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-   -   Married so long, just friends? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24309)

IrisAwakened 05-30-2012 11:09 PM

Married so long, just friends?
Let me just start by saying how much I have appreciated this site throughout my poly journey! You guys have always been there for me, and whenever I have an issue I can look it up and feel better. I only ever write when I feel the need to have support for my issue. Right now I am feel confused and alone, so here we go!

Where to start... hm. Last year I brought poly up to my husband, who, in time accepted it and now seems to embrace it (although he has yet to find a partner of his own, he is very open to having one). I have felt so much happier in being loved by more than one person, I can't even explain the fulfillment I have discovered in this. My issue is that I worry about my marriage now. I love my husband, but that love has turned into more of a familial love. I care for him and we support each other. But our sex life is pretty non-existent and we are each pretty busy with our own things that we don't spend much time together anymore. More like roommates who are raising kids together, who love each other as best friends. I can go to him with anything, he is always there for me, and me for him.

Last week I noticed how tough this might be on him. I felt that he deserved someone better, someone monogamous, someone who actually wants to have sex with him (I really don't want that anymore). When I mentioned that I thought that I didn't deserve him, he denied. But when I asked "So you are fine with not having sex with me anymore? So you don't mind that we hardly see each other? So, would it be alright if we continued our marriage like this, more of best friends than lovers?" He wasn't for that at all! I don't even think he noticed the problem until I outlined it.

I guess what I am hoping for is some insight into others' marriages and how they changed in time. We have been married for 7 years. Is this normal to feel more like friends, for the passion to be gone? Or is there something very wrong in our relationship? Would we be better off as friends at this point?

Thank you for your support, you guys rock!

PolyInNJ 05-31-2012 03:06 AM

My ex and I ended up splitting because of this very issue... but mostly because my ex is VERY mono and couldn't conceive of being in a relationship where there were other relationships allowed. We were married for 13 years when we decided to split, and our divorce was final last November (after technically 15 years of marriage). We do not have children. The split was VERY amicable, and he is still my best friend, we just do not live together anymore (and in fact, he moved clear across the country).

There were other factors as well (I am also much happier now that I am no longer financially tied to him), but the main one was that we basically were in a sexless marriage for almost the entire duration of our time together. I couldn't live like that any longer.

PinkDragon 05-31-2012 05:25 AM

Regardless of the poly lifestyle, I would think that perhaps you two need to reconnect. I'm totally new to this whole thing, but what I understand about polyamory is that we aren't replacing a love but adding a love, to put it simply.

I wonder, were you already drifting apart? Had you already stopped being intimate? Did you desire your husband sexually even six months ago? Are you spending so much time focusing on the other relationships you have that you've forgotten to continue support of the one you already had? Please don't think that I'm attacking you, I'm not; these are just thoughts that came to mind as I read your post.

As for what is "normal" in a relationship, psychology tells us that after the blush of the honeymoon period that the frequency of sex falls off and eventually evens out to a frequency that suits both parties (I'm working with facts about monogamous couples). My husband and I are still intimate at least 4 times a week after seven years of marriage. There are times that falls off, like if one of us is sick, but for the most part, we're still honeymooning.

Everyone is different, so what's "normal" for one couple won't be for another.

dingedheart 05-31-2012 07:00 PM

Do you have different sex drives ...or is it you've lost all sexual attraction for him? Does he want to have sex with you....even after telling him that?

I agree with you he deserves more .... a roommate to split expense with no thank you did that for awhile. I admire your honesty I bet he did as well. At least he can now plan for his life.

How old are your kids.

Anneintherain 06-01-2012 01:33 AM

PinkDragon has a lot of good questions.
Really, you may not have even noticed you didn't have as much of a sexual connection before you started seeing somebody else, we get oblivious sometimes. What sorts of things do you think help keep you from wanting to have sex with your husband? I know lots of times I may be in the mood and if Adam says or does the wrong thing (which for me happens to be totally oblivious that I want to have sex with him) my interest in being sexual can disappear in the blink of an eye. So I wonder if you do want to sometimes and chores/life/problems douse your libido, or if you just never even think of him as a sexual option

Obviously if it's the latter, maybe you do want to think about if this relationship is right for you and you were looking at poly as a way to get something you weren't getting in your marriage without trying to nurture it there first. I notice in your post you seem to have gone right to "you deserve better than me" instead of "hmm how can I reignite the spark (assuming you did have a spark) we used to have"

Sex with a non live in partner can stay great for longer I think - there are no chores, there are no arguments about bills (generally) and so a relationship can seem almost perfect. Are you letting that make you compare your sex life with your husband with your new partner? Do you find it pointless to have sex with your husband because it comes with the baggage of 7 years? (I've been with my husband 8 years, for perspective - if he was interested, I'd have sex with him 5-6 days a week, about as frequently as I wanted to when I met him.)

So does it bother you, or him that you're not having sex?

If so, do you think it's lazy to not be working on having sex with your husband and letting another relationship distract you?

Are you being passive aggressive by not working on that part of your relationship and then projecting on him that he must want to leave you for a mono partner, so the onus is on him to tell you if he's not happy with the platonic roommate thing? Too scared to admit it if you're the one who is not interested in staying together?

Why the hell are you not making time for each other? Stop taking each other for granted ok? ;) Laziness in regards to relationships don't work so well in poly

Obviously we don't know if you'd be better off as just friends. But if you're not working for something better than that, that's all you're going to get out of your relationship.

newtoday 06-01-2012 03:56 AM

There's a lot of great thoughts and points of view noted on the other replies however I want to offer a different perspective.

Just random thoughts from experience and from what I've read on here. I don't expect you to answer my questions, just food for personal thought and reflection.

So you are in love with your husband and have no desire for him yet he desires you, you desire another. Does that hurt your husband or does he feel rejected by you?

You are enjoying another man now. And if your husband does the same and falls in love with that other woman, would you be okay with that? Would you still feel so secure in your roommate style of marriage? You can control what you do and feel but you have no control over his circumstance. Are you comfortable with that?

How about if the relationship between you and your other guy ended and yet your husband was still deeply engaged in his? Would you feel envy, jealousy, resentment? I guess those are things you wouldn't know until they happened.

The reason I state these things is that I have read so often about people who embrace poly when it is them that are enjoying the benefits of it. When something ends with the object of their affection yet a partner continues, especially with NRE, that embracing of poly becomes a little less tight. Envy, jealousy, inecurities, lonliness sets in.

So then you decide to "fix" your marriage. Regain what you had in the beginning, to secure the bond for the sake of the family. Problem is, it's much more complicated once another heart has entered the picture. And do you think he would question your motives in that? (You didn't want me but now you don't want anyone else to have me either, hence the sudden interest?). Or maybe he's just the average man who won't ask why, but when and where. :p (sorry guys, no offense intended, please!)

All of the responses on your thread are coming from combined experiences. Consider those. Perhaps deep down you do want to leave but won't for the sake of the children and sanctity of the family unit, maybe for financial reasons or lifestyle. Or maybe you can live with the uncertainty of sending your husband into the arms of another in order to have a full life.

I had the courage to leave a sexless marriage to find complete happiness. My bf had the commitment to stay in one for a long time to preserve the love they did have. Neither path was easy and has led us to each other. Everyone finds their own path. Just make sure that you examine the possible outcomes first and if you can live with them.

And don't wait....if you truely love your husband and you haven't lost total interest in sex, then try to get that back with him as well. Doesn't he deserve that part of you too?

learner 06-01-2012 09:15 PM

I am in a similar situation to you (fairly new relationship, married for 10 years), and my advice is to not be too hard on yourselves. Expect there to be differences between your relationship with your partner and your relationship with your husband - your new relationship doesn't have the encumbrances of day-to-day domestic issues and is exciting and unfamiliar.

Enjoy and appreciate what you have with your husband, and make time to reconnect, talk, make plans for the future etc. Make sure that your new relationship is working out for all three of you by checking in and making sure your husband is alright with the way things are - a poly relationship is exactly the same as a mono relationship in the sense that compromise and being aware of the other person's feelings need to be top of the agenda.

As far as my own situation goes, my husband and I have reached a new level of openness and depth in our relationship. He now has his own girlfriend, although their relationship is considerably less involved than mine with my boyfriend, and her existence makes me a lot happier (and obviously him as well :)). I really appreciate the qualities he has and have made that clear to him, and he knows how much I appreciate both my relationship with him and his acceptance of my relationship with my boyfriend.

Good luck with everything!

IrisAwakened 06-02-2012 11:39 AM

Thank you for your thoughtful responses! You all have given me so much to consider :)

Our sexual disconnect occurred before poly, although sleeping with other men did nothing for my libido with my husband. We used to have a slamming sex life, before kiddos (who are 3 and 5). Since my second was born, things started to go down. About two years after I was experiencing lots of pain and bleeding anytime we engaged in sex. I thought there was something physically wrong with me, so I went and got checked out, ultrasounds and everything. Come to realize, its because I am not turned on with him anymore. I have made an appointment to talk with a poly friendly therapist who specializes in sex therapy, which I think is going to be very helpful with this.

I guess part of the "hes better off without me" excuse is escape. I do tend to escape, or quit, when things seem insurmountable. I do try to keep things like that in mind. I wouldn't make a huge choice like divorce without months and maybe years of thought and work with my husband. He still loves me and wants to fix things, I would never quit on him as long as he is willing to work on it. He is my best friend, and I do love him, I am just not sure that it is in the same manner as I started with. Our love in the beginning was amazing, we got engaged right off and married the next year. Now I realize that we should have waited to have children, enjoyed each other more. Children added stress, but mostly they inhibit any excitement in life. We don't have much money, so we can't afford babysitters, or to do much outside of the house. I think if we could spend time alone doing things, exploring life, together, it would be very healthy for our relationship.

Part of me wants the easy out, but really, it wouldn't be that easy, things would get much harder. The biggest thing that keeps me from doing that is my children. I would hate to ruin things for them.

I guess I just wanted to hear about other people's marriages, to see if it was normal to feel this disconnect at this point, or if there is something wrong with our relationship. From what I gather, disconnect happens to everyone, but it doesn't have to and you have to work to keep it at bay.

JaneQSmythe 06-02-2012 05:56 PM


Originally Posted by IrisAwakened (Post 138157)
I guess I just wanted to hear about other people's marriages, to see if it was normal to feel this disconnect at this point, or if there is something wrong with our relationship. From what I gather, disconnect happens to everyone, but it doesn't have to and you have to work to keep it at bay.

I just posted a LONG response in another thread that seems to fit here as well:

Short version - hubs and I have always had differing sex drives, which have diverged over time BUT (to quote myself from that post) "For those of us whose primary "love language" is NOT physical affection a mismatch in sex drives is a minor hurdle to overcome. Not much different, in my mind, than couples who differ over how to handle money (a cheapskate married to a spendthrift), or who come from different religious backgrounds. You talk about it, you work on it, you come up with creative solutions - in the meantime you are living your lives and loving each other."

So, part of it depends on how important that "sexual connection" is to the two of you in your marriage.


IrisAwakened 06-02-2012 06:45 PM

JaneQ- Thank you for your insights! Although I don't think that differing sex drives/love languages is in effect here, I like that insight. I hadn't stopped to think about my need for physical affection as a love language. It makes a lot of sense and makes me feel less needy.

My husband and I have never had issues with sex before my son was born, 3 years ago. We were both very interested in sex with each other, even after the birth of my daughter 2 years before that. I think that our lack of sex is a symptom of a larger issue, ie our love morphing into something more familial-ish and less passionate. I would be fine staying in this marriage as it is, but I feel that it would be selfish of me. I am gone 3 nights of the week, i work all day and then I even come home to work on my business. My husband and I get one night together, at best. I don't have sex with him (although I get plenty of awesome love making with my beau). What kind of marriage is that for him? He hasn't put any energy into finding a girlfriend. He is interested, but not driven to find love outside of our marriage. He is too embarrassed to admit he is poly to his crushes. As much as it would soothe me to know he is getting loving on the side, I respect that he just isn't ready for that like I was a year ago.

He keeps telling me that he is happy, although he admits that he would like to have sex more and see me more. To me, this spells passive discontent, he isn't happy but would rather ignore the problems in fear of making things worse. From everything that I have read, this is the breeding ground for divorce. If it were just us two, no children, divorce might have happened by now. But I really don't want to split the family up even more than it already is (as I am gone half the week). I think that is my major reason for staying married. I relish the thought of a trial separation, but I understand that there is much more thought to go into something like that, much more talking that needs to happen between my husband and me.

I am going to talk to him tonight, which is sometimes like pulling teeth. He used to open up to me about everything, but since poly he is shut so tight, he admits that he doesn't even know what he feels half the time. Larger issues than sex drive, right? I think I have caught it before it became hopeless, but there is still a long road until I will know anything.

I never thought it would come to this point.

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