...It's a nice image, isn't it?
After reading for many, many hours in the forum over the last few weeks, I am finally getting around to introducing myself.
I'm a mid-twenties community college teacher in Western North Carolina who has been married to a fantastic partner for fifteen months. The whole time I have been with my husband--and, as with many of us, for some time before that--I have been in a slow, steady process of realization about my poly tendencies.
It's not that I have hidden these realizations from my partner; we have always had a very openly communicative relationship with an established forum for unrestricted honesty. Nevertheless, now that I am becoming more certain that I am "wired" this way, my hubs is having problems because he seems to be fairly wired for mono. Predictably, he is hurt and confused and depressed and sometimes a little resentful. He always treats me with dignity, but sometimes I wonder if his self-concept is suffering too much to make this worthwhile for him. I certainly hope not because I love him deeply and want to spend my life with him.
We have yet to test the theory that he is totally mono in practice because he has no experience with multiple partners or loves to be able to gauge his capacity for it. He is open to the possibility, but sometimes it rings a little bit false to me. I fear that he may be pressuring himself to change into a poly person in order to "keep up" with me, and he has expressed similar fears about it. I mean, we've had threesomes, which are fun and all, but those experiences are pretty damn far from what I ultimately want: that is, multiple emotionally and sexually intimate relationships that I can experience fluidly, without shame, and with the full consent of all partners involved.
We are still very much in the messy middle of a slow, cautious negotiation process. While I want to honor his needs, I know that I must begin to make a real transition into a poly lovestyle in order to honor my own needs and pre-dispositions. I have to own it now. I am definitely feeling the truth of the idea that realizing you are poly can be similar to realizing you are gay because it feels as if I could not have avoided it with my best effort. Of course, life would be easier in many ways if I were mono: I would be ultimately more likely to hold on to the love of my life; I would have every privilege of the assumptions people make about a married person; and I could count on a lot more comfort and a lot less of what many people call "drama." And yet here I am.
I look forward to getting more involved in this community. I can tell that you are a compassionate and knowledgeable group. One thing I would like some leads about is how to find more of a sense of in-the-flesh community; my area has a poly group of some sort, as well as a few poly-friendly pagan circles, but I haven't found much personal resonance with either one. One seems composed of mostly people over forty, and the other is extremely hedonistic in that radical faerie sort of way...both are lovely, but neither are a fit for me right now, and I don't particularly want to pretend that I have all kinds of things in common with people just because we're all poly.
Is anyone else still in this phase of the process? If not, do you remember being there? What do you wish you had known back then?