Looking for input
Where to begin. I guess a little about myself would be helpful.
First, I am married with 3 children, I am approaching 40 and I am a sincerely religious Catholic. I would not call myself devout because that implies things that are not true, I am terrible about going to Mass. But before I continue, it is important to say that it is not from lack of belief, I AM a Catholic, I believe it all, when I do things I know I shouldnít, I donít try to justify them, I just accept that I am no saint. So, now that that is out of the way.
A few months ago my wife hit me with 2 separate but related bombshells, the first was, she had essentially come to the conclusion that sex was significantly different than love and she knew that I was sexually frustrated a lot of the time and she really didnít mind if I slept with other women, since she knew I really loved her and would always come back to her. This started with mentioning particular women and moved to a more general statement as the conversation went on. In the course of that same conversation (this took house it wasnít like she just dropped it in a single paragraph or something) she brought up having a communal marriage with our closest friends, this was not a suggestion, but was a lot more than a musing. The women in this couple is the same women that my wife first mentioned as someone she would not mind if I had sex with. So after this I thought about things for a long while, and finally I brought up the first part ( the she really doesnít mind if I have sex with other women) to her best friend, who also happens to be part of the couple that she mentioned and who also happens to be a very old friend of mine. She told me that she believed my wife was being sincere and had discussed it with her, then she brought up polyamory. Very specifically, she brought it up regarding our respective families. I discussed it with her a a second time and she is obviously really okay with it, though she has not, at least as far as I know, discussed it even remotely with her husband.
I am, as my name suggest, I am confused and curious, and would like input from those here.
Catholic guilt? ;)
How do you feel about sleeping with someone other than your wife? How do you feel about your wife for putting the idea out there on the table?
I feel there are two types of poly - polyamory, where you believe you can love more than one, and polysexuality, where you believe you can enjoy sex with more than one.
Where things get tricky is that many people, myself included, start out under the umbrella of polyamory. Then boundaries get slapped all over the place. "It's ok to have sex, but it's not ok to fall in love." Unless your heart is literally wired to only love one person, you cannot stop love. Even if your heart is monogamous, nothing can prevent you from falling out of love with one person and in love with another.
In my relationship, we go for a middle ground. We do not feel we have the desire or time to actively seek love outside of our current relationships. We are polysexual, with the acceptance that love can happen and if it does, we'll deal with it when it comes.
I was with my ex boyfriend for five years and he initially suggested that we become mono/poly (where one is monogamous and one has other partners) so that I could explore my attraction to a girl I'd met. He (and I) had the belief that "as long as I come home to him, it's all good". Of course, 6 months later, I fell in love / lust / insanity and things got very messy.
So... if you can both acknowledge that love for someone else *might* happen... where can you go from here?
There are some resources on this forum; I think they are on a sticky thread on the main page. They have suggestions on books and websites to read.
If you believe that you cannot get everything you need from one person, then you might have one of the components to be happy in a poly situation.
For me, the main components of being poly are:
Honesty - no lies
Communication - get my needs and feelings out there
Empathy - understand and nurture my partner(s)
Dealing with insecurity - not letting jealousy take over
How do those things sound to you? Do you think that you are your wife take this approach to your marriage already?
I'll come back tomorrow and check for more details then!
Well the Catholic guilt is strong with this one... but I'm here, so it is obviously not strong enough.
Sleeping with someone other than my wife. I don't know how I feel about it... Good and bad... I am trying to think of ho to explain it. It sounds great, I don't look at it with any hesitation, but I believe it is wrong, and I am sure that there would be a level of guilt there even though my wife said it was fine.
I feel fine that my wife put it on the table. She was not doing it for any reason other than love and I know that.
I believe you can love many people, and that love does not diminish any of your other love, just as another child does not change the love you have for those that you already have. But love is not the same thing as a commitment to marriage. On that score, my wife is right, no matter what, I will always come back to her.
any other input?
No one else has any advise or thoughts?
So if it causes you guilt and distress can't you just stop there and go "Wow! My wife is amazing in her life growth and development!"
Just because something is on the menu doesn't mean you have to or even want to order it.
Catholic guilt? I was raised Catholic and my faith development led me elsewhere. I have cultural Catholic roots/ties still, but my practice is something else. I've never felt particularly guilty and I prefer not to mourn my faith. God/the Divine as I experience it put me here as I am. So it's not like God/The Divine is gonna be shocked or surprised by anything I do/do not do. I feel I was placed here just as I am with great growth potential and how I tend to my buckets is on me.
If opening up is going to cause you shake ups in your marriage you cannot handle or you are at "that's nice, but I don't want to go there. no interest" place, don't open. Easy.
But whether you open the marriage up or not I want to hold this up...
You have OTHER choices here besides the one your wife offers you in getting the pass to have another lover. In faith, and in marriage.
You have the opportunity to examine your faith and test your beliefs with this new knowledge/experience of this new knowledge from your wife.
And see if the beliefs are still the ones you hold or if you are moving to another place in your faith development.
Are you familiar with the James Fowler chart? Scotty Mclennan? I'd suggest you Google. Both write about faith development.
Faith is not a switch you click on and off. It is something you PRACTICE and develop. You keep your spiritual health in good order. Sometimes practicing your faith means you seek another faith denomination path because you come to find your beliefs have changed.
Sometimes it means you explore other traditions and come back to the same path but with greater understanding of the original faith path and perhaps some appreciation for other traditions, so while you are sticking to your original, now you have new understanding of your own yard and appreciate the neighbors more.
Sometimes you go nowhere -- you plumb deep in YOU and you come to greater understanding and a more mature experience in your Catholic faith. You may or may not remain ignorant about the neighbors. (And ignorance isn't a horrible thing, it just means you don't know much about X.)
You can also plumb your marriage depths and reach new understandings not about your Catholicism, but about your WIFE and your relationship with her.
My husband amazes me -- we've been together thru tail end of teens, 20's, and wrapping up the 30's. I wonder what he will be like in 40's, 50's and beyond. I enjoy watching him grow and change as I enjoy my own growth. We both enjoy the growth, care, tending, and keeping of our relationship. It's neat to get to a place where you go "Well that month sucked/was great" to "well, that was a good year/bad year" to "well, hon, that was an interesting decade!"
Cada epoca tiene su encanto. Every epoch has its enchantments. Or every age and stage has its charms.
So at your age and stage, you've been given a gift in your mind bucket of new things to think about, a gift in your body bucket of new things to think about, a gift in your heart bucket of new things to think about, and a gift in your spirit/soul bucket of new things to think about. You don't have to do more than just accept the gift and think about new things and enjoy that process.
Pretty generous gifts -- to see where it takes you in your OWN personal growth and development journey. You could decide to open you to knowing YOURSELF better. Or stay closed to knowing yourself better. Here I'd suggest just taking the plunge and opening up to yourself and deeping your relationship to yourself. You are safe. You aren't gonna hurt you, and most of the journey is safely in your own head if you don't want to share it with wife. Though I suggest you consider sharing it and create/enjoy deeper emotional intimacy with her.
I'd def suggest you go kiss you wife for the gifts though. ;)
What, exactly, do you want input about? I'm not sure what you're looking for from us. You've shared with us a series of conversations, but do you have a specific question?
Your friend should talk to her husband asap.
You guys may find useful thoughts about basic principles for healthy poly at www.morethantwo.com
Go for it!
As Nyc said, we'd really need specific questions to give more feedback. :)
Well, you asked for comments...
Up-front, let me say that I am not a religious person - I self-identify as a temporal agnostic. So take this with a grain of salt. ;)
I have often struggled with reconciling the religion vs desires thing. I have known folks from what I consider the "stricter" religions of catholicism and judaism consicously and repeatedly deviate from the tenets of their faith, and yet still call themselves believers. The catholics go to confession and then go out and do the same things again.. and again and again. Whether it's masturbation, use of prophylactics, sodomy, or infidelity. I guess for me, if I am not willing to even make a sincere attempt to live by the rules of a religion, then I really don't feel like I belong in that religion.
If your faith is important to you, and it sounds like it is, then I think that you need to work hard to reconcile what you are thinking of doing with the teachings of your church. As others have said, just because you are tempted to break your marriage vows (and my understanding is that your vows are not negotiable after the fact, having been exchanged in a church service) doesn't mean that you should.
This is temptation in its purist - you are being tempted to do something which is against the tenets of your religion. It is an incitement to sin. From my (limited) understanding of your religion, temptation itself is not a sin, it's only when you take action to give in to the temptation that it becomes a sin. Temptations are permitted by God to give the faithful an opportunity of practicing virtue and self-mastery.
My advice would be to reconcile in your mind and soul the conflict that is going on between your Catholic faith and your desires. If you wish to remain a sincere Catholic, then I think you need to resist the temptation to sin.
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