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My Imminent Divorce
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:58 PM
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Ghel Ghel is offline
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Default My Imminent Divorce

I'm returning to fratching, after being gone a little over a year, so that I can vent.

Some of you who are on CS might remember some of the background of this story. I would have posted this there, but considering some of the subject matter, it's probably not appropriate for CS.

TL;DR: This is going to be a long-winded story that covers most of my adult life, concentrating on the events of the last two years. Subjects include love, sex, marriage, polyamory, money, gender identity, sexual orientation, homophobia, and sexism, and how these things relate to my marriage and its imminent dissolution. I'm not looking for advice - I pretty much know what I'm going to do - but I would appreciate any moral support freely offered.

My husband and I have been married 16 years, and together 21 years. We met when I was 17. He was the first person I had sex with, and for a long time, the only person. Up until the last month or so, he was my best friend. We agreed on many things and had much in common.

We each had an infidelity around the midpoint of our marriage. In fact, when I found out that he was talking about leaving me for another woman, I was going to leave him so that he would be free to be with her. When I told him I was moving out, he begged me to stay. He said it made him realize how much I loved him that I was willing to let him go so he could be happy. So I gave him a second chance, and we had many more happy years together.

About four years ago, we got into Second Life. I've heard people say that SL ends marriages, but in this case it was more of a catalyst or vehicle than the cause of our split. My husband developed a close relationship with a woman he met on SL (screen name Cat). He seemed to assume that I would be ok with it because it was an online-only relationship. He never actually discussed it with me, but he didn't hide the relationship from me, either. I was surprised when I realized that it didn't bother me to see him with her (in pixel form - they never met in "meatspace"). When I saw how happy he was when he was with Cat, it made me happy. I was there when he proposed virtual marriage. I stood up for him at his virtual wedding, to show my support for them, and for him as my best friend.

There's some other crappy stuff regarding the end of that relationship and my suspicions that Cat was not who she claimed to be, but it's not really relevant to the story. The only part that's relevant is that their relationship ended about two years ago.

While they were together, I read about polyamory on various websites and discussed what I learned with my husband. I downloaded "The Ethical Slut" and "The Polyamory Handbook" for my Kindle, and read sections to him so that we could discuss how we wanted to handle our polyamory. We agreed to open up our relationship to online relationships, with the possibility of adding "real life" relationships later. He encouraged me to seek a relationship on SL, which I perceived as him wanting to have parity in our relationship, out of a sense of fairness.

I met a man (screen name Tiger) on SL and had a whirlwind two-month relationship with him. During that time, I experimented with kink on various levels, since it was a safe and anonymous environment for such things. If I decided I wasn't enjoying something, I could always log off, though Tiger always respected my wishes, so I never had to. I did some things that I certainly wouldn't do in "real life" and some things that I probably wouldn't do again, even in a virtual environment. I never expected to get shamed for it, especially by my own husband. He still uses that relationship as fodder in arguments.

About a year ago, my husband met another woman on SL (screen name Ali). As an aside, I have noticed that all the women he's been involved with were about the same age when he met them - early to mid 20s. Ali was a dancer and escort at an adult club (I'm not saying this to shame her. It'll be relevant in a bit.) where Hubby was DJing at the time. I got the impression that she was immature and self-centered, and nothing I've learned about her since has changed that impression. Still, Hubby was happy when he was with her, so I didn't object to their relationship.

Ali and I got to know each other a little bit. I wouldn't say we were ever friends, but we got along well enough until about a month ago. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ali and Hubby decided they wanted to meet in "real life," despite living about 1000 miles away from each other. In order for Ali to be comfortable with that, she wanted her RL fiance ("Al") and me to get to know each other. I felt like I was being pushed into a relationship that I didn't choose. Al later expressed the same thing. But I gave it a chance, and talked with Al by text and phone until we developed a friends with benefits type of relationship.

Just before we were slated to meet, Ali decided to quit escorting. Hubby and Al both said they were proud of Ali for quitting escorting. I tried to explain to them that the way they were phrasing it made it sound like there was something wrong with sex work, on general principle. Hubby backpedaled and said that Ali had been uncomfortable with escorting, that she had only been doing it for the extra money she made doing it. So he was proud of her for stopping doing something she wasn't comfortable with, I guess. He just never phrased it that way.

This past February, Ali and Al flew out to stay with us for a long weekend. There was lots of good conversation, general geekery, hanging out, cuddling, lots of sex in various configurations, and even a bit of kink. We used safe words because, although we had discussed limits, we wanted to be sure that those who were bound were consenting at all times. We all agreed that any one of the four of us could call off any or all activity at any time. When they had to leave, we were all sad. We agreed to get together again soon.

While they were visiting, I had my first sexual experience with another woman, during one of our group sex sessions. I've identified as bisexual since my early 20s, and as pansexual for the past few years (as I gained awareness that gender isn't binary). Until that weekend, my husband said I was merely "bi-curious" since I'd never actually had sex with another woman. (It took me along time to find words for why that upset me. Consider this: by that reasoning, is a virgin asexual?)

The four of us weren't able to get together again, but a little over a month later, we did a swap: Ali flew up to stay with Hubby, and I flew down to stay with Al for a week. What came out of that was Hubby's insecurities and jealousy. He tried to express that he missed me, but the way it came out was that he was worried that Al was "fulfilling my needs" better than he did. Granted, my relationship with Al was new and exciting, and Al is more into kink than my hubby is, but I was not feeling the friendship closeness that I did with Hubby. The two relationships were different. I didn't want to rank them, as I felt my husband was trying to force me to do. I considered my relationship with my husband to be primary, so I did my best to give him as much attention as I could. It was never enough, though. He constantly said that he felt that I wasn't "putting him first."

At this point, I want to describe two other relationships that I have, both of which started in SL. I met Steve (again, his screen name) when Hubby and Ali's relationship was still new. We got to talking about some of the sci-fi likes I had listed on my profile, and the relationship grew from there. In many ways, it is a friends with benefits type of relationship, since we agree that we're friends first and lovers second. At first, Hubby encouraged my relationship with Steve, but as it grew nearer to the time for Ali and Al to visit, he tried to get me to spend less time with Steve and more time with Al. I still feel like he did that more to protect his relationship with Ali and not because he thought Al and I were a good couple.

The last relationship I want to talk about is, in some ways, the most important to this story. I met Mycha about three years ago, before Hubby met Cat. I still remember the first time I saw his avatar. He stuck out because of the mix of masculine and feminine traits he displayed. I was wearing something steampunk that night, and he IMed me to comment on it. We talked for a while, developing this casual friendship that remained the same for nearly two years.

It wasn't until after my relationship with Tiger ended and I needed someone to talk to that my relationship with Mycha really developed. We talked about polyamory, sexual orientation, and gender identity. He has been a guide of sorts as I explore polyamory. He has encouraged me to make choices that make me happy, and not to conform to what society or tradition say I should do. He has supported me in my relationship with my husband, both when we were adjusting to a relationship with polyamory added to it and now as that relationship has broken down. But I'm getting ahead of myself again.

Mycha identifies as genderqueer and bisexual. I won't get into the discussions we had about his background, despite the relative anonymity of this forum, out of respect for Mycha. But it'll become relevant in a bit.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:00 PM
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I mentioned in a couple threads over at CS that Hubby had gone to Tennessee to stay with friends while he looks for work. He's staying with Ali and Al. When he left in the middle of May, the four of us had a discussion about it. I was distraught because I was afraid to be alone for an extended period of time. We had talked about selling the house, but with Hubby 1000 miles away, all the burden would be on me to get the house ready to sell. Al said several times that "we all have to be on board for this to work." I thought I was agreeing to let Hubby go to TN, look for work, buy a house near where Ali and Al live, and then move to TN with him. We would be near another couple that we were developing a relationship with, that we seemed to get along with. Al offered to come up to help me finish packing after Hubby found a job.

At some point, there was talk of the four of us, plus Ali's two kids, living in the same house for a while. I vetoed that immediately. Besides that I don't like kids, I saw how trashed Ali and Al's house was, and I didn't want that to happen to my house.

Apparently, the other three thought we were agreeing to something else than I did. They thought we were going to be a closed quad - that the four of us would be a family, and none of us would have outside relationships. If I had known that was what they wanted, I would never have agreed. I want to meet Mycha at some point. I want to leave open the possibility of other relationships. I want to let relationships develop naturally, and not force them into the narrow confines that society or the other people I'm in relationships with choose for me.

When I finally realized that a closed quad was what the others wanted, I felt like it was a huge breakdown in communication. I pointed out that there had been numerous places where they could have brought up the idea that none of us were going to have outside relationships, particularly when I mentioned that I wanted to meet Mycha. Hubby came up with a different BS reason every time I brought it up, from feeling awkward about "somebody else fucking my wife" to "you'll be 1000 miles away (in a different direction) so I won't be around to rescue you if anything goes wrong." I tried to give him opportunities to get to know Mycha, but he refused. I tried to gently point out the inherent sexism in needing him to rescue or protect me, but he felt it was worse to be called sexist than to say something sexist. Al merely said to make sure Mycha had a recent STD exam and to use protection. I didn't find out until much later that he didn't want me to see Mycha at all.

Ali was the one who pointedly said that, even if I didn't know that a closed quad was what they wanted, now that I did, I need to decide if this is what I wanted. I took a couple of days to think about it. I talked to Steve and Mycha about it. I dictated my thoughts, stream of consciousness style, to my phone. At the end of two days, I told my husband that I absolutely did not want to be part of a closed quad. I wanted to take polyamory off the table (even with Al and Ali) for at least a year while we worked out our own issues. Hubby tried to claim that it was merely that I wanted to meet Mycha that I didn't want a closed quad, even though I repeatedly pointed out that Mycha was only one example of a possible relationship that I wanted to be free to explore.

Hubby and Ali and Al came back with a counteroffer (if that sounds businesslike, that's because their proposal sounds more like a business deal than a loving relationship). We would have an open quad, so any one of us would be able to pursue outside relationships. We would have a relationship agreement so that there would be no more miscommunications. (Though I never had a chance to express it, I feel that having to have a relationship agreement means that communication has broken down to a level that would make the relationship difficult to repair.) Any outside relationships would have to be approved by at least two other members of the quad. They described this as a way to avoid one of us throwing a hissy fit about someone else's lover. They also wanted the outside lover to sign a "safe sex agreement" and to share their STD results with the quad. I felt this was unnecessary. Yes, STDs and safe sex is something that should be discussed with potential lovers, but I don't see a compelling reason to have them sign a non-legally binding agreement. Such a thing would also be very off-putting.

When I tried to express my misgivings about the "safe sex agreement," Hubby's response focused on Mycha's bisexuality. That Mycha might, at some point in his life, been a receiver of unprotected anal sex, which would put him at greater risk of certain types of STDs. When I pointed out that this assumed that Mycha didn't practice safe sex and assumed a type of sexual activity that he might not have engaged in, and was frankly homophobic, Hubby got pissed at me. He suggested that it was worse for me to call him (well, his statements) homophobic than it was for him to say something homophobic. He said that the only thing either Mycha or Steve wanted from me was sex, and as soon as they got it, they'd both dump me. And then I'd be going to him for comfort. He said I was thinking with the wrong body part. That I wanted a completely open relationship (which I never asked for - I wanted him to get to know Mycha). That I was selfish and inconsiderate.

I took a couple more days to cool down and think things through. I didn't think things were going to work out between my husband and I. I was tired of the slut-shaming, the homophobia, the attempts at controlling my behavior, and his refusal to come home despite having drained our savings account. But I decided to give it one more try. I called him up (this was last Thursday now) and asked him if he still wanted to work things out. He said he did. I said I wanted to, also, but there were a few things I wanted to go over. I expressed my displeasure at all the things he'd said during our last call (in the previous paragraph), hoping he would back down on some of them. Instead, he doubled down on most of them. So I said I didn't think things were going to work out, and I was going to look for legal assistance to file for divorce. He said I was throwing away a 21-year relationship to be with someone I hadn't even met. No, I said, I was/am abandoning a 21-year relationship to be alone.

I texted Al to warn him what was waiting for him when he got home from work. He only said that he wished he could have done more to help me and Hubby salvage our relationship. But apparently he complained to Ali about me because she texted me back that Al didn't need Hubby to tell him that I was "a selfish bitch" - he already knew. So once again, Al didn't express to me that he was upset with me, but complained to Ali instead. I think I'm better off not being in a relationship with Al if he won't tell me how he really feels. Also, if I can't trust him to tell me the truth about his feelings, how can I ever trust him in a kink situation?

I started the process of splitting up this week. I contacted a legal aid service for the divorce. I'm getting the house ready to put on the market. I have a realtor lined up, and I'm going to work with them to find a new house. I'm packing up Hubby's stuff so he can come pick it up. He's lucky I'm not vindictive. With him in TN and me in MN, I could easily just throw out or sell all of his stuff. But I'm not like that.

Because Hubby drained our savings while he's been out of work, I don't have enough money for a down payment on a house. I'll have to make an offer contingent on the sale of our house and hope that we get what we're asking for so that I have enough for the down payment and closing costs. Either once he gets a job or from the sale of the house, I want him to pay me back the majority of the money from our savings, since most of it came from my mom's estate. I'm just glad I didn't cash in my retirement fund like he asked. I need to talk to him about cashing in his retirement to pay the mortgage until we get the house sold. He doesn't want it foreclosed, so I hope he'll be reasonable about it.

My soon-to-be ex-husband has continued to make statements that seem to be designed to coerce me into staying with him. Like I've never been alone. That's true, but I'm confident I can do it. I've already been alone for a month and a half. I've already gotten over the worst of the separation anxiety.

If anybody has stayed to the end of this story, I want to thank you. I needed to vent, and the relative anonymity of fratching is the only place I felt comfortable telling this story. I welcome comments and questions, but please remember that I'm going through a lot of crap right now.
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Last edited by Ghel; 07-09-2014 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:41 PM
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crashhelmet crashhelmet is offline
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It used to be that if we were posting in the same thread, we were arguing against each other. That's not the case here.

You have my sympathy and support for everything you're going through.

A few questions come to mind about all of this, like who's decision it was to move to TN. Was it to be closer to the other couple or was it for other reasons?

It sounds as if he chose her over you and expected you to embrace it while still remaining his. I dunno.

But again, I'm sorry you're going through all of this. I applaud you for standing up for yourself and taking the steps to not be forced into what you don't want to be a part of.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:13 PM
anakhouri anakhouri is offline
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I can't say I understand much of this (I have a hard time wrapping my head around polyamory, and am a little confused about what's happening online vs. real life) but it sounds like a tough situation. Good for you for not letting yourself be pulled into a relationships?) you don't really want. Al sounds kind of passive-aggressive (the calling you names behind your back) so you're probably well rid of all of them.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:14 AM
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Ghel Ghel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashhelmet View Post
It used to be that if we were posting in the same thread, we were arguing against each other. That's not the case here.

You have my sympathy and support for everything you're going through.
Thanks. I really appreciate that.

Quote:
A few questions come to mind about all of this, like who's decision it was to move to TN. Was it to be closer to the other couple or was it for other reasons?
We both wanted to get away from MN winters, but the reason we chose TN was to be closer to Ali and Al.

Quote:
It sounds as if he chose her over you and expected you to embrace it while still remaining his. I dunno.
I'm not sure. I do feel like he expected me to go along with whatever he chose for us. Similar to that, I feel like I wasn't treated like I was my own person. I'm just his +1 to all three of them.

Quote:
But again, I'm sorry you're going through all of this. I applaud you for standing up for yourself and taking the steps to not be forced into what you don't want to be a part of.
Thanks again. It's hard to choose to be alone at this point in my life, but I think I would be miserable if I gave in to what they wanted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anakhouri View Post
I can't say I understand much of this (I have a hard time wrapping my head around polyamory, and am a little confused about what's happening online vs. real life) but it sounds like a tough situation. Good for you for not letting yourself be pulled into a relationships?) you don't really want. Al sounds kind of passive-aggressive (the calling you names behind your back) so you're probably well rid of all of them.
Polyamory is simply the idea that you can love more than one person in a romantic way, and not have to give up one relationship to pursue another. More Than Two has a great faq.

The online vs. real life aspect isn't really a thing for me, although my husband has made a big deal out of it. He seems to think those relationships where you've met someone face-to-face are automatically more important than relationships where you've only talked to someone by phone, skype, or text. Which is hypocritical, now that I think about it. He never even spoke to Cat. Their entire relationship existed through text.

Al claims that he's so afraid of overreacting to something that he'll take his time to think about a situation (apparently for weeks or even months sometimes) and only respond to it when he's good and ready. I can't deal with that. If I do something that bothers someone, I want to know about it as soon as possible, so I don't do it again.

Thanks also for the support.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:44 AM
Kheldarson Kheldarson is offline
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Shit, Ghel. That's rough going. Your ex definitely didn't treat you right here. I hope it gets better for you. You deserve someone (or someones) who will trust and love you and communicate those feelings.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:42 AM
kaycivine kaycivine is offline
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I'm sorry this is happening.

I'm pro Poly or Monogamous relationships, but only when everyone consents and feels comfortable in their skin. I also get the feeling your husband wanted to own you and do his own thing....and I've been there by boyfriends...if that already sucked...I can only imagine how it feels from a husband you pledged your life to.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:49 PM
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Thanks Kheldarson and kaycivine.

And yeah, I got the impression my husband wanted me to only be poly with the people he chose for me, and he was only using STDs as an excuse to cover up his jealousy and insecurity.

I left out a bit of the story. Perhaps an important bit, depending on your point of view. A few weeks after my husband left for TN, I was feeling abandoned. He hadn't been calling every day as he'd promised. So I mailed him my wedding band with a note to give it back to me when I got to TN. I had hoped that he would see it as a sign that I wanted to be sure that he still wanted to be with me, but he didn't see it that way. I tried to explain that I was asking, not if he would marry me all over again, but if he now wanted to marry me now. We've both changed significantly since we got married, and I was asking if he still felt we fit together.

He never answered directly, but his responses to my questions last week made the answer clear.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:20 PM
SkullKing SkullKing is offline
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I am sorry for what you have been trough.

But I believe you are taking the right decision, which is essentially that you need to be your own person, which is something I wholehearted agree(though it is difficult sometimes).

You have my sympathy, and I wish you good luck on this new part of your life.

I enjoyed your posts here, and some of the interesting discussions you had with other interesting posters was what made me join the site, rather than just lurking.

I am sorry it was something sad that brought you back.

Feel free to PM, if you ever want to talk/vent.

I feel you dodged quite the bullet, by taking this decision before moving.

I am a bit worried though. Your "Mr. Goodhair" thread at CS gave me the impression that there is some instability regarding your job. Donīt show him any vulnerability, if he is half a sleazy as he seems.

Please take care of yourself.

Last edited by SkullKing; 07-10-2014 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:34 PM
patiokitty patiokitty is offline
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I am so sorry that you are going through this, Ghel. And I am proud of you for standing up for yourself and not allowing the other three to treat you like a doormat.

I know how hard it can be when involved in a poly relationship from experience- if everybody is not on the same page then it is doomed to fail. And I completely agree about the relationship agreement as well, because if it has to be in writing then it is clear that there is an issue with communication, especially if they had not made it clear from the very start that they were after a closed-quad. It is almost like the three of them figured you'd just go along with whatever they decided, regardless of your feelings or happiness.

As for the whole online relationship vs. RL relationship issue - some of my very best friends are people I have never met face to face, closer to me than my RL friends. Definitely be careful when meeting anybody you first met online, but that is fairly standard advice anyway.

Keep your chin up and don't let the three in TN get you down. You are your own person and if they can't handle that then they never deserved you in the first place, Ghel.
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