Paradigm Shift to Polyamory
My wife and I have very recently decided to become polyamorous and while the circumstances to us arriving to this point would be shocking to most people, I'm not completely shocked, but I know I have a few things that I need to come to terms with before I move much further.
And while I'm really feeling compelled to write, I'm not sure where I should begin with my post. (midpost: and now I see it will be a dissertation! end of post: yep, very long.)
My wife and I have been together for ten years, and we knew one another for several years before our relationship began, and we sacrificed everything to be with one another, committing to one another before we actually began anything romantic. In that, we're both keenly aware of one another's attractions to other people, her bisexual history made it both fun and exciting for us to people watch from afar and we found that we enjoyed one another flirting and making out with others. Our rule had always been that it was okay to do anything up to sex.
After several years together, we were married and then had a daughter who was heavily dependent on her requiring a great deal of attention for five years. So much that she lost a lot of her identity of self as she took on the responsibility of being "mom." Recently, at six, my daughter's independence has finally arrived. My wife became has finally been able to build some of her identity, has wanted to get out of the house more.
We recently moved across the country to Oregon from the buckle of the bible belt in NW Louisiana. We both sought out to meet new people, and while I've built a solid group of colleagues from work as well as a few fellow transplantees from Louisiana, she's done a bit better building a network of closer friends.
Over the past year, she's developed a friendship with a guy in our new town, but that was very slow at first, as she was still rarely energetic enough to motivate herself to go out. In fact, this summer she was away for several weeks but her friend and I hung out and went to a few parties together. I learned that he was a great guy and I'd hang out with him more, but work has had me bogged down, I'm a school teacher and the school year is still pretty new.
As the recent weeks have unfolded, she's gotten more energy and has wanted to go out more frequently, and usually with him. So I started to realize that a tighter bond had been established between the two. Nothing stated, no problemo.
This Friday, I got home and we had a talk about polyamory an issue with which we've fleetingly discussed in the past (I had friends that called themselves swingers), but nothing formal, no decisions either way. But in our talk, I learned that she really had developed genuine feelings for our friend and that they were fooling around (no surprise), but at no sacrifice to our relationship, and then after we really enjoyed ourselves, she went out.
I usually wait up for her, as she's usually keyed up and wants to tell me about how the night went and if she had someone hit on her or flirt with her, we usually bring that with us into the bedroom as she has done likewise with me over the years.
Friday I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke immediately as I heard the key in the door, it had been a helluva week. But when she come inside our home, she immediately sat down next to me, and told me, with no secrecy, no guilt about what she had done, no desire to hurt, but just honestly, that she had sex with her friend.
It was three a.m., though there are no curfews in our house. But that didn't make it easier for me to think clearly. I did not know what to say, but my biggest surprise was that I was not taken aback at all by this news. It didn't bother me, I felt no jealousy, no rage, and in fact, part of me was absolutely okay that she didn't ask my permission before she went out to do so. (I think I wouldn't have been really cool with that, and I'm not certain if I would have said yes, but I'll get to that part next.)
I was okay with this, but two things started to bother me. The first has been a problem since I realized that their friendship was formulating stronger over the past few weeks: I don't have a close friend right now, someone I can confide in, a male friend, or a platonic relationship, and I began to feel lonely and a little insecure, which leads to my other problem.
I've always been highly confident, sometimes even to a fault, but that has changed over time. During the last six years, our sex life has been severely low. As in sometimes one sexual encounter in several months time, and an entire year after her pregnancy. During that time, I would make advances and be shot down over and over only to have her tell me that if I really wanted to go and find someone to have sex with, I could, but I should know that I would never have sex with my wife again. And while I really wanted to have sexual encounters with female friends of mine, I never pursued them because of those consequences she laid down. While the frequency was low, those that happened were intense and I could not think of sacrificing that connection with my wife. But while I was hopeful, I still felt rejected then, which leads me back to my insecurities. Furthermore, I have been hesitant to pursue any friendship with women whom I was even slightly attracted because I felt like I would hit this impasse and would only be more frustrated in the end. The only apology that was needed early saturday morning, was because she said she feels horrible that she put me through that while she was sexually dormant.
My only problem with how this has gone down is not the manner in which she steered our relationship by sleeping with her friend. In fact, my initial reaction kind of sealed the thought that I have always felt that this lifestyle was really for me, especially after I heard about the emotional void that I heard about from my swinger friends' escapades. But what I have a problem with was the restrictions, frustrations, rejections, and insecurity that came about the past six years of our life. And being that I'm not looking to rush into a secondary relationship, I don't want to resent my wife while she's enjoying hers.
So now, I'm not certain where I go. Should I start searching for someone to help fill this loneliness? I honestly don't know how I would even start looking and then approach someone sounding as lame as, "Hey, you know I'm married, but my wife is totally okay with me dating other women," and I'm fearful of that rejection, damned insecurities.
We've always had a wide open system of communication, and we're not jealous people, and we have a grand sense of partnership in our marriage. However, both know now, I think she's learned a lot more recently, that the traditional closed marriage relationship is for neither of us.
I just want to make sure I don't wind up resenting her in the future because of our past.
Any advice? (and yes, I'm done writing)
Thanks for sharing your story. The first thing that strikes me is the imbalance of, what I'm understanding to be, freedom for her to enjoy sex with her friend but the consequence of severing sexual ties with her forever if you do the same. Am I reading this correctly?
Thought I was specific enough...
No, the restrictions of our relationship have been lifted on both sides. I would not believe it would realistic nor do I think I'd still be cool with this if the gates weren't opened on both sides.
I understand that insecurity of approaching people with "Hey, my wife's ok if I sleep with you" or whatever variety that takes.
If this helps at all, I have unconsciously attracted many "open", "poly" type lovers in the past, simply because that's how I'm wired. I'm beginning to find it amazing how many people that I've clicked with have ended up being poly to some degree.
Like attracts like. Maybe you will begin attracting people who will already be open to this lifestyle and it will evidence itself in some kind of organic unfolding, rather than the awkward approach??
Hope that's a help...
really just getting that off of my chest was a big deal.
I don't have anyone really to talk to about this that gets it. She does.
I get it. I will step back and let you unload. :)
Now I'll grow up...maybe
Oh, you know, I was thinking as I type that, "This could be taken the wrong way, but these people are mature and will understand what I mean".
Thanks for proving me wrong. HAHAHA!!
I think I get what your wife has been through. I have a six year old too. I had crazy hormones, got over weight and breast fed until my boy was 3. Didn't make me feel sexy at all and I did not feel like having sex at all! Now it has totally turned around. I had a bit of a time where I was in party mode over my new freedom and felt so good. My husband and I talked about getting back into poly at that time and it came about in our lives again slowly with a lot of interesting interludes.
I would suggest that your wife told you to go out and find a woman to have sex with because of her own frustration with her lack of freedom from your daughter, her body not being what it used to be and the seemingly endlessness of feeling like that. Now she has found that she can have some freedom back, her body back and be desirious of sex again. She is just beginning to enjoy that I'm sure. Try and remember that she said all that and acted like that in the past. This is now and a new leave has turned.
Do I think she should of done what she did? No! She cheated in my book. Her having sex with her friend should of been discussed with you in great detail in terms of what you could both do together in order to maintain your bond and connection. It should of been talked about with the friend and everyones boundaries and rules discussed. Of course they seem to get blown out of the water anyway after the act happens and re-thought out, but that would of been the most respectful to you.
Is all lost? I don't think so. Its not like you were blind sided. You knew that things were in the works and were not surprised or concerned. I think you should do your best to put the past behind you in terms of your wifes early childhood years and move forward. I think that you should ask for what you want from her in terms of intimacy and strive to work on your sexual relationship together before she sleeps with her friend again. If this is someone she wants to continue with then now is the time to work on boundaries and rules with the friend before they become closer.
It will be interesting to see how the energy between them changes as sometimes a bit of a sexual release is all that is needed and the desire to have sex again diminishes forever or at least a time. Use that time to regain connection with your wife. Be really honest about what you want. That is your right. She can always say no and if she does then you will have to negotiate what she wants to do and what she doesn't.
Lots of communicating to do. Get at it my friend.
Updates appreciated. (hint hint).
Feel free to make some friends on here! We're generally all willing to "listen" when we are here!
I wouldn't run out looking for a girlfriend.
But do work on going out to meet people, make some closer friendships. You deserve that and if one ends up being more-well wadda ya know!
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