Advice?

Echo5Tango

New member
My wife and I were asked to join a poly couple. We did, but things got messy at just over a year. Maybe my understanding was not quite right about what all of this is, or is not. We all loved each other, I was in-love with my secondary partner, but always kept loyalty to my wife. As things progressed early on, I found that I really identified with the values of the poly community. My wife went the other way, eventually ending the relationship with the couple. Come to find out, after 3 years together, and now 1 year apart, my secondary, was never poly, but was looking to replace her husband. I feel hurt, lied to, and betrayed. I'm trying to find a way to express myself and how hurt I am, but I am not "out" to anyone that can support me. I wrote something recently, but I was not allowed to post it to social media because my wife thought it would make her mother ask questions. I'm still looking for an emotional outlet and to process all this stuff, so here I am. This is what I wanted to post:

Titled: When I say “I love you”

I lost a friend recently.

They didn’t die, but they ended our friendship.

They were a friend that I said, I love you to.

In my grief, I reached out to some friends, and some colleagues for support.

I gained insight that left me with an understanding that I feel the need to explain.

When I say I love you. It means that I have planted a seed inside me with your name on it. Whether or not we talk, hang out, or have regular interactions, I take care of that seed, and let it grow. This provides me the ability to keep a relationship alive.

So when I say, I love you, it is because I keep you with me wherever I go.

When someone chooses to end that relationship, the flower grown from that seed is removed, and I am left with a painful hole where a beautiful flower used to be. My feelings then stay there, in that hole, until time heals that wound.

If I have ever said, I love you to you, this is what it means.

Thank you for letting me explain and process that with you.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle.

Let me repeat back what I understand in my own words to make sure I get it how you mean it. Blue just to visually block it off.

You and your wife were involved with a poly couple for 3 years. It's been over for a year now.
After this relationship, you learned some things.
  • You fell in love with your secondary partner and discovered you really identify with the values of the poly community.
  • Wife went the other way and found she didn't identify with poly/as poly and eventually broke up with the couple.
  • Because you are loyal to your wife, you ended it too even though you didn't want to break up with your then GF. ( I'm guessing here on that part.)
  • Your exGF? Even though it's already been broken up? You recently found out she was not actually poly. Just going along with it to use poly as a "soft exit" to leave/replace her husband.
So new waves of grief. You are super hurt. Esp over the exGF who you loved but who seemed to be using you. And you have nobody to talk to about your poly things because you weren't out to anyone as poly.

Is that it? If so I'm sorry this happened this way and I'm sorry you are hurting.

I'm also sorry you don't have anyone close to you that you can share your grief with to help lighten the load.

Galagirl :(
 

3908

Member
Echo5Tango,

welcome to the forum, I'm sorry you are struggling. I cant say I have experienced what you have shared, but I appreciate you sharing your letter.

this forum is really my only outlet for my interest in poly, very few around in my world get what im interested in, primary/secondary configuration. Heck, I would be happy with just cuddling with other women, but most around me are of a Christian mindset and poly and cuddling w other women other than my wife is is bad bad bad. so here i am.

there are some really knowledgeable and understanding poly folks out here, stick around for support if you like.

3908

hang in there...
 

Echo5Tango

New member
I'm sorry you struggle.

Let me repeat back what I understand in my own words to make sure I get it how you mean it. Blue just to visually block it off.

You and your wife were involved with a poly couple for 3 years. It's been over for a year now.
After this relationship, you learned some things.
  • You fell in love with your secondary partner and discovered you really identify with the values of the poly community.
  • Wife went the other way and found she didn't identify with poly/as poly and eventually broke up with the couple.
  • Because you are loyal to your wife, you ended it too even though you didn't want to break up with your then GF. ( I'm guessing here on that part.)
  • Your exGF? Even though it's already been broken up? You recently found out she was not actually poly. Just going along with it to use poly as a "soft exit" to leave/replace her husband.
So new waves of grief. You are super hurt. Esp over the exGF who you loved but who seemed to be using you. And you have nobody to talk to about your poly things because you weren't out to anyone as poly.

Is that it? If so I'm sorry this happened this way and I'm sorry you are hurting.

I'm also sorry you don't have anyone close to you that you can share your grief with to help lighten the load.

Galagirl :(
WOW. that was a perfect summation. I think that is the first time I have ever felt seen or heard since this all kicked off. From my eyes and perspective, you hit the nail on the head. THANK YOU!
 

Echo5Tango

New member
Echo5Tango,

welcome to the forum, I'm sorry you are struggling. I cant say I have experienced what you have shared, but I appreciate you sharing your letter.

this forum is really my only outlet for my interest in poly, very few around in my world get what im interested in, primary/secondary configuration. Heck, I would be happy with just cuddling with other women, but most around me are of a Christian mindset and poly and cuddling w other women other than my wife is is bad bad bad. so here i am.

there are some really knowledgeable and understanding poly folks out here, stick around for support if you like.

3908

hang in there...
I read your signature line, so as for "alternate affection". When you find someone you are interested in and need to stay within the boundaries of your relationship, try "synchronized breathing" while in a tight hug. It feels amazing.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
You are most welcome.

I know I'm just some internet stranger, but yes. I do see and hear your struggle with all this grief.

It's ok to be a grieving person and be sad about how all this turned out. I can imagine it was NOT what you had hoped for.

It's ok to tell your story here and if you want a blog thread you can make one in that area.

I wish you healing over time. Please do your self care in the mean while. Regular schedule for sleep, meals, exercise, etc. Sometimes it helps to have those areas of life stable while THIS area of life is wobbly. If you need a poly friendly counselor, do think about it.

Is wife at all willing to talk to you? Or does she not want to revisit all that after closing the door on the relationship?

Hang in there!
Galagirl
 

Echo5Tango

New member
You are most welcome.

I know I'm just some internet stranger, but yes. I do see and hear your struggle with all this grief.

It's ok to be a grieving person and be sad about how all this turned out. I can imagine it was NOT what you had hoped for.

It's ok to tell your story here and if you want a blog thread you can make one in that area.

I wish you healing over time. Please do your self care in the mean while. Regular schedule for sleep, meals, exercise, etc. Sometimes it helps to have those areas of life stable while THIS area of life is wobbly. If you need a poly friendly counselor, do think about it.

Is wife at all willing to talk to you? Or does she not want to revisit all that after closing the door on the relationship?

Hang in there!
Galagirl
It would be nice to have a poly friendly counselor, but that is difficult as I am a therapist myself and the risk to me professionally is significant. At this time, my wife is not willing to revisit any other relationship after closing that door.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
It's too bad you and wife decided you had to date as a unit. Many poly couples date independently, so that all the relationships they have can run their course on their own merits, and not be ended prematurely because the wife of a married couple decides she doesn't like/love/lust for the husband in the other couple, and therefore her own husband, who still does love the other woman, is just shit out of luck.

To me, this is an important lesson to be learned.

Your former gf may not have consciously known she was using "polyamory" as a cover for a "soft exit" from her marriage. Relationships can be tricky. Did that couple split up?
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I had a couple more thoughts. Are you saying that, amongst your counselor peers, no one dares ever get counseling themselves, for fear someone would spill the tea, against patient/counselor privacy boundaries, and your personal choices on love relationships would get out? Is that really how this works??? That's pretty horrifying. So, no counselors can ever get counseling when they need it? Really? Y'all just have to keep being fucked up in the head? Don't all humans deserve to have their psychological/emotional issues and choices kept private by their shrink?

Furthermore, is polyamory considered so terrible amongst your counselor peers that you'd be somehow punished for having tried a form of it? Why? Maybe you could be a pioneer. Polyamory is becoming more and more popular.

Maybe you should study poly more, since you experienced it (somewhat... not a great form of it). I recommend the book Opening Up, for starters. I think all counselors should be more educated on this topic. I was lucky enough to have a counselor back in 2000-2003 who was savvy about open relationships, as well as LGBTQ+ issues and other alternative non-hetero, non-mono issues. She impacted my life so positively.

You can get that book, and others about poly (Sex at Dawn is also good) all secretively on the DL, from Amazon, so your mono/hetero buddies don't find out and start to gossip.

Sigh...
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
At this time, my wife is not willing to revisit any other relationship after closing that door.

I meant is your wife willing to talk to you about what happened so you get to air out some with a safe person? Not if wife was willing to poly again. Or does she just not want to talk about it at all?

It would be nice to have a poly friendly counselor, but that is difficult as I am a therapist myself and the risk to me professionally is significant.

Even seeking online counseling from someone not in your practice or in your professional circle? Patient confidentiality doesn't extend to you?




However you choose to process your grief, I hope you do find healing in time.

Galagirl
 

Echo5Tango

New member
I had a couple more thoughts. Are you saying that, amongst your counselor peers, no one dares ever get counseling themselves, for fear someone would spill the tea, against patient/counselor privacy boundaries, and your personal choices on love relationships would get out? Is that really how this works??? That's pretty horrifying. So, no counselors can ever get counseling when they need it? Really? Y'all just have to keep being fucked up in the head? Don't all humans deserve to have their psychological/emotional issues and choices kept private by their shrink?

Furthermore, is polyamory considered so terrible amongst your counselor peers that you'd be somehow punished for having tried a form of it? Why? Maybe you could be a pioneer. Polyamory is becoming more and more popular.

Maybe you should study poly more, since you experienced it (somewhat... not a great form of it). I recommend the book Opening Up, for starters. I think all counselors should be more educated on this topic. I was lucky enough to have a counselor back in 2000-2003 who was savvy about open relationships, as well as LGBTQ+ issues and other alternative non-hetero, non-mono issues. She impacted my life so positively.

You can get that book, and others about poly (Sex at Dawn is also good) all secretively on the DL, from Amazon, so your mono/hetero buddies don't find out and start to gossip.

Sigh...
Most therapists get therapy at some point, and of course confidentiality and privacy come into play, but there are some extenuating circumstances, and personal experiences that make it risky for me. When I go to therapy it is usually to gain insight into something I am feeling, not processing intense emotions. I practice everything I preach, so I am usually very good with my coping skills, but this is a new place for me to be. My colleagues usually send the non-mono cases to me cause they know “I have friends” like that. They just don’t know it is me.
 

Echo5Tango

New member
I meant is your wife willing to talk to you about what happened so you get to air out some with a safe person? Not if wife was willing to poly again. Or does she just not want to talk about it at all?



Even seeking online counseling from someone not in your practice or in your professional circle? Patient confidentiality doesn't extend to you?




However you choose to process your grief, I hope you do find healing in time.

Galagirl
My wife says she is willing to talk, but she feels hurt by the relationship and can’t engage with me like that at this point. Yes, privacy and confidentiality apply, but it is more complicated than that. I am looking at the resources you provided now. Thank you for that.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Greetings Echo5Tango,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

I'm very sorry you have had such a painful experience, in your first relationship with another poly couple. It sounds like your secondary was what we sometimes call a "cowgirl" -- that is, she was pretending at poly so that she could rope a foal out of the herd. Totally unfair to you. I hope that in (reading and) posting on these boards, you can get some cathartic relief. Hang in there ...

Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter"

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
My wife says she is willing to talk, but she feels hurt by the relationship and can’t engage with me like that at this point. Yes, privacy and confidentiality apply, but it is more complicated than that. I am looking at the resources you provided now. Thank you for that.
Another way to look at it: the quad with your friends was not "A relationship." It was several relationships stacked up. 4 romantic relationships, and then 2 platonic ones. (I assume they were platonic, if everyone was straight. I could be wrong.)

You + wife
Other woman + her husband
Your wife + the other guy
You + the other woman
Woman + woman
Guy + guy

6 relationships. And each dyad had its own dynamic. And everything was left unresolved, with resentment all around, it seems.

Therefore, your wife broke up with her bf, lost those romantic/sexual feelings- if she ever had them, if he ever did. Sometimes people form "quads," where 2 people from different couples are really into each other, and the remaining 2 spouses just kinda go along to get along. They try to have sex with each other, and "try to love" each other, just because their own spouses are having a romantic/fully sexual relationship with each other, but then everyone thinks their marriages "must come first," so they try to do this swap thing, when the hearts and genitals of 2 people are not really into it. Does this sound familiar at all?

And then, it seems, whether they were into it at first or not, your wife and the other guy broke up. And everyone assumed that meant that you and the other woman "had to" break up as well. That's sad.

This is not how healthy polyamory works! I just thought you should know that, especially since you are seen as the "poly expert" in your group of therapist peers. You may be counseling struggling people who are having issues with "poly" or "open relationships," or even just plain old affairs, wrong, just based on your own assumptions, mistakes and unresolved pain and regret. If you can't even talk this through with your wife, how do you claim the mantle or "poly expert" in your field?
 

Echo5Tango

New member
Another way to look at it: the quad with your friends was not "A relationship." It was several relationships stacked up. 4 romantic relationships, and then 2 platonic ones. (I assume they were platonic, if everyone was straight. I could be wrong.)

You + wife
Other woman + her husband
Your wife + the other guy
You + the other woman
Woman + woman
Guy + guy

6 relationships. And each dyad had its own dynamic. And everything was left unresolved, with resentment all around, it seems.

Therefore, your wife broke up with her bf, lost those romantic/sexual feelings- if she ever had them, if he ever did. Sometimes people form "quads," where 2 people from different couples are really into each other, and the remaining 2 spouses just kinda go along to get along. They try to have sex with each other, and "try to love" each other, just because their own spouses are having a romantic/fully sexual relationship with each other, but then everyone thinks their marriages "must come first," so they try to do this swap thing, when the hearts and genitals of 2 people are not really into it. Does this sound familiar at all?

And then, it seems, whether they were into it at first or not, your wife and the other guy broke up. And everyone assumed that meant that you and the other woman "had to" break up as well. That's sad.

This is not how healthy polyamory works! I just thought you should know that, especially since you are seen as the "poly expert" in your group of therapist peers. You may be counseling struggling people who are having issues with "poly" or "open relationships," or even just plain old affairs, wrong, just based on your own assumptions, mistakes and unresolved pain and regret. If you can't even talk this through with your wife, how do you claim the mantle or "poly expert" in your field?
I don't claim the title of expert, just safe person to talk to. When anyone in an "alternate" lifestyle comes to me from a colleague, I let the client tell me what their boundaries are. I would never presume to have an answer or make an assumption. Personally and professionally, I take the stance of the latin derivative, poly, meaning many. Which to me means it can look like a lot of different things, right and wrong are social constructs. Right is successful (definitions vary), honorable, and respectful. Wrong is the opposite.
As for "can't even", every therapist knows not to do therapy with their friends or family. We can't keep the same professional boundaries or ensure bias is out of the communication.
 

Echo5Tango

New member
Greetings Echo5Tango,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

I'm very sorry you have had such a painful experience, in your first relationship with another poly couple. It sounds like your secondary was what we sometimes call a "cowgirl" -- that is, she was pretending at poly so that she could rope a foal out of the herd. Totally unfair to you. I hope that in (reading and) posting on these boards, you can get some cathartic relief. Hang in there ...

Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter"

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
The members here have helped me already. Just to be heard provides me with significant relief. Thank you for the welcome.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
My wife says she is willing to talk, but she feels hurt by the relationship and can’t engage with me like that at this point.

Fair enough. One cannot expect a spouse to be one's everything. Esp if what happened (the break up) affected wife too and she has to do their own healing first. One cannot pour from an empty cup.

You might be left with telling your story here for now since you don't have anyone else close around you.

I am looking at the resources you provided now. Thank you for that.

You are welcome.

Galagirl
 
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