I hate rollercoasters
First off, I want to say that I soooooo wish I had known of this site 3 weeks ago. I just found this 2 days ago and I've been voraciously reading ever since. It's already helped me quite a bit and I want to say thanks to everyone who's posted their thoughts and feelings here.
So on to the juicy stuff... So I'm here basically because my wife wants to open up our relationship. I've been freaking and stressing while trying to understand and deal with it. And when googling "how to cope with depression
polyamory" this site came up. (It wasn't first which is a shame because it's by far been the best help for me so far)
Ok so a little background. My wife B and I have been married 10 years. We have a 10 yo and a 7 yo. She's been a stay at home for the past 7 years and is just getting ready to go back to work. We're very liberal and open-minded and I thought had great communication (more to come on that) and a great high-intensity sex-life (much more to come on that). We live in the Seattle area and are frequent reader of the Stranger Blog which has Dan Savage. His idea of monogamish relationships kind of made sense to us and we'd said before that if it ever came to having to choose between cheating and being
monogamish it would make sense to try the latter. It all sounded so easy and logical. At the time...
This next part might be TMI and B might be mad for sharing, but I think it's important to where we're at... Cue about a year and a half ago. My wife and I had been doing some sexual experimentation and things were going great for a while. Lots of sex and lots of energy going back and forth. At some point she started becoming disinterested in it though but never quite got around to telling me. This led to one day in particular where what was supposed to be some steamy role-play became a breakdown before I had to yell the code word because I could tell that she was freaking out and I think she was surprised that she hadn't thought to do so herself. We talked after and she then told me that she was no longer interested in it and that it wasn't going to happen anymore. I said ok and that we'd just go back to "the normal".
Well, I still had a high sex drive but B didn't at this point. To me it now felt like she was despondent and pushing me away. And (I know now but not then) she felt as if I was constantly pressuring her for sex. This basically made it so that she didn't want to really think about/initiate sex. She was fine with me using her for sex, but that loses my interest after a while.
During this time my wife has also discovered an intense love for learning/playing hockey. If you've ever seen her, she's not the hockey type. 5'6" and 110lbs. And she loves (LOVES)bacon and fried food and never puts on a pound (I'm kind of like that too but I tend to eat a bit better). But anyways she starts getting into playing and coaching for our son who'd started a little bit before her. I think that this is a very healthy thing for her and try to encourage her as much as possible. I also make it a point to not get into it because I really believe she needs something that's hers and only hers.
But anyways, back to the drama.. After many months of me feeling rejected I bring it up and she says that she feels pressured for sex and my need for her to be sexually interested in me. I'm super-depressed and make up my mind to try to leave her alone for a few months and not initiate sex, but not really tell her about it. It seemed like a good idea at the time... I get even more depressed and start growing resentful but I'm still biting my tongue thinking that I'm doing all this in her best interest (which I know is a lie).
Those couple months roll around and it's our 10 year anniversary. We planned a weekend away where we were going to do it once for each year we've been married. Well the first day we're there we're sitting on a park bench hanging out and she tells me that she's been flirting with some of the guys around the hockey rink and that it's really invigorated her. I say I'm cool with it and happy for her, but I kind of shut down at that point and no longer have any interest in sex. We never make our 10, even after counting the 3 days there. Once again, great communication me....
A couple more months go by and one night B says that one of the guys she's flirting with she might have a shot at sex with. And would I still be cool with monogamish? I say I have to think about it and have one of the worst nights of sleep in my life. The next day I tell her how I'm really feeling about it and how I actually have been freaking out since she told me about the flirting. There might have been a tear or two in there. I don't remember, it was all a haze. But B says she'll drop it for now and let me think on things.
Cue 3 weeks ago. B tells me again that she really wants to have sex with this guy. Like REALLY. And once again I freak out and start going into a spiral of depression. I can't really say what the last 2 or so weeks have been like because they've been a blur of crying, sleep depravation, brooding and pitying. Dark places indeed. Which is so opposite of how I usually am. I'm extremely mellow, such that I've always thought that I have a medical condition that made it hard for me to feel things. Well, looks like I found a cure!
It's at this point I finally bring up how I've really been feeling for the past year or so (about time!). B and I have many conversations which I'm basically dumping my hurt feelings on her and not making her any happier about everything. And I know inside that it's pushing her away since she already feels over-needed but at this point I've got to just get it out otherwise it's going to keep being an issue. Especially since I'd been coming to the realization that 99% of what I felt about having an open relationship wasn't the fear of the open-ness, it was all of my fear/resentment/depression from my other feelings I'd been repressing for so long.
So I start trying to do my own research about all of this. B has also checked out a copy of "Opening Up" from the library and I steal it from her and read through it in a couple of hours. Some stuff I agree with in it, some I don't and some I don't think really applies to what we're going through. B then gets the book back and starts reading it and we do some more talking. I realize that even though I don't agree with all that's getting said in the book, it's causing me to think about my feelings and WHY I feel them. And that is a little break through that's helped a lot.
So the next night I'm at home alone (hockey game night for B) and I'm trying to do my own research. An hour or so on Google and I've found this site. I'm instantly drawn into the Struggling Mono thread and the post by Freetime. Quite a bit of what Freetime resonates with what I'm feeling even if the specifics of it don't. And a lot of the feedback on the thread was helping to take a look at my feelings. Again, I'm not agreeing with everything but it has me thinking rather than pitying.
And here I am!
So I've also got one of the worst memories on the planet. A large part of me doing this is also so that I remember things and can come back to it later. If/when B ever does read this I'm sure she'll say I'm remembering things wrong. But until then we'll just have to assume I'm 100% right. :D
Part 2 - Feelings
So a huge part of whatís helped me is being able to come here and see others going through the same feelings Iím experiencing. Itís helped me realize that Iím not (totally) crazy and that itís normal in what is definitely not a normal time of my life. So hereís all of the feelings that I was feeling over the past couple of weeks though I know Iím missing some:
Anger - Why is she putting me through this? Why is she not interested in seducing me but she is inteterested in seducing someone else.?
Resentment - I deserve better than this. I never asked/agreed to this.
Sadness - Sheís falling out of love with me. All I have to look forward to is a loveless/sexless marriage.
Despair - Everythingís over or coming to an end. I just give up. Thereís nothing I can do about this.
Fear - Sheís obviously hiding stuff from me. How could we get to this point without me knowing more? Will she leave me after this new guy?
Jealousy - Obviously this other guy has something I donít have. Why am I not enough? Why should he get the exciting, seducing woman that I so desperately want but never see anymore?
Obviously a lot of those things I was feeling overlapped quite a bit. And thereís definitely a recurring theme. Some I felt more than others and it often was a swirling chaos where one would feed the other.
During the past couple of weeks Iíve also been all over the map emotionally. Iíve had good days where I managed to not think about things and actually feel normal. Iíve also had some of the worst days/nights of my life where I felt like I wanted to curl up in a ball, puke, cry uncontrollably, stare at the ceiling, get drunk and run away to never be heard from again. Though not necessarily in that order. And Iíve had a hard time sleeping and staying asleep. I often wake up and then my brain kicks in and wonít shut up. (Iím actually writing this now after being awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night)
Did I mention I hate roller coasters? Iím afraid of heights and thanks to my momís genes I get severely nauseous from any kind of spinning. And it turns out emotional roller coasters arenít any kinder to me. Maybe thatís why Iím so mellow/detached in life? But thatís probably for a whole other discussion.
But for anyone else reading this that can identify with these (and I donít presume that I own the copyright on any of those feelings) know that youíre not alone and itís ok to feel them. But you have to learn to deal with them rather than continuously rehash them and feel sorry for yourself.
The main breakthrough I made in this was learning to analyze my feelings. What exactly am I feeling? Why? Am I sure? Is that feeling relevant to the problem? How can I fix it? By trying to understand what and why I was feelilng I felt I could come to terms with each feeling rather than continue to dwell on it. So step by step I started working my way through my laundry list of feelings.
One thing I started doing early on in our conversations was Iíd use my smart phone during the day to create a note of things I wanted to talk about. This was important since my feelings were all over the place and it was hard for me to keep track of them all. During some of our talks B would actually just take my phone and start reading through it herself and then weíd talk. This then gave me the idea that I should actually just send her an email with me feelings and questions so that she could sort them out on her own time without me there staring her down waiting for an answer. This worked out pretty well, though we had to have some conversations when I got home since there always seemed to be some misunderstanding in some sentence that the other person wrote. But one more thing that seemed to work for us and that Iíd recommend for being able to work out your feelings.
Ok, thatís all for tonight. Stay tuned for the next time when I detail how Iím the best communicator ever. :rolleyes:
Welcome. You're in the right place.. but you already knew that.
Keep reading, keep breathing... deep breaths... you are not alone.. Many have traveled this path.
I hated rollercoasters too... but on my first date with my boyfriend...we went on a roller coaster... (The Busch Gardens kind, not the drama kind) I held on...screamed until I couldn't breathe...
I haven't been on a roller coaster since. But I've been with him, and his wife since..... Pretty smooth for the most part...
Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your wife...
Even if this fails, you'll learn a lot about each other..
Let me welcome you as well. I (as many others here) can so realte to all you have written. I have started the journey from the position your wife is in now and it has been really intense up to now. In my case, it has gone really well :)
I think it's great that you and your wife are able to communicate so well and the methode you choose is (in my opinion) one of the best to stay on track with your needs and wishes. You have had a rough start but I am sure you will get used to the changes that are about to come. Use the time to do some deep soul searching on your part as well as on your wifes, most of the couples experiencing this move so much closer together during the process when they try to figure out how to deal with their feelings and those of their spouse.
Good luck to you two.
On a sidenote: is this about sex or a real relationship she wants to pursue in the long run?
I think your feelings are pretty normal. Maybe you should let her read it. And its okay that its from your point of view. Its pretty hard not to do that without living inside another persons head. Her version wouldnt be a 100% accurate either.Good luck.
Here's how I represented my own rollercoaster early into my relationship with Redpepper. It helped me gauge where I was emotionally and bring logic back into my mind sometimes.
I'm not sure if it relates to you but I thought I would ad it.
Thanks for the posts back so far! B's wanted some time of not-talking about everything so I've been trying my best to not think about things. So I've been trying to not read posts/forums as much. Though I did get my copy of "The Ethical Slut" and read through that which I thought was a very good read.
@Phy - At this point (from my understanding) it's that she wants the freedom to flirt with this guy and act on anything that might come up.
@Mono - That definitely has a lot of similarities. I'm hoping for more of the upswings in the future.... :)
Chapter 3 - Communication
Did I mention yet how awesome I was at communication? Well, if I did I lied...
The past year and a half Iíve now realized that I have been keeping too much to myself. I donít think Iím alone in that but the responsibility for my feelings and fears are on me alone. I have to trust that B is being honest and keeping me informed.
Shortly after B started to press opening things up and I freaked out I tried to take a step back and figure out WHY I was so upset. Was it because she wanted to try something out new sexually? Not really, I like to encourage that in her. Was it because the other guy would have something I donít? Again not really. Thatís actually part of why it should be good for her. Was it because she might leave me? No, because she might leave me regardless of him being there or not. Especially if Iím whiny, clingy and a downright depressing person. But anywho.. Was it because Iím not getting the cool exciting sex? Now weíre getting somewhere! Ok, but wait.. Iím not getting the cool exciting sex now so how is that different? Well when did I stop getting the cool exciting sex I want? And what have I done to convey that to B? Oh yeah, nothing.
So probably the second conversation B and I had was where I started to really go into why I really was feeling so upset. Since I'd been building this up for so long it was a lot for her to take in. She felt that I was over reacting and over thinking things when it was actually me just dealing with a years worth of baggage at once. A literal volcano of emotions.
One of the biggest things that came out in our talks was our current understanding of sex in our relationship. B said she always thought of us as a once a week type of couple. I considered us a 3 times a week (not a huge difference in reality, but it sure feels it to me). She said that when she thought of what she liked most in our relationship, sex wasn't near the top of the list. For me, I thought our (in my mind) high sexual energy was a large part of what defined us and set us apart from other marriages. Where I might think sex was a good 60% of our relationship, to her it was more of a 10%. And it was this understanding (which I'm still coming to terms with) that made me start to understand her better and why we seemed to have this disconnect. I'm still floored that there could be this large difference there. But I've also been coming to the conclusion that it's ok. We're two different people and we're both entitled to our own opinions, wants and needs. What's important is that we support each other. Which I think she definitely has. It's just taking some adjustment getting used to the fact that I didn't know her feelings as well as I thought I did but that doesn't diminish what our relationship is or has been.
So another thing that Iíve recently come to realize (with the help of a friend) is that this is the first REAL time that B and I have had an argument. In 12 years of knowing each other, weíve pretty much always managed to be on the same page. And the couple of times we havenít weíve quickly come to terms and there wasnít really much to worry/fight about. Which also kind of sucks because it means weíve never had makeup sex. But thatís beside the point. :) But the main thing is that I've been having to learn how to communicate effectively when we're not on the same page. So +2 points for growth???
One other thing I've been trying to keep in mind as we've been having our talks is that I don't want it all negative. The negative is what I'm obviously having a hard time dealing with but that doesn't mean that I don't still deeply love her and care for her. So I've been trying to keep our talks spaced out and end if I can tell she's shutting down. And also try to ask her what she's feeling (since it's not all about me!). I've also been trying to remind her of all the ways I love her, which she's also been doing as well which has helped quite a bit.
So that's all I've got for now on this subject. Until next time!
A couple other random stuff
So I've been keeping a journal/diary. One thing that I've noticed as I've done this is that Sunday nights/ Monday days are my low point each week without a fail. Not sure why but this weekend I was going to try to pay attention and see if I can't figure out why.
Also, I recently joined the Seattle Poly mail list and there's a potluck this Sunday. I'm thinking of going just to talk to people who've gone through this already. I've got one friend who I can kind of talk to about this who's understanding but doesn't quite "get it". So we'll see if I chicken out or not...
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