This is another post about my recent failed polyamorous relationship. I promise that I will start blogging about other things again soon, but it seems that the more I write about this, the more insights I have and the more I need to write. If you missed my first two posts about this and want more background you can find them here and here.
Near the very beginning of our relationship, during the first of our very few phone calls, we had our very first little argument. I can’t remember exactly what it was about or what was said, but I do know that it had something to do with me expressing impatience at having to wait to be able to see him and with not knowing how long it might be that I might have to wait. I think that this might have been the first and only time where I actually expressed my concern over his lack of progress with finding a job. Instead of talking with me about what he was going to do to try harder to make it so that he could come see me, he got annoyed with me. He acted like I was being unreasonable and brought up how this was why he kept saying that he shouldn’t be dating anyone until he got his life in order (Boy, do I wish that I had actually listened to that and agreed with him back then…) because the fact that he just couldn’t find a job because absolutely no one would hire him always ended up becoming an issue in his relationships. Translation: nobody understands how much of a victim I am and all they do is nag me about things that are outside of my control. He implied that if people are pushing him to do something he’ll be even less likely to actually accomplish anything.
So I decided during that conversation that I was going to be better than all of his exes. I wasn’t going to “nag him” by asking about his job search progress, I was going to be supportive of whatever he decided to do with his life in the hopes that me being supportive would mean that he would actually do what he needed to do to change his life to be with me. I wasn’t going to “pressure him” at all about the fact that I really wanted him to come out to where I lived because when I talked about how he had a really good opportunity to start his life over out west he freaked out about what he’d do with all of his stuff.
His boxes and boxes of stuff.
He’d talk about how much he wished he was out west with me, but then whenever the practicalities of moving were talked about his fear of losing his stuff would kill any progress because no solution was good enough for him. When I brought up that my husband and I left most of our stuff behind and started over again when we moved he talked about how he could never do that. The concept of it being “just stuff” that could be replaced or that he could live without, and how being able to have a real relationship with me should have had more value never clicked with him.
I was not as important as his stuff.
When I expressed a desire to be able to get in touch with him when he wasn’t actually online, like via text messages, he treated me like I was being way too clingy. He couldn’t understand why I would want to be able to get a hold of him any time I needed to. He claimed that he was always there for me, but didn’t seem to understand that sometimes I might need him while he wasn’t online. Especially since he had the habit of disappearing from online for days at a time sometimes. Then he’d come back and act like nothing happened. He didn’t seem to understand that if he wanted to be in a mature adult relationship with me that meant being there for me as much as he could be, not just when it was convenient for him.
He told me that he would be there for me and that I could talk to him about anything, but if I talked with him about my frustrations about nothing changing in our relationship it would turn into a pity party for him. Instead of him comforting me and us talking about what we could do to move things forward he’d start in on how useless and worthless he was and how nothing was ever going to change in his life. How it was too late for him. He’d get depressed and moody and I would have to once again reassure and comfort him. And somehow the things that I was upset about would never get addressed.
So I learned that if I didn’t want to have to deal with yet another emotional meltdown from him, I couldn’t truly be honest with him.
I told him that I would be okay with whatever relationship he could give me. I didn’t feel like I had a right to really ask for a lot from him since I was already married. I felt like I should be be happy with whatever I could get from him because this relationship was “extra”. He claimed to want an actual relationship with me, and I believed that all I had to was be patient.
And as the weeks turned into months I just continued to be patient and I bit my tongue about all the concerns I had over his lack of progress with changing anything in his life.
I didn’t realize it, but I had condemned myself to life of never being able to speak my mind. Because where would it have ended? It wasn’t like once he actually got his life together and we could actually be together that I would then suddenly be able to talk with him about all his responsibilities. If I did actually start speaking my mind he would then likely accuse me of “changing” and not being the same person that I used to be. Not being the same person that he moved all the way across the country to be with. And I would have had to have comforted him because of “hurting his feelings”.
I’m not sure why I ever thought that not talking to him about what bothered me about our relationship was a good way to keep our relationship going and motivate him to follow through on his promises. Looking at it now I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell I was thinking. Or how I didn’t recognize the pattern that should be oh so familiar to me from past toxic and abusive relationships. I guess since he got depressed and moody instead of going into a rage I just didn’t see it. But I also stopped truly speaking my mind fairly early in the relationship and never really saw what he was like if I really did stand up for myself. I don’t know what he might have been like if I had really gotten him angry.
But now I do see it.
Even the doubt that I have that maybe I’m just overreacting and that I’m not being fair to him, that maybe I “owe” him another chance, that I need to try and make things right, tells me that I need to stay away. I very clearly recognize that pattern. I’m reluctant to call it abuse, but what else should it be called when I was put in a position where I couldn’t be myself with him for fear of negative consequences? I need to take my own advice and listen to my feelings. If I feel like I was treated unfairly, if I feel like I was used, then I was.
His opinion is not relevant to my experience of our relationship.
And I sure as hell don’t owe him a damn thing. He’s already gotten far more from me than he ever deserved.