Broken

The last week has been amazing in so many ways.  Things are falling into place.  F and I are working together really well.  Our bi-weekly finance discussion went so smoothly this week that we ended up thanking each other for working as a team and cooperating so well.  We laughed about things our crazy kids did.  I offered to do some things for him, he for me.  It was so….functional.  

My job is gearing down for the summer.  This is awesome, because it has been, at times, rather insane, with long days and intense work stresses.  I love my job, but even a job I love gets overwhelming with pressure sometimes.  I  also had a great weekend with so many friends around me that love me.

So everything is shiny and beautiful and perfect, right?

No.

I’ve been really down the last couple of days.  This is completely unlike me. I’m normally a super positive person.  I usually have to focus on something super sad to even cry when I want to.  (Unless I’m angry, I can cry very easily when pissed off).  Yesterday, for unknown reasons, my date ghosted and I ended up alone in the evening.  This isn’t that big of a deal. I like being alone with myself.  I’m great company for myself.  But the overwhelming sadness just wasn’t going away.  I asked A to go out for a drink, but he was busy.  This isn’t surprising, he’s always busy these days, and I’m trying to be cognizant of exactly how much I’m asking of him, which in recent weeks has been more than he can give because I haven’t been coping with life that well. I know that sometimes I need to find my support elsewhere, and working out exactly what I need to do to get what I need and, truthfully, even recognizing what I need, is a challenge.  

So, since I was utterly alone last night, I headed into our gorgeous river valley to feed the mosquitoes go for a walk.  I decided I was going to focus on the super sad things that have happened in my life in the last 5 months, to see which one was the one that was trying to make itself known.  I had 2 grandparents die.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer.  My sister attacked me unfairly in a family text conversation and we haven’t talked since.  D broke up with me via email.  I asked F for a separation and we have had near endless conflict for about 9 months. I figured if I was sad, I probably had one or more of these things still to deal with. What this meant is that I was completely overrun with despair. I walked and walked and stifled tears the whole way.  I was feeling dejected and unloved and unwanted and weak and overwhelmingly hurt.  I can’t explain how bad I felt, I haven’t ever felt the way I did last night.  I got back to my car, sat in the driver’s seat and cried.  Full on sobbing, ugly tears, break-down cried.  It hurt in my heart and my stomach and my head.  I cried for probably a good 20 minutes until F texted me to ask me if I was coming home soon because he wanted to get to W’s house.  I figured if I sat there much longer, someone would call the cops because they would be concerned for my safety, thinking I was about to jump in the river or something.  So, I drove home with tears in my eyes, just hoping I could hold it together while I said goodbye to F so that I didn’t have to explain to him that I was broken but didn’t know why.  

Well, that didn’t work.  I walked in and he immediately asked me if I was OK.  I said I didn’t want to talk about it and stood their crying silently as he talked about the day he and the kids had.  He looked up and realized what was happening and stopped talking and offered me a hug.  I declined and he asked if I was sure.  I took the hug.  It was the first proper hug he’s given me since early February.  It wasn’t what I needed, but it helped. It got me out in the yard to do some work before I went to bed and helped redirect me.

I was chatting with X and K during the evening as they both asked how I was doing and I was honest.  X said he had been thinking that he wondered how I did it all, and he concluded that I am Wonder Woman.  K said that he didn’t know how I held up as long as I did and that I’m superhero strong and a real lioness.  In my weakest moment, two people who I care about deeply said something about me being so strong.  I felt so vulnerable and so broken.  I cried even more then, but it helped to realize that people who actually know me see me as a strong person, and that it was OK that I was sad.

I think what happened, or what is happening, is that life has calmed down.  I’m no longer running on adrenaline, putting metaphorical fires out, bouncing from one stressful life event to the next.  I don’t have constant conflict in my life.  I’m not busy like I was a couple months ago.  I’ve had sufficient, and even abundant, down-time lately.  Dealing with the stresses in my life, on top of parenting my children, maintaining my career, boyfriends, friendships, and family obligations has been overwhelming the past months, and I was just operating on autopilot, because I didn’t have the luxury of taking time to process.  I think my subconscious decided that now that I have time, it was OK for me to feel all the feelings.  All those feelings came out all at once last night.  I broke.

This is all OK. Actually normal.  Of course I couldn’t hold it all together.  Who could?  

My friend, the one who came for my birthday, when I posted about my crying in a group we are in together with four of our mutual friends, said: “ It’s normal to feel some sadness. While there are some great things happening in your life, there is also some not so great things happening in your life. Sometimes it’s great to have a good cry.”

Rock reforms with the pressure of water.  Water carves canyons and creates beautiful creations simply by running over it.  I’m hoping that’s what my tears are doing, helping me reform and create something beautiful.  

 

Another

I love my job.  I’m sitting in my office, late in the day, with the fresh smell of a thunderstorm wafting in, while avoiding going home.  Today, I started doing some research into how to make part of my job better and more interesting.  I just fired off an email to a colleague about my ideas, and it just got me excited about my job.  My passion is returning, one small moment at a time.

    Things are so good, I’m happy.  I’m chatting with X frequently and we’ve slipped into this comfortable friendship full of honesty and connection.  I still have a thing for him, and I probably always will.  He knows I do so it’s not like it’s a secret.  But we are having fun catching up right now.  I’m chatting with a handful of guys from OKCupid and just enjoying getting to know new people.  I love dating, and I forgot how fun it is.

    Among the things that I chatted with X about yesterday was that I realized that the 20 plus year I was monogamous helped me realize that I was always sacrificing something in each of my relationships. I never had all of my needs being met.  Each monogamous relationship was a sacrifice.  Be it sexual fulfillment, emotional support, financial compatibility, or anything else, there was never a time when I felt like all my needs were being met.  That was until I was dating A and D.  Those two, together, despite the issues with F, fulfilled every need I had.  I had it ALL for a short time.  For nearly 5 months.  I think that this realization hit me today.  The reality is, I understand now that no one person is ever going to meet my needs.  When I chose to embrace polyamory, it was because I knew I had the capacity to love more than one person in a romantic way. That I could have more than one simultaneous committed relationship.  I’ve just realized that part of all of this is that I have needs and wants and desires that can’t be met by one person.  I’m not sure why this realization just hit me.  It makes sense.  Different people scratch different itches.  But I think the truth of it was a bit shocking to me.

One of the funniest things that comes up over and over again in online dating is: “What are you looking for?”  Well, I’m not looking for anything.  I just want to meet people, see if there is a connection, and if there is, see where it can go.  I don’t want to prescribe anything to my relationships.  I think that the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s easy to miss opportunities because we are too focused on trying to achieve a goal.  But really, the goal in relationships should be the journey.

Tonight, I asked A if he was having a hard time with my dating again.  He’s been teasing me a bit about it all, because I had loudly declared that I wasn’t in a place to date and three days later reactivated my OKCupid account.  I teased him back saying that I am a woman and reserve the right to change my mind.  It was funny, because he answered “not at all” when I asked if it was hard on him.  My first reaction was “Phew”, because I don’t always deal with other people’s emotions well, and then my second reaction was “Why isn’t he having a hard time? Shouldn’t he be having a hard time?”  and then I laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.  Because it was such a monogamous thing to think.  He understands that, while I love what we have, I need more than just him.  He knows he’s in no position to provide everything I need and want and desire (although he’s pretty good at the latter), and I know that as much as I love him, I will never want to escalate our relationship to more than it is.  

I need another.  Another lover.  Another partner.  Another something.  I don’t know what that something is.  My life was “perfect” when  A and D were a part of it.  Figuring out how to achieve the next “perfect” is the fun and the challenge.

Relaxed. OK. Happy.

The last four days have been incredible.  I can’t remember the last time I was this relaxed and full.  Full of love, acceptance, understanding, and family.  

It started last Thursday night when I slept over at D’s place.  I got to get up and go to work from his house, which is far closer to my work than my house is, and since I didn’t have kids to get ready, I was at work, with take out breakfast in hand, 50 minutes after I got out of bed!  Thursday night with D was great, just being together.  Cuddles and love and sleeping on opposite edges of the bed because that’s how we both sleep best (I love cuddling, just not while asleep – too sticky!) and then cuddling before having to get out of bed in the morning. It was an excellent way to start the day!

Before I got out of bed, I checked my phone for all the places I get messages, and I was surprised to see a message from X!  It was really nice. He was reaching out as a friend, extending an olive branch, and since I have zero hard feelings for how things went and I have nothing but positive thoughts about him, I was very happy to receive it.  We have been chatting back and forth all weekend, and it feels incredibly…comforting…to have him back in my life.  I have zero expectations from him.  I won’t ever lose my romantic attraction to him.  It’s been a permanent fixture in my life for almost 24 years, but I am capable of not acting on it for the meantime and being his friend. No one is more cognizant of the fact that I’m in no place to date than I am right now.  Plus he lives 1400 km away, so I’m pretty safe! (This is me acknowledging that I’m kind of bad at being friends with guys.  Especially one I’m attracted to. But if I don’t actually see him, I should be safe!)

My day of work was fabulous, I felt so good coming home, chilled with my monkeys and A came over.  It was so good to have him here. To just chat and laugh and connect.  We had some quality naked time and fell asleep in each other’s arms early in the evening.  Both of us were exhausted, but A is just wiped from the amount of stuff he has on his plate and I think he needed that time just cuddling as much as he needed the sex. I realized after he left that we had reached the place where we are happy to collapse in each other’s arms and fall asleep. To just “be”.  What an amazing place to be.  That realization makes my heart do flips and brings a smile to my face.  Comfort like that is something to be strived for in every relationship.  

Saturday, my girls put together a very fun mother’s day tea for me, full of cute and love and a lot of fun. D and his boys came over and we had crazy kids running around everywhere. We ate supper together and just had a normal poly family type day.  It was amazing.  His kids were so good with my kids.  It was lovely.

Today, Sunday, I worked at my second job.  It was a busy day at work but quiet on the man front.  A is busy doing what A does when he disappears on the weekends, and doesn’t commit to plans during the week, leaving me slightly stressed that I don’t know when I’ll see him next.  D was with his boys and doing the usual work around the house that needs to get done. (Unfortunately, no matter how many relationships you have, laundry and housework and basic life shit still has to get done).  F was home parenting and decided to have W and her kids over, so rather than pulling the mother’s day card, I decided to get together with D and his kids (his wife was away in another city for the weekend).  We had a nice dinner.  About halfway through, I hear D say “Oh Hi!” and get up and give a girl a hug.  She introduces him to her companion, and he says “This is my girlfriend.”  and introduces me.  I was so shocked and it was clear she was too.  Turns out they’ve been friends for 15ish years and judging by her face, she didn’t know D is polyamorous.  That bit of awkward was funny and interesting and gave us something to talk about.  D was a little surprised and distracted by what he did, but I’m sure he’ll just have a beer with her sometime this week and sort everything out.  It got me to thinking about what I would do in the same situation, and I realized that most of the people I care about already know that I’m poly and so I wouldn’t really mind to tell more. But I’d probably just say “This is D” and not qualify our relationship.  We went back to his place and cuddled and chatted on the couch and it was lovely.  I came home and F had got me flowers and a card and the kids made me another card for mother’s day, and for the first time, my second wrote her own name.  

Life is good in this moment.  I’m happy.  That’s all that matters right now.

 

Sex, cultural norms, explanations, and how we talk about it all

Life is crazy.  Hubby decided to empty our joint chequing account and cancel our joint credit card without telling me. I found out when I tried to withdraw money to pay our babysitter on my break on Sunday.  Not the good type of surprise.  Fortunately, I was smart enough to save our children’s savings accounts and had stashed a bit of a cash back up fund, so I’ll be fine. Today was a day of opening my own accounts, making sure that all my earnings go into my own account, taking my name off some accounts, closing others, and getting my phone in my name apart from him.  The cherry on the top of the cake was my parking fees being NSF’d because hubby cancelled my credit card. So I managed to get direct debit set up.  Now I think I’m good.  As good as one can be when one’s husband goes crazy and makes major decisions without telling her.  Also, I told him about every change I made so he isn’t caught unaware next week.  I will be the bigger person if it kills me.

During this weekend I was talking to A a bit about my blog and how much he enjoys reading it.  He caught up on my most recent posts and asked me about calling him a “cocky asshole” (I stand by it!) and we laughed a bit.  He said he likes reading about our relationship and how I present it to others. I explained that it’s really a processing tool for me or really an explanation of my processing.  That it’s therapeutic in a way.  And then I said:  Except now that you read it, I can’t be completely honest about all the things until I’ve been completely honest with you about them.”

As is so typical of A, his response was perfect and interesting and full of insights into how he works.  I’m not sure he always realizes how much of who he *really* is is present in some of his messages, but maybe he does and he’s that good with words and messages and guiding my responses.  It doesn’t really matter to me either way. I kind of like him a little bit so it all makes me happy. 🙂

 Here was his response:

“Actually you can totally be honest in the blog.  As I know it is how you process,  and it is a great way to get a conversation started,  and if it is written,  then I can read and be prepared for the convo.  You know I’m very easy to manage and communicate with.  I don’t see it as passive.”

First off, he’s so not easy to manage! But he’s easy to communicate with. In fact, he’s one of the best communicators I know.  It’s part of why I tolerate the cocky asshole part. (Totally kidding, but I have to ride that one as long as I can – see what I did there?)

While there are things I could write about, I like keeping my relationship with A uncomplicatedly complicated.  The fact that my two metamours are best friends could be so complicated and it isn’t.  The fact that his wife is monogamous and our relationship is more committed than his others since he’s had his “free pass”, as he calls it, has the potential to be complicated, but so far it isn’t.  The fact that I’m separating from my husband and he’s gone batshit crazy has the potential to get complicated and it has.  It hasn’t caused stress in my relationships, but it could.  These things I have minimal control over.  What I do have control over is how complicated I make our relationship. So some things won’t make it here until I talk with him in person, even when I have his permission.  Plus, he says a lot with his body language that doesn’t come across in his written responses, so sometimes I don’t want the guy to have prep time!

Now that I’ve explained all that, I’m going to talk about something that happened last night with A.  Not because of him, but because something he said had me thinking all day today in between putting out the fires of my life.  

He came over for a glass of wine after a charity event he was at and the stressed out version of me had other ideas for him than just drinking wine and though he put up a token fight, I managed to get him into bed and use him for the stress relief I needed.  (I would never have got him naked if he hadn’t wanted to be, so no stress about me having an unwilling participant.) Somewhere in the midst of pillow talk, he said something about me being a nympho.  I joked that for a guy that says he always wants sex, he sure turns me down a lot and we continued from there.

So here’s the thing. I like sex a lot. There was a time in my married life where we went without having sex (as in penis in vagina intercourse) for many many many months.  We did other things, but it was mediocre at best.  So was the sex when we had it. For the year before we embraced polyamory, we had very regular sex and it was improving dramatically.  There was a time in my life where I thought I might be asexual, but then it occurred to me that I very much enjoyed masturbation every day, so it was probably a problem with the sex, not the machinery.  When I started dating, and started having sex with new men, I realized something.  These 40 year old men?  Best kept secret.  They know what they are doing.  They have sex for the entire experience. They know how to please a woman and they know their way around the lady parts.  They know how to ask for what they want and they know how to take feedback.  Sex with 40-year-old men is amazing.  Every. Fucking. Time.  (Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.  I want them all for myself!)

That’s why I like sex so much.  I have the best sex of my life pretty much every time I have sex.  Yes, it’s that good.  I have two amazing partners.  Everything about my relationships with them is extremely different, but they are both amazing.  They fulfill parts of my life in ways I never thought possible until X introduced me to polyamory.  So, I pretty much always want to have sex. I joke that I’m channeling a 16-year-old boy. A said I’m just channeling any man, but then he turns me down for sex. So I’m going to go with me being right!

See what I just did in the above paragraphs?  What I did was explain.  I explained why I like sex.  I explained the circumstances of why I wanted to have a really good naked time with A last night.  I found an excuse for every one of my actions that wasn’t “I just wanted to have sex”.

Think about this for a second.  If a man said that he had a tough day, needed some stress relief and wanted sex, would you question it?  If a man just said he wanted sex, would you be surprised?  Would you call him a nympho for expressing his desire?

See what happened?  A man pointed out my ‘atypical’ sex drive and I responded by defending it. A didn’t do anything wrong.  He was joking with me. He’s a product of the society we live in as much as I am.  Sure we have alternative lifestyles, but internalization of gender norms runs deep, and we all are guilty of our indoctrination. This fact can’t be more apparent than in my need to justify why I want sex.  Or my response to him being teasing back that “for a guy who says he always wants sex, you sure were difficult to get in the bedroom.” I immediately went for the gender stereotype that he should always be ready and willing.   

Why do we do this?  Why is this our cultural norm?  I don’t take any offense to it.  I have no shame associated with the fact that I like sex, because I’m confident in who I am and what I want.  But why isn’t it OK for a woman to say “Holy shit, could I ever use a pounding now” or a man to say “I just need to cuddle tonight”?  Why is it the default of sex positive people like A and me to poke fun and joke with gender stereotypes and societal norms?  

And in the end, is it important?  Does it matter if he jokingly calls me a nympho after I very actively convinced him into the bedroom?  Does it matter that my response is to tease him that for a man who says he has a high sex drive, I sure did have to work to convince him?  Is it wrong to just let the joke go? Or as a proper feminist, do I have to do better, fight the joke, fight the stereotype, fight the gender norm?  

In the end, the sex is fucking fantastic. And it always has me wanting more.  Which means I’ll have more than one future opportunity to explain why I just want to get fucked.

 

Closing a door

The last week has been crazy in so many ways.  But I’m going to focus on a major decision I’ve made with regards to my marriage.  Let me see if I can piece together all the processing I’ve done during the last week into something coherent.

Last Thursday, I woke up with one of those rare (for me) feelings of unease. Like something was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was.  I hate things like this.  It makes it really hard for me to focus on anything else, and I obsessively process and try to work my way through things.  I don’t do well with not understanding my emotions.  As soon as I realize I don’t, I have to figure it out.  At first I thought I was just nervous knowing that I was going to kiss G.  Then I kissed her and it was still there, no change really.

Then I did some more processing and thinking and came up with a few twisty bits about A.  I tackled one of them.  I talked to G about the other and I still have to talk to A about it, and call me crazy, but I think it’s better if I talk to him in person about my Twisty Bit than publish it here to read. I do have a post almost entirely prepared about those Twisty Bits though. (Sorry A, you’ll actually have to have the serious conversation with me!)

So, that meant processing more.  I spent the entire weekend, except for Sunday night, alone with the kids.  This meant a lot of time to think and work and think and work.  One of the things I did was tell my four best friends from when I lived abroad that I am polyamorous. I did it in the best way possible.  Bandaid style.  I posted a picture of me with A and D and said “This is a picture of me with my boyfriends…”  and explained the whole thing.  In true friend fashion, they were all really supportive.  But my best friend there had the best thing to say:

Ahhh. I’m actually not surprised. And I’m not surprised that as soon as you were happy and confident in your professional and emotional life your hubby couldn’t cope. I’m glad you are finding yourself!!

Then I had a long chat with her on messenger and she pointed out a few things.  Patterns of behaviour that suggest that those bizarre boundary pushing behaviours, passive aggressive control manipulations, and general douchiness were actually present all along, not a product of the last six months.  She pointed out some situations where it was quite obvious that he was trying to control me. Where he said things that were so critical or manipulative or just a little too far past the truth to really stick.  As I thought of it, I realized a few things.  

When we were just the two of us, for the first 7 years of our relationship, I was strong and independent, but I made so much less money than he did that I was dependent on him and his support.  He could still be a real jerk, but it was seldom, because let’s face it, when you don’t have kids, things are a little easier to manage in life.  But there were times he accused me of trying to control him, or spending his money frivolously, or using him for this or that.  He guilted me about sex and he was a very selfish lover.  But it wasn’t that bad.  All of it could be excused by his challenging job, the fact that he was going to university full time and working full time, and the fact that he worked shift work and was often very tired.

Then, we had four kids in five years and four months.  I had two miscarriages in that time too.  I was depressed in the months leading up to getting pregnant with #2.  I’m a strong, independent, career minded woman and I was at home on maternity leave for 4 years. I sacrificed a lot to be home with my kids.  It’s OK, it was a choice I made, but it was still hard.  In between, I worked a job that I like, but didn’t give me the fulfillment that my job, in my chosen profession, that I have now, gives me.  I was unhappy.  Then, after #4 was born, I finally realized that I was depressed and went on medication.  It changed my life.  I was more engaged in life, I worked at making things work with hubby more, it was great.  In the end, after a year and a half on meds, I thought he and I were in a really good spot.  We weren’t really, but I thought we were.  

What I realized is that there was a lot of passive aggressive and outright aggressive criticisms of me taking place during those years.  Comments about how I shouldn’t be having a hard time and needing him at home on his days off because I was “just” at home with the kids doing nothing all day.  Comments about how all I did was “spend his money”.  Comments criticizing my diet, exercise, and appearance.  Recently, a lot of these things have really exploded. Yesterday he blamed me for all our financial issues and the told me that his mental health issues were because of the finances.

 Hmmmmmm…..sounds like I’m being blamed for his mental health issues.

These comments served to destabilize me more.  It was a way to control me. To keep me unhappy and “stuck”. For him to feel needed by me.  He knew I was unhappy being at home full time with kids, so he played up my dislike of it.  He knew I wasn’t fulfilled in my other job in emergency services and criticised me for taking a job in my chosen career instead.  He still criticises me about my job, complaining I work too much, complaining that I don’t make enough, complaining that I work and “let someone else parent my kids” (never mind that he is also working and letting someone else parent his kids….).  Then this crazy ass thing happened. I was professionally fulfilled for the first time since I graduated from grad school.  I found a job I love, doing what I want, with amazing coworkers, and great work/life balance.  

Then I reconnected with X.  He introduced me to polyamory.  I went through the growth of the heartbreak with him.  I met A, B, C, and D.  All of them have given me so much in my life, even if B is now a friend and C has disappeared because he’s W’s other partner.  I became happy.  Really, truly, deep down in the darkest corners of me, happy.  I found a part of me that I didn’t know was missing.  I felt (and still feel) complete.  

What I didn’t realize is how destabilizing my happiness and fulfillment in my professional and emotional life was to hubby’s mental health.  He no longer could control me.  With my happiness came the ability to calmly and patiently deal with life’s issues.  I had perspective and meaning and balance.  But hubby didn’t.  My happiness rocked his world view.  I stopped responding and getting angry at the little pokes. So the pokes got bigger.  He started stomping right through my boundaries.  He had to work harder and harder to get a reaction out of me.  Then, at a certain point, I couldn’t help but react.  I’m human. I got pushed to the point where I couldn’t be calm any more.  And I lost control.  And that was horrible.  

Inside all that conflict there was one thing that still was obvious.  I was happy. Complete.  In love with D and living my life exactly how I wanted. Then I crossed the couch and ended up with A.  My happiness and the ease with which I slotted A into my life was hard on hubby. He didn’t realize that I still loved him and wanted to be him, and that upped his boundary pushing to a point where it couldn’t be sustained any more. Because of all that pushing, I reacted and our relationship exploded.  

The last weeks have been interesting.  Hubby is not doing well. He’s quite obviously stressed – not sleeping, looks exhausted, unkempt and stressed.  He’s having a very hard time with me not reacting.  Except this week, I haven’t been my best and have reacted a little too often.  Mostly, he’s challenged by my calling him on his bullshit.  He’s complained that I’m not a stay at home mom, that I’m responsible for all the financial issues we have, says I’m abusive, he’s told me that I lost the right to be upset about the fact that he forced a situation where I had to tell a friend and my mom about being polyamory because I hit him. He’s told me he doesn’t feel like he’s ever had any control in his life.  He’s got a cloak of victim wrapped so tightly around himself that he can’t see how he is manipulating and being passive aggressive.  It’s sad.

What I had to ask myself after all of these realizations was:

  1. Do I think that hubby can do all the things I need him to do if we are to fix our marriage?
  2. What are all the things I need hubby to do if he decides he wants to fix our marriage?
  3. If he does decide that he wants to fix our marriage, do I really want that?  

It’s sad that this is what I’m thinking about.  But what it did was help me figure it all out.  The thing is, when I thought it was just hubby going a little crazy over a short period of time, I thought we could solve things.  Now that I realize it’s a pattern of behaviour that just amplified, I don’t think we can.

So, I’ve decided to formally separate from my husband.  I’m stressed about the details.  I couldn’t be more certain of my decision at this point.  

Just writing it out

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.

 

Ripples

When X and reconnected, we shared our versions of our stories of our missed opportunities.  It was so much fun to hear what was happening in his life at the time and share what was going on in mine and to connect those threads through time.  As we quickly realized the depth of our connection, we were astounded by the fact that we both nurtured our connection and thought of each other often.  We both cherished our memories of one another. To both of us, it felt like it was meant to be, like it was predestined, and we were just living out the life that had always been ahead of us.

ripples

X said something one day that I loved.  He said “what if that connection and chemistry we had then was ripples that came from the immense  explosion of our chemistry now”  This, for me, who is not a sci fi nerd, still made a lot of sense.  At the time, I thought, “Yes!  It’s like we felt that connection and sewed the seeds of our love so that we could nurture it in our heart and keep it there until we were ready for each other.  Until we were at a place in our life where we had the communication skills and maturity to be what we should be for each other.”  Predestiny.

Obviously, we weren’t actually there yet.

So, the other day, I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, the analogy still works? You know how the innermost ripple is the biggest?  Just before the source of the splash?  Maybe that’s the ripple we’ve just gone through.  Our connection in high school chemistry was the farthest ring  Our developing friendship and flirting and getting to know each other outside the classroom the next one in.  When we hooked up in his apartment and were victims of the bad timing of his roommate coming home, it was a larger ring, closer to the middle.  When I ran into X at a bar while I was in university, it was still another.

I’m not sure it’s healthy for me to hope for a reconnection with X again.  I made it clear to him that if he was available to me in a way that met my needs in a polyamorous relationship and wanted to, I would absolutely welcome him back in my life.  I really don’t want this to be the last chapter of our story.  I don’t want our story to be a tragedy, but a great, multi-volume romance.

Damn it, I’m mixing up my analogies.

I want to believe that the source of the ripples hasn’t happened yet.  That the real explosion, the real connection, the follow through of our many years of intense chemistry is still coming.

heart

 

If this really is the end, if the source of those ripples was this intense connection of two months with no actual physical contact?  Then I say:  “fucking sci-fi bullshit”.