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Old 06-03-2013, 03:58 AM
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PhilosophicallyLost PhilosophicallyLost is offline
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Default Having trouble with legitimizing my feelings.

Sometimes just looking at the threads on this forum help me feel less freaky. Anyway, my husband and I have tried letting me be poly with his best friend for a year. In the last few months things have settled finally to a degree. My husband's anxiety spells are greatly reduced, which in turn makes me happier too. Hubby and I had a talk today about our stance on things, and some of it has me feeling unsettled again. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I hate hurting anyone in general. However, we came to the agreement that it's not entirely possible for both of us to be completely happy. I will always wish to some extent that Y was on board with the poly thing and was okay with it. He wishes that I'd be on board for the monogamy thing. What we have now is a compromise between the two. I cannot have sex but I can still be romantic with E. Also, Y and I are moving into our own home. Y just can't deal with even the subtler signs that E and I love each other being present on a regular basis, so I agreed I can visit E at his new place and we can be ourselves much easier. E is not entirely happy about the arrangement, but it was the only way I saw to keep my marriage together. It's not perfect by any means, but I at least hope this will be a better model of poly for all of us to work with in the long run.

Which brings me back to the fact that I wish it was possible for Y to be more okay. I hate seeing him in pain. He said it's not that I don't give him enough love; he feels I've done a lot to give him the support in this transition he needs. He just feels he will always wish me to be monogamous with him someday again. We are at opposite poles and objectively I see we have tried really hard to meet somewhere in the middle. Emotionally I just feel that I'm just causing him misery for developing feelings for someone else and that I'm the one who made things worse for everyone. I have struggled even before poly with hating the fact I developed feelings for someone else. I had a horrible fight with my brother where he accused me of being cruel and immoral for subjecting my husband to this, and the words still haunt me. I am supposed to be entering therapy finally with my brother to work through our issues with this too, and I just am not looking forward to remembering how horrible he made me feel.

As logically as I can defend the practice of polyamory, I still struggle with legitimizing my practice of it because of my conservative background. I have conservative friends, and even though they support us as friends they don't agree with the practice either. I feel very isolated sometimes. I logically feel that falling in love with someone else is not wrong and is not a betrayal, but I got the feeling from my husband that he feels it is to a degree. I just feel it is wrong to be deceptive about it and not adhere to boundaries.

Yet I see him struggle with his feelings on it. Granted, it's not all the time, but he more or less told me he will always have those days. And that's when I get that feeling that I'm horrible for doing that to him. I don't want to forgive myself for wanting to love others, even though I would forgive all other beings for wanting the same for themselves.

Logically I feel I should treat this as just a difference between my husband and me philosophically and romantically. He feels outside of this issue that we are very compatible. Yet the stigma that comes with it just makes me feel like I'm more horrible than I actually am. I just don't know if I'm being too hard on myself or not. My husband still thinks it's clearly worth sticking with the marriage despite his issues with poly, and that's his decision to make, but I sometimes wonder if he'd be happier elsewhere. I told him as much and that's when he said he felt we were pretty compatible otherwise...but is it worth it? I guess it is for him, otherwise he'd be trying to leave me. And it wouldn't be fair for me to force a separation on him if he thinks he can still more or less work with it.

I want to do the right thing, and it just seems so murky sometimes. It's hard to know sometimes if there even is a clear answer, or if the answer is just do the best you can despite that it guarantees hardships ahead.

Any input is appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:09 AM
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Why why why did you agree to go to therapy with your BROTHER???!!! You are your own person, an independent married woman - your brother should have no say in your life.

Oh, don't go. You already know it will make you feel like shit and that your brother's sole purpose in bringing you there is to tell you you're wrong and bad, manipulate you to stop being poly, and to shoot you down. He's looking at it as an intervention! Sheesh, why'd ya sign up for that?

Don't go there -- unless it's with a poly-friendly counselor of your choosing! In fact, that would be my condition if I were you... that YOU pick the therapist - and then make sure it's someone who specializes in alternative lifestyles and understands polyamory (but don't tell your brother that).
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solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:32 AM
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PhilosophicallyLost PhilosophicallyLost is offline
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I normally associate effective therapy with building healthy relationship problem-solving skills and whatnot. Granted I am not looking forward to the first time or two because it means bringing up painful memories, and I am uncertain of how good the therapist is. More on that toward the end of my response. Still, I think my brother sincerely wants his friendship with his close sister to be improved. Given I've been doing poly for a year he should have a pretty good hint now that he can't manipulate my choices like that.

The purpose of the therapy is to provide a safe environment for my brother and I to work on the painful experiences we had when I initially told him I went poly. Those experiences spilled into relationship issues we had in general that were separate from poly, such as how he expressed his political views and his insecurity issues. I tried to tell him my feelings when this all happened last year, but he admitted himself to a mental hospital he was so distressed. Because of this I did not want to initiate further conversation without a neutral third party to help mediate our conversations. We have been in limbo since, because we have been unable to afford a therapist.

It is not my goal for us to magically agree on everything again. That is highly doubtful. Our relationship may never be the same, but I definitely feel it can be improved and we should strive for that. As long as the therapist is a decent one, the uncomfortable broaching of difficult topics should be navigable. Trust me, if the therapist is less than neutral I will cease using him. However, the therapy session will be covered on my brother's Medicaid and it the first option we have been presented that works financially. I want to at least give it a shot and give improvement a fighting chance.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:37 AM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Your brother checked himself into a psychiatric hospital because you are non-monogamous?

He's on medicaid? How old is he? Does he still live with your parents? Does he work? Has he ever been in a relationship?
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
Yet I see him struggle with his feelings on it. Granted, it's not all the time, but he more or less told me he will always have those days. And that's when I get that feeling that I'm horrible for doing that to him.
What has helped me in the past when dealing with feelings like this:
first, examine yourself and your actions. If you and husband agreed on boundaries - do you keep them? Are you honest with him, with bf, with yourself? Without looking at how your husband feels, just looking at yourself - do you feel you are doing this ethically?

If the answer to all this is yes - then think about this.
It is your husbands choice to be with you, be in a relationship with you. Just like it is yours to not be monogamous with him. He is not a victim anymore than you are: he has the choice to walk away from a relationship that is not bringing him the things he wants.

Also, at some point? If you both agree that this is it, this is what you have together? the hammering on "I wish you were monogamous" and "I wish you were poly" has to stop. If you keep saying this to each other, all you are doing is putting emphasis on the differences and the pain, instead of being able to focus on the things that do work.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:51 AM
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I was wondering if you'd gone to therapy with your husband. If you two are not on the same page exactly (it sounds like he struggles with it so you do too) you might have trouble expressing things firmly and positively.

Have you practiced and read about positive arguments for why poly is working for you? Are you convinced this is right for you when you are challenged by others? Are your husband and brother talking since you're being bashed for "doing this to your husband" (in which case I'd have some more conversations to have with my husband)? Unless I thought my brother was interested in trying to understand (or had a therapist I really knew was poly friendly), I really too would just cancel the brother/me counseling and say that I appreciated his concern but I was doing what was right for me. and that I loved him.

If you really think it would help your brother, then I would still go to therapy with my husband first so we could work through some these challenges first before discussing it in an office with my sibling.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:33 AM
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Your brother is unstable and has a mental illness? Your being poly was the straw that broke his camel's back?

Yes, it sounds like you must live in a VERY conservative town if his sister's lovestyle sent him round the bend. It's not easy getting on Medicare, you've got to be pretty messed up in the head (or body) to get the gov't to squeak open it's pocketbook.

So, I am sorry about your brother. It's no picnic having a mentally ill family member. I know... my daughter has a serious mental illness.

I don't know if going to therapy with his sister to bash her lovestyle is going to cure him, but whatever. If you feel you want to support him in opening his mind, go for it.

As for your husband, he's not happy not being your one and only. Tough shit, I say. He married you, you "changed," or grew, or somehow developed the ability to love 2. I get the idea you and he and his best friend, your lover, were all living together? You must have written on this before. I hope things feel calmer with his friend having his own space. I think it should help.

If your h really can't stand you being poly, he has a choice. Deal with it, or break up, be single, find a mono gf. Dealing with it by moaning and groaning is not acceptable longterm. He needs to do self care. You can't "make" him feel better.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:28 PM
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FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Have you and your husband tried counselling?

I can understand wanting to attend therapy with your brother. You said that the two of you had issues prior to whatever statements were made. I can understand wanting to heal any rifts. There is nothing wrong with that. You did not say, but I can assume you were a close family. Keep in mind that he has some type of mental issues. You have the right to be hurt by whatever was said. However, you should try to forgive him for yourself and remember that despite what was said, he loves you and is still your brother. I am sure underneath it all, you still love him, too. Not all poly members take the poly bomb well. You did not say how long it has been. I would assume fairly recently. It has been years, and my MIL is still a bitch towards me at times because of it. She is only smiling in my face now because I am not with my girlfriend any more. If you have the chance to improve your relationship with your brother, go for it. Just make sure it does not turn into a let's bash my sis type of deal. I would hope a therapist would not allow that kind of behaviour.

Regarding your husband, I am where you are. There is something I see that no one has mentioned. YOU are not even confident with your decision to attempt poly. Some would say that you have to break-free of social conditioning and stop feeling guilty. You are still questioning it within yourself. I have not looked at your previous posts, but how did you know it was the right decision? I have discovered that loving two or more is the easy part. A functioning poly relationship is the challenge in my life. Mono/poly relationships can work. They require work. Right now, you have your husband's tolerance. It does not sound like acceptance. There is a difference. Let me be honest. This was not what he signed up for. You changed. His beliefs are still the same. He is there now because I guess the positives outweigh the negatives. He may decide that he does not want to live in misery and divorce you. Very real possibility. It is his right. Unless there is some magical breakthrough or you stop giving a damn about his feelings, this will not just resolve itself. It has been a year. Your issues in your marriage will eventually start to weigh your relationship with your boyfriend down.

With this new living arrangement, is there a proposed schedule in place?
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
And that's when I get that feeling that I'm horrible for doing that to him.
This seems like the core of the issue; that you are taking responsibility for his feelings but don't seem to be taking authority over your own life.

He is monogamous and is pained by the fact that you are polyamorous. His values are of his own design and the resulting emotions are his to bear. If he finds that his life arrangement does not tolerate his values then he needs to take responsibility for this and make the appropriate adjustments (break up, date a monogamous person). Expecting that the people around him are going to change simply to embrace his limitations is unreasonable as it is a refusal to deal with his own feelings. Further, it merely causes harm to those who are "compromising" to serve his insecurities while refusing to deal with them.

You are polyamorous and are pained by the fact that he cannot accept this as who you are. Your values are your own design and you must take responsibility for your own worldview. If you find that your arrangement does not tolerate your values then you need to take responsibility for this and make the appropriate adjustments (get your own place, state that you are unequivocally *not* monogamous, break up, etc). Changing who you are in an attempt to "compromise" to serve his insecurities is simply agreeing that *neither* of you will be happy.

I know, I'm basically saying that you can either both be miserable for the forseable future by compromising (which is an agreement to both be miserable to an equal degree), or you can break it off. In this situation I don't see why any other advice would make sense. He has made it quite clear that he is monogamous and wants *you* to be monogamous... you are *not* monogamous... so what are your options?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
I want to do the right thing, and it just seems so murky sometimes. It's hard to know sometimes if there even is a clear answer
I'll help clear it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
I just don't know if I'm being too hard on myself or not
You ARE!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilosophicallyLost View Post
My husband still thinks it's clearly worth sticking with the marriage despite his issues with poly, and that's his decision to make, but I sometimes wonder if he'd be happier elsewhere
He WOULD!

So that's all I've got, aside from my serious confusion about why you are seeking therapy with your brother. He has some kind of issue with your chosen worldview and, since it's obviously some kind of mental illness, wants you to get therapy for it? So this is like a 'scared straight' kind of scenario? And you AGREED??

I suggest you run, do not walk, away from that suggestion. Call him right now and say "I have no idea why I agreed to this. If you need therapy, YOU get therapy"
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2013, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringGuy View Post
Your brother checked himself into a psychiatric hospital because you are non-monogamous?

He's on medicaid? How old is he? Does he still live with your parents? Does he work? Has he ever been in a relationship?
Background (esp. posts #1 and #16):
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25022
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"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

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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