So I fucked up. Big time.
First, by unleashing my irrational, fearful responses in this public forum, where my wife was previously given explicit permission by me to read them and take part in them. I did not stop to think who I would be hurting by saying what was on my mind, nor the effect it would have on my relationship.
I find it necessary to explain myself here and let you all know that most of what I said was not rational, nor well-thought-out, but instead my lizard-brain fight-or-flight instincts showing themselves. I never knew I was that fucked up inside. I kinda made my wife to to be a bad person. She is not. She works so hard at making sure everybody's needs are taken care of, but she couldn't take care of mine properly because of my big communication problem. Also, she was pretty busy dealing with her end of this shit.
Second, by not realising how deep our communication issues ran (VERY DEEP, on a fundamental level -- fundamental differences in the way our minds work, and fundamental differences in our beliefs about things, especially relationships). The depth to which my issues with polyamory run is great. Almost immeasurable. But I have faith, I believe, I know, in my heart of hearts that I am capable of growing to be happy in a polyamorous relationship. And hell, if I can't, then I can't, and we go our separate ways, but I'll be damned if I don't grow until I can grow no more.
I don't know what it is about the way I think of things, but it's absolutely acceptable to me for somebody to love someone else with their entire heart, too. I do that. It's also acceptable to me for somebody to have a fuck buddy (as long as the fuck buddy doesn't try any funny shit, and as long as there is relationship consent to this fuck buddy existing at all). I have very few reservations about that. But for some reason, when the two are combined, it hits me on a very deep level that it's completely wrong. Like bordering on disgusting. I can't imagine having a sexual/romantic relationship with ANY of the friends who I deeply love; with whom I would happily engage in a monogamous relationship. To do so would be to betray my partner's deepest trust, in my mind. To do so would be to undermine everything a relationship stands for, in my mind.
I need to root these feelings out. I need to replace them with something more constructive, more useful. I have five years to do it. That's my goal. Actually, my goal is to get this fixed within the next couple of months, but if I can't do it in five years, then my wife and I agree that we're actually fundamentally incompatible and we go our separate ways. Or at least, that's what we talked about. Maybe she'll get sick of my shit before then. I just asked her to try and be that patient with me.
When I saw my future with her, I envisioned the two of us, our ship's crew, and our biological descendants (children, grandchildren) on our spaceship, exploring the skies. She saw the same thing. We rejoiced at our mutually-compatible vision of the future.
It was, however, the subjective differences, rather than the lack of objective ones, that got us. They're super-sneaky little bastards, and I wish I had known about them sooner so we could have cleared them up, so she could be happy, because finding these differences out has made her miserable. However, if she had known about them in the first place, then we never would have gotten married, and my opportunity to take part in the greatest relationship I can imagine would have been lost.
Subjectively, I saw this crew as our family, whom we would be in love with and attached to, and close to on a very deep level. Like family. Like brothers, sisters, soul-mates. My conceptual lean, here, is that it's possible to have an incredibly deep, loving relationship with people, even so far as to have multiple soul-mates. Even to be able to tell multiple people "I love you" and really, truly mean it with all your heart.
Subjectively, my wife saw this crew as our family, whom we would be in love with and attached to, and close to on a very deep level. Like family. Like brothers, sisters, soul-mates, and like lovers. Her conceptual lean, here, is that it's possible to have an incredibly deep, loving relationship with people, having multiple soul-mates, and being able to tell them you love them and mean it. But it also means sometimes expressing love through sexual attention.
Apparently, we define "family" differently, but there are as many different ways of defining "family" as there are colours in the visible spectrum of light.
That difference hurts me on a very profound, deep, gut-wrenching level. Sex in a loving relationship, to me, is a sacred thing shared between two committed people who love one another more than anything, and would do anything for one another. They don't share that special sexual connection with anyone else, because that's the only thing that makes their relationship unique and better and more important than any others. I can't imagine having sex with any of the other people I love without feeling horrible about it, and without worrying that I'm cheating, and without worrying that my primary lover would think that I'm going to leave them for this other person, in a serial-monogamy style, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. There are just so many things wrong with the idea I can't even think about them without being overwhelmed.
It feels wrong. Morally wrong. But I REALLY hate enforcing my morals on other people, and refuse, outright, to do it. Especially on my wife. Especially on the woman I share my soul with. The woman who gets my soul in a special way that nobody else does. In a tangible way. While I can imagine there being intangible uniqueness to my relationship, which differentiates it from any other relationship, I can't really respect that uniqueness as much, and it most certainly makes me feel useless, expendable, and identical to everyone else. It opens up the possibility for the idea of her loving somebody more than me to creep in. It is the root of all my problems, and I know it. I know I've found it.
Sure, there will remain some unique things about my relationship with my wife, like our bed (a previously-declared sacred space, which she finds ok and will keep sacred, if not for our sake, than at least for mine -- I don't know if she really thinks of it that way, herself. One of the very few visualisations that makes me feel jealous involves her in *our* bed with somebody else, even for casual sex.), certain mannerisms we share and things we do together that we do with nobody else. However, it makes me feel like I am not, in the slightest, worth anything to her to know that she feels like she can share that special, sexual love with others. That special love that I save only for her and promised to her from the moment we first began our relationship.
I am totally okay with her just being in love with other people. I am totally okay with her just having sex with other people. I am totally okay with her lavishing attention on other people. But I am not okay with the idea of her sharing MY unique sexual love with anybody else. And I'm not okay with the idea of getting less of that sexual love from her, because that's just about the only thing that makes me feel the true, deep extent of our love, and just about the only thing that makes me feel truly fulfilled in this world. Fuck everything else, if that's the only thing we had, I would be less happy than I am, but I would still be happy to the core of my being, which is what matters. If she never had any time for me, other than to express that unique sexual love, I would be happy enough to stay for life. (However, now that I'm used to having her other kinds of attention, the idea of getting less than the small amount I already have is painful.)
Let me digress to explain how I feel about this:
Imagine a circle with a dot in the centre. This circle is the threshold between inner happiness and outer happiness. This dot is the maximum point to which my inner happiness can be filled. Everything else in a relationship contributes to my outer happiness. The unique sexual love contributes somewhat to the outer happiness, but it's the only thing that can shoot right to the core of my inner happiness and fill it to its maximum; and any surplus just pushes the level of outer happiness higher. Merely knowing that this sexual love will no longer be unique makes that inner happiness harder to fill. I feel like I can't be filled fully by that unique sexual love, anymore, if it's being shared with somebody else. The more people it's shared with, the less it fills me.
To add to that, in my mind, lesbian sex doesn't really hurt anywhere near to the level that heterosexual sex does. It's truly miniscule in comparison. Like comparing a field mouse with an elephant. I could live with, and even be happy with my wife having infinite female romantic sexual partners. But even one male sexual partner cuts my inner happiness gain in half, and I have to expend that much more of the energy I used to spend on social things and hobbies focussing on trying to keep my inner happiness from becoming so empty that the emptiness begins to consume my outer happiness. If all that happiness is consumed, I die. I have never come close to this point, but I have come close enough to see it off in the distance, and those times were REALLY scary.
Last edited by SimpleSimian; 04-07-2010 at 06:12 PM.