Feeling like being poly is just selfish
Hi folks. I posted a few weeks ago about my husband having trouble accepting a new poly relationship I am currently involved in. We are still struggling with this, it has been 3 1/2 months of lots of conversations, snuggling, tears, and heartache.
I am feeling disheartened about poly in general. I am feeling very selfish for being poly in the first place, and for wanting other loves in my life when it is causing him so much angst. He is an amazing man, I have loved him dearly for over 17 years, we have three beautiful children together, and he has given of himself over and over so that I could pursue my dream job of being a midwife. I absolutely hate that my wish for a poly life is hurting him. After many years of talking about poly and attempts at making it work, he may just be mono after all and we don't know what to do about this.
My other love is my best friend. He knows me like no other. He accepts me unconditionally, has loved me since we were very young (we met before high school and grew up in the same town). We have been exploring this relationship since we saw each other a few months ago at a dinner party, and we realized we were still in love from all those years ago. I cannot imagine being without him in my life.
I am just looking for some words of encouragement and maybe some support around being poly in the first place. We are all feeling at a loss about what to do right now.
Thank you all for being here.
Just being polyamorous is not being selfish. That's having the desire/capacity to love more than one at a time.
HOW you go about conducting yourselves inside you polyship configuration? If you are a hinge in a V turning a blind eye when you KNOW one of your V-arm loves is hurting? That's IS being selfish, because you are concerned more about your own well being than that of the others. I think you see this. So you are here struggling to make a choice you don't WANT to make but HAVE to.
If you have given it a good effort for a time? Done all the problem solving and all things are being done? You gave it a good try then. Did all you all could do.
Time to process results of the experiment? All players STILL not happy in polyship despite all the right things being done? Then this is not a polyship that flies well because one of the players is not thriving in a polyship configuration.
Maybe he is monoamorous and poly-friendly but THIS polyship is not doing it for him.
Maybe he's monoamorous and monogamous -- so NO polyship would ever do it for him.
Neither matters WHY -- what IS? Is that he hurts here. Alleviate the hurting. Time to land the polyship so this crew member can be free of this suffering. Land the ship.
Determine who goes where now that the polyship mission is over. You could make the call as the hinge to spare your loves having to make the call.
1) Break it up and stick with the marriage.
2) Break it up and stick with the BF.
3) Break it up and be alone.
4) Do nothing, just endure more of same. Til someone else other than you cracks and breaks it up. (<-- do not suggest this. It is not loving/kind behavior when you are already AWARE that your one of your loves is hurting to be turning a blind eye)
Sometimes polyshipping ethically is hard.
Could choose your hard.
I mean this kindly. Hinge role is not always easy. :o
But still... You see it. Don't ostrich. Could choose your hard. Make the call. In the name of love, you make the call.
Relationships are about compromise. If you're not happy but he is, that's not a compromise as is vis versa. 3 1/2 months is not really long. I have been in my first poly relationship for about 2 months and it is still very new to all of us.
It's going to take time to figure everyone out and if this relationship is viable. I know that you're feeling selfish but you also have to realize that you are never going to be mono. You are a poly person. You can act mono, but that's not who you really are.
I cannot promise you that this is all going to work out for you. I can't even promise that to myself and my own new poly relationship. What I do know is that im discovering something about myself I didn't know before and it takes awhile just to figure yourself out sometimes. You should not feel guilty that you are poly. You should not feel like taking care of yourself and your needs are selfish. Selfish would be not willing to communicate and compromise. Selfish would mean you wouldnt be here with these feeling and thoughts.
If your relationship does not work, it didn't fail because you were selfish. People change, circumstances in life change. It is no ones fault. Just do the best you can and try to stay positive.
I am sorry you are all hurting and that after 3.5 months nothing has changed.
I went back and read your initial thread. I understand feeling selfish. I am there right now, and the fallout is still happening. I am poly at heart and living mono by choice and working my bum off to save my marriage and family. My reasons for selfishness stem from various reasons. I, too, had the husband who just gave, gave, gave and kept accommodating for this reason or that reason so that I could be happy, be myself, and have everything I wanted. He ended up resenting me and stopped trusting me. I want to stop anyone from making the same mistakes I did.
Your situation is complex. You have the husband of 17 years, who was open to poly, but probably is truly mono. That is okay and perfectly fine. You saw a childhood friend/flame at a party three months ago, and it just swept you off your feet. It unlocked all those old feelings. It sounds like he is the one who got away. This guy has a wife in name only--as they have not been intimate in a year or however long--and children, who the wife does not want exposed to poly. Your relationship is like a secret affair. I think that was how you coined it. That is her right as their mother. You stated that you had your problems with that. Did you ever work those issues with that out?
I wonder how much the wife really knows since you and her have not talked. When you posted back in March, the four of you were not able to sit down and talk. The wife was not going for it, and I think your husband was not game with it either. This polyship is not working. Have you and the wife talked? Has your husband offered to renegotiate any of the boundaries? Have you sought a poly-friendly counsellor?
Your husband is still hurting. The boundaries are probably still up in the air. The wife said no intercourse. It is way too many dynamics working against each other. Namely two important people who are reluctant and have limits. Are those limits hard or soft? Who knows? Could you and your boyfriend go against what your husband and his wife say/want? Sure, but if you do, how much are you willing to lose to attain that goal?
I would strongly suggest taking a step back and giving it some breathing room. If you keep pushing, it will consume your entire world and create more pain than necessary. Tears, sadness, unhappiness, etc. do not belong in your lives day in and day out. What kind of existence is that? GalaGirl has excellent suggestions. None of which are easy, but living like this is not healthy for anyone involved. Your boyfriend can stay in your life. Is it really worth it when you only get to see him a couple of hours and cannot have the type of relationship you desire? You want dates, intimacy, and a real relationship, which is something he might not be able to give you right now. In the end, is it worth hurting people to get a fraction of what you want/need?
I cannot tell you how to feel, but I do know that feeling guilty about who you are or feeling selfish will weigh you down. I am walking that path, and you know in almost 18 years of being polyamorous, I am struggling to see any benefits in my life. You are who you are. If you cannot accept it, no one else will either. You have reached the first of many poly crossroads.
I wish you well, and I know it is hard. One way or the other, you will figure out what you need to do.
At some point you might stop and consider where you end and your partner begins. You might consider what actual control you have over his emotional state. You do not decide for anyone else on this planet their emotional state. No one on this planet decides your emotional state for you.
"Selfish" does not equal "bad". Selfish just means that you are looking out for yourself. I don't know where this necessity to sacrifice and put other people before ones self comes from but it is a world view that I find counterproductive at best.
I've long believed that our relationships with others are meant to teach us about ourselves. Certainly, even though there may be painful experiences, the opportunity for self-knowledge is a blessing. It doesn't matter if you have one love or many if you grow and learn from your relationships. If your husband can use the experiences of poly, or of being mono in a poly arrangement, as a tool to look inward then you have given him a gift. Neither mono nor poly can be called right or wrong. They just are options, one of which happens to be more accepted in society than the other, but it's up to us to make the most of it and not start on a pity party or beat ourselves up because a partner might be having difficulty. If you approach it all with love and compassion, you will both be fine.
Thank you for all of the support and insights. So, since my posting, my husband came to me and told me that after lots of thinking and soul searching he has decided that he can and will trust me and my OSO as we explore our feelings and desire for a relationship. I was floored. He originally asked to talk in such a way that I actually thought he was going to tell me he was leaving and couldnt handle it. I think what happened was that he finally realized that this situation was something he actually needed to accept in order to stay in our marriage. And he does want to stay, and for me to stay, and so he is doing what he needs to in order to remain a family.
We talked about his boundaries around feeling safe. He said that he would not hold us back from having a sexual relationship. And the amazing thing was, that after we had this conversation, he FELT SO MUCH BETTER!! He has been in a good mood, flirty, generous with the time I am spending with my OSO (texting and in person), and just in general seems more at peace. I asked him about this curious phenomenon (tongue in cheek here...) and all he can say is that he feels like a burden has been lifted and he no longer feels as threatened about the idea of my being in a relationship with another person.
Part of me is just grateful he has been able to move to this kind of emotional place. Part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't know what will happen once BF and I start sleeping together (He still needs to have that conversation with his spouse, and so we are waiting for everyone to be on board, which I realize may not happen at all in his mono world...).
I am still feeling very cautious about moving forward with my other love. I think the fact that we CANT just jump into bed together is a really good thing. Gives my hubby time to adjust to his new "permissiveness" and BF and I time to prepare for what being in an actual intimate relationship is all about. :)
Willow, still reeling from the knowledge that I may be able to have an "actual" poly relationship..... LOL
Great to hear about that progress. Sometimes people find they are able to change their minds about things unexpectedly.
This is awesome news! Congratulations to you and Bf and big kudos to your husband for getting outside of his own previous "limitations." It's always so encouraging and validating to hear stories like this. Thanks for updating us! :)
Congrats, congrats, congrats...
Honesty is hard, but it is true about truth and freedom...
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