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-   -   Husband Doesn't Believe I am Poly! (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14062)

IrisAwakened 08-31-2011 05:21 PM

Husband Doesn't Believe I am Poly!
If there is one thing my marriage is, it is honest and open. My husband is a wonderful man whom I am deeply in love with. Over the past few months I have been having Poly conversations with him. While he is very mono, and can accept the idea of poly, he can't accept that I might be poly (I have yet to explore this).

When it was hypothetical, he was fine with the idea, but when I nearly fell for a guy, it freaked him right out. I told him that this impulse or desire of mine to have multiple partners doesn't seem to be going away and perhaps we need to start thinking about long term possibilities, that I might be poly. We "argued", in between playing footsie and telling jokes (we really are laid back people), about what makes a person poly. His argument is that they can help it, it is not a condition that is thrust upon someone and they must follow it. I relented that yes, they can help it, but so can a gay person. We all have control over our actions, but our happiness is not best forced. After circular agruments of my side (deep intimate love means sex too) and his side (deep intimate love is fine, as long as there is no sex, one doesn't mean the other should be included). I understand and respect his position, and I apologized for figuring this out after the marital contract has been made (5 yrs ago).

On the up side we both talked about the possibilities of divorce and neither of us want to even go there, that we can work this out without breaking up. It is a good sign. He even relented to let me email the guy I really liked and let him know what I was thinking, which was a big awesome sign that he is willing to work with me to an extent.

The issue:

He thinks HE is the problem, that he is lacking somehow, no matter how much we read the opposite (in xeromag) together! He can't fathom that this has something to do with me, with who I am and what my needs and desires are. What I need to know is, how can I convince him that this is me, and not him? Any suggestions and resources would be wondrous!

dingedheart 08-31-2011 05:50 PM

You most likely you can convince him intellectually.....it's emotionally that will be the hardest. Good luck on both. D

MorningTwilight 08-31-2011 06:58 PM

It will take many iterations to sink in, if it ever does, that it is not him. Rather, it's that whatever it was that made you fall for him, is still active in you.

From http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/thoughts.shtml:


"Why is it that so many people, when discussing poly for the first time, look only at the issue of having to "share" a partner, rather than at the opportunity for loving and being loved by more than one person?

After all, you fell in love with someone who was compassionate, loving, sensitive and caring... Expecting or asking that partner never to fall in love again, never to love another, is like asking them not to be themselves. I rejoice in the fact that my partner can and does love!"
In point of fact, the "problem" lies with the societally-conditioned assumptions that surround monogamous marriage itself--they are completely asinine and contrary to the way most humans work (I say "most" because there are, in fact, some people who are hard-wired mono. Most people, however, give lip service to mono and stumble around in serial monogamy, infidelity, or repressed frustration).

It's worthwhile to look at the history of marriage itself, and see both how relatively recent the notion of monogamous marriage actually is, as well as how it began (as a property transaction, to assure a landholder of who his heirs were). All of the Prince Charming, fall-in-love-forever crap got added on later.

To me, the traditional (as opposed to monogamy by deliberate choice) monogamous model amounts to a view of relationships that is both based upon and reinforces the very worst personality traits imaginable: insecurity, fear, envy, covetousness, and possessiveness. Personally, I think those traits form a horrible basis for bonding with someone whom you say you love. Love and trust, I think, form a much better foundation for a long-term relationship.

As for whether or not you can help being poly, no, I don't think you can. There is already research that suggests that success at monogamy correlates inversely with the number of copies of a particular vasopressin receptor gene that you have, suggesting that, as with sexual orientation, there is a "relationship orientation" spectrum ranging from hard-wired mono to poly-friendly to hard-wired poly. You can no more help being poly than a gay man or a lesbian can help the way they think and feel, and you'll be just as unhappy forcing yourself into a mono role as any gay or lesbian is when trying to force him- or herself into living straight.

Unfortunately, knowing all of this doesn't make it any easier. You are fortunate that your husband doesn't lash out with hurt and anger, and threaten to leave you. You can, perhaps, ease into this. If there's a local support group, go and talk. Join the livingpolymono list on yahoo. If you do become intimate with someone else, be sure to feed some of that NRE back to your husband.

As for intimacy and sex, there's of course more than one view. To people who love each other, sex can be a physical expression of affection like no other. It can also be a fun romp. :-) To the casual FWB-type person, sex is "just" a fun romp. It can be different things to different people. It might be useful to ask your husband if, as he believes, intimate relationships do not require sex, would he then be willing to give up sex with you?

I'll bet you can guess the answer. :D

I suspect he is still in the mono mindset that sex is something special between committed partners, and having it with someone else would somehow diminish its specialness when you have it with him. This is, I think, part of the BS package that surrounds the cultural monogamous mindset, but telling him that is unlikely to be persuasive. If either of you have had other partners before your marriage, it might be worth pointing that out, and asking if the knowledge that you had sex with someone else before you met him somehow diminishes the experience with him.

dingedheart 08-31-2011 10:03 PM

Forgot one thing.....it doesn't matter if he believes or not ....what do you believe.....maybe start there...

And it better to find out 5 yrs in ..then 10 or 15.

redpepper 08-31-2011 11:08 PM

I would suggest he come here and read the NUMEROUS posts and threads on mono/poly dynamics that can be found in the tags within the "search" engine. There are some very knowledgeable mono people on this forum and he is not alone.

Mono and I, my boyfriend that I live with, have run the gamut of talk about this topic and we conduct workshops on this topic locally. We like to think of it as mono and poly are from two different cultures.

When one goes to a foreign country there is a sense of awe and wonderment. This is important to have when talking to someone that is mono when you are poly, or visa versa. Saying that you "don't believe it" is not an option. Just as it wouldn't be in a different country to say you don't believe that they are a different culture.

The other point that might help is that its my belief that some people like to live a poly lifestyle to spruce up their lives. This is much like dating or swinging, but with more love, open communication and honesty between those involved... some are genuinely born poly, like someone who is gay.... your partner is half right on that one... :) Bottom line is to find what works, discuss options, gain some understanding about what is going on for each other and respect that as their truth.

There are other threads that might be helpful to you here in learning more about what poly is to others... I highly suggest reading around a bit, doing tag searches and getting more acquainted with other peoples reality in their dynamics so as to have a sense of what to expect. :)

IrisAwakened 09-01-2011 01:15 AM

Wow, thank you so much for your advice! It feels great to have found some support in this arena. You all pose very great points

I am so the opposite to him in this line of thinking. I would feel so excited for him to experience another love or intimate relationship, I know how fun that can be. Also, it may be worth saying, I am his one and only. We met when he was 24, never been kissed or dated (he was shy, but really hot, go figure), so I swooped him up and he never doubted our love. I dated A LOT before him, so I knew what a keeper he was. I always felt bad that he missed out on all of the sexual diversity there is in the world, all of the adventures to be had. I understand he probably won't change his mono status, but by putting myself in his shoes, I try to better understand him and help him translate my own feelings in that situation.

Who knows if this will ever go down, but you are right, thank goodness he is kind and listens well. He understands this is how I feel (whether he believes the solution is sleeping with other people or not) and validates that, to an extent. Our marriage is in no way over, and if any one has a shot at surviving a mono/poly relationship, we would, if he can wrap his head around it.

Thanks again and keep it coming! I will be sure to read up on it some more!

redpepper 09-01-2011 03:37 AM


Originally Posted by IrisAwakened (Post 100078)
I would feel so excited for him to experience another love or intimate relationship, I know how fun that can be....... I always felt bad that he missed out on all of the sexual diversity there is in the world, all of the adventures to be had.

Understand that this is your culture, not his. He likely does not and may never feel this way. He has his love and doesn't want anything else.

Putting your agenda on him is likely adding to the issues... accepting that this is how it is for him (and keeping in the back of your mind that it might change), is the best way, I think, to let it go and move forward... just as its annoying to be to be convinced that you should be mono, its just as annoying to have attempts made to change someone to mono.

I see the couple opening up analogy as one of the couple becoming a totally different religion... say that you are Christian, always have been and thought you always will be and sudden your partner decides that they are more fulfilled being Pagan. To a partner that has always been Christian, this can be a smack up side the head! Think now how it would feel if they start preaching Pagan beliefs! Ya, uncomfortable. Your mono man is dealing with enough without you thinking he would be better off with some other woman.... he could sees that as you trying to get rid of him!

IrisAwakened 09-01-2011 02:10 PM

You bring up a very good point! I know that I can't change his "culture" (which is a wonderful way to put it), and I know this. I struggle with him accepting my own culture and not just pushing it off as a symptom of a failing marriage. He knows our marriage is awesome, and we both would never end it. I read him articles and try to get him to talk about them, what he has problems dealing with, what he agrees with. He is just the kind of guy that would rather not think about it and wait for it to go away.

Last night I read him the "14 Steps to opening your marriage" and he listened, quietly. I read this because they were all points I had raised in our conversation the other day. Then he was all about getting back to our nightly routine, sans a discussion about the article. So I prodded him a bit, because it really interests me to know more about where he stands on these issues, what exactly he disagrees with, you know? He nodded, said it was interesting and said something about one of the paragraphs, which we both disagreed with. I guess that is a start, right?

He is a cool enough guy though. During our initial conversations he told me that I could be in love with someone and share intimate details with them, as long as we didn't get sexual. For me, they are a package deal, but it interested me that he wasn't afraid of me loving someone else, just being with them physically. I feel my jealousy would reign the other way, jealous of his love, not physical attention (although this has yet to be tested).

That being said, he is fine with me engaging with a guy he knows I want to do, as long as we keep it friendly, physically. We are talking a beach date and he seems fine with it, but more talking is in order before the actual "date" is set. The guy I am "talking" to, lets call him K, is not interested in an emotionally invested relationship with a married woman (ie: friends with benes is fine), which I completely respect and understand (although I am wondering how capable he is in keeping emotional distance).

So we continue to talk, eagerly on my half, begrudgingly on his. He is getting used to the idea and needs more time to process the implications and possibilities, he said as much last night. Just the idea that he could have a girlfriend was mind blowing to him, like a boundary he never thought about crossing before but finds it attractive and scary at the same time.

redpepper 09-03-2011 11:32 PM

It sounds like you are doing all you can do for the time being. I found it REALLY important to stick to known routines and take really small steps. Routines are a comfort and making sure he is as comfortable as possible without slowing conversation to a stop is important to moving forward.

All I can suggest is staying consistent and sticking to what he knows while dropping topics and ideas and poly theory on him every now and then. That way he will know you are not engaged in a fad and will get used to it being part of life. It sounds like you are doing just that! Good luck.

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