Non Physical V - it's driving me crazy
A bit of background for my first post. My wife and I have been together for 15 years, last week was the anniversary of our first kiss! About 5 years ago we opened up our relationship through swinging at first. I soon realized that I was getting more from the emotional side of things rather than just the physical and we agreed to head more into Poly than just swinging. My wife is happy with just the physical side so it's mainly been me that's been developing relationships with people. There have been a few bumps along the way but we've got over them all and are in a happy and stable place right now.
7 months ago I met a rather wonderful woman and we connected straight away. We went on a couple of dates, but she wasn't too comfortable with dating a married man, even with permission, so we agreed to just be friends. But the friendship has become very deep and close. We email or text each other 10-20 times a day and meet up on average 4-5 times a week for lunch or a drink or dinner. We've been away for the weekend 3 times already (but always with separate beds) and I sleep on her couch about once a fortnight. It's almost always her that suggests we meet up and my wife is cool with the way I'm splitting my time.
This is far more intense and close than any friendship I've ever known. We are open with our feelings and the word love is used quite often. She has admitted to me that I am pretty much her ideal partner, apart from the married bit, and that sometimes she does think of me as her partner or even her husband. But most of the time the best label she can come up with is that I'm her 'gay best friend' albeit one who's straight and married! She's become good friends with my wife and has met our children a few times. She's basically become part of the family and I'm happy just being friends.
So where's the problem? Well I sometimes feel as if we are actually dating but that there's an artificial limit placed on us. I'm normally quite tactile, but she reacts badly to anything other than the occasional hug. I've offered to cook for her dozens of times and she has said no as it would somehow feel like we were crossing a line. I find that artificialness of it a little frustrating. I'd really like to just let things develop naturally and see where we end up.
She has said many times that she doesn't understand Poly and that she feels that she could never share a man with another woman. But she is basically doing that right now. I have pointed out that our friendship wouldn't be allowed in a non poly marriage and that she is having her cake and eating it almost.
I think I understand her stance. She's 39 and single and would really like to settle down and have kids. She knows that kids outside of our marriage is against the rules for me and my wife. So I think she's holding back on our relationship as she's worried that if we cross that line she won't be able to go back and that would be the end of having children. She goes on dozens of first dates and I don't get jealous at all. But she rarely gets a second date and I worry if it's because shes comparing them to me somehow.
I've offered to cool our friendship in case I was getting in the way of her finding true love and she literally begged me not to.
So what should I do? Cool things even though she doesn't want that? Or carry on as we are and see what happens? The unfortunate truth is that she only has a handful of fertile years left and soon not being able to give her children will no longer be an issue. So if I were being cynical I could just bide my time, but that would make me feel cruel and deceitful.
She means the world to me in the same way my wife does. At the moment it clearly makes her happy to spend time with me and I really want to make her happy. But I would rather make her happy in the long term even if that upset her right now.
Has anybody got any perspective to share?
It sounds like you are in a bit of a pickle, sir. There isn't much you can do about her position on progressing the relationship between you two, besides continue to be frustrated but enjoy what you have. I don't see any reason to break off the friendship as it stands either. If she is happy with what the two of you share then there isn't anything to save her from.
If she is overlooking other potential partners then she just isn't finding what she is looking for in them. I don't see the point in tearing apart your friendship unless one of you doesn't find it functional anymore. It doesn't sound like either of you are feeling that way, so why wreck a good thing?
Hmmmm...how about you cool it with her so you can actually have time and energy to be open to what you DO want? It's doing both of you a bit of a disservice to be in this situation. My advice would be to talk with her and maybe schedule it so you will still hang out and text but have a few days a week when you actively agree not to connect. I had a friend who loved me and spent so much time talking with me that they didn't have any time to actually get out and date really, and when he tried it was sure half-hearted. Especially if she is monogamous minded romantically, if she's crushing on you and going into first dates after spending all day long texting with you, she wont be as open to what is out there. I started making sure to not be available all the time to my friend and, he found a wonderful person who can give him the marriage and kids he wants - we still have a strong friendship but some healthy space too.
Ewww. Anyway - Sometimes people are too infatuated to make sensible choices, and I think that may be the case on both of your sides. If it was just friendship I wouldn't stress this but the title of your thread is that you're being driven crazy by not getting to be physically intimate with this person. That conflicts with you saying you're happy just being friends.
I think I'd add to my above advice if it is true for you - that you also are upfront that you are interested in having other relationships, so scheduling it so you aren't chatting and hanging out so much will give you the space YOU need in order to find somebody who is interested in being in a romantic relationship with you. I get the impression from several things you say that if she does get involved with you physically, she will suffer from guilt and discomfort about it, and it seems you are hoping if you keep hugging her and offering to do things that make her uncomfortable and being around all the time, that it will eventually wear her down and change her mind. Maybe a bit of space would be more useful in clarifying things for everybody.
edit: I think you might want to look at this thread, sparklepop gave some exquisite advice about how to be a friend. http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=33839
There's some good advice in that other thread so thanks for posting the link. But I think it would be better for her to read it as well. She's the one who normally texts or emails me first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I have been trying to make the effort not to reply straight away. She's also the one who initiates most of our meetups.
It's not the lack of physical stuff that's causing me an issue. I don't sit there with aching loins or anything. She has a hot tub in her garden and we've shared it several times without a single stirring from me for instance.
But I do worry that I'm confusing and complicating her life. Neither of us seem to fully know what we want from this relationship. She has tried to kiss me a few times when drunk and it's been me reminding her that there's a line when that has happened.
I also worry that maybe I am just hanging around in the hope that she'll be worn down eventually. Which is why I try not to initiate our meetings. I don't want to be the one setting the agenda and I want the ball to be in her court.
There is one thing I know I should really put a stop to though. She will quite often meet up with me for a drink before she goes on a date and that really isn't a good idea.
The good news is that she's going traveling for 3 weeks over Xmas. So we will have some time apart and maybe one of us will find some clarity.
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