“My husband decided to end things with his partner due to her inability to follow our rules and boundaries as well as he being confused if he wants to pursue polyamory for himself. I thought it was appropriate to let her know and not lead her on. We both agreed.
I did help him create a message for her and to end things. We were on the same page and thought we moved on from it.
The next day he’s blaming me for the ending of the relationship because he “didn’t have the real opportunity” to talk to her face to face.
Now, he wants me to end my longer term partnership and decided because he doesn’t have a partner he wants to be mono between he and I.
I really care about my partner and I feel like I’m being wrongly punished.
We do need marriage therapy and are starting this month. I just feel hurt and broken. My husband doesn’t think I can have a partner while working on our marriage together.
But really I feel like I’m just being punished about his failed relationship.
I was supposed to see my partner this weekend and my husband wants me to tell him now that we have to breakup. Despite the fact I don’t want to end things with my partner.
I just need advice or comfort.
Edit: I was given an ultimatum of my husband or my partner. There was no compromise and I picked my husband. I am devastated and have no idea how I’m going to recover.”
Dear Throwaway 000000007,
I am really sorry you are going through this.
There is so much to unpack here.
The first and most immediate thing that stood out to me was how hierarchical this current situation appeared to be. It seems like he is assuming a position of authority – whether it is granted or earned – and is asserting veto over your partner. Based on the edit, he has issued an ultimatum for you to break up with your partner.
I’m not sure if veto rights was something you and your husband ever discussed. If it was something that was explicitly discussed and agreed to, then you have to honor that agreement by breaking up with your boyfriend. If it was something that was explicitly discussed and ruled out, then he needs to be kindly reminded that he does not have the right to rule out any partner of yours no matter what he is going through. If it was something that you two never discussed, then it is the perfect time to sit and discuss whether you are going to accept this as an ongoing agreement or not.
The second thing I noticed is how much your husband seems to be in pain. He is clearly going through a lot in this breakup process. And as you had mentioned, he was already unsure about polyamory in the first place. He is certainly weaponizing his pain to influence your relationships, as he has already done so. It is also evident in how he has placed blame on you for helping write that message. He is taking absolutely no personal responsibility for the end of his relationship; and I can guarantee that your husband will not take any personal responsibility for putting you in an impossible situation with an ultimatum. He will continue to wield his feelings to impact all of your future relationships should you decide to reopen your marriage after this experience. Are you actually okay with this?
Good thing is that you two are already en route to marriage counseling. Your husband has a lot of work cut out ahead of him. He needs to do a better job of taking responsibility for his own feelings. Breakups hurt. But it was still his relationship to continue or end. And instead of redirecting his frustration at the end of his relationship, it is greatly unfair to place that blame onto you. He is going to have to get better at owning his own emotional labor. That means he might need to see a therapist of his own so that he can develop better tools to manage his emotional load.
You also have a bit of work ahead of you as well. You are also going to have to come to terms with the end of your relationship as well since you’ve honored his ultimatum/veto. It is going to be very difficult to keep your resentment at bay while you recognize and disassemble the end of your relationship. Recognize it for what it is and work with your marriage counselor to dissipate those negative feelings as productively as possible. You are also going to have to determine for yourself where is that final threshold for you. How much more can you accept this kind of behavior from your husband? Are you going to continue letting your husband dictate the kind of relationships you want to have with others and with yourself?
Both of you might benefit a bit from reading more into codependency. Here is a good primer on what codependent relationships can look like.
I’m really sorry to hear that you and your husband are going through such a difficult time. I really wish you well.
Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.
I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at email@example.com. If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!