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-   -   Husband in love -- Poly could happen, but grieving. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70180)

Sigyn 06-09-2014 05:29 PM

Husband in love -- Poly could happen, but grieving.
My husband recently fell in love with another woman. She's a sweetie, and this experience has done wonderful things for our relationship -- we're more open, more receptive, and more certain of how solid our relationship is. And the sex has been better. I'm very aware of human biology, and he's right on schedule: our infant son has just become ambulatory, leaving our nomadic arms free, so his offspring will probably survive without him now, and he can find a new mate. But because we aren't semi-humanoid apes, and we have pre-frontal lobes, we can make decisions as to how we want our life to be, and polyamory makes sense in a lot of logical ways. He has no control over dopamine and norepinephrine spikes, and all I can supply him with is oxytosin, and even our son can do that.

Also, she might not even want anything to do with us, and we both accept and respect that. But regardless of whether or not anything happens with "Sweetie," regardless of whether or not I'm from now on going to be either making room in my life for a new intense social interaction, or holding my husband's head as he cries on my shoulder because he's been rejected, I'm experiencing something Right Now that I recognize, and hate.

I'm grieving. I haven't lost my husband or his love. But the vaguely open relationship we had before (getting laid is okay, but come home,) which was frankly a situation we've only faced a couple of times before (we don't go hunting for mates -- we're mostly happy at home) has changed to a potentially polyamorous one, and I find myself grieving. What we had is gone, and will never come back. It's not her fault, it's not his, but I'm grieving for it, and it bothers me. I recognize grief -- I felt it when I tried to break up with my first husband (we got back together when his problems eased up) and again when he died, so I know what grief feels like, and this is it.

So what do I do? He's offered to never do anything with her, sincerely, but that wouldn't solve this, and part of me is very excited about the possibility, and happy about the new, deeper relationship I now have with him. But I wonder if any other polys have had this. Without jealousy, without hatred, without any thought that this might be a mistake, part of me is miserable, and I'm ticked off about it.

Also, my own biology is kicking in. I find myself snipping, which biologically is sound -- if he's spending time and resources on another woman, my best bet as a nomadic hunter-gatherer is to clear the path for a new potential suitor, so I should drive him away.

You know, being logical sucks. You know why you're doing something, but that doesn't mean you can stop doing it.

Anyway, has anyone else suffered grief without jealousy during the start of a going-from-semi-monogamy-to-polyamorus relationship? Is this just me?

opalescent 06-09-2014 05:46 PM

Of course you are grieving. You're grieving a very real loss. The loss of your relationship with your husband as you have known it. It's no one's fault but it is a loss. And you don't know what's coming, can't know what's coming. So there is fear and uncertainty too.

It's totally ok to feel these things. Many people do. Your husband, in the corner of his brain not taken up with new love and NRE, may feel similarly for his relationship with you. But even if he doesn't your feelings are what they are. If you don't feel them and move through and with them, they will stick with you and possibly poison your future. Feel the grief, acknowledge it and give it time to sit with you, and you with it. You've already felt the possibilities for joy in poly - this is the flip side and also totally normal.

You're not alone.

Sigyn 06-09-2014 06:13 PM

But what if it gets worse? And how long does it last? My current husband eased the grief of my last husband, but I was still only semi-functional, bleak and bitter for nearly a year. (You can see how understanding he is.) I still suffer grief spikes from my last husband, mostly when his daughter does something I wish her father could see. This has got to be easier, right?

GalaGirl 06-09-2014 06:38 PM

It's normal to grieve a loss, even if the change is a wanted one. Just like going from "couple" to "parents" -- that too is a change even if a baby is a wanted change. It takes people however long it takes to process but if you wanted to look at a rough chart, here is one.


That doesn't mean other bumps won't happen along the way, but it can help to know that even if on the "tree level" things feel shaky, up on the "forest level" it's ok to feel that for the situation at hand. It can also help to spread out some known bumps. Sometimes life dumps whatever on you, but if you know you are still grieving ex husband hard right now, and struggling with anticipatory grief in opening your current marriage to more, maybe holding off on changes isn't so terrible. Your current husband is willing to work with that so could go with it and not rush into big life changes and piling up a bunch together.

Maybe keep on with the "making room" and processing in heart and mind , but don't move on to "pursuit" just yet. Spread it out some. Talk about poly hell issues and how to minimize them. Think and make ready. It's ok to take time to do that. And though he's not newborn babe-in-arms any more, a toddler still requires a lot of care. Find a balance.


You know, being logical sucks. You know why you're doing something, but that doesn't mean you can stop doing it.
Yup. It can stink. But one must still have time to process it in even if one knows WHY.


Anyway, has anyone else suffered grief without jealousy during the start of a going-from-semi-monogamy-to-polyamorus relationship? Is this just me?
Not just you. BTDT. So have others. You will be ok. Breathe, go slow, talk with spouse, and slowly find your way. It takes time for the "new normal" to become normal.


mmkeekah 06-09-2014 06:53 PM

I agree on allowing the grieving process to happen naturally. But I also believe you can begin to focus on the positives this new relating style will bring to your life. The level of honesty and openness you may achieve with your husband can only help you both grow as a couple and as individuals. The choice to embrace your husband's new love relationship will also expand your mind and your heart if you allow it. and the personal growth you may experience will astound you.

Grieve as long as you must but keep your heart and mind open about the positive aspects of this relating style and focus on your own personal growth.

Sigyn 06-09-2014 08:14 PM

I have focused on the positive. I like the idea. Intellectually. It's the uncontrollable bits that are annoying. Thank you, though.

mmkeekah 06-09-2014 08:34 PM

Perhaps I didn't say it clearly. I'm saying when the uncomfortable thoughts occur, try refocusing your thought patterns on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative. Some might use this familiar phrase, "fake it til you make it" - which isn't exactly what I want to convey but closer.

When I first started out in my polyamorous relationship, I also found those negative and mood destroying thoughts when the man I love was with his other love or was gushing about his other love. Part of our relationship involves sharing with each other our thoughts, feelings, etc about our other partners to the extent our other partners are comfortable with us sharing. While I enjoyed/enjoy listening to the joy and happiness my lover was/is experiencing, I also experienced pangs of loss and fear.

When that happened, I immediately (and internally) stopped those thoughts and focused instead on what was positive about the exchange - or if he was gone for the night and i was alone and those thoughts crept in, I focused instead on what my polyamourous relationship allowed me and what it meant to me as an individual - those values I strongly believed in that lead me to be a part of a polyamorous relationship. And I focused on the values my partner and I shared, reminding myself that him being with another love was part of being in love with a polyamorous person and that I wanted to celebrate who he was including all the polyamorous parts.

Lastly, while it felt like the relationship I knew before was ending, I focused on the fact that it wasn't truly a loss - it was a growth process that we were going through together and who we were becoming both as a couple and as individuals was actually more exciting than what we had previously.

It's a continual process - not just a one time deal.

That's what worked/works best for me - is not allowing myself to dwell on the parts that are uncomfortable. YMMV

Sigyn 06-10-2014 01:36 AM

Thank you, mmkeekah. I hope I can deal with this, and I'm trying. It's just very strange to me still, so far. On a personal level. On an intellectual level, I've had this thought experiment all the time.

Actually, since we had had this discussion before it happened, I'm very glad that we prepared. Because basically, we dodged a bullet, here. If this had happened, and we had a strictly monogamous relationship, it would either be over, or ruined at some level, and it is neither. It's just that it's different, and I'm relieved that it's still there, and not ruined. I just don't know how to keep the grief from causing depressive symptoms that my conscious mind cannot control.

GalaGirl 06-10-2014 04:49 AM

What is your need from your partner? Could you circle?

Have you articulated them? Have you expressed how you feel enough?

Those things could help lighten the burden along the way, but in the end I think it's also the passage of time.


Sigyn 06-10-2014 09:01 AM

Oh, gods, yes. We're communicating left right and center, more than we ever have before. We have the most functional relationship I've ever seen in a couple, to, (as is clear,) the extant that when he falls in love with another woman, my response is, "Okay, here's why, now let's see how we can work that."

No, I'm not afraid of losing him, and he's giving me what I need, consciously and meticulously. I'm just grieving something that has changed dramatically in a short amount of time -- which has changed whether "Sweetie" wants to join us or not (which we will of course respect.) That might also be part of the issue; the uncertainty.

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