Vetoed relationship but can't get over secondary

egoscout

New member
My wife and primary (Pol, on this forum) explained our situation recently in a post: "New Poly Relationship Trauma." I started a relationship with a secondary that was wrong--done in the wrong way, and with the wrong person for us.

Every possible mistake that could have been made I did. I lost track of my wife's feelings, I got drunk on NRE, I kept moving forward thinking that everything would work out, and I kept thinking that all of our problems were just the growing pains of having my first emotional bond with a secondary. It wasn't until my wife threatened divorce that I stopped the relationship with the secondary. I know how wrong my behavior was. I know the stupidity of my mistakes.

Here are the problems that prevent us from moving forward:
1. I still have feelings for the secondary and they are not fading fast enough to help my wife and I move forward and rebuild trust;

2. My wife sees that everything the secondary did was manipulative, while I see her actions as those of a mono person (introduced to poly by me) who stumbled her way through our connection and opening up her marriage simultaneously.


Help me. I WANT to see that I've been manipulated and that this secondary was evil. I want to see her in the same way my very intelligent wife sees her behaviors and personality. When my wife asks me if I can recognize how I've been manipulated by this woman, it feels like she is asking me, "what does 2 + 2=?" And every time I come up with, 5, 8, 43, etc.

Why the hell can't I see clearly? I feel like my mind has been taken from me. How do I get it back quickly? Time is of the essence, because if I don't get this fixed, my wife has made it clear that our marriage will be over.

I dipped into some depression throughout all of this, which hasn't helped either.

There is an older forum post my wife read about a couple in a similar situation. When the husband realized the pain he was causing he apologized and ended the secondary relationship. It is described as a quick, clean, painless process in that post. Is that really how it is? If so, what is wrong with me?

Help.
 

Derbylicious

New member
With all due respect could it be that you know her better than your wife and maybe your take on her motivations might be valid? Most of the time people do the best they can with what they have. If this was new to all of you I can see how there would be a lot of missteps.
 

Natja

New member
I have to agree with Derbylicious, remember, it is in your wife's best interest to see your exgf behaviours as manipulative, because then she feels it is easier to excuse your behaviour, it isn't particularly insightful, it is just easier and very, very human to do so. Do you really want to cast your ex as an evil person to help you recover from your feelings? Or do you want to learn to grow and accept the path you chose to take? Including allowing someone else to dictate your other relationships?

You'll have to recover from this relationship and examine whether Polyamory is the correct path for your future.

Good Luck,

Natja
 

AnnabelMore

New member
Why the hell can't I see clearly? I feel like my mind has been taken from me. How do I get it back quickly? Time is of the essence, because if I don't get this fixed, my wife has made it clear that our marriage will be over.

I dipped into some depression throughout all of this, which hasn't helped either.

There is an older forum post my wife read about a couple in a similar situation. When the husband realized the pain he was causing he apologized and ended the secondary relationship. It is described as a quick, clean, painless process in that post. Is that really how it is? If so, what is wrong with me?

Yeah, there's no way to rush this. There's no reason to expect that falling in love and then going through a break up -- whether or not you did things the wrong way, whether or not the person you fell for was being genuine or manipulative (in the end NONE of us know which it is, not us, not you, not your wife, not her husband... only your former secondary can really know) -- should work the same way for everyone. In fact, I would hazard to say that break ups are painful and messy far more often than they are painless and clean.

Especially layered onto the depression, you should NOT be expected to feel things you don't feel or see things you don't see. Your internal process is your own, and if your wife is giving you the choice between "say you see it this way or get a divorce" (I really didn't get that sense from her thread??), then your real choices are going to be "lie about how you see it or get a divorce", because perspective is something that just takes time... not to mention that reasonable people can disagree on someone's motives!!

So, I would say you cannot at all be reasonably expected to change your feelings or perspective. What you CAN change are your actions. Are you still in touch with this woman? Still talking about it at home? You've got to just let it all go. You can't make it painless or clean, but you can make it quick in the sense that you end it fully and completely on all practical levels. That seems imperative.

It'll take longer for it to end in your heart. That's just natural. If your wife really wants to stay your wife -- and from her thread, it seemed like she really, really did -- she'll appreciate your practical steps and give your heart time to catch up. That's my take, anyway.
 

Dagferi

Active member
Yeah, there's no way to rush this. There's no reason to expect that falling in love and then going through a break up -- whether or not you did things the wrong way, whether or not the person you fell for was being genuine or manipulative (in the end NONE of us know which it is, not us, not you, not your wife, not her husband... only your former secondary can really know) -- should work the same way for everyone. In fact, I would hazard to say that break ups are painful and messy far more often than they are painless and clean.

Especially layered onto the depression, you should NOT be expected to feel things you don't feel or see things you don't see. Your internal process is your own, and if your wife is giving you the choice between "say you see it this way or get a divorce" (I really didn't get that sense from her thread??), then your real choices are going to be "lie about how you see it or get a divorce", because perspective is something that just takes time... not to mention that reasonable people can disagree on someone's motives!!

So, I would say you cannot at all be reasonably expected to change your feelings or perspective. What you CAN change are your actions. Are you still in touch with this woman? Still talking about it at home? You've got to just let it all go. You can't make it painless or clean, but you can make it quick in the sense that you end it fully and completely on all practical levels. That seems imperative.

It'll take longer for it to end in your heart. That's just natural. If your wife really wants to stay your wife -- and from her thread, it seemed like she really, really did -- she'll appreciate your practical steps and give your heart time to catch up. That's my take, anyway.
There are four sides to this story. Yours, your wife's, your ex girlfriend and the truth.

IMO your wife is filtering things through jealousy and hurt. And honestly I think she was selfish.

You two need to sit down and have a serious discussion.
 

Vixtoria

New member
You guys started on this path to poly through an affair. Many of us here have. There are several steps to get from cheating to poly. There are things you can't rush. DH and I were in a VERY similar situation and it kind of drives us nutty when people have an affair and discover they can love more than one person so say they are poly! No, they aren't.

You're wife had an affair, the fact that she CAN love two people at once does not excuse it, it does not mean she is poly, and it does not mean by saying she is poly the hurt feelings of betrayal and the affair are 'easier' to get over. They aren't. It's been five years for us and guess what? Still dealing with the affair. It was an online affair, imagine how much longer we would be working on it if it was more than that!

We often say that if you start this journey through an affair then it's not Affair >> Poly. Rather it is Affair >> Non Monogamy >> Ethical Non Monogamy >> Poly. Now I'm not saying everyone needs to take the same amount of time we did to get there, but saying that you had an affair because you are poly is ridiculous. Poly is a relationship style, not a state of being! People will say they are hard wired poly, the truth is they are hard wired non mono. HOW they choose to have those relationships tells if they are a cheater, ethically non mono or poly!

So your wife sees this other woman as manipulative, guess what? So is your wife. Pulling a divorce card or veto card is often considered VERY manipulative. Also, more than a little hypocritical considering you didn't pull a divorce card on an affair! Rather you were willing to work with her and do counseling. Now, I'm not saying the ex wasn't manipulative, I just don't think it was on purpose. Humans can be very selfish creatures and be manipulative without realizing it. In little ways that they don't notice.

Also, where is the kindness? The compassion? Your wife stumbles into poly by an affair, she obviously hadn't heard of poly knows little to nothing about it and you guys hit some bumps. Sounds like your ex did the same. Why is SHE vilified for it? Have ANY of you done any ground work on poly? Read some books, discussed how you feel about certain aspects? Decided what taking it slow means, learned to communicate honestly and effectively so that when bumps arise feelings can be discussed and dealt with in a way that isn't a veto or divorce?

Being able to use NVC to say when you are hurting or upset by something is important. Seeing the EXACT SAME THING is not! DH and I still don't see things the exact same way, it's not required. What IS required is the ability to honestly express our feelings and own them, not put them on someone else. To be able to hear the other person, understand that their feelings are their own and valid for them. Not right, not wrong, but VALID FOR THEM. Just as your feelings are valid for you. Respect the other person's feelings but they aren't yours and honestly shouldn't be. You are TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. That means that sometimes your own insecurities and issues will be yours to deal with, and yours alone. Your wife feels insecure? She can tell you, ask for some reassurances. Dictating how you feel and how you view other people should so NOT be on the table.
 

Manifestiny

New member
Egoscout - i have tried to send you private messages but they don't seem to working properly. I wanted to reach out because i feel we are going through similar experiences at this time.

I developed a relationship with a secondary and, regardless of trying to do everything possible to be sensitive and respectful, apparently did everything wrong. Now it looks as though my marriage is over.

What i have come to learn is that THE TRUTH is the most important thing. I stopped seeing my gf upon my wife's request...but all it did was created resentment and help me realise that i do love my gf. My wife is positioning my gf as a manipulative home wrecker...and simply displaying a complete unwillingness to work anything out by blatantly ignoring the confronting aspects and not communicating. In this process, i am beginning to see that there are things going on for my wife that are far deeper than anything related to when i came into her life. I am talking about deep seeded expectations about marriage more than anything...because despite genuinely attempting to design a marriage that was suitable for our beliefs and principles...at the end of the day, the expression of the marriage by my wife has been nothing short of text book institutionalised co-depenency.

I seriously call for a review of how our culture has designed our understanding of interpersonal relationships...in that it seems to have created the expectations that all connections we have with others can be institutionalised by some dominating idea of how it's supposed to work. To me, it seems far more important to cultivate a capacity to integrate the dynamics of our relationships as they arise, in order to allow for the natural flow of our feelings as they ebb and flow.

If anyone knows of any good threads or references that explore this topic...i would appreciate being directed there.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I came to a poly dynamic via my affair.

As a sense of perspective:

I committed to "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" September 25, 2009.
Over the next 3 years the boyfriend I cheated with and myself struggled through some HELL re-earning my husbands trust.
Only in the last 6 months or so has that been visible (trust) in all honesty.

It's taken a LOT of suffering on our parts-genuine willingness to basically suck it up and suffer; while he fumed, cried, fumed, cried, left, returned, filed divorce paperwork, moved out, moved in etc.

When you destroy trust-it doesn't just come back because you say your sorry and agree to new terms. Those things are part of apology-but there is still "making amends" AND "suffering the consequences" of your choices.

It sounds to me like you want to skip the consequences part.

Three years of hell-much of it logged on here and/or in my personal blog.
Finally-we're really progressing to a place where my husband and boyfriend are being reasonably friendly metamours and coparents to our children.

I am always amazed by how quickly people who were the ones who hurt someone want to be forgiven and "get on with it". Not that I didn't FEEL that way-but really? If I were the one hurting and angry-I want my partner to honor that emotion, own their part of it and be supportive while I work through it.

I see it a lot like grieving.
They say grieving stages are "at best" 5 years with re-occurence randomly for life... Welcome to breaches of trust. Same thing.
 

BrigidsDaughter

New member
I'd say that your wife was/ is the manipulative one. She had an affair, which opened you guys up to poly, but wasn't really okay sharing you, so she had to find some way to convince you to leave your GF. She threatens divorce, and you, who obviously love her, give up your GF to save your marriage. But since your wife needs the GF to be the bad guy to keep you in line so you don't leave, she's creating an environment where she can manipulate you into agreeing with her opinion. Once you come around to her POV, she can keep doing what she wants to do, have more affairs, etc, while you believe her because she's the trust worthy one, not anyone who you date.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Because of THIS:
I started a relationship with a secondary that was wrong--done in the wrong way, and with the wrong person for us.

Every possible mistake that could have been made I did. I lost track of my wife's feelings, I got drunk on NRE, I kept moving forward thinking that everything would work out, and I kept thinking that all of our problems were just the growing pains of having my first emotional bond with a secondary. It wasn't until my wife threatened divorce that I stopped the relationship with the secondary. I know how wrong my behavior was. I know the stupidity of my mistakes.

THIS is arbitrary.
He did not have the affair, his wife did.

In my book-(everyone has their own definitions) doing it the wrong way equals not meeting boundary agreements which equals cheating.

She may have had an affair (not addressed in the first post) and in that case-maybe she has some tough work to build trust as well.
But-I wasn't addressing HER. I was addressing HIM in acknowledging that HE went about his relationship all wrong.
As someone who also went about my relationship all wrong-I know how hard it is to FIX that.
Shrug.

If the OP wants some suggestions on how I managed it-I'm available by PM. I always answer PM's and I managed to get through the bs to a happy and viable poly dynamic after an affair AND after a "went about it all wrong" bs by my husband after that.
 

Natja

New member
I was just reporting that you may have missed the affair bit. He says he went about things badly, but she knew all about it, it does not equal affair in my eyes. If you got it wrong and missed it, you got it wrong. Nothing wrong with admitting that but you can't really accuse him of having an affair as it is clear a) that was his wife and b) she knew about his relationship but as he says, he got carried away by NRE. He doesn't go into enough details for anyone to make a specific judgement and accuse him of cheating.

So no, it is not arbitrary. There is a very distinct definition, so you are splitting hairs.
 

Vixtoria

New member
The 'wrong way' is that wifey wasn't happy. He was honest, and up front, when asked to back off, he did, when things were being discussed and he was told they needed time, he gave it. So while the wifey is trying to make him feel like the bad guy and having done things 'the wrong way' what he did wrong was assume that being up front and honest and poly himself was okay. It wasn't. Poly is only for her and only because she already had an affair and wants to keep the guy in her life. She has mentioned that she agrees that calling it poly was simply "A means to an end" Saying that by doing so then she's not a cheater and they can move on from that.

Just because I've read both their threads and the LAST thing I think hubby needs is reassurances that he was wrong. He did everything right, it was that his gf was new to poly and so it was rough and his wife was new to sharing hubby and so made the gf out to be manipulative whenever she had a hard time with things. Meanwhile wifey was NOT manipulative for the same tears and for pulling the divorce card. Hypocritical when there was no divorce card pulled when she was cheating.

It's more a case of "Poly for me" Wifey wants what she wants and people should fall in line. Anything uncomfortable for her should be vetoed immediately.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Well, it sounds like despite everything that has transpired you want to be with wife.

Here are the problems that prevent us from moving forward:
1. I still have feelings for the secondary and they are not fading fast enough to help my wife and I move forward and rebuild trust;

Could you please clarify? Fading fast enough for whom?

How do your feelings for the secondary and grieving the break up loss of that hold YOU back from building trust with the wife?
How do your feelings for the secondary and your grieving the break up loss hold WIFE back from building trust with you?

2. My wife sees that everything the secondary did was manipulative, while I see her actions as those of a mono person (introduced to poly by me) who stumbled her way through our connection and opening up her marriage simultaneously.

You don't have to agree with wife. Secondary is GONE now. But if your goal is to be with wife... could figure out whatever her reasonable need is here and if you could reasonably meet it. Then maybe she can LET THIS GO already? Say you DID agree that the secondary was manipulative for a minute... What NEED would hearing that from you serve in the wife?

She needs empathy from you? Needing reassure? Need for primacy? Something else? Is what she asks of you not realistic or reasonable?

You could say to wife "Yes. I see that everything the secondary did was manipulative for you. Remember, secondary is GONE now. How can I provide you with reassure at this point in time? I am HERE. I am sorry this is hard and crazy. I am here with you through this. What needs can I meet for you?"

What about your needs? Does wife understand what your needs are here -- to be able to let go of the ex in a way you can live with? The need to grieve loss without extra grief piled on top? Maybe you need a counselor or trusted friend to help you with THAT portion of it. Because on that one? Wife is not "the guy" to help you process? It just feeds crazy?

See if sorting out the NEEDS for each of you and "who's the guy" for helping to process it helps move it over the hump. You may not be "the guy" for all her things and she might not be "the guy" to help sort all her things. Too close to the issue to be helpful. YKWIM? Maybe if you can each understand each other's need in this you could get closer to resolution?

It sounds rough over there. I am sorry. :(

Galagirl
 
Last edited:

BoringGuy

Banned
The 'wrong way' is that wifey wasn't happy. He was honest, and up front, when asked to back off, he did, when things were being discussed and he was told they needed time, he gave it. So while the wifey is trying to make him feel like the bad guy and having done things 'the wrong way' what he did wrong was assume that being up front and honest and poly himself was okay. It wasn't. Poly is only for her and only because she already had an affair and wants to keep the guy in her life. She has mentioned that she agrees that calling it poly was simply "A means to an end" Saying that by doing so then she's not a cheater and they can move on from that.

Just because I've read both their threads and the LAST thing I think hubby needs is reassurances that he was wrong. He did everything right, it was that his gf was new to poly and so it was rough and his wife was new to sharing hubby and so made the gf out to be manipulative whenever she had a hard time with things. Meanwhile wifey was NOT manipulative for the same tears and for pulling the divorce card. Hypocritical when there was no divorce card pulled when she was cheating.

It's more a case of "Poly for me" Wifey wants what she wants and people should fall in line. Anything uncomfortable for her should be vetoed immediately.


Thank you Vix and Natja. You have spared me the irksome task of pointing all those things out. Once again, i am dismayed to see that people are adding things to what other people write, instead of reading the words that are written there for all to see. People see ultimatums where there are none, yet refuse to see ultimatums where there clearly are some. Also, doing things "the wrong way" does not equal "cheating" or "affair". Of course cheating and having affairs are "the wrong way" but there are other ways to make mistakes in relationships without labeling them "cheating" and "affair". Just because LR cheated, it doesn't mean everyone else whose spouse is unhappy with the "polyship" has CHEATED. Talk about "assuming" and "labeling". I thought we weren't supposed to DO that?

Here is a case where we do have both sides of the story, the wife admits to cheating/affair, admits to giving divorce ultimatums, etc. and people are STILL scolding and berating the husband because he's all "um, ah, i know i made mistakes too, and i'm trying to see things from my wife's point of view, but... I keep adding the numbers up and the answer is always the same. But my wife says it should be something else. How do i re-invent math so that i get the answer SHE has?"

Seriously? He's the "cheater"?? Ok, it was fun visiting fantasy land, but i'm going back to reality now, where i live.
 

nancyfore

Member
I've commented in Pol's thread and I totally know what your going through. Hubby (nutbusterx) and I have just had a break up (two weeks ago) with his co-worker. Your situation mirrors ours so unbelievably its like we wrote both your thread and Pol's.

I will mention to hubby that he comment here after reading your post, he might be very helpful. He just commented to me on Friday that he is having trouble getting "stretch" (ex-gf) out of his mind and out of his thoughts...

Stretch was also mono before she met hubby and he introduced her to poly also.. But she was still manipulative.. She actually told him that it was him that introduced her to being poly and he corrected her and told her that cheating wasn't poly.. She was very manipulative and he might be able to help with this too.

That other post was my response to our situation.. It was neither clean or unemotional.. It was hard, and it still is hard..

I will have hubby respond when he can...
 

AnnabelMore

New member
I feel silly contributing to an argument about what exactly went down, when ostensibly the point of this thread is to help Egoscout, who was there, and who knows what went down, but........

I developed feelings for someone much younger than me. They developed over a 3-year period. During that period he nearly died, and that was when I realized I loved him. I waited about 6 months (due to distance) to tell him how I felt with no intention of it turning into an affair. I know that is hard to believe, and I’m sure there will be plenty of doubters out there, but my intention was just to tell him because I couldn’t stand the thought of something happening to him (such as death) without him knowing. I told him it was just a tragic love story: two people meeting at the wrong time or in the wrong lifetime. He agreed. And then…

My husband learned of it very shortly after it happened.

...

Then he met someone at work. A younger, beautiful, married, former stripper. The problem is that he had fallen for her without communicating it with me. He says it’s because he couldn’t believe someone like that would be attracted to him, so he didn’t believe it himself. So, he concealed all the flirting, gift giving, etc. When I learned of it, it was when she started to pursue an affair with him (by revealing that she used to be a stripper, and he is the only other person she ever told, besides her husband). So, he said his marriage was open, she got excited, and they started to make plans. Well, our agreement is no affairs and no married women (unless open marriage). He was willing to have an affair.

What she did. A long-distance friendship-turned-love that only became verbalized because of fear that someone might die, with no understanding that poly might be possible.

What he did. Conscious, deliberate courting of a co-worker to the point of deciding, mutually, that an affair was on the table, all of which was in clear violation of agreements made within a new poly framework.

Is one worse than the other. I wouldn't hazard to judge. But Pol is not a demon and Egoscout is not a saint.
 

AnnabelMore

New member
My last post was from the wife's thread, in case that wasn't obvious.
 

NutBusterX

New member
Hi Egoscout. I'm Jim.

I just did this scenario. My gf at work, (Stretch) entered into a relationship with me under the guise of a breakup. She failed to mention when said breakup was over. Then she claimed she wanted to continue with me. I said I wouldn't continue unless her bf was informed of our relationship. She agreed. She delayed. She claimed they talked. Then she'd claim there was a miscommunication and she hadn't actually talked to him. Then things were too heavy to talk about. Then she said they had talked. Then they hadn't talked. Then they were on a break. Then we slept together. Then their break was over. Then they didnt talk...again....

I wanted to believe she needed time to adjust and get her head around things. Poly is a big step. I had to be patient. I loved her. I was patient. She continued to mislead me. I made excuses for her.

I have the kind of wife who lives compersion. My wife brought lunch for the three of us to work. My wife tried to befriend my gf. It was wonderful and i wanted to believe.

It took a long time for me to get my head to a place where i could see that the lies my gf told were lies. She lied to me. She lied to her bf. She lied to my wife. She very much loved the attention i gave her. She thanked me for introducing her to poly. She forgot the part of poly that includes honesty having a huge role in each relationship as a fundamental unshakable constant, despite having had that explained ad nauseum. Stretch claimed to love me and to love her 7 year bf. She said things were different with me because i could accept her honesty and he couldn't. If this sounds remotely familiar, you were being manipulated and used.

We've broken up now. Every day when i see her, it hurts a little. I miss her. I wish she had been able to be honest. I would have given her the moon, and my wife would have helped me, happily.

My wife had called the situation way sooner than i had. Stretch loved me, but her brand of love includes situational and selective honesty. It was unreliable and inconsistent. I chose to overlook it in hopes she'd be able to achieve it. She never quite got there. All the while my feelings deepened and my wife cried and struggled. We discussed. We got frustrated. We agreed to give it just one more shot. A bunch of times. A few more talks.

There's no point to this rambling except to say, I know what you're feeling and it sucks. When i ended my relationship with the gf, she was ok. I hurt. My wife hurt.

Lots of lessons learned, and Nancy and I have come out stronger and wiser than we started. Tons of honesty is in order. Your honesty won't always be pleasant for Pol. Her honesty wont always be pleasant for you. I don't believe pleasant is necessary. I also don't believe you both have to heal or understand at the same rate. Your wife got uncomfortable. You were in deep and developed some real and deep feelings. Supporting each other does not require being identical. Follow the truth. Do it better next time.

There is a japanese proverb that i love... "Fall down seven times, Get up eight" maybe it'll help, idk

I wish you both the very best.

Jim
 
Last edited:
Top