The story so far
So I guess I thought it was time I started my own thread now (after lurking around and reading as much as I can)
I've been with my primary partner for nearly 20 years, we get on well but I've had a number of affairs. We've attempted to mitigate my apparent need for other people by swinging (which didn't really work) and breaking up, which didn't really work, and a couple of years ago, we attempted to open up.
All the advice says, don't open up a relationship that is not already strong..- but if you really want to save/keep your primary relationship, especially if you have children (like we do), you'll try anything to do just that, eh?
So, the first time we tried poly she [F] actually (even though she had no explicit desire to be so) found someone pretty quickly, and I struggled with it. The main reasons I struggled are not because of insecurity of having another man in her life, but due to the sort of relationship she developed (D/s) and the secrecy she wanted (didn't want to share it with me at all). In the end, I pulled veto and closed it down. At the same time I had started to 'explore' a relationship with someone else, and felt I had to close that down too. Therefore, both ended up bitter and frustrated that it didn't work.
We're now nearly 15 months on. We've talked endlessly about what didn't work, and I've made it 100% clear that there will never be a time when I don't want to have someone else in my life. To that end, she determined that she didn't want to try poly again, but was happy to be mono and just not know about anything I might do with someone else. So i started to tentatively look again, and after a few weeks found someone to talk to [E], we met, we clicked and we've been seeing each other for a little over 2 months now.
Things move quite quickly it seems, as much because I'm always talking and thinking, and so F has changed the rules and now 'wants to know' so the last week or so, even though things with E are quite new and not yet sure exactly where things are going, I've explained how things are. So far so good. F hasn't panicked, and seems to be OK with things. What did surprise me though is that F has reactivated accounts on OKCupid, and now seems 'to be looking' though she says she doesn't know if she is looking or not. *(she's much more a see what happens kind of girl). Essentially this means she is looking, but doesn't want to seem obvious about it. I think I feel OK about this, but I really don't want it to be a tit for tat thing.
I'm not sure whether I want to know or not, this time, that she's talking or seeing anyone else unless she wants to share the relationship with me in some way. I'm very open to sharing my relationships with her, the challenge (as we've both appreciated) is that anyone we're involved with might not want to share themselves with our other partners, and I guess we have to be comfortable with that.
For me personally, I segment sex and emotional connection. They come together with F, and they may come together in a relationship with someone else, but it's more likely that I have an emotional relationship with someone that may include some physical aspects but it's not the point of the relationship, or I'd have a sexual relationship with someone that includes some form of ongoing relationship, but the emotional connection isn't the point. But I'm also finding that what i think I want, and what is available isn't always the same thing. I also find that what I think I want and what I actually find I like are two different things too.. so it does mean constant changing and re-evaluating.
> If and when to tell the children
> How to get the balance right between being as open as needed, honest and communicative and the right of other partners to levels of privacy.
> How to balance the needs of an existing relationship with another one.
I should also say, that I live in one county with my wife (F) and I work away a couple of days a week and that is where I see E. in that respect it's quite separate (and could stay so) though I'm very happy to see them meet and get to know each other.
If F gets to know someone, it's more likely to be local to where we live, and I would need to accommodate that a bit more readily (including time away when I'm home).. F also doesn't want me to get to know someone on our doorstep, as she says she would find that a bit close for comfort.
F is however actually well adjusted in many ways, and isn't imposing many rules and is attempting to adapt to the changes opennly, calmly and quickly.
I thought a quick update would be helpful.
We didn't have a veto rule, but F became increasingly uncomfortable [her words hurt] that I was actually enjoying the relationship with E and that F wasn't an active part of it. I think this suprised her as much as it suprised me, and so, as he often does, she changed the rules of our engagements. more about that in a minute.
So I've had to change the relationship with E to downgrade it to a friendship, not lovers. It seems that the only part that F has a difficulty with is knowing that I might fuck someone else and she not be a part of it. For F there is a distinct sense of belonging that she doesn't want to get past. However that also means that she is looking to find ways to make it work where she doesn't feel she looses that connection with me. This seems to be very similar to feelings that I've read other people say on this forum, so I'm taking this to be a good sign.
The new rules then are: Not to look for an ancillary relationship in MK. (thankfully F is happy for me to continue seeing E as a friend, and E seems open to that - which is very magnanimous, because I do feel like I'm messing her about a lot!) Meanwhile F and I are going to look for people to include with us and attempt to date as a couple. I think this is a little more like swinging with friends, but it's where she's at and I can't really rush her with this.
F seems open to putting herself in places where this can happen too (dating sites, clubs, poly meets) so I'm hopeful that it's not just a knee jerk reaction designed to slow everything down, but is a step towards finding what will work for us in a poly way.
F has closed down her OKC page again, saying that she doesn't want to do that on her own. That makes a little more sense to me, given what she says she wants and doesn't want. 3 weeks I guess is a long time in poly life.
Two weeks in, and the picture is starting to get a little clearer.
Seems F was NEVER happy with an 'exclusive' relationship with anyone else, but she was 'trying' to be for my sake. We've argued nearly every day since about why she couldn't just have been honest and spared everyone the heartache! But I think we've hammered it out enough, and its now 'understood' that exclusivity is not going to sit well with her just now, and that was the main reason for her wanting to explore doing things together.
We've visited a swingers club together, and played with some single guys, which F has enjoyed a lot, and has helped her to break down some of her initial objections to other people involved and confirmed her view that she would like to find people who want to be involved with us, together. In poly terms then, we'd be looking for a triad or couple to get to know (and in F's words 'fall into bed with') which to her mind is more natural (and perhaps 'fair')..
We do have a few couply friends, but I would be wary of trying to turn any of them into a relationship that goes further than friendship, because most of our friends know each other, and if something goes awry, it'll affect the whole group balance. So we're attempting to find swingers who are open to a little more.. We've made profiles on a website, and are starting dialogues, and we'll see where that goes..
Our son, on the other hand, was adamantly against the idea of a poly relationship in our family and immediately began to indirectly "slut-shame" my wife and question my role as her husband. I quickly put an end to that and told him to show more respect for both of our decisions. He spent the next couple of weeks being cold to his mother but finally came around to accepting the idea. Months later, he actually began to enjoy my wife's boyfriend's presence in our family and even hung out together just the two of them.
So as you can tell, it isn't so cut and dry with children even within the same household. You just have to gauge your approach and timing with giving the news based on your children's level of understanding, maturity, and personality. I know both of our kids' personalities played a major contributing factor to how they ultimately responded to the news. Our daughter has a very sweet and nurturing personality which explained why she put her mother's needs and my desires above her personal interests. Our son is the more "aggressive" nurturer. He loves his mother very much and is very over-protective of her like many sons are and he said the thought of another man being in my wife's life besides me really irked him. Both my children eventually learned to accept Dan into our family not as just another partner for their mother but essentially another father figure they can look up to. Wish you the best :)
Thanks for sharing Tom. it is comforting though that they both came around in the end.. sometimes children just need time to adjust, especially if 'everything' is new to them...
So another update is due.
It amazes me as I look back over these messages, just how many changes keep happening... it's like watching evolution in progress!
So, F and I are still working hard at our relationship. After a few days away together (how we love those times) and after some heavy drinking, F started to talk about how she *wants* everything to be OK, that she *wants* to be able to deal with other people in my life, and that she *wants* our focus to be on what's good, not what 'isn't'.. I asked her the following day, when she had sobered up, if she still felt the same way.. giving her 'get out of jail free cards'.. to which she said, the truth often comes out when you're drunk...
So this was an interesting step. Up till then, we've been swinging together, and I've been quite clear that though I gain some pleasure in watching her in that environment, I'm not fussed about swinging because it's very transitory. She likes it, and I suspect it'll be something we do for a while. What it does seem to have managed to change is her entrenched view that sexual monogamy is important for a primary relationship. I think that she has seen that I relate to her in the same way now, as I did before, and that faithfulness is to 'us', not who we fuck.
We've been talking a lot about E, and what happened there... I'm still in contact with her, but we're nothing more than friends right now. But, F says that now she'd like to meet her and see if we can be friends. Since we had been looking for people to spend time with locally, this is quite a departure. It looks like we'll try to have dinner on Thursday next week... I'm gonna have to try not to get too excited, and also try not to imagine all the possibilities! I think E is still interested in me, so lets see how that goes.
Just yesterday though I also started talking to C. We met at an activity I do each week, but had only really smiled at each other.. - but then we were at the same running event on Sunday (different races) and it seemed like there was a bit of a spark. Anyway, last night, we had a chat online, and it went very well. She's interested, I'm interested.. I talked to F and she didn't freak out. So, it *looks like* things could go from one to three in a short space of time... I've often said that's what I think is manageable, connection, commitment, emotion wise.. so now it's up to me to prove it. Mustn't get ahead of myself though.. it's early days all round. Watch this space!
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