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-   -   A few questions from a concerned monogamist husband... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22770)

OutsiderLookingIn 04-01-2012 04:42 AM

A few questions from a concerned monogamist husband...
I met my wife about 5 1/2 years ago. She located me via a social website, we met, and started our relationship almost immediately. In our earlier days, she introduced me to a man she was friends with, and though I could sense some form of an attraction between the two of them, she was with me, and he was married, though Poly. He and I did become friends, albeit more like acquaintances with the limits amount of time we would be in each other's presence. He respected me for the way I treated my (future) wife, and we did talk on the occasion.

After dating for 2 years, my wife and I got engaged, and then married a year later. During this time, he had a bitter divorce, a change in career, and was in a new relationship, but we rarely if ever talked much. She attempted to call him once or twice, and when she reached his estranged wife, we had gotten an ear full, and eventually, his new number. His life wasn't where he had hoped for it to be, but we were supportive and let him know if he needed anything, to simply ask.

After our wedding (which this man did not attend, though invited), we spoke again on the occasion once his life had settled some. He had a new girlfriend, one that was supportive of his Poly lifestyle, and shared in it as well. Both my wife and I were glad to hear things were looking better for him, and would talk with him more as time permitted.

My wife and I during all of this have had a very happy and wonderful relationship, even thru all of the progressions it had taken, and our marriage was always based on openness and honesty, we would never hide anything from each other, and we communicated about every decision.

We, like most couples, had our share of ups and downs, especially with the economic turmoil of recent years. Our current situation is heavily stressful on my wife, and we are attempting to take steps to help to alleviate a great deal of it from her. Her outlook of things as they stand are grim at best, but I am supportive to her and try to reassure her that things will get better with time and the steps we are taking.

With the added stresses she has had lately, her more deeper rooted self esteem issues have been constantly bothering her as well, and she had started to isolate herself about 6 months ago. Now if I want to find out any information from her about how she is feeling, I must ask her, repeatedly, until she finally breaks her silence.

She came to me 3 days after this past Christmas holiday, with a letter in her hand. It was quite earth shattering for me. What I had thought was a working and over all happy monogamist marriage was about to come to a screeching halt.

In her letter, she told me that she wanted to have a poly relationship with this man. Unlike most of the posts that I've read here, and on other sites about couples discussing what a move to poly would do for their relationships, and how they could benefit from it, I was not so fortunate. The two of them had been talking for the past few months, on a more regular basis (i.e. daily), and according to her, she discovered she had been denying her feelings for him. She told me that she would be acting on them from this point forward, that I had absolutely no say in the matter, and it was up to me to accept her for who she is.

My first reaction was like the majority of people, I was enraged. We fought, lost sleep, fought more, lost more sleep, over the next few weeks. During this time she told me of their intent of the relationship, which was a full romantic, sexual, BDSM relationship. She expressed a need to be collared by this man, and to display it while with me at our home. I asked her why she never brought such concepts up with me, and if there was any way that she would want or had want to explore it with me. Her answer I am still waiting on, and she has never given it to me.

While getting used to the concepts that have been pushed onto me, I had asked my wife to please, if at all possible, to slowly introduce me to things, and let me take one thing at a time. With so many things coming at me at once, everything was becoming so hard for me to handle, that I wasn't quite sure what to think of it all. However, part of their relationship is him pushing her to make decisions, and break down barriers.

I have asked her if she would think some form of counseling would be good for her to help her have a different perspective, and possibly help her to come to terms with how she thinks and feels. At this time, she is open to the idea of counseling, but does not want to seek it, in addition to requiring a professional that is knowledgeable in alternative lifestyle choices, as she fears a normal counselor with view poly as a damn-able point of view.

Having been with my wife for over 5 years, I can see the stress getting to her. She's torn between us both, him pushing her forward, and me holding her back. I've told her if she feels she needs to just break open and try something new it's fine, but I just want her to communicate it with me so I know to prepare myself.

He pushed her a few weeks ago, and it almost made her throw in the towel. Due to her self esteem issues, my wife has an issue with nudity and the female form. Thru her discussions with him, she thinks she may have some bi-curious feelings she may want to explore. I have told her that if she feels the need to explore these feelings, I will support her in any way I can. However, he pushed her to explore these feelings with his Primary, and him, in a threesome. She was against it, as she would rather explore such feelings with someone she has them for, and, in her words "not someone that is virtually a stranger to me". After a fight in which he gave her the silent treatment for two days, she agreed to this encounter. The day came, they all got together, and they never did anything.

My wife and I are currently in a constructive state of mind given the current circumstances. I'm doing the best I can to be supportive and understanding, and she is doing what she can to be respectful and forthcoming.

What I guess I'm trying to get out of this is:

1. In what ways can I be more supportive to my wife's desires to explore feelings and thoughts that she is having, and deal with the fact that she does not wish to explore any of them with me?

2. Given her issues with self esteem and self worth, would there be any direct links between that and the possibility of her exploring these feelings to be more harm than good without seeking some form of counseling?

3. Since many of you have more experiences to pull from, what are some suggested ways for my wife and I to open up dialogs about things, feelings, and thoughts, without causing any undue stress or anxiety about the impending conversation?

redpepper 04-01-2012 09:02 AM

So this guy is her dom? He sounds like an asshole. Sorry, but its not a good dom that makes a woman force her husband to do as he says. Its also not a good dom to force a woman to have sex with someone she doesn't want to by taking away love and connection if she doesn't. I suggest you hold on for dear life and fight with everything you've got to get her away from him. He is not poly, he is abusive in my opinion. Poly is about consideration/empathy/compassion, consent, open and honest communication and integrity. This guy is missing all of these points but the communication and your wife is just skipping along with everything he does.

What did the ex wife say about him? It sounds like he has some issues about control to work out. The red flags are waving big time for me. This sounds like a very harmful situation, especially if she has self esteem issues.

I think that she is likely being more damaged because of this man. Keep talking and being honest... you won't get rid of undue stress, but it does get easier. I don't think that there is anything you can do that will MAKE her want to explore some of this stuff with you, but if she is wanting a man to control her life, then I suggest you rise to the occasion and give it all you got against this guy... all the while doing it with empathetic love and respect for her in every way... which is how he should be treating her.

I suggest doing a tag search for "lessons" "foundations" "mono/poly" "BDSM" "communication"

Icewraithonyx 04-01-2012 01:21 PM

As another mono husband who was surprised by non-monogamy (no, this doesn't sound like polyamory to me either), I think you've been doing an A+ job of trying to be supportive. In many (if not most) cases, an ultimatum of "I'm having sex with other people, whether you like it or not." would likely result in a divorce proceedings.

I've seen a lot of thread that talk about a partner wanted to be "poly", whether it's accepted or not. Polyamory doesn't mean married to one person and screwing another.

Big question: has your wife done any research about what polyamory is and isn't? If she hasn't, I would suggest that you support her in polyamory by strongly suggesting she start there. There are TONS of resources about good polyamory habits and polyamory pitfalls to avoid. In addition to threads here, you can also google "Intro to Polyamory", "Polyamory 101", etc.

Last thing, while you're trying to be supportive of your wife, DO NOT lose sight of being supportive of yourself.

drtalon 04-01-2012 02:30 PM

Being given an ultimatum sucks.


Originally Posted by OutsiderLookingIn (Post 131003)
what are some suggested ways for my wife and I to open up dialogs about things, feelings, and thoughts, without causing any undue stress or anxiety about the impending conversation?

Non-violent communication can help, if you have any experience with the idea. Writing letters to me (or just writing her thoughts out for herself) works best for my current partner when she doesn't have the emotional energy/will/wherewithall for a face-to-face discussion.


Originally Posted by OutsiderLookingIn (Post 131003)
After a fight in which he gave her the silent treatment for two days, she agreed to this encounter.


If she can't recognize how unhealthy this behavior is and what a bad situation she's gotten herself into, I'm afraid there's not much you're going to be able to do to help. Sometimes, people need to learn things for themselves, whatever the consequences, because not experiencing the thing(s) would be worse by their measure.

It's possible that saying about "If you love someone, set them free," really means, "Sometimes you have to just watch them make their own horrible mistakes (in your opinion)."

I don't know if there's much you can do except to decide whether and how long you want to work on things and where the lines between love, loyalty, and foolishness lie.

SoCalDoc 04-01-2012 02:47 PM

If your wife has submissive tendencies you should consider using this to your own advantage. Maybe you can be more dominant in your marriage. I wonder how she would respond to you trying some BDSM stuff. Don't ask for her permission, just do it like it's your nature and right. Maybe she just needs you to take charge of her, body and soul. Rule her world and then tell her to cut that other shit out. I don't know, maybe this is a hail Mary pass, maybe it's a way out of your mess...

LotusesandRoses 04-01-2012 03:52 PM

This guy that's after her sounds like a creep. That's coming from someone interested in the D/s lifestyle for over a decade. A poly D should never seek to damage anyone else's mono relationship, which is exactly what he's doing.

I think before she (or you) explore this lifestyle, a sex-friendly, poly-friendly marital counselor is in order.

dingedheart 04-01-2012 04:14 PM

With the secret online affair ...ultimatum, Bdsm, ...I'd recommend cutting your losses. Love and logic are on vacation ....who are you really negotiating with....and why would you want to be negotiating in your marriage with this other guy by proxy.
Fuck it ...cut your losses.

Put her very best collar on ...hook up a leash and drop her off with him or the nearest pound.

Trust me ....way cheaper in the end.

Good luck d

Do you have access to a large dog transport kennel for the car ride ....safety first.

redpepper 04-01-2012 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by Icewraithonyx (Post 131052)
Polyamory doesn't mean married to one person and screwing another.

It doesn't mean being dommed by your partners dom either. It means everyone coming together consentually. I see none here and no attempt to create that. Sure, people struggle to get there, but to tell a partner to suck it up and deal is just not okay at all!

Originally Posted by SoCalDoc (Post 131058)
If your wife has submissive tendencies you should consider using this to your own advantage. Maybe you can be more dominant in your marriage. I wonder how she would respond to you trying some BDSM stuff. Don't ask for her permission, just do it like it's your nature and right. Maybe she just needs you to take charge of her, body and soul. Rule her world and then tell her to cut that other shit out. I don't know, maybe this is a hail Mary pass, maybe it's a way out of your mess...

I mentioned that too. I wonder how she would respond if you dommed up and said, "get your ass home now!" And to the guy, "come around my woman again and I will beat the shit out of you and your wife." Play him at his own game :p (totally inappropriate domming by the way, but whatever, he's not being appropriate, why should you). After this maybe you could send him some literature on how to be a good dom. He sucks and gives us a bad name.

nycindie 04-01-2012 11:03 PM

Act quickly - this is an emergency situation!
It sounds like he saw an opportunity to secretly influence a vulnerable woman and pounced on it, and is now involving her in sexual and BDsm situations for his own satisfaction, not hers. I am not into BDsm but have read enough to know that the dom is supposed to do everything they can for the benefit of the sub, not for the dom's own self-aggrandizement. It is unconscionable that he would pressure her to have sex with someone she doesn't want to or force you to be part of their dynamic - especially considering you have not consented to polyamory yet! How dare he do such a thing, and covertly! He is a shithead, plain and simple. Do they have a written contract between them?

She's making bad decisions and going about this all wrong. I fear it's because she's been depressed and this asshole guy is exerting pressure on her, trying to sell his snake oil. My ex would say someone should throw him a beating. I would get into therapy with her as soon as you can, this looks like a dangerous situation. There are poly-friendly professionals, and many who specialize in alternative lifestyle counseling are also a good bet.

Some links for you:
Polychromatic: Poly-Friendly Professionals.

Loving More's List of Poly-Friendly Professionals.

Psychology Today: Find a Therapist
. With this one, you can select "Relationship Issues" after you narrow it down for your zip code.

As a last resort, you could sign her into a psychiatric hospital or ward, citing that she's become a danger to herself as long as you can show proof that she put herself in harm's way. As her husband, you could do that. This is NOT to say that BDsm is a mental illness; I am simply responding to her depression and isolation, followed by a sudden shift in personality, and then letting someone she doesn't know well start controlling her life. Hospitalization isn't as bad as it sounds. I've had to intervene in that way for a close relative many times and it served them well. Sometimes people need a break from daily living to get better when their heads are not in a good place.

You could also ask her to read some good poly literature with you. There are a few good checklists to discuss with her over at Tristan Taormino's website (she wrote Opening Up, a good book to read together) here: http://openingup.net/resources/free-...om-opening-up/. You can also invite your wife to visit this forum and add her point of view, so we can help her and share some better options with her.

AnnabelMore 04-02-2012 02:01 AM

Nyc's advice and points are really good ones. I would also tend to think that there is probably an underlying issue here. His behavior towards her is abusive (I'm into D/s but his actions are NOT what healthy BDSM looks like) and her behavior towards you is incredibly hurtful and disrespectful. This could affect your health and safety, both emotionally and physically, and you're being given no choice and no time to adjust.

Whether you do as some have suggested and try to beat him at his own game (I'm not so sure about this idea, since if you're fumbling about as a beginner, which is normal, you might just make him look more competent and desirable... ugh) or insist she go with you to therapy ASAP or straight up move out until she figures this out... something drastic needs to happen sooner rather than later.

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