Ye people of much wisdom, I desperately need your help...
I imagine many posters here have had many experiences to draw from. I never really considered polyamory until just last summer. And the idea has been haunting me since. What I need help with is sorting my emotions out, as I'm too entrenched into my current situation to even think very straight anymore. I'm not sure if what I want is polyamory or just plain selfishness. And I'm surrounded by people who are more or less conservative in the sexual exploration department, which compounds my concerns even further. I need a different perspective, desperately.
I apologize for the length on this and the random shifts of tenses in my "narrating style." Typing this in the middle of the night. This is a pretty complicated mess. In order to keep this brief, let's assume I've tried many different angles to rectify my relationship issues, because I honestly have tried all kinds of things. I'm providing background on these issues because they are relevant to the polyamory question later.
Been married almost three years, and have been together all-in-all for five. We'll call my husband Y. When we dated, we had the NRE and it seemed like everything was perfect. He showered me with attention. We moved in together after one year. That's when the dynamic started to change. I was still in crazy NRE euphoria while Y just...became more reserved about our relationship. I still was oozing affection while he wasn't complimenting me anymore and he thought I was overdoing the sex thing. Now that he "caught me" and doesn't fear losing me, he became really content as if anymore effort was unnecessary. I've asked him if something was wrong with me and if an issue of mine was causing him not to pay me attention and he would always says there's nothing wrong. I am pretty much a tv and video game widow; those two things hold his attention incredibly. Even when he is not immersed in those two things he is not big into showing me affection except during sex (and even that isn't always so intimate either), in public or entirely in private. These patterns began a very big problem that has haunted us our entire marriage.
I brought up my concerns about his lack of attention to me about a week before he ended up proposing to me. He was so devastated that I thought he didn't love me that he apparently cried, because in the meantime he'd been excited getting ready to propose to me. We talked about the situation, and it seemed like we communicated and he was making better efforts so at the time he proposed I was optimistic that we'd be okay. However, he slipped continually into old habits, and other ones start to develop.
We start encountering sexual disconnects, like me wanting oral sex badly but he's not willing to give it because it squeaks him out. (He loves oral performed on him, however.) Also, he's awkward about kissing and rarely initiates it. Says it makes him nervous, even when we are alone. The two things that quite possibly turn me on the most he does not give, and I can't help but feel regretful about it to this day.
As our marriage approaches I ask myself what's to become of us. The whole idea of it not working out was petrifying. Since that conversation before we got engaged I've been convinced he loves me but sucks at showing it. He's a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of guy and I'm very comfortable around him. He never has a complaint in the world about us, which makes me feel asinine for having woes about our marriage. We rarely argue. I can count the actual arguments on two hands. I wish we argued more, honestly; we'd be connecting better intellectually. Y's responsible in most regards, is fiercely independent like I am, so we compliment each other well in those regards. I'm comfortable doing my thing around the house and he is too. I do enjoy his kind heart tremendously and feel overall he's a really good person. From a day-to-day living perspective things really aren't that bad, but I'm ultimately left feeling emotionally unfulfilled. I hate myself for feeling this way because I do feel he's a good person who deserves nothing but honesty and commitment. He's content with the lack of intimacy, but I'm not.
Emotionally I need a fair amount of attention, and Y doesn't give it out unless I tell him there's a problem, in which case I can expect better results for about two weeks before old habits resurface. I've read relationship advice sites and told myself the puppy love stage died, that's all. Yet three years later I still feel like it went too much in the opposite extreme from what it was. I don't want a platonic marriage. I want something with romantic excitement and intimacy. So I begin to question if I'm even the marrying type, as I equate my feelings with wanting NRE all the time. Yet a voice inside always tells me that every marriage should have that intimacy and intellectual connection, that it's possible to achieve them in marriage beyond the NRE. A couple of months before the marriage, I told Y that as a child I always wanted to get married, that it was my dream, but that now I'm not sure if it was my dream anymore. I don't know if I understood it at the time but I basically did not want my marriage to become so inherently platonic as I've seen so many other marriages in my life become. He asked me in a very indirect and vague way if I didn't want to marry him. It wasn't that I didn't want to be with him, I just wanted us to be more than we were. His question scared me because if I said I didn't want marriage I could lose him forever. I do love him. I married him because I had hope our relationship still could develop into what I wanted it to be. Which is a painful battle when your husband doesn't have any complaints with the way things are and sees no need for improvement.
After we marry I go to school, thinking I need something to take my mind off these emotional problems and it would give me some direction for my life. Between that and work, time flew by substantially and Y and I had limited time together. I had several talks with him about making more of what little time we had to make our relationship more meaningful. His argument was that we needed more time together, so I'd make the time yet find the quality still was lacking. I told him we could make so much more out of the little moments and still be fulfilling, but he never grasped that idea. Simple things like welcoming me home with a hug and a kiss, or saying hi I missed you would have made a minute or two seem wonderful to me, not watching some movie for two hours or having another platonic restaurant date with no flirting. He always has his bubble with the tv and the video games, and it seems that no matter how little he sees me with work and school that he doesn't strive to make something of the time we have. Like he just accepts that I'm not around much so no point in worrying about it. Emotionally I feel pretty damn alone after a while of this. I start to have attractions to people at school who give me attention, but nothing serious comes of it.
That is, until we enter E, Y's best friend of years and years.
I knew E pretty much since the beginning of Y's and my relationship, and from the start E was always openly attracted to me. E told Y to take off a picture of me in my bathing suit off the computer desktop so E could keep his head screwed on straight. I didn't worry about his attraction to me because I was absorbed into NRE at the time and was confident about my relationship with Y. E pursued a relationship with another girl. He and Y sorta lived together in a simulation room mate situation for a month or two, then Y and I moved in together a few months later. E acquired the old apartment for two years along with a new room mate. During the majority of those two years Y and I had little contact with E because we were busy doing our own thing. E and his girl did not work out and he was heartbroken, and he had a big falling out with his male room mate. After two years E starts escaping to our apartment on the weekends while staying with his parents on the weekdays. We spend significantly more time around each other and I develop a little crush on him, but I don't think anything too serious of it at first. He's a flirt and would make comments about me off and on, and we had fun joking around.
About two years ago E asked me to ask my brother if he's looking for a room mate. I knew my brother would never agree to it, because E is a bundle of energy and can drive you crazy if you are not used to him. I was in a money crunch working limited hours while trying to go to school, so an idea popped into my head. My husband and I can save $200 a month by having E as a room mate. I asked myself if the crush would be a problem, and I decided I could handle it because I needed the financial relief pretty badly, and Y hopped easily on board with it. So E moves in.
I guess that's where I made one of my first really bad mistakes. Having him move in when I was attracted to him.
(Continued on next post)
I started to have some pretty intense feelings for E, so for the first time I revealed my crush and relationship issues to a close friend of mine we'll call D. I told D I was freaked out about having feelings for someone else, and D encourages me to write a letter to Y talking about our relationship issues since those were paramount on my mind too. Because of school I never got around to the letter, but D gave me all kinds of hope that Y could learn to be intimate the way I needed so I regained new focus on my relationship with Y. Our relationship seemed to do much better, and my crush on E subsided during this time so that helped too. This period of about eight months was probably the most successful of Y's and my marriage, mainly because I was able to accept on some level Y's intimacy issues, and Y fed off of my positive attitude. Plus E frustrated me a good six of those eight months, so my crush was not very intense during that time.
E has ADD and does not know how to control his voice volume. Long story, but he kept waking me up when he and Y would get home around 7am from working the night shift with his energetic talking. I'd wake up, tell E to please be quieter, then go back to sleep. I woke up so many times over the next six months it was ridiculous, because he really can't help himself on that issue. So I got kinda pissed at him, until I finally lost my cool six months later and told him I couldn't even consider him my friend unless he made serious efforts to accomodate my sleeping schedule. I told him I was hurt that my well being didn't seem to matter to him.
He felt terrible. The strides he took to accomodate me were so amazing I really wish I'd blown up sooner. He got a fan to help muffle the sound, and he made huge attempts to be quieter. If he slipped up later he'd write notes on the mirror apologizing or treat me to some food. And just like that feelings resurfaced again, because he no longer appeared to be an inconsiderate jerk to me anymore. Also, it demonstrated that he did value me enough to work seriously on one of his flaws.
And here I've been trying to get Y to meet me on a level with no success. Wheels in my head start turning. Still, I love Y and want us to work so I try to up my game and disregard the feelings. I put significant effort into my appearance during last summer (2011), and three times in particular I wore something special (once for a wedding, the other two just because). All three times everyone complimented me except Y. And E was particularly quick to comment how nice I looked.
I got so frustrated, so tremendously fed up with how oblivious Y was. I'd sit next to him in fishnet stockings and shorts without him batting an eyelash while E drooled next to him (I'm physically fit and take decent care of myself). Even my brother said the outfit looked nice. Even though Y and I had some pretty intimate intercourse shortly before this incident, I needed to be acknowledged outside the bedroom. E provided that acknowledgement in noticing me and always wanting to do stuff with me. E would have his video game and tv moments too, but he always acknowledged me when I wanted and he was always excited to talk to anyone, me included. Feelings for him raged at this point. Here comes another mistake of mine...my self-esteem all out of whack, I naturally gravitate towards spending time with E because I felt good about the attention he gives me. E and I spent all kinds of time around each other just joking around. We have hardly much in common but that seemed to make the experience more exhilirating. There wasn't anything boring about being around E as he's always exposing me to things way different from anything I used to think was fun. He has big dreams and doesn't settle for complacency much. In addition I learn he's a hopeless romantic and I begin to learn about his family and in general what makes him tick. I start to care for him in a capacity beyond attraction, and that REALLY made me scared.
He's pretty immature compared to Y, and even reckless I suppose. But he's very sweet and caring in a lot of ways. He's easier to have intellectual conversations with about deep stuff, whereas Y would change the subject to something light and frivolous. And E gets what romance is. He's always trying to push Y to do something romantic with me, but Y resists and think his advice is silly or cheesy. E is arrogant though, and doesn't take criticism well. He's got faults just as well as Y has faults.
I gave Y some pretty cold treatment after the not-noticing-me three times event, and he was distressed about it. E caught me crying and dragged out of me that I was upset about Y not complimenting me. E feels compelled to help our relationship and talks to Y about the issue. Y still struggles, but after I was mad again over something petty in the kitchen Y asks me in a scared voice what he was doing wrong, and something snapped in me that Y didn't mean to make me feel unloved. His voice was so distressed and I felt horrible for causing him to be that way. Y just wants me to be happy with him. I cried one night trying to sort through my confusion when it occured to me that I really liked living with both Y and E. I seriously pondered, do two guys live with a girl in this country successfully? I found this website, and I've looked on lots of others as well. For the first time in a while I felt like I finally understood something about myself, and I liked the openness and frankness of a polyamorous setup. I don't want to leave Y. But I want E too. But did I want E to just fill the gaps left by Y, or do I love him on his own merits? I think my feelings started out as a way to fill the gap, but as time passed I think I've grown to love E too. Still, I knew Y probably would not be open to polyamory. He always said he'd leave me if I ever cheated and I have no reason to doubt that. Y always said he doesn't share, either. I read a topic on this board about a couple of situations not far from my own that seemed to be turning out badly, so I reconsidered the polyamory option. Y disregarded me during a three-day convention while E and I had a pretty swell time. Still, the idea of losing Y because of me suggesting polyamory seemed too much to bear.
So I again try to recommit myself to working on the relationship with Y. Fall semester having already started, I decided the best course of action would be to be around E as little as possible. I'm home so little that it isn't too hard to pull off, but E isn't used to all the reduced attention all of a sudden. I realized I probably sparked something in him, and he has the hardest time leaving me alone when I want to do homework. Still, I stick by the routine and find myself feeling better about my relationship with Y. E starts trying to ask this one girl out, and I realize I feel pretty jealous about this, but I try to ignore it. I'm feeling better attached to Y as of last November. However, as soon as school is over I am exposed to E more again. And the feelings still very much were there. For the next few months my thoughts are highly consumed with wanting to be with him, and even feeling some resent that I can't be with E without hurting Y.
I decide not to pursue my bachelor's, having gained my AA. Largely because I knew I needed time to try to work on my relationship with Y, and I was poorly equipped to talk to him while I was so busy. The extra time at home seemed to be making me feel more resentful of the lack of attention Y gives me, as now we don't have the excuse of me being gone all the time to justify it. Y was dedicating 3-5 times a week to watching porn instead of trying to do something like that with me, and I'm still a perpetual video game and tv widow. If our connection was good I could have cared less about the porn, but I feared it was contributing to his lack of excitement about me. Maybe the porn was an age-old habit that if rectified, he'd be better about paying attention to me. So after spending a relatively boring one-week vacation with him with little interaction and porn usage abound, I finally wrote him a letter. Telling him the porn was hurting me and that I needed more attention such as flirting, comments, and in general acknowledging my existence and being interested in my life. Else I didn't think the relationship would work. Many of these things are things I've mentioned before, numerously.
E caught me in the middle of this crisis and I showed him my letter, and he spent that entire day consoling me. I was feeling very pessimistic about my prospects with Y, yet E, being the good friend he is, persisted in discussing ways to help Y and I work. I told him Y feels threatened by him so he might want to tone down how he interacts with me, and E swears he's not trying to take me away from Y. It seems like E really doesn't want to be the cause of a messy situation, even though he's clearly attracted to me and is open about such stuff around Y. We went to laser tag later that day and some women thought we were a couple and I found myself wishing we were. At this point we've become so used to each other after living with each other a year and a half that I think a lot of people who see us in public come to that conclusion now. There is no doubt that E and I do share some sort of deep connection.
(Continued on next post)
Y saw the letter the next day, and he did up his game that one day. We had some pretty hot love-making. And he's reduced the porn usage, but his reluctance to have intercourse with me due to some reason or another was back before you knew it, so I'm sad to say that the porn usage doesn't seem to be the reason affecting his distant behavior. It's been two weeks now. Then I got semi-intoxicated on margaritas and was a bit flirty with E, and while nothing physical happened something emotional did. He rested his forehead on mine like he always likes to do (to my great awkwardness), but this time I have to ask why he was being so close to me. He answers, "I don't know." I'm pretty sure he loves me and I love him, and only our conscience is keeping us from admitting it openly. More than anything I wanted to express my love for him without it meaning I was being dishonest to Y.
That brings me to this last week. Since that night I've run through every possibility in my head. Out of all the options available to me I think I would be the happiest person alive if I could just have both of them. E would balance out Y's intimacy issues, while Y would balance out E's immaturity issues. I could have the comfort of complacency and financial security while still having my emotional and intellectual needs met. If Y wasn't in the mood it wouldn't be a big deal, because E probably would be. And if E was being an immature jerk, Y tends to be able to level him out some. To me having the two of them would strike a balance in my life, whereas being alone with either one of them would not because I'd be missing something either way....does that make any sense...?
I know if somehow Y agreed to polyamory it wouldn't be as simple as what I just described. I know this whole situation has red flags screaming everywhere, polyamory option or not. What I regret most is that my issues with Y initially fueled the attraction to E. If my relationship with Y was better and this attraction thing still happened I'd be having far less doubts about the polyamory option. However, I've seen the advice sites for polyamory and I know I'd be a fool to think that polyamory will save my marriage. But I also feel like I need to be able to share my body with others, to love other people without being villainized for it. I could very well meet another male down the road that I may also love, and I want the freedom to do so. I'd of course try to give Y and E the same freedom, provided they are safe about it. Am I suited for marriage at all, being like this? Also, I realized when I married Y that I made a commitment to be monogamous to him, so to want to rewrite that contract is risking the entire relationship and I know it. I also hate that it could damage Y's friendship with E. I have in a sorts cheated on Y emotionally and I can't take that back now.
I do now think it's possible to love more than one person, and if I had better indication of that before marrying Y I would have told him. There were warning signs of my leanings before that but being brought up in the social constructs of monogamy I never paid them much thought. I always sexually loved the idea of being with two guys at once, for example. And with my previous boyfriend I was attracted to every guy under the sun. But I tell my brother and confidant about all of this and his reaction is that my love for E is nothing but something to combat my issues with Y, and that it wouldn't exist if Y magically did the things I want him to. Maybe initially that was true, but the last few months the idea of asking E to move out kills me. Like it's wrong somehow. And my brother says that an "open marriage" is not a marriage at all. From what I've seen of your folk on this board, I am heavily inclined to disagree....you are some of the most intellectual and open-minded people I've seen, and you take your commitments very seriously. Which is why I hope that despite my insanely long story you guys will have some helpful insight. Hell, maybe a couple of you can relate and keep me from doing something really stupid.
To me, these are my options:
-Divorce Y on the merits of our issues, and be able to date who I want on the terms I want. Probably an open relationship, if at all possible.
-Cheat on Y with E, while feeling guilty as hell. And wishing I could have E's kids as well as Y's. Doesn't seem like a pleasant option. (All of us currently do not have kids, btw.) And E sucks at hiding things very well, honestly.
-Tell Y I have feelings for E, and see where the communication leads things. Maybe broach the polyamory idea. Seems like a really volatile and unpredictable option that still could implicate divorce, seeing as I've emotionally betrayed him in a way, even though not physically. But it would have the added bonus that I'm finally being honest about everything with Y. I feel detached from Y because he doesn't know what I'm going through right now.
-Perpetually continue the track I've been on, which is to work on my relationship with Y, with him oblivious to the full extent of my feelings for E and try to be happy to have E as a good friend and room mate. For as long as his room mate status will be allowed to last. This is what I've been doing and it hurts like hell and I'm crying all the time because I want to be with E too. And not have Y hate me for it.
-Have E move out without him really knowing why, making up something like Y and I want more alone time. Don't like that option because he'll still flirt with me when he visits, because the idea would be to salvage Y's and E's friendship.
-Tell E that I have feelings for him and that's why he needs to move out and not flirt with me when he visits. I'd have to try to let him go and hope I can work out my marriage better that way. And hope he doesn't try to do something with the knowledge I love him, and hope I can get over my regrets with Y and not fall for someone else later.
-Maybe you guys have a better option in mind besides these ones, or can provide insight on these options.
Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. I need to hear hard words if you think they are somehow deserved. I'm so emotionally entrenched I really have a hard time seeing this situation with much perspective at all. More than anything I don't want to hurt E and Y...but I'm hurting instead right now. No matter what I do someone is going to be hurt, which is what makes this situation so excruciatingly painful for me. I wish I felt differently so this all could be avoided altogether....but I can't make myself not want some attention. Been trying not to want it for the past four years with little success. And I care about both these men tremendously and I want them both to be happy. I hate the idea that I hold the potential to turn both their worlds upside down, but I'm abusing myself the way things remain now. So which option will hurt the least....? I'm not sure if there's even an answer to that question.
I apologize for the length of this, I didn't realize there was a character limit. I wanted all the facts out there, I guess.
hi and welcome.
It seems clear you are not getting what you need from your husband. However adding a second partner to fill a pot hole in a troubled marriage rarely works. And especially if the spouse is unaware there is even a problem...or oblivious to your needs.
How bad do you want to be married (to husband)?
Get the Love Languages book by Gary Chapman ...read it ...get him to read it. Discuss it with each other. Start there .. that's cheap ....I think you should consider marriage counseling. And I'd also cool things down with the roommate until some of these important marriage issues get discussed and worked on so clearer head can prevail.
I would like to add one thing to what dingedheart has said though. If you truly love and care about your husband, I would strike cheating on him off your option list. In my opinion, there is nothing more destructive to a relationship than lying, especially when it comes to involving others emotionally as well as sexually.
Hope you find this helpful.
Taking it as I read:
-- Your husband was taking you for granted after that first year. Becoming a hobby widow is one of my dealbreakers and I personally would not have stuck around if the most he could give me was the occasional morsel of support. By itself, the sexual incompatibility can be worked around, but combined with his lack of presence in your relationship, I am wondering at this point in the narrative whether you should've bothered marrying him. That's not the death of puppy love/NRE. That's him pulling way the hell back for no apparent reason.
-- Yes, moving someone in when your marriage is broken and you are attracted to that someone IS a bad idea! However, you were then able to see the difference between E (who was making an effort) and Y (who frankly was not).
-- What is it with having to spruce up our appearances when our partners are the ones screwing up?! Do men do that when the situation's reversed?
-- No wonder your self-esteem's out of whack. You've been scrabbling for crumbs of positive attention from your husband. That's not right. What does Y have at this point that makes him husband material, not just a platonic best friend?
-- RED FLAG: You cannot ignore the education you need because your marriage is in trouble. Do you, for yourself, want/need more than an AA? Also, staying with someone because he provides financial security is pretty shitty. Are you an adult or aren't you? Short of disability issues, you should be well able to feed and house yourself. You can have E and look for someone else who loves you if you want the poly, but staying with Y because he's mature (and he isn't really, not emotionally) sets you up for disaster down the road.
So, as for your options:
DEFINITELY tell Y about your feelings for E, possibly even with E there, and talk over the polyamory option. Then woman up and be ready for the consequences. Do not cheat. Do not evict E (he hasn't done anything wrong). I personally would ditch Y, be with E, and focus on being poly with E and someone TBD, but I am picky like that and, as I've said, would've ditched Y once I saw him pulling away. There's just no reason to stay if his efforts to change won't last, and you know they won't from past experience. Maybe the sixteenth time's the charm? Great, but your needs will go unmet.
And go back to school. In this economy, you need a four-year degree unless your AA is just that specialised. If a full four-year seems too much, learn a trade. Figure out who you want to be and pursue her. You won't ever be happy if you don't, not even if Y morphs into Mister Perfect overnight. Learn to look after yourself; you may find you can love based on what's right for your heart, not just your practical side.
Up until near the end of your story I kept thinking "Maybe he's secretly (even to himself??!) gay... I mean, kissing her makes him *nervous*? Going down on her squicks him out... so, what, he doesn't like vaginas?? But he really likes receiving oral... maybe because then he doesn't have to deal with her woman-bits like you do in vaginal intercourse???" But then I read the part about the porn so unless it's gay porn I guess that theory is out the window. :p
Maybe he's just kinda-asexual, in the sense of not getting that excited about the idea of physical intimacy with another human being? But that doesn't excuse ignoring you at other, non-sex times, in favor of tv and videogames... ugh, how boring, at least he could ignore you for a wider range of more stimulating, enriching activities?? Is he, like, depressed or something?
Couple's counseling is definitely a good idea. If he doesn't understand your needs, that can be corrected. But it seems like with all your explaining, the long letter, etc, he MUST understand by now... but maybe he doesn't really get how serious this is for you? Maybe if he really understood that you might actually leave, that you are contemplating divorce as an option? Yeah, counseling. Maybe he can learn to be a better, more attentive partner. Reading that Love Languages book is also a good idea.
I think you should lay it all on the table. Tell him how deeply unhappy you've been and how often, how it's just this ongoing struggle that doesn't seem to be getting better, how this has affected your life path vis a vis the college thing, how it's affected your self-esteem. AND tell him about E, make him promise not to be mad at E but go ahead and tell him about your crush, and that you honestly want to be with both of them and think it could work but that it's NOT a way to run away or avoid these various serious problems, just another thing going on at the same time. Tell him you guys don't have to make any decisions right away, and in fact should absolutely NOT make any decisions right away (it'll be too colored by still the other stuff), give him some things to read. Tell him before you talk to E, tell him you won't talk to E if he wants you to wait while the two of you work out what to do.
Honesty is the only way to go here. Then you guys can figure out the best path together, like real partners should. Isn't that the whole idea of marriage, partnership (your brother is wrong, by the way... an open marriage that's honest and strong is absolutely real, and is much more of a real marriage than a lot of the shells of marriages out there)?
Wow, this is amazing input so far! I seriously needed this.
@ dingedheart: I agree that adding someone else while a marriage is troubled is not a recipe for good things. I've been trying so hard to work on things with Y partly because if I really wanted polyamory a healthier relationship would provide a better stability point to go from. But the lack of honesty about the way I feel also contributes to my disconnect with my husband, so I feel a bit trapped in that regard. Can't tell him about my feelings for E because we're troubled, but should tell him for honesty's sake.
I think Y is starting to pick up all of a sudden I've been distant and upset the last few days, so he's definitely upped his efforts. I just wish it didn't take me feeling upset for him to take the motion. I used to get upset on purpose in my first relationship to get attention, and that had such disasterous results. I refuse to do it anymore as a result. I should be worthy of attention when I'm happy, moody, whenever. Except when I'm being a bitch, of course. ;)
I....don't know the answer to your question about how badly I want to be married. I seem to be most preoccupied with hurting him, but I also fear that he will not remain even friends with me if we did divorce and that saddens and hurts me terribly. Even if we don't work romantically I wish I could somehow have him in my life.
I could try broaching marriage counseling...last time I ever mentioned it in relationship to our sexual issues he told me he would not be comfortable discussing those things with another person. So I'm not sure how open minded he is to counseling in general.
@ niceinjeans: I didn't mean to imply by my option list that I was seriously considering cheating, though after reading through it I can see why it looks that way now. I'd been typing for three hours at that point, so my bad. I just meant to put out there, "Hey, here's everything I can think of, what else is there?" No matter how badly I've wanted to kiss E, the image of Y being hurt over my deceit always has stopped me. And I hope that I continue to keep a level head and keep Y's feelings in mind until something is resolved one way or another.
@ lovefromgirl: I feel a bit taken for granted, too. When I'm upset he does respond very affectionately and lovingly as I desperately want him to, but as I said above to dingedheart's response I refuse to use me getting upset as a tool to get the attention I want. I shouldn't *have* to. He should be that affectionate whenever and randomly.
I guess to answer what makes Y husband material I have to ask myself what I'd want in a husband. Intellectually and physically I do feel largely platonic about Y. He does love to cuddle in bed at night and that is VERY nice, but that's...about as far as it goes. Emotionally I am attached to him. I remember that first year and have a bit of trouble letting go that we couldn't be that way again, when compliments from him rained from the heavens and he treated me like the sexiest thing alive. But I've been there before with a previously relationship, and it's dangerous to get hung up on how wonderful the relationship started out. Minus the neglect of my romantic needs I live my life pretty peacefully from day to day, which is a lot better compared to some relationships I've seen or been in that are emotionally just abusive. I'm at ease with Y in the apartment, and I'm a pretty socially awkward person. I don't know. When I'm upset and he gets upset slivers of his old sweet and cuddly self poke through, and I guess I just latch onto that so readily. And then hurt later when it doesn't happen again for a long time.
I find it interesting you bring up my education as a red flag. In addition to wanting to work on my marriage, I was so miserable that I never had time to enjoy for myself. Also, I got a new job that I am very content with right now and I live decently off of it. I'm debt free right now, and a four-year college would put me in enough debt that I am uncomfortable with the thought. My apartment was a mess because I never had time or energy to clean it, and both Y and E are pretty bad about cleaning up after themselves (though Y is vastly better than E at it). I wanted to write a book that's been floating around in my head for a few years. So, while the relationship was definitely a motivating factor, it was one of many. I may go back for a BA eventually, but I'm not looking at it immediately right now.
Financial security is an important variable in relationships. I wouldn't want to live with someone who couldn't hold a job....independence and responsibility is attractive to me and not having to worry about house and bread does help one attend to a relationship better. Or at least, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs would seem to indicate as much. However, all that said it's not making me stay with Y by itself. My emotional attachment and concern for him is...but if I were to weigh his better points, responsibility with money and not being emotionally overbearing would be at the top of the list with him. Still, if I needed I make enough to do fine on my own.
Hmm...and Y. I just don't know, I'm inclined to agree with you that after so much experience one becomes cynical and doubtful of it ever improving. I haven't barraged him with my concerns, but I feel over time I have brought them up enough that he's not making it a priority to make them a permanent thing to be conscientious of. He says he needs to be reminded, but I've been trying to remind him in my own way all the time and he just doesn't see it. It's a communication disconnect in that regard.
And you're right. E hasn't done anything wrong, so asking him to move out does seem kind of shitty now that you mention it.
Telling Y seems incredibly scary, but it is one of the options I listed that I am heavily considering. I do need to grow a pair, I do know this. Or erm, woman up since I'm not a guy. I was so confident when I first dated Y and to see myself have so little conviction in myself is kinda pathetic, comparatively.
I've been telling myself to a large degree that a lot of marriages end up platonic, and I feel largely I'm being unresponsible for wanting to follow my heart instead. I want to be free though. To be who I want to be.
I don't know that E would be able to handle me wanting to date other guys from some things he's said, but we could at least date and find out I suppose. And NOT get married before getting that one squared out. Eh. My brother implied that leaving Y and dating E afterwards would be dishonorable somehow and that's bothering me somewhat. I can see why I suppose, but still. I'm trying to be good about this despite the situation. And I'd like Y and E to remain friends if at all possible.
Anyway, thank you all for your input, and I appreciate more if you guys have it.
Sorry, missed your post AnnabelMore! Thanks for responding. ^_^
LMAO...he HATES the idea of penises. I tried playfully suggesting three-ways and have been shot down more or less on the basis that the other guy would turn him off. Unless he is a complete closet gay, ha ha. I doubt it though, he definitely gets off on girls.
I don't *think* he's depressed...that's my job, dammit. But I do wonder if he lacks testosterone or something. Then I remember he jacked off to porn 3-5 times a week and I reconsider. I don't know, maybe he is slightly asexual....? In which case we really are a poor match. My brother and I call Y a stimulation addict...he buys random stuff all the time even if it's useless outside of being pretty to look at or is a toy he'll never touch, likes porn a bit too much, and has to play video games and watch tv at the same time often. He does play Yugioh, a trading card game. Often times while watching tv. I don't know, I wonder about him sometimes.
I guess I could have him read the Love Languages book. I just feel at a loss because I've tried to convey to him in so many ways what I need and I think I am frankly getting bored of the way things are. I even told him as much and he didn't take it seriously at first. And I think I've indicated...two or three times that if this primary attention issue isn't corrected I consider it to be an incompatibility problem.
And if I can keep all those ideas straight, I think a lot of the topic points you brought up regarding E and working on things with Y are a very balanced approach. I think it's very important that Y fills Y's gap, not E, and I like that idea very much.
I like the idea of open marriages largely because I think it forces communication even more. I've noticed a lot of the members here are incredibly insightful people, and I think it takes a lot of strength to do what you guys do. I just want to will that same strength into myself, even though I'm very, very scared.
Edit: Did it eat my other post....? Said it needed to be reviewed by a moderator. Hope I didn't do anything wrong. O_O;
So kudos for being honest so far. Given all that's been going on, I think you deserve some credit for that. For not cheating, and for the multiple efforts at trying to fix the situation.
And I agree with everyone else that you need to stay that way. Don't cheat, it'll just make everything harder and create new barriers. Or make you beat yourself up, which thus far you don't seem to have cause to do.
Sounds like you've really tried communicating with your husband; not clear whether he really doesn't get how important all these issues are to you or whether he just can't do it. Maybe counseling could help you get through to him in a way that you haven't been able to on your own, but I admit that my gut reaction is that you just have very different needs/ideals, and he may not be up to meeting yours. Do you have a good idea of how he envisions relationships? Is he really happy with how things are now? If so, to make this work, someone is going to have to go against the fundamentals of his/her nature, and I'm not at all sure that's a good idea.
FWIW I totally sympathize with wondering whether you are truly polyamorous or just feel that way in response to the situation. It's hard to dissociate yourself from the situation.
So do try communicating, really opening up about all of this, or at least about how much of a problem it is for you. You can't keep going like this, even if you love your husband; it's just not good for you. And maybe just focus on that communicating, more than on deciding what the ideal relationship structure is for you. But I don't think you need to jump immediately to divorce; even if you end up there, you'll feel better I think if you can look back at having tried all you could.
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