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-   -   Yet another polynoob.. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17158)

rungsoftheladder 11-15-2011 03:52 PM

Yet another polynoob..
Like so many others, I am new to the forum. In the spirit of netiquite, I've spent a couple of days reading other people's stories and issues before just throwing mine out there.....normally I'd wait longer, but I could really use some other perspectives on my situation.

Been happily married four years to a woman who has become my partner and soulmate. We have communicated often about our past sex lives, and have agreed that most people are not naturally mono, but most choose it because its the "rules of society" or that its more simple or its what works best for them.

We often joke, tease about being with other people, together or separately. We are both bi-(me) or bi-curious (her) I've always joked that if she goes and plays without me, at least bring me home a picture or a video.

I always thought that was a great foundation for more conversation on the topic of poly/open but...That's as far as the open communication went.

I've suspected an ongoing relationship of hers with a male co-worker, who is also a friend of mine, who was in our wedding.....I watched as it developed, never sure that it was sexual, but increasingly suspected it....she was never very good at hiding it, but I was, and remain 100% sure that she is committed to me, our love and our marriage and knew that she was happy, perhaps more so, in our partnership because she was able to fulfill her needs to flirt, socialize and have sex beyond the typical mono relationship. I had lots of hard times with it, but I believe that I read all of what she was doing the right way.....although I never talked to her about it because I was afraid of changing things in her that made me happy.

I, too, have a female friend. We talk, sometimes a couple times of month, sometimes a couple times a week. My wife has never trusted this friend, so I have gone out of my way to ask my friend to respect my marriage and her wishes and so we limit the communication. My friend and I had sex a few times before I met my wife, but it was always more of a friendship. We had decided years ago that being friends was more important than sex, although if sex happened, it was good once in a while. I've had sex with her less than 5 times since I was married. I know it hasnt changed my thoughts or love for my wife a bit, just as I know what she has done hasnt changed her thoughts toward me!

I came home early from a midnight shift two weeks ago and watched my wife and her friend having sex in our bed.....they didnt see me. I was more than a little surprised about the location and shocked to actually see it, so I told her the next morning what I saw, that I had known about most details of their relationship for a long time, that I loved her, that I wanted to be married to her, that she was my life partner if she wanted the same. She asked if I had done the same thing, and I told her that I wanted her to think about it and consider how she would feel if I had....or if I hadn't. I really wanted her to start the journey that I had been on for two years; thinking about how she could still love and want someone who might also be in a relationship with another....

Of course that didn't work, she's just not the kind of person who can wrap her head around hypotheticals and she wanted us to be honest and clean slate this...so I ended up telling her about my friend a few days later.

We are still talking, she is open to me joining him and her sexually, not so much about me continuing with my friend but where I had two-plus years to work things through by myself, she had NO idea that I was also doing something similar. I feel bad that she has to take that journey so quickly, and I don't expect her to be able to articulate the things that I can at this point...I hope that comes with time.

So......priority one is continue to work on my marriage and relationship with my wife.....we are talking and talking, but we can only talk just so much without taking time to process. We obviously are both poly, but can we ever be successfully poly given the way we both "snuck" our way into it?

Sorry for the ramble....just looking for thoughts, support and honest critique....

AnnabelMore 11-15-2011 08:43 PM

Well, normally the problem in transitioning from cheating to poly comes from overcoming the broken trust of the person who was cheated on. Since you're ok with things, that's that out of the way. However, another barrier can be in the person who cheated overcoming their impulse to be secretive or untruthful about the relationship. Some people seem to strangely prefer secrecy to honesty. I guess it's less scary. If you two want to be open with each other going forward, she's going to have to make sure she's doing the hard work of transitioning to honesty.

I find it kind of concerning that she's not ok with you having an outside relationship (is it that she has a particular problem with this woman, or would she be likely to be wary and closed off to the idea of you being with any other woman)? This could lead to serious resentment over time. I would ask her to examine her feelings about that. Why is it ok for her to have another lover but not you? Could she get accustomed to the idea in time?

In all frankness, her actions and attitudes thus far seem really selfish to me. :( It seems like there's every reason to believe you two can be fine, but I'm not sure why you're not more bothered that she would be ok with deceiving you for so long, bringing a secret lover to your bed when you were supposed to be monogamous, etc.

dingedheart 11-15-2011 10:17 PM

Has anyone thought to ask why in this happy 4 yr marriage, that had conversations on this topic (at the margins) .... anyone would have to cheat.

Do soul mates really treat each other this way ?

How long has her relationship been sexual? The good news is you don't have to worry about limiting your communications with GF out of respect for your wife...banging this guy in your bed while you're at work puts a whole new spin on that argument.

What about the STD risks ...how does anyone believe what's said on that topic.

Have you made a similar offer of 3some with your Gf if the gf were agreeable. She could see things in a different light...love and cooperation.

How are the outside partners handling this? Do they even know?

AnnabelMore 11-15-2011 10:45 PM

Ohh, ok, somehow I missed that you'd slept with your female friend post-marriage, I thought it was just an ongoing friendship where you'd slept together in the past and had some tension now. Got it. Ok, I stand by most everything I said but I'm less confused by your reaction now. Two wrongs = wellllll, definitely not a right, but less of a reason for anyone to be bitter, I suppose.

rungsoftheladder 11-15-2011 11:23 PM

Thanks so far!!!
You all have no idea how much I appreciate the candid responses.

The transition from cheating to poly may not be as difficult as it normally would seem as we've built a bit of a foundation already.

There is a thrill of the secret factor here for her that I very much understand and plan on incorporating as much as possible in our future "ground rules"!

I dont need to know everything, just what we decide is important to share (std protection, time management and primary priorities, etc).

Thats all going to work out with time and talking. Yes, two wrongs dont make a right, but maybe the silver lining is to be able to look at each others issues from similar, not identical, perspectives.

I dont know anything for sure, but Im optimistic and grateful for the replies (and this forum in general)!!!!!

redpepper 11-16-2011 07:06 PM

I like the positive attitude rungs! Good luck!

rungsoftheladder 11-16-2011 11:51 PM

Positive, but realistic!
I'm well aware, and more than a little scared of the journey. I AM being positive but there is sooooo much to consider and so much to talk about it.

Just trying to learn as much as I can from others, recognize the negative aspects of how we got here alone, and see where this takes us moving ahead. I am hoping that it will make us better partners. I'm positive, and thats hard at moments, but I believe we're both willing to put in the effort.

Carma 11-19-2011 08:16 PM

I cheated, then we opened the marriage, and my husband seemed fine with our poly arrangement. Things were going pretty well. My husband and my bf were friends, we even went out a few times together, all 3 of us. Sometimes the 2 guys would meet for a beer. We laid all the boundaries down, and I was happier than I'd been in the 4 years I'd been trying to resist the other man with little success.

I encouraged my husband to find a gf, to which he was reluctant at first, but once he found one, our poly journey turned into a nightmare. I was crazy jealous, and he started lying. Big lies, little lies, and throwing my cheating past up in my face.

I don't really have advice. I'd just say, I wish we'd worked through the pain of the cheating, before we went forward with anything else. Him going elsewhere to heal his wounded ego, just made things terribly complicated.

It is tricky to find a balance on what you share with one another about your extramarital activities. I wanted to know details, was excited by them at first, then after the fact, they CRUSHED me. But I could have gotten past that -- the worst thing of all was being lied to, by the man I'd been married to for 12 years. I never thought he'd feel the need to lie to me. I don't even know where to go from here, because of it.

Please figure out SOON what you want to share and what you'd rather keep discreet. I think everyone has a different comfort level with that. I understand the thrill of the sneak, but there is a lot of gray area, between the joy of the truth, and the horrors of the lie.

I don't want to sound terribly negative! Some of our poly moments were extremely joyful for me. I guess I had unrealistic expectations. I didn't really believe my husband would fall in love with the other woman, then lie to me about it. I think I had a huge ego -- I wanted a one-vagina policy! Things didn't go my way. :mad: Fighting the bitterness. I wish you much success and happiness on your journey. Coming here to the forum is one way to really increase your chances. Lots of good perspective and personal experience to draw from. Best wishes!

rungsoftheladder 11-19-2011 10:10 PM

I could see how that could happen....too easily
Knowing how the two of us got to where we are (well, as much as I know so far), I could very much see a similar issue come up. In fact, I've already laid the ground work to have a beer with him...needs to be done.

I fully expect the other direction to be different. I have a friendship, but not a relationship.....if I were to develop a relationship down the road with anyone else????? Don't have the desire at the moment, but I could see it. I can also visualize the negative reaction from her! Not a selffulfilling prophecy, because I can see the good possible outcomes as well. Just sayin'; I could see it being bad if we dont work through the past and future expectations!

Thank you for the clear look at what could be!

SchrodingersCat 11-20-2011 06:40 AM


Originally Posted by rungsoftheladder (Post 111086)
The transition from cheating to poly may not be as difficult as it normally would seem as we've built a bit of a foundation already.

I'm not so sure I would call that a "foundation." Sure, you talked about non-monogamy and it seemed like you were both sort of on the same page with the idea, but yet you were both sneaking around behind each other's back, lying about it, and keeping it a secret. If you hadn't caught them, it doesn't seem like she ever would have told you.

It almost seems like you were both willing to discuss "open" so that you both would feel less guilty about cheating on your spouses. It's like, well we both agree that people aren't mono, so that makes it ok to cheat. But that doesn't make it ok!

From where I'm sitting, the only "foundation" you've built is a habit of lying and sneaking. That is not a foundation for transitioning to open honest responsible polyamory. It may be a foundation for a successful "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy and if you choose to go that route that's your choice. I just can't, personally, imagine being in love with someone and not wanting to tell everyone I know, especially the people closest to me such as my husband...

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