Don't know what to do (long)

loserville

New member
Hey all,

I've lurked here for years now and only just joined up because I really need advice that doesn't come in the form of 'leave him!' just because people don't get how poly works.

Anyway, husband and I have been together for sixteen years and married for twelve and we've always been open to sleeping with others. In 2009, we separated for a while but got back together and, one of the things I asked for then was to be open to the idea of having relationships with others instead of running on our old rule of no emotional connection. Not that I wanted to do it then, it just seemed like a logical step from where we were and have the possibility of exploring it on the table for the future.

So, we got back together and we seemed to be getting stronger and stronger which was great.

Fast forward to last year and things got a bit weird.

Husband finally found someone he liked enough to have a casual encounter with and did so and all was good. I was happy that he'd finally got laid to put it crudely. Then he met someone else in November who I'll call Mary for this.

Suddenly, without consultation, the no emotional connection rule was thrown out because he wanted Mary badly. I wasn't happy with it, but as I'd asked for this sort of thing back in 2009, I could hardly complain and instead, tried to put some boundaries in place such as no sleeping with each other until after Christmas so I could get used to the sudden shift which he agreed to. Two weeks after meeting her, he slept with her while I was out of the county and he couldn't (and still can't) see why that was a problem.

To say I was miffed is an understatement. Coupled with that is the fact that he texted her constantly and three days after Christmas, despite my asking him to keep Christmas for us, he nagged me into agreeing to him staying at hers which he did.

There's a lot more things I could add, but won't, because this will be long enough as it is!

Needless to say, husband started pulling away from me more and more, both physically and emotionally and I was furious because in between all of this, I was trying very hard to form a friendship with Mary to make things easier for all of us.

The fury translated into wild mood swings with husband and he said he refused to discuss our relationship until I'd been to see a shrink about my moods so I went to the doctors for a referral. Once I had that, he said he wouldn't discuss anything to do with our relationship until I'd been formally diagnosed with something because my mood swings weren't normal.

This just made the swings worse and I started keeping a log of what was going on so I could see for myself if I was actually nuts. Things with husband deteriorated further to the point he said I was delusional and so, to get perspective, I posted everything for our friends to see on a social networking site.

It was the wrong way to go, I know that, but I honestly couldn't see any other way to go about getting husband to listen to me and talk to me about how he was being and I was sick of trying to blame it all on NRE.

Anyway, it all blew up and he ran to Mary's house for the night saying he didn't know if he could be with me. I had a total meltdown that night, said stuff I didn't mean and was generally a rotten human. While he was there giving comfort to Mary, she sent me loads of texts telling me she was hurt and that she was done and would only be giving support to husband. I could understand the hurt but also kind of blamed her because when I tried to talk to her about it, she dismissed it as hubby had saying it all felt natural to her with no discussion about boundaries and such.

Husband came back the next day to talk and said he wanted to be married to me and that he loved me and agreed to talk to a neutral third party about the whole mess.

I felt I couldn't trust husband though because of his behaviour and, to my shame, when something still felt off, I snooped on his texts with her. I found that they were still sharing sexting fantasies and saying they loved each other. Now, to me, support doesn't include that kind of things, and I got mad.

Husband dismissed it saying I'd misread it, as I'd misread other things and it didn't mean what I thought it did. So, that's where we're at, a very rocky truce and waiting on the shrinks.

I don't know what yo do any more. He's behaved badly and I have in return and while I want to have a solid marriage and be able to be poly happily, I don't feel able to while he refuses to give Mary up or put the conversations they have on a neutral footing.

I get that she feels something for him, I get he feels something for her but I feel so very unequal and pushed aside that all I seem to be able to do is respond with anger now.

Help?!
 

KerrBear

New member
Okay, so I'm new to all this poly stuff but my husband and I have been swingers for some years now and are use to sharing each other with other people.

I am on the flipside of your story, however. I have found a sexual partner that has turned into something more to me. I love him, but I still very much love my husband as well.

Relationships evolve and sometimes old rules don't apply anymore. You yourself have said that you've even broken your own boundaries once upon a time. And from what's going on, it is clear that these rules are not working. Your husband is in love with another woman but he still loves you. I think the withdrawal part has something to do with your responses to this and because of these rules. I also think that is what's going on with the arguments. Maybe it's time to sit down and really focus on the rules and what your needs are from him. Maybe you both can come to an agreement, but I think you have to learn to accept this new love. It's not like he can just turn off these emotions he's feeling. . .
 

nancyfore

Member
Will he be able to put her on neutral if the dr thinks he should?

It's my understanding that being poly isnt "this is my love and you just suffer with it"... It's sitting down and talking about a speed in which everyone feels comfortable, and the loving partners supporting the one that is having some problems.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I get that she feels something for him, I get he feels something for her but I feel so very unequal and pushed aside that all I seem to be able to do is respond with anger now.

Help?!

I was going to give a long drawn out response but, honestly, I don't even pretend to know how to fix a situation that has been this blown out of proportion.

You wanted to be open.
He took you up on your offer.
You told him you changed your mind.
He acted on his desires anyway.
You became a crazy rage monster
Now he thinks you are a crazy rage monster
You're going to couples therapy

All I can say is this:

Take responsibility for YOUR actions (not HIS actions)
Decide what it is you actually want out of a relationship
Determine if that picture includes your husband
Breath deep
 

Marcus

Well-known member
It's my understanding that being poly isnt "this is my love and you just suffer with it"... It's sitting down and talking about a speed in which everyone feels comfortable, and the loving partners supporting the one that is having some problems.

There are certainly some who function under this type of approach to dealing with partners. This is often true when talking about previously monogamous couples moving into a more polyamorous arrangement, as well as with anyone who views "sacrificing for love" as a virtue.

For me and some others, this kind of approach is not relevant. The speed at which I become involved with someone, alter my worldview, get new hobbies, get a new job, change my sexual orientation, is not anyone's concern but my own. Of course we want to mitigate hurt feelings, discomfort, or inconvenience as much as possible - but not at the sake of letting someone elses feelings dictate how we live our lives.

Of course, any relationship is going to include supporting a partner who is having problems (at least to the degree appropriate) but I make a very clear distinction between "supporting" and "capitulating".
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
When you discussed removing the no emotions rule in 2009, did you do any discussion about how that would happen, what the parameters and agreements would be for communication and keeping one another in the loop?

If you didn't, then you can't really fault him for not following rules that weren't in place. You can't expect him to be a mind reader and just know how you'd want to handle things if you'd never talked about it before.

Take responsibility for YOUR actions (not HIS actions)
Decide what it is you actually want out of a relationship
Determine if that picture includes your husband
Breath deep

Agreed. You cannot control his behaviour. You can only control your reactions and your own behaviour.

Try talking to him in a calm and controlled manner. Outbursts and demands are not an effective method of communication. Show him that you're willing to be reasonable, but that you need him to be reasonable as well.

Ask him if he'd be willing to put his relationship on pause while you and he work out some issues. Give him a set amount of time so he doesn't feel like you're just trying to sidestep the issue permanently.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
When you discussed removing the no emotions rule in 2009, did you do any discussion about how that would happen, what the parameters and agreements would be for communication and keeping one another in the loop?

If you didn't, then you can't really fault him for not following rules that weren't in place. You can't expect him to be a mind reader and just know how you'd want to handle things if you'd never talked about it before.



Agreed. You cannot control his behaviour. You can only control your reactions and your own behaviour.

Try talking to him in a calm and controlled manner. Outbursts and demands are not an effective method of communication. Show him that you're willing to be reasonable, but that you need him to be reasonable as well.

Ask him if he'd be willing to put his relationship on pause while you and he work out some issues. Give him a set amount of time so he doesn't feel like you're just trying to sidestep the issue permanently.

I agree with SC.. You can not control his behavior.

My opinion probably wont be popular. But how dare you ask him to force your wants and needs on Mary. She has feelings and etc too. So she wants nothing to do with you. You two do not need to be friends just respectful.

I am a hinge. I have two separate and equal relationships with my husband Butch and my boyfriend Murf. I have to worry about BOTH of their feelings, wants and needs. And I am not going to put Murf on the back burner because Butch gets his undies in a twist. Butch would like to be friends with Murf. Murf is really not interested in that. They are friendly and respectful.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Could this "poly hell" article help you articulate to husband what you need from him to feel better about your relationship with him? Maybe if that could help ID problem areas, it could then help point toward calmer conflict resolution ideas?

I could be wrong... but to me it sounds like you could be struggling with the "demotion" paragraphs in the article. Your old agreements changed to include emotional deepening with new partners but didn't sound like it covered how to cope with resulting changes in the shared established relationship.

Maybe you are feeling out on a limb and need to feel connected and reassured by partner? Keep trying to sort it out.

HTH!
Galagirl
 
Last edited:

Becca

Member
I just want to say this to give you perspective, and I mean it gently.

But what you described-- the way you are acting sounds extremely unpleasant. I would not be able to stay in a relationship with you if you treated me that way.

Between posting things on a social networking site, and snooping in his texts, you have behaved in ways that would be a deal-breaker for me. And on top of that, you can't help but feel anger at him?

Why stay?
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
FWIW, my husband and I are "open book" about our texts and social media. I don't feel like I'm "snooping" when I look at his texts, because half the time he's right there with me. Same goes in reverse. It's just curiosity, neither one of us has a reason to hide anything from the other. We're married FFS. If we had to hide our texts, I would be far more worried about all the other things we'd be hiding.
 

Natja

New member
Eeek, no way, I hope the person at the other end knows their texts are not private.
As it is, when I text someone I assume that my words are not shared with anyone or not, married or not. I am not married to this other person, why should my privacy be invaded?
 

BoringGuy

Banned
I am not even interested in reading my partners' personal correspondence, although i have had almost unlimited opportunities to do so. It would bore the hell out of me. I'd rather come here and read about other people reading each other's messages. That's how boring it would be.
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
I guess we are in the "open book" club.

My phone is also my "work" phone (paid for by my employer) - so I advise anyone corresponding with me that should automatically assume that my boss could read their txts. Given the nature of the technology (i.e. encryption issues, etc.) I think it is wise to behave as though ALL txts/emails are public knowledge (on the other hand...I am hyper-cynical in this regard).

If MrS's or Dude's phone goes off with a txt...I would check it to see whether I should wake them up to respond or let them sleep. I don't think that it is wise to assume confidentiality of TXT or email unless you have specifically negotiated that with someone. You have NO idea who has access...unless you ask (and even then, they could be wrong, this is the digital age people...there is ALWAYS a record :eek:).

JaneQ
 

Natja

New member
I think there is a huge difference between an employer regularly checking internet activity (I have been in jobs where they have checked activity too, this is expected now) and checking to see whether a text is from work or an elderly parent or whether it is 'Ms. X who just wants to say 'Hi') therefore enabling you to decide whether a partner needs to be woken or not AND reading correspondence as rote because you want to. If I send a text to someone to their private phone, I don't expect them to share it, doesn't mean someone can't SEE it, it doesn't mean that I don't realise that internet correspondence is not entirely private, but I should be able to trust that if I write someone to someone they are not sharing it around without telling me (I don't care if that person is their spouse, mother, carer, probation officer whatever) I should know that I should not have the expectation that that correspondence is private.
And if I know something is to be shared it would definitely inhibit the way I write, having been in that situation more than once (it was awful) I would not allow myself to be treated that way again. I hope all these 'I am entitled to read anything I want' types are honest to the people they are involved with that this IS something that happens so they can choose whether or not they want their privacy violated like that.
 

Vixtoria

New member
When we were first working on things because there was the need to rebuild trust, it was understood that everything was allowed to be read. Now I wasn't actively with anyone so it was just messages to friends and things like that and that was established. Now that was something we knew though, there was not the secret reading of information.

That was also an attempt to reestablish trust that had already been broken. The 'rules' now are different. While BF knows that our chats are often read, kids over shoulder, me out loud to hubby certain things and kids and him exchanging greetings, if someone sits close or is glancing and we want privacy we ask for it. Mostly our chats are daily catch ups and stuff and do become a larger affair as we tease and talk amongst ourselves. (Also, I was stuck typing the 'dibs war' over fantasy weapons at one point while the two guys kept swearing and trying to one up each other.)

I think the part that is getting people is where one person's boundaries are being set for everyone else. Not even discussed just, this is what I want and so this is how it goes. That doesn't fly long in ANY relationship.
 

NutBusterX

New member
I think Vixtoria makes an excellent point about one person just throwing out conditions or rules as law. That never works for long. I would also caution people from phrasing suggestions in ways that their partner(s) could easily mistake for rules. I have made that mistake myself.

Nance and I agree that snooping usually leads to finding information that isn't received well and is easily taken out of context and that if we truly trust each other, simply asking about things we want to know is best.
 

Natja

New member
Nance and I agree that snooping usually leads to finding information that isn't received well and is easily taken out of context and that if we truly trust each other, simply asking about things we want to know is best.

I hear that Nut, an old friend of mine (always had bad communication skills to be honest) turned up to one of my birthday dinners once with new bf in tow. She confided to me that she was mad at him because she had read said bf's texts and found one from Kelly, asking about going out, she asked me if she should say something, I said 'You don't know what that is about, so best not to put your relationship at risk admitting you looked through his private texts etc'..........

Of course a few drinks later she decided to accuse him of being a cheating bastard and 'YEAH I saw that text from Kelly on your phone....'

"That is Kelly from WORK, (Steve) Kelly!!!!!"

So, bearing in mind that this was the first time I met him, the bf was embarrassed at being shown up around strangers, I was embarrassed as I had other friends there and my so called friend just pretty much ruined my birthday celebration and she had totally ignored my advice making an exhibition of herself by making wrong assumptions.

Course that relationship failed and she hasn't been able to maintain a healthy relationship since.

(FWIW, this is actually not all about the texts, yes it is wrong that she felt entitled to, but actually her boiling up with resentment and letting it come out after a few glasses of vino is an unhealthy pattern of behaviour that she has exhibited from our teen years. She is often desirous of a relationship but then tends to ruin them by behaving in an inappropriate manner).
 

Nox

New member
FWIW, my husband and I are "open book" about our texts and social media. I don't feel like I'm "snooping" when I look at his texts, because half the time he's right there with me. Same goes in reverse. It's just curiosity, neither one of us has a reason to hide anything from the other. We're married FFS. If we had to hide our texts, I would be far more worried about all the other things we'd be hiding.

Here too. Email and texts are open.
 

choctaw103

New member
I agree with you, I don't say anything in text/email/im that I wouldn't say in front of my SO. Who cares? If you aren't comfortable with saying it in front of them, can you truly say you are being honest?
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
Eeek, no way, I hope the person at the other end knows their texts are not private.
As it is, when I text someone I assume that my words are not shared with anyone or not, married or not. I am not married to this other person, why should my privacy be invaded?

Well, you know what they say about assumptions... Have you ever confirmed that with people you text? If total privacy is something that's important to you, it's your responsibility to make that known to people you communicate with.

Texts are no different from other conversations. Do you assume that no one repeats anything that you tell them, ever at all?

I only consider things to be private if someone says "this is private, please don't tell anyone." Even at that, I don't consider my husband to be "anyone." We're married. Married people typically consult their spouses for support, suggestions, or just to share what's going on in our lives.

Anyone who knows me well enough to share their private thoughts knows that my husband and I tell each other everything and don't keep secrets. What difference does it make if he reads it himself or I tell him second-hand?

Anyway, 99% of my text conversations are utterly mundane. Pretty sure gf isn't going to be offended to learn that my husband knows she was frustrated installing underlay at work, any more than I'm offended that her husband knows I was struggling with an assignment. The other 1% are quick "hugs, kisses, I love you" type and that's hardly a secret either...

Anyway, I'm not a big fan of privacy. I think it causes more harm than good. It's a necessary evil in our present culture. But ideally, I would like to live in a society where no one keeps secrets and everyone's laundry is aired out. Things wouldn't seem like such a big deal when you realize how many other people are doing it. Transparency is a good thing.

I am not even interested in reading my partners' personal correspondence, although i have had almost unlimited opportunities to do so. It would bore the hell out of me. I'd rather come here and read about other people reading each other's messages. That's how boring it would be.

Exactly. Just because we can doesn't mean we do. He has no interest in hearing about my gf's day at work, and I have no interest in hearing his daughter bitch about her mom.
 
Last edited:
Top