Advice welcome - when to give up?
I posted an introduction to this Forum a few months ago. Here's the short version of what was and now is. M and I have been married since August. I brought up the idea of open relationships in June; the whole idea took him aback and he has been struggling since then to accept that this is what I want. We married in the midst of this, as I believed our relationship was strong enough to get through it all, but now I am seriously reconsidering this.
In September I met D (who works with me) and fell in love with him, thereby complicating the situation immensely. M knew about this from the start and stopped us from having a physical relationship, but by January I hated the situation and feeling like I had to hide the emotions that I had.
I told M that I didn't think our marriage was working any more - that ultimately we wanted different things from life (me poly and he mono) and that I wasn't willing to give up seeing the people I loved in order to be with him. He, much to my surprise, offered to try a poly relationship to see how it went, and asked me to give us more time together before calling an end to things. So I did.
We've tried poly for the past 3 months and I still feel unhappy, despite having two wonderful men in my life who both love me very much. Here are some reasons:
- I asked for D to be an equal primary and not just a secondary, but M was not comfortable with this. So the rules are: no staying over with him, and no holidays. This makes D feel second-best and it feels like we cannot enjoy a proper relationship. I hadn't realised how important sleeping over with someone was.
- I constantly feel bad about asking to spend time with D, even if it is just two evenings a week. M is always so upset when I leave, and also when I return, that I am constantly wracked with guilt and anxiety over it. Simultaneously I feel guilty for only giving D two evenings a week of my time.
- My romantic feelings for M have all but disappeared. I haven't wanted sex for many months now, and also feel physically repulsed at even lesser things such as kissing with tongues or him just stroking me in a sensual way. I'm struggling to understand why this is, but suspect it is a combination of my emotional distance from him and also a need to compartmentalise the two relationships I'm having. I can't tell if those romantic feelings would return; right now I simply love M as a brother.
- M and I have just moved in together (February) after having most of our relationship long-distance. My flat is small and we have little personal space. M thought it had been the distance causing friction in our relationship; I think the closeness will do more damage.
- I find it difficult to talk to M about my emotions. I either feel that he simply doesn't understand me, or that he tries to make me feel bad for the feelings I have (because knowing about them upsets him). Conversely, I can tell D everything. He has an emotional maturity that I am still learning from myself and has been so great at helping me work through my feelings and issues (and never tries to alienate me from M). I really don't think I can sustain a marriage with M (poly or mono) given these communication issues.
I love both these men, and, in a different world, could see myself being happy with both of them. But right now this situation is making all three of us unhappy and I see little choice but to end it with one of them. Leaving D would break my heart (though I am aware I am still in NRE with him) and would possibly end my marriage in itself. Leaving M would be very sad, as I married him for a reason and we make a great couple in many other respects. I hate looking at the future and seeing sadness in any of the choices I make.
I know that many of you have been in similar situations and would appreciate your advice. When is it best to keep trying, and when is it best to call it a day and admit that things aren't working?
Thanks in advance for any replies.
I think you're acting as if people owe you polyamory.
How long did you know M (can we get nicknames instead of initials) before marrying him? Why do you live in a tiny apt?
Seems to me you thought you'd be compatible when you were long distance, but the poly bomb, tiny flat and unfortunately falling for D have fucked things up.
You could put D on hold for a while. Sometimes too many outside stressors can make trying to manage 2 relationships seem almost impossible. Could you get some couples counseling with M? Could you move into a bigger flat/house? Maybe you like escaping to D's place because you're overcrowded with M?
I feel kinda bad for M, since you dropped the poly bomb on him, while you were engaged, before you were married, then fell in love with someone else (NRE explosion) a month after the wedding, then didnt move in together until Feb, and now you're too crowded. That is a fuck of a lot to deal with! I think since you were committed to M first, you owe him the consideration of giving him time to adjust to poly. A slower pace. But if you want an even faster pace, more dates with D, sleepovers, maybe you would be better off breaking up with M so he doesnt have to keep suffering.
OP, why did you marry spouse if only 7ish months after marriage you're almost ready to call it quits? A mistake?
Poly's hard and takes lots of patience, empathy & trust.
It just seems like you don't want to give your husband a choice for himself, back then nor now.:rolleyes:
I knew M for about 3 years before we married. (Will try to change names later - in a hurry this morning!) We live in a small flat because we currently can't afford anything bigger. The small flat's also been fine for the last 2 years when it was just me!
M and I are very compatible in a domestic way. We're great at living together, travelling and enjoying the simple things in life. However, I'm wondering whether we are emotionally compatible. Our lack of ability to talk to each other has really surprised me, but I guess it was just never tested before this. Conversely, D and I are very emotionally compatible but not as much on the domestic front. (It's not *that* bad, but our respective living habits would take a little getting used to.) When I 'escape' to D's house it's not so much because I want the physical space, but because it's a safe emotional space for me. For a few hours I can relax and feel less anxious, feel accepted for who I am.
In the short term, D is going to be away for the next month so I will have lots of quality time with M to talk things through and generally be together with less stress. Counselling is certainly an option - now that I'm less busy at work I'll see if I can set that up.
I agree that I've M through a hell of a lot these past six months. But I don't feel that he 'owes' me polyamory. It has been his choice to be in this situation we're in now - I never even suggested it, because I knew he was against the idea before. Even when he did suggest it, I made it clear that I didn't want him to go into it unless he was genuinely comfortable with it for himself and not just for me. What I don't want is to be in a relationship where someone is always trying to please me and not doing what's best for themselves too. I feel very lucky to have two men who are both doing their best to try to make me happy, but I cannot enjoy that happiness unless I feel that they have it too.
I don't regret the choices I've made. I only really found out about open relationships/polyamory a year ago - before that, I never knew anyone in such a situation and didn't realise non-monogamy was possible (silly as that sounds). The realisation that I am non-monogamous has been a big deal for me - perhaps something akin to someone realising they are gay or bi? I'm glad I brought it up with M before the wedding, hard though it's been, and I don't regret getting married, even if it should fail within a year. At the time I did it for the right reasons.
It is also difficult to regret falling for D. I'm sure that, if I'd tried, I could have kept those emotions under wraps at the beginning and stopped myself falling so hard. But he has brought me so much happiness, and has helped me grow so much as a person, that I cannot wish things were different. I'm not only in love with him, but love him very deeply.
For me, being poly means having the emotional freedom to love whomever we choose, and to act on those feelings. I need that freedom to be happy in the long term. If M cannot accept this side of me, then I truly believe we'd be happier apart than forever making compromises that are only upsetting both of us.
I'm not surprised that you didn't know about poly until recently. It was a bit of a revelation to me too.
We all have the freedom to do as we wish - what we don't have is freedom from the consequences. It doesn't matter if you call yourself poly or mono there are consequences to actions. And consequences to non-action too.
There is no escaping them.
I find myself in a similar situation.
I wanted to open our relationship (polygamy/polyamory) after 4 years relationship, but my GF was very, very unpleased about this.
What I personally find strange, is that you don't seem to give your husband a "chance". I think you should try to have more empathy for him and to see things from his perspective. How do you think he feels?
I know that my "coming out" caused immensely bad feelings for my gf.
I just recently realised that - as London put it correctly - no one owes me polyamory. We have to respect our partner's wishes and feelings. If we don't want any "resistance", then we should be clear about it from the beginning on.
You should keep in mind that when you became a couple, your partner agreed with a monogamous relationship, not with a polyamorous one.
My GF is absolutely mono and will stay mono, with or without me. I think it is very unlikely (unlikely, but not impossible) that your husband will become positive about the idea of polyamory. I also thought I could kind of "convert" my GF, but, as a matter of fact, I can't.
So it's you who has to decide - mono with your husband, or poly without your husband... I know it's a very hard decision. I am going through it myself! But we have to accept that not everyone wants poly and we shouldn't force people into a relationship-style that isn't good for them and doesn't make them happy.
I think it is important to realize that your husband doesn't "take your freedom" or "limit your freedom". He really doesn't. He doesn't force you to be with him; and the fact that polyamory causes negative feelings for him is nothing he does "intentionally" - some people simply aren't poly...some people don't want this.
I myself have seen polyamory as kind of a "superior" form of relationship, which is one reason why I acted dismissive towards my GF's feelings and wishes. I reduced all my girlfriends feelings to a manifestation of "insecurities" and "possessiveness" etc., because I thought that polyamory is "THE" form of relationship and she just doesn't "want" to see it.
Writing and reading in this polyamory-forum has actually helped me to realize that I was wrong.
Your husband is just a human being with natural feelings... a wish for monogamy is nothing wrong.
My advice: Begin to respect your husband's feelings and individual wishes.
Realize that YOU are free, in a monoamorous and in a polyamorous relationship. No one limits you, you are limiting yourself. Take your time and think about what you want from a relationship. Can you only be happy in a poly-relationship? If so, a divorce would be the only reasonable consequence.
Stay respectful towards your husband. He is not a "bad" person only because he doesn't want polyamory with you.
Could m move out and try your local relationship before taking a big step? Transitioning from LDR to living together can be difficult in of itself, throw a blossoming romance into the mix just complicatestthings further.
If you were me I would have M move out, get the marriage annulled and just date him more casually and see if you can't get those old feelings back. I would continue seeing D on my terms.
You're dealing with a lot of new things at once. You have a new marriage, less than a year old. Regardless of how long you knew your husband beforehand, marriage changes things. It probably doesn't have to, but that would require everyone involved to make extremely conscious choices about their behavior and emotions. It can be done, but I rarely see it tried.
You also have a new relationship on top of that.
Then you have a new living situation, and a sense of inadequate space resulting thereof.
Lots of change, lots of stress. Singular relationships explode with less.
For whatever reasons, your emotional and physical connections to your husband are waning. If he cares about you, then I suspect your two nights a week with the BF are causing him hurt and resentment, because you're clearly transferring those connections to D. This might also make it near-impossible to accept D as co-primary, because you've relegated M to a secondary status except by law.
I think, if you want to make it work with both, you need to find a way to reassure M that he has an equal place in your heart.
Otherwise you've set up a situation where you have to choose one or the other, it seems to me.
I do understanding being able to talk to one man about emotions better than the other. I also find that easier with my BF than my husband. I wouldn't attribute it so much to emotional maturity as a different way of processing things, due in part to how each was raised and educated.
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