Poly married to a mono, asking for advice
I am a poly woman married to a mono man. We have discussed polyamory in the past and talked about rules, etc, but while he stresses that he is comfortable with the idea, not shocked, and that he realises it could work, he is also insecure and afraid.
We talked about it again today, as we hadn't in months, and I felt he needed to be "reminded" that I am poly. In the five years we've been together (2 of them married), I have never had anyone else, and I don't want him to think I could "turn" mono. I simply wanted to take things very slowly to make sure he was comfortable, and also I want to be very careful about who I date when I do have another partner.
I am straight, incidentally.
I was wondering if you had some advice of ways to reassure my husband, advice from monos would be very useful since I'm not entirely sure I understand how he works exactly. Recently (today) he told me it was important to him that I promised never to do things (sexually) with other people that I didn't do with him.
How should I take this? Is that a fear of not being good enough? Is that jealousy because he wouldn't "get" the same treatment?
I don't have anyone else in my life at this stage, but I don't want to make such a promise as it seems to me I will want to do different things with different people and it's only normal. Does anyone understand where I'm coming from?
Any advice from people who have been in my situation or his would be greatly appreciated :)
Hi Tonberry - I am a mono wife married to my poly husband. We have been together for 19 years and married for 14. He has had a girlfriend for a year. Prior to falling in love with this woman - he was mono as well.
There is a certain sexual act - that I have only done with him. He has done it with other woman prior to, but not since, me. It is the one thing that I have asked (not told) him to please not do with her. To me, it is something special between us that I would like to hold onto. They can do ANYTHING else - positions, toys etc - and I am ok with it. My husband is very resentful about this - even though they can do 99% of other things - he is holding onto this 1% that I would like them to not do. He had even threatened, but not followed through, to not do it with me as long as he couldn't with her.
I understand that for some, maybe not all, but some poly people do not think that expressing your love should be limited. That there is enough to go around. My mono-mind has a hard time with that. IF, and that's a big IF, I ever had a boyfriend, I guarantee that my husband would have some things that he wasn't able to handle and that he would ask me not to do. I would understand.
Remember - your husband did not ask for this. This is a lifestyle he is trying to accept and adapt to. IT ISN'T EASY! This is literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do! I have a lot of insecurities and jealousies - that weren't really an issue until the GF came along - then I felt uneasy, nervous, self-conscious and I felt like I had to compete with her. I am still worried that she does things in bed better than I do. She's not skinnier than me, or bigger chested than me, - but I think she is more sensual than me. My mind wonders - and I am sure that I am making a big deal about nothing - but it's still in my mind. For men - I'm sure there is the "size" issue that would make a man insecure or worried. He might be afraid that you'll prefer the other man sexually and compare them, or be disappointed when you are with him. There could be so many things going through his mind.
I think the fact that you guys are talking about this stuff now, instead of after you fall in love like what happened to me, is great! Keep it up! Maybe you could try to find a marriage counselor that has experience with polyamory - that you could both go to, together or seperate. You will find tons of great advice on here too - and there are many books that are recommended that will help you. You can do a thread search for those.
For me, education, research, counseling and communication have been key. I still struggle everyday to accept this change in my marriage! Try to be as patient as you can with your husband. He will have good and bad days - just ride the bad ones out - they always get better. Encourage him to read these posts - and possible ask questions on here himself. Also remember, that right now - this is all hypothetical. Emotions are bound to change and get more complicated once there is actually another person in your life.
Right now - while I am trying to accept this - I feel like I need extra reassurances of my husbands love and committment to me. It's normal to have doubts and insecurities about that - you just need to make him feel that he is still very much loved, wanted and needed.
Be patient - and communicate, communicate, communicate!
Thank you for your reply, Kat :)
I realise it must be very hard for him. It always is for partners who are fundamentally different, and I guess he is getting the short end of the stick. We have talked about it and I'm making compromises too, but I can see how he's making more sacrifices than I am.
My main problem is the idea that if I'm NOT doing something with him, I shouldn't with anyone else. Surely, if taken out of the sex context, it makes no sense. Say, I've never been to the zoo with him, so I'm not allowed to do so with someone else? It seems weird.
While some things I feel I can't do with him, and I guess he could see it unfair as I'd be willing to do them with other people, but I keep thinking, what if it is just something that has never come up with him?
Am supposed to go to my husband and say "my other partner has suggested we try X. Since I've never done it with you, I'll have to do it with you first to be allowed to do it with him. Are you interested?"
To some extent, I can understand the other way around better. "I want this to be specific to us. I don't want you to do it with him". Whether is something sexual (and specific enough. I don't think I'd be fine if it included ALL sex for instance), or a special place that he wants to be unique to us, or anything at all.
But his seem to be more along the lines of "if I can't have it, I don't want anyone to get it". And I'm just thinking, what does it take away from him? Maybe things I've been unwilling to try because I'm nervous about them, I might be willing to try with someone else, find out I actually enjoy them, and then do them with my husband too. It might end up better for OUR sexual life, too.
But he seems personally insulted by the idea that something I haven't been willing to try with him, I might be willing to try with someone else. I guess I can understand it in some ways, but asking me to promise I won't seems... bitter to me, if I'm making sense. Similar (although definitely not as bad!) to people who shoot their wife thinking "if I can't have you, nobody will!"
I am not trying to be offensive, and I'd love to really understand and acknowledge his feelings, I am simply worried he's, in a way, shooting our relationship in the foot by asking me to promise things like that. Surely there will always be things that will be unique to our relationship between him and me, what if I also want other things to be unique to my relationship with another person?
To me, loving someone means wanting them to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. If that means putting their desires above my insecurities, then I see that as a chance to grow and become a stronger person.
Tonberry, I agree with you that his restriction seems silly. Especially if there are acts which he does not enjoy, and you want to do them, and he won't let you because he doesn't do them? That makes no sense.
It screams insecurity, and placing these restrictions on you seems like a bandaid solution. Bandaids are OK while the wound is still bleeding, but eventually it needs air to breathe and heal.
Okay, I brought up the subject again.
What I did was telling him that I felt his "rule" was too vague, and that I would prefer if he selected on act he didn't want me to do with anyone else - regardless of whether I did it with him or not.
His reaction surprised me: he took a 180 turn and told me he thought he had been silly and that if I felt comfortable doing something, I should feel free to do it as long as I didn't force myself. And that he thought he was just being jealous at the idea that he might not be able to bring me enough, or that he wasn't good enough, and that somebody else would be better, and then I would want to leave him.
I reassured him that I didn't see that as possible, as what I do with one person or with another are separate things, and I wouldn't choose the person who does "more things", since the point isn't to choose one person but to have two strong trusting relationships. Or one big one with all three people I guess.
I am feeling much better about it, and we might want to discuss it again, mostly for his fears of not being good enough, that I feel won't just vanish, but I am much happier about the way this talk turned out.
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