I have a question.... could a love triangle include a person who is "with" someone in the flesh, but holds onto some fantasy of the "ideal" partner?
Yes, this is one form of a triangle. It is common among relationship addicts who are no longer in love with their partner. They have a phantom lover to keep the limerence going. They are distracted from the pain of their dysfunctional relationship by these fantasies but don't have to feel the guilt of cheating.
Another kind of triangle is the married torchbearer. They are addicted to one person romantically in their head while addicted to another relationship where the love has died. I have two clients who got bored with their marriages and contacted their old high school flames. This triggered limerence (even those these women lived in other states) and these they guys are now addicted to the fantasies of when they were with these women (with desire being the hook) and to their wives (longevity being the hook). I call them my married torchbearers.
Last Edit: Jan 9, 2010 12:19:07 GMT -8 by Susan P.
Okay, this is very very intriguing to me, and forgive the long story, which I feel embarassed to share but it is my truth: my history with triangles is that I was married to an Egyptian Muslim; and left the marriage when it just got too horribly hard to cope with a dysfunctional marriage and two small kids in Egypt and no support -- AND I suspected my husband was seeing another woman at the time.
When he finally joined us in the U.S. he disclosed that, yes, he had been involved with another woman (emotionally, not physically due to the mores of the culture). AND he informed me that he wanted to marry her as Wife # 2, while remaining in our marriage (admissible in Islam).
Well, I took a long weekend of seclusion, with books about polygamy, and my journal, and deeply, painfully contemplated my truth. I discovered that I am monogamous and could not contemplate the scenario he offered. (He did end up marrying her [AND divorcing her; AND marrying someone else since then]).
My LA was such (not that I recognized it!!!) that it took me another SEVEN YEARS to congruently end the marriage (we were separated the entire time, but still not divorced). I could NOT say NO and have it stick. That whole period I was completely unattached and celibate.
Now, fast-forward to present day. I was 2 weeks NC with my PoA until 9/8 (Tuesday) when I came home from my walk and there he was, motorcycle and all, in my driveway [the NC was unilaterally mine; he had no knowledge or agreement; he just wasn't contacting me!].
I took a long moment to check in with myself, and then agreed to a bike ride and a talk. I have to admit, it was wonderful; I caught myself, right at the start, "falling into him," into his energy and eyes - and immediately pulled back. I felt very adult, grounded and centered. The difference in recognizing my addiction these past 2 weeks is amazing.
Here's the catch: he is with another woman, which started after he and I had begun a relationship - AND he informs me that he told her all about his commitment to me, having me in his life, and she accepts and agrees!!! She is willing to meet with me to confirm this.
Oh my gosh. I am blown away at how I could manage to, twice, get myself into triangles that SEEM "legitimate" from a cetain angle. It seems pretty ingenious to me.
What is does is really really complicate my commitment to my own integrity: my PoA's perspective is: polygamy works.
The question, of course is: Does it work for me?
Anyway, thanks for reading this long story. The highlights for me are: How incredibly ingenious the unconscious mind is; and, how freeing an awareness of addiction can be. I told my PoA of my realization, and he suggested a mutual period of 30 days' NC. In the two days since we met, I've had fleeting moments of pain, but mostly I'm calm and happy, very clear that I am totally and completely in charge of my own happiness, and that I MUST determine what that is.
"Here's the catch: he is with another woman, which started after he and I had begun a relationship - AND he informs me that he told her all about his commitment to me, having me in his life, and she accepts and agrees!!! She is willing to meet with me to confirm this."
I read Beth's statement above and could relate to the insanity of another person wanting to meet and "make it okay" to share a man. I think it is absolutely insane. I was invited over for dinner so I could vent my feelings, get it all out and over with and move on as a threesome. The whole concept is beyond crazy to me. All I could do was fantasize about telling the other woman how insecure she must be to sleep with another woman's man. And yell at my POA about cheating on me and lying to me and keeping it a secret for months. The fantasy is endless. I want to be loved and accepted by one person who does not wander and who likes me for who I am.
Post by dovesend37 on Oct 27, 2009 16:19:55 GMT -8
I had to read this for a reason. Only my Higher Power knows for sure. The man I am addicted to whom I met 33 years ago, I allowed him to take my belief in my Higher Power away from me. Now that explains why I had so much trouble breaking away from him all these years, knowing he was bad for me. I allowed him to replace my HP source with him. He was jealous of my relying on my HP and wanted me to break with it and go over to him, so he could control me and I allowed it. Obviously he was jealous of my HP. No wonder I am so successful at losing my obsession with POA at this time. I acknowledged powerlessness over my addiction and surrendered to HP again. I have returned to my HP and am allowing it to work in my life and it is central. You have helped me today and given me just what I need. Thanks be to God! Thanks Susan for stating that my HP could be my phantom lover. Could this triangle work in a healthy relationship? Thoughts to ponder.
Last Edit: Oct 27, 2009 16:27:54 GMT -8 by dovesend37
Post by groundedclarity on Nov 1, 2010 16:23:47 GMT -8
What about a MM POA whose marriage relationship is dead both physically & emotionally, but he stays because of a 3 year old child he fears he will not get to see (and protect from her parenting style he doesn't trust) if they split just now, and so he says hang in there til child is older, and he says don't expect him to choose between me and child, because he will choose the child hands down, & how could I ask him to make that choice, but oh, he loves me & feels committed to me & sees us sharing a lasting life together, & he neeeeds me so much because he's lived a loveless waste of effort for 15 years, & he swears its NOT a "triangle" because they live together as alienated roomates, & its just a matter of time & technicality, but his heart belongs to me.. This going on for a year now, & no, I would NEVER have thought of myself as tolerating such, but I had been alone for a decade, & our connection felt so sweet & rare, & next thing I know I couldn't end it if a gun was to my head.. ARGH! Meanwhile, emotional torture for me hasn't really eased since the beginning, nor has he seemed to make any moves or even demonstrated ability to discuss plan-wise regarding the necessary disentanglement from his dysfunctional marriage.. & if I bring it up, its pressure I get punished for by his withdrawal.. ARGH again.. I'm a masochist, right? God help me, 'cause I CAN'T do whatever I need to do to help myself ALONE. Yea, "alone" is the enemy word..
Someone can be having an emotional or physical affair and still be very much in love with their spouse.
My POA is very much in love with his spouse, but sexually bored because it's been almost 25 years of being together and he says she rarely wants sex. So he's building up emotional, fantasy, long-distance triangles (I know of at least two) to provide romance and sexual tension in his life. He believes this is protecting his marriage. And that may be the case.
Most of the married men I've been hit on over the years say they love their wives or that they're great friends but they've grown apart or they need a little variety. They're making it clear they're not going to be giving much emotionally and aren't interested in divorce to whatever hapless soul goes for their proposition. And it's usually "I'm not going to make the first move, but I wouldn't say no." What a bunch of losers, won't take responsibility all the way around.
It's amazing how honest most people are if you're willing to hear them or ask them.
Yes Veronica..........thank you. I have spent too many years in triangles in the past. I can't take it any any any any...................ANY more. They ARE losers and will screw the 'other' woman EVERY time. Also, even while in those sick relationships I have had a phantom lover, had this lover for over 40 years. It's only recently that I've considered giving him up. I want REALITY, a healthy reality. Being in those relationships as the 'other' one has been the absolute MOST painful times I've ever known and I really feel for whoever goes thru that. I spent 2 years with one and it was long distance at that and IIIIIIIII paid for all travel, all phone, all everything. What a dink I was. I spent 1 year with another. I spent 4 years with the last one and on top of that I have carried a torch with NC for him for another 3 years. How in the hell can I respect myself for that??? I really need to get over it and like myself again. I lost all self love and self-respect and self confidence by being with him and I had sooooo much before he came along. I was doing sooooooooo well with my recovery and i shot it all to hell. No more..........I can't take any more.
Nvr2late and Margot, really glad my experience could be of use too. It helps me so much to be here, read and know I'm not alone.
Margot you definitely can respect yourself after all that. For one, you're in recovery. That's huge. There is only a tiny minority of us who say, "um, *I* need to change". That's very respectable.
Also there is a chance to make amends for the damage caused, somehow. The somehow is so darned tricky when it comes to affairs, I hope you have a sponsor who is helping you sort through that. My amend to my POAs wife is to stay completely away from him and gently confront my friend who is also engaged in an emotional affair with him to point out what she is actually engaged in. And also to come here and share my story to help other men and women to remind we're actually creating victims with our actions when we're in a triangle.
And most important because the reason we got into those relationships is because we didn't know how to respect ourselves, let alone others! We can learn to respect ourselves now in ways our parents weren't able to teach us.
I know I've said this elsewhere but my visit to my sponsor this week underscored that the way into acting out is by not being in touch with our deeper feelings. The pain, the anger, the 'hey, I don't like being made second!' We get involved with them in order to feel that pain, ironically. To relive and heal. Not necessary. When we're willing to feel feelings they will motivate us to stay out of trouble. Other addicts are guaranteed sources of pain. If we fully felt the warning pain or anger or disdain of a married man coming on to us, we'd never go there.
So when we're strung out and in pain and writing on the board, it's actually the recovery 'aha' moment of: this feeling is what drove me into those relationships in the first place. Here I am. Here's the opportunity to learn how to respect my feelings and needs, to nurture myself instead of acting out.
Post by Loving My Life on Oct 8, 2011 6:18:24 GMT -8
Margot, I think it is a new beginning of self-love and self-respect for ourselves. We can be our own worse enemy when it comes to forgiving ourselves. But you are worth it, you are a good and decent person. So keep sharing with everyone on this forum and working on your recovery, one day @ a time. If it makes you feel any better we are more alike than different, your in the right place.
One day at a time :-) :-). . .We can do together, what we could never do alone. :-) And a problem shared, is a problem cut in half. :-) :-)
Post by crimsonhawke on Feb 14, 2012 18:48:05 GMT -8
Hello I am new here and sorry if this is long winded but here's my story. I have heard alot about being in a love triangle with men who are married here is another triangle. I am a love addict, more precisely a romance addict, I was molested as a child by my brother and when I finally broke the silence at 14 my life fell apart, at first everything seemed to be such a relief to me. He was arrested went to jail, nice nad happy right...wrong court and sentencing took forever and to make a long story short, at some point he got out and I was told I would have to move out of my parents home and find another place to live because he needed a place to live. I always said I understood and everything was ok my parnets did what they thought they had to but, I realize now I felt abandoned and would do anything to never feel that again. Here comes the addictions etc. Keep in mind during this i thought everything is fine. I went through relationships short lived and got to a certain point and then went to the next realtionships always searching. Then I married, and that relationship was with a co-dependant and after 13 years of off and on again, I could never stand my ground even though I knew that something was wrong, (wasnt abusive etc) I always went back, after awhile I recieved support outside of the marriage from a co-worker who helped me finally leave. I was scared I was happy at the same time, but again after trying to date having meaningless relationships thrills didnt last long and I never let anyone in. We reconciled but when I needed him the most I wanted to get away to be together he said to me" I have a raid and cant go out with you to this event" he was also addicted to video games. I think that pushed me back to my childhood. I went to this event with his brother......Yeah it gets that bad...we had a good time I cried of his brother shoulder I talked tohim like I hadnt talked to anyone else..i completely broke down. Nothing happened then but soon after I was finished with my husband I knew I had to leave.... I kept in touch with his brother as I always did but this time with a different purpose....my firends said to me I married the wrong brother....I started to invite him to events...we talked more and more. I thought this is it rainbows and butterflies had my complete images. we got together...we had a daughter but it wasnt long before my husband was around again.....and I started thinking about how I had hurt him how much this was hard etc. My husband and I had remained friends we had 3 children together and then we talked more and more about his failed relationship about the past etc....one day the conversation changed...he was flirting I was flirting and soon it became physical.....I had never cheated in my life but I felt wanted, I thought I had made a mistake........the guilt of cheating made it impossible for me to be involve with his brother I thought I loved...it tore me up.... I ended one and jumped back in with my husband but again I felt trapped I felt that I had made a mistake.... back and forth another time and I was done, I couldnt be with his brother for the guilt was killing me and I couldnt say no to him. Now at this point I am with my husband I now realize my fantasies are just that and there is no grass is greener. I am taking responsiblity for what I have done but am trying to pick up the pieces. I do not speak to the brother execpt to speak abotu our daughter and I am on the 12 steps and recovery but I find myself having difficulties not thinking about his brother, not feeling like I want ot make an excuse to talk to him...etc. My husband is also trying to fix his co-dependency and we have put us on hold to try to fix this but financially we still live together I know he wants us to be fixed but I dont know how I feel....I need help. I am not confident in my already bad judgement when it comes to my thought process can anyone give me advice to move past this I am trying to see my vision of my new life but cant help thinking about his brother.....for my future...I cant seem to let it go and focus on me...hard enough with my husband ..but d**n it I dont need anythign else in my head right now...Not a triangle I want.