Originally Posted by IcySiren
How surprisingly wonderful to read all of your responses! So thoughtful, intelligent, and encouraging. I am so glad to have found this community at a time when I feel like I am going crazy. [...] Thanks again for your advice and concern. I appreciate being able to speak frankly without fear of judgment.
Not the only ones, but two [not going crazy and being able speak frankly] of the important reasons for this site.
Originally Posted by IcySiren
I think I will give my husband time, although, he made it clear that he felt monogamy was the only way for him during our last conversation. If that remains the case, then I will have to decide at some point what I can live with "For The Rest of My Life", which sounds like a life sentence right now.
For what it's worth, a slice from my own past:
Before the word "polyamorous" existed, I had a polyamorous relationship with M. (I have never been interested in a relationship based only on sex, so there was strong emotional [call it love] input in each case.) After 6 years M - my "primary" - told me that she wanted to shift to monogamy.
[Intermission: We were friends with another couple, H & R, which had made the same shift some time earlier... and went on to both cheating on the other, while "officially" monogamous. ALL
of our set knew what was going on - we'd all met H's other man and R's other woman - except for H & R themselves. (more detail here
Back to M and me: I told M that I was polyamorous [using other words] on principle: that if she wanted to restrict her sex life to me, that was her right, but that I would never ask for that, and wouldn't fault her if she chose to return to sleeping with others. (Ironically, at the time of this conversation, she did have another lover [whom she would have been willing to give up for me - or for the ideal of monogamy], and I didn't have anyone else.) On the other hand, I wasn't about to renounce my [polyamorous] principles (including the principles that we don't own anyone else and that we shouldn't restrict another person's freedom). I added that I didn't want to find myself in R's situation, cheating on H [in my case, M] because SHE wanted me to vow monogamy. But I also didn't want to deny potential (at this time, hypothetical) feelings for others... or deny my right to act on them as I saw fit.
Result of all this (with extenuating circumstances, such as the fact that we were both going through individual [each one their own load, that didn't necessarily have to do with the other person] heavy shit of other kinds): M decided a few months after this conversation to break it off with me.
I need to point out several important factors:
1) M and I had already been polyamorous for 6 years when she asked us both to take a step backwards (in my opinion) from freedom and total trust [trusting the other to love us even though they're bonking - and LOVING - somebody else]. You're not in the same situation. Your husband needs time to get used to the idea.*
2) I repeat: we were both going through other shit. I hoped that when we dealt with this other shit, our relationship would come out the other side even stronger. Maybe she didn't have that hope (or that patience).
3) It was probably some of that other shit that decided her to call it a day, rather than the poly/mono issue.
4) In our case, there were no children involved.
Having pointed those 3 aspects out (and I'm pretty sure that I've forgotten something important that I wanted to add: the Alzheimer's kicking in [Before anybody criticises me for being flippant here, Alzheimer's runs in my family and I HAVE noted early signs in myself.]), what I was getting towards in sharing my story is that I can very well relate to your statement:
If that remains the case, then I will have to decide at some point what I can live with "For The Rest of My Life", which sounds like a life sentence right now.
At at least one point in my life, I faced choosing between a living human being (whom I deeply loved, even if the "in love" phase had faded away) and the principles of polyamory. And I chose polyamory. I remained friends with M for another 18 years (with hindsight, largely due to the energy that I was putting into maintaining this friendship - while she occasionally accused me of being stuck in the past) then the disdain she demonstrated towards me in an e-mail of 2 years ago convinced me that it was time to admit that there wasn't even friendship left... and also convinced me to shed any lingering doubts that the choice of 20 years earlier had been the right one.
* Your husband might never
get used to the idea. And you may be faced with the choice: freedom or "fidelity" (classic, restrictive definition of fidelity). But give it (and him... and you) time. And please: don't go crazy.