Whats the right thing?
I'll make a long story short here.
A few years ago we began hanging out with another couple, they were swingers and they knew we were poly.
As we spent more time with them it became obvious we all had feelings for each other.
The guys were just good friends, no guy guy contact the girls on the otherhand would play from time to time.
Along the way the male of the other couple, even though being very much in love with my wife, would become very possessive of his wife.
Normally not caring about my feelings or my wifes until he came down from his jealous fit.
We all along have off and on swapped wives, she would stay a couple days with me then we would all be back together on sat and sun.
In this time my wife spent the time with him.
Sometimes things went nice and smooth other times, he would be very possessive, controlling and jealous.
This was not an issue for the first 6 months. During this 6 month period we all discussed everything and gave all involved "permission" to let our feelings go and "fall in love".
He now wants to break it all off and be just friends.
My wife loves him, I love his wife.
But he wants her (his wife) to be solely his.
This is devastating to us.
We didn't completely let the feelings manifest themselves until all agreed it was fine to do so.
I personally feel very betrayed as does his wife. My wife just seems numb.
What do we do? Am I wrong feeling betrayed?
I think your response is pretty natural, but I don't know that there is much you can do. You can refuse to be "just friends" with them or you can be friends and deal with the issues at hand.
What does his wife want to do? Is she going to be satisfied going back to being just friends? How is their marriage? Has he sought help to overcome his jealousy or deal with his possessive behavior?
I would think a good first step would be for his wife to make it clear to him, in no uncertain terms, that she is not "his". She is not anybody's but her own. He does not control her, he does not own her, he does not get to decide out of nowhere to rock her world upside down. If he was having issues, he needed to talk to her and to you and your wife.
It sounds like he could have some underlying insecurities on top of the possessive behaviors (or maybe that's the cause of them). Has he ever sought counseling to help him deal with it?
What do you want to do? What does she (his wife) want to do? Has he been able to communicate what he is uncomfortable with? It sounds like you all just need to talk it through, and if he really isn't comfortable having a poly relationship, then his wife has the option to either accept that and go back to things as they were or to leave the relationship with him to pursue one with you/find a new partner. You and your wife have to decide whether or not you could continue having a friendship with them if they opt out of poly or if you would need to separate completely with them.
I bet your wife is numb. I'd be out of my freaking mind. I'd feel like, when all is said and done, I was lied to, deceived. When you're in a relationship, you can see people's discomforts and insecurities, and you make a choice to either give up or patiently work through them. But if you committed to working through them, you had to believe there was good reason...
I'm so sorry you've been hurt, both of you. Please, don't blame yourselves for someone else quitting. Don't feel like, "I wasn't enough" or "we weren't enough." Some people just can't do it.
His wife and I have fallen hard for each other.
He was like this in the beginning with my wife, and bounces to and from it depending on circumstances.
The most unusual thing is that we are much more compatible with the opposites spouse.
His wife and I and him and my wife.
When things are good they are great!
He is the only one that wants just friends between all of us.
I really don't think his wife and I could do it. We are both VERY sexual.
The other 2 could take it or leave it and they have always been like that.
I want to do anything possible to keep it together, his wife the same, my wife the same.
He is the only one saying "I can't handle it" and wanting to throw in the towel.
Well, can't force it. You have to go at the speed of the slowest.
And you are all in relationship with each other regardless of the sex configurations. Could think about a break on sex -- the body bucket. A month? To give space/time for good heart/mind bucket work.
Just to give him space to think it out, regroup, and really see where he's at. All of you really -- where you all at with this announced new need from one corner? How's the quad of friends (regardless of lover configs) gonna handle this bump in the road?
If he wants to check out on sex and be friends only -- discuss how to be good exes then. Deal with the feelings and disappointments. Heal. Closure.
And then if other partners want to reconfigure post break up with him as lover and now him just as friend -- how to best process this new reconfig at a pace all can deal with.
Whether v's or triad's or n's or z's or what have you.... it's poly math.
ALL the people are still in relationship with each other even if he's checking out of beds. If this is tapering down, the season for THIS config seems over... how can you taper so all 4 get a smooth landing back in friend space? And whatever the new config might be?
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Not all are lifers -- like lifer-lovers.
But you can try to be good friends in life with soul buckets intact and in right relationship with each other even if all the mind, body, heart buckets bear some sloshing about during transitions. Support each other through this.
Bucket manage, and bucket manage well.
I realise it's really hard for the other three of you, and I understand that you feel betrayed.
But I don't think there was any malice on his part. I think he was confident he could do it, and then found out he couldn't.
I would urge you to work on it together. See what makes him insecure or jealous about "sharing" his wife. See if there are things she could do that would make him feel better about it.
As much as she must feel pushed away by his attitude, she might need to give him more attention and affection to help him through.
I know that from you're point of view, he's the party pooper and you're not too happy with him. But I hope this won't turn into an "us vs him" kind of situation. In cases like this, it's important to reinforce the relationships. Get together and make it clear you want to work through this. But also make it clear you don't want to just go back to being friends. You want to give the whole thing a fair try.
Is he fine with "sharing" his wife with your wife, or does he have problems with it too?
I think he needs to feel confident that he's not going to lose his wife over it. Only then can he start being comfortable with the idea, as he was hoping he would be.
I think his point of view here would be extremely interesting. Any way he can share it?
I would be inclined to walk away, but then I'm not one for waiting around for people who show no desire to change. By the sounds of it, he had good intentions going in, but he isn't emotionally mature enough for this kind of relationship. That he didn't realize that going in isn't really something you can fault him for. It doesn't sound like he was lying or leading you on, as it seems like he was on board at the time, and then later couldn't handle it after all. It's not uncommon for people to get into something and realize they're in over their head.
I understand how devastating this is, but it doesn't sound like he's asking for a break, a month off, time to get his act together... he said he wants everyone to break up and go back to being two separate couples. I really don't see that you have any choice?
Really, for you to push it at this point is really just asking for more trouble down the road. He doesn't sound like he's willing to deal with his jealousy, and there's not a thing any of you can do to force him.
The only chance you might have is to talk to his wife and ask if she's actually happy in the marriage, if she's ok with her husband acting like he owns her, and if she's comfortable with this decision. Given that he agreed to allow the love to develop, I feel that he's given up his vote over her relationship with you and your wife. But whether she chooses to give him back his vote, or to leave him, is a choice that she does have.
Failing that, all you can really do is start the mourning process of losing someone you love, and maybe stay away from the swingers next time.
Thank you for all of the responses.
I have found out this has happened to them before only not as big of scale.
They were close with another swing couple. To the point of almost poly, but not quite.
They all still saw others, together and independent.
The husband started having jealous feelings (found out after the fact) and made work excuses to not see them.
The wife didn't really realize it and just believed hubby really was busy.
It made the other couple pull away, a few months after this, we entered the picture.
His wife is quickly become aware of her role as "property" and does not like it.
We are staying out of this part as much as possible until they work those issues out.
We don't discuss it. We still see them alot but don't get involved in the conversation if it comes up on their relationship.
We are still very much up in the air.
He hasn't officially said the friendship thing but has referred to it.
I truly think he is so much in love with my wife he has no idea what to do.
He knows he can't have both but doesn't want to give up either.
Wow! I'm sorry I don't have any answers, but I do truly feel your pain. I'm one year into a similar relationship.
We have not had the "its okay to fall in love" conversation but the "love" word is used quite liberally and its pretty clear that all 4 of us are in this relationship very deeply even though that isn't what we originally intended (started as swingers too). "Love" is a scary word, but we would all at least easily admit we love each other as the best, closest friends we could possibly have.
My husband and I have been together since high school and married 25 years. I've never had a "love" relationship come to an end and sometimes find myself really scared of how much I fear it will hurt if something breaks up this quad relationship. What you are describing is my greatest fear...all it would take is one of the four of us to decide we want out and that will leave three of us deeply hurt. Then what?
I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions beyond those you already have in this thread. Please do keep us updated, though.
I personally believe that you have every right to talk to his wife and be supportive to her. By the sounds of it, it's possible she's in a controlling relationship, in which case she's going to need help and support from people who care about her in order to fix that.
I've never been very good at keeping my nose out of other people's business. I don't tell people what to do, but I make sure they know they have options.
Sadly, it's not uncommon for people to be hypocritically non-monogamous. They want to have multiple partners, but they don't want to extend the same opportunity to those partners. So not cool.
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