Is poly worth it if you're downgraded from primary partner?
TL;DR - my (ex-?) sweetheart of 3.5 years and fiancee realized a few weeks ago that she wants a bigger/taller guy than me (we're the same height) after she slept with a hot dancer who seduced her in a club. She really respects my intellect, says that I inspired her and helped her become a better person, and the new guy she slept with (who's bigger) is not really relationship material (she said).
I wonder if I should stay in the relationship as a secondary, now that I've basically been downgraded.
We know that intellectually I'm a great match for her; we've been getting along very well until she slept with the new guy, and I'm deeply in love with her. Wanting someone physically bigger seems superficial, and she's under the influence of post-sex chemicals with him, the novelty etc.
But what if this physical desire of her for someone bigger is actually going to pop back up (if and) after we get back together? Do I set myself up for a future breakup, or having her as an unsatisfied wife?
Longer version below
Apologies for the long message. If it's too long to make it on the board, at least it's been therapeutic to pour my thoughts out.
My ex-sweetheart and I had been in a very loving and romantically committed relationship for 3 and a half years. She's 24, a student, smart, fun, friendly, crafty, very attractive but not realizing it until a few months ago, a people pleaser, and a little less assertive than she'd like. I'm 32, a business man, and a lot more experienced with relationships. We spent our first 9 months together in California. I fell in love deeply with her and we had many wonderful moments together. Since day one, we texted each other every day, and got along very, very well, with no fights until very recently. I was so lucky to have met her!
On NYE 2010-2011, in the warm waters of Waikiki Beach, I proposed to her that she be my fiancee, despite advice from friends that she's too young and needs to "smell the flowers". She accepted, though surprised that it was so quick (8 months) after we met. Later in January 2011, she moved to the East Coast for school, and we have been seeing each other every 2-3 months for 1-2 weeks, in a long-distance relationship. We went to sex clubs once in a while, and even had a threesome once.
Since she was only 22 when I met her, and wasn't very experienced with men and relationships (only 4 previous partners), and given that she was going to leave for school across the country and spend most of her time around smart attractive people, I knew that an open relationship was the most honest way to stay together. She agreed (reluctantly, for fear of losing me), even though I knew without a doubt that she was the one for me, and constantly reassured her of that.
In the intervening two years since she left for school, I only had sex with one new woman (a one night stand), and two former partners. She never had sex with anyone... until August, when she met a hot Latino guy at a dance club, who took her home and fucked her the same night - something really not in her character. This fling got her very emotionally confused. I was hoping for something like "Hey love, I just spent an awesome night with a new guy, and can't wait to talk about it with you; thank you for being so understanding, I love you very much". Instead, I got "It was GOOD... it was REALLY FUN... [and I have a lot of doubts about you now]". She's been having sex with him since, and gradually falling for him (the signs were obvious) while claiming it was just a physical relationship.
I knew her having sex with someone new was bound to happen, and I wanted it to (and encouraged her to go for it) so that she'd learn better what she wanted in a man (if you recall, I was only her lucky #5), and she would have some new exciting fun along the way.
So... - she had a "REALLY FUN" time with the hot new guy, and learned that she wanted someone else than me. I asked her many times to articulate what she liked in him, so that I could either develop those qualities, or reconsider the relationship if that was impossible. With a lot of difficulty, I finally learned last week that she wanted a guy who is:
So after learning the above, while on a trip to East Coast to be with her, that i.e. she no longer really wanted *me*, I was devastated. :sad: We still got intimate during the trip, but it was quite apparent that she was not really into it. She'd pass out, be standoffish, refuse sex etc. Kisses were flat, and at one point I asked her to kiss me while pretending she really wanted sex. That fake kiss was awesome. And I felt like shit afterwards.
I can learn to dance, I can show her that I love meeting new people and her friends (which is in fact the case, though for some reason she keeps bringing up this as a "problem" based on some incidents from long ago, that we talked about, and that I never repeated), but I can't grow taller unless I undergo leg lengthening surgery like the guy in the movie Gattaca (and believe me, I've researched it, and it's $30-$90k and takes 6 months to a year, it's frigging painful, and I WOULD DO IT FOR HER), but I can't really become wider, and besides that, I have a nagging feeling that she just no longer wants to be with me and keeps coming up with justifications that I can't possibly deal with.
To be honest, the quality of our communication frustrated me, because I asked her to educate herself just a little on open relationships if she really cares about me (which she claimed she does), but she hasn't even touched Ethical Slut or Opening Up, nor has she asked me anything about how to handle things better. She admitted she has been selfish, invoked the stages of love and how she moved from lust and attraction to attachment (I'm still very much attracted to her); and apologized for being "a terrible girlfriend". Nevertheless, I love her very much, all her flaws are manageable to me, and after 3.5 years, I saw myself married to her, even monogamous.
Anyway, after learning the things above during that trip, I booked a flight back for the next day, and have been bawling ever since (almost a week now). I tried the No Contact tactic in hopes of clearing my mind so I could move on, but she contacted me the next day saying she missed me, and the day after saying she was still thinking about me. Gradually, the way she greeted or called me dropped from "Hey baby, I miss you" to "Hello, I hope you're having a good day" to "would be hott to have NSA sex with you" and a tacit acceptance that she'll forget about me except for that purpose, which threw me into another session of crying my heart out.
I don't know what to do now. If I move with her on the East Coast, I could probably get some crumbs of affection and cuddling, maybe the occasional sex, perhaps while rebuilding my life and trying to find someone new to hug my broken pieces together until they stick. But it kills me to know that she really likes being with the other guy over me. This wouldn't be a problem if I entered the relationship knowing that (something I've tried in the past with a poly woman and was fine with), but to lose three and a half years of togetherness and be downgraded to NSA sex really hurts. And I still don't know exactly what she wants - it's entirely possible that the new guy won't work out as relationship material and she'll come back to me.
Predictably, I'm also scared that I won't ever meet another woman to really like and fall in love with, given that I'll never, for the life of me, make the mistake again of dating women even close to my height (this is not the first time I got burned because of my short stature), which drastically reduces my dating options. I also live in a suburban area that's not friendly to singles, my business isn't going well at all, and generally I'm in a pretty bad place in my life.
Is it wise to hold hope that a woman would come back to a man she was attracted to, and in a relationship with for years, after she discovers she likes a different type? Even if she comes back, won't she be secretly dissatisfied with the less-than-fantastic chemistry (esp. given that she's past the attraction stage with me)? She has also developed doubts about marrying me and implied she no longer has long-term thoughts with me, so what's the point of being in a relationship?
Advice? Thoughts? Empathy? Tissues? :) Thank you.
Several things come to mind from your long description
you are full on attached, in love and have an unhealthy dependency on the relationship and maybe her. Wow.. you would do surgery.. she is that vain that you think only height plays a part in her decision?.. honestly either she sucks as a person or you don't trust her decisions.
You are pushing pushing pushing, and she is holding you back. Desperation is never attractive to anyone, and it sounds like she is being honest, but also trying not to hurt you. At the same time when you step back it sounds like she is still holding onto the strings. Emotional abuse all around. She needs to let go and so do you.. or she needs to stop being so nice and just break up with you 100%.. (or visa versa)
My advice.. is to walk away. It doesn't sound like she wants to be open, it doesn't read like shes into you as a lover (based on your expecations vs what she wants) and its LD to boot. It just doesn't seem like you guys meet on any level beyond past history.
Not to mention being in an open relationship with the "downgraded" pov about relationships becomes really tough.
She is young.. she is blossoming.. she is discovering.. you are in two very different places with two very different perspectives on life and two very different expectations.
You need to step away from the chaos you are creating.. a few weeks and you will start to feel a bit better, keep analyzing and look at it from other eyes.. opening the relationship is far from a solution..
When I say step away.. I mean cut the cord, tell her not to call and take time to yourself.. I am empathizing.. I really am.. but the solution you want.. doesn't read like its going to happen
You have my empathy, as this resonates with me due to a similar experience.
Sounds to me like she's completely devaluing you. "NSA sex with you would be hot?" I would be crushed if someone I loved and wanted to marry said that to me, knowing I was hurting. She might be confused, she might be young, but it sounds like she is profoundly lacking in empathy.
That you would even consider painful, expensive, unnecessary surgery to be taller for her, that you would even think of moving East for "crumbs" of her affection tells me you don't have any boundaries, and you need to work on that.
Eight months ago, the woman I opened my marriage to be with went cold on me. I adored her, mind and body, and I was heartsick. I felt like I'd fallen for a bait-and-switch when the passionate, attentive woman who had pursued me so intensely, suddenly and inexplicably lost interest in me, and I found myself taking a backseat to any and every new dating opportunity. I too thought about just accepting her crumbs, as she probably would have kept giving them to me. But really, what would that have said about me? I'm not a toy you can put on a shelf and pick up when you're bored. That wasn't the relationship I wanted with her, so I left.
My advice is that if you don't want to be her secondary guy, don't settle for it.
There's nothing wrong with being someone's secondary guy if that's the relationship you want with that person, and the relationship works. But it doesn't sound like this is going to work for you, be honest.
Let her go. It's going to hurt for a while, so make friends with your pain. Eventually, you'll realize this was about her and not anything wrong with you.
I am sorry you are hurting..
But run.. cut this woman our of your life. She is nothing but toxic for you.
If she loved you height.. penis size wouldn't matter.
it seems like you have it all figured out
including how she is supposed to experience the occurrences that happen in her life.
Do you really think you had nothing to do with the situation you are now in?
that is couldn't possibly have anything to do with what sounds an awful lot like you discounting her?
I guess I am having trouble understanding what exactly you are upset about. It's a long distance relationship, you said yourself that you wanted her to see other people as that is what you were doing. So now there is some distance between you and she is enjoying her time with someone else, but for some reason it is not OK?
You say you wanted to open the relationship for her, for her benefit, but it appears as if it was more to benefit you, seeing as how you seem to have a problem with her seeing other people.
I don't know, maybe it's because you seem to be jumping to conclusions about all these ways she feels and all the ways you have been evidently demoted when it sounds more like you had unrealistic views about the relationship to begin with.
You asked her to marry you right at the point you knew your relationship was going to become more distant. You asked her to commit to you right before the time when you knew it would be impossible to do that.
It sounds like you might have thought getting her to agree to marry you would make your long distance relationship much more intimate and close than the actual distance allowed
Frankly, I am a little shocked at others reactions here today because they sound so out of character. Your sound like you have an unmistakable tendency to lean towards monogamous relationships, you aren't really even asking for advice at how to make non-monogamy work but instead sound like you are the one who downgraded her, yet the staunchest fundamental polyamorists appear to be agreeing with you.
It must be me, and not bizarro world. When it looks like suddenly everybody on the planet turned into their polar opposite twin, it's more likely that I changed as opposed to everyone else simultaneously
Could have fooled me though
I am having trouble understanding why you say you want an open relationship, but seems like you want to punish her
Oy. She's young, immature, high maintenance, and the whole thing seems like one hot mess.
In addition, I think your reactions and some of your statements don't really sound like you would actually be okay with her having other relationships. It sounds like you really wouldn't be happy in a poly situation with her.
It will hurt for a while, but it seems the best thing for you right now is to walk away. I say dump her and move on.
Hmmm, this is diffecult.
It sounds like you thought it was better for her to have sex with others. But you were the one doing that. You don't explain, but i just assume that she was ok with that. I think it would be better that her lack of experience (5 partners at 24 is a lack of experience in your opinion?) would be a ' problem' for herself. Initialy she didn't even want this! It was more your problem or your father-role saying what is good for her? Not herself. But, whatever made her decide it, you both agreed.
It sounds like you agreed on your terms. Just sex, no feelings? Something like that? I think if you are realy into poly you have to accept that you have to negotiate the terms, that it's a constant proces of giving and taking.
For me it sounds like you were the one deciding before and now she suddenly is more 'dominant' (sorry, don't know another word, english is not my first language). And now roles changed you are suddenly desperate to do the craziest things to hold on to something (hold on to the believe that you should be the one and only). If you keep feeling like surgery, like becoming what she finds with him, i think you should stop this relationship. For you (i'm sure you are not the person you are proud of right now), and for her (being desperate is not very attractive or a good basic for your relationship). If you can deal with the fact that you are who you are and can be happy with her as she is, yes there is a pissibility you can work this out!
I happen to agree with Ari and Nyc.
I know-so weird. Nyc and I agree. hehehe
But really-the mountains to climb to make a relationship work have to be climbed by both parties. If for ANY REASON one person isn't interested in climbing them-it won't work.
She isn't interested in climbing, at least not the heights you envision. She may have thought she was previously, but now she isn't.
Therefore-you abort the climb. It's the only answer.
It will hurt. But the pain does subside.
It feels awful-but we do acclimate.
So you told her the two of you were going to have an open relationship. She somewhat reluctantly agreed, you had sex with three other women, and now she's found someone else and would like you to be the secondary. It was okay for someone else to be in the wings waiting for her when she wasn't busy with you, but you don't want to be the one waiting to see if she has time?
Just checking to see if I have this straight. Because right now, it seems to me if you thought it was good enough for him, then it certainly ought to be good enough for you, too.
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