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JPSnt 07-03-2012 05:23 AM

New to this and having a hard time
Hi, everyone. My name is John. I'm 44yrs old and live in San Antonio.
This is kind of a long story, so ready yourself!
So, where to begin? lol...at the beginning, I guess.
About a year and a half ago, my wife passed away, unexpectedly. I won't go into too many details here, as that is not what this post is about, but it changed my life.
Flash forward several months, I was feeling sad, lonely and in need of some companionship, so I joined an online dating site with the intention of finding a casual companion for some fun. Nothing serious. I just wanted to find someone to keep me company and to have some intimacy.
And something amazing happened. I met someone who changed my life. She contacted me and proceeded to tell me about her situation. She was in a loveless marriage. She had not been intimate with her husband for over 5yrs, slept in seperate bedrooms and had finally had enough. She informed her husband that she wanted to try Polyamory. It was either that or divorce and she didn't want to break up the family for her kids' sake. She was very upfront about this with me from the beginning and I thought this was perfect for my needs as I wasn't looking for anything serious. Upon our first meeting, we hit it off immediately. It wasn't just a spark, it was a flame! People always talk about love at first sight and so few ever experience it. I know several would label this a rebound relationship, but I'm a realist and I took that possibility into account when we met. But this was different. I reviewed my feelings to make sure they were genuine and not simply the result of my emotional ordeal. They were genuine. I can honestly say that through all my experience over the years, I've never experienced a love like this. So fulfilling in every way. And she felt the same about me. Needless to say, I couldn't imagine not having her in my life ever again. A couple more months down the road, she was casually seeing another guy and at that point I told her I wanted to see her exclusively, knowing full well her original intentions of being poly. She agreed to see me exclusively and the subsequent months were the happiest I've ever known.
Then she dropped the bombshell. We were approaching our 1 year anniversary together and she informed me she felt she had compromised herself by agreeing to be exclusive and wanted to be poly. In fact, she had already begun seeing another guy. My feelings since then have been a mixture of hurt, anger, jealousy and anxiety. So many emotions.
I love her more than anything in the world and would do anything for her. She made it clear she still loves me and doesn't want to lose me. I didn't issue any ultimatums as I would never try to hurt her or put her in that position.
I went into denial mode, trying to convince myself it wasn't happening, telling her I didn't want to know, but that only works for so long. I was still experiencing tremendous anxiety and didn't know how to deal with it. I thought several times about simply stepping aside and told her so as the last thing I wanted to do was poison our relationship with my inability to adapt. I was also very angry with her about the fact she did all of this without discussing it with me first. I felt betrayed and tremendously hurt. I told her so, but essentially got the impression I was supposed to deal with it. That my inability to adapt was my fault, not hers.
I began to read up on Polyamoury, surfed the forums and read about the experiences of others. I was starting to open myself to her new lifestyle. I was willing to listen and to communicate openly, both about her and her new partner. I told her this a couple weeks ago and then she went on a vacation with her family. I felt the burden easing a bit and wasn't experiencing so much anxiety. I decided I wanted to meet her new partner and she said they were both open to that. So she returns and we're feeling better about this. Tonite, she tells me she's going out with her partner. This is the first time she's communicated this with me and I'm feeling better about it. Then, on a hunch, I ask her if she's going to spend the night with him. She asks me if I mean if she's going to have sex with him and she says yes. Another bombshell. Another thing not discussed beforehand. I get upset and tell her so, she informs me they've been intimate for a few weeks now. I had my suspicions, but to hear it hurts so much.
I'm having such a hard time with this. I acknowledge all of my fears, doubts, anger, hurt. All of those emotions. I want to give her the compersion she so dearly wants. I want to be able to give her the happiness she wants but I also want to be happy. I want to learn how to cope with this and to rationally deal with all of these emotions and move on to a healthy, happy relationship. I'm trying to be honest with myself and her about my feelings. I'm willing to work on this and not bury my head in the sand. I just don't know how to go about it. I don't know if I'm truly hard-wired for monogamy. I don't know if I'll be able to love someone with the same veracity that I love her. How do I do this?

GalaGirl 07-03-2012 05:47 AM


I'm sorry you are hurt though. You are right to be upset because she's witholding information from you that can affect your physical health. She's making decision without including you in the process.

I wrote this in response to a thread similar thread about a partner plunging onward without consult listing some rights and responsibilities.

If she's new to poly, she may not be acting with malice, but you guys need to get the rights and responsibilities to each other down and get with it on the communication.

So play ball. Try to chill on the upset and not blast her with it (you have every right to be mad but it just sidetracks the convo elsewhere into a blackhole of energy waste.)
  • You hold up YOUR responsibility to know and state your needs, wants and limits.
  • You give her HER right to constructive feedback (positive or negative. Critique, not criticism.)

state your needs, wants:

Praise the heads up for going on the date before the date happened. That part was good. You need to know the heads up before it happens and there she delivered. Yay. You felt important to her and valued and respected as one of her partners. Because of that you could let go of anxiety and open yourself up to feeling happy for her on her date. Yay compersion. Yay for all. Nobody caught off guard. This is kindness to partner.

constructive feedback :

Not as yay on the sex news delivery. That came after the fact. You need to know BEFORE. Esp sex health info because that affects your own sex health. When she sleeps with someone, you are sleeping with them too. So... play ball and play fair here. Does she find this request reasonable? To tell before hand? Because when she does not tell before hand you feel unimportant to her and not valued as a partner. Totally caught off guard, and now worried about sex health. Not nice feeling. This is not kindness to partner.

And see where it goes.


JPSnt 07-03-2012 05:58 AM

Hi, and thanks, Gala.
I need to clarify that this isn't just her fault as I was complicit as well. I initially told her I didn't want to know and have to accept the consequences of that.
We have talked about her initial venture into this lifestyle and how she approached it and, after we spoke as well has her reading others' experiences where this happened, she finally realized she went about it the wrong way.
I know for a fact she didn't do it out of malice. She's a very caring, loving person and doesn't have a malicious bone in her body. I just don't think she truly understands how this has affected me.
One of the big problems I had about tonite was that she did this knowing she and I would be together intimately tomorrow. It feels unclean, if you understand what I'm referring to. She is very careful and did ask him to get tested, so I'm not worried about diseases.
We'll be spending the day together tomorrow and I told her we needed to finally discuss this in length and to also put into place some guidelines.
My primary problem right now is just dealing with all of these emotions and how to cope with them. I love her and want to give her the happiness and freedom she desires. But how am I going to be happy knowing I'm sacrificing my needs? Do I try poly or stay poly/mono? So many questions. I haven't been this insecure in such a long, long time.

GalaGirl 07-03-2012 06:12 AM

Remind her of her great appeal for you then...


She was very upfront about this with me from the beginning...
Her bold "put it out there."

You learned the "dowanna know" approach won't fly. Chalk it up to learning. Find the next "let's try this next" thing. Work like a partnership learning to drive and expect some dings on the car. Life is life.

And slap a condom on, buddy. Order some books if you've been out of the loop. You do not have to automatically be fluid bonded to your metamours. (Her lover is your meta)

If you like books? http://www.amazon.com/The-Guide-Gett...+getting+it+on

We recently went back to condoms for BC after decades of being fluid bonded in our marriage because it was vasectomy time and I was coming off BCP. In that time products have all changed around since the last time we were at Condom City! We needed to catch it up! So if you need to catch it up because you were in a long marriage -- catch it up. In fact, catch it up together. Make it fun. :)

Hit plannedparenthood's website or scarleteen.
-- Pretend you are naughty teens getting it on if you want to. But get the sex ed info up to par. That's in the RESPONSIBILITES list too. You are responsible for yours and your partner's physical safety.


My primary problem right now is just dealing with all of these emotions and how to cope with them.
Emotional weather is just emotional weather. Let it blow on through. We feel what we feel when we feel it. Cannot control that.

What we CAN and DO control is how we respond. You want to just REACT to high emotion, or cool off and choose to ACT WITH INTENT?

This is no different than in your marriage when emotions flared up. Let them blow over, you work it out the conflict, come to new understanding, and move it forward. You guys are only 1 year together -- you are still quite new to each other and the situation. Cut yourself some slack and don't expect to be poly perfect right out of the gate. Just breathe and work it like a partnership.


I love her and want to give her the happiness and freedom she desires. But how am I going to be happy knowing I'm sacrificing my needs?
What are your needs? Are they listed out and given to her? Has she signed off on those as reasonable needs that she will try to honor? Have you asked her what her reasonable needs are so you can provide them for her?

Do I try poly or stay poly/mono? So many questions. I haven't been this insecure in such a long, long time.
That's up to you. You are insecure because you are playing in a new poly ball field here -- and your previous experience was mono marriage. And you are still working out articulating all your needs so you can GET secure in this new situation.

So you will feel all knotted up at times. Remember it's tug-of-change transition. It's doesn't have to become tug-of-war push-you-pull-me with your partner. You can decide to just carry the rope together and play rock climbing instead. Then the rope between you is safety, support, and connection while you both climb in the same direction in partnership rather than war rope, no?

And the large part of it -- communication, honesty, trust -- that's old hat. You had a successful marriage for a long time! You KNOW this stuff. :)

Work stuff out, breathe, take it one thing at a time. Hold up your rights and responsibilities to each other, get the needs out on the table, find the happy medium.

It's totally reasonable to me to need to know a heads up. That's basic manners!

Play ball! Get the needs written out! :)


snowwhite 07-03-2012 06:51 PM

Sounds like you two need to discuss some ground rules. I'm new to this as well and I've heard that helps a lot. You are being poly as well being the other guy outside of her fam. Does her husband know about you? Have you ever met him? This may seem a bit personal but I am just curious because I am in a similar situation as she was, but "hubby" knows the feelings I harbor for my friend that I want to be poly with. The thing that I have noticed with the poly thing is that people seem to have one or two primaries or secondaries and then everyone is free to have casual sex as long as it is discussed before hand. I've noticed that in poly relationships that work well, everyone meets up at some point and they all get acquainted at least with the primary and secondary. You definitely have a right to know about you health. I am confused about what ground rules me and my partners should implement at the moment. My friend who i want to bring into the relationship is not really wanting to do the poly thing or thinking about having sex with anyone else but me. I don't like seeing him upset nor do i think I could deal with hurting the men I love.

snowwhite 07-03-2012 06:58 PM

My hubby also feels very very insecure about all this. Since all this came out and i told him that I wasn't going to live unhappy anymore. He has made a change for the very best, but I still love my friend and want a relationship with him. I have agreed to stay with my hubby so we don't break up our family as well. I also love him and care for him a great deal and appreciate that he has taken the care and concern to change his attitude and communication toward me. It has made all the difference, but I think that being poly is just something that I am because I have displayed this behavior and types of feelings for people many times in the years past and I have become tired of beating myself up for it. My hubby is trying to understand. He still says that mono is the way to be for him. I feel bad sometimes though, I don't want to hurt anyone. :( I love them too much.

GalaGirl 07-04-2012 01:26 AM


The thing that I have noticed with the poly thing is that people seem to have one or two primaries or secondaries and then everyone is free to have casual sex as long as it is discussed before hand.
Er... no.

That's not a given. It would not fly in my polyships. In my book poly doesn't not just automatically include hard swinging.

Just like with your partners -- they may have a polysaturation point one 1 -- just you. Where you have a polysaturation of 2 others or whatever it is you have. You guys negotiate it this out for yourselves.

And each person in a polyship is different. This is why you have the responsibility to state your wants, needs, and limits up front.


kdt26417 07-05-2012 09:34 PM

Hi John,

I am just adding my welcome to the forum, and hope you can get things worked out with your new partner. She should certainly be telling you about things ahead of time, although I understand that you tried DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) and found out it didn't work for you (and DADT very often doesn't work). So now you can both make an improvement: you asking, her telling.

I'm somewhat worried about her situation with her husband. Is he really okay with things, or is he just unhappily tolerating it, feeling he has no choice? Are he and she working on improving their marriage? What's in the future for that?

I don't think you should make any big decisions just yet, nor try to force yourself to try anything new unless/until you're sure you feel (preferably better than) okay about it.

I hope your interactions on Polyamory.com help you gain some of the thoughts and insights that could help you. Just reading about the subject can help make it seem less unfamiliar, and thus, perhaps, not so threatening.

Glad you could join us.
Kevin T.

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