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-   -   Recovering from coerced non-monogamy (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38416)

Icewraithonyx 01-20-2013 06:45 PM

Recovering from coerced non-monogamy
 
Origin story is pretty cliche: Long time married, Wife fell in love, decided she was polyamorous.

Despite tons of advice about slowing down and making sure everyone is on board, it seems to me that "Surprise Non-monogamy" is a fairly common occurance and it can be a serious upheaval.

Right now, I'm struggling with overcoming some resentment from feeling that I was hijacked into this new relationship model. At the beginning, it was a pretty big violation.

FYI, Wife cringes at how things went down in the beginning so I feel kind of like I'm kicking a puppy. I'm just trying to figure out how to get over things.

Thanks.

Delphinius 01-20-2013 07:47 PM

It was probably a surprise to you both
 
You could be my husband posting! He felt (& sometimes may still feel) the exact same way. So sorry to hear those feelings are still prevalent because of course you're right, the relationship is not what you envisioned when you married and is now something that you never even entertained as a possibility.

Speaking as the "kicked puppy"; she's feeling massive guilt for "hi-jacking" the marriage into a different type of relationship. She LOVES you and feels awful for hurting you. She's also trying to be very true & honest to herself and you. Chances are it was a shock to her as well that she could so powerfully love more than one person. But she does and she wants to express, feel and share that love and she doesn't want anyone to hurt. She's so grateful right now that you feel it's worth the hardship & pain to stay in the marriage & make it work.

You must be an incredible man to fight for this, to feel the pain and do it anyway. It takes a REAL man to endure all this and love her through all the changes. Wish there was a magic wand to help with your resentment, it's understandable and you are so very entitled to feel that way. Perhaps focus on the love? In our case & it seems others mentioned in this site; it does get easier, better with time & practice.

OH! & get some hobbies, buddies, sex partners; SOMETHING to help "distract" you during the tougher times. That's what seems to have worked best for my husband. He's not (yet?) found the same kind of connection as my bf & me, but he has found some really lovely ladies that have been wonderful FWB type additions to his life, & he's turned his frustration & anger toward working out; been a great stress relief.

HUGS! Hang in there.

GalaGirl 01-20-2013 08:32 PM

So you are willing to stay in the marriage?

Has wife apologized, asked for your forgiveness and is she willing to make amends? Are you willing to forgive and willing to give her opportunity to make amends and put it behind you? Are you both willing to do the work to move past the resentment?

THIS time you have another opportunity for BOTH to get on board before moving it along. Could be healing to take the time to actually calibrate, coordinate, and do it that way this time -- the rebuilding of trust.

GG

graviton 01-20-2013 11:12 PM

I'm in the same situation ice however I'm the guy who caused the surprise nonmonogamy. I feel bad for my lovers husband and feel selfish but I think everything about love is selfish its just a matter of who is being selfish and in what capacity. When something like this happens you need to make a tough decision and lie in the bed you made for yourself.
a. deny your spouse a second lover under threat of divorce and separation, give her the ultimatum and make her choose, this will still cause resentment for both of you. Hers because she is being denied, yours because she had the nerve to bring it into your marriage. Not to mention the paranoia this will create because you can never be sure if she just decides to have an affair instead.
b. Allow the second lover for her happiness, and attempt to come to grips with it and learn from it. This creates resentment only for you but maybe you will learn to lose that resentment.

good luck

Marcus 01-21-2013 01:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by graviton (Post 179558)
a. deny your spouse a second lover under threat of divorce and separation, give her the ultimatum and make her choose, this will still cause resentment for both of you. Hers because she is being denied, yours because she had the nerve to bring it into your marriage. Not to mention the paranoia this will create because you can never be sure if she just decides to have an affair instead.
b. Allow the second lover for her happiness, and attempt to come to grips with it and learn from it. This creates resentment only for you but maybe you will learn to lose that resentment.

good luck

c. Take responsibility for your own life and your feelings. Stop trying to make this a discussion about "the relationship" and bring it into terms that you actually have any real input on (your own feelings and actions). All you can do is figure out what is right for you and make decisions accordingly. If your spouse has told you that she wants to live a non-monogamous life and this is antithetical to your worldview... make a rational decision based on the facts at hand.

WhatHappened 01-21-2013 03:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by graviton (Post 179558)
I'm in the same situation ice however I'm the guy who caused the surprise nonmonogamy. I feel bad for my lovers husband and feel selfish but I think everything about love is selfish its just a matter of who is being selfish and in what capacity. When something like this happens you need to make a tough decision and lie in the bed you made for yourself.

Except he didn't exactly make this bed. :confused: This bed was flipped over while he was sleeping and tossed on him!

I personally think selfish is the antithesis of love. I cannot fathom hurting the one I love, feeling guilt and selfishness over it, knowing the one I love hurts, and dismissing it and justifying it with, "Oh, well, all love is selfish." :(

Quote:

Originally Posted by graviton (Post 179558)
a. deny your spouse a second lover under threat of divorce and separation, give her the ultimatum and make her choose, this will still cause resentment for both of you. Hers because she is being denied, yours because she had the nerve to bring it into your marriage. Not to mention the paranoia this will create because you can never be sure if she just decides to have an affair instead.
b. Allow the second lover for her happiness, and attempt to come to grips with it and learn from it. This creates resentment only for you but maybe you will learn to lose that resentment.

These choices feel like a bit of blame the victim to me. Perhaps she could learn to lose her resentment, too. Perhaps she could forgo the lover for his happiness. Why would it be on the one who had the tables turned on him to agree to the mid-stream change in rules?

It is a perfectly legitimate choice to not accept a marriage that includes your spouse having lovers.

graviton 01-21-2013 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhatHappened (Post 179596)
Except he didn't exactly make this bed. :confused: This bed was flipped over while he was sleeping and tossed on him!

I personally think selfish is the antithesis of love. I cannot fathom hurting the one I love, feeling guilt and selfishness over it, knowing the one I love hurts, and dismissing it and justifying it with, "Oh, well, all love is selfish." :(



These choices feel like a bit of blame the victim to me. Perhaps she could learn to lose her resentment, too. Perhaps she could forgo the lover for his happiness. Why would it be on the one who had the tables turned on him to agree to the mid-stream change in rules?

It is a perfectly legitimate choice to not accept a marriage that includes your spouse having lovers.

In my analysis I am assuming that she wants the lover enough and has done enough soul searching to decide that she is willing to fight for this new relationship. The bed I am referring to is the one made by choosing either a or b when responding to her desire. This scenario seems pretty typical for "coerced" nonmonagomy.

dingedheart 01-21-2013 08:57 AM

Have you done any marriage counseling ?

At the begining it sounds like it started out as cheating and or lots of dishonesty what motivated you at the time to stay....how has that changed now. What do you get out of this new dynamic ? Is / was the hi jack worth it ...today...what's life like today ? What do you envision the future to look like ? Long term planning ?

graviton 01-21-2013 11:17 AM

Hmmm seems like there are some bitter hurt people on these forums looking to teach us all a lesson for the pain they have suffered.

Icewraithonyx 01-21-2013 09:18 PM

Delphinius:
Thanks for the reply. I believe she was somewhat surprised by this as well. I've actually started going to the gym and I'm trying to pick up some hobbies I had let slide when I was busy with school.

Galagirl:
My intention is to stay in the marriage. My hope is to reach a point where I'm not feeling as "strained". It already feel much less uncomfortable than at the beginning so I'm hoping it continues to get easier. She has apologized and still cringes at a lot of her NRE behavior, and is trying to do things with everyone in mind.

WhatHappened:
Thank you. I liked the bed being flipped over analogy. You responded to graviton better than I probably would.

Marcus:
I'm not opposed to polyamory. Philosophically, I think it's a valid option. It's a little stickier in real life to practice, but we're working on it. And it's easier to say "Just up and leave" when it's not YOUR long-term relationship and family at stake.

Dingedheart:
Unfortunately, yes, it did start out as cheating. Both of us acknowledge this. However, the sticky part is what comes after. In affair recovery, there is a heavy emphasis (or mandate) to either dial the new relationship WAAAY down or end it completely. Most new "polys" are not willing to do either. In "normal" opening of the marriage, the advice is to discuss things BEFORE a new relationship happens. Little late for that, so that doesn't apply much either.

Part of this was motivated by posts on a Poly / Mono mailing list where I've seen over and over the story of "Partner was having an affair, now they want to just snap jump to polyamory with no transistion, or we can just divorce" and the established partner is going insane! Wife and I went through this in a fashion and we're trying to recover but it's a little rough with no guidance. Trying to find out how others have handled this since "Surprise" Non-monogamy can't be that rare.

Thanks.


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