wife of a Poly
I see many people on this forum go through similar situations as mine and I thought I could give insight as to where I am at and my thought process through out my journey.
Background: I have been married to DH (username on here is vmsmith) for 19 years. We married when we were 19 years old. Our marriage has had its ups and downs. We have always gotten along very well because of our easy going personalities and common interests. The things that most marriages fall apart finances and lack of sex have never been issues for us. Having kids and throwing myself into motherhood was difficult on us and thats probably where I lost myself. Everything was for the kids and everything needed to be perfect for everyone else. For the first 10 years of parenthood vmsmith and i pretty much floated through life together. Not really talking about serious subjects but more day today things. I was afraid to communicate about deeper issues because I knew we had both changed and I thought it would end us. 3 years ago I felt an incredible doom in our marriage and knew something needed to change. I wasn't ready to ask questions about what had changed but I did want intimacy. We always had a good sex life but I wanted to feel closer to vmsmith and the only way I knew how was through sex. I was also going through a phase of discovering things about myself sexually and I wanted him involved. We call this period my sexually awakening but what I didn't know is it would spark a whole new path for vmsmith and I.
For the past two years we have talked about opening our marriage. He initially wanted to date other people. I found that very threatening and devastating. So I suggested swinging thinking it would be less threatening to me because there wouldn't be an emotional connection and we could do it together. We explored that for another 1+ years but neither of us did anything sexual. We attended some get togethers but I was not fond of the idea of having sex without love and with strangers. A few distasters with swinging and vmsmith was frustrated and inpatient. Communication broke down, I thought he had realized it wouldn't work and was happy with it just being us. He on the other hand rebelled and stumbled upon a coworker who was looking for a poly relationship except they neglected to informing either of their spouses! The affair ended in November when the coworkers husband found out. vmsmith became depressed and I noticed. Things blew up in December between us and he finally blurted out he wanted an Open/Poly marriage and this time he wanted it with or without me. I was devastated once again.
This forced me to consider it more seriously. I couldn't understand why he wanted this so much. He has always claimed that he had never cheated on me and he was curious (he gave up his virginity to me and had not known anyone else). I pushed him more on why he wanted it so much. I told him it was safe to tell me if there were infidelities and that he needed to tell me so I could have a full understanding. He finally came out with everything. The recent affair, some flirting flings and a couple of escorts throughout the past 10 years. I must say this was a blow and difficult time for me. A lot of tears and questions...
For the past three months I have been researching everything poly. I have been crying with my friends and vmsmith. I have been putting myself back together so I could figure out what I wanted. I have grown and admitted and learned a lot about myself. Through all of this we are closer then we have ever been. He is now completely honest with me and over the past three years we have touched on all those things I was afraid to open.
Reasons I choose Poly
Reasons why I chose Polyamory: These are in no particular order of importance.
1. Keep our family together. Stay together because of the kids. Yeah that is a reason, it just is. weather that is right or wrong. I know I could be a single parent with out DH. Our kids, altho devistated, would probably be fine. But deep down its not what I want for them or for me.
2. Maintain my current lifestyle. Being a photographer and at home.. I love it and I think if I had to work a full time corporate job to make ends meet I would surely do it. I just would know that a passion was lost and my dream life was gone. I am sure I would be fine if I had to do it. I don't remember absolutely hating when I worked corporate. It would be a different lifestyle and I'm sure I would adjust. I certainly wouldn't give up photography, I know I would still do it, but I worry that the free time I enjoy now that enables me to explore and get creative would be lost because I just wouldn't have the time. I also know change brings about good things too. So I am choosing this but I am not afraid if I couldn't have it.
3. Researching it I discovered Poly is a very loving practice. DH wouldn't love me less. He probably would love me more for taking the jump. Poly isn't what I visualized in my head to be in that it would be a self serving, damn you all, affair/cheating environment.
4. I came to love and appreciate the pure honesty that DH and I now experience together. Is it just him being more honest with me that makes it better? No, I am more honest with him. And suprisingly I am more honest with myself. When I really search deep inside me there is a part of me that wonders what certain experiences would be like. I wonder what being with another person would be like (man or woman). I am intrigued by some kinky sides of sex (BDSM for example). Through poly I could may be experience that or at least be honest with myself that I may want to explore that. I can tell DH my desires and know he isn't going to scoff at them but understand and if he isn't the person who could handle it then I am free to find someone who is.
5. Being open has created a different way of experiencing friendships. Knowing that I can share things with other people and show myself to them is fun and rewarding. Before I believe I thought I couldn't show people my true self because they would judge if I wasn't like everyone else or I wasn't perfect. For some reason reading about Poly has allowed me to open up in friendships like never before. It has even made a difference in how I relate to my children. It felt so good to tell my best friend that I was nervous about meeting with her and telling her I choose Poly. I don't think I would have ever told her that before, but opening up more too her is such a good feeling. I look at people/friendships in a different way now. I look at them as having something I want to learn about, each person is unique and may teach me something that I will appreciate and they may possess something I would have never discover on my own.
6. Why not give it a try? I figure if I discover I don't like the Poly thing and DH wants it then we can split up amicably and on good terms. It won't be over a hurtful affair full of anger and disappointment. Unlike swinging, I am not giving up anything of myself. Part of me use to say, yes you are.. your giving up your husband. Well, he still loves me and he's with me because he wants to be. I am giving up controlling him tho. That will be hard for me to release. I don't like feeling lonely. I like looking forward to him being home with me. I know this will be difficult but I also think it is a huge opportunity for me to grow and discover more about myself. Plus I should be able to be alone and be happy when he is away.
7. Face the fear. One of my bigger fears is the rage and out of control jealousy that will overcome me. I hate that feeling. The other day I had a fleeting thought when DH was meeting someone for coffee. Altho I didn't deal with it on my own (I wish I would have.) I did talk to him on the phone and once I told him it went away. I worry it affected him and made him doubt if I could handle it. But what is different about how this jealousy rage compared to the past is how quickly it went away after I told DH. It didn't control me. Unfortunately I needed him to reassure me. I want to get to where I can take care of it myself. Baby steps...
8. Compassion and understanding. I still find it profound that I have compassion and understanding for M and DH's relationship. This is what struck me as odd/strange but gave me a glimpse of hope that maybe I could do this. I felt sympathy for DH that he had lost such a good friend and lover when he had to break it off with M. Part of me was saying why the hell are you feeling bad for him. But that was so quickly overtaken with compassion that it affected me in a pivotal way. And the fact that it has remained that way throughout these past 3 months. I don't have any hate or anger against her or their relationship. I am happy he experienced it because I guess it got him to a place of understanding about himself and helped him figure out what he really wanted.
9. What a huge opportunity for myself to grow. I can conquer jealousy. I can discover things about myself I never knew and I have already done that over these past 2-3 years examples: I always thought I was as introverted as DH but I am not. I am really quite social but I have suppressed it for a long time. I like to be bold and loud. I like adventure. I need a lot of reassurance. I love being touched and caressed. I like figuring out why people do things (psychology). i hate cleaning the house!! LOL I am in control of my life and destiny. I don't beleive in god like everyone says I should. I am kinky! I like... no I love sex!
10. DH is who he is. I am not going to change him. This isn't my fault. Its no ones fault. Not sure if this is a reason why I choose Poly but it is a reason why I had the two choices I had ( Option 1. splitsville because he couldn't be monogamous or Option 2. Poly together.) I had to figure this point out for myself before I could move onto researching Poly. Thus why it is towards the end because I forgot about it. I guess I look at him being Poly is the same as if he was gay. Its in his makeup of who he is. Could he be monogamous? Yes, he could will himself to be but he wouldn't be happy? I am done with misunderstandings and screaming at each other in the basement. I could have never ever figured this out with out DH coming clean about his infidelities in the past. As hurtful as that was to go through, it had to have happened or I would have never even considered educating myself on poly because I didn't understand fully where he was coming from.
11. No regrets! I will be able to honestly say I tried everything.
12. It doesn't feel wrong. Thats a big thing for me to admit! Of course I am worried about being judged by society and it affecting my family. But, it doesn't feel wrong that we are both happier. It doesn't feel wrong that we are being more honest with each other and discovering things about ourselves we never knew.
13. I want to be independent. I never thought I would feel this way, but I want to know that I will be ok without DH. I think if I can face and conquer jealousy and allow myself to grow to find out who I am then I can be independent. Poly will give this to me if I allow it and don't resent it.
14. Do I want to be monogamous in this Poly relationship? I don't know. I would say no but I'm not going to go searching really hard for anything. I think I will be poly in the sense that I am open to anything happening but I'm not searching desperately for it. If an opportunity presented itself and I like the person then I want to feel I can take them up on developing a deeper friendship. But that doesn't always mean sex to me. Altho I am curious about certain things so it may be in fore front of my mind if its the right situation. (ie girl on girl or bdsm... ) Being monogamous I know I couldn't even admit those things so again thats another reason why I am choosing poly.
15. Relief. I am relieved to hopefully find a solution or at least a direction for our struggles.
I very much like what you wrote in your reasons for choosing poly. Really down-to-earth and honest. Thanks for sharing.
In my marriage, I'm the one who brought up being "poly" first, and my husband was somewhat forced to either accept it, or leave. I'm sure he feels much the same way you feel. And I do, too, about many of your points - especially about keeping the family together, maintaining your lifestyle, learning to be more independent and know that you'll be able to take care of yourself if you need to.
And just being able to say that you tried your best to make it all work and be successful... that counts for so much. So many people, mono or poly or whatever, simply don't do that. It's about putting yourself out there and willing to be vulnerable so that you can grow. That's great.
I hope you and your husband discover lots of wonderful things in poly together. Good luck on this journey!
bad news got me thinking
This weekend I learned of some bad news. A friend's husband killed himself. They have three kids under 12 years old. I don't know why her husband felt he couldn't continue his struggles in life. I took this news hard. What hit me was how thankful I am that DH has came clean with everything he has been going through and the fact that we can discuss really anything with each other without worry the other will judge and we know understanding will be there. I also thought about maybe we missed that bullet. What I mean is what if DH would have kept all his stuggles in. What if he wasn't strong enough to tell me his poly desires or his infidelities. What if, what if.. I guess it didn't end that way so I am thankful.
I don't mean to make this all about DH. I was strong enough to accept DH. I was strong enough work through my own feelings of rejection, betrayal and uncertainty...
It does frustrate me that people feel they have to hide things and hurt in silence and that this world doesn't want to hear about peoples struggles. But that can start with me right? I wish I could be more open with everyone about our recent struggles but we have to appear normal to others because of fear of judgment for our kids. I hope that someday I will be able to share with someone and help them through a struggle based on something I have went through. Maybe when my kids are not so young I will be able to share this with them.
If your husband or wife is coming to you with a struggle take it seriously don't brush them off. It most likely took a lot of guts for them to come to you in the first place. Be aware of their moods and ask questions, listen and be compassionate. Research the unknown before you reject them.
I am sorry to hear that but as you said you are strong!
I commend you on all your hard work and effort. Relationships are hard and coming out to a SO is difficult, trust me, but if approaching the subject is so hard that they refuse to then the relationship needs some serious talk time. You seem to have a great grasp on things :)
Trust and understanding, trust and understanding. Right now that's my mantra. DH and I are working through my suggestion of poly is some of the same ways. Focusing on why we're attempting it.
Thanks for your list. I now have a few more reasons to think about. :D
I haven't written in a while. Honestly things haven't gone anywhere for DH as far as finding another relationship for us to start this new poly adventure. But we both have tested some boundaries and we have been working hard at communicating with each other. DH has been in school for the past 5 years and now its finally over. I am worried what the future will be like. I always envisioned it would mean more time for me and for our family but I realize that this new poly path we are going down will change that.
My biggest difficulty right now is trust with DH. He came clean about an affair he had with M about 6 months ago. But now I am constantly wondering who he is texting, if he telling the truth where he is going and just generally not trusting him. I was good for a couple of months and really trying hard to trust him. He kept telling me he had no reason to lie or hide things because we were being so honest with each other. So I grasped on to that and tried to trust him. But then DH recently lied to me about going to dinner with M. He didn't tell me about it before hand because he thought I would freak. He did tell me immediately afterwords tho. I find this to be a set back for me and once again I am struggling with trust all over again. I am trying to find the strength in myself to trust him again but its difficult when I feel like the trust has been broken over and over. He knows he screwed up and realizes he should have told me to begin with. i know there will be ups and downs and we will both make mistakes.
I feel like I am on such a roller coaster. I will be good for weeks or even a month and then something hits me and I am a mess for a day or so. The good times are getting longer and longer so thats reassuring. When I am down I am able to talk with DH and it is helpful. He is very loving and supportive.
Now that school is done for DH the expectation is for him to start another relationship and start down the poly path. I feel like I am not ready, but will I ever be?
If he's proving himself a liar, and willing to keep things from you for whatever reason. Things that you REQUIRE for changes in your relationship to create continued stability, then why bother trying at all? I'm sorry, but I don't think it's your burden - but his. Cheating, lying and misrepresenting - regardless of reason - are clear signs that maturity doesn't exist and more work on the couple needs to happen before any other things can happen. More work on his side at the very least.
I think you're getting yourself into a no-win situation by not calling a halt to this and working on the marriage. Or more specifically, why your husband shows deceit and breaks the bonds of trust. That is NOT your fault. But it needs to be dealt with.
When someone has a history of lying, it's not so easily stopped, even if they want it to. It is a habit, that takes years to fully break. In my husband's case, it's a habit he has spent 44 years perfecting and only recently made a conscious effort to change. When he is stressed, he falls back into old habits. I may never trust him completely again (cheating through us into counceling), but I watch for indications of lies and deception and try to call him on things up front to help break his habit. I also have to play 20 questions way too often for my liking. He is starting to volunteer more information without prompting nowadays, but he struggles with it.
The way I saw this incident, OP's husband was on autopilot until he got home and then fessed up immediately. He should get some credit that he could do this without being prompted, if in the past he would have never said anything. That this is still damaging to the ability to re-gain some trust - absolutely and the OP should say as much to her husband.
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