I could use an ear...are these just poly growing pains?
I am living with this situation in my head and without anybody around me that can understand on a 'poly' level. So, I found this board and am hoping that I can have a bit of a sounding board. I apologize that this will be super long but I have to get it out of my head somehow.
What I am really looking to do is to calm my head to a place of relaxing a bit and seeing how things play out.
My background is that I have been in somewhat open or poly relationships for most of my romantic life. I married my first (passed away) husband when I was 19 and we were monogamous for a bit but then we opened up to occasional play partners. I have always known people that considered themselves poly but didn't really think it would be me. Well, as I moved on I decided I, at the very least, had poly-leanings. I was coming to this just at the time he died. I picked up a relationship with one of my playmates that had been running for nearly a year at that stage. I slipped into that relationship and I tried very hard at first to have the 'look, I am poly' conversation but he kept shutting it down and said we could talk about it later. Well, we didn't and a few years down the line we got married, he became emotionally abusive to the extent where I had to leave him.
So, I left him and decided it was my time to really explore my own poly. A couple that I had known for a long time and for whom I had feelings, asked me to move in with them as part of a triad (I am bi). I did and for a while it felt really good. Until the male turned out to be somebody that just could not play within the rules. We set very few rules when we started - #1 everybody gets tested #2 no fluid bonding outside of our circle #3 not one particular person who had been hurtful to many in the past. Well, short story...he broke two of them by having unprotected sex with that person in our bed while both myself and the other woman were around. It was betrayal to me and after a bit I decided to leave.
I spent the last year or so working and living with my best friend. Him and I will never be a couple (I would kill him) and so that felt like a space to sort of find myself a bit.
Anyway, about two months into that year I had a total chance meeting with one of his friends. It was like the breath was taken out of me. We clicked instantly and in a way I really haven't felt before. He was married and I have a no married guy rule but the thing is I was dumb and even though he was wearing a ring I honestly didn't see it. Then by the time I had mentally decided to 'go there' with him, I was already committed in my mind to doing it.
Well, we did and it was beautiful and him and I started up what has been a pretty intense but largely long distance love affair. I really tried to shield myself from all the married men cliches but it was just such an intense bonding. On one of our very first nights, he asked me to tell him about myself and this was at a stage after leaving my marriage where I was deciding to tell people outwardly that I am bi, poly, etc.
So, I did and it was like a world opened up in his eyes and he realized that he was likely poly too. I know many people whose path to poly started with cheating. Perhaps sad but also true. It concerned me a bit from the start that he hadn't really researched poly much but just knew that was what he was when he reviewed his life in his head. Being with me and me being okay with non-monogamy really enriched him and brought him to a place where he finally felt there was nothing wrong with him.
We spent about ten months seeing each other once or twice a month since we lived in separated parts of CA and of course he was still married and I was feeling both guilty about how much in love I was with a married man but also trying to guard myself from being a cliche. At this stage, I trusted this man with almost every fiber in my body and I have such huge trust issues after abuse and then what had happened in my triad. So, that is a huge deal to me.
In the time when we were apart, we both knew there would be other sexual partners. Clearly he was still married. I also knew of one other lover and he was always honest with me about meeting up with her. He knew that my best friend and myself were friends with benefits at times and there was a chance that we would have sex now and then. Heck, him and I even had a threeway with one of his FWB that was/is herself poly and I was okay with all of that.