Spilling my guts
Whuff. Ok. Here's my hat in the ring. Or stone in the pond. Or whatever.
I've been struggling for the last few weeks with an awakening to the concepts of polyamory. I don't know what is normal, but when I came across the concept and ideas of polyamory, it was like being re-explained something that I always knew. It was an odd feeling. How can something feel natural and good to one person but utterly impossible for another?
But I'm starting in the middle.
To set the stage, I'm a university student with a passion for words. I live with my wife with whom I have been together with for the last four years. Not terribly long ago, life was an entertaining mixture of wonder and frustration. I was, and remain, very happy in our relationship but was occasionally frustrated by my higher libido and desire for affection and attention. However, nothing is perfect and we all need to make compromises.
A couple of months ago, I had an experience that set off a landslide of events that I'm still swimming through. We had a fairly large social gathering where me and a long term friend ended up making out quite intensely. We were both more than a little tipsy and enjoyed the experience until the cold realization of what we had done struck. The girl in question went home and I sought out my wife who had gone off with a group of friends to a bar for dancing. I told my wife what had happened and she sort of shrugged it off. It didn't seem like that big a deal.
That lasted about 24 hours.
The next part was, in my mind, the first stage of the ordeal. My wife became increasingly upset about what had happened. I was deeply confused because no matter how I searched my heart I couldn't find anything that I felt I had done wrong. Yet there it was, I had done something that I had always been told was despicable and now my wife was in pain because of it. Why didn't I feel like I had done something wrong? Things were spiraling out of control in my mind. Fortunately, I spoke with someone who told me to look up polyamory, "it might explain a few things". I started reading and it was like finding myself again. Many things which I had just thought odd about myself synced up. For example, I had known for a long time that I wouldn't be bothered if my wife slept with another man, as long as it was open and healthy. I had always been confused by the boundaries that people set about themselves. Jealousy, for me, was linked to feeling a lack of attention and affection, not any sort of physical act.
In short, I realized that I had been poly in my mind for a long time.
This gave rise to the second stage, which was a long, uncomfortable nothing. This all happened unfortunately close to the end-of-session-of-university rush and the beginning-of-the-holidays rush. My wife had distanced herself from her upset and said that she wanted to accept me but wasn't sure how far. We both struggled through our workloads in relative silence. About once a week the topic of polyamory came up, but it always ended in tears. There was a lot of self-blame on my part and a lot of fear on her part. I felt like I was ruining our relationship and she was terrified of the implications of me being poly. We would talk about once a week, more often than that wasn't really bearable. Strangely, at the same time, something wonderful was happening in me. I lost all my frustrations in our relationship. It was as if part of my mind realized that I had been hanging all my needs of fulfillment on her and that had been the source of my frustrations with her. Since learning about polyamory, I've felt happy with everything that she has given me.
So we went through a little over a month with nothing really changing. There was a lot of hidden tension and a lot of hidden feelings. I didn't want to open up for fear of upsetting her and she didn't want to think about things because the outlook was bleak in her eyes.
Now we are moving into stage three: mounting tensions. I'm not going to write too much here because I want my wife to have a chance to read this over and possibly respond. Also, I want to make sure that anything that I have to say, she hears from me, not from it being posted on the internet. I guess, this stage feels like me pushing towards finding agreement and compromise. I currently feel like if I do anything to explore polyamory, it will wreck our relationship. This, however, leaves me feeling unaccepted.
Sorry about writing so much, and congratulations on anyone who has climbed this mountainous post. I guess I came to this site looking for support or suggestions or . . . well, anything really. I'm tired of this situation. I want to move through it.