How NOT to treat a human being

There is so much rage coursing through me. I cannot control it and I don’t want to.

I shouldn’t have to.

Typically, I will get what I call a ‘rage-hangover’, because I am usually lambasting my ex and he shames me for my anger, he always has. I end up texting him relentlessly, telling him how hurt I am and how much emotional damage he has caused, in the name of polyamory! Poly people are emotionally caring, vulnerable, open-communicators. The man I married has been none of those things.


I have been trying to work through it and let go of it. But fuck, I am pissed, I am hurting, and I have every right to be. I have been trying so hard to be friends with this man who claimed to love me and to be my husband.

I do not think that is possible right now.

This has not been about love, this has been about selfish and cruel behavior and I am not sure I will ever ‘get over it’. Is that even a thing? Do we ever truly get over something? The death of a loved one? A failed marriage? A betrayal of trust so deep, it has left me not trusting anyone?

I do not think that is possible right now.

I was, and still am, shamed by my ex for my rage. I was blamed for being ‘too moody’, ‘too angry’, ‘too all over the place’. Well guess what? I am allowed to be all of those things. Every single person in my life holds space for my emotions no matter what shape they take. Every single person but him.

I am allowed to hurt.

When things went south with him this summer, after my PTSD had kicked in (but we still didn’t know what it was, or what was ‘wrong’ with me), it was our 11-year anniversary. I was trying to be positive. It had been a week of triggered hell because the relationship with his girlfriend was real and taking a forefront to my marriage. I was edgy, panicky, and just plain terrified. I quit school and my job. I got a tattoo. I was on a path to a total meltdown.

I was cooking dinner for the family, and he got on the phone with the girlfriend. I was instantly triggered. Like pumping-my-fists triggered. The adrenaline coursing through me felt horrible. I tried to tell him, “I am getting triggered, please get off the phone. It’s our anniversary, we are supposed to be cooking dinner together.” He took one look at me and said “No, your trigger is ridiculous. Who cares if I’m on the phone? We are in the middle of a conversation and I am not getting off just because you feel ‘triggered.'”

I might have thrown something at him. I don’t really remember. The next thing I do remember is crawling under the low hanging clothes in my closet and laying there freaking out, completely losing my mind. I texted a friend who told me to stay there as long as I wanted, as long as I needed. When my ex found me, he demanded that I get out, but I literally couldn’t. My 6-year-old daughter found me and crawled right in, right on top of me.

When I was finally able to get out, I asked him point-blank to pause poly. I needed help, we needed help. “I am going to end up in the hospital”, I said. I had never felt so lost and out of control in my entire life. He looked at me and said, “No. I won’t pause poly”. I replied, “So you are choosing poly over me and my mental health?”

He said, “YES”.

And in that moment, I disconnected completely from my body. The only other time I had done that was when my dad dropped dead in front of me when I was a 9-year-old little girl.

My daughter looked at me with confusion and terror in her eyes and, in that moment, I knew I had to leave. It was not safe for me to be anywhere near this man who was supposed to have my back through everything. The entire family took me to the hospital. I was admitted and stayed for 3 days in a mental health facility where they diagnosed me with PTSD and codependency.

While I was away, I had asked the ex to please not have the girlfriend over in our house, with the kids, or in our bed, out of respect for where I was and what I was going through. He said yes, he would respect that. The truth was, I was already feeling replaced and didn’t want to feel more so while I was a prisoner in a mental health facility.

He visited every single day. We would snuggle and talk; it was nice. He was a lifeline in a very dark time and place. When he picked me up to leave, we had a meeting with one of the counselors. She told him, “The next 2 weeks will be critical. Do not push her, do not surprise her, do not trigger her. Take her triggers seriously”. He said, “Okay”. We talked about strategies to use if I did go all ‘amygdala’ and entered a completely triggered state. Everything felt good. A bit scary and uncertain, but good. Hopeful.

We left the hospital and went to get a much deserved burger and beer. Not more than an hour after my release he informed me, point-blank, that he had had sex with a stranger in our bed, on our 11-year anniversary, while my kids slept in the next room, while I was on suicide watch in the ER. Then, over the course of the next few weeks, he let slip that he had also had sex with the girlfriend all weekend in our bed. I stood up and left him at the restaurant, I left my body again.

I stayed with my sister for a week. I kept the kids with me and sat around in horrified shock much of that time. I would have left him then. I would have kicked his ass to the curb if it weren’t for our kids. But instead, I moved back home and he moved back in and I spent the next 3 months living a lie; pretending that I was okay and that I would be a better person by forgiving him for those transgressions.

I began to put one foot in front of the other for all of the wrong reasons; for my family and for my children, for fear of what would happen to me, to us, if he left.

But then something else happened.

We were siting and eating dinner one night and he looked at me with the most guilty and pathetic gaze and said, “I have to tell you something”. I knew exactly what was coming and said, “You’re having sex with her without a condom”.

He said, “YES”.

He had lied again. It was our ONE solid agreement, protected sex with everyone outside of our marriage until we had a discussion around it. He had been having sex with me that entire time without a condom, without my consent.


And yet, again, I tried. I swallowed that bitter pill and tried to keep it together for my kids. For my sanity. I was scared to leave him. I was scared of what that would mean for me and my abandonment issues; for my codependency.

Until one afternoon, the four of us were on my bed, being silly. I felt separate, apart, as I watched the kids play with him. And in that moment, it hit me. I left the room and curled up in the fetal position on the couch. I was bawling. He came and found me and asked me what was wrong.

 I said, “I am done”.

And here we are.


  1. I am glad that you are able to express you anger right here. You have every reason to be angry in the face of such betrayal. It hurts like hell, but there is healing. It is better if you don’t carry all that hurt alone. If you belong to a church or something, find a strong spiritual, non-judgmental, non-condemning, mature professional to walk with you through this hurt.


  2. All the kudos in the world to you for finding the strength to end it! And you are so entitled to your rare and your anger. Those are some intense betrayals. I hope you feel you are getting all the help you need to keep going and keep healing.
    And I hope that one day your ex will think back and feel the shame he should.


  3. Hi Amy, this behaviour is absolutely unbelievable by your husband! Even though my wife has narcissistic tendencies, and she is ignoring my feelings, she would never go this far. She has always negotiated steps that she wants to take. She has respected things that I have specifically asked for in the poly relationship.


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