There were so many fucking times my husband and I should have stopped our failed attempt at polyamory. We had actual conversations and examined it from every angle. Should we stop? Is this hurting us or making us stronger? What if this breaks us? What about the kids? We seriously had these conversations and always said, no, we are strong enough. We will love each other forever. We have this amazing relationship, marriage, and family. It won’t break. It cannot break. We will prevail.
Well guess what, we didn’t.
We struggled from that point on and it was a downhill, doomed rollercoaster of shit. We were so goddamn naive. We had no clue how fucked up our relationship was – it was severely codependent, it was unhealthy and unsatisfying for both of us. Romantically, there was very little there. We operated like best friends, roommates, occasional lovers, and parents. We are, and have always been, amazing parents and great friends. But now, because of our shit choices, we have broken this family that meant so much to both of us and broken our children’s lives forever. They deserve so much better than two people who made such selfish choices. Their parents chose polyamory over them. Their parents chose sex with other people over them. Their parents fucked up in horrible and horrific ways, and for me, as a mother, this is the most bitter pill to swallow.
I know that I have to keep moving, trudging through the shit. I have to untangle the codependency and find myself. But fuck! Sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes all I want is to forget about me and go back to my unsatisfying marriage and old life. Living each day like a robot, one foot in front of the other. Living with someone who was as oblivious as I was, and at times, hurtful and resentful. Parenting, wifeing, doing all of those things like some automaton so I didn’t have to face what was truly happening. I remember standing in my yard after coming home from God knows where and thinking; “This is it?” “This is all that there is?” “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like this.” Going to work, coming home, momming, wifeing, watching Dr Who, (REPEAT), and realizing that I felt suffocated and restless and bored and resentful.
I know that we made mistakes. What I am having trouble sitting with is the fact that I know separation is the answer right now and the only way forward that makes any kind of rational sense. I also know that it is ripping my kids apart. Those two things cannot coexist in my mind, they break me wide open. I am walking around like this gaping wound of guilt and hurt and what if’s and what should have been’s.
From More Than Two:
Do pay attention to the state of a prospective partner’s existing relationships
If you are considering joining a person who is already in a relationship, take a good look at that relationship. Is it in good shape? Do the people involved have good problem-solving skills? How good is their communication? If the relationship has problems, how will they affect you? Will you be the person who suddenly becomes expendable if the problems in the relationship become too great?
You can’t look into a crystal ball and see the future of any relationship, and any relationship is going to involve emotional risk. But if your partner can’t manage the problems in his or her existing relationship, your partner may not be able to manage any problems in yours—and it very well might be that the problems in the existing relationship will boomerang onto you. Be careful, and be aware of what you’re going in to.
Sometimes, people who have problems in a relationship will seek to fix those problems by adding new partners. As a general rule, this approach rarely works. Be careful of a partner who seems to want to be with you because he is escaping things in his other relationships that he is dissatisfied with.
Of course, no relationship is ever perfect. Any relationship can and will have problems from time to time, so…
Don’t look to your relationships to offer you validation
It seems to me as though our society often looks to relationships to define a person’s worth. People who are single are sometimes seen as being less valid as human beings than people who are married, and so on.
If you look to your relationship to tell you who you are, or to define your worth, then your sense of self will always be tied up in the form of your relationship.
You have power over your life. Your worth depends on you, not on your partner and not on your relationship. You have an identity that exists independent of your relationship, and your relationship does not describe your value. These ideas empower you to seek happiness on your terms, but more important than that, they give you resiliency that can help you over the inevitable rough patches that any relationship is likely to face.
Value and worth that come from within you rather than from things outside yourself, such as your partner or your relationship, can never be taken away from you. There is a difference between a person who wants to be in a relationship and a person who needs to be in that relationship. Quite frankly, I’d rather be involved with a person who wants to be with me than a person who needs to be with me; the people who want to be with me are there because of the value I add to their lives, not because they have no other choice!
If your sense of value comes from yourself, it frees you from dependence on the people around you. If your partner’s sense of value comes from within himself, it frees you from the responsibility of telling your partner who he is.
Resource on Polyamory: