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-   -   Two months in, and still struggling (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3980)

tincuptt 10-16-2010 02:46 AM

Two months in, and still struggling
 
Hi all,

I'm a first timer on here- this is a great forum and I appreciate being able to read about everyone's various situations, it makes me feel better about my own as I don't feel "all alone" despite having no friends to share my situation with.

My wife and I have been together about 9 years. She is bi, and until a couple of years ago, only desired to have sex with females (other than me). I am completely mono. A couple of years ago she started openly fantasizing about males, and I eventually let her know I was ok with the concept of her being a hotwife- having casual sex with males, primarily as something I would watch. But no emotions and nothing ongoing.

After many close calls within the last six months, "C" met a guy and immediately began an intimate emotional relationship. She kept me well-informed, but let me know she intended to have a sexual and emotional relationship with him- that she couldn't have sex with another male unless it was meaningful. I asked her to take it slow as I wasn't prepared for it, but she went forward anyway and now we are two months in to this.

Originally she said since I opened the door to her having sex with another male that I had to respect her decision to do it on her terms. Eventually she backed down and took responsibility for the fact that she was hurting me by doing something I didn't approve. We have had good communication which eventually led her to introduce me to this forum. It is important to note that she has been very miserable for the last few years, and this relationship has opened a window of happiness for her that I haven't seen in a long time (we've had major major external problems, but no serious relationship things).

Here are my challenges- First and foremost, every time I feel myself moving towards accepting the Poly concept for us (I really believe she is sincerely Poly), I feel that it just validates her decision to have proceeded without my approval. I understand it's her body and her decisions, but if she had just taken it slower I probably would be much more accepting. I worrry that if I come to openly accept the relationship, then I've opened the door to her continuing to do "what she wants" without regards to any agreements we have in place. How do you balance that?

The other question (at least for now, I've got tons of them really)- is how do you keep your jealousy in check? I have never been jealous of the attention C gets from males (it's always been over the top), but obviously this is completely new to me, and i haven't handled it well. I know that I have to do everything to keep it internalized, and instead deal with the root causes, but darn, its near impossible. I have broken down in front of her at least five times (and not in front of her twice that many times) and it just pushes her away. And even though I tell myself NOT to ask her to stop, I just did it again last night. If I end up forcing her to stop this relationship, it will make ours a living hell. "Pursuing a hobby" is not an easy option for me, because I have to watch our kids when she's with new guy, and its that time that I go craziest.

In fairness to her, now that NRE has subsided some, she has treated me more fairly about our time, and I have received some benefit (better sex, and I'm much more in touch with my feelings for her). But I can't stop this daily feeling that I just wish she'd end it with new guy....

Ariakas 10-16-2010 03:32 AM

Keeping emotion out of sex...thats almost always tougher than it seems.

So you are concerned with her almost being like a child, give an inch, take a mile and continue on while you sit there are watch her bounce around? Thats a tough one because you have to trust in her and really...in the end. The door is open. Some people can only handle so many romantic relationships at once. Others date like fiends. Others are somewhere in between. Would her committing to you and him only quell your fears?

Quote:

I have broken down in front of her at least five times (and not in front of her twice that many times) and it just pushes her away. And even though I tell myself NOT to ask her to stop
That concerns me. Why is she pushing you away. Is she really or is this something you are seeing through your own glasses? Even at her worst point of NRE she should still be empathetic with your challenges. Pushing you away is like ignoring the problem and moving on hoping you will figure your own shit out. That ignorance of your feelings is a bit of a yellow flag. In my opinion anyways.

There are lots of posts on jealousy, maybe read up on them. Find the root of your jealousy. I think you have nailed part of it - you fear the "will this ever stop" syndrome. If you give over completely how and when will you ever get your needs met. She has already proven to ignore one of those needs.

Also, and others may disagree. If you suffered no jealousy before, it might be something about the new guy throwing you off. Maybe you just don't like him, or maybe there is actually something there you just can't quite get, throwing you into protective mode. Its a true balance between being a good and strong husband and trying to protect you wife vs allowing her her own freedom. Are you concerned by a potential cowboy (man coming in and trying to steal her instead of a true poly relationship) or worse yet, a man taking advantage of her polyness and using her for sex. Not sure either would be correct, but you might be getting a vibe making you defensive.

I haven't really given you any advice, sorry, just babbling. Your post has struck a cord because I usually see it in reverse. As the monogamous person in a poly relationship you have an uphill battle I think (mono on this site, look for his early posts, may be able to shed some light onto it)

Also, Since you seem to also be the stay at home dad, I would be concerned with potential dependency issues which may or may not be the case. But if you are stuck (and I use that word purposefully) at home with the kids while she gets to play, that creates potential resentmnet. Why not find a babysitter? I realize this costs money, but at these early stages it could be very difficult to be at home, while she is having her fun.

Best of luck

Ari

ray 10-16-2010 03:38 AM

Hey, welcome! I'm sorry that you're feeling hurt. I'm pretty new to all of this myself, only a few months in. For me jealousy is usually about something else. For awhile (I'm dating O (a man) who is married to A (a woman), I didn't feel much jealousy at all. Then there was this girl that was interrupted time that we'd previously had alone (circumstance beyond our control) and I still have a hard time not feeling jealous when he pays her lots of attention. Part of me is afraid he'll find her more interesting and stop caring about me. But the truth is that he does care and whether or not he's talking to this girl doesn't change that. I think it's different for everyone. The other thing to consider is that maybe things really are moving too fast for you and if they were slower, you would find the jealousy more manageable? It sounds like she hurt you by moving to fast and it might be hard to deal with the jealousy until you resolve the hurt feelings you have regarding her violating your boundaries.

tincuptt 10-16-2010 04:17 AM

Some more facts about new guy might shed light on my jealousy- I'm 45, he's 27, no kids, no responsibilities- C goes over to his place, cooks for him and his roommate dinner, hangs out and watches sports (like we used to)- gets to go out on nice dates, etc.. We really can't afford a babysitter more than once a week, and that is the time that C and I have carved out for our "date night", which has been part of the bargaining over all of this.

C is VERY much like a child, she tends to be bouncy about things, and has emotional ADD at times (when we have "serious" conversations, she will literally change subject mid sentence).

I appreciate the comments and yes, i will keep looking for posts on jealousy. As far as not trusting the guy, part of the challenge is that she won't let me meet him, although I have seen him out a couple of times, and C is so open with me that i feel i do know him well enough to realize he's not a "threat" in the sense of my long term security. Also as part of our current agreement, C has made me promise that I accept and believe that she will never leave me for another man (especially him). Given his background I do believe her, although I wonder what would happen in a future relationship with someone else. An "oh by the way" she has declared to me that she's open to having more than just this one side relationship and continues to meet new men, although nothing sexual seems likely at this time as she committed to new guy that she wouldn't have sex with anyone else (other than me of course)

ray 10-16-2010 04:24 AM

Hmm, why won't she let you meet him? I'm not trying to imply you shouldn't trust her, I'm just curious since you mention wanting to meet him.

Ariakas 10-16-2010 04:44 AM

Ok ignoring the fact he is younger and unattached. You need to find strength in your long term relationship. Every new secondary relationship kind of feels like this. The secondarys get the icing. The fun happy go lucky un-attached feeling happens with someone new. You need to find your relationship strength in the struggles you have had as a couple in building your long term love :)

Quote:

As far as not trusting the guy, part of the challenge is that she won't let me meet him, although I have seen him out a couple of times, and C is so open with me that i feel i do know him well enough to realize he's not a "threat" in the sense of my long term security.
This is a double edged sword. You can't confront the other side, so you don't know what or who your opponent is. It creates a level of unknown which can create massive insecurities.

Another massive insecurity is the fear of the unknown. While we haven't read her side of the story, it doesn't appear she is giving any lee way to you. She is pushing constantly. At some point she needs to slow down or even in your very acceptable behavior you will probably break.

tincuptt 10-16-2010 04:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ray (Post 48987)
Hmm, why won't she let you meet him? I'm not trying to imply you shouldn't trust her, I'm just curious since you mention wanting to meet him.

1) She doesn't want him to see my pain and I don't think she trusts that I will avoid confrontation (not physical but emotional)
2) I think she feels that if he has to meet me, that he'll want to end it- he has asked her very little about me, and he goes out of his way to make sure that our paths don't cross- he never phones her at our home, and he does not try to intrude on time that's not designated for him. It's like they have a good thing and don't want to jeopardize it.
3) I think it's easier for her to continue to do it if its not "real" for her. I know that sounds contradictory since she'll only have sex with someone she cares for, but the separation of her two lives makes it easier for her. Plus I don't think she wants us sharing war stories.

While I wouldn't say I have 100% trust, C is a person who is extremely honest about facts, so even if I cant always get a straight answer on her feelings, she is brutally honest about anything I ask her factually, so at least I always feel I know what's going on.

ray 10-16-2010 04:58 AM

What do you think it would be like if you two met? Would you want to have an emotional discussion or could you do a light meet and greet? I can see where she's coming from on the "keeping it separate" and it's good that he wants to respect the time you and your wife have. I feel fairly certain, however, that I, personally, would not be happy not meeting the primary partner of my SO. Like Ari said, when you haven't met it's this big unknown and it's scary and intimidating. When you meet you can stop imagining and just get to know them. Some people like the DADT/separate approach. I like have those connections.

Ariakas 10-16-2010 04:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tincuptt (Post 48990)
1) She doesn't want him to see my pain and I don't think she trusts that I will avoid confrontation (not physical but emotional)

Sometimes, knowing and understanding your "other" makes things easier, not harder. Having a face, body and a connection with them can truly help. It does in most cases I have seen.

Quote:

2) I think she feels that if he has to meet me, that he'll want to end it- he has asked her very little about me, and he goes out of his way to make sure that our paths don't cross- he never phones her at our home, and he does not try to intrude on time that's not designated for him. It's like they have a good thing and don't want to jeopardize it.
So...he has her for his time with her body but doesn't have to deal with her the rest of the time. He...and she, are not poly. He is her mistress and he likes it.

Quote:

3) I think it's easier for her to continue to do it if its not "real" for her. I know that sounds contradictory since she'll only have sex with someone she cares for, but the separation of her two lives makes it easier for her. Plus I don't think she wants us sharing war stories.
I am not trying to be a dick with this next part, just an observation. The 20th century idea behind a mistress was the basis that the man, in the growing suburbs would be able to have his wife, kids, picket fence and house, while working in the big city...would have his loft with a hot young thang available for weekly sexual fun. A kept woman. In reverse, if I remember right, the man is called a paramour. While this isn't inherently a bad thing, it still isn't reading as if it is polyamoury.

Maybe she does this because its the dirty little secret effect. Maybe she enjoys this setup because of the separation and private division of sexual and emotional rights.

In all cases, its not poly ;)...

Quote:

While I wouldn't say I have 100% trust, C is a person who is extremely honest about facts, so even if I cant always get a straight answer on her feelings, she is brutally honest about anything I ask her factually, so at least I always feel I know what's going on.
Extreme honesty, for the record, does NOT include not getting a straight answer on feelings. Using brutal honesty on facts to mask brutal honesty on emotions does not reveal and entire picture. As a very very logic based person, I can weave a web of ... deceipt using logic that is very truthful but shows the other person nothing. 0's and 1's have that ability. :)

I think what you describe can work, but you need to figure out what you want from this, what she is truly looking for and in the end what you can handle. In that set of truths you can figure out how to adapt to your marriage being open :)

Ari

GroundedSpirit 10-16-2010 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tincuptt (Post 48974)

In fairness to her, now that NRE has subsided some, she has treated me more fairly about our time, and I have received some benefit (better sex, and I'm much more in touch with my feelings for her). But I can't stop this daily feeling that I just wish she'd end it with new guy....

Hey Tin,

This is good ! (above quote)
You've survived the hardest phase. It gets easier from here (usually) - if you keep perspective.

Here's an important fundamental that I think is important to grasp.....

There are many people that can't find real sexual stimulation/satisfaction without some emotional connection. And I think, statistically, you will find this especially true with most women.
It's not a bad thing ! Don't look at is as such. Ideally, you SHOULD feel a bond with someone you have sex with in most cases. Not to say a one time quickie can't be exciting too - but long term it's seldom enough to meet the requirements :)

This is what causes so many horror stories in the 'swinger' community. It's rare that people can separate sex and bonding for long. But many try to deceive themselves with "rules" (no bonding allowed) but has there ever been a 'rule' not broken ?

Better to not make stupid rules you know in advance are unreasonable !

Bonding is not a threat ! Don't be afraid of it. You can both (as you've discovered already) benefit from more happiness and contentment in your relationship. It's a win/win if you allow it to be !

Sounds like you are headed in that direction. Awesome :)
Refocus.......keep paddling, enjoy the ride.

GS


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