And That’s When I Snapped (Part III)Posted: May 16, 2015
After the discussion with Papa Bear that went nowhere, I did a lot of thinking. Papa Bear was feeling better after our chat, but I wasn’t. I felt numb, and hopeless about us. Something was nagging at me, and after a lot of thought, I was able to put my finger on the exact moment when I started feeling so terrible (which I wrote about briefly, here).
We were lying in bed. Papa bear had asked me to spend the night, and I’d declined, since when I spend the night I have to rush home in the morning so Papa Bear can take The Wifey to breakfast and then to work. It had given me a bad feeling in the past, so I’d decided that until I could spend the night without being kicked out at the ass-crack of dawn, I would stick to sleeping in my own bed.
Papa Bear said something to me–I don’t remember what. But my response was, “Why can’t we spend mornings together?” I asked it in a measured tone–calm. Light, but intentional. Like, I wasn’t being mean, but I was letting him know that this was important.
He looked me in the eye, and he said “I love The Wifey. I like spending time with her too.”
I said “Okay,” but his response cut me deeply. I explained to him the decision I’d made–that unless we could wake up when we wanted to, cuddle or have morning sex, and spend some time together in the morning, I didn’t want to spend the night anymore.
“We spend mornings together sometimes,” he said.
I pointed out that those were usually times when The Wifey was either out of town, or planning on spending the night with one of her boyfriends, thus freeing him up to wake up with me. The other time was Valentines Day, which The Wifey had offered me in appeasement because she’d cancelled our New Years plans so she wouldn’t have to share Papa Bear with me.
That’s when he came up with the idea of giving The Wifey some notice. He said she doesn’t like it when things change, and if we want to spend the night together, we can plan it in advance so that she knows he won’t be driving her to work and will have time to process.
I told him that was fine.
But his initial response continued to nag at me. So on the evening after our shitty date, after we’d had our chat and he’d taken me home, I brought it up again.
I said, basically, that in the past he’d told me he’d thought that rule was stupid. But then he defended it–basically saying that he liked that things were the way they were. It was very painful for me to hear him basically say that he doesn’t want that time with me–something that all real couples do–because he has it with his wife. They don’t sleep in the same bed together anymore, because she sleeps better without him in there. And his response made me feel like, it’s fine for me to be there to keep him warm at night, but when the morning comes he wants me out so he can snuggle and have coffee and eat pancakes and go for a walk with his wife. That he is totally fine never doing those things with me.
His response to that was anger. He said he was sorry he hurt me, but doesn’t know what to do about that. That he can’t pretend he doesn’t enjoy spending time with his wife, or the traditions they’ve had for 25 years. That he can’t be everything to me, despite loving me and wanting to. That that’s not what poly’s about. He said that as much as he admires and respects my husband, he’s leaving a lot for Papa Bear to compensate for. That he can’t be a full-spouse to me, and it tears him apart.
I replied “I never wanted you to say that you don’t like spending time with your wife. But if you don’t ever want that time with me also, we have a big problem. Huge.”
I was not just blowing smoke. I was not just talking out of anger. I was looking for a reason not to break up with him, and he was just making me feel like I had no choice.
He said that he never said he didn’t want that time with me. That we discussed it, and he’d make it happen more often.
“You agreed to compromise because I said it was important to me,” I said. “You never indicated that it was important to you.”
I told him that he does NOT have to compensate for my husband. That my husband is awesome (which he is), and that I can get sex anywhere (which I can).
“I don’t want you to pick up the slack. I don’t want you to be my spouse, I want you to be my boyfriend. BOYFRIENDS DON’T KICK THEIR GIRLFRIENDS OUT AT 6 AM.”
He told me that he knew he’d hurt me with the comments about my husband, but that was mean.
I told him it may have been mean, but it was true. And it is true. Boyfriends don’t kick their girlfriends out first thing in the morning, and for good reason. It makes a woman feel like shit.
That’s when he stopped being angry. He admitted that he’d stopped being my boyfriend. That he relates to his wife by doing things for her, and that is what makes her feel loved, and that his relationship with me became defined by him doing things for me. He thought he was fine because he hired someone to clean my house and drove me around in snow storms and did my laundry. But that he’d stopped really making our time together our time together. He said the reason he’d reacted the way he did when I asked about morning time, was that he’d felt I was attacking his wife (since its her rule), and so he put up a wall. Whenever people criticize her that’s his instinctive reaction, but he also does the same when she criticizes me. When she accuses him of being too distracted by me, he says that it is not my fault–that he likes thinking about me all the time.
He said we need to talk about how to make our dating relationship thrive again. How not to get caught up in other peoples’ needs, or in him wanting to rescue me so much that he forgets to actually have fun with me.
I felt slightly better. Not great, but better.
I asked him if we could sleep on it and talk the next day. We made plans to get drinks on a patio after work.
I knew that if concrete changes weren’t made immediately, then that was it.
I was terrified.