Poly at heart, lost in conservative culture
I'm 25, married, and have a 2 1/2 yr old son. I was always a tomboy, and living in a small town, that doomed me to singlehood or being labeled as lesbian. I dated a few people from my hometown, but I always felt trapped by what everyone thought our relationship should be. I love my friends, and I feel fulfilled by very intimate, honest relationships with people. I just can't handle all the BS people put forth to hide themselves from the world.
My husband was married before we met, but his ex cheated on him. Now he has a SEVERE fear of being cheated on, but has come to realize that I need more than he can provide. He grew up in a very conservative home, but despite rejecting those values, they still have a hold on him (and our relationship). Recently, he had an epiphany and decided that some of the troubles we have are related to my extreme openness and ease with being so intimate with other people. I have and never will cheat on him, and as he begins to embrace the idea of letting me go, our relationship is getting much better.
This isn't always about sex, but sometimes it is. My husband is completely satisfied with what I do for him, but he has trouble "keeping up" and satisfying me, and it has made him depressed because he knows I am not completely satisfied. Last week, an old friend of mine (whom my husband greatly admires) came over, and my husband gave me his blessing (and practically begged me) to explore my polyamorous needs with my friend, but my friend was uncomfortable and nothing sexual happened. However, we were able to cuddle, talk, and be non-sexually affectionate for several hours as we watched tv and hung out.
Right now, I am torn. My husband wants me to explore, but to be honest, I don't think I could ever handle sharing my husband with another woman. It feels selfish, even uncaring, but he has not expressed the desire to be poly himself. Does this mean I shouldn't explore?
Then, even if I do explore, we live in a conservative area, and most people I encounter are ok with the sex but not the rest of the relationship, so Im not sure where to begin.
I joined this forum to get more information, to learn how to be more comfortable with who I am and what I have always wanted but just never known how to handle.
I look forward to meeting more of you.
There's a lot of information around here, and as you look around you may see that there's almost an unlimited number of ways to structure relationships. Take it easy, and see what might fit your dynamic.
Welcome to the Forum.
Personally I don't think you should explore outside of your marriage. There seems plenty inside of it to keep you busy. There are so many challenges in a poly/mono relationship that I don't think it's fair or equitable to ask your husband to go there if you are't able to release him to do the same, whether he wants to at this point or not.
This is only my opinion and there are plenty of poly relationships where the poly party openly admits they couldn't accept their partner being open. It just wouldn't work for me, at all.
What you say about not being able to let my husband do the same is why I am hesitant to explore for myself. Looking at your website, I can relate by saying logically, I would be fine with it, but emotionally, it would be odd for me to hear him say he wants something different.
We have been talking, and he had decided I should go ahead, but he still isn't ready to be poly for his own reasons. As I think more and more, I imagine what our life would be like if we could both be poly, and I think it would be better. I just have to keep working on my discomfort with the possibility because even I don't think its quite right.
I appreciate your honesty, but may I ask what stood out so much for you to say that I should not explore? Was is just my discomfort with him possibly changing from mono to poly?
If you want to keep discussing this I would suggest you start up a thread under 'new to poly' . It is an interesting topic :-) It's a lot of work for the mods to have to shift threads out of here that take off beyond and introduction.
In answer to your question "Why shouldn't you explore until you're ready for him to have the same opportunity?"
1. I don't believe we should ever ask something of another that we do not also expect from ourselves.
2. Poly works best when existing relationships are really healthy. The healthier the better because if there is any dis-ease you can bet poly will not make it better it will highlight it.
3. Your husband might be fine with it intellectually but emotionally is another issue.
4. The people you explore with are people too, with emotions. I don't believe it's right to explore with other people's feelings until you are very, very secure in your own and your husbands.
I'm Isaac, and I'm the husband. :)
She put it perfectly, which is why I am not starting my own thread.
In answer to sage on the emotions side of it, it's definitely new. But I haven't felt negative emotions. Dealing with the side of me that would have had problems with this because of my past has allowed me to move on from that past in ways I had never really quite accomplished. In this way, just the conversation about polyamory being so open has helped me change a lot of worldviews that needed tweaking.
I say all of that to say that this was never a matter of me allowing her to do something based only on logic, it holds a lot of possibilities for freedom from other things for me, things I have needed to let go of for far too long now.
Check out "And then there were three" in the Life Stories and blogs. It might be a similar situation to yours, although she is fine with him being poly. This shows you a possible outcome.
I was fine with my partner's polyamory intellectually as well and unfortunately I don't believe that you can understand the emotional ramifications until your partner is actively poly. At that point you can't really put the cat back in the bad however much you might want to.
Unless there are a whole heap of poly/mono relationships happily working away from forums that I don't know about the truth is that these relationships don't seem to work very well. You could be risking the relationship that you have. It's very easy to get caught up in the beginning with the excitement of polyamory. It's something new and fresh and exciting to play with. I love my partner very much and we have an excellent relationship but in many ways I wish we had never let the cat out of the bag.
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