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-   -   Intro-In an Open Relationship for 4 months...now what? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40446)

franchescasc 02-11-2013 04:26 PM

Intro-In an Open Relationship for 4 months...now what?
Searching for some advice from those who've been there...

My back story: Met my husband when I was 14. We dated for 4 years, married when I was 18-he was 21. We were virgins when we got married. We have now been married almost 14 years. He is amazing, we have a wild sex life with each other, and a very open and honest and spiritual relationship. I don't even have words to describe our love. It is pretty magical, and he supports me in every possible way. He knows everything about me, and is my very best friend as well as a divine lover.

So...I am definitely bi. I have always had feelings for other women, but never acted on them because we were fully committed to each other. Recently (for a year or two) my husband and I have talked about those feelings, and whether I would ever act on them. He said that he would be happy for me to pursue that side of myself. His exact words were that he didn't want to try and fit me into a certain mold of the kind of person others think I should be. That he felt like he would lose me if he tried to control me. I had the green light to explore with a woman if the opportunity ever presented itself.

Well....I wouldn't be on here if it hadn't! I've been getting to know a friend better for a while. In November, she was super flirty, and we ended up getting physical. From the very beginning, she knew that my husband would know everything (not details, I like those to myself, but about the relationship and when we were spending time together) and she was ok about that. We flirted non stop, and pretty much couldn't be apart for very long. In that time, she had a relationship with an ex, who is an addict, that ended very badly. He's a cruel jerk, and really broke her heart. We cooled things for a while when she was with him, because she couldn't be open with him about us. But we remained very close friends and still emotionally connected. We have a really intense emotional connection aside from the physical one.

Now we have rekindled our romance, and I'm conflicted. When I am with her the whole world could melt away and I wouldn't notice. We can't even fall asleep because it feels like we need to cling to every second we have with each other. But I feel terrible, like I'm not fully available to her in the way she deserves. I have a husband and a family I adore, my feelings for him have only intensified, and she doesn't want to come between us at all. In fact, she worries a lot about coming between us. But I feel like I'm selfish. I am definitely in love with her, and I do think she is with me too.

Also, we live in a very small town, and this would not be good to get out. Being secretive is LAME. As if this wasn't complicated enough!

My husband doesn't have an interest in pursuing any other kind of relationship outside of ours. And I'm not sure that I'd want him to anyways. He says he is fine with my other relationship, but he is becoming irritated at my time away from home. We have 5 children, so I know this is a burden. I also just recently started working full time for the first time in 12 years since having children, so the home responsibilities have shifted. It's hard to sort what stress he is feeling from that vs this other relationship. I have to be out and about for my job a lot (2-3x per week) to schmooze and fundraise.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads right now. But I so desperately don't want to give up what I have with my girlfriend. And I so desperately don't want to lose what my husband and I have built. I want both.....I'm just not sure that's possible. Advise, thoughts, stories....anything?

opalescent 02-12-2013 02:21 AM

First, everyone involved - you, your husband, your girlfriend - gets props for handling a potentially difficult situation really well. You would not believe the train wrecks that occasionally pop up here. Y'all are well ahead of the curve.

Second, you and your GF are deep in the throes of new relationship energy (NRE). It's the exciting 'can't get enough of each other so no sleep!, 'the outside world doesn't exist!' and so on. NRE is a physical and chemical reaction. Both of you are just awash in happy bonding hormones and neurotransmitters. It typically doesn't last very long - about 6 months up to around 2 years. Now just because it's a chemical bath doesn't mean it's not real. It is and go enjoy it! One of life's pleasures!

Now the dark side of NRE. It can make people utterly idiotic. Serious cases of Da Stupid. Leave old relationships for new; neglect work and so on. Generally the rule from many people's hard earned experiences is to make no further serious decisions while in the throes of NRE if at all possible. Don't move in together, don't have children, etc.

The dark side of NRE for poly folks is that it needs to be managed carefully by all involved. NRE can lead the partner not in the happy fun chemical bath to feel ignored, abandoned. Sometimes knowing 'this is not forever' helps as does actual joy in your happiness by your partner (compersion). But it helps to have a partner even if deep in NRE stop and check in. Which is pretty much what you are doing. And you and your husband are also dealing with some major changes to your life - you're working and away from the home for the first time and you are raising 5 children together. Throw in a girlfriend and a wife giddily exploring her sexuality, that's a lot. Make sure to find time for him that is for him and not home or kid related.

Your husband has handled it well as has the girlfriend. You - and them - can have it all. It sounds like he wants you happy and is open to communication. She respects your husband and marriage. These are fine places to start.

So tl:dr - you're deep in NRE; acknowledge and know this about yourself; don't make any serious decisions about your relationships now; you are very lucky in your partners being open and honest so far; you've made major changes to your life circumstances with your husband that will have some impact on your relationship with him and with your girlfriend.

There is SO much on NRE here. Search for NRE or new relationship energy and you will find much concrete what to do and what not to do.

Good luck!

franchescasc 02-12-2013 01:56 PM

Thank You
Opalescent-thank you for responding! It is SO helpful to put some definitions to what I'm feeling, NRE captures it exactly. It's really great to be able to talk about this all, even if only online. Keep the words of wisdom coming :)

kdt26417 02-13-2013 12:24 AM

Hi franchescasc,
Welcome to our forum.

With the amount of stuff you're juggling (e.g. five kids and a newly-started job), you'll have to schedule your time really carefully. It sounds like your husband is in need of a little more of your time and attention. See if you can work something out along those lines with your girlfriend.

Hopefully you are okay with it if your girlfriend finds a partner as well. Even if she doesn't, though, people don't always need 100% of their partner's time. I am in an MFM "V" where there is one gal and two guys. The guys just have a platonic friendship, so we are sharing the lady's time and energy. You might suppose that both of us guys feel shorted, but actually I think we are both pretty okay with the arrangement. Everyone is different, and every relationship is different.

Re: coming out ... if only polyamory were widely accepted, we wouldn't have to live in the closet like we do. Some people announce themselves to the world; others have to keep it a secret. Alas, I am in the "secret" group. You just do the best you can with your situation. Polyamory is not for the faint of heart.

Keep looking around on our site, and post any thoughts or questions as they come to you. I would say keep your girlfriend for now, but schedule a little more time for you and your husband. It's not a perfect world, but don't give up your dreams too easily. Give poly a chance; learn as much about it as you can.

I hope we can help. I think we can.
Glad to have you aboard.
Kevin T.

franchescasc 02-13-2013 06:26 AM

So, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and came out to a friend I was sure wouldn't judge and be a good sounding board. That helped a lot. She was helpful with advice, and i am def going to be watchful that he has his own time away from the responsibilities of the home and enough time with me. Had a great convo with my husband today too, and he and I are definitely on the same page.

Tonight was my night to be with my gf, and it started off great. We were joking and laughing and just happy to be together. At one point she texted my husband, because she worries she's getting between us. I encouraged her to ask him anything and she did. He answered: "I am happy to have you in our lives" :) this made me so happy, as it was an impromptu exchange and confirmed that he is happy for me and cares for her because I love her.

However, her daughter was with her ex tonight-who is literally the cruelest SOB I have ever known. He really broke her heart and continues to treat her poorly. She was worried about her daughter and they texted back and forth for awhile and she ended up sad and in a bad mood. He said some awful things. I was happy to be there with her under any circumstance, even if just for a shoulder. But it concerns me that she is still hurting from those wounds. She definitely hasn't had a healthy relationship, and tends to let people treat her badly. The caretaker in me wants to fix it, but I know I can't and that is really hard. I also worry she's not getting what she needs, but won't voice that concern because she hasn't had that freedom before.

kdt26417 02-14-2013 12:00 AM

Well, it is good news that your husband is supportive of your relationship with your girlfriend, and that you have worked things out with him. Sorry to hear about the mess with your girlfriend's ex. The best you can do there, I think, is offer moral support.


"She definitely hasn't had a healthy relationship, and tends to let people treat her badly. The caretaker in me wants to fix it, but I know I can't and that is really hard. I also worry she's not getting what she needs, but won't voice that concern because she hasn't had that freedom before."
I think it is a good idea to allow her some freedom, even if it means letting her make some mistakes. The lessons she learns on her own will be the lessons that stick the best. Just let her know that you're there for her.

WhatHappened 02-21-2013 05:47 PM


Originally Posted by franchescasc (Post 183917)
Searching for some advice from those who've been there...

I've never been in the exact situation you describe, but I've 'been there' in the sense of wanting many things out of life, all at once, and realizing something has to give.


I feel like I'm at a crossroads right now. But I so desperately don't want to give up what I have with my girlfriend. And I so desperately don't want to lose what my husband and I have built. I want both.....I'm just not sure that's possible. Advise, thoughts, stories....anything?
If I knew a kinder way to say it, I would. But I can only say, as adults, we can't build our lives around what we want. We build our lives around principles, ethics, obligations to others, duty, responsibilities to our children and spouses. You have five children counting on you and needing you. Start from there.

franchescasc 02-27-2013 11:20 PM

Speaking Out Loud
WhatHappened-I definitely start with the kids and our family. I was simply speaking out loud expressing what I want.....but I am fully aware that I can't start with what I want at the expense of others. Thanks for the reminder.

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