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  #11  
Old 04-01-2014, 04:14 PM
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If I had a need to do work (I own my own business), or have some time to myself, I may need to take it and he would need to learn how to cope on his own sometimes. I was not always going to rescue him from how he was feeling. Our therapist confronted him about his being emotionally manipulative, and he really owned it and is working to change that. He just doesnt always realize he is doing it.
Do you have a method of handling when he is being emotionally manipulative and apparently doesn't realize it?

I'm really glad to hear that there is a therapist involved, certainly one who doesn't coddle their patients. Is it just couples therapy or are one or both of you seeking individual therapy? I am of the opinion that real personal growth with a therapist is more thorough when it's a one on one scenario.

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Also, BF comes to our home all the time. Most of our dates happen here, in the middle of the day while hubby is at work. Or I drive to BF's house. Sometimes we meet in the middle for lunch. So those details are not out of the ordinary for our life.
Keeping this in mind, does that mean that there is a lot of this emotional backlash from hubby? Or was this last day-visit irritating for some unique reason and the others are fine?

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And if anyone else had done that for me he would have been very happy for me. It was really all about the fact that BF was able to do it, and did.
I don't understand. He has some issue with your bf in particular? Because you guys have known each other so long?

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We instituted a schedule, mostly for my own sanity.
Schedules are of interest to me; I find them really helpful and really damaging depending on why they exist.

In my opinion schedules (for personal relationships) are helpful when there are more competing time constraints than can efficiently be handled without one. Husband, boyfriend, job, hobbies, friends... get enough conflicts and it can just be crazy to keep up with so it is put into schedule format to keep track and make sure everything has the time devoted to it you desire. I especially like shared calendars so if someone wants to see if I am available for whatever they can either just call me or check my calendar. One relationship I had the calendar editable to my girlfriend so that she could "claim" an evening with me (it's the only way to ensure that I don't double book).

That all makes sense to me.

The schedule that makes me raise an eyebrow is the one which also comes with behavior constraints. Like "I can text my boyfriend on his nights of the week". For me, this is a tall and vigorously waving red flag that someone is having me take action in service to their insecurity. I think that is a lousy reason to have a schedule, someone claiming my time for their own and deciding for me how I should behave while I'm on their dime. It's a slippery slope, allowing someone to dictate one of your behaviors.

I am speculating based on the little blurb you put up about the calendar, so correct me if I'm off base about some of this.
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  #12  
Old 04-01-2014, 06:09 PM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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[QUOTE=Marcus;263639]Do you have a method of handling when he is being emotionally manipulative and apparently doesn't realize it?

WE have a session tomorrow. I plan to bring this issue up, along with another one from two weeks ago and see whether we can come up with something.

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I'm really glad to hear that there is a therapist involved, certainly one who doesn't coddle their patients. Is it just couples therapy or are one or both of you seeking individual therapy? I am of the opinion that real personal growth with a therapist is more thorough when it's a one on one scenario.
We see her together, and have also have individual sessions with her. His very first session alone he came home with the manipulation information. I was floored that he had had such an important breakthrough on his very first time! He connects with our therapist very well. I think he would continue to see her even if we werent doing couples counseling. I dont connect with her as deeply but she is accepting of poly and is helping with the understandings of how to communicate more effectively. But I have said that I would choose someone else to do individual therapy as I dont know that she really "gets me".



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Keeping this in mind, does that mean that there is a lot of this emotional backlash from hubby? Or was this last day-visit irritating for some unique reason and the others are fine?
There is less of it these days. In the beginning it was constant. But it still happens. I still feel as though BF and I walk on eggshells. Hubby and BF talk on facebook every day, even if it is just a little hello or good morning have a nice day. BF can always tell if we have had sex because hubby lets his emotions show so easily. He will go from being sad and morose the night before to being a bright happy cheery bunny in the morning.

Yesterdays issue was, I think, a response to him having a bad day at work and feeling badly that I got to have a nice day while he had a shitty day. Which I have told him just makes me feel like I am not allowed to have good days unless he does. Which he never does, of course.



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I don't understand. He has some issue with your bf in particular? Because you guys have known each other so long?
Just a jealousy/insecurity thing. "He can give you things I cant give you"



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Schedules are of interest to me; I find them really helpful and really damaging depending on why they exist.

In my opinion schedules (for personal relationships) are helpful when there are more competing time constraints than can efficiently be handled without one. Husband, boyfriend, job, hobbies, friends... get enough conflicts and it can just be crazy to keep up with so it is put into schedule format to keep track and make sure everything has the time devoted to it you desire. I especially like shared calendars so if someone wants to see if I am available for whatever they can either just call me or check my calendar. One relationship I had the calendar editable to my girlfriend so that she could "claim" an evening with me (it's the only way to ensure that I don't double book).

That all makes sense to me.

The schedule that makes me raise an eyebrow is the one which also comes with behavior constraints. Like "I can text my boyfriend on his nights of the week". For me, this is a tall and vigorously waving red flag that someone is having me take action in service to their insecurity. I think that is a lousy reason to have a schedule, someone claiming my time for their own and deciding for me how I should behave while I'm on their dime. It's a slippery slope, allowing someone to dictate one of your behaviors.
It works both ways here. I was having a great deal of trouble with having both guys ask me on a daily basis "so what is the plan tonight? Who are you spending time with?" I felt like I was choosing between them every day, which I hated having to do. I felt put on the spot. SO, I requested a schedule. That way they each knew when I was available for them. I knew I was getting time with each of them, and that it was as even as possible. Truthfully, NRE was HUGE for me at the time, and in all fairness I would have chosen BF most nights. This way I was able to assure my husband that he had time set aside for him, and it was good for me to schedule that in so that I didnt get carried away. We have been doing it since the early Fall and I think it works great.

However your concerns are exactly what happens on the nights my husband and I have together. He expects me to not text BF with the brief exception of maybe saying good night if we havent already earlier in the evening (which I agree to, the purpose of the schedule is to have time together just for us). BF is very happy to comply with this. Knowing I am otherwise occupied allows him to focus on his own life and do things for himself also. We have also had an issue in the past if I had a "date" with BF on a day that was hubby's night (Mondays). For a few weeks Mondays were available for us to get together. If we had sex those days, my husband was upset about that because he felt like that was "his day". I told him we had scheduled evening time only, that he was at work during the day and my being with BF didnt detract from him at all. It was really none of his business. But he felt it diminished his "chances" at being sexual with me that night. Which it didnt, we could have, if I had wanted to. But in my mind his attitude had MUCH more to do with whether or not I was interested...

We have also had the issue of my husband magnanimously "giving" me one of his nights so that I could talk with BF and resolve an issue we were having. We had a huge fight a couple of months ago and really needed to get some resolution. I was a total wreck. I think he expected that we would then "make it up to him" by giving him extra time the next week, or by my giving him more snuggle time. Which I probably could have done. We did thank him for being understanding of what was going on between us and recognizing that our needs were important in that moment. But I really dont want these things to be used as a commodity, as a trade. If I need time with hubby, BF gives me that unconditionally, even if it was supposed to be "his night". He gives it gladly and says I love you, we will have another night. It is such a different experience...


Thanks Marcus!
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  #13  
Old 04-01-2014, 07:19 PM
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WE have a session tomorrow. I plan to bring this issue up, along with another one from two weeks ago and see whether we can come up with something.
I'm glad you're actively working toward solution. While you are still entertaining the notion that it is possible to reach a mutually amicable arrangement you are actually doing the work and doing all you reasonably can to come to it. This does two good things, in my opinion 1) exponentially increases the odds of working it out and 2) if you decide the relationship needs to be adjusted or abolished, you can feel clean that you did all you could.

So long as your happiness is the end goal to be achieved (one way or the other), I get the effort. I'm not personally interested in that kind of effort but I get that many people think it's worth it.

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But I have said that I would choose someone else to do individual therapy as I dont know that she really "gets me".
There really is a rhythm one finds with a therapist. It's kind of like chemistry in a relationship - it either works or it doesn't. I figure as long as I feel safe to be completely honest and they don't coddle me or work an agenda on me... we're off to a roaring start.

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Truthfully, NRE was HUGE for me at the time, and in all fairness I would have chosen BF most nights. This way I was able to assure my husband that he had time set aside for him, and it was good for me to schedule that in so that I didnt get carried away.
If I'm in a relationship and my partner gets a new lover I am going to assume that my time with them will take a sharp and noticeable decrease for a period of time. What I *don't* want is for them to force time with me when they'd rather be doing something else. This is true for all of my relationships... if there's something else you'd rather be doing then PLEASE go do that instead.

I get the concern though, an insecure partner won't be able to understand and will make it all about them. So, to avoid a whining meltdown you try to split your time arbitrarily down the middle. It's unfortunate, but I get it.

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I think he expected that we would then "make it up to him" by giving him extra time the next week, or by my giving him more snuggle time. Which I probably could have done... But I really dont want these things to be used as a commodity, as a trade.
You say this like this is something you've encountered before?
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  #14  
Old 04-01-2014, 09:31 PM
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But to rain on another's good fortune regardless of circumstance is not kind behavior.
And that reminds me of the time my MIL literally said "Well, if I can't be happy, I don't see why anyone else should be." Her. Exact. Words. I mean, I'd always known she felt that way, because she always acted sour about everything and anything good that other people had. But when she actually said it? I was still blown away.

Then she got cancer and died, and we all lived happily ever after.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:20 AM
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And that reminds me of the time my MIL literally said "Well, if I can't be happy, I don't see why anyone else should be." Her. Exact. Words. I mean, I'd always known she felt that way, because she always acted sour about everything and anything good that other people had. But when she actually said it? I was still blown away.

Then she got cancer and died, and we all lived happily ever after.
Oh wow! Yeah. Hrm....
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:13 PM
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Well I didnt make it to therapy last week, we had sitter issues so I let him go on his own. He didnt tell me much except that it was "heart-wrenching as usual". He does not like to share with me much about his process. He was struggling with something the other day and I called him on it, asked him to let me in and tell me what was the issue. He just said he didnt want to talk about it because I would "get mad". And he doesnt want me to be angry. He does not understand that sharing with me about his struggles, AND his progress helps our relationship grow because it increased our intimacy. We do have some really good talks where we feel as though we connect deeply. But I do wish he would tell me more about his personal journey.

His insecurities mean I also feel like I cant really share things going on with my BF and me. We are having struggles of our own, with him not having time to get together any longer. It is becoming a true LDR and I have never done that before and dont know how to adjust to it. It is becoming almost a 100/5 texting relationships, which is not really a relationship at all in my eyes. So much of our connection to each other is about our physical connection and our attraction. Very NRE, I am aware.... o.O I am worried that I will need to scale it back to a friendship level only just to keep from being devastated over and over when he cant make time for me. I really should be better able to handle my emotions, at least thats how I see it. But this is the first time I have really opened up my heart to another in a really long time and I have not really learned how to find my happy poly medium yet. I think I am expecting him to live up to mono standards (being available for me to chat daily, setting aside time for me, etc.). But perhaps I am just not wanting to speak my truth and set actual boundaries.
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  #17  
Old 04-06-2014, 05:27 PM
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He just said he didnt want to talk about it because I would "get mad". And he doesnt want me to be angry. He does not understand that sharing with me about his struggles, AND his progress helps our relationship grow because it increased our intimacy. We do have some really good talks where we feel as though we connect deeply. But I do wish he would tell me more about his personal journey.
It takes time. A lot of time. I've been working with Gralson on opening up for 7 years, and it's been slow going. I'm up against 35+ years of being taught that having feelings is weak and having needs is selfish. Those were formative years and now the patterns are set, so I don't think we'll ever fully "get there."

And to be fair, if you're like me, there have been times where I've gotten upset (interpreted as "mad," again by patterns set before I was even born, let alone in a relationship with him) by the things he did tell me.

You also need to learn to respect his process. Your way, that is talking everything through and finding solutions together, is only "one way" of resolving issues. His way is to work through it internally and come to you when it all makes sense. It took me a long time to learn to respect Gralson's personal space when he needed to just think something through without being pestered. Usually he's able to come to resolution on his own. Would I love it if that were different, if he involved me in his process? Sure. But it's his process and he needs to be safe to process his thoughts the way he prefers.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:38 PM
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To me the fact that he worries you will "get mad" if he shares what he is thinking or feeling tells me that he doesn't feel safe sharing with you. Why is that? Do you get angry when what he is trying to share doesn't align with your thoughts and feelings? How are you two supposed to reach a point of mutual understanding if you can't initially accept where he is coming from? How is your relationship supposed to grow if you can't acknowledge that his thoughts and feelings are just as valid as your own?

If you want someone to trust you with their heart and innermost thoughts, then you have to be trustworthy - that means listening with compassion and non-judgement, and then discussing calmly and objectively. It's a skill, like any other, that can be learned.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:47 PM
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To me the fact that he worries you will "get mad" if he shares what he is thinking or feeling tells me that he doesn't feel safe sharing with you. Why is that?
I believe I can answer that, for my own part, as Gralson shares the same fear.

It's true that I don't always agree with him. Of course it is, we're different people. It would be boring if we always agreed. But when he expresses himself, I never get "mad" (and I know this because I'm aware of my feelings) but I may get "upset" and Gralson doesn't have a healthy enough understanding emotions, in general, to know the difference. Growing up, his family was very non-emotive. He was permitted "anger" and "pride." All other feelings were considered "wrong." He spent the first 20-25 years of his life with those rules, so they're deeply ingrained.

So when he witnesses any emotional response, he immediately and on a base level associates it with one of these two emotions. Intellectually he knows there's more out there, but he doesn't have an understanding of them, doesn't have words to express them in himself, and even if you give him the word, he doesn't make the connection.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve. So if I'm upset, I express being upset. I don't bury it or hide it. If he tells me something and I'm hurt by it, he'll pick up on that, and he'll perceive it as anger. But as we discuss it, I'll spell it out, share with him what I'm feeling and why, he'll put his trust in me that I'm not manipulating him, and we work it out. But that first initial response is very scary for him.

That's just half of it. The other half is that his family also used a shit ton of guilt and manipulation tactics. So any time he has "feelings" to express, he comes to the table already feeling a ton of guilt and shame just for having needs and wanting to express them. Because any time he expressed those as a child, he was told they were wrong and he was made to feel like shit for being "selfish." So before my reaction is even in the picture, he's already dealing with guilt and shame from how he reacts to his own emotions, and guilt and shame he instinctively expects me to react with.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:12 PM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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I believe I can answer that, for my own part, as Gralson shares the same fear.

It's true that I don't always agree with him. Of course it is, we're different people. It would be boring if we always agreed. But when he expresses himself, I never get "mad" (and I know this because I'm aware of my feelings) but I may get "upset" and Gralson doesn't have a healthy enough understanding emotions, in general, to know the difference. Growing up, his family was very non-emotive. He was permitted "anger" and "pride." All other feelings were considered "wrong." He spent the first 20-25 years of his life with those rules, so they're deeply ingrained.

So when he witnesses any emotional response, he immediately and on a base level associates it with one of these two emotions. Intellectually he knows there's more out there, but he doesn't have an understanding of them, doesn't have words to express them in himself, and even if you give him the word, he doesn't make the connection.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve. So if I'm upset, I express being upset. I don't bury it or hide it. If he tells me something and I'm hurt by it, he'll pick up on that, and he'll perceive it as anger. But as we discuss it, I'll spell it out, share with him what I'm feeling and why, he'll put his trust in me that I'm not manipulating him, and we work it out. But that first initial response is very scary for him.

That's just half of it. The other half is that his family also used a shit ton of guilt and manipulation tactics. So any time he has "feelings" to express, he comes to the table already feeling a ton of guilt and shame just for having needs and wanting to express them. Because any time he expressed those as a child, he was told they were wrong and he was made to feel like shit for being "selfish." So before my reaction is even in the picture, he's already dealing with guilt and shame from how he reacts to his own emotions, and guilt and shame he instinctively expects me to react with.
Thanks for this. Yes, I agree my husband is like this also. If I raise my voice for any reason other than pure joy, even if I am just getting animated about a discussion we are having, he cringes and backs down, telling me not to be angry. When I am not angry at all. I do understand its a trigger for him, I think there was a lot of yelling in his home when he was a child, and he carries a lot from those experiences. Makes it challenging to have some adult conversations, but we continue to try, daily.
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Bear-Maybe poly/maybe mono straight man, still feeling it out
Armadillo (formerly known as BF) - currently out of the picture. Depression is evil...
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