I don’t know what form this is going to take. I’ve been hurt so many times by hubby in the past 6 months that I don’t know what to say. Here’s a bit of a play by play of what I can remember. Why? Because today hubby was pretty insistent that everything is my fault. So here we go.
At the beginning of September, we embraced polyamory. I was dating X, long distance, however, so it was phone calls and Skype and messenger. Hubby was with his first girlfriend, V. The had an intense and rapidly physical relationship, but his feelings for her were stronger than hers for him and he scared her off. She broke up with him via text message and he took it very hard.
I’ve always been his source of support. He talked to me about it all and I listened patiently. It was getting to me though. It was a short relationship and there was no reason in my mind for him to be so hurt. Moving on was what he needed, but he is all about the scarcity. One night, after an exceptionally long day at work, followed by an appointment in the evening, I came home and when I walked in, I gave him a hug and said I was done for the day. I didn’t have any more to give and couldn’t talk tonight. I told him so. I crawled into bed and was falling asleep as he came in with laundry and woke me up. He started talking about kids and life and I reminded him that I couldn’t. That I was done, I didn’t have it in me to have a conversation. I told him what I needed. He said “I don’t fucking care, you haven’t been here all day and I need to talk to you. So you’re going to fucking listen.” He proceeded to talk about his heartache, two weeks later, from V. And I crushed him. I was really hard on him. I screamed and yelled and criticized and insulted and belittled him. I was mean. I had no patience and no filter and no restraint. I wanted him to leave me alone. Instead, I hurt the man I love the most. I hurt him badly. I apologized the next day, knowing how inappropriate what I did was. He’s still angry. He doesn’t recognize what he did. He doesn’t recognize that he pushed across a boundary I laid down and I was reacting. It doesn’t make what I did OK, but had he respected me, it wouldn’t have happened.
We reached a place of relative calm when he started dating D’s wife and his current girlfriend, W. He really liked D’s wife much better than W, but then D’s wife called things off with him. I was super supportive. I felt bad for him and hugged him and did all the wifey things. But he said something about me being responsible for D’s wife breaking up with him because I was dating D, and I said “Please don’t interfere with my relationship with D because his wife broke up with you.” I didn’t mean it in a horrible accusatory way. It was simply a request. But it was inappropriate for me to say. This led to a long diatribe about how I was never supportive and I wasn’t there for him when he needed me, and how I hurt him. No amount of apologies and calm responses talked him off the ledge. At one point, he sent me a message from work with a picture of a sharps container from a local hospital and said “See this sharps container? It’s more useful to me than you are, and it’s full of HIV and Hep B.” I can’t even begin to tell you how much that hurt me. It still hurts. He kept telling me it was funny. That I should appreciate his humour. I think he apologized once. Maybe. But he still said it was funny. I felt so unloved. Disregarded. Unvalued. I knew he was hurting me because he was hurting. I was the only place to take his frustrations out. And out he did.
I responded to that insult by booking a lot of time out of the house. Forcing him to stay home. I did it intentionally because I didn’t want to be around him. W took it as an indication that I was trying to control him and his relationship with her. Apparently he’s still getting hell for that. (Funny, I would think calling me less useful than a sharps container would be worse than not seeing W for a week, but who am I to judge what he has a conscience about?). Before he apologized to me, I apologized to him for overbooking myself out of anger and made every effort to make sure it didn’t happen again. This has gone unnoticed.
I broke up with B and C cut me out of his life because W couldn’t handle me being friends with him. This hurt a lot, because C was actually the person who was helping me deal with the weird relationship anarchy rules that W liked to arbitrarily lay down without actually communicating what they were to me. He was such a good friend and a good support. Unfortunately, hubby asked me once whether I was interested in C, and I said “Yes, we are attracted to each other and would probably date if he lived here.” Well, according to hubby, I destabilized his relationship because I tried to fuck W’s other partner. Ya. I didn’t, and wouldn’t have anyway, and I quickly realized that since W is so difficult to deal with, I would never date C, because having two partners involved with W would be way too much for me! At this point, hubby was prioritizing all his time with her. It was Christmas and we all had our own plans. A couple days before Christmas, she was going away to spend a few days with her family and C, and hubby and I were having a romantic day together. About 11 pm, she messaged hubby saying she was alone and asking him to come over (knowing we were on a date and that she should never have texted), and he asked to go (which he should never have done). I said I wasn’t OK with it, and from the look on his face realized that he was going to be miserable if I didn’t tell him to go. So was she. And if he was miserable, I would be too. So I told him to go. I told him that it was better if only one of us was miserable and they were happy. So he ran out. He left me. In the middle of a movie on a date together, to go see his girlfriend. Him prioritizing his girlfriend over me had been a big problem to me. This was devastating to me. Heartbreaking. He didn’t understand why I was upset because I told him to go. He didn’t think I should be upset at all. He didn’t understand why I was hurt. It took days to explain to him how unvalued and unloved I felt.
Meanwhile, I had been arranging child care and everything so that he could go away with her. On New Year’s, we had a gathering at our place. We walked to the fireworks and had a nice time. I had worked a 12 hour day shift the whole day, so I was pretty tired. When it was time to get the baby to bed, I asked hubby to change him while I got him a bottle, and W, in front of my friends, said “You’ve been home with the kids all day, why doesn’t she put him to bed.” Reasons be damned, there is no situation where it is acceptable for her to have an opinion on our parenting, nevermind criticizing mine. Not that hubby defended me.
A couple days later, hubby and I were arguing and he said “It’s been suggested to me that the reason we are poly is because you don’t love me and this way you get to fuck other men and still have me support you.” I lost my shit. W, who is so concerned about people knowing anything about her life that she canceled a coffee date with me when I told C I was meeting her for coffee, had read a text message from C and interpreted it as me not loving hubby and then told hubby. Never mind that I had never said anything but that I love him. That I want to support him. I’d never said anything bad about him. She said the single most destabilizing thing she could have. But according to hubby, this is my fault. Because I was friends with C. Well, he says it was because I was “trying to fuck C”, but I wasn’t, so friendship it is. I was so hurt. Hurt that she is so bad at poly that she would intentionally destabilize her partner’s relationship, and hurt that he would believe it. I immediately contacted C and asked him to be careful about what was going around, and he contacted W, who got mad at hubby, who took it all out on me. He told me that if she broke up with him over this he would divorce me. Never in there was an acknowledgement that I was the victim.
Of course, I was livid. Rageful. I lashed out and lashed out hard. I insulted W and called her crazy. I screamed and yelled and told him he was fucked up for wanting her and not seeing what a manipulative bitch she was. I said horrible things about her. I removed any illusion of hope for support of that relationship when I did that. Later, I apologized for it and expressed understanding that it was inappropriate, but the damage was done. I realized, too late, that I had to accept her, even if I didn’t like her. I had to support him, even if she didn’t support his relationship with me.
Then I got drunk and had sex with A. And then we started a relationship. While hubby and I were arguing worse than ever, I started a relationship. Not doing so would be a horrible thing to do to A, and since I care about him, I would never cast him aside for my marriage, but it was bad timing and that is my fault.
Meanwhile, hubby and I were fighting. All. The. Time. Every discussion ended in an argument. I couldn’t ask about plans for saturday without him telling me I was selfish. I couldn’t make plans to have my eyelashes done without a guilt trip about how I prioritize them over him. He wanted to go on dates and have fun, but then would tell me that I fucked with W and scheduling and start arguing with me about hierarchy when I was just trying to determine his plans.
One night they wanted to sleep at our house and I told them to go ahead and take our room. He demanded the spare room. I said no, i was using it, to sleep upstairs. This ended up being a huge deal, because apparently I interfered with W coming over. Turns out she refuses to sleep in our bed. I had no idea. He didn’t explain. But I’m still at fault for not being willing to support their relationship.
He wanted to go out and have fun. He insisted we just be friends and not take anything seriously. This seemed so fucked up to me, since it was like not talking about the pink elephant in the room. He refused to talk about anything. He refused to even take a selfie with me at the concert. Now I’m not trying because I was hurt when he refused to let me. I’m too angry and too reactive. I was so hurt and angry that I couldn’t pretend to be OK when he kept telling me how much better W was than me. The night before I left for the funeral, we went out. We went for a drink and W and how much better than she is and how I did all these horrible things came up. I tried to leave. He wouldn’t let me. It was too much. I was leaving to go to a family member’s funeral and he was being awful to me. We came home. We were talking through some stuff. I don’t remember what I said, but he grabbed my packed toiletry bag off the couch next to me and started stomping on it in anger. Destroying it. In the previous weeks, he had dumped out my purse and my backpack in a similar way and thrown my phone against the wall. I lost control. I couldn’t handle him destroying my bag. I flew off the couch and hit him. I should never have hit him. I know this. It’s never acceptable.
While I was away, he refused to talk to me. I needed his support badly, but he wouldn’t give it to me. When I returned, he left a few hours before to be with W. I saw him for 1.5 hours the first week I was back. We had a counselor’s appointment. He’s angry. He’s holding on to his anger like a protective victim cloak. He thinks me hitting him negates all his responsibility, or at least that’s how it seems. I agree that what I did was wrong. It’s never acceptable to hit someone in anger. It’s terrifying to me that I lost control. I didn’t consciously decide to do so. It just happened. It was a visceral response. I think that’s scarier than if I had decided. While I was away, I booked an appointment with a counsellor to start working on my tool kit. I talked about her advice in a previous post. More recently, I talked about how hard it is for me to not be entitled to my feelings. To not be able to express my hurt at being deprioritized and abandoned and insulted and have my stuff destroyed. How I have to be patient and wait until he is ready to come to the table to work on the issues I need to address. It’s all about nurturing a little bit of hope. And prioritizing my kids in the meantime.
But then there is the question of whether he will come back to the table. Today, he came home to pick up our kids. He started talking about how I have never supported him. That when he needed support, I took away his support for a week by booking so many activities, that I caused drama in his relationship by trying to fuck C, that it was my fault that W talked about me because I was friends with C, that I assaulted him in a criminal manner. He started talking about me being abusive. He said he doesn’t think our values align anymore. He says I spend too much money (I do), and that I’m going to be the reason for bankruptcy and no educational savings for our kids and for never being able to travel (not true). He says that I don’t believe in parenting my own children because I have two jobs. That I work too much. That I should be home with the kids parenting them. Never mind that I have 13 years of university education and love my job and have put my kids to bed every night this week, and do most weeks, he thinks I should give up my career to be home. I keep the second job so that I can work on my holidays to gain extra money.
He’s reframed much of our relationship in the shadow of these last 6 months. The truth of many events has been rewritten. I see my faults in this. I know there are many. I want to make them right or make it up to him or at the very least make sure it happens again. He isn’t seeing his responsibility.
One last point. I’m pretty sure hubby has PTSD. I think that’s what has taken his coping skills away. While I don’t discount my role, I think that he has lost a lot of his resilience over the last months. His threshold for anger is lower and he is more reactive than ever. Gone is the patient, understanding, kind, and loving husband I had for 10 years. The man who has replaced him is angry and hurtful and mean. I miss my husband. This man is slowly killing me.
I’m just going to post this without editing. It’s just raw and out there. I needed to get it out to help understand it all. To get some of the hurt out in facts.