VERY difficult situation
I am willing to come out and say that I am poly-curious. I realized it within the last year, and I came out to my boyfriend in saying that I was interested in the idea, just to slip it to him casually. He was not okay with the idea at all.
Boyfriend and I have been best friends since 6th grade, and involved seriously for the past two years. He is my best friend, my rock, and I cannot imagine my life without him. It is impossible.
However, I realized that I do not like the idea of monogamous relationships. I feel like it cannot work for me. I believe that if there is someone I love, I should love them, and get to experience them intimately. Get to know them intellectually, emotionally, and be happy.
So in order to make myself happy, I let a couple of men into my life. The first, J, was an experiment that ended badly. But this new one, Stephen, knows I have a boyfriend, but has never mentioned it. We were really great friends, and one day, it literally just happened that we realized we were crazy about each other.
I will admit it, this is the hard thing: I cheat on my boyfriend. But its the nature of the cheating that made me realize what I was doing- they were not one night stands. they were generally interested people who I cared about deeply, who knew I have a bf, and still wanted to "date" me. and we just never discussed I had a serious boyfriend who would never be okay with this.
Stephen, the one I am actually involved in one now, is very sweet and its been going on for a couple of months, and its not just sex. Its dinner and conversation. It feels so natural and not strange to me, but I don't have the guts to mention it to either of them! Because I love my boyfriend, he is the best thing in the world and is "enough" for me, but this other man is intellectually stimulating and very sweet, and seems okay with this situation. (I feel like he would be a secondary).
Please help me understand myself. I know I am doing so much wrong to the boyfriend, and there is no way he will ever find out. I appreciate him, give him all the attention he needs, I sleep in his bed when I am home (i go to college 2 and a half hours away, Stephen lives in that town). I am a perfect companion to him, except the fact that I do this to him occasionally with one other male.
I do not think of myself as a bad person. I hope I am not and I strive not to be one. I just need to know if this is 'normal'. Opening up a monogamous relationship is not easy. And sadly, I think I would be able to stop seeing anyone else if boyfriend EVER found out because I care about him so much.
Thank you for reading this and for advice. I was referred to this site and was told people help people understand what they are going through.
You might not be a bad person (I certainly couldn't say) but your actions are pretty bad. Just some questions for you, to provide food for thought, if you will.
How will your boyfriend feel when he finds out?
How will that make you feel?
Because it's not about if, it's about when.
How are you loving your boyfriend by lying to him? How is that loving? Would you feel loved if you found out he was lying to you?
Yah, maybe not bad, but you may have a little growing up to do.
I'm not going to pass judgement on you as a person - that would not be fair to do. All we're seeing is a snippet of your actions, based on what you have said. I'm going to be honest - but I'm not going to attack you.
Sometimes people do selfish and morally wrong things. The first step is seeing that your behaviour is obviously both very selfish and morally wrong... then deciding whether you can change it to a better form of behaviour.
I was selfish when I was about 16-18. I was involved with a married woman, who was my teacher, who also had a child. I would never do that to someone ever again. We can control our actions.
So, let's talk about some of your points in more detail.
Poly vs Cheating
Despite the fact that your actions are not that of a poly person, some of your ideals about love are obviously poly.
But 'being' poly isn't just about feeling like you can love openly. That's only one part of 'being' poly.
Here are my four core considerations when thinking of myself as poly:
For me, if I'm only doing one of those things (i.e. still loving her whilst being with others)... but I scrimp on the other areas, like nurturing her, making time for everyone and hiding away from my own insecurities about her being active... I'm not being poly.
By keeping extra partners a secret, those conditions are never going to be met. You're not sparing your boyfriend's feelings by keeping it a secret - you're putting in place a situation that will be extremely harmful for him. It's not poly.
You're not alone
Though I entered that affair when I was 16, I've never actually cheated on any of my partners. But I had poly feelings towards the end of a 5 year relationship. We entered a mono(him)/poly(me) relationship that went wrong because I wasn't capable of balancing at the time.
I left him for the girl, thinking I had to just choose one person. Three years later, I still wanted to be poly. I couldn't go on with her monogamously. I told her this. She didn't want to be poly. So I broke up with her. It wouldn't have been fair to cheat on her. Everyone should have a choice - everyone should have consent.
I've also been cheated on, badly. So I can say, without wanting to attack you, that this isn't fair on your boyfriend. This is going to hurt him terribly. You have to give people a choice.
Let's talk about Stephen?
I get the impression from your post that you seem to think Stephen is good and pure and 'poly' because he's not bothered that you have a boyfriend? Perhaps he is. But truly 'poly' people tend to want to know that their partner's partner is fully aware and happy with everything. Often, poly partners meet poly partners. There's usually some interaction somewhere along the line so that everyone can be on the same page.
There's a big difference between someone who just doesn't care about your boyfriend and someone who happily accepts your boyfriend and wants to act in a way that suits everyone.
Chances are, Stephen's not actually poly - because all he's doing is ignoring the fact that you have a boyfriend. A poly dynamic would *include* and *appreciate* the fact that you have a boyfriend.
Or am I getting this wrong and Stephen doesn't even know you have any kind of boyfriend? Thinks you're totally single?
I'm afraid it's not as simple as hoping a mono relationship will open up.
Poly is not right for everyone. Poly is not the 'best way to live'. Poly is not some sort of magical, superior enlightened state of mind and all mono people are foolish idiots. Everyone has the right to live their life the way they want to, and in a way that makes them happy.
You have to give people a choice. It's not right to take their choice away from them to please yourself. In the long run, never mind boyfriend, in terms of purely yourself - you're not doing yourself any favours. You won't find what you need on this path.
You have a choice to make.
> You can keep cheating (what you are doing is cheating; not poly, I'm afraid). Obviously not a good idea.
> You can tell your boyfriend that you need a poly relationship and see if he's willing to open up with that.
> You can accept that your boyfriend doesn't want to and ultimately leave the relationship.
By freeing yourself up to become poly, you will be opening doors to learn a lot more about yourself, how to operate in a non-selfish way and how to find the kind of happiness that you want in your life.
Some very good advice already, which it would be very much worth reading and thinking about.
I just wanted to add that, although it might be difficult to give up your relationship with your boyfriend, it might be worth it in the long run. It sounds as though you want a poly relationship and he does not, and so in order to suit your needs you are lying to and cheating on him.
Just imagine how much better you would feel in a relationship where no lies or deception were required for everybody involved to be happy and fulfilled.
I think that the advice others have given has been great, and stuff you really need to take to heart.
Regardless of your other relationships, you need to take a look at yourself in the metaphorical mirror, and decide who you are. Most importantly are what your values are.
Can you continue to live a life where you are lying to the one person that you feel you love and always want to be with, in the interests of having other relationships? Can you do this and hold you head up high and say you are doing the right thing, according to your own set of morals? If the answer is "yes" then you shouldn't be asking for advice on a polyamory forum, but should instead start looking for resources for cheaters - there used to be some out there and they may still exist and give you the resources you need. I don't think that you are going to get much of use on here if you answer this with a "yes".
If "no" then you need to change something. It's as simple as that. Even though you may be poly, your boyfriend is not. In order to have this "dream" relationship with him, you will need to choose to be monogamous with him, and stop lying and cheating on the relationship that you value so much. If being poly is a vital part of your being, then, if your boyfriend won't ever be happy with that, there is no future for you two.
It is really this simple (and, at the same time, complicated).
It's a very difficult situation to be in - in was in a similar position at the start of my poly life and I complicated the whole thing with lots of rationalisations - but it boiled down to exactly the points I mentioned above - save yourself some time and work through that decision and start living your life according to your true set of values and morals.
Yikes. I hate for this to be my first post - but my husband cheated on me. And yes, I found out. And the lies left a giant gaping wound and have nearly destroyed a 12 year marriage. He didn't know how to tell me he was poly, and tried to keep it a secret. It didn't work.
I am open to trying a poly lifestyle, because it is important to him and I want him to be happy. We have some mutual rules, just to make sure we're on the same page while I take baby steps.
By far the biggest obstacle for me in being poly is the damage to our trust that the cheating caused. If we had known better and been honest from the beginning, we'd be SO much farther along! I'm sure we'd have fewer rules, and fewer tears, and less negative emotion from me - but I'm damaged and don't quite function correctly these days. My husband never thought I would agree, and the heartache turns out to have been for nothing.
I really really encourage you to try honesty. You might be pleasantly surprised. I hope for the best for you!
I'm very sorry for the hurt you're feeling, I wish you the best of luck in re-establishing trust in your relationship. Baby steps is the way to go, be honest and truthful with yourself and your husband, and understand it will take time.
I think that the biggest issue here comes down to consent. In all sexual relations, consent should be obtained by all parties. And whether or not you realize it, your boyfriend is involved, he is not consenting and he will get hurt Your actions are putting him unknowingly at risk for not only mental harm, but also potentially putting his sexual health in harms way too.
Not everyone is cut out for poly, so it isn't fair to put someone in a 'poly' (or cheating) relationship with out their consent.
I have faith that if you talk to your boyfriend about it, things will work out, whether that means breaking up or exploring consenting poly dynamics in your relationship together.
I think something else you need to ask yourself is are you using poly as a way to play the field before you decide on whether or not you want to dump your existing boyfriend.
I was pretty much in the same situation as you in college, only my boyfriend was 45-minute subway ride away and the guy I became interested in worked at the same place where I worked 12 hours a day.
Did I want to break up with the boyfriend for the other guy? Not really. But I wasn't ready to get married to the boyfriend. It ended quite poorly.
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