Thank you (months and months late!) to everyone who replied. I waited until now to say anything at all because I had the "write, delete, rinse, repeat" syndrome... nothing I could say was anything but an admission of fear and uncertainty, and as you've said it yourselves... the only way I can figure it out is by going ahead with it.
Well... I've done my part of the work to the point where my fridge is fixed, to quote an article read on another site (will have to find the link), and I am ready to try.
I've realized the only thing I can be sure of is: if my husband is committed to having a working relationship, he will not "forget me" or "set me aside" when someone else captures his interest. And if he does... Heck, I deserve better than that. I've told him as much. So I will trust in his actions and if it leads to a breakup, or he doesn't want to consider my side of the equation when it comes to sharing time, activites and such... Then that will be that. I've read everywhere that the only way to truly lessen the fear is to confront it, so I am willing to do just that.
He still seems iffy on the whole topic, and on how he'll react... It doesn't help that he refuses to read about it, and believes he can make the mental journey alone--I doubt I'll ever see him on these forums, although I have mentioned them often.
I've explained that I will believe in his actions, and do my best to understand what's going and communicate if I get scared, and that I will give him time and space whenever it happens... that's all I can do, is be there, be supportive and also take care of myself all the while.
As for me... I am OK with the whole idea... even trying it for myself
! I've done a LOT of reading and talking with friends about poly in the months since I've posted this. The idea of not HAVING to internally
label a relationship as "friends" or "friends with benefits" or "bed buddies" or "on the side" feels very, very peaceful. I understand that I have to use these terms to start explaining what can develop between two people, but I don't care to use them for myself.
And frankly, I am looking forward to having someone else in my life for the simple reason that I enjoy the complexities of relationships where people are actually HONEST about trying to work things out instead of just using each other for sex or emotional support
. Even the idea of working out a flow between complex people is appealing. I know that there will be issues and kinks to work out. I know it won't be a bed of roses. But since when has ANY relationship worth its salt been a constant bed of roses? Between people who never discuss, never challenge, never question, never disagree, never... act like different people? Ech.
My marriage already defies being defined as a "marriage" for several (somewhat silly) reasons, for example... we don't wear rings, we never cared for a big white ceremony with hundreds of people, we don't tie up all our assets together, we don't care about having kids (for now). We keep ourselves sane by not caving in to expectations. It makes for interesting conversation with our more conservative friends...
I feel perfectly fine with having "whatever" develops with someone else. I don't feel like imposing my expectations on someone else either, and I don't feel Ok with people dumping theirs on me, although I'm willing to compromise.
Which is what triggered my wish to try it out, actually...
Hubby is the kind of person who needs a LOT of alone time. Briefly put, I have been a loner most of my life NOT by choice (just had a ton of issues to work through). I'm at a comfortable place with myself right now, and I want to finally learn how to be sociable. How to go out on a date (when I have never taken part in the traditional dating scene!), how to not feel anxious and awkward around a bunch of new people, how to... just go for what feels good for me, without being lashed down by everyone's wants, wishes and desires, or putting other people first.
He and I have had the same conversation back and forth, briefly put: I express a wish for deeper connection with him, then he tells me he needs alone time. I say it's fine, but I still want the connection; then he wonders why I don't put more effort into learning how to enjoy myself on my own (which is not the point for me), why I can't be patient with him when he needs to be alone, etc. It can get pretty bad.
Lately though I've had to put my foot down and explain that I have my own wants and wishes for my life, and the only way I have found so that he can have his downtime and me my social time is... to let me have my social time.
I'm afraid that started his brain hamsters running... I don't think he'd ever truly considered the implications of ME wanting to meet people before he did.
So I don't know what will happen from this point on, except that he has reaffirmed his wish to work with me through this. I don't know if he expects me to change my mind or not and that worries me, but heck... I also want to work through this! =)
So we will see...