Feb. 7th, 2017

deza: (Secret master librarians)
I'm using this week's topic to work through some of my polyamory issues, so expect Terry Pratchett levels of footnotes and digressions (and if you haven't read the Discworld series, you really should. The man was one of the best selling UK authors of the 90s for a reason). Going into the disconnect between logic and feelings has a tendency to be a rather Gordian knot of issues.

Last February, I broke things off with Nate. I had done something that betrayed a basic level of trust in our relationship, snooping in his phone, and the consequences of that act were more than I could bear. Not from Nate; we established I was beyond wrong to betray his trust, I promised not to do it again, he changed his password (I know what it is, but it's more complicated than my arthritic fingers can handle) and that was that. I haven't even thought of doing it since. No additional comment needed.

The consequence I can't deal with is what I found. For a poly person, it's things that would be no big deal. For a monogamous person, it was heartbreaking.

One thing I found was a note to his other long-term girlfriend. I had made a FaceBook post sharing an article about easy hiking trails to waterfalls in Georgia, with a note to Nate saying I would like to visit them with him. He had sent the same link to her via Messenger, stating that even though I had posted it, he would rather do that trip with her. I haven't asked him to go hiking with me since. I don't want to be walking with him with the shadow of another woman holding his hand.

The other thing I found, and the reason I went snooping in the first place, was he was sexting another woman that I didn't know about.1 I lost it at that. To know that while I was laying in bed next to him, he was engaged in a sex act with someone else, was more than I could handle. We discussed why I felt that was a violation of the rules of our relationship and theoretically moved on. It's still a stumbling block for me.

When I am with Nate, I am with him 100%. If something is worrying or distracting me from being with him, I discuss it with him until I can move past it.2 The thought that he could physically be next to me and so focused on someone else makes me feel... extraneous. Unwanted. Unneeded. Just a distraction. So now, every time we're together and he starts paying more attention to his phone than he does to me, I wonder.

I know he doesn't see me that way. My logic centers do not doubt that at all. But my emotions latch on to those feelings of abandonment3 and run with them. I see my husband as an incredibly gifted man who has overcome some of the worst obstacles life can throw at a person. It is so hard for me to understand why he would want to be with someone as old, fat, dumpy, boring as me. No matter how often he reassures me that he doesn't see me that way, I still do. I see that I'm too old to give him another child after he was denied raising the one we have together.4 For the last three years we haven't used any form of birth control. The longest I carried a fetus was just over two months before miscarriage. I'm 46, a grandmother and very unlikely to naturally conceive again.5 I see that I have hangups and issues that hinder him from having full expression of his natural sexuality (hence why I'm whining here). I see all the things that he could accomplish if he wasn't having to placate my issues, and I don't understand why he chooses to stay with the mess that is ME.

Logically, I know there are parts of his heart reserved for other people. I know that he has close relationships with them that do not affect the relationship we have. Emotionally, I feel threatened by those other close relationships. The more threatened I feel, the more I act out in inappropriate ways -- and often I don't even realize that I'm doing so until he calls me on it.

I've been doing a lot of reading on Attachment Theory as it deals with adult relationships. I'm a pretty textbook Anxious Attachment Style. I've been working on exercises that are supposed to help me move to a more Secure Attachment Style. The books caution that can take years. I hope I can hang on to this relationship long enough to accomplish it. I just don't want to keep hurting Nate because I'm so broken.

This is my LJI Week 8 Entry. See, I promised lots of footnotes!


1As someone who has been cheated on many, many times (my ex Andrew had 14 affairs in 8 years of marriage), being completely faithful is a hot button issue for me.

2There have been many comments made about my need to talk things to death and difficult tendency to return to an issue we've already discussed when I start re-worrying over it. My memory was permanently affected by the years of opiate use and I frequently forget conversations we've had about topics that pop up again later as "unresolved" in my mental file. This is understandably very frustrating for him.

3I was temporarily "abandoned" with a series of relatives as a child and I'm still working through those unresolved issues.

4Nate is the biological father of my daughter. Andrew told Nate that the baby was his, citing a paternity test done in utero (that never happened). Andrew also told me that Nate didn't want to have anything to do with the baby. I ended up married to Andrew.

5I know that he wants to raise a child, and I am terrified that if one of the other women he dates got pregnant, he would leave me to have a permanent role in the child's life. Honestly, if he did father a baby with someone else, I would encourage him to go be a dad rather than being my husband. I feel rather strongly about the importance of a paternal influence.
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