Allowed to date women, would like to date men too
I am a 40yr old bisexual woman, poly throughout my twenties, but got married and managed to stay monogamous nearly 15 years. This summer, I had a midlife crisis culminating in a 5-month long love affair with a woman, nearly decimating my marriage. After a very difficult few months, my husband finally agreed to allow me to date women. Unfortunately, my lover I broke up soon after, and there are no new ladies on my radar (honestly, Iím still hung up on my ex, see thread here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41295)
On the other hand, a male friend and I have sprouted some serious lust for each other, and I am starting to think I would like to, eventually, date him, if possible. I really do prefer having more than one lover, I like what it brings to my life and my energy.
My husband is monogamous, though Iíve told him he doesnít have to be. He does have a female friend that he flirts with. Iíve encouraged him to pursue it, even offered to talk to her for him, in hopes that we can open up our marriage a bit more at some point, but heís very scared to take that plunge, and Iím not about to push him. Heís already come a long way out of his comfort zone very quickly.
Iím in no rush at this point. Iím still healing from my breakup with my female lover, and considering how upset I was when that ended, my husband would rightfully be reluctant to watch me go through another affair of the heart right now. Iím enjoying my new, more exciting and open dynamic with my husband, too. Iím fine, for now, just flirting and enjoying my young male friend, though heís definitely pushing to take it to the next level. Currently, I donít wish to cross any lines I canít uncross, and have refused any invitation from my friend which involves being alone with him unless its in a very public place.
My husband has said to me in the past ďIf you decide to sleep with another guy, just make sure I donít find out about it.Ē Not exactly permission, I know, but even with the girls he prefers ďDonít Ask, Donít Tell,Ē so maybe thatís the best Iíll ever get.
Back when we were first dating, I was the meat in a sandwich between him and my ex-boyfriend a couple of times, so he has survived seeing me with another man before. Subtlety is key: hubby is a very stubborn Leo, and if I push him, he shuts down. Any tips on warming my husband up to the possibility of me seeing other guys, and encouraging him to explore his own options?
I have found that time and talking about what my goals are helped over the years. Talking about what I have learned about myself and others has helped encourage also. People don't generally like to be told what to do just because I have something exciting going on and think they should be doing the same things, but they do become inspired to do something amazing in their own lives.
Who knows, maybe you will encourage him to take up a hobby he has been putting on hold. He could eventually do that while you pursue new and exciting relationships. For example my husband became a writer in the last five years of our poly lives. All the while I developed new relationships. We are doing what WE want for ourselves. Not what we want each other to do because we are doing it.
He isn't asking to go and find another partner so don't encourage him. Encourage him to do what he wants to do with his life. Things unfold as they will I find and rushing it all seems to create distress and create situations that are not what I wanted. Live and let live I say.
i have been in this open relationship for 13 years, but am just able in the past 3 years to get him to agree with me finding a male lover. we .... disagreed for many years, and all because at first i said i didn't think i would be interested in other men...the start of my not being honest with him or myself. i didn't start this relationship as an aberrant lesbian on a dick kick, i liked and appreciated both sexes.
good luck with your lion!
Any tips on encouraging him to explore his own options?
At this time, your husband is not monogamous. He's already been with you and your other female lover and this is already Open to you dating women... so he knows you could date. It's not a Closed thing.
He is monoamorous -- he only wants to love one person, and that person is YOU right now. Don't push him to love others, or tell him to "look elsewhere" too much if he is indeed firmly monoamorous.
It could hurt to feel like his love gift to his spouse is not valued by his spouse. YKWIM?
Demonstrating with your behavior that you love him, value his love gift to you, build a base of "secure" there? That could help with this other question...
Or tell me THIS stuff, but don't TMI me. The stuff that matters to my health -- # of lovers, names, sex labs, etc.
There's a difference there -- if he's going all "ostrich" about it from fear/insecure, that's not going to be good.
If you wish to date other people and want to renegotiate the boundaries on that, could ask him what needs to happen first so THAT can happen with his "goodwill" and his "secure" on board.
It's good you are going slow and not pushing though.
Hi LoveBunny :)
I'm sorry to hear about your breakup. I think you are very sensible to give yourself a rest from dating women (perhaps you could/should extend this to men also) for the time being. I do think it's important in poly to consider the effects that NRE *and* breakups have on your partner and existing relationship - as well as on yourself.
I have been where you are. My first toe in the poly pond was when I had a long-term male partner and wanted to date a woman.
On one hand, it makes sense. Being attracted to both genders can mean that when you are monogamous with one gender, you intensely crave the other.
However, there is also the consideration that being bisexual means you can be attracted to *either* gender... including two men or two women, and so forth.
Like your husband, my boyfriend had the popular view that if I dated a woman, it wouldn't cause as much insecurity. He worded it like "I can't compete with a woman. I can't compare myself to a woman. So I don't."
Well, let's be honest. The only difference between men and women is body parts. Many women have stereotypically 'masculine' traits and many men have 'female' traits.
Now it comes down to compatibility of ideals and desires between you and your husband. 'Ideally' the popular 'you can date women but not men' idea would be worked through for something more realistic and less naive. However, if you dating men would be a deal breaker for your husband, that's simply the way it is. Kind of the same as "I would never live abroad" when you dream of retiring in Italy. You have to negotiate, reconsider, try to compromise, and if all else fails, pick one side or the other.
One technique I particularly like to use in relationships (poly or otherwise) is the 'revisit' option.
For example, you tell your husband that you would really like the dating women option to be opened up to include men. You would like to revisit this after an agreed period. 3 months, 6 months, or something in between. You don't raise it again, you don't pursue men, you don't entertain the idea, you don't break any agreements, you don't keep a man 'in waiting' hoping that the green light will be given eventually. You just accept it for now and agree to talk again at the agreed point.
This is useful for three reasons.
1. It can help your husband to feel secure, feel respected, feel that he is your partner and not your audience, feel like a vital part of the decision-making process.
2. It can help you to pace yourself. It can curb the risk of making rash, selfish, unfair or unnecessary decisions based on *wants* instead of *needs* (i.e. lust, NRE, attention, excitement, etc).
3. It prevents a cycle of hurt. Hubby will still be processing your relationship with the other woman (cheating affair or poly 'affair'?). He will also be processing your breakup. He may not be ready to face another challenge just yet.
Be very careful not to push in the hopes that him having another woman will get you what you want quicker/easier.
People often say that if one person is struggling with the idea of poly, they should find someone for themselves. I think this can help with the "oh, *this* is what it feels like... I still love my existing partner... so now I totally understand that they still love me too, whilst being with another!" .... but... it creates a lot of emotion-swirling. Not only are you both dealing with the balancing, compassion, respectful, nurturing side of poly... you're both dealing with the jealous, insecure, uncertain side of poly. At the same time.
One thing concerns me, though. Why the flirting? Is that not feeding temptation? Is your husband happy with the flirting; does he accept and embrace that as an innocent part of your personality?
I am completely wary of DADT agreements, unless they have been discussed thoroughly, on a number of consecutive occasions, with guidelines written out, or at least clearly agreed to.
Let's say you wait 3 months, or you even have the proper discussion now. Let's say you make a DADT agreement. Points to agree on would be:
- Do you want to know if I'm going out to meet a guy, or do you want me to pretend I'm meeting someone else?
- Do you want to know if I fall in love with a guy?
- What if I'm seeing another guy (x) times per week/month?
- What if the condom breaks, if I get an STI or get pregnant? Do you want to know?
I think DADT can only work if you are very realistic about all the little grey areas and if it is absolutely 100% agreed to.
Totally get the Leo thing. My GF is a very typical Leo. Most of my partners have been Leos. Stubborn, proud, head-strong... but also extremely loyal and expecting the same in return. I've found that breaking a Leo's trust creates one holy shit-storm that you never, ever want to be part of again!
Encouraging his own options - don't. Let him decide about this and just tell him you have his blessing. Be careful though - I'd still think about guidelines and boundaries on this, even if you reckon you don't need them. What happens if he goes overboard with a new woman and you actually do end up having a problem?
Bringing him around to the idea of you dating men...
1. Agree to re-visit if it's a no right now
2. Stick to that agreement
3. If it's still a 'no' after 3 're-visits', accept it as a 'no'. Don't bring it up again unless he tells you he's changed his mind, or if it's a marriage deal-breaker for you.
4. Talk about how bisexuality feels for you, why you'd be interested in dating men, how you feel for him, what this would do for both you *and* him
Good luck ;)
Thanks guys, helpful stuff, especially about how maybe pushing him to be with another woman isn't the way to go. He's in a really great place emotionally right now, a new job that has him excited, and our marriage feels like a growing, breathing entity, which it hand't before the woman came along.
Now, to answer a couple of your questions:
I was honest about my relationship with the woman, told him as soon as I realized what was happening, and before it got physical. Husband only agreed reluctantly to allow it because he realized how badly it affected me when he told me no. After some time, he seemed to become actually ok with the situation, but I'd be lying if I said he loved it, especially once things turned ugly with her, making me miserable. We both definately need more time to heal from that break up before I try dating anyone again.
As for DADT: He once said to me "I wish you had just had an affair with her and never told me." In the beginning, he insisted on absolute DADT, as in he didn't want to know when I was with her, I was not to speak her name, and he didn't want to know anything that happened between us. I was unable to stick to that, it was completely unrealistic, it excluded him from my inner life which I hated, and it didn't let me treat her like a human being in my life, which she was. So after a while, once he relaxed and realized I didn't stop loving him and was still devoted to our marriage, DADT went away on its own. He knew when I was with her and what was going on in my head in regards to her.
He has no problem with me flirting with other men, I've always been a huge flirt and he knows that and isn't possesive in that way. I love to flirt, and I'm good at it ;)
You guys have given me a lot to think about. I will wait a few more weeks before even considering moving forward in any way. At this time, I do not NEED to be with any other men, the way I felt I NEEDED to be with that woman. I don't know if in the future it will come to that, so I'm just trying to be proactive.
Sounds like you are thinking along your process then. That's good.
I wanted to lift this up.
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