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-   -   new and nervous (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40883)

cariad02 02-18-2013 12:54 PM

new and nervous
Hi to everyone on this board
I'm new to the site and hoping for some shared experience, maybe some advice. I'll try to be succinct and describe my situation. I've been married monogamously for 12 years, 2 young children. Previous quite long (and mostly long distance) relationship in which I cheated a couple of times (as did my partner but neither of us were open about it). I've been working on being more emotionally open and honest for several years. The idea of having more than one loving and intimate relationship has always been with me, didn't know until about a year ago it had a name and a community!

Couple of years ago I met another man I liked immediately, grew to love, became very close. He's openly poly. I decided to talk to my husband a couple of months ago. He's beyond hurt and angry and I can now see that I didn't anticipate his feelings, tried so hard to talk compassionately but ultimately rushed it and it's very hard to see a way through it now. I love him and am trying to help him and look after him. In addition, I don't want to break up my family. I've ended contact with my friend (and his partner, also a good friend). At the moment I feel so much pain and loss... which I can deal with in time. I think he is hurting too and I don't know how to deal with that. But I can't yet let go the desire for intimate relationships outside my marriage although I know staying monogamous, possibly being more closed than I was before, is the only way to stay in my current relationship. I know many of you will think I was basically cheating (though my other relationship wasn't physical) and that's not ethical but I was trying to change...

I know on paper it's a straightforward choice. Basically, what I want to know is: has anyone remained monogamous and been happy and felt the sacrifice of one side of yourself, or the letting go of some needs, or working to get more needs met in the mono relationship, was doable over time and worth it for the sake of spouse and family? Thanks for listening

learninginTN 02-19-2013 02:22 PM

Welcome to the forums. I'm happy that you've begun to be introspective about things, and I'm very glad you've made the decision to work on being more open and honest. That's something I strive for every day. It really does improve relationships, and it's pretty much essential in polyamory.

Kudos to you for recognizing the impropriety of your extra-marital relationship. That's a big first step towards openness and honesty. Anyone who's ever been affected by an affair will tell you the emotional infidelity is as bad, and usually worse, than any physical affair. You're sharing intimate feelings with someone other than your spouse, and to a spouse this can be devastating.

It apparently was a shock to your husband's system when you mentioned the idea of poly. Question: Did you mention it as a thing you would like to do in general, or did you mention your affair partner specifically? There's a big difference in how most men are going to react to those two questions. In the second instance they are likely to become very territorial and not likely to be able to discuss the situation rationally because of the raging hormones that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have established in us when we feel competition.

I'm sorry you're feeling the loss of your partner. But I think you did the right thing by stopping that, realizing the unethical nature of it, and beginning to concentrate on your husband. With time, and with the strengthening of your bond with him (which is something that will serve you well should you later expand your life to include others), you may gradually and slowly introduce the idea to him. There are a lot of wonderful threads about introducing poly to a spouse. Read these and learn from others. Plus, other, more experienced poly folk will be along shortly to give you some wonderful insights.

cariad02 02-19-2013 02:59 PM

Hi learning
thanks for your gentle and thoughtful reply. It's a learning process, isn't it? And I sure have a lot to learn... I did mention the other person and totally understand husband's reaction. I hadn't been brave enough to bring it up before now. We are working on our connection, friendship, issues, etc. It was a good marriage but could be better, as many could. I have read a lot online, books, talked to friends and truly believe that this will never be an option in my marriage. So the issue is mine, really, how to move on, accept that ship has sailed and try to understand and communicate my own needs better within my marriage. Appreciate your time. Cariad

learninginTN 02-19-2013 03:32 PM

Never is a long time. If you truly believe your husband will never entertain the idea, you do indeed have a lot of introspection ahead of you. That's a tremendous choice you would have to make. A soul-searching question would be: Am I truly the polyamorous sort, and really wish to share my life with multiple love interests, or I am dissatisfied with my current marriage and wish to get out of it? Be very honest with yourself. I know, it's not always so easy.

Here's another perspective. If you separated from your husband, and eventually divorced, and established a new primary relationship, would you still want to have other romantic relationships in addition to your new primary?

Have you and your hubby pursued marital counselling? Sometimes working on your marriage can improve communication to the point where things like this can be discussed in a non-threatening manner, so I wouldn't necessarily totally give up on your husband ever being willing to talk about this.

jmk 02-19-2013 03:45 PM

just broke my arm, so the long dialog i wish i could send will be short for now. communication is key. even in long term poly relationships. my lion and i just went through a similar rough patch when i asked if i could dally with a long term mutual friend. lion has full veto power, but i did not know of his private problems w/ our friend. i am doing the above, limiting our friendship to acceptable perameters for lion, and seeing where the future brings us. good luck! we are here for you if u need help or advise. even a newbie to the site like me can assure you of that. :D

cariad02 02-20-2013 10:03 AM

Hey there
You summed up the hard questions I'm asking myself right now. Do I truly think I'm the poly sort and would be even if at some point in the future I was single or in a different primary relationship? I believe so, thought long and hard before bringing it up but would never know for sure until I tried it: sure it would be a difficult journey to take, could be a disaster... I wanted to embark on that journey however.

I am dissatisfied with some, not all, aspects of my marriage. We are in counselling, taking better care of each other, guess I have to give it a year or two to see if we can really make it work and thwn take stock. I think I'm totally getting my husband's pain but not very happy about such a binary choice or lifelong exclusivity or no marriage. He will not tolerate any otuside relationship, would leave immediately, also believes he'll never look outside and if he found himself wanting to, would leave. Will also not tolerate any contact at all with my friend, who I bump into regularly: I guess I just have to wait until I'm over him and it will get easier.

It's good to get this out!

jmk 02-20-2013 02:06 PM

good luck. it is sad to lose a friend, but choices have to be made in every relationship to make them work for you. the husband or the lifestyle is a tough decision, i know, although my sit. was reversed. (he wanted poly and i didnt at first.) may the communication between you get to the point where he is willing to make a hard choice for your needs as well.

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