first of all: may 2011 bring you many happy memories and few sad ones.
I'd like to share my story with you. I'm currently in a situation where I feel like I'm slowly falling apart - and my relationship with it.
My wife and I have been together for almost three years and we have been married for almost a year now. About six months ago, she got reacquainted with an old friend of hers, J, whom she hadn't seen for a few years. My wife and J have always felt some connection and this was still very much alive. I like and respect J and we became friends quite quickly. Seeing how my wife responded to J, I encouraged them to spend some time together, as friends. So far, everyone was happy and benefiting from the new friendships. There were some negative feelings on my part, which are caused by my insecurity and triggered by J and my wife being very close physically, but this was not something I couldn't handle.
J, who is also married, and his wife, are both polyamorous. My wife and I, being new to the term, started reading up on it. At some point, J asked me if he could call my wife his "girlfriend". I agreed to this, being still in the friendship-mindset, but in retrospect I didn't really know what the implications were. After this, the situation progressed very quickly from a friendship into a (sexual) relationship.
That has been a rough ride. My insecurity started acting up. We established some boundaries (no intimacy you need condoms for). That made the situation tolerable for me. It was very clear I had to do some serious work on my insecurity issues. At the same time I had to accept the fact that my wife is polyamorous. That was not something we had talked about at all before this all started happening.
The thing I needed most was time. Time to work on myself, time to accept and digest all these events. However, my wife felt held back by this. She says she never wanted to push my boundaries (and I believe her) but it was clear she didn't like them. It came up in discussion frequently, often accompanied by the statement that they would like to go further, and if I had any idea when I would be able to set boundaries that were less strict. It was also very clear that they had a hard time not to cross them. After about two months, I decided to drop all boundaries because of this.
This resulted in spectacular drama. I really couldn't cope with the mental image of my wife having sex with another man. This wasn't improved by the fact that our sex life has been almost nonexistent last year. So, after two weeks without boundaries but with much drama, we set new ones. Temporarily (for two weeks). They would do nothing sexual at all.
That didn't work very well either. My wife felt like I was controlling her life, that I didn't allow her to be herself. She said she wanted to feel free to do what she wants. I could see that the feeling of being controlled hurt her very much and started bringing back memories of traumatic events of her past. This did her no good, so I capitulated. I offered her that again, there would be no boundaries, and I would just have to cope.
This is pretty much the status quo right now.
The big problem is that I have some unresolved childhood issues that manifest themselves very intensely at times. These issues revolve around insecurity and feeling abandoned. Right now, I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I think I would be able to work with this whole new thing of my wife being polyamorous, if only I didn't have these old issues cropping up and turning me in to an emotionally unstable mess. On the other hand, it's very hard to work on these issues, because they are triggered so very often and I don't feel that I have a secure and stable basis to work from. I've asked my wife to go slow with this, to give me time, but then she feels controlled and not herself, which causes _her_ to go off the deep end emotionally.
What my wife and I do have is really beautiful and when we're together (emotionally) we are both happy. We love each other dearly. But more and more I fear that the pain I feel is too intense and too frequent and that I cannot start helping myself without ending this marriage first.
Thank you for listening. I'd appreciate anything you might care to share.