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-   -   Help... Am I nuts??? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4837)

midwestmama 01-08-2011 10:33 PM

Help... Am I nuts???
I've been reading on here for awhile but until today I haven't been able to register. So... Here is my built-up, pent-in confusion.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We met when I was married to my first husband and became friends. Nothing more. My husband died and I started dating this husband a year later. About 3 years ago we began swinging and for the most part it has been a positive experience. Most of our friends are also swingers. We feel very comfortable in the lifestyle, though we don't swing often.

2 years ago we met a couple in person that I had been friends with the wife online for awhile through a swinging site. We met up with them @ multiple events, without playing. After a year my husband and that wife had sex together. No problem. (We all agreed in advance). I spoke with the wife and husband often. I am very social, my husband barely speaks to me... He does not communicate with others. He's an engineer if that explains him. :) In Feb of last year I realized I had feelings for the husband. However, I told myself I was silly, I couldn't have feelings for him. We continued to talk often. His wife is poly and my husband said he'd NEVER be ok if I was poly. Oh shit.

Well, I'm here on a poly site, so you can predict where this is going. in July the other husband and I both admitted we love each other. Both of our spouses know too. Mine said I could no longer speak to him. So I stopped. Then he said he could tell how hard it was on me, and if I kept him in the loop, he'd deal. Several times after that, he'd struggle with it. We spent the weekend @ the other couples house, just to be friendly, no sex. My husband tried hard to control things, like how much & often I could talk to him, what we could talk about, etc... (He lives several hours away so seeing him wasn't an option anyways). My husband would take my phone and read it when I set it down without asking. He changed the settings to record conversations I had with the other man without telling me. Etc... I finally said in a long letter to him basically, this man is my boyfriend and I love him. But I can't handle it if means that you treat me like I'm less of a person because of it. Either your ok with it, or you're not. But I can't go back and forth like this. BUT... If you say I can be with him you can't take it back again. It will hurt too much.

He thought about it for hours. He decided that it made me happier than it bothered him. Over the next few weeks things were going so well. He said things were getting better for him. I finally relaxed, let go, and freely fell deeper in love with the other husband.

A few weeks later... Out of the blue my husband starts sobbing, said this was killing him, and I could never talk to the other man again if I wanted to stay married. That was a month ago. I cut things off immediately with the other man.

I still miss him and want to talk to him so much. I'm bitter and distrustful of my husband. He had told me many times over that he'd never say I couldn't be friends to that man, even when he'd say we couldn't have sex.

My husband has not softened this stance. I am not begging him to, I have self respect. However, I've tried to talk with him about how I feel like I am pretending now to be someone I am not. He said I can be poly, just not ACT on it. ???

I had never heard of poly before this relationship, but it explains a lot to me about my past.

So... That was long and drawn out but I want to include everything that may be relevant.

We have other friends that are poly and they have a friend who is a therapist. He said he would be open minded about poly so we are going to go to him probably. But I am terrified he'll just say that I was cheating and how to heal from it.

Where do I go from here? How do I un-poly myself or transform him? (By the way, he has said before about how he thought this friend of ours could be his girlfriend...)

Thanks in advance. I apologize for any typos. I only can type from my phone.

redpepper 01-09-2011 12:48 AM

your husband is acting out of the mindset that comes with swinging... DON'T FALL IN LOVE DAMN IT! BAD BAD BAD! swinging is very monogamy based.. There is a lot of control of emotions and while there are no sexual boundaries. There is a lot of emotional, ownership, and control boundaries... poly is much different.

Swinging is awesome if you want to have a loving couple relationship and have lots of fun times having sex with others. It really works for some people and is a huge benefit to the "couple" relationship... some people just are not able to control themselves emotionally after a time and, tadum... fall in love, start caring for someone and start wanting more than just sex. This seems to be where you are, yet your husband is not.

The transformation between mono and poly is a huge one. It's a 180 degree change of view on how relationships are conducted and some people just can't make that change or refuse to. That is just who they are and their right. The thing is that the person needing the change is often left hanging and in limbo for ages and ages until a change happens or the relationship ends. How long that lasts is up to you... if you leave it, you could end up depressed, angry, bitter and resentful... without love for anyone, anything or the desire to love. Someone controlling you will do that in my belief.

You could leave and find like minded people to befriend and date, and leave your relationship behind. You could also keep at it and not let down for a moment that you are ready to do what it takes to ensure he doesn't feel threatened by other loves, that he has enough time with you and to prove that this is really going to be a more heightened connection, bond, loving and fulfilled relationship if you and he do what it takes to stay together... Really, you can't deny that this will be make or break time sooner or later... if not because of this man, then someone else.

Has he read here? Maybe that would be a start. Maybe seeking out a local poly group to go to... maybe the therapist will help... whatever works to move the two of you forward... even if you stick to the agreement that you don't talk to this other man, but work on your relationship instead... all is negotiable and will work if he is open to it and ready... the big thing is that love is timeless. There is lots of time and no rush. When the time is right and everyone is ready, then someone new in a relationship dynamic becomes a blessing and a gift. Preparing is the only way to get there...

Magdlyn 01-09-2011 04:11 PM

Swinging is playing with fire. I don't get how people do it. Sex leads to bonding for me, love follows often...

I think biologically, and generally speaking, men are more able to separate sex from love. I think a lot of swingers deny fond feelings for their steady sex partners to keep their marriages intact. But what do you do when those feelings become too strong to deny??? Then you realize you're poly as well as, or instead of, a swinger. If only one partner falls in love, you get a big old mess.

I'm sure therapy will help. Don't be afraid to be accused of cheating, if your therapist is aware of alternative love styles, you should not feel judged.

GroundedSpirit 01-09-2011 04:16 PM

Hey Mama,

Pretty common story. Seems it's everyone's biggest fears. Having sex with someone CAN open channels between people that allow them to connect on a deeper level. It's why not many people go into swinging. But it's really a control tactic. It can happen (connections) outside that realm too. If it's going to happen - it does. Pointless to try to defend against it - better to prepare for it. Acknowledge the possibility in advance.

Which can start with a simple question for you both to answer..........

"What IS 'love' ? (to me and to you)"

"How can 'love' become a negative - a threat ?"

I think some interesting discussion will develop from trying to answer these questions. And at that point things may change dramatically.


midwestmama 01-09-2011 05:12 PM

Thanks for the thoughtful replies.

He has read through the site in the past, along with some others. After reading the monostruggles thread he got worse. :( When I come across relevant threads I send him a link to them.

Last night we looked at the 14 steps link in practicing poly but he says he feels like he did try and it didn't work. Basically, he's given up. He said No poly anything ever again a few weeks ago. I got him to admit things can change and to say no poly now. MAYBE someday. But I'm pretty sure that was just for my benefit and not true.

I said I feel sad because he doesn't love all of me. I know there are parts that you love people in spite of, but this feels more like a part he really hates and resents. He said he loves all of me, even this part. I said I'm confused because you'd leave me over a part of me you love. His response... I'm sorry its confusing to you.

I will ask him the questions posted in your replies.

As for swinging, I quite enjoy it. There have been people that we click with sexually and we repeat with whenever possible (2-3 times per year) and ones that we play with only once. Swinging is seen to us as a sex toy. We've played alone and together, had 2, 3, 4, and more somes.

The husband I'm in love with, we fell for each other before we were ever together. We have been together one time but were interupted very early into it and had to stop. We've never been together before or since in that way. So it wasn't that the sex led us to these feelings. But OH if I could have sex with him... Wow, I so wish.

We have stopped swinging at this time. I am bitter that its ok for me to have sex with people I don't care about but not people I DO care about. We, as a couple, aren't ready to be doing it right now. But my husband wants to go back to it. I enjoyed it, and wouldn't mind, but not sure I can handle it if I'm to deny any poly side of me. Just too risky.

And through this all I miss the other man. I've tried to erase him from my mind, but I just cannot. I've only told 3 men I love them. My late husband, my current husband, and him. It wasn't something that came easily. I fought it, knowing my husband wouldn't accept it well.

One thing my husband has mentioned before was that HE should be doing the things I say the other does for me, make me laugh and smile etc... As if only one person on earth is to do those things for me. There are certain sexual things/positions that aren't my cup of tea. I delight in finding a swinger friend that will do those with him for me so that he's getting a want filled and I didn't have to do it. I'm happy that he is happy. I so wish I could get the same in return.

Thanks so much for being here!

Joyce 01-09-2011 06:31 PM

Dear Midwestmama,

Wow, it is amazing how likewise our stories are. And also very different, of course.

An introduction to my dynamic life:
This week my husband asked me to choose between himself and J. (my second relationship for almost 5 months). Because he couldn't take it anymore. What I totally understand because we were losing each other.

The feeling I felt when I saw the letter he gave me was a feeling of being not understood in the idea of true love for more then one person. The choice is valid from a monogamous point of view. From a poly point of view, there is no choice. The one example that comes the closest to the loving-more-than-one-person for someone who is mono is to choose between two parents. That is not possible in the heart. Of course, it is possible in a practical way... But I don't think that would makes us happy, in the end.

I told my husband that I couldn't make that choice. The hard part is that my husband is my primary relationship. So, it is not completely fair that there is no choice. There should be a choice.
But it would be denying myself, and I can't do that.
And another important thing is that J. and I promised to never let our primary partners have the power to end our relationship. It only stops if J. and I want it to stop. J. and I needed that promise to feel safe, trusting and secure in our relationship.

At the moment my husband and I are looking for options that work for us all. In the meantime I'm not seeing J. because I want to focus on my husband. I think that is a wise decision for now.

I don't think you cheated. You believed, and wanted to believe, that it was ok. to Love the other husband. And being in love usually doesn't help to see things in a realistic way. Maybe I do understand the way you feel right now. Something like: That in the first place it was ok., and now it isn't, that is confusing, and maybe sometimes it even feels dishonest. But it still is reality for you that you also love the other husband. You can't put all that wonderful feelings back where they came from? Can you? Well.. I can't.. in my situation.
And your husband really believed he could give you that, and now it turns out he can not.. :( Wow, that is hard for him too..

Double trouble is appropriate.. I guess.

Good luck. I hope there is a solution that will make all of you happy.
Thanks for sharing your story. It helped me a lot, reading your story. I do hope you can find some understanding, because I honestly don't think you are nuts... :rolleyes:

I'm not sure if the things I wrote are clear, I'm still improving my English, so.. You can always ask me to try and write things in a different way.

Maybe, we can find some support in sharing thoughts with each other. :)


redpepper 01-09-2011 06:34 PM

I wonder if he sees the fact that you are not into swinging right now as an ultimatum... no love allowed for the other man? No swinging... that kind of thing. Not that that is what you are saying, but I wonder if its how he sees it.

Give this some more time... it sounds like not only you are confused, but he is also. It's hard to get your head around the difference between swinging and poly for some people. Swinging is totally monogamy, hetro based... it isn't surprising that there is a struggle to understand that love is infinite sometimes and uncontrollable. Once that feeling seeps in, its hard to change it and go back. It is possible, but not unless you really want it. It sounds like you don't want so much of the casual thing any more... because there has been a change in you.

midwestmama 01-10-2011 05:30 PM

Joyce, our situations do have a lot of similarities huh? I don't have people giving me trouble about it because we didn't tell anyone except my sister-in-law and it turns out she has a boyfriend... But she is cheating, her husband has no idea. Her & her husband are so happy that it irritates me that she is happy when cheating. I'm honest and upfront about things and I don't get to experience it. However, I couldn't live with myself if I was cheating.

I showed my husband this thread. He has agreed to see if we can find a way. He isn't saying it will work, but he'll try. He told me to send him any links etc... To help him. I had bought "The Ethical Slut" on recommendation of a poly friend but he didn't like it. I have been reading the book thread here and saw several monos saw it as threatening. Ooops! :) So, back to the drawing board but this is better than before.

He says I'm pushing him now. He doesn't like being pushed. I AM pushing, I don't deny it. But before I started pushing it was no way, won't try, don't want to, never.

We're still working on us. We'll still see the therapist. And I'm still not talking to the husband. He was friends with my husband before this, so I'm hoping somehow they can talk to each other again. My husband still likes the other guy, he has been respectful and done nothing wrong. Its the concept that he's struggling with.

Joyce 01-10-2011 06:02 PM

The book opening up is maybe a better option.
There also exists a dutch book: Love unlimited - Leonie Linssen
It is a book with +- 10 practical examples.
I'm not sure the english version is already available. It should be available since 2010. I think it is a really helpful and understanding book for sorting out al different kinds of problem. They also have a case about swingers.

Thanks for the post.

For the coming weeks I need to focus on study so I wish you good luck.


redpepper 01-10-2011 06:21 PM

Joyce, could you add your book to book reccomendstions? Sounds like a good book. Thanks.

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