Guilt and value judgements-doesn't sound like atheist thinking to me
You mention that your husband is ďhard wired monoĒ but what Iím unsure about is if he has decided for himself that he is mono and only wants you OR if you mean that he is not OK with the poly thing and believes that mono is the only way and that there is therefore a strain in your relationship.
Your post resonated with me on several levels. I let go of my faith several years ago and now consider myself an agnostic with no spiritual notions. That was a hard transition at first but the poly transition was much easier. Biology just doesnít support the strict mono myth. Some people are mono and some are poly and that is a personal choice.
Since you are an atheist Iím assuming that like me youíve set aside the religious notions of strict rules. But, you still seem to be influenced by them. If you are feeling guilt over something that is biologically defensible then youíre being ruled by someone elseís notion of right and wrong. Perhaps your husbands? Guilt, in my opinion, comes from two places...one is some outside source that lays down rules and if you buy into that system you feel guilt when you donít measure up to it. The other form of guilt comes from your internal set of values.
For example, I do not believe that ďmoralityĒ is universal. Some religions teach that sex with anyone outside of your spouse is a sin but other religions/cultures donít have the same prescriptions. So while I donít have a list of moral vs. amoral acts, I do have a personal code based on my preferences, experience, and decided the kind of human being I want to be.
When I feel guilt I ask myself if itís influenced by an outside source or if itís because I have violated one of my own personal values. If itís the former, brush it off. If itís the latter, figure out whatís really important to you.
As far as your statement about feeling that your love is in some way ďcheaperĒ than your husbands because you are poly and he is mono, well, this strikes me as mono thinking. There is a quote in Cormack McCarthyís book The Road that says, ďEach the otherís world entireĒ. Itís a beautiful quote (the context is not romantic) but it demonstrates our romanticized notion of love. Our culture (outside source of values) tells us that all-consuming passion for one person is what true love is.
One of the most valuable things Iím learning about the poly lifestyle is that you donít have to choose....itís not either/or.....you do not have to rate your love against his love....they are both different and valuable and have special meaning to both giver and receiver.
Let yourself off the hook. If your husband says he loves you, says he wants to be mono with you but that he wants you to have the freedom to be poly then for Peteís sake, kiss the man, have passionate sex with him, and then go enjoy your other relationship.
married, heterosexual female currently in a newly opened relationship; married to IDRider47
"Courage is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm" Winston Churchill
"A ship in the harbor is safe. But that's not what ships are made for" William Shedd