Confusion About Emotional Detachment

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Oh, I missed a few posts.

By "ballistic" you mean shouting. Not yelling, but shouting. Which sound the same to me. Anyway....

Another reason people shout at each other is to be so forceful and intimidating, the other person shuts up. It's called being a bully. If you two regularly shout at each other in an attempt to "win" an argument, you obviously have some work to do.

You may or may not be truly angry/upset/afraid when you shout. You may just want to feel big and intimidating, and hope to "win" by sheer force and unpleasant noise.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thank you for more info.

He didn't understand why I would even consider putting in place a boundary for myself based on something which may, or may not, happen.

Because you want to feel safe/comfortable around him if/when it does happen?

He can go get all the bruises he wants during sex with other people. You prefer not to look at them.

Where is problem? He isn't being restricted any. You are taking care of you and what you need.

I told him about the boundary, because I thought it would appear weird if I kept avoiding looking at him if I saw a bruise, and he didn't know why I was avoiding him.

Well, now he knows. You prefer not to look at his naked body when there's sex bruises on it from other people. So... he can expect to not share sex with you while he heals. Is that how you meant it?

As for it seeming weird if you aren't looking at him... how about you let him worry about it and ASK you? Rather than you "pre-managing" so much stuff for him? For all you know, he wouldn't notice. And if he does and it bugs him? He can ask and bring it up.

I think you could tend to "your stuff."

He could tend to "his stuff."

And both of you tend to "our stuff" -- that is reasonable and rational. It cannot ALL be your stuff.

As to my internal/inner life, are you referring the life inside my head, or how I conduct my life when he's not around?

The life inside your head.

As to the 'selective hearing', I think he does. Or at least thinks my actions towards him (asking for sex, kissing him, cooking dinner, cuddling up in bed) makes him think I'm back to before I detached from him. I think I can still do those things without being as emotionally attached as when we first got married, but he may think otherwise.

So for you, this is a major turning point in your inner life -- thinking of "husband" differently so you can deal with this way of doing poly with our getting emotionally distraught. Maybe thinking of him more like "nesting partner."

To him, it looks the same on the outsides -- asking for sex, kissing, dinner, cuddles, etc.

So... I ask again. Why do you need to keep telling him things are different for you in your inner life if all it does is rock the boat? He doesn't sound like he's super vested in that area. His definition is more about you being "his rock" and these behaviors work that way for him. Right?

I wonder if part of this detachment is you broadening your social circle. Not having DAG be your EVERYTHING or his circle be your circle. Just as you want him to process some of his stuff with others and not you, it could be the same for you. Process some of your stuff with others and not DAG.

Respecting my boundaries. The bruising one is the only one he's had an issue with. The other, which has to do with his flirting, I have not discussed with him, because of his reaction to the bruising boundary. The last boundary we talked about, which is I will not go shopping with him more than 4 hours during weekends, is still in place. He's OK with that one.

I would put that he doesn't HAVE to be ok with your boundaries. They are not for him. They are for YOU, to keep YOU safe.

If you don't want to interact with DAG when he has a bunch of bruises because you find them triggering? Then don't. Wait for them to heal. You aren't stopping him from enjoying sex bruises any. You are doing what you need to do.

If you don't want to be around watching PDA, flirting whatever? You can leave the room. You are not obligated to watch DAG in flirt mode. (Does he want you to be there? I'm guessing a bit here.)

If you are done shopping in 4 hours and he wants to shop some more? Fine. You go home. He shops some more. Each one of you is responsible for your own transportation home.

A couple is ALSO two individuals. They did not become the PeopleBlob joined at the hip when they become a couple. You both may have to do some detangling.

We have been round and round with this one. When this situation started last year, I didn't want to know anything about it, other than when he got to his destination safely, and when he was coming home. His case for wanting to talk to me about his relationship status was that he didn't have anyone else to talk to about it (yes he did, and I named names).

Then you could have said "No, thanks. I only want to know this much at this time. You can talk to others." And hold the line.

He also felt he was living a secret life if he was unable to talk to me.

It's not a secret life. You know he's dating other people, you consent to be in polyship with him.

He wasn't expecting advice (I'll be damned if I was going to give it to him anyway), but at least a sympathetic ear. After a few shouting matches, he withdrew his argument, and will not talk to me about his relationships with Bruiser and Fisticuffs, other than to say they are 'strained'.

He wants you to be sympathetic ear and you say you prefer not to be involved like that? Rather than respect your limit and go find someone else for "sympathetic ear" he shouts and tantrums?

What kind of business is that? It takes two to argue and shout. I think you could learn to say "No, thank you. Please respect my limit on this." and walk away from the room.

Whatever DAG feels about it? Those are his feelings to manage. It's not your job.


His POV is 'it is what it is, I did what I wanted'. He's been pretty clear that he's not going to change his behaviors regarding sex.

Hence me developing boundaries, detachment, and any other positive mechanism (like talking to my friends and family about my relationship with DAG) to help me be happy in my life. It's actually worked. I feel I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. Obviously, there is a lot of work I still need to accomplish, but I'm getting there.

So if detaching works for you, what's his problem with how you cope? You can say "It is what it is. I do what I want to do about coping."

It sounds like DAG himself needs to detach a little bit. Maybe he was hoping for Kitchen Table Poly before, and that's just not your cup of tea. And you prefer very separate poly instead.

Galagirl
 
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Magdlyn

Well-known member
Back when I was married, my ex h and I had a marriage that was more traditional, MF, "straight," mono. We are older, we kept to some of the old ways, despite being rebels for our time in many ways.

I remember at one time, he had a job offer about 100 miles away, and while considering if we should all make the move, he was hired to work there on a probationary basis. It lasted 3 months. The company got him a hotel room. He only came home on weekends. (We had 3 young children at the time.) It was a huge change for us. I found that I needed to "detach" to a degree, to be able to handle the loss of his presence, help, etc.

For some reason I told him I'd had to detach to be able to handle it. He did get all perturbed about it too. Like he'd lost my love. Weird. I meant I had to toughen up and learn to be more independent, make choices without him, find other people to talk to, etc. I still loved him just as much.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
Thank you for more info.



Because you want to feel safe/comfortable around him if/when it does happen?

He can go get all the bruises he wants during sex with other people. You prefer not to look at them.

Where is problem? He isn't being restricted any. You are taking care of you and what you need.



Well, now he knows. You prefer not to look at his naked body when there's sex bruises on it from other people. So... he can expect to not share sex with you while he heals. Is that how you meant it?

As for it seeming weird if you aren't looking at him... how about you let him worry about it and ASK you? Rather than you "pre-managing" so much stuff for him? For all you know, he wouldn't notice. And if he does and it bugs him? He can ask and bring it up.

I think you could tend to "your stuff."

He could tend to "his stuff."

And both of you tend to "our stuff" -- that is reasonable and rational. It cannot ALL be your stuff.



The life inside your head.



So for you, this is a major turning point in your inner life -- thinking of "husband" differently so you can deal with this way of doing poly with our getting emotionally distraught. Maybe thinking of him more like "nesting partner."

To him, it looks the same on the outsides -- asking for sex, kissing, dinner, cuddles, etc.

So... I ask again. Why do you need to keep telling him things are different for you in your inner life if all it does is rock the boat? He doesn't sound like he's super vested in that area. His definition is more about you being "his rock" and these behaviors work that way for him. Right?

I wonder if part of this detachment is you broadening your social circle. Not having DAG be your EVERYTHING or his circle be your circle. Just as you want him to process some of his stuff with others and not you, it could be the same for you. Process some of your stuff with others and not DAG.



I would put that he doesn't HAVE to be ok with your boundaries. They are not for him. They are for YOU, to keep YOU safe.

If you don't want to interact with DAG when he has a bunch of bruises because you find them triggering? Then don't. Wait for them to heal. You aren't stopping him from enjoying sex bruises any. You are doing what you need to do.

If you don't want to be around watching PDA, flirting whatever? You can leave the room. You are not obligated to watch DAG in flirt mode. (Does he want you to be there? I'm guessing a bit here.)

If you are done shopping in 4 hours and he wants to shop some more? Fine. You go home. He shops some more. Each one of you is responsible for your own transportation home.

A couple is ALSO two individuals. They did not become the PeopleBlob joined at the hip when they become a couple. You both may have to do some detangling.



Then you could have said "No, thanks. I only want to know this much at this time. You can talk to others." And hold the line.



It's not a secret life. You know he's dating other people, you consent to be in polyship with him.



He wants you to be sympathetic ear and you say you prefer not to be involved like that? Rather than respect your limit and go find someone else for "sympathetic ear" he shouts and tantrums?

What kind of business is that? It takes two to argue and shout. I think you could learn to say "No, thank you. Please respect my limit on this." and walk away from the room.

Whatever DAG feels about it? Those are his feelings to manage. It's not your job.




So if detaching works for you, what's his problem with how you cope? You can say "It is what it is. I do what I want to do about coping."

It sounds like DAG himself needs to detach a little bit. Maybe he was hoping for Kitchen Table Poly before, and that's just not your cup of tea. And you prefer very separate poly instead.

Galagirl
I think what you're forgetting GG, is that the OP has to remain attractive to DAG as a partner. So if he just maintains his boundaries, DAG might decide that actually, I want a more prolific shopper. Or I want someone who can handle me speaking about other people in my life. The OP maintaining his boundaries might expedite DAG'S realization that they are incompatible and cause DAG to free himself from the relationship. That's not what the OP wants.
 

FallenAngelina

Active member
The OP maintaining his boundaries might expedite DAG'S realization that they are incompatible and cause DAG to free himself from the relationship. That's not what the OP wants.
This is at the center of many unhappy/toxic situations. One person accommodates the other (reluctant to stand by his boundaries or doesn't even know what his boundaries are to begin with) out of fear that the other person would leave. Accommodating people often don't even know that they are doing it, but they sure do feel the anxiety of it. Healthy adaptation to a partner's desires feels interesting and talking about it together feels nourishing. Accommodating is full of anxious moments, uncertainty and like you're walking on eggshells.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think what you're forgetting GG, is that the OP has to remain attractive to DAG as a partner. So if he just maintains his boundaries, DAG might decide that actually, I want a more prolific shopper. Or I want someone who can handle me speaking about other people in my life. The OP maintaining his boundaries might expedite DAG'S realization that they are incompatible and cause DAG to free himself from the relationship. That's not what the OP wants.

Possible. Or it could go the other way. Ostrich realizes they are not compatible any more like this because Ostrich doesn't feel like bending into pretzels as much any more. Ostrich ends the relationship.

Or it could bring about needed changes here were BOTH sides are being more authentic and work something out so they can continue together.

To me this reads like "storming" after a big change and trying to figure out where the balance lies in order to continue together or deciding the change has been too much to bridge or people want different things.

Ostrich is figuring out how to de-escalate /detach, be less dependent on DAG. Learning that they can have their own friends, their own other relationships, etc. Learning to have their own boundaries and not just go along with whatever. In general, I think that's healthier than doing whatever DAG says just cuz.

Ostrich, having your own personal boundaries and detaching and learning not to be dependent on DAG so much? That's not betraying DAG. That's just being your own person. A healthier one.

Galagirl
 

Ostrich

Member
SPA and GG, you both hit on it pretty much. While we may not have some things in common regarding the direction of our relationship, I don't want to leave him because he has all of the basic pluses to me. He is a stable person. Has a job, very smart, not egotistical or overly narcissistic. Not judgemental. Very supportive of what I want to do with my life (even if it is not clear what I want to do). Throw in good looking, and you have DAG. His negatives do not outweigh the positives. It is up to me to figure out what I am willing to deal with regarding his negative traits. I feel that we are still in the 'storming' phase of our relationship. I'd love to get to 'norming', but that may be awhile.

I have a much better idea about what I don't want out of this relationship and of life, than I do about what I want. At least that's something to work with.

SPA and GG, we have briefly discussed separation twice. Neither of us want to really pursue that option. I feel this is still a viable, loving relationship, which has the opportunity to grow. It needs more clarity on what we each want (especially my wants).

GG, to your point about betrayal. I think that's what DAG feels. I keep telling him I love him (love has no limits, so how do you quantify how much you love someone - almost a direct quote from DAG), which I truly do. I show my love by doing things for him, like mowing the yard, doing laundry, taking care of the dogs and other day-to-day items which he doesn't like to do and being supportive of his explorations. He understands that's my love language, but I think he expects more. I know these are basic life activities, but there are those out there who don't even have that.

I have been doing some thinking over the weekend about what someone else posted regarding the basis of my anger.

Here it is: I have been insecure about my place in his life (less so now). Even though he came back to me every time he was out with his paramours, I still thought that one day, he wouldn't. Looking back at the first few months of his exploration with Bruiser and Fisticuffs, I felt abandoned. I couldn't even name this feeling, because I've never felt that situation before. The insecurity, I could name. Abandonment, not so much. It's been tough getting in touch with some of what I consider to be basic emotions. It has gotten much, much better. I am much more supportive of his exploration because now I have a much better idea about what he wants, and what I want as far as boundaries. He has been very clear about how he feels about me (he loves me). We've had several conversations about that. He's very gregarious, so he needs several friends around him. He's not a one-night-stand kind of guy, so he starts off with being friends. If sex happens, fine. If not, no big deal, but at least he's got a good friend who likes him as him.

Again, last night, he spent one-on-one with our friend in the guest bedroom, and then came to bed with me. I do not know if they had sex, but I didn't care if that happened. I am not angry, because I have worked on my insecurities (lots more work to do, though) and feel more comfortable with his romantic explorations, as he and I move forward.

I know my happiness does not depend on his happiness with Bruiser and Fisticuffs, at least from a rational standpoint. From an emotional standpoint, I am glad those relationships are strained, because that helps me deal with the past, and do an autopsy about how that situation came about. There are so many lessons to be learned from what happened, and I need to sift through the past just so I don't miss any of those teachable moments.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Sounds like overall things are improving between you and DAG, sounds like the two of you have a lot going for you as a couple, and it would be worth it to keep on trying to work things out with each other, little by little. I think DAG will make peace with your emotional detachment eventually.
 

Ostrich

Member
GG, there are a couple of things I missed in your extended post above
The life inside your head.
It has been very chaotic, and I try to find stuff I like to do to calm myself. Cooking and yard work have been my therapy. Video games have helped as well, although I try not to rely on that, as I can get addicted to playing. Eight hours in one sitting is not unheard of in my life. Fisticuffs asked a question to a group of us once. It was 'What's the most toxic thing you bring to a relationship'. My reply was 'My imagination'. The marriage counselor has pointed out some negative thought patterns which needs to be addressed. Now that I am aware of those, it's become easier to address the chaos. That's all I'm going to say on that one.

So... I ask again. Why do you need to keep telling him things are different for you in your inner life if all it does is rock the boat? He doesn't sound like he's super vested in that area. His definition is more about you being "his rock" and these behaviors work that way for him. Right?

I wonder if part of this detachment is you broadening your social circle. Not having DAG be your EVERYTHING or his circle be your circle. Just as you want him to process some of his stuff with others and not you, it could be the same for you. Process some of your stuff with others and not DAG.
I feel I need to tell him, to be in line with 'open and honest' relationship. I see your point about telling him everything about my boundaries. I agree with your thoughts on 'why tell him, if it doesn't affect how I show him love outside of my head'.

To the second part of that, I do not have a lot of friends. On purpose. However, I have been able to solidify and create more meaningful relationships with the friends I have. I've talk to them about my situation. Two of my friends, who started off as a couple, and now in a triad themselves, have been extremely helpful and supportive of me. I feel much more comfortable in sharing my life will my small circle of friends, than I have in the past. All good stuff!

It sounds like DAG himself needs to detach a little bit. Maybe he was hoping for Kitchen Table Poly before, and that's just not your cup of tea. And you prefer very separate poly instead.

Maybe. I'm just letting him love me in his own way, no matter what that looks like. He most definitely wanted kitchen table poly in the beginning. He would get upset (no yelling) when I would tell him I didn't want to come with him to Bruiser and Fisticuffs house for a get together, or not having anything to do with them at all. He said once 'They will stop inviting you if you continue to say no'. I said 'So?' He was surprised (not in a good way) by that answer. He backed off after that, hasn't ask me to do anything towards Bruiser and Fisticuffs since. I think he's accepted the fact the best case scenario is a parallel poly situation.

This is at the center of many unhappy/toxic situations. One person accommodates the other (reluctant to stand by his boundaries or doesn't even know what his boundaries are to begin with) out of fear that the other person would leave. Accommodating people often don't even know that they are doing it, but they sure do feel the anxiety of it. Healthy adaptation to a partner's desires feels interesting and talking about it together feels nourishing. Accommodating is full of anxious moments, uncertainty and like you're walking on eggshells.

Just to be clear, neither of us wants the relationship to end. However, I have accepted the fact that it could possibly end, based on our different wants. My want is that we stay together, and have our relationship evolve over time. I just need to work on my comprehension of communications with DAG, so the evolution can occur without me being too anxious. I understand that it will still be a rocky road, but I am working on the comprehension part to better understand DAG.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thanks for more info.

GG, to your point about betrayal. I think that's what DAG feels. I keep telling him I love him (love has no limits, so how do you quantify how much you love someone - almost a direct quote from DAG), which I truly do. I show my love by doing things for him, like mowing the yard, doing laundry, taking care of the dogs and other day-to-day items which he doesn't like to do and being supportive of his explorations. He understands that's my love language, but I think he expects more. I know these are basic life activities, but there are those out there who don't even have that.

You sharing info about how you have to adjust to this whole poly thing and needing to practice more detachment so you aren't all up in his stuff and him having to update his thinking/expectations in light of new information is not you betraying him.

What does he expect now? What did he used to expect?

I feel I need to tell him, to be in line with 'open and honest' relationship. I see your point about telling him everything about my boundaries. I agree with your thoughts on 'why tell him, if it doesn't affect how I show him love outside of my head'.

So... you come to "open and honest" relationship like a faucet? Everything comes out all the time? And if you are NOT telling everything, then it's not being honest?

I think it is ok to keep some things to yourself. Not because you are doing anything hinky or untoward but because you are allowed to have some personal privacy. And if the other person wants to know, they can ask. And even then, you can choose to share the info or choose not to.

Some people are just not "processors." They don't like doing "all that talking" or "all that emotion stuff." And some people want to be, but aren't actually good at it. Or it could be a questions of "not at this time." Because when there are lots of issues, one can go into overload if one tries to address ALL of them at the same time. It's ok to postpone some and pace it out.

Maybe something to think on.

To the second part of that, I do not have a lot of friends. On purpose. However, I have been able to solidify and create more meaningful relationships with the friends I have.

Glad to hear you are building strong friend support.

He most definitely wanted kitchen table poly in the beginning. He would get upset (no yelling) when I would tell him I didn't want to come with him to Bruiser and Fisticuffs house for a get together, or not having anything to do with them at all. He said once 'They will stop inviting you if you continue to say no'. I said 'So?' He was surprised (not in a good way) by that answer. He backed off after that, hasn't ask me to do anything towards Bruiser and Fisticuffs since. I think he's accepted the fact the best case scenario is a parallel poly situation.

Did DAG assume a lot in the past? That you will go along with whatever? And this is one of the adjustments he's had to make? That you are a couple, but are NOT joined at the hip?

To me it's normal to check in with my spouse and say "X invited me/us to do Y. Are you interested?" and depending on whether or not he is interested, spouse will say "Yes" or "No" and it's not a huge deal. It works the other way as well.

I know my happiness does not depend on his happiness with Bruiser and Fisticuffs, at least from a rational standpoint. From an emotional standpoint, I am glad those relationships are strained, because that helps me deal with the past, and do an autopsy about how that situation came about. There are so many lessons to be learned from what happened, and I need to sift through the past just so I don't miss any of those teachable moments.

TBH? I think some of it was NRE crazy, poly hell crazy, communication issues, and both sides needing to learn to deal with all that. Plus maybe DAG assuming that you are always going to be his rock "no matter what" and him and you both realizing "Wait a minute. Yeah, his rock, but not at the expense of Ostrich's own well being. There's a limit."

Galagirl
 

Ostrich

Member
GG,
Did DAG assume a lot in the past? That you will go along with whatever? And this is one of the adjustments he's had to make? That you are a couple, but are NOT joined at the hip?

Yes, he did assume a lot. For instance, B and F invited DAG over for Thanksgiving last year, with an extended invite to me. DAG accepted without even talking about it with me. When I said I didn't want to go, he was visibly upset. He wanted us to go as a couple, because to him, couples stay together to attend any holiday party. No they do not. I went anyway, put on a positive attitude, and actually enjoyed myself. That's when he started asking me if I wanted to attend their parties/dinner/get togethers. I got my point across.

TBH? I think some of it was NRE crazy, poly hell crazy, communication issues, and both sides needing to learn to deal with all that. Plus maybe DAG assuming that you are always going to be his rock "no matter what" and him and you both realizing "Wait a minute. Yeah, his rock, but not at the expense of Ostrich's own well being. There's a limit."
OMG, His NRE drove me nuts. His PDA with both Bruiser and Fisticuffs was especially jarring, as they did things in front of me that I didn't expect DAG to do in public. Next time I'm in public with DAG, I'll stick my hand down his pants, and see what happens.

Towards poly hell. I know there are a lot of feel good stories on this board about successful poly relationships. I applaud those folks for navigating through life, exploring their wants and taking care of any jealousies, enviousness and communications issues with their S/Os, and making it work. I feel a little odd in airing my path in this poly relationship, because I feel my path has been a story of what-not-to-do, and by nature, is in a negative light. I want to be uplifting and give folks kudos for following their dreams, and being their true selves. Hopefully, my story provides a directory of pit falls to avoid.

Your last sentence in the quote, in general, describes our current situation, so to me, it's a good starting point to continuing any explorations in poly relationships.
 

Ostrich

Member
Sounds like overall things are improving between you and DAG, sounds like the two of you have a lot going for you as a couple, and it would be worth it to keep on trying to work things out with each other, little by little. I think DAG will make peace with your emotional detachment eventually.
He seems to be cool with it now, as he sees that my outward approach to him has not changed. I just have him in a different state emotionally and mentally than I had him when we got married.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Glad to hear that things are continuing to improve. And it is not a bad thing if you post about the difficulties, the, as you say, what-not-to-do. Honestly that's the most common kind of post this forum gets ... people often come here because they're struggling and need help. If they're doing great, and have no problems, they often don't feel the need to come here, they're plenty busy with other things and don't need to add a forum to their list of things to do. And that's okay, because if one person posts about their challenges and gets advice, others who follow can read that thread, and benefit from that advice, as well as from knowing they're not alone. If you'll keep posting here, others who come here and read of your story will be able to identify with you, and benefit from the insights that come from your threads. I, for one, appreciate your contribution!
 

Ostrich

Member
Glad to hear that things are continuing to improve. And it is not a bad thing if you post about the difficulties, the, as you say, what-not-to-do. Honestly that's the most common kind of post this forum gets ... people often come here because they're struggling and need help. If they're doing great, and have no problems, they often don't feel the need to come here, they're plenty busy with other things and don't need to add a forum to their list of things to do. And that's okay, because if one person posts about their challenges and gets advice, others who follow can read that thread, and benefit from that advice, as well as from knowing they're not alone. If you'll keep posting here, others who come here and read of your story will be able to identify with you, and benefit from the insights that come from your threads. I, for one, appreciate your contribution!
And I really appreciate the feedback! Everyone who has posted on my threads has been full of good advice and guidance. Hopefully, this will be like learning out to ride a bike. Once I get through the practice phase, I'll be able to navigate better. Although life is constant practice. You just gotta learn from it. I'll definitely post updates, as I want to share more. I feel better equipped to deal with whatever comes down the road.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Yeah, poly can be a steep learning curve. Which is just one of the reasons why I think it's important to have a poly community to turn to. I actually see this forum as a kind of support group, much of the time. People who encourage you to hang in there during those difficult early stages, give you tips and just in general let you know you're not alone. I'm glad to hear it's helping!
 
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