Lessons from the last year.
I haven't posted in a while but felt it was time to tell the next chapter in our story. Here is some background. D is my wife of 26 years. E is our partner. We met E back in September of 2012 and became a triangle in December.
We passed the year mark in early December. It is hard to put an exact date on when we became official. Was it the date of our first date? Was it the day I professed my love to E? Was it the date that we had our first sexual encounter as a triangle? We have never decided on which day so I made the decision that the 1st was a year. Everybody seemed ok so the 1st it is.
What a year it has been. I can honestly say that I have faced some challenges in my life but nothing has come close to the challenges I have faced in the last year. There were times when I felt we weren't going to make it. If it hadn't been for our mutual willingness to fight through the difficult times and continue to keep trying and not give up when it seemed hopeless, we would have lost what has become an extraordinary thing. I have learned a few things that I would like to share. Take it or leave it but learning these hard lessons made all the difference for us.
1. This kind of relationship is not for the faint hearted. It is the biggest rollercoaster that anybody can ever ride. At it's very best, it is difficult beyond imagination because it tests your values and beliefs like nothing else I have ever experienced. Some people I trusted very much warned me of this and I took their warning seriously. We got help when we needed it.
2. You have to be honest with yourself. I started this new relationship with 30 years of experience with one woman. Most of what worked with my wife did not work with E. I had gotten used to my wife's reaction and had expected E to react the same way. WRONG! This caused several arguments at the beginning. I was forced to look at myself in a new way and to see faults that I had never had face before. I used to tell my son that no man can change himself if he is unwilling to admit that he needs to change. I had to change many of the ways I did things or the relationship was doomed. E, for her part, was going through the same thing. She had spent many years being single and was having to adjust many of her values in order to be part of a long term committed relationship with 2 other people. I can tell you that this was one of the hardest but also the most important trial that all three of us had to go through.
3. I don't care what other people may think or say but realizing that you are no longer the only focus of someone you have been married to for more than half of your life can be quite sobering. Both my wife and I have had to deal with reality. There has been a constant rule in our marriage. No matter what, we always support each other against other people.
this rule worked for 25 years of marriage. This does not work in a triangle. I have endured the shock of my wife telling me I was wrong in front of E. Even though I know logically that this is necessary, it was still a shock when it happened. It was also difficult for D the first time I told her, "I love you honey but I have to side with E on this one." Having somebody you love tell you that you are wrong in front of somebody else you wrong can be very difficult.
4. You cannot be in two places at the same time. I love both my wife and E deeply. I can tell you that after a year, E has as much of my heart as my wife. There have been times when they both needed me at the same time and I could only be with one. No matter how hard I try, I have yet to find an easy way to deal with this. It simply is what it is. Someone is going to be left wanting. It is even harder when I am one of the people needing E or D and they decide that the other needs their attention more. Once again, logic tells you that it has to be this way but I am not always a logical person. I have also learned that I am not always a mature person.
5. You cannot be two different people at the same time. I have heard many tell me to just be myself but I have learned that I (and I suspect many others) am a person with many traits that are agreeable to others and many that are not. I tend to suppress the parts of me that are annoying to the person I love when I am with her. Here is the problem, some of the traits that E loves are very annoying to D and vice versa. When all three of us are together (remember, we are a triangle not a V) I find myself trying to be two different people at the same time. Sounds crazy but I suspect that I am not the only one who has experienced this. So how do I do it? I don't. I expect them to understand that they have different needs and there needs are not always compatible with each other. I also have to understand that they are both in the same predicament. It is often easy to forget this.
6. If you live with 2 women (I just realized that I never said that E lives with us now) sooner or later they will both be mad at you at the same time. I have no good advice on what to do when this happens other than this. 3 Bs. Be silent, Be still, Be patient.
Be silent: You already messed up or they perceive that you messed up. You can't change this. You can't talk your way out of it when they are angry. Let them have their moment of anger. I know that keeping silent is not easy but if you can do this, you will be glad you did.
Be still: Same as above. You already messed up or they perceive...Don't try to fix it when they are angry. It is too easy to go the wrong way and get yourself in even hotter water. Trust me on this. Be still.
Be patient: The anger will pass. It may take a while. It may take a long while. Even if the whole mess is the result of a big understanding, you can't move to fast. If you act too early, you risk making the whole thing worse
7. Pride can be your worst enemy in a multi partner relationship. If you ignore everything else I have written, I ask that you heed this. Pride will get you into trouble. Yes, pride will make you take care of yourself and push you to become a better person but it can also stop you from admitting when you are wrong. This can destroy your relationship. Learning to not only see your own faults but also working to correct them can be a difficult but rewarding journey. I have traveled this long hard trail and so have both of the women in my life. Because of this, we have been able to overcome every obstacle that we have faced.
Yes, it has been difficult and I could go on with other lessons but I know that we have overcome a great deal. When things were at their darkest, we always remind ourselves how wonderful it can be if we work through it. We go through the crucible and we come stronger in the end. We are not special people and do not claim to be better than others. I can say that we refuse to give up and because of this, not only has it been a difficult year but it also been, by far, the greatest year of my life. I am deeply in love with 2 women who love me.
I wish all of you the best this holiday season and a very happy New Year.