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-   -   Is honesty always preferred? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16077)

AnotherConfused 10-21-2011 08:11 AM

Is honesty always preferred?
I have a question related to honesty and cheating. I've been in a monogamous marriage for 12 years, but "came out" to my husband about my feelings for another man a couple of years ago. To his great discomfort, I insisted on discussing things thoroughly, and we concluded that he was in no way comfortable with my getting sexually involved with another man. I pushed for some specific boundaries, but he wasn't willing to set any. In spite of all the advice I got on this board, I came away feeling like there were things he wouldn't want to stop me from doing, so long as he didn't know about them. Like kissing, probably, but not getting naked.

I have left it up to my conscience, the other man's conscience, and whatever communication I can coerce my husband into, to guide this other relationship, and it feels pretty comfortable now. Last time he was in town, my husband was happy to have him spend the night (on another floor of the house) and they had a fun time playing music together. Lots of mutual respect all around.

Half a year ago I started to get emotionally involved with another man, again letting my husband know right away, and insisting on a lot of conversations he really didn't want to have. While he had already known the first man for several years, this time it was someone new to both of us, so my husband seemed far more upset by it all. I took a step back, but the feelings prevailed even without seeing each other. Many more conversations with my husband ensued, and the relationship has developed in baby steps. (No sex, again.)

This is all compounded by the fact that I have continually felt a lack of affection, admiration, desire, etc. from my husband, whose ideals in marriage tend more towards hard work, sacrifice, and focusing on the children. I bring this up periodically, and sometimes he'll make a contrived effort, but it never feels sincere to me. He's content to go months without sex, and I think in his mind romance is a tool to woo a mate, but not necessary once the marriage is established. Not to say he isn't kind, generous, and devoted and in many other ways a wonderful person. I just think maybe he's short on testosterone. He likes sex, but I'm always the one initiating, which is hard on the ego. Plenty of times I've had conversations with one or the other of these two men and come away feeling so much more self confident and sexy, it is the nudge I need to get things going in the bedroom at home.

Recently my husband announced that I am free to do what I like with other men. This astonished me. I haven't acted on it because I have no idea what made him say it. If I were to have sex with another man, I'd want my husband to know (and accept) who and when and why -before it happened. Yet, he resists theses conversations again and again. I get the feeling he really does not want to know about it. I recently read a comment on one of these threads, I think, about some Asians (which he is) accepting affairs as common to marriage, but lack of discretion is the truly unacceptable act. What if he really doesn't want to know?

I don't want to cheat. I love my husband. Yet he and I seem to be coming to the conclusion that I have needs he is just not meeting. My preference would be that he would fall madly in love with me all over again, find himself unable to keep his hands off me, tell me how lucky he is to have me for a wife, and repeat ad nauseum. (I try to do those things for him, but it's hard to keep up solo.) I do love the other two men, but the sexual and romantic pull would be so much more diminished this way. Yet I wonder if my husband is getting tired of this effort, and wishing I would just quietly go get my needs met elsewhere and be happy? His main argument against polyamory is propriety (decent upstanding people don't act like that -his view not mine) so turning a blind eye would be his way out, right?

The answer to every question on this board is: communicate. I will draw him into more of these conversations. I will ask him just why he suggested I am free to be with other men. But is there ever a point where a partner would really rather remain in the dark?

nycindie 10-21-2011 08:48 AM

It wouldn't be cheating just because he doesn't want a detailed report. It's still honest if he knows you are being sexual with other men without knowing where, when, and what you do. This is different from a DADT policy, I believe. I think you might be worried a little too much. Partners in successful poly relationships don't always want or need everything shared with them down to the nth degree. It seems like it's enough for him that he knows you have these relationships and he accepts that you are/will be sexual. Perhaps your always striving to be honest with him was what prompted him to give you the go-ahead; he trusts your judgement and knows you are ethical. You're not being dishonest or cheating if you aren't running everything by him all the time.

Magdlyn 10-21-2011 10:12 AM

Wow, it does sound like he has a really low libido and sex just isn't much on his radar screen at all. Sounds like he's given you carte blanche just to get you off his back (or front, or lap). Go for it! Go out there with your guys and get all the love and affection and orgasms and compliments you so deeply deserve!

Allstar 10-21-2011 12:24 PM

I am mono too (open to a poly relationship on my part if it presents itself). My gf (confirmed ploy) and I have guidelines. One of which being, it is cheating if we go to bed for the first time with a new partner without letting the other one know it is going to happen beforehand. Not oh shit I have to call my SO before we do this. I find this to be acceptable. We agree that honesty is the best policy. Talk to him about what he expects from you; as a wife, a mother to your children, and as a friend. The only thing as bad as ruining the trust between you two is ruining the respect for one another. Guidelines, help to define what is ok and what isn't.

SourGirl 10-21-2011 02:23 PM

Oh Honey ! You are not cheating. Communicating is highly over-rated. There are so many people communicating in poly, that very few are actually LISTENING.

I understand your situation very well ! Sounds to me like your husband has heard you, listened to you, but doesn`t want to talk about it. You need to cross the bridge, that you won`t be chatting to him about your exciting times, and what you want to do, or have done.

Find a different confidant. Someone to bounce things off of, and blab details too.

Have ONE chat with your husband. Leave him a note saying you need ONE talk just to know where you are at, so you can feel honest. Make sure to mention you wont be wanting repeat chats, unless something changes for him, and HE needs to convey something.
Don`t ASK for permission. He is not your father, and respect for these things is mutual, not lop-sided. When we 'ask' permission, it means we think what we are doing is potentially wrong, and we are looking for someone else to decide what is wrong, and what is right. I see people always looking for their spouses 'blessing', when really they just need the ability to feel open.

Instead, just explain what you want. Without specific details.
" I want this, and this, and maybe this,..what do you think ? If sex happened, do you want to know ?'

You can be supportive of his desire to not need details, while maintaining your need to be in the open. Respect and permission are different things, and should stay that way.

Good Luck !

AnotherConfused 10-21-2011 03:03 PM

Thanks, everyone. You make it sound so simple. I still feel totally confused about his feelings. I know he would never want a play-by-play description of what happens, and I wouldn't want to give him that. I'm just not sure if he really wants me to do this or not. He did say he would not be happy about it. I think perhaps he hopes that, given the choice, I'll choose monogamy, which to him is the only ethical, proper choice, but a choice he wants to be sure I am making for myself. Not long ago he told me an affair would mean the end of our marriage. I asked him whether getting sexually involved with a man would do that now, and he said only that we'd stay married until our kids are grown (the youngest is in kindergarten) and then see where we are. So I guess I'm worried I'd pay for it later.

I'm not even sure if it is something I feel ok doing. My husband has never been with another woman. I was his first kiss, even. It feels utterly selfish when I know it's something he doesn't feel good about, but seems to be offering maybe begrudgingly for my sake. He's always been one to sacrifice his comfort to meet everyone else's needs. If this makes him uncomfortable, isn't it better that I just don't do it, or is it enough that I just don't tell him?

One thing I feel fairly strongly is that if I do (or if I forgo intercourse and just go get sexy cuddles) I think it would have to be with the first man, where there is already a solid foundation of respect and friendship between each of us. I am worried about the NRE still sizzling between the second man and me, which I think, with sex added, would overshadow my home and family life too much. My husband doesn't trust the second guy not to want to take me away, whereas the first decades older than me and clearly not interested in taking on a mother of young children as his partner.

The idea is thrilling. I've fantasized about him for 20 years!

GroundedSpirit 10-21-2011 03:11 PM

Hey Another,

Based on what you've written only, I suspect you see the situation pretty clearly. There's a variety of reason he may not be that sexual with you and there's no need to get into them. It doesn't matter - it is what it is.
What seems important in this is that he's being respectful to your needs & desires and it behooves you to do the same for him. By this I mean that if you choose to take other lovers, you WILL need to be discreet as it's indicated from your writing that his concerns are for the social stigma - and likely the children.
So you have to be careful and smart. Respectful.

I think if you do this, all will likely be well.


dingedheart 10-21-2011 03:13 PM

I'd want to know why the change....In fact I'd have to know the reason for the change.... I may have trust issues...ok I do have trust issues but just don't see most men having had a strong position on a topic like this just out of blue saying ....honey ya know what.... why don't you go find yourself a nice boyfriend to fuck .... you deserve it ....I know I know I was against it but I woke up today and I've changed my mind.

Speaking of nice boyfriends to fuck ....(as RP has mentioned many times)...MonoVCPHG is having a birthday ...HAPPY Birthday Mono!:D:D

SourGirl 10-21-2011 03:43 PM


Originally Posted by AnotherConfused (Post 107457)
He did say he would not be happy about it. I think perhaps he hopes that, given the choice, I'll choose monogamy, which to him is the only ethical, proper choice, but a choice he wants to be sure I am making for myself. Not long ago he told me an affair would mean the end of our marriage. I asked him whether getting sexually involved with a man would do that now, and he said only that we'd stay married until our kids are grown (the youngest is in kindergarten) and then see where we are. So I guess I'm worried I'd pay for it later.

With that info, I`d say he has been very clear.

AnotherConfused 10-21-2011 06:09 PM


Originally Posted by SourGirl (Post 107469)
With that info, I`d say he has been very clear.

Clear that I shouldn't, you mean? Or that he doesn't want to know about it if I do?

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