Originally Posted by Marvel
What I find hard to take about this is that a lot of those people started the relationship as mono-poly/poly from the start. They do not have 20+ years, a mortgage, and three kids between them.
Oh, that's not true. There are plenty of people who were monogamous for decades and didn't know of any other way to be, all that time... until, for some reason, a light went on. And they still have a mortgage, raise kids, vacation together, visit family, and have jobs.
Originally Posted by Marvel
We are quite close and still regularly have sex when other couples we know aren't or hardly ever.
I think that's why this has shocked me so much. I was to trust that nothing he feels for me has changed, but somehow hearing him say he wants to be able to have sex with others makes me feel like all the things he's told me were not entirely true, that he's been dishonest to me or to me and himself. I don't feel that way 100% of the time, but when I do, it hurts a lot.
You don't have to feel like you've been betrayed. Many people never realized they could have multiple relationships and didn't give it a thought. For lots of folks, something simply triggered the idea. It could have been that they saw an article or news item that gets them thinking, or a friend confessed to having a polyamorous arrangement and piques some curiosity. Then when they learn about it, things start to click inside them and make sense. It feels right for them on a very visceral level, even though they never gave it a thought before. You don't have to assume that he's been lying to you this whole time.
Nor does it mean that you are lacking as a partner. What people don't realize is that we want different things from different people. Poly means you can enjoy the smorgasbord. Just because a married person feels they want to be able to have relationships and be sexually intimate with other people, doesn't mean they are dissatisfied or would leave their spouse for any reason.
I had a date this week and the guy kissed me and told me he wanted to see me again. I had to stop and reiterate to him that I don't want a monogamous relationship (I had a sense he didn't really "get" it). I said to him, "I just want to make sure you understand that I already have a lover, and if we continue seeing each other, that won't change. I don't want to be exclusive with anyone, and neither does he." I said a few more things to clarify this for him, and then my date asked, "Well, how's it going with your lover?" And my immediate response was, "Great!" Because it is great
. Wow, was this guy ever surprised. He did a double-take and said, "Oh." He actually slumped and looked sort of dejected.
The thing is, it never occurred to him that I would be on a date with anyone else if it was great with the guy I'm already seeing. I think that is where you are stuck. You are trying to find some fault, mistake, or flaw in you or your marriage that would have prompted this
. And there really doesn't have to be any of that. It's hard to wrap your brain around, I know, but all I can say is that sexual desire is a tricky beast and that love is a part of all of us and has no barriers. It seems your husband wants friendships in which he can be emotionally, intellectually, and physically intimate, and to be able to try new things sexually that he knows wouldn't work for you. He need not set you aside to do that, and none of that takes away anything form what he has with you.