Struggling

spazzy

New member
Hi everyone,

I'm super glad I found a forum dedicated to polyamory. Ever since I found out my husband is poly, I've been trying to devour as much information about everything as I can, since that's how I process information. I'm really hoping to make some friends here, especially since with everything going on in the world right now, meeting face-to-face with a community seems to be a remarkably poor idea. My story is long, so to anybody who reads through it and responds, thank you so much. Any advice would be very helpful.

I'm a 28 y/o woman and my husband will be 27 in just a couple of weeks. I'm pansexual and he is straight. We were recently married in September, and things between us are really great right now. Unfortunately, we have had quite the rocky road to get to this point.

To preface all of this, when we were dating, my husband had an affair with a co-worker. It was something that completely blindsided and devastated me, as he had been cheated on several times in previous relationships and swore he'd leave if I did the same. It's been five years since then and, with a lot of counseling and hard work, we managed to put it behind us.

Having been through the BS before, I noticed at the end of 2019 that he was getting close with another co-worker. I brought it up to him, and he had assured me that his boundaries were in place and that she was only a friend. I still had that awful gut feeling, and after the first time he gaslit me, I decided to fully trust that feeling. Everything just didn't add up, you know? He was spending a lot of time with M at work (not outside it), they were messaging all the time. What really triggered me was that he had downloaded Snapchat again specifically because M was uncomfortable with our total transparency policy and didn't like that I could go through his phone whenever I wanted.

The blatant disregard for my boundaries to appease her hurt me deeply. We talked about it, and he had said that he was in a hard place -- either he hurts me or he hurts her. A mutual friend of ours also called him out on his shady behavior. He tried to get us to hang out, but she was incredibly standoffish and wouldn't really engage in conversation with me. When we got home, he was upset with me for not carrying that burden, which I told him was ridiculous because M is a grown woman and if she wanted to engage, she would have. I'm not her keeper. I do not have to make a damn thing easier for her, and she can't just hide behind her social anxiety.

Finally, in January of this year, I went through one of his conversations with M and she had asked him if anybody else knew he was poly.

I'm not proud of it, but I did have another meltdown. He was terrified that I had found out and fully believed that I would never be open to anything but a monogamous relationship. His assumption wasn't baseless. I had tried an open relationship with a previous boyfriend, with the stipulation that we would close it if any of us were uncomfortable, and then he tried to bully me into keeping it open. That had soured my opinion of polyamory working for me.

It didn't help that M was also "polyamorous" (more on that later) and had ADHD as well (which he had recently been diagnosed with) so she could understand his struggles better than I could. To me, this was just another nail in the coffin -- no matter how much he denied it, I knew on some level he either had feelings for her and just refused to admit it or was on his way to completely falling for her.

If he had been upfront about discovering his polyamory before things seemed duplicitous with M, I believe I would have felt differently. As it is, the way everything went down left me feeling disrespected. Putting her needs before mine, keeping things from me, it all sent me spiraling.

When I told him we could discuss opening our relationship, he cried. He thought I was going to ask him to move out. We laid down new boundaries, talked things through, and sure enough, the time came for us to talk about M. I made it clear that I was not comfortable with her. At first I thought that maybe being triggered was leading me to think irrationally, but our mutual friend who also works with him told me about M's oddly possessive behavior towards him.

Well, he told me later that he thought he might be falling for her. He realized this when she got a new boyfriend. Shocker. When he told her about his feelings, she had told him that she believed in polyamory only until you found the right person and that her boyfriend could provide more for her than he ever could. He was crushed by this. I was not surprised. It took a couple of weeks, but during one of our talks, he apologized and said that he clearly had more work to do on himself if he was able to fall into the same behavior that led to his first affair. I'm not going to lie, he also blamed her for being manipulative, and he's right to an extent, but I do also feel like some of the blame rests on his feet. Because he's been down this slippery slope before, and he clearly learned nothing.

After this fiasco, he introduced me to an old friend of his from high school, K. She is also polyamorous, but in a monogamous relationship. And she was fully in my corner, supporting my relationship with him. I felt so comfortable with her as a friend because she didn't give me any of the bad vibes that M did. All three of us started hanging out together. Sometimes it would be the two of them, and then she and I started hanging out by ourselves.

K confessed to my husband that she had feelings for the both of us, which honestly took me aback. I think part of what makes polyamory such a wild concept to me is that I consider myself demiromantic. Like, I obviously get that people can be in love with more than one person, but finding one person is hard enough for me. And yet I was very attracted to K. I wasn't in love with her yet and couldn't make any promises that it would happen, but even if all I had for her was companionship, I was totally okay with her and my husband being together. It didn't feel like she was trying to take my place.

We all sat down and had a discussion of boundaries. Her fiance is strictly monogamous, so we were only going to be friends, but she's a very tactile person (which is also weird for me, as I'm pretty anti-touch unless I know someone very well) and she wanted to make sure that she didn't step on any toes. I would have preferred her fiance being there to also discuss it with us so that he could represent his own wishes, but he felt it wasn't necessary.

K was also going through a rough patch with her fiance. She would come to us for advice, and at times, it felt like I was his biggest advocate. As we all hung out more and more, I did start to develop feelings for her as well. We made sure to stick to the boundaries of what her fiance was comfortable with (she could hold hands and cuddle us, she could kiss me but not my husband, and she could spend the night) because above all else, I wanted to do this right. The thought of putting her fiance through the hell I went through makes my stomach churn.

K had said multiple times that she wanted to be in a relationship with us, but was trying to see if she could work things out with her fiance. Which is totally valid. I tried to give the best impartial advice that I could when she asked me for it. She said that it would basically boil down to whether she thinks she can force herself to be happily monogamous with him or if she could be happy being herself. I suggested she get some therapy to figure out what she wants, as that has helped me very much.

We've even spent time altogether as two couples. It was very awkward, and he didn't leave the best impression on me, since her fiance kept randomly coming up to her, hugging her, and saying "Mine!" It just made me increasingly uncomfortable, but I tried my best to be friendly with him because he's obviously important to her. I don't think he's even necessarily a bad guy, just kind of weird.

I was also uncomfortable that he was so okay with me and her potentially being a thing, but he was clearly territorial when it came to K being with my husband. Eventually, he started to do the little things that she had been begging him to do. Do more around the house. Show her how much he appreciates her. Dating-type things that sometimes go away when you settle into domesticity.

And now that he's done all that, things are great with them again. It's like she never spoke a negative word about him, like everything's always been fantastic. Which, don't get me wrong, I'm happy that he's finally listening to what she wants and stepping up. She deserves that. But now that he's doing all of that, we're hanging out less and less. It's as if maybe the excitement for her has fizzled out?

The more her relationship with her fiance got better, the worse her friendship with my husband got. There was a point where she told me that she thought he just liked the idea of her, and I don't even know how to respond to that or how exactly she got that idea. She also said that she thought my husband was trying to break her and her fiance up, which seemed really wild to me because she spent a couple of months talking to us about being a triad as if she had already made up her mind to break up with her fiance herself.

My husband and I are feeling more and more like an exit affair. Once she got the change she wanted from her fiance, we're no longer as important. And that stings. People don't work out and that's okay, I guess I just didn't think it'd happen to us.

Anyway, that's where we're at now. If you read this excruciatingly long post, thank you. Any insight you can offer would be great. I'm sure I left out some details, as it is late and I'm tired, so if you need me to clarify anything, please let me know!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Greetings spazzy,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

I think you can make new friends here, you just have to keep reading and posting. Let us know whatever questions you might have. Also you might want to copy your post here, and paste it into a new thread in Poly Relationships Corner. Poly Relationships Corner is our most active board, and you can get the widest variety of help, info, and advice from the most people there. Don't get me wrong, you can also continue posting in this intro thread, I'll be following you here and will be happy to help in any way I can.

Right now, my opinion is that you should distance yourself from K. She is in a monogamous relationship, with a man who doesn't want her to be poly, and she is getting more and more attached and committed to him. If you keep trying to get closer to her, you are likely to get your heart broken even more than it is now. If you and your husband want to be poly, you should look for someone else to be poly with, someone who will be fully present for you, and who will not be tied down by a monogamous partner. This is just my opinion and I could be wrong, but I offer it just in case it helps.

Hopefully others will chime in with advice as well.
Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter" :)

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
 

tdh

New member
Welcome spazzy! Hope you find some community here.

Your post included a lot of details but think there was two things that popped out to me: Boundaries and Transparency. M, K, and your husband have not maintained them well at different times in your description. Going forward, since you seem really clear on both of those, anytime those get violated (off of memory like not having K's husband during one discussion with you to advocate for his needs) it might be a pump the breaks for you in particular. So it might be good to slow it down a bit and talk to a professional who is poly friendly about how to do that as it is a clear need for you.

Also, K's boyfriend seems to have a bit of toxic masculinity and/or insecurity going for it. When he is comfortable way more with women to women affection than male (even though he could be left for a woman just as easily than a male) then that seems like a bit of a red flag to me even though it seems to be more common then I would like. And you stated things only got worse with your husband but not you. Whether that is is because she is renewing the new relationship energy with her partner or lost it with your husband, it feels someone's actions between the 3 has poisoned the well. Especially if you feel like the affection is still there for you two whether you act on it or not
 
Top