Not wanting to hurt any more
I am a 31 year old hetero male. I have been in a monogamous marriage for 10 years now. My wife and I have been together since before high school with two short breakups before graduation. We have two children and a third on the way. We have a very good relationship. I have never considered the thought of open relationships or how they can benefit everyone. Shortly after marriage I talked about the possibility of another couple to be intimate with. I guess I have always sought more. Nothing ever came of that as my wife was and still is self conscience. I try my best to understand her and remind her of how beautiful and special she is.
Over the years I have not always been faithful. There has never been physicality, but more of an emotional affair attached with a "I would like to, but..." Going out on a limb here, but I have been sexually exclusive to my wife and her only. Yup, my only partner. So is that what is driving me to poly? Maybe a little, but mostly I think not. In the experiences where I have enjoyed the company of a possible partner, the attention, flirtation, and overall excitement of it have driven me crazy. I love to hear other people's stories. I love to relate to other people and learn more about them. If a sexual thing comes out of it, it is neither here nor there.
All three times that I have had interests outside of my monogamy however, I have either told my wife or she found out. She is currently distraught, as she should be. I am not happy with my actions and I have hurt her, again. This time was a little different for me. I have come to realize that my interests are not going to change. A friend referred me to this site to pose my questions and become more informed. We have had several long talks about my thoughts on poly, his experiences with poly, as well as him turning me on to some literature which I have not gotten far into, but I like what I have read.
I realize that I have been saying a lot and whether or not it means anything I am not sure. I guess the reason for my post is this: If I am very interested in becoming more informed and active in poly, and she is not, what should I do? Obviously I cannot force her into doing something that she doesn't want to or feel the need to do. However is there any good advice? I am listening and looking for a friend.
Sounds like you have a lot on your mind. Nobody owns your brain but you though. You can think and learn about whatever it is you want to think and learn about. Knit. Make baskets. Polyamory.
I don't think mere thinking about things is what you are after. Could try to articulate your wants, needs, and limits more clearly.
I'll pose some "thinking cap" questions not because I actually expect you to answer me... but to try to help YOU think it out to yourself in your own head. Then maybe you could try to articulate to wife better what it is you are after in the marriage?
1) You say you "have a good relationship." Does that mean you have a good relationship with her? How is her relationship with YOU? The communication arrow in relationship is a two way street there. She's meeting all your wants/needs in relationship? Are you meeting hers? So you both are harmonious?
2) These emotional affairs -- was it crush stuff? One direction? Or reciprocated by the other person? How have you hurt her? Why 3 times and you keep on doing? What agreement/boundary/limit is difficult for you to adhere to and needs renegotiation?
3) What is it you want/need from your wife? Understanding? Freedom to date? BOTH? What is "active in poly?" Going to educational classes? Dating? Something else? You aren't specific.
Wife might be ok sharing in your inner life and hearing about crushes that come and go, maybe even reading poly materials, and learning about poly with you. That would be the monoamorous spouse Opening to love the polyamorous spouse in full color while sharing a monogamous relationship structure with them. You close down to a monogamous structure to meet some of her needs while she opens to knowing your inner life and polyamorous side to meet some of yours.
That's a different thing to ask for than a "monoamorous spouse + a polyamorous spouse in a nonmonogamous relationship structure."
4) How's your timing on this? It sounds like she is upset with you because what? She just found out about 3rd person emotional affair?
She's also pregnant -- not the best time to be putting all this on the table. Pregnancy hormones make one super emotional. Wife deserves your support and nurture in partnership, and in pregnancy times even MORE care and consideration. Is pending fatherhood (again) giving you wanderlust urges?
Could holiday season be affecting things? Sometimes all the "holiday family togetherness" can feel suffocating. Is there some of that causing strain?
Welcome to our forum.
I think you have to figure out exactly what you want/need, express it to your wife, find out if it's a dealbreaker, compromise if possible. Do you want/need your wife to join you in dating outside the marriage, or is it fine if she stays monogamous, even if you're polyamorous? What do you really want/need in terms of dating for yourself? How does this affect your wife? Can you compromise so that both of you are reasonably happy?
Perhaps your wife would be willing to join this site, and/or read some of the literature that you're reading. Add "Opening Up" (the book) to your reading list if you haven't already done so.
GalaGirl made a good point that a pregnancy is a tough time for your wife to have to process all this emotional information. Can it wait? Can you take things at a slow pace, so as to give her time to adjust?
GalaGirl's post was of good quality, so read it through a couple of times. I hope Polyamory.com proves helpful for you. There's lots of good info here.
Glad to have you aboard,
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