I've come to this site mostly for advice, and to get that advice I would need to tell a big part of my story. This thread is where it will happen.
But before I begin, let me ask my overarching question: when do you draw the line and decide to make big, life altering decisions that will have repercussions for you and your loved ones for years to come? do you wait until your feelings force change upon you? are you proactive and logical? in particular - being poly with a mono spouse who has been waffling for years regarding the poly lifestyle - how long is too long to wait for things to change for the better?
The cartoon version is that I am in a 9 year marriage to N (+kids), who is becoming more monogamous as time goes by, while I am becoming more certain that I want a poly life. Over these years we experimented with opening up several times; most recently with K and G -- both of whom now live 3 time zones away.
9 years of fairly dramatic marriage don't lend themselves to a pithy summary. Instead, I'll do what I usually ask people who ask me for advice to do- I will start at the end, and work my way back only in as much as it touches on relevant topics.
This summer I spent two weeks away from my wife and family with my girlfriend G. It was supposed to be two weeks with both G and my other girlfriend K- but K broke up with me two weeks before I came to visit.
K and I ended up spending two nights together, saying our goodbyes; it was sweet and painful. I love K deeply and have an incredible connection with her -- but my drama filled life and our long distance relationship was tearing her up; she needs peace, and the emotional space to find a local primary relationship. The problem this summer was in part that K was supposed to put me up... there are some interesting stories about the sublet I got instead, but they are not germane to this post.
Two weeks with G, working half time, was wonderful beyond words. I also met her other boyfriend and one of his girlfriends; my first meeting with metamours outside "public" events. It was fun, and I like them; by now I know I rarely get wibbles.
These two weeks proved to me what I already knew in my mind- that living a fully poly life is as natural for me as breathing. I learned how happy G makes me- her warmth, wisdom, sexiness, and deeply ingrained poly mindset felt like home.
Being far from G is pain. For both of us, it's a lingering background ache that we want to be done with. She is dealing with job hunting and some issues of her own. It is certain that G and I want to be local, maybe even cohabitate- were it not for N and the kids. We hope G can find a job not too far away, and that we can see each other more than once every 6 months.
My going to see G and K this summer was not a pleasantly negotiated event. It was part of a condition I imposed-- that as a precondition for trying to work out my differences with N for the 5th time, I require two things:
(1) that I see my lovers once every 6 months at least; this was the most space they felt they could give us
(2) that N and I negotiate towards some form of open relationship that we can both be happy with
N put up many roadblocks to the trip. One was that she insisted on going overseas to visit family so that she won't be "waiting for me at home". She also insisted I go see a former marriage counselor we were happy with. Both are large expenses that she lays at my feet as the "price of your poly".
The humdinger was that before the trip N and I discussed an outline for an agreement. It was a good agreement from my perspective- not all that I hoped for, but one I had a good chance to be happy with. Most critically, it included the possibility of a local paramour I could spend some regular time with.
N backed off from this rather reasonable proposal, to saying that she was only okay with my having a long distance relationship, for which I could travel for two weeks twice a year. This is despite my explicit statement that the "two weeks in six months" model was one I proposed as a painful and untenable temporary measure to allow us to work things out without destroying my relationship with my paramours.
Since I'm telling the story backwards, I must note that this is the recurring theme-- N makes reasonable proposals and then backs down from them, flails in emotional drama, and remains distant and cold. While in this most recent round I mostly isolated my paramours from the practical implications of this instability, in previous cases I allowed N to veto or destroy what were otherwise perfectly good relationships.
I put it to you, the readers-- where should I draw the line? at what point is a marriage and a family not worth the loss of living true to myself? I can be somewhat content with N- but I will never be truly happy in a monogamous lifestyle. I can always give another chance, try another month or two-- but when do I toss in the towel? when I no longer care for N because the pain has eaten me up inside? that only increases the chance of an ugly divorce, and the extra wait and drama will likely make me lose G in the process.
Last edited by NeonKaos; 08-06-2010 at 04:25 PM.
Reason: merge posts