Hi Cyrus. Four years ago both my husband and I had been completely monogamous for over two decades. Unlike you, I had not had any significant opposite-sex friendships, except for one with a gay male friend.
I read about polyamory online and had a big a-ha moment. I had literally never even dared to think about having close friendships with men, let alone sex, with any man but my husband since I was about 20 years old. I was suddenly letting myself think about it, and I liked it!
I immediately started talking to my husband about just the concept. We were accustomed to discussing current events, trends, philosophies, with each other anyway and this was just more of the same for us. He thought it was a very cool concept (he had even read some Heinlein, which was a good thing), but most decidedly NOT for us.
We kept talking about it though. I found things for both of us to read online and on amazon.com. I also began an opposite-sex friendship with a man online. Yes, I had feelings for him, although in hindsight, my feelings were based largely on online chitchat and not on much in-person contact, so I tend to discount them now since I no longer believe that you can truly get to know someone that way. I never had physical contact with the other man outside of one hug, and I do not consider it cheating. I believe the concept of an "emotional affair" is a bunch of BS invented by threatened, jealous monogamists.
It was eight months of unhurried and frank discussion and a whole lot of reading before my husband said, "Ok, go forth and try other relationships."
And we screwed it up. Royally. I had a whole lot of casual sex that never turned into anything more, despite my hopes, and most of it ultimately made me unhappy and feeling bad about myself. My husband jumped into dating a bit later on and immediately got "cowgirled." We didn't have nearly the trust and communication we needed between us to do this successfully. We hadn't clarified or internalized our rules of engagement sufficiently. We almost broke up our second year of being poly, after over 20 years together, most of them quite happy.
We endured, because we love each other deeply and have children together, and we put ourselves back together with the help of competent poly-friendly counseling and many late nights hashing things out. My ex-boyfriend was a help too, he bridged a gap in communication between us more than once.
I think you have some very close women friends, which is awesome. You can love your friends. You aren't cheating on your wife until you have sexual contact with these women. Is that something you really want? If so, you need to work towards that goal. You need to be honest with your wife and talk to her about a lifestyle that attracts you. Sure, it goes against her core beliefs. It went against my husband's as well. He evolved, because he loves me and ultimately wanted us to live in a way that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.
One thing struck me as sad about your post. When you said you didn't "care" if your wife had a boyfriend? If you are going to be a successful poly couple you NEED to care, very much. You need to be very, very concerned that she is happy, and feeling valued by her other partners, if she has any. Not caring is a sign that your relationship isn't nearly strong enough to do this.
Work on making your relationship as strong as you can and on making it honest, in that you are able to talk about your thoughts and feelings and desires with her, even if you worry she will disapprove. Try to make your romantic and intimate life the best it can be too. There are books out there that can help you with all of that. I recommend John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages.
When you feel that your wife is truly your best friend, that you can talk to her about anything and have her at least listen and take your feelings and desires seriously, when your own relationship is exciting and sexually vibrant and you feel you are meeting each other's needs as well as you possibly can, THAT is the time to try out poly.
Last edited by gwendolenthefair; 08-11-2010 at 01:32 PM.