Longest Newbie Story. Ever.
DH & I have been together for over five years; married three of those. We have always, even when dating, discussed involving other people in our sex life. Other than one experience years ago w/a threesome, nothing ever came of it. Last year, "other people" (generally speaking) became a frequent topic of pillow talk. I finally told him we needed to talk about it outside the bedroom, and he agreed. This was around last October.
At the time, we both really only discussed/were interested in doing things as a couple, with other couples or single males/females. Finally, in January, we met up with another bi-female/straight male couple for a soft swap. It was fun, and we had a great first experience. We weren't 100% on the personality chemistry with both of them, though, so we didn't see them again.
In the meantime, DH and I started discussing the idea of having sex one-on-one with others without having each other present. We talked about it quite extensively, and I thought we were on the same page about it. I should have realized we were not because DH had this idea that we would find some couple we would both have mutual perfect chemistry/attraction with, and we would have our first "full swap" experience together. I expressed my doubts about this happening and thought it was clear that it was a "it would be nice, but not likely" thing. I now realize that losing our "poly virginity" for lack of a better term was HUGELY important to DH, and I totally screwed that up.
When DH went away on a month-long business trip in early April, I starting talking to a guy (J) in one of my classes. I asked if he wanted to hang out, and mentioned that I was in an open relationship. He expressed mild shock at the possibility but was okay with the idea. We hung out a few times, and ended up having sex one night. During DH's trip, he was only able to call infrequently and we had very short, practical conversations. I mentioned that I was "hanging out" with this guy, figuring that based on our previous discussions, he would get what I meant. I felt kind of bad about having fun with someone while he was stuck in a crappy place so I was not as explicit about things as I should have been. We also had not discussed how much information we wanted to share about our individual encounters.
While DH was gone, I saw J very regularly. I was open to the thought of having threesomes with him with DH, but the idea of having other partners became less interesting. It was then that I began to realize that these feelings I was having about other people were more about connections and emotional intimacy than just sex. Although, I'm game for "just sex" in the right context as well.
DH got back, asked if I had sex with J. I told him yes. He seemed fine, even talked about meeting him and about the possibility of threesomes. They never met, though, because J was out of town and before he got back, DH had a total breakdown about the whole situation. He decided that I had gone against our rules because I hadn't asked him if I could have sex with J before it happened. My point of view was that we had already agreed that having sex with other people was okay -- I had even given him condoms before he left for his trip. Clearly in hindsight, we were not on the same page.
About a month of hell ensued, during which DH decided that I had cheated on him and he was going to leave me. I was flabbergasted. To make a long story less long, we went to counseling, and have been working through things ever since. The idea/practice of open relationships was put on hold very temporarily, but never abandoned and frequently discussed as part of the whole process. I stopped seeing/talking to J completely, and asked for DH's forgiveness. He's still working on that part.
In June, I started hanging out with a lesbian female acquaintance, R, whom I've known for about a year. She works at a coffee place I frequent and we met there, have had an obvious chemistry/connection, but never hung out outside of her breaks at work. We went out platonically a couple of times, and finally admitted to each other that there was something more. I explained the situation to her, both with J and with the open relationship. She was amazingly understanding, supportive, and willing to "deal" with all of that in order to be able to see me. I told her I had to ask DH about seeing her as more than a friend but I wanted them to meet first. They met one night at our house, when we had a bunch of people over for drinks in the back yard. She beat me to the punch, and asked him (in a private conversation) if he was okay with us seeing each other. He respected the request/conversation a lot (I was later told) and impressed that she had the nerve to ask him, given everything that had been going on. He said yes, and gave us his blessing.
Holy crap, this is a long story.
Since then, R and I have been seeing one another very regularly. We took the physical relationship very slowly, but it has been wonderful. Lots of NRE, which kinda sucks because I'm trying to stay on the logical side of things. We have a great emotional/spiritual/intellectual AND physical connection. I have come to realize even more that my idea of an ideal open relationshp definitely falls in to the poly realm, not just swinging. DH has been very supportive, although I can tell it's hard for him sometimes. It's challenging for me to keep the balance between the three of us, given that I very much want to give the relationship with R its fair chance, but I also know that DH is my primary and healing our relationship is most important.
Since the "explosion" as it were, DH has messed around with one girl (no sex, just playing) and decided he's not in to the random hook-up thing, or even hooking up for the sake of hooking up. Sex for him has always been a very intimate, important thing in relationships. He has had some challenges finding (quality) women around here who are open to being involved with him in an open relationshp. He's not interested in long-distance or online stuff, so that limits the pool as well. He finally met a woman nearby and has had a couple of dates with her. It's slow going but they seem to have a decent connection. I don't ask too much, but I also think he doesn't want to share too much.
We had another setback this week, when he told me that he had been seething over a conversation we had almost a month ago, in which J got brought up in pillow talk (we were drunk, I don't remember who started it). The next day, I followed up with him by e-mail (that's how we address subjects with each other we know are going to be touchy). I was confused by him talking about that, even during sex. I thought maybe he wanted to have a threesome to put some of his feelings/fears to rest on that subject. He responded by questioning my motives for the whole poly thing, and whether or not I understood how badly the breach of fidelity hurt him. The next day I was in a car accident and wasn't on e-mail much to respond. He never brought it back up, so I (wrongly) assumed it was past. This week, he finally told me (after we had a confrontation in Home Depot over paint, which we recognized was a sign of larger things wrong and had a discussion later) that this whole time, he has been feeling like he did right after theinitial incident happened.
He says he feels some days like he hates me. That's hard to hear. But he wants me to be happy, and he wants us to stay together. He also wants to keep pursuing the open relationship idea because he feels like that's something he wants to do. But he feels like poly has been tainted for him because of what happened early on. I think it's hard for him to see me happy with R when things aren't going as well for him... even though he acknowledges it's unrealistic, part of him feels like our relationships should be more "equal." He leans more towards the conservative side of swinging than poly.
Also, to add another complicating factor to the mess, he told me he still feels like he wants us to have sex together with another female (not R) or couple because that is all he wanted all along. I'm confused about how I feel on this, because I'm happy with R and I don't know how she would react to that possibility. Also, I'm afraid that it is an unrealistic band-aid for his feelings on poly, and will only make things worse when he doesn't feel the way he thinks he will after it's said and done.
If you've made it reading this far, you are a saint. I'm leaving out some less relevant details that I can add in replies, but to do so now would make a two-page initial post. I think I needed to write that mostly to vent, but also because I really need an outsider's perspective on it. It's hard being new to this and being in a crappy, non-supportive geographical location, and not having anyone to really talk to about it besides the people with whom I'm in relationships.
This is a relatively common way to start and it may take baby steps for him to come along :)...My wife and I started this way and we were successful at it for 8 years. Only recently opening up more. Have him explore poly in more detail and understand it. And you will have to work with him :)...
Now you mention R may not be comfortable with it. Does that mean you are committing your side of openness to her?
Now I am going to take a position that likely won't get me fans. Why not let him have his bandaid? Baby steps for him. If he did only want threesomes and it jumped to full on open relationship, that is a monstrous leap. A baby step for him might be good...something to consider...which comes to the next point
being open, poly, swinging are all variations of a theme (non-monogamy)...he may not even be on the same page that you are. He may need to come to an understanding with himself of what he is, and what you are. Its ok if you don't matchup on the same page, but its good to understand where you stand for future conversations about non-monogamy.
Sounds like you guys started right, communicated "well" and then had a misstep due to different communication styles. Learn how each of you communicate and you can get ahead of some of these little problems.
Your post reminded me of some things me and Richard are dealing with. We decided to get into the swingers community since there is no poly community here and actually there are a lot of poly people in the swinger community, they just don't call themselves poly. But you can tell the difference by what they are looking for.
Anyway- it can be difficult to identify the reasons for entering into a poly lifestyle and remain focused on them. And some of those reasons are conflicting.
For example- desiring close emotionally intimate relationships that become sexual is one of the motivations. But- experiencing an incredible MFMF sexual experience at the end of a first date with a couple is also a motivation and quite an incredible experience also!!!
Experiencing a FMF sexual experience is a motivation for a lot of people....with or without emotinal connection. Slowly developing an emotional connection between two woman and a man is nice too.
Sometimes, we go into this lifestyle with certain expectations and end up experiencing things we didn't expect at all!!!! I think that's pretty much the nature of the beast!!!
Good luck and keep sharing!!! It really helps !!!
I get the idea that he wasn't clear on what being open or poly actually entails, which meant he wasn't able to voice his expectations. That, coupled with him not being able to pick up on your end of things--the condoms were an obvious indication of your thoughts--resulted in the gears grinding. I'm a bit puzzled as to why he seems to think it's somehow all your fault and that you cheated on him, though.
That notion of you cheating when you'd already agreed to being open and fucking other people suggests that he's either still thinking of being open in terms of monogamy (it's monogamy with fantasies of threesomes enabled!) or he's far more insecure and territorial than he thought he was (or so goes my hallucination on the matter). Neither of those is insurmountable.
And it may be a case of him simply not having a large enough pool of potential dates so that he feels some equality in the arrangement. To that, I'd simply say he needs to grow up a bit--life isn't fair--and simply wait until you get out of Dodge and get somewhere with more people. It could all be tied to him also being stuck in the backwaters of Kansas instead of in a metropolitan area and he's just not comfortable in general...which will also pass when you finish business where you are and move.
Shoot, Wichita is likely close enough for him to find a variety of potential dates without distance being much of a factor.
And should you need to spend time venting to a face across a table in a coffee shop, we're here in KC. Heck, Curly can even provide a pretty face for that sort of thing.
Hi Everyone, myelsewhere.
Lately I seem to be running into a lot of variations of this situation: Someone makes a mistake and the other person claims betrayal / cheating. As far as I'm concerned, you have to do something vile to betray someone. As in breaking a promise, ignoring a vow, exceeding a hard limit, etc.
Clearly, you had reasons to think that it was understood that you could sexually play with other people. Permission had been explicitly given before, you had sent him on his trip with condoms, etc.
If he said that he FELT like you cheated on him, then that is fine. It is too bad and you can say that will go slower in the future. You can promise that you will try to communicate more clearly, or be careful to get permission in the future, etc. But he is saying that you HAVE cheated on him. This, to me, shows a lack of perspective. It should be pretty clear that you had reasons for the misunderstanding, and when he frames the discussion in terms of you betraying him rather than a misunderstanding, then the relationship is put into a worse place than it should be.
As AutumnalTone said, I also am a bit worried that you guys are finding it easier to talk about important things via messages rather than face to face.
Finally, in loving relationships, people will mess up from time to time. For the relationship to grow you have to forgive mistakes (not major betrayals). I like the number 42 - forgive your significant other 42 times, even if they don't deserve it. If they keep screwing up again and again and not learning from their mistakes, well then maybe you have to think seriously about things. But for minor bumps in the road - don't make a big deal out of them. Cut the other person some slack and move on.
In the three ways above, I am seeing warning signs that things between you are pretty shaky.
I'm a solve things in a direct way kinda guy. (Usually this has worked well for me, sometimes not. So take my advice with a grain of salt.) I would, in person, talk about the 3 points above. I think that having the label of "someone who cheats" placed on you unfairly is a really big deal and it is totally understandable that you want to clear it up once and for all. I also think that if he admits it was a mistake rather than a betrayal, your relationship will be in a far better place than it is now.
I wish you the best of luck. Warm regards, Rick.
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