Ok, deep breath. Here goes.

LJM

New member
Hi.

Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this - I don't really know where else to go apart from a therapist that I'm waiting for a reply on.

I was - I say was because I am newly separated from my husband - in a mono relationship with him for 13 years. We were, I thought, happy enough despite him having depression and anxiety. We had a child together, it was a rough time leading up to the birth but we got through it. When our son came home, he returned to work and I took up the role of Mum at home. As our son developed I noticed he wasn't engaging with him as much on an emotional level and found certain things stressful so I took on more responsibility while encouraging him to try and find his own rhythm with him. Unfortunately it didn't get any better as he got older (he's 5 now) and I was seen as the primary parent. This hit my husband hard and he retreated.


Shortly after having some health issues in 2019 and through some very strange conversations with him I discovered he'd been having an emotional affair with a mutual friend for a few weeks. They had been texting, flirting and exchanging photos. There were some smaller red flags before our son was born - he would look and imagine me in the feminine clothing he saw the women in - then tell me he needed me to dress more like that - I spent a lot of my 20s in jeans and hoodies because I was comfortable and saw clothing as practical rather than an expression of personality - some therapy has helped with that. I tried to change but kept defaulting back.

Instead of kicking him out, I looked at my own relationship with him and how we'd gotten to the point where he felt his needs could be met elsewhere.

We both went to individual therapy - him because he was questioning everything and me because I needed a place to vent safely away from home.

His therapist highlighted that instead of depression he might be autistic with ADHD and also polyamorous. This has turned out to be true. Mine helped me work through the anger and towards forgiveness.

I felt knowing this would help to understand why he wasn't emotionally available for our son. I wasn't sure at first but did ultimately decide to try polyamory.

We put in rules at first, some were to help with my triggers from before and some were to help with structure. He wanted to dive in because he felt natural to him and there was someone else on his radar and I wanted to wait. He said it wouldn't happen if I said no. I read a lot of blogs, books about polyamory before saying yes.

During this time he was unmedicated and impulsive so I got hurt a lot and lots of boundaries were crossed. Everything got reviewed and agreed again and it would be fine for a few weeks before something would happen and cause arguments.

Things didn't improve at home, he still wasn't engaging with our son despite lots of encouragement. His relationship ended and he met his current girlfriend shortly after. I had also found someone to go on a couple of dates with and we got on but kept it casual because he knew that my family came first. We're still seeing each other occasionally.

The arguments got worse when his girlfriend moved across country, his priorities changed. He told me he wanted equality at home so we tried to rebalance the relationship where he did participate more and I took a step back. It didn't work because I would routinely find him on his phone texting her when he should have been placing his attention elsewhere. We did have a date night and time set aside for him to spend with his gf - this just didn't seem enough. I would express how I felt about him being attached to his phone but his guilt overrode it.

I will say at this point I became so stressed that I would lose my temper in frustration. I would cry to release it or try and take some time alone. He would feel guilty so I felt unable to express it this way and went back to therapy to get a handle on it. I was told by him I had a problem and couldn't communicate effectively. I have not been the easiest person to live with or love during the pandemic. I do struggle to express myself when I'm really *up there* but can when I've calmed down / let it out / cried etc...he couldn't stand seeing me do it. He needed calm and rational, I needed honesty and support instead of lies of omission and guilt.

The NRE in their relationship is strong. His logic based thought process and my emotional one has caused us to butt heads too many times - the rules and boundaries we had became too trapping for him and I watched our son, me and my marriage suffer. He also attributed a lot of his stress and lack of executive function to being around me.

Conversations we would have would be heavy for me to listen to without emotional support. I could recall them perfectly before being told I had misremembered it.

He wanted to go and stay with his gf for a week or two every few months, I understood this and would have felt better about it if the equality was already there in my own relationship. Instead, he would try and tell me what he would do to step up just before he was due to leave. I didn't need it then, I needed to see it consistently so we could both take some independence away from parenting and responsibilities. Again, we would argue our viewpoint and get defensive.

The arguments became too much for him, he fell out of love with me and decided to leave. I have no fight left.

Now he's out of a relationship with me he says he can be the parent he knows he can be and we're going to be co-parenting once he's settled in a new place. He has made some effort to see our son.

It hasn't all been bad, we had some really good times. We started couples counseling and he quit after 2 sessions before leaving for good.

I'm struggling to understand if a) he was using his diagnosis and new found identity as an excuse. b) We'd been living a lie before all of this. c) I really am a controlling person who didn't let him get involved / making up the parts of conversations he couldn't remember d) we just grew apart when his priorities changed or e) open relationships are not for me after all.

This is also my first long term relationship and first love so the breakup feels much harder.

Thank you for reading if you have.
 

LilithHp

New member
I am sorry you’re going through this. You seem like a reasonable person who is able and willing to acknowledge and work on your own flaws as well as recognize other people’s. That being said, it’s hard to diagnose a whole relationship based on a few paragraphs. The thing that stuck out to me about what you’ve said is that the relationship is over and he’s no longer in love. You will probably continue to develop more understanding about all the things at play as you process and reflect on your first real breakup, but know that it will get easier. Continue with therapy and focus on telling yourself that while processing the breakup can be helpful, there’s no need to figure it all out now or anytime soon.
 

TXretired

Active member
Welcome. Sorry to see all that you have dealt with. It sounds like you have done a good job in handling this.

A breakup is hard, the first one or the third. As far as your son, you prioritized him. Your ex will likely never change. His issues will continue.

This group is very open. It’s a good place to bounce ideas as well as ask questions.

I wish you well!
 

LJM

New member
I am sorry you’re going through this. You seem like a reasonable person who is able and willing to acknowledge and work on your own flaws as well as recognize other people’s. That being said, it’s hard to diagnose a whole relationship based on a few paragraphs. The thing that stuck out to me about what you’ve said is that the relationship is over and he’s no longer in love. You will probably continue to develop more understanding about all the things at play as you process and reflect on your first real breakup, but know that it will get easier. Continue with therapy and focus on telling yourself that while processing the breakup can be helpful, there’s no need to figure it all out now or anytime soon.

Hi.

Thank you.

Of course I understand its hard to diagnose a relationship with a few paragraphs and this is only my perspective on things. Towards the end I just couldn't see his perspective any longer because it was all based in how stressed he felt about our domestic situation, questioning if he should have been a father - that one hurt the most - or being worried about his gf who was struggling. I did get stuck on the rules and boundaries, most of them got relaxed; I'm just not sure if I should have been so reasonable. It wasn't the first time he'd left wanting a break. This time was the permanent one.

He was worried about upsetting me, I became the matriarch I never wanted to be and his gf also became wary of me. I didn't want to give permission for him to go out, I just wanted a fulfilling relationship with him so it wouldn't feel as if I was left in the dust. We both worked full time too and I think became too dependent on each other's time.

I should also say, he was good at the practical parenting when I asked him to help but didn't know enough about our son's routines etc...causing them to butt heads too.

I did meet his gf, we got on ok and she wasn't an phantom.

The breakup sucks but I know we'll be better off eventually. He wants more freedom than I was able to offer as a wife and parent. I wanted my own independent stuff too - just not weeks at a time to the detriment of my home life and son.

That was my deal-breaker. I just couldn't see it until after he'd left.
 

LJM

New member
Welcome. Sorry to see all that you have dealt with. It sounds like you have done a good job in handling this.

A breakup is hard, the first one or the third. As far as your son, you prioritized him. Your ex will likely never change. His issues will continue.

This group is very open. It’s a good place to bounce ideas as well as ask questions.

I wish you well!

Hi.

Thank you.

I'm hoping through what I've seen so far that he will be the co-parent our son needs.

I've never been single before so I am sort of looking forward to finding out what that is like. I get we both deserve to be happy and our relationship definitely was not that after everything. I became very risk averse and protective during the lockdowns so trying to navigate the type of polyamory he wanted - no rules, just guidelines to follow and any boundaries stop with the person who has it (that bit I get, unfortunately my boundaries were about keeping the relationships separate which didn't gel with him).

I did, wrongly so, start to dictate certain things - I know now this was rooted in fear of being hurt again.

The reading I did allowed me to suggest ways to make it better but after agreeing something and writing it down I would find our definition of it would differ greatly and cause more tension.

I did feel at first there was a right way to "do poly" - I don't feel like this any longer and tried so hard to understand how his brain worked with logic. The lows became harder to come back from and any good times we'd had felt lost.

I forgave him for a lot, rebuilt trust etc...just couldn't get past his behaviour at home.

Oh and he's now added non-binary / questioning gender to his identity. I'm fully accepting of this and when we explored some things sexually discovered that I'm probably bi-sexual or at least open to experiences.

I believe I'm what is identified as poly-flexible too. I can be in a good mono relationship as well as open ones. I guess I'll just have to wait and find out on that one.
 

tdh

Active member
Breakups suck. It is hard to be alone after 13 years even if it wasn't good at the time of ending. Time will help give perspective.

So there is a lot here but there are a few things I would like to focus on. Going to ignore the poly part for a second...

Now he's out of a relationship with me he says he can be the parent he knows he can be and we're going to be co-parenting once he's settled in a new place. He has made some effort to see our son.
This is a believe it when you see it situation. Since he has dropped out a lot of therapy. It is hard to tell if this is possible. Especially because...
His therapist highlighted that instead of depression he might be autistic with ADHD
So any 3 of these are hard to deal with especially if the person has manic tendencies. Plus it isn't an either or situation. You can have all 3.

If on the autism spectrum, depending on where, life needs to be structured a certain way. Emotional relationships may or may not be easy to handle. To give some ideas (an keep in mind, everyone is different) watching Sex and Autism by Sexplanations, How to ADHD: ADHD and Autism Relationship Accommodations -- How to Get Your Needs Met, or even take some time on paige layle's youtube channel to get some ideas on how things might work.

ADHD (whether hyperactive, inattentive or both) comes with its own host of problems too. Because the above discussed structure is much harder to maintain without help. One of my favorite education books that helped me a lot is ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life and since this non-neurotypical way of the brain acting might be passed to kids too, might be worth a read anyway for you.

Then when things are "less than perfect", depression or manic tendencies might set in. A good example from the ADHD side of the house, there is a situation when everything just feels so overwhelming you don't know where to start. Cleaning is a great example. Then one day, everything gets cleaned and organized and it is amazing. Then they are completely drained...and has a hard time doing it again until they can either

a) find a structure that works to prevent the bang bust cycle
b) things line up and magic happens
c) someone/thing triggers the need

So I would take a wait and see on the better anything depending on what is really going on in his head as it can be unknown and hard to really get a bearing on.

a) he was using his diagnosis and new found identity as an excuse.
This is an impossible question to answer. You throw Poly (multiple relationship) on top of everything above and it could have been many things. If he looks at everything in an very practical way (like many with autism do) it could have been as simple as there is a problem, here is the solution. It would be he has always been that way. And anything in between. Trying to guess is just beating yourself up. Don't try to make sense if it doesn't. I learned that a long time ago.


b) We'd been living a lie before all of this.
Also no way to know this. In fact, this seems more like you either trying to blame yourself for ignorance or blame him for lying. Time might tell on this. For now, try to be kind to yourself. It will be hard as you feelings are strong but do your best.


c) I really am a controlling person who didn't let him get involved / making up the parts of conversations he couldn't remember
You will need more time an seperation for this. one too. There is no way to capture your full history of life in a post. The good news is you can figure out what you want to do going forward in relationships. Also you could have been in a situation where you were from your point of view you were just doing what needed to be done.

Also remember relationships are more than just you. Weather going forward with Poly or Monogamy or anything in the middle, it is always the person to take responsibility for themselves. You feel like you did and your kid and he did not. And kids do change things so him saying it is all you or you saying it was all him or either of you saying it was a third party just isn't something you can learn so near.


d) we just grew apart when his priorities changed
Always possible
e) open relationships are not for me after all.
Also possible. This is something you need to consider for yourself as configurations can vary. Even if things didn't work out with your husband you may find you like the people/community you make in ethically non-monogous relationships or you may say, nah. Just give yourself the right to find out for yourself with no one else considered. It is your life.

Having been in similar shoes sans kids, give yourself the okay to not be okay for a bit, ask for help when you need it, and try to give yourself compassion. Right now it's about dealing with anything near term which includes unexpected emotional pieces. Then start thinking long term.

Breakups suck, divorices suck more, divorces with kids can be frustrating depending on the couple, so remember this is a marathon.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you went through all that.

In the end though? It sounds like he just wasn't able to meet your need for stability. Your need for honesty and support instead of lies of omission and guilt.

I'm struggling to understand if a) he was using his diagnosis and new found identity as an excuse.

Does it matter? With or without his dx, he couldn't meet your needs.

b) We'd been living a lie before all of this.

Maybe just living how you lived, with the info you had at the time. Now there's new info that came to light. You have a different balcony view/greater understanding.

Sounds like he told you some lies of omission and things. He may simply not be able to manage his impulsiveness, be able to think ahead, be able to engage in the way you wanted, etc. And now you know part of the reason why -- his dx. Doesn't change anything about his not being able to meet your needs. But you know part of the reason why now. So maybe that helps you come to peace with it all.

c) I really am a controlling person who didn't let him get involved / making up the parts of conversations he couldn't remember

TBH? If you have been "Made into the Mom for all" it sounds like him acting out at you. Like when a little kid gets mad and goes "You are a meanie! I hate you!"

I think you know who you are. And if you have a need for stability and he was going around with impulsiveness, lack of follow through, and rocking the boat?

Trying to come to some agreements so where his life bumps into yours stops rocking YOUR boat and you get dinged less?

That isn't being "controlling" -- it's asking him to practice some self control. Which he may or may not be able to do.

d) we just grew apart when his priorities changed

Sounds like it.

e) open relationships are not for me after all.

You sound like you are poly-flexible and can take it or leave it.

Just that you cannot do successful poly with HIM because he can't contribute to stability in a monogamous configuration. And it doesn't sound like he can do it in a poly configuration either. Being with him romantically is very up and downy, and wears on you.

I've never been single before so I am sort of looking forward to finding out what that is like. I get we both deserve to be happy and our relationship definitely was not that after everything. I became very risk averse and protective during the lockdowns so trying to navigate the type of polyamory he wanted - no rules, just guidelines to follow and any boundaries stop with the person who has it (that bit I get, unfortunately my boundaries were about keeping the relationships separate which didn't gel with him).

You sound like you are coming to peace with the decision to part ways.

I think trying to do ANY kind of dating during global pandemic? It's wise to go slow and take precautions. Esp. with a young child in the house who can't even get a vaccine due to age. So trying not to bring COVID-19 home to the child is a reasonable concern.

Then he has a different poly style than you. You wanted a very separate V. He wanted what some other model that wasn't compatible with that.

So... perhaps you both can do better together as just coparents now. And move on to other romantic partners who are more compatible.

I hope the passing of time brings you healing though. No break up, even when the best solution, is FUN. There needs to be some time and space to grieve.

Galagirl
 
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LJM

New member
Breakups suck. It is hard to be alone after 13 years even if it wasn't good at the time of ending. Time will help give perspective.

So there is a lot here but there are a few things I would like to focus on. Going to ignore the poly part for a second...


This is a believe it when you see it situation. Since he has dropped out a lot of therapy. It is hard to tell if this is possible. Especially because...

So any 3 of these are hard to deal with especially if the person has manic tendencies. Plus it isn't an either or situation. You can have all 3.

If on the autism spectrum, depending on where, life needs to be structured a certain way. Emotional relationships may or may not be easy to handle. To give some ideas (an keep in mind, everyone is different) watching Sex and Autism by Sexplanations, How to ADHD: ADHD and Autism Relationship Accommodations -- How to Get Your Needs Met, or even take some time on paige layle's youtube channel to get some ideas on how things might work.

ADHD (whether hyperactive, inattentive or both) comes with its own host of problems too. Because the above discussed structure is much harder to maintain without help. One of my favorite education books that helped me a lot is ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life and since this non-neurotypical way of the brain acting might be passed to kids too, might be worth a read anyway for you.

Then when things are "less than perfect", depression or manic tendencies might set in. A good example from the ADHD side of the house, there is a situation when everything just feels so overwhelming you don't know where to start. Cleaning is a great example. Then one day, everything gets cleaned and organized and it is amazing. Then they are completely drained...and has a hard time doing it again until they can either

a) find a structure that works to prevent the bang bust cycle
b) things line up and magic happens
c) someone/thing triggers the need

So I would take a wait and see on the better anything depending on what is really going on in his head as it can be unknown and hard to really get a bearing on.


This is an impossible question to answer. You throw Poly (multiple relationship) on top of everything above and it could have been many things. If he looks at everything in an very practical way (like many with autism do) it could have been as simple as there is a problem, here is the solution. It would be he has always been that way. And anything in between. Trying to guess is just beating yourself up. Don't try to make sense if it doesn't. I learned that a long time ago.



Also no way to know this. In fact, this seems more like you either trying to blame yourself for ignorance or blame him for lying. Time might tell on this. For now, try to be kind to yourself. It will be hard as you feelings are strong but do your best.



You will need more time an seperation for this. one too. There is no way to capture your full history of life in a post. The good news is you can figure out what you want to do going forward in relationships. Also you could have been in a situation where you were from your point of view you were just doing what needed to be done.

Also remember relationships are more than just you. Weather going forward with Poly or Monogamy or anything in the middle, it is always the person to take responsibility for themselves. You feel like you did and your kid and he did not. And kids do change things so him saying it is all you or you saying it was all him or either of you saying it was a third party just isn't something you can learn so near.



Always possible

Also possible. This is something you need to consider for yourself as configurations can vary. Even if things didn't work out with your husband you may find you like the people/community you make in ethically non-monogous relationships or you may say, nah. Just give yourself the right to find out for yourself with no one else considered. It is your life.

Having been in similar shoes sans kids, give yourself the okay to not be okay for a bit, ask for help when you need it, and try to give yourself compassion. Right now it's about dealing with anything near term which includes unexpected emotional pieces. Then start thinking long term.

Breakups suck, divorices suck more, divorces with kids can be frustrating depending on the couple, so remember this is a marathon.
Hi.

Thank you.

When we learned about his diagnosis, it made a lot of sense and accomodations were made. I understood he found certain household tasks mundane so we found things he could do - cooking, filling the dishwasher, washing and drying laundry - but not putting it away.

What I asked for in return of taking on the extra tasks was he spent some quality time with our son without me there. He would tell me he didn't feel confident enough to do this so I would have to go, the housework took a back seat and things like laundry got to a point where it overwhelmed us both.

Routine was something I needed to get things done and it felt as if any accomodations and efforts made just fell flat. I did see it as doing what needed to be done.

I know I won't get the answers I'm looking for in the short term. Right now I'm just trying to do right by me and our son.
 
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LJM

New member
I'm sorry you went through all that.

In the end though? It sounds like he just wasn't able to meet your need for stability. Your need for honesty and support instead of lies of omission and guilt.



Does it matter? With or without his dx, he couldn't meet your needs.



Maybe just living how you lived, with the info you had at the time. Now there's new info that came to light. You have a different balcony view/greater understanding.

Sounds like he told you some lies of omission and things. He may simply not be able to manage his impulsiveness, be able to think ahead, be able to engage in the way you wanted, etc. And now you know part of the reason why -- his dx. Doesn't change anything about his not being able to meet your needs. But you know part of the reason why now. So maybe that helps you come to peace with it all.



TBH? If you have been "Made into the Mom for all" it sounds like him acting out at you. Like when a little kid gets mad and goes "You are a meanie! I hate you!"

I think you know who you are. And if you have a need for stability and he was going around with impulsiveness, lack of follow through, and rocking the boat?

Trying to come to some agreements so where his life bumps into yours stops rocking YOUR boat and you get dinged less?

That isn't being "controlling" -- it's asking him to practice some self control. Which he may or may not be able to do.



Sounds like it.



You sound like you are poly-flexible and can take it or leave it.

Just that you cannot do successful poly with HIM because he can't contribute to stability in a monogamous configuration. And it doesn't sound like he can do it in a poly configuration either. Being with him romantically is very up and downy, and wears on you.



You sound like you are coming to peace with the decision to part ways.

I think trying to do ANY kind of dating during global pandemic? It's wise to go slow and take precautions. Esp. with a young child in the house who can't even get a vaccine due to age. So trying not to bring COVID-19 home to the child is a reasonable concern.

Then he has a different poly style than you. You wanted a very separate V. He wanted what some other model that wasn't compatible with that.

So... perhaps you both can do better together as just coparents now. And move on to other romantic partners who are more compatible.

I hope the passing of time brings you healing though. No break up, even when the best solution, is FUN. There needs to be some time and space to grieve.

Galagirl

Hi.

Thank you.

One of the most difficult parts is it did feel like he was meeting my needs before our son was born and the subsequent revelations. I know now that I was keeping a lid on a lot of things for fear of making him feel guilty or inadequate.

I have so many "if you're able to do this now, why couldn't you when you were here?" questions when it comes to our son. It just seems like suddenly he's interested in developing his bond with him - a great benefit to our son, incredibly bittersweet for me.

My needs changed when I learned about his emotional affair. I woke up and realised I wasn't prepared to be a 50s housewife so if our relationship was going to survive things had to change.

I found part of my identity that got lost. I am a giver, always have been. I like to take care of my family and make sure my responsibilities are done before taking time for myself. I'd put him first for too long, trying to take some of that back for me felt selfish but would have gotten easier over time if the relationship felt equal. I also have my own social interests that were pretty much nonexistent. He didn't have any social interests meaning we spent a lot of our time together.

I'm definitely not innocent in this, I crossed a boundary or two of his that I didn't know existed until it had been crossed when the relationship opened up. Its been a huge learning curve. He had complete trust in me so he didn't expect me to follow the same agreements, I found this really difficult because I felt as if we should have been following the same agreements.

I still love him, I don't think I'm in love with him any longer after all of this so will try and be the best human I can be and amicable for the sake of our son.

I've started making changes to my life, I get caught out during certain moments and a wave of emotion will hit me. I know time is a healer too so will make sure I take it and find stability again.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
One of the most difficult parts is it did feel like he was meeting my needs before our son was born and the subsequent revelations. I know now that I was keeping a lid on a lot of things for fear of making him feel guilty or inadequate.

That could be part of it -- you going around holding things in. So's other things contributing to problems between you. Being the patient dealing with depression, ADHD, etc. Some men have a hard time in pregnancy because their dynamic with partner is changing. Ditto fatherhood. Then having this emotional affair AND keeping it hidden -- that sucks up time and energy. Then coming to terms with his poly side and from the sound of it, his wdonering if he's non-bindary/questioning gender. Then you being the one pregnant, motherhood, running a house and trying to keep things together while burning out, etc.

Any ONE of those things is a lot, all piled on together? Zoiks!

I have so many "if you're able to do this now, why couldn't you when you were here?" questions when it comes to our son. It just seems like suddenly he's interested in developing his bond with him - a great benefit to our son, incredibly bittersweet for me.

Maybe he can do now BECAUSE he's gone. More space, more breaks in between, rather than living together always on the stove burner, never getting a chance for the pot to cool down. Just always bubbling.

Plus other stuff. Some of the things have ended(emotional affair), reduced (fights with you), clarified or becoming clearer (who he is on the inside, etc). Less turbulence/bubbling.

So better for son, but yes, bittersweet for you.

I found part of my identity that got lost. I am a giver, always have been. I like to take care of my family and make sure my responsibilities are done before taking time for myself. I'd put him first for too long, trying to take some of that back for me felt selfish but would have gotten easier over time if the relationship felt equal. I also have my own social interests that were pretty much nonexistent. He didn't have any social interests meaning we spent a lot of our time together.

Sounds like you realized you were living in an unbalanced way, and moving forward will try to do better for yourself in maintaining a better "work-life-family-me" balance.

You could put YOU first. Not in a selfish memememe kind of way, but in a self care way. Like in a plane you would put your own mask on before trying to help other people with theirs. You have to do your basics before you take on bonus work and help others with reasonable and rational requests. Then you can gift your help from a full tank of gas and not be burning out or running on fumes.

All people need REST. It's ok to take the time out to do that. You are not a machine.

I'm definitely not innocent in this, I crossed a boundary or two of his that I didn't know existed until it had been crossed when the relationship opened up. Its been a huge learning curve. He had complete trust in me so he didn't expect me to follow the same agreements, I found this really difficult because I felt as if we should have been following the same agreements.

You aren't a mind reader.

And in some cases, yes, the same. In others not. I mean, why would you both wear prescription glasses if only one of you needs to do that? Just to keep it "same?" Because it could harm the vision of the one who doesn't need that.

A couple is simultaneously individual people AND a couple. You don't get married and fuse into some kind of CoupleBlob.

I still love him, I don't think I'm in love with him any longer after all of this so will try and be the best human I can be and amicable for the sake of our son.

I think trying to amicably coparent as best you can is the best gift you can give you, your ex, and your son. Your son doesn't need birthdays, graduations, his own wedding, etc being overshadowed by parent drama -- like forever in some tug-o-war thing with the kid in the middle.

And you don't need chronic stress from arguing and neither does your ex. It's ok to call a truce and try to be civil.

I've started making changes to my life, I get caught out during certain moments and a wave of emotion will hit me. I know time is a healer too so will make sure I take it and find stability again.

You sound like you are being realistic and healthy about your grieving and moving on process. I hope you feel better for sharing your story some here and things improve for you.

Galagirl
 
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LJM

New member
One of the most difficult parts is it did feel like he was meeting my needs before our son was born and the subsequent revelations. I know now that I was keeping a lid on a lot of things for fear of making him feel guilty or inadequate.

That could be part of it -- you going around holding things in. So's other things contributing to problems between you. Being the patient dealing with depression, ADHD, etc. Some men have a hard time in pregnancy because their dynamic with partner is changing. Ditto fatherhood. Then having this emotional affair AND keeping it hidden -- that sucks up time and energy. Then coming to terms with his poly side and from the sound of it, his wdonering if he's non-bindary/questioning gender. Then you being the one pregnant, motherhood, running a house and trying to keep things together while burning out, etc.

Any ONE of those things is a lot, all piled on together? Zoiks!

I have so many "if you're able to do this now, why couldn't you when you were here?" questions when it comes to our son. It just seems like suddenly he's interested in developing his bond with him - a great benefit to our son, incredibly bittersweet for me.

Maybe he can do now BECAUSE he's gone. More space, more breaks in between, rather than living together always on the stove burner, never getting a chance for the pot to cool down. Just always bubbling.

Plus other stuff. Some of the things have ended(emotional affair), reduced (fights with you), clarified or becoming clearer (who he is on the inside, etc). Less turbulence/bubbling.

So better for son, but yes, bittersweet for you.

I found part of my identity that got lost. I am a giver, always have been. I like to take care of my family and make sure my responsibilities are done before taking time for myself. I'd put him first for too long, trying to take some of that back for me felt selfish but would have gotten easier over time if the relationship felt equal. I also have my own social interests that were pretty much nonexistent. He didn't have any social interests meaning we spent a lot of our time together.

Sounds like you realized you were living in an unbalanced way, and moving forward will try to do better for yourself in maintaining a better "work-life-family-me" balance.

You could put YOU first. Not in a selfish memememe kind of way, but in a self care way. Like in a plane you would put your own mask on before trying to help other people with theirs. You have to do your basics before you take on bonus work and help others with reasonable and rational requests. Then you can gift you help from a full tank of gas and not be burning out or running on fumes.

All people need REST. It's ok to take the time out to do that. You are not a machine.

I'm definitely not innocent in this, I crossed a boundary or two of his that I didn't know existed until it had been crossed when the relationship opened up. Its been a huge learning curve. He had complete trust in me so he didn't expect me to follow the same agreements, I found this really difficult because I felt as if we should have been following the same agreements.

You aren't a mind reader.

And in some cases, yes, the same. In others not. I mean, why would you both wear prescription glasses if only one of you needs to do that? Just to keep it "same?" Because it could harm the vision of the one who doesn't need that.

A couple is simultaneously individual people AND a couple. You don't get married and fuse into some kind of CoupleBlob.

I still love him, I don't think I'm in love with him any longer after all of this so will try and be the best human I can be and amicable for the sake of our son.

I think trying to amicably coparent as best you can is the best gift you can give you, your ex, and your son. Your son doesn't need birthdays, graduations, his own wedding, etc being overshadowed by parent drama -- like forever in some tug-o-war thing with the kid in the middle.

And you don't need chronic stress from arguing and neither does your ex. It's ok to call a truce and try to be civil.

I've started making changes to my life, I get caught out during certain moments and a wave of emotion will hit me. I know time is a healer too so will make sure I take it and find stability again.

You sound like you are being realistic and healthy about your grieving and moving on process. I hope you feel better for sharing your story some here and things improve for you.

Galagirl
Yeah its been a lot.

This has helped. I wasn't sure at first but am glad I've done it now. Its good to get some perspective from people who aren't friends or relatives.

Coupleblob - that's a good term and its exactly who we became just by how we operated around each other and having no immediate family around until a couple of years after our son was born. Finding out who we are as adults individually on top of everything else has shown us that we aren't right for each other. He saw it before I did, or was willing to admit it.

Met age 19, first proper relationship and we made it to married with a kid and 15 years (13 mono 2 open). I guess you could say we had a good run.
 

3908

Member
I found part of my identity that got lost. I am a giver, always have been. I like to take care of my family and make sure my responsibilities are done before taking time for myself. I'd put him first for too long, trying to take some of that back for me felt selfish but would have gotten easier over time if the relationship felt equal. I also have my own social interests that were pretty much nonexistent. He didn't have any social interests meaning we spent a lot of our time together.

Hi LJM and welcome to the forum.

thank you for sharing your circumstances.

in the quote above, you mention what could be in the category of "codependency" I am in recovery for Codependency myself.
might be something to look into if you want.

looks like you are getting some good advice, just wanted to share my .02 cents about Codependency.

In my history I consider myself to be poly, while my wife is not. I wouldn't be surprised if my wife is Bi but good luck getting her to admit that, she has some really close girlfriends. we are a Christian marriage so my environment is probably more unique than many here. we have been navigating the poly thing for about a year now, at first the discussions were very loud, but now we can talk casually about it, id say that's progress.

take care and keep hanging around the forum, there's a lot of good people here
 

LJM

New member
Hi LJM and welcome to the forum.

thank you for sharing your circumstances.

in the quote above, you mention what could be in the category of "codependency" I am in recovery for Codependency myself.
might be something to look into if you want.

looks like you are getting some good advice, just wanted to share my .02 cents about Codependency.

In my history I consider myself to be poly, while my wife is not. I wouldn't be surprised if my wife is Bi but good luck getting her to admit that, she has some really close girlfriends. we are a Christian marriage so my environment is probably more unique than many here. we have been navigating the poly thing for about a year now, at first the discussions were very loud, but now we can talk casually about it, id say that's progress.

take care and keep hanging around the forum, there's a lot of good people here
Hi.

Thank you.

You are correct, we fell into the traps of codependency. We only had our parents' relationship to learn from and neither were the greatest of models.

Trying to find the healthy parts of a relationship that had became so infused with this wasn't easy - I think we opened the relationship too soon which is both of our fault - I thought a fresh beginning was what we needed to find the separate parts of ourselves again and he had someone else flirting with him that he wanted to explore. Both a recipe for disaster, it highlighted just how different we are and the priorities we have.

I know who I am, mostly, I matured when I became a Mum and entered into my 30s and understand the need for stability with some fun under different guises. I have some traits that flare when I'm overly stressed, particularly around a certain time of the month (this has been addressed by my doctor and I feel much better). By the end it just got too much, the laughter had gone and I was no longer offered a cup of tea (literally).

He came back out of obligation because I was looking at my own health issues and didn't want to be a hypocrite as I didn't leave him at his worst times. He stayed for a week, told me what he thought I wanted to hear (again) and completely shut down when I went near him to offer affection. I can't live my life like that.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello LJM,

It sounds like your (now ex) husband had a hard time figuring out what he wanted or needed, and an even harder time figuring out how to articulate and express that. Which left you having to do a lot of guessing, trying to read his mind, cobbling together a strategy for coping with his tendencies based on what his therapist/s said, etc. ... so that both of you got increasingly frustrated and sometimes took it out on each other, and the situation just spiraled on down until a breakup (and I guess a divorce) was inevitable. I am not happy that the two of you had to break up, but I do think it will be for the best in the long run.

I don't think polyamory was ground zero for your problems, although it does seem that your (now ex) husband handled his end of the poly poorly. In his defense, I'll say that he was largely acting out of ignorance rather than malice. He was a total poly newbie and was learning by trial and error -- lots and lots of trial, and even more error. He may handle it better with future partners, but I have a feeling he still has some learning to do. I would say it would be great for him to join this forum, but I would worry that then the forum wouldn't be the safe space that you need. But he should at least read the book "Opening Up" (by Tristan Taormino).

You will go through the stages of grief over the loss of your marriage: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order, some may even occur more than once, and some will last longer than others. There will be times when you will think, "Maybe the marriage can be saved after all," and then you'll realize, "No, it can't." What you have learned from this marriage will just hopefully bear fruit as wisdom and knowledge in your future relationships. You know, for example, not to get overly intertwined with a husband or other partner. It is important to retain your independence, both of you.

Hang in there, and good luck.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

LJM

New member
Hi Kevin,

Thank you.

My (now ex) husband - we're not divorced or legally separated yet; Its too soon in the process to begin that road - isn't the type of person to read about poly nor would I ever see him joining something like this forum because he's more about experiencing it for himself - "getting messy and making mistakes" rather than having resources to help. So I do feel as if this is a safe space for me.

I've definitely learned some lessons from it. Ultimately I think he wanted more freedom than a marriage with a young child can accommodate for and I needed stability while learning to navigate this new lifestyle. I was much slower than him to move forward after recovering from the catalyst that started this journey which caused tension between us because he was ready to just go for it.

I know its going to be better in the long run, it will take time and I'm grateful to have this found this forum and get these perspectives - something I stopped being able to see when he had something he wanted to talk to me about.

Just doing this has been really cathartic.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I'm glad the forum has been helpful to you so far. It's too bad that your (soon to be ex) husband isn't willing to look into the resources available to polyamorists. He would rather learn the hard way -- and drag others through the shrapnel behind him. :(
 

tdh

Active member
"getting messy and making mistakes"
While no one is perfect, the lack of self education is extremely frustrating since it appears you did a lot of the heavy lifting to get things starting. Having only one partner want to educate them about...we anything it seems...is frustrating.

Ultimately I think he wanted more freedom than a marriage with a young child can accommodate for
If he felt this way, (pardon my bluntness as this is a bit of a raw nerve) fuck him. He is part of the partnership that choose to bring a life in the world. Does that mean you need to married, no. But you do need to try to be a parent and co-partners/parents IMO. I know to many men and women (more men than women TBH) who bounce or check out on being the parent and/or partner.

My hope will be he will mature or at least try to learn to be a there for both you when needed in a way everyone can grow. Back to what I said earlier, time will tell.
 

LJM

New member
I'm glad the forum has been helpful to you so far. It's too bad that your (soon to be ex) husband isn't willing to look into the resources available to polyamorists. He would rather learn the hard way -- and drag others through the shrapnel behind him. :(
Well if he does then he'll see soon enough. He can also be very charming at first, as if you are the most special person ever to cross his path. NRE hits him hard.

I don't proclaim to be perfect, I suspect I may have read too much instead of finding a balance between the two.
 

LJM

New member
While no one is perfect, the lack of self education is extremely frustrating since it appears you did a lot of the heavy lifting to get things starting. Having only one partner want to educate them about...we anything it seems...is frustrating.


If he felt this way, (pardon my bluntness as this is a bit of a raw nerve) fuck him. He is part of the partnership that choose to bring a life in the world. Does that mean you need to married, no. But you do need to try to be a parent and co-partners/parents IMO. I know to many men and women (more men than women TBH) who bounce or check out on being the parent and/or partner.

My hope will be he will mature or at least try to learn to be a there for both you when needed in a way everyone can grow. Back to what I said earlier, time will tell.

My strong emotional response and probably over protective tendencies towards our son was referred to as "Mama Bear" and it could get ugly. I would ask in the evenings when we were in the same room doing our own thing and he was on his phone (a device permanently attached to him!) if he was talking to his gf, how was she etc...? I'm quite a social person so didn't think of it as intrusive to ask that despite it being a separate relationship. Sometimes I would be in a mood and it would come across as grumpy and guilt would creep in. He eventually told me my tone when I asked made it feel as if I was suspicious of him and he had to go through a mental checklist to make sure he wasn't breaking any of our agreement. It got exhausting for him.

So I stopped asking.

A week or two after he left his gf visited and they stayed about 20 minutes from home. The trip had been preplanned - no issue with her visiting. We had different expectations of when he would see our son. He thought he would just be with her for the week and step up the week before he left. :( I didn't agree so we compromised and he collected him from school one afternoon. He also introduced our son with my blessing. Progress! I thought, I even felt really strong compersion when I saw them both together for the first time - one of my big barriers had been broken down.

His reaction to me telling him was flat because he was undecided if he wanted to continue a romantic relationship with me.

It isn't the first time he's left me saying he couldn't do it anymore - he's too burned by my reaction to some of what I saw as crappy behaviour. We'd talk after taking a day to breathe and work it out. Not this time though.

You're right. Time will tell.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
My brain doesn't understand how taking off for 2 weeks to have a working holiday with his gf at the start of a new school term while our son adjusts to a new routine is logical.

Why does it have to be logical? Or understood by you? Are you spending your energy "dollars" in the wrong place right now?

What is it you want him to do instead? What would you be doing if you were a widow?

I am not divorced and haven't had to deal with custody issues. But I do have people like the dementia seniors that have good intentions but don't follow thru, flaky friends, etc.

I pretty much just figure X is all on me. And I consider any help from them "bonus" if it actually comes to pass. And then if they forget no skin off my nose. Because I have already made other arrangements on my own or asked for help from my "tried and true" family and friends who DO follow through.

Could learn to work with that is there.

Ex:

My mom used to call me to complain about my dad and he would call me to complain about her. She would get mad he would miss taking out the trash on time and the garage would stink up. He would get mad that she would "take over" his jobs if she took the trash out herself and made him feel useless.

I asked her why, as the caregiver to an Alzheimer patient, she was giving him the "time based" chores? Time means NOTHING solid to that kind of patient. Why wasn't she giving him chores that don't matter the time? Like washing the car or sweeping the patio? And those can either be super clean car or dusty car. Or super clean patio or leafy patio. But whatever his Alz brain is doing that week -- obsessing or forgetting -- no skin off her nose. Why is she wasting her time and energy fussing with him or calling me to complain rather than work with what she has?

She was surprised and said "Oh. I didn't think of it like that." And they worked out some other kind of chore schedule so mom does all the time based chores and dad does not time based chores.

I get that you wanted your ex to be a lot of things in the past. And he just wasn't. So maybe let those old expectations go. And before making new, realistic expectations of him as a coparent... give it some time to learn him in this context. While detaching from his personal life.

Maybe put your ADHD ex in the "wait and see" folder with "still developing expectations" rather than "tried and true" folder. Because you don't actually know yet if he's gonna be a "tried and true" coparent. And in the meanwhile, things still need doing. So if he comes through on something you ask for-- great! Bonus! Note the area. And if he doesn't -- no skin off your nose. Note the area. Over time you will learn what coparenting things he's good at and which part he stinks at.

Whether stuff he does in his personal life is "logical" or not --- how much does it really matter over here in YOUR life as his ex? How is that your business any more? That to me would be a more effective question to ask than asking "Where's the logic in him booking a vacation right now?"

You are going through a detaching phase -- and changing into being his ex. And not being involved in certain spheres of his life. While some things do overlap -- on the coparenting front.

Could ask yourself "What is CONCRETE here?"

He is having kid before school starts and again at half term break. Ok.

Is that good enough? What do YOU need? And which parts can come from him and which parts can come from other family and friends? Do you want him to take son some weekends to you catch a break? Or can you family/friends take kid so you get a break?

Can you make some parent friends and do trades? Increase your support network? Is there a single parent group at the school or elsewhere?

We used to have no extra money for babysitting so I'd trade in kind and take kids from other friends while they went out and then they'd take mine while we went out.

Not to be mean about it...

But if your ex has been half checked out anyway and not really engaging with son? I don't think son is gonna miss his not being present much because he never learned to expect different. He might even do better now that there's no fighting or arguing in the home.

But he will miss YOU not being present if he relies on you to set the household routines and you have your brain wandering off into whatever your ex is doing on his vacation in his personal life.

Have you talked to son about divorce? There's children's books to help with that transition.

Galagirl
 
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