Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dear GB

I've been living with my main boyfriend since 1989 and I absolutely adore him, however my relationship with him is not monogamous. I started playing around in the mid 1990's and I made sure he didn't find out about it because I knew it would upset him. But ten years later when our relationship was going through a rocky patch in spring 2005, I actually ended up going away on holiday with someone else, and I now regard that guy as a second boyfriend. I admitted everything to my main boyfriend when I got back from that holiday. After a lot of talking, including extensive relationship counselling, our lives seemed to settle down. The fact that the second boyfriend lives in a different country did ease some of my main boyfriend's concerns. With my main boyfriend's knowledge, I've carried on seeing my second boyfriend every now and then.

It now turns out that my main boyfriend had successfully managed to keep his personal crisis about the situation to himself. The relationship counselling which we had together stopped over a year ago, but three months ago he told me that he subsequently found a counsellor just for himself and that he's been seeing him ever since. The settled lives that I thought we had were an illusion, because he told me that every day he was waking up thinking about the same question, namely whether he should leave me or not. This became the only thing he could think about, so it got to the point where his mental health was deteriorating badly.

I have no idea what to do, although I do know that I have to help my main boyfriend recover somehow. My best idea for that is to buy him a place to live near me, so that we no longer have to share the same house, but none the less we can perhaps still stay boyfriends. I think that will help him past the question that's been haunting him, as well as giving him the financial security that he lacks. But in fact, after that, perhaps it's better for both of us to stop being boyfriends and try to be close friends instead? And should I try and make a new life with my second boyfriend, if it turns out that he's interested in a deeper relationship than the one we currently have? The problem with that is that he lives in a different country, although I can envisage circumstances which might allow me to move to be with him or vice-versa. There are other guys in my life too, but the only really significant ones are boyfriend number 1 and boyfriend number 2.

I feel that the only certainty in my life is that the future will be very different to the life that I've had in recent years. But trying to work out what that life should be, I feel lost. Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went through something very similar (I was the bf#1 in your story) and can only share with you what worked for me. The fact that you have stuck around for so long is testimony to your love and commitment to be in a relationship with each other. That in itself is huge and can be built upon. The only thing you have to evaluate is both of you wanting this relationship despite the odds to come.

When CP and I decide to give our relationship a try five years ago, the first thing we acknowledged is that we will see a lot of noise in our relationship and no matter what , we have to talk it out UNDER THE SAME ROOF - for however long and however unpleasant an experience. I can definitely tell you that if we acknowledged that there were options of getting separate places temporarily etc, we would not be together. We have had some crazy fights - most of them meaningless and a few that relate to the situation of monogamy.

Fact of the matter is that CP is younger than me, very good looking, and we live in New york. That is a recipe for disaster for monogamy! I could not for the longest time fathom how CP could say that he loved me but still attribute sleeping with others as "its just sex". It was very very confusing because I too found other people attractive and gave up the option of sleeping around to be faithful to CP - so I felt betrayed and cheated for the longest time - perhaps still do emotionally in a weak moment. We were very close to breaking up and only one thing worked - talk this out under the same roof ( we talked about this for over a year)

There could be several reasons that CP did this. Eventually boring sex at home, commitment issues, insecurity, fear of a relation not working out or just simple being a slut (lol) because he could! My gut told me that it was his youth and insecurity in our relationship that led him to do this. I have no control on youth but certainly made him feel even more secure in our relationship over time (mainly through talk).

I also realized that however difficult it is for me to understand polygamy, it happens and there is such a thing as "just sex" without affecting the quality of your relationship. For me it was just fact of life, grow up - deal with it. Personally, I fear polygamy - cause with me sex makes me feel emotionally towards someone - I fear it will dilute the strength of my relationship with CP and it will show immediately. So perhaps I too am "cheating" without cheating because I would love to sleep around but dont purely out of fear of losing CP. Over time it made me realize that CP will perhaps do it again but I have a way to rationalize it. CP also understands that this cannot be a defining feature of his behavior going forward - he too needs to introspect else he will lose me for sure. I can rationalize only so much.

I think CP has been monogamous for a long time now. I don't think that the fear of losing our relationship keeps us together rather than how we actually feel towards each other - however sickeningly sweet that sounds!

Not sure if any of this is helpful to you but if I were to give you any advise, assuming that you want this relationship, do not encourage the notion of moving out - however bad and be prepared to introspect and be open to the idea of change!

NYC

GB said...

Thanks NYC. My impression from your comment is that most of your talking and fights occurrred during the first 12 months after CP told you what had been going on. But what do you think would have happened to you if it turned out that things hadn't improved after 27 months, which is the situation here?

GB xxx

Anonymous said...

ppl take different times to heal. patience is perhaps a virtue here. Are you tired? NYC

Sir Wobin said...

Some of the reader's proposals are in conflict: buy bf1 a place near the reader vs move to another country to be with bf2.

If he's going to end it, be brave about it and make a clean break. If his bf1 is emotionally delicate then a prolonged closeness that suits the reader but doesn't let his other half move on would be torture.

Parting a long relationship in a financially equitable way (the suggestion about buying bf1 a home...) is nice but if the reader is going to do that, give bf1 the choice of where to buy (or just the cash) without putting strings on the deal that come back to the reader like "it must be near me". That's just another way to prolong the torture.

All that said, I'm not advocating a breakup but if you do separate, be a man and do it cleanly.

Anonymous said...

It does rather sound as though you've decided to end the relationship with BF1.

If BF2 is promoted to BF1 does BF3 move up into the BF2 slot ?

cuteCTguy said...

GB did you post your own situation to yourself? :-)
Uncanny...

Anonymous said...

Hi GB,

For any turbulent time in a relationship, no matter a straight one or a gay one, the best way to find direction is to LISTEN TO YOURSELVES and, as others said, TALK AND COMUNICATE. Yourselves means GB+BF1+BF2. Other people's opinions, even from your extremely close friends or family member, are still not able to guide you.

The questions for any relationship in any mode are always dynamic. Sometimes, the solution cannot be found partially by you. A stable conclusion only occured when all parties are equally informed and equally respond.

What will be will be...

JC

Ky said...

Dear GB,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, it must be very unsettling.

BF1 is uncomfortable with you seeing other guys but you really enjoy the company of other men so it comes down to:

a) be monogamous to satisfy BF1 which will likely make yourself miserable as you'll have to deny a part of who you are that you have come to terms with (being polyamorous).

It's also not likely to resolve the issue as he will continue to have thoughts lingering at the back of his mind whether you are still seeing other men even if you are being monogamous.

OR

b) continue your polyamorous lifestyle and trial being apart with BF1. I don't think you will be very happy to be monogamous so this is the more likely choice you will make.

It's not necessarily such a bad idea as being away from you, he'll have a chance to work out whether he really wants to be with you or not. He will probably miss being with you and as the saying goes absence does make the heart grow fonder. Hopefully, he will come around and be able to more readily accept and deal with polyamory.

Whatever choice you made GB, don't beat yourself up too much over it. Just be true to who you are.

Ky

aurix said...

i must say that i disagree with the idea of buying bf1 a home and then become friends (or even remain boyfriends). it's just going to set up another relationship--this time financial, which can really complicate things, especially when you two aren't in a relationship anymore. bf1 would feel obligated to be friends with you, or that he owes u something, etc...

like sir wobin said, though, if you're gonna do it then at least give bf1 a choice or give him cash. although the idea of giving your bf cash when you're breaking up with him is quite unheard of where i come from.

Paul said...

I think these guys are still not being honest with each other. GB is heavily into his blog and the life that goes with it, but does not share this with his partner. He has said that his partner does not want to know about his ex-curricular activities; but perhaps this is also a posture. I suggest they have a real heart-to-heart, and try to be really honest with each other. If GB lays everything before his partner, good and bad, his partner must decide whether or not he wants the real man. If he wants something different, then GB can not realistically provide this. On the other hand, GB's partner needs to stop making waves and get on with enjoying what has been a good life for many years. As for going off with boyfriend number two: why consider second best.

Anonymous said...

Dear GB,

Maybe what you need is to be single and enjoy the single life for a while. That way you get all this turmoil out of the system and enjoy meeting people and just take it for what it is. BF# 1 will have to learn to be strong - without you. BF# 2 is strong enough to deal with it. :)

pZZcat

Anonymous said...

In my mind, both of you are great people who deserve happiness.

I deduce that being monogomous and/or polyamorous is not a choice, but a deep seated character trait, possibly even of genetic origin.

In my mind, the honourable thing to do here is to support bf1 through getting set up and carry on with his life, hopefully finding someone who can make him feel secure, without compromise.

Remain good friends and be there for each other.

Daz

Guy In London said...

Wow, GB, who would've thought, I'm speechless.

Based on my current situation, I'd advise living apart, and if BF1 is financially dependent on you then after 18 years you owe him, and you can't attach strings to the "settlement".

I'm sure you're wise enough to have considered your legal obligations to your long term partner - if not - then for fcuks sake get some legal advice pronto.

GIL

close encounters said...

GB

so sorry to hear about this ... it must be awful to think that BF#1 has been going through such traumas without you realising.

surely though it is up to him to make a decision - if he wants or needs to leave you, then surely he has to decide that ... you have made it clear that you want to continue your relationship with him, but on revised terms to how you started ... if he cannot handle that, then surely he must decide to end it?

maybe if you gave him the offer of financial security, he might feel more empowered to make the decision to end your relationship, and thereby improve his mental health ... or maybe just the offer of it would enable him to accept your current relationship without feeling trapped - just knowing that he had an escape route might help him ?

have you offered to have counselling together again - would that help him come to terms with your revised relationship ?

i guess that ultimately, if you feel that your relationship with him is causing him harm, then you will feel that you need to take the decision that he is unable to take ? it would be very sad if you did that, only to find that it doesn't have the desired positive effect on his mental health ...

Anonymous said...

My two cents: if your bf no. 1 has reacted this way i don't think he's prepared for a non-monogamous relationship.
I personally think that open relationships must be chosen together so, at the state of things, i would leave my bf no. 1 alone: that can be harsh but it's the best thing you can do to help him recover.

GB said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone :-). To make a few comments on the comments:

No NYC, I'm not tired. But healing usually involves ppl getting gradually better, not gradually worse.

Making a clean break is all very well when there's no mental frailty on either side Sir Wobin.

The boyfriend numbering purely relates to the order I met them Anonymous, it's not a order or importance. As I've said before, I'd do away with those names if I hadn't been using them here for so long.

I'd prefer to be regarded as canny rather than uncanny Fancy fancy, but I guess I can't choose how people see me.

In spite of what you say JC, I think other people's perspectives are useful. If I didn't think that, I wouldn't have posted here.

You're right Ky, it is unsettling. Hopefully things will heal given time.

The problem Aurix, is that boyfriend number 1 is financially dependent on me. Whatever the law says, I have a moral obligation to him and we both know it, so he won't feel that he owes me anything if I do buy him a home.

I think you're right Paul, more honesty would be good. One thing that I can be blamed for though is not being more honest about what I wanted in the mid 1990's, although as you say, that's may be balanced by some things that are boyfriend number 1's responsibility.

I'd like to think that we're all strong enough for the path you suggest pZZycat.

Thanks for your kind words Daz. Indeed, I hope I'll always be able to provide boyfriend number 1 with support if he needs it.

Actually Dibble, I thought about legal advice and decided against it. In my experience, things always turn out for the worse once lawyers get involved in domestic situations. As far as I know, boyfriend number 1 thinks the same way. So I'm going to buy him a home and if we split up, I'll support him for a while. Not because a legal settlement says I should but because it's the right thing to do.

Unfortunately I think we're past relationship counselling Close Encounters.

And finally Anonymous, in retrospect, I do indeed wish I'd discussed the lifestyle I wanted with boyfriend number 1 in advance.

GB xxx

Masturbedroom said...

Just wondering GB, did you get a civil partnership with bf1?

Guy In London said...

GB, until we get to know each other it's Office Dibble :-)

GIL

GB said...

Well Masturbedroom, Civil Partnership here in the UK was legalised after this, so what do YOU think?

GB xxx

Masturbedroom said...

I'm sorry...*hugs*

J said...

It seems like you want to be with boyfriend 2. Boyfriend 1 might be happier if he had financial security and finds someone he likes who can remain monogamous.

As for boyfriend 2, perhaps the main thing you need to discuss with him is whether you two want an open relationship. If he wants a monogamous one, will you GB be able to commit to that?

On another note I have a strange feeling that pZZcat is boyfriend 2, otherwise what makes him comment that boyfriend 2 is stong enough to deal with GB enjoying the single life for a while? Just wondering...

Anonymous said...

GB

There appears to be a fundamental disconnect between what you and BF1 want - from what you say, he wants a monogamous relationship and you are unable to commit to that. From reading your blog, it would appear that being polygamous is a core part of your personality. This fact has slowly been destroying him, and now that you know this, it is destroying you because you don't want to be hurting him. You've tried counselling, but it has failed.

I never like to advocate people splitting up - my own relationship, now 6 years in, has been forged through compromise and discussion after difficult spells. However given the 27 months of anguish that BF1 has had, I think that this is not something that either of you can resolve.

Your recognition of your moral financial responsibilities is admirable. But Sir Wobin is right though that it isn't for you to dictate to him where he lives. If he chooses to live near by you then great, but you must give him the flexibility to rebuild his life where and how he wishes.

My heart goes out to both of you.

VenCap

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that bf1 would be a lot better off away from you.

He loves you and only you, and just wants you to feel the same way; he doesn't want just a bit of you, he wants all of you. You seem to want all of him, but only in exchange for a bit of you.

So he's stuck loving someone who can't love him back in the same way, and also stuck in a situation where he doesn't hold any of the cards: you bring in the money, you own the home, you decide how his life is going to be, and you get to be the one without the 'mental frailty'.

You want to do the right thing for him, and not just for you? Buy yourself a new house, let him have the one he thinks of as home, and then move out.

He'll be destroyed, but he'll get over it.

Harsh, perhaps, but hey. He's not the one shagging about.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that you and BF1 are going through troubles.

My parents were together for about the same time as yourself and BF1 and started experiencing difficulties, probably, 3 or 4 years before they finally made the break. They also went for marraige/relationship counselling but it didn't work.

The last years they spent together were hell, both for myself, my brother and them.

You and BF1 have no children to worry about so splitting is easier, and, if you do break up, as Sir Wobin said, i would advise that it is a clean break.

You will never be monogamous and this is what BF1 wants and needs from you. Time has passed and it seems as though you have exhausted all other options so, logically, the next step is the one you are both considering.

You are a noble man for acknowledging you obligations. Many wouldn't do so.

But, honestly, when he moves out your relationship will change irrevesibly. There's no going back to how you were, only forward, into the future which you should look to with optimism, not dread.

With or without BF1 you'll still be GB.