Spiritually Mixed (Pagan to Non-Pagan) Married Poly?
My wife and I have enjoyed our marriage despite a few challenges. One of the more significant ones being our spiritually mixed marriage. She has been a practicing Pagan for the at least twenty years now having begun in Wicca, turned to Norse Heathenism and now meets with a Druid Grove largely because they can accommodate her Norse faith into their largely Celtic events and her fellow Heathens are now at a large distance.
While I’ve attended a few of her events, I am not a Pagan so have limited my involvement to observing and respectfully asking questions. One of our gaps that she’s identified in our relationship and hopes to fill in seeking another man in poly would be to experience these events not only with her friends, but with a Pagan lover. She did tell me that as a young Wicca practitioner, she had a profound experience in her first and only actual great rite, but has limited herself to symbolic ones since because we became engaged.
Since my own Spiritual path has become effectively solitary (and is difficult for me to label or easily express), it is difficult for me to comprehend how significant it is for her to experience her’s with not just friends but an actual lover and wonder if anyone could comment on as she’s struggled to convey this to me?
As someone who consider himself pagan (with qualifiers), i thought i'd chime in though i don't know how helpful i'll actually be.
Pagans often place great emphasis on the idea of immanence. If you're not familiar with the term, it means the belief that the spiritual isn't "out there" but right here, and can be experienced through things other religions might consider mundane or 'worldly', such as sex.
Sex is powerful and primal, and so too is religion/spirituality. Combining the two can produce an extremely heady and even mystical experience.
Think about how closely connected you can feel to a sexual partner or lover. Introduce spirituality, and you have a way to connect with your god or gods very powerfully as well.
You mention that your wife said she had a "profound" experience during her first and only 'great rite'. It seems, to me at least, that it's important for her to have a pagan lover because she wants someone who she feels can help her recreate that experience.
Sexual rituals are actually something i've discussed trying with my own non pagan husband, because i'm a worshiper of Dionysus, a god with sexual aspects. I think it would be an appropriate way to honour him, but it goes beyond that. Like many people who worship a deity, I want to connect with my god in the most intimate way possible, to feel his presence as closely and powerfully as i can, and sex has the potential to give me that to a degree that prayer alone cannot.
I hope this has helped in some way,
Thank you for sharing your insights. While your Pagan path and her's differ by tradition - she is closest with Freya who is also fertility oriented. Your description of divine immanence was helpful to me as is your association of spiritual and sexual experiences being potentially powerful and primal, especially wehn combined.
Is seeking a Paganish lover for the reasons you mentionedaside from your husband a difficulty in your relationship? How have you approched the subject?
Is that the only reason she wants a lover? To participate in sexual rituals? Or are there other needs? Does she have a prospect in her pagan community to fill this role?
To answer your question, while desiring a Paganish lover for rites is a significant reason, it is not her only one. It gets a little confusing to make distinctions, since I’m discovering as Bromios indicated that my concept of what is religious does not always much her’s, as she is devoted to Freya a Norse goddess who is fertility oriented and has explained that her being sexual is pleasing to her and her goddess.
FWIW, we have a good marriage and much enjoy our special time, which is usually anywhere from once to three times per day. I confess that I could still be happy with less, and she desires more and possibly much more.
While she briefly connected with a Heathen man who is not very local, and it looked like a good fit, something changed and things stopped before they got physical. She is communicating with a couple of men on OKC who are aware that she’s poly oriented and looking, but neither are Pagan so will guess that these will remain casual. Both her Norse Heathen group and Druid Grove know of her poly intentions and support her search. We’ll see if anything develops as a result.
I find it interesting that you post this:
Are YOU willing/able to participate in a polyship with your wife? Are you along for the ride? You don't much mention yourself. It's all "one of the gaps she identified... she wants this... etc."
Do you AGREE that is a gap in the shared marriage? Or a gap in her individual preference that affects the shared marriage? I am confused as to what YOUR preferences might be for yourself as an individual or for the shared marriage. What are they? :confused:
What is your current agreements? What is changing/changed?
Because it doesn't really matter "why" she wants to polyship at this point in time. It could be nice to know. But WHAT she does in her behavior and HOW she does it affects you more.
Right now? I'm not getting a strong sense that your consent to participate in a polyship was given. Could you be willing to clarify that?
1) Has she asked you if you are willing/able to participate in a polyship arrangement with her? Or not asked you at all and you need help telling her how you want to be treated?
2) Are you considering it and need help weighing pros/cons?
3) Have you given it and need help figuring out how to put it into practice?
4) Are you adjusting to the "new normal" now that you have given it and need help navigating that transition?
It's hard to tell which point in time you are at here and give you feedback.
Because what you ask here....
Move on to examine the rest of the question and move your thought process forward rather than keeping it in the stuck.
"She wants to do this. I don't get why but she wants to. So... Am I ok with it or not at this point in time?Move on to thinking all that out --- because you can always come back to "Why does she want to do this? I want to be able to understand?"
Could skip it for now, come back to that one later.
But could note that if she's not able to know her own wants, needs, and limits AND articulate them to other people so they can understand her -- that's a big communication skill in polyshipping to me. Maybe she is willing to polyship, but not fully able in her skills yet? Or maybe it is you on the receiving end -- she broadcasts fine but you have a hard time receiving? Either way...That will play into your polyshipping communication. It's worth sharpening both broadcasting/receiving skills for both of you.
I would identify that as a potential gap in the new polyship/existing shared marriage: Communication skills.
Consider what your NEW agreements would be in polyshipping --
Discern if all that is agreeble to you or not so you can thrive in a polyship arrangement with her and not merely survive.
If your answer for "Am I willing/able to participate in polyship with her and X?" is anything less than a joyful yes?
Call it a "no" and let her know you are just not up for this at this time (soft limit) or ever (hard limit). Be honest with yourself and with her.
Then make your next choices from there. Take it one thing at a time.
Hello GalGirl, I'm finding your questions to be both helpful and trying to adequately address, but will try to do so now.
My own consent to practicing polyship is at this point experimental and limited. My wife expressed at the end of the Summer that she'd been desiring to try poly for a few years but hesitated to ask me about it because she doubted that I'd consent, and said that she's prefer remaining mono with me if being poly meant loosing me. After much consideration I told her that while this is not what we agreed to when we married, that I do wish to see her happy and fulfilled so would be open to it in concept, but confessed that I'm not certain if I could accept the reality of it. To that end I agreed to experiment, that is permit her to look and communicate with potential poly partners, so long as she could agree to start slowly, get informed, and to either pause or potentially end the polyships if I found it was not something I could accept the reality of. So far she has taken a slow approach, read some poly articles and books, attended poly group meetings, started communicating with a few guys and going on a handful of platonic outings, which has so far she has enjoyed and I've been okay with.
I'm not sure what you mean by participating in my own polyship with my wife? While I'm not seeking any poly partner for myself and would be pleased for us to resume our monoship, to sound her out, I did ask if she would then be open to my seeking a partner. She responded, that she was surprised with my question and hadn't considered it, but once she had, that at this point she's not ready to contemplate seeing me date another woman, and recognizes that it's not fair, so would hope to once she's settled into a new poly relationship to have a change of heart on that, but couldn't be sure that she'd feel differently even then. So if only she is seeking, it feels like being along for the ride, though she expressed a strong desire of what she calls a "puppy-pile" being the center of attention in a Vee at the same time. This is challenged given my being straight and am unsure if that could work, but understand her desire for it.
I'm struggling to understand your questions about gaps, but will attempt an answer based on what I think you're asking. The gaps I mentioned are aspects she still feels a longing for that I either won't or cannot meet for her. This includes but is not limited to joining her for her religious festivals and rites. While I would desire her to share my perspective on the eternal questions, I realize that is not where she is or is likely to join me, so our relations is very likely until death do us part. I agree that these gaps exist and have offered to mitigate these where possible. These seem to be gaps in her preferences that affect our shared marriage, as I feel no gap that drives me to seek a polyship.
My preference at this point include 1) being true to my own conscience2) keeping my marriage whole and meaningful, 3) seeing my wife happy and fulfilled. I'm still assessing whether all of these are in alignment or in conflict regarding her desire for a polyship is concerned though.
The open relationship model she is suggesting is her being the hinge of an MFM Vee with herself as hinge and we two remaining primary and the new guy as secondary, with the possibility of becoming co-primary. The latter because she feels that would be needed or fair if the Vee she desires were to be closed / mutually exclusive as she hopes. I honestly don't know if that is a relationship model that I could thrive in, but have concerns that it might not. I realize that I like having her to myself and worry that her time with a new guy would feel like it was at the expense of our relationship time and energy. My hope is that I could get along with a metamore sharing the most important person in my life and feel compersion from seeing her benefiting from the polyship.
Your point about why not mattering was helpful as I suppose I keep asking about why she wants this in hopes of meeting of narrowing her / our gaps, but am coming to realize this is not possible. Have I yet clarified your question about conditional consent?
Regarding the four numbered questions: 1) yes she has asked me. We are still discussing how I wish to be treated. 2) I am still assessing props and cons, but have given conditional approval based on the pros, but recognizing that the reality of it could show the cons to be much greater than expected. 3) Yes, 4) Yes, although as long as her dates are platonic and infrequent feel like little has actually changed yet, but ponder how it will once it does.
I am still carefully considering the rest of your post as I do see this as wise advice. Please let me know if my answers generate additional questions or concerns?
I didn't expect you to answer me - it was more food for thought for YOU.
Sounds like you both are talking and moving it along slowly... and you both are trying to treat each other well in the process.
How's she treating her dating potentials? Are they aware that you both are experimenting here? They aware that...
Have you covered all angles of a break up scene? All all 3 players articulated their preferences and on board with the expectations?
YOU REQUEST SHE ENDS IT.
BF ENDS IT WITH HER.
SHE ENDS IT WITH YOU
Just more stuff to think over. So you know what to expect from people's behavior. Hopefully everyone plays ball and follows through on agreements.
But I find if one can't even talk about it -- that's usually a clue to not get all up in it with them. Then you can skip avoidable/preventable shenanigans.
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