I feel guilty and deceived. Their open marriage seems like a bandaid, and I got my heart shattered.

GlitterHorse

New member
Tw: self harm

Hey, I’m new here (29f). I’m going through a really rough and confusing time, and I’d just like some input. I don’t know if I did anything wrong, or if I could have done anything better, or if I just got the short end of the stick here. For a little bit of background, I’ve been solo poly for the last 7ish years. I’ve had a couple longer term on/off things, but I haven’t been in a long term, 100% committed relationship since I was in my early twenties, and that’s the last time I really fell in love. I identify as demisexual/bellusromantic, and have had partners that I loved and cared for deeply, but not like… that. Most of my partners I am still good friends with, and we still talk or occasionally hang out.
I started talking to someone on tinder in early April. Their (34nb) profile stated that they and their spouse (34f) of 9 years were in an open marriage that sounded pretty queerplatonic from what I was told. I had to cancel our first meet because I didn’t feel well, but we talked on the phone for ~3 hours, and I was kind of floored by how cool they were. We had a really good proper first date, even though I was so nervous I was sweating. We started seeing each other on weekends for either a day date, or an overnight. I had mentioned after a couple weeks that I wished we could have more quality time, and the answer I got initially was they felt the same but our work schedules aren’t compatible, and that hopefully that would change soon. We texted all day, and we’d do phone calls a couple nights during the week. I let my guard down entirely. It’s really rare for me to feel so comfortable and comforted by anyone, and wow I missed that. They started casually saying things like “Haha that’s what you’ll say about me when I’m 44!” “We’ll make it last forever, that’s just what I want with you.” “Ugh I’m so into you it hurts a little.” And then it was I love you. I said it first, and felt weird and I was apprehensive and cagey about it. But I meant it. And they said it back, and it felt good. I’ve met two soulmates, who were (and still are) profoundly important to me, and it felt like that. I *love* NRE (best part of being bellusromantic is that I’m like “haha this feels sooo good but I know in my heart this means nothing to me :)”) but this felt deeper. I could tell them anything, and I just liked being present with them. I was smitten with this person. I also understood that they had a life partner, and that was fine. I was falling for them, and they were falling for me, and we gazed at each other’s navels and blah blah blah. Fun.

And then they casually told me a couple weeks ago that the one day a week thing was actually a rule in their relationship. Why did they brush it off like something that was just an inconvenience of work life at the moment when I had initially asked? Why were they doing so much? That really upset me, and it made me fucking scared. I did some crying at that omission because like… that would have been cool to know up front. We met up for our date on Sunday, had a good time going on a hike, then decided to talk about it. And phewwww

I was led to believe this open marriage was a thing that had been like, a pretty organic joint decision. It only happened because the person I was seeing had started to do some straying and had violated her trust by having a crush on someone else and trying to act on it I guess but not fully doing so (this was less than a year ago.) They had also considered separating, but that was a conversation she wouldn’t have at the time. That was new information. I asked them if they had actually talked to their spouse about the dynamics that now existed and like, really basic things people need to discuss and no. They hadn’t. The person I was seeing, it seemed like, was so scared of any conflict in their partnership that they were willing to placate, and I fucking hated that. I hated that for me but I also hated that for her. More new news, anything outside their partnership was supposed to be strictly sex/casual, no partnerships and definitely no deep feelings. She had actually asked them to “reel it in” (ok what dude how?) I felt especially upset that none of these boundaries were discussed with me before I had to pry. So I asked if things could be negotiated, specifically the time thing. I asked them to speak with her about what was going on. I just wanted them to be honest. They said that they knew at this point they would be breaking someone’s heart, and stated that they would rather h*rm themselves than have that talk. That actually scared me, and I considered reaching out to the spouse but in doing so, I would risk exposing things they had said to me that were not mine to expose. I told them that if it had to be anyone out, it should be me - I’m the most expendable. We don’t own a house together. But also, would that be fair? And also, if they kept this arrangement and they didn’t discuss it, this could happen again with somebody different. I tried to keep my composure and just be supportive and said that I wanted them to take time to process everything and not speak until they were ready, but that this was a really bad position to be put in.

I got a series of texts after “the conversation” that week that were basically like “Anyways sorry no, you can have one day a week and also sorry I can’t be your date to a wedding that is in 2 days and if that doesn’t work I’m sorry. I’ll give you space, really this isn’t so bad it’s exactly what we’ve been doing.” I don’t even think I felt jealous at this point, necessarily, just so amazingly angry. I wanted to self destruct. I felt humiliated I had told my mom about them, and my friends about them, and how happy I was. I felt stupid for not knowing anything that I wasn’t told, and I felt like I was just a Fucking Vacation. They didn’t call to check on me. I started to think about just d*ing, too. Like, I had a last straw moment. I texted some things that were not nice at all out of overwhelming frustration about the situation I was put into, which looking through my words now was a big rejection sensitive dysphoria moment. Nothing demeaning towards her or anything, just me yelling about how messed up I felt about the communication problems and how unfair it felt to me. So I mostly fucked off for the weekend, ended up going to the wedding alone. Texted a couple times asking why I wasn’t worth a phone call. I apologized for blowing up, and on Sunday they said they’d call me the next day, but again, were prioritizing time with her.
They called me on Monday at 11 am and told me they had really thought about it and no longer wanted to be in their current partnership, and planned to talk about separating. And then they asked me if I would wait for them. I kinda felt sick. I missed their voice so much, I had answered the call with a sweet cooing “hey.” I told them that I didn’t want them to make any sort of decision like that on my behalf, their decisions needed to be made purely for themselves, and that having this conversation with me before their spouse was… actually a kind of weird ass thing to do. Like, what can I even say to that? Yes? No? I didn’t ask for this at all. Why are you telling me this before you tell her? We talked for about half an hour, I reminded them that I would be okay, and I asked them to please think about everything before doing that. They texted me before the talk. They texted me after the talk. They said their spouse was sad but relieved with their honesty and they had a plan to do it slowly over the next few months, which sounds totally fine and healthy, support that.
Apparently shit hit the fan when she asked them to promise not to talk to me at all, and they couldn’t. She lost it, they were kicked out of the house as a result and told that if they saw me at all, they would not be allowed back into the home, which honestly…. feels really weird. I asked if there was anything I could do to help, and that I did not want to make the situation worse. They decided to go back home a couple hours later. I asked them to please stay safe.

Next morning texted to check in. They had a suicidal crisis, the spouse is now responsible for helping them with their mental health treatment plan, they’re cutting off all romantic connections, and they hope they are “no more than a small negative blip” for me. Could never happen. I genuinely hope they figure it out, and that their mental health improves, and that they can be happy. I know, rationally, I maybe didn’t do anything wrong. But I just feel like crap for how badly this all went. I’ve been reading through all our text messages to reassure myself I’m not like, completely crazy and I didn’t make it up… But I feel entirely heartbroken.
My chest has been hurting all week. I don’t know what to do. I’m just… exhausted and floored and if anyone has any advice for me to stop feeling so guilty and complicit in all of this, I’d love to stop feeling like everything is my fault. I feel like I’m a match that was dropped into a gas can.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I hope you feel better for the vent. I'm sorry this happened. It's a rough situation.

I struggle with no names so I'm going to use generic fruit and call them "Apple" and "Banana." If you want to go with something else I'm happy to use what you pick.
I know, rationally, I maybe didn’t do anything wrong. But I just feel like crap for how badly this all went. I’ve been reading through all our text messages to reassure myself I’m not like, completely crazy and I didn’t make it up… But I feel entirely heartbroken.

It's totally ok to feel heartbroken. This whole thing was just so much!

My chest has been hurting all week. I don’t know what to do. I’m just… exhausted and floored and if anyone has any advice for me to stop feeling so guilty and complicit in all of this, I’d love to stop feeling like everything is my fault.

If you are exhausted? Rest. Avoid new stimulus. Take a time out. Delete all of Apple contact info. Spend some time healing from this break up with Apple.

I could be wrong, but I think you might be confusing "guilt" with "regret."

And maybe confusing "complicit with Apple in hurting Banana" with "complicit with Apple in neglecting my own well being."

Things were rocky with Apple and Banana before you ever arrived. You didn't cause their problems. You didn't even know they were problems because Apple wasn't up front with you.

Take your time healing from the break up and don't get sucked into more of their (Apple+Banana) weird. It is not fun to end up like "collateral damage" when couples do wonky poly or wonky open.

The only thing you did wrong was maybe hanging around being "too nice" to Apple even after realizing Apple had lied to you about various things. You ignored the weird -- which is not taking good care of you. For me lies are a dealbreaker. I'm out. Because relationships built on lies are shaky.

Maybe you were shocked/surprised over how fast this went downhill. It happens. But in future keep a sharper look out for any hinky business.

Basically Apple misrepresented themselves as being in a stable open marriage when really it was not. Started with crush thing that became a cheating situation (?), then Apple wanting a separation but then foot dragging on that, then Apple making an agreement with Banana to keep it as casual sex 1 day a week only and no emotions or romances... and then Apple breaking those agreements when Apple told you they loved you. And from the sound of it, Apple was kinda turning you into their "free therapist" with their Banana relationship problems.

If Apple just tells people whatever they want to hear in the moment to "placate" because they are so conflict avoidant? Apple cannot become a trustworthy person if they don't keep their Word to anyone. It just makes bigger and bigger messes. That's personal baggage Apple has to work on to fix. Nobody can fix that for them.

You basically got dinged with all the weird. You mentioned several times how weird it was. So you do seem to be able to recognize it. Not sure why you ignore it. Are you also conflict avoidant?

The only things I suggest you do different in future? Like skills you could work on? Take better care of yourself and get you out of weird faster.

Give yourself permission to say "Nope, this is just getting way too weird for me. Lying to me, not really square on open relationship with Banana, and other hinky sounding business. I don't need to be part of this. I'm out."

No break up is FUN, but had you bowed out sooner, you could have skipped some of subsequent weird.

And then they casually told me a couple weeks ago that the one day a week thing was actually a rule in their relationship. Why did they brush it off like something that was just an inconvenience of work life at the moment when I had initially asked? Why were they doing so much? That really upset me, and it made me fucking scared. I did some crying at that omission because like… that would have been cool to know up front.

If you want to know things up front? ASK. Before you sign up? You have to find out what the dating offer actually IS, right? What the expectations are.

It is not prying to ask a potential if they have agreements with other partners that may affect you. Some you may find acceptable. Like they have an agreement to use condoms and safer sex practices. Some you might find "meh" or off putting. Then you can decide you prefer to skip dating them any more and avoid getting in too deep.

They had also considered separating, but that was a conversation she wouldn’t have at the time. That was new information. I asked them if they had actually talked to their spouse about the dynamics that now existed and like, really basic things people need to discuss and no. They hadn’t.

Eventually you did ask. And then you found out it was all wonky weird.

Once you get a whiff of weird? Just get out. Esp when they have lied to you already. It's not your job to help support Apple through separation, divorce, anxiety, conflict avoidance, whatever it is.

Don't be so "nice" to other people you forget to take care of you. It's ok to look out for your own self and your own well being. You could be nice to you!

Again, I'm sorry this happened. Don't let this poor experience cloud your whole life, but do take what you can learn from it so other dating experiences in future can go better.

Could decide that if any more weird comes along? You will get out of the way much faster.

I hope you over time, you find healing and peace.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello GlitterHorse,

I am concerned that the 34nb person initially told you they could only see you once a week due to work schedules, only to later admit it was a rule in their relationship with their 34f spouse. Let's be honest, the 34nb person lied to you.

It sounds like there were multiple things they didn't (at first) tell you about. You definitely haven't done anything wrong. This is something that happened to you. In a way you are lucky, you have discovered their true colors before things got worse. Consider that a bullet dodged, don't walk away, run.

I'm so sorry that all of this has happened. Sometimes people are not honest because they want something so bad. You are not the cause of so much dishonesty, you felt sick inside when you found out about it. Cut yourself some slack.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I'm so sorry this happened to you. Apple is not in an actual polyamorous relationship. They are in a somewhat open relationship with only casual sex "allowed." If they develop feelings for another, they are supposed to "reel it in," which means, stop loving? Dump the person they love?

I just don't understand how people can have frequent casual sex with a person they like a lot, and not fall in love. I mean, I know (and have dated) people like that, but I am a lover. If I enjoy someone's company and the sex is great, I will love them, if not full-on fall in love.

Anyway. Dating sucks. I've been dating polyamorously since 2008 (with some dabbling in 1999-2000 as well) and let me tell you, I've been lied to. I've also asked searching questions about a potential's situation, intentions and been told, "Oh yes, I am poly. I am not mono. I don't want a wife and kids, I don't even like kids," only to find out a few weeks into it that they are actually looking for Ms Right, and are interested in dating/marrying a mono woman, even if she is already a mom and they would be expected to live with her and parent her kid! (This happened to me twice!)

I once tried to date a man who had been born and raised in India, but had live in the US for a decade, since college. I asked him if there wasn't pressure for him to marry an Indian woman from his parents/relatives. "Oh no," he said. "They aren't trying to set me up with anyone," only to find out an Indian coworker of his was acting as a matchmaker and had set him up with a marriage-minded Indian woman and he was dating her. So I had gotten a deceptive half truth from him. I felt like was just a piece of meat to assuage his horniness while he looked for a woman who would be saving herself for marriage.

I've been through the ringer. I could go on and on.

GalaGirl gave good advice. Her are some of my general rules for myself, developed over time:

Look for red flags (immaturity, narcissism, false poly people, people-pleasers, etc.)
Beware of "love-bombing"
Expect to be disappointed
Know that people lie, to themselves and to others
Don't date people who threaten to self-harm or kill themselves
Don't take the blame for someone else's issues
Keep things light at first, don't get overly invested, protect your heart!
NRE is fun, but don't "love" NRE: take it with a grain of salt, know it's just hormonal and that real love takes more than a few weeks to develop
Try not to date newly-divorced people or others on the rebound
If people come from a difficult past (abuse, etc.), or have mental illness, find out what their care plan is (counseling, meds) and if they are sticking to it, before you get too invested
Don't white knight people, neglecting your own needs
 
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Hanky

Member
It’s tough out in the dating world, I don’t know if it always been like that but I think a lot of people are self serving now days. I can tell you I have been lied to a lot! Like I have been told “oh I make my own money and don’t need a man to provide for me” and then two weeks later she is hitting me up to pay her cell phone. And then threatens to withdraw intimacy if I don’t comply! Or like I’ve been told “oh we are just being casual and playing it by ear, next thing I know she’s talking about marriage and kids!”

I met this one girl From Croatia that acted like she had traditional values and cared for her man in that way, like a homemaker. And I supported her completely and then one day she’s like “oh I read a book about feminism and I’m not going to do anything for you anymore”. And I was like, wow I work every day for you. I felt like I was just being used as an atm machine…

And another girl who we agreed she would use condoms with other people but I found out she was not using protection and she lied to me about it.

I have a billion stories about getting lied to and being a victim. I’ve been through the ringer too and I gotta say look out for the red flags.

Just to add a few.
People trying to get money from you.
People into polarizing politics about opposite gender.
Party people with substance abuse issues
Money issues
Violent people. I have a girl stalk my and slash my tires one time.

Also I don’t date people that have a bunch of exes around, and ex should be an ex and stay and ex.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
I don’t date people that have a bunch of exes around, and ex should be an ex and stay and ex.
I’d actually see it as the opposite - if someone can successfully maintain friendships after relationships with a lot of people? They must be amazingly good at NOT bringing drama to the party and parting on good terms.
 
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