Newbie and seriously need input
I am a lesbian, and have been in a monogamous relationship with my wife for 12 years now, married for 5 of those years. I was brought up in a Christian Right-Wing household, and had a very difficult time coming out of the closet in the first place, and finally at age 26, embraced that I was truly a lesbian. Now, twenty years later I find myself in an awkward and difficult circumstance where I have fallen in love with one of my friends. Which brings me here.... My wife has known that I have had feelings for my friend for quite a while now, and finally about two months ago confronted me about it. I told her yes that I loved this girl, but absolutely NOTHING is going on between myself and the other person, other than friendship and of course MY feelings for her. My wife is losing her mind that I love someone other than her, and can't accept the fact that I love two women because "You are supposed to love me and only me!" And now I am really confused about how to proceed with this....I love my wife, I love this other woman, I don't want to lose either one in my life, but I have no idea what to do without losing one of them in the process. I know its being selfish to want to 'have my cake and eat it too' so to speak....but I do honestly love them both, and don't want to lose either of them. My wife is absolutely NOT open to any type of poly relationship, and a very jealous and insecure person in general. I have tried to explain to her that my feelings for her haven't changed at all, but because this is so completely out of her comfort zone, and she deems it as being "not normal" I don't know what to do anymore, I don't know how to express myself to her without hurting her further, and honestly I HATE that it hurts her so much....I don't even know if I am being selfish in wanting to keep them both in my life, and I am even beginning to question exactly who the hell I am anymore......am I poly or am I just an asshole?
Has anyone ever felt like this? Or am I just some selfish jerk to think that it is even possible to salvage my current relationship and still be able to keep my friendship with the other woman in the whole deal?
Welcome to our forum.
Heh, you've come to the right place if you're wondering whether anyone else has ever been in love with more than one person. :) Yes, we definitely have, though that's not to say there's no monogamous members on this forum.
Let's start with the scenario where you sever your friendship with the other woman (the one that's not your wife), and cut all ties with that other woman. That would secure your relationship with your wife, or would it? Isn't she hurt and angry over the mere fact that you're in love with another woman, without you having laid a hand on that other woman? Will your wife ever get over that wounding? Then years from now, when you've lost all contact with the other woman, will your wife still be complaining at you for still being in love with the other woman, and will you be dying inside with a love for the other woman that you'll never be able to pursue? These are the types of things that can happen when one parter says, "You are *not allowed to fall in love with anyone else.* It's not like we have a magic wand that can wish all those unwanted romantic feelings away. And severing contact may slowly starve those feelings, but it may also make those feelings grow stronger and more urgent.
So are we sure that cutting off contact with that other woman will make your wife happy? I'm not sure. Only if it makes you "stop being in love with the other woman," from what I can tell.
Your next option is to divorce your wife, and take up pursuit of the other woman. Pretty straightforward outcome there: You'll lose your wife, but may gain the other woman. And the other woman may be more open to polyamorous ideas, which would be a bonus.
Also you could try to just maintain the status quo, keep the platonic relations with the other woman, and stay with your wife as long as she'll let you. Since your in-love feelings are making her so mad, maybe maintaining the friendship with the other woman wouldn't bother her as much as she might think. The two drawbacks are:
After that, you could begin to attempt negotiations with your wife for polyamory as an idea. There's a great book called "Opening Up" by Tristan Taormino, that might help, especially if the two of you could read it together and discuss your feelings about each part that you read. If your wife were willing to join (or at least explore) our site, that might help. Some people find Franklin Veaux's poly pages helpful in demystifying polyamory to the skeptical and uninitiated. Such as the FAQ page: http://www.morethantwo.com/polyamory.html
Another idea would be couple's counseling with a poly-friendly counselor, if you can find one in your area. Or barring all that, the two of you could simply sit down once a week or once a month and talk about how you are feeling about things, including poly. Sometimes just opening up the communication channels help, if you try to avoid assigning blame and put yourself in the other person's shoes.
Above all, try to make peace with the fact that if your wife chooses to leave you, that is her choice, right, and privelage. Don't try too hard to *make* her stay. Just remind her sometimes that you still really want to be with her (and that your interest in the other woman doesn't change that). You have control over your actions; you have to accept that others also have control over their actions. So try to stay focused on what you can do, rather than on what you *wish* your wife would do.
I am sympathetic that you find yourself caught up in this poignant dilemma. It reminds me of that old song,
Torn between two lovers,
Feeling like a fool;
Loving both of you,
It's breaking all the rules.
The message of hope in polyamory is you don't always have to choose. Sometimes you can have your (ahem) Kate and Edith too. :)
I hope your dreams come true, or at least that things come out better than you'd have even imagined.
Thank you so much for your input Kevin! I really appreciate all of your insight. I am just not sure what to do right now. My wife is not at all receptive to poly...she doesn't like to share....and I know, someday that might end up being the undoing of us. I have tried to explain to her that my feelings for the other woman do not change my feelings for her, and that I am capable of loving them both, obviously. I have also said that if she needed to leave because of it that I would understand. She has even gone as far as threaten to tell this person she wants her out of my life....and if that happened, I would probably be inclined to divorce her on the spot. I want them both in my life, and I am trying to juggle my friendship with the other woman, and trying to reassure my wife of my commitment to her....which is becoming a little exhausting at times. My wife seems to be especially needy now, and I am trying to work with her as much as humanly possible....
I have thought about counseling, she had also mentioned it, but I told her it had to be a poly therapist because I don't want someone who doesn't understand to sit there in judgement of me because I happen to love two women. Is there a website to help locate one?
I honestly don't think that cutting off contact with the other woman would change anything, my wife hangs on to hurt and resentment like its a part of her :( She is a wonderful person for the most part, but not really open to changes of any sort, and I know at some point it will become a problem for me because I am coming to grips with who I am (poly), and try to grow whenever the opportunity arises in most aspects of my life.
The only plus side in this whole mess is that the other woman is poly and open to open relationships. Which, in the long run could work great for me...but in the mean time, I just have to see what happens I suppose, and continue trying to communicate and get through to my wife that I love her and nothing has changed with my feelings for her.
I like that...mistaken dreamer....most likely ;)
If all three of those links fail to do the job, you might consider vetting some "run-of-the-mill" counselors to find out how open-minded they are. Sometimes a counselor who has not heard of polyamory is still willing to learn about it and give it a fair shake. I have found my own best poly-friendly counselors by that seemingly dubious method.
It seems to me that your life and relationships are in a state of transition right now, and it is unknown how it will all look after the dust settles. Divorce is not a happy thought but not all marriages are meant to be for life, so just preserve your marriage as best you can without compromising your principles. If you and your wife end up separating despite all your efforts, try to separate as amicably as possible.
Beyond that, I just sympathize with your post in general and think you're already doing "the right things" to the best of your ability given the situation. I hope your continued reassurances will gradually penetrate your wife's defenses. I can see that she fears change and feels very threatened right now. I feel for both of you (actually for all three of you including your friend).
Thank you so much for your wealth of knowledge Kevin.....Since this is all new to me, I am just feeling a little overwhelmed. I mean, I know I have loved many women at the same time, in the past, but I guess I just always thought it was "wrong" by societies standards....but as I get older what seems wrong by the masses, doesn't work much for me anymore....hopefully I am evolving a little and embracing the real me that I was afraid to acknowledge.
I was able to locate a therapist in my area, in the event that we need one, thanks for your helpful links! :o
Welcome! Sorry to hear you struggle though. :(
So... you are married and revealed to the wife you have loving feelings for your friend. Now you are fearful about losing relationships as you find yourself evolving/growing/changing.
Could stop focusing on your fear. And focus on the RELATIONSHIPS you want to be having with them.
There. For all practical purposes nothing changed about what kind of relationship you have with these people.
For emotional management purposes? If you want to just sit back and enjoy feeling love for both?
Well, maybe the "for now" solution is to keep your love feelings for your friend to yourself at this time.
The friend doesn't need to know about them at this time if you are keeping that relationship as "friendship" at this time. Just because you feel crushy things or love things for a friend doesn't mean you have to DO anything about it.
The wife doesn't need to know more about them if you are sticking to a Closed Marriage at this time and hearing it just cranks her up. She already knows. There. Let it go. You don't have to keep sharing more details with her.
If she brings it up, close it off kindly, firmly and politely. "Hon, I told you I love her. But she's my friend, nothing is going to come of it and I want to let it go and just BE friends. Keeping bringing it up is not helping me to let it go. How can I help YOU let it go?"
You can keep on enjoying it to yourself, but help your wife let it go.
Is that where this is at at this time? Could learn about jealousy then and help wife overcome hers so she can calm down then.
Maybe these could help you understand what to do for your wife.
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf (esp the page 5 and 6 things)
And poly hell feelings.
You are not in a polyship right now. But your wife may experience poly hell EMOTIONS anyway right now if she's working herself up in her head. Could address those types of feelings.
Could shelve any kind of "serious poly talk" about Opening with your wife til a LATER time.
Could focus on what you DO have here at this time. You have a wife who is experiencing wigginz. Could help reassure her then.
You probably want to share emotional intimacy with your wife as you process this self discover of your poly self. But that doesn't mean she's automatically ready to hear it because it requires her to face fears of her own, and it requires her to update HER picture of you. Change is sometimes scary for some people. Even you. See?
We would all like to think our spouses are ready to hear anything from us at any time just because they are spouses -- but that is not necessarily true. It takes effort to arrive at that place with someone. Even with a spouse. Could clock the time building that sort of strong relationship with your spouse before attempting to polyship. Polyshipping has a habit of magnifying all the cracks. Even if you don't end up polyshipping, it could mean a richer, closer marriage experience with your spouse. So... could clock the time there and really invest in cultivating that relationship.
I don't know if anything I write about mono-poly could help you but it starts on post 6 in my blog thread.
Some times you have to think about what's best for YOU, then think about others and how they relate to you.~
Overall though, I would say Kevin T. has it covered.~
Keep what a secret at this time? :confused:
The wife already seems to know she loves the friend. The wife already seems to know that she's thinking poly things. The mistake here seemed to be sharing BOTH those pieces of info at once. Rather than one at a time.
I think backing off for a few weeks/months could be beneficial to the OP. Spend some time reassuring the jealous wife so she can "come down" from the emotional high first. Calm down a bit herself because she seems upset.
THEN decide what they want to do next from cooler heads.
I'm not saying she deny/suppress who she is to the unhealthy point where she is self-hating. I'm not saying to avoid talking about it forever.
I just don't think pushing the wife toward talking about undertaking a major Life Change at this time while wife's freaking out is the best time to be doing it or the best way to be doing it. That is all.
I do agree that there's no need to shove this in the wife's face at the very first, but I also can see where Colors is coming from when you encourage the OP to say things like,
"Hon, I told you I love her. But she's my friend, nothing is going to come of it and I want to let it go and just BE friends. Keeping bringing it up is not helping me to let it go. How can I help YOU let it go?"
Really, the OP thinks that something WILL happen, or this issue would never have come up. Encouraging the wife to live in self-denial, well, some people can handle that, but others truly start living in a fantasy world and it will only be more painful when the reality starts crashing down.
Perhaps the OP could say something along the lines of, "I don't know what will happen, but I do have feelings for this other woman (avoid saying "love" perhaps?) I will always love you, but this person is starting to be very important to me. But I do understand that maybe you just don't want to talk about her for now, so I won't bring it up unless you do." That way she's being gently, but she's also not lying.
Oh. Thanks for clarifying.
If she decides that she wants "Open the Marriage, Pursue the Friend" instead? Then no, that suggestion will not work.
I am not clear on what the OP wants at this time from the original post. I assumed "status quo" since she was so focused on not "losing anyone" and keeping things the same so she wouldn't lose anyone.
OP could take a time out to get thoughts in better order and decide for OP's own self -- what do I really want here?
First figure out what the desired outcome is. Then take steps toward achieving it.
Sorry I was not as clear as I could have been last night. :o
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