My (very poor) introduction to the magical world of poly.
Hello all. I'm going to use this post also as my introduction, I guess. If a mod wants to move it, that's fine, too. Not sure what subforum it belongs in.
I'm in a bad place right now and if I get rambly, I apologize before hand. I'll try to be as brief as possible, but I have no idea how long this post will be as a type this, but here goes.
My wife and I have been together for about 5 years, but have known each other as acquaintances then as friends for well over a decade. We've been mono the vast bulk of this time. About half way through we moved from NY to the midwest area to save money. I guess that's where things began falling downhill. I've been depressed for a long time now, and have been having trouble keeping a job. This is a due to a multitude of reasons that, at the time, seem reasonable enough, but taken collectively make me look like a deadbeat. Maybe I am.
Anyway, we've been in financial trouble since we moved out here and it's almost entirely been my fault. Intellectually my wife and I have grown closer. We studied lots of different communication methods and enjoyed discussing our personal philosophies together, and are on the same wavelength for most anything. I truly, truly love her above anything else. I'm acting the part of a fuck up and I feel like I've irredeemably ruined everything at this point, but I guess I'll need to go into that more in a bit later.
So, anyway, my wife wants a kid. Has wanted one basically forever, she's that kind of person. I feel sorry for her that she hitched her wagon to me those years ago. It's always been my philosophy to work the minimum, enjoy the maximum, and love will fill in the gaps. Romantic, sure, but unrealistic when you want a baby in the mix. So my not holding down a job was a major, catastrophic issue in our relationship.
So, my wife and I hermited it up in midwest, alone except for each other and occasional visits to her family our here. We made rare attempts to branch out, but nothing came of it until late 2011. We started going out to meet up groups for various things we are interested in. I'm normally a very, very extroverted guy, which I guess is part of the reason for my depression after I moved away from everyone I had ever known, and I didn't go to most of the meet ups. I was also lapsing in my duties sexually due to depression / caffine screwing with my labido. We still had sex, but it was once every week/two weeks. Much less than ideal. My wife, on the other hand, is also extroverted by spent most of her upbringing socially awkward and kept down by extremely abusive parents. So, she dived head first into the meet up groups. There, she met the other guy.
He's basically my mirror image. Unimpulsive, lots of money. I'm much more emotionally mature than he is, though. He's older but has spent much of his life (real)friendless and dated only very little. Not quite a virgin, but not far from it either.
So, I've been going on fast forward most of the way here, so I guess I'm going to slow down and post in more detail. This is going to be pretty long, I guess.
He was a nice enough guy when I met him, but when my wife brooked the idea of going poly with him, I freaked out. That was kinda the death knell for my going to meet up groups, cause now it was totally out of my safety net. So, their relationship grew, my resistance didn't really mean much in the end. My wife gave me poly literature to read, and read I did.
Their relationship moved fast. There were rules set up, but they were torn down mere days after being set and usually without my notice. I guess the worst part was when they had sex and my wife lied about it for over a month. I knew they were getting into heavy stuff, it was mostly oral and stuff like that. As far as I knew, no sex was a sturdy ground rule. Up to this point, if I had one high point as to the strength of the relationship I have with my wife, it was her honesty and integrity. She had always been super honest and open with information. The fact that she kept this from me was very out of character, which added to the sting. I felt cheated on when she told me later. Betrayed. I don't think I'm wrong in feeling that way, and the damage hasn't fully healed, and due to the way wounds keep being opened up, I don't know if it ever will.
My wife felt bad about it, and broke up with the other guy for about a month, but it was causing strain in our relationship. I had had more time to study poly, see how it might work. More importantly though, I really just want my wife to be happy. It's more important to me than anything. At this point, I agreed to 'permit' it, not that I have possession of my wife or something. Curiously, the other guy decided to act decently and wanted the say-so from me. He was unwilling to fully take my wife's say so on it. So, I made an actual recording of my voice on my wife's phone, laying down that I would be okay with it, and what my sexual boundaries were. My wife and I agreed that the boundaries would not be permanent, but my major (MAJOR) caveat was that I wanted to be in communication. I wanted decisions to be put past me first. I almost always say yes (maybe after an hour-long crying session, of course) because, again, I want her to be happy.
I felt (and still feel) that my being able to deal with poly hinged on my wife been supportive. My sadness made her feel bad and also frustrated her, because often these problems would arise when she needed to sleep for work. I felt like a horrible person carrying on a night, crying, when she needed to sleep, but I don't think I was/am asking much to be kept in on what is going on, especially when I made the huge sacrifice of myself by 'allowing' them to be together, as I'm not sure he would have re accepted my wife without my permission, as he was trying to do the right thing at this point.
So, about two weeks after the recording they are having unprotected sex (using the pull out method...). Inbetween the recording and this point there was every step breaking the boundaries, entirely without my consent. She began spending nights over there. Every new thing hurt. A lot. At this point the pain wasn't even the thought of her being poly and that my entire life had been inverted. It was the fact that right before I had adjusted to the new thing, there was another piece of 'news'. There was absolutely no stability.
At this point I should mention that almost all of this poly business comes down to one thing. My wife wants to have a baby, and doesn't trust me to financially support her. I also want to have a baby, desperately. Since all this poly stuff landed on me I have not left my job, and have been putting out applications for better work. I feel like it's a race against time before she gets pregnant by this other guy 'accidentally'. I don't' even know if I did get a decently paying job that could support both of us, our house, and a baby, if she would want to be with me. She has trust issues with me cause I've let her down before. I've emphatically let her now that everything is different know with all this new pressure, but she's uncertain. I don't' blame her for that.
Other guy knows that she wants a baby, but is afraid to even talk about it. He is out of touch with his emotions, I think. Obviously one would ask why have unprotected sex then, and the reason for that is that he has erectile dysfunction (brought upon by almost two decades of too-furious masturbation, I'm told). So, he can't finish with a condom. Sucks for me, I guess.
MORE, again. Can't believe I had to break it up into 3 posts.
My wife sucks at being poly, in essence. I've read lots of stuff at this point. Communication and soothing insecurities seems like a major part making this work. And right now I'm as insecure as they come. But I'm so ready for poly to work for us, except that she doesn't make an effort to just... be loving, I guess. It makes me very sad to think she doesn't care anymore. She says she loves me, but she'll also say when she's mad (usually as she's trying to sleep) that she doesn't care anymore. I'm not sure if I should trust lucid-wife or sleepy-wife. If I'm crying she doesn't' make an effort to console me. Usually the spat will end only if she starts to cry too and I go into protective mode, bury my own feelings and immediately begin to sooth her.
So, I've just been in a new sort of depression for about a month now. A better one, I guess. The good news is that nothing 'new' has happened, as having unprotected sex is about as low as you can go next to INTENTIONALLY (at least for him) trying to have a baby. The bad news is that nothing is resolved. I hate feeling emotionally dependent on my wife, but I have no one to talk to about this right now. I talk to my friends from NY, but I don't think I can tell them about this poly stuff. We made friends with a particular girl that my wife figured would be the coveted second female for our quad, but she's got her own hang ups about that. Second female was the first person I was able to talk to about my feelings on this (while drunk and with my wife present). It was the catharsis, the therapy I needed. She didn't even really say anything, just listened and responded kindly. I guess some near stranger gave me in one evening what I was desperate to have from my wife for months. Some sympathy. But since she's not going to make us a quad, and my wife was her friend first, my wife doesn't want me to pursue her as my unofficial therapist. I guess my wife doesn't want us hanging out alone in case I might paint a bad picture of her. I don't think I would/could do that, and I might talk to her anyway (letting my wife know that I am). But I haven't decided yet.
I am interested in forming a quad, to fill the gaps left in my life that have been pulled out from under me. Also cause NRE feels awesome. However, I'm in such a low place emotionally and insecure leaving my comfort zone that I don't even know how to get started on that.
I've talked a lot and probably left a lot of stuff out. I would love any comments, support, or critism anyone has to offer. If your the one person that actually read all this, thank you. Typing this has helped, at least a little.
Wow, what a dreadful situation.
I do not know the economic situation in your part of the country. I do know that much of the midwest is experiencing a huge downturn economically. Also, we are in the middle of the 2nd worst economy in the modern era, only the Great Depression was worse. (And I believe that the Great Recession may prove worse in the long run as the type of economy is changing while during the Great Depression, the kind of economy - industrial mass production - did not change. Anyway, my historical wonderings do not help right now.)
I know lots of people who have done everything right, busted ass, got new degrees or training, networked like mad, and are still unemployed, underemployed or trying to make a business go. So give yourself a bit of break. It is objectively very, very, very bad right now to get a job.
However, more specifically, what would make you happy? You talk a lot about making your wife happy but never write what you would want for yourself. You deserve to be happy too. What would that look like for you?
There is a saying in poly that adding people to a broken relationship does not fix that relationship. It's still broken, just with more people. Your marriage is broken, I'm sorry to say. Adding the new guy won't solve the problems in your marriage and developing a quad would just bring more people into the craziness.
I'm also sorry to say that it reads like your wife has checked out of your marriage. She's done but for whatever reason won't do the honorable thing and divorce you. It seems to me, and just my opinion based on what you wrote, that she is pushing you to divorce her.
I don't understand why divorcing someone would be honorable. Could you expound upon that?
If someone is finished with a relationship, then it is not a kindness to stay in that relationship. In fact it can be quite cruel. In that case, it is the ethical thing, the honorable thing, to end the relationship, to divorce. Not good but necessary so that everyone can move on, hopefully to something that suits all involved better.
If possible, it is good to try and fix a relationship. But sometimes they cannot be fixed - and sometimes should not be fixed. I'm not saying this about the OP in particular - just my general observation. There are worse things than divorce - and on the face of it, the OP is enduring one of those worse situations.
That is what I mean by divorce sometimes being the honorable thing to do.
Wow, Severian, that just sucks.
I'd like to recommend an official therapist. It is lovely to have friends, and lovely to have friends who sympathy or an ear (or a pint). But I think it's really important to have a real therapist, especially since you know you're depressed. Right now, you have lots of real things to be sad about. I can't imagine someone in your shoes who would just be all beer & skittles about it. But depression doesn't help anything and can really benefit from help or meds or sometimes both. Don't even give me any nonsense about not affording it. There are low-cost and no-cost options almost everywhere. You don't say if you're in podunk or a larger city, true, larger cities have more options. But any university/college or hospital will likely have trainees who work for low to no cost.
If there's none of that, there's about a billion anonymous groups (12 step) that will give you an ear. Emotions Anonymous I think would be for depression. [I believe my intro to the concept of anonymous groups was by two women from EA who came to talk to my class ~ it was some sort of social work class in junior college]
I'm glad you found this forum. Hope it gives you a modicum of comfort.
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