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  #21  
Old 03-27-2014, 03:07 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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I haven't told her I need to be poly. Just that it is my desire for our relationship.
Have you told her you don't NEED it? So she can begin to relax?

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I think she thinks its unfair that her she got stuck with the husband who thinks its compromising to not have relationships with other women.
This is mind readering what she thinks. Could not do that.

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And I can't really blame her for feeling that way.
This is your response to your mind-readering above. Could not do that.

This is not your response to her actual thoughts she's articulated herself.

See twisted thinking.

Esp since you mention wife's negativity -- I don't know if you, her or both engage in twisted thinking at times. Might be worth mentioning to counselor.
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So far my boundaries are only 2. No checking my phone and Facebook, and always be honest. I can't seem to think of any others. I want to say something about her negativity but I'm not sure how you make that a boundary without being controlling.
Everyone is different because they value different things. In case it helps you articulate your boundaries better -- here's my short list off my visitor wall:

Quote:
In my relationships...

PARTNERS HAVE RIGHT TO:
  • Clear communication
  • Expect support from partner
  • Be nurtured
  • Get needs met
  • Responsiveness
  • Constructive feedback
  • Constructive conflict resolution

PARTNERS EACH BE RESPONSIBLE FOR:
  • Know and state needs, wants and limits
  • Follow thru on promises. Do not ding intentionally or thoughtlessly.
  • Know the math tiers in this config
  • Tending your own and your partner's healths: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Care for own equipment/stuff
  • Tell if keeping a confidence can hurt someone/is hurting someone

MY LIMITS

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 in relationship. Don't play with me. Bye.
I actually use it for all my relationships -- not romantic ones only. Keeps like simple for me. If I mess up, someone can point out I'm not giving them "clear communcation" about something for instance. If they mess up, I can do same and point it out. Because we both agreed to work with those boundaries/agreements.

No hard feelings about it -- just... steer it back on track.

Quote:
I think most of the time when I go out with friends I have no idea when I'm going to come home. So it's hard to give a time. We may get bored or tired and I may come home by 11:30 one night. The next time we go out we may get into a deep conversation I am enjoying or just be laughing historically at how stupid we all look on the dance floor. So its not like im going to a show that ends at a particular time and thats when i will be home. And my wife usually goes to bed early so its not like staying out with my friends is making me miss out on time with her. Im simply choosing between more fun with my friends or more sleep.
To me that read like "not owning it" and "explaining it away" combo.

You could say

"I am going out with friends. I think I will be home around midnight this time. On the outside, 1 AM ish. But if I am not home by 1 AM, I will at least text to update where I am around 1 AM so you are not worrying."


Then text! This takes a few seconds of your time, and alleviates worry for your spouse. You've owned it and both of you know what to expect now.

If you just don't want to do this behavior, you could state it plainly.

"No. I don't want to do that. I don't want to set a time frame when you can expect me home, and I don't want to text udpates either. I'll just be home when I'm home."


There. You owned it. Both know what to expect now. She might not like it, but it is SOLID something. Not waffly. Anxious nervous people prefer SOLIDS to waffly shakies.

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I am willing to text her.
So text! Be a person of your Word and more SOLID. No more waffling around in your Word.

What does she need for her to give herself permission to trust you again after past cheating? Is she able to articulate it in counseling? Are you able to repeat it back to her so she knows you understood in counseling?

What do you need in the marriage for you to not cheat again? Are you able to articulate that in counseling? Can she repeat it back to show she understood in counseling?

That's something you guys could work out and ARTICULATE CLEARLY in counseling.

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But I am willing to talk boundaries and try it out. Maybe at the end of the day it will give me more freedom somehow.
I think it might help to view it as not a (permanent thing designed to shackle you forever) but more like a (stepping stone thing) to achieving the (free, trusting, relaxed marriage) you seem to want.

Are you able to grasp a period of tighter check-ins to heal from broken trust? As a stop on the road to achieving the "free, perfect marraige" place later?
How long is "time served" for you? Before slate is wiped clean? How long is "time served" for her? Before slate is wiped clean?

It might be reasonable to give it another year of "time served" to see some progress given that it was multiple times and you guys JUST started therapy. But it is not reasonable to give it 10, 20 years! Both of you would be missing out on Life that way, keeping in the stuck that long.

Eventually she has to decide if she's going to risk trusting you again or not. That's something to talk to the counselor about -- how long is time served for each of you? Can you both agree on a time frame? And can you both lay out the boundaries for wiping the slate clean? Behavior you both can do/not do for X amount of time and THERE. Serve the time, do the stuff, and the slate is clean.

Cheating is not a cool thing to do, but it is past. Time to pick up the pieces and see what is what. I'm curious as to what you guys will be doing to help your marriage move it FORWARD and not keep it in the stuck.

What you are complaining about -- Going out with friends, fishing trips, etc -- that's socializing as an individual, as a couple, as a family. It's TIME MANAGEMENT stuff to me. If she has the need to know what's going on at all times to help manage her anxiety -- you could accept that. If you have a need to have a day off a week -- she could accept that. Saturday is "spontaneous day" -- she gets to know it happens on SATURDAY. That's scheduled enough for her. But she doesn't get to say everything that goes on within that calendar box. That's free enough for you.

It might behoove you to do some spontaneous things the first few Saturdays with HER so she has experiences of "spontaneous does not automatically mean doom for wife!" You talk a lot about going out with others -- what do you do with HER?

Quote:
I should also point out, even if my wife was open to an open relationship, I would not want one in the current state of our relationship. It would be a dismal failure!!
Then could reorganize your thoughts and what the goal of therapy is so you can actually achieve something. Become firm of purpose. Right now you go all over the place to me when I read your posts. Maybe the shared mission for therapy is something like....
  • I cheated a few times 5 years ago
  • My wife and I are in therapy with a goal of rebuilding trust in the marriage and each other so we both heal from the cheating.
  • Though I am poly, I want to be with her even if it means Closing to a monoship shape.

The monoship shape I would most like is one where we trust each other enough to be relaxed about things like...
  • who we text/call/email
  • who we socialize with
  • when we socialize and for how long
  • how it gets slotted into the family calendar
  • how we are accountable to each other when apart so people don't worry about car accidents and things
  • how we resolve conflicts in calendar or other conflicts


so we both get
  • enough time to ourselves alone
  • enough time as a couple (just us two)
  • enough time as a family (with kids, other relatives, etc)

in a balanced way so we are mostly happy together most of the time.


Aim for "good enough" and not "perfection." That alone I think would make it more achievable for both of you so you can relax enough to DO this work.

You seem anxious you will be "trapped" and she seems anxious she will never be free of "anxiety/worry/stress." If you both stay tightly wound up you won't get around to doing the work because you are too paralyzed to try anything new.

Both could chill out some and do the work you both need to do in therapy if you both share that goal above.

Talk to your counselor about clarifying the purpose of therapy, what the shared mission is. Then break it out into a strategy. Here's my action list. Here's here action list. Here's OUR action list we do together. So you both can go on to do the work and achieve it.

One of you veers off track, no hard feelings. Point to list. "It says ___ on your list, hon." No need for earfuls.

HTH!

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-27-2014 at 03:59 PM.
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  #22  
Old 03-27-2014, 03:51 PM
Kernow Kernow is offline
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Originally Posted by seakinganswers View Post
Serious question though. How long is long enough? It's been over 5 years. I'm not willing to go our whole lives to wait for her to trust me cause that's not really a relationship. At that point she might as well just be with someone she can trust.
I'm sorry but my response to your question is going to sound harsh, this is not a personal criticism of you it is just an attempt to get you to understand this from your wife's perspective (or even from the perspective of a complete outsider). You say you love her and you are prepared to compromise your wants/needs in order to stay married, but your actions are not matching your words. You are not behaving like a man who wants to stay married.

I can understand that you may be more outgoing and gregarious than your wife, our relationship is like that too; but you are not young free and single and you don't have a 'right' to go out and do as you like without considering your wife's needs. What is she doing while you are out enjoying yourself? Do you invite her? If she is tolerating you going out like this she is most certainly making compromises. The very least she is entitled to expect is to know where you are going and who with, and it really isn't unreasonable to expect you to come home at what any normal person would consider a reasonable hour. If you had a better relationship you would be able to say to her once in a while that you are meeting up with friends and you may be out late, but you don't have that sort of relationship because you are behaving like someone who can't be trusted.

All the boundaries in the world are not going to help you to rebuild your marriage unless you are prepared to change and show your wife more respect. If you have nothing to hide give her access to your phone and computer. She may question things at first, but if you can give her an honest explanation she will accept it and in time she will become more trusting and she will not need to check. Of course even if you do that you can still cheat, second phone/sim, hidden accounts etc but I am assuming that you want her to trust you and to make your marriage work.

Just looking at it as a complete outsider, I wonder if subconsciously you are trying to cast your wife as controlling and unreasonable so that you can justify the break up of your marriage (to yourself). You have nothing to lose by giving total honesty and openness a try. She already has more than enough information for a divorce but she has chosen not to take that route for her own reasons, so clearly she wants to make the marriage work. If you know in your heart that you are not prepared to make a genuine effort with your marriage do the decent thing and end it as amicably as you can. If you genuinely want to make it work and you are prepared to make meaningful changes I think you should set yourself a timescale of two years. It may not be perfect by then but you should have made significant progress. If you are not making any progress at all after the first year you can probably assume that it is time to give up and move on with your life.
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  #23  
Old 03-27-2014, 05:46 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Originally Posted by Kernow View Post
You say you love her and you are prepared to compromise your wants/needs in order to stay married, but your actions are not matching your words. You are not behaving like a man who wants to stay married.
I think it's a biproduct of the insistence on marriage longevity. Another poster mentioned that the wife didn't "sign on" for being married to a free-spirited teen party animal who wants to bang other people... but that seems to be exactly what she got. If she's unhappy and there appears to be no changes forthcoming then why drag out the relationship? For the sake of "the marriage"?

I'm not judging, I personally don't see anything wrong with going out and partying with buds frequently and dragging back to the house at odd hours in the morning smelling of... whatever. It is what it is. HOWEVER, this approach to life mixed with someone who needs to have more control of their loved ones is clearly not working.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seakinganswers View Post
So I don't want to be single and free. I want to be married and free. I don't think marriage has to be so constricting.

But I am willing to talk boundaries and try it out. Maybe at the end of the day it will give me more freedom somehow.
I suggest being honest with yourself about what you are willing to compromise. You've mentioned a few times that you are willing to change but you back it up with statements like this - demonstrating that you are, in fact, not interested in changing who you are.

Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I won't compromise my freedom for anyone, for any reason. Right or wrong that's my boundary. What I am suggesting is that you state clearly and honestly (and gently if possible) what your boundaries are and don't compromise who you are to save "the marriage".
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  #24  
Old 03-27-2014, 08:28 PM
seakinganswers seakinganswers is offline
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I think people are confusing my desire to stay out late hanging out with me wanting to party till all hours of the night and come stumbling home. I've been drunk like twice in my whole life. It really has nothing to do with that. I could be off helping nuns till all hours of the night feed the homeless and it would be a problem (slight exaggeration). I'm far from a party animal and I'm actually an introvert. I don't drink much. I don't tend to flirt much although if I get on a dance floor I have been know to dance with a few girls. The bigger issue for me us the lack of trust. I have no problem texting her and keeping her in the loop. Of course she is usually sleep anyways but at least then if she wakes up she will have a text from me and not have to worry. We will come to some sort of agreement.

The bigger problem is the lack of trust. If I'm texting so she doesn't have to worry then great. If I am texting so she can keep tabs on me at all times and then get interrogated when I get home then that's not healthy for our relationship. Then something in my timeline doesn't make sense and suddenly its a 2 hour argument in the middle of the night.

So trust is the underlying issue. And I'm willing to do what I can to make her trust me with one major caveat. I won't pretend. I won't pretend to be someone I'm not. I won't stop joking around with people. I won't stop being open about who I am to anybody who asks. I won't deny that my personal desire is for an open relationship. And I'm not going to pretend to be a homebody. These are all a part of the package. I can't convince her to trust some other version of who I am only to pull the rug out again later. And I won't manufacture feelings inside myself and start sending her flowers every day and get down on my knees and tell her how my heart just soars for love for her. I want to be there again just like I'm sure she wants to be there again, and when and if we are then I will scream it from the mountaintops.

I agree with you though about sabotaging the relationship. I think that's something we both have to fight off. Because at this point I don't think either of us trusts that this is going to last forever and so we can tend to build things up as worse than they are to start to justify if things don't work out.
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  #25  
Old 03-27-2014, 08:40 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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The bigger problem is the lack of trust. If I'm texting so she doesn't have to worry then great. If I am texting so she can keep tabs on me at all times and then get interrogated when I get home then that's not healthy for our relationship.
Could you do your end of the job and just text to alleviate worry?

Let how she takes it be HER problem? Let HER deal with her whatever "thinks" she's got? Worries taking over or whatever anxiety wackies?

Separate the stuff and attend to your business. Your individual business, and your side of the shared business. Would you texting spouse to alleviate worry be you doing behavior to help the shared marriage run smoothly? Yes. So do it for YOU doing YOUR side of the deal.

The rest? Let her cope on her own stuff. With her individual business, and her holding up her end of the shared business.

Quote:
Then something in my timeline doesn't make sense and suddenly its a 2 hour argument in the middle of the night.
You do not have to participate. What stops you from saying "It is X o'clock at night. I will not have this discussion at this time. We both need sleep. We can talk at _________. I am going to sleep." And then leave the room and go to sleep?

When people are HALT --(hungry, angry/anxious, lonely, tired) is NOT the best time to be doing relationship management talks.

Or if she's emotionally flooding, what stops you from holding her hand and saying "I think you are flooding. I am not going to talk. I am only going to comfort by holding your hand for 20 minutes and breathe quietly with you. Then we are going to sleep and we will sort it out in the morning."

Quote:
I agree with you though about sabotaging the relationship. I think that's something we both have to fight off. Because at this point I don't think either of us trusts that this is going to last forever and so we can tend to build things up as worse than they are to start to justify if things don't work out.
All relationships come with a clock attached. Some go long haul some do not. Rather than trying to "mind reader" the future to see if this one is a long haul runner in advance so you can determine whether or not to invest in it? Could just accept you won't know til the end, it isn't knowable this instant.

But if you HOPE to stay together and have it BECOME a long haul thing, behave as though your are both IN IT for the long haul and mean to make good journey together NOW. Rather than be in it half-assed.

The habit of making things out to be "doom" so you can justify half-assed efforts because "it wouldn't have worked anyway? " If that is what you guys do? Then that's (jumping to conclusions) -- another kind of distorted thinking. I encourage you to bring that up in counseling. Because if one or both of you does that kind of distorted thinking, it's more obstacles in the way that need to be addressed so that you can ultimately succeed.

JMHO.

GL!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-27-2014 at 11:45 PM.
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  #26  
Old 03-27-2014, 10:59 PM
seakinganswers seakinganswers is offline
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Can you just be our counselor Gala?

I have tried for years to say, it's late lets talk about this tomorrow but it never works. It's funny you said that though because I found a third boundary. Never argue in bed. Once we go to bed, its time to cuddle or sleep or have sex. Anything you have to ask or say that could start an argument should be left alone. Write it down somewhere if you have to and bring it up later. And there should be no problem with saying, "I want to give you an honest answer to that question but if I do it may bring up feelings that would violate our bedroom space, so please ask me tomorrow." The problem is then she won't sleep all night with worry about what the answer is. But I guess that's not really my problem.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:16 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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I found a third boundary. Never argue in bed.
You are in bed because you are TIRED and want to sleep. The point is not the bed, but that you are too tired to talk conflict resolution in a good way. What if you are tired at the mall? Tired in the car? Would you want to engage in those places?

So I would put the boundary as "never do conflict resolution when hungry, angry, anxious, lonely or tired. Set a date for this when both can be present and at their best."

Healthy boundaries are there not to trap you two, but to HELP you two relate in a better way. Talk to your counselor about how to make boundaries that can work for you both. If you like "guidelines" or "agreements" better -- use those words instead. But make 'em!

Quote:
And there should be no problem with saying, "I want to give you an honest answer to that question but if I do it may bring up feelings that would violate our bedroom space, so please ask me tomorrow.
Yup. There should be no problem with postponing a discussion. But sometimes it isn't what you say but HOW you say it that triggers a person.

If you find that putting it that way fuels anxiety witter in her and you don't like her in anxiety witter mode? Find a different way to say it that still gets you the outcome you want -- SLEEP now, talk LATER! -- that isn't triggering her.

If you are struggling with trust issues in the marriage I would suggest not saying things like "I want to give you an honest answer" -- because it makes the anxiety witter person wonder if OTHER times you DON'T give honest answers. You end up shooting yourself in the foot even if you are honest all the time when you put evaluation words on there like that. Because it helps ADD to her anxiety witter rather than take AWAY from it.

Maybe use a different word -- "not rushed answer" or "answer when I'm tired/groggy"


"I want to give you an answer that isn't rushed because I'm tired and want sleep. Let's do this in the morning and sleep now."


Maybe skip using "honest" entirely.

"I want to give you an answer, but not at this time. I am tired. Let's do this in the morning."

Change it all to I-statements. Maybe something like

"I am exhausted and not at my best listening as a result. I want to give you my best listening. Let's wait til tomorrow so you can have the best of me and not a tired me."

Or uber simple. Person, time, place.

"Hon? I'm the right person to have this talk with. This is the right place, at home. This is NOT the right time. We both need sleep."

See what could serve you better.

Are you able to see how your word choices could be contributing to the problems between you? You don't have to walk on eggshells around her, but neither do you have to be making life harder for both of you either if better chosen words or better chosen silence smooths some of the small bumps out. Then you guys can focus on solving the big stuff.

Quote:
The problem is then she won't sleep all night with worry about what the answer is. But I guess that's not really my problem.
Yup. She can learn to deal with her lack of sleep by taking up knitting, reading a book, doing yoga, taking a sleeping pill -- many choices. You can demonstrate care and concern by offering to tuck her in or bring her tea, but then after that -- GO TO BED! You need sleep. Meet your own need.

Problems are
  • important and urgent
  • important but not urgent
  • not important, but urgent
  • not important, not urgent

They cannot ALL be at the "important and urgent" level or else one lives in a chronic state of crisis. That's not healthy.

If you are home safe, and she's home safe, and it's a problem about keeping your word and being home on time? Could call it "important, but not urgent."

You both can sleep on it and deal with it in the morning just as well or better. There's no fire.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-27-2014 at 11:50 PM.
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  #28  
Old 03-28-2014, 03:30 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Communication skills are lacking combined with problem solving.
Something a good counselor should be able to teach.
That's one thing I see.

For example;
problem exists.

Person upset states three things that would make them happier in regards to the problem.
Other person gets to choose one. ANY of them to do.

End of argument.
Person one has to accept that person two DID SOMETHING to work with them.

With specific.

person one feels abandoned or scared or whatever when they don't know when person two will be home.

They give 3 options,
Be home by 3am OR
text me if you will be late OR
don't be late more than 2 times a month.

Person two gets to choose as long as they meet ONE-the topic is done.

(we learned this in counseling and it helped A LOT. Forces both people to be more conscious in their compaints AND saying "I just want...")
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  #29  
Old 03-28-2014, 03:35 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Trust is earned by way or a two way street.

Person who broke trust has to be accountable and allow themselves to be fully seen by the person who lost trust.

Person who lost trust has to take chances, allowing person one the chance to break trust again.

The examples you give-don't suggest that you actually made yourself fully seek for them to know you were being accountable.
Likewise they don't suggest that she is taking chances either.

Unfortunately-IMHO-the time doesn't start ticking until you make yourself fully visibly accountable which has to come first AND THEN they start feeling safer and have to force themselves through the discomfort of taking chances.
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  #30  
Old 03-29-2014, 01:02 PM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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Trust is not something that comes with just time. You said it has been 5 years, and that should be long enough. But if you havent been doing things that specifically help her to trust you again, time doesnt really mean much. She is just waiting for you to do it again.

If you want her to trust you (and you are actually trustworthy) then you will need to do things that specifically show her that. Maybe you dont NEED to come home at 1am. But you can. You can make the effort to do it. Because you love her, and because you want her to trust you. It is not enough to just say "Hey, Im an adult and i should have freedom to hang out with my friends whenever I want". You made the choice to cheat in the past, and now you need to make up for it. You will need to show her that you are capable of keeping your word, even about small things. Especially small things.

I agree that hiding your email/FB etc looks suspicious. Giving her access to all areas of your life demonstrates to her that you have nothing to hide. Anywhere. If she doesnt like your personality and how you joke around with your friends, that is a separate issue. But showing her that you are not sneaking around on social media can be huge. And making sure that your friends know that she will see everything too, means they might hold back a little (which you may not like, but she may appreciate).

It is hard to come back from a loss of trust, and it does take time AND effort. Asking her what SHE needs for you to do to prove you are trustworthy may help. Even if you dont think its necessary, doing it for her might be the first step towards knowing you are serious about wanting it to be better between you two.
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Armadillo (formerly known as BF) - currently out of the picture. Depression is evil...
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