This is SO great that you'd ask -- I really appreciate it. I will caveat my answers with, I'm new at this, I'm not sure it's me, but I'm willing to look at a part of myself that I closed twenty years ago when I got married, because I love my wife, who has been and is as natural a poly person as I've ever met. It's a significant part of her that I was attracted to -- why, I'm not sure -- mother issues? Because I see myself in her? Because I knew at some point I'd have to face up to jealous issues? Because deep down I am this too? Still trying to work all this out.
Originally Posted by WhatHappened
Do you mind my asking: I very much understand poly in the cases where someone unexpectedly falls in love with a second person. But what is it that made you decide, as a conscious decision to seek out a second person with whom to fall in love? How do you see this enhancing your life? I know in some ways, the answer to that is 'obvious,' and yet I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
In the past I've fallen in love with a couple different women, but I stopped those relationships from progressing because I was "married and monogamous." I wouldn't let myself go there, even though I wanted to. My SO has had the same experiences but has been much more open to taking it to the very edge -- basically getting as close as she can to someone without sleeping with them. I never trusted myself, so I pulled back early.
When my wife (I really hate saying that - my partner? how about W) fell for her latest man, I fortuitously read Sex at Dawn, which opened my eyes to the possibility of a poly life. We also have friends who've been in poly relationships for over 20 years. So those two things together, particularly recognizing W as someone who instinctively is this, motivated me to ask her to open the marriage so that I could explore the same things she was exploring, but in a way that would allow us to take any relationship we developed to its fullest experience -- if that included sex, then great, maybe it goes beyond sex, maybe it never includes sex, but it's allowing ourselves to become as close to another human being as we've been with each other. Does that make sense?
Now that she is in two romantic relationships, I'm very conscious of being the "guy at home while the wife has fun." Without going too deeply into life histories, there's been many situations of infidelity in my family, and how the men dealt with them has not been the best. W dating other men is my opportunity not only to be a grownup, to become more conscious, to go deeper, be more understanding and less possessive, but also do deal head on with deep emotional issues.
But I also want what she's experiencing. I want the thrill of having a new person look at me and find me hot and want me and want to be with me. I also feel the need to balance our relationship, particularly as more and more of her time is taken up with her other relationships. That may be a red flag -- I don't know. You can tell me. There's some of that, but at core, I love many people and want the opportunity to get as close to them as nature allows, without it jeopardizing the currently most important relationship in my life.
Can you spell out, in bullet points, 1) what exactly it is you're asking from a woman, and 2) what exactly you have to offer her in return.
What does 'as much love and attention as my longer term one' look like in real terms? Equal split of time? Living together?
My concern with this statement would be: how much of your decision to seek out a second person to love is about filling that hole that's left by your current girlfriend's absence?
Again wonderful questions that I haven't thought through, so thank you for asking!
First off, I don't want to go into a new relationship with a list of points that that person needs to hit. I just want to meet many different people and see who connects and who doesn't.
I those lovely new connections, whether they happen purely through conversation, or whether they go deeper. I miss the experience of getting to know someone new, deeply and fully. I want new friends. I want new and stimulating conversations, challenging and inspiring ideas, the chance to discover the map of a person's life.
If those relationships then develop into something deeper, emotional and physical, then I want to be open to experiencing them to their fullest extend. There's no way to know generally what that look like, because with each person it will be different, depending on where they are in life and what they want from me. If over time the relationships were to develop into being as deep and committed as that which I have with W, then yes, living together is a possibility, whether we do it under the same roof as W and our children, or having two homes ($$$ always being an issue too!), sharing time, whatever. I want to be open to all options, together with W if she and my other were to develop their own non-sexual (W so far is straight) relationship, or as some sort split time thing if they don't become friends.
We're not looking at add a third to our relationship. We're on our own trips, which we want to share the experience of together.
Again, early days, so I'm trying to take it a step at a time. Of course there has to be sync and balance with W, and it doesn't even need to be said, but I will accept W's relationships in however deeply they go.
I don't believe in the primary/secondary model -- every relationship deserves to be primary in the moments that its being experienced.
In practical terms, I have no idea how I'd make these sorts of things happen, and no idea how hard it might be for me to share W with another man as deeply as our relationship has become (particularly over the last few months). I know it will be hard, when it happens, but I love her and want for her all the good she can experience in life, with and without me. So far, her boyfriends are her boyfriends and I've very conscious of giving them their the space, listening when she wants to share, and trying my best not to fish for intimate details. I know that kind of thing comes from jealousy and fear of abandonment, and those are my issues to deal with.
And to your final point: yes, I have motivated this change because I love my wife and want to be with her for as long as we can be together. She needs other relationships, and I want to honor that, because I don't want to break up our family. I recognize her for the poly person she is.
I won't know if I'm poly in the same way/amount/at all, until I've run the full course of a second relationship, but it's worth it for me to find out. I feel like I have it in me, but that I also have a lot of baggage to get over before I can be fully comfortable with both her and my new relationships.
This has been great, because it's answering a lot of stuff about whether I'm even ready to connect with a new person. I still have a lot of work to do, so maybe rushing into things isn't such a good thing, and thus maybe the universe is holding me back/the women I've met so far are intuiting this to be the case.
Again, thanks so much for asking these questions. I know there's no right and wrong in this, and all this might and will change as we grow.
Love to hear your thoughts on this VERY LONG post!