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-   -   The Initial Conversation (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9117)

MorningTwilight 04-23-2011 08:16 PM

The Initial Conversation
Background in my introduction (important for context--I've never actually physically or electronically cheated, despite years of wanting to).


Today, I told my wife that I had been having feelings for other women. I told her of my guilt and shame over not being able to NOT feel these things. She said that she has never once had feelings for another man.

She said she's had suspicions when I've talked about various things that women I know did or said on some of the trips I've taken, or when I've worked exceptionally late in the office, but because she trusts me, she trusted that I'd never done anything with any of them.

I told her that it was especially hard when I was here in a new city in a new state by myself getting set up before she and the family moved down, but I still never did anything with anyone.

I told her about my fears, my not trusting myself to avoid getting emotionally involved with women as I develop friendships. I asked if it was OK to let that leash loose a little, and she said that as long as I don't cross the line, it would be OK. I said that it's been a very difficult line to walk, and it all came to a head: she asked if I was cut out to be a married man, and I responded, "Not in the traditional sense." She is most emphatically against the notion of polyamory, having said that she refuses to share me with anyone else--she won't be the stay-at-home wife that I come home to after being out with someone else, and she requires a divorce prior to me seeing anyone else, even though I told her that I do not want to end our marriage. I decided not to press the issue for now with any of the descriptions others have posted here of how they've made it work, in particular in how they've made their long-term mono partner not feel like a housekeeper while they go out and have fun. I don't think that browbeating will help.

I think she wants the idealized me that I pretended to be, rather than the person who I believe I really am. I don't want to hammer her with the statement that I've tried for a long time to be who I thought she wants me to be, and it actually hurts me--the one time I mentioned that, she mentioned divorce again. I'm feeling blackmailed, and rather than feeling closer to her, I now feel like an outsider in my family.

MorningTwilight 04-23-2011 09:52 PM

I can't help feeling that I've just gone and ruined my marriage to a wonderful woman, with a wonderful kid, and that I'm a right idiot.

nycindie 04-23-2011 11:08 PM


Originally Posted by MorningTwilight (Post 77876)
I can't help feeling that I've just gone and ruined my marriage to a wonderful woman, with a wonderful kid, and that I'm a right idiot.

^^^ Tell her this also. If it comes up again. I think you're right in not pressing the issue right now. Think of how long it took you to consider polyamory as a possibility. She's not going to jump on the bandwagon overnight. Let her process what you told her, and remember, you've shaken her world to its core. I'm sure others in marriages that were mono before turning poly can offer some more relevant words to help you, but I think it's important to try to reign in any impatience you might be feeling, and have compassion for both her and yourself.

bkreader 04-24-2011 12:02 AM

I know the situation sucks, but talking with your wife is a good thing. Although it may be hard to know that she can't accept poly, you can talk to her about the difficulties you have. By keeping open communication going, she can start to trust you more since you couldn't be cheating if you tell her everything. You will feel frustrated at not being able to have a relationship with another woman sometimes, but at least you can share your feelings and work through them with your wife. Who knows maybe she'll one day change her mind, but a high pressure approach is just going to get you the divorce you don't want.

If you do stick with her, I'd suggest reassuring her that your decision is to stick with her and you won't pursue other women. I'd also suggest doing everything you can to be romantic and affectionate since she's probably feeling pretty vulnerable. Maybe try being more open about other things as well. If you discuss everything with your wife, good and bad, she won't view conversations about poly as a "You have to do this or else" conversation and more as a "I'm hurting now, please understand" conversation.

MorningTwilight 04-24-2011 02:35 AM

My son, of course, knows that something is up, but does not know what. I don't know what to tell him.

nycindie 04-24-2011 02:46 AM


Originally Posted by bkreader (Post 77897)
. . . I'd suggest reassuring her that your decision is to stick with her and you won't pursue other women. I'd also suggest doing everything you can to be romantic and affectionate since she's probably feeling pretty vulnerable.

^^Oh, definitely this!!!^^

And give her time.

MorningTwilight 04-24-2011 04:45 AM

I'm having a great deal of difficulty with this right now. As part of our discussion, she said that if I were to pursue a poly lifestyle, she would leave me and take my son with her--halfway across the country.

This is blackmail, straight and simple, and where I felt love for her before, now I only feel a burning resentment.

My son (early teens) asked for none of this, and I don't know what to do.

nycindie 04-24-2011 05:11 AM

Oh please! Don't get all uppity about her reaction now! Think about it from her side and have some compassion. You want what you want and have been mulling this over for a while, hoping for a positive response -- but for her, you literally dropped a fucking bomb in her lap!

She's not blackmailing you -- she's being honest in telling you what she can and cannot live with AND I am sure her words are fueled by extreme emotion and possibly a sense of not being enough for you, rejection, hurt, feeling betrayed -- all of that. That is often what it seems people take it to mean when a partner wants to go poly.

You only told her today. She may need some time to process this and not take it personally. Stop going over the conversation in your mind and occupy yourself with other things. Look at her, really look at this wonderful woman you love and see how scared she is of everything she counted on falling apart. Let her know you love her. Without her knowing that, if she ever agrees to accept poly, you won't have a strong foundation upon which to build. Baby steps!

MorningTwilight 04-24-2011 05:44 AM



"Do it the way I want or I will leave and take your son away and you will be alone" *IS* blackmail. It may be borne out of hurt and it may be a raw reaction, but it *IS* blackmail.

I am giving it time. I am holding my tongue. I am going to go talk to the counselor again, and she has agreed to as well. I know that decisions made in the heat of the moment are almost always ones that will be regretted.

But honest to Christ, if I'd known I'd be signing up for this, I might have just kept my goddamned mouth shut and dealt with all of the shit and self-hatred.

nycindie 04-24-2011 05:58 AM

By uppity, I meant indignant. Of course, it's understandable that you don't want it to be so difficult and that her response feels like blackmail, but I was only trying to point out that it's a bit over the top to get upset with her reaction if you think about what it feels like to be in her shoes. Digging your heels in right now is not a good idea, it's not even been a whole day for her to absorb what you told her. Some couples who have posted their stories in the Blogs section took years of talking and negotiating before opening up their marriages.

Oh, I was going to ask you how it went with the therapist, because you had mentioned you were going in your other thread. I think it's a good sign that she's agreed to go with you next time. But give her the space to feel what she's feeling and express what she needs to express. Just because she's saying she will do that does not mean it will actually happen, but that she's in extreme turmoil over this. She is hurting.

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