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Old 06-27-2017, 01:16 PM   #1
Iggy
Back and ready to tart up the place
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Kansas
Posts: 850
Feeling stuck... (thoughts on divorce & poly)

I've search around in a lot of old threads here, and finally decided I needed to start a new one. I apologize in advance for the serious tone... I much prefer to post about fun things.

I currently in a situation where I feel "stuck". First, a little background.
I've been with my husband since I was 18 years old (almost 15 years ago). I think our relationship was born of convenience at first. We met at work so we saw each other all the time. He helped me deal with a douche-bag boyfriend and the aftermath of that breakup. As a result, we became close friends. I wanted to move out and he and his then wife (very soon ex-wife) wanted an extra roommate. Their marriage quickly fell apart before we ever had a chance to move in together, but I stayed friends with him. He really needed a roommate at that point, as did I, so we moved in together after he separated from his wife.

As we were living together, it became easy to establish a FWB situation. We were both single and had needs. I didn't want to be in a "relationship" with him because of his recent separation and following divorce, but eventually realized I was in denial. We were in a relationship, whether I wanted to give it a name or not. Because we started out as "just" roommates (in my mind at least), I didn't feel it my place to tell/ask him to help out (e.g. doing dishes, laundry, etc.). The precedence had been set for me to do the lion's share of the housework. That precedence has never changed... he still doesn't help, and there is a lot of resentment over the fact. He agrees he should help, but never follows through. All he does is complain if things are messy, but won't do anything to fix it. For example, he will throw a tantrum because he doesn't have clean shirts for work. He doesn't come right out and blame me, but since very rarely does laundry, there is the perception that it is my fault and he is mad at me.

Over the years we have had our share of struggles. We've been poly most of our relationship, and as odd as it sounds we are actually happier/stronger when we have paramours. I think the ability to love another acts as a band-aid to the issues within our relationship. Recently I've discovered our goals as poly people are fundamentally different. He wants someone to love forever, a new spouse, to be a part of our lives. He isn't interested in casual dating. He feels it is a "requirement" (for things to work) that I get along well and am good friends with any of his paramours. While I am bisexual and do have relationships with girls, we tend to go after different types... his lovers are rarely "my type" (if that makes sense). I enjoy poly more for the experience... the new relationship energy as they call it, getting to know a new person, forming a bond... it doesn't have to be lifelong for it to be meaningful in my mind. I am OK with external relationships that don't necessarily interact with my primary relationship, but my husband is not.

In light of this recent discovery, I don't foresee how we can continue to be poly. I am happy to "play nice" with his paramours, and even generally get along with them. It makes me happy to see him happy. However, when it comes down to us being "very good friends"... I don't think that can be "required" of someone. I can certainly try, but he likes women that I just don't have much in common with which makes a deep relationship more difficult. He is also considerably less "easy going" than I. I feel like it will be more difficult for me to find someone, whether they be a man or woman, that would put up with him in order for it to be a more "permanent" relationship. He likes to rant about things (generally giving off a cranky vibe), doesn't do anything to help out around the house (most people eventually have an issue with this as they see him taking advantage of me), and he is so particular with who he likes that my options in general are severely limited.

I have other concerns as well, outside of the poly debate. Our most recent poly relationship is with a couple and has lasted for many years, off and on. We are currently off. Our paramours expressed concerns to me about how my husband treats me. They aren't the only ones that have expressed that concern. It has been gently suggested that he verbally abuses me, and I shouldn't put up with it. I've done some research on the matter, and while it isn't obvious abuse in what I see as abuse (calling names, physically threatening me, etc.), there are definitely tendencies that could be seen as subtle verbal abuse. For example, threatening divorce when he doesn't get his way, frequent criticism of me (and a lack of positive affirmation), mean spirited "jokes" at my expense that aren't funny to me, turning blame around on me whenever we try to talk things out (he rarely admits any fault on his part), and generally blowing up about things that don't really matter. I've grown accustomed to walking on eggshells around him to avoid his outbursts.

I've thought a lot about divorce. I even told him once that I wanted a divorce after a particularly heavy argument, but I chickened out and we reconciled. My biggest issue with leaving him is finances... while I am the "bread winner" between the two of us, I can't afford to live on my income alone. I don't have parents, and my support system is very limited. I'm trying to rebuild the support system that has dwindled over the years, but I'm not there yet. Honestly I think my support system has dwindled because of him... complaining that he didn't like so-and-so, why am I talking to people online that don't care about me, etc. I think at this point I need something big, something life altering, to make the plunge into divorce and the single life.

We also have a 4 year old daughter, and generally he is a very loving father with her. I worry that if we divorce he will stop trying to be her father and she will lose him as a result. I have considered how his behavior affects her... and how I don't want our defective relationship to be her model for the future. Recently he has been diagnosed with low testosterone, and strangely enough his temper has improved considerably since he started his testosterone shots. Because his outbursts are less often, I don't have that same drive to leave... but the improvement has only been within the last year.

At this point, a lot of damage has been done. We have 14 years of history with his poor attitude, and I feel like the changes/improvements he has made are "too little, too late". There is also the huge unresolved issue that he still never helps me around the house, and I'm tired. I feel like a single parent. I work the overtime, do all the cooking/cleaning, do most of the parenting... I find myself thinking I would be happier without him.

I don't know if I want to continue this relationship, but I don't see how I can leave either. I feel stuck. One of our recent issues was related to finances, and we have finally started getting that under control. We are no longer relying on credit cards and have refinanced all our credit card debt into installment loans to aid with paying it off. I feel like I just need to wait it out a while longer so we can get on more secure financial footing... and the thought of leaving with all this debt terrifies me. At the same time, I'm not happy. I ask myself, do I want to put up with this for another 5-10 years? I haven't been able to answer that myself yet.

I've seen various threads with some that have gotten divorced, I welcome any thoughts or advice that you have. What was the final straw that finally got you to leave? Did it take you a long time to work up the nerve?
Has anyone stayed because they couldn't afford to leave? Or left, thinking they couldn't make it, but found a way?

I think maybe a lot of this is just getting everything off my chest... maybe I will feel better afterwards. There isn't an easy answer here. Maybe the only thing that will help me make a decision is time... time to see if things ever improve, time to accept what positive changes have occurred. We will see.
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divorce, poly, verbal abuse


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