How do you deal with it when your spouse changes their mind about polyamory?

JamesLove

New member
Hello

I am in quite a bit of emotional pain. My wife and I have been married 20 years. We started swinging 5 years ago and had a lot of fun.

Last year, my wife expressed the desire to do more solo sexual explorations when traveling. I supported her desire. She met someone during her first trip that she really liked and asked me about starting a long-distance relationship with them. She struggled with the idea of being polyamorous at first, but fully embraced it. She had my support.

One of my criteria for supporting her was that I would be able to also find more romantic partners. I met a lady that I really enjoyed. My wife got to know her and supported me and my relationship.

Everything started fine. My wife and I would alternate watching the kids when one of us would travel to see our partners.

Then 3 months into it, my wife had a mental breakdown. She became ultra-jealous of my relationship and started a lot of panicked behavior, like going through my phone, asking me to break up with my partner, etc. (But she could keep hers. She had found an additional local one by then.) etc.

She started therapy, felt better, supported my relationship again. We listened to podcasts, met other local polyamorous folks, etc. Then a few months later, the same behavior happened. My wife got upset and jealous that I had another partner, tried to force me to break up, telling me I should only love her (while she kept her partners).

The relationship with my partner ended (unrelated reasons) a few months ago. We kept in touch and want to restart the relationship in a few months, after some issues get sorted out.

But now my wife is now absolutely against the idea of polyamory. She broke up with her last partner. She doesn’t want me to even be friends with my ex-partner. She keeps telling me she leaves in constant fear I am going to leave her if I have other relationships.

We are both in therapy. My wife's therapist diagnosed her with a personality disorder due to childhood trauma, which explains, in part, the flip-flopping and deep fears of being abandoned.

I am trying to figure out what to do. I love my wife and I hate to see her like that. At the same time, I can’t be inauthentic with her. She keeps asking if I am the only one she loves, when she knows I also love my ex-partner. Lately she has been threatening to leave the marriage if I don’t promise her that I will never contact my ex-partner again, and commit to never wanting polyamory. (She is ok with swinging.)

My therapist has been encouraging me to be confident and express my authentic self, which I have been doing.

I am also working through a lot of resentment. My wife brought polyamory in our marriage when she met someone. When it ended, she decided she no longer wanted polyamory for herself or for me.

Has anybody gone through the same issues? Any tips?
 
It's hard trying to have a serious romantic relationship with someone with an untreated mental illness or a personality disorder. I am glad she's in therapy and I hope treatment will start to stabilize her. I wonder if she has borderline personality disorder. I know it can be difficult to treat. (My daughter has it. She could do certain things that were annoying, basically act anyway she wanted, but if someone else did those things, she'd complain.)

Did you never suspect she had a mental/neurological disorder in the prior 20 years? Maybe the distraction of having kids and swinging kept her acting in a way that you could sustain your relationship. But now that feelings of "love" are happening for you, she feels insecure and fearful of loss, which results in jealousy and ultimatums.

I don't know you at all, but having had the experience of living with a person with borderline, I feel sympathy. It's not just polyamory that's an issue, probably. Have you read the book Stop Walking on Eggshells? It's a great book written by a person with BPD, and give great ideas for how to set boundaries with a person that acts the way your wife seems to be acting.
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

It's a lot to be dealing with a spouse who has a personality disorder. It can feel like punching fog.

In case this helps you any:



But now my wife is now absolutely against the idea of polyamory. She broke up with her last partner. She doesn’t want me to even be friends with my ex-partner.

She can want that. You do not have to agree.

She keeps telling me she leaves in coonstant fear I am going to leave her if I have other relationships.

You can tell her you aren't going to leave her just because you have other relationships.

You can tell her you are willing to do couples counseling and encourage her to think about individual counseling to address her fear. But the reality is that EITHER ONE OF YOU could choose to walk away if THIS relationship becomes unhealthy or unsustainable.

I am also working through a lot of resentment. My wife brought polyamory in our marriage when she met someone and when it finished, she decided she no longer wanted polyamory for herself and for me.

She can choose to stop poly dating on her side. She might want you to quit too. But why did you pick that? Your choices do not have to match your wife's, even if she wants them to. You get to make your own choices.

Are you able to tell her, "No, thanks. I won't be doing that," and maintain strong personal boundaries?

Anybody has gone through the same issues? Any tips?

Honestly, my BPD relatives/friends are a pain in the ass sometimes, so I decided that I would NOT date anyone with mental health stuff. People can't help having things, but my quota is FULL. So, diabetes? No prob. Heart condition? OK. But MORE mentally ill people? Nope. I don't have the spoons.

My "top" patient is my Dad with Alzheimer's and other things, on top of his BPD. I told him point blank I am too much like him. I'm stubborn, I am not gonna sugarcoat anything, and yeah, sometimes he's just not gonna like what I tell him. But he can know I tell him the truth. The result? He tantrums much less with me because he feels SAFE. He needs ME to be the "container," cuz he can't.

And no, he doesn't like it when things don't go his way, but he fusses a whole lot less with me than anyone else because I call him on his BS and remain unimpressed when he's having a cow. I also manage him better so he's not over-stimulated and not losing it in the first place.

My mom is too much of a "softie spouse" with him.

And OMG, the "loyalty tests."

I don't know if that helps you. I encourage you to seek counseling/caregiver support group and educate yourself about her condition.

You can read the "Walking on Eggshells " book free online


And the workbook:


YMMV.

I got my mom a tablet so she can read books online in the locked bathroom if she wants to. "Those books" being around the house physically sent my dad into spasms in the beginning. Now he doesn't care and she just reads them. She will show him her other online books and just close the tabs on the medical condition books.

This is something to consider so you can read a book in peace but make it "be gone" when you need it to be gone, if these are the beginning stages for you. It's a lot to learn.

Galagirl
 
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Thank for your comment.

I didn’t suspect anything. We got married young, busy with raising kids.

My first clue was that by the time I had reached 40, I was isolated. My wife was so anxious about me leaving her. I had slowly cut any friends, family, hobbies.

I proposed swinging as a way to explore together and have fun. It was wild and fun for a few years.

Then my wife wanted to do more solo stuff, which I supported. When it was my turn, everything imploded. She would continue to have her partners and fun while at the same time imposing strict rules on me.

She used to love my ex-partner, inviting her to our home, calling her, supporting her when she went through personal grief. Then one day my ex-partner was labeled as a danger and was discarded and I was expected to discard her too.

My wife tends to be fearful avoidant. It used to send me into a panic when she would avoid me, withdraw love and I would comply. Thanks to my therapist, I am realizing how badly I was treating myself.

As you point out, it is not just polyamory. My wife has struggled with my relationship with my mom, sisters, platonic female friends, and now romantic.

It is usually the same pattern: she welcomes them at first, then something happens inside her, she starts to fear them and then she pushes them out, and expects me to do the same as a sign of loyalty.

Thank you for the book recommendation.
 
Did you become her BPD "favorite person," like you are her life raft? That's not healthy for you.


I proposed swinging as a way to explore together and have fun. It was wild and fun for a few years.

That is doing it TOGETHER. She still has her favorite person with her.

Then my wife wanted to do more solo stuff, which I supported.

SHE knows her mind and what's she's doing, and that she's not going anywhere.

When it came to my turn, it is when everything imploded. She would continue to have her partners and fun while at the same time imposing strict rules on me.

She doesn't know YOUR MIND, or those people you picked. And she might lose her BPD "favorite person." Is this rational? No. Is it fair? No. But a BPD person can't always think rationally or be fair, especially when agitated.

She used to love my ex-partner, inviting her to our home, she would call her, supported her when she went through personal grief then one day my ex-partner is labeled as a danger and gets discarded and I am expected to discard her.

That's called splitting a person, white or black. When they are good they are SO GOOD. When they are bad they are SO BAD.


My wife tends to be fearful avoidant. It used to send me in panic when she would avoid me, withdraw love and I would comply. Thanks to my therapist, I am realizing how badly I was treating myself.

I'm glad you have a therapist to help you navigate being the spouse of a person with BPD.

As you point out, it is not just polyamory. My wife has struggled with my relationship with my mom, sisters, platonic female friends and now romantic.

Any one of those people taking your attention means less attention for her. You are the "favorite person."

It is usually the same pattern: she welcomes them at first then something happens inside her, she starts to fear them and then she pushes them out and expect me to do the same as a sign of loyalty.

Push-pull.

Read "Out of the Fog." It won't solve everything, but will perhaps give you some "Oh!" lightbulb moments, and maybe more vocabulary to express/explain what's been going on to your therapist so they can better help you. It is hard to talk about things when you don't have enough words.

It lists by traits.


And PD.


Some of the things, she's not doing on purpose, but that doesn't make it OK or acceptable behavior. She is responsible for managing her condition(s) and cleaning up her messes, if/when she makes them.

Galagirl
 
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Hello JamesLove,

That's really crazy, the way your wife has been acting lately, it's like she has had some kind of psychological break. I guess she has kind of hit you with an ultimatum: Stop being polyamorous or else she will divorce you. You have to decide how much this marriage is worth to you. Is it worth giving up polyamory? but then I don't think she just wants you to give up the practice; she wants you to give up the *inclination.* I don't know if you can wave a magic wand and change how you feel. You may have to lie to her. "No, I no longer want polyamory." "Yes, you're the only one I love." And will she believe you? How good of a liar are you? Basically she is demanding that you *convince* her that you have successfully stopped wanting a polyamorous relationship. If you can't do that, is there any point in trying?

It sounds like this isn't the first time your wife has acted nuts toward you. I would be very wary about caving in to her demands. Listen to your therapist. Learn all you can about personality disorders. Look for a support group in your area. I hope you can get through this with your sanity intact.

With sympathy,
Kevin T.
 
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I'm sorry you struggle.

It's a lot to be dealing with a spouse who has a personality disorder. It can feel like punching fog.

In case this helps you any:

Thank you for the link. I started reading it. Wow. It describes so many of my situations I have to deal with.

My wife was diagnosed with CPSD and DID (multiple personalities) due to severe childhood trauma she had no idea about.

My therapist noticed I had a tendency to people please when things get tough and I have had a hard time setting healthy boundaries with her at times.
She can want that. You do not have to agree.

I have told her that I want to be polyamorous, that I hope I can get back with my ex-partner or find somebody new if that doesn’t work out. I am ok not having a partner now but it is not something I want to give up on. I have been very clear about that with my wife.
You can tell her you aren't going to leave her just because you have other relationships.
My therapist suggested a similar phrasing, keep reassuring her that I am leaving her, that I am working on our marriage and that I want other relationships.
You can tell her you are willing to do couples counseling and encourage her to think about individual counseling to address her fear. But the reality is that EITHER ONE OF YOU could choose to walk away if THIS relationship becomes unhealthy or unsustainable.
We started counseling for polyamory. My wife suggested we find a polyamory therapist a few months ago and she has been engulfed in debilitating fears that I am planning on leaving her, that I loved my partner more than her, etc.
She can choose to stop poly dating on her side. She might want you to quit too. But why did you pick that? Your choices do not have to match your wife's, even if she wants them to. You get to make your own choices.

Are you able to tell her, "No, thanks. I won't be doing that," and maintain strong personal boundaries?
Yes, I have been clear and I have set strong boundaries. She has been trying to force me to tell my ex-partner I am no longer interested and I have told her no, because I don’t want to.

My therapist has been helping me realize I need to make decisions that are in my best interest and not default to people please.
Honestly, my BPD relatives/friends are a pain in the ass sometimes, so I decided that I would NOT date anyone with mental health stuff. People can't help having things, but my quota is FULL. So, diabetes? No prob. Heart condition? OK. But MORE mentally ill people? Nope. I don't have the spoons.

My "top" patient is my Dad with Alzheimer's and other things, on top of his BPD. I told him point blank I am too much like him. I'm stubborn, I am not gonna sugarcoat anything, and yeah, sometimes he's just not gonna like what I tell him. But he can know I tell him the truth. The result? He tantrums much less with me because he feels SAFE. He needs ME to be the "container," cuz he can't.

And no, he doesn't like it when things don't go his way, but he fusses a whole lot less with me than anyone else because I call him on his BS and remain unimpressed when he's having a cow. I also manage him better so he's not over-stimulated and not losing it in the first place.

My mom is too much of a "softie spouse" with him.
Sorry to hear that. It is hard to be married with someone with a personality disorder. Especially when you mean well and have a big heart. It is very easy to get sucked in without realizing.
Omg thank you for that
I don't know if that helps you. I encourage you to seek counseling/caregiver support group and educate yourself about her condition.
I am in weekly therapy
You can read the "Walking on Eggshells " book free online


And the workbook:

Thank you
YMMV.

I got my mom a tablet so she can read books online in the locked bathroom if she wants to. "Those books" being around the house physically sent my dad into spasms in the beginning. Now he doesn't care and she just reads them. She will show him her other online books and just close the tabs on the medical condition books.

This is something to consider so you can read a book in peace but make it "be gone" when you need it to be gone, if these are the beginning stages for you. It's a lot to learn.

Galagirl
Thank you 🙏
 
Did you become her BPD "favorite person" like you are her life raft? That's not healthy for you.
I don’t know if she has BPD and if I am her favorite person. She has DID, where she literally has different personalities (different names, age, tastes, sexual orientations, etc.) in a single body. I didn’t realize it for years (nor did my wife), but all the personalities make up who she is. Sometimes one is unhappy, or gets scared, and they highjack the front and pretend to be my wife, but they are not really. They are defensive personalities, created to protect her when she was being severely abused as a kid.

The favorite person concept applies, however. The part of her that pretends to be my wife has this idea that I should be her everything and that she should be my everything. But she also has other parts that are more independent, don’t see me as their husband and just want to sleep around or have boyfriends.
That is doing it TOGETHER. She still has her favorite person with her.

SHE knows her mind and what's she's doing. And that she's not going anywhere.

She doesn't know YOUR MIND or those people you picked out. And she might lose her BPD "favorite person."

Is it rational? No. Is it fair? No. But a BPD person can't always think rationally or fairly, especially when agitated.
Yes it is very irrational.
That's called splitting a person, white or black. When they are good they are SO GOOD. When they are bad they are SO BAD.
Wow, so insightful. She has done that so many times. She doesn’t have any friends. She can't even keep her romantic partners because at one point they become SO BAD.
Glad you have therapist to help you navigate being a BPD spouse.

Any one of those people taking your attention means less attention for her. You are the "favorite person."

Push-pull.

Read "Out of the Fog."

It won't solve everything, but will perhaps give you some "Oh!" lightbulb moments, and maybe more vocab to express/explain what's been going on to your therapist so they can better help you. It is hard to talk about things when you don't have enough words.

It lists by traits.


And PD.

Thank you so much for all of that. Very insightful. Yes, it is helping me put words in my mouth.


Some of the things she's not doing on purpose. But that doesn't make it ok or acceptable behavior to do.

She is responsible for managing her condition(s) and cleaning up her messes if she makes any.
I have noticed she doesn’t take responsibility for this. She creates messes, hurts people, destroys relationships, but she justifies her actions.

I discussed that specific point with her therapist. She clearly said that my wife is responsible for the actions of the other identity parts. Actually all of them are responsible when one messes up. Before, my wife (or the part that likes to say she is my wife) would deny any responsibilities because another part did something stupid.
 
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Hello JamesLove,

That's really ***, the way your wife has been acting lately, it's like she has had some kind of psychological break. I guess she has kind of hit you with an ultimatum: Stop being polyamorous or else she will divorce you. You have to decide how much this marriage is worth to you. Is it worth giving up polyamory? but then I don't think she just wants you to give up the practice; she wants you to give up the *inclination.* I don't know if you can wave a magic wand and change how you feel. You may have to lie to her. "No, I no longer want polyamory." "Yes, you're the only one I love." And will she believe you? How good of a liar are you? Basically she is demanding that you *convince* her that you have successfully stopped wanting a polyamorous relationship. If you can't do that, is there any point in trying?
Yes, you hit the nail on the head. I want to be authentic, but I have to pretend I magically stopped loving my ex-partner and that I am not interested in dating anyone.
It sounds like this isn't the first time your wife has acted *** toward you. I would be very wary about caving in to her demands. Listen to your therapist. Learn all you can about personality disorders. Look for a support group in your area. I hope you can get through this with your sanity intact.
Thank you. I am not caving in to her demands. I tried that route. I sacrificed friendships to make her feel better, but she didn’t feel better and I felt that I neglected myself. My therapist has been working on that with me.

Thank you. 🙏
 
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I'm glad "Out of the Fog" helped you learn some new words and helped you "name" some of the stuff that's been going on.

Read the page on


Keep working with your therapist.

My wife was diagnosed with CPSD and DID (multiple personalities) due to severe childhood trauma she had no idea about.

Thanks for explaining that.

That is one I have noticed she doesn’t take responsibility on. She creates messes, hurt people, destroy relationships but she justifies her actions.

"Righteous anger" and "justice" might be something her conditions have her really sensitive about, even when she's thinking all wonky, like PERCEIVED injustice to her, rather than actual. Anger can feel more powerful than hopelessly depressed. Neither is "fun," but "anger" maybe feels better.

She might also just like throwing her weight around. Not every patient is nice. Some get nasty. My Dad does that.

He learned long ago tantrums = getting his way faster, because others get embarrassed or annoyed or want to be rid of him. I also think since he can't regulate and control it, he thinks it is better to be thought of as a mean cranky man, than to admit he can't control himself and be seen as "weak."

I discussed that specific point with her therapist and she clearly said that my wife is responsible for the actions of the other identity parts. Actually all of them are responsible when one messes up. Before my wife (or the part that likes to say she is my wife) would deny any responsibilities because another part did something stupid.

She IS responsible, whether she wants to own it or not.

Thank you. I am not caving in to her demands. I tried that route, sacrificed friendships to make her feel better and she didn’t feel better and I felt that I neglected myself.
My therapist has been working on that with me.

Yup. Don't "people please" the patient. Be firm about your boundaries and what you will and will not put up with.

You didn't cause her condition, you can't cure it, you cannot control it.

If she's hellbent on having a cow, she herself may not be able to control it. once it takes off. She's gonna have it. It's like getting on the train and that train just GOES, til it tires her out or it slows down enough so she can jump off it.

Me, if I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, I'm just not gonna do anything, because it's less work for me.

My patient Dad can think whatever. So long as he's reasonably safe, alright. Have a cow then. Ride that train, Dad. I'll intervene if I deem it necessary, but if it is just dumb to me, why bother? Like when he spends the afternoon writing nutty letters to the newspaper, all in a huff, it passes the time, and I can offer to "mail it for him" and just chuck it. Or if he sneaks one into the mailbox himself, oh well, the newspaper has staff to read and screen. My dad writing them a complaining weird letter won't be their first one. Why should I get excited about that?

You learn to think differently as a caregiver, deciding what's worth getting excited about and what isn't. You have to save your spoons and maintain your OWN well being.

You will have to figure out what resources work best for you. They won't always be under the title of her condition(s) but in "close enough" books or totally different ones. I brought Becky Bailey's "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline" back down from the shelf for help managing my dad, even though my kids were all past that age. The stuff still worked with him.

Hang in there with it.

Galagirl
 
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"She can want that. You do not have to agree."

I feel like that's very dismissive of someone who might not be as far along the psychological journey to self awareness and holistic healing as you may be. It's not so simple to just say that and do it, especially when you care about someone else's feelings. It's not, not should it be, a simple matter of saying, "I appreciate that this might hurt you or your feelings, but no, I'm not going to do the thing you ask." It sounds cold and like you're blaming them for not being experienced enough to resolve it like a pro poly with 20 years poly under their belt.
 
"She can want that. You do not have to agree"

I feel like that's very dismissive of someone who might not be as far along the psychological journey to self awareness and holistic healing as you may be. It's not so simple to just say that and do it, especially when you care about someone else's feelings. It's not, not should it be, a simple matter of saying, "I appreciate that this might hurt you or your feelings, but no, I'm not going to do the thing you ask."

It sounds cold and like you're blaming them for not being experienced enough to resolve this, like a pro poly with 20 years poly under their belt
I think it kind of is. We see a lot of people who really believe that they're a bad person for wanting things that will hurt their partner and potentially end their long-term relationship. As a collective, we spend quite a bit of time, in different ways, telling people that while your desire may end your relationship, it's a perfectly valid and ethical desire to have.

It's difficult, at times, to communicate that you can't have everything you want, but it's okay to want most of the things you do want. You just may not be able to have them all at the same time.

Couples get into: if you loved me, you wouldn't need poly vs if you loved me, you'd let me be poly.
 
I did not mean it in any dismissive way to the OP. I simply mean people CAN have different wants. They don't have to match or agree. They have to figure out how to deal with that mismatch.

A person is not obligated to do stuff for the other partner. If they want to, great. It's fine to contribute to someone else's joy or wellbeing, provided it isn't hurting anyone or themselves. If they don't really want to, if it hurts and they do it anyway, they could examine why they do that. Why is it ok to hurt themselves in service to the partner?

It's ok to care about the person and their feelings. At the same time, for their own wellbeing, they have to be able to say, "I love you a lot. But no, not even for you am I going to do stuff that hurts me. That is asking too much."

They have to care about themselves too. If the partner (or anyone) is making unreasonable and irrational requests or demands, they could say "No, thanks. I won't be doing that."

Now actually saying it, holding that personal boundary? It may take them a while to get to that point on their journey, where they are ok saying "No." Not everyone can do that right away, set and enforce personal boundaries, yet it's still a necessary skill to develop. In life, not everything can be "Yes." One has to say "No" sometimes. Both are needed, sacred yes AND sacred no, because one has to think about one's own wellbeing. It's not selfish, it's doing self care, not neglecting oneself.

Galagirl
 
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I did not mean it in any dismissive way to the OP. I simply mean people CAN have different wants. They don't have to match or agree. They have to figure out how to deal with that mismatch.

A person is not obligated to do stuff for the other partner. If they want to, great. It's fine to contribute to someone else's joy or wellbeing, provided it isn't hurting anyone or themselves. If they don't really want to, if it hurts and they do it anyway, they could examine why they do that. Why is it ok to hurt themselves in service to the partner?

It's ok to care about the person and their feelings. At the same time, for their own wellbeing, they have to be able to say, "I love you a lot. But no, not even for you am I going to do stuff that hurts me. That is asking too much."

They have to care about themselves too. If the partner (or anyone) is making unreasonable and irrational requests or demands, they could say "No, thanks. I won't be doing that."

Now actually saying it, holding that personal boundary? It may take them a while to get to that point on their journey, where they are ok saying "No." Not everyone can do that right away, set and enforce personal boundaries, yet it's still a necessary skill to develop. In life, not everything can be "Yes." One has to say "No" sometimes. Both are needed, sacred yes AND sacred no, because one has to think about one's own wellbeing. It's not selfish, it's doing self care, not neglecting oneself.

Galagirl
I think maybe the assumption that people aren't aware of the ethics and validity of the things they might be having issue with, is missing the point of the help they are looking for.

I can't speak for them, but I'm not reading this as if OP is missing their partners human right and ethical right to have feelings, desires and etc. But those rights don't, and shouldn't justify or excuse the mishandling of OP's rights and ethical desire for understanding, respect and safety of their feelings and emotions. Especially if they have pre-estsblished a standard protocol between two people where they entrust one another with those feelings and emotions. We don't open ourselves up to people, for them to mishandle us, and it seems like OP is feeling that's what's happening to them, and trying to figure out how to best handle that situation ethically and respectfully.
 
I think maybe the assumption that people aren't aware of the ethics and validity of the things they might be having issue with, is missing the point of the help they are looking for.

I can't speak for them, but I'm not reading this as if OP is missing their partners human right and ethical right to have feelings, desires and etc. But those rights don't, and shouldn't justify or excuse the mishandling of OP's rights and ethical desire for understanding, respect and safety of their feelings and emotions. Especially if they have pre-estsblished a standard protocol between two people where they entrust one another with those feelings and emotions. We don't open ourselves up to people, for them to mishandle us, and it seems like OP is feeling that's what's happening to them, and trying to figure out how to best handle that situation ethically and

You're trying to negotiate a situation where a person can't ever disappoint their partner. Just doesn't compute.
 
"She can want that. You do not have to agree."

I feel like that's very dismissive of someone who might not be as far along the psychological journey to self awareness and holistic healing as you may be. It's not so simple to just say that and do it, especially when you care about someone else's feelings. It's not, not should it be, a simple matter of saying, "I appreciate that this might hurt you or your feelings, but no, I'm not going to do the thing you ask." It sounds cold and like you're blaming them for not being experienced enough to resolve it like a pro poly with 20 years poly under their belt.
It’s not dismissive. It’s called consent. People do not have to give consent to things others want them to do. If someone has feelings because their partner won’t do what they want, that’s okay. You can care about another person's feelings without taking responsibility for them, or even being a doormat to try to prevent them. That would be unhealthy.
 
It’s not dismissive. It’s called consent. People do not have to give consent to things others want them to do. If someone has feelings because their partner won’t do what they want then that’s okay. You can care about another persons feelings without taking responsibility for them or even being a doormat to try to prevent them. That would be unhealthy.
Logically, that's entirely correct, but, as you said, "That would be unhealthy." Some people are unhealthy. They are in the process of becoming better. That's often what they are doing by posting, trying to become better. But the answer, "Be more healthy" doesn't validate their situation, which, healthy or not, is their reality. They are looking for assistance in changing that, but it seems a lot of people have no compassion for those going through logically understandable and reasonable feelings, even if they are things that a healthier person should know better.

Polyamory is a revolutionary change people are trying to take. It's not been modelled for them in the movies or by their family or friends or society. It seems like a negative approach to not take a softer and more compassionate approach to those seeking advice and help, even if their issues are all far too common and the answers are obvious to you, someone who has passed by them before.
 
She doesn’t want me to even be friends with my ex-partner.
She can want that. You do not have to agree.

Remember, this is what the comment is about. Nowhere did anyone say to be “more healthy." This was education. Some people do not get that they have a choice. This is simply saying you can disagree about this. It doesn’t say you have to disagree.

Maybe they will choose to honor their wife’s request, and that’s okay if it’s a freely-given choice. But if it’s a choice they feel is manipulation, control or coercion, then it may breed resentment in the future.

The situation where one partner changes their mind is incredibly difficult. The partner changing their mind has strong feelings (usually due to insecurity). Their demands, in this case, affect two other people who will be hurt and maybe even resentful of the demand, if it’s accommodated. More often than not, this situation is the start of the demise of the relationship.

So often, the demand is actually the catalyst for losing a partner that they were afraid of losing, to begin with. I hope this isn’t the case with this couple.
 
She doesn’t want me to even be friends with my ex-partner.


Remember, this is what the comment is about. Nowhere did anyone say to be “more healthy." This was education. Some people do not get that they have a choice. This is simply saying you can disagree about this. It doesn’t say you have to disagree.

Maybe they will choose to honor their wife’s request, and that’s okay if it’s a freely-given choice. But if it’s a choice they feel is manipulation, control or coercion, then it may breed resentment in the future.

The situation where one partner changes their mind is incredibly difficult. The partner changing their mind has strong feelings (usually due to insecurity). Their demands, in this case, affect two other people who will be hurt and maybe even resentful of the demand, if it’s accommodated. More often than not, this situation is the start of the demise of the relationship.

So often, the demand is actually the catalyst for losing a partner that they were afraid of losing, to begin with. I hope this isn’t the case with this couple.

We are slowly heading toward separating. October was horrible, my wife ramped up the manipulation, coercion to pressure me to promise I would never talk to my partner again.

I am the sole breadwinner in the family and with the mounting medical bills due to my wife illness, the extra stress has taken a huge toll. My wife moved out of our bedroom, gave me the silent treatment, acted as if we are separated. It has been like that for almost two months, threatening divorce if I don't bend to her demands.

I have warned her that ultimatums is only going to lead to resentment but she has been hell bent on "fighting for her marriage". I did point out that I don't exist in her marriage as a person beyond playing the role she wants me to play. Last year she was hell bent on having her partner move in with us, using the same manipulative tactics. She has now a change of heart, polyamory is bad and I must go back to monogamy (well with friends with benefits allowed).

She sent a nasty email to my partner, which created its bucket of shit I have had to deal with. My partner asked to go full parallel and doesn't want any contact with my wife. She blocked her from everything.

We found a poly affirming couple therapist but she was useless. She sided with my wife from the start saying "well if your wife doesn't like your partner, then your partner has to go". She made it all about me being the problem. When I expressed that I would likely resent my wife and leave anyway, the therapist replied that is something I should work through my individual therapist. I was floored and she seemed surprise that I canceled the rest of the therapy sessions.

I have attempted to reassure my wife regarding her fears, but she is so afraid of losing me, the life we have built that she is has been ramping the insane behavior. She snooped through my phone recently and started calling numbers she didn't know because she had a gut feeling. I am not doing anything unethical and I was absolutely mortified when a friend called me saying he had received a call from my wife. She also snooped through Facebook and took screenshots of what I have been sharing on support groups for spouse married to partner her mental illness and was very upset that I talk to other people.

My wife also wants me to romance her more, take her on more dates, etc. I totally get where she is coming from but the marriage needs to be partnership, not a one way street. After I get harassed at home, go to bed alone, I am not as excited to plan a date and it also should not be all on my shoulders.

That insane amount of pressure sent me straight to the ER very recently. One morning I went to work and when I got there, I went straight to the ER and cried for 4 hours straight. I couldn't take it anymore

That sent a strong signal to me first and also to her. Things are a little calmer now. But the the resentment has been growing. I have told my wife that her asking me to hurt myself so that she can feel more secure in the marriage is so toxic and cruel. That hasn't really hit her or she just seems to prefer me being miserable and hurting over anything else.

I have setup an appointment with a lawyer soon to understand my options and be prepared in case separation is the only viable way forward.

I really wish it didn't get to that but love is not enough. We love each other very much but her behavior is unacceptable, abusive, assaultive and she takes no responsibility for it. In her head, the main danger in our marriage is my partner. She doesn't want to acknowledge that she is the one destroying our relationship while blaming my partner and putting the burden to fix it on me.

I hope our marriage survive. I hope my other relationship survive this hurricane. There has been a lot of great moments but I have lost hope. Unless I see a strong commitment to self-improvements and an equal amount of work to repair the marriage, it is on track to end.
 
It's ok to care about the person and their feelings. At the same time, for their own wellbeing, they have to be able to say, "I love you a lot. But no, not even for you am I going to do stuff that hurts me. That is asking too much."
I 100% agree with that. I have had to learn this in therapy recently. She takes responsibility for herself and her feelings, I take responsibility for myself and my own feelings.

When she has having big emotions, I tell her that I love her, that I am here for her but I won't take on her problems and I will not self-sacrifice and self-neglect myself to people please her. I have learned that recently. It is a difficult dynamic to change but it is vital.
 
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