I'm came out poly -he's mono. Married for a long time.
Goodness. What a daunting task it is to introduce myself when I'm still shaky about how I feel. The basics are that I'm 32 and married to a good man for nearly 14 years. We have a beautiful family and an amazing blessed life. The poly story started 3 years ago when hubs and I were having some sexual struggles. He revealed fantasies about having a threesome with another woman. I was crushed. I have been on a spiritual- know thyself -type path for 5 years or so and I knew that my negative reaction to his desire meant I had some internal work to do. Long story short I researched everything and reevaluated my beliefs on monogamy, sexuality, and true love. Spiritually wise polyamory made tons of sense. Hubs decided it was not for him and he preferred fantasy to the complications of reality. I, on the other hand, saw a real opportunity to grow. Hubs and I had some huge communication problems (insert red flag) but he gave me the thumbs up for an emotional relationship outside of our marriage. He didn't want to share me sexually but knew he wasn't meeting my emotional needs. I had felt emotionally abandoned for so long that it was an amazing experience to share myself and be accepted as I am by a new partner. I had a short emotional poly relationship with a kind man. Hubs had been reading all of our emails -without my knowledge or consent -and was going crazy with fits of rage hurt and jealousy. I won't claim to be totally innocent here. I did the best I could at the time but ignored that he was not ready. The only other option seemed like divorce because he flat out refused to have conversation and emotional intimacy with me. After much strife I ended my poly relationship to save my marriage. My marriage improved somewhat but was still plagued by communication issues, unmet emotional needs, accusations of cheating (never have) and codependency.
After 3 years of reading everything poly I came to the obvious conclusion that I am poly and would be happiest living a poly life. Love isn't supposed to be limited or controlled. I'm not sure it's even possible. I also came to the conclusion that my marriage issues either had to be repaired or I had to end it. Having an empty emotional bucket for a decade was just too much. I suggested/requested counseling. He refused. Couple books or workshops? Refused repeatedly. In a moment of bravery I came out as poly and discussed my desires with hubs. He did not take it well. After some of the emotional waters calmed he decided that he was accepting of my poly nature and wanted me to be happy. This lasted a week. Then all of the nightmares from our other go at poly resurfaced. Threats, accusations, ect. This was 2 months ago. We are still on rocky ground. He will commit to a plan and then change his mind without accountability. I know he is hurt. I know that he needs time. I know that we need lots of work on "us". However, I'm no longer willing to stay in a marriage where my needs and desires go unacknowledged and unmet. He sees my poly desires as choosing poly over him. It's been a huge struggle to feel compassion and understand that he's hurt when he refuses to accept a part of who I am. I don't mean that he won't thumbs up poly but that he says if I love another- even without any action to create a relationship- that I am to tell him so that he can leave me. He says a poly belongs with a poly and I will never be happy with him. Sigh.
A marriage needs two people to put in the hard work required to maintain itself. If he flat-out refuses to do any of that work, then it's a done deal.
It's not that you're choosing poly over him. It's that you're choosing yourself over your marriage.
While some kinds of needs can be met by someone else, others can't. An example of something that can be met elsewhere is sex or kink.
Intimacy is not like sex or kink. It is a need of the relationship. It is also a need of most people as individuals, but that's separate.
Poly is irrelevant to why your marriage is failing. You're with a partner who refuses to carry his share of the relationship. He is refusing to do the hard work required to maintain your relationship.
At this point, I would probably give him one last chance. Don't mention poly for a while because right now, it's not the point. The point is that your marriage requires emotional intimacy and an equal partnership. Give him one last chance, an ultimatum: You come with me for counselling to fix our broken marriage, or our broken marriage is over.
If he agrees to counselling, recover from fainting and immediately make the appointment. Get him to agree to the time. Tell him that failure to show up will be interpreted as his decision to get a divorce. Heck, even make an appointment with a divorce lawyer for the following day. Tell him to choose which appointment to keep.
Only if he agrees to counselling will it make sense to discuss poly again. Then it will definitely become part of the conversation, but recognize that you might need to put that on hold while you both work to repair the broken marriage. You're expecting him to make sacrifices to save the marriage; he'll need to know that you're willing to make your own sacrifices.
Welcome to our forum.
Wow, you have a pretty serious situation on your hands. It's tough when you want to do counseling but your husband won't do it. How about the idea of you going to counseling by yourself? a poly-friendly counselor, of course. If nothing else, maybe a counselor could help you get some ideas about how to cope with your husband's anger, etc.
As for polyamory, if you are sure you're, well, very polyamorous (i.e. won't be happy living monogamously), and he's sure he's, well, very monogamous (can't accept you being polyamorous), then you have a situation we call a dealbreaker.
I guess the thing to do here is decide on an amount of time you think you can endure things where they are with no improvements. Or how long you feel you should try to endure things. Where's the line between healthy and giving up too soon? Can you do this for another year? If so, pick a date in January of 2014 and mark it on the calendar. Tell your husband about it. Let him know that you need things to be a little bit better by then at least, in order to be willing to stay in the marriage.
I would point out that I don't think either of you is the "bad guy" here. Sometimes people just find out (even if it's after 14 years) that they're no longer well-suited for being together. At that point, the goal is to separate amicably if you possibly can.
Some people feel polyamory is a better lovestyle than monogamy; others feel they're equal. I think it depends on the person. Some people are internally monogamous, kind of like a sexual orientation. If it's not too extreme of an orientation, then that person can live with a polyamorous partner and be happy. But I know it's not looking hopeful that your husband is in that category.
Regardless of whether you were going to live polyamorously, it would be a serious problem that your emotional needs within the marriage weren't being met. Somehow, that problem has to be taken care of.
Give yourself a bit more time to think about it. Discuss your situation with various members on this site. Who knows, maybe someone will have an idea that I haven't thought of. SchrodingersCat has already given some very good advice, I think.
Sorry we have to meet under difficult circumstances, but I'm glad to meet you nonetheless.
Wow, what wonderful replies! Thank you so much.
SC- I found your comment about counseling really on point. He and I definitely need to work on us and our marriage and then move on to dealing with poly issues. He did recently agree to listen to me read the Five Love Languages. That is HUGE to me. We are a few chapters in but this is the first thing we have done together to improve our relationship.
Kevin- Thank you so much for the warm welcome and the suggestions. I agree that there are no bad guys here. I really dropped a bomb on him by changing. I didn't understand there even was an alternative to monogamy for a decade of our marriage. I pray that we can get through this rough time and make a strong partnership. I really love him and I'm not afraid of work, sacrifice, and patience. We have built a beautiful family and I want to be an example for our children on how to love.
It feels great to be understood. It took me forever to actually post something but I'm darn happy that I did!
I've read the Five Love Languages; it's a great book.
Be as strong as you can for your family. Take care of you. Read and post more on this site. All hope is not lost.
I am sorry you are struggling over there and see your frustration.:(
I don't expect you to answer all the questions below to me -- you can if you want to. But mainly I put them forth just as helper "thinking cap" questions for just you to think about as you get yourself sorted out.
What are your wants, needs, and limits? What do you want out of the marriage?
I see where you have suggested various things and he's not agreed. He did agree to Love Language. So... maybe it's finding what he IS willing to try at this time? Then revisit the other things when he's stronger? What have been HIS suggested solutions to the problems? And your willingness to try those out -- are you willing or not?
I don't know if this could help him and you -- but could he do more page 5? You do more page 6?
In my own relationship -- we've clocked 19 years together. I'm the poly wired. My spouse calls himself "mono-wired and poly friendly. He thinks." He's not sure if he's poly too or not. He's content to leave it how it is, and we're basically content in a poly-mono mix that is currently a closed polyship of 2.
I'm not seeking at this time. The option to renegotiate boundaries/limits with spouse is there if I want to. If he wanted to renegotiate he knows I'd be up for discussion. He feels secure and content with our agreements and so do I. So... it can work in a "mismatch" of wiring. If both partners want it to and put in the time/effort to create the agreements for it to function IN.
What is the source of your DH's insecure? If it is external -- could he be willing to tell you what it is and what behavior you must demonstrate to help feed his "secure bucket?" What are you supposed to do/not do? Are these requests things you'd be willing to meet or not?
If the source is internal -- only he can do the feeding. Could he be willing to tell you what behaviors he must demonstrate to help feed his own "secure bucket?" What's he supposed to do/not do? Are these requests something he'd be willing to meet or not for himself and are you willing to help hold him accountable to himself? Note only HE can deal with the internal things -- you can support/encourage, but inside stuff is inside him. You can't do it for him.
But if he is willing for you to help -- when it happens you could say to him "Hon, it appears you are working yourself up here. Do you need a time out? A listening ear? Remember you asked me to point out to you when you do that behavior? You are doing that behavior."
Maybe it's some kind of combo -- external things AND internal things that both partners could do to get him to the healing place so he can get past his insecure?
Does he even want to get past it at this point in time? Or is he shut down and emotionally flooded/flooding and work there must be done first?
It's in the telling each other what behavior(s) are expected and will be done/not done by whom that you can hold each other accountable.
Both partners in a marriage have to hold up their end of the responsibility stick to be in right relationship.
You have emotional needs he's not meeting. Why is he not willing to meet them? If he is the spouse offering you a monoship, and he fails to hold up his end of that agreement -- where else are you supposed to get fed in the emotional intimacy bucket then? Has he given suggestions for that? Or is his expectation is for you just not to have the need?
My journal thread covers a bit more of what I feel about poly-mono mismatch in case that helps too. Starts around post 6.
My 2 cents.
I totally agree... I had to end a marriage to save my poly self, and never regretted a minute of it.. It was hard, and hard on the kids involved but they see and accept a much happier momma..
We found a woman and tried it, he and she fell in love, she wanted nothing to do with me romantically or sexually. Eek!
He seemed to transfer his loving emotions to only her, since I guess he is really mono and when he fell for her, he seemed to fall out of love with me. He stopped saying I love you, he stopped calling me pet names, wouldnt hold my hand when we walked together, etc etc.
I had them break up but allowed friendship. However it was loveship. He became more passive aggressive to me than ever and we staggered on with counseling and an anti depressant for me for another 10 years. Finally I had enough, and expressed my poly nature (flirting with men online). He couldn't handle that and we broke up, and divorced.
Ironically he was willing to get back together until the day the divorce papers were signed. I was full of relief and have never looked back.
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