A Mono walking the POLY journey
Where to begin.. I am 39 and my wife is 36. We have been married for 14 years and together for 18. It has been a closed-monogamous for all that time. We have 3 children, 1 girl and 2 boys (8,10,13). Our marriage has been very happy and successful. It still is. We've always had date nights, as much as we love and adore our kids we've made it a point to prioritize our marriage (for the sake of the kids) over our role as parents. This has meant date nights every week, weekend getaways without the kids every few months and the occasional vacation without the kids. Even thouigh our relationship and marriage has always been smooth sailing, we've always saw a marriage therapist. Not due to any serious problem, just the value we saw in it in terms of getting an objective 3rd party and as a way of maintaing the health of our relationship... You can always learn more!
As far as I am concerned, I am one of those rare people who have been able to maintain a feeling of newness in our relationship. Sure it is not as intense as it was earlier in our marriage/relationship, but it is still there. Of course it is coupled with a deep sense of security and bondedness as well.. My wife has some times struggled however, not due to the lack in our marriage, but because she has always felt that monogamy was too limited, she felt she needed more people in her life for emotional, relational and sexual reasons. She said that it wasn't because of what I failed to give her, it is what she feels she can give and cannot because of monogamy.
She has respected the fact that I am a MONO person. Partly because of the way I am wired, partly because of the experiences I have lived. I have never dated anyone other than my wife. I have always been very heavy, struggling with binge eating since I was in my early teens. Bullying throughout my childhood connected to weight issues has damaged my self worth. MY parents marriage (physical & emotional abuse) and the way it ended (divorce and infidelity) was a very traumatic event for me. I am terrified of it happening to me. I dread a divorce, and fear (at times) not being enough for my wife. I struggle with Jealousy and fear of abandonment and loss. The idea of any open marriage, sometimes even hearing that my wife desires another man on occassion triggers intense emotions of rage, jealousy, insecurity and fears of abandonment. I rarely act on it or discuss these feelings with her, because I do not want to become a burden to her. I want to be confident within myself to have full disclosure and honesty in my marriage.
In September 2010, my wife went back to school to pursue her dream of becoming a Nurse. I have encouraged her to do so for a while now, and it wasn't until now when the children are old enough to be a bit more independant that she allowed her self to pursue this dream. I've been more than willing to do more around the house and take on more hours at work in order to help her pursue this.. She has been such a wonderful wife and mother, and I would do anything to show her how much I love her and to demonstrate my gratitude for her being in my life. I am happy she is doing this for herself.
It started near the end of september that she began speaking of a fellow student that is in her class. I will call him OG (other guy). OG is 23. Naturally my wife and he have a common interest and goal in mind right now, in that they are both wanting to become nurses. Since September they have spent many of their lunch times together and gotten together to study etc. It was clear by October 2010 that she had developed strong feelings for him, and that is when her and I started seriously discussing POLY and opening our marriage.
At first I was hesitant, and started feeling some deep anger at OG, started crying more and feeling some jealousy and fearing my wife would leave me for this younger guy who she seems to have more in common with (right now at least). My wife has been patient and has re-assured me that her growing feelings and attraction to OG is because of OG, not because of any lack on my part. She loves me as she always does. She said that she would be willing end contact with OG if that would make me feel safe and secure again.
I wanted that to happen, but I could see how much pleasure and joy she was experiencing in this new friendship in her life. So I gave the go ahead, I said that if she wanted to see where this relationship with OG went, then she had my blessing... To say that, to open our marriage like that just gutted me. I almost felt like passing out.. I could hardly sleep for a week after I said that, I had dreams about my wife with OG.
The week after we had the discussion, she had her first date with OG. She assurred me that it was non-sexual. I trust her. Since then, her and OG have had one night a week (Friday) she calls "OG NIGHT", where they have their date night.
Their relationship turned sexual near the end of January.. This was also the same night my wife and I explored the possibility of her having a night at OG's place (Friday).. The pattern being that she goes to OG right from college, and she comes home late morning Saturday after they've had breakfast.. Staying the night and my wife's sexual relationship with OG has been the most recent development.. Since then, not much new has been added.
This is getting long, but I felt this was needed to explain the back ground of how things got to where they are now.. I'll post again shortly to talk about some of my experiences with this now, some of my emotions surrounding this situation and how we are working this out now since it has been ongoing and some kind of a regular pattern between my wife and OG have developed.. I have some strong feelings about it, both negative and positive and I just need a few minutes to collect my thoughts so I can post a more succint message next time.
For the last two months, since the end of January 2011, the relationship between OG and my wife have been sexual, and has been following a regular pattern which has not changed much. Obviously she would be seeing him everyday at college.. To be expected, at least for next 3 years anyway. The Friday date night has continued since it began in October 2010, and my wife's staying over at OG's place on Friday night has been ongoing since the end of January.... For some reason, OG and my wife have been comfortable with that, and niether have been expecting or wanting more time together
Now I'll explain some of my feelings and reactions about all of this:
I have met OG on several occassions, and he seems like a very nice man. Just meeting him has put many of my fears concerning him to rest. Sure he is younger than me (which bothers me), but he is no where near the image of perfection I was expecting. he is good looking, but far from some hollywood ideal. He is in good shape, but more in a natural sense. He is definitely not an athletic jock type (another fear). He seems to treat my wife with respect..
OG and I have talked on the phone several times, where we've talked about being the two men in my wife's life in a romantic and sexual way. He has assurred me that he respects my role as my wife's husband, primary and life partner. He says that even though he would prefer to have a more central role in my wife's life, meaning in a V with her and I, he understands that my relationship with my wife comes first so he has not broached the subject with my wife.
My wife has actually been a loving mother and a more mindful and engaged wife. Some how the NRE she has been experiencing with OG has a positive impact on us. She says the feelings she gets from being with OG energizes her to be a better mother and wife.. Our sex life has always been a central part of my wife and my relationship, however since OG it has picked up even more. Some of the best sex we've had is when she comes home after spending Friday night at OG's... She says she wants me to know that I have not been replaced, that her love and desire for me has not lessened. That she is still my wife and she is not going anywhere.
I admit to feeling some negative emotions surrounding this as well...
I feel some intense resentment towards OG, even though I kind of like the guy. Friday use to my wife and my date night, however Friday works the best for OG and in order to have any real chance of growing a relationship with OG, my wife and my date night got moved to Saturday. Which is not a huge problem, but does feel unfair. It feels like it should be the other way around, that OG should FIT into our lives and not ther other way around.
I find it painful (emotionally) to make love to my wife. When I look into her eyes I almost cry at times. Since we were both virgins when we married, the only other man she could have been sexual with has been OG. Looking into her eyes and knowing that she has seen another man naked just guts me. What is she thinking about when she is with me? Does she think of me or him? Who does she recieve more pleaure from?
My wife and I have talked about this, and her truth and honesty (In keeping with full disclosure and having no secrets in our marriage) have been gut wrenching to hear. She admits to finding the sexual relationship with OG to be more intense and enjoyable than with me. She agree's that part of what atrracts her to OG is his age, and that does make a difference when they have sex. His penis is larger than mine and he can maintain sexual involvement for longer than I. She admits to thinking about OG often times when we are making love... Which has been ego shattering to hear. Knowing that sends me into an internal rage againgst OG. Instead of OG being a guy who my wife also loves, he starts to seem like a guy my wife prefers over me.. It hurts so much. But I would rather face my insecurities head on than live in fear of them... My wife assures me that there are many things I provide that OG cannot. She lists my sense of humour, me being well read in a variety of subjects, and my conversational ability.... I am also a wonderul father... Not great compensation for me, after hearing my wife prefers OG sexually.
My therapist has suggested (with my wife's agreement) that I explore the possibility of doing some dating on my own. That maybe having something on the side would help me... The problem is my weight, I feel I don't have the same opportunities to meet women as my wife does men. Part of my writing off the possibility of meeting and dating other women is because my self doubt and bad body image (I am obese), and a track record going back to my early teens of always being in unrequited love scenarios that has NEVER worked out for me (except for my wife of course).
Bottom line, I don't khow this is all going to play out. Sometimes I feel happy for my wife, some times I feel rage and extreme jealousy and resentment towards OG and am tempted to pull the plug on this whole POLY thing. Sometimes I feel closer to OG because we both love and are being loved by the same woman, at other times I resent the amount of time they spend together (5 days a week at school, Friday nights and Saturday mornings etc.)... That is where I am at right now. Sorry for being so long winded. I'll be glad to respond to questions that you have. Any input or advice would be appreciated.
P.S.: Next to my children, my wife and my career, my great passion in life is music (both listening and playing instruments). My favourite musical act is Great Big Sea, which is a Newfoundland folk/rock group. My screen name CaptainKIDD23 is the name of a traditional newfie folk song (Captain Kidd) that GBS does.. Just wanted to put that out there because GBS is something I am almost evangelistic about.. LOL.
I am often puzzled by descriptions of a "V" in which the two arms are not in close communication, or at least developing their own relationship. My relationship to Rarechild's husband Catfish grows stronger by the day, and the friendship we share is something unlike any other I have ever known. I was pleased to read that you and OG seemed to be getting to know one another better, and it would appear that by doing so, some of your anxieties about him have been relieved, even as new hard truths are told.
You strike me as a highly intelligent man, capable of examining your life without passing judgment on your own emotions. I will be so bold as to say that I believe that you have a heart capable of limitless love. I have no doubt that you are an amazing Father, or that your wife is a fantastic Mother.
With some fear of sounding like I think we know what we're talking about, it may help for you to read our blogs, Catfish's, Rarechild's, and mine. It's all true, I promise, and really encouraging, even as we live it ourselves.
Oh WOW, that came out a little harsh. Sorry! Note to self, don't post before having my morning coffee.
You are not alone in the area of maintaining that "newness" feeling when looking at your long term partner. There is research involving mapping brain activity of long term partners that actually shows people are different when it comes to this. I'm the same way :)
It sounds to me that you guys are doing things pretty damn well! You're level of honesty is unbelievable and admittedly more than I would want.
I can relate a little to the pain you feel at the idea of your wife thinking about another guy during sex. I think this is quite common in people but usually it is a fantasy person so it seems less impacting.
I have not traditionally recommended people who are struggling consistantly to explore their own outside relationships but my mind is changing on that. But if you are wired mono you run the risk of breaking your intimate connection with your wife. Is she open to you finding some one having one?
I think you are a strong and supportive husband and man. Welcome to the forum:)
She told you all that?! Bah, that is so unfair and not for you to know I think... that is private stuff and the content more to do with NRE than anything else... of course it is all awesome with him, he is new... in time these things are more about difference in terms of the fact that the two of you are just DIFFERENT!
I know it is hard not to think of it, but you are just as hot, just as desirable and just as awesome as him, regardless of age and stage and anything else for that matter. You don't need to go out and find a girlfriend to find that out.
WHAT! a therapist told you that? That is such bullshit, sorry, therapists should tell clients anything like that I don't think (I am a therapist). What you need to find is inside of you and you have a TON of stuff to work on... your childhood alone is a good place to start. It's all inside you. You are your own primary and you should be looking within to get the confidence you need. She can't give you that, and no one else can either. Only you can do that...
I'm so sorry she said those things to you. That was WAY out of the realm of okay. That is really very damaging to even the most confident of people.
I think she shot herself in the foot by telling you those things... now she has a shit load of work to do to prove to you that you are worthy. She owes you a massive apology I think and a whole lot of sucking up!
Cock size really isn't a big deal. I should know, I was with a guy with an 11" cock for about a year. Thing was thick as my forearm. Once I got used to it, it was not a big deal.
Much of this is the NRE. Unless you have a micro-penis or your wife is loose and needs to do some Kegels, it's mostly in her head.
Its all in the attitude and confidence. Again, this is why I think working on your own issues in the form of personal work is your best bet. Adding a girlfriend to the mix? Just a recipe for more drama and more hardship if your primary relationship doesn't have a strong and stable foundation... it sounds like there is some work to do on your foundation.
Thank you all so much for your feedback and encouragement. It is very much appreciated. So far I am loving the vibe on this message board and I am sure it will be a great resource and support as a continue to walk this new path... Let me respond to some of what has been written and clarify some things.
Redpepper: Thank you for the kind words.. But in all fairness to my wife, I do have to say that what she said was not due insensitivity on her part. Those things have been revealed to me over the previous 2 months and wasn't dumped on me all at once. Her honesty was also in keeping with the 18 year history of our relationship/marriage. Even when our marriage was an exclusive-closed-monogamous entity, we operated on the principle of radical honesty and fuill disclosure. It was common for both of us to discuss in great detail with each other our crushes, attractions and sexual fantasies that included other people, while still being monogamous.. The unexpected difference has been that this time, the radical honesty was actually describing a real person who was actually having sex with my wife and who my wife seems to have some deepening feelings for.. Radical honesty before was about accountability and maintaining monogamy, now it's about sharing what is actually happening, so my emotional reaction was somewhat unexpected and painful... My wife has been very patient and sensitive to my emotional state and my comfort level and sense of security in the relationship.
SNeacail: Thank you for the response and for your opinion... I guess I would simply say that my wife has been very clear to OG that in our marriage we operate on the principle of radical honesty, that nothing that her and I do needs to or should be hidden from each other. This includes sexual and romantic relationships with other men/women. He understood this and has pursued a relationship with my wife anyway. OG also understands that the principle of radical honesty only applies within my wife and my marriage, and he is not owed information about my wife and my relationship that both myself and my wife has agreed to share... This may seem unfair and unbalanced, but it is what has been working for us. Should there be a time when wisdom, my comfort level with poly and with OG prompt a re-negotiation, this is the way it will continue to be until that point.. Thank you again for your response.
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