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  #51  
Old 02-12-2014, 01:47 AM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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As always, Magdlyn, thanks for your kind words. WI was on a trip... And no, it's just way more complicated as to whether she's broken up with WI, as well.

Because, in a way, she's broken up with us, and not broken up with us. We're in a place where each of us can be intimate, but we're not the triad we were, and we're simply being deep, meaningful friends with someone in a space of crisis and unable to continue the relationship we've had - not because of us, not because of the relationship, but because of herself.

It's hard to go through this, of course. But after the awful space of the early weekend, it's been a lot of talk to figure out what is and is not my responsibility. Sure, I've been imperfect and all, but the space really is owned by AM, and her specific needs. It's not just the divorce for her. There's just so much going on all at once. We lived in a bubble for too long, and now it's all coming out at once.

Will we ever return to a triad? Doubt it. Will we survive this space as friends? Maybe. Will we help her as we can, because we love her, as she's in this space? Definitely. But it's a hard space for us.

The "opened marriage" space remains, in a way. I don't write about her much, but there's still EL in my life. We, as always, see little of each other, but are more flirty in the past 2 months than we've been in years. (Why? we have no clue, but relationships can be like that, right?) She's helping me with her insights into AM, and she and WI have talked a little. That relationship is safe in a way that it never was. We are opened up, if not attached to someone else, nor seeking anyone else. (I have never sought anyone else; I don't know how to date, and neither does WI!) So we are open, supportive, and strong with each other.

Actually, that space is worth commenting on. WI recognized how much it hurt her (not just me) that she tried to create an isolated bubble with AM. She doesn't want that anymore. What I have found fascinating is that my response has been to be more supportive of her spending time with AM. How can that be? But it's what I feel - as soon as I feel safe and secure, I don't mind their time together. Then again, AM is in a lousy place, so it's not like either of us is spending much time with her.

I'm sad about that. The old relationship is dead, and grieving takes time. But there's also a real relationship right now, where AM wants to be held, and that is what we have now. Later, we will have something different. Right now, this is what she wants and can do, and this is what we have.
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  #52  
Old 02-12-2014, 02:10 PM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulliman View Post
as soon as I feel safe and secure, I don't mind their time together.
...
Right now, this is what she wants and can do, and this is what we have.
I think these are key; at least, they have been for me. When I feel safe, I am able to be far more flexible and I am less prone to being triggered.

Glad that you are feeling safe. Perhaps AM is not, for reasons that may or may not have to do with your relationship, and this makes it much harder for her.

Kudos for accepting where she is and trying to be supportive.
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  #53  
Old 02-12-2014, 07:17 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Glad that you are feeling safe. Perhaps AM is not, for reasons that may or may not have to do with your relationship, and this makes it much harder for her.
No, AM is not feeling safe at all. I don't mean to be rude to her when I say that it's not about me, because on the surface it seems to be about me, but she has so many things going on that feeling safe takes on different meaning, and requires different engagement, than just concerns me. One way to think of her trust issues, for example, is that it doesn't matter how trustworthy I am, she might still not trust me. That's not about me, sadly. I wish I could "prove" myself, meet some standard. But I don't think I can.

Instead, I'm really trying to listen and help her with herself, even as she wants to walk away because she doesn't really want to be helped. As she put it, "I don't LIKE people taking care of me. So DON'T." Then, she asks me to hold her.

Have I mentioned that it's complicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflowers View Post
Kudos for accepting where she is and trying to be supportive.
I'm trying really hard. She's where she is. Can I be there beside her? Can WI? So far, the answer is yes.

Where AM is right now requires, in a way, the most loving of friendship, the most intense of attention and care, but a certain distance from the place of being inside her problems. Being beside her as she lives her life, that's far more meaningful, right now.
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  #54  
Old 02-12-2014, 07:20 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default big family moment

Are we broken up? Not really.

Are we loving friends? More accurate.

Are we sharing our lives in interesting ways? Definitely:

Our kids miss her, so they dive bombed her house yesterday. Laughter and cocoa and goofing off. WI and AM got to talk, touch a little bit, be near each other in midst a tense space, and it was warm and good.

Turns out her kids made us all valentines. Awwwww. Even I got one. Neato!

So there are still these echoes of persisting interactions and they feel good. Saw AM last night, and she was still in a good mood. No talking about us talking, nothing serious. Just talk about work, parenting, and hilarious (and dirty) jokes about all sorts of things.

Nights like last night make all this worth it. AM and WI have a date, soon, where I hope they get to experience the same...
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  #55  
Old 02-23-2014, 07:48 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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I continue to stink at blogging.

WI and I have officially "let go" of AM, who is retreating into her own life in order to heal some parts of her life. She says she can't be with us until she does this, and that she continues to feel what she's felt for a long time: she's never wanted to be with anyone as much as she wants to be with each of us, and the two of us together. It's just that the fall went too fast by far, she asked for things she'd never dreamed of asking for before, and we weren't able to give them at that time. In a yin/yang moment, the things we WERE able to give, even as stepping stones to her bigger vision, were things she couldn't accept because she wasn't willing to accept them inside herself. She wants to retreat now, in order to find back to us. She doesn't know how, but she's trying.

This has caused WI and me different kinds of crazy sadness, where we've tried to be there with each other as we each struggle with our independent relationship with her, and provide the strength that one of us might not have at a given moment. What's clear is how much we opened up, how much we built her into a new definition of our marriage, how much we want her to be with each of us, individually, the other of us, individually, and maybe even to return to a trio. It's ironic to me that WI, who fought hardest against a triad in the beginning (while AM and I dreamed of it) was accepting the desire for one, just as AM was pulling back and recognizing that dream and reality didn't match at all, for her.

So we are in a place of having let go - but still talking a lot. Each of our "I let go of you" statements has given AM the safety she's been asking for. She is processing her past. There's so much to talk about, so much for her to live through. She's sharing it with us - a sign of trust that I don't take lightly. She says she doesn't want to be partners, and can't be lovers or even friends while on retreat into her own life, but she's being more open than before - just not "as friends." It makes no sense to me - the words don't matter, the actions do. And her actions are ones of love, trust, and tenderness.

Perhaps this is a stage, and we will return to triad-land. Perhaps this is a separation and we have all gotten out before it got worse. We'll find out.

We are all deeply supportive of each other, when nobody is feeling hurt. WI and AM developed something amazing that has nothing to do with me, and I support the hell out of them. Same with WI supporting AM and me. Plus, AM was supporting WI and me, as well... so it's a round robin of support, when all goes well. WI and I are also fiercely loyal to each other (even in the hardest times, even when we are the cause of the hard times in each other) and we have included AM in that loyalty. AM basically has asked us not to be so goddamn fiercely loyal - she can't take it, doesn't want to be loved. Um, okay We don't have to talk about it. We just act on it.

So that's where we are right now. I suspect that this stage may last a long time. I miss AM, the exuberant woman of last summer and early fall. But what happened since then has shown that this was the outside-AM. The inside-AM has much to work on. That she's showing it to us as she works on it... it tells us we're on the inside. Just not by name. It's not a triad, by name, but we're still the only people she talks to about this. Maybe this will bring us closer. Or give us good reasons not to. Either way, we'll know.
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  #56  
Old 02-24-2014, 11:40 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default Letting go, alone, isolated, ... or not

[Based on a different thread, I'm moving from initials to names. WI = Willa from now on, and AM = Amy from now on. Let's see if I can keep this straight!]

Saturday was all about letting go. And yet, not 45 minutes after a deeply emotional, sad, and yet hopeful conversation on Amy's couch, Willa and I got an email from Amy, talking about her past. That conversation continued through Sunday. It was more open, more raw, more honest and forthright than SO MANY of our past conversations. Turns out that Amy has really strong reasons for holding back from talking to us about her past, about her divorce, and more. She's had strong reasons for not wanting to let us in.

And yet, by telling us all about it, she let us in. She just needed to feel safe with us - and that meant letting go of some perfect dream of Big Family and letting her flawed family just be... flawed. And you know what? I love her for it. It felt wonderful to open up to her in response to her opening.

She said on Saturday that she couldn't be friends. What's happened in the 48 hours since then is deeper than friendship. It's a trust, tenderness, and genuine honesty that belies any sense of "letting go." We've had to let go of expectations, silly little things based on NRE dreams of perfection. We're in the real deal now. And she's still worth it, to me.
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  #57  
Old 02-28-2014, 09:52 PM
juber juber is offline
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Holy shit - this is one of the most raw and real things I have ever read.

I teared up on a number of occasions and I feel for all three of you. Just wanted to post and tell you your story has had a real impact on how I am examining my own families move to opening up and how I'm dealing with it.

Thank you so much for sharing this!
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  #58  
Old 03-01-2014, 03:36 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Thanks, juber, for reading and finding something valuable in all this.

Willa, Amy, and I continue to talk. It's an up and down situation, as always.

Amy and I had a really nice day this past week, but after I left her place, we went through the usual hard space of wondering how to REMAIN close to each other when not in the same physical location. After saying "let go" and "can't even be friends, if we can't be partners," we were in a totally magical place for a few hours. Everything felt like at the beginning, easy and connected and shared, resonating across a thousand conversations, just feeling happy. It was amazing. Our bodies talked in ways I hadn't expected to return to. It almost felt like the opposite of what happened over the weekend. But afterward, it was rough, a sense that it only works when it works, and we can't count on anything when we aren't together -- and we're not together enough.

At the same time, Willa is grieving, hard. She misses Amy terribly. It hasn't just been that she went from monogamy to a serious, committed relationship with someone other than me, changing her identity (and struggling with how to live in a closet, as a result). It's also been that she changed her sexual identity. She deeply, passionately, and sexually loves Amy, in a way that she'd never have thought she could love a woman. Letting go of expectations for a long-term committed relationship is really ripping her apart.

As part of trying to work this out, she's been talking to a counselor who has lots of experience with women who recognize in their 40s that they're lesbians.... and end up leaving their husbands. The counselor has been a bit shocked to hear that my wife really doesn't want to leave me, and the questions my wife hears keep assuming a monogamous world. It's been frustrating to her. This idea that we really DO want to be intertwined, that my wife DOES want to stay with her husband... it's new for the counselor. If only we lived in a larger town...

I hope things with Amy work out. I hope Amy finds to the strength she's said she's looking for. She says she's never wanted to be with anyone as much as she wants to be with the two of us. I hope we find back to it. I miss her. The magical night this past week felt amazing; I want that space back.
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  #59  
Old 03-02-2014, 10:12 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default That's it.

Well, Amy walked away.

Since she's decided that we can't be partners, we also can't be lovers and we can't be friends, either. Being near me hurts her, because she has decided that she can't have what she wants with me.

Frankly, the demons of her past are too large. I talked to a counselor friend of mine about it (finally came out of the closet about the relationship, now that it's over...) and he totally predicted everything she's saying. Given the details of her past, he knew. A split personality, where I am the source of such pain because of how far I went inside, and I am the source of such joy because of... how far I went inside.

This hurts like hell.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the way we nearly had a triad. I was damn wary of any couple privilege, and we worked hard. We kept opening up and opening up and opening up, wanting to create a single home shared across two houses. Where in the very early parts there was an idea that we might end up a V and not a triad, they kept getting closer, and it seemed like it could happen. We were ready to tell the kids (once the divorce was final) and our larger world (once other milestones were passed). We were ready to be partners across a new spectrum, to create something much larger. Two pairs of arms to hold each individual - and it felt so close to true.

But Amy decided that I could never be the partner she wanted. The problem is that she never defined what that was, only told me when I was failing at it. Worse, in the past few weeks she has revealed ever more ways in which she was holding back information about herself or her choices in a way that deeply affected everyone. She'd blame me for things she herself was cause of. For many reasons, it's only gone downhill for the past two months.

Amy's got demons. It sucks. I hope she finds herself. But it won't be with me walking beside her on the path, and I doubt the path leads back to me. As my counselor friend said, someone with her past has a lot of work to do before they can accept the place I went in her heart and feel safe trusting anyone who made it that far. That sucks and it hurts like hell.

Sigh. Time to go grieve.
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  #60  
Old 03-04-2014, 07:10 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default Quiet

All quiet on the triad front.

Except that, of course, it's not. Amy and I have talked a little bit. Willa and Amy have made a joke or three about how Amy is living in Toledo (not where we live), so not entirely gone. Amy commented that it's a trap door that gets her there, no actual travel time needed. So there's some lightheartedness involved.

I think what I'm grappling with are the changes in Amy, ones she never spoke out loud, but that really affected us. She was holding back from merging our family times because it would have meant us being involved with her ex - but did she tell us this? no, not at all, yet it totally affected us. She also seems to have changed her expectations and desires for what she wants. While Willa and I were working on our marriage, moving toward an openness and supportive marriage structure that we'd never imagined, Amy was impatient and seems to have given up. It feels like we made changes to bring her into each of our lives (that's the supportive part - each of us being supported in a relationship with Amy) but Amy, along the way, gave up and didn't want that. Communication would have been really really helpful.

Amy has said that she's going to work on things while she's gone. Some of those are external things like housing, job, and so on. Some are internal, like trust, and hopefully also communication. I'd like to be the best friend to her that I was a year ago, but times have changed. It hurts to know that she changed and didn't communicate about it as it happened (while jabbing at me hard when I was anything less than prescient in what was going on in my life).

The low level of talk we're engaged in kind of sucks, but does show that we have sparks of laughter, waiting to happen again. For all the hardness of the weekend, some serious moments of tenderness have arisen, too. That's also nice. The reasons of our being together are still there. The flaws probably still are, too.
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