Did I marry a serial monogamist?
I'm new in this forum, started reading here a lot lately as my (lesbian) relationship turned a new leaf from poly-in-theory to the actual thing.
The funny (and complicated) thing is, I'm not the one seeing someone else.
This is funny because I am very poly in my mindset, but my partner really isn't. In the last 8 years we were what I called "practicing non-believers" of monogamy (a singular "non-believer" may have been more accurate...) .
But I was always clear, with myself and with her, that this was not ideal for me. Partly due to personal inclination, and partly because of the specific circumstances: we met at a very young age (20,22), she is my first serious (and sexual) partner, and I wanted to experience different things in the future.
She was not in the same place. Though younger, she had more sexual experience, was a self-described "slut", and was looking to "settle down" into something serious when we met. Our "openness" was first discussed when she broke up with me, after about a year together, because she said she wanted to try sleeping with men. I was upset, and told her she was throwing away something amazing just for some sexual experimentation, and if she wants to have sex with other people I have absolutely no problem with it, as long as she knows where home is and comes back to me. As a result of this conversation, she wanted to get back together, which we did, and our relationship was defined as "open" ever since (somehow she forgot about wanting men...)
Despite this definition, nothing really happened. I had crushes (usually for unattainable persons) and she would occasionally flirt, and we talked about our attractions for other people openly, but there was little time for actual dating as we were both working students and were struggling to keep our one relationship alive in the time shortage we called life. Our agreement was- there would be no lies. We frequently talked about me wanting to some day have a relationship with someone else, and how she will handle it, but she maintained that although she excepted the fact I could one day have someone else in my life, she herself needed no one else and only had room in her heart for me. I think she could probably picture having a fling with someone else, but I don't think she ever imagined she would experience loving two people at once.
Until- she also had a crush on a co-worker, who turned out to want her too. They started meeting up and having sex, which I knew all about (supported even) though was not all that happy with, because my metamour (hope I'm using the lingo correctly...) is married and cheating, and I have serious ethical issues with that. But after much discussions I was convinced to leave this moral dilemma to the 2 people more directly involved (the cheater and my wife).
Thing is, as we're going through this uneasy transition from words to actions, I feel my wife is approaching the situation from a monogamous view point. She finds it very hard to see me suffering bad-emotions when she goes to see her, even when I clearly communicate that 95% of those are about past relationships and childhood experiences. She even decided to terminate the relationship (while still in NRE!) to avoid causing me any more pain (and also because it's complicated on the other side and she hates enabling cheating. But she sites my pain, and wanting to save our relationship, as the main reason). She also sees herself as someone who is victimizing me, has trouble initiating sex or receiving my love, is very very confused.
We communicate a lot, and I read up on polyamory to feel more secure in my lifestyle choice, but to my frustration she sounds (in some of our conversations) just like the straight+mono friends I came out to: urging me to acknowledge the fact that it does hurts me when she's having sex with someone else- so how can I be as "OK with it" as I claim to be?
She also claims when you love someone you should not cause her pain, and since i'm undeniably in pain for some of this process, then the entire thing is wrong.
This makes me very fearful. I worry that I am in (what I think of as) a poly relationship with someone who is essentially a serial-monogamist. And though she might not leave me for this one (who is unavailable), if she can't hold the concept of feeling romantic towards more than 1 person at once, the next time she falls in love and feels the need to choose, I might lose to NRE.
I really wish I could get her to find answers in polyamory, so she would get over the identity crisis this has created for her, and she would suffer less from shame and guilt, but I don't wanna push my beliefs on her too hard. It has to grow from her, I think. I've given her some things to read, but since it's all in English (which isn't our first language) and polyamory is scarce where we live, she says she can't relate to the experiences described in forums such as this one.
What do you think? anyone with similar experience/ who themselves transitioned from believing in monogamy to polyamory and can share some wisdom? How do I help her through this? And handle my fear that she is actually, and always will be, a serial-monogamist?