Saturday, October 22, 2011

All Relationships take work

Relationships with my kids, my grandkids, my sisters and with the family I've left behind for now, have been making me sad lately. I have been letting the guilt I feel when it comes to my kids get to me. I'm hoping it will pass as it usually does but to make matters worse Hubby all of a sudden seems to be missing me and pressuring me to come back. The holidays are approaching and he has a tendency to be sad around this time ... even though he does the actual holidays pretty well. He doesn't understand why I have to be here. The thing is I'm missing the grandkids on the other side of the country a lot and I am missing the nice warm Octobers they have there but I'm not missing all the built in stress of dealing with #1 and #2.

My relationship with #1 had deteriorated by the time I left. Something that was very distressing. She is basically a dear person. She has called me a few times and she answers the phone frequently so we talk. She also sends me photos of the kids. I've only talked to #2 once in these past couple of months and that was because she answered the phone and spoke to me very briefly; hubby was in the shower and she never gave him the message!!! Typical.
In my opinion plural marriage has pros and cons and one of the cons is the difficulty in dealing with sister wives. As I watch the TLC show Sister Wives I really concentrate on how well they get along. Even with the jealousies and all that, they truly like each other, love each other or so it seems. In the last episode I watched Kody, the husband, talks about how intricate and complicated the relationship is. First there is the "marriage" of all 5 of them. Then there are the separate and distinct "monogamous" relationship he has with each of the 4 wives. According to them they work on those a lot. Then, there are the relationships between each wife with one another! That's a lot of relationships!!! So in order for things to run smoothly all of those relationships have to be working. Of course I'm sure it's not perfect all the time, and they allude to the difficulties but the point is they each agree that it is all worth working on and they don't seem to have any animosities.

Another thing I've noticed is that they all seem to act like adults and don't go to Kody with their individual conflicts, when and if they occur. Even Christine, who has been worrying about her relationship with Kody, doesn't blame Robyn that Kody pays so much attention to her, she blames Kody and herself. It's refreshing.

I'm not sure #2 and I can ever live harmoniously with each other. Yes, we have some things in common, but our differences really stand out. If you came to our house you would notice it right away. In one of the recent Sister Wives episodes Janelle makes fun of (in a nice way of course) the way Robyn runs her relationship with Kody, all romantic and all...and Robyn defends herself saying that's the way her parents were all the time. That's what #2 does. The difference is #2 gets on everyone's nerves with the way she hovers over Hubby, and waits on him hand and foot like he is helpless or something. And the overtly sexual ways she has, the flirting and constant touching...oh and she'll complain out loud if she doesn't think she is having enough "private" time lol. It's quite annoying. Nope, sorry I don't miss that. She definitely has the Christine syndrome where she was used to being the "new" one for 15 years then I came along and spoiled that for her mind, because Hubby certainly did his best to protect her feelings. It's hard for me to forget that it was her doing that led to me not living in my separate house.

I miss a lot of things. I miss watching tv with Hubby, discussing politics with him, cooking meals with him, but I don't miss the "marriage" of the 4 of us....yet. I feel badly about that but it's the truth. All of our separate and collective relationships need to be worked on,with the possible exception of Hubby and #2's marriage, and have for a long time. We tried occasionally to have little "wife meetings" which never seemed to change much of anything. Both of the other wives still go to hubby with their complaints about me, and I;m ashamed to admit I got in the habit as well....sigh.. I wish the others would understand that we need to "work" on all of it.


Non-Traditional Polygamist Wife said...

I agree relationships of any kind take a lot of work. When it is as polygamist family it takes even more of an effort from all involved. To me that is the key, everyone must be willing to give their all. Of course disagreements will occur, but it is how those conflicts are handled, that is the key. I am lucky, I have the ability to say I love you, but I don’t like you much right now.

In the relationship with #2, I can see your discomfort at times, and sadly it does sound to me as if she does not take into consideration the other wives. Let me explain, I am aware M has an intimate relationship with C, and C knows he has one with me. Those are distinct relationships and separate (monogamous). I too would be uncomfortable if C complained about not having enough time, or was openly sexual with M in my presence as I am sure it would be the same for her. I will admit I am a touchy person, or affectionate, I do not however have the need to continually paw at M. Perhaps that is because I am secure in my marriage. It sounds to me as if #2 may not feel secure and thus is looking for the reassurance from your husband.

And this is probably not my place but I am opinionated and well speak my mind. If I have the story correctly, you are away from home to take care of family across the country, and hubby is pressuring you to come home. And I also read the information on the battle with cancer. Don’t take this wrong but polygamists or not, he needs to “man up” so to speak and support you and all of his wives. I am sure you do not want to be across the country, (or maybe you do), and I am positive battling cancer was not what you wanted either. What I have read of your blog is he often “checks out” and lets the other wives tend to issues, while he concerns himself with his needs. Marriage is a two way street and he needs to be there for you and all the wives, and though he may not like a situation he needs to adapt or rethink his desire to have plural wives or even one wife for that matter. Sorry if that is harsh, but just my feeling on the situation as described in your blogs.

If M checked out on me or complained and thought only of his wishes and wants during a stressful time we would have major problems. I do not want or expect him to ignore his wants, and needs, as well as not ignoring mine of C’s. He has to take into consideration all three of us and how each situation is approached. When I was working 70 plus hours a week, he expressed his dislike of the situation, but at the same time he explained he understood my need to do so, and that it was temporary. At one point, he did go to my boss (we are also friends) and asked if I could have one night off because he wanted to take his wife on a date, and if so what night was the best (I was working from 6am until 9pm or 10 every night). So, we had date night, went to dinner came home and I promptly fell asleep on his chest.
The following morning I felt awful for simply falling asleep. M was not upset in the least, he just wanted time with his wife, and the fact I was finally able to sleep an entire night was worth it to him. I know he had to have been disappointed, and I did plan and carry out something special for him not long after that, but he considered the fact I was exhausted too, and decided a good nights sleep for me was more important than anything else.

What I am getting at, is a marriage is a delicate balance that takes the work of all parties. If one person cannot consider everyone in the marriage and the dynamics there are bound to be issues. None of us are perfect and don’t think we do not have our moments, because we do. Those issues however are not present every second of our lives. We address them, we figure out a solution and we move forward.

Older and Weiser said...

You hit the nail on the head: EVERYONE in the poly marriage needs to work vigilantly on cultivating and growing deep, healthy bonds with one another. Communication is key! If even one member of the marriage is not willing to put in the effort, the relationships will never reach their true potential. It is no different than monogamous relationships (except rather than a single, one-on-one relationship, you have multiple one-on-one relationships). That is what makes poly harder--juggling multiple relationships.

new#3 said...

What is troublesome to Hubby is that there is no "end date" to my trip across the country. It troubles me as well. I think he is worried about what the lengthy separation will do to our relationship, as am I. He mentioned this during the conversation when he was pressuring me to come back now and he thinks I can always come back here when I am more needed. Part of me thinks it will be good, another part is concerned. The problem is I am needed in different ways now, and I am not sure when it will become more of a necessity. It could be any day or it could be a month or more. He misses me - which in a strange way pleases me because I had begun to feel that I wasn't appreciated. I had begun to feel only negative feelings, and my resentment of his openly affectionate relationship with #2 had become unbearable. I made it clear it would be better for us if I lived in my own home, but that always fell on deaf ears.

Multiplication was never my strong suit lol...honestly, I can't blame anyone person for not trying, but it seems that sometimes #2 forgets she isn't the only one in the house. I probably misspoke when I used the term "sexual" it's more like overt affection, back rubs, foot massages in front of the television, kissing hello and goodbye several times a day etc. That might not bother everyone but I never got used to it. The situation seemed to make me less affectionate than I would have liked to have been.

Non-Traditional Polygamist Wife said...

Perhaps separate homes would work best and your husband does have to consider the needs and welfare of all involved. I must admit I am affectionate with M. even if it’s a simple touch. However, if C is present I am conscious of it so as to ensure she never feels uncomfortable or as if she is present but somehow not included in M’s affection if that makes sense.

In a strange sense I can understand the uncertainty of how long you will be gone. Several years ago, before I met M, I had to go across the country to assist with an ill mother. I was able to pick up and go with no end date. My then 18 year old daughter wanted to come as well, so she did so. Upon return the relationship she was in did not withstand the two month separation. Part of it was her age; the other part was the amount of time of the separation. She does however remain friends with the one she was in a relationship with.

I so have to wonder if #2 is as affectionate when the other wives are not around? Is she just an overly affectionate person or is it somehow her inner need to ensure your husband is always aware of her being there so she can feel his love for her.

My concern in your relationship is this, you have stated you mentioned living in a second home but if falls on deaf ears, plus if I remember correctly you stated he kind of checked out during your cancer treatment. In addition, it appears as if your husband in a way is using passive aggressive behaviors to instill a sense of guilt so that you feel torn. Perhaps your time away is bothering him because now your contact involves communication, and as such the issues have a forum to be confronted, and it’s easier for him to ignore there are problems. It is my hope that your time away will open the floor to communication to address the issues in your relationship, with the other wives etc. If he cannot at least acknowledge the issues and be willing to discuss the “comfort” of all involved I fear when you return the problems will resurface with no progress made.

I am by no means and expert in relationships or plural marriages but can only speak from experience. For me, communication is the key to any relationship. Plus each party understanding we all are different and as such have different reactions to situations and others behaviors. So, perhaps having long telephone or even email discussions addressing the problems can decide on a course of action to reach a resolution of the situations.

For example, I know for a fact that C and I could never live in the same house. We are both territorial over our homes. Odd we are comfortable and happy sharing our husband but the concept of sharing the same home is just not a possibility for us. I am sure M would like to have us all in one home but is aware for our marriage to work, C and I need our own space. We do however live within a couple minutes of each other so it is not difficult for M to get to each of us at any moment.

I am curious if you have tried talking to wife 2 to explain your feelings about her open affection. Maybe something can be worked out so that when she wants to give husband a massage etc, it can be done when you are doing something else in the house and not right there to view it? This way all involved have their needs met without infringing on the feeling of the other. Maybe she is unaware of your feelings. That is nothing against her, or meant to anyway lesson her relationship with your husband, but a concern that your marriage and hers are able to maintain the love felt that led you all to enter the marriage in the first place?

This is also just my two cents worth and I do hope you do not take it as me judging you or your marriage. It truly is a concern that if the issues are not resolved they will grow until the marriages may not be able to withstand the test so to speak, and it’s clear you love your husband and he loves you and all of his wives.

new#3 said...

I appreciate your two cents NTPW. The issue of me having a separate home is dead I'm afraid. It's been beaten to death so to speak, and I'm out voted by all involved.
FYI, this separation will be a matter of up to a year. I know it will be difficult and hope to be able to visit at least once sometime after the holidays and perhaps have hubby come here in spring/summer. If you check old posts you'll see that for the first 5 years we lived far apart and it worked out. :)
Yes, #2 is affectionate in front of everyone. Actually at times it doesn't bother me it's the little things that tug at my heart sometimes. Hard to explain.

non tradintional hubby said...

#3 sometimes it may be difficult to get to the root of the matter, or the fact that there may be other things involved that the hubgby is not willing to share, or cant fo rwahtever reason. I've always told L that if she needs to go and do family stuff or take care of things just let me know what's going on and if she needs anything. i'll admit that 2 is much easier than 3 but i have alwways encouraged both C and L to share whatever feelings wether good or bad (to them) and that we will always have open communication. Hopefully yours will understand that there are things yo uneed to do, that you will be back and that you will have time when you get done what you need to

Amy said...

Simply don't understand why anyone would want to go back to such a toxic situation. You shared that the husband couldn't handle you being sick. Sorry, but that's a huge flag. When you truly love and care about someone you shouldn't find it a hardship to suck up your own discomfort inorder to be comforting and supportive of your partner.

new#3 said...

NTH - thanks for the man's perspective :) He understands but as the time goes on he's becoming sad about it I think.

Amy - Hubby didn't turn his back on me, in the beginning he was wonderful actually in terms of being supportive, even shaved his head! However post surgery and chemo he became distant and less supportive than I would have liked or would have thought he would be. He said he felt scared. We still saw each other every day and communicated, but it wasn't the same...and still isn't unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm one of soon to be 3 wives (I'm the second) and just started reading your blog. Jealousy is a pain to deal with. Have you sat with hubby and wife #2 about the problems she is causing you which causes you to be separate from your hubby and wives #1 and #2? Maybe you need to have a private conversation with #2 about your feelings and ask her why she acts the way she does.

new#3 said...

Flower - trust me that conversation has taken place dozens of times.

Non Traditional hubby said...

Being sad is part of the everyday of plural sometimes. it's not always a bad thing but sometimes yo uget stuck having to make a choice yo uknow yo uwon't with time for example ( sure you understand)there is more to this but i need to focus a littl emore after some sleep and Ill finish this out.. It seems to be a big (one of the bigger) issues yo uhave and it deserves more though and a better answer

new#3 said...

Non Traditional Hubby - Thank you for understanding the "time" issue...
From what I've been told, with me gone, they have dropped the whole idea of "scheduling" time and have gone back to their more relaxed way of doing things. I'm sure #2 is thrilled since she is home until 3 pm most days on top of having two days off when #1 is at work. Oh well, when I go back, they will have to return to a schedule.

As far as being sad just being a part of plural life, I don't know if that's an absolute or not. The women on Sister Wives seem overall to be quite happy.

non traditional husband said...

OK i'll clarify now that I have had some sleep. With me I get pangs when I have to make a choice that may affect one or the other in a negative way, such as holidays, vacations etc. It makes me a little sad that I cannot just do everything with everyone per se but it is a fac tof who we all are. It's not a bad thing in this case as all it means is that I have equal feelings and hate occasionally having to make the choices I do, not that I am unhappy with them or the situation. with 3 the dynamics change you now have 6 relationships if i am doing the math right (not sure) and that gets tough. ill keep my opinions to myself as I don't know the whole story but it seems that if there was structure with you there there should be structure with you not there. not keeping this in place will lead to unneeded friction..however....adn a big however. HE wanted (and wants) you there and thats really the bottom line I believe. I'll have more once I read more of what you write

new#3 said...

Luckily, for your wives NTH, they live in separate houses and it sounds like you don't have everyone all together that often. In our family, we all live under the same roof..makes it easier on the hubby as far as those pesky choices like holidays etc. We all spend them together. So far vacations with us are separate but then, we don't vacation often. I understand the conflict a husband has when he has to make those choices and can see how it would make you sad. But I think it's better than the wives being on top of each other, not having their own kitchens etc..just my opinion.

They never liked the structure. I think #1 and I benefited from it (at my insistence) because of the dominate nature of #2. #1 isn't one to argue or make an issue over something, she hates conflict of any kind, so sounds to me like she caved in. Only time will tell how things go when I return.

Non-Traditional Polygamist Wife said...

Oh my turn to chime in.
It does sound like #2 has a dominant personality. In my career and most areas of my life I too have a dominant personality. I have to have. M also has a dominate personality. It has come to us explaining to some who ask that while I have a dominant female personality, M is an Alpha male, and as such he is the more dominate personality. This does not mean I cower while he issues demands. That is not our relationship at all. It is difficult to explain, and off topic.

C also have a dominate personality, and often her and M butt heads in a big way when their personalities collide. If I were to reside in the same house, I would more than likely exert much more of a dominant personality in order to not get lost within the strength of their personalities if that makes sense.

I have my own way of running a house, she has hers. We have our kitchens set as we want them. For example, I am left-handed, step into my kitchen and if you are not left handed it’s going to be backwards. There is no way the three of us could reside in the same house and not feel undue stress.

Would living together, make M’s choices easier? Sure it would. And I believe a part of him wishes it could be that way, but we have found what works for us.

My opinion in a plural marriage where all reside together dominate personalities become a problem when that personality attempts to dictate the others. At some point that person needs to step back and let go of control so the other relationships can grow and flourish with her influence. That is not to say she should change her relationship with the husband, but she needs to understand her personality is affecting the others.

I realize your husband does not like the concept of multiple homes, but perhaps it is needed in order to ensure all the wives are permitted to grow without the feeling of the dominate personality overpowering them.

Oh and honey speaking of vacations DISNEY WORLD! (yes I am a big kid)