Mono newbie in a mess....
I've been lurking for a bit and should likely have introduced myself properly, but here I am... I actually wrote a long post last week and lost it in a tragic spell-check accident, and couldn't bear to write it all again right away.
Anyways - I'm a rambling writer and this went long...apologies for that.
History: I've been married to my DH 17 years, together for 22...met in first year college, we have one son. February of 2009 I caught my husband cheating (yes, I snooped) - that relationship had been going since the previous summer but wasn't physically sexual until that December. It was difficult to say the least, but we were working through things, slowly but with positivity when I discovered in May 2009 that he'd had another affair before that one, and after that it came out that there had been quite a history of sexual encounters over the previous 2 years as well...There's a lot more to all of this, but those are the big points.
Its been a long road, and a challenging one, but we had been doing okay, I was healing from the betrayal of my trust and he had said I had all the time I needed. The trust was coming back and so was the intimacy, which had been difficult for me. Then at the end of this August, he gave me a letter, stating he loved me and needed me but had needs beyond what he could get in our marriage and that it was basically opening up or going our separate ways. I was floored and, frankly, incredibly hurt. We'd discussed polyamory before - when I first discovered he was cheating, since his lover at the time was poly and he wanted to explore the idea with me at that point. We talked a LOT about it then, but it never went anywhere and he seemed to be happily mono and dedicated to making the marriage work and it just stopped being a topic of discussion. Anyways, he gave me the letter, there was a lot of discussion and he backed down on the ultimatum but told me how important this was to him.
That's how I discovered these boards - I read everything I could find, I journaled and blogged and questioned whether I could do this for him, for us. I found strength in the blogs and posts but several of the mono's here, and kept bringing more questions back to DH. I wasn't ready for anything but shared what I'd been reading and asked him to do the same...I expressed concerns and fears and he had plenty of answers, but hadn't done any reading, and over the course of Sept I began to have suspicions that he'd found someone else...he was wanting to negotiate guideline and move forward, when I was saying that I was gaining understanding but needed time, and needed him to look at some of the materials I was looking at, etc. He had ready answers for all my questions – answers I now know were rooted in experience.
Sure enough, he'd started corresponding with someone during the summer, a woman who lives in a city across the country, a city in which he's going to be spending 9 days in November...they spend hours each day communicating intimately, and had made plans for those 9 days, and possibly a meeting before then. He fessed up after I showed him my private blog (2 weeks ago) because he'd accused me of not respecting his needs for more than one partner and his ability to balance and love and care for multiple lovers, and said that I was just going through the motions of exploring poly. I guess my blog convinced him otherwise - I had done a LOT of reading and much, much more soul searching and processing, all of which I had shared with him in conversations, but he didn't buy it until he saw the pages of entries.
So now I know about her and that brings us to today. She is flying in to a nearby city (about 2 ½ hrs away) this weekend and he is going to meet her there on Friday and stay over until Saturday in a different hotel. I have asked that they not spend the night together, and she says penetrative sex is off the table. That's about as much as I have been able to get in the way of guidelines. Trust is obviously a huge issue for me, and this is not what I want....I requested slow, slow, slow, and no physical intimacy at all….he says they need to know if there is chemistry between them and that they want to be able to make out/fool around/share a bed. And that seems to be the end of it. It feels like there is little to no respect for my feelings and that I am getting lip service to having a say.
I feel like I am being dragged kicking and screaming into this...I wanted them to take things slow, but they are already very involved. I could insist they break it off, but I know that would hurt both of them and the repercussions would damage our already fragile marriage. I asked for them to slow down and that doesn't seem to be happening. We were able to negotiate some boundaries in terms of when communication between them would end for the night, so our nights are just ours, but that is it for the day to day. I feel I have been understanding and given them much more than most people in my position would. He tells me he has strong feelings for her and that she makes him really happy. He also says he's with me for the long haul and loves me and needs me as well.
I do love him and want to figure this out, make our marriage work, but I have already walked a path very similar to this and trusted and thought things were better, and got blindsided again. I am afraid that this last betrayal might be more than I can take, combined with the speed at which things are progressing. I had done so much processing and know that I was already leaning towards saying yes to his request, so I don't want to be unfair and dig in my heels out of petulance. At the same time, I am being consumed with hurt and fear and jealousy and grief. We are talking about it for hours at a time, to the detriment of our relationship in some ways, because that is all we talk about.
Anyways...I am on a precipice - do I keep trying, in the face of this pressure to move so quickly, or back down and leave? That's something I know only I can answer...but I am looking for words of wisdom on how to deal with this, accept it, come to terms with it, particularly the speed with which its happening. And/or for tips on how to manage this Friday night and Saturday when he's with her? And maybe some support, especially from monos who know what this is like - this request/demand to enter a world I had never really considered, and that I am exceedingly resistant to right now.
Sorry for the length...I hope I was clear enough in all my babbling. I find I'm living in a pretty intense adrenaline state most of the time, as I am facing so many things at once - not just the marriage opening, but the fact that it already had without my consent, on top of the cheating from last year which I was just recovering from, on top of feeling manipulated into exploring polyamory when they had already planned to get together in November if not sooner, and pretend that they had just met at that point...There are so many layers that I'm dealing with that I'm completely overwhelmed...
I have enjoyed the many view points (obviously some I've subscribed to more than others, from my newbie biased point of view) and am hoping for some nuggets of wisdom.
Do you feel loved?
Would it be better to let go, let their plans unfold, assess how well they keep you in the loop and then answer the question again?
Do you feel loved?
Because if you answer no and then again no, the question changes.
I am going through something very similar. The trust that I had for my wife is gone. She has done things and said things that, to me, are unforgivable. Things got so bad that I was reading her text messages and checking her emails. She was preparing to move out, so that she could go and be with her boyfriend. Things have since changed. Now my K is staying with me and we are trying to rebuild what we have.
If your husband truly loves you, he will respect your feelings and requests. If he insists on meeting this new woman, even though you have asked him not to, then there is something else going on.
This is just my opinion. I dont know you or your man. I dont know your situation. I will say that you need to stand up for yourself, dont let your love for your man blind you to what your gut is telling you.
Whimsy - I don't really have a lot of advice because I still, after 18 months am struggling with my husband having a girlfriend. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that there are people on here that understand how you are feeling. Cheating is a very difficult thing to forgive, especially if it happening again and again. Him cheating, then asking you to open up your marriage is even more difficult. There are several poly relationships on here that stemmed from cheating - so hopefully those people can help you understand this a little better since they have a different perspective. It all boils down to you having to do what is best for you - not for him.
My advice (which was given to me when I first came on here) is:
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!!!
Read, research, reach out!
Best of luck!
Whimsey, I am in a similar situation and my heart goes out to you. My husband has asked me to accept his relationship with his girlfriend and it has been extremely painful, to say the least. I am slowly starting to open to the idea. What has been helpful for me is developing a friendship with his girlfriend, which helps me to feel less left out. I don't know if this is an option for you, but if it is, it might be worth trying.
My husband's relationship went on for several months before he told me about it, and the pain of being cheated on and betrayed will take a long time to heal, and is actually a separate issue from whether or not I can accept a poly relationship. So I would just advise you to do all the grieving you need to, let yourself feel everything you feel.....and as you slowly heal from this hurt, maybe it will begin to become clear whether or not this is something you can accept.
My therapist said something interesting - that my husband wanting to be poly is similar to if we had both been ardent Christians and then one day he suddenly told me he wanted us to be Muslims, or pagans, instead. It's that big of a change in belief system, and you can't make such a big change overnight. Spending time with people who share the same belief system can help you make that change, so I've been reading these forums a lot as a way of easing into the idea.
Here is a link to the thread I posted when I first joined. The responses I got were enormously helpful and maybe some of them could be helpful to you as well. Hugs and best wishes to you!
I am so sorry. I can *not* agree with this. If he values the relationship, then he takes it at your pace. There *was* forward movement, and he decided that wasn't good enough for him. *He* sought out another relationship when he was supposed to be giving you time and space. *He* decided that you were lying (lying!) when you said you were looking into it. He's acted unethically. He is pressuring you and showing no respect for you, and that's not going to get better if he gets to just railroad you whenever you want. That's not digging your heels in out of "petulance", that's asking him to respect the boundaries *HE* agreed to.
My heart aches for you. I don't think I would want to stay in this situation. I *need* to feel respected, I can't stay in a relationship where I feel like my wants and needs don't matter.
ETA: My husband doesn't weigh in on this stuff often, but I thought you ought to hear what Easy had to say: "He's not poly, he just wants an excuse to continue cheating and keep his marriage. The only reason he wants to do poly is because he got caught. From what you said, he wasn't honest after being caught cheating, that he had been cheating for a long time. So now he's just trying to use poly to force you to let him cheat." And Easy wants to know if the poly relationship includes bringing other men into the relationship for you.
Just the act of reaching out and not feeling so alone has made a difference. I've been following threads and looking for similar stories, which helped, but just connecting and being heard has lifted a bit of the weight off my shoulders.
I have more specific replies, but they'll have to wait until tonight - I home school and its hard to find private moments at the computer. But I just wanted to pop back and say thank you to start. It makes such a difference to not feel alone, to know there are others who have gone through this (from both sides), and who are going through it now, who understand the hurt and confusion.
And yes, there are lots of questions I need to figure out *my* answers to - and there are some great questions above as well.
I have much to think about but am thankful I did reach out and grateful for your loving replies.
I'm another mono and I feel for you. I wouldn't however go quite as far as Lemon Drop and say that this is just a way he can cheat and stay married. I don't think that is a call you can make until things have progressed further and you can judge just how much effort and compromise is forthcoming.
What you're dealing with is the infamous NRE and a conversation about this with your partner would be useful.
I do think the 9 days in November could be a real point of negotiation. I have been in our poly relationship for two years three months and I couldn't cope with 9 days. As much as I love my partner that would probably be a deal breaker for me.
Have a scout around my blog, there is a lot on there about my process of coming to terms with a polyamorous partner. While it is still probably too early, if you want to be happy in your relationship you are going to have to find some positives for yourself in having a polyamorous partner.
Just noticed that under "links to to other threads worth reading" there is quite a bit about NRE and cheating.
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