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-   -   An Affair to Dismember? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3330)

YamZenitram 07-28-2010 07:02 AM

An Affair to Dismember?
 
For the first time and just in the last few weeks, my boyfriend of 3 years (Stephen) started seeing someone else (Jen). They have a great connection - but Jen is married with two kids. She says her and her husband don't sleep together - they don't even sleep in the same room. Yet she refuses to tell her husband about Stephen. She doesn't work, so maybe she's afraid she'll lose her kids in a divorce. But the lying makes me uncomfortable.

Part of me wants to ask Stephen to break up with Jen. It isn't just the lying - Jen doesn't believe in polyamory, and she frequently talks about how jealous she is of me and how Stephen is the most amazing, beautiful man she's ever met. Stephen has told Jen directly that he doesn't want anything more than a casual relationship, and Jen says that she's okay with that. Nevertheless, I'm a little worried that she'll do something to hurt Stephen, such as telling her husband about the affair. Maybe that's completely irrational and irrelevant.

Am I overreacting? I don't want to make waves for no good reason, especially since this is our first time out there. I don't want Stephen to think that I'm only doing this because I'm jealous, or because I changed my mind about polyamory. Should I leave this decision up to Stephen? In your opinion, when is it okay for the "other" partner to intervene?

Just looking for some perspective!

FireChild 07-28-2010 08:11 AM

I feel for you and I understand your concerns. It sounds like Stephen is bound to end up hurt because Jen's not being honest with him, her husband or herself. It doesn't sound like she's ok with him being with you or that she's fine with a casual relationship. And the lying to her husband...even if their marriage is on the skids honesty is honesty. Stephen is the other man. And not in a good healthy poly way.

I don't know if I would butt in though.

redpepper 07-28-2010 02:53 PM

I would totally butt in personally, cheating and having affairs destroys the integrity of everyone who knows about them in my opinion. I would be very concerned if this were my husband.

I have been involved with a man who turned out to be having an affair, he told me he wasn't, I have also cheated myself and my boyfriend Mono destroyed 17 years of marriage because of an affair. I can't stress enough how destructive they are. I was with the cheating man a year ago and it is STILL coming back to haunt me and I didn't even know!!! I will never see anyone without checking with his their partners first as a result.

Sure there are times when people get through them and are able to construct some semblance of a relationship again, but you ask anyone that has ever been the one cheated on, something dies inside and never returns. That trust never comes back entirely. It carries on from relationship to relationship and the person seems to never entirely be present in their relationships again as they find it hard to fully trust again. Why would he want to be a part of that process of destroying that in someone else? Has he thought of how he would feel?

Your husband, regardless of the casualness of his intentions, is treading on a very fine line. He has become involved in something that is destructive to another person and another mans family. Her husband will be damaged and so will her family because of their behaviour and so will she. Why would he want to be a part of that?

I would be strongly advocating for him to end it. If I were him I would tell her that although she is a good match for him she needs to negotiate with her husband about seeing other people. She can't do that with a boyfriend in tow if it is going to be a good conversation. Boyfriends complicate things. I would leave her to it and tell her that when she has something sorted out that he will be available to meet her husband and start again.

Of course he just wants this to be casual, so it might not be worth it. In that case you seem to have an "open" relationship rather than poly, and there are some differences with that. The level of caring,love and commitment to their entire lives is not there. In this case I would encourage him to seek out women that are not cheating and leave her to her cheating ways....

There are a lot of good links to threads on here where we have discussed this topic at length. If you were to do a search on here for cheating and affairs you will find them. They could give some valuable insight.

YamZenitram 07-28-2010 05:01 PM

Thank you for the perspective, FireChild and redpepper. I'll definitely do better searches for similar posts.

redpepper, you bring up another concern I left out - that casual sex isn't poly. Kamala just posted something about this issue, too, but so far no replies. Like her, I'll keep an open mind, and while my boyfriend supports my pursuit of other love relationships, maybe he isn't poly ... Anyway, I'm sure I'll end up chalking this whole experience up to an "experimental" phase.

Thank you for the responses and support!

jkelly 07-28-2010 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YamZenitram (Post 37710)
Am I overreacting? I don't want to make waves for no good reason, especially since this is our first time out there. I don't want Stephen to think that I'm only doing this because I'm jealous, or because I changed my mind about polyamory. Should I leave this decision up to Stephen? In your opinion, when is it okay for the "other" partner to intervene?

Well, at the end of the day the decision is up to Steven; you get to ask him whatever you want, and he gets to decide what he wants to do. But I think that the answer to your questions are relatively straightforward. You have totally legitimate concerns about your partner being involved with someone who is proven to be dishonest, and is explicitly not interested in being in a poly- relationship. That's a pretty bad choice in someone for him to be involved with! I think you kind of owe him your honest opinion of the situation, and you convince him that it is not jealousy speaking by not acting jealous when you express that opinion.

I don't think it matters very much whether or not this dynamic is "really poly-" or what her motivations are for lying, or how great a connection that they might have. At the end of the day, your partner being with a jealous, dishonest person in any kind of relationship is really problematic, and not speaking up about it doesn't do anyone any good.

AutumnalTone 07-28-2010 07:56 PM

Were it me, I'd voice my concerns to Stephen and let him figure out what to do. He may have no problems with her cheating on her husband because he isn't deeply involved with her, which, if you're open isn't a problem.

If you're poly and not open, it's a problem, as redpepper explained.

MonoVCPHG 07-28-2010 08:49 PM

She doesn't apparently have any desire for her current husband, is admittedly not poly and jealous. She speaks of your husband very affectionately but says she is ok with a casual relationship. I'd keep an eye on things. She's not telling her husband because she doesn't want to lose security for her and her kids...but what would she do if your husband was willing to provide that? My guess, she'd gladly replace you in a heart beat given the window of opportunity.

Be careful and stay healthy.

YamZenitram 07-28-2010 11:42 PM

Thanks, JKelly, Autumnal and Mono. JKelly, you're right, it is entirely up to Stephen. While I had voiced my concerns, the one statement I had not expressed to him was, "I think you should end it." Your comment forced me to mentally prepare myself for an entirely fair refusal.

Autumnal, I think for the last few weeks, Stephen and I have just been conveniently ignoring the elephant in the room. When I did tell Stephen my direct opinion (as opposed to suggestions, observations, concerns), he said that he does think it's counterintuitive to be honest in our relationship, and then be so dishonest in a separate relationship. He's agreed to end it, and in the future, we both agree to see people who are more like-minded. Easier said than done, of course ;)

I never thought I was relationship-savvy, believe me, but sometimes this feels like Relationship Preschool. Basically, we're very idealistic ... and we don't know what the heck we're doing when it comes to involving an entirely separate human being. I just keep reminding myself that like any meaningful practice, it's a process.

Thanks again, everyone - I'd just like to say that it's nice to have an outside perspective, without judgment. I haven't really sought advice about my relationship - it's something Stephen and I have always discussed just between us. It's great, don't get me wrong, but it probably isn't great for everything. :)

AutumnalTone 07-29-2010 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YamZenitram (Post 37807)
...we both agree to see people who are more like-minded. Easier said than done, of course ;)

Aye, there's the rub. It's not always easy to figure out hidden agendas. The obvious stuff like this is easy to find and walk away from. Other stuff takes a good deal of time to spot.

Ah, well, to live and love well, one has to be prepared for things to not work out.

SchrodingersCat 08-06-2010 04:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YamZenitram (Post 37710)
It isn't just the lying - Jen doesn't believe in polyamory, and she frequently talks about how jealous she is of me and how Stephen is the most amazing, beautiful man she's ever met. Stephen has told Jen directly that he doesn't want anything more than a casual relationship, and Jen says that she's okay with that. Nevertheless, I'm a little worried that she'll do something to hurt Stephen, such as telling her husband about the affair. Maybe that's completely irrational and irrelevant.

She sounds like a poacher. Given that she's not poly and not happy in her own relationship, her instinct would tell her that if he's having relationships on the side (even though you know about it) then he's not happy in his relationship either, and she's just waiting for things to fall apart so she can make her move.

Quote:

In your opinion, when is it okay for the "other" partner to intervene?
This is a good question in general. My opinion is that it's okay for the other partner to intervene whenever there's a possibility it will affect your life, including the effect that his angst will have on you when shit hits the fan.

Quote:

Originally Posted by YamZenitram (Post 37746)
redpepper, you bring up another concern I left out - that casual sex isn't poly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 37725)
Of course he just wants this to be casual, so it might not be worth it. In that case you seem to have an "open" relationship rather than poly, and there are some differences with that.

I just want to point out the difference between "wanting this relationship to be casual" and "only wanting casual (sexual) relationships". In the first case, it could be that he's already identified the risk of her cheating and her inability to handle poly, so he doesn't want to make this relationship anything more than casual. That does not preclude him from wanting some other relationship to be more than casual. So whether or not it's an "open relationship" vs "poly" depends a lot on whether this is his general preference for other relationships, or for this relationship in particular.


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