Thank you for the support. This whole experience has been fairly difficult for me to handle, mostly because I've never really dealt with anything like it.
GS, let me see if I can clarify. There seems to be concern that I'm confusing love and sex, or that this is sexually motivated. If it was, I'd be looking into swinging or another form of openly sexual relationship. Actually, since this whole thing has started, we've been having a good deal less sex, but I've actually felt more comfortable with that. Perhaps I referenced the libido thing one time too many. I understand that sex and love are two different things and have many fulfilling and loving relationships aside from my wife, with both men and women, that are in no way sexual. I'm not looking to sleep with other people. In fact, I'm not looking for anything at the moment, I just want to understand things.
So the feelings aren't really coming from my groin. They aren't really coming from anywhere. I wouldn't even say that I want to be poly, or that I chose to be. I am who I am, and from what I have seen, there are a lot of people who have experienced the same sort of thing in the poly community. There have been a lot of signs, like that as long as the relationships are healthy and open I'm comfortable with my wife having relations with other men. I've said for years that I don't want to be with someone just because they can't be with someone else. I feel that we make a commitment to someone and live by that commitment through our affection, our respect, our trust, and our choices. To me, sex is fun but it's something you do. I would have more fun having a walk in the park with my wife than sex with a stranger. In fact, I've always been a little confused by this masculine ideal of having slept with hundreds of women. I mean, if you are sleeping with that many women, the sex can't be that good.
Yes people don't have the same desires and connection all the time in a relationship. I actually think that is an excellent reason to have friends and even lovers. Imagine that one person loves dancing and wants to go dancing four times a week, while their partner isn't really interested in dancing more than once a week. Should the person who loves dancing resign themselves to dancing once a week? Only go dancing on their own for the rest of the week? Find a friend to go dancing with when their partner isn't interested? Granted, these are decisions that every couple needs to make for themselves, but I don't think that any blanket rule can be made that "She likes dancing more than me and that's her burden to bear".
As for attention and affection, I don't remember saying that I needed them for validation. I desire them because to me they are signs that someone is interested in me. I'm more than comfortable with the idea that only a minority of people will find me really interesting. In general, I really enjoy having my own space. I have lived in a relationship where I gave a lot of attention and affection and it was only superficially returned. Things were fine until push came to shove and then it was their way or the highway. It was a bad relationship and I learned that any relationship without real affection is like trying to swim in a puddle, you can get wet but it lacks depth. I'm a little confused why anyone would immediately assume that a need for affection and attention is based around validating one's existance. I mentioned that I have a higher desire for affection and attention than my wife, which just means that I would enjoy her making more small gestures. I don't need them, but they are nice. Nothing against her, she just gets wrapped up in her things and forgets. In general when I feel like I'm not fulfilled, I ask that she make more efforts and she tries to comply. What frustrated me was that I felt that I had to push to get those little gestures that I love. I don't see any of this as being the root of manipulating someone to my own ends. Of course, I could be wrong, but I'm quite sceptical to see the reasoning.
I'm not looking for another relationship. I'm realizing that I could have one. All my life I've been deluged with the idea that any man who is interested in someone other than their partner is a cheating bastard who can't keep it in his pants, and any woman who looks at someone other than their partner is a dirty whore. I've been going through internal hell because I honestly believed that I was a bad person for not understanding why people couldn't have more than one consensual, loving relationship which may or many not include physical intimacy. Even now, though I've gained a lot of stability, I'm still terrified of the idea of actually starting a second relationship. I feel like I'm 15 years old again, I have no idea how I would talk to someone I like. Who do I tell? How does it work? Of course, the only answers that I will find are the suggestions that others give me, and the ones I discover through experience, but there's no rush.
Well, this is certainly long enough. I'll say more another time.