This is the chronicle of my journey from being decidedly mono to a poly lifestyle.
First a little about me: Iím fairly new to this site. Iím 47, straight, in a long-term (over 20 years now) monogamous marriage with RunBabyRun (RBR from here forward) on this forum. Weíve just decided in the last couple months to open our marriage and begin exploring additional relationships. RBR and I both come from very religious backgrounds, growing up in churches, and both having staunch Christian families. Itís very safe to say that neither of our families will understand poly ways of thinking, and for some period of time, this will be kept to ourselves. I expect that things will come out at some point, but we wonít do anything to hasten that drama into our lives.
In thinking through all this, we found that there are many possibilities. For now, weíve decided that for us, an open marriage is currently the freedom for each of us to have other relationships outside the marriage, but not attempt to bring anyone else into the marriage at this time.
Weíve both been reading a lot on this forum, learning, exploring. Weíve read where some have a very elaborate set of rules and restrictions that work for them in their poly lives. RBR and I have decided that the best path for us at this time is to have the least number of ďrulesĒ necessary. After all, I think this path (for us anyway) is about freedom, and shackling each other with a big list of rules seems counter to that goal.
The minimum set of rules that we felt were necessary are:
1. Total honestly between us, always, about everything.
a. Any questions asked by either of us are answered honestly, always.
2. Safe sex, always.
3. Nothing brought into our house (we have teenagers around that donít know about this at this time. We expect to tell one of them fairly soon, the other could be years before we have that discussion.)
Other than the above, both RBR and I are free to develop any relationship that we desire.
This all came about when RBR and I took a road trip and had a really good, long talk (as we often do on road trips!) Itís amazing how much our relationship has grown in the last couple of months as weíve decided to do this. I can honestly say that the communication between us has never been better.
And with the help of many on this forum, weíve been reshaping our minds into poly thinking. Many of the thoughts expressed to our previous posts have been truly transformative. Itís not always easy to understand, and sometimes even more difficult to overcome 40 years of mono-training, but it is happening and things are changing for the better.
RBR began this journey with a man already in mind for her first relationship outside of the marriage. She has successfully contacted that individual and began her journey. I can honestly say that Iím happy for her, and as expected, the challenges had already begun.
When we started all this, I figured that her having physical relations with another man would be my biggest challenge. I was divorced before RBR and I began our relationship. That marriage ended when my ex had a boyfriend on the side (a friend of mine from work) that I didnít know about until she got pregnant by him. I was devastated and it took a long time to recover from all that. RBR has been a big part of that recovery. In the time, I felt like I needed to follow my Christian upbringing and attempt to reconcile the marriage, and that was what I did. However when I found out that they were sleeping together, that was too much for me to reconcile. Things are very different now. I figured that would be a challenge, but having given my approval of this lifestyle, I thought things would be very different.
As things are progressing in the relationship between RBR and her new friend (Iíll call him E here), Iím finding a couple of things jumping up as the first real challenges. They have been out on a couple of outings together, and I was really fine with it. He has kissed her passionately, and that wasnít too much of a problem so far. The first real problem for me has been the emotional relationship. Having her depend on someone else, feel those thoughts for someone else, if there is a ďthreatĒ to our relationship, I think it lies in the emotional relationship, not the physical relationship.
RBR tries to tell me how different things are from what we first thought, but I think itís not something Iím really going to be able to internalize until I find someone and begin my own journey.
The second issue is something that I just got a handle on today to where I can actually type about it. Our relationship was in a really good place before we started this journey. And I can say that it has honestly gotten much better since we started this. The awakening weíve had being totally honest with each other has been really good for us. We have progressed to telling each other things that I NEVER thought would ever be discussed. And to make things even better, weíve worked through things that I thought could be relationship ending if they were ever known. But that newfound honesty has created the next problem for me. I feel like we are totally open, 100% and there is nothing we canít talk about. BUT, now that she has this new relationship with E, itís created a barrier between us. I can ask her anything and she is pledged to answer truthfully. But, the thing is, Iím not part of that relationship. It should have privacy of itís own that doesnít involve me. This ďarea where I canít (or shouldnít) goĒ has created an enormous curiosity in me. I want to know how things are progressing, how is she feeling about things, what did she say, what did he say, etc. Itís hard to be excluded from parts of her life, especially now that weíve found all this new openness.
Weíve discussed the situation and both agree that our relationships outside the marriage deserve their own privacy, at least I agree with that in principle. Putting that principle into action is an entirely different thing for me at this moment. Itís absolutely NOT a trust issue. Iíve just become very used to being able to be partners with her in every part of life, so having areas where Iím not involved (and shouldnít be now) is hard.
I donít know how to better describe how Iím feeling, however she is progressing with the exciting part at this moment and I feel like Iím mostly working through the negative feeling stuff. I am definitely wanting to get to the stage where Iím progressing through some of the more positive aspects of poly relationships!
Really struggling today...
Really struggling today.
RBR is frustrated by being on this "vacation" away from E, communication is difficult because of the poor Internet and phone connectivity situation, that or the stress of the situation causes her to pull back away from me, which is exactly what I don't need as I'm trying to come to terms with the changes in our relationship.
It's like the timing was the worst possible. Things were progressing for her, now it's all on hold for two weeks while we have this "vacation".
I told her this morning that I'm miserable and would fly home today if it were an option.
I don't think there is anything we can do at this point to make this situation better, it's just going to take time to get beyond it...
Welcome to the board! It sounds like you've got a lot going on. Give yourself time to adjust. It's ok if it doesn't all line up and work out perfectly right now. It is going to be a challenging transition but you can do it. And it seems like you're making good progress. I, too, come from a staunch christian background so I am familiar with some of that territory. Finding the balance of involvement in outside relationships is a tricky and unique process. Different preferences, needs, situations, etc... You'll find what works best for you and since you two seem to communication a lot, that will facilitate the process.
Yea! the "vacation is almost over!"
Thanks for the support Ray.
We're traveling home today and tomorrow so I think that it will help for us to be back in a more comfortable environment.
Things are better today, not feeling as stressed and RBR and I have had some really good talks over the last couple of days.
What we've found is that poly is definitely an emotional roller coaster. Just remembering that makes it a little easier. The lows are REALLY low, but the highs are great. And many times we get to the freak-out point of "stop the ride, I want to get off!" But that's why we opened our marriage in the first place -- neither of us wanted to quit the marriage. We wanted that ride to continue.
We opened our marriage back in October 2010 and it has definitely gotten more manageable. The lows aren't quite as scary as they were at first.
My emotional relationship with Butch (my bf) is what shakes Sundance up too -- more so than the physical. (In fact, the physical was pretty erotic for him at the beginning. He used to help me pick out my outfits for my trysts and would get off on the details afterwards. Which was hott!) I guess it has worked out well that Butch is very respectful of our marriage and does not want to hijack it in any way. It may be a bit selfish of him, to focus on the sex with me and steer clear of the everyday emotional life-challenging things with me, but I realize again that it is a form of deep respect to leave the emotional support to my husband. Also to keep his own issues to himself, so I don't feel the urge to fulfill any rescuer fantasies I have! That's not to say we aren't friends and we enjoy talking about our lives, but I don't run to him with my emotions. We try to keep it light and fun as much as we can. Most of our sex is had with grins on our faces and the feeling like being kids in a candy store. Lovely, actually, to have no strings attached.
But all this reserve and restraint has been a work in progress, and the NRE was pretty intense at the beginning. As a woman I have been programmed to be a good girl, to be monogamous and to believe that sex is not allowed unless it accompanies undying love and hopeless devotion. I have found some real empowerment in behaving in a way that is more definitive of a man. Sundance teases me and says now that I have two sets of balls, I think I'm really something!
It's still an adventure and a bit of an experiment, maybe, but so much good has come out of our poly life that I can't say I have regrets. Sometimes I do regret that I let myself fall in love with another man in the first place, because that's where our journey started. But this has been, for us, a way to let that love run its course without causing destruction to the love I already had with my husband. I never thought it was possible to do it this way. But poly is all about possibilities -- and I'm sure you are discovering that for yourself!
Don't you find that, coming from a religious family, poly is another way of freeing yourself from the restraints of conventional society? I have enjoyed the "what if?" journey, very much. Who says it has to be a certain way? I love questioning things. I'm a bit of a late bloomer in that regard. Tried to stay on the straight and narrow path, even all through college, because to question the institutions was very scary to me. Now I am finding it exhilarating! And my family has not been nearly as freaked out as I thought they would be.
Geez, sorry to have gone on and on! Welcome! :)
Thanks for the support Carma.
Yes, I expect to find that the poly mindset is another layer of freedom from the Christian upbringing. I'm not far enough in yet to experience the joy of it though. Still struggling thru the emotions of RBR's new relationship and what that all means.
And speaking of that, she and E want to go away for a couple days this week to have time away to build their relationship. I know its not going to be long before the have sex, and I am as prepared for that as I think I can be. My concern is that "IF" I have a bad time of it, it will be 2-3 days before I can talk things out with her.... That seems like a HUGE amount of time if things are bad, so I dont want to sign up for that. But, I also want to be supportive and not try to control things... I feel pressure to give the green light but have serious concerns and really dont want too....
Any advise from the group would be greatly appreciated... Am I just being a putz here?
I don't think you are being a putz. Ultimately, you shouldn't feel pressured into anything. Offer to meet her half way, if you think you can. What about a compromise, say 24 hours instead of 48 or going somewhere within communication range so that you or she can check in and see how you are doing?
I'm a jump in the cold water type of guy.... wading in is prolonged pain not acclamation for me....that being said you got to ask which do I want? When faced with similar situations I asked myself if it was a normal dating situation they would be making all these decisions based on how they felt about each other ....not a third person .....so I didn't want to incumber anything ....I also didn't want to be the weak one .....or viewed as the weak one or spoke about as being a reason something that was planned then got cancelled.....No way.
I found the thoughts of and the conversations leading up to an event such as you describe were more trouble some or emotional than the actual event itself. In your case you should just imagine using the camper with some young hot new babe under similar circumstances.....and you can't or shouldn't get any blow back. You could look at it as paying it forward or an investment so to speak. While their gone and you are doing your normal day to day activities and see an attractive lovely .....just think I wonder if she likes camping .... or god I'd love to go for a weekend with her anywhere. Have fun with those thoughts instead worrying about possible negative stuff.
Good luck D
Thanks for the support. I'm in a better place now but this still sucks. I really want to begin to experience the good side of poly. So far, it's the shits.
Right now RBR is out with her significant other, sealing the deal. She asked me before she went and I told her she should go if she wanted too.
NRE is a supreme bitch. It's amazing how it changes attitudes, changes agreements, and causes someone that is supposed to love you to act in ways that are extremely insensitive to someone that is struggling.
Too all you people out there that may have a loved one trying to support you in this new venture, please try to be sensitive with your actions. Someone that is feeling bad already can be made to feel completely unimportant and invisible very quickly.
We found out that dates for me and my BF, while my husband was sitting home, were NOT going to work for us. Sundance totally freaked when we tried that. It wasn't worth it to put him through the angst. We have worked things out so I see Butch Cassidy during the day, while Sundance is at work (luckily, Butch and I have flexible weekday schedules). Weekends the only time I see Butch is if the three of us go out together.
There are lots of different arrangements and agreements. I hope you and RBR find one that works best for you. It sounds like she is trying to be considerate of your feelings; I hope so. I hurt Sundance a lot in those early days, through all the trial and error, but fortunately our love endured. It sounds like you both have big hearts and you will make it through, too.
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