Put on the Back Burner

This is going to be an extremely difficult post to write.

Just one week ago, we were blissfully in love. Laughing and loving. Basking. Joyful.

Now it’s over. Just like that.

I’m still in shock.

One of the things that shock me the most is that I ended it. Officially, anyway. Although, he had already pulled so far away it felt as if I could barely still see him. He looked different to me the few times I saw him this week. Distant, like a stranger. Something had changed in his eyes, in the way he looked at me. Perhaps in the way he saw me. Something I can’t articulate, but it was gone. It was different. And it was terrifying.

Part of me hopes it’s not really the end, that it’s just a really, really big speed bump. But I think it probably is just over. God, please say that I’m wrong. Please. Please. Please.

I’m sure he thinks that I left because he wants to see other people and that I’m just jealous or can’t handle it in some way, but that’s not the reason. We’re in a polyamorous relationship, of course there will be others. I encourage it. I’ve always encouraged him to see others and to be completely himself, never to edit who he is. To be completely open and honest with me. That the only thing I ever wanted to hear was the truth.

So, of course there will be others. I have my husband as well as another date on Tuesday with a gentleman I’ve seen a few times in addition to him. A few weeks ago, I was hoping to hook up with someone I’ve been drawn to for awhile, but our timing was off. It’s not about seeing others, it’s how you go about it. In all my other relationships as well as the search or option to find more, never did he nor my husband feel a drop in the amount or depth of love, support, or attention they receive from me.

It’s not instead of, it’s in addition to.

On his side, he not only had me but another significant other, as well as an ex he had not yet let go of. Now he wants to explore new relationships, and I encourage that. I want him to see other people. Always have.

The problem was that he was going to put me on the back burner to do that. Sure, there are only so many hours in a day and we had been spending a lot of wonderful time together. Ours was one of those rare relationships where the love, joy, and bliss was 95% of our time together. Conflict, fear, & anxiety only 5%. That 5% was too much for him. He’s wants 100% love, joy, and bliss without any responsibility or acceptance that life sometimes contains pain.

So, instead of distancing himself from his ex with whom he has little to no chance of ever being romantic or sexual with again…instead of distancing himself from his other who he does not feel the emotional/spiritual connection or the heights of sexual ecstasy that he feels with me…he chooses to distance himself from the most fulfilling relationship in his life.

The ridiculous thing is he didn’t have to distance himself from me or the other two. He could’ve loved us all…and searched for someone new to further enrich his life.

It’s not instead of, it’s in addition to.

In polyamorous relationships, the theory (and I’ve lived this, so I know it’s true) is that love breeds more love. You go deeper in love with one while cultivating a relationship with another. Through the loving support of one partner, you find another that will further fulfill and enrich all.

It’s not instead of, it’s in addition to.

But, he decided to pull away, not come in deeper. He pushed me into a back corner to look for something better instead of holding me (and his other significant other) beside him in love while looking for more love. He wanted me to stick around while he looked for a replacement, not an addition. He wanted to keep what we had built without the responsibility of maintaining it, nurturing it. He was pulling love and time away from me for something that might or might not happen. For someone who might or might not exist. He wasn’t taking care of my heart, which is essential in any relationship.

Had he chose to come in deeper in love with me, I would’ve stood by his side through it all. Through as many women as he wanted to see, fuck, fall in love with, leave. I would’ve been there in blissful love with him through it all. Completely supportive. Loving. Nurturing. Fulfilling his every need as best I could.

But he pushed me away. Put me on the back burner.

No one puts me on a back burner.

Up until now, I have taken on more pain in my private time to keep him from feeling emotionally responsible, knowing it was one of his engulfment fears. I understand fear. I have to deal with anxiety every day, so I’ve gotten pretty fucking good at it.

So many times, I had seen the loving man that is his essence, and I knew that his ego and engulfment fears were holding that loving man down. I took my pain, even the upset he caused, onto myself to keep it from him because I was strong enough to do so. I knew that as he experienced love and freedom together, something he had never experienced before me, he would come to a place where he could learn to support me through my pain as I did him through his. That we could grow together towards transcending emotional hurt altogether by embracing it when it arose and moving through it together, rather than avoiding it, which always causes more pain.

But on our three-month celebration, he told me that he was taking a step away to free his time up to date and allow the relationship he wants to enter his life. He still loved me, he said, and wasn’t breaking up with me, but he wanted to see what else was possible. He believes that he can experience all the highs of spiritual sexual ecstasy and depth of emotion and love without experiencing the lows of hurt feelings, fears, and anxieties.

He’s looking for utopia.

I told him I wanted him to see what else was out there. I wanted him to explore, to date, to see other women, but when he said that he now knew for certain that ours wasn’t the relationship he was looking for and that he knew we weren’t life partners…I had to ask myself what was the point in continuing, especially if he wanted our relationship to go backwards.

Then it became clear. He wanted to keep me around to satisfy his needs on his terms on his time table without giving me anything I needed. I had already sacrificed my need for some emotional support, being able to turn to him in sadness or fear, and now he wanted me to sacrifice more. . .but still be there to fuck. To “love.” (I put that in quotations, but I have no doubt he loves me deeply. He just is too scared to really invest himself in this, or any, real relationship. And that greatly saddens me, because I see how much love is inside him.)

In my head, all I heard were the words he said to me the week before while considering leaving his other girlfriend…”I want to have the option of being sexual with her when I want to.”

And that was that.

I realized that this wasn’t the loving poly relationship I had thought. We are in love, no doubt. We have shared such a joyful time together, basking in the love of each other. He had told me a week before that he wanted me at his every auction. That my support for him made him so happy. That he adored me. Was attached to me. Loved me so much. He told me that he realized that he was happier with me around than when he was alone, which was a huge thing for someone as independent as he is to say. And he told me how scary that was. And it is scary. Giving of yourself to another is scary.

He’s terrified. I get that. I’m am, too. But when I felt the urge to run a few days ago, I turned into us instead.

He turned away.

There’s nothing more I can do.

So, this time, instead of being a doormat awaiting whatever morsel he chooses to toss my way, as his ex girlfriend still does after over a year, I stood up for my own self-respect. After all, I’ve fought hard to regain some of that after the abuses of last year, and I’m not laying it down again for him or anyone else.

No one puts me on the back burner.

So now here I am, the woman who never gives up on relationships, giving up on this one. Or have I? I think he gave up on it, actually. He let his fear win. Then…I let my fear follow suit.

Like I said before, nothing would make me happier than this to just be a speed bump. He wants space, and so I’m giving him all the space he needs and then some…while holding onto my self-respect.

I hope that he realizes what he’s losing in us and reconsiders. I hope that he pulls me in close to him in love while looking for and dating others. I hope that he turns to me instead of away from me. I hope that he shares his fears with me instead of hiding away behind arrogance. I hope he talks to me and embraces the level of communication and understanding I bring to our relationship, that which he’s never before experienced and always expressed gratitude for.

I hope that he chooses love over fear.

My god, how I hope that he comes back to me ready to choose love over fear, ready to accept that pain is a part of life, a part of any relationship.

But until that happens…

Love loses this round, friends.

I lose this round. I lose one of the greatest lovers I’ve ever known. I lose morning meditations together, speechless at the love between us. I lose worshipping his body and the spiritual ritual of making love together. I lose seeing so much love in his eyes that it brings tears to the surface. I lose the sound of his voice telling me how sweet it is to wake up next to me. I lose the contour of his body in the morning light. I lose his laughter and the deep smile lines around his eyes, the dimples on his cheeks that never quite go away. I lose breakfast on the terrace, wine-flavored kisses, euphoric energy orgasms, laughter in the shower, hiking through the woods, biking through town lake, supporting him at auctions, feeling his soft hand in mine, tasting his lips.

I lose it all.

Now comes the grief. The months and months and months of grief over the loss of likely the best three months of my life. I’ve never experienced such spiritual depth in a relationship, never such complete blissful joy.

That’s a lot to lose.

But it’s not as much to lose as my self-worth. And I am worth so much more than being pushed in a corner.

No one puts me on a the back burner.

~ by omgrey on February 18, 2012.

30 Responses to “Put on the Back Burner”

  1. Sympathy for your situation, cheers for your resilience. So hard to put ourselves out there and take the risks, as it is.

  2. I think it’s awesome that you got out that situation. No one deserves to be put on the back burner and be used like that. You seem like an amazing person, and you deserve someone a million times better!

  3. *hugs* Sharing in your pain.

  4. You said that you let your own fear follow suit.

    Now I don’t fully know what’s in your head or heart on this, but it sounds like you’re still open to continuing your relationship at it’s previous level if he returns. In my opinion standing up for yourself and demanding respect and love rather than “whatever morsel he chooses to toss my way” is not letting your fear win, it’s refusing to acknowledge his selfishness as love.

    It sounds to me like you’re not giving up on the relationship out of fear, but simply putting it on hold and refusing to settle for something less than healthy love. You’re a strong person.

    • Beautifully said, Gabe. That’s exactly what I’m doing…putting it on hold and refusing to settle for something less than healthy love. Thank you for putting it that way. It made me feel worlds better. I hope he sees that.

  5. That’s right, you are not a door mat. Proud of you for making such a tough decision. You deserve better than being put on the back burner. ❤

  6. I’m sorry that things have to end (for now). Nobody should ever make another person their back-up. It’s inspiring to see you stand up for yourself and yet not let go of the possibility of forgiveness despite the pain.

    • Thank you, sweetie. I hope that it’s not the end, end…just a misunderstanding and perception mistake. Breakdown in communication. Something. We’ll see in a few days, I guess. Thank you for your comment.

  7. All I can say is that I’m so sorry this happened. The last time we met for coffee your eyes were full of that magic of love. Yet, ditto what has already been said here. You’re too good to be a doormat. I hope things will work out and for the best for you and that it was just a miscommunication.

    • I hope so, too. With everything I am. He means the world to me & I love him dearly. Still, I feel good about standing up for myself. If its over, I’ll be just fine. But, in the name of all that is good and beautiful, I hope it’s not. Something this gorgeous shouldn’t die so quickly.

  8. […] Put on the Back Burner […]

  9. Men are men are men. Sounds like many of them need to grow up. Please! I don’t do drama. Hurt occurs in life, but I do not seek it out. That’s right! NONE of us are doormats. Learning not to create drama and be satisfied and blissfully happy with wonderful love and stability is not ‘boring’. It is just that many of us are so used to drama from our early lives, we still feel ‘comfortable’ only with it.

  10. Congratulations, I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award!🙂

  11. […] I took on more pain to help ease his engulfment fears because I was strong enough to do so. […]

  12. […] experience of last year & knowing I would survive or the absence of blatant abuse or because I stood up for my own self-worth, wasn’t as painful. Nowhere near as […]

  13. […] After the most recent loss of love, I really looked inside myself to see why I didn’t feel happy more often. Why I didn’t notice the intrinsic joy within. Why it took someone else to point that out. Why I so identified with sadness and depression. Why I found some kind of satisfaction or justification in it. I knew I could just choose to be happy in any given moment, to focus on the joy in life instead of the sorrow, but it seemed like so much work when sadness was natural in a time of the loss of such a significant relationship. […]

  14. “So many times, I had seen the loving man that is his essence, and I knew that his ego and engulfment fears were holding that loving man down. I took my pain, even the upset he caused, onto myself to keep it from him because I was strong enough to do so. I knew that as he experienced love and freedom together, something he had never experienced before me, he would come to a place where he could learn to support me through my pain as I did him through his. That we could grow together towards transcending emotional hurt altogether by embracing it when it arose and moving through it together, rather than avoiding it, which always causes more pain.”

    “Then it became clear. He wanted to keep me around to satisfy his needs on his terms on his time table without giving me anything I needed. I had already sacrificed my need for some emotional support, being able to turn to him in sadness or fear, and now he wanted me to sacrifice more. . .but still be there to fuck. To “love.” (I put that in quotations, but I have no doubt he loves me deeply. He just is too scared to really invest himself in this, or any, real relationship. And that greatly saddens me, because I see how much love is inside him.)”

    The whole post resonated with me, but these two paragraphs really stood out. It’s hard to determine sometimes when you’ve been put on the back burner though. It sounds like he was fairly honest and open about where he was going. Sometimes, not even always, I think we just need our partners to say, “I don’t have to think about any other options, I just want that time with you. It’s precious, it’s limited (as it often is in poly relationships or LDR’s) and I just want it with you. To get lost in you, to connect with you, to be with you.” Sometimes we just need to feel like the priority.

    • No. He really wasn’t. Now, two months later, I’ve realized the level of the deception and emotional abuse throughout. He led me to believe one thing with his words and actions, and then turned on a dime heading in a different direction. He was either honest that day and not for the month-plus prior, or he was honest for the bulk of the relationship and just got so scared he didn’t know what else to do but run.

      The result was the same. Me, destroyed. Betrayed. Abandoned.

      You follow my blog, so you saw the amount of love we shared. You have read about the depths we explored.

      I’m so pleased that the post resonated with you. I was put on the back burner that night, and I’m worth more than that. I tried to reconcile the relationship, but he would have none of it. He never invested himself in the relationship. He never offered any emotional support. In short, he wasn’t in a relationship, although every action and word had led me to believe he was in as deep as I was. He led us that deep. Then, he left after he had convinced me that he did not give up on relationships. He gave up on ours. He gave up on me.

      My level of trauma from this betrayal is deeper than I even thought. Nothing about this or his behavior is okay.

      As far as I know, he is still with the woman he considered leaving a week (and also a month) before our breakup. The one he said he didn’t feel a connection with. The one he said he felt “obligated” to be sexual with and wasn’t really attracted to her. The one he said he wanted to keep around to be sexual with when he wanted to.

      This is not a man with integrity.

  15. Reblogged this on evolution of the chicken.

  16. […] Since the split, I haven’t really been able to have sex. That’s sucked. Twice, only. Neither time was with my husband. We tried once, but it resulted in a severe breakdown. We have too deep an emotional connection between us for physical intimacy at the moment, which sounds silly, but the damage caused by the auctioneer is so extensive, that I can’t engage in such an intimate act with someone I deeply care about. It’s too much. More fun effects of the PTSD. My husband, of course, has been nothing but supportive. He just held me and reassured me that it was okay through my embarrassed apologies, telling me that I was exorcising a demon. […]

  17. […] Put on the Back Burner […]

  18. […] him blame you for everything because it could never, ever be his fault or responsibility, let him put you on the back burner while he looks for something new and better, accepting the scraps he throws your way, and […]

  19. You are brilliant!!!

    In fact you article ‘Pathology of the Commitmentphobe’, helped me to come out of an episode which was agonizing me. I would rather say reconfirm all that which I thought could be the probable explanations for why one of my soul friends denied me the emotional support he said he would. He called himself a coward.
    The worst part is when they evict you, move you out of their social sites, block you from messages. One feels miserable and left aghast. Now, I understand it clearly. I shall bounce back soon… revitalized.

    I love the way you write. Clear and concise.
    You are a therapist!

    God bless!

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