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-   -   It's Always Complicated (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3602)

BstiNatosi 08-30-2010 04:39 AM

It's Always Complicated
 
Hello everyone, brand new here. I've read through some of the posts, as I am also new to the idea of my wife loving another man while still loving me, and the most resonant post was the one from Pie. His story is so similar to mine.

My wife of almost 10 years has been visiting an old male friend in another state off and on for years now, and just recently revealed that she has strong emotional feelings for him that could lead to a physical relationship. Needless to say, I was shocked and hurt. She says she still loves me, that I will always be "the primary", that she loves and wants to retain the life we've built together, but doesn't want to be bound to the definition of "just friends" with him when she visits. She wants it to be open to whatever might happen between them.

Although she says she loves me dearly, this is non-negotiable. She feels that she has a right to do as she pleases as an individual, but of course doesn't want to hurt me in the process, which is why I am being given this information at all. She didn't HAVE to tell me, but love and respects me enough to do so.

Although they would, of course, take it very slow so that I can acclimate, it's GOING TO HAPPEN somewhere down the road.

Like Pie, I was told that I would be free to date if I so wished, because "it's only fair". But she would prefer that I didn't because "it would complicate our lives even further".
These notions seem antithetical to what I know Polyamory to be. I don't want to be poly, and she doesn't exactly consider herself poly, she just wants to be with this one man. But she keeps sending me articles about Polyamory and how jealousy is merely an irrational fear based on one's own insecurities.
That the act of your partner having sex with another is natural, practiced in most cultures, and does not deter from the love or intimacy of the primary partnership.
She also says that, eventually, I will see the benefits of this for ME, but I fail to see HOW.
How does her having sex with another man benefit me? I can see how it would benefit her, and I get the whole compersion notion, though I don't know if and how I could get to place like that.

Please understand that I don't want to be selfish and look for a "benefit".
I don't want this to happen at all, but there's nothing I can do about it and I fully intend to stay with my wife, through thick and thin. She reassures me every day since that nothing will change in our lives, but it already has.

Her honesty I do appreciate. And for the most part, I do trust her words.
But nobody can predict the future. No one can say the grass will always be greener at home.

So here I am, at a crossroads. I am put into a position where I must understand and accept the inevitable, with love. I am to be happy for her, as having sex with another man will...bring us closer together?

And here I am, attempting just that. Dealing with thoughts that her sex life will forever change OUR sex life, for her being that intimate with someone else, all that entails, then to be with me will be.....awkward at best.

I think I'm okay with her having strong emotional feelings for him. She's known him a long time. I don't know him at all. I'm even okay if they kiss passionately, as they already have. It's the sex part I can't get past.

So, anyone who has been in this position, I'd really appreciate any thoughts on how I can learn to cope with this and still have a healthy sexual relationship with my wife.
I really do want what's best for her. This is not a tryst. This is a long standing crush that "must" eventually be realized for her.
I understand that love is not a limited resource, but sex, to me, is not something to be shared when you've married based on an implied agreement.
THANK YOU.

ray 08-30-2010 04:55 AM

Hey, welcome. I'm sorry that you're going through a tough time. There's a lot of information here and stories that you might find helpful. Polyamory can be done in many different ways but one thing that seems to define it is communication and consent between all parties. You sound like you are not comfortable with your wife have a sexual relationship with another man. And that's ok. It is important to respect how everyone in the situation feels and where their boundaries are. I'm currently seeing a married man and we don't have sex because his wife doesn't feel comfortable with that right now. Maybe never, maybe later, who knows? It's hard for me to imagine him demanding that she allow us to sleep together. I don't think it would go over well. The important thing is not what your rules are but that you all feel comfortable with them. If you decide that you want to try and feel more comfortable with it, xeromag.com has some good articles that helped me as I'm fairly new to all of this myself.

AutumnalTone 08-30-2010 05:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi (Post 42305)
Like Pie, I was told that I would be free to date if I so wished, because "it's only fair". But she would prefer that I didn't because "it would complicate our lives even further".
....
But she keeps sending me articles about Polyamory and how jealousy is merely an irrational fear based on one's own insecurities.

I'm so sorry, man. It appears to me that she's simply trying to manipulate you into letting her have a lover without any true intention to move to a poly relationship. That she's announced she will have a lover whether you agree or not is very telling.

Were it me, I'd leave. I don't tolerate game playing of any sort, and she's playing in very ham-handed fashion. Polyamory is about negotiating what is needed and desired, not dictating to partners that it's going to happen without regard to their needs and desires--there's a required ethical component to polyamory.

MonoVCPHG 08-30-2010 05:37 AM

This is going to happen ranting time
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi (Post 42305)
Although she says she loves me dearly, this is non-negotiable.


:mad: I'll apologize for ranting on your post now but here goes!


Just because a partner tells you they are going to pursue a relationship with another person does not make it anything better than cheating if you are not ok with it. If I tell the bank teller I'm going to rob her, I'm still breaking the law.

She is driving this down your throat. I'm sick of people just taking this type of crap from shitty people. There is an endless stream of free babysitters and house-stitters being walked all over by people who say they love them. Bull shit they love them..they need them to hold the fort down while they run off to fuck other people and they need them to run home to when the shine wears off thier NRE ridden adventure. Fuck them, let them come home to locked doors and R-E-A-L-I-T-Y. The world doesn't revolve around them, and if they constantly put their needs ahead of their partners then they aren't worth the love of those who put the needs of others first.

Stand up if you don't want this. Better yet, get her and your parents opinion on what they think of this in relation to "She feels that she has a right to do as she pleases as an individual". See how righteous she feels then.

Saying there is nothing you can do about this is makes you sound weak and helpless and I am sure you are not.

Her preferring you not to have other relationships makes total sense though..she might have to hire some one to clean the house while she's off with her boyfriend.

I normally would be a lot less irate but when when a partner tells their partner that something is "going to happen" there is no love involved; their is only childish, greedy, selfish and destructive self centered behavior.

You're looking for a benefit to poly under the conditions she has given you? There is none unless you just want the house to yourself.

Negatives:
You have no choice so your self confidence will be shot.
You'll feel ashamed because people will think of you as weak when they find out, and they will unless you're really good at hiding it or just don't care.
When people ask you how you and your wife are doing, a knife will peirce your chest and they will see it in your eyes
Every time she visits him you'll probably feel physically ill at the idea of him sweating on her

Can you work around this and perhaps both be taken care of...yup, but she has got to knock off her "this is going to happen shit" and you'll have to step up and make your needs known.

No person will die without another in their life, it just feels that way. Now go get a Plenty of Fish account and see how easy it is to hook up. There's plenty of women looking to have affairs and one night stands...unlike your wife, they just don't tell their husband. Hey, she said you could pursue others.

Rant done
Sorry my friend...I lose it when I hear this type of stuff

MindfulAgony 08-30-2010 06:41 AM

Ouch
 
I'm sorry to hear of this challenge your having with your wife.

My POV:
Your wife does have the right to do what she pleases as an individual - but she has a RESPONSIBILITY to understand the impact she's having on others and recognize and respect her partner. Your wife seems to be not showing you much respect in this. She's not working with you in this case, she's given you an ultimatum disguised as polyamory. That is no fun. Hurtful.

You have to determine what's important to you and figure out an appropriate response. If you want to explore the possibility of transitioning your relationship to a poly one, you must insist that you start from an equal footing in terms of finding a set of boundaries that you are both comfortable with. The only way to wrest this back into one of equal footing is to get real clear about your feelings, interests, priorities, and boundaries. Boundaries are harder to negotiate around; the rest can be difficult but can be managed if you have enough self-insight and someone who's ready to explore theirs and yours together.

If I were in your position, I'd ask her if she's willing to be patient while I worked through my feelings and if she'd be willing to keep the conversation going - not presuming a specific outcome?

I'd ask her if she's willing to slow down her relationship to put our relationship on an even keel and equal footing so that we're operating from a solid base?

I'd ask her why she feels like her relationship doesn't complicate your marriage while you having an additional relationship is a step too a far? I'd ask her to really explore her feelings about that and find ways to get her to imagine you being in her position with a deep emotional connection and requesting for a physical one as well? Right now, she seems to lack empathy for your needs and feelings. Find ways for her to connect with your fears, questions, and emotions.

I'd tell her that this exploration WILL in fact change the relationship. It might increase your intimacy and spur personal and relational growth. It also might result in the relationship ending AND spark personal growth. I'd make sure she knows that you MAY NOT be willing to be polyamorous - even though you love her enough to explore your feelings about it (prior to her hooking up with her guy). By dealing with your feelings about this, not running away from them, getting behind the fear (etc.) you will grow as an individual - but you still might discover that pure monogamy is the only way for you to go and having a wife who isn't may not be tolerable. You should feel like this is an ok - even if painful - outcome.

If you compromise who you are to save your marriage, your marriage is half dead already. You can't cut off your hand to save your thumb.


Good luck. You have some hard conversations ahead of you. Don't shy away from them. Don't shy away from how you feel. Instead, use them to spur greater understanding of yourself and your needs. Your wife needs to do the same. You both need to find a place where you can respect each other's feelings and needs.

(Note that respecting may mean the marriage has to end. I don't mean respect in the sense that you have to agree. That's not always possible.)

redpepper 08-30-2010 07:31 AM

Mono, you sure lost it babes... remind me not to be demanding ;) :D

wow, how nice that there is no negotiation... very controlling and manipulative no? Does she always treat you this way? It's bullshit that she is unable to not carry on into something more intimate with this man. We all have desire, we don't all act on that desire. To think otherwise is foolish, childish and naive.

I would suggest that she is in the throngs of NRE and has forgotten that she is talking to her husband. She sounds like a either a whiny child or a demanding controlling mother. That is really too bad. She could of approached this much differently as many people have on here... have a good long read.

At least you are in the same boat as others and there are plenty of resources here that hopefully can help you cope. Do a tag search for anything you are interested in... such as jealousy, boundaries, negotiations...and/or the like. You have a lot to learn and SO DOES SHE. This will not be poly unless she gets on the band wagon and starts sorting out how to practically love two men. It's all very well to say she does and that you should suck it up, but that is not poly. Poly is actively having empathy for and communicating with honesty, openness and respect. I guess she has the honesty down ;)

I suggest that you start asking for your needs to be met, ask her what hers are and start negotiating the boundaries of this thing (I'm not into rules, again, more control and manipulation). You and her will find yourselves compromising in this and that is how it is for a time. Everything is different and changed now and that takes time to sort out. Don't ever compromise for the long haul though. You both deserve the best and should strive for it in an equal balance some how. Again, time. There is nothing but time to sort this out and she needs to respect that or your whole married life will blow up in both your faces. If she really loves you and what you have created together then she needs to remember this. She needs to go at your pace as you are the one struggling, another important thing to remember.

You are right, there is little to no benefit to you personally, other than having a new friend that shares two important things, the love of your wife and that he loves her two. That can be a powerful bond and can be very special. I suggest that you go and meet this guy and involve yourself in this journey that she would have you embark on.... this seems to yield the best results in the future. It is a bit of a wake up call too as fantasy often is faced with reality.

good luck. If nothing else you will certainly learn lots about yourself and your relationship with your wife. I hope you are ready for that challenge, because you are now in it, whether you want to be or not.

janeb1958 08-30-2010 09:43 AM

I'm sorry you're going through this, but I must agree with the others. It does sound like she's playing games with you -- something no one has the right to do. I don't see how she can call this "poly" when she TELLS you that you cannot have any other relationships?????? It would be one thing if this was your choice, your preference, but to think she can demand this of you?
You always have a choice, as does she.
IMO -- you need to think long & hard if this is really worth this -- for her to have options & for you to be shut down? I know if it was me, I'd be changing the locks or moving out...just saying.
Good luck!

GroundedSpirit 08-30-2010 03:19 PM

Hi Bsti,

Although I do agree to some extent with the thoughts others have shared with you regarding control, consideration etc, I'm not quite as quick to just jump into the "poor you" pool.

Why ? Because there's a LOT left unsaid here !
Obviously there's some issues brewing under the surface between you and your wife. More than likely some on each side. And guess what ? Nobody is talking seriously and openly about those issues ! So now you are where you are and those issues are going to have to come out.

It's a good & necessary thing. Take a deep breath and dig in. :)

Now..........that being said, I'm going to share a thought or two relative to some specific comments and questions you asked. The thoughts may or may not have any relativity if you and your wife don't get on the same path. But in case you do maybe they can help.


Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi (Post 42305)
...She says she still loves me, that I will always be "the primary", that she loves and wants to retain the life we've built together, but doesn't want to be bound to the definition of "just friends" with him when she visits. She wants it to be open to whatever might happen between them.

I suspect she has some infatuation with this other guy, fueled by the differences you two haven't addressed and has "discovered" this polyamory thing and sees it as a possible 'have your cake and eat it too' solution.
It CAN work, it's possible that this fits her needs & personality better and it may be legitimate. I'd consider both possibilities until you do the work to discover the truth.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
Although she says she loves me dearly, this is non-negotiable. She feels that she has a right to do as she pleases as an individual, but of course doesn't want to hurt me in the process, which is why I am being given this information at all.

Anything is negotiable and everyone has the right to live the way they feel is best. And everyone also has the right to suffer the consequences. You might want to remind her of this. :) It's how the world works.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
These notions seem antithetical to what I know Polyamory to be. I don't want to be poly, and she doesn't exactly consider herself poly, she just wants to be with this one man.

I agree, there's little here expressing solid foundations of a successful poly life. Yet. Someone here needs a reality check !

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
she keeps sending me articles about Polyamory and how jealousy is merely an irrational fear based on one's own insecurities.

Accurate to some degree - doesn't matter. Cart is ahead of the horse here......


Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
That the act of your partner having sex with another is natural, practiced in most cultures, and does not deter from the love or intimacy of the primary partnership.

Again, only a partial truth being used as a tool for manipulation. It's not THAT simple !

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
She also says that, eventually, I will see the benefits of this for ME, but I fail to see HOW.

yes there CAN be distinct benifits, but there's no guarantee either.
But in many cases if she IS happy in how her life is proceeding she'll be more loving, more happy, more considerate etc. Things can seems like a whole new relationship. Again.....CAN ? But there's some work involved to get there.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
How does her having sex with another man benefit me?

She might become very minky ! Some people's brains work like that. That fact that you are willing to share her that way might be a huge turn on ? If you'd like that idea, keep it in mind as a possibility. But again - no guarantees !

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
So here I am, at a crossroads. I am put into a position where I must understand and accept the inevitable, with love. I am to be happy for her, as having sex with another man will...bring us closer together?

No - of course you don't HAVE to ! Just don't automatically close the door until you do some real digging.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BstiNatosi;
I understand that love is not a limited resource, but sex, to me, is not something to be shared when you've married based on an implied agreement.
THANK YOU.

This is ONE understanding of the role of sex in a relationship.
It's NOT the only one.
All are valid for the particular individuals.

But now you get to really dig into and evaluate this understanding and make a call for yourself if it's accurate and the best way for you to lead YOUR life.
I'd suggest trying to give it an honest evaluation. You may come out in who knows what direction, but regardless you'll understand yourself better - and the options in the world around you.

Good luck !

GS

Ariakas 08-30-2010 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG (Post 42310)
You're looking for a benefit to poly under the conditions she has given you? There is none unless you just want the house to yourself.

Negatives:
You have no choice so your self confidence will be shot.
You'll feel ashamed because people will think of you as weak when they find out, and they will unless you're really good at hiding it or just don't care.
When people ask you how you and your wife are doing, a knife will peirce your chest and they will see it in your eyes
Every time she visits him you'll probably feel physically ill at the idea of him sweating on her

Wow I have never seen this side of mono. But I can't disagree with anything. I just wanted to re-iterate what he put here as I am a checklist kind of guy.

Quote:

I understand that love is not a limited resource, but sex, to me, is not something to be shared when you've married based on an implied agreement.
Interesting, you gave me an idea for a thread :)...

SourGirl 08-30-2010 04:02 PM

Wow. I am almost speechless at the responses. ....almost.

Seems to be a lot of prejudgement going on, based on reading some other spinless adventures on the board.

You may not like how the wife has been, and the fact she feels she owns her own body, but give credit, where credit is due.


She came to her husband FIRST. She has told him how she feels beforehand. She has been honest enought to admit she doesn`t want him to engage in other relationships, but has told him he is free to because it`s fair. She is acknowledging her selfish feelings, and over-riding it because she cares for him to have the same opportunities. Anyone here ever have a selfish feeling and admit it, yet do whats right regardless ?

How many other threads have we read where parties cheated, and husbands didnt want the wife to date ? Those people got better advice and compassion then this thread is getting. Role reversal in the way perhaps ?


To the OP : Every new situation has its rocky bits. The wife and you need to talk more. It is great that she is waiting for your acclimation, but she needs to back off the 'independence' angle. I think it comes from a fear she may have of this person being cut out of her life due to worries over jealousy.

She may feel she risked a lot telling you this. She may also think if she has all the 'compromises' figured out beforehand, that things will go better.

Compromise doesn`t work that way. She has messed up here.
No one goes through something like this, and handles it perfectly. We all look back and see actions we thought seemed smart at the time, and realized how our fears were controlling us.

Her fear of losing him has caused her to try and set one thing in stone. This will backfire. I would do some searches on articles about fear, and how to deal with opening up a previously monogamous relationship in a respectful manner. She needs to understand, that she has a better chance of this working out in the long term, if you truly feel included, appreciated and thought of in the decision.

Best of luck.

Definetly taking a hiatus from this board,...ughh.

Edit to add :That last part sounds hissy, and drama-ish. Not meant to. Just rolling my eyes and taking a walk through a different part of the park. :p


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