Recent Lifestyle Change
Hello, I'm Ian Nairobi. I live in Michigan.
I've been married for over four years, and with my wife for over ten. It's been a good partnership, but not always an easy one. My wife respects and loves me, but has for years felt unsatisfied and discontented with our monogamous relationship. She is a very intuitive and emotional person with the ability to quickly build rapport with others, and she highly values the variety of interpersonal relationships that she forms. I have been more of a logical and black and white thinker in the past, with some pretty significant emotional barriers in place, though I've slowly opened up more over the past few years.
In the past, my wife and I have had some issues with infidelity. She has engaged in some intense emotional affairs, which nearly ended our marriage, but we worked through them. Over time, we have both painfully realized that we both have needs that our partner may not be well equipped to meet. Last summer she told me with difficulty that she does not feel capable of living a monogamous lifestyle. I was not happy, but I was also curious, and I began to do some research of my own on non-monogamous lifestyles. I also began to realize that our relationship carried many negative dynamics caused by her feelings of tremendous guilt and my own refusal to truly forgive past instances of poor judgment and to relate to her compassionately as a flawed human being like myself.
Recently, my wife met a man with whom she felt a strong emotional and physical connection. Instead of trying to pursue a secret relationship with him, she told me about it immediately and asked my permission to date him as a secondary partner (we have a small son and wish no disruption or alteration of our home life). I was concurrently touched with her gesture of trust and communication and distressed that she wanted to explore someone outside of me - I had many typical feelings of envy, insecurity, and anger. I was also slightly intrigued, however, as I have recently been more attuned to positive attention I had been receiving from women besides my wife.
I have spent much time considering the situation over the past several weeks, and rather quickly concluded that I choose to love my wife for the real person that she is, without trying to strip away the part that so strongly desires new connections and experiences. I have let her know that I accept her pursuit of this other relationship and that, in my eyes, she is not a guilty or unworthy person for wanting it. Since I have made this conscious decision, our communication has increased substantially and some longstanding negative emotions in our relationship have already lessened considerably. I have also experienced a strengthening of several other relationships with friends, and find that I am less guarded in general.
At the same time, the transition has had some difficult periods. It has sparked some serious introspection and self-development on my part, which has caused me to acknowledge some painful truths about myself. I am struggling to learn not to be ruled by jealousy and insecurities - but I find that the open communication helps with this much more than I had anticipated.
Currently, my wife is pursuing a relationship with this one man, whom she wants to see at 2 or 3 week intervals. I have been surprised to find myself in a situation with one woman who is interested in the prospect of dating me in the same occasional fashion, and another woman with whom I have discovered some unexpected mutual chemistry that we are not sure where it will lead. And I am still completely committed to my wife, and everyone knows and appreciates that.
This is my novella of an introduction. I'm pleased to meet you all.
Welcome to the forum. It's a whole new world out there. I look forward to watching you explore it.
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