Pls see the bolded. Even in a poly M, the M is the anchor between two persons - the trust that you'll be there for each other during the normal hardships in life's journey. Despite the relations outside the M.We are polyamorous, not open. This is a meaningful distinction to make - our relationships are no different than other long term committed (traditionally monogamous) relationships, there are just more of them. We are ethical and open about our relationships and communicate about new partners, changes in relationship status, etc. We do not seek to be hierarchical or impose restrictions on relationships based on other relationships. In addition to my husband of 15 years, I had a boyfriend of 8 years and a new partner of 4 months (the one that broke up with me). My husband has two other girlfriends he has been with for 6 & 8 years respectively. All of our relationships are committed and loving, and we considered each other all family. One of his girlfriends lives with us, the other lives next door. My boyfriend and his wife would go on vacations with us, and we all helped each other out and went out together socially.
As for how I was not there for my husband, he can't really provide me a clear answer. I tried to tell him that I was not emotionally in a place where I could be emotionally strong, because I was in so much pain myself. I tried to be honest about this, and I felt that in being honest about what I was experiencing I was doing my best to honor and love and appreciate my husband. I tried to be vulnerable about how I was feeling, that I wanted to be strong for him but I didn't feel that I could because I was breaking down, too. I told him how grateful I was he had his other partners there to support him when I was in so much pain, as well. However, he saw this as a betrayal. He said that I should have been able to put aside my own pain to "be there for him" even though he can't define what "being there for him" would have looked like. I was ready to drop everything and go to the hospital with him at a moment's notice. I paid for his hotels and travel. My partners were aware and okay with the fact that he was my priority during this time, until things blew up.
I didn't want my anger over my breakup to become an issue, but apparently it did. I tried to deal with it on my own, spending time to myself so as not to intrude upon his grief. He says he felt that I was taking the breakup out on everyone around me. I feel that he was taking his grief out on me. He bullied me into apologizing for things I had already apologized for multiple times, or things that I should not have to apologize for. He seemed to interpret anything I did or didn't do as being directed at him personally. He said some incredibly hurtful things, telling me I completely lacked empathy, and would die alone.
We have been in therapy (both individually and together) and are making progress, we have even been on a couple of dates since and I have a little bit of hope for the first time, but we are both still gun-shy after having gone through some vicious cycles of negative feedback loops. Our communication didn't improve much or change until we were both literally on the brink of divorce - after a particular fight I think we were both just done, and I told him I'd be moving on. We didn't talk for a day, but later we were able to have the first open and honest conversation we have had in the last six months or so. Since then, the communication has been much better. But it took literally mourning our marriage to get to that point. We have both agreed that if we can continue to communicate like this, then there is hope. I'm just not sure how to continue to build the trust and respect that we seem to have lost.