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-   -   The ebb & flow of whether I can be poly. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64429)

Vicarious 11-20-2013 11:54 PM

The ebb & flow of whether I can be poly.
 
I've posted before I have had bouts of anxiety and fear around taking our existing monogamous relationship and opening it up. It all started when my wife and I had serious sexual intimacy issues related to communication, a fast and furious breeding time frame, a blended family, and some medical issues for my wife. She suggested, mostly to get me off her back, to start chatting with other women online and see where it went, as we went almost a year without any sexual intimacy.

I have had a lover since the summer, but as time goes on, the excitement of the V I've been in, has worn off. I seem to be going over to her house for my wife's sake (she gets off on it and it helped our sexual issues), and I am wanting a deeper connection with a woman (my wife. I pick my wife...).

Now my wife is starting to explore herself with chatting with men online, and possibly heading out for coffee and testing the waters.

As time moves along, I'm finding that I really just want my wife as my lover. Sex with my friend has always been 'nice' but never like it is with my wife. I absolutely adore and love her. I struggle with admitting that I may just not be poly, and feeling like I am letting her down. It makes me feel selfish that I want a monogamous relationship with her. Well, not entirely.

I'm very open to her exploring possibly being bi-sexual. It feels easy to accept that. But I really don't like the feelings that come up for me around her having other men as lovers. I want to be the one who she explores with. I've realized that it is fear of scarcity, comparison (better lover giving her what she needs), envy (as she may want to explore sexual dynamics with other men, but not me), and ultimately loss.

I feel I'm more in a spot where I can envision her having a girlfriend, possibly us dating other couples. So, that's a good step? Right?

But it really isn't what she is looking for I think. I feel a bit like a failure. I want to be the totally open minded, supportive husband that expresses compersion, but my damn feelings, fears, insecurities, and needs are getting in my way. And I don't feel safe discussing it, as the last time I went there, it really turned her libido off, and everything ground to a halt...

Reading more of The Ethical Slut, I'd like to think I'm moving along in opening up our marriage as I'm identifying my primary fears better, and looking at some positives. But I can't shake the feeling that I am not really cut out for this. I fear I will lose my quirky, beautiful, loving wife if I can't embrace this lifestyle, or that she won't be the person she feels she is if I express that I don't want her having sexual relationships with other men. I don't want her to be unhappy.

Or, am I just not connecting with my lover, and need to find someone else to fulfil my sexual needs (as our marriage has some blocks around exploration and me getting my sexual needs met within it)? But within the confines of falling in love with another woman that is a better fit? It doesn't feel natural to me, as I've always felt I found my life partner that I desire already.

Dagferi 11-21-2013 12:13 AM

My advice is couples therapy.

bofish 11-21-2013 12:43 AM

I have had those feelings of not caring if my husband slept with men, but feeling jealous if he slept with women. For me, it was about learning that each relationship in my life was individual and could not be replicated. This is something I have to tell myself all the time? Do you feel that her connections with women can't replace you? But worry that a man can?

Do you have to fall in love with all the women you have sex with? Can you accept that your feelings may be strongest for your wife but you can have other relationships too?

My husband and I both have sexual issues. There came a time when we could not solve these together and opening up to others helped us begin to know ourselves sexually. Maybe something like this can happen with your wife?

Vicarious 11-21-2013 12:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bofish (Post 248728)
I have had those feelings of not caring if my husband slept with men, but feeling jealous if he slept with women. For me, it was about learning that each relationship in my life was individual and could not be replicated. This is something I have to tell myself all the time? Do you feel that her connections with women can't replace you? But worry that a man can?

Do you have to fall in love with all the women you have sex with? Can you accept that your feelings may be strongest for your wife but you can have other relationships too?

My husband and I both have sexual issues. There came a time when we could not solve these together and opening up to others helped us begin to know ourselves sexually. Maybe something like this can happen with your wife?

Yes, I feel that her intimate connections with women can be unique and complementary to us. But that is not the feeling I get when we discuss her sexually exploring with men.

I feel like I need some emotional connection with a woman to feel passion and express vunerablities. And yes, they are the strongest I have felt before with my wife. I recognize that I probably could have a lesser intensity of love for another woman intellictually, but am just not feeling like I want to. I've been on OKCupid for a few months, and I have no interest in anyone...I love my wife and my family with her. It's the sexual intimacy and touch that I am lacking with her, that seems improve when I have a lover in addition. My wife likes that I go out and pleasure another woman, and in turn her libido comes back. But now, she wants to explore(this was already known but it is more real now as she is chatting with local men and possibly going on coffee dates). So, this exploration of me taking a lover has helped her out, and brought us closer. But I am just not feeling like it is what I really want.

I guess I could say that her having a relationship with another woman (I'm good with that) or us together exploring dating or meeting other couples would be me embracing some sort of poly lifestyle?

london 11-21-2013 06:07 AM

I would look at why you are not threatened by women, I mean, realistically, all the things you fear about her seeing men are true of women. She might just prefer sex and intimacy with women. You could talk to her and ask her if she will stop seeing men, but for lots of people, polyamory is about having the freedom to love whoever you want so it might not work for her.

As for you, you don't have to date other people. Just let her if she wants.

Vicarious 11-21-2013 07:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 248756)
I would look at why you are not threatened by women, I mean, realistically, all the things you fear about her seeing men are true of women. She might just prefer sex and intimacy with women. You could talk to her and ask her if she will stop seeing men, but for lots of people, polyamory is about having the freedom to love whoever you want so it might not work for her.

As for you, you don't have to date other people. Just let her if she wants.

Yes, I know she could end up preferring women to men, but we have been together for years and I'm pretty certain that she'll still like sex with men(and most importantly me). To me it is more like the description of apples to apples versus apples to oranges. As I'm not a woman, whatever she gets from sexual intimacy with a woman will be different, and I'd have a hard time trying to compare.

It just brings forward emotions that are different, and not positive. I feel happy for her to explore with women (inside or outside our bedroom), and we have had a threesome with a female friend that we enjoyed. Same for couples. I'd feel included. But with men, it feels icky for me. In my gut. Perhaps I'm just insecure that I can be her primary sexual partner that satisfies her and other sexual connections could complement our relationship like my current lover has done...I don't feel confident that I can be the best support for her. It would be better for me to just ignore my knotted up stomach and say I'm fine with her sleeping with other men. But then I'm not being honest and when the time comes, I don't know how I can handle it. :( It feels immature to say I want my precious jewel all to myself. She's fantastic, and I love her so much. This is very hard to let go...

Emm 11-21-2013 08:38 AM

You say you're "open to her exploring possibly being bi-sexual", but is she actually bisexual - as in interested in having a sexual relationship with a woman - or is that the only option currently open to her whether she likes girls or not?

bookbug 11-21-2013 12:51 PM

The same reasons you feel comfortable for her exploring sex with a woman is true for exploring sex with a man. PEOPLE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE! You seem to be under the misguided notion that because you and other men share the same type of plumbing that it is just a matter of your wife finding a guy with plumbing she likes better, etc. I can guarantee you that she married you for 1000 other reasons than your plumbing.

Now, the question I would ask, is do you and your wife have real issues in your marriage? Issues that could be exacerbated by adding new lovers. In regard to you adding a lover, it sounds like your marriage is very strong. But the only true danger I see, is if in fact you two have issues that haven't been fully resolved (outside the general insecurities many have when embarking on poly).

Vicarious 11-21-2013 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Emm (Post 248771)
You say you're "open to her exploring possibly being bi-sexual", but is she actually bisexual - as in interested in having a sexual relationship with a woman - or is that the only option currently open to her whether she likes girls or not?

No, she doesn't know if she identifies as bi-sexual, as she has had sex with women before, but has not been in a relationship with one before. She knows I am comfortable with her exploring that, but knows about my anxiety and fears with men. I haven't put any constraints on her, but have tried to express my feelings around it.

Vicarious 11-21-2013 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bookbug (Post 248788)
The same reasons you feel comfortable for her exploring sex with a woman is true for exploring sex with a man. PEOPLE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE! You seem to be under the misguided notion that because you and other men share the same type of plumbing that it is just a matter of your wife finding a guy with plumbing she likes better, etc. I can guarantee you that she married you for 1000 other reasons than your plumbing.

Now, the question I would ask, is do you and your wife have real issues in your marriage? Issues that could be exacerbated by adding new lovers. In regard to you adding a lover, it sounds like your marriage is very strong. But the only true danger I see, is if in fact you two have issues that haven't been fully resolved (outside the general insecurities many have when embarking on poly).

That is a good question...We have some residual resentment and unresolved issues in our marriage. Mostly related to communication (which poly has helped us as it has forced us to talk a lot!!), and we both have feelings around the limited intimacy we had over the last few years. She felt pressure to have intercourse and I felt rejected as I wanted sexual intimacy, not specifically intercourse. There are some medical issues and past traumas for her that have created a feeling of panic if someone needs her for their sexual needs. She hasn't had a libido in years (like zero libido), but when I went out and met my lover, her libido came back very strong!

She has felt safe to express her realization that she is more than likely poly, and this has been hard for me to process as I've been as patient as I think I could have been while she work on some of her past issues. But the dynamic that was created from us not connecting as an intimate couple built resentment between us.

So I think my vunerability is that I have wanted to be intimate with her for so very long, and it has taken me having sex with someone else to make that happen again. Now that we are having sex again, she wants to explore with other men. I don't feel secure enough I guess in our marriage to trust that she isn't ultimately exploring sexually with other men because she wants something different. It feeds on some insecurities I have around how satisfying our sex life together has been, giving the limited amount of sexual intimacy we have had for most of our marriage.


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