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-   -   I think I'm poly--what if I leave my marriage and find out I'm not? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23381)

PassionFlower 05-01-2012 03:00 AM

I think I'm poly--what if I leave my marriage and find out I'm not?
I'm new here, but not new to the ideas of polyamory. I've been thinking and reading about and talking with my husband about polyamory for the past 3 years. He is definitely monogamous, and only wants to be with me. We've been married 11 years and have three children ages 6, 4, and 2.

He loves me, I know he really loves me. We have worked through a lot of issues in the last few years, and he's changed a lot of things that were making life really hard for me (mostly to do with trying to control how I spend money and my time).

I grew up in a very conservative Christian family, planned that I would get married, have kids, stay home with my family, be happy ever after. Instead I have allowed myself to realize I am bisexual and that I want more than one person, and more than one man. I have been very honest with my husband, and it's been hard. We tried having threesomes, it was a nightmare.

Last year I had a one night stand with two guys after I got very drunk. I told my husband two days later. It was after that that we had the threesomes. Since then, it has become clear to me that there is no way polyamory will work in the context of my marriage. I cannot convince my husband to be polyamorous or to let me be polyamorous.

So I have broken all the rules of both monogamy and polyamory and had a few affairs since January. This has verified that there are other people who are interested in me and who I connect with, but does not really answer the question of whether I can actually live the poly life and whether it's actually right for me. I think what I want is to find a stable partner who I can be poly with, but I honestly don't know how much jealousy I'll have, and I don't know if I'll find someone who can know me as well and love me as much as my husband does.

The affair that I'm having right now is with a man (who is also married and his partner doesn't know--let the judgement begin), and while I love him it's becoming obvious that he is not nearly as willing to care for and support me as I am for him. It's making me wonder if perhaps what I have in my marriage is better than leaving and finding out that everyone is pretty much selfish and that real love and care is quite rare-I don't know if it is.

So what I'm wondering is, has anyone left a monogamous marriage, thinking they were poly, but not having the experience to know for sure? How has that turned out? Have you found stable, loving relationships? Does anyone wish they had stayed in their original marriage?

I know that other people's lives don't offer any guarantee for mine, but I need some support. I've been thinking of leaving for a long time, but each time it seems I am on my way out, my husband's love seems to hold me here. Thanks.

carguy 05-01-2012 03:46 AM

It sounds to me like there are other issues other than your husband not allowing you to have relationships that he knows of. It's great that your husband loves you, but you never said what you're getting out of the relationship or that you love him. If you're not in love with him, are you having these affairs to make up for what you're missing in the marriage? Personally I would rather have my spouse want to end a relationship (even if I love them) rather than have them cheat on me continuously.

nycindie 05-01-2012 06:39 AM

It sounds like you are in pain and keeping a lot of chaos in your life as a way to avoid that pain. I think that, before you make any radical life-altering decisions about your marriage, you need to get into therapy and build your self-esteem, as well as to start unraveling why you feel the need to cheat, and why your relationship with your husband has devolved in such a way. A caring but objective third party can guide you in making better choices that do not hurt yourself and the ones you love.

polyq4 05-01-2012 11:20 AM

I think you need to leave the relationship. You have broken the basic premise of a loving relationship whether it be poly or mono , namely trust. You are not happy in the relationship you have said as much. You find your husband controlling. Although he has been working on that . The only way your relationship is going to survive is if you are brutally honest with your husband, but of course if you are it is just as likely to dis-integrate.

I think we all have to be happy with ourselves, no matter how hard we try in a relationship if we are not happy with ourself we won't be happy with the rest.

And I know that some people here will flame me for saying this, but you have tried to leave numerous times and this is an indicator that you are ready to go. I would rather have a separated husband who is still a friend then one where it becomes a total fight after.

dingedheart 05-01-2012 04:19 PM

I know one person who regrets her decision or choices very very much. Daily I'm told. So yes it happens and not just poly vs mono ...but in lots of divorces and break up. Grass being greener on the other side only to find out it's actually worse.

But if you've wanted out for a long time....and keep acting in ways which would be destructive ( drunken tag team, recent affair ) to the relationship why not just rip the band aid off and get it over with. This seems like you want to push him to leave you.

mostlyclueless 05-01-2012 04:33 PM

I am not an expert and have plenty of my own problems, but what you describe here does not sound like polyamory at all.

You mention your kids in the first sentence and then the rest of the post is about you and your feelings. What you do in your marriage affects your kids. You need to put them first. Whether that means staying with your husband or not is not something we can tell you. Get counseling.

CielDuMatin 05-01-2012 05:19 PM

I agree with the others, here. The way you are describing your marriage it sounds like it is broken. I think your priority right now should be to get that sorted out as two individuals, and to set yourself up with your life the way you want it, and THEN work on future relationships, rather than trying to decide whether you want to "trade up" while you're in your current relationship.

MOST poly folk who aren't interested in cheating more than likely wouldn't even consider you relationship material until you have got your marriage sorted out (either fixed or ended), because they don't want the drama of being around during a marriage break-up. Also, it adds a whole new set of distractions to the things you and your husband need to get done.

It sounds like from what you wrote that you feel like you have to be with someone, and that being on your own isn't an option - why do you feel that way?

SNeacail 05-01-2012 06:08 PM


Originally Posted by PassionFlower (Post 134472)
The affair that I'm having right now is with a man (who is also married and his partner doesn't know--let the judgement begin), and while I love him it's becoming obvious that he is not nearly as willing to care for and support me as I am for him.

So your affairs are to find a replacement for your husband that will care for and support you? You complain about your husband being controlling, yet you are looking for someone else to take care of you. Learn how to SUPPORT AND CARE FOR YOURSELF! You would be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself when you learn how to be self sufficient.


So I have broken all the rules of both monogamy and polyamory and had a few affairs since January. This has verified that there are other people who are interested in me and who I connect with
This is a VERY sad statement. That only through your affairs did you realize that people can be interested in you. Please, please, please seek the help of a therapist.

PassionFlower 05-01-2012 08:54 PM

Just to be clear, if I am going to continue the marriage I will not continue having affairs. And I know why I have had affairs in the past few months. I tried honesty as a way to get two things that I want: to be with my husband and to be with other people. Most people don't go this route. They just cheat. Honesty didn't work out very well, and since I'm changing all my values anyway (I was brought up to believe that homosexuality is wrong, wrong, wrong and of course that heterosexual monogamy is the only way to go) why not examine the value of honesty (also integral to 'christian values'). What we value largely depends on the culture we are raised in: you can find cultures that value lying in certain circumstances. So I tried lying to see if it would work for me. Bottom line: it doesn't. I feel I have now exhausted my options for trying to stay in the marriage and have other lovers (affairs do not fall under the nice religious definition of polyamory that you all ascribe to, but they are a reality of the human desire for other lovers in the way our culture is structured. And while honesty is a basic premise of polyamory, so is not breaking relationships--which I have been trying, very hard, not to do. I don't think any of us on here are perfect--and what does being perfect mean anyway?).

As far as my kids go, I did not leave the marriage 3-4 years ago when my husband was very controlling because I believed it would be awful for the kids, and I was pregnant. I have struggled with the idea of a broken family. I don't want my kids to be messed up. But I also wonder if I am doing them a disservice staying in the marriage, and also if I value other choices than monogamy, perhaps it might even be better for them to see that there are other ways of living.

As far as being on my own, it seems to me there are very few people who actually want and plan to live life without partners or lovers. I know I can be on my own, and I will be okay. I know that if I leave I have to acknowledge that this may be my life. But if I knew for sure I would be alone for the rest of my life would I choose to leave? No. What we have is better than not being with anyone. If I knew for sure that I would find someone(s) to love and care for who could also love and care for me, in the context of having multiple lovers, then I would definitely leave. But what I have is the unknown.

I get it that you don't know me, and it's easy to judge a situation. I have been in therapy for the last few years, struggling with my marriage and working on my own issues. I talked to my therapist about trying lying. I am an intelligent woman, and I think and consider things very deeply, and am very aware of the possible factors underlying my feelings and actions. But no one can say for sure what are the true reasons--I take guesses, other people can take guesses, but there is no scientific method to draw a straight line from something in the past to something now. I try to be authentic and genuine, but I am very aware that it is very easy to lie to oneself for convenience, or because there is some way I 'should' be or feel.

Having affairs was not a way to jeopardize my marriage. Some people actually recommend having someone else before you leave a marriage, but that is not what I've been doing. I am moving an ocean away from where this lover lives in a few weeks, so my contact will be limited. I was a virgin when I got married. The person I was in love with before I met my husband rejected me sexually (good old christian values). I know that I am a lovable person, I have many friends. I also know that I am not 'normal.' I have limited experience with sexual relationships, but I love sex and intimacy. There is a lot more going on here than 'low self esteem.'

If anyone has any input on people who thought they were poly while in a monogamous relationship and left that relationship and how it worked out, I would be very interested to hear. Also, some grace would be nice. There are a lot of monogamous people out there who don't understand polyamory, and would be very quick to judge you, but that doesn't mean they're right. Thanks.

dingedheart 05-01-2012 09:48 PM

Who recommends having somebody before leaving a marriage? Does that mean having an affair? Or some sort of test run? Or the plan b guy? I don't get it ?

Have you explain all this to your husband? You should invite him to read this thread.

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