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-   -   Ready to Give Up (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3941)

ChlkDstTtr 10-11-2010 03:23 PM

Ready to Give Up
 
Me and my wife of 9 years (together 11) decided to open up our marriage a couple months ago. I thoroughly prepared myself for the sexual side of the equation and thought I had prepared myself the emotional one as well.

About a month ago my wife met a guy on OkCupid and they got pretty serious very quick. I discovered I wasn't at all prepared for how quickly they developed feelings for each other and started running repeatedly through an emotional roller coaster. Last week I finally acknowledged the most serious emotion as being jealousy - which surprised me since it's something I've never felt before.

Yesterday they went on their 4th date and it pretty much destroyed me. I held my own for about 6 hours of an 8+ hour date, but I finally let me emotions get the best of me and texted my wife that I didn't want to do this anymore. She's pretty much devastated (which is hurting me twofold because I don't want to see her hurt *and* I don't want to see her hurt like that over another man).

Once she got home I calmed down enough to at least commit to her, myself, and her boyfriend that I don't want to close the door, but I'm not sure I want to keep it open either. I acknowledge that these feelings of jealousy are mine to manage (and should despite it all), but since I haven't met nobody in 2 months I've become frustrated and am not sure I even want it for myself anymore anyway (that feeling is independent of the jealousy, but it's one more reason why I don't want to try anymore).

I'm so confused about what I feel because my rational self says I can do this, but my emotional self clearly disagrees. I don't want my wife to hurt because of me, but I don't want to hurt because I can't stand seeing her care for somebody else so much. I don't like giving up on things, but I'm very tempted.

I'm afraid that despite my decision that I've ruined everything because if we do continue she'll never trust me to not have a breakdown again and if we don't she'll never forgive me for hurting her so bad - or worse - will never get over her boyfriend.

SNeacail 10-11-2010 03:49 PM

Are you and your wife also going on dates?

You said you were able to hold it together for 6 hours, maybe they could back their dates off to only 4 hrs each time for a while.

ChlkDstTtr 10-11-2010 03:59 PM

Sorta. We went to the movies for her birthday a couple weeks ago. Since we have 2 kids it's been difficult to go out frequently so we end up having "dates" while staying in. Unfortunately I have had a hard time getting her to give me her full attention (chores, etc.) and they're never anywhere close to the amount of time her boyfriend gets (e.g. Saturday we had about 2 hours and there was some laundry mixed in).

I'm not sure I can even think that far out right now. I have already considered the possibility of asking her to shorten her dates, but at the moment just thinking about any time puts a knot in my stomach. I feel sad, guilty, and hypocritical about it. She can't even get a text without my chest tightening up. :(

MonoVCPHG 10-11-2010 04:13 PM

What about you? Have you been exploring some other connections as well? There seems to be a trend of partners opening up their relationship which seems like a great idea until the first person finds a partner. Life would be much simpler if new partners came in pairs..at least then you could both get lost in NRE.

Maybe finding another relationship for yourself will give you something else to think about while she is out on a date. Regardless, maintaining some form of balance is important. Otherwise you might end up feeling like a babysitter for your wife's adventures. I can't see that leading to anything but resentment in the long run.

Good luck and take care

ChlkDstTtr 10-11-2010 04:34 PM

Until last night I had an active OkCupid account, but I disabled it in frustration while I sort out how I feel about everything. I didn't go as far as actually deleting it since I'm still not sure where I'm going.

I'm somewhat of an introvert so finding connections has been difficult. IRL I tend to talk to people only after I feel a connection and feel resentful toward friends who try to push me to do otherwise. Online I'm more outgoing (thus OKC), but I'm finding dating sites to be superficial and (ironically) disconnecting.

I think this is all relevant to the big picture (the resentment you mentioned) and some NRE of my own certainly would be a distraction, but I'm feeling like it's irrelevant to the jealousy issue since having another relationship of my own won't make me want my wife to be with her boyfriend.

I truly feel like I'm in a no-win situation.

redpepper 10-11-2010 05:17 PM

I suggest that you do a search on here for tags on "jealousy." We have talked about it a lot and it might be very helpful.

Jealousy for me is about un-met needs. I mean the base needs that make us stable humans. Not the need for shelter, food, water... emotional needs. We need to feel loved, cherished, appreciated, close to others who love us and that we love, connection time, quality time with people we love. I would suggest that looking at that might help you figure out what is off balance.

It sounds like fundamentally you are on board with being open in your relationship, which is usually quite different than poly btw... at least by most peoples definition. Although you can identify as you see fit. Poly is about loving another, not going out to have sex with others recreationally. At least for most people it seems this is how the definitions are divided. Perhaps a discussion with your wife about what it is she feels for this guy would be helpful in determining the goal that she has. It might help to see if your goals are still matching up.

If your goals are matching up and she believes herself to be closer to the standard definition of poly then perhaps its time to get more involved with this guy. It makes a world of difference it seems for all parties to be on board and supporting one another. Spending time all three of you together, involving him your lives somewhat, creating opportunities for the two of you to become friendly... all of this helps immensely.

What of the kids? Are you ending up being babysitter while she goes out and has fun? This probably isn't helping you get your needs met. It can build resentment to always be about family time and babysitter while your wife goes out to have a fun romantic time with another... it often doesn't sit well.

Please know that you are not alone. If you read some of my posts from 18 months ago you will see that I was where your wife is now. I understand completely what it is all about and can relate to your situation.... we have worked hard to work it all out and still do. Please realize that it is an on going process and does get easier to navigate with time and experience.... keep at it. :)

SNeacail 10-11-2010 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChlkDstTtr (Post 48280)
Since we have 2 kids it's been difficult to go out frequently so we end up having "dates" while staying in. Unfortunately I have had a hard time getting her to give me her full attention (chores, etc.) and they're never anywhere close to the amount of time her boyfriend gets (e.g. Saturday we had about 2 hours and there was some laundry mixed in).

This is exactly why the "staying in" thing doesn't usually work. Get a sitter and go to dinner, go for a drive, go parking;), etc. Do something that requires you two to connect and talk with each other and do it on a regular basis. When you get home, after the kids are in bed, spend the rest of the evening in your bedroom with the door closed no dishes, laundry or picking up until morning.

When you are "staying in" and chores are getting done, are you doing them together? If I am the only one folding the massive pile of laudry while watching a movie, I don't consider that as time together, but if my husband is also folding laundry it feels different. Are you cuddling together when watching a tv show or watching a movie at home or are you sitting apart? Things to think about.

How often do you and your wife send little texts (missing you, thinking of you, etc) to each other during the day? I found that I need this.

I can easily see where 8+ hour dates when all you get is "staying in" time mixed with regular household chores would be a problem. I will get jealous over my husbands time with any of his friends (no sex involved) when the balance is off, but when my needs with him are being met, I can be happy for him having fun without me. Have you told your wife what you are feeling, BEFORE it gets completely overwhelming?

A "couple" months is not very much time to deal with all the feelings and emotions that come with adding other people into your lives. Things may just be moving way too fast.

Some questions to ask yourself:
Why did you guys open up your marriage in the first place?
Is your relationship with your wife as strong as it can be?

ChlkDstTtr 10-11-2010 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 48286)
It sounds like fundamentally you are on board with being open in your relationship, which is usually quite different than poly btw... at least by most peoples definition. Although you can identify as you see fit. Poly is about loving another, not going out to have sex with others recreationally. At least for most people it seems this is how the definitions are divided.

Actually, no, I do identify as poly as you define it, I'm just having a much harder time coming to terms with her emotional attachment to another man than I thought I would. I don't just want sex. Actually quite the opposite - I wouldn't be able to have sex with someone I didn't feel a connection with. I actually have the same desire for my wife.

I think the issue is that this relationship happened so quickly and came on so strongly that I didn't have time to adjust to all the new emotions I was feeling. There's certainly been some learning on her side to with how to be sensitive to me and give me attention. I know I have insecurities and I haven't been given the opportunity to properly process them. I'm not trying to project my emotions on anyone else, but I just feel that's the reality of the situation. It's just so totally consumed me for a month that I'm willing to do almost anything to get a break from it.

And, yes, I am essentially the babysitter while she goes out. She's gone out 4 times in the last 5 weeks and I've stayed with the kids each time. We've only had a babysitter once in that time and that was for the one "real" date we had.

ChlkDstTtr 10-11-2010 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 48290)
When you are "staying in" and chores are getting done, are you doing them together? If I am the only one folding the massive pile of laudry while watching a movie, I don't consider that as time together, but if my husband is also folding laundry it feels different. Are you cuddling together when watching a tv show or watching a movie at home or are you sitting apart? Things to think about.

We've been attempting to do things together, but it's still divided attention. When she's out it's all about her boyfriend and whatever they feel like doing together - no distractions or responsibilities.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 48290)
How often do you and your wife send little texts (missing you, thinking of you, etc) to each other during the day? I found that I need this.

This is a request I've made of her already. We never used to text and then all of a sudden she's exchanging 50 texts with him in one day (that's come down a bit since she's been busy at work, but I still feel like I have to ask or send the first text).

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 48290)
Have you told your wife what you are feeling, BEFORE it gets completely overwhelming?

Constantly. Maybe even too frequently. I had a bit of a meltdown last Thursday. Before that we had talks just about every day. Most of our texts have been on the subject (which may be part of the problem with our texts).

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 48290)
A "couple" months is not very much time to deal with all the feelings and emotions that come with adding other people into your lives. Things may just be moving way too fast.

Which is one of my points. My head has been spinning. I'm out of breath trying to catch up. I've asked multiple times to slow things down, but NRE doesn't seem to respect that. I'm trying exceptionally hard to come to terms with my emotions, but every time I start to feel ok-ish with things there's either something new thrown in or another date comes up that I have to face. I've specifically told my wife "too much, too fast." I think I can accept her having feelings for another man, but I wasn't expecting them to be so strong so soon.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 48290)
Why did you guys open up your marriage in the first place?

New experiences. New relationships. We thought it would be fun. We felt comfortable with "us."

Quote:

Originally Posted by SNeacail (Post 48290)
Is your relationship with your wife as strong as it can be?

That's one place where this has been beneficial to us. We had a reasonably strong relationship to begin with, but all the discussions have helped solidify that. I, obviously, have my insecurities still, but they're not rational so are extremely difficult to rationalize away. When I do think rationally I'm quite confident about us and our love for each other. It's very difficult to pinpoint where my jealousy is coming from. All I know is that I have it.

Just thinking about all this is making me feel nauseous.

geminigirl 10-11-2010 07:06 PM

Jealousy is always about fear of losing something, regardless of whether it's realistic or not. Sometimes it's fear of losing love, sometimes of losing control, and sometimes things from our past can crop up -- our current situation can be a trigger for a past loss that we don't want to think about.

While it's very true that jealousy is YOUR emotion to own and figure out how to deal with, our lovers can help us by listening, providing reassurance that they are there for us, and answer questions that we need to ask them.

First steps into poly are always big ones -- there really is no other way to deal with the emotional impact of sharing a partner until we are in the situation. It's very much like being thrown into the water and having to figure out how to swim -- or sink.

Like learning to swim, we can't really figure it out ahead of time from reading a book or hearing how other people did it. We pretty much have to get in the water and DO it. Once you're in there, though, it does help a lot to have someone right there beside us to grab onto us if we start to sink, or feel scared.

Go easy on yourself, and also try not to get angry at your partner. If you can, try not to take away things you have already granted to your partner, such as the freedom to see her boyfriend. Asking for more time for yourself is a better way to get the reassurance you need than asking her to stop doing something she obviously enjoys.

Does seeing your wife enjoying herself make you feel badly? If so, you really do need to question if poly is for you, since a BIG part of being polyamorous is cultivating enjoyment at the pleasure your partner has in being with other people.

Do you know her boyfriend personally, and have you spent any time getting to know him? I suggest you talk to him, or go for coffee -- not with her present but just the two of you. I know it's tough for guys to do this, but perhaps seeing him as just another person who is in fact different from you (and therefore not competition because you both offer her something different) might be reassuring.

I can think of more things to suggest, but my main advice is to take things slowly regarding your feelings, and to try to avoid vetoing while your wife is experiencing NRE with her boyfriend. I've seen this tactic backfire more often than not, creating hurt, anger and estrangement when really all a couple needs to do is give each other more reassurance and faith that things can be worked out.

Communicate often!


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