Trying to learn...
My husband had been talking to me about polyamory for a few years. He was not trying to push me into it, but he did discuss it with me. I had been unsure about how I felt about it. I always thought of marriage as a commitment between two people. I knew people with open marriages, and it seemed to work for them, but I am unsure if it would work for me. To me, it seemed that if someone was wanting an additional relationship outside of the marriage, that there was something lacking in the marriage.
My husband and I had been going to counseling to discuss other issues we had, mostly surrounding communication, which the counseling did help with. The subject of polyamory did come up and was discussed. But the counselor did show some bias towards monogamy. So, it did not seem that I was getting an unbiased view or discussion about it with her.
I started to do some of my own research on the topic. I found it interesting, and was trying to envision myself living that type of life with my husband.
I ended up having an experience with another man that led me to believe that I was ready for polyamory. I won't get into too many of the details here, but this experience made me feel that I could care for another man romantically, yet my husband was still my primary and I loved him and I did not want to leave him. I did not cheat on my husband, but with this other man we expressed our feelings for one another. And I communicated this with my husband openly. My husband was truly happy that I had felt this, and we decided to move forward with polyamory.
We put profiles on an online dating site, okcupid.com. He had begun contacing many women to date them. Many of these women were not familiar with polyamory, and some were. Some were comfortable being the secondary to him. He had gone on a couple of dates. During this time, I ended up not going further with the man I mentioned above because he was married, and did not want to be open with his wife about me or our relationship. I knew that it could lead to trouble. It saddened me that this happened. But I was finding other men on okcupid.com to possibly date, but did not end up going on dates. I emailed and im chatted with two men, but that was about it. Possibly due to the fact that I am not aggressive when it comes to approaching men. I am more likely to wait for them to ask me out. But there were some definite possiblities for me.
But all the while this was going on, it felt strange and uncomfortable for me. I was experiencing feelings that I had not felt. Fear, anxiety, jealousy. When my husband and I were working on our contract, it was surreal. I kept wanting us to have dates on the same night if we could. It was uncomfortable for me to discuss how far we could go sexually on our first dates with someone. How often we could see people, etc.
I also saw something in my husband that I had not seen him experience with me in a long time. He was wanting to do spontaneous things with these other women, fun and creative adventures. This saddened me greatly. And we discussed it. He said that he felt that I did not want to be spontaneous anymore. I said that I did, maybe I had sent him the message when I didn't, and when I saw him do this with others I missed what we had.
I began having panic attacks. I was crying, not sleeping, not eating. My husband decided that we had to stop moving forward with polyamory. I was insisting that we should keep going. I had gotten some books to read about it, and I was reading online to try to understand and cope with the fears and jealousies that I had. But we stopped.
Since then my husband and I have been trying to figure out what happened. Why I had such an extreme reaction. I understood that jealousy and the fears could be logically adressed, but that did not change the emotions I had. We talked about it possibly having to do with societies cult-like view of monogamy, judeo-christian ethics imposed upon this society, and that maybe my upbringing having monogamous parents who were happily married for 34 years until my father died.
My husband has asked of me to try to talk with others who are involved with polyamory because he feels that I may not have a true understanding of it. That I still see it as cheating based on my past experiences. He does not want us to move forward with it, and is not trying to make me do that. He just wants me to try to understand it better.
We did go to a polyamory meeting in the area. But while there I felt like an alien. Everyone there was in a different place than I was. None of them were married. Some had never married and some had divorced. It just did not feel right. We also tried to go to a couple of swinger parties. They were a lot of fun and we met some nice people. In many ways I felt more comfortable with the swinger crowd because many of them were married or in long term couple relationships. But the problem my husband has with them is that they seem to be about only recreational sex vs. having an relationship beyond sex. But he also considered the possiblity that they may build relationships outside of the swinger parties. And some we talked with had.
I was the one who pulled the trigger on polyamory, and I could not do it. I feel guilt and pain for the damage I have caused our relationship.
We have been together for 12 years, married for almost 11 years. We decided before we got married that we were not going to have children. We love each other very much. And we cannot live without each other. We are struggling through this, and I am trying to learn, and be free of my fears. He has been depressed and frustrated with me because he feels I am not doing enough to try to learn about it, but I am trying my best and it goes through my head daily. I was hoping that posting here may help so I could gain some insight from all of you.
If you read this far I thank you so much. I look forward to hearing your insights.