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-   -   Mono husband and poly wife. Feel like I belong on The Jerry Springer show. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16032)

NeedsMoreDrama 10-20-2011 05:22 AM

Mono husband and poly wife. Feel like I belong on The Jerry Springer show.
 
My apologies, this is a bit long and there will be some whining involved.

About 8 years ago my wife felt that she was polyamorous, and that she wanted to explore these feelings with another man that she had fallen for, as long as I gave her the green-light. I'll admit that this made me uncomfortable since I've been monogamous in all my prior relationships. But at the same time, I felt that stifling her would be unhealthy for both of us in the long run, and I loved her and wanted her to be happy. So I read up on a number of books and articles, visited a counselor that had experience with polyamory, and spent some time with a poly couple that provided me with advice. We took things slowly, and my wife was very supportive.

Things were initially difficult for me during the first 2 years for a number of reasons, but I am basically apathetic to her actions in the present day. On the other hand, had we known that she was polyamorous from the start, I probably would've suggested that we remain on a platonic level and nothing more. But we have a lot of history and a daughter. Hindsight...

Here's where things get complicated. I've always been on good terms with my wife's closest friend. Initially, we were just good friends. But for the past 3 or so years, we've become a bit too close. This is one of those things that just happens to sneak up on you. I didn't wake up one morning and think "I'm going to further complicate my marriage by falling in love with my wife's bff".

So, roughly 7 months ago it became clear to both me and my wife's friend that we had developed strong feelings for each other. I decided to talk to my wife about this. I think that my intentions were to start a poly relationship with both of them, but I didn't have much of a plan. I had my wife's apparent approval, and her friend and I went on a couple of dates.

About 4 months ago my wife requested that I cancel any future dates with her friend. Her reason being that she feels like me having a relationship with her friend is akin to me having a relationship with one of her sisters, and she isn't a fan of the psuedo-incestuous subtext involved. I can see why; they've known each other since they were kids. Always lived near each other. They're pretty much sisters in all areas except for blood. So I told the friend that for the sake of maintaining my marriage, we should distance ourselves from each other.

Now I'm back to being the mono husband. And I'm really not happy with this situation.

I don't feel any negativity towards my wife personally. She's a good mother, and has an amiable demeanor. I don't believe that she is being purposefully malicious towards me or anything like that. I'm just questioning whether or not I even want to be married to her. I feel guilty because I don't want to hurt my wife or daughter with a divorce, and I still love my wife a lot. But ending my relationship with my wife's friend is eating me up. I also feel like this relationship is lopsided; I've put the needs of others above my own for so long and I just genuinely wish that I could be selfish in this one area. I feel like I've been taken advantage of in some ways, but my wife does treat me well and I know that this isn't entirely true.

My wife and I are currently in marriage counselling talking about where we will go from here. On one hand, I'm happy that she is putting in the effort, which is more than a lot of other spouses would get. On the other hand, this bid to "save the marriage" feels so artificial to me, and I'm starting to think that a purely monogamous relationship with my wife's friend would leave me more fulfilled in the long-term.

As you can see, I am in a difficult position. Is it all over? Any advice?

AnnabelMore 10-20-2011 05:40 AM

Why not just say "Breaking up with [friend's name] at your request is eating me up to the point that I've been thinking about ending our marriage. I didn't realize it at the time, but this may be a dealbreaker for me. I know that me dating her was weird for you, but poly was weird to me at first and I adapted. If she'll have me back, are you willing to rescind the veto?"

GroundedSpirit 10-20-2011 04:00 PM

Hey there Needs,

Ok, lets see if this can clear the air and get you and your wife talking HONESTLY - about relationships and poly.

Her behavior regarding her BFF is really no different than any other form of jealousy we see. This is HER friend/BFF. There's the same old ownership problem surfacing here in that she feels she will 'lose' something if you and the bff become close. It's no different than the feared loss of a husband/wife/lover etc.

Wake up call #1:
She doesn't OWN her bff. The bff is a person with all rights & responsibilities. In poly - what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I suggest you start there in the discussion. The bff seems to be attracted to you (says you) and it's as much her call to make as anyones whether this moves forward. In all fairness, your wife needs to either step up and be TRULY poly - and accept same from you and her friend...and anyone else. Or abandon it herself ! Take your pick.

Ironically, this could be an enviable situation. In reality, there should be less opportunity for fear & angst of another lover for you because she already knows her ! Everyone is not as lucky and has to go through the whole getting to know/building trust scenario.

Don't bail just because of pressure - work it out. It's workable.

GS

SourGirl 10-20-2011 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeedsMoreDrama (Post 107243)
So, roughly 7 months ago .......

Just a little idea here ; You might want to stop the thought-process that provides a permanent solution, to a temporary problem.

7 months ago,.. means NRE. The BFF/GF is still shiny and new. You are gravitating that way, probably due to NRE influence. The relationship was killed, while in the throes of NRE.

So it took you 2 years-ish to wrap your brain around your wife being poly ? I am sure you weren`t perfect through it all.

Your wife said: 'Please stop seeing my best friend.'

So you,...did.

That was mistake number one, but it can be rectified.

If you love the BFF/GF that much, you could of said 'No, I cannot do that.' to your wife, yet supported her by scaling the relationship back to a level that she was a bit more comfortable with. Help her ease into sharing her friend in such a way.
Asked her, to help you find a happy medium. Asked her, to find a alternative route that doesn`t permanently hurt anyone, and promotes growth and acceptance.

This isnt a 'BFF' of a couple of years. This is a BF from CHILDHOOD. She has known her longer, then she has you. So, the wife might deserve the same respect of 'a couple of years' to learn how to deal with the new dynamics.

Then again, if you`re willing to dump her for a new flame, maybe she is better off. I noticed you don`t even mentioning loving your wife, until the end of the story. You also say in hindsight you wouldn`t of married her since she is poly.
Yet you would be monogamous with the new flame.

Time to do some soul-searching and figure out if NRE is ruling your brain or not.

FireChild 10-20-2011 08:40 PM

Why does breaking up with the wife's friend mean that you can't date and be happy with someone else?

AnnabelMore 10-20-2011 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FireChild (Post 107356)
Why does breaking up with the wife's friend mean that you can't date and be happy with someone else?

If I felt like I'd been forced to ditch a relationship with someone I loved, I'd be resentful, sad, and not at all prepared to just start up something new with someone else. Plus I'd be too afraid to do so... after all, who's to say she won't find a reason to pull the veto card again for some other, random reason?

I mean, c' mon, "pseudo-incestuous subtext"? How random is that? I mean, it's not like *she* was dating the childhood friend, he was... she was not obliged to take part. Aside from which, people do date childhood friends, all the time! Really, having your metamour be someone you know well and trust would be a great thing, even if you had to get over an initial hump of feeling strange about it.

To me, it seems like a crappy excuse for breaking two people's hearts. Either a cover for something else, like plain old jealousy, or just a refusal to do even a little emotional work of her own to try to support his happiness.

So, if she's willing to do that once, who's to say she'd ever let him be happy with any other partner?

AnnabelMore 10-20-2011 09:45 PM

Just thinking about the whole topic more... this is a very sensitive subject for me, I realize. I trust my metamour, so I don't worry about this realistically, but just the very thought that he could, in theory, ask my gf to break up with me, and that in that circumstance she might say yes... scares the crap out of me. I mean, it's one thing if either she or I just decided it wasn't working out, but a breakup being imposed from the outside... :( :( :(

It would be different if this was someone the OP met on a dating site, was just getting to know, and could let go of with minimal trauma, but instead it's someone with whom he discovered mutual strong feelings over an extended period of time. If not love, then something that was, perhaps, well on its way there.

Love isn't everything, but it has to be allowed to count very heavily in poly*amory*... otherwise, what the hell are we doing?

FireChild 10-20-2011 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore (Post 107360)
If I felt like I'd been forced to ditch a relationship with someone I loved, I'd be resentful, sad, and not at all prepared to just start up something new with someone else. Plus I'd be too afraid to do so... after all, who's to say she won't find a reason to pull the veto card again for some other, random reason?

I mean, c' mon, "pseudo-incestuous subtext"? How random is that? I mean, it's not like *she* was dating the childhood friend, he was... she was not obliged to take part. Aside from which, people do date childhood friends, all the time! Really, having your metamour be someone you know well and trust would be a great thing, even if you had to get over an initial hump of feeling strange about it.

To me, it seems like a crappy excuse for breaking two people's hearts. Either a cover for something else, like plain old jealousy, or just a refusal to do even a little emotional work of her own to try to support his happiness.

So, if she's willing to do that once, who's to say she'd ever let him be happy with any other partner?

I don't really know anyone but from the wife's viewpoint it could be a case of leaving the door for all the partners to be sexually involved open. That can't happen when one of the partners feels like a sister. Then again it could just be trivial jealousy.

AnnabelMore 10-20-2011 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FireChild (Post 107378)
I don't really know anyone but from the wife's viewpoint it could be a case of leaving the door for all the partners to be sexually involved open. That can't happen when one of the partners feels like a sister. Then again it could just be trivial jealousy.

Personally, I would be really creeped out if a metamour wouldn't let a relationship continue unless there was the possibility that I might some day want to fuck them too, unless it was specifically understood up front that they were unicorn hunting. And even if that was the expectation, the lack of a sexual angle for her would still be a pretty callous thing to break two people's hearts over.

Plus, the OP's wife got involved with another man and we have no indication that he's bi, so that motivation would be really hypocritical.

NeedsMoreDrama 10-21-2011 04:49 PM

Quote:

Why not just say "Breaking up with [friend's name] at your request is eating me up to the point that I've been thinking about ending our marriage. I didn't realize it at the time, but this may be a dealbreaker for me. I know that me dating her was weird for you, but poly was weird to me at first and I adapted. If she'll have me back, are you willing to rescind the veto?"
I did basically say that a couple of months ago. My wife said she "needs time to figure things out, but that she wants me to be happy too". I'm trying my best to give her my support.

It's not her fault; this whole situation is making me question my feelings for my wife and our relationship.

Quote:

Don't bail just because of pressure - work it out. It's workable.
I hope so.

Quote:

Then again, if you`re willing to dump her for a new flame, maybe she is better off.
You got me there. I guess I'm just in a pissy mood.

Quote:

Time to do some soul-searching and figure out if NRE is ruling your brain or not.
True. I'm feeling torn up. Not exactly the best time to be making big decisions.

I've talked about slowly reconnecting with the bff. Nope. My wife is doing her best to open up to this idea but the thought of any sort of romantic relationship between me and the bff still repulses her. It would be like me having sex with her sister than coming home and getting intimate with her. It's the level of familiarity that she finds unnerving.

The bff says she loves me but she doesn't want to hurt my wife. I can understand that.

Quote:

Why does breaking up with the wife's friend mean that you can't date and be happy with someone else?
There are no complex reasons here. The idea doesn't interest me. Ever since I started dating my wife, I've honestly never really had any strong feelings for any other women sans her bff. I can't help how I feel.

Quote:

If I felt like I'd been forced to ditch a relationship with someone I loved, I'd be resentful, sad, and not at all prepared to just start up something new with someone else. Plus I'd be too afraid to do so... after all, who's to say she won't find a reason to pull the veto card again for some other, random reason?
That mirrors my thoughts. It's quite a mindf*ck.

I've got to do some intensive introspection. Thanks for the replies.


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