Patching up with meta

endusal

New member
As I mentioned in my intro post, I have been working on coming to terms with my long-term partner forming an intimate attachment to another woman. I think I'm on a good way, though the process has been very messy.

Some history is probably in order. I'll be calling my partner Indaren, and his girlfriend Thelsa.

My partner and I have been together for nearly 15 years. He and Thelsa began seeing each other in early 2017. This is something I encouraged Indaren to go forward with, thinking it would be exciting and invigorating, without much thought about how things could progress. I met Thelsa in spring. We got on well with each other and by summer we were essentially a triad. Not always a smooth ride – there has been jealously, insecurity, dissociation – but we also had some very good, wholesome times.

I maintained an independent friendship with her, too, going out for drinks, talking, supporting each other when drama with Indaren would crop up. However, it was clear that she was much more interested in him. I started stepping back. By September I suggested they meet once a week on their own. Indaren soon pushed for this to become twice a week, and we would hang out all three together on other occasions on top. It was a little too much, too fast for me, and was becoming very unsettled by how things were progressing. I can now tell that they were in the height of NRE. Furthermore, nothing had ever prepared me for an emotional attachment of another person to my partner and it was very hard to deal with. Indaren told me of their amazing sexual compatibility; I felt de-sexualised, domesticized. I started going to therapy. Chronic problems in my relationship with him (codependency, communication troubles, power differential, past traumatic episodes that had never been properly processed) had fully caught up with us. I was buckling under stress. Reaching out to them always helped, but at some point it felt instensely like a sort of Stockholm syndrome.

In retrospect, I understand that both of them were trying take me into consideration but it was hard for Thelsa to contain her feelings on one hand, and Indaren had a large chunk of his attention diverted towards her, was troubled with guilt and worry about mistakes past and present, and was undergoing his own existential crisis. After a couple of breaches, renewed efforts, further breaches and much stress, I stated in very final terms that I could not go on. I was prepared to end things with Indaren and said as much, but perhaps they had more faith in my relationship with him, so it was received like an ultimatum of sending her away. I guess in a sense it was, but I was desperate. This was in end January.

Indaren did not end things up with her. I felt betrayed, dismissed, and sidelined. I was on the verge of breaking up with him, but decided I should not take life-changing decisions when in a turmoil of emotions. I dropped all communication with Thelsa and asked for an essentially very isolated parallel relationship, and very grudgingly so at that. No constant intrusions, no calls, a reliable schedule. This was neither agreed nor brought on smoothly, but with a lot of misunderstandings and drama. I spoke about the situation with two close friends, and received ample support. I kept going to therapy. It took me several weeks of intense journalling, councelling, reading, swinging violently between rage, despair, and hope, bucketfuls of tears, but I was eventually able to process my emotions, patch up the breach with Indaren, improve communication between us (together with his own serious efforts, too), work towards becoming more secure and independent, and very, very recently acknowledge and accept Indaren's relationship with Thelsa without this feeling like a humiliating concession.

I think it's time to patch up with her. It has been two and a half months since we last spoke. I feel she understands enough of my troubles and grievances and acknowledges them. It was only very recently that I became able to consider hers, too. She has suffered from being a captive to whether I was okay with things or not, me running hot and cold, and passive-aggressively trying to extract a hierarchical superiority over her. I want to address such things. She is going through hard times, too, independently of the situation between the three of us.

But I am still a little afraid and fear about bungling things, of possible triggers. I am unsure as to how much to reach out and how much to hold back. So in a sense what I'm asking for is some psyching up, advice, things to look out for, possible holes in how I see the whole situation, and general support.

Thanks!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think you could keep it simple and perhaps email or mail her. That gives her time to digest your letter and respond in her own time. Where doing it face to face or over phone kind of expects immediate response then and there.

Could take themes from your last paragraphs and rewrite it as a short letter to her. Maybe something like....


Dear Thelsa,

I hope this letter finds you doing ok. I wanted to reach out and make you aware that I've been doing a lot of personal work.

I'm afraid of bungling things or triggering you. I am unsure as to how much to reach out and how much to hold back. I realized being fearful is not the way to move things forward when what I really want is to try to patch things up with you. So this is me trying.

I want to thank you for being very understanding of my troubles and grievances. I am grateful that you have acknowledged them and tried to see things from my point of view.

It is only very recently that I have become able to consider things from your point of view, too. I'm sorry I could not see it sooner.

I think I have caused you problems with some of my past behaviors. Like me me being passive-aggressive by running hot and cold or me trying to extract a hierarchical superiority over you. I want to address those things. I really regret behaving that way. I don't want to behave like that toward you or anyone else ever again. Being passive-aggressive at people is not ok. I see that now.

Please accept my apology. I want ask for your forgiveness, and if you will allow me to, I want to try to make amends so we can move forward on better footing. If possible, I would like us to be friends again.

If you are at a place where we can try that, I'm willing. If you are not at that place right now, please let me know and I can respect that.

Thank you for listening.

Sincerely,
Endusal

As for encouragement? Good for you! You are trying to deal with this with some grace and do the work you need to do -- a formal apology. That takes some gumption and some skill. Sometimes I see people half ass it or avoid it altogether. Either from fear or from standing on false pride or whatever.

I have a former friend, Leaf, who has hurt me with his behaviors. I've called him out on it, and he gave me a half-assed, nonapology-apology in return. I'm supposed to just pretend nothing happened yet still allow him to be around me. So I called him out on that. To date, not a peep. He still refuses to take responsibility for his actions -- the original bad behavior and susequent poor behavior with the insincere non-apology.

Me? I am content to leave it how it is. I no longer hurt and I am Leaf drama free. If he ever gets it together to do a formal apology, I will consider that great personal growth for him and will reconsider being friends again. Basically I expect people do it RIGHT when doing formal apologies, or just don't bug me. I don't need their weird non-apologies.

So I commend you for trying to do it RIGHT. I hope Thelsa is willing to mend fences with you.

She might not want to. She might be willing to forgive, but have no interest in making amends or changing from the "very separate V" format. Or maybe in time she will reconsider but right now she most needs space. But all that is ok. Her choices are up to her.

You can feel ok in yourself that you have made a good choice -- you behaved poorly and are now trying to clean up your own mess. That is commendable. You are trying to a formal apology correctly. Once you put the olive branch out there? You have done all you can from your side of it at this time.

Hopefully knowing that allows you to make peace with yourself and allow your own peace of mind to return regardless of how Thelsa responds.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi endusal,

It sounds like you have had quite a challenging journey in getting to the point you're at now. I think it's really good that you are thinking of ways to patch things up with your metamour. One possible approach might be, try something light at first, invite her to go shopping and/or coffee and/or out to eat ... something light and fun, where you wouldn't try to talk about the heavy stuff at first. Although at some point during such an outing, you might have an opportunity to apologize. If she does not want to do that at this time, you could say, "Okay; let me know if you want to do that sometime in the future." Then send her an email containing your apology and whatnot. Or you could send her an email right off the bat, that would work too.

I am thinking you might still have some sharp rocks on the road ahead. Things are better now, but you're still likely to encounter some rough feelings. That's one reason I thought of doing something light with her at first, it might be easier/safer for both of you. But as you are close to the situation, your judgment is ultimately best. Things were moving too fast for you, also Indaren was high on NRE and gushing. It may yet take awhile for that NRE to subside.

Just take things a little at a time. Keep posting here, let us know how things are progressing, and we can give updated advice as needed.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

endusal

New member
GalaGirl, Kevin, thanks for the advice.

Galagirl, thanks for taking the time to put all this together. Non-apology apologies are definitely something to steer clear of! To be honest, an email with a formal apology like this would be very heavy handed and in fact alarming – very far removed from both our cultural and personal expression styles. And despite the lack of direct communication, there is already a number of good-will gestures from either side through Indaren (for instance, in the past week: she's sent me sweets from a recent trip, I sent her cookies back. The week before, I knew she would have some time off, which she doesn't get often, and I suggested they go for a weekend away with Indaren.)

Kevin, that's what I think we'd both be most comfortable with. We've each been thinking about attending together a common friend's rock gig on Saturday (Indaren will be out of town). It's taking the edge off having a one-on-one talk, and leaves room to show one's good intentions through body language, etc.

I must say the difficulty lay mostly with me; as much as I understand the situation, she has been more eager to (but also more afraid of) reaching out to me. She asked Indaren to mediate on her behalf to begin with (this is how I came to consider about what made her feel hurt). As things stand, I think it's best to go about without much fuss, just keep in mind where my own responsibilities lie. I'm also aware she is going through a difficult time (I'm stressing, again, not entirely related to our situation) and I would like to be able to provide some support, if possible.

Keeping fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again!
 

endusal

New member
I'm to meet her tonight, and I'm anxious.

I will vent a little here, if it's all right.

I have my ups and (extreme) downs in this whole story. At times I appreciate how this has enriched our lives and how it has spurred everyone's personal growth and at times I mourn the loss of exclusivity. I go through intense feelings of grief. Until relatively recently, I would burst into sobs every single day. Stuff myself with tranquillisers. It's not so bad now, but still. I have this irrational wish for things to go back to what they were, just me and my partner, although looking at it rationally our relationship is at a much better place now. Better communication, better sex. We were on a trajectory of decline but now there is more hope.

I have this strong internal resistance when I structure our situation along the lines of "he has two women". All sorts of nasty preconceptions kick in. I have Middle Eastern women friends and I know how they HATE polygyny. They've told me such stories of pain and anger and humiliation. I hate how a guy can date more than one woman and socially cash that in. This is not the case here, mind you. We are not out – and it's unlikely we can (excepts for close friends on all sides who know), but I really do not want this to be common knowledge. Social admittance seems frightening and humiliating. I know, it's not on the table now so why worry? But I do worry. I worry about a lot of things. Thelsa had a pregnancy scare not too long ago. She has joked about keeping the baby if they have an accident. It seems to me Indaren has a nonchalant attitude to that after years of zealously ensuring that my contraception was fool-proof, and it hurts. I worry that for all that she claims to accept our relationship, she envies it. It makes me feel like a stranger in my own home, a curious but deeply unsettling feeling.

I'm confused right now and just hurting. I don't want to bungle things tonight. I've done a lot of work, a lot of progress. I am sympathetic towards Thelsa. It's just that right now I'm finding it extra hard to switch from struggling with my own negative feelings to a cool and careful consideration of hers. It's not right, I know. I read somewhere that cruelty begins with "the spirit of abstraction": perceiving people as functions, not as human beings. When I am too caught up in my own hurt, I reduce her presence in my life as instrument of destruction and upheaval. A sky-high wall of denial rises up in me. I want to run away from everything.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
Maybe it's just not time yet.

Even if your meeting goes/went well, perhaps leave it another few months before the next one. Patching things up doesn't have to mean regular ongoing direct communication. Sweets and cookies might be enough.

All the best
 

lunabunny

New member
Unfortunately, Endusal, I have no great words of wisdom or advice for you right now. I guess I just want to assure you that you're not alone in your feelings of pain, confusion, and hit-and-miss acceptance.

My story is somewhat different to yours in that I am the hinge in my V. However, for a loooong time I resented the fact that I was even put in this situation in the first place (polyamory). Non monogamy is basically against my nature, though I have no issue with it intellectually, especially where others are concerned.

My resentment sprang from the fact that my partner Jester was not open and honest about having a FWB relationship with my (now) girlfriend Boho, at the time he and I first got together. This caused all kinds of dilemmas. (Details in my blog.)


I have my ups and (extreme) downs in this whole story. At times I appreciate how this has enriched our lives and how it has spurred everyone's personal growth and at times I mourn the loss of exclusivity. I go through intense feelings of grief. Until relatively recently, I would burst into sobs every single day. Stuff myself with tranquillisers.

Until recently, this used to be me. ^ The uncertainty, the crying, the self-medicating... it's all familiar territory.

Like you, while I recognise/d there are definite positives to my own multi-partner situation, for whatever reason I found it soooo hard to reconcile the reality of it with my own nature, and my preconceptions about love, relationships, and the future.

I don't/didn't consider myself polyamorous, and felt I'd been put in an untenable position - whether premeditated or otherwise - and had a certain amount of choice taken away from me by the initial untruthfulness of Jester (and Boho) not telling me they were FWB; his refusal to drop his close friendship with her; and later by his distancing himself emotionally from me for a period of time when he relapsed into addiction (and lying about that too).

The only person who knew the full extent of Jester's and my situation back then, and could support me through it, was Boho, which is how she and I developed a relationship of our own. But while I was grateful to her for helping me through such a difficult time, I also battled with mixed feelings towards her due to her past with Jester AND the fact she made it clear she'd like us to ALL be in a relationship (triad) together. I did NOT want to be in a triad, but at the time felt I "owed" it to her to try... which was a huge mistake.

The cognitive dissonance of being the somewhat hesitant hinge in a poly relationship I almost feel I was "set up" or groomed for -VS- my love for the people involved was quite a head-trip! Hence the depression. That was where I was "at" for more than a year - and it took a long time, a LOT of open communication and mistakes on all sides before a more balanced mindset could be achieved.

Although YOUR situation is a little different to mine, Endusal, I believe you can relate to the feelings I described above.

I have this strong internal resistance when I structure our situation along the lines of "he has two women". All sorts of nasty preconceptions kick in.

I hate how a guy can date more than one woman and socially cash that in. This is not the case here, mind you. But I do worry. Social admittance seems frightening and humiliating.

That was exactly how I'D always felt about polyamory, non-monogamous and group sex type situations all my life.

I had this huge preconception that such relationships were inherently sexist, demeaning/humiliating and basically tacky. It seemed to me all about what the guy could get out of it (i.e. more women = more/kinkier sex, bragging rights, higher social status among certain groups) and I couldn't shake the feeling that even consenting women were somehow being "used".

I recognised, even at the time, that a lot of this was due to cultural conditioning - and that in reality, there are probably just as many polyamorous women and MFM triads as the other way around.

Still, a bad experience in my distant youth involving a boyfriend who'd essentially "cheated in plain sight" with two VERY close females in my circle had left a life-long bad taste in my mouth when it came to people having more than one sex partner. Negative events of such magnitude are hard to shake off.

I worry about a lot of things.
I worry that for all that she claims to accept our relationship, she envies it.

A lot of recurring worries are fruitless and without basis - and I say this as a life-long sufferer of anxiety. However, we have to distinguish between paranoia and what may be a more realistic source of fear. The possibility of your partner's gf getting pregnant and everything that would entail IS a reasonable concern, to my mind. I have no way of knowing how "careful" they're being or how much she may want (or not want) a child - a lot of trust is involved here - and nobody can control every outcome in life.

However, just as you've admitted to feelings of worry, jealousy and the "irrational" wish to revert to your former exclusive arrangement... Thelsa possibly does feel some degree of envy about your status in Indaren's life as the "legitimate" partner, seeing you guys aren't completely "out". She may also feel some guilt considering the way your triad evolved into a V. I understand how difficult it is to simultaneously empathise with a person while also feeling they're the "cause" of one's own pain.


When I am too caught up in my own hurt, I reduce her presence in my life as instrument of destruction and upheaval. A sky-high wall of denial rises up in me. I want to run away from everything.

This is how I used to feel (torn) about Boho's role in my life... and how I'm sure SHE also felt about me for the longest while.

While she and I began as great friends, and later fell in love... that didn't seem to stop each of us from, at times, perceiving the other as the cause of our pain (feelings of loss, betrayal and jealousy) where Jester was concerned... even as we held such tender feelings for the other and celebrated our own relationship.

Your feelings are natural, Endusal... and I hope that, like Boho, Jester and I, you will eventually find an equilibrium and a sense of peace.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Maybe this can just be getting together, making peace with Thelsa and then leaving it alone? It doesn't have to leap right to being best friends or something. Then once having made peace with her?

You can go back to evaluating if you really want to keep participating in this V.

It's like you didn't want to remain on the "trajectory of decline" and break up. But at the same time, don't really enjoy being in this V.

I think you could finish your pros/cons list and see which one is longer. Right now from that one post it is the cons that is longet, but it was a vent so maybe there's things missing. I quote just to visually block it off.

PROS

  • I appreciate how this has enriched our lives and how it has spurred everyone's personal growth.
    • I've done a lot of work, a lot of progress
  • Our relationship is at a much better place now. Better communication, better sex.

CONS
  • I have my ups and (extreme) downs in this whole story.
    • I mourn the loss of exclusivity.
    • I go through intense feelings of grief.
    • Until relatively recently, I would burst into sobs every single day. Stuff myself with tranquillisers.
    • I'm confused right now and just hurting.
    • When I am too caught up in my own hurt, I reduce her presence in my life as instrument of destruction and upheaval. A sky-high wall of denial rises up in me.
    • I want to run away from everything.
  • I wish for things to go back to what they were, just me and my partner,
    • I have this strong internal resistance when I structure our situation along the lines of "he has two women".
    • I hate how a guy can date more than one woman and socially cash that in.
    • We are not out to a lot of people. I really do not want this to be common knowledge. Social admittance seems frightening and humiliating.
    • Thelsa had a pregnancy scare not too long ago. She has joked about keeping the baby if they have an accident. Indaren has a nonchalant attitude to that after years of zealously ensuring that my contraception was fool-proof, and it hurts.
    • I worry that for all that she claims to accept our relationship, she envies it.
    • It makes me feel like a stranger in my own home, a curious but deeply unsettling feeling.

Those sound like pretty strong feelings. :(

You sound like this is all taking a toll on your health. You may want to evaluate if this is worth it or not.

I know everyone has a different place for their limit of tolerance. Where I put mine may be different than where you put your limit. But hopefully you do HAVE a limit. Maybe it's time to evaluate if you are approaching it or are already PAST your limit of tolerance.

I identify as poly. But if I was dealing with a load like that? The cons list was that long and the pros quite few? Poly or not I would stop and get out. Because I value my mental/emotional health more than being in a V thing. I love my spouse a lot, but if we were in a V thing that was causing me THIS much pain? I would tell him I need to stop. I love him a lot but not even for him will I do things that hurt me. Then I would stop and bow out.

He can make his next choices for his life but I'm the one who makes the choices in mine.

Changes are hard, and there's a certain amount of discomfort to getting used to new things. But there's "comfortable uncomfortable I am willing to do" like stretching me some. And then there is "super uncomfortable that's killing me inside" where it is just ripping me apart.

If the first? I'm willing to pay that price of admission. I accept it as part of change and perhaps the new thing is worth some soreness.

If the second? And it is killing me inside? I have to say NO. It's not worth it, it is too much to pay. I may love my husband a whole lot, but not even for him will I do stuff that hurts me. I would have to bow out. I have to love me too.

You may have to do some soul searching. And figure out which kind you are doing here.

  • Dealing with changes you really want to be doing, even if they are uncomfortable right now?
  • Or just killing yourself inside?

If what you want most is to stop and go back to being just you and partner? You can use that new and improved communication to tell him honestly how you feel. Sort this stuff out. TALK.

Galagirl
 
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endusal

New member
Thank you so much, everyone. Every little bit helps.

Evie, left to my own devices, it may never be time for it yet. ;)

lunnabunny, thanks for sharing your own experience. I also read your story on your own thread; I hope things work out for you guys. Knowing that others are going or have gone through similar emotions is somehow very comforting and often illuminating. The cognitive dissonance, for instance – it makes sense framed in this way. It was something that was messing me up – and the others – to the point of breakdown. I am getting better at establishing boundaries now. I feel able of being more assertive when it comes to control over my own body, time, and space. Over such things I can be firm without any guilt.

(It follows that I take better care to respect others' boundaries, too, and this has led me to a significant relaxation of "rules" I needed – to dictate how others behave, or allocate their time. Being a gatekeeper has been tiring, although perhaps at one point necessary during the peak of their NRE. What I want to do now is see how things may progress with less resistance on my part. If I see that I am taken into consideration in concrete, meaningful ways, and not just as a vague cloud of guilt over the hunt of pleasure or fulfilment, everything becomes significantly easier.)

Galagirl, I always like your analytical approach. :)

This was a vent so the cons heavily outweigh everything else.

I am personally at a far better place now than when it was just me and my partner, despite the intense pain and suffering. I do consider those as integral parts of growth. I still do get intense spikes of negative feelings (as I did this morning) but I am not suffering all the time. I have all but stopped taking tranquillisers. I have successfully drawn myself from deep bouts of despair completely on my own, which I am very proud of. I have been cultivating a resiliency and affirmation of my own-self worth – a stark contrast to how fragile and insecure I used to be. I am making sure I have good times, fun times, with friends and with my partner. My quality of interactions with all people (in the workplace, for instance) has improved significantly. I have a better awareness of people.

This is all still fairly new and keeps unfurling. Like I had said in my introductory post... I don't know yet if I am cut out for poly. But I want to determine that from a position of self-reliance and independence. My relationship with my partner was heavily codependent and it was very hard to make reliable decisions from that state.

If I had broken up at the height of my suffering (January to February) I would come out of this hurt, wounded, betrayed and bitter. This was something I passionately did not want for myself. So I stayed and tried, and picked up my pieces, worked on myself, and worked on my relationship with Indaren, saw that he is trying to make things work, too, and I want to see what's the best we can do. Even if down the road it becomes apparent that we cannot be together, all this work will be my legacy and I am very satisfied with how I've handled things overall.

So I think that what I'd best do at this point is
  • re-establish a communication channel with Thelsa (without the pressure of becoming besties or ushering a phase of kitchen poly as in summer), so that I can have access to real information and deal with real intentions, not having to fight with my own projected fears and worries.
  • Keep working on securing my own sense of self-worth, figuring out what I truly want, to see if my needs can be met in this configuration, and determine what really matters and what may be more a sort of clinging to symbols.

My difficulty today was from going through one of those strong emotional outbursts I seem to be having from time to time (PMS doesn't help much, either!). Writing here, reading your responses, but also reading my journal and my own collected, reassuring words from just a few days ago has stabilised me.
I don't owe anyone submission or love, nor a place in my life, but my own principles demand that I treat everyone with a fundamental kindness and measure of understanding. So I am going to go out there tonight and keep the latter in mind. I hope it all goes well.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad it helped you some.

FWIW? Now that it is "more filled in" below I think it seems challenging but not as stark as the previous version above.

If reading things out like that helps you to stabilize when you are in a down mood? Maybe it's something you can write and organize yourself and keep updating in your journal?

Maybe using that sort of tool can help you both with emotional management as well and tracking progress over time, so eventually you can meet your goal/make your final decisions with peace of mind/heart.

Galagirl

---------------
VALUES

  • I don't owe anyone submission or love, nor a place in my life, but my own principles demand that I treat everyone with a fundamental kindness and measure of understanding.

GOALS

  • I don't know yet if I am cut out for poly. But I want to determine that from a position of self-reliance and independence. My relationship with my partner was heavily codependent and it was very hard to make reliable decisions from that state.

I will know I have arrived by these things happening ___list of things?___.

Or I will make a final decision by _____ this date?_______

  • I want to see what's the best we can do. Even if down the road it becomes apparent that we cannot be together, all this work will be my legacy and I am very satisfied with how I've handled things overall.


WANTS

How I behave toward others:
  • I want to respect other people's boundaries.
  • I want to stop being a gatekeeper and imposing my things on others.

How people behave toward me:
  • I want my boundaries respected
  • I want to be taken into consideration in concrete, meaningful ways

Overall Relationship:
  • I want to see how things may progress with less resistance on my part

PROS

I appreciate how this has enriched our lives and how it has spurred everyone's personal growth.

My Growth:

  • I've done a lot of work, a lot of progress
  • I am getting better at establishing boundaries now.
  • I feel able of being more assertive when it comes to control over my own body, time, and space. Over such things I can be firm without any guilt.
  • I have been cultivating a resiliency and affirmation of my own-self worth
  • I am making time to socialize with friends, partners, etc.
  • My quality of interactions with all people (in the workplace, for instance) has improved significantly. I have a better awareness of people.

Me and Partner Growth:

  • Our relationship is at a much better place now. Better communication, better sex.

CONS

  • I have my ups and (extreme) downs in this whole story.
  • I still do get intense spikes of negative feelings as I did this morning (but I am not suffering all the time.)
  • I mourn the loss of exclusivity.
  • I go through intense feelings of grief.
  • Until relatively recently, I would burst into sobs every single day. Stuff myself with tranquillisers. (But I have stopped taking them)
  • When I am too caught up in my own hurt, I reduce her presence in my life as instrument of destruction and upheaval. A sky-high wall of denial rises up in me.
  • I want to run away from everything.
  • I wish for things to go back to what they were, just me and my partner,
  • I have this strong internal resistance when I structure our situation along the lines of "he has two women".
  • I hate how a guy can date more than one woman and socially cash that in.
  • We are not out to a lot of people. I really do not want this to be common knowledge. Social admittance seems frightening and humiliating.
  • Thelsa had a pregnancy scare not too long ago. She has joked about keeping the baby if they have an accident. Indaren has a nonchalant attitude to that after years of zealously ensuring that my contraception was fool-proof, and it hurts.
  • I worry that for all that she claims to accept our relationship, she envies it.
  • It makes me feel like a stranger in my own home, a curious but deeply unsettling feeling.

NEXT THING TO TRY

  • re-establish a communication channel with Thelsa (without the pressure of becoming besties or ushering a phase of kitchen poly as in summer), so that I can have access to real information and deal with real intentions, not having to fight with my own projected fears and worries.
  • Keep working on securing my own sense of self-worth, figuring out what I truly want, to see if my needs can be met in this configuration, and determine what really matters and what may be more a sort of clinging to symbols.

 
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endusal

New member
Post-meeting update

Galagirl, it did help, a lot, and organising things further (into values, goals, wants) in your next post helped even more. Thank you.

It went more or less decently, I think. We had about half an hour on our own on the way to the venue; I gave her a small gift for her upcoming birthday. Light talk, status updates about our life, no mention of our situation. We then mingled with other friends. None of them but one know; they only acknowledge me as Indaren's partner. I suppose it's hard on her.

I felt pretty horrible at times (PMS and accompanying cramps did not help). For all my instinctive sympathy, I find myself internally judging her attitude harshly: it seemed to me she boasted at some point of delinquent behaviour (non-sexual). This and many other instances over time make me very sceptical of her moral agency, although I recognise I carry a lot of bias, and string everything along a narrative infused with how she's hurt me by relentlessly pursuing her own needs. I am thinking I may have to take a leap of faith and not judge a person solely on account of their history (which admittedly is not very promising) but on their wish and potential to do better. I know at least she has that intention.

I tried to be polite, soft-spoken, non-challenging, and to try to respond whenever she reached out to me (and she did, I fully acknowledge that). What I could NOT help was that I was looking at her at times from afar while she was enjoying herself and being overwhelmed by negative emotions. I worry that someone (perhaps she, too) might have seen my expression. I worry that my internal judgement seeps through. (I did keep whispering the "I don't owe anyone submission or love, nor a place in my life, but my own principles demand that I treat everyone with a fundamental kindness and measure of understanding" bit I had written earlier in the day, to help me through). At some point Indaren texted me saying he was missing me. I then saw her check her phone; He would have texted her, too. I wondered whether he would say to her he was missing her, too, and it took away all the joy I might have felt at his expressed feelings to me. I don't think it's the case; I know the weight I have in his emotional world cannot be compared to anything else. It's just that at that moment it felt so depersonalised.

The next morning I woke up in sobs again. I immediately started reading the Jealousy Survival Guide (which I found very, very good). It steeled my resolve, reminded myself of my values and goals. By the time I had written a bit in my journal I was fully centred and energised again. When Indaren called to tell me Thelsa was feeling awful, too, probably disappointed and fretting over how our meeting went, I was at ease and confident enough to text her and ask how she's doing. She very obliquely said she was struggling, and just as obliquely I said that we start by doing the best we can. She told me she was glad I spoke to her. I told her the same.

I spent the rest of my day pleasantly. Spoke lengthily to one of my close friends who knows everything. She has an open-minded, structured approach that further helps me organise my thoughts better. I then went out to an art event and it was heartening to see people, reconnect with friends and acquaintances, be recognised, responded to warmly.

I knew this would be hard for me emotionally and all the bad stuff would flare up, but I am determined to cut myself some slack over possible slips, and just focus on a steady effort to do my very best, keeping the larger picture in mind. I should not overlook my very real privileges; and, bearing them in mind as well, go through it all with more compassion to both myself and others.

Thanks again for the support. It really makes a difference.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Sounds like things are looking up. That's good to hear.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
So it wasn't a total disaster. There was no public meltdown or fights. Take the win.

And don't rush yourself into a next meeting. Sweets and cookies are enough to keep the door open.

I'm glad the book, the conversation and the art event helped, that's the important stuff... Finding the ways to foster self-love. Treating yourself kindly.
 

endusal

New member
It does look like things are looking up.

I am now working a bit with NVC (Non-violent communication). I first came across it in More than Two, and again in the Jealousy Survival Guide, where it is a little more extensively outlined. (I have been unwittingly trying to practice elements that match it for a while before coming across it as a fully structured approach). I wish such tools were more commonly known. They make such a difference.

I think that, regardless whether a poly relationship will work out for me or not, the lessons I've been learning in general – about relationships, communication, understanding one's own and each other's needs – are invaluable.
 

endusal

New member
Just an update, now that it's been a month since the last post, to say that things have been going pretty well.

Thelsa and I slowly began talking again; Cautiously at first, but to this point we have established that we all well-disposed towards one another, feel comfortable enough to touch on emotional challenges when they crop up, and so on, and feel at ease with each other whenever we meet (about once or twice a week, usually the two of us through common activities, sometimes the three of us with Indaren). One of the main struggles I was having had to do with a sense of acknowledgement. I now feel that I've both got enough of that, and that my own need for it has readjusted.

I have concluded my therapy and feel more centred than on any other time in my life. I think that challenges always crop up as a part of life from time to time, and bring internal conflicts, too. But I find that even when I experience some emotional difficulty it does not destabilise me: I just mostly fret while it's running and try to get to the bottom of it, then come out the other side pretty fast. I also feel much more secure in my relationship with Indaren: we are more accepting of each other's ups and downs, can support each other, and make sure to nurture our relationship independently. So all in all, I have been hopeful for the future for quite a while. I've been having a good time, building other friendships and connections, taking on more responsibility at work, started working on my own art, too.

Even during the time I was at my lowest, early in 2018, I felt strongly that our situation shouldn't turn into sordidness for anyone involved. And I am particular glad because we all at different (or at the same time) say that getting together has helped us tremendously with our personal growth.
 

HurtandConfused

New member
Even during the time I was at my lowest, early in 2018, I felt strongly that our situation shouldn't turn into sordidness for anyone involved. And I am particular glad because we all at different (or at the same time) say that getting together has helped us tremendously with our personal growth.

Your situation sounds similar to mine; I'm glad to hear it is working out as I am eyeballing a similar path, I have no doubt this will change my relationship to a lot more drama (seems to be the common Poly theme.. haha) and communication and personal growth.

I hope I can figure my situatin out as well as you have, I'll tell you that a lot of the feelings you had mirror mine. I still am not sure where we will end up but I have a strong feeling it will be in a situation like yours.

I also have similar past issues with relationships that make this even harder.

Thanks for the posts, helps me see a brighter path.
 

endusal

New member
I'm really glad if it helps even a bit. I likewise found a lot of stories here helpful and encouraging when I was struggling.
 

endusal

New member
It's been a while since I posted. I've been struggling.

I have been reading my journals I've kept in the past year and a half and all I can read is constant, conscientious effort, a desire to understand and empathise with others, and much, much pain. I have accepted most of this pain as an integral part of the personal growth that has taken part in the same amount of time. For the past couple of months, now, I no longer feel this is the case. I feel poisoned and twisted by it. I feel helpless and that makes me turn to anger and hatred. When I catch myself falling down that road, I collapse. This has been happening again and again.

I've decided to cut off contact with Thelsa once more.

I feel I've been going out of my way to accommodate her, and she usually responds warmly, but I feel that she engages in subtle power plays with every chance and it messes me up. Perhaps that doesn't matter very much. I cannot even say that she does it consciously; I know she tries to do well, to some extend. What I see as power plays could be the results of her own internal conflicts to the situation. I don't believe it is my job to judge that, though I often get tempted to do exactly that in the wake of painful emptions this leaves me with.
The bottom line is that our encounters together, even though they could be described as pleasant, almost invariably leave me drained and feeling awful. It seems to me that don't respect my own boundaries too well in the first place, and so cannot quite demand of others to do that for me.

I went back to therapy because I'm buckling under stress.

I have gone through a great deal of pain to convince my partner to acknowledge how I feel and it's been hard on both of us. He has been putting a lot of effort and is discouraged by how he seems to miss the mark so frequently. We considered breaking up. Neither of us wants to. There is a lot of internalised guilt, too, going back and forth. We reached some common ground where we could make another effort by me saying I don't want her in my life, and that he should respect that. (In the past, he was pressuring me to be friends with her.) We agreed on that, and on the fact that I want some stability: a reliable schedule, punctuality, and minimising the risk of exposure. None of us three want this to be public knowledge anyway.

In the past year, he has changed his manner towards me drastically. He is always warm, kind and loving. He wants to stay close to me. He is appreciative and supportive. I recognise both his own struggles and his right to experience life as he wants to.

I am just trying to find a corner where I can somehow heal myself, and I cannot quite see what shape it might have.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I'm so sorry you have suffered for so long. And now you can't perceive your pain as growing pains, but as actual poisoning of your life.

I'm sorry that despite his trying, your partner so often "misses the mark" on helping you deal with him having another female partner. I'm sorry she seems to make power plays when you spend time together too, even though she's trying to be respectful.

I read your intro from back in May and I don't see you explain why you agreed to try polyamory in the first place. I'm also curious about how long you and endusal have been together? And when did he meet Thelsa, a while after you two agreed to Open, or before?
 

MayDecember

New member
It's been a while since I posted. I've been struggling.

I have been reading my journals I've kept in the past year and a half and all I can read is constant, conscientious effort, a desire to understand and empathise with others, and much, much pain. I have accepted most of this pain as an integral part of the personal growth that has taken part in the same amount of time. For the past couple of months, now, I no longer feel this is the case. I feel poisoned and twisted by it. I feel helpless and that makes me turn to anger and hatred. When I catch myself falling down that road, I collapse. This has been happening again and again.

Oh my God honey, how my heart aches for you. Talk about needing a hug.

Forgive me, this just isn't right. You will self-destruct looking at a future of pain and suffering. Of course you break down! When you see a field of flowers ahead, like it is too good to be true, you are on top of the world. It's not rocket science here.

As the man, looking at my #1, if I see hurt then I drop what I am doing. A man acts to pre-empt hurt by following strict protocols, and not permitting manipulative plays by anyone. But it is clear who the boss is for us, and it is my wife. Everyone's poly can be different, that's just ours. But the structure - parallel or whatever - has to be clear and people have to be totally cool with it. You aren't.

Your feelings are natural. There is nothing wrong with you.

It sounds like you zeroed in on something important, about boundaries: if you don't respect your own boundaries then nobody else will. They aren't boundaries in any case, if you let people exceed them.

You haven't been happy for a long time and what you are facing with this girl sounds like Covert Aggression. Dr. Georege Simon's book "In Sheep's Clothing" is a quick read and enormously empowering in understanding it.

A person can be cool with Poly, but the plan is executed poorly. Like choosing Ted Bundy as a companion.

The most alarming thing you said pertained to him not acknowledging how you feel. If not, it is a dealbreaker for a person with self-respect.

I re-read that part to make sure I don't misunderstand. It seems there has been progress with you saying "no" to a forced friendship with her, and him conceding.

I don't see the need for it.

The stability and reliable schedule - that is a step forward. A guy who won't give that is playing both against the other.


Magdyln asked an important question.

My warm regards. Best of luck.
 
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