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-   -   Limerence toward my wife's sister (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4550)

JohnGalt 12-28-2010 03:17 PM

Limerence toward my wife's sister
First, let me thank the forum community for all the great discussion here. I've learned so much, and have so much more to learn.

Now on to my issue... a little background first:

My wife and I have been married for 10 years, and dated almost 2 years before this. We've had our rough patches, but overall I feel our relationship is very strong. We've been through a lot together, helped each other through major life events. However, with a few of these hard times, she and I both admitted to nearly giving up.

My wife is rather close-minded. Loving and caring beyond description, but not a very reasonable person. We were both raised very strict Christian (e.g. drinking alcohol is a sin, church music is vocal only... very strict), and while we've both "lost" our faith (I prefer "deconverted") she is having a tough time giving up the arbitrary moral "values" of the doctrine. (E.g. she continues to believe homosexuality is "gross" and immoral, despite my constant attempts to reason with her.)

I, on the other hand, am her opposite in most ways. I can barely read my own handwriting, and can't even draw in stick figures. What I lack in artistic ability I make up for in analytical ability. I'm very independent - she's "needy." She loves/trusts easily; I've been hurt too many times and have learned to love/trust few people.

Anyhow, I've been interested in the concept of polyamory for several years now, and have brought it up a couple times with my wife. She at one point suggested we see other people, but it was obvious she didn't mean it. I made it clear I didn't think she was ready for that and it hasn't been discussed since then.

Despite being very close growing up, my wife and her sister grew apart when my wife and I got married. Over the past few years we've both been spending much more time with her sister. We've developed a strong familial relationship, and I've come to see her as the sister I never had. She's one of the few people I've let in that didn't hurt me. She was one of the few who accepts me for me, rather than what is expected of me. I'm far closer with her than any of my 9 brothers, and even my parents.

Then about two years ago I found myself wanting a deeper relationship with her sister. I also found myself becoming sexually attracted to her. I don't know why exactly, so I just chalked it up to hormones or some other mysterious psychological and/or physiological anomoly. I had myself thoroughly convinced I was over it.

Then a couple weeks ago I found out she was interested in someone I know to be a real dirt bag. This guy has never had a job in his life, lives in his parents' garage, and does little more than smoke pot, drink himself stupid, and play video games. To top it off, he prides himself on taking "trophies." He sleeps with a girl, then takes her panties and hangs them from the rafters above his bed. (He takes them down when he plans on bringing a girl home, to hide his piggishness.)

Despite all the legitimate concerns I had for her future with this tool - broken heart, STDs, etc - the first and most overwhelming feeling I had was jealousy. (It may help you to know she hasn't dated since her last relationship ended badly about a year ago.) It was shocking to me that I felt so betrayed and heartbroken!

The good news is she and I are close enough I could talk to her about the scumbag and she seems to have gotten over her limerence for him. The bad news is there is nobody I know who trust enough to discuss my limerence for my wife's sister.

After talking to her about the scumbag, she told me she would steer clear of him. The feelings of jealousy lingered only for a few days. A week later, I find myself feeling those old feelings again. I feel the same kind of love and sexual attraction to her as I do my wife. Per my upbringing I feel ashamed, but my brain is asking, "what's wrong with loving two people?"

Then I remember reality. Nobody in my family would be accepting. My parents are still coping with finding out (7 years ago) that I'm an atheist. How would they handle this? What would my father-in-law think of me? Not to mention my wife. I would expect no less than it would break her heart and possibly end our relationship. Not to mention how her sister would react if I told her.

I guess what I'm getting at is I could use some advice. Should I be asking, "how do I pursue my feelings toward my wife's sister without jeopardizing my marriage (and my relationship with sister, the entire family, and the vast majority of my friends)?" Or, "how do I stop feeling this way?"

Sorry for the lengthy post. Thanks in advance for the responses.

Julie77 12-28-2010 04:14 PM


I use to live in Utah to where this train of thought was o.k. and acted on. I can see how hard this could be for you. It's a lot to think about and work out the best approach. :)

NeonKaos 12-28-2010 04:20 PM

I don't agree with the idea of first-degree relatives having an intimate/sexual relationship with the same person, but at the end of the day it's none of my business what people decide to do as long as it makes them happy and everyone involved is agreeable to it.

Personally I think you should let this one go because it would cause more harm than good. Especially since it seems as though you and your wife at worst have issues in your marriage that should be addressed before you decide to "go poly", and at best, have marginally discussed poly but not agreed to try it yet. It is a big enough challenge to "try" poly even when neither partner has someone else they are interested in, let alone when they "try" poly BECAUSE one of them is interested in someone else. Imagine how the problems might be compounded because you've decided you want a relationship with her SISTER of all people. This isn't a Mormon family or some cult where this kind of thing goes on all the time, and just because "other cultures" do this (sisters marrying/sharing the same man), that doesn't necessarily make it okay.

I'll probably get an ass-whopping for being "judgmental", but if other people disagree with me, let THEM say so. I'm telling you my own viewpoint on this sort of thing. There are probably other people here who will tell you that this sounds like a peachy-keen idea and that you should go for it.

MonoVCPHG 12-28-2010 04:29 PM

little bit blunt...sorry
Opening up your wife to the idea of poly sounds hard enough. Opening up the concept of poly to family members is also very hard more often than not. Add into it the somewhat;) incestuous aspect of two sisters sharing one man and you're looking at a vey tough challenge. Not only will your wife have to deal with you having sex with another woman, putting your penis in another vagina/your mouth on it, but she will have to deal with the image of it being her very own sister. For the sake of your wife's relationship with her sister, I would be very careful even broaching this.

Julie77 12-28-2010 05:15 PM

As long as you feel you have a good relationship with your wife I would be very careful with the sister. Read the posts here. Sometimes people think from the heart not from the head. I know I am famous for that. ;)

nycindie 12-28-2010 05:41 PM

We all have attractions to people that would be inappropriate for us to pursue, for various reasons. It seems to me this is one of those cases. You've acknowledged it to yourself, now let it go. It seems like a crush that can be very pleasant if you simply let it be -- and could become a good friendship -- but will only turn into a big mess if you try to have a sexual relationship with your sister-in-law. I think you're just excited about "going poly" and she is in close proximity. Cast your net wider AFTER you and your wife have some agreement on whether to pursue polyamory.

Fidelia 12-28-2010 07:50 PM

Hi John:

You don't know me and I don't know you, but I'm going to tell you what I would tell my dearest, closest friend if he came to me with this issue.

Telling your wife you have romantic and sexual feelings for her sister has the potential to DESTROY YOUR LIFE, HER LIFE, and HER SISTER'S. If you have children, the damage is geometrically increased. Don't do it. It would likely be a train-wreck of monumental, earth-shattering proportions.

I can certainly see how you might be attracted to your sister-in-law. She comes from the same gene pool as your wife, and thus likely shares at least some of the same qualities you find/found attractive in your wife. Especially if you and your wife have grown apart. HOWEVER, the relationship between sisters is a complicated mix of love and hate, compassion and competition. Even the most self-aware, enlightened women I know would struggle titanically to get a handle on this one, and from what you write your wife isn't anywhere near ready to wrap her head around it.

If you find that you just cannot get past this issue on your own, take a trusted friend (preferably one with limited contact with your wife) into your confidence and ask for help working through it. If you need to, get professional help (counselor, psychologist, etc.)

But if you open this can of worms with your wife, be prepared to discover it is really a thermonuclear bomb as it explodes in your face and dissolves your flesh.

Continue to explore and pursue a path toward polyamory if your heart and head lead you to do so. But don't set off this bomb.

SNeacail 12-28-2010 07:59 PM

Agree with the other posters. Siblings already have enough other issues to deal with. Sisters sharing the same man is just a receipt for disaster on a colossal level.

I understand where you wife is coming from. I also grew up in a very strict Christian background. This Christmas was hard, both my brother and I made the mistake of telling my mother some of our view on Christianity, Christians in general and the Bible. While I still identify as a Christian, my beliefs no longer follow mainstream teachings. It would have been so much easier to just let her continue believing that we shared her views, but her intolerance just sets me off. As my brother said, it is hard to be tolerant of the intolerant.

Fidelia 12-28-2010 08:18 PM

This is my cultural heritage, as well. And I have come to take great delight in smacking my "doctrinally enslaved" relatives upside the head with Scripture. Such as:

JESUS said: "the whole of the Law shall be this: Love the Lord with all thy heart, all the mind, and all thy strength, and love thy neighbor as thyself." That's all the law Christ left us with, because that's what he said: the whole of the law. I know I'm not qualified to add or take away anything from it. What makes you think you are? ( Or your pastor? or your church? or the entire collected group of theologians since the founding of the church?)

JohnGalt 12-29-2010 12:16 PM

Thank you all for confirming what my head was trying to tell my heart: it's not worth the risks.

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