Asking for help when you're already drowning.
I know we're supposed to start out with an introduction and all that, but I've been struggling so hard and I just need to know what to do. I've read thru a lot of the threads and it seems like the majority of people here are couples who are open to a new person coming and going in their relationships or are a Triad or V with two women. There's so much about deciding that you're Poly and actively looking for a third. What about when it finds you without you looking for it? What about being the male third person? I've been going insane trying to understand and I've just recently realized that there might be others out there who could help me understand.
I think I've been in a badly messed up Poly relationship for the last year. I say think because none of us knew what the hell we were doing or where it was going to lead. Well, I guess we still don't.
I'm 44 with two grown kids. I've been divorced and had a handful of serious relationships that failed. I'd pretty much given up and decided that it just wasn't worth the pain. So I raised my two kids and focused on them and work. Didn't really even have a life outside of that. After about 10 years, they're both grown and out on their own. Time to consider having a life of my own again? Except I know I DON'T want any kind of a traditional monogamous relationship. Too much emotional scar tissue to even go looking for it.
Last year I met S. She's 22 and married with two kids. They're both swingers and while I wasn't, S and I ended up sleeping together quite a bit (long story). Her husband B knew about it and was "OK with it". We became very good friends and she invited me into her life as such. Spent evenings just hanging out with her, B, and their kids (4 and 7). Over time, our friendship grew closer. She's now the best friend I've ever had in my life. EVER. She and I can talk for hours and often do. We finish each others sentences and can/do tell each other EVERYTHING. And B and I get along great. S may be my best friend, but B's right behind there....
As this progressed, I guess I moved from one category to another with her, so the sex stopped. Theoretically, it's an FWB arrangement, but since I don't fit into any of the niches, the benefits are few and far between. Like less than once every couple of months few. But the emotions didn't stop. I found myself falling deeper and deeper in love with her. Both S and B know how I feel, but it's something we haven't spoken of very much. It's the elephant in the room. And I've told them both that if I ever become an issue between the two of them; I'm gone. I WILL NOT come between them. That's a given. S has repeatedly told me that I'm her best friend too and like no other, but that's all it could be because she's married to B and loves him so much. Except that all three of us know it's quite a bit more than friendship. None of us have a clue what it is or where the relationship might lead.
Fast forward to now.
I'm over there almost every night. B and I are terrific friends and their kids think of me as their Uncle who's always there for them. I've become a part of their family, and all of us think of it as such. It's not uncommon for me to end up on their couch instead of going home. They're relationship is NOT trouble free, but I'm the one who plays peacemaker already, anyways.
I could probably have accepted this as all there was. Except....
They're both hyper-sexual. It's an Open Marriage and they go out to the local swing clubs a couple times a month. Both of them have others that they share but it's all casual sex and casual friends. Needless to say, this part is exceedingly frustrating to me. I've tried talking with her about it and even with B. There's a chunk of cognitive dissonance here, because none of it makes any sense. I'm not one of their swinger friends, and beyond that, there's only B. I've had one or two breakdowns because of how much I want her. Funniest part is that she's who I turn to when that happens. She's my best friend and who else can I talk about it with? It's hurting them to watch me hurt. But none of us know what to do.
So I came looking for answers and found out about all the poly people out there. HEY! I'M NOT ALONE! And maybe someone could explain this to me! God, I hope so.
Last night S and I went for a long walk. We talked about what's wrong and she told me again how much she loves B and how that means there can't be any more than there is. I told her a little about what I'd found out and how one doesn't preclude the other. When she asked me what I wanted to have happen, I told her; the three of us together. As I explained, I could see a light come on. She told me that she was all for it, but that B might not be. And obviously, it needs B. Not just his OK, but his agreement that HE wants that too.
So she's going to read up on all this and then....????? Neither of us knows how to approach him about it. Her? Me? Both of us?
Sorry for the unburdening. I guess my questions are two:
Are there any others who've been thru anything like this? What do I do?
It seems like most of you are couples that went looking for a third or more. Any where it just sort of happened without anyone looking?
And it seems like for so many of you, it's a fling. Maybe one fling after another, but not a stable long term thing. Is that all I have to look forward to?
EDIT: Oh, yea. The age thing? It's actually not an issue other than being weird as hell. Both of them are way wiser than the typical 20-something. Probably from raising kids and being on their own for several years.
ya, not alone. If you do any reading here you will soon see that this situation you are in is very common and not unusual. Even the age difference.
I would suggest that you back off an let them figure out what it is that they want to do. Slow down on going there and slow down on pursuing this woman... if her man isn't into a poly thing (it doesn't sound you know just yet, but if it turns out he is not interested) then he will feel very threatened by you I would think. After all he is use to sport sex. Very different than what you are offering. You are offering connection and emotional bonding.
This is the dawn of a new thing for you. Stay clam. Keep it slow. You may be all in love but they aren't and it sounds like it might be just awakening for her. The difference between casual sex in a swingers bar is VERY different from what you are proposing. Emotions are involved beyond "yay, look at me getting fucked and look how much I can fuck :D weeeeee....."
I suggest that you start reading the numerous posts and threads on casual sex, swinging and poly within it. Lots to learn about and know. Maybe they would be interested also. At least in listening to what you discover.
At the bare minimum, realize that they might not understand sex the same way you do. There are huge differences in people sometimes around sex. I for instance am completely unable to have meaningless sport sex with strangers and people who don't love me as I love them. It is a bond that is forever formed and I remember details about everyone I have been close to. Unfortunately I have very disturbing memories of situations where I have been used for sex. I gave myself away, it wasn't the fault of anyone but myself for saying yes when I should of said no.... all in casual sex atmospheres... I would be damaged and barely functioning if I were this woman you speak off going to swinger bars twice a month. It makes me think that perhaps she is not capable of poly love. Sure, there can be a mix of both, its a matter of knowing where you are at with it all. Perhaps a conversation on this would be useful?
I've really got nothing to add, I don't have the experience of being a swinger. But you did ask if anyone else "accidentally" became poly, and that's me. I wasn't looking for it, and I was actually anti-poly (for myself) when I found the right people. Our relationship progressed over the course of years from friendship to more like family...until finally an "official" decision was made to give poly a try. This was followed by lots and lots of research and lots and lots of mistakes, but we're still here. :) Good luck, I'm rooting for you.
Thanks, both of you!
Just having someone that understands what I'm talking about here means more than I can say. At least I'm not internalizing everything now.
I've been out with them a couple of times to swing clubs. Had a good time and I'd love to go back again, but not a must have for me at all. So, yea, I get the difference between "sport sex" and relationship sex. I'm a lot like you on that, Pepper, except that, being male, I'm not adverse at all to sex with the random hot chick. But I have to have that connection, that emotional bond, for it to be anything more than fun exercise.
What you say about different attitudes is 100% on. They do look at sex differently than I do and that's something I'm trying to wrap my head around. I think that once I truly understand their attitudes, rather than just knowing what they are, it will be a lot easier.
As to keeping it slow...
It FEELS like we're moving at the speed of a glacier. But then I look at a calendar and see that what happened ages and ages ago was really only two weeks. I hear you and I'll try. But it's one of those things that is easier said than done.
How do you turn off the desire when the one you want is wearing a ripped t-shirt and nothing else and talking about all the sex she had last night? Or discussing the Jacobs Ladder that B just got put in?
What I'm learning is that we do have an 'Us" already. It's just really, really messed up and unsustainable as it sits now. Lemon, it sounds a lot like what you've described. How did you make that jump from family to poly?
Again, thank you so much for helping me make it thru this!
One of the biggest gifts I ever got was from Mono about how he sees my body and sexuality. He told me when I met him, after a long haul of casual sex, swinging and dating many many men that I was a temple to him. That the privileged of being able to put his skin on mine was breath taking and he was more than honoured. He said he was sad that I didn't treat myself with the same respect.
These forums tell the story of how I got through much trauma around those days and my youth. You can read back if you like, but in a nut shell I was taught from early on that I shouldn't have sexual boundaries. No one taught me them. My worth was based on my sexuality and sharing, giving my body away. I know now what I am worth and even if I still was into swinging I would still know what I am worth and would only give of myself if it were to get ME off, not someone else. I missed this somewhere in swinging. I thought I was there to be masterbated in and used as a toy. I gave that to people willingly because I like to give.
I don't know what this young woman has experienced or where she is at, but at age 22 it worries me that she might be biting off more than she can chew and may just choke on it later. Who knows.
I would suggest that if you love her you should forget the sex part for now and show her. Tell her how much she is worth to you in other ways and how wonderful she is over and above how many guys she can fuck in a night. Anyone who has checked out of their body can fuck a bunch of guys, it doesn't take uniqueness to do that, but not everyone is special and unique unto themselves because they are them.
Start telling her all the things she does that make her special and BELIEVE what you say before hand. Don't do it to get laid. That would be the biggest deciet and lie. To me it would be like cheating and a breech of trust. Do it because you love her.
When and if she gives of herself in the form of sex, cherish it and treat her like the goddess she is, because that is what she is and deserves. To me, that would make all the difference between you and all the others. That is what won my heart to Mono. It was enough to change my entire life to welcome him in it. I would do that for no other unless they treat me better. The bar is VERY high now and unreachable I think.
If ONLY we could find those pieces earlier....then again, we wouldn't be who we are with them, would we?
No we wouldn't P2. My experience is a gift also. :) as is all of ours.
Timmy ho's, heh, never heard it called that before. I wonder how many people have no idea what we are talking about. :P
Well the good news might be that you are half way there already !
Now.....the bad news is that the next phase needs to be walked carefully, with thoughtfulness and kindness.
'Best friends ever' is kind of an ideal start to a wonderful relationship. Make sure no matter what you do - you keep that foremost in your mind.
Poly has an overall low awareness in the population. At least the intimate details of why and how it works are much unknown or distorted (i.e. links to polygamy etc)
Ironically - you have been living it already much more than many you may even read about here ! That's why I say you are halfway there already.
Encourage study by everyone - especially her hubby. Point out whenever possible that to some extent, you HAVE been living it already - sans the label.
The more everyone realizes that, going forward may not look dramatically different than what you've seen already between you guys.
Don't get all excited with a new label. Just continue to grow the bond you have already and all understand that there's no limit to where it can go. But on the same hand, don't set up a goal marker. Just continue to talk about what is working so well for everyone, learn to talk about things that have bumps and don't make it like some new life defining leap. Big changes scare people.
The fact that they are swingers means they must have already knocked down the usual barriers around sex with multiple people. Make sure everyone understands that the love and caring are actually less threatening ! The hard part is over ! (some may debate this but I'll stand by it)
Come back and keep us posted and if we all can help we will.
I totally understand what RP's saying that I should forget about the idea of sex with her at this stage. It really isn't even about sex, right now, except as it relates to my frustration and freak out levels. (And GOD does it ever!) It's about defining where I fit in their lives and where they fit in mine. It's about boundaries on intimacy. Is it OK to cuddle with her on the couch? In front of B? In front of the kids? Where does intimacy end and sex start?
At Burning Man, this year, I brought the two of them out with me. (I've been going for over 10 years) At one point, S and I were told to reach into a bag and take a button. I pulled out one that said simply "Yes". She pulled out one that said "Cuddle Slut" We looked at each other and without a word, handed each other our button. B laughed his ass off.
S really IS special. She's the most open, loving, wise person I've ever met. She's not perfect by any stretch, but I've never met anyone like her. I tell her how special and amazing she is at least a dozen times a week.
It sounds like I need to do a shitload of reading at this point and get them to start doing the same. It also sounds like it's time for a few three person conversations, instead of me talking directly to either of them, as I've been doing.
Thing is we're already at a point where I'm part of their lives and I can't just stop doing that. For one thing, I don't think any of us really wants that. Plus, losing them is perhaps the one thing in all the world that truly terrifies me. As GS said, we really are already half way there. So going slow and talking things out openly sounds like the right choices.
Again, thank you all so much!
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