I am feeling so unhappy

MsEmotional

New member
I don't know why I feel this way. I have two people who love me and want me to be in their lives forever. It makes me feel incredibly ungrateful, but I am just so unhappy right now. Is this just how polyamory goes? Is it just a constant roller coaster of emotions? I feel like one moment I am ecstatic and consider myself the luckiest woman on Earth. The next moment I am in a pit of despair -- feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and just plain awful.

My boyfriend is sad about the difference between my relationship with him and my relationship with my husband. He understands that there are different expectations between a couple that lives together and has kids vs one that does not....he doesn't have an expectation that I change those realities, but they still make him sad. He is insecure that I will leave him at the drop of a hat and that I will easily move on because I willl have support from my husband. He feels like our relationship is less legitimate. He knows that this is his own insecurity to deal with, but it still makes us both sad and I feel like there is nothing I can do to make it better.

I'm kinda freaking out. I feel so responsible. I know that poly is how he identifies and what he wants, but I am getting the growing impression that he wants more of the trappings of a monogamous relationship. When we first got together he described himself as being really independent -- not wanting to be limited in relationships, having the opportunity to have his diverse needs met, and appreciating the fact that his partners would have other relationships that they could rely on for support beyond him.

In practice, though, this isn't really what is happening. He and his other girlfriend were in a rocky place and split up a couple weeks ago. He is surprised by his feelings for me and isn't interested in dating anyone else right now. He says he feels like he wouldn't be treating the other person fairly -- that he'd be dating for the wrong reasons. Fair enough -- but now I feel 100% responsible for his needs and his insecurity about my husband....and avoiding that dynamic was what he was aiming for when pursuing poly in the first place. He hates feeling needy with me, but he doesn't feel comfortable pursuing other relationships.

Is this all worth it? I love him so much, but I am so afraid of hurting him. A big part of me wants to just run for the hills before he gets more invested in me. But another big part of me says that this is just drama right now and that it will pass and we will find our groove.

It doesn't help that he's had a lot of toxic relationships. And so I am simultaneously overwhelmed by how much of an impact I have made on his happiness and self-worth in such a short period of time, and also terrified that I am going to hurt him too.

It's ironic. I feel like he identifies as poly, but is effectively monogamous because he doesn't want to date anyone else but me. I, on the other hand, would happily identify as mono except that I am in love with two people.

What the hell should I do? I feel so lost and confused.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle.

To me you sound like you are drowning in your BF's insecurity. And it's stirring up a lot of feelings for you.

  • I am just so unhappy right now.
  • constant roller coaster of emotions
  • pit of despair -- feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and just plain awful.
  • I'm kinda freaking out.
  • I feel so responsible.
  • I feel 100% responsible for his needs and his insecurity about my husband....and avoiding that dynamic was what he was aiming for when pursuing poly in the first place.
  • I love him so much, but I am so afraid of hurting him.

My boyfriend is sad about the difference between my relationship with him and my relationship with my husband. He understands that there are different expectations between a couple that lives together and has kids vs one that does not....he doesn't have an expectation that I change those realities, but they still make him sad. He is insecure that I will leave him at the drop of a hat and that I will easily move on because I will have support from my husband. He feels like our relationship is less legitimate.

He chooses to be here in a "non-legitimate" relationship where he fears being dumped at any moment. If he doesn't like being here, and being here brings him sadness, why does he choose to continue then? He could solve all that by saying "Thank you. But this doesn't work for me" and bowing out.

He knows that this is his own insecurity to deal with, but it still makes us both sad and I feel like there is nothing I can do to make it better.

You are correct. There is nothing you can do.

He has to do it. What's he doing about it? Is he seeking therapy? Reading a book? Seeking a class? Because if he's doing nothing but unload on just you? And that behavior of his is causing you pain?

You have to tell him to stop it and handle his mental health more appropriately. You cannot be his life raft or emotional dumpster. You cannot "carry" him.

If he has so many problems that he's not a healthy dating partner? He jumped the gun in offering himself as one? He could dial it back, work on himself first to become healthy, and THEN try to date. If he carries so much baggage from previous toxic relationships? It's his baggage to unpack, sort out, and discard the bits that he no longer wants to carry.

You do not exist to "make up" for whatever came before. You do not exist to carry his baggage for him. You want a BF, not a patient case load or someone who sucks you dry. Right?

I am simultaneously overwhelmed by how much of an impact I have made on his happiness and self-worth in such a short period of time,

Why latch on so hard so fast? :confused: Do you feel engulfed by him?

A big part of me wants to just run for the hills before he gets more invested in me. But another big part of me says that this is just drama right now and that it will pass and we will find our groove.

Well, if the biggest part of you wants to let this go before he gets even more attached to you? And you want to be free of this roller coaster stuff?

Maybe the most loving thing you can do right now for him AND for yourself is to let him go and encourage him to see a counselor. Then he can move on to healing his problems and you can be free of this emotional roller coaster.

A break up would still be sad, but perhaps it is a more manageable size sad than the load you have going on now.

When everything is hard, you are going to have to pick your hard.

If you don't want to part ways? At the very least you are going to have to ask him to stop unloading so much on you, and you are going to have to work on your own personal boundaries. You are not actually 100% responsible for him and his stuff. Just because you are the hinge in a V doesn't mean you have to do everyone else's work for them.

If you have some kind of expectation that the hinge has to do double or triple duty "because they get to have more partners" you may have to revise that. Your partners choose to be here. Each one of you could do your fair share. Not you doing all the lifting and burning out as a result. That is not you taking good care of you.

No healthy partner would expect you to burn yourself out like that.

Galagirl
 
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lunabunny

New member
I don't know why I feel this way. I have two people who love me and want me to be in their lives forever. It makes me feel incredibly ungrateful, but I am just so unhappy right now. Is this just how polyamory goes? Is it just a constant roller coaster of emotions? I feel like one moment I am ecstatic and consider myself the luckiest woman on Earth. The next moment I am in a pit of despair -- feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and just plain awful.


It's ironic. I feel like he identifies as poly, but is effectively monogamous because he doesn't want to date anyone else but me. I, on the other hand, would happily identify as mono except that I am in love with two people.

What the hell should I do? I feel so lost and confused.

I can't even tell you how much I can relate to these two points, MsEmotional.

I too am confused and overwhelmed by what being in a poly relationship entails - especially considering I don't "identify" as poly per se, but am only here because I fell in love with two people unexpectedly; something that's well out of the realm of my experience or comfort zone!

It is a LOT of responsibility, trying to meet the needs of two other people simultaneously while taking care not to be consumed by their demands on your time and emotions. To be honest, I've struggled to find a good balance.

On the other hand, I can also relate to your boyfriend's insecurity as one of my partners needs a lot of space to decompress, relax, create and generally just be alone. When he distances himself or is too busy to spend much time with me, it makes me feel lonely and unwanted, although intellectually I KNOW he loves and wants me very much.

It sounds as if your boyfriend feels the relationship is unbalanced in terms of time and attention, and that he is getting the short shrift, even though he may not be inclined to object too directly or strenuously for fear of making you angry, pushing you away further, or turning you off by his neediness.

Instead, he tries to fit into your existing life and makes a show of acceptance, while allowing his sadness to overwhelm you both. This is unconsciously passive-aggressive, as he knows you realise he really doesn't accept the situation but wish for more, and that sets up a guilt reaction in you that, in the long-term, may drive you away or cause you to end the relationship.

He is probably feeling pretty powerless because he never anticipated feeling this strongly about any ONE person and now he can't satisfy his craving for certainty, no matter how much you reassure him. This hints at issues of control. If your boyfriend is a man who is used to being in control, calling the shots in his life, is normally pretty calm and knows what he wants under normal circumstances, he may feel his world is spiralling out of control and this is distressing and causes additional anxiety.

If you really are being fair with your time and energies, MsEmotional, and have done all you can to reassure your bf of his place in your life, then he needs to deal with his changed expectations and insecurities - possibly by seeking counselling, as GalaGirl suggested, or perhaps by acknowledging that his desire for a poly life has run its course and that when he truly loves someone it is monogamy he seeks.

If you don't wish to leave your other partner, there is not much you can do to help him with the latter, if that is in fact the case, other than setting him free to pursue love with someone who can offer him that.
 

MsEmotional

New member
Thank you for the replies. I should clarify that he recognizes that this is his issue to deal with and checks in with me to make sure I am not taking on too much of his emotional burden ....but I am not comfortable knowing that he is having these feelings and not allowing him to express those feelings to me. So I tell him that I am okay, that I can handle it, etc. which, I suppose, isn't true now that you all mention it. But I just can't bring myself to say, "yeah, your worries are too intense for me to hear about."

As far as him choosing to stay in a relationship that makes him sad -- he's experiencing the same thing as I am: intense highs and ecstatic happiness in which he feels like the luckiest person on earth, followed by a crash of fear and insecurity. I think we had both been assuming that it was NRE and would get less intense with time (and it probably still will!) but for now it feels like it is getting more intense rather than less. .

I should also mention that his mental health concerns are well-known to both of us. He has been seeing a therapist since childhood. Right now he sees her every other week. But maybe I need to ask that he see her every week while he is dealing with this current flood of insecurity. That's something that I think I could ask of him.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
So I tell him that I am okay, that I can handle it, etc. which, I suppose, isn't true now that you all mention it. But I just can't bring myself to say, "yeah, your worries are too intense for me to hear about."

You guys are dating. This is the "get to know you" time. How is he supposed to learn when he is overleaning on you, when you report falsely? How is that holding up your fair share in the relationship?

If he has a 100 gallon load and your bucket can only hold 5 gallons at a time, is that a secret? Or are you going to tell him what size bucket you have? So you can both learn how to work like a team and pace things out?

What's wrong with telling him "My 5 gallons is full now. You have to share elsewhere until I drain some of this off and can take another 5 gallon load again."

If I have a migraine and the kids want me to run around playing tag, I am going to say "No. Not at this time. I have a migraine. I might be up for watching a cartoon later with you. Or low key stuff like that. Maybe crayons. But I am not up for running around doing tag. That hurts my head."

I'm not going to play tag, make my head worse, and then start snapping at the children because I didn't take care of me well.

You telling someone "no, not at this time" is simply reporting where your energy level and ability is at right now. They cannot be a mind reader. They rely on you to report honestly.
If you are reporting falsely, overextending your own self, and then find it unpleasant? You are the one who has to stop doing that.

It's possible to love people and tell them "no" sometimes. Loving them doesn't mean having to be the never ending fountain at ALL times no matter what. Why pressure yourself like that? :confused:

If he has a need to unload, and you have a need to hear at a slower pace? Can't he write it down in a journal and you come to read it when you are ready to take it on board? Then he gets to dump load, and you don't get whooshed? Or he processes with someone else and gives you the Cliff Notes version?

As far as him choosing to stay in a relationship that makes him sad -- he's experiencing the same thing as I am: intense highs and ecstatic happiness in which he feels like the luckiest person on earth, followed by a crash of fear and insecurity. I think we had both been assuming that it was NRE and would get less intense with time (and it probably still will!) but for now it feels like it is getting more intense rather than less. .

Then you could each resolve to push through and not make it harder than it needs to be.

Or could stop because it's too much. The only ones who can make that call is each of you.

If it helps any, here's a visual for the stages of emotional change.

http://www.eoslifework.co.uk/Images/fut1.gif

Not that it works out perfectly to the timeline it suggests, but perhaps it helps some.

Something else to think about -- comfort in, kvetch out.

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407

I should also mention that his mental health concerns are well-known to both of us. He has been seeing a therapist since childhood. Right now he sees her every other week. But maybe I need to ask that he see her every week while he is dealing with this current flood of insecurity. That's something that I think I could ask of him.

There you go. Ask him to do that.

If things have gotten intense to where more appointments are needed, he could get more appointments so he can kvetch outside the system. Then when it is less intense he could go back to weekly. Rather than kvetching into the system at you and compounding problems. Seek to take the pot OFF the burner, not crank up the heat.

You can be part of his support team but you CANNOT be the whole team. Esp if that leads to you burning out. And sometimes, you being on the team doesn't mean that everything that comes up is your job. The pitcher is the one who pitches. If you are on the team as the shortstop, you are not doing the pitching. The pitcher doesn't do your shortstop job any more than you do the pitcher's job. If you end up getting in each other's way, that's not playing well as a team.

If he's asking you to be his whole support team 24/7, that's asking you to be his life raft. You do not exist to do that. It's not a reasonable or healthy thing to ask. You could bow out.

Galagirl
 
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lunabunny

New member
I'm sorry, I know you said your bf had been in some bad relationships previously, but I must have missed the part where you say he has mental health issues and is already seeing a therapist (unless it was in another thread). That changes things somewhat.

And while I can relate to the bittersweetness that is an insecure person's version of poly NRE (intense feelings of joy and ecstasy followed by a crash and those horrible paranoid feelings), I will always believe that HONESTY is a vital ingredient in ANY relationship, whether polyamorous or monogamous.

I know you don't wish to hurt this man, but you simply must be honest with him, or you're setting both him and yourself up for an inauthentic relationship that is bound to fail sooner or later. If your relationship is not transparent, you are essentially lying by omission while hoping to hell things improve naturally and you never have to "tell"... when it's far more likely that doing so will lead to more trouble down the track, feelings of resentment and false expectations on his behalf.
 

MsEmotional

New member
I'm sorry, I know you said your bf had been in some bad relationships previously, but I must have missed the part where you say he has mental health issues and is already seeing a therapist (unless it was in another thread). That changes things somewhat.

You didn't miss anything. I hadn't mentioned it originally, but it became clear from the responses that I should acknowledge that he is self-aware and trying to own his own issues and work on them independently of me.
 
Ms. Emotional, I have read your other thread when you mentioned that you see Ponytail four times a week. Is this because you are constantly trying to manage his insecurities for him?

This is unsustainable. You have young children and a husband at home, and they will eventually suffer from your frequent absences, if they aren't already.

As is often said on these boards, love is infinite, but time is NOT. You have no option but to, as Gala Girl would say, put on your own oxygen mask first. It is good to be there for him, but not at the expense of everyone else in your life, including yourself.
 

Shaya

New member
Hi MsEmotional,

A psychologist might point out that your boyfriend is currently going through a breakup. Perhaps his clingyness is secondary to that. I'm not a psychologist though, so maybe I'm reading it wrong.

He may have to dig through in his mind as to why he feels so clingy to you. The reason given above may not be the only one.

Best wishes,
Shaya.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
This is the same boyfriend who got all peevish when you slipped up & used the "primary/secondary" no-no words... the guy who "only" has four dates a week (!!) with you & feels that's not half enough... & who has lately begun pushing for your vee to "fluid bond," correct?

As us statisticians say, "one point is data, two points is a trend, three points is a curve." :cool:

I'd gotten the impression that Ponytail was crowding you toward "being serious" to a high enough level to suit his needs, & was experienced with using passive-aggressive strategies to get his way, & that he wants to be "just as primary" as your husband, rapidly, without earning his way, & as an added bonus would be in position to begin crowding between you & your husband. (I'm kinda cynical that way.)

Now, I'm almost certain of it.
My boyfriend is sad
And I'll pause right there, because of all the times I've seen someone use "that makes me sad" or "I think it's just sad that..." to disguise their anger at not getting their way immediately. It's a sort of P-A mini-tantrum.

I won't be surprised if there's a big codependent BUT coming up soon...:(
My boyfriend is sad about the difference between my relationship with him and my relationship with my husband.
You're saying he had no clue what he was getting into? There ya go: either manipulative, or a drooling idiot. Choose one.
He understands that there are different expectations ... BUT they still make him sad.
See, a nice big BUT & there's that damnable word again. Imagine a whiny three-year-old stamping his feet because Mommy didn't immediately stop when they passed the food court. I can almost see his little lip quivering. :rolleyes: Does Mommy buy him a treat to avoid a humiliating public meltdown?
He is insecure that I will leave him at the drop of a hat
And maybe he's correct, & maybe he knows that is a likely outcome if he pushes too hard, & maybe he knows this because he's done it often enough.
He feels like our relationship is less legitimate. He knows that this is his own insecurity to deal with
It's up to HIM to put on his big-boy pants & work WITH you to address his insecurities, NOT to weasel & guilt-trip you into "making him feel safe." YOU cannot MAKE HIM better, & in any case YOU are NOT his therapist.

O, heavens, I just KNOW that Those Damned Words are coming around again...:(
BUT it still makes us both SAD and I feel like there is nothing I can do to make it better.
poly is how he identifies and what he wants
No, it's just a buzzword to lubricate his actual intent, which you already suspect --
he wants more of the trappings of a monogamous relationship
-- while neatly skirting the responsibilities of monogamy AND nonmonogamy --
being really independent -- not wanting to be limited in relationships, having the opportunity to have his diverse needs met, and ... his partners would have other relationships that they could rely on for support beyond him.
He is surprised by his feelings for me
No. As with his claims of polyamory, he CLAIMS that he is surprised by the feelings he CLAIMS to have for you, yet somehow he keeps missing the mark in consistently backing up those claims
now I feel 100% responsible for his needs and his insecurity about my husband
Just like magic, eh. :rolleyes: As indicated by further unproven claims, the mind-control is almost complete:
avoiding that dynamic was what he was aiming for when pursuing poly in the first place. He hates feeling needy with me, but he doesn't feel comfortable pursuing other relationships.

I am so afraid of hurting him.

A big part of me wants to just run for the hills before HE gets more invested in ME.
:confused: At what point did YOU become the Big Meanie here?
he's had a lot of toxic relationships.
When someone has had a whole string of toxic relationships, what is the ONE FACTOR that they ALL have in common...?
And so I am simultaneously overwhelmed by how much of an impact I have made on his happiness and self-worth in such a short period of time, and also terrified that I am going to hurt him too.
Stop being his Mommy. Make him speak directly with you, as though he respects you as a person & not a Parent from whom he can wheedle stuff.
I am in love with two people.
The more you say, the less I believe he loves you, so I really doubt there's any "with" there. If you weren't trying so hard to talk yourself out of believing what you're seeing, you'd question whether the "love" part is valid.

My strong suggestion? He gets his sh!t together, & maybe eventually gets a chance to EARN being a full partner. No more cookies until he does his homework, & any whining or pouting means further reductions in privileges.

If he balks, or stalls, then either put him out the nearest airlock, or accept he's going to eventually try to replace your husband.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi MsEmotional,

I think the main thing here is to let Ponytail manage his own stuff. Try not to feel responsible for his sadness, you are not doing anything wrong, and can't be blamed for his sadness. It is his responsibility to decide whether he wants to stay in this relationship in spite of his sadness. Your responsibility is to decide whether you want to stay in this relationship in spite of your sadness. There is an important difference there, it means that each of you tends to your own well-being. You share love with each other, but that's not the same thing as trading responsibilities. Don't trade; let him do his, and you do yours.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I feel so responsible....I feel 100% responsible for his needs and his insecurity ..... I am so afraid of hurting him. ....terrified that I am going to hurt him too.

What the hell should I do? I feel so lost and confused.

Here's a good place to start:

The main reason you're feeling so lost and confused is because you don't have a strong sense of yourself or how to maintain your own well being. You feel lost because you don't have all of you and you're looking to these two men to show you who that is. I'll bet this is not the first time you've been overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and ultra responsibility for how others feel, saddling yourself with the job of keeping a loved one happy. Part of learning how to have good relationships is learning how to let our loved ones feel their pain. Your BF's insecurities, pain and confusion about what he wants are all his to feel. They all have to do with whatever perspective he has on life and on love. If we are living our own lives focused on honest integrity with ourselves, always aiming for our own peace of mind and heart, we never have to worry about someone else's pain. We can't spare others pain, we can only possibly postpone it. Emotional pain is an internal signal that the person needs to stop and listen. If we fuss and worry to try and shield others from their pain, we do them a disservice as well as distract ourselves mightily from our own inner voice of integrity, muddying our own internal waters. This is what's known as not dealing with your own shit. The more you deal with his, ignoring yours, the more you deprive both of you from whatever hurt is happening. That pain is there for a reason - in him and in you. Focus on what yours is telling you and let him deal with his.

BTW, "toxic" relationships are when the partners are all up in each other's shit. He doesn't just have a history of toxic relationships, that's how he does relationships. What kind of relationships do you want?
 

MsEmotional

New member
I feel like I can't really respond to the assumptions that he is the cause of the toxicity in his previous relationships and that he is manipulating me. There's kind of nothing that I can say that won't just sound like I am too deeply under his spell or whatever. But I'll just say that that isn't the sense that I get at all, and it's probably a matter of me not describing the situation clearly. For example, he didn't get touchy about me accidentally using primary/secondary labels -- rather, his dislike for those labels came up in a conversation we were having about what we value about polyamory and different polyamorous configurations. So I know that he doesn't like those labels, but it's not a matter of him getting upset with me about it, it's just a matter of the fact that we've communicated about it.

I've also talked to my husband about some of these concerns and he is really supportive of Ponytail, doesn't get the sense that he is manipulating me, and is trying to make room for our relationship to grow while still being true to our own relationship and family responsibilities.

I also want to add that I feel a ton better than I did when I wrote this post originally. I've found some ways that I can feel supportive of his mental health goals without taking on his insecurity and that makes me feel a lot better.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I also want to add that I feel a ton better than I did when I wrote this post originally. I've found some ways that I can feel supportive of his mental health goals without taking on his insecurity and that makes me feel a lot better.

Glad you feel better. Maintain your personal boundaries. It's ok to let his stuff be his stuff and not take it on board for yourself.

Galagirl
 
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