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He wanted an 'open relationship' so I left. How to understand?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #300123

    Kat
    Participant

    Some months ago I posted a thread about a man I was seeing who was complicated (had depression, anxiety & aspergers). We formed a deep connection from the beginning  but after 3 months he said he had doubts as he was soon moving abroad. I also had doubts about doing LDR and sadly we broke up.

    After that I thought he would disappear but he contacted me at Christmas & from there we talked all the time and met up as ‘friends’ every week. We became best friends for several months. While he was travelling abroad, he would call me every day & send photos from his latest location. When he got back, I said I still had feelings for him & asked if he wanted to give ‘us’ a shot/an LDR a shot once he left. He said he wanted to build the connection & see what grew between us, so we got back together until he left. Just before going, he asked if I’d consider moving there with him when my job contract finished. I said I would consider it.

    In his new country he asked me to Skype every week. So we would talk on Skype for several hours a week and IM back and forth each day (fairly equally I’d say). I booked a trip to see him, with the notion that I would be exploring his city to see if I could envision living there. When he picked me up at the airport 2 months later, it was romantic and wonderful. He cooked me meals, we explored together, we were intimate. Then half way through the trip he tells me: this is getting too serious. I’m not ready. I just want ‘casual’. But it hadn’t been casual. We’d spent almost a year sharing our hopes and fears and building our bond. I was devastated. He said he didn’t really know who he was, or who he was going to be, and that he was still too ’emotionally immature’ for the type of relationship I deserved to have.

    Then, shortly before I left, he asked for an ‘open relationship’. He said he’d already been on one date (ouch!) & wanted me to be his primary partner while going on dates with others. To be honest the moment was surreal, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He asked me to take time to think about it when I said ‘no’ & his face just fell. He said he had shared things with me that he hadn’t shared with anybody and that he would miss me terribly. He then asked if we could still keep in touch and I said ‘no’, that I didn’t want to hear from him anymore 🙁

    We spent the night together once more & I woke up to a few times to him nuzzling into my back and pulling me closer than he usually does during sleep. In the morning we were both upset & we kissed goodbye. I feel both angry & deeply upset that he pushed aside our bond so easily. Looking for some insights and words of comfort. Also did I do the right thing by going NC? 

    #300125

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kat:

    This man, “a kind, gentle and intelligent soul”,  told you that he has Asperger’s and that he suffers from depression and anxiety, and he opened up to you about the serious abuse he has suffered in his past, (but later told you that his feelings for you changed after he told you about his abuse). The two of you dated for a short while, and “Right at the point where we had become super close/ more connected than ever he became distant and stopped calling”. Soon after he told you that “he fears intimacy”, and asked if you’d “be open to being friends for now”. You agreed and were friends for two months in which the two of you were in frequent contact and spent time together, but no physical intimacy. You wanted to resume a romantic/physical relationship with him but agreed to continue to be friends with him because “losing him completely is almost too much to bear” (Feb 2019). By the end of March, the two of you “have grown even closer… basically doing the things we did together as a couple but now only as ‘friends'”. During a business trip he took, he contacted you multiple times a day and asked to see you the day after his return home. “To me”, you wrote, “this is more than friends behavior. Even the way he looks at me feels like more”.

    April 21 (exactly two months ago), you posted, “I decided being friends with me at this time isn’t for me. I didn’t start dating him to be his friend, y’know?” You told him how you felt and that you wanted a romantic relationship with him and asked if he shared your feelings. He said that he shared your feelings exactly and that he does want “to develop the relationship and see where it takes us”. You wrote at the time, that you “feel much calmer and better about things”, and that you are “looking forward to seeing what happens”.

    Two months later, today, you wrote that soon after the communication above, he left to another country (that was an expected move, planned way before), and he asked if you’d “consider moving there with him” later, when your job contract ends. You told him that you will consider it. While residing in different countries, you kept in frequent contact. Soon enough you booked a trip to see him, he picked you up at the airport and “it was romantic and wonderful. He cooked me meals, we explored together, we were intimate”. And then, during the trip, he told you: “this is getting too serious. I’m not ready. I just want ‘casual'”, that “he didn’t really know who he was, or who he was going to be”, that he “was still too ’emotionally immature’ for the type of relationship” you deserve. Shortly before the visit ended, he asked you for an open relationship, wanting you to be “his primary partner while going on dates with others”. You said no, and “his face just fell. He said he had shared things with me that he hadn’t shared with anybody and that he would miss me terribly”, and asked if the two of you “could still keep in touch”. You said no, and that you didn’t want to hear from him anymore. After that conversation, you spent another intimate night together and at this point your choice is “going NC”, but you doubt it is the right choice for you.

    Would you like my input, Kat?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by  anita.
    #300139

    Kat
    Participant

    Yes, I would appreciate your input please, Anita.

    #300149

    anita
    Participant

    Dear kat:

    He told you during your recent visit with him that “he didn’t really know who he was, or who he was going to be”-

    – by “who he was going to be”, he has been considering being an open relationship man, and he already uses the open relationship glossary (“He.. wanted me to be his primary partner“).

    There are many men and women who have explored and are engaged in open relationships, having multiple sexual partners, sometimes in the same place and time. People engaged in this lifestyle are from many childhood backgrounds, some maybe didn’t suffer any abuse in their childhood. What unifies all people in this lifestyle is the curiosity about/ desire to have sex with multiple partners and/ or the desire to please a partner who is curious/ desires multiple partners.

    Are you considering his offer?

    anita

    #300151

    Kat
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for your input. No, I’m not considering the offer. I said ‘no’ immediately even when he asked me to think about it.

    I’m in love with him and I don’t want to share him. I told him I want to be exclusive and he said he can’t give me that right now.

    Also,  he has NEVER mentioned believing in polyamory since we met (he also hasn’t ever had a polyamorous R). To my mind, he has met this one woman who wants to date him and so he may want the freedom to explore that. I said that would hurt me & if he chose that path, he had to be prepared to lose me. He reiterated that he isn’t ready for me yet, that he hoped he would be soon & that when he is, he hoped we could be together but he couldn’t ask me to wait.

    Instead, I said goodbye and have gone no contact. It feels final and sad, and I’m looking for reassurance I’ve followed the right path. The worst part is feeling I’ve lost my best friend.

    #300157

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kat:

    Of course you did the right thing, absolutely. No contact with him is the right thing for you. I was concerned that because you feel so much love for him and have felt it for so long, that you will be willing (later if not now, when you miss him intensely, perhaps) to give in to what he wants and do what you don’t want to do, that is, share him with other women.

    Plus, he is exploring things, and if you did give in to his recent exploration by being his primary partner, who knows what is next on his exploration path, it can be a slippery slope that endanger your emotional health. The more time and effort a person invests in another, the more inclined the person is to invest more. So, if you “invested” by being his primary partner, you are likely to invest further, in the future, perhaps by … attending group sex, or whatever it is he will explore next. You may not see yourself doing this now, but over time and “investing”… you know what I mean?

    anita

    #300163

    Kat
    Participant

    I’m glad you think I’m taking the correct path. My biggest confusion stems from how he could let me go so easily.

    I said I felt unimportant in his life. He said I enriched his life, that I was important, that I fascinated him and made him feel happy whenever we were together. So…why throw it all away for other women? And vitally: why ask me to move there? I had even been learning the language! We’d been practicing together every week.

    He had invested a lot his time and emotions in me too. Remember when I said NO, we will have no further contact, he felt that deeply. I am still the ONLY person he has told about the sexual abuse in his past. Last week, during my trip, he opened up about it even more. Perhaps I’m symbolic for him in some way.

    For me, the connection was broken the moment he mentioned the open relationship. We had spent almost a year having the most bonding, romantic moments – and now he says he is content to share me with others and would rather explore other women than our connection. I could never have done it.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by  Kat.
    #300167

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kat:

    I may understand him a bit better, what motivates him, what he struggles with and how important you are to him, if you tell me a bit about what he shared with you, regarding “a sexual abuse in his past”- not details, I don’t want those and it will be perhaps a betrayal of his trust in you, sharing it anywhere, but in general, regarding his childhood?

    anita

    #300175

    Kat
    Participant

    No of course – I haven’t shared the details of his secrets to anyone.

    Aside from that scenario, I know he had a very difficult time at school. He always felt like an outsider, I’m assuming because his aspergers made him stand out more. I have noticed, when in a group setting, how some people just didn’t ‘get’ him. He had some unusual mannerisms and sometimes people would laugh at him. But it was those quirks that made me fall in love more.

    The only other thing I know is that his mother has had a huge role in his life. She is a successful international business woman and he is constantly pushing himself to be ‘better’ in his career and every aspect of life – I reckon his might be why, he has a lot to live up to in his mind. His passion was very attractive. Not sure this means anything for this situation though!

    #300177

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kat:

    I have no doubt his mother, who “has had a huge role in his life” means a whole lot in this situation with you. Anything more about his relationship with his mother?

    anita

    #300181

    Kat
    Participant

    Yes. She was the one that told his psychologist he had been abused as a child. The psychologist then used this information in his sessions…which was how my now ex ‘remembered’ what had happened.

    Secondly, he said that he found her suffocating sometimes. He said that while she tried to help and provide solutions for his life (I think due to the aspergers) he said it often made him panic more, he wanted to make decisions independently. That’s it. All of that info is what he told me on the trip last week.

    Aside from that, he’s always spoken or her warmly. He says he is closer to her than his father who also has aspergers.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by  Kat.
    #300183

    Kat
    Participant

    Why do you think she means a whole lot in the situation with me?

    #300199

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kat:

    I think that his relationship with his mother during his childhood means a whole lot in the situation with you because his brain was formed (during those childhood Formative Years) as a result of his ongoing interactions with his mother, if she was his primary caretaker, (especially when his father was withdrawn, having had Asperger’s himself).

    Not a good idea to underestimate a mother’s role in her boy’s life.

    “he said that he found her suffocating sometimes”- as a child he experienced figurative suffocation when interacting with his mother. This is why he feels suffocated with you every time you got closer and as a result, he withdraws. He keeps re-experiencing his childhood experience.

    anita

     

    #300293

    Judy
    Participant

    Hi Kat,

    Your sharing this difficult situation sure hit home with me today! I am very close friends with J since December. We were very attracted to each other and he was all over me. I slowed things down and we have been enjoying so many things together: walks in the woods, sharing stories, exchanging an amazing amount of creativity. But every time we’d get close he’d create a smokescreen of something: the old relationship with the x girlfriend Narcissist and her entire family whom he would visit for a few days out of almost every week. He’d come back and vent out the horror stories and I’d comfort him and help him understand what he may be going through: since I had a lot to heal from myself with a Narc mother who had just recently passed away. He lives very near where I do. We have spent many days out of the time he is here together. I’ve helped him with my art skills and he has helped me. We both love the friendship and sometimes we have been intimate, but not kissing, or in the usual affectionate way.

    Although this man has tons of compassion, will work hard to please others (especially those who don’t appreciate him), and has many qualities I admire, this relationship has caused me as much stress and anxiousness as the pleasure of our friendship or intimacy. It seems to me he is has the Dismissive or Fearful Attachment Style and I am still not quite over being insecure attachment, although meditation and my other good habits has made me more of a Secure type.

    I just wonder if your former friend/boyfriend may have been this type of person. They run from love and closeness.

    J recently asked me, “What are you going to do when I bring someone over to my apartment? I want superficial sex, and I can have several too. I don’t want a romantic relationship. I don’t believe in love.”   etc, etc! But all the while he calls me and keeps me close by. Yeah, this totally sucks!! I feel your pain!!  And we aren’t youngsters either. We are in our 60s!

    I never had such a fun and satisfying friendship with a man. We have gotten so close. But this is maddening.

    Any comments?

     

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