And That’s When I Snapped (Part II)Posted: May 16, 2015
After the farcical ridiculousness of last weekend’s “date”, there was fighting. Lots of fighting. I copied Papa Bear the blog post I wrote. Messenger showed he’d read it, but he didn’t respond for over an hour. In that time, I vented to the online poly community. I asked them to keep me calm. I did shots until I was out of vodka–at 11 in the morning. I drunk texted a co-worker to see if she wanted to go downtown and help me finish getting wasted (she declined). All kinds of things were going through my head. I was sure that The Wifey had seen my message, and they were deciding that he should break up with me. He eventually wrote that he couldn’t respond because he didn’t know what to say. He was immeasurably upset and couldn’t gather himself. He had had a big fight with The Wifey that morning as well, and he was accused of making her secondary.
She was upset with me for going outside–which had been HER twice made suggestion–because she says she felt that I did not want to be with her. And then when Papa Bear told her I wasn’t trying to avoid her, she got mad at him him, thus their huge fight the following morning. This was clearly a diversionary tactic to keep the spotlight off her heinous behaviour, but I wasn’t about to come out and say that.
I asked him if he still planned to see me that night, as we had planned. He said no–he was too tired and didn’t feel well. I told him I needed just half an hour. I said please. He agreed.
We drove out to the middle of nowhere, and parked. The ride was extremely tense, and punctuated with terse small talk. When we finally arrived at a little parking area beside a field, he looked at me, took my hand, and asked if I was breaking up with him.
Frankly, I had considered it. Was still considering it. But I wanted us to talk first. I wanted to hear what he had to say–if he thought things could change. So I shook my head, barely perceptibly.
“Oh, thank god,” he said, his eyes filling with tears. “I was so worried.”
We talked about what had happened–what keeps happening. The fact that even when we are together, his wife still thinks she should be his top priority. That isn’t how polyamory works. If you and your spouse are going to have relationships with other people, you need to allow those dates to happen without your interference.
Papa Bear says that The Wifey thinks it is his job to take care of her if she’s had a rough day at work. She wants him to be there, get her a glass of wine, let her vent about her day, etc. She knew it was going to be a long day because it was a special day in her field, and so she came up with the idea of making us dinner so she could ensure Papa Bear was there to soothe her after work.
She had a date for that night. Was having the attention and ear of her boyfriend not enough? She had to manipulate Papa Bear into ditching our plans so he could bring her a snack, feed her wine and listen to her? And then when I went outside, at her suggestion, on MY date when I should technically be able to do whatever the hell I want, she used this as a way to keep his attention on her by saying I’d been rude and hurt her.
The conversation Papa Bear and I were having was giving me no hope. I wanted him to have some boundaries and demand the same respect from his wife that he gives her. He doesn’t text her when she’s on a date. He doesn’t expect her to cut out in the middle of a date with someone else, to dote on him. He doesn’t ask her to run errands when she’s with her boyfriends–“Oh great, you’re going out, can you stop at the store for xyz and drop it off for me?” No. He would never do that to her.
The issue of having to pick her up from work has been a huge problem for me, too. It invariably ends up meaning we are rushed and can’t do what we want to do. And then its not just dropping her off at home, either. Nope. We have to go inside. He has to spend time with her. She assigns chores (“You didn’t do the laundry, fold it now”), or starts a fight (“You didn’t kiss me when we got inside”), or whatever.
I laid all of this out for him, and he agreed that it was a problem. But instead of saying “From now on, I’m just going to tell her no,” he wanted to skirt the issue. He said he could leave her the car, and we could take a cab on our dates, and that way she couldn’t ask us to buy her things or pick her up, because she had the car.
“Can’t she take a cab?” I asked. “You live really close to her work, it would cost way less than us taking cabs all over the place.”
“She doesn’t like taking cabs because she doesn’t like having to wait for them,” he said.
And then my head imploded.
I don’t remember what else we discussed. It feels like a lifetime ago. At some point I started to cry. I was holding onto this relationship by a thread, and all of his suggestions were just band-aid solutions for a raging infection. When we started dating, he’d told me he and his wife had a really strong marriage. He said it a lot in the beginning–that friends would say “Oh, you’ll do great at poly because you have a strong marriage,” or that they have so much of a stronger marriage than such and such a friend.
But their marriage isn’t strong. A healthy relationship is one in which both parties are free to express themselves without fear of the other one telling them they are an idiot, without fear of emotional manipulation and histrionics, without knowing that there is no point in even having the discussion because the other party is never going to relent on their view so they might as well save themselves the headache and just go along with whatever the other person wants.
This isn’t a strong marriage. And frankly, I’m annoyed with him for not realizing this sooner. He’s told me that for years he couldn’t go out with friends, because if he made plans with them, The Wifey would be like “Well then, what am I going to do while you’re out?” He’s told me that on every decision–from vacations to curtains to careers–The Wifey refuses to see his opinion as valid, and will just argue with him until she gets her way. What kind of person NEVER compromises? What kind of person allows themselves to be treated this way for decades on end?
I left the conversation feeling very little hope. I cried and cried and held the flowers he’d brought me and thought about how I wasn’t going to continue being the secondary person on my own dates. I thought about how I don’t want to be a part of something where one person’s will always trumps the other, and I definitely don’t want to be a part of something where someone who is supposed to love me constantly lets me down to avoid a tantrum from someone else.
I don’t want to be a part of that, and I won’t be. I can’t be.
(Stay tuned for Part III)