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-   -   Prying open a partially-open relationship? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69388)

SkeertAquarian 03-22-2014 12:51 PM

Prying open a partially-open relationship?
 
Hi all, been lurking here and doing lots of reading for a while now. Figured it was time to step up. This is gonna be long! Skip on down to the end if you want the point without all the background.

I've known I was poly for a long time, since I was a teenager (I'm in my 30s now). I've been in several relationship configurations including two m/f/f triads, one where I was primary and another secondary.

I am currently married (2nd marriage) to an awesome man. We have been together for almost seven years and married for three. We live together with my son from first marriage (who husband considers as his own child) and our young daughter. We have our issues like any couple, but we've been through a lot and I think our relationship is about as stable as it can be considering the crazies (us) that are involved in it.

We have been semi-open for most of our relationship. The rules were always simple; girls only, and nothing beyond kissing happens without the other person there. Mostly it has been casual with others, but once or twice we have liked the third enough to discuss bringing her full-on into our relationship. Yes, go ahead and say it, we were unicorn hunting. I'm very aware of the cliche and the issues that go with it. Nevertheless, that's what we were hoping for.
I had never really considered renegotiating those rules until recently. I like girls, he likes girls, I was totally fine with him having feelings for another girl without me feeling threatened, it seemed simple.

But (you knew it was coming!), recently I have been wondering if it would be possible to open the possibility of having another (secondary) male partner. Now, my husband is straight and would get no direct benefit from opening the relationship this way. And yes, I have a specific reason for wondering. A friend that I have known since the beginning of my first marriage (10+ years ago). We have always been attracted to each other but never pursued anything. Recently, however, our feelings for each other have intensified - a lot - and I'm pretty scared. He has stated straight out that he does not want me risking my marriage for him, which I really appreciate (makes me like him even more!), and we both agreed not to make any further steps in a romantic direction. In fact, we've both backed off very close to the point of barely being friends, although of course the knowledge of our feelings is still there.

Since I do not consider leaving my husband or cheating on him to be options, I feel I am left with a choice between two things. 1 - Bury my feelings for my friend and let go of the possibility of there ever being more there OR 2 - Broach the subject with my husband and hope he doesn’t decide to leave me.
On one hand, I feel that my husband totally understands the idea of polyamory, since he has been open to having multiple people in our relationship. On the other hand, however, the addition of another man in any capacity has never, ever been a consideration.

So. Suck it up or take the plunge?

Questions I know will be asked:
- Yes, I want to keep my marriage. I love my husband very much and do not want to leave him.
- Yes, I would be fine with my husband having a secondary relationship that had nothing to do with me.

GalaGirl 03-22-2014 01:35 PM

This is your husband. In theory, one of the closest persons to you. If you cannot ASK things, what kind of closeness are you helping to cultivate? If you keep things from him, what kind of closeness are you helping to cultivate? If he creates a fearful environment where you can't come to him because he is in the habit of having a cow, what kind of closeness is he helping to cultivate?

I suggest you ASK, let him digest, and then you digest whatever the answer might be and then go from there.

"Could you be willing to talk to me about me dating Friend at this time or any other?"


a) "Yes" -- hoooray, then talk about how to go about it more deeply. Take your time -- it's probably a series of conversations.

b) "No" -- bummer, then handle disappointment and move on to letting go of the want to date Friend, since you state you want to remain with husband. At least you asked and now you know.

c) "No" -- bummer, then handle the disappointment and move on to letting go of the want to stay with husband. (I know you aren't into this option, but for sake of completeness, I'll list it.)

d) N/a -- because you give up wanting to ask and don't ask. (I guess you aren't into this option, because why would you post otherwise? But for sake of completeness, I'll list it.)

I'd go with asking what his thoughts are and dealing with the response -- whatever it is.

Galagirl

SchrodingersCat 03-22-2014 03:06 PM

Diddo. There's no harm in asking. If he seriously leaves you just for bringing it up, then you obviously had other problems lurking beneath the surface.

If it's easier, you could start with a hypothetical... "What would you think of opening our relationship more?"

graviton 03-22-2014 03:28 PM

I predict hubby will hold onto his one penis policy. I smell trouble. The first being that only women were "allowed" . Second he must be present for anything beyond kissing. So he is acting out of the fear of other penises AND being left out of play time. Couple that to the swinger style mentality that I believe he approaches nonmonogamy and you have some serious potentials for trouble and hurt feelings. This will be a hard pill for him to swallow and will cause a lot of hard emotions in your marriage. You must decide how important this is to you, is it worth his anger and resentment? The only way to get it is to ask for consent and I guarantee it will not be given. In time he may learn how to handle it with enough love and patience from you and enough DESIRE FROM HIM to want this. If you drag him kicking and screaming to poly he will never give his joyful consent. That is what you will need from him. Any resentment or reluctance will make him feel trapped and bullied. My first suggestion to you is to decide, really look deep to how badly you need this, before approaching him. This will most likely change your relationship forever, even if you don't get his consent and you decide to go back to how things were. He will always look at you differently. Another possible issue is that you already have someone lined up and waiting in the wings. That seems to cause a lot more stress and anxiety in these situations. If you open this door there is a very good chance you may lose this friend in the end due to hostile feelings and ultimatums from your husband. I have been through PRECISELY what you are about to do. I was the friend waiting in the wings and it went badly. Obviously your husband might be different, but I doubt it because he sounds like my ex girlfriend's husband. Good luck.

nycindie 03-22-2014 08:21 PM

Most guys who require a One Penis Policy for their female partners do so because they don't think of another woman as being any kind of a threat. It's totally sexist and degrading in that sense, because it means that to them, F/F relationships aren't really relationships. You couldn't possibly fall in love and want to run away with a chick, right? It's just about diddling each other, and hopefully so he can watch or participate too - 'cause it's all about the fragile male ego! Gimme, gimme. But another man, who possibly has a bigger dick, a bigger salary, a nicer car, who might make you cum harder and scream louder, hoo-boy, you might want to run away with him! So forget about that, sistah!

Your husband obviously has some of these insecurities, and it seems pretty deep ones, too because he does require that he be present whenever you are with someone else. That is so sex-focused, as well as dictator-ish, and speaks of very deep fears and a need to control.

My advice would be to ask him what his reasons for the OPP are, and drill down to the underlying insecurities. Tell him that you've been thinking about what it would be like for each of you to have the freedom to be with whomever you wanted without such strict rules, and see if he would be open to change.

But keep in mind, he's your partner - not your boss. Don't ask permission like a beggar with your hand out hoping for crumbs. Even married people have autonomy, free will, and their own agency. Tell him emphatically what you want, what would make you happy, and that you want him to think about the issues surrounding how you've been operating all this time, and discuss what changes he would be willing to consider.

Inyourendo 03-22-2014 11:55 PM

I recently did this. We were open but I had never found a partner before Sean. So no I have 2 primarypartners and iit's been a bit of an adjustment for nate. I've always had the option of being with men though

We have similar backgrounds. Hes My second marriage and we've been together 5 years.

SchrodingersCat 03-23-2014 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 262727)
But keep in mind, he's your partner - not your boss. Don't ask permission like a beggar with your hand out hoping for crumbs. Even married people have autonomy, free will, and their own agency.

This, too. You don't actually have to ask his permission at all. You could choose to handle it from the perspective of "This is what I'm going to do. How can I be most supportive in helping you deal with it?" You can point to the fact that he already is able to go off with other girls, without you, and because you've realised that this is neither fair not consistent with your desires, you're planning to give yourself the same freedom.

In other words, making it clear to him that your sexuality is not his to control may be necessary for him understanding that he doesn't really have the right to tell you whether or not you can have sex with other men.

pulliman 03-24-2014 12:55 AM

Can I object to the pop psychology in this description?

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 262727)
Most guys who require a One Penis Policy for their female partners do so because they don't think of another woman as being any kind of a threat. It's totally sexist and degrading in that sense, because it means that to them, F/F relationships aren't really relationships. You couldn't possibly fall in love and want to run away with a chick, right? It's just about diddling each other, and hopefully so he can watch or participate too - 'cause it's all about the fragile male ego! Gimme, gimme. But another man, who possibly has a bigger dick, a bigger salary, a nicer car, who might make you cum harder and scream louder, hoo-boy, you might want to run away with him! So forget about that, sistah!

What bugs me about it is that it's not nuanced and doesn't match what happens in the real world. I know of at least one situation in my family where the woman fell in love with and ran off with the other woman. I know of at least one counselor in my local small town who specializes (!) in the area of women who, in their 40s, fall for a woman and are trying to figure out whether to stay in their marriage, or leave it to live out the truth of their newly discovered lesbian selves (note both the gay/straight split and the assumed monogamy of that choice). So there's plenty of evidence that F/F relationships really ARE relationships and can be plenty threatening to anyone who cares to be threatened in that situation. My point is that painting the One Penis Policy the way you do is to do exactly what you seem to avoid wanting to do, most of the time: playing a stereotype in order to make a point.

I prefer your own words when you say this:

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 262727)
But keep in mind, he's your partner - not your boss.

If you assume that he's a PERSON, then you're right - he's the partner. Partners work together, and from both ends, they try to figure out what's going on and they listen and they care and they engage and they talk.

I'd hope that those kinds of conversations would be happening, here, and that everyone can learn. It's not easy - it's scary as shit for everyone involved, that's for sure. People have to open up slowly, and it takes time. But trust and patience can get people pretty far, I think, as long as they assume there's a human and not a stereotype on the other end of the conversation.

london 03-24-2014 02:00 AM

We know FF relationships can rival FM ones, especially now gay people can be married and parents. Still, many feel homosexual relationships are inferior, misunderstand what bisexual people feel and aren't worried. That's why its a shock when it does happen

Hmm 03-24-2014 02:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulliman (Post 262828)
Can I object to the pop psychology in this description?

I definitely agree that real life branches in a lot of directions. I have no doubt, if there's a way for something to go, for someone somewhere at some time, it's happened that way! There is a degree of uncertainty in every situation, and certainly the biggest fears we have may not even match up with the reality or probability of any situation.

I think, to clarify nycindie's intent, she didn't mean the "one-penis policy" happens in the real world necessarily, but to me it is a very accurate representation of the anxiety a lot of men may have. It's a cultural fear, emphasized by media and society, so it makes sense that on a very broad scale, it's pretty one-size-fits-all, mass-produced worry. It at least fits well in line with the OP's situation, although it may be only more or less relevant in that specific case.

I agree with everyone's thoughts that both in this marriage deserve their own agency and autonomy and deserve the right to not need double-standardized permission. Then again, there is a possible risk that the husband won't be able to cope with that kind of change out of his control...which is a risk worth considering, long as you don't stress on it too much :)


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