AlmostFLYin2 is a single person who found Poly as a member of a quad. Even though her long term marriage ended due to that relationship, she has realized that the Poly lifestyle is still something she is open to. She is breaking into the world of single life as an adult for the first time after a 14 year relationship. She has 2 kids she also has to coordinate her time for. She is tackling not only the world of dating as a Single mom with baggage, but also trying to find Poly relationships while discovering a new sense of self at the same time. She will be sharing the milestones and ideas she has on the entire journey by using quotes that she has found that fit the situation.
Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.
Why poly didn't work for me (this time)
I could start by stating the societal standards of monogamy. I won't because I don't believe them. I could start by saying "I am just not a polyamorous person", but I don't believe that either. What happened to me in an assumed poly relationship was awful, it led to many hurt feelings, confused children, and a destroyed marriage. I can't give you one reason why our polyamorous relationship did not work, I can however, give you many reasons why my relationship did not work. Some were my spouses fault, some were my lovers fault, some were my spouse's lovers fault, and some were my fault.
I will start here with introductions, I won't be using real names for obvious reasons; just abbreviations. I am Jane, a wife and mother of 2 boys. My Dear Husband (DH) and I have been married for twelve years. In that twelve years we hit a rough patch I call "The Seven Year Itch". He filed for divorce, we argued, cried, and worked it out over the next two years. We came out of it better than we had ever been. We had a strong marriage, and a stronger commitment to making each other happy.
Last Summer we met a fun couple at a camping event we attended. We quickly felt like we had found parts of ourselves that had been missing and we did not know it. We exchanged information and went back home, 260 miles away. After a week of talking almost constantly in instant messages, e-mails and on the phone, I convinced DH to go visit them for the weekend, They had already met our children and this way we could meet theirs.
That first weekend with them was fantastic. We talked, bonded, became a group of shared couples. We also decided that there was a D/s part of each of us and we wanted to explore those feelings together. We were now in a polyamorous and D/s relationship with DG (dear girlfriend) and DB (dear boyfriend), with both of them being the Dom(me)s.
Over the next few weeks though, we noticed that DB was becoming withdrawn and reactionary, and we began to worry. With great care, it was explained that he seemed very depressed, even about things he said used to make him happy. I don't know who actually convinced him to seek help, but he did. He started on medication and seemed a lot different. He looked forward to things, made jokes, He gave me My collar.
When he asked me if I would wear his collar, I was sure. I gave him my love, my devotion, and most of all my trust. I trusted him with things I wasn't able to trust DH with. I most of all trusted DB to not hurt me emotionally (physically was a different story all together).
The first weekend I had my collar, he put it on me and did nothing, claiming he wasn't feeling well. The next weekend we were together I sat and watched My DH have a scene with DG, and when I started struggling with watching DH's limits be met, I turned to DB. He was too busy trying to ignore the scene to even know that I was struggling, even after we had negotiated so carefully beforehand that I might need help getting through DH's scenes. I was ignored and it hurt so much I was in tears by the end. Only then did DH and DG see what had happened to me. I started trying harder to please my Dom, tried to prove my love for him. I had DH take pictures of me to send to him, he said I was naughty and needed to be punished for them, then never did anything. I made a flogger, to his specifications, with his name braided into the handle, and a matching one for DG. It was used once, but the session had no beginning, middle or end. DB didn't seem to have any emotion in it, he was only flogging me because I asked him to.
Every weekend we were together as a group, DH and DG had a scene, and she had him in his collar as often as she could. I did dishes, or took the kids out so they could play. DG gave DH a necklace she had made for him, it matched one she had for herself. I was never given times to "play", or tokens of affection, I was never even asked to wear my collar. I was again hurt.
Over the week between Christmas and New years we each had a chance to have a couple of days of alone time with our other partners. DG and DH made full use of it, they did stuff together, had a scene, snuggled and spent time bonding. DB and I did a puzzle, went out to dinner, watched movies, and looked at pictures online. There was no snuggling, there was no bonding, and when I asked him if he wanted me to wear my collar, his response was "if you want to". All of a sudden our relationship was over. I had no more meaning to him, I was not important to him anymore. I was simply another toy he had become bored with and forgotten about.
When this happened it felt like he took all of the emotions and feelings and trust that I had given him, and he simply threw them away. When he did this it took vital parts of my relationships with DH, DG, and even all 4 of the kids with it. I could no longer trust anyone with my feelings, I could no longer trust when someone said they love me, I could no longer trust when someone said they cared about me.
Here is where I started making my biggest mistakes. I figured I would get over it, I wanted DH to be happy so much that I tried to bury my own feelings of hurt and resentment. On top of that I never told DB how he had made me feel, I told DH, I told friends, but never the one person who needed to hear it. 3 months later the plans we had discussed in the beginning became possible. We wanted to rent the downstairs part of the house that DG and DB lived in. In the beginning we had wanted to be one big happy family, share cooking, cleaning, child rearing, and expenses. I wanted that too. Eventually we were able to secure the house. I still had my issues with DB but was trying to lock them away so that DH and the kids would be happy. I knew there were better job, school and social opportunities if we moved. I thought that being together all the time would make it easier.
DH and the kids moved in 2 weeks before I did, I needed to finish out my time at my job. In that 2 weeks DH went with everything that DG imagined before we moved in. When I started feeling left out of decisions involving the kids I was told her way was better, the kids were thriving. Valentines Day fell in the middle of that second week that I was alone. DH knew that I was having a hard time with the fact that we would be apart. Many people don't put a lot into celebrating on a set day, or whether it is even an important day at all, But I did. DH and I had decided to spend some extra time talking on the phone that day. Instead he called me at 9:30 at night so the kids could say goodnight and to tell me about going out to dinner with DG and DB for Valentines Day. He said that he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I was crushed. He had totally forgotten about his commitment to me. So here I was 260 miles away, alone, and feeling totally neglected and forgotten about on so many levels.
When I finally got to the new house I fell apart, I lasted less than five days and was ready to leave. I was expected to just slide in and follow what had been going on, no negotiations allowed. I had no say in anything that was happening, not once did anyone ask me if there was something I might want for dinner, or if there was anything I wanted to do. Dinner was in their house for all eight of us every night, then a movie and group snuggles after the kids went to bed. I took the kids to school every morning, DG was to pick them up in the afternoons. I wasn't even supposed to let my kids decide if they wanted to do homework in their own house, it was supposed to all be done as a group upstairs. I told all three adults that It was totally unreasonable to believe that nothing would change once I got there. I had to beg to get a couple of nights a week alone with just DH and my kids. I thought it would help me feel more comfortable in the new house to have my closest family close to me once in awhile. DH said he hated feeling like he had "lost half of his family".
After three and a half weeks, any chance I had for a relationship with these people was gone. I had not been honest with myself at any time. I had tried to save the relationship between DH and DG because it made him so happy, I didn't realize that they did not care if I thought they were happy, or if I was even happy. They were going to have their relationship no matter what. I told DH and DG many times that I could not handle watching her grope, and make out with DH. she refused to "hide her true feelings for DH". DG got possessive, did things to force me out, Lied about things to DH so he wouldn't be hurt by her, and DH refused to see it. I had to beg DH to give up his romantic relationship with DG because our marriage was now failing. It took me telling him he had to pick one family or the other to get him to even see the magnitude of the problem. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. DH did it though. He then spent the next month telling me, in counseling sessions, how angry he was with me and how much he hated me for making him lose that relationship that they both wanted.
The final straw was the night DH and I discussed a "trial separation". I suggested we find a small studio or one bedroom apartment in the area and one of us could live there for awhile, our finances would have been able to support it. His reply was what ended our emotional relationship. One sentence from him and I knew it was over. He said "I have already talked to DG and DB and they are going to let me stay at their place". After spending weeks telling DH that my biggest fear was that I was losing him to her, he decided that the best way to save our marriage was to leave me and live with her.
I tried to discuss it with him, first he ignored me and then he exploded into violence. He was arrested for domestic abuse and removed from the house, he was also told he could not live upstairs in DG and DB's house.
I have found out since then that what changed DH from the man that I was married to, into the angry person he has become, is an addiction to sex. In the fourteen years that I have known him he has continuously lied and hidden how much time and money he has spent on pornography, pursuing other partners, and masturbating. His current "drug of choice" seems to be the feelings he gets from spending time with DG. It is not just his "hobbies" alone that have led me to this conclusion. His words and actions towards me would easily qualify as "verbal abuse". The lack of any intimacy without it ending in a sex act, along with not knowing when it is appropriate for physical sexual contact reinforced this thought process . I have come out of my ignorance, with help from friends who have known me, my therapist, and other victims of domestic abuse. I am left feeling emotionally and physically raped.
What I have been through and what my family has been through have been some of the hardest and most painful things I can think of. I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy. I have learned that when you add people you add conflicts. I have learned that I did not know myself or my relationship as well as I thought. Love is a very dangerous and wonderful thing. Being in love is the best and worst drug imaginable, being loved can be the biggest thrill and cause the most pain. Feeling that you are losing love can have near deadly effects.
These are a few thoughts from my broken heart and scattered mind. If you think that you or your spouse are falling in love with someone else, think hard about who your established partner is, what they were like before they fell in love with another person. Watch what happens to the established relationships, don't just see what you want to see, see all of it. If your established partner shows concern, worry, or even jealousy; stop and look closely at the entire relationship. Find out what is really wrong, don't assume that it is "just their problem".
My first attempt at polyamory was a disaster. Like many people I didn't even know what polyamory was until I thought it was happening to me. I know what polyamory is now though, and what it is not. It will be a long time challenge for me to trust anyone else again, let alone have a poly relationship.
My life has been changed. Anyone in a poly relationship will agree, lives change in a multiple relationship. When they fail they hurt every bit as much as a monogamous relationship, there is just more fallout from them. Not every relationship will be bad, many will struggle at some point, some of those will even get past it. It is not for me to tell anyone if they should try this or not. I think the only way you learn in life is by trying new things. I tried something new. For a few glorious months it was fantastic. No, I will never be the same person I was a year ago, but I think that now I'm okay with that. If I can help prevent someone else from experiencing what I did, that's even better.
AlmostFLYin2 is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.
AlmostFLYin2; May 3, 2006
folks have read this article.