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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