New to all of this... and struggling...
My husband and I are new to an "open marriage" (yes, still struggling to make the distinction and the decision between "open marriage" and polyamory), and I feel emotionally adrift. I thought that perhaps, those who have been practicing polyamory for some time might have some advice.
Some background- after years of, what was essentially a sexless marriage, I slipped and had an affair. I am a generally open person who tries to be transparent and authentic, and the guilt was killing me. I broke off the relationship and told my husband, and we proceeded to have marriage counseling. He discovered that he had been struggling for years with chronic depression, and the effects of this and the subsequent weight gain had basically destroyed his sex drive. After getting treated, we discovered something else- that, though we love each other very much, we were beginning to question the long term viability of a monogamous relationship. We felt drawn to exploring attractions to others. So, two months ago, we decide to try polyamory/open marriage.
He immediately fell in with an old high school girlfriend who lives out of state and who is also in an open marriage. They have a solid, deep friendship and relationship, and he's been very respectful of me as a primary. He cannot see her often, but he keeps in contact via phone almost every day.
My problem? I have had no shortage of folks who have expressed an interest in dating, but I can't seem to find the right formula for myself. I find that putting myself out there just means that, rather than getting my feelings all dinged up by one person, that I am getting my feelings hurt by multiple partners. I am realizing how insecure and sensitive I am, and how low my self-esteem is at times. I recently lost almost 100 pounds, but can't seem to view myself as I am now.
I had a lovely three-way experience with an old boyfriend and his girlfriend while at a conference (I am bi), and they would like to keep seeing me. However, they live halfway across the country. Additionally, she has been contacting me a lot individually and talked about seeing me individually, and that makes me feel guilty towards the old boyfriend, whom I suspect would be hurt to know how much she is in contact. I dated a man whom I later realized was merely looking for a sexual partner. I placed an ad on one of the big adult dating sites and had a lot of response, but almost all of the responses included pictures of private parts and, I could tell, I had nothing in common with anyone. Additionally, I have a close female friend who gave me signals that she was interested, but when I responded in kind, she backed away. It's an awkward situation, as she also dated the man with whom I had the affair, and he still flip-flops back and forth in terms of being friends with us. Right now, I feel left out of the triangle.
So, I'm left feeling that there's a lot of noise in my life, but not much signal. I have no idea how to find something more stable and affirming. And, my husband has indicated an interest in swinging together, and I just don't see that as being for me. It's not just about sex for me. It's about making connections, and I don't seem to be drawn towards watching him with someone else. I can handle him seeing other people, but I don't really want a visual reminder of it.
I'm feeling alone and adrift right now, and am experiencing feelings of depression. Is this perhaps a failed experiment for me, or am I just going about this all the wrong way?
Sorry to write a novel here, and thank you in advance for any advice you might have...
Last edited by Terra; 05-27-2011 at 03:57 PM.