Should I leave my husband?

Colourfulpaws

New member
Hello friends -- new here. I apologize that my introduction here isn't a positive one, but I am currently having a difficult time and have finally decided to reach out for advice.

I have been with my husband (Let's call him Mark) for 15 years. I've known for at least 10 of those years that I am poly, but my husband is very monogamous. We had many conversations over the years about it, and I tried my best to have a monogamous relationship with him. Then, we were blind sided by me falling in love with a mutual friend of ours (Let's call him Ron) roughly 5 years ago. My husband opened our relationship up then for my sake, but then pulled away from me physically and emotionally.

I didn't immediately pursue a relationship with Ron due to the trauma I incurred when Mark pulled away from me. Plus, Ron is also married and had to work through his own, newfound poly feelings, as well as his feelings for me, with his own wife. It was incredibly rough for both of us, but we slowly worked through things in our respective relationships and I thought things would maybe be okay -- Mark was showing me affection again and was working on his feelings about my polyness. Mark even seemed okay when Ron and I finally entered a relationship 2 years ago.

Shortly after entering a relationship with Ron my husband pulled away again. Then, a few months after that, stated he doesn't like Ron and doesn't want to be his friend. He also told him family we were no longer in a relationship. Mark has been very depressed ever since. He left every group chat we shared with our friends associated with Ron and he is just bitter about life. He still says he loves me, but the displays of love, aside from acts of service, are either nonexistent or lackluster. I constantly worry about showing him affection for fear of rejection.

I don't know what to do. Our lives are incredibly intertwined, and I really am still deeply in love with him, but I am stuck. Maybe I am codependent at this point? I feel like I can't live without him. I mean, I know I can, I am the sole bread winner and can make things work out. Ron is also willing to help, despite being long distance in another country. My heart tears up at the thought of continuing my life without Mark, but I also don't know how much longer I can go on living how I am with Mark.

I think I know my answer, but just need other voices who have hopefully been through something similar as me.

On the bright side, my relationship with Ron has been absolutely wonderful. We are deeply in love, are compatible in every sense I thought could only happen in dreams, and we haven't had any issues between us ever. and hell, my metamour is trying really hard to work with us and be my friend too. It has been hard on her, and she has had similar struggles as Mark, but she wants to be my friend and she wants Ron to be happy and she supports him and us. Ron and her are definitely far happier than Mark and I.

Thank you for reading and please don't hesitate to be blunt or ask questions. I really need some clarity
 

Colourfulpaws

New member
How do you think Mark feels? What would he write if he were to tell your story?
He feels depressed. He is miserable. He has lost the life he dreamed of for us. I don't know what he would write, honestly. I feel lost trying to think about it. My brain feels too clouded by everything happening in my life right now. I will try to think on it.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am sorry you struggle.

I mean this kindly, ok?

I could be wrong. But to me? It sounds like you and Mark did everything possible to "make it work" and are basically up against it again.
  • Mark is monogamous and doesn't want to be doing poly things.
  • You are polyamorous and don't want to be doing monogamous things.
Didn't want to leave any stones unturned. So tried for 5 years and discovered... nope. Not going to work. This isn't from last week. You two have been trying for the last 5 years to deal with wanting different things. First with you staying closed, and then him trying to deal with open relationship.

You did not rush into the thing with Ron. Only dating him in the last 2 years. So you and Mark both went slow and did what you could.

All the stones have been turned. No more rocks left to try.

So... maybe it is ok now to let the part that doesn't work go. Disband the marriage. Rest. Heal.

And then move on to the next chapter. See if you can be exes and friends -- a relationship shape that fits better than trying to keep wearing this marriage coat that no longer fits.

Sometimes the last loving act is to let go with some dignity and grace and make the call. And maybe allow the love to change (if both want it) to friendship.

Because dragging out on and on? It sometimes just keeps people in the struggle/pain place. When it's better to make a firm decision and then linger in the healing place. That is a better place in which to linger, IMHO.

You both have to be able to say "I love you a lot. But not even for you will I do stuff/stay in stuff that hurts me."
You and Mark seem to care about each other a lot. But why are you each doing stuff/staying in stuff that hurts you? How long does the clock on "gave it a good try" have to run when it's already been running for 5 years? Going for 10? 20 years?

How is dragging it out doing loving and kind behavior to yourselves and each other?

Maybe something to think on.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Colourfulpaws,

I'm sorry you're going through this. It is hard, contemplating leaving one that you love. Sure it may be the right thing to do, but you don't want to do it. That's very normal, and natural.

I think you and Mark are both hurting, in a marriage that no longer works for you. For either of you. You might want to try a trial separation, and then see how you feel. Perhaps you'll still decide to stay together. But if not, at least you'll know you tried everything you could.

With much sympathy,
Kevin T.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I don't know what he would write, honestly.... I will try to think on it.

Is he communicative? If it is your intention to have a conversation with him and come to some kind of mutual understanding, you'll both need to be concise about what it is that you want. It can be hard to do, certainly when everyone is in the middle of an emotional upheaval, but if you want to make good decisions you first need good data.

In any case, it sounds like a significant alteration is going to need to be made with your association if it is going to become functional again (if that's even possible). Since you care about this person, you guys are going to need to have some kind of conversation about what those changes will need to be. Personally I would err on the side of just being honest and practical, and letting go of half truths designed to spare each other's feelings.

If you are lucky and the lines of communication are still open, this redesigning of the current relationship could actually be a positive thing. In a perfect world you can disentangle from each other and learn to be friends again, and maybe a new style of relationship can build from there. It's a lofty dream, but it isn't impossible.
 

Colourfulpaws

New member
Thank you so much for the thoughtful replies. They truly mean a lot to me and I want to respond in kind once I get my bearings. I have a lot happening in my life at the the moment... I want to give my responses careful consideration because this is incredibly important to me. I love my husband so much
Once again, thank you
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Take your time, this is a very important topic, you want to address it in the best way possible. Hang in there!
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
If you do consciously uncouple, it sounds like Mark will need a job. Are there kids in the mix? I'm just wondering since you're the sole breadwinner. That sounds like a major consideration.
 

Colourfulpaws

New member
I am sorry you struggle.

I mean this kindly, ok?

I could be wrong. But to me? It sounds like you and Mark did everything possible to "make it work" and are basically up against it again.
  • Mark is monogamous and doesn't want to be doing poly things.
  • You are polyamorous and don't want to be doing monogamous things.
Didn't want to leave any stones unturned. So tried for 5 years and discovered... nope. Not going to work. This isn't from last week. You two have been trying for the last 5 years to deal with wanting different things. First with you staying closed, and then him trying to deal with open relationship.

You did not rush into the thing with Ron. Only dating him in the last 2 years. So you and Mark both went slow and did what you could.

All the stones have been turned. No more rocks left to try.

So... maybe it is ok now to let the part that doesn't work go. Disband the marriage. Rest. Heal.

And then move on to the next chapter. See if you can be exes and friends -- a relationship shape that fits better than trying to keep wearing this marriage coat that no longer fits.

Sometimes the last loving act is to let go with some dignity and grace and make the call. And maybe allow the love to change (if both want it) to friendship.

Because dragging out on and on? It sometimes just keeps people in the struggle/pain place. When it's better to make a firm decision and then linger in the healing place. That is a better place in which to linger, IMHO.

You both have to be able to say "I love you a lot. But not even for you will I do stuff/stay in stuff that hurts me."
You and Mark seem to care about each other a lot. But why are you each doing stuff/staying in stuff that hurts you? How long does the clock on "gave it a good try" have to run when it's already been running for 5 years? Going for 10? 20 years?

How is dragging it out doing loving and kind behavior to yourselves and each other?

Maybe something to think on.

Galagirl
Thank you so much for your reply, Galagirl. I can't tell you how much your words have helped me in the last couple of days.

You are correct in that we tried our hardest to leave no stone unturned. We talked about everything and tried to figure out what we could make work for us. I think I do want to move onto the next chapter and today Mark kind of helped me with that by making it absolutely clear where we stand. He stated to me that he considers us "roommates, friends, and economical partners." Thinking about it more, I realize now that I was the only one at this point who was still trying to hold onto what we had, and what I felt we could have. I suppose I should have said in my initial post that, early last year, he told his mom and brother that we were no longer in a relationship together. (EDIT #2: My gosh. Just reread my own post and I DID mention that. whoops.) It's hard to mention every bit of the story in one post.. It's also hard to face those things and it's easy to push them out of my mind. Needless to say, this journey has been very difficult ahah.

I guess I don't know how viable a relationship with him at this point is as a friendship -- I'm admittedly still so much in love with him that it tears my heart up. It's been a long time since we've been very affectionate physically, but it still breaks me up inside that I can't shower him with kisses, rubs, and nuzzles anymore. He has also been so depressed and hard to be around/with. I can't comfortably interact with him, he makes my other partner (longterm, 3rd partner that we live with) uncomfortable, and he doesn't want to be around our mutual friends anymore because of their association with Ron. Ugh, there's so much... I could probably go on.

I don't know what to do that's good for both of us in the long run. I know, regardless, it's going to be painful someway, somehow. I want to stay with Mark so badly, but it will be hard to get through this era of pain with him that may or may not dissipate a lot over time. I could leave Mark but that would also be extremely painful. Emotions and shared bank accounts aside, @Magdlyn mentioned that Mark would need to get a job if we broke up. While he is an amazingly intelligent and capable man, it would be incredibly difficult for him to get a job due to his shortcomings preventing him from meeting the demands of the typical workplace. I know it would be difficult for him. If we wanted to stay living together we would have to stay married in order for him to stay in the country -- though, that said, marriage itself was never important to us and we only did it out of necessity.

We are currently in the middle of a wedding for a couple of close friends of ours. My partner suggested that maybe I should talk to Mark about getting therapy. He has turned it down in the recent past, but I think if I want to give it a go being just his friend and economical lifepartner then I need him to get help or I need to seriously consider how I want our relationship to move forward.

I'm sorry if I'm being all over the place here. My mind is boggled up right now, and I am starting to reach the end of my mental limit here. I am going to put this down for now and come back when I have the energy and time again. Thank you once again for responding and hearing me out.

EDIT: Oh yeah, to answer an important question: No, we do not have kids. We do have a cat, however.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Colourfulpaws,

I am so sorry you are going through this, you are being torn in at least three different directions, and you don't know what to do, every choice available to you is intensely painful, and you can't just break up with Mark, it's not so simple. I guess my vote at this point would be to pitch the idea of therapy to Mark again, tell him how serious it is, and that you are actually thinking about leaving him. He's got to do something about his depression.

These are my thoughts for now.
Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad it helped some.

Mark kind of helped me with that by making it absolutely clear where we stand. He stated to me that he considers us "roommates, friends, and economical partners."

I am going to speak frankly. I mean this kindly, ok?

Maybe he didn't want to go to couple therapy before because he doesn't want to be a couple any more. And until now? Maybe he was kinda "hinting" or coming on from the side, telling his family it's over rather than telling you direct. And maybe you weren't hearing him saying it at a "low volume" or "from the side" because you were still hoping against hope to maintain the romance.

But it sounds like he told you plain and clear and "louder" now. And this time you are actually hearing it.

And you want to make changes and move on to the next chapter.

Have you considered that part of Mark's depression is situational? Because for him, the relationship is over, maybe HAS been over with him just "going through the motions" for a while. If he's your dependent, he can't just up and leave if he has no job or moving out money.

"Economic partners" means what? You HAVE to cohabitate? If you did a separation or got a divorce, would you pay spouse support?

If you do not already have separate checking accounts, could at least to that much and think about talking with a lawyer and whoever else you might need to talk to.

I think if I want to give it a go being just his friend and economical life partner then I need him to get help

What does this mean? Could you be willing to clarify what level of serious this is?

Is Mark so addled he can't think for himself? Is he in mental health crisis? So you as the spouse/next of him are going to do involuntary commitment to hospital to get him emergency aid?

Or is Mark feeling depressed/sad over this whole situation? Which would be normal. No break ups are FUN.

And on your end you are struggling with the mental letting go process and becoming his ex? And acknowledging that Mark is in charge of Mark's health choices whether you agree with how he takes care of his health or not?

Would it be easier to be good exes and friends if you let go of the marriage that no longer fits and didn't try to be roomies while Mark heals and reboots his dating life, and you heal and carry on with your poly life? Why would ex romantic partners want to be witnesses to their ex's new romances up close?

You two might consider a separation. Like living in separate apartments.

And you start thinking of this economic partnership thing as paying alimony/spouse support because you happen to be the breadwinner in this couple.

While he is an amazingly intelligent and capable man, it would be incredibly difficult for him to get a job due to his shortcomings preventing him from meeting the demands of the typical workplace

As you uncouple? That becomes Mark's stuff to solve, not yours.

We would have to stay married in order for him to stay in the country -- though, that said, marriage itself was never important to us and we only did it out of necessity.

It is possible to be "legally married on paper" but live separate lives in separate flats until such time that Mark can apply for citizenship and not need the marriage to be in the country. Or he decides to make a plan to move back to his other country and reboot his life over there.

If you are going to consciously uncouple/detangle? You have to make a plan and go in order, maybe even go slowly... but talk it out and then GO if you both want new changes.

Doing same stuff? Is just more of same. You both already know that hasn't been working.

I am starting to reach the end of my mental limit here. I am going to put this down for now and come back when I have the energy and time again. Thank you once again for responding and hearing me out.

Understandable. One doesn't decide to end a marriage or do a separeation instantly. It takes some time to digest. Maybe you want counseling for just you to help support you as work through this, and as you and Mark make decisions to start to detangle and uncouple?

Not all choices in life are "win" or "lose." Some of them are "this is hard" and "this is also hard." So when all the choices stink? You have to pick your hard. Hopefully you pick the one that stinks the least and gives people a chance to move forward. Rather than picking the hard that keeps them in the stuck.

I encourage you to talk honestly with Mark and be kind to each other even as you begin to talk about how let each other go with some dignity and grace.

Galagirl
 
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