Just to be clear, if I am going to continue the marriage I will not continue having affairs. And I know why I have had affairs in the past few months. I tried honesty as a way to get two things that I want: to be with my husband and to be with other people. Most people don't go this route. They just cheat. Honesty didn't work out very well, and since I'm changing all my values anyway (I was brought up to believe that homosexuality is wrong, wrong, wrong and of course that heterosexual monogamy is the only way to go) why not examine the value of honesty (also integral to 'christian values'). What we value largely depends on the culture we are raised in: you can find cultures that value lying in certain circumstances. So I tried lying to see if it would work for me. Bottom line: it doesn't. I feel I have now exhausted my options for trying to stay in the marriage and have other lovers (affairs do not fall under the nice religious definition of polyamory that you all ascribe to, but they are a reality of the human desire for other lovers in the way our culture is structured. And while honesty is a basic premise of polyamory, so is not breaking relationships--which I have been trying, very hard, not to do. I don't think any of us on here are perfect--and what does being perfect mean anyway?).
As far as my kids go, I did not leave the marriage 3-4 years ago when my husband was very controlling because I believed it would be awful for the kids, and I was pregnant. I have struggled with the idea of a broken family. I don't want my kids to be messed up. But I also wonder if I am doing them a disservice staying in the marriage, and also if I value other choices than monogamy, perhaps it might even be better for them to see that there are other ways of living.
As far as being on my own, it seems to me there are very few people who actually want and plan to live life without partners or lovers. I know I can be on my own, and I will be okay. I know that if I leave I have to acknowledge that this may be my life. But if I knew for sure I would be alone for the rest of my life would I choose to leave? No. What we have is better than not being with anyone. If I knew for sure that I would find someone(s) to love and care for who could also love and care for me, in the context of having multiple lovers, then I would definitely leave. But what I have is the unknown.
I get it that you don't know me, and it's easy to judge a situation. I have been in therapy for the last few years, struggling with my marriage and working on my own issues. I talked to my therapist about trying lying. I am an intelligent woman, and I think and consider things very deeply, and am very aware of the possible factors underlying my feelings and actions. But no one can say for sure what are the true reasons--I take guesses, other people can take guesses, but there is no scientific method to draw a straight line from something in the past to something now. I try to be authentic and genuine, but I am very aware that it is very easy to lie to oneself for convenience, or because there is some way I 'should' be or feel.
Having affairs was not a way to jeopardize my marriage. Some people actually recommend having someone else before you leave a marriage, but that is not what I've been doing. I am moving an ocean away from where this lover lives in a few weeks, so my contact will be limited. I was a virgin when I got married. The person I was in love with before I met my husband rejected me sexually (good old christian values). I know that I am a lovable person, I have many friends. I also know that I am not 'normal.' I have limited experience with sexual relationships, but I love sex and intimacy. There is a lot more going on here than 'low self esteem.'
If anyone has any input on people who thought they were poly while in a monogamous relationship and left that relationship and how it worked out, I would be very interested to hear. Also, some grace would be nice. There are a lot of monogamous people out there who don't understand polyamory, and would be very quick to judge you, but that doesn't mean they're right. Thanks.