Nice little trainwreck so far
So being poly - for just a few weeks - has been incredibly time consuming and stressful because I go into things with good intentions (well, the intention to love and be honest about it) and then these situations I create come back to bite everyone involved.
I am female, married over 10 years to a wonderful guy (who is about to sign up for an identity here and read everything in the forums... he'll say he's my partner). I'm mostly straight but a bit bi-curious. The crack that let the light in was me having an intense emotional affair involving largely unrequited love and severe limerence a few months ago and being a mess (I told this dude I wanted to have a baby with him, wtf was I thinking?), thinking there must be something wrong with my marriage, thinking I must need to get a divorce - leanings of serial monogamy, trying to do the right thing, even though divorce would have been a horrible decision because my husband and I get along really well, have a great sex life, pretty good conflict resolution skills, and tons of positive affect... After realizing that divorce was one the stupidest ideas I've ever had, I realized that I have always been poly my whole life, that none of what I had done or felt had detracted from how I feel about my husband, in fact if anything it had all made me love him more.
I then came out to my husband as poly and my heart opened in a way almost similar to when I was first a mom. A couple days later I came clean about cheating for years. I refused to rationalize it anymore. He wants to stay with me but he doesn't want to let me do what I want to do which is be in a mfm romantic vee and have my husband feel free to pursue relationships, casual sex, or mff dalliances, help him fulfill his fantasies or control my jealousy if I'm not present (or am present). In short, find out who/what he is if not mono, but he's kind of obsessed with revenge or fairness and I keep telling him that no matter how many women he has sex with, he will still feel jealousy for me, but go ahead and see for yourself, I tell him. There is no "evening the score". I still feel like I have a right to set my own boundaries but there are very few things I feel really uncomfortable with as long as everyone is being respectful of each other and safe - a tall order in and of itself.
I hate hurting other people, but the way I pursue my emotional needs seems reckless. I am an NRE crackhead and it's not funny even though I joke about it. But to continue the metaphor, I feel like I'm hitting old ladies in the park and taking their purses, unwrapping the sweet sweet hard candy of NRE inside with delight while the actual human beings lay on the sidewalk suffering traumatic brain injury. I feel like the vampires in Interview with a Vampire - when I can't get humans to drain of thick heady NRE I'll desperately slay poodles and then feel bad about myself for being such a loser of a vampire, reduced to poodles.
I know what NRE is - it is when you have a few scraps of information about someone's good qualities while they're putting their best foot forward, and you enthusiastically fill in all the gaps with cupcakes and rainbows. I know not to make any decisions during NRE, I know for a fact that it changes nothing about how I feel about my cherished husband and our awesome ORE, and yet I am still vulnerable to NRE... vulnerable - hell I am seeking it out. I'm hunting it down and then squealing with ecstasy while it smites me and everyone around me. Then I get up, look around at what I've done, and tsk tsk tsk.
Recently we answered an ad for a couple to be friends with a couple and what do you think happened. I got all involved emotionally with the guy and it was super intense sexually, chatting, exchanging photos, videos, compliments, sweet nasty sex talk, even though we never met in person, and my husband was there every step of the way. Well it turns out that this guy and his wife are swingers and he said he developed feelings for me, and that's what I wanted him to do, I helped make it happen, actively. Well his wife was not happy about it but he said they'll be ok. My husband got on chat and apologized for the role he played in letting me make the emotional connection happen. The two of them had a really good discussion where my husband laid out his boundaries. I am leaving the swinger guy alone now so he and his wife can work it out but I miss him like crazy today and I didn't even know him, all I knew is that he is a good, sweet, and incredibly kind person (those are real attributes of him, it's just that I don't know what his flaws are). At least I am not contacting him to let him know how much I miss him and am thinking of him.
In brief, I am at this moment a ridiculous and terrifying poly creature of the darkness. It's lame to even talk about my pain when I've caused others so much, but I truly feel like parts of me have been lost in each of these relationships behind me now, even though I have healed and resolved my feelings beyond a shadow of doubt. I learned from each one, and it was all worth it, bla bla bla, personal growth, but right now I feel like it's not the greatest thing in the world to be a poly person. The wreckage and the damage... oh the humanity. My husband is kind of a saint for going through it all with me.
Sorry for the novel. Taking a breath and stepping back, it's really not as dramatic as all that, everyone's going to be fine, it's just kind of a pain in the ass to deal with it all and I hope it helps you to know my silly stories. If you made it through, good on ya. Thank you all for sharing your stories, this forum has helped us so much and will continue to.
A most sincere congratulations to you, my dear. By the sound of things, you are discovering the realities of this delicious path and keeping your wits about you.
Know thyself? Check.
Know thy husband? Check.
Communicate some more? Check.
Proceed with caution and empathy? Double check.
For people who survive trainwrecks, everyday is a blessing.
Compassion is essential medicine and it seems as though you have it in spades. Cultivate more and more. For yourself. For your husband. For everyone around you. It's the only way.
I look forward to virtually meeting your husband. I have a feeling he and I have a lot in common.
And thanks for sharing your story.
Thank you Catfish, your words of encouragement came at just the right moment. My husband has been harboring major resentment and finally expressed all his pain to me last night, really expressed it. I am exhausted and we have both been crying nonstop. MAJOR progress though. He was asking me for the very thing you honed in on: more compassion.
Compassion is my goal but I am still making mistakes, committing acts lacking in compassion - he has agreed to let me know when I do that, or when the only thing lacking in compassion is the pace at which I am going. He has also agreed not to agree to things just to make me happy, because that will lead to resentment later. My knee-jerk initial reaction to his intense pain and anger was to agree to give him monogamy for as long as he wants it (I didn't say that, I was just listening and thinking), but then I realized that the order of things needs to be: 1) person 1 asks for what they want/need, 2) person 2 processes it and thinks about it wrt what they want/need/are capable of, and 3) more discussion and potential compromise. In agreeing at step 1, you might get awarded a shiny "what a generous person you are" lapel pin but that will come back to stick you in the form of resentment if you're truly not all right with/capable of giving or allowing the thing in question.
Fully internalizing compassion and then making behavior choices consistent with it is a process, and I think it requires layers of paint and bears more repetition and discussion than either of us expected...
It's like the gates of communication are finally open after years of using only sex, humor, and built-up positive affect to heal distance between us. Amazing how long those things worked, but +communication is more, better. Harder and more exhausting, but better.
Thanks again. I reckon he'll appear here shortly. :)
I love these two quotes from the 1975 film Love and Death:
Sonja: He kissed me.
Boris: Any place I should know about?
Sonja: He warmed the cockles of my heart.
Boris: That's just great. Nothing like hot cockles.
Sonja: To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down.
I want to post more on this thread later but in the meantime I wish it said something about being addicted to NRE in the subject title, because I think that is so common in poly people. Actually addicted, or just totally swept away by it from time to time.
Sorry - you're right, it wasn't a very informative title. I couldn't go in and edit it though because the 12 hours have passed - I will add some tags and put NRE in the tags.
Hi! I am the husband of sohuman.
I have attitude (bad attitude even) just about everything so far. Anyway... I'm here, let's see where this goes.
[edited to get rid of me flaming him back for his initial flame of the entire poly lifestyle]
Hi Baby, I'm glad you're here and I love you.
Might I suggest doing a tag search on here for "foundations" and "lessons" there are some great threads that indicate ideas on how to approach poly in a healthy way. Compassion is important for sure, as is honest open communication, respect for others and your self, and compassions cousin if you will, consideration. All can be found in great details if you look around a bit.
If you intend to debate I suggest reading around a bit too. You have said in your post, before editing that you "have some major disagreements on key aspects of what "polyamory" really is. I will probably at some point criticize and debate every argument used to justify it as somehow more evolved, or healthier a lifestyle choice." ...Most off us have debated it all pretty much and while a good debate is awesome, I am not big on repeating myself when there are threads already that address the issues. Please feel free to add questions or comments where ever you see fit on the threads you find. Thanks. :)
I hear that this is all painful and difficult. Your whole worlds have been turned up side down it seems. I would suggest slowing down, taking a breath and keep commuinicating. You seem to be on the right track though... With some boundary negotiation and setting, things will settle with time and patience I should think.
Hello Conchordian. Welcome to the forum. Let me start, as my good friend Charlie is fond of, by saying that at anytime I could be full of shit. That said, I'm sure you and I are facing some very similar challenges. If you need an ear, feel free to PM me.
This was me in '09.
This was me last November.
This is me today.
This journey is a tough one, but just by virtue of the fact that you are here, your heart is in the right place. Best of luck to you.
Catfish: Thank you! I'm glad to be here, and I will for sure read the links you sent me. I also love your friend's saying, and will start using it as soon as humanly possible.
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