Recovery from toxic metamour: advice to keep relationship going?

kittykate82

New member
Hi All,

Writing for some advice, i'm new here and hoping to get some help for a situation I found myself in for four years. I have an anchor, live-in partner i've been with for about 5 years. Coming into the relationship I was fairly new to poly, I had some small encounters prior. My partner informed me he was a "poly life coach" at the time, and was very involved in our local poly community, and was dating a few other women. Many of these women I knew personally, but he never really mentioned one partner, whom he told me was married, and he also said they may break up....so I didn't really ask too many questions since she never came up and i never saw her.

My relationship with my partner J progressed quickly, and within 6 months we were very close, spending time with family members and sharing a car, and talking about living together. There was just one thing: as a naturally kinky curious person, I knew my partner was really into kink....except that due to a promise he had made with the married partner (C) that he would not do any kind of kink (no titles, no bondage, just regular ol' sex) with anyone but her. I found this odd, being she was married to someone else, and had two partners to be free with, and i had just one (tho i am poly i am quite introverted, date very little, and would not do kink or have sex with anyone unless i loved them...i know not natural to the poly world but i truly believe in it as a philosophy and live by it).

After a year and many fights and arguments with C, he was able to do kink with me...but there were still more rules. No titles, she had to be the "first" for whatever new kink he tried. The whole thing felt really bad to me...however, she traveled out of the country for about 1/2 the year, so most of the time she was gone, and my partner kept saying that when she got back he'd be leaving the relationship since he was controlled by her too much....but upon getting back from her travels he never did, and that's how four years passed.

She got divorced from her husband, and said that they would remain "life partners," platonically. I wondered if the ex-husband consented to this plan, and sure enough he did not, and he left the situation only by saying he would not speak to her again. It seems like C had ideas on how everyone should be living and relating to her, including myself and my partner. She wished to have a high level of demand over my partner, but did not want very much interaction with me. She did not wish to talk with me directly, but make her wishes only known to J. She angered easily and was suicidal, often making self-harm threats overseas and leaving my partner unsure of what to do when she returned from the trip. Although my partner and i share finances, a home, and are family planning...she demanded non-hierarchy and wanted her needs to be met equally with my own. Due to this, i wound up missing a series of my partner's holiday events and family weddings since i'd have to share time and space with my meta, who did not really consider my needs or speak to me. it felt odd and lonely to be alone. when i cried and told my partner it was unfair, he insisted upon the theory of non-hierarchy and believed if only was to come, we'd all get along. Unfortunately, any shared events...if i spoke about my shared life with my partner (and it was hard not to, as our life was so entwined), she'd become enraged and scary, and then disassociate by smoking a few bowls of pot.

In the meantime, my partner and I bought a house, moved in together, and began talking about having children (i'm nearly 40, grew up very low income, and have an abusive family...so the home buying with my more privileged partner and to have a safe place to call home was very crucial for me). I was hesitant the whole time because C was a "life partner" as she said, to J, and that whatever we did she would be part of it too. She insisted she have a room in our home (I declined that to be ok with me, inciting lots of fights and anger from C towards J), and my partner prioritize her equally with myself, although she was not part of his daily life. I often felt like an invisible service provider, making my partner and i's life go smoothly, as he stretched himself between our life and the other one he had created with her....done mostly through long distance and then when she came home from traveling, my partner suddenly disappeared for 4 days a week, leaving me suddenly with all the household tasks.

gonna throw my partner under the bus and say that he was not transparent with C and failed to mention some major details: that i was part of the deed on the house he bought, that we were planning on having children in a couple years. I asked why he did not mention these key details and he said later it was because he was afraid of her anger and suicidal thoughts. I wonder if he was just feeding her whatever she wanted to hear to receive her love and affection? on the flip side he under-represented this woman in his life to me, until I was far deep in the relationship, never mentioning her and for about a year i thought she was a more casual partner until all the boundaries came into play.

finally, in late 2019, i put an end to it all. I said that i would not make him choose between us, but if he were to remain in this situation i would be moving out and deescalating our relationship, and look for a different partner to co-house and have children with. I grew up with controlling narcissists who angered easily, and in thinking about a home and children, i have made every choice to keep that out of my life and heal. so this just felt awful to have a meta i didn't choose enter my life, and my partner constantly delay making any changes to create health and well-being. My partner decided to leave C due to his own realization it was unhealthy, and we could not move forward with this in our lives.

C moved away and stays in frequent contact with my partner. She had been writing me more frequently toward the end of 2019, when she knew that i had enough of all the drama and control, and was sending friendly messages as if we were best friends inviting me to things...she only began doing that once my partner began talking about breaking up. I wrote her a nice "farewell" email and asked her to never contact me again and best of luck with her life. C and J are long-distance friends, co-read books, make playlists for each other, and so on. I've asked my partner when COVID is over if he will plan on seeing her, and he says "from time to time." of course, i worry about their friendship but i don't want to control my partner. for all i know they've transitioned into a healthy friendship.

here's my question. this has taken a huge emotional toll on me for four years. The partnership that C and J shared has had a deep control on my life, sexuality, housing, and inability to move ahead with my life. I find myself traumatized by the lack of consideration, respect, and care that C showed me: i truly seemed like a cog in her wheel of a plan she had made with J...to be able to simultaneously travel freely, make her own choices, but be a primary partner (though for many years my partner described that myself and him were "anchor/life partners" C refused to accept i may be a primary, and asked us to be "co-primary" partners. Let me tell you it's very hard to be co-primary partners with someone who doesn't want to communicate with you....travels with her wealth...and does not do the daily work of being a daily partner. Am i working through resentment? yes!). I also find myself enraged deeply at J, my live in partner I am building a life with and his failure to be transparent, living two parallel lives for four years, with two women who thought they were going to have a life together (in my case i thought to have a life shared with my partner since i thought the meta who is unhealthy would be going away, in her case she thought to have a life with him and some how practiced cognitive disassociation and did not think about my existence). I find myself frustrated at the last four years, unable to let go of all the pain it caused me. I feel reluctant to return to a poly lifestyle for all the pain it caused. I feel uncertain if i can trust my partner to make wise, healthy decisions on behalf of our life together. i am angry at myself for letting myself be a doormat for so long. I am mad at the past. i am paranoid about their current friendship, mistrustful of my partner. I have nightmares and clench my jaw so tight my back shoulders hurt. At the same time i am grateful everyday I am free of that V situation and a toxic metamour, but wondering where to go from here...how to build trust and heal with my partner. thoughts?

Thoughts on how to move ahead?

ps...after all this, my partner no longer is attempting to claim to be a "poly life coach" and admits he needs to do some more learning and not get into toxic situations with unhealthy people due his "savior" complex.
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I found this odd, being she was married to someone else, and had two partners to be free with, and i had just one

I find it odd too, but not for the same reasons as you. I don't think my metamours need to consider what is missing in my life before they and our mutual partner make decisions about their relationship. I certainly don't do that for them despite generally having cordial if not friendly relationships with the majority of the metamours I have had.


She wished to have a high level of demand over my partner, but did not want very much interaction with me.

Do you feel like a metamour who wants a lot of demand/interaction from your partner will have to interact with you?

I personally thinks that often ends up being a consequence of a person like J being highly engaged with two or more partners but there are usually problems if someone expects it.
Although my partner and i share finances, a home, and are family planning...she demanded non-hierarchy and wanted her needs to be met equally with my own.

This is a legitimate way a lot of us practice polyamory. Those entanglements wouldn't inherently elevate your needs above other partners.


finally, in late 2019, i put an end to it all. I said that i would not make him choose between us, but if he were to remain in this situation i would be moving out and deescalating our relationship, and look for a different partner to co-house and have children with.

This was a great decision. You and J are not compatible for co-parenting etc. You are more compatible as "secondary" partners.
truly seemed like a cog in her wheel of a plan she had made with J...to be able to simultaneously travel freely, make her own choices, but be a primary partner (though for many years my partner described that myself and him were "anchor/life partners" C refused to accept i may be a primary, and asked us to be "co-primary" partners. Let me tell you it's very hard to be co-primary partners with someone who doesn't want to communicate with you....travels with her wealth...and does not do the daily work of being a daily partner.
Okay so I misunderstood that you broke up.

I keep getting this feeling like you're his employees and you feel like your co-worker doesn't pull their weight on a shift. It's J who gets to decide how his relationships work. There isn't a binary amount of work one needs to do to "earn" primary status. Primary is just an easy but complicated term to describe the level of entanglement you have with a partner. Poly 101 teaches you that you have Primary Spouse like partners who you share Bill's and kids and all the traditional stuff and then you have Secondary partners who you see regularly but you dont share those things and they stay in their zone. Poly 201 teaches you that Poly 101 was a waste of a year because it just doesn't work like that when humans and their complex emotions and lifestyles get involved. People can mix and match the traditional stuff by moving away from the norms. Maybe you co-parent with your long distance partner and live with your asexual aromantic best friend and life partner who you also married because they needed your health insurance benefit

Listen, I agree with you that certain lifestyle choices have disadvantages. A story I will tell for the next decade is how my travel loving solo poly metamour realized that her no committed residence lifestyle sucks during a pandemic because she was isolated with roommates and was unable to safely see anyone she loves. As soon as she could, our mutual partner and her husband helped her find her own place so this would NEVER happen again. However, if a metamour somehow bypasses the potential disadvantages of their choices, we don't get to impose them on the person ourselves. It's up to the mutual partner to decide how the relationship lies.

By any chance, is this guy Franklin Veaux? This sounds like one of his messes.
 

kittykate82

New member
Good lord this is a terrible response! Wow I feel way worse :( what a bummer. Not only did you not answer my query but critique things I did not ask about, by reference a “mess” of a person I do not know...and are making light of something I am saying is my daily life. This is a partner I own a home with, have been with half a decade. I am looking for helpful advice not a superiority complex of whether or not I took “poly 101 or poly 102.” I have lived the life the entire time. Please understand I’m a woman with ptsd pouring my heart out here looking for support
 

kittykate82

New member
Good lord this is a terrible response! Wow I feel way worse :( what a bummer. Not only did you not answer my query but critique things I did not ask about, by reference a “mess” of a person I do not know...and are making light of something I am saying is my daily life. This is a partner I own a home with, have been with half a decade. I am looking for helpful advice not a superiority complex of whether or not I took “poly 101 or poly 102.” I have lived the life the entire time. Please understand I’m a woman with ptsd pouring my heart out here looking for support
And to add...please consider that my “entanglements” with my partner that you describe as a social construct are actually a survival tool for a low income person. Many of your descriptions of how people can relate are based on the idea that they can provide for themselves. My partner and I are financially dependent on each other, I have a low income family to care for, and our home and prioritizing our shared life and finances is crucial to us having a secure safety net to have children and take care of our parents. Many of my uncertainty about poly doesn’t come from worries about jealousy or hierarchy, but from the real deal aspect of trying to live and partner and take care of house and home effectively. I have found for this reason, many people who are very poly are quite privileged and mostly white.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
Okay but this obviously isn't working for J. And that's why he is going ahead and making the relationship he wants to with his partner rather than the relationship you want him to. His actions tell you that he's feeling a lot of pressure from both his partners right now.

I'm white yes, but many of my partners are not. One of the partners I live with now is from a minority Black Caribbean community. I understand what you're saying about social privilege and that you are mutually dependent on J but that doesn't oblige him to enter a hierarchical polyamorous relationship with you. After all, he could find a partner who is in a similar social position as you but who is more adaptable to a non-hierarchial/relationship anarchist type of relationship with someone. There are lots of people like that around. Yes polyamory is a way for adults to overcome some of these social barriers but in my nearly three decades of experience at polyamory, as soon as someone is actually dependent on polyamory to survive and that's a larger incentive than the philosophical reasons behind non-monogamy, then it becomes a pressure. There are ways for adults to live communally without involving sex and love.

Being non hierarchical doesnt mean you skip out on the commitments you make but it does mean that the needs of the people you make them with do not automatically become more important than those with which you have few practical entanglements.

I mentioned Poly 101 and 201 because many of your ideas are based on a very simplistic version of polyamory where everyone fits into neat boxes and do not stray out of their territory. My point is that simplicity is rarely relevant to real people and the relationships that they have. It doesn't matter if J never sees this other person, if he sees her as primary even though they never see each other, she IS his primary. She doesn't have to prove it to you by doing all the things you think she should. She only has to satisfy his needs in a partner because she's his partner.

Oh and the other thing is that just because he decides that both his partners are primary, it doesn't mean you have to work together like colleagues. "Co-primary" speaks about your interaction with J, not how you relate to each other. She can be one of the most important people in his world yet never, ever speak to you.

I get that you want me to slog down this woman with her annoying mental health issues but there isn't any point because the man you love loves her and chooses to have her in his life. I think moving forward, you need to accept that his relationships are his to manage, and your living situation and future plans do not obligate him to structure his relationships in the way you see fit.

Of course I would be asking why my partner wants to be with someone who has so much going on with them but maybe I should be querying why I've picked someone who gravitates towards those situations. Nearly every time in poly when it seems to make sense to focus on the other people's lives and motivations, it will make more sense to focus on your own.
 
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FallenAngelina

Active member
I find myself frustrated at the last four years, unable to let go of all the pain it caused me. I feel reluctant to return to a poly lifestyle for all the pain it caused. I feel uncertain if i can trust my partner to make wise, healthy decisions on behalf of our life together. i am angry at myself for letting myself be a doormat for so long. I am mad at the past. i am paranoid about their current friendship, mistrustful of my partner. I have nightmares and clench my jaw so tight my back shoulders hurt.....
I won't comment on how poly "should" be conducted here, but Seasoned Poly is right about one thing and that is that you chose the situation. You can remove the troublesome metamour but the fact remains that you were drawn to this terribly hurtful and compromising situation - and you're still drawn to this man who does make messes. The only part that is fixable here is the part that is you. Whatever our backgrounds and challenges, every human being has the power to change their thinking and thereby change their life. Your power lies not in struggling to heal with him by compromising yourself even more, but by honoring your pain and the wisdom of your anxieties. "Healing" with this man would lead to continued denouncing of your own truth. You can forge ahead or you can honor what your body and your emotions have been trying to tell you for years.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I would not be in a relationship with a person who lets his other partner dictate our relationship.

J might not be a narcissist, but he allows himself to be controlled by one. And C therefore controls you, as well. You said J broke up with her, but they are in fact, still in touch.

I hear that you were raised by narcissists who abused you. It seems old habits die hard. Your hope for peaceful domesticity with J, in a house with kids, and living with your parents. (Are your parents the abusive narcissists, btw?)

This uneasy and unbalanced relationship that J has with a suicidal diva is something he has chosen. I don't see how he could ever be a stable dependable husband to you and a healthy mature father to your children.

Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. You are in a bad situation that is based on the coping behaviors from your childhood. You are probably used to being a "people pleaser." It's just the same old thing.

You came here asking for advice. Sometimes it's hard to read advice and understand it's meant well, even if it's hard to take. You can't change C. You can't change J. Only you can choose to stay in this relationship with J. You are letting him treat you this way. You deserve better. Love yourself and take care of yourself.
 

kittykate82

New member
Okay but this obviously isn't working for J. And that's why he is going ahead and making the relationship he wants to with his partner rather than the relationship you want him to. His actions tell you that he's feeling a lot of pressure from both his partners right now.

I'm white yes, but many of my partners are not. One of the partners I live with now is from a minority Black Caribbean community. I understand what you're saying about social privilege and that you are mutually dependent on J but that doesn't oblige him to enter a hierarchical polyamorous relationship with you. After all, he could find a partner who is in a similar social position as you but who is more adaptable to a non-hierarchial/relationship anarchist type of relationship with someone. There are lots of people like that around. Yes polyamory is a way for adults to overcome some of these social barriers but in my nearly three decades of experience at polyamory, as soon as someone is actually dependent on polyamory to survive and that's a larger incentive than the philosophical reasons behind non-monogamy, then it becomes a pressure. There are ways for adults to live communally without involving sex and love.

Being non hierarchical doesnt mean you skip out on the commitments you make but it does mean that the needs of the people you make them with do not automatically become more important than those with which you have few practical entanglements.

I mentioned Poly 101 and 201 because many of your ideas are based on a very simplistic version of polyamory where everyone fits into neat boxes and do not stray out of their territory. My point is that simplicity is rarely relevant to real people and the relationships that they have. It doesn't matter if J never sees this other person, if he sees her as primary even though they never see each other, she IS his primary. She doesn't have to prove it to you by doing all the things you think she should. She only has to satisfy his needs in a partner because she's his partner.

Oh and the other thing is that just because he decides that both his partners are primary, it doesn't mean you have to work together like colleagues. "Co-primary" speaks about your interaction with J, not how you relate to each other. She can be one of the most important people in his world yet never, ever speak to you.

I get that you want me to slog down this woman with her annoying mental health issues but there isn't any point because the man you love loves her and chooses to have her in his life. I think moving forward, you need to accept that his relationships are his to manage, and your living situation and future plans do not obligate him to structure his relationships in the way you see fit.

Of course I would be asking why my partner wants to be with someone who has so much going on with them but maybe I should be querying why I've picked someone who gravitates towards those situations. Nearly every time in poly when it seems to make sense to focus on the other people's lives and motivations, it will make more sense to focus on your own.
Ok I appreciate all you wrote and a lot of gems in here, but one major thing. C and J aren’t together, they broke up. I wrote that above. I was looking for advice on how to move on from the trauma of it and heal with my partner
 

kittykate82

New member
I won't comment on how poly "should" be conducted here, but Seasoned Poly is right about one thing and that is that you chose the situation. You can remove the troublesome metamour but the fact remains that you were drawn to this terribly hurtful and compromising situation - and you're still drawn to this man who does make messes. The only part that is fixable here is the part that is you. Whatever our backgrounds and challenges, every human being has the power to change their thinking and thereby change their life. Your power lies not in struggling to heal with him by compromising yourself even more, but by honoring your pain and the wisdom of your anxieties. "Healing" with this man would lead to continued denouncing of your own truth. You can forge ahead or you can honor what your body and your emotions have been trying to tell you for years.
Thank you I agree it’s on me...wondering tho if the hurtful situation is gone: the relationship is over between them...how to trust my partner moving ahead?
 

kittykate82

New member
I would not be in a relationship with a person who lets his other partner dictate our relationship.

J might not be a narcissist, but he allows himself to be controlled by one. And C therefore controls you, as well. You said J broke up with her, but they are in fact, still in touch.

I hear that you were raised by narcissists who abused you. It seems old habits die hard. Your hope for peaceful domesticity with J, in a house with kids, and living with your parents. (Are your parents the abusive narcissists, btw?)

This uneasy and unbalanced relationship that J has with a suicidal diva is something he has chosen. I don't see how he could ever be a stable dependable husband to you and a healthy mature father to your children.

Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. You are in a bad situation that is based on the coping behaviors from your childhood. You are probably used to being a "people pleaser." It's just the same old thing.

You came here asking for advice. Sometimes it's hard to read advice and understand it's meant well, even if it's hard to take. You can't change C. You can't change J. Only you can choose to stay in this relationship with J. You are letting him treat you this way. You deserve better. Love yourself and take care of yourself.
C and J are no longer in a romantic relationship. She lives overseas and are friends. j has promised me this is over and he is nothing more than friiends. He is aware I will leave him immediately if that changes, it was 4 hellish years. I’m in therapy, I do daily meditation, I surround myself with positive people. I was in a traumatic situation for four years I described and now I’m trying to find ways to heal, not be berated on what is wrong with me. Feeling pretty sad about this forum...it seems like polyamory.com is about telling people who are hurt what to do. My question is how do I find peace and healing. If you have any advice to my question I asked for I’d really appreciate it! I didn’t consent to the rest
 

kittykate82

New member
C and J are no longer in a romantic relationship. She lives overseas and are friends. j has promised me this is over and he is nothing more than friiends. He is aware I will leave him immediately if that changes, it was 4 hellish years. I’m in therapy, I do daily meditation, I surround myself with positive people. I was in a traumatic situation for four years I described and now I’m trying to find ways to heal, not be berated on what is wrong with me. Feeling pretty sad about this forum...it seems like polyamory.com is about telling people who are hurt what to do. My question is how do I find peace and healing. If you have any advice to my question I asked for I’d really appreciate it! I didn’t consent to the rest
I say this because my therapist suggested that since I identify as poly, but have found the people in the lifestyle to be judgmental and preachy and selfish, I should reach out to a forum and try to find some like minded folx so I can find relatable people within the community.
 

kittykate82

New member
Okay but this obviously isn't working for J. And that's why he is going ahead and making the relationship he wants to with his partner rather than the relationship you want him to. His actions tell you that he's feeling a lot of pressure from both his partners right now.

I'm white yes, but many of my partners are not. One of the partners I live with now is from a minority Black Caribbean community. I understand what you're saying about social privilege and that you are mutually dependent on J but that doesn't oblige him to enter a hierarchical polyamorous relationship with you. After all, he could find a partner who is in a similar social position as you but who is more adaptable to a non-hierarchial/relationship anarchist type of relationship with someone. There are lots of people like that around. Yes polyamory is a way for adults to overcome some of these social barriers but in my nearly three decades of experience at polyamory, as soon as someone is actually dependent on polyamory to survive and that's a larger incentive than the philosophical reasons behind non-monogamy, then it becomes a pressure. There are ways for adults to live communally without involving sex and love.

Being non hierarchical doesnt mean you skip out on the commitments you make but it does mean that the needs of the people you make them with do not automatically become more important than those with which you have few practical entanglements.

I mentioned Poly 101 and 201 because many of your ideas are based on a very simplistic version of polyamory where everyone fits into neat boxes and do not stray out of their territory. My point is that simplicity is rarely relevant to real people and the relationships that they have. It doesn't matter if J never sees this other person, if he sees her as primary even though they never see each other, she IS his primary. She doesn't have to prove it to you by doing all the things you think she should. She only has to satisfy his needs in a partner because she's his partner.

Oh and the other thing is that just because he decides that both his partners are primary, it doesn't mean you have to work together like colleagues. "Co-primary" speaks about your interaction with J, not how you relate to each other. She can be one of the most important people in his world yet never, ever speak to you.

I get that you want me to slog down this woman with her annoying mental health issues but there isn't any point because the man you love loves her and chooses to have her in his life. I think moving forward, you need to accept that his relationships are his to manage, and your living situation and future plans do not obligate him to structure his relationships in the way you see fit.

Of course I would be asking why my partner wants to be with someone who has so much going on with them but maybe I should be querying why I've picked someone who gravitates towards those situations. Nearly every time in poly when it seems to make sense to focus on the other people's lives and motivations, it will make more sense to focus on your own.
You say some thoughtful things here and i do appreciate the time you put towards thinking about polyamory, but i can't help feel you are preaching me on how i SHOULD feel, which conveniently, fits into the idea of what you feel.

I thought Poly was a way for us to be free within our relationships and love outside of what society plans for us, ethically and with love and communication....in your explanation you're just telling me what's right and what's wrong, even if it's not right for me.

For example, you say "co-primary" doesn't need to mean communication between metamours. well that's true for you, that's not true for me. not communicating with a co-primary doesn't help me feel safe, i know b/c i did it and tried it....tried out different "poly theories" for many years. In the end what only works is what is right for me, custom made, and i need to make that known. I did make that known, and i am no longer in that situation. so i don't need advice on how to do something that isn't right for me because it is the "poly way", b/c i dont want to do that and, i'm no longer in the situation since C and J broke up so i don't need advice on it, or to be told what to do.

In my post i clearly said C and J broke up b/c J was being abused by a controlling violent woman. we are both in mental health recovery. i'm looking on ways i can heal and move ahead. I didn't ask for you to talk shit on her, i asked for how i heal. the rest of your advice is non consensual. i thought that consent was a huge tenet of poly that all you poly zealots like to tout?

you're also making a lot of assumptions here, that i need my partner to survive. I don't. we have built a life together for half a decade and our home, finances, and daily life are done in tandem. When i said i would leave my partner i meant i'm leaving my home, my built life, and the shared love of having my person with me on the daily. that was very hard to think about doing, but i couldn't stay proxy controlled anymore. my meta is gone, long gone in another country and honestly i'm grateful everyday she is. i'm looking on ways to move past that experience and heal, not be told how my life should be run.
 

kittykate82

New member
I would not be in a relationship with a person who lets his other partner dictate our relationship.

J might not be a narcissist, but he allows himself to be controlled by one. And C therefore controls you, as well. You said J broke up with her, but they are in fact, still in touch.

I hear that you were raised by narcissists who abused you. It seems old habits die hard. Your hope for peaceful domesticity with J, in a house with kids, and living with your parents. (Are your parents the abusive narcissists, btw?)

This uneasy and unbalanced relationship that J has with a suicidal diva is something he has chosen. I don't see how he could ever be a stable dependable husband to you and a healthy mature father to your children.

Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. You are in a bad situation that is based on the coping behaviors from your childhood. You are probably used to being a "people pleaser." It's just the same old thing.

You came here asking for advice. Sometimes it's hard to read advice and understand it's meant well, even if it's hard to take. You can't change C. You can't change J. Only you can choose to stay in this relationship with J. You are letting him treat you this way. You deserve better. Love yourself and take care of yourself.
hey there thanks for the advice but i'm confused here, they are still in touch but just friends. the relationship is over. so why would my partner become a bad husband and father if the situation is over? due to the fact he allowed this toxic situation for so long? i understand i cannot change C and choose my relationship with J, however, my partner and i are working on rebuilding our life from four years of this. We are working on healing together. my partner says he felt controlled due to her suicidal threats, and she traveled a lot so that's why he let it go on for four years. whenever she'd return, she'd be back for a short time, only to leave again, and once she left she became mentally unstable. how am i letting my partner treat me a certain way if the dark situation is gone?
 

kittykate82

New member
I won't comment on how poly "should" be conducted here, but Seasoned Poly is right about one thing and that is that you chose the situation. You can remove the troublesome metamour but the fact remains that you were drawn to this terribly hurtful and compromising situation - and you're still drawn to this man who does make messes. The only part that is fixable here is the part that is you. Whatever our backgrounds and challenges, every human being has the power to change their thinking and thereby change their life. Your power lies not in struggling to heal with him by compromising yourself even more, but by honoring your pain and the wisdom of your anxieties. "Healing" with this man would lead to continued denouncing of your own truth. You can forge ahead or you can honor what your body and your emotions have been trying to tell you for years.
i appreciate this advice thank you. well then how do you recommend i heal on my own, without leaving my partner? that's more what i'm looking for. i already, set boundaries, am in therapy, i wrote an honest long letter to her and put it in a fire, and wrote a shorter farewell letter with boundaries and actually sent it, i do yoga, i talk to friends, etc. i would say i could learn how to trust my partner with a new relationship but it's covid so he and i aren't seeing anyone. I feel pretty traumatized by the poly scene tbh, so although i identify as poly i don't want to date, i just want to spend more time with myself and read and write and draw and see "Myself" as my partner...no more drama. i'm looking for wisdom on how to find ways to trust my partner again if that is possible.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
You say some thoughtful things here and i do appreciate the time you put towards thinking about polyamory, but i can't help feel you are preaching me on how i SHOULD feel, which conveniently, fits into the idea of what you feel.

I thought Poly was a way for us to be free within our relationships and love outside of what society plans for us, ethically and with love and communication....in your explanation you're just telling me what's right and what's wrong, even if it's not right for me.

For example, you say "co-primary" doesn't need to mean communication between metamours. well that's true for you, that's not true for me. not communicating with a co-primary doesn't help me feel safe, i know b/c i did it and tried it....tried out different "poly theories" for many years. In the end what only works is what is right for me, custom made, and i need to make that known. I did make that known, and i am no longer in that situation. so i don't need advice on how to do something that isn't right for me because it is the "poly way", b/c i dont want to do that and, i'm no longer in the situation since C and J broke up so i don't need advice on it, or to be told what to do.

In my post i clearly said C and J broke up b/c J was being abused by a controlling violent woman. we are both in mental health recovery. i'm looking on ways i can heal and move ahead. I didn't ask for you to talk shit on her, i asked for how i heal. the rest of your advice is non consensual. i thought that consent was a huge tenet of poly that all you poly zealots like to tout?

you're also making a lot of assumptions here, that i need my partner to survive. I don't. we have built a life together for half a decade and our home, finances, and daily life are done in tandem. When i said i would leave my partner i meant i'm leaving my home, my built life, and the shared love of having my person with me on the daily. that was very hard to think about doing, but i couldn't stay proxy controlled anymore. my meta is gone, long gone in another country and honestly i'm grateful everyday she is. i'm looking on ways to move past that experience and heal, not be told how my life should be run.

I'm not telling you how you should feel at all. Your original post says some things about polyamory which I'm letting you know are choices some poly people make rather than musts or essentials.

You're absolutely right that some people need their co-primaries to interact (and that's fine) but to use you 3 as an example, it is J who decides that they must find partners compatible with this and decides the consequence for a partner who doesn't keep to that. You get to decide whether you want to be with someone who doesn't specifically seek out partners who will be amenable to that. What you can't do is make your metamour someone they are not. If J didn't find someone compatible for co-primary interactions, you can't pressure that person he did pick into complying.

I know J says he is broken up with C, but experience tells me that he isn't at all. If you're being honest about C, she isn't the type of person to transition to a friendship with no hope of a romantic relationship and from what you've said about J, he hides anything that will cause you to start putting the brakes on. Even if it isn't C, people like J continually find more people like C. And even if it isnt that the person is unstable like C, the chances of him finding someone who is more on the non-hierarchial side are at least 50%. More since he's already shown some preference. My guess is that's why other posters along with myself have skipped over what he's told you about breaking up..

To me, your nasty attitude to anyone who confronts you with reality ("poly zealots" etc) is an obvious sign of your past baggage and the tactics you learned from your abusive caregivers. That isn't okay and if you strike out at partners and metamours when they say things you do not like in that way, they are likely to conceal some of the truth from you out of fear or just wanting to avoid a vicious attack from you.

5 years isn't a long time. I get when you're younger and feel like your biological is ticking that it might feel differently but it isn't a lot at all. Leaving isn't easy but part of being strong and mature is realizing when a situation isn't good for the people in it and walking away with your head high and dignity intact. The question you're asking about how you can learn to trust someone who obviously isn't trustworthy is another indicator of your poor judgement of relationships. Leaving is always an option. Staying because you are dependent on someone like you said you were earlier:
My partner and I are financially dependent on each other, I have a low income family to care for, and our home and prioritizing our shared life and finances is crucial to us having a secure safety net to have children and take care of our parents.

That isn't the grounds of a healthy relationship. Communal living isn't about that type of dependency and you're going to get hurt and have more dependents to worry about when J decides that he needs to live his own life his way.
 

kittykate82

New member
I'm not telling you how you should feel at all. Your original post says some things about polyamory which I'm letting you know are choices some poly people make rather than musts or essentials.

You're absolutely right that some people need their co-primaries to interact (and that's fine) but to use you 3 as an example, it is J who decides that they must find partners compatible with this and decides the consequence for a partner who doesn't keep to that. You get to decide whether you want to be with someone who doesn't specifically seek out partners who will be amenable to that. What you can't do is make your metamour someone they are not. If J didn't find someone compatible for co-primary interactions, you can't pressure that person he did pick into complying.

I know J says he is broken up with C, but experience tells me that he isn't at all. If you're being honest about C, she isn't the type of person to transition to a friendship with no hope of a romantic relationship and from what you've said about J, he hides anything that will cause you to start putting the brakes on. Even if it isn't C, people like J continually find more people like C. And even if it isnt that the person is unstable like C, the chances of him finding someone who is more on the non-hierarchial side are at least 50%. More since he's already shown some preference. My guess is that's why other posters along with myself have skipped over what he's told you about breaking up..

To me, your nasty attitude to anyone who confronts you with reality ("poly zealots" etc) is an obvious sign of your past baggage and the tactics you learned from your abusive caregivers. That isn't okay and if you strike out at partners and metamours when they say things you do not like in that way, they are likely to conceal some of the truth from you out of fear or just wanting to avoid a vicious attack from you.

5 years isn't a long time. I get when you're younger and feel like your biological is ticking that it might feel differently but it isn't a lot at all. Leaving isn't easy but part of being strong and mature is realizing when a situation isn't good for the people in it and walking away with your head high and dignity intact. The question you're asking about how you can learn to trust someone who obviously isn't trustworthy is another indicator of your poor judgement of relationships. Leaving is always an option. Staying because you are dependent on someone like you said you were earlier:


That isn't the grounds of a healthy relationship. Communal living isn't about that type of dependency and you're going to get hurt and have more dependents to worry about when J decides that he needs to live his own life his way.
it feels like perhaps we have different ideas about poly. for me, when two people get together they decide together what works for them both, i have no idea what will work for me unless i am with another person, and we build what is right for us collectively from the ground up. i have no idea what will work for me in a situation before i meet someone until i am there, with that person and we can grow a life with a blank slate.

I'm financially dependent on my partner because we built a life together. we own a home together, we own two cars, and we have a shared bank account and that's how we buy everything we need, as a team. that's the nature of how i want to do things...have a life partner i work collectively with and raise children with. i think that's a healthy way to do things for me, many people who are life/anchor/nesting partners etc are that way. my partner comes from much more family wealth than i do, but we make the same amount of money right now. so, due to his family privledge, we were able to put a down payment on a house and his parents gave us their used cars and titled them in our joint names. collectively we pay our mortgage, and all the bills for our house in a shared way. when our parents are old i will need to provide for my own low income parents in the sense i will need to work toward putting government funding toward getting them help, whereas his parents will help us in any way they can. i did not want a mentally unstable meta who controlled my partner anywhere near my home, or the children i am planning on having, since i am near 40 and have limited time to have children. my partner knows that so he left his relationship and plus it was bad for him too.

if he says he carries on a friendship with her overseas, what's the harm? she may harbor fantasizes about getting romantic once more but that's not going to happen, as so long as my partner does not consent to it. she no longer is insisting she keep a room in my home and no longer is screaming at my partner when she is not prioritized according to her standards. my partner is no longer feeling responsible for her scary suicidal threats, she has found her own help i hope, but it's not on him anymore.

i honestly think my partner just doesn't know what he personally wants, so he lets his partners tell him, which is why i am not sure if he is suited for non-hierarchal poly as you describe. that is because he does not come into the situation with his rules and ideas, honestly he's younger than me and i think got a big head about poly and decided he was going to take on way more than he knew he could or couldn't, at first i thought he was an experienced poly practitioner, then i realized he's just a newbie like me, but he's got that male ego to contend with. and that's why we dont practice non-hierarchy anymore...we practice hierarchy, and we built now our rules and boundaries collectively, no more non-hierarchy....it's not right for me, i don't judge it but i tried it and don't like it. maybe someone awesome will come along one day who i can do non-hierarchy with, but i feel that will need to be a joint decision that my partner and i make collectively, and we will decide together whether to alter the dynamic of our partnership.

i honestly don't feel i have a nasty attitude, i'm just being honest sorry you think so. i just find the whole "what is right and what is wrong" attitude of some poly folx to look a lot like a scripted doctrine. i grew up in a christian home, i was told what was right and what was wrong. i abandoned christianity to make my own custom made sense of that, which is why i chose poly....but am astounded to see within this community there is just more of it, being told what is right and what is wrong by others who feel more experienced, when really it should be about what is right and wrong for yourself so long as you are not hurting others and supporting us all taking an unconventional path.
 

kittykate82

New member
That's the thing. I'm not telling you what's right or wrong, I'm just saying that your partner's actions seem more like a person who wants a NH relationship.
i don't think he knows what he wants! we are all figuring this out, taking the path unknown, sorting out what's right and what's not. we are all learners, including yourself and every human being who makes their own path. I l was open to NH in theory and then i tried it and found it to not work for me. it did not make sense to be NH with a meta who was never around, and who did not share any daily life with, and who is mentally unsafe. i know that's not how everyone feels, but it's how i feel, and so NH in that situation isn't okay for me. Maybe NH would be okay for me one day, with the right person. i'd have to really trust a Meta to be NH with, and know that they have my back, but def not if they're around 1/2 the time, violent, demanding, inconsiderate of me, and practice cognitive disassociation and act like i don't exist. i don't want to be NH with anyone who i do not get along very well with. i think my partner got in over his head with a woman b/c he was afraid she'd kill herself. tbh.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am so sorry this happened. I hope you feel a bit better airing some of that out.

I see that you want to stay with your partner. Is this from habit, or from a true desire to be together? And if WILLING... after all this will you actually be ABLE?

Have you taken a step back to assess that? Because you also say

I also find myself enraged deeply at J, my live in partner I am building a life with and his failure to be transparent, living two parallel lives for four years, with two women who thought they were going to have a life together

What's he done to make ammends for the betrayal? And are you able to forgive and be together? Or forgive but NOT be together any more? Or something else?

If J wants to still "be friends" with C -- is that a dealbreaker to you? Because maybe healing for you means NO ties at will C for you. So if J is still being pals with C, maybe you have to let go of J because you want C nowhere near you?

I'm financially dependent on my partner because we built a life together. we own a home together, we own two cars, and we have a shared bank account and that's how we buy everything we need, as a team. that's the nature of how i want to do things...have a life partner i work collectively with and raise children with. i think that's a healthy way to do things for me, many people who are life/anchor/nesting partners etc are that way.

I do similar with my spouse with the house, cars, joint checking accts, etc. Except I do keep one bank account that is just for me in my name only. And he has his. Because while unlikley that either of us would steal all the money in joint and run off? In case it DOES, then neither of us is left in a total bind because we have our personal accts to lean on.

On low income you may or may not be able to see a counselor to help you heal. Sometimes university and college students provide free therapy as part of their studies under supervision. Some of my friends go to Al-Anon to have a form of group therapy that way.

Women's shelters sometimes do "healing from abuse/healthy dating" classes in libraries, malls, etc. There may be other ways. You might want to call some of those to see if you can get into a class, esp if your family of origin background was rough too. You may not have the skills strong enough to pick out solid partners or you might be attracted to wonky because it feels familiar if not actually healthy. Could that have happened?

i honestly think my partner just doesn't know what he personally wants, so he lets his partners tell him, which is why i am not sure if he is suited for non-hierarchal poly as you describe.

So he's not esp firm or maybe easily swayed. And where C used to tell him what to do, now you do it? Is that what you are saying?

if he says he carries on a friendship with her overseas, what's the harm?

See above about about being easily swayed. He says for now it is just friends and overseas. Do you trust him to keep better personal boundaries there or not? Or will she come creeping back?

i think my partner got in over his head with a woman b/c he was afraid she'd kill herself. tbh.

He never thought to call her next of kin and the suicide hotline? Because he cannot live like her "life raft." You say he's got some
white knight" stuff going on?

i'm looking for wisdom on how to find ways to trust my partner again if that is possible.

What trustworthy behaviors is he doing now?

What trustbreaking behaviors is he doing?

What about you, in your heart? If this went on too far and whatever new efforts are feeling like "too little too late" -- why be here? IS it too little too late? Would you be better off starting with a new partner "clean slate?"

What do YOU need to heal from this horrible experience?

Those are all things only YOU can answer. You pick what you will and will not put up with.

So I suggest you do your soul searching. Do not stick around here just because you want kids and feel like the bio clock is ticking. I don't know about you, but I rather have no kids than kids with a shaky partner I don't really trust.

Do prioritize YOUR well being, whether or not you ultimately stick with this partner.

It's ok to not want to do poly for a while (or ever) after this experience. YOU get to pick how you want to life your life.

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello kittykate82,

In order to heal from the ordeal you went through with C, you need to explain to J just how hurtful it was to you, for him to date C for four years. You need to explain to J each of the various ways the past situation hurt you, and you need to explain how, why, and what parts of the hurt are still ongoing for you. Then you need J to acknowledge the hurt, to take responsibility for it, and to make a solemn vow that he will never do those things again. Those are the things you need to do in order to start rebuilding your trust in him. Rebuilding trust will not be a quick or easy process, you will need to be able to see J acting better, and not dating anyone like C again, for many years. Truth be told, you and J need to not do anything poly at all for awhile, not until some of the healing has taken place.

You and J have built a life together, so I do not recommend that you separate. I do, however, recommend you take some steps toward healing, toward rebuilding trust, toward moving ahead, and toward keeping the relationship going. If you can set up some sessions with a poly-friendly therapist, by all means I would recommend you do so. It would even be good if you and J could see that therapist both separately and together. Yes, C is now out of your life. But while she was in your life, she damaged your relationship with J, and now, you and J are stuck facing a damaged relationship with each other. A therapist could help mediate your talks with each other, so that the two of you could come to some agreements (and compromises), and start to heal. I hope some of the posts in this thread have been helpful so far.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
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