Question and introduction
I am a monogamous male, married 17 years, wife "cheated" on me last year. I found out and she confessed a desire for poly. We had lightly discussed it previously but this forced the issue. I am willing to discuss the idea of poly. I have read ethical slut and opening up. Listened to poly podcasts. I think I would prefer a quad situation, we are very busy and have a teenager so time is tight. Now to my questions, we occasionally have heated discussions and she feels as though I keep backing off so I can keep her as the bad guy. I have been kicking the idea of "cheating" on her just to even the playing field. She is fine and actually offered it early on. Have any of you had a similar situation or has any advice for my situation.
Cheating isn't a productive solution.
You can't move forward until you find forgiveness. If that takes years, it takes years.
Opening your relationship up could help - but not if you're doing it for revenge. If you're acting out of anger instead of love, what is the point of being together?
Now, if you mean 'evening out the playing field' in terms of you being able to sleep with someone else because you want to and she already has, then yes.... perhaps you two can consider poly.
A quad is great in theory, but it's difficult enough to find a triad that works. Finding two people who are into each other plus you plus your wife won't be an easy job. It could happen, though.
If you're still at the heated discussion stage, perhaps now is not the right time to start though? You want your relationship to be in a good place before you start adding extras. If your foundation is rocky, it will crack under the weight of new people.
Can you tell us a bit more? What are the reasons for her cheating, besides just feeling that she's 'poly'? Can you recognise anything that you could have done better? What do you like about the idea of poly? Do you think you want to be poly? What stage are you at in your discussions about it and how long have you been discussing it? What are your heated discussions about and are you still punishing her for cheating?
I would work on your relationship and possible trust issues first (I would have trust issues anyway). Nothing will tear apart a flawed relationship faster than complicating it with new partners and situations. Her rushing you into this isn't fair. If she cared about your feelings, it seems she would go at your pace, no matter how much she wants other people. Is she claiming "poly" to escape from issues in your own relationship? (I ask, because I have done this exact same thing) I believe heartily in the idea of polyamory, but have found, that each person has to want it, not just accept it, but whole heartily want to do this.
Also, she cheated on you! Ugh, sorry, I am just disgusted for you on that one. And you "cheating" on her, with her permission doesn't count as cheating. Oh and kudos for reading up on the topic, it sounds like you really love her and are trying very hard to make this work. Make sure she is making an effort for you as well.
I am very sorry you are going through this. :(
These sounds like you thinking and sorting your own wants, needs and limits for ethical polyship in a sensible way -- step by step. One thing at a time. That's good.
This is poor conflict resolution.:
Proceed with caution here.
Has she apologized to you? Asked forgiveness? Made amends?
Have you forgiven her? Are willing to give her opportunity to make amends? Or are you being spiteful and holding it over her head forever at the expense of the your own and the marriage health?
Are both willing set it behind you and rebuild trust before moving forward to healing the marriage first before moving it forward again toward healthy, ethical polyshipping?
If you cannot do healthy, ethical monoshipping together, how's that supposed to work in polyshipping together?
Do you need to take the time to learn better communication/conflict resolution skills? Before adding more people to the mix with their OWN voices, wants, needs, and limits to have to balance?
That's just no good.
For you -- Choosing to CHEAT is not choosing self-respectful behavior for yourself.
For her -- this is you doing vengeful behavior toward her, or her shirking owning her conduct. Cuz if you do it, it "justifies" her bad then, or "minimizes" it because you did it too.
For the marriage -- this is destructive behavior that would help tear down trust further rather than constructive behavior that would help build trust up.
What do you want for your marriage? More trust or less?
What kind of marriage partner do you want to be to her? A trustworthy one or a vengeful one?
What kind of person do you want to be for yourself? A self-respecting one or not?
You could determine what your wants are in this area.
She wants to give you a free pass to cheat? That's a weird want. Proceed with caution here.
I am concerned that she wants you to "cheat too (dishonorable behavior)" than "repair trust (honorbale behavior.)"
Could this want of hers be so she can write off her own bad behavior as "See? You would have done it to me anyway!" or it's like some kind of tit for tat keeping score thing? Then she's off the hook guilt free without having to own her poor conduct or her personal responsibility toward her own self-respect, you, or the marriage?
You could ask her motivation/reason for this want of hers. Explain to you how THAT sort of belief system leads to healthy monoshipping or healthy polyshipping?
What prompted the cheating? What needs of hers were not being met in the marriage by you? Were you neglectful somehow? What agreements between you was she not willing or able to keep? Why?
You cannot polyship well with a partner you do not trust. You cannot polyship well with a partner you do not communicate well with.
You can't monoship well that way. Could choose to sort yourselves out first not pile on more new changes and stressors by Opening in a time of stress.
Whether that means taking the time to rebuild trust in this marriage, heal, and get it to a healthier place first, or just breaking up -- I do not know. Only you two can tell what you have to work with over there. Your willingness and her willingness -- are both willing to try to mend or just done here?
I can see you hurt. But again... could choose self-respecting behavior for yourself. Could choose to not cheat. Could choose ethical behavior.
If you want ethical relationship, whether as a monoship or a polyship -- cheating is NOT the path toward that.
Whether you choose to try to stay together and heal or choose to be apart as the best solution for both your long term healths and well beings -- I hope you both can move it forward toward each of your future happiness-es. Be it a shared happiness or separate happiness.
Don't stay stuck HERE. This is not a good place. :(
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