Hello Gang, Looking for Perspective and Support
Hello gang... well this is one group I never thought I'd find myself in, but here I am. Well, let's cut to the chase. I have a beautiful wife of almost 5 years whom I love with all my heart. We have 2 boys, 2yrs and 4yrs old. For the past couple of years, I was struggling with addiction recovery, grief for my father, being a new husband and a new parent. To say I did well through all of that would be a lie. I basically shut down emotionally for a really long time, abandoning my wife's emotional needs. I have recently begun to get back to being my "old self", enjoying life again, and opening up to my wife after all this time to discover she had basically written me off romantically, that I had wounded her deeply to the point she can't trust me with all of her heart, and doesn't know if she will ever be able to. She said she would have left 2 years ago if not for the kids.
The thought of divorce or separation had never once crossed my mind. I committed whole-heartedly to my relationship with my wife, and we began talking and communicating for the first time in ages. Through this, she tells me that for the past few months she has been getting her emotional/romantic (not sure of the right word) needs filled by an ex-boyfriend from before we met. It has been phone/text communication between them only, and they haven't yet met up in person as he lives 2 states away. I knew they were texting, and my wife said they were texting about "relationship problems" which I took to mean HIS relationship problems, so I didn't question it any further at the time.
My initial reaction was to demand that she stop communicating with this guy so that we could work on our marriage, to see if it could be saved. She refused. I work to support the family financially while she stays at home to care for the boys, so she has no source of income, and I do love her and my boys enough that I wouldn't just kick her out on the street.
She says she loves me and is still committed to our marriage and family, and doesn't want to leave. She says she isn't looking for a relationship with the guy, just basically a weekend here and there to "let go". She wants me to be ok with it, and gives me assurances that she loves me and is committed to our life together.
I reluctantly agreed to allow this without "blowing up" our world with family, church, and friends. I know both our families would be devastated to hear we were splitting up. I laid out the ground rules of she can see this guy, and this guy only, occasionally, and that it made me crazy insecure and anxious and nervous and she needed to understand that.
She agreed to see a marriage counselor with me, who is trying to convince her to break ties with other guy and focus only on our marriage. Let us say she has not yet been convinced. If I try to push her any harder to not see this guy, my gut feeling is that we will end up on the road to divorce, which is a worst-case scenario to me.
And to be honest, I'm trying to keep an open mind here. My biggest reasons for not wanting to do this are all of my own insecurities about it. Other Guy is better looking than me, a charmer, etc... things like how do I accept her love for me and her relationship (for lack of a better term) with him at the same time go through my head? How can I not think about my wife sleeping with this guy every time I touch her? Again, my own insecurities and issues, which I feel I might be able to overcome and work through, given time.
She has given me permission to see someone outside of the marriage as well, but as of now, I'm not interested. She thinks if she rushes to go ahead and meet this guy it will "help me to see" that it will work and everything will be ok, and she is planning on going this weekend while I watch the kids. Which honestly, just seems somehow fundamentally wrong to me.
But anyway, as to the open mind, I know other marriages exist out there that work on this type of arrangement, so here I am trying to find you to get your perspective, support, and input. I am trying not to immediately discount this possibility, and to explore if I can actually do this.
Additionally, since we have been so open an honest the last few weeks (the bomb was dropped on me around 3 weeks ago), I have to say I feel closer to my wife than I have in ages, possibly ever. We are talking again, SHE is talking to me again. Sex went from once every week or two to almost nightly. I mean, there have been days where this whole thing feels ok and I feel like our relationship is healing great, but then I waffle back into anxiety and nervousness about the upcoming weekend when the deed is going to be done.
Ok, sorry for the uber long post... and hello! Give me your input, stories,perspective, etc. Please point me to any newbie resources or stories of people who have been through this before. Would specifically like to hear from the mono in a mono-poly relationship.
Thanks in advance!
Welcome to our forum.
I don't know that there are any quick or easy answers, or anything that will make the upcoming weekend "okay." Usually polyamory is something you have to get used to a little at a time.
You should know that polyamory and open relationships (or anything involving at least three people) come in many shapes and sizes. There is a book you might consider reading: "Opening Up," by Tristan Taormino.
On this site, you might want to check out the Life stories and blogs board. It is all about ordinary people and the way poly works (or sometimes doesn't work) in their lives. The site also has search and tag search functions.
I hope you and your wife will take things slow and work things out in your own marriage. It sounds like there is a lot of fix-it work to do.
We'll help on this site however we can.
Welcome -- and keep talking to wife about your boundaries. For you -- note how you talk to yourself about yourself in your head. Comparing, talking down, etc. Work to become secure in yourself.
Read things together --
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/do...documents.html is a good starting point. Esp the pitfalls one and opening a monoship. Plan how to cope with jealously.
Labriola also does pitfalls here.
There's more at
Do you guys communicate well and have good interpersonal skills? How do you do conflict resolution? Perhaps the counselor can help you work on those. You may consider changing to a poly friendly counselor -- because if the counselor urging her to break it off with the other guy becomes an obstacle to good communication with wife and you both regaining marriage health then that's not good for the marriage.
Read things together and if/when pitfall moments hit, have the plan for how to navigate through them.
But before you even go there... if you do NOT want to be in polyship at all? This is what you arrive at after your soul searching? Don't. It's better to split up that to do something against your willingness.
I cannot tell if you are willing but nervous, or unwilling and feeling like "Ahhhh! What did I get myself into? It's too late!" like you are on a runaway train. How are you feeling?
Others have provided great info and opinions. I read the "Opening a Monoship" that GalaGirl provided (because it was one I hadn't seen before) and think that it would be useful to have your wife read.
I realize that her potential "other" is two states away, but meeting for sex at this point seems to be really, really rushing things. I think a shorter, non-sexual meeting might be more in line while you are struggling. Could they meet somewhere public 1/2 way between for a day together? Could you and she travel together and then have the three of you meet and then you go off an do some other activity for a few hours?
You might want to check out Phy's blog on this site where she talks about going to spend a weekend with her OSO for the first time...it might give you some ideas and talking points.
As to how I'm feeling, it's more acceptance of this is who my wife is, and I am willing but nervous/anxious. I feel like my nerves regarding the whole thing are just due to my own insecurities. And I feel like that there has never been a more perfect time to work through those insecurities and grow as a person who respects and loves himself, which I've always struggled with.
I feel like this is as close as I've ever been to my wife, if not the closest. Things between us in our marriage since this whole thing began have just been consistently improving and every day it gets better. So I continually find myself asking "how is that a bad thing?"
Thanks also to the other replies, for the links and resources, I am definitely checking them out now. I actually found one of the good articles about poly-amors (what is the correct term? still learning the lingo) and it described my wife to a tee. It made clear so much about her I didn't understand over the years. I asked if she had ever heard of polyamory and she said no, so I made her read the article and she agreed she had always been that way but society/culture made her feel like she shouldn't have those feelings, so she spent years trying to conform but it changed nothing. Kind of reminded me of someone who is homosexual but "tries not to be" for a long time, refusing to accept who they are.
Anyway, communication continues. Will post more when I get some time. Thanks for the warm welcome!
Also, where are the blogs? It is not apparent to me.
Ah, ok. Thanks for the clarify. You feel nervous but willing.
Take it slow -- esp with bringing sex into the mix. Hopefully wife isn't rushing into that. I know it's blunt -- but don't rush into "fuck first, think later" situations. Spend the time to get your sex boundaries in place. There the worksheets may help you talk to each other and navigate that transition time.
Many Welcomes to a fellow Dragon.
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