View Full Version : Out of the shadows to say thanks
I've been a lurker on these pages for a while and wanted to thank you all for sharing your stories and ideas. I don't think I will be here long as I see this is not an option for me if I want to be with my wife, but your words have given me a view into accepting who I am, what I am and the feelings I've felt for over 20 years.
I've always thought that there was no limit to love, and have felt it to one degree or another for many women over my life. I've never understood the "one true love" and have wondered what was wrong with me over that time.
I've been married to a wonderful woman for the past 17 years, and have fought those urges during that time. I've distanced myself from any female friendships as much as possible as a result. I've been aware of polyamory since my first computer in 1995, but it was easier to blame my own inadequacies for my feelings instead.
Moving forward, my best friend has been in a MFF Triad for years, and my wife has been very accepting of their relationship. I finally thought that perhaps she was strong enough to accept that in me, and love me as I am, but my attempt at such has ended in disaster.
I decided three days ago to tell her, and the relief I felt was overwhelming. I finally felt that we could be together honestly and grow closer together, but when I told her yesterday the last 19 years of our relationship was shattered. That I have never loved her completely, and the honestly and safety she counted on was gone. She doesn't think she can ever trust me if I allow myself to love another - physically, emotionally or romantically.
Things are now worse than when I started.
03-19-2012, 04:11 PM
Sorry, she took the news badly. I admire the bravery and honesty that this must have taken. You must feel better having this out in the open. And I'm sure she feels better knowing exactly how you feel to allow her to plan what type of relationship she wants.
Things are worse from when?
Thank you for your compassionate words. I felt much better knowing I would tell her. It was a great relief to tell her who I was and plan to move forward growing closer and knowing she could love me without deception.
She feels that she already is less important than anyone else because it was so important to me to tell her this now. I knew in my heart that she could never doubt my love and feelings for her, but that was not the case. She sees this only in that I have lied to her all this time since I have always had these feelings. I've recommended articles and sites to her but she doesn't have any interest.
Things are now worse than they were before I told her who I am. My outlets for this haven't been healthy (I've not touched another woman since we started dating but I have played online to keep things from getting serious and feel some connection, albeit temporary) but now that I have admitted what outlets I do use her trust issues are compounded.
I don't know that therapy is the answer for us. I know I am portraying my wife as unreasonable but she had no idea apparently and I had no idea the level of betrayal she would feel. For now I will subvert my own needs for those of my family and hope that I can control them better in the future.
Thank you again for your compassion and understanding.
03-19-2012, 05:10 PM
Her response seem reasonable. Sounds like she got blindsided.
Why don't you think therapy would work. Clearly there is a philosophical difference, the betrayal, resentments....then the normal marriage crap...I can't see how it couldn't help even a little.
Thank you DingedHeart.
She was blindsided for certain.
We discussed therapy last night. She has a psych background and isn't open to the idea. For her any attempts to resolve this difference means that she will lose me despite my assurances to the contrary. That's what got her spiraling on the poly reading material as it discusses ways to work through it.
The sad thing is we have always had a good marriage but this psychological difference is too vast. It would have been easier had I admitted an affair or 'she meant nothing to me', but telling her I want an emotional, romantic relationship outside of our marriage is too much to ask.
I feel selfish for the damage I have caused and while I know I am poly I don't think she can ever feel safe with those feelings.
03-20-2012, 02:32 PM
I get it, she views the therapy as a technique to allow you this new life style.
I was thinking of the therapy as a place were each position could be heard and understood. Not part of a poly agenda. But I could see her reluctance.
Whats her plan ?
Whats your plan ?
I agree with you on the reason for therapy but you are correct on her impression.
Her plan - ignore the issue and try to avoid it.
My plan - try to salvage our marriage and ignore my feelings. It's either that or cheat.
Neither reaction is mature and both are destructive to our relationship.
03-20-2012, 07:30 PM
Someone reminded me of a book yesterday ...The Five languages of love...I think the guy's name is Chapman ...are you familiar with the book? Do you know her love language? It's talked about here a lot....check the book section.
Seeing how things are fragile now why not invest the time and effort you were planing to use to find and date an additional partner and devote that to your wife. Use the knowledge gained from the book to maximize your efforts. Set to build a solid foundation.
03-20-2012, 08:09 PM
I've been in a similar situation as your wife, but seem to find the table turning a bit now. My husband and I are emerging from some serious bad spots in our 20 year marriage and are probably the strongest we have been in a really long time. I can only suggest keep trying to get her to agree to counceling, even ask her pick the counselor (you can always change if it's not the right fit). Keep talking to her, she was blindsided and needs some time to process her reactions to all this. This next year will not be an easy one.
My husband has done a lot of the SECRET online relationships and I did (still do) see that as a form of cheating and I suspect that your wife does too. This breach of trust is hard to get past, but not impossible. If I found out that he was secretly carrying on with someone online again, I would be extremely hurt, but if he came to me and said "I'm feeling the need to flirt online again" (or some such), I would tell him "Go Ahead, just keep me in the loop". I'm not sure he's ready to trust that I would handle it well based on our past, but I do mention it from time to time.
He does have a few very close platonic relationships that definitely go beyond merely friendship. It took me a long time to understand this and be OK with it. We are told over and over again how we "should" love and if we just love someone enough, we "can't" have these other feelings. It doesn't work that way, but it's a hard programing to break. When I discovered that I could be OK with this new way to view relationships, I realized that we are very similar in this respect, only I spent years pushing people away and keeping a safe distance from everyone for fear of letting people get too close.
Definitely spend some time getting to know your wife again and let her get to know who you have become. "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman is an awesome book and should be read by everyone in a relationship. you will find your self wanting to slap your forehead and saying "Well that explains a few things".
Thank you for the recommendation. I've found the book at a local library and will pick it up tonight. Your suggestion is a good one.
Thank you for the advice.
Thank you for articulating so eloquently what my wife has been unable to express. I appreciate the insight. The fact that there will be another year together is the important one, with many to follow.
I can understand the feeling of betrayal no matter how many ways I try to justify my actions. That you can be open is wonderful and I hope he comes to trust that in your relationship.
The relief I felt when I finally came to accept that I am not alone in my feelings was wonderful and despite the pain I've caused I can't help in part being relieved. I've always tried to be stoic in my needs and emotions and put everyone's before my own so it was difficult to express my feelings. Your statement of what we are taught we should feel has been my mantra for many years and the feeling of selfishness won't dwindle for a very long time though.
I'm now reading the book thanks to you and Dingedheart, and I am very interested in the premise. I look forward to finding out how better to express my love to my wife.
So you have come full circle, at least in part? That must be wonderful for both of you if it works out. That your marriage is stronger now than ever before brings me hope for our future as well.
Thank you so much.
I wanted to post a followup. We are still dealing with emotionally raw issues, reading and working on Love Languages. I'm also reading Polyamory in the 21st Century to better understand her reaction and feelings from the case studies.
There are a lot of issues from her past that she's shielded me from but have been dredged up - feelings of inadequacy, fear of loss, instability, and trust (I know these are probably typical to a degree, but there was abuse early in her life that caused severe trauma).
At this point we are working on her fears and issues and building our relationship. I really want to get back that feeling of intimacy, dating that we had and show her how much I love her. Neither of us is ready for a major change, but she is open to me having a romantic friendship and seeing where that would lead as long as she is shielded from it.
This is far from what I expected when I brought it up a week ago. I am hopeful that we can survive this together and our marriage will be stronger for it. And perhaps we can eventually find a mid ground to make both of us happy.
Thank you for the advice and wisdom.
03-27-2012, 09:06 PM
Glad to hear things are moving forward. Keep at it you'll be glad you did and your marriage will be stronger for it. :D
Thank you Sneacail.
It's been a busy few days. Things are changing every day. She has come back with the need for rules to define us, being that she always comes first. I've assured her of that but she doesn't think it's possible given what she has read on the fluidity of relationships from the poly links I originally sent her.
Now she has an ultimatum - she can live with emotional intimacy, but not physical intimacy. If I cannot promise her that I will never in my lifetime become physically intimate with anyone else then she wants to remove that from our relationship for the rest of our lives. It can't be discussed later. It can't be changed later. This is it. She would stay with me and love me but never be mine again.
I can't ask anyone to love me without any potential for intimacy. I can't let myself feel romantically and emotionally for another without expressing myself physically. But I can't stand the thought of losing her either. I have never been intimate with another person since we've been together, almost 19 years now, but I have been close several times and stopped myself.
That is part of what brought my need for disclosure in the first place. I have no desire for that now, but I can't guarantee, promise that it won't be there. And if I lie to her she will never recover so I can't promise.
03-31-2012, 05:31 PM
So, how about you say something like, "I can't promise I will never want that with someone. I CAN tell you that in 19 years I have never been physically intimate with anyone but you, dear wife." and you can promise that you won't unless you tell her.
Because it could happen that someday you will be able to stand the thought of losing her.
Perhaps NOW is not the time for promising things that can't be promised. Maybe you can ask her to be yours for a year, while you both let raw emotions process and settle and gain more information. And that you won't even look for a romantic friendship for a year, until you've both had time to deal with living with this brand new knowledge.
Just a thought. You've known who you are, and struggled with it, for years. She just found out. A week or so ago.
Thanks NovemberRain. I thought the same, and have tried the same. I don't think now is the time to discuss it. I offered to broach it in 3 months, 1 year, 3 years but she is adamant that this be finalized now. I've offered to wait as well, or drop the matter entirely but the cat is out of the bag for her now.
You're signature says it all.
03-31-2012, 11:17 PM
You can tell her that you refuse to consider ultimatums (like a government will say "we won't bargain with terrorists"), because ultimatums have no place in a loving relationship. You can offer to discuss any aspect of the subject that she wants, to analyze any fears she may have, or negotiate, and even see a counselor with her - but you have too much respect for the relationship and your own self-esteem to stand for ultimatums. Ultimatums smack of dictatorship. It is one thing for a person to state what they will or will not accept, or to make a request, and then each of you makes a choice or responds to those requests or statements, but no one should be issuing ultimatums nor expected to comply with ultimatums.