Sometimes rearranging things helps see things in another way. So here's an attempt at it. You fix it how you like better, ok?
He wants us to stay together. (In a healthy way or not? No mention of the QUALITY of staying together)
Living in polyship issues:
- He is/ is not willing to do the work required.
- He is / is not able to do the work required at this time. Does / does not need to learn new skills?
- His dream future involves me returning to monogamy, but he's not holding his breath.
- My husband is not comfortable with C's role in my life, and he says it's not a deal breaker at this point.
- He also believes it will get easier in time, when our kids are older, and my family needs less of my time.
- He wants us to have an active sex life.
- He wants PIV sex.
- He's ok having sex less often than what I would want.
- He doesn't want to have to initiate because he fears rejection. I used to turn him down in the past a lot and he got used to it. (abusive past rship, celiac, etc.)
- He doesn't feel like having sex if I'm about to go be with C, or have recently come back from seeing C, or am planning a trip with C. (← Because then it feels like you are doing “duty” sex with him rather than "desiring him" sex with him? Something else?)
- He wants to be free (?) of feeling rejected, punished, unwanted?
- He wants to feel desired, appreciated, wanted. (?)
- He needs to practice his conversation skills.
- I care about keeping our marriage intact. (In a healthy way or not? No mention of the QUALITY of staying together.)
- I don't want to throw out an otherwise solid marriage and break up a family. I want to rediscover the intimacy.
- I want to rediscover and learn to enjoy each other as we are.
Living in polyship issues:
- I am / am not willing to do the work required.
- I am / am not able to do the work required at this time. I do / do not need to learn new skills?
Sex related issues:
- To give myself permission to love and have both DH and C . (How do you withold it from yourself?)
- To be free of guilty/shameful feelings that I have both a DH and a BF (← what trips the guilt/shame? What behaviors do you do in your management of your relationships or treatment of the people in your relationships makes you feel proud? Not proud?)
- To not feel judged. (Who is judging you? DH or you?)
- To not compare C and DH -- I catch myself thinking, "Why can't he treat me the way C does?"
- To meet my family obligations first -- fill my family's cup, in the various ways each of them need me, before I devote time and energy to someone else like C. (<--- DO you meet are your family obligations first? Where does meeting your own needs fall in this spectrum?)
- I want to feel included in husband's inner world and hear about his problems, talk more, etc. I want to feel close to my husband emotionally. I feel rejected when he does not disclose. (He says he doesn't want to burden me. I feel "not let in.")
- I want DH's approval (?), his love, his desire (?), his acceptance (?)
- I hear myself saying critical things and I hate what's coming out of me. (<-- I could improve how I communicate with my husband? Learn non-violent communication?)
LIMITS EVERYONE DEALS WITH
- I want more sex -- I don't see C. often and sex with DH is not often either.
- I want a marital sex life that feels close, happy, and natural.
- I want DH to initiate sex so I can feel desired by him. (When he doesn't ask, I feel rejected by him. [Even though I helped co-create this habit of his in the past by turning him down?])
- To be free of DH thinking sex things we do /do not do is somehow "me punishing him" for the no PIV rule with C. I am ok with this boundary. Truly! (← Why is DH not ok with it then and keeps thinking you punish him for it? Do you punish him?)
- I have some resentment around not being "allowed" to have PIV sex with C. (<--- I am ok not having PIV sex with C, but I resent not getting to pick that myself? Is that it? Or you don't like it as a hard limit? Prefer it as a soft limit? Or you think it means you are not trusted?)
- To be able to relax in sex with my spouse. (When I feel an expectation for sex, I get even more tense about whether I'm reacting the right way to his touch. ) (Right way for what? For who? Who is judging the sex share between you?)
- I want to suggest we expand the definition of sexy time to be less pressured "sensual time. " (Kissing, hugging, making out, taking showers together -- sensual time. To see if it takes the sex pressure off.)
- I am not willing (?) to schedule a date night with spouse that could include sex/sensual play options in it because I don't want him to expect me to have sex every time we have a date night? (<---Is this leftover stuff from the past abusive relationship? )
- To feel not bad that my husband seemed to get by just fine whether we had sex or not in the past (even though initially I was ok with it too because of illness, etc.)
- I have raised my expectations of my husband sexually. I have/have not let him know these changes in expectations. The expectations are / are not realistic for me to expect of my husband.
- I want to feel as though husband enjoys sex with me and isn't "just going through to the motions" just to get to penetration. (Do you "go through the motions" of sex with DH for any reason?)
- I want him to mentally come to terms with being married to a woman who has sex with someone else. (<-- Have you mentally come to terms with that? There's a lot of guilt/resentment/weird here.)
- I want (?) to let my sexual self loose around him. (You withold this because...?)
- No PIV sex with C (You and DH seem to have issues connected with this limit. Could resolve them.)
- C lives elsewhere so seeing him requires planning ahead. (DH seems to have issues with frequency here (from past posts, mentioned slightly in this thread. Could explore why.)
- C. not willing to remain in relationship with you if you break up with DH. (Or is that "C. not willing to be used as the EXCUSE/REASON for the break up?")
Do you let C's willingness to participate in polyship be C's own willingness? Or do you pile resentment about C's willingness to be in relationship with you on DH's head?
- No other limits acknowledged.
How much of this is
- YOU resolving your emotional issues and not projecting them on to him
- HIM resolving his emotional issues and not projecting then on to you
.... that's for you guys to sort out.
If there's things missing on the lists of wants -- could print that draft and start putting more on. Could sort out the wants, needs, and limits in to groups better than me. You know you guys better than some internet stranger anyway.
What are the needs of the MARRIAGE to stay healthy? You both say you want it, but are you both tending to its needs?
It's like you both want to feel desired by the other one but neither one wants to risk initiating sex themselves because they fear... what? Neither one wants to risk being emotionally bare to the other because they fear... what?
And in the unwilling to come close together sexually or emotionally for fear of feeling yucky... you risk slowly drifting apart over time because the gap widens?
Is it that YOU are having trouble believing this:
My husband is not comfortable with C's role in my life, and he says it's not a deal breaker at this point. He also believes it will get easier in time, when our kids are older, and my family needs less of my time.
How come? Do his words not match his actions? You don't think it will get easier in time? You worry about it becoming a deal breaker for him at some point? Because then you deal with
- DH no longer willing to participate in a polyship with me and C.
- C not willing to participate in a polyship if DH and I are broken up.
- Result: I no longer have a polyship? (and you don't like that?)
To me it sounds like sometimes you both are using sex to do the work of emotional intimacy rather than doing the talking that builds emotional intimacy. It seems like there's some communication problems in expressing needs
to me. There's this big thing of WANTS but the only articulated NEED listed is him needing to work on his conversation skills? Weird.
Could take a need inventory
and better define the needs, and then brainstorm how to meet the needs in NON-SEX ways. That could free sex up to just be a "good sex share" between you and not be "the Superman bandaid of all things" in this marriage.
I do not expect you to answer. My intent in writing that whole long thing is to give YOU new angles to think about it all from on your own in case different approaches helps you find your way.
I sincerely hope you guys can work this out between you and DO find your way.