Originally Posted by illflyaway
Long, long ago, before mortgages and preschool drop-offs, my husband and I decided we both were open to the other having another relationship. We both had some relationships, but when I got pregnant with our first kid, neither of us had a serious outside relationship, and I really lost interest in having a relationship outside of our relationship. He continued to have brief relationships, but nothing that materialized into anything serious. Meanwhile, his interest in me waned. First, he didn't really want to spend time with me, telling me that he felt too tired. Then, he stopped wanting to have sex with me, claiming a low sex drive due to exhaustion. I have a hard time accepting his claim of exhaustion and low sex drive, since he will stay out extremely late to pursue other women. It seems like he always has a sex drive when he has a chance with someone else. He says that it's just because they are novel. I don't know what to do. I am so jealous. I didn't feel so jealous when we first started out, when I felt loved and wanted, but seeing him pursue these women when I so desperately want his attention but he denies me, it hurts so much. I've tried talking to him about it, but he says he doesn't enjoy spending time with me when I don't act happy, and I really really want him to want to spend time with me. I don't want to leave. I have young kids. I really love him. I wish I had never heard of polyamory. How do I fix this mess?
When "you don't act happy"? So, happiness is just some act where you pretend to be happy when you aren't? How does that solve anything? The fact is, you aren't happy, and as your husband, he needs to try to figure out why. It's not his responsibility to cheer you up, but if it's something he's doing that's making you sad, he needs to evaluate whether or not what he's doing is worth the pain it's causing you.
When you say, "I wish I had never heard of polyamory"... I've heard that before. It's not an easy thing to come to terms with but look at it this way. You can't know that your life would be different if he was monogamous with you. He could have gotten this far, realized he was unhappy, and started cheating. Don't wish for something you can't have, work to fix what you do have and build to what you want to have.
Seek out counseling. It's clear that what you're saying to him isn't getting through, and it's clear that you both still want to be in the relationship or one of you would have left. Go to a poly-aware counselor and work out your issues both between you and him and you and his other women. It really sounds like he doesn't want to stop and YOU need to figure out if you're okay with that or if that's a hard limit. If he is willing to stop until the kids are more grown up and then re-evaluate, great. But you're overwhelmed, and either you need him to help you support this weight on your shoulders or you need to find a way to deal with it on your own.