now -- go slow and easy while you attend counseling to better learn emotional management.
He typically spends one week with us, and then one week at work, of which they will typically see each other 3-5 times. Lately he has been working a lot of overtime, so spending more time down there, and more opportunities to see her. In the past 3 weeks, I have spent 3 days with him. Granted he is not spending all three weeks with her either. But because it is related to work, he really can't choose how many days he is home with me, or down there.
That is a limit of the job then that all have to deal with.
I think that part of my problems are just that i have a hard time seeing him loving someone else. I never thought that would be an issue when I chose to be with him. I really am trying to wrap my head around it and do what i can to change my way of thinking about it, but it has been so difficult because I feel I was not prepared.
What loving behavior toward her do you observe him doing/demonstrating?
When you observe this you think what to yourself?
When you think that to yourself, you feel what?
I felt blindsided by it all, as if someone said "ok, he loves you, but now someone else too, you are just going to have to deal with that". It doesn't help that he gets very defensive of his actions sometimes so that I feel like he is fighting against me instead of being on my side.
If he came up to you and said...
"I see you are struggling. I know it is hard for you. I thank you for trying.
I know this went fast -- I know neither of us expected feelings to go there like this. I know we could have talked better, not assumed things, gotten better prepared.
Now there's a lot of work to do to catch it up, lots of talks to do. It can feel overwhelming. I love you, and appreciate you for being willing to try to handle this together one thing at a time despite all the overwhelm."
How would you feel then?