Hi everyone. My wife has recently come to me about wanting an open marriage. She feels confined by traditional marriage, and wants to explore new sexual relationships.
Until she came to me with this a few months ago, I never in a million years would've thought about this. I just always pictured us living the monogamous life until the end of our days. To say that I am overwhelmed by doubt, concern, worry, fear, etc., would be an understatement. But I love my wife dearly, and I don't want to split up our family (we have two children, age 10 and 6).
I think I am willing to try letting her date other people. I just don't know how I am going to be able to handle the jealousy and insecurity. I can be emotional and overly sensitive. I guess I am kind of high maintenance emotionally. So I am scared that I will just be crushed any time she is out with someone.
She hasn't started dating anyone yet, but I think she has been talking a guy that lives in our city recently. So I fear I am going to have to decide sooner rather than later if I can handle all of this.
I came to this site hoping to find similar people who have entered an open marriage reluctantly. If I can find anything about how to handle jealousy and insecurity I think it would be very helpful.
Anyway, that's my basic story. I look forward to meeting and talking to many great new people!
Welcome to our forum.
I would recommend lots of reading and posting on this site. Note that you can do searches and tag searches as well. All of these things will help make polyamory more familiar ground to you, which will lessen the fear factor.
As for tackling jealousy and insecurity, I have a few links you can follow:
Let us discuss the greeneye monster shall we?
How to slay the greeneyed beastie.
Jealousy, Envy, Insecurity, Etc.
How do you achieve compersion?
The Theory of Jealousy Management
The Practice of Jealousy Management
Jealousy and the Poly Family
Kathy Labriola: Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster
Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability
Only time will tell if this is something you can handle. It's great that you're willing to give it a try.
Hope you enjoy your stay amongst us.
Thank you Kevin. I appreciate the information and the welcome.
If both partners are not willing to go there with open hearts and clear desire to go there... don't go there. Def do not go there if you are running away from something you do not want. (ex: afraid to lose partner). Only go there if you are running TOWARD something you actually want.
If both partners are willing but not yet fit to go there (in self esteem, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, time management skills, emotional management skills and a whole host of other "EQ" skill.... don't go there YET. Educate, learn, strengthen first.
Was she letting you know all along with clear communication that the marriage was not fitting her well? Was she articulating? Were you listening? Is the marriage good on communication skills? If it is weak in that when there's only 2 players? Opening up will only magnify that weakness where there is more than 2.
Was she planning on any time to prepare you BOTH for this change or just figuring it's "Ask if I can and then let spouse deal with emotional management on their own?"
Avoid the Pitfalls
14 steps to Opening Monogamous Marriage
Have you been presented with what type open model relationship she most wants? What about a model you could best deal with? Where is coming to compromise on that?
If she's not taking you into consideration now at the starting gate? When does she then? It's not like plunging ahead without thinking about how you feel on the journey is going to make you feel EXCITED and WILLING to open up and embrace change is it? Will she also be joining the forum?
But the bottom line is -- if YOU are wired monoamorous and monogamous configurations and do not wish to share your wife in a polyamorous and polygamous configuration with several partners -- DO NOT GO THERE.
It's cleaner to break it up and be friends and co-parents. Then you are each free to seek a romantic partner that fits your needs/style rather than trying to make the other be something you are not.
There is nothing wrong with monoamory or monogamy. Everyone has the right to be how they wish in their romances. Do not compromise a core value if it is a core value for you.
Thanks GalaGirl. You raise a lot of great questions. It's a very long story that I don't have much time to get into, but my wife hasn't really been able to explain what she wants yet. Just that she wants to "explore" other relationships. She's feeling restless and confined. The other night, she said something to the effect of "I guess this is the point where a lot of people just have an affair and then get divorced."
We've had some issues in the past, and we are working on those. But I don't know if those issues have contributed to her desire to "explore" or not. We try to communicate, we want to communicate, but I think we both struggle with it still.
We are starting up with a "kink aware" marriage counselor on Monday. So hopefully we will get some guidance in open communication and trust building.
As for what I want... I would've been happy staying in a mono marriage the rest of my life, but I'd be lying if I said the idea of exploring new relationships didn't intrigue me on some level. So maybe I do have some poly in me? LOL... It's just hard to tell yet because all of this is still so new to me, and I do have jealousy and insecurity issues that I will have to learn to deal with.
As I picture us moving forward, I still can't picture separating over this. I still believe in Us, and I believe that she still loves me to the level that she can.
It's funny in a way, because of the two of us, I am the extrovert social person. I have lots of great friendships that move me very deeply. They just aren't sexual. My wife is more of a home body, introverted, and in the past has had trouble expressing love to me the way I desire it. So the fact that SHE is the one that wants new relationships was very surprising to me.
As an INTJ, I don't want to interact socially with people on any casual type of level. For me, if I am going to let myself get close to someone - then that means that I am going to open myself up all the way. This limits the number of people in my life - which is the way that I like it. However, it also means that we introverts may look to a very few people - spouse, best friend - to fulfill ALL of our social interaction needs that extroverts can utilize their vast array of friends, acquaintances, co-workers etc. to fulfill.
This may also address the common question of "Why am I not enough?" - It's not that one person isn't enough "as a spouse/partner", it's that no one person can possibly be expected to fulfill ALL of the roles - spouse, best friends, close friend, casual friends, hobby-sharers, family etc. that extroverts spread over MANY people and introverts may limit to just a few. Polyamory lets us (me) spread those roles across two or more often complementary people - having different relationship skills and interests - WITHOUT having to let "casual" people into our (my) closely guarded "inner circle".
Thing is - IF I am going to let someone get that close to me, THEN there is a good chance that I will love them and want to share everything (including sex) with them too. I also have trouble expressing love and affection and sex is often a short-cut to intimacy (not saying that it is healthy - just something that I have observed in myself). SOOOO much easier than that whole difficult "talking to people" thing...:eek:
Don't know that there was anything particularly useful there, or if your wife's introvert tendencies match my own - just some thoughts I had upon reading your post.
If you guys want to be together -- gotta address this bit:
It leads me to wonder if you guys are doing ok for emotional intimacy. Is that component strong?
I do not actually expect you to answer me. Just trying to give you some questions and talking points that could perhaps help when you talk to your wife.
Hang in there. It sounds like you have a lot to deal with on your plate right now.
I have always wanted more intimacy than she has given me. I have a higher sex drive, and I am much more touchy feely than she is. So, no, our history is not the best when it comes to intimacy. There are several extenuating circumstances, but that's a short history.
The odd thing is that since we've been talking about this, we have actually been more intimate. I have been working on some of my issues, and she has been more attentive to me.
So, here's a question for any/all of you...
Tonight I basically agreed to let her start dating. And I proposed we follow the outline provided here: http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...lationship.pdf
She said she really liked most of the ideas, and thanked me for being so open minded. But she quibbled with one of the suggestions -- the part about us meeting all together. She said it would be too awkward and she couldn't handle it.
So I said that I understood, but that I still wanted the opportunity to meet them. I feel pretty strongly about being able to look them in the eye, get a sense for their personality, see what their motivations are. I told her that they would have to know in no uncertain terms that I will always come first in the grand scheme, and I think it would help me accept it if I could see that they understood that. If they are serious about being a secondary in an open relationship, they should be more than willing to oblige me.
To that she said she would rather choose not dating then. She wouldn't be comfortable with that aspect of it because she thinks I just want to get into some big pissing match with the other guy because I really don't want her to do this.
But as I said, I feel pretty strongly about this. I mean, I am trusting her to go out and date and have sex with other guys. Shouldn't she trust me enough to let me meet the person once? Am I asking too much? I really don't think I am, but I wanted to see what others thought.
I don't think it sounds unreasonable at all and many poly couples have similar boundaries. If meeting her potentials before she is to venture past a certain point is a boundary for you, and she needs to respect that in order for you to feel comfortable with her having outside relationships. If that is a hard boundary for her and she would rather not date at all, then to stay in a relationship where you feel comfortable, I guess it is more important to her not to have you meet guys than it is to date them.
She may have a point about believing you have a hidden intention to get into a penis measuring contest, but it is my opinion that she should at least give you the benefit of the doubt once or twice before just assuming. It isn't fair not giving you a chance to prove you can do this maturely and that you have no hidden intentions. I don't know you well enough to know if this is the type of thing you would do or not. If you convince her to let you meet her potentials, then it will be up to you to make sure to treat them with respect and put her fears to rest.
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