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-   -   Settling in, and working it out. (very long...sorry) (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6688)

jsw8671 02-12-2011 07:33 PM

Settling in, and working it out. (very long...sorry)
So here I am, seeking un-biased wisdom I suppose. Just some other takes on things from someone outside of our "loop." I know that there are also some "purists," (I think might be the right word) who would say that my relationship with my wife isn't so much "poly," but I'm fine with that...neither of us like definitions.
Anyway; We started the adventure of opening up our marriage around two (ish) months ago. I won't go into great detail here on how it started, or what my reactions were to her getting things going with her boyfriend...you can read that here:
(follow-up is in the comments section.)
Where I want to start is the recent past/present. I met a girl, as was expected, and we hit it off extremely well. I actually met her on-line, and we spent quite a few hours conversing over the course of about a week before we managed to meet in person. Prior to me meeting (let's call her J for the sake of easy communication), My wife was doing great with everything. She even took some effort in getting her to come over and spend time with me when she (my wife) was out at her boyfriends. We laughed and joked and talked about things and all was normal, and well.
Well, I managed to arrange to meet J for dinner a few nights ago, and everything was still going great between my wife and I. She even laughed with me when I grabbed condoms...just in case. Well, a long story short: my wife ended up going over to her boyfriends place, and I brought J home after dinner. We had an instant connection, and both felt extremely comfortable with each-other, and as they say: "one thing led to another," and we ended up having a wonderful evening/night/morning together. My wife spent the night at her boyfriends house, and J spent the night with me.
We (my wife and I) do talk about everything, and in my case, in great detail. Her first, immediate question was "did you have sex?" To which I truthfully responded, "yes."
This is where the differences in our coping strategies became very apparent. My next question to her when we were in the opposite situation was, "did you have fun?" Hers was "did you get off?" I answered "yes," and she followed quickly with a rather vicious sounding..."I hope to god that she didn't." I didn't really have to say anything, as the look on my face told her everything that she needed to know.
Some background on the situation: My wife had never had an orgasm in her life prior to being with me. Not alone, and not with anyone else. That being the case, she feels that it is a very sacred thing, and as a result was quite hurt by the fact that someone else had experienced that with me so quickly and easily.
There of course was and is no "rule" about this, as it would be pretty absurd...(I'm thinking like..."yes you can go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite meal, but when it gets to the table you are not allowed to eat it.)
Well, she is (of course) coping with a lot of the same things that I went through in the beginning, (which are almost completely reversed now on my end.) Only she also has this added issue that has severely bruised her ego. She also tends to express emotional pain as anger, and can be quite vicious with the things that she says. I understand this, and we have talked about it at length...she is not trying to be hostile, but it is unfortunately just the way she reacts.
Over the past couple of days she has calmed down a bit, but every time certain thoughts enter her mind she becomes extremely hostile again. I am doing my best to console her and help her through this. She says that she does not regret anything, and does not want to take any of it back...(we have gained quite a lot on the positive side of this prior to me meeting J.)
I know that time is the main thing that will allow her to adjust and become comfortable with the situation...for me it was just a matter of doing away with all of the mystery, and finding that I could trust her to tell me anything and everything. I just can't stand her hurting the way that she is and not be able to do anything about it, but at the same time I understand that it is a process that we both knew we were going to have to go through. It just seems as though her road to acceptance and happiness is going to be much longer and rougher than mine was.
Has anyone else dealt with this type of situation ? (more so with the type of coping and expression that she is going through, I know that everyone has to work out the painful bits as they come.)
Is there anything that I should be doing to help console her and help her through this? (besides talking it to death and going out of my way to let her know that she is loved, respected, supported, etc...)
I am confident that everything will work out and we will be back to being able to openly discuss, and laugh about everything eventually. I just hate feeling so separated for the time being, and would appreciate any advice on how to ease her suffering.
Thank you.

redpepper 02-13-2011 06:29 AM

I would think that some of this is due to you both being very new to the possibility of experiencing love outside of your marriage. It can be quite an eye opener what is brought up seemingly out of no where and slapped up side the head of a couple that is experiencing what you are for the first time. Take a deep breath and realize that you are not alone and that this is not the first time someone has come on here asking "what the...? Where did this come from?!"

I would suggest that you have a look at jealousy on here. There is a really good thread on it kicking around on the General forum, if you have a look, or you can do a tag search and find threads, or you can look at the stickies.

I suggest it might be jealousy because your wife is up set that your new sexual partner can orgasm the first time and she couldn't... that suggests that she is being triggered to remember what that was like for her, her own struggle with orgasm and perhaps indicates something going on in her own relationships other than your with her.

Have you talked with her about how the sex is going with her boyfriend? What kind of boundaries she has around the sex you have? What boundaries you have around sex with new people? She could say that she doesn't ever want you or the new woman to orgasm and you could agree to that, but does that fit with your boundaries?

You sound surprised by this new dynamic that has come up. Have you and her had a good sex life until now? Has she orgasmed quite normally since you and her met? All stuff to ask yourself and discuss with her. It sounds like you have some work to do... such is this type of relationship. I find that I have to be open to stuff coming up that is unforeseen. Even stuff that I know will come up I have to realize will always hover regardless. Monogamy is much easier sometimes isn't it ;)

jsw8671 02-13-2011 02:51 PM

Thank you for your response! We did a lot of talking last night as well, though this time it actually moved from the angry outburst, not-getting-anywhere kind to something that was a little more productive.

We have both read several articles on managing jealousy in this situation, and I, being the obsessive type that I am have spent a great many hours reading pretty much everything that I could track down on the web, from blogs, to articles, to random forum discussions. I will admit that it's been a great help for me in overcoming my issues, but she approaches things from an almost entirely emotional level, and doesn't deal well with rationality when she is upset. I guess I come off as cold, and unfeeling when I try to talk to her from a strictly logical standpoint, and it usually doesn't end well.

We have established that she does have some insecurities that she needs to work through, and she insists that this is something that she needs to do on her own. I don't really know how to relate to that. I want to be there for her, and be able to help her through this, and I know that I rarely ever work through anything emotional on my own. I always feel like I need someone to help me put all the pieces together. I guess it's just a matter of being different people?

On the jealousy: I brought this up to her of course, along with the concept of envy, and it did not go well at all. I believe the exact phrase was (imagine the inflection to be very hostile) "I'm NOT jealous of HER!" This has actually been yelled toward me twice now. Once when I first brought up the idea of her being envious, and again when I suggested that she give an article on jealousy that we had both read another read through. I'm not sure how to tackle that.

Yes we have talked in great detail about the sexual aspects of her relationship with her boyfriend. I am the kind of person that wants all the details. (well at least I was in the very beginning.) I am unhappy to report that her experiences with him have been less than awesome. Awkward at best actually. According to her it's partially because she can't just let go with him, and gets to a point where she "freaks out" because he is not me. I also though am forced to infer that it may also be a bit of inadequacy on his part due to the not-so-thrilling nature of their encounters. She feels that since she has such a hard time being able to go all the way with being with someone else, that it is an insult that I can do it so quickly, and perceivably easily.

As far as her difficulty with accomplishing orgasm; I do not know what that initially stems from. She has no traumatic event in her past that I have ever heard of, and besides that fact seems to have had completely "normal" relationships..(well, up until me I guess...), I have always informed her that I love her and enjoy being with her the way that she is, which is true, (and besides, I can usually get her off anyway,). I have offered to help her seek counseling if she feels that this is an issue that she would like to get help with, and she denied it. I am really at a dead end with that one, and neither of us think that it would be right to try to ban one of us or the other from having or giving orgasms with the other people that we are with.....it just seems kind of trivial and absurd. (it took her about a year and a half into our relationship I think before she had her first orgasm. It was pretty hit or miss for a while, but I helped her learn how to let go and feel herself out, and to acknowledge what she likes and we have gotten to the point to where it is pretty regular for me to be able to get her there. Our sex life, as with (I believe) most married couples sex lives has been more roller coaster like than anything. At times we have good sex frequently, at times we have not so good sex sometimes, and other times we have gone a month or two with none at all....her sex drive is pretty sporadic, and not nearly as insatiable as mine...but I would have to say that for the most part our sex life, especially recently until this happened, has been quite good.)

As far as rules go; we did set up a lot more in the beginning, or well...I did. They helped me to cope with my insecurities and feel like I still had some control of a situation that I desperately needed to feel in control of. A couple of the rules still stand. One got half-broken (no sex in OUR bed...she didn't count oral sex as sex...I was over the point by time that happened though and that rule was laid to rest.)...another one got extremely broken, and almost left her boyfriends face in the same condition....(they broke the "condom rule"....she told me the next day....it wasn't easy, but we worked through it...and it will never happen again.) The spending the night rule has evolved to either once a month for her, or if I am with J. The sex specific rules: No sodomy, use a condom PRIOR TO any vaginal penetration, and....well that's about it. Though she made it known to me last night that as of right now the "no sex in our bed" rule has been reinstated on my side of things. I of course agreed with this. Not a problem.
She also though informed me that she wants me to not have any sexual contact with J until she gets everything sorted out and feels comfortable with it. This is well within her rights, and I agreed, but she has also informed me that she can't bring herself to want to be with me, and is "disgusted" by me right now. She is afraid that if we have sex, she will be terrorized by images of me fucking J and that she will freak out and horrible sobbing, fighting, etc, will ensue. I don't think I have to say what my problem is with this arrangement. I have just been banned from having any sexual contact with anyone for an undisclosed amount of time. This IS an issue for me, and I made that known. It didn't go over well.

I never thought that this would be easy, and I hoped that my insight into what I went through would have been able to help me help her work through her problems, but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. This is probably the hardest thing that our marriage has had to endure yet. Sure, sometimes monogamy is easier, and for those who have wonderful, fulfilling monogamous relationships...good for them. I will say in our case, up until the very recent future...despite the trouble, what we are doing has been infinitely more rewarding, and monogamy was not so much keeping us on a good path...

I'm still very open to any advice, and I will keep pushing her to read some more of other peoples experiences and hope that she can gain some insight from it. Thanks again.

redpepper 02-13-2011 07:09 PM


Originally Posted by jsw8671 (Post 66262)
I never thought that this would be easy, and I hoped that my insight into what I went through would have been able to help me help her work through her problems, but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. This is probably the hardest thing that our marriage has had to endure yet. Sure, sometimes monogamy is easier, and for those who have wonderful, fulfilling monogamous relationships...good for them. I will say in our case, up until the very recent future...despite the trouble, what we are doing has been infinitely more rewarding, and monogamy was not so much keeping us on a good path...

Oh I know this quote so well! Ha! You are not alone my friend, not alone.... a very common thing amongst those that have started this route and continue on it.

The disgust thing is a bitch huh?! I have felt that way about PN and even Derby when her husband came home. It's important to breath through it and not let it over take logic. Hard to do, but necessary I think. It gets easier and doesn't over take as often for me now. I think that it is part of the over all issues really. She is struggling with the fact that you had sex nd brought a woman to orgasm the first time and is transferring that onto you as a result. If she works through her stuff then I would think that the feeling of disgust she has will work through too. This has been my experience anyway.

Patience, breath and keep at it... it does get better. Its always hard work, but it does get easier and the work seems to be dealt with more quickly as a foundation of what your poly is is set. If that makes sense. :p

jsw8671 02-14-2011 07:28 PM

Thanks for the encouragement! I really do believe that it will get better. I have come to the conclusion that for her, time is going to be the greatest moderator. We have stayed up late talking, then fighting, then talking again for the past several nights, and every time, once we get through the fighting bit, we manage to connect a little bit more. She actually cried for the first time while going through this last night, and it seems today that she released some of her anger.

She has also been much more liberal than I expected with letting me spend time with "J". We have actually spent the last two days together while my wife was at work, and it's been a lot of fun. We even took my son to lunch, and then to the park yesterday, all with my wifes blessing. (not to say that she didn't have some reservations...but she assured me that it was alright.)

Now...if I can just work through my own lack of patience, and my overwhelming desire for everything to be instantly peacefull and alright, then I think we can keep on a good path to happiness.

On a side note: I had never realized how difficult, and frightening, complete, and transperant honesty can be until now. I'll just "keep my chin up" as they say and hope that all of our hard work pays off as profoundly as I believe it will....

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