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-   -   Husband and I cant get on the same page (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70177)

WhiteTulips 06-09-2014 09:53 AM

Husband and I cant get on the same page
 
This is my first post, though I've been a lurker for quite a while. My husband and I have been having problems and I'm looking for advice from more seasoned veterans.

The background: I have identified as poly for pretty much all of my dating life, and my husband is mono. I told him before we became official that I was not looking for a monogamous relationship and he said that he was willing to open up but wanted to be exclusive for a while. Basically, that never happened. About 9 months into our relationship I met a guy I was interested in and told my husband (then boyfriend) that I wanted to start dating. At this point we had been talking engagement and he asked if I could wait so that he wasn't "just another boyfriend". So we waited. A few months later we were engaged. I started feeling nervous about the situation and made it clear that i had no desire to be in a monogamous marriage, but he reassured me that we would open up after the wedding. About a year after that we were married. On our honeymoon he broke down and told me that he would never be OK with opening up. I was incredibly resentful for quite a while, but have recently started bringing it up again.

At this point we have had many fights and a handful of productive discussions about the subject. We have started making progress, but it is raising a whole new set of issues. He says he would be OK with what is essentially unicorn chasing: a triad where we have threesomes and some dates with a girl but nothing outside a casual relationship. I have tried to explain to him why this isn't very realistic but he doesn't see it. Also, though I have had sex with women before I consider myself mostly straight and would want to date a man. Forcing a triad is not appealing to me at all: I am interested in an open relationship where we both date independently, but he won't even discuss it. I have tried to talk to him about what he's feeling, but he doesn't know why he's so strongly against it and isn't really interested in thinking about it. I am afraid of compromising with him, that if I start out by doing what he's ok with then it will completely shut the door for us to reexamine this later and he will accuse me of trying to move the goalposts.

So basically, 1) what would you do? Would you compromise and be a unicorn chaser in this situation, hoping that he loosens up later on? 2) Any tips for how to help a mono person be less threatened by sharing? He said even light flirting or a coffee date were totally unacceptable. 3) Do you think, based on your experience, that he is coming around or is he just telling me what I want to hear again? I have considered forcing the issue (I'm going on a date tonight, how you respond is your choice) but I'm not sure if it's that dire yet. He said before that he would never leave me because of my polyness, but I know he'd be hurt. Other options?

Anyway, I know it's a mess. Thanks for any insights.

bookbug 06-09-2014 12:11 PM

Oh man, that situation really sucks. At the worst, he lied to you, and at the least he lied to himself about his ability to deal with poly. Without dwelling on the fucked up psychology that led him to think it was a good idea to marry someone whose worldview regarding love and sexuality was not compatible with his, you have to deal with where you are now.

Here is my impression based up on personal experience and logic:

1. The unicorn hunting is his attempt to appease you - despite the fact it in no way addresses your needs. It might have some validity if you were bi, but you're not.

2. He chose unicorn hunting because him banging other chicks isn't threatening to him. This is not a step that will get him accustomed to the idea of you having other love interests. This suggestion is a red herring.

3. Yes, it will likely breed resentment on your part.

4. And that unicorn he is talking about? Well, she is a person - not a toy to be used to address issues in the marriage. I was a unicorn to a marriage in which the couple didn't realize they had issues (just thought it was usual marriage crap) and I got hurt. Knowingly bringing another person into a relationship with issues is unethical.

5. If you two have any hope of reaching any kind of understanding, he is going to need to communicate about what he thinks and feels and why. Why he thought it was a good idea to mislead you and marry you - you who were upfront from the beginning - might be a good place to start. I'm sure he thinks he did it because he loves you. But it's not very loving behavior to cage a person and ask her to deny a big part of who she is.

LoveBunny 06-09-2014 12:39 PM

I'd give him one more warning, as in "Honey, in 5 months I am going to start looking for a man to date. Do your inner work, and let's work out some guidelines, so you can be ok with the situation."

You've given him plenty of time to get used to the idea. This isn't even a case where he thought he was going into a monogamous marriage--he knew it wasn't who you are. I'm sure he hoped he'd relax into it, but now it's clear one of you isn't going to get what you want.

I wouldn't do the unicorn thing as a "compromise." You're not bi and you don't want a closed triad, and he doesn't really want do date anyone else, so who does it benefit? But are you prepared to lose your husband if he can't handle you being with another man? I know he says he'll never leave you because of polyamory, but what if he makes both your lives hell because he's miserable and resentful and the marriage disintegrates? If he can't even handle flirting and coffee, you guys have a rough road ahead of you.

Speaking from personal experience, dealing with a mono/poly marriage when one party is resistant is no easy feat. I managed monogamy for my husband's sake for over a decade, and I was okay, but my feelings of something missing never went away for all my husband's hoping they would. We had to confront it eventually. So, you can deal with this now, or wait, like I did, until it becomes your mid-life crisis.

friskyone4u 06-09-2014 02:20 PM

You two have obviously made some mistakes here, the first one was to get married. Your husband obviously did not listen to what you were saying since it was obvious that you were telling him that if you married him you would be dating other men at some point. Your mistake was assuming that since you told him how it was going to be and he gave you a lukewarm response that it would be OK, there was not enough discussion then. I think he said Ok initially hoping that once you were married your feelings might go away which they have not.

The simple fact is, fairly or not, the majority of men are not going to be OK with this, and since you are both young and no children involved, i see little hope that you are going to resolve this successfully. Now, you can have a different concept of what successful is. You can give him the time limit ultimatum and just go ahead and do it, and he may stay with you FOR A WHILE. But the odds of having the relationship sustained by you putting your foot on his throat is not good. You will be in this constant state of drama, wondering how long it will last, and as Love Bunny said, your road ahead will be filled with anger, resentment, and for a time maybe bludgeoned acceptance. Hardly a recipe for a happy fulfilling relationship when your husband will be miserable and he will make you miserable.

Your husband has to search his feelings and either accept the fact that for him to stay married to you, there are going to be other men sexual partners, or he has to leave you because you certainly know what you need and want.

Good luck

PS. The unicorn idea is silly.

Inyourendo 06-09-2014 02:47 PM

Wow. I honestly would have had the marriage annulled at that point. I would have been furious! My ex husband tried that unicorn hunting crap and it doesn't work, it's a great way to ensure you NEVER find another partner.

GalaGirl 06-09-2014 02:54 PM

It's not a situation I envy. I am so sorry you are struggling with this right now. :(

Quote:

Forcing a triad is not appealing to me at all: I am interested in an open relationship where we both date independently, but he won't even discuss it.
Maybe he is monoamorous and does not want to date. Have you discused where just you date? Def don't force a triad though. Def don't be sucking other people into this by dating them before this is cleared up between you.

Quote:

I have tried to talk to him about what he's feeling, but he doesn't know why he's so strongly against it and isn't really interested in thinking about it.
Could he be willing to read and circle anything that applies?
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf
http://www.kathylabriola.com/article...u-in-poly-hell
http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/p.../jealousy.html

Labriola also has a jealousy workbook.

I think it would have been better for you to date that potential BF when you and spouse were still BF/GF yourselves. Sort this stuff out earlier rather than later. Even so -- in case it helps:

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...lationship.pdf


Core beliefs can change, but he would have to want to change them. He said on your honeymoon he would never be ok -- is that still his hard limit? If he's just not going there at all EVER? And you def do not want monogamous marriage? Than you two remain incompatible -- just better to have sorted it out while dating than this far into the relationship. :(

Quote:

I am afraid of compromising with him, that if I start out by doing what he's ok with then it will completely shut the door for us to reexamine this later and he will accuse me of trying to move the goalposts.
Have you articulated this fear to him? Have you suggested a different approach than what he suggests?

In the end you are the only one who can answer what your willingess/ability is. Are you willing to compromise along the way? Are you able to compromise along the way? Then he is in charge of his compatibility.

Given his history for putting off /postpone, it doesn't read as "joyful yes" to me. It reads as "how little can I do/how much can I manage to avoid dealing with." Given your history for "putting off" also since both people are responsible for co-creating this situation?

I think you are BOTH coming to a place where both are being called to STOP putting off hard topics like you have in past hoping it would sort itself out on its own or "go away." Coming to a place where you learn to do better conflict resolution and not have it break out into fights. I mean that kindly, not judge-y at all. :o Everyone could grow skills somewhere.

I think you could both have the conversations that need to be had and get the lay of the land, review ALL the options on the table. Including considering if perhaps it is kinder to both to talk about an amicable split.

Again I am so sorry. :(

Galagirl

LovingRadiance 06-09-2014 07:27 PM

When I explained to my husband that monogamy wasn't a reality, that at heart I was poly, that I wasn't going to continue to live a lie for his comfort; all hell broke loose.

But-my bottom line was, this is me, it's absolutely your choice if you can handle being with me or not, but I'm not going to pretend to be someone else for your comfort.
I agreed to staggering rules that decreased over a period of time while he got used to the changes-specified periods of time. NOT including him not allowing me to be in contact with the other love of my life.

It was hell. I won't detail that hell here.

My advice from that experience is; you need to set YOUR hard limits and let him know that these are your hard limits and he can choose to stay or go, but you aren't going to continue pretending to be someone else for his comfort. That you will respect his decision if he decides he needs to leave, but loving YOU means loving who YOU REALLY ARE. It does not mean loving the person he imagines you would be if you weren't poly.

nycindie 06-09-2014 11:41 PM

I think most men resist the idea of their female partners being able to date other men because they see it as a reflection of their masculinity - you know, like they're thinking, "I'm not man enough to keep my woman happy in the bedroom, that's why she gets it elsewhere." Or they are afraid that is what others will think and don't want to be seen as cuckolds . They are also usually afraid they won't measure up in comparison. A woman isn't as threatening because she has different parts and gives another woman a kind of lovin' a man cannot - and well, of course if he can take the lazy man's way in and get in on some of that action... score!

Don't compromise on what you want. To go on a unicorn hunt when that's not what you want is sheer stupidity and will only set you and your marriage up for disaster. He lied to you and is now attempting to manipulate you out of fear. My suggestion is get into therapy together, preferably with a therapist or counselor who is poly-friendly or well-versed in alternative lifestyles. You have to confront and deal with his dishonesty and fears, I think, before moving forward.

Marcus 06-10-2014 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhiteTulips (Post 269084)
On our honeymoon he broke down and told me that he would never be OK with opening up. I was incredibly resentful for quite a while, but have recently started bringing it up again.

I too would have been resentful. I would have been resentful as I removed myself from his presence, went to the courthouse, got an annulment, and told him to call me if he ever decides to grow up (and not a moment before).

The fact that you stayed with him when he made this admission to you is startling to me. I cannot imagine someone leading me along and shoveling shit in my ears for that long and wanting to continue having a relationship that I KNOW is based on an outright lie.

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhiteTulips (Post 269084)
1) what would you do? Would you compromise and be a unicorn chaser in this situation, hoping that he loosens up later on?

Me personally? Ah heeeell naw.

What do I think you should do? I would recommend you come to terms with exactly how willing you are to live within the restrictions of this person; a person whose views of romantic relating are fundamentally incompatible to your own and a person who has demonstrated that they are perfectly comfortable lying in your face.

Do you want to coddle this person? Sounds like he needs to get smacked in the mouth with reality. Your approach of "I'm going on a date, you can feel however you want to about it" is about the most giving I could imagine recommending to you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhiteTulips (Post 269084)
2) Any tips for how to help a mono person be less threatened by sharing? He said even light flirting or a coffee date were totally unacceptable.

One thing to consider is that there are a number of mono folks who date poly folks and make it work. The issue with your husband is that he is not poly-friendly. It doesn't matter if he's mono or poly, the problem is that he wants *you* to be mono (which you aren't).

I'm not sure how to make someone more comfortable with letting another adult live their life. No doubt there are things you could try but I am skeptical that long term improvement is likely to progress to a degree that you'd notice.

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhiteTulips (Post 269084)
3) Do you think, based on your experience, that he is coming around or is he just telling me what I want to hear again?

I think based on *your* experiences that this fellow will say literally anything to get what he wants. He's proven that this is the case... beyond any doubt.

FullofLove1052 06-10-2014 02:33 AM

What I would do? Seek counselling or separate temporarily. I am not going to say annullment or divorce just yet. I would suggest a therapist who can handle relationships of any shape. We have a poly-friendly therapist, and even as the former polyamorist in my mono/poly marriage, I went into it with mixed feelings. I would suggest individual therapy for one/both and marriage counselling.

He needs to find his voice so to speak, and he needs to be able to articulate what he is feeling and why. Saying, "I do not like xyz," means nothing if you cannot say, "I am not keen on xyz because it makes me feel ____." In addition to that, work has to be done. He has to be willing to do the work, and there is work for you to do as well.

Is he afraid of losing you? Is he afraid that you will want to have children with this potential partner? Is he afraid that he will be displaced in your life? Is he afraid that his boundaries will be trampled over? Have you asked him if he is afraid of anything?

I would not be a unicorn hunter. What purpose would that serve but wrecking an already shaky marriage? It takes a while to open a relationship. Some spend a year or years talking, seeking counselling, or addressing the issues in their marriage. I see cracks in the little that you have described. All poly will do right now is make those cracks worse. It is not fair to drag anyone into your unstable drama. That includes a new partner. If you were seeking to date someone and you explained this, they would not touch it with a 30 metre pole.

You do not sound like you are compatible. Mono/poly relationships can work, but if your spouse is resistant, you are asking for trouble. Under no circumstances do you even need to attempt to get him on board with what you are thinking. You have to respect how he feels and create a safe haven for him to feel comfortable sharing what he thinks and feels. This is why I suggested counselling. Your attempts at communication might be failing because the communication is missing something. Trust is missing because he is being dishonest with you. Only he knows the motivation behind that. It could very well be that he is curtailing to you because he is afraid that if he says no, you will leave. You cannot shut down or get frustrated because he views are not in line with what you want either. You have to be open to what he is saying, and he has to be open to what you are saying. All frustration and irritation will do is breed resentment. Your views are different, and he will likely never understand why you want another man. One key is for him to learn how to be accepting of you and who you are/what you desire and not just tolerant or accommodating for the sake of keeping you quiet and happy.

Baby steps. Guide him to this website, suggest books for him to read, give him resources, or find a therapist who is equipped to handle something like this. It helps to have someone stand in the gap.

I hope it works out for you.


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