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,
Last edited by redpepper; 01-26-2012 at 03:42 PM.