What a Long Strange Trip its Been.
Well where do I begin? I am 37 years old I have three children and I am currently married. I have just begun to explore (openly anyway, I've thought about it quite a bit in the last few years) the idea of polyamory. It has been difficult and mind boggling at times. The subject constantly invades my thoughts and sometimes I wish there were an off switch, as it becomes frustrating at times.
I guess I should begin with a little history. My husband and I have been married for nearly 7 years. We have had some very rocky roads, but we have a deep love for one another. I think we are both very committed to our lives together and our family. During our marriage however, I have become interested in other men. This has occurred twice, but has never resulted in an actual physical relationship. The first relationship dissolved in order to keep my marriage intact. Once again I have met someone I am interested in. Recently, the gentleman and I have begun to have very serious conversations about actually taking things to the next level. Included in these exchanges we talked about what we wanted to do and explicit photos were exchanged. He is the first person I have openly discussed my desire to explore polyamory with. He was very receptive. He understands that I love my husband and have no intention of leaving my marriage.
Unfortunately, I had not shared any of this with my husband. Of course he found out this was all going on. I fessed up immediately and told him I wanted to consider an alternative lifestyle, an open marriage. This has all occurred in the last month or so and it has been a very difficult time. We are both on a quest to learn all we can. We have ordered and begun reading together ďThe Ethical SlutĒ although I am not entirely sure it is what we were looking for, it has been quite informative. Though I am very open to all lifestyles, I myself have been pretty vanilla up until this point. Although when I have been single I have been carefree, and have no regrets or guilt feelings about it. I believe from all the discussions my husband and I have had that he is simply a mono guy. He isnít interested, at this point anyway, in developing a relationship with another person. I believe with time this may evolve, and thatís okay too.
I am still in contact with the gentleman I spoke of earlier, though we have cooled it down quite a bit. We both feel that it is important for all of us to give this the time, consideration and dialogue needed in order to make it as painless as possible. My husband would be much more comfortable if I cut things off with the gentleman completely until we ďfigureĒ this out. I have refused and feel even if it is painful for my husband, I need to be honest. I am unwilling at this point to give the relationship up entirely. Though my feelings for this person have grown and I do care about him, the foundation was a very solid friendship. I love my husband very much and will not act on this unless we are all on the same page. I believe this could take some time and I am grateful for that. I have fears of my own and am more than willing to take this slowly and explore in the healthiest way possible.
I do have some questions. Is it normal for me to question who I am as a person? At this point in my life I have a very strong sense of who I am and what I stand for. Now that I have leveled with my husband, I find myself questioning my choices and decisions. Is there something wrong with me that I would seriously consider this lifestyle? Am I out of my gourd to believe my husband and I could actually strengthen our connection by embarking on something like this? It has really fucked with me and I wonder if anyone else has experienced this kind of doubt? If so did you overcome it and what helped? I do try and remind myself that these beliefs we have in monogamy and traditional relationships are a form of social conditioning. Common sense tells me that monogamy is not really practiced in itís purest form by the vast majority of the American population. Logically I know all of this, but I canít escape the doubt and fear I feel when I begin to explore these foreign thoughts and feelings Ö.
Another concern I have is the fact that my husband did not marry a polyamorous woman, he married a monogamous woman who changed her mind. This was not the hand he was dealt. Is it unfair of me to expect him to explore this with me? He has had a very difficult time with a lot of it, but has been willing to learn. He in fact is the one who found this forum and has encouraged participation in conversations here. This question is a continual concern for me. His happiness is very important to me, but I believe my own happiness is equally important.
Anyway, sorry if I was long winded but I wanted to be thorough. I welcome any and all advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.
So, no, there's nothing wrong with you and you're obviously not out of your gourd. Your husband is talking with you about it, reading on his own, exploring what it means, so that says a lot. And yes, while there are plenty of stories you will come across of unbalanced people who fuck relationships up by using the idea of poly to excuse bad behavior, there are plenty others who start with strong relationships that get even stronger, closer, and deeper through polyamory.
As to whether it's fair to "subject" your hubs to this change in your position on marriage and relationships, and what kinds of structure you can live with, well... no couple survives stagnation. People change. It's natural. It would be unfair to deny change. It would be unfair to both of you to live a lie. And healthy couples often leap-frog into life together, you know what I mean? One jumps ahead and has to extend a hand to the other to say "come along with me" and then some other time that partner jumps ahead and reaches back to extend a hand. Human beings grow and evolve and it isn't always at the same pace as our partners, no matter how connected we are. No two people can just stand still in a relationship and expect neither one to ever change or change perspectives on issues, marriage, life.
I'd say, you're in good shape. :)
One thing you might ask yourself is this: did you really change your mind, or did you finally figure out who and what you are, and it suddenly explained the feelings you've had all along?
As for fairness, well, you didn't know this about yourself going into the marriage, so there is no issue of defrauding or deceiving your husband. I'll bet that, like me, you honestly believed, when you said "I do," that you could handle the "forsaking all others ... as long as you both shall live" part of the vow without even really having to try hard. After all, don't most young people get married while they are still in the middle of NRE?
You might be faulted (ever so slightly) for making plans with the other gentleman without first telling your husband, but you DID cool it with the guy to work things out in your marriage first, rather than present it to your husband as a fait accompli. You screwed up a little bit, but none of us are perfect, and the fact that you are looking inward to question yourself, out of respect for your husband, speaks well of you, so ease up on yourself.
So much has transpired I am not sure where to begin. I will try to keep this short and refrain from writing a novel.
First I really need to thank nycindie for her stellar advice. Not only on my thread. Your wisdom on this forum is immense and I absolutely appreciate it. Morning Twilight you too have been a great help on my (short) journey ... I have read your threads and know your story and it is eerily familiar ... Thank you both for your time it was much appreciated. I know I seemingly dropped off of the forum (I have been here, just reading as much as possible). As I have said previously this stuff is hard for me to internalize. I have had to take breaks from it in order to function. It becomes overwhelming for me so I am sorry if my forum manners come across as rude. Sometimes I feel trapped in my own head. :eek:
Now, to get down to the issues at hand. Firstly my gentleman friend has cut all ties with me. I can only vacillate as to why. I believe it had to do with my need to cool things off while my husband and I tried to work through this. So when the texts, FB msgs/posts tapered off I think he decided to cut his losses and move on. I am at peace with his decision. I know that my situation is not easy and patience is a requirement. So yes it was a bit painful, but necessary for the time being. :cool:
Things on the home front have definitely mellowed during the last few weeks. I have been enjoying the kids and my hubby. I believe this "cooling off" period has been good for my self and my man. Polyamory discussions have subsided to nonexistence and things are going a long as if none of this ever happened.
I am frustrated. I have deprogrammed myself of all of the societal shit surrounding love, relationships and marriage. My idea of a fulfilling relationship has evolved into fulfilling relationships based on honesty and trust. I donít think this shift in thinking is going to change. At the same time I am beginning to realize that my husband is simply a mono guy. He has a hard time imagining me in intimate situations with people other than himself. The greatest fear for him though, is my becoming emotionally attached to someone other than him/leaving him. I think his biggest fear HAS indeed been realized (TWICE), and GUESS WHAT? Iím still here, I still love him as much as I did before I developed feelings for another person. However, when I brought up poly initially he continually said this would be easier if I didnít already have my eye on someone. Well now I donít and there has been no discussion Ö I have tried to engage him in conversation by suggesting an article I read. He did read the article and had very little to contribute. :rolleyes:
I also found out that he was texting a former colleague in the last month and I am quite certain they share a mutual attraction for one another. We have moved to another state and are visiting our home state (where she resides) for a week in November, he made it very clear to her that he would make sure he makes time to see her while we are there Ö The failure to mention they were speaking felt like a game. :( Considering all that is going on I feel he should have shared this info. I also feel like he was trying to get back at me. This is by no means something I am going to dwell on, and I do forgive him Ö but if this is going to be indicative of the way he is going to handle things, it isnít going to work for me. I donít want to have to try and negotiate a web of deceit, or live with the paranoia that kind of bullshit can breed. This is exactly the reason I leveled with him in the first place dammit! :mad:
Lastly, I feel that if we donít find some kind of compromise in all of this it will be detrimental to the marriage. I love my husband very much. I want to raise my children in a committed partnership with him. I am fine with taking this very slowly. I know it isnít easy and I am willing to invest the time that is necessary to approach this in a healthy and honest manner. I feel I have made every attempt to show him that he and our children are definitely my top priority. I will not remain in a marriage that makes me feel resentful and I will not play the martyr role in our relationship. Our collective happiness should be the goal for both of us. I can squash these feelings all I want but these attractions and flirting will rear their heads again, itís only a matter of time Ö. Any advice???
Iíve also been wondering if I should move this thread as it goes far beyond a simple introduction? Please let me know if you think this may be helpful.
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