New at 'N' Configuration non-open (!?) Poly relationships
I am new to this forum but also really excited that such a community exists. As I have realised and experienced, polyamory is so diverse and people's experiences are so varied that I thought I would share my thoughts and situation in the hope that someone with more experience can give me some advice or at least some peace of mind on my situation. My story starts like this:
My Husband and I have been together monogamously for 12 years now, polyamorous for 6 months or so. The first 6 years, blissful, then we decided to have children, which no doubt will put a strain on any relationship, however this is when things did start to change. Our relationship took many dips and spikes, though we never decided it was worthwhile ending it. We persevered. Or more so, I was too scared to walk. We married two years ago.
I feel like I should also point out that I have had many people come into my life for whom I have felt attraction - even love whilst being in my relationship, but I never really felt that was weird and always just acknowledged the existence of this attraction without ever following through with anything.
After six months of marriage, I decided to stand up. It was Mothers Day and I was again forgotten. No card, no acknowledgement - he was lazy and made very little effort over the years to show me that he cared. I told him it was over. At this point he realised what he was standing to lose and made me a series of promises that waxed and waned over the following few months and we found ourselves in a similar position six months later, only this time, we agreed to try an open marriage as a way to find happiness together - or as a band-aid.
We both got online, fighting and working through jealousy, we both met people, had dates, had sex. It was fun. It even spiced up our sex life in a way that I never expected. Hubby discovered his dominant side with an extremely submissive partner and I generally had a hard time finding a Mr Right, realising that the sex-only scene really wasn't for me. I suggested building relationships, even love (to his shock), and eventually he came around (though I believe his relationship with his sub partner was getting a little more serious, simultaneously).
In January, I met Ben online. I was open about my relationship and what I was looking for, and he admitted that he's not sure about it all but was willing to go with the flow. When we met in person I liked him immediately. He is an artist, intelligent and handsome and our chemistry was like sparks between us. Since meeting him those 4 months ago, we have spoken nearly every day, by various mediums and have both opened up to each other intensely. I have fallen in love. And see, this is where it gets tricky.
As I am seeing my Ben, Hubby is seeing his Grace. I have met Grace once (she was drunk) for only a few minutes and Chris has never met Ben. I have a keen interest to break down barriers between all of us - to share our lives somewhat. I fantasise about living in a house together, sharing food, love, my own little commune. My Hubby doesn't. He insists on keeping everything very separate. Even asking me to 'unfriend' Ben from Facebook as he didn't want him seeing our life/photos/kids, etc. Grace is happy with the current situation, though she has expressed to Chris that she would like to see more of him. I have been bringing it up almost daily and feel like there is hope of getting us all together, at least for dinner.
While all of this is going on, I have felt very distant from Hubby - having read all about NRE, I know now that I was lost in that energy. Pushing hubby away and having fantasies of moving out with Ben and having an exciting new life and path. I know that these ideas are fantasy and I am trying my hardest not to get lost in it and to try and re-kindle what I have with Hubby.
Meanwhile, Ben is feeling strongly towards me, though unwilling to love me as he feels he's leaving himself too vulnerable. He says no one has ever made him so happy before - not being naturally polyamorous himself, he wants me all to himself, though completely respects that I'm married. The mistake I have made with Ben, is that I have shared with him all of the problems Hubby and I have/had and I believe this has not painted a nice picture of Hubby to him. He wants to see me more, feel less restricted, show me to his family and friends, but he feels that what we have is doomed to fail, so he holds back from those things.
I want to feature in Ben's life as much as I'd like to show him off in mine and I want Hubby to let down our walls. Am I mistaken to believe that breaking these barriers would make our difficulties easier? I know that was a lot to read but having three hinges in this equation does complicate things.
Any thoughts would be so greatly appreciated.
Whoa. Correct me if I am wrong, ok? That's a lot.
So if I understand it right the problems you have identified are:
You want to cohabitate.You have a lot going on there with a lot of people having different kinds of wants. You have some limitations you have to work with and then there's other wants that may/may not work together. There's also missing puzzle pieces.
I'd suggest taking it one thing at a time. Ask the people what the missing pieces are and then negotiate to solve it or let go of some of the wants at this time because they cannot happen.
One example of that is the cohabitating thing. Much too soon anyway -- only a few months in with Ben and Grace. AND you have kids and may not want them in coparenting roles. You and Hubby are the parents and hubby doesn't even want Ben to see them on FB. That one at least you can knock off your plate for now by letting go of that want at this time. I made it grey.
Is hubby pushing for more "separateness" because of the NRE drunk? I'd deal with the green one first -- repairing with hubby now that you see you were neglectful on that relationship in your polymath because of the NRE. That's a hurting one rather than a wanting one (ex: Grace happy, just wants more time). I wonder if "hubby separateness" and "hubby no ben facebook" fall under the umbrella of "building back with hubby" things or not. I indent them that way in case they are conditions you have to meet as part of "rekindle" -- ask him on those. Are they conditions he'd like you to meet or are they separate issues entirely to the rekindle?
Then deal with Ben feeling this is doomed. That's another hurting tier. Sort the hurts first.
OR... tell Grace you are willing to her her and hubby to have more time together. There. That's your part in that. Then leave it to them to sort out the rest of the way. It's his calendar. Then maybe you can grey that one off your plate too?
Hi Gala Girl,
Thankyou for taking so much time to reply. I know - I have quite a lot going on.
So, to answer your questions:
Cohabitation - as I said, it's a fantasy and certainly not something I'd rush into.
-Hubby not open to it - doesn't think he'll ever be
-Ben is conventional however openminded
-Grace is not interested
-Ben is openminded
-Grace is not so keen - would do if Hubby wanted it also
-I unfriended Ben. I respect Hubby's wishes but both Ben and I were sad to cut that off.
Grace wanting more time with Hubby
-I believe it would be easier if walls were dropped as we could both spend time with our partners at the same time and therefore allowing for more time together. Currently we see our lovers once a week.
-Ben keen for dinner
-Grace if Hubby would like her to come but otherwise not so keen
Rekindling with Hubby
-Hubby very happy that I'd like to work on us
-Ben likely feels disappointed somewhat that I'm not prepared to leave Hubby for him, though hasn't actually said this to me
-Grace is unaware that we have some work to do on our relationship - she accepts our marriage and appreciates her position as his secondary.
Ben seeing me more - coming out
-Ben still coming to terms with his position but slowly telling his friends and becoming open. He doesn't want to introduce me to his friends as feels that would create a shift and leave him vulnerable and hurt. He feels that his relationship with me is as enjoyable as it is painful!!:confused:
-Grace and Hubby have been seeing each other for over 6 months now and she and Hubby regularly catch up with her friends. They are quite open.
What does Ben need?
Ben doesn't know - either do I. I believe letting down these barriers would help at least as a process of elimination. All I know is that he's looking for a life partner and though that doesn't necessarily mean that needs to be mono, I'm just not sure that he feels good as a secondary partner.
-Hubby happy to give me more time with Ben but appreciates that we need to spend a little more time together to help strengthen our bond so at the moment, once a week is enough for him.
-Grace has all she needs in Hubby and has decided not to pursue other relationships at this time she would just like to see him a little more.
I don't believe Hubby is aware of the NRE. I have suggested he reads more about it though I did not really tell him that I was 'drunk' on it. We were already hanging by a thread and I didn't want to overcomplicate his thoughts by adding in that Ben (NRE) was the cause of our troubles.
Thanks for putting so much energy into my questions.
Just thought I'd follow up on this and add that Ben has decided to exit our relationship. And so, now I am lost and heartbroken. Hubby is amazing and is my shoulder to cry on but I'm not sure I can endure this again. Also not sure if I can be on the other end of the now 'v'.
Why does this have to be so hard?
You always were on the other end of the "V" that places hubby in the hinge position. That is not new.
I am sorry for your breaking up pain. :(
Do what you have to do for self care as your move through the grieving process for the loss of the romance. You will be ok. Hang in there.
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