Married and in love with 2
I've been married for 11 happy years and could not imagine a better husband. We express our love to each other in many ways every single day. I always imagined that people who have affairs are seeking something that is missing or unhappy in their marriage, but lately (the past year) I just can't deny that I am in love with another man. I think about "polyamory" and wonder if this describes my mindset. I don't know.
Just as we can fantasize about all sorts of sexual situations we really wouldn't feel comfortable acting out, I can imagine that I would love to have multiple lovers in my life -but I suspect that my marriage would lose its uncommon sweetness. Especially as I can't imagine my husband ever wanting me to be with another man. I'm not only the only woman he's been with, but the only one he's ever even kissed, or fallen in love with, or been close to in any way other than family closeness. He is totally content that way. (I, on the other hand, love to sift through memories of the other men I had been with before we met.)
This other man... he lights me up inside. He breathes passion back into my life. He understands parts of me that no one else does. (He has known me about 20 years.) He also makes me feel so incredibly sexy that whenever we spend time together, I end up running off to my husband afterwards for incredible hot sex for days, or weeks. At times, that has repaired some stale times in our marriage.
My husband is happy with me having friends, male and female. He is content with my going off dancing every week while he stays home with the kids. (Sometimes I take a daughter with me; rarely, we get a sitter or the whole family goes.) He is not a jealous man and has befriended every ex-boyfriend or ex-lover of mine he has met, with honest gratitude for any happiness they had given me. Yet I know his pride would be crushed if he thought I needed another man as a lover. He has traditional ideas about marriage. He grew up in another culture, more restricted than ours.
My "other man" lives a couple of hours away, so we don't meet often. He has a girlfriend, and a kid living at home, so we are alone very very rarely. We don't intend to have sex, because of the hurt it would cause others and the risk to our friendship. (Not that it would destroy the dynamic between us, but that our loved ones would no longer want us to be friends.) I can make that sacrifice, much as I know I'd enjoy being his lover. My heart aches for him sometimes though. We talk on the phone sometimes and an hour flies by before we get out half of what we wanted to say.
I guess what I want to know is whether polyamory, the concept, the lifestyle, the perspective, has any answers for me. If it's really about multiple "loves", more than just about multiple sex partners, then is this what I am living? How do I do this without causing anyone pain? My husband knows I enjoy seeing the other man, but does he need to know I enjoy kissing him too? Should I stop kissing him, as one friend of mine advises? (I feel more guilty about loving him -something I can't help -than about kissing him.) I have told my husband that I feel more sexual when my friend compliments my body or looks at me like he wants me -but should I tell him when he had that "highest climax of his life" the other night, it had a lot to do with my friend having recently whispered orgasmic descriptions of my favorite fantasies in my ear?
What to do?
try doing some searches on here. there is a lot of info and a lot of what you talk about has been discussed before. you are not alone :)
Sorry for the bluntness but...
If you reverse the situation and it is your husband who has another woman whispering fantasies in his ear and kissing him without your knowledge would you see it any other way?
You have already crossed certain boundaries I believe. Unless you plan on stopping the above mentioned behaviour than I think you owe it to your husband out of respect to broach the topic of polyamory to at least give him the option.
Either way, you're on a path that I am not unfamiliar with. Please don't think that I am attacking you, but please don't think that your husband won't be affected by what you have already done.
If you love your husband then don't play him for a fool....because that is probably what he will feel like unless you are honest with him.
Give poly a try if you love both of them.
Thank you, I don't feel attacked and I do appreciate bluntness. I have already labelled this an affair in my mind. I feel like I am living this compromise between what I'd really like and what I know my husband would prefer, and the fantasy whispering was certainly taking things beyond where I had meant for them to go. (It happened once. Kissing crept in years ago, with those innocent little cheek pecks getting bolder over time.)
I have reversed the situation in my mind, and really my husband is such a one-woman man that the thought of him with another woman is actually exciting to me -in fact, I had quite a erotic dream about it a few nights ago. If the possibility of it happening seemed more real to me, I might feel differently. He is so different from me in that regard, I really can't compare. I fantasize about all sorts of things (threesomes, exhibitionism, etc.) and his fantasies stay more in the realm of sex on the beach with me. I might go so far as to say, he's just not as sexual a person as I am, although he is always eager and willing when I initiate it. When I don't, he has contentedly done without for months at a time (such as when I was pregnant and breastfeeding and had no libido). Thinking about another woman whispering fantasies in his ears, well -I guess I'd like to think his sex drive was strong enough to want that!
Of course I owe it to him to be honest, but in fact I'm just so scared. First, that our marriage would develop awkwardness and tension. Second, that he'd be hurt. Third, that he wouldn't want me around my friend any more. (They are friends too, but only through me. My kids love the man.) And I feel 99% certain that he would not even consider polyamory. Basically, it would be a conversation with so much to lose, and what to gain? Honesty? I told him once that I often develop little crushes on men, especially when I go dancing, and that they make me feel good. He said, "Well, what can I say?" and changed the subject. He really doesn't want to hear it.
I get that polyamory is honest, so what I'm doing is cheating. Without the fun of actually having sex with another man. I justify it because every time I see my friend, I come back to my husband feeling happier, sexier, and more in love (with life, with everything), and I see him being happier because of that. Our marriage had turned into a roommate thing after babies, and conversations (not kissing) with my friend turned it around. I've told my husband a lot of this.
Thanks for the thoughts. I'll work this out somehow.
Anotherconfused, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. You have not been faithful in terms of the bounds of your marriage as it seems that a kiss or two and fantasy talk are out of bounds, but you are in no way in a position to regret having sex with the man. You know it wasn't right and now don't do it again.
I don't see any problem with you starting the conversation about poly in terms of generalities. Give yourself a break on the kiss/whisper thing and use it as a learning tool for what you think you might want in the future. Market it to your hubby as such and start talking.
Ask him if he really is uninterested or is just nervous about it and why? Perhaps its a can of worms he doesn't want to open right now and that should be respected. You could tell him that you can wait, but will be bringing it up again in a set amount of time, because it is important to you... This way he will have time, can learn a bit perhaps on line or elsewhere, and can be ready for the talk. Maybe this will be of help to him... think of who he is as a person and then ask. Don't assume you know how he will be or has been because of past actions. Ask... might as well start with some good communication. You will need it anyways if you go down the poly path.
redpepper and Mono give good advice.
Also, since your husband has never been serious with anyone but you in his life it might be good to talk with a therapist -- it might help to have someone who has seen a lot of human behavior say, "You know, relationships really do come in shapes and sizes other than monogamous one-on-one, and I know many such relationships which are beautiful and healthy." A wise professional may be able to say things to your husband that would disturb him deeply if they came straight from you.
For this I recommend phoning around and finding a therapist who has counselled poly couples before and who seems to fit your personality. Consider whether your husband would more comfortable hearing this from a woman or a man, too. If you've never done therapy before: a professional will not judge you or your husband, will not take sides, and will concern himself or herself with helping you understand yourselves and your marriage.
Your description points up something very important about poly: your friendship with the other man does not detract from the love you give your husband, it enhances it. When you come back from meeting your friend you want your husband more, not less. In my (limited) understanding, that's what poly can do: add to the total love in relationships.
Be careful, though. Men who are relatively inexperienced sometimes get ambushed by emotions that they don't know they have. Guys who have been through several infatuations, romances, and breakups have felt some of these things and kind of know what to expect; your great guy may not.
I know you'll be gentle, but...well, be VERY gentle!
Thanks so much for your help, everyone. I've been thinking about this a lot, and reading what other people have written in these forums.
One thing I learned about myself, or I guess about others, is that being able to be in love with more than one person at a time isn't really a typical trait for a monogamous person -but always has been for me. It helps me understand in a different light why it was always such a huge struggle for me to be faithful with boyfriends. Every time I fell in love with someone new I'd question the relationship I was in, because I didn't recognize the possibility that I could be truly in love with both. Lots of hurt and heartache came out of that. With marriage I haven't stopped to question whether my husband is right for me, because wouldn't have married him if I didn't believe that to my core. I guess that's why it has taken me by surprise to feel such a strength of love for another man. (I have gotten used to the crushes, but this love has shaken me up.)
I've checked in with my friend on this and sure enough, he has always had that capacity to love more than one as well, although his relationships have never been polyamorous -just spells of monogamy, sometimes broken by affairs, and spells of dating several women casually. Interestingly, his last wife left him for a friend of theirs, and when she told him, he offered the solution of the three of them living together. (She didn't go for it.) Anyway, this is one of the ways in which I feel like he understands me like others don't because we are similar.
As for talking to my husband about it, with or without a therapist... Recently we broached the subject of my being able to spend the night at the home of a man with whom I had no romantic interest whatsoever, in order to get a break from my kids when I hit a spell of depression. It was in fact my doctor, a friend of ours, who offered the guest room in his country home. My husband firmly opposed it. (This is a man who gives me everything I want, almost without exception, so when there are exceptions I know he feels strongly.) His opposition didn't come from jealousy or mistrust of my motives or even the doctor's, but solely from propriety -what it would look like to other people. He feared what people would think if they heard his wife was staying overnight at another man's home without him. He felt so strongly about this, he put it above my need for respite when I was depressed, above what the doctor thought would be good for me. In compromise, I spent a weekend at my dad's house. Longer drive, but happier husband.
This is not someone who would be able to accept his wife being in another man's bed, certainly. So I feel like a request is more likely to hurt him than to bring me any kind of peace. I know him well.
I think what I would like instead, is to put a damper on the sexual side of my feelings for my friend, and work towards being able to continue loving him in other ways. I can tell my husband he is important to me, and that sometimes I need to go talk to him, and I can tell him some of how that relationship feeds into my happiness and my marriage, and I will feel more truthful and less sneaky if I am not in it for the kisses. I am it in for the long term, and for the happiness of all of us. Really, my husband's happiness is more important than whatever I might feel in bed with my friend, and he and I have, as we have always said, the knowledge that we desire each other that much, and the ability to fantasize, and knowing that fantasies are not all too different from memories.
We all make sacrifices for those we love, and I can do this much. I think.
I can completely relate to the situation your husband is in... mono husband to poly wife, she the only woman I have ever been intimate with, me content with it being that way, me not wanting her to want other lovers.
Your latest response indicates you have taken a step back to look at the big picture which I applaud you for.
A couple of things from your OP I think are important:
1) Your husband grew up in a different culture. I would think those cultural differences matter and need to be taken into account.
2) Your "other man" has a girlfriend and a child living at home (not clear if it is his or the gf's or theirs). What do they know about the situation? It seems there several people who would be affected by what decisions are made.
What EugenePoet said is so true... I have been "ambushed" by emotions I have never had to face before.
As for the other man's situation -the kid is from his earlier marriage. We get along and he doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with our friendship. The girlfriend (who doesn't live with him) is someone he has broken up with at least 3 times in the past few years and appears to be about to do so again, for reasons having nothing to do with me. I'm sure she would not want us to be as close as we are, and I like her so I feel guilty there too, but I've kind of left that for him to worry about I guess. He seems more concerned about protecting my marriage than his relationship -I don't think he's very vested in it any more. That makes him sound kind of shallow, but they have their valid reasons for trying, and for failing, to be a couple for so long. Nothing to do with me.
I also want to say that I'm really happy to have found this forum and to feel this kind of support. I admit to having confused polyamory in the past with swinging. I didn't realize how much I was ignoring my own propensity to love, and trying to shape it into something it isn't. I didn't know other people felt like this and accepted it. It's a huge relief, even though I know, with my dear husband, I am going to live a monogamous life -sexually, at least.
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