On Taking a Break

paintscribe

New member
I am a prescriptive secondary who is very deeply in love with my BF. I have finally gotten to where I am OK with my relationship being part-time and moving on to enjoy the benefits when I find out that my BF and his wife have been having a super rough time lately. I did not realize it until today, when he IMed me and told me about their fight and that he was really close to walking out on her.

Insert my super devastated reaction. The last thing I want him to do is break up with her.

soon, she was IMing me, and I heard some of her side, and...

The short and sweet, if you put everything together... he is giving me all the emotional love and support and not giving them to her. She has never blamed me, and specifically said there was nothing wrong with me. But she asks for things he gives me readily. On top of that, they have communication issues, but refuse to see a counselor.

He made it sound like they were giving it their last attempts, and I realized that all I can do to help them is to take a break from them. So that I'm not being a source of outside sex and emotional outlet. Maybe that be enough of a kick that they get things together.

The question is, how far does this taking a break go? I know the no sex, no sleepovers, and no extra nights hanging out. But is it recommended that I cut off all time alone with him? We luckily meet weekly for games with friends, but there has been alot of personal time lately.

I know that usually it ought to be the primaries deciding this, but they realize this is their issue. However, I don't think they realize how I add just a little bit more kindling to the fire.

I've done my best not to get in between them, or fix things or psychoanalyze, offer advise (aside from the counselor idea).

I don't know what else to do. Part of me knows, that if he bails on her, moves in with me.... it's going to damage a heck of alot. It will be rough on our mutual friends. I will get called names by some people (and will feel they are correct), and I think eventually, he and I would hit that spot as well... :(

I'm also thinking of telling him that in 3 months, we three will get together and discuss how things are and if this needs to go longer, or if it is time to start integrating me back into their lives....

advise?
 

AnnabelMore

New member
What a tough situation. I think you've got the right idea with the break, and three months sounds like a reasonable stretch of time to me. Loving someone means wanting the best for them, and if you believe that losing his marriage would not, in fact, be in his best interest, then the loving thing to do is to give them the space they need to try to fix this.

Their myopia is kinda worrying. How could it fail to be obvious to either of them that him pouring emotional resources into his relationship with you is, at the least, a complicating factors in their struggle not to break apart? And why on earth the resistance to counseling even in the face of what sounds like imminent divorce??

Even if they can't work it out, stepping back now will at least put you out of the blast zone if their relationship does suffer a critical meltdown.

As for how much to step back exactly, that's a tough question. I would say keep it to the gaming sessions and emails. Make it a real beak.

Good luck!!
 
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rory

New member
I think you are being amazingly considerate in this situation, I admire that. I agree that break is a very good idea. That may or may not give him the incentive to work on his marriage, but you'll know that if they do divorce it hasn't been because of you (and your friends will be more likely to see this as well). Don't have much of advice, you seem to have a clear and good handle on what you think is the best thing to do. :)
 

nycindie

Active member
I think it is a very mature and compassionate thing you are doing by taking a break, and I think setting a goal of three months to check in and see how they're doing is wise and generous of you. I admire you for that. It is much better that such a break come from you, rather than them. That indicates strength and love on your part. I am thinking of a married couple who was having deeply damaging difficulties, very similar to what your bf and his wife are going through but with lots of nastiness and arrogance toward his wife. The gf was almost arrogantly standing by, not budging, and both she and the husband were making it seem like the wife was the problem and she had better shape up because the gf wasn't going anywhere. It was very sad, the wife was so depressed, and the whole thing pushed her to the brink. The gf only backed off for a few weeks when wife finally insisted on it, but couldn't really keep her word on that. I hated to see the wife jerked around like that. So kudos to you for being the one to acknowledge that the strength of your relationship cannot be allowed to run roughshod over their relationship, and that for you to flourish, you need them to thrive also.

As for how much of a break is needed, I think, for me personally, that I would take a break from all alone time with him. Being around him yet not being with him sexually might distract him from looking at the relationship he has with his wife. I would make it a clean break and have very little contact, and probably not see him in person much at all, whether in a crowd or not. In fact, I would limit contact to a phone call maybe once every other week. He needs to see the severity of the problem, and I think that would do it.

Are you also ready to walk away completely, as well, if they do not remedy things between them? Because you really don't want to be part of an unhealthy dynamic. And I would be very cautious about involvement with him again, whether they stay together or not, because of the way he treated her. There has to be an effort shown that he will treat all his relationships with respect and loving consideration, I would think, for me to trust him myself if I were in your shoes.
 
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dingedheart

Well-known member
How long have they been married?

Have they had other poly relationships?

How long have you been in this relationship?
Does the wife have an additional partner also?
 

paintscribe

New member
nycindie -
I can't completely break off contact, as that would break up 2 gaming groups, and create many more problems. But I can limit to just the already arranged social group interactions we have.

I am also aware that I may not have a relationship with them after this. It doesn't make me happy, but I acknowledge that this may be the price I have to pay. If I have to, I will.


dingedheart -
They have been married for 2.5 years, together for a total 5 or 6. I have been romantically involved with them for 22 months.

No, they have not had other poly relationships.

She does not, she's pretty much turned mono out of insecurity. I am really close to her as well...


the rest of you, thank you for your support.

Part of why he resists seeing a counselor, is because he was forced to see therapists when he was a kid because the other kids were beating up on him and his mom thought he was lying.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Why did they decide to do this? Poly thing

Did she struggle in the beginning or have things been building?

You said romantically with them....so you and her have a sexual relationship as well?
 
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paintscribe

New member
Yeah, I originally began as dating both of them. It faded into just him, with her calling me girlfriend.

Things were great for about a month, then jealousy blew things up. They've worked on alot of stuff. He has a medical condition which makes some resolutions difficult. I'm not sure how much that was used as an excuse. It had seemed like they had been just working through things and have had a few rough patches. She lost her job this summer, but has been employed for the last 3 months.
I thought they were doing much better than this..... I kinda felt blind-sided.

They originally had an open relationship because she insisted on it. I hung out with them as friends until I realized I was in love and wanted to be part of their family. I asked her first, since I figured she would be the one who might say no. She was thrilled with it, and gave me my first girl kiss.
 

bookbug

New member
Yeah, I originally began as dating both of them. It faded into just him, with her calling me girlfriend.

Things were great for about a month, then jealousy blew things up. They've worked on alot of stuff. He has a medical condition which makes some resolutions difficult. I'm not sure how much that was used as an excuse. It had seemed like they had been just working through things and have had a few rough patches. She lost her job this summer, but has been employed for the last 3 months.
I thought they were doing much better than this..... I kinda felt blind-sided.

They originally had an open relationship because she insisted on it. I hung out with them as friends until I realized I was in love and wanted to be part of their family. I asked her first, since I figured she would be the one who might say no. She was thrilled with it, and gave me my first girl kiss.

I am so sorry. It sounds like their relationship had problems before you became involved. I was in a somewhat similar situation ~ problems in the relationship that neither had fully acknowledged with my presence forcing them to address these issues. (Also great for only about a month before jealousy reared its ugly head.) I am now out of the picture sexually. While having problems, divorce does not appear imminent in their case and the three of us are working to rebuild our basic relationship.

You say that you acknowledge you may not have relationship with him even in the event of divorce. If it were me, I would advise that you not automatically rule it out depending on compatibility. My two loves are both responsible wonderful people, and were drawn together due to shared core values. That said, they are so dissimilar in so many ways, I am shocked they've managed to function together for so long. Long way of me saying that perhaps you and your bf are more compatible than he and his wife.

Still, I think you are very wise to remove yourself from the picture for awhile and let them sort out their issues alone.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
You said she turned mono after a month or so...I take that to mean she stopped wanting to be with you. But it could also mean she wants to go back to just her and him.

Has anyone asked what she really wants.

It's got to suck being caught in the middle or left out in the wind. Take care of yourself in this....lets not forget she wanted to open up their relationship. And with that I feel she has a much higher burden of responsibility to deal with her negative feelings. Its a nice suggestion to back off but I don't know how far I'd take that. To me it seem unrealistic to break all contact for a period of time then get the green light and jump back in where we left off.
 

nycindie

Active member
nycindie -
I can't completely break off contact, as that would break up 2 gaming groups, and create many more problems.

Hmm, well, I don't know what a gaming group is, nor why it is that once you belong to one, you can never leave. Did you sign a contract in blood or something? Is keeping the group together more important than your sanity and health in a relationship? What if you moved somewhere else? They would find someone to take your place. So, really, how much does it matter for you to be a part of this gaming group for them to stay together? I think your priorities are mixed up. Gaming is a hobby; relationships are integral to life and your emotional health. But if you see gaming as that important, well, do as you see fit - but it doesn't make much sense to me. I would always choose to walk away from any activity or social situation if I had to in order to nurture my own emotional well-being. And being part of a relationship where you were under one impression about how things were, only to find out that everything was radically different from what you had thought, does not seem healthy to me.

I don't know. If your bf has been treating his wife with disrespect and inattention, and lavishing all the good stuff on you, I would be hesitant to be involved with him at all. I need to be with someone who can manage and balance all his relationships with love, respect, caring, and nurturing. I would never want to be the recipient of such lop-sided attention to the point where a spouse is set aside (just as much as I never want to be set aside to appease a spouse's insecurities).
 

bookbug

New member
Is keeping the group together more important than your sanity and health in a relationship? .... So, really, how much does it matter for you to be a part of this gaming group for them to stay together? .... I would always choose to walk away from any activity or social situation if I had to in order to nurture my own emotional well-being.

While you make an excellent point, it could very well be that these gaming groups are part of her social support system. Alienating herself from them may just add insult to injury. While I agree it's wise for her to back away from their toxic situation, I certainly do not think she should have to give up the entirety of her social connections in order to preserve their marriage ~ unless it really is just too painful to see him in any situation. That is going above and beyond the call of duty, imo.
 

nycindie

Active member
Well, okay, I see your point, too. But I wasn't seeing a break as something only meant to "preserve their marriage." I see it as wanting to be part of something healthy, with someone who has integrity in all his relationships, and if he couldn't get it together for that, I'd walk.
 

bookbug

New member
Well, okay, I see your point, too. But I wasn't seeing a break as something only meant to "preserve their marriage." I see it as wanting to be part of something healthy, with someone who has integrity in all his relationships, and if he couldn't get it together for that, I'd walk.

Also a good point. It all depends on the dynamic. Is the wife insecure and nothing he does will ever assuage her fears? Or is he really not able to manage his relationships well? Maybe the wife and the husband just aren't good together, but each would be fine on their own? Too many possibilities. Although I'm sure the OP probably has some ideas.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
PS - what does this mean, exactly? I have never heard this term:

"prescriptive" secondary basically means you're "not allowed" to ever become more than a secondary, you'll never be as valued as the primary, and if your relationship ever becomes "too threatening" to the primary relationship, you're out the door.

Compare to "descriptive" secondary, where it's more like you just happen to have your life not as entangled (i.e. your partner has a wife with kids together, shared bills, and a joint mortgage) so the "secondary" status just describes the nature of your current relationship, without forcing it in a box that says it will never be allowed to become something more.
 

nycindie

Active member
"prescriptive" secondary basically means you're "not allowed" to ever become more than a secondary, you'll never be as valued as the primary, and if your relationship ever becomes "too threatening" to the primary relationship, you're out the door.

Compare to "descriptive" secondary, where it's more like you just happen to have your life not as entangled ... the "secondary" status just describes the nature of your current relationship, without forcing it in a box that says it will never be allowed to become something more.
Oh, is that common knowledge? I wonder how it is that I've been coming here for over a year and don't remember ever having come across that phrase! My lordy, I would never agree to someone else telling me that I am disposable and wouldn't "be allowed" to have a certain place in their life - I could only be a secondary by my choice and if my terms were met. Wow. Just wow.
 

wildflowers

New member
If your bf has been treating his wife with disrespect and inattention, and lavishing all the good stuff on you, I would be hesitant to be involved with him at all. I need to be with someone who can manage and balance all his relationships with love, respect, caring, and nurturing.

I would never argue with this as a goal, but perhaps it's also worthwhile to inject some realism or tolerance, given that it seems the couple is new to all this? Basically, these relationship changes, new dynamics, NRE, etc, can be HARD, and expecting someone to get it all right the first time around is a lot to ask for. Each individual will have issues s/he needs to grapple with, as well each couple, and bumps in the road seem almost inevitable.

Which isn't at all meant to argue against any of the suggestions made for a break, or that there aren't serious issues here to be dealt with. It's just that to me the negativity above seemed a bit harsh.
 

nycindie

Active member
If your bf has been treating his wife with disrespect and inattention, and lavishing all the good stuff on you, I would be hesitant to be involved with him at all. I need to be with someone who can manage and balance all his relationships with love, respect, caring, and nurturing.
I would never argue with this as a goal, but perhaps it's also worthwhile to inject some realism or tolerance, given that it seems the couple is new to all this? ... It's just that to me the negativity above seemed a bit harsh.

Huh? All I'm saying is "BIG RED FLAG!" It's strange that you consider it intolerant of me to be hesitant about getting involved with someone after finding out things are not what they have seemed, and that his spouse feels mistreated. They're not that new to poly - they've been involved with the OP for nearly two years. The OP feels blindsided by stuff they were hiding from her. People who get involved with couples have to really stand up for themselves, it seems. Sure, I'd be tolerant and forgiving and acknowledge that there are inevitable bumps in the road, but I'd also be very HESITANT and CAUTIOUS.

How harsh and negative of me!
 
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wildflowers

New member
How harsh and negative of me!

Sorry, NYC, I think you took this as far more negative towards you than I had meant it. I simply hadn't gotten as negative a vibe from this situation overall as you had. I reread the thread, and I guess what I hadn't taken from it, and still find ambiguous, is whether this situation (ie neglect) has been a problem throughout or is more recent. I also didn't get a sense that all the issues should be attributed to the guy, or that there had been deliberate deception specifically from him.

Anyway, it was not meant as an attack on you at all, and I'm sorry if it seemed that way.
 
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