Update and need more advice - mono to poly one-sided
Need some advice from those of you who have been through some of the pain and joys of trying to convert from monogamy to polyamory. For the back story, please see this thread.
We were having an escalating set of fights because of her saying she wanted to have another man in her life and there was nothing I could do about it but either learn to deal with it or leave the relationship. Up to this point, this has not been a good place for me to try to figure out how polyamory might work for us since I felt like I was being steamrolled and not heard.
Today, she sends me this email:
"Iím sorry that we stumbled into this thing that has turned into a very painful thing for youÖand me. Iím sorry for all of the heart wrenching pain you have had to go thru. As you reminded me, my motto has always been if something is so difficult and roadblocks keep coming, it wasnít meant to be. I canít live like this anymore. I believe that even though your intentions are to try to find a way you can be happy in this, you are never going to be OK with it. How many times have you told me that you want to find a way, and then in the same conversation maybe even, tell me this is horrible and you hate it and you donít want it. I know that you feel that I have coerced you into accepting me having "R" in my life, and that I brought all of this pain upon our relationship and all of the many other painful things you have said about it. I will relinquish my relationship with him and my pursuit of more. All of the things you have said about waiting 6 months, or just being friends, or waiting until you trust me or waiting until you trust him, I canít and I donít believe that those things will happen like I expect them to. When you love someone, you want to express it, you want to share it, you want to revel in it. You should know me well enough that you know I just canít do the things you want me to the way you want it, and I donít want you to have to live miserable for however long it would have lasted, if it even started. As you said this morning, this isnít what you signed up for and it isnít what you want. Monogamy it is then. If I truly thought that there were other people out there that I could love like you or "R", then THAT would make it less than the special gifts they are. I donít think that, I always thought ours, AND mine and his were unique and I was lucky, so Iím really only poly because of him, not because there are others I think I could feel that way about. Hopefully this will ease your pain and you wonít need to obsess about it night and day. I do ask that we never go to "night club" again; in fact, I donít even want it to be mentioned. I donít want to have any conversations about anything that went on in the past with them or him, no who did what to whom, no what your fears were, no what I should or should not have done, nothing."
This didn't make me happy, it just made me sad and feel like this was a lose/lose for us. This is what I sent back:
I have now read this a few times and here are my thoughts:
ē I understand the place you are at when you are saying this and I do understand it is to preserve our relationship that you are offering this solution. I appreciate that you are willing to do this. I truly do.
ē I know I run hot and cold on this and it must be terribly confusing. Itís confusing for me as well. I think it is because my brain processes things at one speed and intellectually I am somewhat OK with certain things or at least not in full rejection mode but when my heart gets its say, it currently just overwhelms me with a sense of loss that is almost unbearable and I struggle to control this. It certainly doesnít make me very rational.
ē I am concerned that this will just shift the fight because now you are the one hurting and probably resenting me, similar to how things were before you told me you were forcing him back in our life. You were certainly checked-out of our marriage and numb during that time and it wasn't healthy. This may lead to a situation that is not an improvement compared to now. Instead, I fear is it will be just a different place of negativism to consume and destroy our marriage.
ē I think there still may be a path here to a win/win rather than settling for what I see as a lose/lose. The fact that you are now in a place where you feel you can give him up for the sake of our relationship says something. It says you are not so afraid of the pain that you are going to force the situation no matter what. It says that you are hearing me and you do value our relationship. That actually helps me a lot in trying to quiet my fears.
Iíd like to suggest this Ė letís not do anything right now. You donít try to push forward and I donít try to push back. Letís see how we can go for a few days. No fights, no discussions, no obsessing, just living one day at a time. Once we are not in such a crisis mode, Iíd like to really talk, just talk about this. I think one of the big drivers of my fear and sense of loss was the fact you were forcing the issue and I felt trapped. Now that it appears that you are not set on forcing the issue, there may be a way we can frame this so that it feels safe or at least not ďrun away as fast as you canĒ for me. I want to be a good partner and I now know you want to be a good partner, too. I think we can be good partners if we do this together. Iím not promising success but I think we have a much higher chance for success and the process will feel better for both of us because it becomes us as partners looking for a solution together that we both can live with rather than one of us issuing an ultimatum and creating a crisis filled with pain. I believe this is a path to a win/win.
If you donít want to deal with any more uncertainty and still want to end it after what Iíve written, I wonít try to talk you out of it again and will respect your wishes.
So here's my actual question:
What have been some of the successful and not so successful ways any of you have navigated the choppy waters of trying to take a monogamous relationship to poly when it is one-sided (I have no interest in polyamory Ė just how I'm built) and there is someone waiting in the wings?
I intellectually support polyamory and I do not fear that I'm losing her love. I realize that love is essentially an infinite resource. Here what I fear:
1. Loss of quality time. We are busy professionals and have 7 kids between us. During the week, there is almost no "us" time. We do recover and get in our quality time during the weekends. With "R" in the mix, the only time she can spend with him has to come for the time we have set aside for us all these years to reconnect and keep the marriage healthy since the week is so crazy.
2. It seems to take a crisis to the point of fracturing our relationship for her to listen to and accept as real my feelings and thoughts Ė most of the times she has a real hard time with compassion and is quite hotheaded and moves to invalidate almost immediately. This is a real communications issue we have and I fear that this will just make things worse. This current crisis has already given me some evidence that this will be true Ė if she would have just listened to my concerns and came at the issue as my partner rather than trying to force things, we could have been here a month ago.
3. I have some trust issues with "R" due to the first time around. He's not truly poly and has stated that he wouldn't let his wife be in another loving relationship or "he'd have to kill someone". He also terminates his wife's relationships with other women when he feels threatened that she may be falling in love with them. He has stated that it is his biggest fear Ė her falling in love with another woman and leaving him. That why he approached us because he thought we'd be safer since my wife was married and not a relationship danger. Things turned out quite different, certainly for me. He is also pushing for having threesomes with my wife and his wife but I am not allowed to attend.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
All I can say is good luck. I have played both the role of R and the reluctant husband and both scenarios suck. As far as your husband role is concerned all I can say is to remove your ego and self from their relationship. This helped me. Remember that their relationship has nothing to do with you anymore than her relationship with a nonromantic partner has to do with you. I think this is where people get hung up. They keep asking themselves "what about me?". What about you? Keep repeating to yourself "I don't own or control their relationship or them as individuals so it is not for me to destroy it". Maybe this helps.
Ok, so I am in a similar situation.
However, your "number 3" alone is enough to KNOW this will not work. Really? He doesn't let his wife and he wants to? Double standard/hypocrite. And the threesome thing?
I read over and over here that poly works when there is exhaustive communication and all parties agree on everything.
ALSO... 7 kids?!?!?
Maybe she just wants to get out of the house. Can you invest in a babysitter instead?
Man, I can hardly handle 3 kids!
In my situation, we're going REALLLY slow. We have boundaries now for dates and no new prospects are allowed in for a few years.
If this will work for me, I need my poly wife to move at a snail's pace. AND she can only consider people who are amazing communicators and not douche bags like this guy sounds like.
Tough situation man! I can surely sympathize.
You want to just stuff that cat back in the bag when it was just she and you... but you never will be able to.
I read this forum so I can understand the minds of people like my wife. It surely helps as many people are very nice and honest here. However, I am finding it hard to ever, ever want to go there myself. The more I read, the more I am CERTAIN I never want two lovers at the same time. In no way judging poly people... just ain't my gig.
I agree about the double standard. He does sound like a douche. Tell him you want a shot at his wife or its a no go. hehe
Thanks for the replies. It is difficult, I agree. And before you think we are totally crazy, not all kids live with us at all times and they are somewhat older now but we still have a busy household and the weekday nights usually don't slow down till after 11pm when we are exhausted. That's why the weekends are so precious to me. When I ask her about this she says I should embrace it since it will make her a happier wife. My thought is how is it fair to trade one person's happiness to gain your own. She has no answer for that.
As for "R", since she is in love with him, she cannot/will not see what I see. He has told her that his wife was raped 20 years ago and would go into full panic attack if there was any other man involved besides him. I think there is some truth to the story but I also think it is used as an excuse for him to get a pass on dealing with things. I've met her several times and we've hung out and I never got that level of intense vibe from her. It is probably a no-win for me to push this aspect and all I can do is hope that her NRE doesn't make her completely stupid :)
Sorry you are going through this. One can hope your wife will eventually see what a douche R is and ditch him, but that may not mean she'll want to go back to monogamy. I similarly steamrolled my husband when I fell hard for someone who turned out to be, well, not at all who I thought she was. But afterwards, I looked at the bigger picture and realized multiple partners was still something I wanted badly, even if not with who I originally thought. It took my husband and me a year and a half to come to some arrangements we could both agree with for the time being.
Your marriage will need to be very strong if this is going to work. One partner can't be feeling neglected, you will need serious quality time together and as a family. If either one of you goes numb or checks out, it spells disaster.
The good news is, you are now communicating! I found that once we got through the initial shock, my relationship with my husband actually became stronger and more passionate. He stopped taking me for granted, and I started opening up to him more emotionally. Connection and communication, and THEN you can hash out the details. Good luck!
As someone who does have a mono partner who has made it work well for 2 years I will say R sounds like poison. He wants his cake and eat it too. To be honest he could be looking to build his harem.
You guys have a serious lack of time. Honestly I do not think while life is so and quality time constrained is not the time to add more commitments. Poly has the habit of illuminating every crack and flaw a relationship has.
I am an INTJ female. While I love fiercely talking about my feelings can be torture and hard to express. But I have learned that I need to communicate with Butch and listen to his side too. He isn't a mind trade. I would ask your wife if she us willing to risk your relationship for R.
I can sympathize with your situation immensely. I'm newly poly, leaning mono, dating a poly. My situation is different though, in terms of where everyone is in life.
I agree that the number of kids and the committed situation sound like one of the reasons why someone might change from mono to poly as an escape valve. I'm not saying that's not a valid choice to make, simply analyzing the situation.
Having read the backstory, this guy sounds completely creepy like everyone says. You trusted him and your wife not to cross certain boundaries and they did. The ďI could never do what youíre doing. Iíd have to kill someone firstĒ comment is throwing your lack of power back in your face. It's a total F.YOU. from my point of view.
Could you possibly have her read these forums and see that a group of well-meaning, independent people find the guy's actions to be very troubling and creepy? I'm not so naive as to think it would stop her from loving someone she loves, but it might give you some leverage in the conversation. And marital conversations are all about ammunition and leverage, if you're at cross purposes already. (That may sound jaded and a bit rude, but I'm not saying you have to be cutthroat. But no one can deny that power dynamics take place in a marriage.)
To me, if she still values her relationship with you, she wouldn't want to just jump into something that makes you uncomfortable. A lot of people on this forum will disagree with me on that. They will say that the bedrock of polyamory is being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want as long as it isn't deceitful or controlling or hurt someone else. However with a history as long as the one between the two of you, just going off and doing something antonymous isn't fair at all. You have a life built on trusting your partner. There should have been much more discussion. Not just her falling in love with someone new and forcing you to deal.
A lot of people around here will also tell you to bounce out of a relationship on a second's notice. Normally, I bend the opposite way, but in your situation, if she's just giving ultimatums and not working with you, it might be time....
Let me repeat what I understand so I know I got it, ok? Correct me if I am wrong.
You are unhappy with this letter because:
Me? My advice?
Take it! Take it and run with it! Even if you have to endure some more fuss as the ripple effect dies down. TAKE IT!
Say something like
"Ok. I will respect your wishes. We return to monogamy and take a "time out" from all this to cool off. But could we set a check in date to discuss 3 month, 6 mos from now? To process all this?"Give it TIME. Let her chill out and see what you see after a period of "more normal" life. Maybe she will come to see he's scuzzy sounding dude once she is calmer and away from his influence.
More so than anything you SAY, you being there solid speaks louder. You are still here, still in it for the long haul, still trying. I still think she's let NRE go to her head and she's being all loopy. Sigh. :(
Could wait for her to "unloop" and THEN try to process and have rational conversation here.
She wants to hinge? She could hinge BOTH relationships, not just the NRE one and taking the established relationship one for granted. Hinge position is challenging and frankly -- I don't think she sounds like she's got it together with her intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to hinge well at this point in time. :(
NRE gaga,dude. Not seeing because she's blind right now. :(
Could not get sucked back into merry go round, or get sucked into being responsible for her feelings. I smell funky blame shift here... but could stay silent. Could accept her decision and NOT be looking to negotiate for the win-win. Could let it END. Could "Ommm".
Could focus on the bigger deal - getting her away from Mr Scuzzy! If she needs it to be your "fault" right now so she can walk away? Could let it be you, so she walks away. Could do this for your wife. Remember she was cutting? Remove all stressy wacky from her life where you can. One thing at a time.
She wants to quit? Then just let it be "quit." Ommmmm.
That is my advice to you.
Hang in there. It sounds hard watching your partner so besotted she loses sense and reason. Sigh. :(
Is the cutting still a danger? :(
I think you could both benefit from counseling -- but one thing at a time here. Allowing Mr Scuzzy to disappear from her orbit by accepting this "I quit!" announcement from her with no comment or fuss sounds all kinds of awesome to me as a first baby step back to wellness. Take it! Take it and run!
The other posters have it right. This other guy will kill your relationship if he gets the chance. He is a creep. You cannot let your wife keep seeing this guy and if she can't give him up you need to move on. No if or concessions on your part. You also better be careful she does not go underground.
If you decide you are open to her dating others at some point you can revisit it but not with this guy.
If your wife resents you and can't get over you not allowing her to shove this toxic guy down your throat , then that is on her. If you let her do this you will be a cuckold to her and this guy.
Good luck. Be strong
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