Poly Hell Down Under
Hi everyone. I'm writing from a small country town in Australia.
First off, I want to say thanks to all the regular contributors here. I've spent many hours reading through old threads, and have been impressed (and helped) by the depth and breadth of the discussions on this forum.
I realise that a lot of people find their way to this forum because of some pain or trauma in their love lives - and unfortunately, I'm one of those people.
My situation is this:
I'm a 37 year old woman, and I've been living with my straight male partner ("L") for 11 years. When we first met 13 years ago, L was totally up front with me about wanting multiple sexual partners. This was (and still is) fine with me. He has had numerous casual sexual partners over the years, and I've never had any problem with that whatsoever. To put this in some context, he has always had a much higher libido than me, and it always seemed fair and reasonable to me that he should be able to satisfy his sexual needs and desires however he chooses, assuming that nobody gets hurt in the process.
I've been trying to remember when L first started using the term "polyamory", because, until very recently, I had been of the understanding that we have an "open" relationship, meaning (to my mind) that he has sexual relationships with other women, which may extend to friendship (as has been the case on more than one occasion), but doesn't extend to a permanent loving partnership involving serious investments of time and emotional and financial support.
The way I have explicitly phrased this to him on many occasions in the past is: "As long as you're still coming home to me, I'm happy".
I have never felt like a jealous person in any way; I have never experienced any jealousy in relation to L's other sexual relationships, and when I first heard the word "compersion" I immediately and very strongly identified with that state of mind.
The problems for us began when L's work took him away from our small town, and to the city 4 hours' drive away.
He gets a one bedroom apartment as part of his job, but we couldn't (and didn't want to) re-locate our entire life to the city (including dogs, land, gardens, and a house that we built together with our own 4 hands). So, he's working there, while I'm living here, very much alone (we have no children or family nearby).
Enter L's newest sexual partner, "M".
M began as L's client. I started hearing about her and how wonderful she is from day one; it was immediately obvious that L was strongly attracted to her, and I had no problem with that. In fact, the way he lit up when he talked about her made me feel happy for him. I had no problem whatsoever with them having sex, and developing a friendship.
The problems began when M started imposing herself on my (now) rare days alone with L: she would constantly be ringing, texting, and emailing him, usually with some new and escalating personal drama that she needed his emotional support for dealing with.
What I hadn't initially realised is that M is unhappily married, with three young children (aged 4 to 9). Worse still, for a few months, M actively concealed her relationship with L from her husband.
This all blew up in my face when I recently learned (retrospectively) that M was now spending two days every week at L's city apartment. He didn't tell me (let alone ask my permission) about this arrangement until after it was in place.
From L's point of view, he feels that he is trying to "save M's marriage" by giving her a regular break from her husband - who, incidentally, according to M, knocked her to the floor and tried to strangle her when he learned of her affair with L.
I have been feeling totally betrayed because L is no longer coming home to me - instead, he is going home to M (I currently only get to spend roughly 2 days every 3 weeks with him, whereas she's been spending 2 days and nights per week with him at his city apartment).
This situation drove me to the depths of despair (not helped by feeling extremely isolated and lonely living in a very conservative small town by myself).
L has not been able to understand why I'm so terribly upset. As he sees it, this is just his latest polyamorous love interest - and, furthermore, he tells me, he wants to be this woman's "partner" for the rest of their lives.
He has repeatedly assured me that his love for me is undiminished, and I'm honestly inclined to believe him on that point.
However, the final straw for me has been that M has now posted to a polyamory group in Australia, talking about her "polyamorous" relationship with her husband and partner - meanwhile, her husband has had such a major meltdown over this situation that he's currently spending two weeks in a psychiatric hospital.
I've been trying to explain to L that what he and M have done isn't "polyamory", it's actually cheating of the highest order, with dire consequences. But he still thinks that the sun shines out of M's ass, and that she's a good and honest person in need of some help and support. Meanwhile, I now have such incredibly hostile feelings towards her that I simply can't imagine sharing my partner with her for the rest of our lives.
(I feel hostile towards her because of her callous disregard for my feelings, as well as for her husband, not to mention her young children. I've repeatedly tried to arrange to meet her, but she has now found reasons - I call them "excuses" - for not meeting with me on 3 separate occcasions. L sees nothing remotely suspicious about her behaviour, but I feel certain that she's a dishonest manipulator. I have no idea what her ulterior motives might be, but I'm convinced that there's more going on in her mind than she's shared with L).
And I'm not really sure what to do next.
I've thought very seriously about leaving L, but the good aspects of our relationship still so heavily outweigh the bad aspects that I would much rather find an alternative to leaving him - even if that means going through pain, turmoil, and hard work.
For the record, I'm totally open to polyamorous relationships, both for myself and my partner - but the thought of him having a permanent polyamorous relationship with a woman I despise is very, very hard for me to deal with.