deza: (Secret master librarians)
[personal profile] deza
If you love something, let it go.
But what if it never comes back?

That’s my dilemma. You see, my husband is polyamorous. I’m not.

For those not familiar with the term, a person who is polyamorous (poly for short) is capable of having multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships at once. These relationships may or may not overlap each other, and really there are as many differing “types” of poly as there are people practicing it. The one rule is that everyone involved knows about and consents to multiple relationships being ok. No one is kept in the dark.

I know some lovely people for whom this works very well, and has worked for years and years.

Me, though? So not me. See, I was married to a sociopath. No, I’m not speaking metaphorically. He was diagnosed by the psychotherapist who attempted marriage counseling before our first divorce. I’d never heard a therapist fire a client before.

One of the things my ex did, several times, was tell women we were in a poly relationship to get them into bed. Other women, he told he was looking for the next Mrs Sociopath to replace me when I died (since I am chronically ill and do have an anticipated shortened lifespan). He would say whatever it took to get what he wanted from these women – and then he would drop them and move on to the next. Sometimes he was even kind enough to bring diseases home – fortunately they were all treatable with antibiotics, although one particularly bad one came very close to making me miscarry my son. But that was my first exposure to “poly”, that it was just another term for cheating.

I know this ISN’T how poly is supposed to work, but I still have a lot of damage from that time. Part of the damage is a very deep seated belief that if my partner is wanting to be with someone else, it’s because on some level there is a desire to replace me with the other person. Even if it’s only for a night, I (rather understandably) have a problem with this notion.

For a long time, if I knew a guy was poly, I wouldn’t have anything to do with him outside of friendship. Full stop, period, end of statement. I didn’t want to even risk colluding in helping another woman feel the way I had felt.

Then I fell, and fell hard, for my husband.

He told me from the beginning he was poly. When we first started, I thought he was going to be a brief fling, then he would go back to GA and I would stay in PA and we’d chat occasionally over FaceBook and that would be it. I hadn’t had any sexual or romantic touch in three years and I was starved for it. So I told myself that his relationship quirks wouldn’t be an issue and took the chance.

Three years after that two-week visit, we’re married. The vast majority of the time, we are an incredibly good match and he makes me deliriously happy. We’ve weathered some really awful external events, and we’ve come through it stronger than ever. We support each other in all the ways that really matter.

But then he goes on a date, and I fall the fuck apart.

My imagination is too good, and I can’t turn it off. I can’t block out the mental image of him looking at another woman the way he looks at me, of him telling another woman how good it feels to be inside her, of him having that look of satisfaction on his face when he cums with someone else. And it drives me crazy. Every time, I end up in tears long before he gets home. I convince myself that he is trying to replace me, that he wants to find someone else that is better in bed than I am, someone who can do more for him than I can, someone who is healthier than I am, someone who is more accommodating. I generally reach the decision that the best thing for him would be if I weren’t in his life so he could be poly without having to deal with my crazy ass holding him back from fully enjoying life. If I don’t have any medications to calm the anxiety, the thoughts swirl around and around until I’m suicidal.

Three of the four times I’ve tried to kill myself in the last year have been directly connected to him being with someone else. The fourth was over losing the custody battle for my son.

And my poor love has been the one dealing with the fallout of this. He hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s been open and honest with me from the beginning. He’s gone out of his way to spend more time with me before and after his dates so I wouldn’t feel neglected. He’s talked about it until he turns blue. He’s supported me reading everything I can get my hands on about being a monogamous person in a polycule (the grouping of lovers of a polyamorous person). He’s shaken me out of sleeping pill comas, held me when I’ve broken down, tried to reassure me over and over again.

And every time, for my anxiety, my fear, it isn’t enough.

I am desperately afraid that the best ending here is divorce. Not because I don’t love him; because I do. Because it isn’t fair that he should have to curtail the way he loves and views relationships with other people because of my issues. Because it isn’t fair that I end up crying myself to sleep alone on nights when he is out with someone else. Because he deserves to have a wife who understands and appreciates him exactly as he is without freaking out over this one thing. Because I deserve to feel secure in my marriage, without having past damage regularly triggered.

I love him, and my fear is tearing me apart.

LJI entry. I got a little raw on this one.

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Date: 2017-01-11 05:48 pm (UTC)
ext_5285: (FN: Bubbles)
From: [identity profile] kiwiria.livejournal.com
Oh wow, I feel for you so much! I would absolutely react the exact same way as you, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

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Date: 2017-01-11 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thanks. I'm trying to make things work, but there are days when it absolutely overwhelms me.

My poly friends tell me "some people just can't do poly and there is nothing wrong with that" which is no help whatsoever.

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Date: 2017-01-11 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saintegloire.livejournal.com
I know it doesn't help anything, but your feelings are completely valid. You're not bad for feeling the way you do ... it's just a really unfortunate situation.

I would also freak out over this one thing, if I were in your shoes.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you.

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Date: 2017-01-12 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penpusher.livejournal.com
Let's just be clear: human relationships are complicated when there's just two people to deal with! Adding in anymore just exponentially increases the issues, missed communications and likely divides the feelings.

I think you might have mentioned this poly issue in a previous entry because this doesn't feel like brand new info to me. And maybe I mentioned that I interviewed a poly LJ user when I was doing my [livejournal.com profile] talk_show years ago. It was a fascinating study just from the outside looking in, and worthy of exploration.

But you're right. The personalities and sensibilities of the people involved can quell or explode the emotions and could turn what is heaven for one partner into a living hell for one or two others.

You probably know that fear is, mostly, meaningless. Either something will happen or it won't. Fear will not prevent or aid that something from happening. So the idea is to be who you are, unafraid. But then again, I'm viewing this from having no partner, so my thoughts are from a very different place.

I don't know if there's any reasonable answer to this situation without someone drastically changing their behavior, which would create some authenticity issues for these relationships...

Because you deserve to have a husband who understands and appreciates you without needing one thing more...

Stay strong.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
I think I mentioned it the last time I did Idol, when this relationship was still very new.

I honestly wish I didn't feel the way I do. I wish I could feel compersion, that I wasn't dealing abandonment issues every time he left, that I could meet one of his others socially without feeling like I've been hit in the gut. It would make things so much easier on us.

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Date: 2017-01-12 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] grail76.livejournal.com
I tell people that every new relationship begins with you dealing with the last few people your partner dated. You've been hurt by partners, esp. your ex-husband.
When you've been hurt this way, it has long term effects. Hang in there and try and believe what you're seeing more than what you're contemplating.
You've been through so much, I wish you could catch a break.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Not all of my issues come from past partners. I was temporarily abandoned by my immediate family when I was 4 (mom was dying of cancer, dad couldn't handle a preschooler so shipped me off to stay with relatives without telling me what was going on), and this has left some pretty deeply entrenched abandonment issues. Now that scared 4-year-old pops up at the worst times, and I still haven't figured out how to comfort her.

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Date: 2017-01-12 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millysdaughter.livejournal.com
I am so sorry.
I cannot offer any advice, just **hugs**

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thanks hon.

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Date: 2017-01-12 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marlawentmad.livejournal.com
This is so smartly written. You are a powerhouse. Here is a secret. I have similar feelings; my anxiety pulls me under in a lot of ways. I am the polyamorous partner. I have the exact same worries about my monogamous-oriented spouse. I'm told Love is a verb and with commitment there is another, healthier way. You're brave. I may be overstepping, but I would like to suggest EMDR therapy for PTSD-like symptoms I am reading in your entry. I wish you the very best.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. I will definitely look into it.

And it always helps to know I'm not the only person facing these kinds of issues.

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Date: 2017-01-12 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] muffle1969.livejournal.com
I just wish I had something helpful or useful to say. You know I love you.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Love you too babe. You know that.

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Date: 2017-01-13 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilmissmagic71.livejournal.com
*hug* This is so raw and rough... I'm so sorry you're enduring this right now.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you.

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Date: 2017-01-13 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] banana-galaxy.livejournal.com
I picked out your entry to read first after posting mine, because I wrote a bit about polyamory too. We come from opposing preferred relationship structures (because poly works for me better than monogamy), but I still feel for you, and this sounds like a really difficult situation to be in. I have no answers; I've only been with other partners who have more propensity toward poly themselves. But I hope you can find something that will help you both work something out so you can both be happy.

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Date: 2017-01-13 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. My husband tells me he's had bad experiences with dating mono women in the past, but I'm the one that finally convinced him that dating mono women may not be the best idea for a poly man.

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Date: 2017-01-13 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
Hugs...Not sure what to say. I would also find this very hard to deal with.

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Date: 2017-01-13 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you.

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Date: 2017-01-15 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
I am sorry that something that you want to bring you joy and happiness is causing you such pain. I hope you are able to reach that point.

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Date: 2017-01-17 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. I hope so too.

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Date: 2017-01-15 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
I am so, so sorry.

I think worried, and insecure, and depressed are how most people would feel in the situation you describe. It's the nature of not being poly yourself. What you could feel is only theoretical. What you do feel is the truth of it, and it's clearly hurting very much.

Wishing you courage and strength.

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Date: 2017-01-17 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you.

I think you hit the nail on the head. I know what I *want* to be feeling and have no idea how to actually get to feeling it.

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Date: 2017-01-16 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
I really feel for you in this. I know I would be reacting the same way :(
Edited Date: 2017-01-16 04:58 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2017-01-17 07:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you.

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Date: 2017-01-16 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garnigal.livejournal.com
My partner also identifies as poly, but he knows I'm not on board for him having any other partners. I totally feel for you on this one.

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Date: 2017-01-17 07:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
If you don't mind me asking, how did that conversation go? I've been told from the beginning that this is what it means to be a part of his life, and I've felt conflicted about that - that it's not consent if the only other option I have is to walk away.

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Date: 2017-01-17 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com
I am quite possessive when it comes to that special relationship, so I really feel for you.

Maybe writing down some positives of this relationship(like no matter what he comes back to you, the special date you had to compensate his absence, or planning a surprise when he's away) and going through them whenever the negative thoughts trouble you could help?

*Hugs* Take care.

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Date: 2017-01-17 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
I try not to be possessive, but I freely admit I'm territorial.

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Date: 2017-01-17 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bewize.livejournal.com
I don't think I really have good advice. But, I can tell you from a situation I once lived through that sometimes the mono-poly relationship involves two (plus) wonderful people who just aren't compatible long term.

If your anxiety and stress over this situation is driving you to be actively suicidal, then I encourage you to search for sliding scale therapy in your area.

I wish you all the best.

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Date: 2017-01-17 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you. It's on the list of things to do once we're no longer homeless.

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Date: 2017-01-18 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mamas-minion.livejournal.com
I am sorry this is happening to you, I do not feel as though I could offer advice on this other than sometimes you have to take care of you and if that means leaving the relationship for your metal health than that is what you should do. Love is not easy but if it takes too much work than it is not really love and not really worth it. Just how I feel not telling you what you should or shouldn't do.

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Date: 2017-01-18 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
Hugs and peace~~~D

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Date: 2017-01-18 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-name-is-jenn.livejournal.com
I wish I had something more helpful to say than I'm sorry you're going through this and that I wish you the best, but I don't.

*hugs*

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Date: 2017-01-19 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alycewilson.livejournal.com
I am so sorry it's working out this way, but it sounds like you need to listen to your heart.
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