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-   -   Mono trying to understand Poly (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24535)

msue 06-08-2012 03:33 PM

Mono trying to understand Poly
 
I've been married 18yrs, have 3 wonderful kids...recently within the past 6 months my spouse has fallen in love with another. My spouse says that he doesn't love me any less than when he first fell in love. I have been raised to believe One Man One Woman, but now what I am experiencing is totally opposite.

I love him with all my heart and I am trying to understand this polyamory lifestyle as well. It is very hard to understand how a person can love 2 people at the same time. In the same breath, the lady he has fallen for doesn't believe that he can love me and her at the same time. I don't want to lose our marriage so I am trying to understand this lifestyle.

Can anyone help?

hyperskeptic 06-08-2012 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by msue (Post 138895)
I've been married 18yrs, have 3 wonderful kids...recently within the past 6 months my spouse has fallen in love with another. My spouse says that he doesn't love me any less than when he first fell in love. I have been raised to believe One Man One Woman, but now what I am experiencing is totally opposite.

I love him with all my heart and I am trying to understand this polyamory lifestyle as well. It is very hard to understand how a person can love 2 people at the same time. In the same breath, the lady he has fallen for doesn't believe that he can love me and her at the same time. I don't want to lose our marriage so I am trying to understand this lifestyle.

Can anyone help?

My wife and I had been married nearly 18 years when she brought up the possibility of polyamory . . . but before she had gotten involved with anyone. Now, we have a shared understanding of how we can have intimate relationships with others while we maintain our relationship with one another and continue to raise (and dote upon) our children.

I can assure you it can work out, if there's a shared understanding of intentions and boundaries going in, not just between the existing couple, but with possible others as well.

It's all well and good for your husband to have "fallen for" someone - it happens all the time.What you and he and she actually do is quite another matter.

The intense feelings he has for her are not imperatives: he is not obligated to follow through on them, nor are you obligated to let him.

Instead, each of you has to come to a conscious, deliberate decision about how you will live and relate to others. You and your husband need to talk it out, come to an explicit agreement, and he needs to keep his feelings in perspective.

Coming to an agreement may mean, in the end, that your husband can explore a relationship with the woman he's fallen for. But it could equally well mean that he has to let go of her.

Your post suggests the other woman is monogamous, too. This bodes ill for any really workable poly agreement among you!

I encourage you to read widely in the forum. Many, many people have come here seeking advice for situations very much like what you describe . . . and not all of it is pushing poly on people.

As wonderful as it can be, there are times and circumstances in which polyamory is actually the wrong way to go.

There are also many, many threads and posts about relationships in which one partner is monogamous while the other is polyamorous.

ThatGirlInGray 06-08-2012 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by msue (Post 138895)
It is very hard to understand how a person can love 2 people at the same time.

Is it? One of the most common responses to this sentiment is: Did you stop loving the child(ren) you already had when the next one came along? Of course not. Yes, the love between family members and within friendships is different than romantic love, but most people readily accept that human beings can love many family members, friends, etc. Is it really such a stretch of the imagination, then, to see how a person could romantically love 2 (or more) people at the same time?

However, just because something is (or becomes) understandable doesn't mean you have to allow or accept it in your personal relationships. I can totally understand being shocked, scared, or whatever else you're feeling. As you said, this is different from anything you've experienced before. While loving 2 people can be easy, dealing with time management and making sure everyone's needs are being met can be hard. A relationship between 2 people can be difficult- more people involved can make it even MORE difficult.

Because there are so many ways to be poly, there isn't going to be one "lifestyle" to understand. You might want to head over to the Blogs section to read some of the various ways people successfully "do" poly. And if you have specific questions about any certain aspect, looking at the "Tag Search" might help. You could look at everything tagged for "time management", for example, or "jealousy", or "mono/poly", or what have you.

I think it's great that you're willing to try to understand where he's coming from and I wish you luck!

kdt26417 06-08-2012 09:38 PM

Re (from msue, Post #1):
Quote:

"In the same breath, the lady he has fallen for doesn't believe that he can love me and her at the same time."
This concerns me. The one thing this should not become is a contest where only one lady walks away with "the prize" (the man). Tell him about your fears that you might get "left behind" in this situation.

That having been said, polyamory has been known to work when everyone on board is willing to share. It's a group endeavor.

I hope your situation works out to the benefit of all concerned.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.

TraciJO 06-09-2012 03:57 PM

You're not alone
 
My husband and I have been together for over 17 years and we have two small children. A few months ago, through a series of events, I came to realize that I am poly. For years, I felt something missing, but I never knew what. Now I know. I brought it up to my husband and his initial reaction was much like yours: confusion, fear, hurt, anger. However, through LOTS of discussion, reading posts on this site (both of us are here on the site), and marriage counseling, we have come to an agreement that I am allowed to explore a relationship outside of our marriage. He is firm in his belief that he is mono, so we are going to try to make this mono/poly relationship work. It's been the most stressful 2 months of our lives and we have been on the brink of divorce a few times, but so far, we are hanging in there. Some days he's at peace with the idea, and days like today, he's resentful, jealous and hurt and is sure that I want an outside relationship because he's "not enough" for me.

I think the biggest hurdle for him has been coming to understand how I could love him AND someone else at the same time. I struggle with guilt because I don't want to hurt him and I feel responsible for turning our lives upside down, but at the same time, it's a relief that I have finally "come out" with my true feelings. It's been a struggle, and will likely continue to be for a while, but I do have confidence that we WILL get through this together - and that our marriage will survive. We love each other madly, and cannot imagine lives without one another. It's worth the effort to try to work this out - for us and for our kids.

Being new to this, the best advice that I could give is to read as much as you can about polyamory with an open mind. Our society has taught us that monomogy is the ONLY way, and this is the barrier we must break through. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce, many times due to infidelity. Why break up a family if there is another way?

My husband and I are desperately trying to negotiate a compromise where we can keep our marriage (and family) together, and get both of our needs met. For me, this means an outside relationship with LOTS of limits (at first anyway). For him, this means that I give him tons of reassurance with affection, sex, and telling him the many reasons why I love him over and over again. It takes a big effort on both of our parts, but we get a little bit better every day.

If you and your husband still truly love each other, it's worth it to explore this lifestyle. If divorce is your only other option, you've got nothing to lose at this point.

Please know that you are not alone and that there is a way to make this work if you both truly want it.

msue 06-11-2012 03:07 AM

Yes we have been on the brink of divorce a few times...I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down. I feel now that maybe we weren't meant to be but then there are times when I feel completely at one with him. It's just so hard to wrap my head around it and to let go of the fear, anger and jealousy.

CielDuMatin 06-11-2012 03:15 AM

muse, most of what you have written sounds a lot like many people's first experiences with poly. There are some who are lucky enough to know from an early age that what they wanted wasn't monogamy, but the rest of us kind of went along wit it because we felt that there was no other way.

So the stuff you are talking about is quite, quite normal. The only "red flag" is the part about his other lady not accepting you in his life. That is going to cause massive troubles for you while trying to work this out, because you aren't really all working for the same set of goals.

If she insists on keeping this viewpoint, then poly between the three of you just plain isn't going to work.

dingedheart 06-11-2012 08:05 AM

Is this the result of you finding out about an affair? Has he cheated in the past?


Who's idea is this yours or his?

As a couple have you done much reading or research here or any other sites or sources ?

msue 06-11-2012 04:39 PM

We "both"have cheated in the past...no innocence here...but we always found a way to reconnect and try again. This time, when he cheated, he fell in love...and he wanted to be honest with me...but at the same time initially thought that he didn't love me. Then after about a month, came to me and said that he realized that he was still in love with me, but he also loved her. We tried doing the Open Marriage...I was a mess everytime he went to see her, I never bothered trying to find a "friend" to talk to either...so it ate me up inside. So now we are at this juncture...polyamory, will it work or not.

I guess it could work, but I am not so sure I am able to get over my fear and jealousy...so I am trying to be open but at the same time just confused...:(

SNeacail 06-11-2012 05:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by msue (Post 138895)
In the same breath, the lady he has fallen for doesn't believe that he can love me and her at the same time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by msue (Post 139276)
I guess it could work, but I am not so sure I am able to get over my fear and jealousy...so I am trying to be open but at the same time just confused...:(

I would think that these two things are related. I don't think I would ever be comfortable having my husband see someone who didn't support my place in his life. Do a tag search on "jealousy", "foundation", "boundaries" and there may be a few others that catch your eye. Recovering trust after an affair is extremely difficult, and even harder if that person is still in the picture. You and your husband have a LOT of work to do on your relationship, it sounds like there are years of issues to address and work through. Poly is not something that works well when the primary relationship is faltering, you need a strong foundation.

Jealousy and fear rears it's head even in the most die hard poly people, so in this you are not alone. Use it as a tool, why are your jealous? What are you afraid of? What does he have to do to ease those fears? What do you need from him? etc.


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