Newbie...excited but scared at the same time.
My husband and I recently decided to open our relationship after being married for 8 years. I was the one that initiated this change in our relationship. After much discussion, we decided that this would be a positive move for our already stable relationship. Now that the relationship is officially open, I feel like I have been thrown back "into the pool" so to speak and I am excited and nervous. There is someone that I am interested in that is non-poly and just bringing up that I am in an open relationship was a challenge..but I was able to do it. I will take things slow because I need to consider that this is our first experience with an open relationship. Does anyone have any advice to offer regarding our entry in to polyamory or about how to approach people that we are interested in that are non-poly?
Welcome and congrats on the open relationship. I keep pondering the approaching thing (only from a single perspective) myself. Specifically talking about approaching non-polys or poly-curious people, my only thing would be to ease into and don't put pressure on them or yourselves. Go slow and be patient. And communicate! There are lots of great threads with advice on being poly in general. I know I really enjoyed reading around here when I first came on. Good luck with the someone you're interested in approaching!
I can relate to that feeling of fear and excitement. It's a good idea to go slow and let the feeling settle before moving on... there are some great threads on here about what some of us have learned and some ways to approach poly in terms of setting yourself up with a foundation that works... you can find them by doing a tag search for "lessons" and "foundations." Other than that it sounds like by identifying as open that you might not yet know the avenue of exploration you want to travel down... is that so? If not and you find that a poly approach as you define it is a better fit then great... as long as the two of you understand what meeting and becoming involved with another person will mean to you in terms of depth and connection or just fun then you are good to go in making a move.
One thing I've found that is important to address early on is expectations about time and arrangements and make sure everyone is on the same page.
My very limited experience has been that non-poly people have no framework for how a non-monogamous relationship functions on a practical level so they either fall back to assuming things will look similar to a mono relationship or they have fears of the unknown and are hesitant to move forward.
If you haven't already talked to your husband about this it would be a good idea to address how often you might see this other person. Once or twice a week? Every day? All day on a weekend? What about sleepovers? How soon would you like your husband and potential partner to meet and what are they comfortable with? Do you anticipate being able to spend time as a threesome or would it be mostly separate? Are you out to your friends and family or do you need to keep this relationship private? How do you feel about displays of affection in front of each other? What about in public? How much do you share about one when talking to the other?
Once you and your husband are in agreement, you have something concrete to offer your potential partner in terms of time, attention, affection and privacy. It's helpful for the new non-poly person to see that you've thought this out and has a good idea of what to expect and that your husband is in agreement and accepting of the relationship. Good luck!
Ok - maybe a couple starters............
1> Be prepared for the cowboy/girl syndrome. Advertising that you are 'open' to many people will mark you as easy pickings for fun times. And some can sing a pretty convincing song. I don't mean this to sound cynical but the fact is that knowledge of real polyamory is still minimal in the world today and this is the stereotype that rides along with it. A lot of the work you'll end up putting in will be educational. And yea, you may get 'used' (or be a user) at first and only time and experience will get you past that.
2> Similarly, prepare to reinforce your heart muscles to withstand the likely shock of caring for someone who chooses (or is forced) to move on because they are simply incapable at this time in their lives to do the "work" thats involved. Unless you are blessed, you'll likely experience this too ! And it's part and parcel but knowing that doesn't make it any easier.
Good luck :)
I am the husband. I had a freakout on here about a month ago. I too am terrified about going back into the scene. I think we can do it together though. I know I can't do it alone.
welcome back lunshbox :)
how can I trust again?
Lunshbox and Imajica,
I wonder how things are going for you too. I wonder for informational and strictly selfish reasons. I and my wife (of less than two years) have been going through a struggle for most of our marriage about her feeling a need to be poly and me being scared and outwardly resistant to her having a physical relationship with anyone other than me. I love her and want her to be happy, but the thought of her being poly leads me to feeling unsafe, taken advantage of, and that I should run away from this marriage and never look back.
Prior to getting married she spoke of wanting to eventually have sex with someone other than me. I told her how uncomfortable I was with that idea but to express my commitment to her I gave her basic guidelines of how I thought I may eventually be comfortable with the idea. First off, was for us to build a safe and secure relationship between the two of us and that this could be expected to take years. I told her I imagined such a time being when we were both commiting ourselves at least nearly equally to our relationship, household, and family. At that current time, I was the sole income earner and she was an unemployed student. I made attempts to explain that if she were to have another relationship right then that I would feel used and abused of as I worked 40+ hours at a job I strongly disliked to support both of us while she got to take advantage of the support and security I provided to pursue sexual and emotional adventures outside of our relationship. Internally I felt that if she had time for other lovers why couldn't she be using that time to get and work at a job so I may not have to work so much.
Another guideline I gave that I thought (and still think) may help me feel safer with the idea of her being with another guy physically is if we start out by experimenting with someone else together. She has no interest in women sexually (been there, done that, doesn't want to go back there) and even though I'm not attracted to guys I said I'd even be interested in trying the idea of the two of us sharing a guy. She says she has no interest in doing this either. I have tried to explain that such a situation may (I emphasized may) help me feel safer with the idea of her being with a guy without me. She continued to give excuses such as she wouldn't be interested in any guy unless she felt a strong attraction to him and the couple of guys that she mentioned I had absolutely no interest in them...mainly because she had past sexual encounters with them. My biggest stipulation was that the guy had to be someone new to each of us so that she and I would be as equals going into the encounter.
So we get married....then a few months afterwards she meets someone. Tells me he's just a friend and as a way to help me be comfortable with her hanging out with him after school, while I'm at work, and on weekends reassures me she has no interest in him beyond friendship and that he feels the same towards her. Oh then he's giving her foot massages and toe suckings because he has a foot fetish that his wife doesn't satisfy, but that my wife and he are still just friends and all my wife is getting out of this is awesome foot rubs for her sore feet. Then a month or so down the road she tells me they are making out and giving each other hand/finger jobs. I flip. She says that she thought I'd be okay with those things because several months back before getting married, along with the above guidelines, I said that at the moment all I could ever possibly imagine being comfortable with was her making out and mutual manual stimulation....but I thought I made it clear back then that I wasn't currently comfortable with that, but that was the point imagined I could actually get to if we did the work together to build a strong enough bond with one another.
So after several tumultuous months of me suffering in agony and making it clear how uncomfortable, used, and tossed aside I was feeling she and he finally broke off acting like more that friends. They still fence together and go to lunch and work on projects together. My wife still wishes I could be okay with her continuing a physical relationship with him. But I can't imagine when I'll ever be okay with it..especially him. Trust is a big problem for me. She eventually admitted trying to press him into having sex with her and he refused because he knew I wouldn't be okay with it. From what she had told him, I was okay with the rest and when I told him I wasn't he felt they were already to "in love" with each other to break up on my accord.
How can I ever trust her with someone else if she can't/won't stay within the guidelines of what I say I'm comfortable with?
Being poly requires lots of open communication and she had trouble both talking about her feelings and listening to mine. How can poly ever work for us until she can stand to hear my feelings without taking them personally? By the way, I am careful to use I feel X when I experience Y statements and have read books and been in non-violent-communication workshops and even taken a class all about being effectively assertive. My wife was abused sexually for years of her childhood and early teen years so there are remnants of such treatment that make it difficult for her to deal with her own and especially the feelings with others...but I'm hard pressed to see how focusing on a relationship outside of ours (other than the relationship between herself and herself) is going help improve her being able to empathize with my feelings.
We are both now unemployed students. I lost my job when I entered nursing school. I will graduate as an RN in the spring of 2013. Until then we are living on credit. I'm scared that either a) she's going to decide to have another relationship without my blessing and I'm going to have to end our marriage or b) she's going to leave me because she wants to pursue another relationship and knows I'm just not going to be okay with it. The longer we go on the deeper I get into debt and the more I feel I have to lose. I know money is petty, but I don't want to deal with the issue of being an extra $20-30K in debt and having to spend additional years paying that off alone because she gave up.
Okay this post is going on way too long...there is just so many details and so much complexity. But just a couple more things....
So yes, I could be pursuing an outside relationship for myself, but I can't imagine having the time for years to come until I'm out of school and finished my Master's degree. She, on the other hand can snap her fingers and have guys lined up to hop in bed with her. I feel this part of the situation is unresolvably inequitable, at least for the foreseeable future.
Maybe I'd be a bit more open to "sharing" her if I was feeling anywhere near being sexually satisfied. Ever since her "friend" denied her sex, which she says has never happened before. And after having had sex with +200 guys that rejection came as a total shock to her and now her sexual desire, at least with me has gone from a 9 to maybe a 1. I've never said so out loud, but in my mind it is hard for me to not deny if she hadn't tried to go there with him she wouldn't have been denied and she wouldn't have felt rejected and we'd be having sex several days a week still...but that's something I know just isn't right to say and not even so right to be thinking.
Our current lack of a sex life surely down't lead me to feeling like I can ever be comfortable with her having sex with someone else. Maybe if it was the other way around and she was sexually insatiable and I was a once-a-month person I'd give her my blessing to get satisfaction elsewhere, but I'm here, I'm available, and I'm a good (if not great) lover that she used to say was the best lover she had and the only guy that could bring to orgasm almost every time. She didn't even think she could get there prior to me.
Arrgghhh!! And ahhhhh! It's been quite a relief getting all this out. I hope no one minds my hijacking this thread, but I had no idea all this would be coming out when I began replying to this thread.
Thanks for listening,
Its hard to come back from cheating. Trust is a huge thing in a relationship and when that is damaged it can take years to re-build. I feel for you.
It sounds like she is trying to suck it up for you and be what you want her to be. No doubt that would have an effect on her connection to you and therefore your connection to her. This is something that needs a lot of work to resolve and it sounds like you are both knee deep in other things to be able to spend time on working on the foundation of your relationship. I think this is where to start before opening up to other men.
I take it you are monogamous in identity? There is a lot of threads that might help sort out how a mono/poly relationship can work and what pit falls they have if you do a search in the tag section for "mono/poly." You might want to have a look at the tag "cheating" also in case that yields some results that are helpful.
Hello again everyone,
This has been a busy year indeed for my wife and I. We decided to dip our toes in the water of polyamory and decided that it was going to work. Both of us entered into relationships and things have been going swimingly every since. The best part is that we found another couple who we were attracted to and everything worked out great. So we have a nice little quad that works for us.
This is not to say that we dont have our fair share of problems. We still have jelousy issues pop up now and then and we have to constantly work on communication. It takes a lot of work to maintain an open marriage, but it is working for us.
Jason, i am not sure what advice to give you. It took a lot for me to be ok with everything that happened. Everything happened in steps until both of us were comfortable enough for the other to progress into a sexual and then an emotional relationship. The biggest thing, and something that will be a recuring theme on this site, was and still is good communication. If neither one of us listened to the other person or we just infered what we thought the other person meant then it surely wouldn't have worked. I wish you luck.
Thanks to everyone for the advice,
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