One leg of the Vee, Round Two
Hi everyone! I havn't yet posted in the introductions, so I'll provide some of the background here. My wife posted here first and brought this resource to my attention. (original post in the "Am I over thinking it?" thread).
I am the Monogamous husband in the second Vee now that my wife has initiated. The first relationship was great in a lot of ways for me.... she regularly took her partner and I to the same bed (and the sex was amazing). I enjoyed being a part of providing that pleasure for her. She would often be with both of us, whether sitting on our couch watching a movie at home or out on the town holding both our hands in public, and turn to me with this very deep look of appreciation and say "I Love You", with a face that I felt was a thank you for understanding her and allowing her to love another without hate or anger in my heart. Her happiness has always been my happiness, and the way she looked at me then is something I miss deeply in our current arrangement.
I felt a connection with her first lover that was more than just being buddies. We were both crazy for her, and we both enjoyed being her men, together. It also didn't hurt that I am Bi in my head, but Bi-curious only in practice (never been consumated) and I found her first man appealing, and potentially just-shy-of-straight. We all seemed very happy in our relationship initially.
Sadly, the distance between my wife and her new partner, his developing jealousy of the depth of her relationship with me, and her inability to cope with him having a relationship with anyone other than her driving him to committ monogamy to her all conspired to end that realtionship after around a year.
During that first relationship, I had twinges of jealousy that I felt i coped with well and treated as growing pains. When we started off, I had not expected her to fall in love with him. I thought it would be mostly physical, and hadn't considered the emotional implications. Looking back and knowing her as I do, I either 1) Should have known better, or 2) Did know better and ignored it . :o
I feel I handled the revelation that my wife loved someone other than me pretty damn well, since that definately was part of the agreement when we opened our marriage bed to others. The term "polyamory" was unknown to either of us at the time. The only truly difficult times I had were when she traveled to Los Angeles to work on the relationship without me (as I couldn't go due to work and family committments). Not too bad for the newly initiated??? Well, unfortunately that difficulty has become, for me, the one commanlity between the two relationships she has had.
Near the end, when the emotional damage of rejection landed on my wife, I didn't cope well because her relationship with him essentially stripped her away from me as a result of her grief. Someone else having that effect on her damaged me, as it made me feel somehow less important because suddenly I realized that I alone was not enough to maintain her happiness. I had already known that, intellectually. But until she had hurt that I couldn't fix or lessen in some way, that fact hadn't really sunk in. Logically, after watching both of my parents and damn near everyone else I know, for that matter, go through somewhere between 2X and 5X marriages, needing more than one person can give MAKES SENSE (yay for serial monogamy!! :eek: ) Emotionally, it still hasn't resolved for me.
(As an aside, I believe the root cause of said rejection was simply that her lover decided he could not handle being second to another, which he felt he was compared to me. What he said to her at one point was something like "I want what you and "MyotherB" have, but I can't have it with you because he already has it)
I felt I learned alot during that relationship. But I really don't know whether to call it a Triad or a Vee, because although he and I were not sexually more than friends, there was something there that was more. Maybe nothing more than mutual admiration.... but I'm certain we are now in a Vee. I'm not sure I'm OK with it.
Now we move on to current events!
She met her current lover while I was deployed ( <---Navy man of 14 years) She first slept with him while I was away, but with my (hesitant) permission. This caused tension, simply because I didn't know him I believe.
I met him while we vacationed back in my hometown about 2 weeks ago, and it eased things a bit, but not completely. Firstly, a large contributor to my acceptance/encouragement for her to be with another man was the concept of sharing her in bed, which is a huge turn on for me. Her current lover is not nearly as adventurous as we, and was obviuously uncomfortable just seeing me being affectionate with her. Hence, all intimacy has been seperate, and I am having an issue with it. For whatever the reason, I struggle with the paradigm of it being either "she and I" or "he and she".
Secondly, a ground-rule that we agreed to back before any of this happened was that I would not use her outside relationships as an excuse to bed someone else, as I said that I did not desire to. This has lead to a complication however, as I have begun to feel similarly to QuestioningMono in that I feel like I am being played like a chump. Truthfully, I don't really desire to be with someone other than my wife, except when she is away with her lover and I am left alone.
I don't think it is a revenge thing. I don't think it is a jealousy thing. I think I am envious of the fact that she doesn't have to be lonely like I do when we are apart, and a desire to be reassured that I'm not playing the doormat for her benefit and my own loss...
I only feel this way when she is away with him, like she is now (I'm home in WA, while she is with him in CA) or when she spent the night with him while we were on vacation, becasue things were awkward between the 3 of us when we we together.
Is it strange that I want permission to seek a relationship outside my marriage even though I'm not adamant about pursuing said relationship?? Does this mean I'm not really Mono, or does this mean I just can't handle the poly dynamic?
Would it be unfair of me to tell my wife she can't see someone that can't handle the 3 of us together? What if I ask her instead of "tell her" (since I've laid down the law maybe 2 times in our 20 year relationship :p) and she tells me to suck it up?
Shit. Truth be told, I'm not really stoked about her new relationship. I feel like she jumped the gun on it, that he isn't right for us, and she was rebounding. I like the guy on a "hey, lets drink beer and watch the game" level, but I'm not sure he's the right guy for sharing the ONE love in MY life.
Fire away folks. I know that was long winded, thanks for reading the whole thing, provided you managed to do so :):)
Hi and Welcome!
I forget who said it (maybe RP?) but something about not really getting to pick your metamours or your lover's lovers. It's hard when you don't connect with some one that your SO really cares for. I know my SO's wife and I had a bit of a difficult time connecting, she's pretty quiet. We're finally getting there I think. Some relationships enforce a veto power in partner choice. It's not easy though when you both don't connect. But from what I've seen, that's not uncommon, esp. in V's and Triads to not all connect equally. I think it's like super good luck when you all just click. Seems to be rare. I'm pretty tired though, not sure what I'm getting at, so I'm signing off, but good luck!
Hey there MyotherB,
It sounds like you are handling all this with a very level head. That's an awesome approach. It's too bad the first relationship didn't work out as desired, but trust me, "if wishes were horses - beggars would ride" as they say.
One of the things I think helps in general - not only in the realm of relationships, is to not get too excited about potential and possibilities - even when things seem to be flowing in a wonderful direction. Seems for every 'up' there will be a corresponding 'down'. That's not being a pessimist - just a realist. Life is like that. Better to be prepared. Celebrate the 'ups' but be ready for the downs and expect them. If they never come and we die in some blissful state - where's the loss in that ? :)
Now............on a more practical level...........
It's normal to have ENVY creep into things. You get pleasure from being together as a 3some. For now you may be left out of that. But remember - it's not all about us (you). That's the compersion part you know of. This is something for her. IF it's good - (notice the capitalization) be happy for her. Her happiness will only leak over to you either directly or indirectly. Is it easy ? Hell NO ! But it IS an acquired skill and you WILL get better at it. It's happens rather fast in actuality.
The second thing and again, it's common, is this struggle about whether YOU want another relationship. I advise just making sure you are honest with yourself. You may or may not want or need another. You seem like a kind soul so when considering another relationship you have to consider the possible ramification of that other person too. In other words, that you are going into it for the right reasons and intent.
Third, and this is always a tricky one, is your connection/approval of any of her potential interests. This is fertile ground for control drama. You have to be on guard for that. But on the other hand, as many of us have talked about in other times, there IS a positive in having another set of eyes in the picture. Sometimes we see things of genuine concern that someone caught up in NRE doesn't see. Just make sure that conversations around this ARE genuine. Be careful about not creating monsters where they don't truly exist (because of envy or jealousy). Understand (and explain) that BECAUSE of your love for her - your first concern is for HER ! Concern AND responsibility. If you see wolves on the lawn you have an obligation to protect her. Just make sure those wolves are real ! And you MAY need to bring in yet another set of eyes to verify that :)
But other than that, you seem like a natural. Just try to keep a level head about all the various things that come up - and they WILL. Go for long walks alone. Keep clarity.
Good luck & keep us posted.
Thank you for your advice. My problem right now is that my heart isn't nearly as level as my head. I fear that my wife's ( let's call her B ) need for more than just me is affecting how I feel about her. For almost 20 years, she has been my everything. Everytime she is away, I feel rejected. I can feel the dynamic between us changing, and it scares me. Alot. I don't want to want someone else, but the empty space her other relationships are placing on my heart are making me wonder if I will continue to be happy with her alone.
The way I am made, I need someone to NEED me. I know she loves me, but it feels on a way that she is moving on from me, and the fact that I am not everything to her any longer may make her less of what I need to be happy.
I don't want to be insecure. It is unattractive and weak. I fear what pursuing another relationship will do to our rapidly changing relationship.
I feel like I want things back the way they were over a year ago.
My head knows that ship already sailed. Adapting to this and finding a way for us to be happy together in this new landscape is going to be.... Challenging .
I think that long walk alone is in order.
I have also been worried about this point that Ariakas made in another thread. I think it is most often true that to find the source of any unhappiness we suffer, we need look no further than ourselves.
Sadly, realizing the root of an issue is a hell of a lot different than fixing it :o
You don't need to ask "permission" to do anything in a relationship really, but it would come across as untrusting to expect her to ask for permission to do things, so why would you need permission. It would seem to me that you are handing over your power if you were my husband and that would make me feel very uncomfortable. I would prefer that you discuss with me the boundaries around your venturing out to have another relationship rather than ask if its okay to.
Definitions of who you are are not really the issue here I don't think. Just do what your heart says is the right move and then check in with your partner to make sure her heart will be okay if you move forward.. again, negotiate.
Telling anyone what to do doesn't seem to work out all that great really. I think that perhaps it might be better to discuss what could come of her relationships. The fact of the matter is that it just seems to make things easier when everyone can be relaxed and comfortable when they hang out. Its a noble goal to achieve, but it could take time and patience... give it time, be patient, it's really her decision who she decides to continue dating. Chances are if it becomes too uncomfortable for her to be with him because her need for all of you to hang out sometimes is not met over and over again then it will die down and he will not become anyone particularly close to her.
She is far more possessive than I, and had agreed early that I would remain monogamous. This point has been revisited by me a few times, and the result has always been.... Hurt. She knows she is overly possessive, and has said it is something she wants to change but that has been more in reference to her others than to me.
So as things are, if I were to pursue a relationship with another, I think B would be devastated. To attempt to do so without her blessing would be tragic for our relationship, and I am confident that at this point if I asked to pursue someone, it would be a disaster.
The principle of the matter is important, yet in practice I feel the point is currently moot, as I am trying to learn to be less reliant on her for my happiness, and the last thong o need is another heart to juggle.
Need some time to work on me first. The rest can wait.
I do understand what she feels however, I struggled to accept that my PN was venturing out on his own into the poly community to find loves. He has a one track mind and is not the best at being able to multi-task where anything is concerned, let alone poly. I was concerned and would of preferred he not go there. I had to really bite my tongue and not let on my hypocrisy to him to much so that he could do his own exploring. I had to remind myself that I am NOT in control of his life, I DO NOT have a right to tell him what will happen just because I had an experience and he hasn't asked and I need to be a comforting and caring home for him to come home to... one that accepts him for all the mess ups I thought he might make). Turned out that I was right about some things, but wrong about others. What I hadn't banked on was how much he would change and grow and how much independence and self esteem/worth he would create in his life! So worth biting my tongue for and just waiting.
I don't disagree that it is hypocritical.
How my actions would make her feel though... how does she control that? I had this talk with a childhood friend, mutual to B and I, earlier this evening. She, like just about everyone that we are "out" to have expressed the same concern that you have, that B has placed me in a position that is unfair.
I agreed to remain monogamous because I felt no need for anyone else, at the time. I'm still uncertain that I need an emotional (romantic?) connection outside of B. I know for certain that I need to find new or re-kindle platonic relationships. But these needs were not apparent at the time. Honestly, they were not apparent until very, very recently.
She is very possesive of her men. She recognizes this as a fault, has stated so, and has expessed a desire to learn to lessen her jealousy. Would my pursuit of another expedite her growth toward that goal? Perhaps. Is exploring what a relationship outside our marriage might hold for me important enough to me to push her boundaries? Not yet. I do not think she is ready.
She has placed you in a situation that is unfair... but you agreed to accept that situation and can now not accept it. You decide who puts you in situations, not anyone else. She doesn't, no one does. If you are not comfortable then it is time to negotiate a change of boundaries. That does not stand still in poly or in any relationship, it changes over time and needs to change to accommodate who we become.
It's all very well to SAY that you are pocessive over your men, hell I am too, but that doesn't make it okay to allow that to continue. I have to work on that and face my jealousy and issues around that. That is my JOB in my relationships. I don't get to sit here and "own" my men, just because it is hard for me sometimes when they find others to love or be with in a connected way. I would be ashamed of myself for allowing that to continue to exist in me.
You should go and do what you need to to grow I think, see what it is that would make your life better and more emotionally comfortable and enjoyable... she will have to face her fears and you will have to work on that with her without backing down and allowing her emotions to cloud your goals for yourself. You have one life to live and it is all yours to live. You know best as to when you intend to break out of the mold she has cast you in,,, but starting to talk about it and strategize might be the best bet before actually doing anything or beginning to connect with others on a level that is more intimate than you might have done before discovering poly.
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