My situation

Boolean40

New member
Hello,

I'm a 43 year old man in California and I'm making my first go at a serious poly relationship. I'm here to share my story and to get advice and suggestions.

Here are the basics of my situation, along with a timeline. Sorry if it seems kind of cut-and-dried but I figure it's a good way to establish the basis.

I was married to a woman for about eight years. It was an extremely difficult relationship; I loved her, but she was emotionally, verbally, and occasionally physically abusive. Let's call her "S." I stayed in that relationship for as long as I did for many reasons, most of which are very well captured by this article:

http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/200...elationships-with-their-wives-or-girlfriends/

I only woke up in 2012 when I realized S was starting to dish out the same abuse to our daughter that she had been giving to me for many years.

In mid-2013 I got to know a wonderful woman; let's call her "C." She was also in a bad marriage. We commiserated and became friends.

November 2014: C kicks her husband out and initiated a divorce.

December 2014: C and I become romantic. I decide I'm going to leave my wife S for her. She greets this news enthusiastically.

January 2014: I decide on April to move out, communicate that with her.

February 2014: I go on a cruise with my then-wife, S. It was something we had booked a year previously. In retrospect, it is clear that it was a bad idea. But I told myself I wanted to give my daughter one last nice vacation memory of the three of us together.

March 2014: C buys an investment property about three hours' drive away. She tells me she will have a friend of hers live there to fix it up before she re-sells it. Let's call him "T."

April 2014: As promised, I leave my wife S to be with C. Things are wonderful.

May-July 2014: Things between C and I go very well. In May, C asks me if we can have an open relationship for now. I think about it and finally decide I'm OK to that idea; I tell her "I hear you need to agree on rules for it to work." She says "you research those rules and we'll talk about it."

She goes up to her investment home about once a month, spending 2-3 days there each time, to check on the progress of the remodeling. After the third visit, I ask her, curious, where she stays when she's up there... a hotel? "No, silly, I stay at the house." "Oh. OK. Where do you sleep?" "Well, in the bed of course. T sleeps on the couch when I'm there."

OK.

I notice that her energy is different shortly before and after each trip to the investment home. An odd vibe. So finally after another trip up there, I take her aside and ask her, "Have you and T ever had a physical relationship?"

She hesitates and says, "That's something I've been meaning to tell you about."

So she spills the beans. When I went on the cruise with my wife in February, she was so upset and lonely she contacted T, an old friend who she's known for years, who lives about 3 hours away. They hooked up and began what she describes as a FwB relationship. When she learned he was out of work and about to be evicted, she bought the investment house for him to live in rent-free with the plan being for him to fix it up for re-sale later.

She says she wants us to have a poly relationship; that she's 'not wired for monogamy' and she can continue to have occasional encounters with T, treating it as "like eating a nice steak or a piece of candy; the same level of emotional attachment." But she loves me and wants to have a future with me and both of us raise our kids together; i.e., she wants her and my relationship to be the primary one.

I think about this long and hard. She really is a wonderful woman and I truly believe she love me dearly. I am also totally crazy about her. She and I are perfect for each other; it's as if government scientists in some secret lab designed the perfect life partner for me.

So I tell her, after much thought, OK... you did ask for an open reationship previously. So I guess technically you weren't cheating. I'm willing to give this a try.

I also say, if this is going to work, there needs to be equality. If you can maintain a FwB with T on the side, then I need to have the same freedom. She says OK.

So the next time she's planning on going away for a weekend, I tell her I'm going out with a female friend of mine that Friday night. She asks if it's a FWB thing, I say, well, there's that possibility. She's ok with it at first.

She goes off for the weekend, I have my date on Friday night. My date turns out to be a totally friendly thing. No sparks fly, so no "wB."

She comes back for the weekend and tells me she was a mess the whole time, she was so freaked out about my date. She was upset and stressed and nervous and why did I have to go and ruin her whole weekend?

So we talk.

She admits that she's not good at handling jealousy. She says "you're so much better at this poly thing than I am." And it's true... when I know she's up for the weekend with T, I get a bit antsy and agitated, and I miss her terribly, but I'm not consumed with jealousy.

I ask if she can take a break from T while we figure things out, she says no, after all he's remodeling her investment house. Besides, she 'needs this.' She also reveals to me that the reason her previous marriage went downhill was because she 'needed more sex then he could give' and so went on ashley madison looking for a FwB.

So we talk more. I tell her I'm all for the poly thing, if that's what you need to be happy and satisfied, but there needs to be equality and reassurance. She asks why I can't be more like T, "who never worries about things like that." She also tells me I shouldn't be putting effort into finding my own FwB while I'm still working on my own divorce, that I shouldn't pursue that until I'm completely free of S. She even suggests she and I go back to being just friends until my divorce is completely resolved; I tell her no, that could take years, and I reckon you wouldn't wait for me that long; after all, you didn't wait two weeks when I went on the cruise. So she replies "why are you so hung up on this 'equality' thing anyways? Do you really need a FwB? Why can't you just be happy with the way things are?"

Hm. Writing all this it sounds pretty horrible. But here's the thing... it's not. She and I really do get along well. We're extremely compatible, on many levels. Even when we argue, we fight fair and make up after. Our kids get along really well too. And, as I mentioned, I am totally over the moon crazy about her and I think she is too about me. So I really want to try to reach a place where this can work and everyone gets what they need out of the relationship (yes, even T).

So, that's why I've come to you fine folks. I need a place to share and to process. I also need others' thoughts on our situation. Some questions in my head:

(a) Should I have been angry at her for not telling me about T right away? I honestly could not at the time, seeing as how the situation was so confused and chaotic. I do regret going on that damn cruise and I regret she couldn't wait for me to leave my wife... she said she 'couldn't be sure I would follow through' with my promise to leave S in April, and when I went on that cruise it seemed to her that I was certainly going to renege, despite my promises.

(b) Is my desire for equality in the relationship (if she's going to have a FwB, then so can I) selfish? Should I push harder on that front, or let it go? I'm actually starting to think she might prefer a "don't ask, don't tell" arrangement. I'm not sure I'm ok with that. I'm all for disclosure and radical honesty.

(c) I think that she may be presuming her relationship with me and with T are "baseline" relationships, and if I do begin a FwB on the side, she might see that as 'extra' to our baseline and therefore give her permission/motivation to seek out another FwB. I don't see things that way, I see it as every time she goes up to spend the weekend with T that's above and beyond the 'baseline,' and, while I'm ok with it, she is accruing a bit of a relationship debt. Maybe this is not the most enlightened attitude to have but I haven't been able to move past the 'relationship debt' model yet. How do I do that?

(d) any other advice you can give would be welcome.


Thanks!
 

MusicalRose

Member
A) Dishonesty is always a big red flag for me. I'm very cool with people telling me things I don't want to hear or doing things I'm not thrilled about, so long as I have full disclosure and can make a decision about what to do with myself. Anyone who thinks it is okay to be dishonest, in my experience, tends to make a habit of it.

B) It is selfish, but selfish doesn't mean bad. You each should be getting out of the relationship what you want. If you would desire that same freedom she has, then that is absolutely something you should negotiate. This is how you figure out where compatibilities are. She might be able to find a few guys that are mono to her and willing to be exclusive with her while she isn't exclusive to them, but that doesn't have to be you if it rubs you the wrong way. I know it would certainly rub me the wrong way.

C) I wouldn't worry about this too much. Just ask what her intentions are, what she is looking for. However, her desires might change over time. People grow. If she decides she wants to pursue another relationship, tackle that when it happens. I would strenuously avoid building up any notions of "debt" in your head. Debt and obligation poison relationships. Nobody owes anybody else anything.

D) I would do some reading around these boards and perhaps look into poly books or blogs to get more information for yourself. Try and figure out what would feel right to you and what your ideal relationship would look like, then advocate for it. If she cannot provide it, she might not be a good match for you, no matter how good everything else is. If you can find a local community of any kind, they are invaluable.
 

Candiedlove

New member
She gets two mono guys in her life, without having to share, and when it's her desires it's "needs," and when it's your desires, it's, "why do you have to upset me?"

Nice life. For her. Though I'd be sickened at my own behavior if I WERE her.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from OP):
"Should I have been angry at her for not telling me about T right away?"

It's probably better that you weren't.

Re:
"Is my desire for equality in the relationship (if she's going to have a FwB, then so can I) selfish?"

Nope.

Re:
"Should I push harder on that front, or let it go?"

Depends how important it is to you. I'm one of the legs in an MFM V, so my partner (Snowbunny) has two men but I only have one woman. Technically I could go out looking for another woman (as long as I meet a few easy conditions), but to be honest the idea just doesn't interest me that much. Things are fine for me the way they are. On the other hand, perhaps as a matter of principle it does matter to me a great deal that I have the freedom to seek out another woman if I want to.

Re: DADT arrangements ... aren't generally recommended though they work for some people.

Re:
"I haven't been able to move past the 'relationship debt' model yet. How do I do that?"

Perhaps the awareness that not all poly arrangements are perfectly balanced will help? The V I'm in is a perfect example. I don't consider Snowbunny to be accruing any relationship debts, even though she gets twice as many partners as I do. But as I said, in principle she wouldn't object to me seeking out an additional woman and I'm pretty sure that principle is a big deal to me (even though I doubt I'll ever act on it).

You seem to be saying that 99% of your relationship with C is great. If that's true, maybe you should let the remaining 1% slide. Is it absolutely necessary for you to have a FWB of your own? If not, maybe you should let C have her guilty little pleasure and her one ongoing foible -- as long as more foibles don't start creeping out of the woodwork. Do you think they will? It can happen sometimes.

Did S freely give up custody of your daughter? I have to ask. What is the situation there?

I hope you and C can get things worked out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

bookbug

New member
As for not telling you about her escapade with T while you were cruising with your wife, I might let that one slide given the circumstances - but I would not tolerate such behavior from this point forward.

As for the lack of equality, that would be problematic. I take issue with those who set a standard for another that they themselves are unwilling to uphold. In this case, she expects you to deal with your emotions in regard to her visits to T, but is unwilling to do the hard work on her own insecurities - and she wasn't even home alone when you had the meet up with your female friend. She refuses to be mono, although that is what she demands of you. So basically she wants you to manage her emotions for her by following a set of behaviors she is comfortable with.

Personally, I believe each person needs to manage his or her own emotions rather than dictate others behavior so he or she doesn't have to.
 

WhatToDo

New member
Do you want another partner because you really have a desire to have another partner or just because she has one?

I'm a mono leg of a V and even though I'm mono by choice my girlfriend does not want me to have another partner. I don't look at it as not fair because she's being honest about it with me and I don't have the desire to have anybody else. If I went out to pursue someone else just because she had someone else I'd be doing it for the wrong reason and I would be hurting my current partner in the process. Not worth it to me.
 

Inyourendo

New member
I agree that given the circumstance of her indiscretion id let it go. I too would be hurt if my mono partner wanted something on the side for the sole reason to just do it because I have another partner.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
In case it helps...

I think you guys could talk more. It has been only a year or so of dating. Both are still sorting post divorce stuff... Could take it easy. It has been a wonky start, and there is the not coming clean about T which could slide as part of the confusion.... But going forward? Be more up front and honest with each other. Build trust. Date longer. If she keeps clocking "things left out" ...reassess.

Get to know each other well over more time. Do not leap into big future commitment things like raising children together.

You want to be able to date others. There it is.

She can express a wish that you didn't. There it is.

What is left on the table? That you want to be able to date each other.

Figure out how that part is to be. Part of the price of admission to date you right now is that you do not want to be in anything closed. No going steady or going exclusive. Fair enough. You are allowed to want what you want.

So is she. If she wants a closed v right now, fair enough. You can part ways on friendly terms and she can be free to seek that person and you are still free to date others. Both free to seek their wants.

If she wants a closed V not this second but eventually... And you are open to that? Then you guys could come to terms with what model you actually can practice together right now and evaluate compatibility in both short term and longer term. This for now, working toward that in future maybe.

http://www.kathylabriola.com/articles/models-of-open-relationships

Then deal with jealousy management and avoiding pitfalls.

Some hub links to help you...

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/downloadabledocuments.html

http://www.kathylabriola.com/articles
.

HTH!

Galagirl
 
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sparklepop

New member
Hi Boolean,

Firstly, I'm sorry to hear that you were with an abusive woman, but good for you for getting out of that! :)

Onto C then...

(a) Should I have been angry at her for not telling me about T right away?... I do regret going on that damn cruise and I regret she couldn't wait for me to leave my wife... she said she 'couldn't be sure I would follow through' with my promise to leave S in April, and when I went on that cruise it seemed to her that I was certainly going to renege, despite my promises.
Honestly, I would be happy putting this down to early relationship ambiguity. Don't regret going on the cruise - you made a choice that you needed to make at the time, and so did C. I don't think there is any benefit in stirring up anger about it. However, I would formally set a strict no-lying, no-withholding policy from this point onwards. By that, I mean actually vocalise it or write it down as one of your guidelines so that it is crystal clear.

(b) Is my desire for equality in the relationship (if she's going to have a FwB, then so can I) selfish? Should I push harder on that front, or let it go? I'm actually starting to think she might prefer a "don't ask, don't tell" arrangement. I'm not sure I'm ok with that. I'm all for disclosure and radical honesty.
No, it is absolutely not selfish. It might be *unnecessary*, but not selfish. As Kevin said, the main point here is most likely the *freedom* to be equally open, if so desired. It's perfectly possible to be happy in a mono/poly relationship. It's entirely possible to feel fulfilled with a partner who has other partners. However, if a FWB is something you'd get a kick out of enjoy, there's absolutely no logical reason why you shouldn't be able to have one. If you don't specifically want one, I think the point is redundant - to me, the point is more about having the option to be equal.

As for DADT, it's not generally my cup of tea either. That doesn't mean that I have to know every single detail (in fact, I prefer not to), but I find being entirely kept out of the loop somewhat troublesome.

She asks why I can't be more like T, "who never worries about things like that." She also tells me I shouldn't be putting effort into finding my own FwB while I'm still working on my own divorce, that I shouldn't pursue that until I'm completely free of S.
Noooo... Don't let her do this. She is guilting and comparing you to avoid dealing with her own insecurities. T is her FWB - it's unlikely he's going to have the same feelings towards her that you do. Of course he's less worried. It is also your decision alone what you want to invest effort in and what you are ready for.

(c) I think that she may be presuming her relationship with me and with T are "baseline" relationships, and if I do begin a FwB on the side, she might see that as 'extra' to our baseline and therefore give her permission/motivation to seek out another FwB. I don't see things that way, I see it as every time she goes up to spend the weekend with T that's above and beyond the 'baseline,' and, while I'm ok with it, she is accruing a bit of a relationship debt. Maybe this is not the most enlightened attitude to have but I haven't been able to move past the 'relationship debt' model yet. How do I do that?
I think that a more enlightened attitude would be to bring it down to the basics:
- Do you feel fulfilled with C?
- What things would you gain from a FWB?
- Is inequality a non-negotiable for you?
- Do you believe that you should only give XYZ in a relationship if you're going to get it back? (I scratch your back, you scratch mine).

I would steer clear of relationship debt thinking. My GF often says to me "I'm being good to you about XYZ situation right now so that you will be good to me when I want something in the future". That kind of thinking unsettles me. I get the idea behind it and I DO believe in "do unto others" and equality. However, when you start fine-tuning your way of thinking to be "this is what they get and this is what I should get", I think the point of love gets forgotten. Love is a place to give and to be cherished in return. Given your history of marital abuse, I understand that you need to draw a solid line for yourself in terms of how much you give. I am absolutely not suggesting that you give and give to C while expecting nothing in return. What I am suggesting is that you tailor your way of thinking about this whole situation to be geared more towards your needs, mutual gains, and working together. Same goes for C.


(d) any other advice you can give would be welcome.

My overall advice is this:

It sounds like while C "is not wired for monogamy", she has some personal growth to do and some non-monogamous experience to gain. That's not a bad thing - everybody has to do this at some point if they follow a non-mono path. C very evidently needs to work on being on the other side of the non-mono coin: dealing with her own insecurities, managing her anxiety, avoiding blame, being compassionate, communicating honestly, and so on. That's not a criticism - we all have to go through this.

What I do absolutely think is that it's ok to want the freedom to have a FWB *if* you actually want that freedom. Not "you get it so I should have it", but "you have the freedom to enjoy, so I expect the same freedom".

I do also agree that C is looking at the present situation as the baseline. However, if her and T ever break up, I can bet any sum of money that she'll want to find another FWB.

Finally, guidelines I'd discuss:
- Freedom to have one FWB each
- Absolutely no lying or withholding of truth
- C is not to compare you to T, nor is she to guilt you
- C is to face her insecurities

Let us know how you are getting on?
 
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WhatHappened

Active member
I see C as being abusive, too.

She cheated on her husband.

She cheated on you.

She didn't tell you about T. There's no reason to think she would have before you figured it out yourself.

Yes, there's reason to be upset about cheating and lying, both of which she has done to you, and would still be doing if you hadn't figured it out.

She's hypocritically demanding that she sleep with anyone but you sit home waiting for her, whenever she has some time to spare for you.

She's playing mind games and casting character aspersions on you for expecting to be able to do exactly what she herself is doing.

She calling it 'needs' when she does it, and 'being hung up,' when you do it.

She's clearly all about herself, wanting everyone around her to focus on behaving in a way that makes her happy at all times...regardless of how she treats them.

In the end, we sometimes have to use our heads, rather than our emotions. You may be over the moon about her. But often enough, we are over the moon about someone who isn't treating us well, and we need to be strong enough to say no, and willing to walk away until/unless they treat us with respect and genuine love. I do not foresee you being happy in a relationship with her, long term, under the current circumstances.
 

bookbug

New member
WhatHappened is bringing up a valid consideration. Maybe C isn't really all that different from S. Sometimes what we are attracted to emotionally isn't necessarily what is good for us.

The Philosopher was married to an emotionally abusive woman (with whom I was part of a short-lived triad). When he met me (we are both INTJs, 99% match on OKCupid), he was surprised at how calm and rational I was. It was then that he began to realize just how abusive his wife was. Eventually, their marriage ended. (I was absent from their lives a year before they separated.)

That said, at times he misses her. When she was in a good mood, she was spontaneous and fun. Her child-like wonder was contagious. He knows better than to return to her, but that part of her is very attractive.

Me? I do not provide that. I am logical and curious, like the Philosopher. The Philosopher has wondered if we were to live together, if we would become bored with another. That said, we have an intimacy born of being able to completely honest with one another without fear of consequences. Since their separation and divorce, he has been processing and re-programming, wanting to be sure he is whole again before proceeding with another life-entangled relationship.

Given you began your relationship with C while still married to S, you have had no time to stand back and re-evaluate. Without having fully analyzed the dynamic between yourself and S, how you relate to woman, learning to identify the possible hallmarks of an abuser, you might find yourself heading down the same path with C. I am not saying she is abusive, but it is worthy of consideration.
 

sparklepop

New member
I must admit, Boolean... I did have the same worry that people are raising about C. Hopefully this is not the case, but very caring, giving, considerate, amiable people do tend to be targets for selfish people... and abusive people.

Why? Because sweet, amiable people tend to doubt themselves. They often doubt themselves because they think "Hmmm... should I be feeling a different way?" "Am I being selfish?" "Am I giving enough?" "Should I just keep the peace?" "Do I really need this thing that I want? If it makes X happier, maybe I shouldn't have it?"

I'm not saying that C *is* abusive - you've said that you manage to solve conflicts really wonderfully, and so forth. But I would be a little cautious. At the least, it does sound that she has some personal growth to do, so please keep that in mind if nothing else.
 

KC43

New member
Boolean, I'm trying to phrase this as gently as I can. Please be aware that this is coming from someone who was in a very verbally/emotionally abusive marriage for 14 years.

For some people, when you're abused in a relationship, even after you leave, sometimes it's hard to adjust. A friend and I have compared it to being in jail; you HATE it while you're there, but once you're out, you don't know how to live on the "outside." You've become so accustomed to the abuse that not having it leaves you disoriented and unbalanced, even though you hated having it happen.

Because of that, it can be very easy to become involved with another abusive person but not recognize the new relationship as abusive or unhealthy. I went through this myself after I left my first husband. I got involved with a guy who was very controlling and insulting, but because he didn't treat me as badly as my ex had, I didn't recognize that the new guy was also abusing me. It was better than what I'd left.

Note that I'm NOT saying C is being abusive to you. That isn't my call to make, and what you've said about her behavior doesn't sound abusive to me, to be honest. But you know what you FEEL. If you feel that her behavior is inappropriate or hurtful to you, you have the right to acknowledge that feeling and respond accordingly. To me, even though I wouldn't apply the "abuse" label to what C has done, I would say it isn't acceptable for her to act that way, and I would say that you don't feel it's acceptable or you wouldn't have posted here.

You were in a horrible situation with your wife, and you might need time to heal and recover. Be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself, and believe that you deserve to be loved and treated well.
 

Boolean40

New member
Update and decision time

Hi folks.

So, I have an update to our situation and also I need to make a decision. But first I just wanted to say something.

You people are really wonderful. Thank you all for your supportive words and your thoughtful discussion. I wasn't sure what to expect coming to this forum but my experience has been uniquely positive. I cannot say enough good things.

So. Here we are. I presume you've all read my original starter posting, so I won't repeat anything there. I'll bring you all up to date.

C has had another couple of weekends away with T. She does it once a month. She doesn't consult with me on when she goes, she just posts it on her online calendar a couple of weeks before hand.

She refuses to use protection with T. I have asked her to, but she says she doesn't need to. She says T is a "dead end," in her parlance, and doesn't have sex with anyone else, therefore is safe. I asked her how she knows she can trust T (who I have never met). She replied with "sometimes you just need to trust people." I said "You may trust him, but that doesn't mean I have to." I am considering starting to insist on using protection with C but I know that will cause significant - oh god I don't mean it this way - friction between us. OK totally awful and unintentional pun. Sorry folks.

Anyway. The last weekend while C was away, I was invited by a neighbor friend (Let's call her "A") to a Quincenera on Saturday night. Having nothing better to do, I went, and we had a total blast. A is a really sweet woman and very supportive. I did tell her about C, to which she thought about it and said "when I am with someone, I prefer to be with one person at a time, not two." Fair enough. However at the end of the night when I walked her back to her apartment, we kissed and wound up making out for a while.

The next day (Sunday), C came back to town from her weekend away with T. We had dinner together and afterwards I told C about going to the Quincenera with A. She was OK about it at first but I could detect an underlying tension in her voice. She said the only thing upsetting her was that I didn't tell her about it right away, and waited until the next day to tell her. I pointed out that she was, on that Saturday night, out on a date with T and I didn't want to bother her while the two of them were out.

So. That was Sunday. Monday comes and everything is good; so good, in fact, that C kinda shocks me by bringing up the idea of marriage. It's pretty subtle in that she and I start discussing what kind of weddings we like; as I am a clueless 'dood' it took me a few minutes to realize we were discussing OUR marriage. This realization filled me with joy.

Tuesday: C is taking her daughter and a couple of female friends out to a Katy Perry concert for a girls' night out. I decide to get together with A to take her out to dinner to thank her for inviting me to the quincenera. I ask, she readily accepts. That afternoon I call C and after we discuss her plans for the evening, I tell her casually I'm planning on getting together with Alex for dinner that evening.

She says "oh...." and is silent for ten seconds, and then hangs up on me.

Uh oh, I think.

I figure I'll call her back in a couple minutes. But then she calls me back and flips out. Yelling and screaming and crying on the phone to me about how selfish I am and how dare I stress her out. How she feels so stupid now, as we were just discussing getting married last night but then I turn around and ask a girl out! I did point out that we are in an open relationship, by her request.

I'm going to gloss over the next few days but there was lots of tears and intense discussions. I canceled my dinner with A in deference to C's feelings, as she is my primary.

So. C accuses me of being insensitive and selfish for wanting to go on a date with another woman while she is "having a difficult time" with her health (she diagnised herself as having hypothyroidism recently, as she's been feeling tired a lot recently.)

I point out to her that that previous week had been extremely stressful to me, as I was in court three times (twice for my divorce, one for my car) and also my job is in serious jeopardy; and yet she still went up to spend the weekend with her boyfriend (without a single complaint from me). She said she "had to." To work on the investment house.

Something else that came out: She is twice-divorced, and it appears both her previous marriages went downhill because she wanted to have open relationships, and they both refused. With her second husband, he responded so negatively to her request for an open relationship that he shut down and stopped having sex with her entirely, thus "forcing" her to go on AshleyMadison.com and finding a partner so she can have some 'relief.'

Anyways, lots of similar discussions. Finally she comes to the conclusion that she just cannot handle an open relationship. Just can't do it. She says we're done having an open relationship. The thought of me being out with another woman is just too much for her to bear. She says "part of being mature is knowing your limits, and so I've decided that is mine."

I said, great, so we're going monogamous? You're going to stop seeing T?

No. She "has to." I ask her why, can't you change? She says, if she could turn that switch off, she would. She hates this "Pandora's box" she created with buying the investment house and starting up a relationship with T, but she 'can't just turn it off." She says "you're so much better at open relationships than me. You're so kind and patient. I really thought I could do this open relationship thing but I just can't. You're just a better person than me. But I need to acknowledge my limits."

I ask her if she could go up to the investment house for a weekend and work with T but not have sex with him. She said "I could tell you I wouldn't have sex with him but I wouldn't want to lie to you. I want to be honest with you."

I tell her I really don't know if I could be OK with being in an inherently unfair relationship, where she gets to date other men but she expects me to be monogamous to her. I start talking about breaking up with her, how if we go our separate ways I'll miss her terribly but won't waste time moping around. She flips out and starts crying again, saying "don't talk like that!" To which I reply "I'm just being realistic here." She begs me not to leave her. Literally begs me. She says tearfully, "I promise I'll make it right, baby! Just give me a little time!"

So. This is her best offer:

(a) She will sell the investment house in the spring.
(b) She will not buy another house.
(c) After she sells the house, she will break off her relationship with T and go monogamous with me.
(d) In the interim she will not take up with anyone else.

In return she asks me to be and stay monogamous with her.

So I guess the ball's in my court. I have to decide if I can be OK with letting her continue to spend one weekend a month with T while I stay nice and mono for her until she sells the house. I also have to decide if I believe her on all these points.

As this is a pretty major decision, we've decided to give it a little time for us to cogitate on all this. I figure I'll decide before her next scheduled trip to go see T, on October 24th.

So. What do you people think of all this drama? Am I being stupid or codependent to let her keep stringing me along like this? Am I being selfish in wanting fairness and equality in our relationship? Is it all just not worth it? Caveat here: I really truly do love C. She's an awesome woman, we get along well. We practically live together; I spend three to four nights a week over at her house, usually. Our kids get along well, too; we just all spent the weekend together doing family-stuff (like visiting the pumpkin patch). It really is a wonderful relationship except for this damn Pandora's Box that she keeps wanting to be with other men. And my position is still this: for her to do so is perfectly fine, as long as she extends me the same courtesy. But it looks like that option is off the table. As is monogamy, at least for now. So our two options are, I agree to let her have T, or we split up. Her way, or the highway.

What do you think?
 

bookbug

New member
Given the fact that her last two marriages met their demise due to her inability to be monogamous, I would have serious doubts that she will be able to do it now. And again, I have serious issues with people ask things of others that they are unwilling to do themselves.
 

WhatToDo

New member
So she has shown in previous relationships that she is incapable of being monogamous, and even went as far as to cheat on at least one if her previous partners? Yet she wants you to trust her until "spring" while she keeps going with her other relationship however you can't do the same during that timeframe? Really the ball is in your court but I would bet that "spring" never comes and she never stops seeing the other guy or that he will be replaced by someone else just because "that is who she is".
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I think it's her way or the highway, like you said.

First of all, do you trust her to stop seeing T (when the time comes)? She has a history of conducting secret affairs on at least one prior husband.

Second of all, do you trust her to forsake all other men except you (once T's gone)? She's presented you with a number of creeping concessions.

"Creeping concessions is an expression coined by 'The Polyamorous Misanthrope' and it refers to any situation in which a friend, romantic partner, or an employer (or even a government), incrementally expects more and more out of a person -- a little extra time, a little more money, a little extra help, a teensy indulgence, a few more 'other duties as assigned.' Since the requests for 'something extra' never amount to much on their own merits (after all, what's one more dollar or just five more minutes?), it might seem selfish or unreasonable to refuse. Next thing you know, you've lost large amounts of money and/or huge chunks of time to something you're pretty sure you didn't explicitly agree."
-- Peter J. Vinton, Jr., On Gaslighting

You really truly do love C, and right now, the "deal" C's offering you still looks fantastic ... well, mostly fantastic ... well pretty sweet anyway ... well at least wonderful, other than that darned Pandora's Box ... but what if the creeping concessions continue to multiply? What will the deal look like in ten years? Do you want to spend the next ten years going there?

I don't want to tell you what to do, only you know what your feelings are for C, and if this is worth it. But I would at least examine the narrative more closely. Imagine if your posts were written by someone else, by a good friend of yours. What would your impression be while you were reading his posts? What would you be inclined to suggest to him?

All I know is, when you go out on a date with A, you're being selfish. When C spends a weekend having sex with T, she's only doing what Nature compels her to do. That sounds like a double standard (a.k.a. special pleading) to me.
 

Candiedlove

New member
Why would you even consider staying with this selfish woman? She won't even let you have friendly dates with a woman, and yet she can leave whenever she feels like to have sex with a guy she won't use protection with?

Inform her firmly but politely that she can do what she pleases, but that you will also date other women. Than ignore her tantrums. Or...leave her. You're clearly capable of attracting other women.
 

Candiedlove

New member
So. This is her best offer:

(a) She will sell the investment house in the spring.
(b) She will not buy another house.
(c) After she sells the house, she will break off her relationship with T and go monogamous with me.
(d) In the interim she will not take up with anyone else.

In return she asks me to be and stay monogamous with her.

So you give her everything she wants and you get...her? Great offer. She is so magnanimous. Truly.
 

Invi

New member
C sounds rather manipulative, and not like someone I would trust.
She wants to be honest with you, she says, so she will not tell you she won't sleep with T while there to work on the house.
But you are expected to believe she will cut sexual ties when the house is sold, IF the house is even sold within her timeline?

Both previous marriages ended because she can not deal with monogamy? Chances of her staying monogamous with you are slim to none.

She wants a relationship in which she can fool around and you can't, which while that may rustle some feathers of egalitarians, would be fine... IF that is what you wanted/were okay with. But it's not. It doesn't really matter if that is because you want other partners because it fills a need, or if you want other partners while she has other partners because you want things to feel equal.

What you want or need is what you want or need. Same for her and her wants/needs. They don't seem to be compatible.


Also, be careful of anyone who tries to pass off their feelings or actions (such as cheating) as the responsibility or fault of their partner/ex.
That does not lead to a healthy relationship. I would think carefully before seriously considering marriage, personally.
 
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