I tried to be cool. I tried to be chill. I tried to just accept what I had now, with no expectations for the future. I’d been trying to quit drinking, but every time I thought about Papa Bear and his inability to not fuck millions of girls, I wanted a drink. Or 5. And so the Friday night before our third anniversary I went over to his place, as usual. I told him I wasn’t going to quit drinking right now after all. If I was going to pretend everything was fine and I didn’t care, I’d need to numb.
Drink in hand, I asked him if he knew where the Isle of Skye was.
He responded with an enthusiastic “Yeah, I’ve been there.”
“Of course,” I laughed bitterly. Because he’s been everywhere. The Isle of Skye. Wales, London, Rome, Crete. Thailand, the Maritimes, Haida Gwaii. But never with me.
This has been a sore point between us for awhile, because when he was married, he traveled with his wife, but since he and I have been together we’ve only done road trips. He knows how wanderlust-y I am and keeps talking about us going somewhere awesome together, but it never happens.
I tell him about my plan to start aggressively saving to go away, again. I have some money in an account, but I tell him that I’ve done some research (angrily, as I’d accepted the fact that we were never going to go anywhere since I wasn’t his wife and if he couldn’t afford to take me now he wasn’t going to be able to once he had another girlfriend), and I’d found lots of cheap trips that I could save for within a year.
I said the words “By myself,” a lot.
“There’s a lot of places I can afford to go by myself.”
“I think that’s a place that would be safe to travel by myself.”
“I wouldn’t be comfortable driving to the port by myself, so I’d take a greyhound then ferry to the island.”
He asked if I still wanted him to go with me.
I said “Sure, if you want.” The unspoken message was clear: I give up. Do what you want. I’m going to live my life with or without you.
Then, working a pretty good buzz, I wondered aloud if I should join Tinder. “You know,” I said, “I only lasted about 30 seconds on there last time, but that was because I was afraid of people I know seeing my profile. Now that I’m trying to care less about what other people think, I think I’ll go ahead and join.”
And I did. Right then. I joined Tinder and immediately started swiping, completely missing the fact that I was swiping the wrong way on all the men I liked until Papa Bear showed me how to do it right.
I was kind of being a bitch. I didn’t even want to meet anyone on Tinder. Papa Bear had told me during one of our last discussions on him being way more actively poly than he is (me, preferring not to look for other partners but to be open to more love if it comes along) that he didn’t want me to feel like he was always looking, and would shut down his dating profiles. He told me he’d shut down his OkCupid, but he still had Tinder (though he was only getting men because he’d switched it to BFF mode) and I didn’t know what other apps he was using. Still, he’d made an effort, and I was kind of telling him it didn’t matter anymore. Once again, I don’t care.
He kept assuring me he wanted to be with me. Telling me the reason he hasn’t traveled with me is because he’d put the trips with his wife on his credit card and was trying to be more responsible and pay off his debt before we went away. That he wasn’t looking for other women anymore and he didn’t know what else he could do to prove that even if I didn’t care, he did.
And I just started to blubber. “Do you remember,” I asked him, “When you were still with The Wifey, and you said that if you broke up with her you’d be heart-broken, but at least you’d know you’d had a great life together and you’d always be grateful for that?”
“Yes,” he said, confused.
“Well, I don’t know if you and I are going to be able to stay together. I love you, but we might not be able to make it happen,” I sniffled. “And if we can’t, I just want to know that you and I had a great life together, while we were together. That’s why I don’t want to travel with you in a few years, I want to travel with you now. That’s why I get frustrated when we don’t go more places and do more things. Because I want to be able to look back and say, at least we had that. And if you find another serious girlfriend, that’s never going to happen because you won’t be able to afford it. So I don’t know what to do, except give up on ever having a life with you.”
“I don’t need another girlfriend,” he said, on the verge of tears.
“Yes, you do! You keep saying ‘it’s who I am, it’s who I am.’ You’ll never be happy with just me. I used to think that when we could be together all the time, you wouldn’t need anyone else. But that’s obviously not true. I’ll never be enough for you.”
He told me that I am enough. That I am more than enough. That I am everything. That his being polyamorous doesn’t say anything about whether I am enough. How could something about him, define me? “Furthermore, I’ve told you over and over that I’m not looking for another girlfriend. I don’t have the emotional energy. I’m not dating any of the women I’m seeing. I just like sex.”
“I’m sorry, then how is that who you are? How is that polyamory? You keep saying you’re polyamorous and it’s who you are, but I don’t get how that jives with having a constant stream of meaningless sex with women you barely know.”
He didn’t have a great answer for that. He knows he can love more than one woman at a time, but he doesn’t need to, and right now he doesn’t want to. It’s an ego boost knowing other people want him, but he admits he shouldn’t be ruled by his ego.
“Look,” I said. “I am not monogamous either. But the difference between us is that I don’t have to be with more than one person at a time to be happy. If looking for other women, or being with other women, is something you will always, always want–and not just a lifestyle you can choose to engage in or to not engage in, depending on the circumstances–then I just can’t imagine a future with you. In a decade, my kids are going to be grown up, and I am going to leave. I have spent my entire life settling for relationships that weren’t right, just because I loved the person, or because my life made it so that was the right thing to do. I’m not going to do that forever. Every day is a fight and when I’m done raising my kids, I’m done fighting. I’m done with the stress of being paired with the wrong person. I’m done with stress, period. Even if it means I move to Greece and live alone forever, at least I won’t be crying. At least I’ll have peace. At least I’ll be free.”
“But can I come? Like we talked about?”
“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering who your next girlfriend is going to be, and what’s going to happen, and if its all going to be okay. I’m going to get tired. I’m going to be too old for this. I don’t want my whole life to be a house of cards that can crash down at any moment because we keep adding unknown elements. At some point, I want to know what my future is going to look like and who its going to be with, even if the answer to that is no one.”
He admits its hard for him to feel restricted, but maybe he needs to stop trying to recapture his 20’s. That he knows he will not have the energy for multiple women forever, and that when he looks at his future, all he sees is me.
I still don’t believe him, so as I drink and cry, he goes back inside and comes out with a red velvet ring box, shaped like a heart. I stare at it, stunned. He flips it open and inside is a ring. A sparkly, diamond ring. And all I can think is that the gold and the diamonds are arranged into the infinity symbol–which a lot of people think of as the symbol for polyamory, because love is infinite.
He holds out the ring and talks about how he loves me and wants to be with me forever. How no matter who he is with, it’s never been as good as when he’s with me. How we connect on so many levels and he truly believes we were made for each other. How sleeping with other women is just sex, but with me, from the very first time, he was shaken to his core and thought “holy fuck, what just happened?” That he’s never had that kind of connection with anyone else, and he’s never been so deeply in love with anyone else, and I need to believe him.
I burst into fresh tears, as the truth of the matter, the question that has been at the core of all of this, finally crystallizes in my mind.
“What happens when that’s not true anymore?” I ask, my voice breaking. “What happens when the next girl or the next girl or the next does touch you that way? What happens when you meet someone you click with more than me? What happens then?” I bawl.
And he gets it. He finally gets it.
I don’t take the ring. It doesn’t fit and the infinity symbol freaks me out and the timing is wrong. He puts it away and tells me he will get me a better one, one he hopes I will wear for the rest of my life.
And we compromise. We have twelve years until we can run away together. For the next twelve years, we can experiment and be as non-monogamous as we want. But when we are finally able to be together the way that we want to, the way that we were meant to, it is just him and me. Of course, if he falls in love with someone else before then that would complicate things. Who knows, I may like her enough to want to bring her with us. Or he may decide to stay here with her. But what I really needed to know is that someday my life will stabilize. That I will have my person (or people) and won’t need to deal with more.
Regardless, I know what I’m doing and I believe he wants to do it with me. Somehow I feel that all-elusive peace, which is all I really wanted to begin with.
After I cried and wailed and was generally a basket case over Yummy Mummy, Papa Bear agreed to slow things down with her. The next day, after the fog lifted, he was still struggling. I told him he didn’t have to slow things down with her if he didn’t want to, and he said “I have to. Otherwise I’ll lose you.”
I said I just didn’t understand why he had to see her. He had been seeing another woman (a 24 year old British lawyer with good hair), and had just started seeing a young blonde who likes cosplay. Why did he have to see Yummy Mummy? She was too intense and it was too serious and I couldn’t handle it.
He replied “I’m not going to be her boyfriend. We both know that can’t happen because she needs a boyfriend that’s monogamous. I had just hoped, that after 3 years I could have the chance to be her lover for a little while. But you mean the world to me and I’m not going to throw that away just for some sex. Even sex with someone I care about.”
I realized then that he wasn’t just being a playboy. I mean, he is a playboy–and I think after 20 years of being married to someone who made him feel unattractive and stupid, that it helps him to know there’s lots of women out there who would want to be with him–but with Yummy Mummy it was different.
He really cared about her, and would be truly sad if he had to end it because I couldn’t handle it. So I told him he shouldn’t break it off with her. He is clearly poly, even if maybe I’m not as poly as I used to think I was. And the only way to know if we can work long term is to try this for real. If I can’t allow him to follow his heart, then we’ll never be happy.
Papa Bear promised he’d think about what I said, and he thanked me for being brave. Then, the story goes, the next time he talked to Yummy Mummy, they both said at the same time “I think we should just be friends.”
When I asked him about it, he said that he’d kind of had a fantasy of what it would be like to be with her, but in reality it wasn’t like that at all. That it was just weird because they’d always been so close, but when they were together the chemistry was off. That he loves her very deeply, but he is not in love with her, the way he is with me.
The next time they got together she said “I don’t know why, but I’m really relieved we decided to just be friends.” I guess it didn’t feel quite right to her either.
Part of me feels guilty for saying anything. I feel like maybe if I’d kept my mouth shut, it either would have ended on its own, or it would have continued, but at least I’d know I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But Papa Bear says I am a thinker. That I think things through to the end, and sometimes to death, and if I wasn’t there to make him realize he needs to think about things, it would be very easy for him to just jump in head-first without considering important factors–such as whether or not he wants to be a step-dad to four young kids (answer: he doesn’t.)
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had started a relationship with her. I really like her and we get along great, so I think that personality-wise, it could have been awesome. But Papa Bear says that it would have been a disaster just because of everything she is going through right now. It would have put a ton of strain on both me and him, as well as on our relationship. He said he didn’t think he’d be relieved to end it with her, but that is definitely how he felt when they decided they just wanted to be friends.
Now you’d think that after that, everything would be okay–but it wasn’t. It’s hard. Things changed. I think before, I thought that I had to be poly because my husband isn’t sexual and I need to have sex. And at one point, I desperately wanted the connection that comes from a group of people who all care about each other. (I really wanted a poly family, but as of right now it’s too scary to think about. I can’t handle the thought of being rejected by another one of Papa Bear’s lovers, the way his wife rejected me. It’s too soul-destroying. I’m not saying I’d never try it again, but whoever she is, she would have to be really special. )
Now, though, I am questioning everything. Because if I’m honest with myself, deep down inside, I thought Papa Bear and I only continued to be poly because I’m still married. That as long as I was married, we’d stay poly. But if my marriage ever ended, it would just be him and me.
But through these brutally difficult discussions, he made it clear that being polyamorous is who he is. He’d say that he would be willing to give that up for me, he loves me that much, but I could never allow that. You can sacrifice things for the people you love, sure. But you should never have to sacrifice parts of yourself.
So, what could I do? I didn’t want to break up with him–I love him. And even if I did break up with him, I would still need another relationship because I cannot go the remaining decade until my kids are grown up without sex. So I’d end up right back here with whoever else I ended up sleeping with–unless I didn’t care about him. And while just having a fuck buddy seems much, much simpler, it also seems hollow. I don’t want to lose what I have with Papa Bear and replace it with something meaningless.
I still enjoy the occasional one-night-stand or whatever, but when I’m with Papa Bear, we touch each others’ hearts. I need that, and more to the point, I feel like I need him.
So, I decided. I would go back. I would go back to when we first started dating, when we said we couldn’t promise each other forever, but that we love each other “right now.” I would revert to my submissive ways, and instead of fearing his other women would take his time and attention away from me, I would simply go to him when he called for me. I could not be upset when he already had plans with someone else if I never asked to see him. I would not wait for him and I would not figure him into my future plans. If I wanted to go to Europe, then I’d save up for it myself, and if he asked to come along then maybe I’d let him. No more thinking that everything had to be “us.” I decided to pretend there was no “us.” Just him, and me, and this thing between us that may not last after all.
You’ll ask, how did that go? Not well, as it turns out.
More to come.
So I mentioned life being fucked up. And yes, it is fucked up. Now let me tell you why.
Its no secret that my sexual relationship with The Husband is at best, uninspired, and at worst, non-existent.
That’s the reason I became non-monogamous in the first place–because after a years of not having my needs met, I was done. We came to this arrangement because if I didn’t start getting laid, our marriage would have ended anyway.
A couple months ago, I had a talk with him. It wasn’t one of our usual screaming matches about him not being into me. It was more just an inquiry. I asked him, “Do you not like sex?” And he doesn’t.
He said that realization didn’t click until the moment I asked. And honestly I was flabbergasted. How the HELL had he not realized this before? How can this possibly be the very first time he ever thought about this? We’d fought like cats and dogs. We’d both totally lost our self-esteem. We redefined our entire marriage around this problem and he’d never stop to ask himself if he likes sex???? What the actual fuck???
I asked him to explain, and he said he often enjoys it, but during almost every encounter there’s a moment of panic or a feeling that he really doesn’t like, and that makes it hard to enjoy the rest of it.
He said he never realized because he thought that everyone likes sex. It just never crossed his mind that the reason we had these problems was because he didn’t.
I let some time pass. But I couldn’t help thinking “This marriage is probably dead.”
(Stay Tuned for Part 2).
So here I am–back, and not knowing where to start. I should probably start with the reason that I’m back, which is–I feel like I would like to implode my entire life. What does that mean? What am I saying?
Just that I am sick of being who I am–or pretending to be who people believe me to be–and I want out. Permanently. I want to take out a billboard and tell the world everything about me, and ex-communicate anyone who doesn’t like it.
Ex-communication–such a harsh act. Yet for some reason it’s what I crave. Last year Tyler Glenn came out with an Album called Ex-Communication, themed around his act of coming out of the closet and leaving the Mormon church. It’s not exactly my preferred style of music, but certain songs of his, I love. Not just because of clever lines like “I found myself when I lost my faith,” but because he was brave enough to write and record them. He gave no shits. HE ex-communitated no one–yet made it clear that anyone who didn’t support him could fuck right off. He was done hiding.
I can’t explain what hiding has done to me. The fact that I feel like I am always looking over my shoulder, afraid of what others might see, the questions they might raise, the conclusions they might draw.
Am I a cheating whore? My husband a poor, blind schmuck? My children, doomed to be scarred? Am I a pervert, who has no preference for whether she fucks men or women, as long as she is fucking? A sex-addict who will go there with whomever? A heartless bitch who must not love anyone at all, if she is unwilling to remain faithful? It’s all open to speculation. The world stands in judgement. And who am I? Just a woman who is tired of hiding, tired of shame, tired of pain. A woman who has been through a fucking lot in the last few years, and just wants to take a deep breath and be herself. A woman who, by many standards, is selfish, yet still feels like she is sacrificing herself in order to not hurt others.
Who am I? I have no fucking idea.
More to come.
Where to start? Things are…interesting and painful and intense over here.
This past week was kind of a shit show. It was The Wifey’s birthday, and she had planned a birthday get together with her BF for Saturday/Sunday, and then Papa Bear took Monday (her actual birthday) off to spend with her. He invited me to spend Saturday night, and then we were going to take my kids to breakfast and hang out with them for part of the day while The Husband was at work.
There was a family emergency involving one of their relatives, and The Wifey’s mother and uncles flew in so they could visit this relative, which meant they crashed at the Wifey and Papa Bear’s house for a few days. The Wifey and Papa bear were upset. Things were awkward with The Wifey’s mom since they came out to her as poly, plus it meant their birthday weekend plans were pretty much out the window.
I was upset too, since I’d only had a total of two hours with Papa Bear last week and was really looking forward to actually getting to see him. Every conversation we had that week revolved around the problems he was having with The Wifey, and while I was happy to support him, I was exhausted. Hearing the way she was talking to and treating him made me angry and sad. I felt like staying home on Friday night, but a friend from work was having a birthday get together and I’d told her I’d go, so I went.
What I never seem to remember about these Friday night things, is to eat something beforehand. We eat lunch at 11:00 at work, and if I’m going to meet up with people at 7 and start drinking on an empty stomach, it is bad news. Papa Bear and I had been texting back and forth throughout the night, and around 10 pm I texted him and told him I was hammered and didn’t know how I was getting home. He asked me the address, and told me he’d be there in three minutes. I was in the middle of a card game (though at this point I was so drunk I was just throwing down cards at random), and told him I couldn’t leave yet. He told me to take a cab and he’d pay for it. One minute later (I checked the chat log), I said I would leave now then, since I wasn’t sure I could even make it to a cab, but he didn’t reply. I called a few times but there was no answer. I assumed his phone was in the other room, so I texted his daughter to ask her if she could tell him to call me.
Well, it turns out she wasn’t home, but I didn’t know that. And she ended up calling her mom (The Wifey), and asking her to tell him to check his phone. Except that apparently she was already in bed, and was furious at being woken up. I was confused, as I had replied that I would take the ride literally one minute later, and didn’t realized he’d already turned his phone off and gone to bed.
At this point I was pretty upset. He had been really, really late for our one date that week, which is why we only had two hours to spend together. His other free nights he’d said he was too tired and upset about fighting with The Wifey to see me. Then we ended up having to cancel our weekend plans because their family was in town, and now he knows I’m in a strange part of town I don’t know how to get home from, and he turned off his phone? A friend from work eventually called me a cab and helped me walk to it, and told him my address. The debit receipt shows I somehow managed to pay him, though I don’t recall this.
What I do recall is friends texting to make sure I got home okay. And in my drunken, neglected state, I felt like Papa Bear turning off his phone when he knew I might not be safe, meant that he didn’t care whether I was in bed or passed out on the front steps of my apartment building.
When I finally talked to him, I was sobbing. It wasn’t the fact that he didn’t drive me home. I really hadn’t expected him to even offer, since his house was full of people. It was just the fact that he turned off his phone. My abandonment issues went through the roof. While he was talking me down, telling me he didn’t know how drunk I was, telling me that he’d been a bit hurt when I turned down his offer of a ride and that’s why he’d put his phone away, telling me that if he’d had any idea that I wouldn’t have been safe, he would have made sure to check on me, The Wifey was fuming because he didn’t just say “You’re drunk, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
She said that by him talking to me, when she was having a messed up weekend, he wasn’t supporting her. They were sharing a bed for the first time in months, because guests were in Papa Bear’s room, but they weren’t up talking. They weren’t cuddling. She was fast asleep, and he was lying there uncomfortably trying not to sleep in order to avoid snoring and waking her. But because he got up and left the room to talk to me after she was already in bed, that meant that he wasn’t supporting her.
The next day I sent her a text apologizing for waking her up, explaining that I thought they were all awake in the same house and it would be a matter of “hey, go check your phone.” She didn’t reply to me, but she did issue him an ultimatum. Something to the effect of her being “done” with his and my relationship. That she was just “done.” He told her then, that they should probably think about breaking up.
He asked her what she thought about living platonically, or whether she thought he should move out. He says she told him “If we do that, it’s going to affect your entire life,” and “You don’t realize what you’d be giving up.” He told her that she had the right to self-determination, and if she couldn’t be happy in their relationship with him loving me, then there really wasn’t another option. He says she became really angry at this point, but he stood his ground. And the next day, when they talked, she said she got scared when she realized he was going to choose me (though I would argue it’s not a simple as me over her), and that she wanted to work things out.
She said if he gave her clear boundaries for their relationship, she would adhere to them. And he agreed to be honest about his thoughts, feelings, plans, and wants.
They are supposed to be having that discussion tonight.
We’ll see how it goes.
What can I say about how I feel? My biggest fear in our relationship–that she would say “It’s her, or me,” happened. But it didn’t play out the way I always thought it would. I always thought he would give me up.
I don’t know what would have happened if they had started to separate. I’m sure he would have had second thoughts–anyone would. I don’t know if those second thoughts would have meant he’d change his mind. The idea of an entire family imploding is terrifying. All I want is for some middle ground to be found, so that we can all live peacefully and amicably. I know the next few months, at least, are going to be really hard. I’m not sure if any of the decisions–for him to stay with me, for me to live with this dysfunction, for him to stay with her, or for her to stay with him– will stick.
Storm clouds are gathering. But I feel like I’m ready for the rain.
Papa Bear says that The Wifey is dreading the entirety of the holidays, because of all the tension in their relationship due to her exclusion of me from their Christmas event. She knows he’s angry and hurt, and is worried that Christmas will be ruined because he is so unhappy with her right now, but she won’t budge. Frankly, even if she did change her mind, I wouldn’t go anyway, but that’s entirely beside the point. Papa Bear also says the holiday season so far is sucking at their house, and he knows Christmas is going to be really tense.
He was scheduled to have a counselling appointment with a poly-friendly therapist last week, which we were both hanging onto as our only hope for things improving, but he ended up typing the wrong address into the GPS and completely missing his appointment. We both cried about it–we are that desperate. Mainly because he had already been on the waiting list for three months, and if it was going to be another three months for him to get in again, there would be no surviving the wait. He called her the next day, and she got him in for January 12th. Further away than either of us would like, but its better than three months.
That same day I called around to my insurance provider, took the list of poly friendly therapists in my city, and contacted them all for an appointment. The first to get back to me had my business–I will be seeing her next Saturday which I am thrilled about. I am so tired of feeling miserable, and I need to talk to someone who isn’t going to blame my misery on non-monogamy.
I am still planning on having a Merry Christmas, even though my heart hurts. On the day of the Christmas event I wasn’t invited to, I am going to see The Nutcracker with some girlfriends from work. I am SO excited–I have always wanted to go. We are going to get all dolled up, and it is going to be awesome. I can’t wait.
Papa Bear and I are spending the night of the 23rd together and after going for breakfast on Christmas eve, are going to come back to my place so he can give the kids the presents he got them and hang out with us for a bit. After he leaves and the kids go to bed, the Hubby and I will put the presents under the tree, fill the stockings, listen to Christmas music, drink spiked hot chocolate, and watch Die Hard.
My little family and I are going to have a chill Christmas at home, which we love. We wake up, put on coffee and put cinnamon rolls in the oven, and then we open stockings while we wait for breakfast. Hubby and I drink mimosas and the kids have orange juice, and then we open presents. The kids are always so excited and happy and its awesome to watch. It’s fun being Santa!
There’s also my work holiday party, which the husband is going to with me, and which will be tons of fun (I love my co-workers), and our work gift exchange/potluck/ugly Christmas sweater party.
I have also invited Papa Bear’s family over the week before Christmas for an evening holiday hang-out. We talked to his son and daughter first and nailed down a date. His daughter Lucy is bringing her girlfriend. Tonight he is going to mention it to The Wifey and see if she would like to come.
I have mixed feelings about this. I went to a polyamory support group a few weeks back and talked about everything. I needed advice. They all empathized with me, and we talked about what it was about the exclusion that hurt me. I said that it was important for me for my family to get together with Papa Bear’s for the holidays–that it didn’t have to be Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or anything, but that my version of polyamory is family-oriented and so a family event sometime during the month of December is important to me. That what hurt me the most was basically being told that I am not family. Even though I have accepted that I cannot be an equal partner to Papa Bear, to be treated like I am not family at all really hurts.
They suggested I host my own event and invite Papa Bear’s family–that The Wifey’s discomfort with me attending their movie night, shouldn’t stop me from having the people I love around me at Christmastime. I asked if they thought it would seem petty, and they said not at all–that I am not excluding her from my get-together (it is her choice to attend or not), but that I do have the right to experience that togetherness if that is what I need.
So, I’m not sure whether or not she’ll come. Part of me hopes she doesn’t–mostly because, for her to attend, would be to basically be saying that she does not feel bad at all about excluding me. I feel that if she felt comfortable coming, it would mean she honestly believed she did nothing wrong, and did not feel the least bit awkward about it.
She’s a narcissist though, and part of that is not being able to understand anyone else’s point of view, or experience empathy for those you are in conflict with. I can’t hope for her to change, so if she is never going to feel bad about how she hurts me anyway, then I guess she might as well go ahead and come.
Sometimes I am so exhausted that it is really hard for me to care about any of this at all. But I am determined to have a wonderful Christmas anyway.
Remember last year’s series about how the holidays can be a bitch when you’re poly? Well, I had hoped that by this time this year things would be different, but hope is also a bitch. So last year, Papa Bear’s family came over and spent Christmas Eve with us. It was cozy and lovely and it made me very happy. Afterwards though, Papa Bear told me that the Wifey had complained, because they always spend Christmas Eve at home and she was upset that he’d changed the tradition. That was fine–we also always spend Christmas Eve at home, so I understood, and we talked about having our families get together another night during the holiday for this year.
The other issue–which I didn’t write about here–was their movie night. Every Christmas they have all their friends come over to watch a certain Christmas movie. Last year Papa Bear had told me I could come, but then when it actually happened I wasn’t invited. It turns out that neither of The Wifey’s boyfriends had been able to attend, and because of that, they decided that it would be best to not invite me either. I understood this as well, because them being newly out as poly, it would be kind of awkward and uncomfortable if Papa Bear and I were there cuddling in front of their friends while the Wifey was pretty much solo. Of course when I think about it now, I feel like that could have been easily remedied by being honest with me and asking me to skip the PDA and behave more as just a mutual friend–I would have been there with The Husband and the kids, so it really would have been no issue whatsoever–but the decision they made was to just not invite my family.
I was hurt, but not that hurt, since we hadn’t been dating for that long, and I looked forward to attending this year.
There was the enormous blow-up over New Years Eve, which I now believe led directly to a bunch of other crap that fractured my relationship with The Wifey, quite possibly beyond repair–and you can read about that in the series linked above.
Because of what happened last New Years Eve, Papa Bear had promised he would spend this New Years with me. It’s been in the calendar for an entire year, and The Wifey knew that. However, when she was scrolling through the calendar and saw it, she got upset because she said it hadn’t been discussed with her. That yes, she knew that it was happening, but Papa Bear should have checked in with her and discussed how she felt about it or whatever.
Frankly, I agree with her. He should have mentioned it again. I actually told him this before she even saw it, and he said he’d told her last year and it was in the calendar. And I told him he needed to bring it up again, because she may have forgotten and would probably be blind-sided–even though they never do anything for New Years Eve. So, this resulted in a fight about how we never discuss our plans with her or include her in them, etc. If things were good between us, I would have loved to include her. Last New Years Eve I wanted her and Papa Bear to come over and spend the evening with me and The Husband. She is the one who said she would feel uncomfortable and that they should just stay home. And they did, which hurt me deeply, because New Years is really important to me and not at all important to her. So this year, I talked with Papa Bear and we discussed the possibility of having a group event, which would include The Wifey and her boyfriend and his family–but we couldn’t figure out the logistics because of all the kids, and where they’d sleep, etc. And of course I wasn’t going to invite just Papa Bear and The Wifey to our home again–not after what had happened last year, when she’d made it very clear indeed that she had no interest in having that happen, and has made it very clear ever since that she is not capable of sharing time with Papa Bear without getting upset or feeling ignored if he does not give her all of his attention and affection.
So, for New Years it is just going to be Papa Bear and I. We are getting a hotel downtown, going to the concert in the park, having a nice dinner, and getting into the Jacuzzi.
Which is why The Wifey felt justified in stipulating that I be excluded from their Christmas movie get together. Let me tell you something about this particular tradition–it has always been open to any and all friends of the family. Their kids bring their boyfriends or girlfriends, their roommates, their classmates. It’s kind of a big, “everyone we care about is welcome, sort of thing”. Until now. Because this year, The Wifey informed Papa Bear that they will be having the event at her boyfriend’s house. And as far as Papa Bear and I know, they aren’t inviting any friends. Their son and daughter might bring the people they are dating, but that’s it. She also informed Papa Bear that I’m not invited because she would feel “uncomfortable,” and its very obvious that the reason this event has now been moved to her boyfriend’s house and no longer includes everyone they know and love, is because of me. Because she doesn’t want me to come, and she knows she can’t tell Papa Bear I’m not allowed to come to an event at their house, so she decided to have it at her boyfriend’s house.
I found out about this because at a game’s night for our polycule, she and her boyfriend and his wife were cuddled on the couch discussing the event. Right in front of me. The Wifey was so happy and excited she couldn’t sit still in her seat, and was literally glowing. It became very obvious to me that I wasn’t included, and I got pretty upset, so after maybe an hour of making small talk and being civil, I asked Papa Bear to drive me home. I’d had an extremely rough weekend so he had told The Wifey ahead of time that I’d probably have to leave early, so it was fine.
When we were driving home, I asked him about it, and why he hadn’t invited me. And he said he hadn’t even thought about that event, but of course I was invited. I explained the conversation that took place right in front of me, and he kind of got this weird look on his face–like he suddenly remembered something important–and then said something about how The Wifey had mentioned it was being held at her boyfriend’s house, but of course he would bring me.
The next day when we talked about it–and it took him HOURS to get it out–he finally admitted that he had gone home and asked The Wifey, and she had said “Um, I told you I wasn’t comfortable inviting her, remember?” He says he has no recollection of this conversation, and I’m assuming that this is because it was either mentioned in passing and he wasn’t really listening, or he didn’t really take her seriously. He has an awful memory–he can’t remember half the shit I say to him, or that he says to me–so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he really forgot. But in any case, it turned into a massive, several-day argument between the two of them, and between him and me.
On her end, she says that I’m not invited because we didn’t invite her to join us for Halloween (she hates social situations unless she is the one hosting them, and frankly, Papa Bear didn’t invite her to the party because she always complains that his friends are immature, drink too much, he’s not paying enough attention to her, whatever. It had nothing to do with me), and we didn’t include her in New Years. I personally believe that, since she didn’t invite my family to this event last year, and refused to spend New Years with my family last year, that she just doesn’t want me included in their holiday traditions and is using those things as an excuse.
Papa Bear was extremely angry at her, and actually yelled at her, which he never does–when they fight, she usually spends hours yelling at him and he just cries. Their daughter Lucy also gave her grief about it, and told her mother she was being ridiculous and awful to even think about not inviting my family.
As for me? I cried and cried and cried. I cried for days. I still can’t even really think about her in general, and the situation in particular, without tearing up, and this was weeks ago. It may seem like not a big deal, but I have been looking forward to this for a long time. Because its a family tradition, the only one that also includes friends, and my concept of polyamory is that it is family. I do not want to be a girl on the side. I wouldn’t introduce my children to a guy I was just “dating.” I wouldn’t have a guy I was just having fun with come into my home and have dinner with my husband and I. I am not in this for just the sex or the fun, I am in this because I want a real family–I want to belong. And by excluding me–by changing the entire event just for the purpose of excluding me–she is telling me that she wants nothing less than for me to be part of her family. That she has not accepted me, and probably never will.
It has been a long, long time since I have been this hurt, or felt this rejected. I am truly heartbroken.
I feel like my only options at this point are to completely avoid her, and continue to treat Papa Bear as my family–to include him and his children in things, as I have–or to just give up. He told me that if we broke up because The Wifey succeeded in alienating me so much, he doubts their marriage would survive, but I don’t believe him. I think it would survive just fine. He might die on the inside, and he has a thousand times over when he has been trampled by her, but on the outside he would just smile and continue to go along. I would like to believe I’m wrong–that he would, at the very least, use our break-up as a catalyst to learning how to stand up for himself– but I really, truly, do not.