So, my newest issue. From the outset of my husband and I realizing that we are poly, it was discussed that he is allowed to date any girls he wants (he is straight. Should he ever decide otherwise, I've told him that he would have my blessing to date any man that he wants) and that I am allowed only to date women (I am bi).
When that very first conversation happened, I expressed that although at the moment I was only seeking a gf, down the road I wanted the option to date a man. He was uncomfortable with that, and since at that time I truly was only seeking women, I dropped the subject and agreed. Life has been grand! Extremely happy in every sense.
Now I am at that pivotal point in time where I am ready to start dating men. Specifically, a man that transfered to my work from another state. Honesty is, I feel, the most important thing in my relationship with my husband, so I have made no secret of the attraction that I feel for him, and also the friendship that we share. My husband has always been ok with me flirting with other people (men included) and has always just laughed about it because he loves me, and that is a huge part of my personality.
A few nights ago, I started texting this guy really late into the night. My thoughts were that I wouldn't be neglecting anything or anyone, because at that time of night, my husband is asleep, my daughter is asleep, everyone has been fed and taken care of, I haven't jeopardized my time at work, and there are no chores for the house or anything else that would be done during such hours. I also didn't have any untoward conversation. Mostly it was all just part of the regular 'get to know you' type. There were a few mildly flirty comments, but nothing overt. So a couple nights of this goes on, and then one night my husband wakes up to find me texting him (also I should mention that I didn't hide the fact that we were texting from the outset. My husband knew we had already been texting before he fell asleep). He asks who I'm flirting with so late (with what I thought was a joking tone) and I tell him that I'm not flirting at this point, just talking. He proceeds to pretend to sleep, and I finish up my conversation shortly thereafter, and go to sleep.
The next morning I wake up to find my husband has already gone to work. Usually he wakes up when I do, but it isn't unheard of for him to go in so early, so I text him some good morning love and go about my day. When he gets home, it is immediately obvious that he is upset. He answers any of my questions or comments with rude, short answers. Repeatedly I ask for him to talk to me about what's wrong. "I can't fix it if I don't know which part is broken." I say. Finally he tells me how upset it made him to find me texting another man in the middle of the night. I explain the reasons I chose that time, and also that nothing more than friendly conversation happened.
This discussion eventually works it's way around to the fact that I'm not supposed to date other men. I tell him that I'm not, and am not going to until he changes his mind about our agreement, but that I wish he would. To me, being bi and poly means that my heart has the ability to love another person. Any other person. I don't have any say in what my heart wants, so for him to not 'allow' me to date men, doesn't change the fact that I may develop feelings for a man. I tell him I don't find it fair to let me flirt with anyone I want to, except for this one person. I have a proven trustworthy and faithful track record, and am always beyond honest. He tells me that he doesn't think it right for me to be having such conversations with someone I would date down the road. I tell him not to worry about anything down the road yet, because he hasn't given consent, so nothing will happen until that comes.
I flat out told him that I find it unfair for him to keep me from talking to someone that I have found friendship with, even if I am attracted to them, nothing untoward will happen, and that I will continue to talk to him whenever I want (which will still be during times that do not detract from my husband or family time). He asked me to stop pressing the issue of opening up our relationship to include me dating men, and I told him I will wait for a long time before revisiting the issue, because I do hope that someday he will come to terms with the idea, and how would I ever know if it was never discussed?
So that's where we are now. It is still very fresh (last night) but things seemed much better for us this morning. My question now, is how do I deal with the fact that I work with this man, still do have feelings for him, and don't want to alienate him because if in the future my husband changes his mind, I really would like to date him. I want to continue getting to know him. I feel like I'm having NRE without the R. How do I go about this?
Honestly, it seems as if the situation that you are in is not the best of all possible worlds here and could actually cause quite a bit of chaos. If you are okay with your husband putting these limitations on you about dating men, then you realize you will be walking a tightrope if you are allowed to flirt with men, but not go any further. Feelings may develop (looks like they already have) and you will be in the difficult position of being able and allowed to flirt, but not being allowed to go any further and date. If you are okay walking this tightrope with him, then that is your choice.
If you are really expecting/hoping that someday he will come around to the idea of you dating other men AND do not feel that this arrangement is fair or that you don't want to agree to it forever, then you are going to have to really address it between the two of you at some point. I'll give you a hint. He is going to put it off forever. If this is something you want, you will have to state what you need and want out of the relationship and that you would like it to be more fair. If he is allowed to date opposite sex partners, you think you should be able to as well AND you would like him to do the emotional work to start uncovering why he is so uncomfortable about other guys and what you and he can do to make him more comfortable.
In your current situation then, your husband is not agreeing to open up to other men, so you have to abide by your agreement and keep it to flirting, friendship, or nothing at all. That is your choice. If you think that this is something that needs to be addressed between the two of you, then you might want to address it sooner rather than later. He will never just change his mind out of nowhere. The idea of another man makes him uncomfortable and he has no reason to change that or explore it if he knows you will listen to him and not leave him.
I am sorry that he is so unwilling to explore the possibility of letting you date other men. I can't imagine I'd be comfortable in a situation like that and honestly probably would never agree to one. If he can do it, I can do it and if I can't do it, neither can he. I personally don't think it is very fair for one partner to have different limits imposed on them by another that gets to enjoy more freedoms.
So in summary I guess your options are to play along with your current arrangement, realizing that realistically he isn't going to change, or your can tell him that you need to revisit the agreement and that it isn't working for you anymore and start that process of trying to renegotiate what the terms and boundaries are.
Same way you do in a monoship. Keep it at friends, do not tell him about the crush, do not flirt. You can enjoy the crush feelings from a distance.
You sound like you assume that if/when the time comes that you are ready to date him, he will be at a place where he is wanting to date you back. For all you know he will transfer again. There's lots of potential Right Ones out there. They don't always come at the Right Time. So best to just enjoy this one in the shape he came in -- a coworker friend type that you crush on from a distance.
That's the least of your probs.
Bigger is DH.
When you Opened, you initially agreed to those limits. You are finding some of the limits no longer fit in practice and will grow harder to stick to as time goes on.
It is fair to alert DH of this development, and try to renegotiate those limits. You have been honest. You have not cheated. It is fair to ask to revise an agreement that no longer fits the needs of all parties so that it can be updated to meet all needs fairly again. The happy medium.
Is this NOT how how he wants to be treated? With fairness, compassion and ethics?
Would he rather set you up to wither inside because your needs are unmet and you live knowing his need to avoid discomfort for himself is greater than him meeting his responsibilities of seeing to his partner's (you) continued well being?
Would he rather set you up to be tempted to get them met elsewhere because he refuses to hear you or talk to you? Effectively shutting you out and dinging your emotional intimacy together?
This is way more serious than the crush dude.
If DH is overwhelmed and flooding, it's ok for him to ask for a time out to regroup. But don't skip the talk forever -- a time out has an end point. What does he think he needs? A week? A month? A reasonable time frame please, so he gets his time out to regroup. But you get assured he isn't going to play the avoidy/foot dragging thing FOREVER on answering these:
He doesn't think it "right" for you to be having such conversations with someone you would date down the road.Ask him to please be clear with you. So you know where you stand. Then you can decide for yourself with full information whether or not you want to stay in relationship with him under this "no dating men" agreement or not.
If he habitually shuts down communication with you and does not give you the right to responsiveness? Eventually you will have to move on to decide if you want to stay in relationship with a partner that shuts you out like that. You cannot exist in a communication vacuum. :(
An agreement is when two people accept the terms. Now you want the terms to change. It is time for renegotiation, NOT asking for permission. Your husband is not the boss of you, he is your partner.
So, I would stop approaching it as waiting for him to change his mind and grant you permission -- you are giving him too much power over you that way. Approach it as an equal partner looking for a compromise, "This isn't working for me anymore and I am unsatisfied with the boundary we set up just to make you comfortable. I am asking that you push a little past your comfort zone and discuss this with me so we can reach a compromise in the middle where we both are happy, not just you. Let's start talking about your fears surrounding any involvement I might have with a man. Why does it scare you?"
It would behoove you both to get to the nitty-gritty of this with him. It isn't enough to simply accept his "I don't want that." Find out why, and what he feels threatened by, and address it lovingly - but firmly.
How long have you been married and this agreement happen at the outset of your relationship or after you got married ? ...who's idea was it ?
Was this huge hypocritical stance thoroughly discussed before you agreed to these conditions ?
Does your husband have a GF currently ?
I'd do a search on OPP's and invite him to read up ...is he a member here?
have him read this as well :D
What would be a compromise in the middle ?? Dating a eunuch :D
I think this was the compromise.
Well, to answer some of the questions...
My husband and I have been together 4 1/2 years, married for 2 1/2, and realized that what we were feeling was polyamory back around the beginning of this year. Really though, that was just when we discovered a name for it. At first it was just unicorn hunting, but it quickly evolved.
That long conversation that brought us to this initial agreement was over a period of a few days. It was thoroughly discussed, but I was not eager to upset this strange new balance we were reaching by demanding rights to something that I didn't even intend to pursue at that time. I did realize the possibility for the need for it in the future, but was being silly at the time and decided to put it off for another day. Obviously that was a bad idea, given my current situation.
At the moment he does not have a girlfriend or even anyone he is seriously talking to. Part of our agreement is that there will not be frivolous sex- only sex once we are actually dating someone. As that is not really my husband's style, he has been taking it slow. I'm sure that in time if that clause were to be removed, he would probably meet and have sex with a lot of women, and eventually find one he connects with well enough to date. I have seriously considered starting the discussion of removing it, but I feel he would view it as me wanting it lifted so that I could go off and have a bunch of sex, but that isn't the case.
He told me that two of his reasons for not wanting our agreement to change at this point is because we are in the process of looking for a house to buy, and also because we are trying to have a baby together. I explained that I am all on board with having the baby, and even if were to be dating someone, I'd choose to wait to have sex until my husband and I had conceived and everything was going fine with that. I do not want the risk of having someone else's child. I think that in his mind, dating is much more intertwined with sex than it is in mine. Our dating would certainly point to that being the case. As for the concern about the house, I also explained that I wouldn't be using our money towards dates that should be going towards our down payment. I am a very laid back person, and don't need flashy dates to get to know someone. A walk in the park, a picnic, a day at the lake... all perfectly acceptable dates that require no money. Actually I find things like that much preferred to things like movies and clubs. But since those are his concerns, I did agree to wait until those two things are squared away before bringing this up again, so I've got another 4 months or so to go.
As for any other concerns he has, he is unable to voice them. He just keeps saying that he isn't comfortable with it. To me that speaks to a worry that I will be stolen away (which I've always assured him is not an option. I am poly just for that very reason. I can love more people, so why would I have to give up someone I love?) or a general dislike to the idea of me having sex with another man. Why that would be, I don't know. Maybe he is worried I'll enjoy them more? Just pure male pride? All is conjecture since he hasn't been able to describe why he is uncomfortable with it.
As for the statement that my new attraction might not be available down the road... his family is here, and he was only out of state while attending college. It's pretty safe to say that he isn't going anywhere for quite a long time. Also, he is already in another relationship, but is able to date me as well, so I don't have to worry about him being 'off the market' or anything.
I think that about covers it. The parts I have the answers for anyway. I do intend to show him this thread, and ask him the other questions you've given me as ideas. I really appreciate your help! I think that I will just have to wait until these 2 main issues end up getting sorted out. 4 months isn't so long that I can't live with. In the meantime, I will still be talking to this new friend, and my husband is aware of that.
It is very important for him to explore why he is uncomfortable. If he spent the time and wrote something out or thought about it, he'd probably be able to figure out why. This is again another one of those things he isn't going to do until he has to. Even thinking about it brings up those uncomfortable thoughts, and he'd rather push them down and not have to deal with them than even think about it.
It also helps him to know that you are taking his discomfort in mind, even if he isn't doing anything about it. If he "doesn't know" for an indeterminate amount of time, then what can he be expected to do about it? He can keep you in flux as long as he needs to. The knowing will not magically come out of thin air. He has to buckle down and explore the idea of it and why he isn't okay with it. It isn't going to be fun, and that is why he is putting it off and pretending like "he just doesn't know." He doesn't know because he doesn't want to work at it.
If children is the only concern, then it is very easy to say that all activities will be limited to those that don't include the penis in the vagina or ejaculating near it. There is plenty of fun that can be had even with those limitations.
Well, sounds like you are trying to peel the layers and understand each other then. That's a plus! :)
New house and baby on the stress scale are weighty. Ditto adding an OSO, though what you would rate it since it isn't an obvious one.
I don't know what other things you have going on there, but no being on the same page as to conception -- that's a major. Gotta get that sorted.
Figure out the other stressy things in your life and see where you are at. Some life things we have no control over. But when when we choose to be Open or Closed -- based on what ELSE is going on in our lives -- that we do have control over. Consider carefully when is the Right Time.
If he needs a break before coming back to this discussion -- see if you can talk about THAT?
His need for breaks, and your need for check ins. Once a month? Once a week? Not all elephant problems can be broken down in a single session. People get tired. Need to eat, sleep, work, pee, have fun, etc.
Take it one step at a time, but do take baby steps to keep moving it forward. Dunno if there's anything here you guys can use in your talks.
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