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nonstick 11-12-2010 05:44 AM

Married couple confused, feeling stuck
 
Hello everyone,

This is an introduction post, as well as a vent/help us post. (My wife is posting her story below). And I was watching Food Network when trying to pick a user name.

A legitimate poly lifestyle first was brought to my attention about 11 years ago (at 16). I was reading a fiction book series, in which a whole society of people lived in a way where a most men have two wives, but also the wives have a special relationship amongst themselves as well. Most of the time this was just a sisterly thing, deep emotional connection and love for one another but not romantic, but a few cases of romance as well. At the time, the only time I'd ever really heard about multiple wife scenarios was from poor media coverage around the extreme cases polygamy farms using religion as justification for older men to have a bunch of young wives. While other friends of mine reading the book thought it was weird, and could never work, it always stuck with me as something I'd really like, but never thought people did it in the real world.

That feeling sat on the back burner for a long time. Meanwhile, I lived the normal mono lifestyle, fell in love with the most amazing woman I have ever known, and got married. We have been married a little over 4 years now.

When I started to re-read the books again (about 1.5-2 years ago), it kick started the curiosity I had initially, and soon I couldn't stop thinking about being in the type of relationship that was common place in the book. I started to search on the interwebs to see if this was something people actually did, or if I was just being stupid. After reading enough to realize that, yes, people do live this way (and similar ways) and it had a name, it started to root itself and not become a curiosity, but a lifestyle I really wanted, and know would make me the happiest. This was really solidified this summer when my wife's sister stayed with us for awhile. While I don't have any feelings for her sister other than just the in-law friendship, just the dynamic of how our household was working when she was here, the two of them sharing their moments together, and the times when all three of us were together and I was the man taking care of them, I knew that I would be the happiest in a poly relationship with 2 women, in which they also had a special connection.

There have been a few ups and downs in our marriage, but we've both been growing so much as people, and growing together. Lately, I feel we've gotten so much better about expressing how we feel about each other, and about all that is troubling us. We've gotten to be much more open and upfront. It was in these long talks we started in the last year, with all out venting and laying everything on the table, and doing a bunch more research, that I finally became comfortable enough to tell her about the poly lifestyle, and how i felt about it.

The incredible woman that she is, listened to it all, let me get it all out, wrote down questions, and asked them when I was done, and was overall just amazing in how she accepted me for who I am, even though she essentially believes this is not right for her. We talked about pros and cons, how it might affect each of us if it were something we pursued, but it rather quickly came down to a no. She is not comfortable living this way. There might be a chance in the future, but not now.

Since that initial talk, we hadn't really discussed it much. I was afraid of bringing it up to much. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to convince here into a lifestyle she doesn't want to live. I was afraid that bringing it up would just push her further away from the idea incase there was a chance she would change her mind. We did talk again once for a short amount, I had to know how she'd been processing everything I laid on her a couple months ago, but it still came down to the same conclusion.

The not discussing it, however, was causing everything to just build up inside me, and I started getting depressed, there was this part of me I couldn't talk about with the woman I love. We've been spending the most time apart from each other since we got married this last month, due to a number of individual trips we've taken, and this last week and a half has been especially hard on me. Already feeling like I haven't been spending enough time with her, I had to fly out for 2 weeks for business. When I feel lonely and depressed I do a lot of

thinking, and the whole poly issue was number one on the brain. A couple of days ago, it all came out, I couldn't NOT talk about this anymore, and for the last few days my wife and I have resumed discussions over the phone until I can get back home. While we were talking, she started looking up things on her own and found this site. We've read a number of posts, and I am happy to see such a community on the web with a lot of great advice, stories, and other resources.

After talking every night for the last five days about this, my wife and I are both confused on where to go from here. Neither one of us can bear the thought of losing the other. I feel as happy as I think I could be while being in a mono relationship, but I don't think that I will be truly happy, no matter how much I love my wife and she loves me. And as of right now, she would not be happy if I/We were to add another person.

Saphena 11-12-2010 05:47 AM

Hey I am Nonstick's wife.. here is my side of the story...

When my husband first told me a few months ago he was thinking about polyamory and considering it to be part of who he is, it was something I had honestly never heard of before. He had me read some information from online to help me get an initial understanding of what polyamory is before we sat down and talked about it. My husband is the type of person who will research into everything before making a decision or opinion for himself, so I knew that in bringing this up to me, it wasn't just a random thing he thought of one day, it was something real. As you can imagine, I had a TON of questions for him about it and we talked late into the night. I really try to be open minded in all situations and learn someone else's point of view instead of getting angry or upset, but in all honesty I did feel hurt. Thoughts that I'm not enough for him, and I can't fully satisfy him, and he'll never be totally happy with me all ran through my mind. I was also worried that because I didn't feel the same way about polyamory, that he would want to leave me.

Since then, we have only had a few conversations about it. It was something that I couldn't get out of my mind, and I knew he was constantly thinking about it too, but it was also a touchy subject for me. It's not easy for me to think about my husband wanting someone else to take care of, fall in love with and be close to. But in not talking about it much, I know that made things a lot worse for him. The more I thought about it though, and the times we did talk about it, the more I felt that we just didn't feel the same way about polyamory, that it's just not right for me. He has told me that ultimately he doesn't want to lose me, and that if it's something I never want to do, he will find a way to deal without it. But that just seems so unfair to him. I feel like I'm preventing him from being who he really is. I don't know what we should do. If we keep things as they are, he will never be truly happy. But if we were to start living polyamorous, I would not be truly happy. How do we find a way to make things work?

The last week he has been out of state for work, and this conversation came up again a lot stronger than before. We've been talking every day about it, trying to figure out how to make it work for us both, but nothing seems to be getting figured out. I am really trying to keep an open mind about it all, considering the possibility that maybe one day I could realise I am poly too. I know it's not something that anyone can be talked into, but I just know sometimes people don't realise everything about themselves right away.

Tonberry 11-12-2010 06:16 AM

Welcome!
Your situation is indeed a hard one, as it seems one of you can't be fully happy without a poly relationship and the other can't be fully happy with one. While mono/poly relationships exist, they are tricky and need to lot of work on both sides.

Saphena, you talk about maybe realising you are poly too. It's a possibility: my husband, when I came out, was pretty sure he was mono, but over the course of several months/years, he realised he was poly too, and had been rejecting it the whole time.
However, there is no way to be sure you're the same. You might very well be completely mono, and then it's important for you not to force it.

This being said, the relationship NonStick is interested in doesn't seem to require you to be poly. He wants a relationship with two women who share a bond, but that bond could be friendship. In that case, even being mono, that would be possible, since you wouldn't have other partners (male or female).

That doesn't mean you could be happy in a mono/poly relationship, though. It's something for the both of you to talk about and see how you feel, both of you, see how far either of you can go, see what compromises you could reach, etc. It might take a very long time before you find a satisfactory solution.

For you, Saphena, it might be helpful to list the reasons why you would have a problem with such a relationship. There is some level of conditioning, monogamy being the norm and all, so you'll have to find deeper reasons than the "that's just wrong!" and try and find more specific things that trigger your feelings (and which feelings these are). Then it will be easier to look at it and see what the options are.

For you, nonstick, it might be a good idea to think beyond your ideal scenario. First, how would you deal with two women who both love you and you both love but don't really have a strong connection? What about if either of these women has another partner as well? For instance, what if you do meet another woman and she is married too? And what about your wife, would she be "allowed" to have other people too? (Regardless of whether she wants to or not, it's good to ask yourself how you would feel about it).
And if your wife really wouldn't be happy in a V where you are the hinge (that would mean you are involved with two women who aren't involved together sexually and romantically), would you be happy with a traditional relationship with your wife and a platonic relationship with a woman your wife gets along with? Would she be happy with that?

I think it is worth exploring various scenarios and checking how both of you would feel about each one of them, that might help you know where you are standing.

MyNameIsMaam 11-12-2010 02:19 PM

Being poly means so many different things to so many different people. For some, it means there is a 3rd person with whom you are both engaged in a relationship. For others, only 1 of you is engaged in another relationship.

At my house, we are both free to seek relationships with other people. We also choose not to "share", meaning that we don't pursue the same person. For us, it gets too hard when one of us starts having difficulty in that relationship but the other person is still fine with it.

I can honestly say, and my husband would agree, that we are closer now than we ever were before because now we know how important it is to be honest and open, in a real gut-check kind of way, with one another. If ever there was a secret to success (20+ years married), for us, that's it.

That's not to say any of this is easy. It's complicated. It's messy. It's emotional. It's gratifying. It satisfies needs for both of us that the other is not able to fulfill. And, most of the time, it's fun.

You both say you are talking. Good. No, GREAT! Keep it up. Be prepared for your attitudes to morph over time, not in the next week or two. It took us years to find our comfort level. If you both care about one another, respect one another, and really want the other person to be happy, I think you will have a great starting point for your discussions.

Best of luck to you both!

-M

redpepper 11-12-2010 05:56 PM

I suggest that you look at the stickies for any links that you think are something that you would be interested in... that and do a search on here... there is a lot of really good information and support on here that has come up since this forum began... not just in the last couple of days, I suggest that you immerse yourselves in study at the moment and nothing more.

With a whole lot of education under your belt I would be surprised if you didn't start talking about what kind of poly life you would like to see happen... begin talking about your poly... YOUR poly, how would you describe it to each other, to yourself, to others... what would work and what wouldn't, what boundaries do you need to have at the moment in order to feel safe, respected, loved and cared about? Remember these boundaries are fluid and can change and grow as you do...

Then I would suggest finding community off line. See if there is a group of people close to you that meet or find like minded people on line and start holding a regular time to meet up. There is no better way to find partners and other like minded people than to start talking about it and organizing meet ups. You will need friends as much as a partner at some point. I can't stress that enough.

When a partner does come into your life, then we are all here for you to bounce it all off of... hell, we are here now to bounce stuff off of :p

I think it is wise to go slowly and work up to a comfort level that creates opportunities on your lives... there is no rush, you are talking and that is just the beginning... respect the process and it will all unfold... enjoy!:)

Saphena 11-12-2010 09:55 PM

I'd just like to say thank you specifically to Tonberry and fairydust for your replies, Nonstick and I really found what you guys had to say very helpful and encouraging, and we feel that we have some advice to work with. We really appreciate the time you took to help us out. :)

nonstick 11-13-2010 08:17 AM

Like Saph said, thanks to everyone who responded, but especially Ton and Fairydust. A bit of what you suggested has been in our talks, a bit we didn't think of, and a bit has been so hard to start talking about that we've not delved deep enough into yet, but especially after your responses, we realize what the next step in our discussions need to be. I'd like to atleast address some of the things you mentioned that we have talked about or that deal more with me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tonberry (Post 52326)
For you, nonstick, it might be a good idea to think beyond your ideal scenario. First, how would you deal with two women who both love you and you both love but don't really have a strong connection?

To me, that feels more like I'd be being selfish, if that makes sense. If Saph is friends with the other woman, and can have a connection as well in her own way, then all of this wouldn't be just about me and for me. Could be my poly naivety though. I know there are a lot of ideal situations out there that will never be achieved and probably shouldn't be expected. Also my response to a comment below may also shed some more light.

Quote:

What about if either of these women has another partner as well? For instance, what if you do meet another woman and she is married too? And what about your wife, would she be "allowed" to have other people too? (Regardless of whether she wants to or not, it's good to ask yourself how you would feel about it).
Yes to the second. I tend to operate logically, and one of the first questions I asked myself before even telling Saph about how I was feeling was would I be ok with her taking on another. I knew this would be one of her first questions when we talked. Of course my heart was hurting a bit thinking about it. I know it will be hard on me, I don't get jealous much, more of the type to feel rejected (which stems from unmet needs, and expecting people to read my mind and help me with them, then feeling rejected when they're not met... this is the big thing I'm working on within myself atm). I've had a couple minor issues with two guys who showed too much interest in Saph for my comfort. I think one of those instances is just due to not knowing the guy well enough, the other was when I was courting Saph. She was oblivious to his intentions, but I picked up on them, and felt a bit threatened. Those feelings might have been bigger, but I already knew that Saph's choice between us would be me, even if he did make his intentions known to her. I've grown up a lot since then, and am really confident in the love my wife has for me. That helps tremendously when it comes to being able to let her go and seek another if that is something she wants. My logical thinking also kicks in and says, 'How can you ask for something you can't give yourself?' Its unfair to her to say I'd like to be in a relationship with another person, but you can't. Being that hypocritical would take all the validity out of my own reasons for wanting a second person.

To the first question in that block, I'll again say, maybe more light will be shed when I answer the next one.

Quote:

And if your wife really wouldn't be happy in a V where you are the hinge (that would mean you are involved with two women who aren't involved together sexually and romantically), would you be happy with a traditional relationship with your wife and a platonic relationship with a woman your wife gets along with? Would she be happy with that?
Even from a young age, I have always preferred to have 2-3 people whom I am extremely close too. I could go thru the list from age 4, but rest assured, I tend to only let a couple people in, keep them real close until something happens that one of them falls out of that closeness (death, me moving, them moving, and other reasons why friends lose touch). Everyone else in my life, including my family, I just kinda keep on the side, hang out with them every now and then casually. Only those 2-3 get to truly know me though. Because of that closeness, I have a tendency to fall for any of the females that fall into that group that I let in. In fact, 100% of the females that have been in that 2-3 I've developed romantic feelings for. I married the last female, we were really close friends for 3-4 years before I told her I had feelings for her.

This is one of the reasons why I feel so drawn to the type of poly lifestyle I described. I know being close to 2-3 people is really important to who I am and my well being. I see the relationship that I have with my wife, how it has developed, how the love and closeness has grown thru the years. I'd love to experience that growth and commitment and truly meaningful connection with another, to be in that 2-3 group. --That close group right now is at 2 people, the other being a guy I work with who from day one we just understood each other, got along great despite being at such different stages in our lives and the 7 year age gap (he's been married 16 years, 2 kids). But because we're at different stages/priorities in life, it makes spending time hanging out and talking about life rather difficult.

For this reason, also, I think to find a platonic friendship with another woman to slide into that 2-3 close group is setting myself up to develop feelings for her. Its not a matter if it could happen, but when it would happen. In the past it took as little as a month or two. So I don't think that is a compromise I would be comfortable with.

nonstick 11-13-2010 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fairydust159 (Post 52328)

Ultimately I came to the realization that being polyamorous is about more love, not less, and that I wasn't going to sacrifice my happy marriage for the POSSIBILITY of other happiness. After all, even being actively poly doesn't guarantee that we will find another person who makes us as happy as our current partner, especially since the pool of candidates open to poly is so small. So, I found my "happy place" as a passive polyamorous person living in a monogamous relationship. Yes, I wasn't able to embrace "all" of me, but it wasn't as big a deal as I thought it would be. After all, we are a happy couple!

That statement hit me upside the head the most out of what everyone has posted so far. Thank you Fairy. In all the reading about poly and how much it is described as increasing the amount of love, I have yet to see it turned around as you did. The logic part of me says that makes complete sense. Its going to take some time to process emotionally though, and to find that 'happy place' to settle in to if thats what Saph and I decide is the best for us. Thank you again for those words.

GroundedSpirit 11-13-2010 03:00 PM

Welcome Nonstick,

Let's see if we can help 'unstick' you from some of the confusing web....

After reading, several questions came to mind mind that I would need answered first.........



Quote:

Originally Posted by nonstick (Post 52319)
....... I was reading a fiction book series, in which a whole society of people lived in a way where a most men have two wives, but also the wives have a special relationship amongst themselves as well.

Well - first, here, I'd try to separate a typical & common male fantasy (2 women and potentially them lovers too) from the reality of a poly life/love style !
Do you REALLY know what poly involves - for everyone yet ?
Make sure you do (i.e. be careful what you wish for). :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by nonstick (Post 52319)
............. let me get it all out, wrote down questions, and asked them when I was done, and was overall just amazing in how she accepted me for who I am, even though she essentially believes this is not right for her. We talked about pros and cons, how it might affect each of us if it were something we pursued, but it rather quickly came down to a no. She is not comfortable living this way. There might be a chance in the future, but not now.

Ok..............and WHY specifically, does she feel it's NOT for her ? Because the answer to that will dictate how you would approach it. There can be a variety of reasons from philosophy/religious basis to just timing & complications.
If it's truly philosophical, that's going to require a lot of study, willingness to discard any 'assumptions' of what we believe we 'know' and some blood, sweat & tears.
If it's just more because it seems complicated, the plate is full at the moment, there's others (family etc) to be considered, those are more operational concerns that maybe can be worked out.

But you need to have a TRUE understanding of what the objections are.


Quote:

Originally Posted by nonstick (Post 52319)
.............. I feel as happy as I think I could be while being in a mono relationship, but I don't think that I will be truly happy, no matter how much I love my wife and she loves me. And as of right now, she would not be happy if I/We were to add another person.

This may be. We often discover some new facet of life that seems to beckon us. But I fall back to the first question again. Are you really clear yet on how much of this is fantasy and how much is philosophy ? Because if it's primarilly fantasy you may have some rough road ahead. Not to say it can't change to philosophy along the way, because that happens, but it's a steeper climb from there I think.

Let us know what you discover :)

GS

NeonKaos 11-13-2010 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit (Post 52457)
Are you really clear yet on how much of this is fantasy and how much is philosophy ? Because if it's primarilly fantasy you may have some rough road ahead.


Check that. If it's primarily PHILOSOPHY you "may have some rough road ahead". If it's primarily FANTASY, you WILL have a rude awakening ahead.


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