So my hurt and broken status from primary’s affair balanced with new found electricity with secondary (plus knowing primary was in another relationship fulfilling things I didn’t for him) made it easier to survive in primary relationship. With secondary out of the picture, it’s hard to imagine a fulfilling and happy life that isn’t lonely. I’m trying to see if it’s possible, though.
You could THRIVE in your relationships rather than merely survive them.
If secondary has been your crutch to survive primary, I could see where imagining life without either would be hard. You haven't had that experience yet. But is "I might feel lonely for a time if I change things and leave" a good reason to stick with these two partners who cheat?
Secondary could not have poly dated her without a new rules discussion amongst the four of us…the original agreement was no one outside of the two marriages. They had had some experience with poly before us, we were newbies. It’s not so much that they demanded certain things, it’s that they expressed their desires and we went along for it, not really sure what we were looking for. Secondary’s wife moved out of the room without a word and secondary hoped the situation would somehow improve and she would change her mind. I don’t think he would ever have thought of asking to date outside because at first he hoped she would come back, then he was just sad and lonely and angry.
That's my point. Why cheat? If wife was emotionally abandoning him? What stopped him from saying that he wants to do couple counseling with wife, and if she's unwilling and you have limited time, that he wants to change the agreement so he can date outside the group to find companionship?
If they basically separated and are on the path to divorce? It's not a great time to date new people. But it does mean previous agreements may no longer apply on that side since the marriage is disbanding. So it's a natural time to rethink and renegotiate agreements on your side.
"Sad and lonely and angry" are emotions. I get they can be rough. But that's not a reason to cheat on agreements rather than renegotiating.
Secondary definitely wants me all to himself.
As for a poly future for any or all of us…
I think secondary would love it…I think he enjoys multiple partners.
So... he wants open just for him and not for you? Are you ok with that?
I get you might not be at a place to answer that right now. But something to mull over while you are in the period of deep reflection.
I am trying not to gloss things over, give it the due attention needed. But I am sure I am anyway. I will admit it’s painful and I have a lot of peripheral problems on my plate. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in such a low spot, which makes it hard to stay away from the person who makes me feel loved and at peace. I am trying to surround myself with friends and do things I enjoy. I am trying to keep a future without secondary as a possibility.
The waves definitely keep hitting!
Have you found online support groups for infidelity? Will you be seeing an individual counselor? Something else?
With primary, I was always there, and often asking if everything was ok. With secondary, I couldn’t give him more than the two nights we would have in a week. In the end, they are alike in the fact they are both cowards and they both wanted something different than I could give, I guess.
So... where do you land? Are you emotionally brave and resilient? Or emotionally cowardly?
Are you wanting something from these men they cannot give?
On the other end, he saw an opportunity in this openly swinging person and was aroused by the opportunity for both a side chick and whatever opportunities knowing her could offer…other playmates, perhaps? Perhaps that has happened too, and I just don’t know it. He got caught with his hands dirty, just like all those years ago, and he is banking on my attraction to him to make me weak so he can continue to be with me and do whatever he wants…he can have his cake and eat it too. He’d have to be careful next time, not mess with a coworker, not leave any trails…he sort of loves me, as much as a narcissist can.
Do you want to build your life around a narcissist?
I don’t want to be the woman who gets walked all over. I want to be the woman someone is proud to love and strives to honor that connection.
If this is the highest value? Wanting respectful and healthy relationships?
Are these two partners capable of providing it? Are they proud to love you and strive to honor that connection with you?
It doesn't sound like it to me.
I think I have always been emotionally compromised and don’t know what a healthy relationship with more than one partner sounds and feels and looks like.
Maybe after you get through the grief process.... it is time to learn?
You were planning on leaving primary anyway. Could still do that. And take it way slower with what to do about secondary and not just leap into building a life with him.
You might live on your own and only consider dating him if he starts and completes
counseling FIRST and is ALSO at least a year past his divroce. Maybe two.
And in the meanwhile? You date because you aren't going to wait on bated breath either. You may look at him differently if you date other people who are HEALTHIER.
I'm not being mean ok? I'm just struggling with how to say this in words.
If primary was meh and cheated? Then secondary came along with all these love gestures that fell like water in the desert? I could see where it felt GOOD.
But you know things now... he cheated on his agreements with wife in the past, those two don't communicate, they are separating, etc. He can't deal with being on his own, doesn't ask for changes in agreements so he can polydate ethically. He just takes up with whoever hit on him so he can access a warm body and relinquish personal responsibility because he can blame the siren caught him in her spell... he's a narcissist and you are aware he'll sing you whatever song to keep you on the string...
Is this the kind of person who if you met today you would go "Yeah! Let's date him!" or not?
I think a time of living by yourself might be good. So you can work on figuring out what healthy
looks like. You certainly have not had it with either primary OR secondary.
And YOU didn't get to date outside the quad yet.
Did you think about that?
Maybe seeing more of the world and what other people are like would give you more perspective.
It was eye opening for you to date secondary and be like "Wow! Someone pays attention to me and does loving gestures!"
Maybe even more eye opening for you to date someone and be like "Wow! Someone HEALTHY pays attention to me, does loving gestures, is a person of their Word and keeps promises, communicates well and is not a narcissist!"
You kinda of remind me of my friend who left an abusive marriage. When she started dating she had such a low bar. Nice enough bar dudes, but poor drinking habits, could not keep a job, etc. And when friends asked her what she saw in them she'd go "He doesn't hit me."
One day I asked her "I get tricycle relationships. But after a point... That's all it takes to get to date you? He doesn't hit you? Could you think about raising the bar soon?"
Taking "healthy relationship" class run by the women's shelter was eye opening for her. You might check around and see if there are any near you. This was years ago, so by now they probably have online healthy relationship class options too.
No rush. I know you are grieving and have a lot of think about. But maybe keep a list of ideas to revisit later when you are more well?