hurting and confused about poly?
So I've read a little in the forums and I can see some similar stories. I've been married 5 years and last October I finally realized that I am bi. I fell in love with my best friend. It was a weird situation. My husband and I had been discussing my sexuality some months before...And he was frightened but trying to be supportive. At that time I just felt different and potentially attracted to other females. I felt whole having him accept me and all my confusing feelings and the immediate issues went away...
I didn't handle the situation well as I figured out my feelings for my best friend. I cheated on my husband once with her. He was kinda supportive before I cheated because I was telling him about my feelings for her, but in all honestly we just weren't ready for where this was taking us. Which is why I was too scard to say anything to him before I took bigger steps with her. I eventually told him and we tried to work through some of those issues. He continued to be supportive but we were still struggling with everything. Later we moved out of state for his job. I continued the emotional aspect of my relationship with my best friend with my husband's knowledge. This summer my husband met a woman who he developed an intense connection. I had previously told him if he met someone to let me know so we could figure this out together. He was too afraid to tell me and cheated on me for a few weeks before I found out. We had a big talk and decided that we wanted to try and be together while maintaining our outside relationships. We had virtually no idea what poly was at that point. Their relationship is a LDR for the most part. She is here for some holidays... Like now. We've decided to try to do this as two primary relationships. But I am struggling so much. I've bought books and read up on this stuff but I am still on this emotional roller coaster. I'm a first year teacher and beyond over-whelmed with that. My husband's job is equally demanding. I've been trying to work on my feelings and not dump them on him or look to him to fix me. I tend toward that. But that leaves me unsure what things I should be saying to him. I've met her and we get along. She is wonderful. Right now she is staying with us since she is only in the area temporarily. I felt good to open up my home to her but I have a hard time seeing them together. It is often very hard for me to see them cuddle. I get the theory of the poly thing but I'm not sure if I can live it. Also 2 days ago my husband and i had a big talk. I've been maintaining from the begenning that I want to try this but I'm not positive I can handle it. He is an emotional shut in and I have been working to get him to open up more and more. He told me that he has experienced a whole new level of love with her that he never knew existed. And that he loves her more. Though he still wants to be with me too and wants to see this work. I have been an emotional wreck since that conversation. I literally feel like he just told me he doesn't love me at all. I know that's not what he said but it absolutely freaks me out. I don't know what to do or how to work through this. I feel like we've all come a long way from where we were in the beginning but I'm not sure how to pick myself up from here. :(
Your husband is experiencing new relationship energy, or NRE. It was very cruel of him to tell you he loves this new woman more than he loves his wife of 5 years! Infatuation can be so overwhelming tho. He probably forgets how over the moon he was about you in the early months or years of your relationship. It's very important in poly to take care of your primary, be romantic, set plenty of quality time together, even when youre in NRE with a new partner.
My ex and I opened our marriage 10 years ago and I also experienced jealousy to see them cuddle, or tell me they were going out to the video store and not come back for 1 1/2 hours, things like that.
Now, I am with a woman who has been poly all her life. She is in NRE with a new guy but she still makes sure to make me feel special, to let me know I am her primary, and how much I mean to her, give me lots of sex, etc.
Besides this board, I find this website really helpful. It's by a counselor who specializes in polyamorous relationships.
Agreed with the NRE bit. He is well in it if he thinks it's okay to tell you he loves her more... not very kind and he needs to be told this I think. He should of used his inside voice and put things into perspective more. It's important to think of it all with realism and from a wholistic point of view. It's not okay to be a dreamer with pie in the sky notions that everyone will get it just because you are feeling it. I find this to be a selfish approach that is very indicative of people that don't communicate their emotions openly. They take them inwards and think they are the only ones feeling them. Often there is not a filter when they start talking about how they feel. The good news is that he is being honest, finally, after cheating. The even better news is that it is possible to begin learning how to express oneself without causing hurt for another. You and him can learn that together, be patient and forgiving, he is in love is all.... it all dies down eventually. Given time.
The thing with poly is that one doesn't get to treat the relationship dynamic the same way as in mono ones. In mono ones we can lawl around in that lovin feeling and those on the outside might be pissed off that we missed a lunch date, but they get over it quickly because the amount of depth we have with others is not as deep.
In poly we have to consider others. We need to consider the level of respect we have, the amount of empathy/compassion we have for our partner, we need to realize that each relationship holds different energy than the other and be on top of how to handle that and respect that, we need to make sure we keep our integrity in terms of being trustworthy (no cheating!) and sticking to what we agree to and the boundaries we create and we need to be open to communicate openly and honestly with kindness and consideration for others... more where the respect part comes in...
It's a hard balance and takes practice. It does work though. If he and you really want to make this new life style work then I suggest that you both get on these things and become pro active in your relationship, otherwise it could very well be likely that he is mono and has moved on in his heart.
There is a lot of info on here that can help with that. Do a tag search (start with "NRE" maybe), look at the stickies, if you can't find what interests you and resonates with you then ask any of us mods or PM people. We are all here because we like to help and need our own help... so make use of that.
I also am in agreement with Mag & Rp on the NRE/infatuation thing. If it weren't so scary you could sit back and enjoy how cute it is and have a good chuckle :)
Don't worry - it will pass - just like yours did.
But beyond that, I think I'd downplay the whole "love someone more than another" thing. Yea, it sounds scary. But I don't think it's exactly accurate ! Love "volume" (more or less than...) is kind of a shadow world. Not quite real in most cases. And what little of it that may be real is VERY situational and transient in my experience. It may change completely in an hour, month, day etc Dependant on the circumstances in your face.
And even more than that, I have a suspicion that the 'words' aren't necessarily conveying the true meaning he's trying to express. Because likely he doesn't understand it yet either. This is new territory for so many people. And even though we step into new territory, we bring our old tools & methods (including language) with us to try to navigate.
What he's experiencing is a NEW love, maybe a new TYPE of love and it's all like a new toy or new ice cream. It's WONDERFUL ! Overwhelming. Confusing. But it is definitely one thing. INTENSE :0 It always is. That intensity of course 'could' be described as 'more' - based on it's current level of intensity. No doubt it existed at that level in the beginning between you two also. But like fine wine, it mellows. It loses some of that intensity (temporarily) and mellows into something fine and dependable.
So let him open the new bottle. Let it blow him away. No harm done. It's not 'more' - only different, heady.
See if you can catch some of the head yourself and enjoy it while it lasts. The intensity will pass, even though the difference and specialness can remain. That's what it's all about. The only 'more' is melded into the big picture.
Hope no one minds that I took my time to reply. I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. So I've been re-reading the comments and other posts and working through my feelings.
The first thing that I want to mention is how much I appreciate everyone's responses and having a place like this to come and figure things out. I realized long before I visited that I needed a community to support me in this journey. My next step is to look for a group I can meet with physically. I live in an area where I imagine I could find what I'm looking for...
I'm very concerned about privacy however. I've mentioned that I am a teacher. My lifestyle decision could definitely cause me to lose my job if it were known. This is also true for my husband. That is the other reason I haven't written. I'm struggling with what I feel comfortable saying. I know I would feel more liberated by opening up a bit more. our situation is unique. lol! Like all of these situations, and I know I would feel a release of some of this pressure. Plus if there is anyone out there reading this who is in a situation like mine they would feel less alone...
I've almost convinced myself to open up :) At any rate I read a few things in different posts that really resonated with me. All 3 of you guys mentioned the NRE thing which I get cognitively but felt completely blindsided by even though I could have defined it and identified it as well. I'm laughing at myself a bit right now. It's the difference between knowing about something and experiencing it. That - "oh so that's what they meant." feeling. That's been my experience as a first year teacher as well. the first year is supposed to be hell. You are completely overwhelmed figuring it all out... You think "I knew it would be bad but I didn't think it would feel like this..." And then eventually without realizing it things start getting better because you adjust and become stronger.
I'm getting that same lesson with my first steps in this poly thing too. Sometimes it's not so bad and what my husband has with N doesn't threaten me. I can sit back and be happy for them. Not always by any means. And to be fair some of the pressure has lessened since she had to leave. So I hope I'm getting stronger and not just postponing the next round...
But her being gone adds a new dynamic. I get to watch my husband ache for her while she isn't here. There will be weeks at a time where they won't be able to communicate at all because of her job. There is no certainty about when she will be able to visit again. So I fully expect this whole NRE thing to last forever and for us to cycle through it every time they get together. My husband and I went through this ourselves for years during our relationship because we also had frequent separations due to his profession. Getting together is sweet and like falling in love for the first time. Again. I just hope that I get more comfortable with it.
I think my issue is not them but me. Once I am more secure with myself and my relationship with my husband I won't feel threatened by the two of them. Right now I struggle not to compare everything they have with what he and I have. Literally she is everything I'm not. And her interests line up with my husbands.
For example they like to hunt. I was traumatized by my one experience hunting... they are in the same profession. My husband has never been able to fully relate to me about his job. There's a lot of it I don't understand- the nuances/ his frustrations at work... I get some things. We have been together awhile. They are both into MMA. I don't mind watching but I'm not a fighter. period. They smoke the same brand of cigarettes. I don't smoke. Dummy me I tried. I felt like I ate fire. Bad idea. She's a tomboy. She wears Mostly t-shirts and jeans. He likes to wear her shirts when she's gone. And her hats. They are both rebellious and had/have difficult relationships with their mothers. They laugh because their mothers are very similar. And their fathers... I was your stereotypical good girl growing up and I still am in many ways. They are both more experienced in the typical follies of youth. Sex, alcohol, etc... My husband was my first boyfriend and my first love... My first everything. They both love animals and have a way with them. I don't have that desire to connect with animals in the same way. We own 3 ferrets and I would honestly have to say that N and my husband have bonded with the ferrets. I care for them and clean their cage but I don't play with them the way they do. Or much to be honest. They both have a hard time opening up about their feelings. I love and need to talk about my feelings. A lot. I think that sums it up...
It's hard cuz it makes me wonder what my husband "V" and I have. Really everything that I felt was unique about us, all the things I treasured aren't unique at all once we stepped out of the mono thing. I placed a lot of value and derived a huge part of my identity out of my marriage and out of my role as the wife. I never planned to marry young but it happened. I recently graduated college. I was proud to be a young and happily married college student. I liked not being like the other kids. I had friends in my classes but I also had close relationships with my professors. I didn't do the dorm room wild party college thing. It took me awhile to develop an identity outside of my marriage. Pursuing my major helped with that but until recently I didn't realize how much of myself was still tied up in that ideal.
As for V and I, we don't have a lot in common, but our relationship works because of the way we relate to one another. He has always felt loved and appreciated by the fact that I am just here. And because I'm not like "those other wives" (his co-workers wives). I never get angry or blame him when he comes home late or when he has to go out of town on business. I know he can't leave until the job is done and that the travel thing is part of it. I've sacrificed a lot for us. But now with N he has someone who does the same thing and gets his job far more than I ever will. So what's so special about what I do? Also I get that he likes to use the computer to wind down by playing video games. So I give him lots of time to do that. Ridiculous amounts of time. This makes him feel loved. I watch TV with him to spend time with him. I rarely watch it on my own. We sometimes eat dinner together depending on our schedules. If I were getting my 8 hours I would actually be in bed before he gets home most nights.... He doesn't expect me to cook. he's happy with his favorite cereal. Sometimes I cook but I've never gotten into it. She likes to cook. He listens to me when I need to talk. This happens a lot. In our current phase of life we have less time for this sort of thing. It has nothing to do with N. Schedule incompatibility. he's given me a lot of freedom to discover myself. That's how we started down this road with me discovering another side to my sexuality. Also he made sacrifices so I could pursue my career. That's what we have. And our roughly 7 years together.
So what I have a hard time wrapping my mind around, particularly when I see how great they are together, and how much they share... is what exactly do we have that he couldn't have with her plus some more? We have time, a history together, and a pretty good rhythm. But we also have the issues of a more mature relationship. Managing the finances, communicating, finding time together as we pursue our careers, and now we have this new poly thing that we are navigating though.
I try to tell myself that if we both enjoy being together then that is enough reason in and of itself to establish a relationship. But it's hard to feel 100% secure in the face of all these changes. I do see this as a positive time of growth for me. When I'm not so freaked out that I'm crying and have so much anxiety that I can't sleep... My identity is changing. And my picture of what our relationship should be. I see many benefits to that but it's so scary as I figure out who I am and what we are. It's hard not to fear she is the better more compatible version of me (the wife). it's hard not to fear being replaced.
All of this made it hard while she was here because the only thing we knew for sure was the present. So I gave above and beyond what I might consider my boundaries were the circumstances different. I would have asked for more time for my husband and I to re-connect in between their time together. We played every day by ear adjusting for her schedule. It's possible they won't be able to see each other for another year.
they both see themselves together forever. He wants it to be all 3 of us living together. She doesn't know and is still figuring it all out. She loves him and doesn't want to see him hurt. She knows I've been struggling with this and that V and I have some things to figure out about us. She is here sort of doing this because she is so in love with him but she doesn't know if she is ok with the poly thing more long term. We get through her feelings slowly. Really she's gone through so much so fast.
I have told her several times that what she wants and feels is very important to me. If she's uncertain about all this then that is ok. If she ultimately decides that this isn't for her then that's ok too. So it's scary for me. She has shown a lot of care and respect for me and for my relationship with V. But what if she doesn't want this? What if she is waiting for V and I to move on from each other? What if she can only conceive of relationships in this manner? She is younger than I am and has a lot of stuff to figure out. I try to give her space and time too but I wish she could give me more answers.
What if he decides to leave me for her? I would never ask him to choose. To be honest I wouldn't want to know who he would choose. When I first learned about him and her it had only been 2 weeks and he didn't think he could let her go at that point. They have only learned to care for each other more deeply. I would feel guilty asking him to choose and seeing him ripped to pieces in the process. I've made peace with so much of this poly lifestyle that I used to think was beyond me. Like telling the family, and raising kids... I just trust that when we get there we will have the skills to navigate it and I have accepted myself and the lifestyle I want to live. But I want to be happy and at peace about who I am and what V and I have as well. I don't want to compare or feel threatened. I want answers. Aside from being afraid of being left behind I'm afraid that I won't be able to overcome my insecurities and will go crazy. I'll be miserable and I'll push V away to with the emotional roller coaster. he had a hard time seeing me hurting. And he feels helpless with me anymore cut I've looked to him to fix me yet nothing would console me because my fears were literally eating me alive from the inside out. I don't know what else to say at the moment. This is where I'm at- What i'm trying to figure out about my life at the moment. :)
Sounds like your husband is new to all of this, and a relationship newbie to boot. In my mind you can't love someone more than someone else, so him saying that is irrelevant. You can however be more compatible with others (have more interests, can talk more, etc), which is what he might mean. Theres a reason you stayed together for 5 years, if that reason is a positive one (ie not because you were in a rut or afraid of change) then you should be able to last even if he is more compatible with this other person.
Puppy love or NRE isn't real love, it's some kind of hormone/drug boost that clouds the rational mind. Ask the people that "fell in love" with absolute fools and only realized some time after how big of a mistake it was. Once the NRE clears is when you can determine how long a relationship will last. Some people become addicted to NRE (it's effectively a drug) so will always be seeking new people and discarding or spending less time with their others.
big sign on his forehead about moving in together that says, "I have NRE"... just so ya know. ;)
Give it time. All the questions you have will all be revealed. Your job is to look after you, smile, love him, pat his head and say, "ahhhh... dear." and make him his favorite food until she comes back... in the meantime, make sure that he plans some dates for the two of you, and uses some of that good ol' fashion NRE lovin on you! Why waste it! :D
You know it's not a bad thing to be different from your partner's other love(s). It just shows that he loves things about you that he can't get anywhere else just likes he loves things about her that he doesn't get anywhere else.
My husband's girlfriend and I are quite different creatures. In a lot of ways she's quite like him interest wise. They are both the more stay at home and do something quiet sort. I think it's awesome that he's found someone who genuinely shares those interests rather than me who's happy to play along (rpg's and the like) but could really take it or leave it.
Shared interests are really just a surface thing anyway. Personalities that are compatible don't always have a lot to do with shared interests. I'm pretty sure that after 5 years of marriage both of you just know that you get along (even if it doesn't make much sense on paper).
Why would he want to chose? If he can have you both and fulfil both aspects of who he is in those different relationships. Give it some time and the shiny newness of it all will wear off and then reality will set in. Relationships go through cycles, there will be times when he will crave your company and times where he will crave hers. It doesn't make either relationship better or worse, just different.
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