Adding a Third--But My Husband Has Moral Dilemmas
Main Issue: My husband and I have started a sexual relationship with another woman. We both really care about her, and are friends with her. She lives in a room in our house. I am really into the relationship, with her and all 3 of us. My husband feels conflicted: he desires her, likes being with her, but feels bad about that because of his religious/moral beliefs. He also feels bad that when he is with her (this all started this week) he has a hard time paying attention to me. I consider this normal for the start of a new relationship.
My question is: does anyone have experience with a partner who is not just experiencing the normal jealousy/monogamy conditioning when starting to open a marriage, but also this underlying belief that it's WRONG?
I have talked and talked and talked about the logic; I've given him books to read and he rejects all the concepts. He acknowledges his desire and how great he feels and how much he enjoys being with another woman, but besides being jealous of me and her together (which he totally is), he justifies all of his feelings by referring to his belief that god meant for one man and one woman to be together, that it's a sacred union, and that monogamy is god's standard. I used to be a conservative Christian, so I understand all the arguments and have great logic as to why they are not logical, but he is unconvinced by all my reason.
I love him and I want us to be together, but I feel so strongly that I am polyamorous. We have 3 young children together.
I really like seeing my husband with our third; my only hurt feelings come in when I can tell that he's upset because she and I are together, and I feel restricted in my relationship with her. He is not okay with us pairing off individually--in his structure, everything has to be done within the context of the marriage.
Based on what has happened in the past and what he has said recently, he would rather end the marriage than do more with open marriage. The fact that we have all 3 been sexually intimate is a big, big deal for him, and he doesn't know how he can continue with it because of his moral belief. I don't know how I can go back to monogamy--I'm very afraid I will cheat again.
I realized about 2 1/2 years ago that I am polyamorous. There was no other person involved in my life, it was all theoretical. I talked to my husband about it immediately, and he rejected the concept on moral, religious grounds. We have been talking, talking, talking since then, worked through a lot of other issues in our relationship, talked about divorce, decided to stay together.
This last March I messed up, got drunk, and had a sexually intimate encounter with 2 guys (I'm a woman). I lied to my husband for 2 days, and then told him what had happened. Before I actually told him about the event, we had a conversation where I basically decided that there were no lines for me sexually, and that I couldn't promise him that I wasn't going to cross his lines. He decided he couldn't live with me having a polyamorous lifestyle, and separated from me. A week later I asked him if he would take me back if I said I would not live the lifestyle, and if he could forgive the cheating. He said yes.
The one thing he said he might be open to is exploring a relationship with a third who is a woman. This past summer we had a few 'swinging' type encounters with strangers. He found it exciting, but also felt morally conflicted and bad about how he felt.
We have had a woman living with us for over a month, we are all friends, and they went hiking together last weekend for 2 nights. I gave him permission to become more intimate with her if that seemed like what she wanted, and with the idea that he would see if she was interested in something with all 3 of us together. She is definitely interested in both of us, and we have all been sexually intimate a few times in this past week. My husband is now shutting down and thinks that he can't do this, and I am really, really hoping that he doesn't decide to stop what all 3 of us have together. I feel quite 'in love' with my friend, and we are passionate together, which I know is hard for him. My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and have a very solid relationship where we communicate very honestly about very hard things.
Some red flags here.
I think if I were in your put the breaks on right now and re-group. I would be VERY patient, get to the bottom of his feelings, let her know that this is an issue that isn't to do with her so as to make her know she has not done wrong and include her in your conversation with him. Once you get into this kind of relationship there is no "marriage" or "couple" there is three (hence "triad). If this is meant to be more than sex then that has to be very clear if you are to succeed. You will need private times together as two people and he will have to work through his jealousy.
Frankly, I would move her out and get some space. Her living there, you two being married, having three kids there is a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Not the best way to build a healthy triad, but, maybe it will work with a shit load MORE work than usual. Add religion to that and woooooah! More work.
I boldfaced my red flags, since Redpepper already pointed out the "we all live together, with kids!" thing.
So let me re-capture if I got this right, and please correct me if I haven't understood you correctly.
1. He wants a divorce if you continue having extra-marital relationships.
2. You don't want to continue in a monogamous marriage.
3. You two cannot come up with boundaries/lines you both could respect.
4. You promised, against your better knowledge, under the threat of divorce, that you will stick to his lines. You lied, and he chose to believe you.
5. Now you find yourself in a situation where you try to solve this impasse by imagining a fantasy relationship everyone could be okay with, and when you find it doesn't suit reality, that he is still unhappy, you ask how you could manipulate him into changing his mind and feeling better.
Frankly, there's no ethical way to make someone abandon their belief system and to change their emotional make-up IF THEY DON'T WANT TO, and your husband has clearly and repeatedly indicated that he does not.
I understand you have small children, but you have also fundamentally incombatible wants for your life together. No amount of biblical argumentation can change that.
Hi PassionFlower, welcome to the board.
Would you explain why your female love interest is already living with you and your family? Was she already a platonic roommate or did you have her move in when you got romantically involved with her?
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