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-   -   Hello! A very long introduction follows... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44135)

Lasochka 04-04-2013 11:50 PM

Hello! A very long introduction follows...
Hello, I will just go by my username or "L". I am bi, although mostly attracted to men, and I am pretty sure that I am polyamorous. I'd like to post here my (sort of long) introduction, even if no one reads through it, just to get it out. :p I feel like my backstory to my current situation is possibly relevant, but maybe not necessary, so I will mark the parts of this post with BACKSTORY and CURRENT SITUATION.

Like many people, my introduction to poly came from Stranger in a Strange Land. I read it when I was 13, and the idea of having that kind of family seemed great to me. But I kind of dismissed this as "just a story" and not how real people live their lives.

I married my first and only at that time boyfriend when I was 21. In the several months leading up to our wedding I began to feel more and more strongly 2 things: 1) that I didn't want to stay in the relationship, and 2) that I wanted to have romantic relationships with other people. However, as I was pretty young and naive, and bought into the idea that if you are with the "right" person you only want one person, it was difficult for me to separate these two feelings. I managed to tell my then fiance a month before our wedding that I wanted to sleep with other people and that I was pretty sure that I could not promise him fidelity.

He was surprisingly (to me) ok with it, but I think that is because there was no one specific. He said that if I found I was attracted to someone we would work out what to do. I now understand that we did not think that "work out what to do" means the same thing.

Approximately one year after we were married, I had to go overseas to France for the summer for my job. Almost immediately, I met a man who I was incredibly attracted to and who was also very attracted to me. The physical separation also helped me see that my relationship with my then husband was not a good one, and that I did not want to stay in the marriage. Within 2 weeks of arriving in France, I told my then husband that I wanted a divorce. We decided to wait to take action until I returned to the USA. Again, I was not able at the time to disentangle my desire to end my marriage and my desire to start a relationship with the man I was attracted to ("R").

I began a relationship with R, returned to the USA, my ex husband and I divorced…by this time I was only 22 years old and this had been my first and only relationship, so looking back it is not surprising that I made many mistakes. I went straight from this marriage into a long-distance relationship with R, who still lived in France. We didn't talk about what kind of relationship this was. I assumed that we were not exclusive since we had not decided to be, he had a different assumption, but it was sort of a moot point since neither of us was attracted to anyone else at the time. And it was an LDR for only a short time, as 9 months later I moved back to France permanently.

R and I moved in together at that point, and lived together for 3 years before getting married. At no time did we discuss what kind of relationship it was, we both made the assumption of exclusivity, and since I guess neither of us was attracted to anyone else, the point didn't come up.

In 2011 R and I got married. Several months after this, even though there was still no one else I was attracted to, I found myself doing a lot of soul searching, and I realized that I was bisexual, and that I am philosophically opposed to forced monogamy. I started to really want to have a relationship with another woman at some point. R and I discussed a little bit the issue of fidelity. I told him that I could not be 100% sure how I would react if he dated someone else, since I have not been put in that position, but that I did not feel I had any right to object to such a situation. He said that he felt the same way, that he recognizes me as an autonomous person and did not feel he has a right to tell me how to behave, including dictating what my relationships with other people are. I felt better after we had that discussion.

About half a year later, I told him that I wanted to actively try and date other people. At this point, he said that he was ok with other women, but that he didn't feel comfortable with other men. Since I mostly wanted to explore relationships with women, I was ok with this. So I joined an online dating site. That didn't go anywhere, because I think that online dating is not for me. I realized that I would rather deepen the relationships with the people I already have in my life, in some cases taking them from friendships only to romantic relationships, where possible.

At that point I realized that I had developed a strong attraction to a mutual male friend of ours, "T". I told R that I wanted the possibility to have relationships with other men, without specifically mentioning T. He was not really comfortable with it, but promised me he'd think about it. After several days he said that indeed, he had thought about it and he still isn't ok with it.

That's the point we are still at, many months later. He is ok with (although not enthusiastic about) me pursuing romantic relationships with women, but not with men. And it appears that he is either hard-wired for monogamy, or conditioned such that he does not himself feel any desire for external romantic relationships. I've done a lot more reading about polyamory in the meantime, to try and better discuss this with him, but he does not show any initiative in trying to understand my viewpoint, and even when I try to gently push he is reluctant to read the material I send his way.

We had a long discussion a couple of nights ago, and by the end I was crying. He doesn't want me to have relationships with other men because of fear of being replaced. I am shocked and hurt that he could think that I consider him replaceable. For him "replaceable" means that I could also find someone else to marry and have children with…so in this definition, I am also replaceable to him (which he confirmed). He said that he has made a commitment to me, and that for him this means not sleeping with other people of the same sex, so as to limit the risk that he will want to replace me, and that he expects the same from me. For me this is totally bizarre…for me, commitment means that you are saying that you will make this person a priority in your life. And by marrying him, for me this is a statement that he is the person that I want to live with and have children with. But in my mind it does not necessarily have anything to do with sexual or emotional fidelity.

I don't think it helps any that I came into this marriage as a result of leaving my ex husband, but I am now more mature and can fully realize that I did not leave my ex husband for R. I left because that was a bad relationship. The fact that R was there just made it easier to do something I would have done anyway. I explained this to R but I am not sure he believes that.

I feel really sad, first of all because for me, our love is unique and not replaceable, but that for him this is not the case. And I feel frustrated because to him, limiting relationships with other people is a way to minimize the risk that we break our commitment to each other, whereas for me it basically spells out that this relationship cannot be permanent. I know that at some point, I will need to be free to explore relationships, including sexual ones, with other people. So we are either going to have to be in a poly relationship, or I will be a serial monogamist, the thought of which is painful, because it would mean not being with R at some point, and it's just really not what I want.

On top of this, my attraction to T is growing all the time, and as I spend more time with him I think I am falling in love. He also seems to be attracted to me. It hurts badly to not be able to pursue a deeper relationship with him.

I don't really know what to do, other than to give R time and hope that he comes around. I am not sure I could ever leave him, I love him so much and in all other respects our relationship is fantastic and strong.


Sorry for the very long post, I don't really have anyone I can talk to about this, so again, i just wanted to get it all out there. Thanks to anyone who manages to get through reading! :o

kdt26417 04-05-2013 05:13 AM

Hi L,
Welcome to our forum.

If you aren't able to leave R, then you're pretty much at the mercy of his mindset, whether it ever changes or not. I guess you can hold onto polyamory as an ideal you wish you could practice, but have to turn it away because of R's mindset.

It seems unlikely to me that R's mindset will change. If anything it may tighten up: He may decide he's not okay with you being with women either. In any case I don't see you having an opportunity to pursue a relationship with T.

Sometimes people change, but it can take a long time if it ever happens. Maybe in 10 or 20 years R will have some kind of personal epiphany and decide to give polyamory some more consideration. Like you said, right now he is resisting your attempts to give him poly material to read.

I am sympathetic for your situation, and if it helps to have a forum for venting, this is a good place to go. You might want to start a thread on our Life stories and blogs board.

If you are looking for advice on what to do about R, that's a different story, but I'll try not to venture into that territory unless I'm sure you'd want that. Right now I think that you already know what you have to do, and you just need a place to express what you hope for.

I hope Polyamory.com helps.
Kevin T.

Lasochka 04-05-2013 12:55 PM

Hi Kevin, you're right, I more just needed a place to get this out. It's not something I can currently talk to friends and family about….I hope to be out one day, but now's not the time for me.

My husband can see that I'm unhappy about the situation, and we talked a bit more about it last night. I don't want to be bringing it up constantly, but at the same time he can see how it weighs on my mind. He did say that for him this is not a hard limit…it's something we can negotiate with each other. So I have hope that he can be convinced.

Thanks for reading and for your support! :)

FullofLove1052 04-05-2013 01:09 PM

I hope you and your husband can reach an agreement. Aside from that, check out the various forums and threads. Ask questions if you need to. Sometimes you just need to get those thoughts out. One thing that is working for me is to focus on what I have right now instead of what I want or feel that I need to be happy. What I have is more than enough to be happy. What you want to avoid is pushing him too far and then him not being alright with either. I have been where you are in the sense that my DH let it be known in the beginning that if my choice was two men, he was out right then. That was not what I wanted, but if it had been...we all know how that would have ended.

What makes your husband so uncomfortable with the idea? Other than feeling like you might replace him. (I see how he might feel like that due to the situation with your ex-husband. He now has that fear that things may get bad enough in your marriage so you might decide to leave him. Grass is greener on the other side type of thoughts. Just another perspective.)

Keep talking and reassuring him. :)


elle 04-05-2013 08:27 PM

I understand where you are coming from!!

I am struggling with a similar thing right now.

Hugs, I think the tough part (well for me, anyway) is being direct with my partner on my views and how they could affect us and then dealing with a love interest at the same time.

Also difficult is while I think I can imagine what it would be like if my partner wanted to take a lover (I don't always see that word used here, but that's what I think of it as) the fact of the matter is my husband probably would not. I am his 'everything.' Which is sweet and also slightly infuriating as I feel like he should probably take charge of his own happiness instead of thinking that I do that for him.

Like you, I've always probably been of a poly bent, although I never really had a name for it.

kdt26417 04-05-2013 08:34 PM

Hi L,

Sounds like there's some hope R may soften his position eventually. That's good to hear. Just be patient (and make sure he means "yes" if he says "yes").

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