Really bad night of talks with wife, and now it's my birthday

Arc

New member
Hi all,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this; I've been writing a lot on my introductions thread, but needed to just express myself here.

My wife came out as poly and now we're trying to figure out how to make it work. She thinks it will be simple, I think it will be fucking hard. I had a really rough talk with her last night. We meant to not talk about the poly thing, I was actually feeling pretty hopeful, but somehow we got into a bad conversation spiral and she ended up crying, saying that she was giving up on opening the relationship, felt like a terrible person, and wished she'd never brought this up. We both feel terrible, never "made up", I can't sleep...

...and in a few hours it will be morning on my birthday.

My kids have been excited about this for weeks. They will come into my bedroom with a tray full of cards and presents. This has always been a fun tradition in my family (for everyone's birthday of course, not just mine!), something that told me that we had something good and special and fun, but this year it will be different. I don't know what it will look like but we adults are going to have to fake it for the sake of the kids. It breaks my heart to be in this situation which I never anticipated.

I was feeling great earlier yesterday, and looking forward to spending time with my family, being celebrated. My wife went out and bought food for the next day. Now there is a pall over everything, at least that's how it feels at 5 in the morning. I will follow up to let you know how it goes, but just needed to express where I'm at right now.
 

Arc

New member
Follow up - I am going to try to have as good a day as I can. The success or outcome or arrangement of my marriage does not have to define me or my life. I can have a good life, enjoy my life, and feel good about myself independent of the future of my relationship. I am going to try to remember this and celebrate myself today. Life is short and I want to enjoy it, especially with my wonderful kids, who just woke up...
 

MeeraReed

Active member
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I read your introductions thread. You sound like a kind, thoughtful person who is trying really hard to figure things out. Your wife also sounds like she's trying really hard. It also sounds like you both really love each other, even if things are really difficult right now.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Happy birthday!

Follow up - I am going to try to have as good a day as I can. The success or outcome or arrangement of my marriage does not have to define me or my life. I can have a good life, enjoy my life, and feel good about myself independent of the future of my relationship. I am going to try to remember this and celebrate myself today. Life is short and I want to enjoy it, especially with my wonderful kids, who just woke up...

Yup. The outcome of the marriage doesn't not define you or your life. Try to have a nice birthday by celebrating yourself today.

And this time, stick with the plan.

My wife came out as poly and now we're trying to figure out how to make it work. She thinks it will be simple, I think it will be fucking hard. I had a really rough talk with her last night. We meant to not talk about the poly thing, I was actually feeling pretty hopeful, but somehow we got into a bad conversation spiral and she ended up crying, saying that she was giving up on opening the relationship, felt like a terrible person, and wished she'd never brought this up. We both feel terrible, never "made up", I can't sleep...

What happened to not talking about poly right then?

You and your wife sound like nice enough people who care about each other, but you keep setting each other off in trigger circles because you keep on picking at this rather than taking a break to let the adrenalin and other stress hormones calm down a bit. So later conversation can go better.

Could stick to agreements. Go slower, pace yourselves and agree to only talk about it on Friday night, from 8 - 9 PM. One hour max, with option to stop sooner if anyone starts noticing triggers and emotional flooding. Because you cannot have good conversation like that. You also won't finish it all in ONE conversation. It's ok to write things down, deal with a few things on the list, and put the list away for more talk later.

Then live NORMAL life in between the talk appointments. Because you don't want to be doing serious conversation right before bed on a work night, risk people getting overwhelmed and then struggling with work the next day. Friday nite? You can have the whole weekend to rest and recover.

You also cannot be living/sleep/eating this poly conversation. You will wear yourselves ragged and more risk of people feeling all frazzled from stress and lack of sleep.

I keep asking "where is the fire?" Well, where is it?

Are you able to tell the difference between

  • IMPORTANT AND URGENT (The house is one fire! Get out!)
  • IMPORTANT, but not urgent (These continuing poly talks to sort stuff out. US taxes being due in April, but it's cool. It's only Nov.)
  • URGENT, but not important. (I have to pee while doing errands. Well, I can wait to finish pumping gas here and get to the grocery next stop. Because this gas station bathroom is all yucky and the grocery bathroom across this parking lot is nicer.)
  • Not important. Not urgent. (Here's this junk mail on the counter. I could recycle right now, but not gonna kill anyone if I let it pile up there til the end of the week and then go take it to the garage recycle bin on the weekend.)

You cannot be living life with EVERYTHING at the highest toggle. That's no way to pace yourself and prioritize.

You also are not getting recovery from adrenalin drop.

Remember to BREATHE. Give yourself permission to go take a break. Have a good birthday with the family and enjoy you family traditions!

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi Arc,

I am glad that you were able to sort through some of the chaos in your mind, and to resolve to enjoy your family celebration without worrying too much about the future. It sounds like the pall that loomed over everything was precipitated by your wife's outburst, but I don't know who raised the poly topic, in a conversation in which you had both agreed to not talk about poly. Maybe you were feeling so optimistic that you thought you could handle the poly topic after all? If so, then, lesson learned. Poly will continue to be a huge, challenging problem for a long time. Your wife thinks it will (or should?) be easy. I tend to more agree with you -- it will be hard. How hard, I cannot say at this early stage.

I hope your birthday has been going well.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
You said you read Sex at Dawn and The Ethical Slut.

The Ethical Slut was... just OK, imho. It was the first book written about modern polyamory. There have been better books written since. Instead of talking too much right now, you could try and inform yourself by reading Opening Up. I think your wife could really benefit from this book, if she thinks Opening a long term mono marriage is going to be easy-peasy.
 

Arc

New member
Thank you all for the birthday wishes! :)

The day ended up being good; my kids celebrated me in a really sweet way, I couldn't help crying a bit about it. Then my wife made a great effort to give me a good day, and I really appreciated it. In the end, we got a bit stoned and had sex. The next day, I was in a great mood.

Oh, and why did we talk about this issue when we had already agreed not to? Temporary insanity is my only explanation! But really, we both just wanted to say one thing, and then the other just wanted to say one more thing, and then, well, that's how it goes. Fortunately the birthday was salvaged.

Since then, we've gotten along quite well. We managed to not talk about it until today, when in the course of conversation, I said that a friend of ours who was frustrated and in a sexless relationship had a real problem, compared to a poly person in a mono relationship. Oops. I was feeling pretty positive about our relationship at the time, and just said it off the cuff, but it led to short but stressful interaction. Tomorrow, I suppose, will be better, but still no clarity about the future.

Oh well, wish me luck for year 41!

-Arc
 

Evie

Well-known member
41 is cool, I really hope you have a transformative year.
Love, a 42 year old.
 

madgrey

New member
Happy belated birthday! I'm so glad things improved enough to leave you in a great mood for a while.

Also 41 here and loving it. :cool:
 

Arc

New member
Evie and magrey,

Thanks and it's good to hear from a 42 year old who's been through it, as well as a fellow 41 year old who is loving it. My 40s are not turning out exactly how I expected in the relationship-department, but however things turn out, I'm going to make them meaningful and full of life!

Arc
 
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