Feeling alone in a relationship of four

Jemmy16

New member
Hi all. I'm sorry if this is a bit long, but I really could use some perspective on a very troubling situation. My name is Jenny and I stumbled upon polyamory just two short months ago. I came across the term when researching open relationships after my boyfriend of two years, Cory, expressed interest in such things. I had many times made my interest in him finding another woman known, both because I felt that he would benefit from the attention and affection from another woman due to the fact that I'm a very busy student, but I too wanted to wanted some of the aforementioned female attention.

Upon discovering and researching polyamory, I completely fell in love with the practice. My partner started dating other women, and I began conversing with a married poly man, who I will call Tad. Tad and his wife had previously participated in a triad with another woman, and were both committed to the lifestyle. I quickly fell for him, madly. By chance, my partner met Tad's wife, Anabelle. Cory and Anabelle connected seemingly as well as Tad and I. Following his first date with Anabelle, Cory confessed to me that he hasn't felt the way he did on a first date with her since our first date. Everything seemed to progress well until our first sexual experiences with one another (Cory and Anabelle at his place and Tad and I at Tad and Anabelle's). Cory became exceedingly jealous of my sexual relationship with Tad, and two weeks ago, our relationships hit a speed bump. Christmas eve, Cory shared with Anabelle that he believed in having primary partners; i.e. I was his and she was somehow secondary to her. I must admit, primary partners were something we had discussion many weeks previous to the disagreement, but I felt that we both had changed our minds on this, and felt that all relationships must become equal as they matured. Cory was reluctant to shake the idea of primaries, but he agreed to try to open his heart and let the quad blossom.

Enthusiastic and ready to allow myself to love, I thought we were all finally on the road to a happy multiple romance. Cory found himself forever the reluctant participant, and following our night all together on New Year's Eve, began independently deciding that he wanted out. Yesterday evening, he confessed to me that he did not know if he would ever love Anabelle the way I want him to. I was hurt and shocked to find that he felt that I was forcing him into a relationship with her. I confided in him in a panic that I had fallen in love with Tad, and did not know if I could part with him, or Anabelle. Today, we were all thrown into chaos as I tried to break the news to my new favorite couple. Both have cut ties with me and told me to focus on Cory, and that we are not ready for poly. I agree with this. "We" are not ready for poly; however, "I" am. I feel that I have found something I never knew was missing. Poly has quickly become exactly what I want for my relationships, however this may mean that I may have to leave my partner of two years behind. I'm lost and I miss Tad and Anabelle more than I ever thought possible. Any insight anyone may have would certainly be welcome.
 
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Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Hi.

So you're madly in love with Tad. Your bf was infatuated with Annabelle on their first date. But now he is jealous of how you feel about Tad, and therefore is pulling back from poly, no matter how he feels about Annabelle.

You're not in a quad. Or in a relationship of 4.

You're in a couple. You also have another significant other, with whom you are INFATUATED. We call this NRE, for new relationship energy.

A quad is a group where 4 people are all involved intimately, emotionally at least, and probably sexually. You may have been in the beginnings of one if your bf hadn't gotten jealous.

I'd say the other couple is right to pull back. It's time for you to be patient, if you respect Cory. I know it seems highly hypocritical for him to want to pull back from poly when he's been dating women for a bit, just because you now joined in the dating fun... and it is! But men in our society and even in poly, often are OK with their SOs having a gf, and them having gfs, but woe be unto their primary if she gets another penis into her!

Now you are hurting because NRE is hormonally insistent. You want to be near Tad, fuck him, etc. If he is willing to wait until you and Cory get on stronger ground, that would be great. You gotta talk over this OPP, one penis policy.
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Yeah, it does sound like Cory was ok with you dating women, but not happy that you picked a guy instead.

Take the cooling off period to see if you can repair things with Cory. It may very well turn out that he can't get past his OPP and jealousy issues. Then you can make the decision whether or not to leave him.
 

Tinwen

Well-known member
You wrote about the quad before, right?
I must admit, primary partners were something we had discussion many weeks previous to the disagreement, but I felt that we both had changed our minds on this, and felt that all relationships must become equal as they matured. Cory was reluctant to shake the idea of primaries, but he agreed to try to open his heart and let the quad blossom.
Sounds kind of like wishful thinking. Seems you ignored the warning signs in NRE.
Yesterday evening, he confessed to me that he did not know if he would ever love Anabelle the way I want him to. I was hurt and shocked to find that he felt that I was forcing him into a relationship with her.
Oh well, sound like quite a bit of an misunderstanding, based perhaps on another wishful thought - "he loves Anabelle, so he won't mind me loving Ted", and the percieved pressure.

It's been one day. You have a bunch of other relationship styles possibilities to consider then a quad. Don't jump to conclusions like "I have to dump him now, because then I can be with the couple", and let us know, how the discussions go on.
 

tenK

New member
Do you know how Annabelle and Tad feel about the subject of primaries? Sometimes it's okay if things are not 'equal' as long as they are fair (i.e. working for everyone). If Annabelle and your boyfriend are more casual than you and Tad, and you and Tad are less life entwined than Tad and Annabelle, it can still be a beautiful thing. I know that's only one small part of what is going on here, and it sounds that the bigger issue is that your boyfriend is not really desiring poly for himself and was maybe only tempted to try by your suggestion that you share a (female) partner, but that bit of your story jumped out at me. You dating Tad does not have to be contingent on your partner dating Annabelle, or anyone for that matter. As long as he is happy and feels secure and content in his relationship with you (this is where taking time out to focus on each other is going to be needed I think) then there's a good chance you can resume things with Tad when things are more stable. I hope you guys can all keep talking and figuring out what each of you wants, and that hopefully those things can all be accommodated. Best of luck.
 

Jemmy16

New member
We have ended

To update, Cory ended things with Anabelle as of yesterday and we are all now back to our original couples. Tad and Anabelle did not respond positively to my asking to keep lines of communication open. They want to move on and do not feel that things can be repaired. I'm devestated, but trying to respect their wishes and allow myself to heal. Cory has been there for me while I mourn, but this is a very painful situation for all.
 

Memorandum

New member
That seems like a calculated move to me. As in very logical. I wouldn't be surprised on future patronizing statements or behavior regarding Tad. That ending things with Anabelle is leverage, again imo.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am sorry you are sad about the break ups leading to you all being back to original couples.

This stuck out to me in your first post. :(

Both have cut ties with me and told me to focus on Cory, and that we are not ready for poly. I agree with this. "We" are not ready for poly; however, "I" am. I feel that I have found something I never knew was missing. Poly has quickly become exactly what I want for my relationships, however this may mean that I may have to leave my partner of two years behind.

Yup. It might. Sounds like you are sad about that too. :(

It's like this whole experience makes you see Cory in a new light and wonder if you are not as deeply compatible as you first thought. When ready to address that, you may want to spend some time sorting all that out with him.

Like he's ok with swinging or a primary model. But you want poly and a co-primary model.

Or he's ok with you and women, but not men because he wants a one penis policy. You want to be free to date either.

Could talk and sort that out once both feel ok post couple break up. What open models ARE you each up for, and do they even match?

Galagirl
 
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Jemmy16

New member
Talking things out

I have told Cory that I cannot remove myself from poly, or poly from myself. We are actively talking things out, and he admitted to me today that he misses Anabelle very much. He would like to talk to her, and just her, about working on their relationship. If she will hear him, I support this. I cannot get my hopes up, because of all that the four of us have been through together. I will not be reaching out to Tad until given a sign from Anabelle and Tad. Cory has confirmed that he is uncomfortable with another man in my life, but he wants to see if he might feel differently if he can repair things with Anabelle. I have my doubts, and I worry about hurting her further, however I feel that he must do what is in his heart.
 
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Boaz

New member
Typical sexist attitude! He can have his cake, but you can't have yours. What bullshit.

I see things slightly differently. Its easier to cope with negative feelings if you have a salve for the wounds. For many people, coping with their partner being with someone else is easier if they themselves have a relationship. Often, the feeling of being left out or isolated is the root of jealousy and tantrums.

If you are committed to your partner and trying to make a poly lifestyle work for the both of you and so ensure a long-term future as a couple (whatever form that may take), then I see it as being in your best interests to support your partner and try and help him navigate his own emotional waters and shoals. If that means perhaps putting your own needs or desires on the backburner to help them adjust by enabling their relationship first, so be it. Temporarily sacrificing your wants for the sake of your partner is simply part of the give and take of a life-long loving and healthy relationship.

Of course, being held emotionally hostage or putting up with bullshit is not. If they are taking advantage of the situation, then they need to be challenged and the situation addressed.

/Adam
 

nycindie

Active member
I interpreted it as his being the typical sexist with the attitude that poly is okay if he can be with the opposite sex, but his female partner has to be with the same sex -- even though she's not bisexual and he wouldn't engage in same-sex relations himself -- because he can't handle the idea of another dick inside "his woman" and if his wife is with another woman, it's "hot" and not as much of a threat. We see it so much here, and it seems to be an attitude that originated from swinging and recreational sex practices - NOT polyamory.
 
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Memorandum

New member
I have a feeling that Tad and Anabelle have pretty much written both of you off. So even if both of you did get your stuff together, you've already rung the proceed-with-caution bell.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
ditto Memorandum.

first, do no (more) harm.
 

Memorandum

New member
Didn't edit in time.
I only say that because I went back to read the reason and it sounded really familiar to an easy let-down. The fact they said it couldn't be repaired and they want to move on, reinforces that. I still think that was a calculated move on his part to steer you away from ever getting back with Tad (if he's not with her, you can't be with him). From what you've disclosed he didn't really want to break it off with her, making it obvious that Tad was his issue. All that aside it's too late to fix that because y'all dropped a bomb on them.
You still want to be poly so you might want to work on his bullshit attitude of another man (read: dick) being in the picture. As it's been pointed out multiple times already, it's pretty telling of his mindset (ownership).
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Jenny,

It doesn't sound like things with Tad and Anabelle can be put back together. What you have to decide is whether you want to stay together with Cory when Cory is not ready for poly but you are ready.

Sorry things are going so badly.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Jemmy16

New member
Update on Our Progress

I would like to start by thanking everyone for all of their insights. I will continue to post on this thread both to update anyone who is interested on our progress, and hopefully help someone going through something similar, and to continue (hopefully) gaining the perspectives of more experienced poly folks. Cory and I agree that this is a solid outlet for me to express myself and learn more about poly.

We are now in week two since the end of our quad. I know there was some debate over whether or not we actually were involved in a quad, but we felt that we were, being that I was involved with Cory, Tad, and Anabelle, and Anabelle was involved with Tad, Cory and myself. It has been a rough couple of weeks for both couples, and each individual as far as I know. Both original couples are intact, and working on their respective relationships. I feel that the easiest way to break this down is to discuss each relationship separately as I know it.

Cory and I had a very rocky time just after the split. I was extremely angry and frustrated with him, and I blamed him for how things turned out. This was wrong and I haven’t forgiven myself yet for all that I said to him out of anger. He confirmed that he ended things out of panic, and I don’t blame him for it. All of the relationships moved so very quickly. He confided to me that he was keeping his feelings to himself despite my and Anabelle’s constant pleading not to do so. He felt that every time he had a negative feeling, all of the relationships were negatively affected. I feel that this is because the group had no way of communicating all together. We were both all too new to poly, and all too new to one another. We had no systems in place to work things out as a whole.

After his realization that he acted out of panic, Cory has decided that he does want to continue to explore poly. I continue to worry that he only wishes to continue for me, and he confirms that this is the case. Anabelle has explained to him that she feels that poly is a spectrum. She believes that she is on one end where poly is an intrinsic part of who she is, and I firmly believe that is where I am as well. She believes that an intrinsically monogamous person is at the other end, and she believed that Tad was somewhere in the middle, and she isn’t terribly sure where Cory is. If this is the case, I feel terribly guilty that I am forcing Cory to completely change how he saw his life working out; however, I feel that I can’t go back to monogamy now that I’ve discovered poly and I believe that it is a part of who I am and who I want to be. Despite the guilt I feel from “making” him take part in this, I can’t express enough how grateful to him I am that he is willing to continue learning about poly and making it work in our life together.

Cory and I are now reading “More Than Two” together. I learned what I did about poly solely on internet research, and while I read a lot, I want to learn as much as possible, and he and I agree that reading as a team will give us ample opportunities to discuss things we never would have thought to discuss before, and break each discussion down by chapter so things stay very focused on one issue at a time. Our first discussion was very successful, in my opinion. Being the extremely organized man that he is, on the first chapter alone, Cory took a page of notes. I have come to the conclusion through what I’ve read, what I already know, and a lot of self-reflection that I was overcome by NRE, like many of you pointed out to me, which leads me to how things were, and how things are with the others in the group:

First, I must start with Anabelle and Cory. Last week Sunday, Cory reached out to Anabelle. I do not know the extent of their conversation, just that he expressed to her how sorry he was for how things turned out and the way he ended things. He wanted to know if there was any way they could keep the lines of communication open. After a day or so of reflection, and a talk with Tad, Anabelle informed Cory that she and Tad are taking a break from dating and working on their own relationship, just as we are working on ours. She was open to the idea of a friendship with Cory, but said she would not talk about their relationship until she has processed what she, and she and Tad together, have gone through over the last six months (since their journey with poly began). She still cares for Cory, and he told her he still cares for her, and wants her to be happy. He hopes that she will discover that what makes her happy is being with him. She informed him that Tad is ok if she and Cory begin their relationship again, but Tad does not want to reunite the quad. He feels that it did not work and cannot work, and she is done pushing the matter with him. Cory asked her if she knew why Tad was not interested in being my friend, and she said that if I wanted to establish things with him, I needed to communicate with him. I agreed with this, and to be clear: I did not ask Cory to inquire on my behalf. He himself was curious.

The next day, I reached out to Tad and asked him if he felt that we could be friends, and keep lines of communication open just as Cory and Anabelle were. He informed me that he did not know how to be my friend, and that his heart wasn’t in it anymore. He does not want to get involved with Cory and I again. I reminded him that I was not asking him to be involved with the quad again, I was talking simply about he and I. He told me that he did not think there was anything between us anymore, and he thought that I felt the connection was stronger than he ever did. He is done. Of course, I was crushed. Our time together can be described in no other way but a whirlwind romance, and hearing these things from him after all that he said to me, was devastating. After our first date he said he was falling for me. Told me he missed me all the time. Told me he wanted us to be together for the summer. I was quite shaken to hear him be so cold to me, and was instantly thrown into a place of doubting every moment we spent together, and doubting myself in many ways. I still struggle with these questions, as I feel that I love(d) him. But I cannot deny that I was swept away by NRE. I know my heart though, and I do feel that the love I felt was genuine. However, I respect his feelings. If he feels that there is nothing left, then there is nothing left between us. I care for him very much, and despite the hurt I felt after what he said to me, I want very much for him to find happiness. I respect that he is done, he does not want contact with me, and he needs to move on and figure out how poly will work in his life.

I have not reached out to Anabelle, and I am fairly certain that I won’t until I know what her and Cory are doing as far as “them”. I miss her very much, as I had strong feelings for her both as a friend and as…more than that. She is a kind, and beautiful soul and I am thrilled at the idea that there is a chance that she and Cory may be able to work things out. She would add so much to his life, and I can see in his eyes how much he misses her when he speaks of her.

So now Cory and I find ourselves in a place of healing and growth. He has been nothing short of a saint in helping me heal and work through my break up with Tad. We have a lot more work to do, and the prospect excites me. Despite all the pain we’ve been through, I am thrilled that has given us the opportunity to rebuild together. There is no person I would rather explore this new chapter of my life with.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Jenny,

Thank you for your update, it sounds like there is hope for Cory and Anabelle, but not so much for you and Tad. I wonder if Tad has some bitterness and resentment. Whatever the case, I would not recommend pursuing that relationship further. If Cory and Anabelle want to pursue something that's okay.

You'd probably be better off looking for a new poly relationship with a new person (while staying together with Cory of course). It takes time and patience, but you can probably find someone in due time. The reading you're doing will help a lot. More than Two is a great book.

I am glad you are keeping in touch with the forum here, I believe we'll be able to give you more advice as you go along.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
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