This is the chronicle of my journey from being decidedly mono to a poly lifestyle.
First a little about me: Iím fairly new to this site. Iím 47, straight, in a long-term (over 20 years now) monogamous marriage with RunBabyRun (RBR from here forward) on this forum. Weíve just decided in the last couple months to open our marriage and begin exploring additional relationships. RBR and I both come from very religious backgrounds, growing up in churches, and both having staunch Christian families. Itís very safe to say that neither of our families will understand poly ways of thinking, and for some period of time, this will be kept to ourselves. I expect that things will come out at some point, but we wonít do anything to hasten that drama into our lives.
In thinking through all this, we found that there are many possibilities. For now, weíve decided that for us, an open marriage is currently the freedom for each of us to have other relationships outside the marriage, but not attempt to bring anyone else into the marriage at this time.
Weíve both been reading a lot on this forum, learning, exploring. Weíve read where some have a very elaborate set of rules and restrictions that work for them in their poly lives. RBR and I have decided that the best path for us at this time is to have the least number of ďrulesĒ necessary. After all, I think this path (for us anyway) is about freedom, and shackling each other with a big list of rules seems counter to that goal.
The minimum set of rules that we felt were necessary are:
1. Total honestly between us, always, about everything.
a. Any questions asked by either of us are answered honestly, always.
2. Safe sex, always.
3. Nothing brought into our house (we have teenagers around that donít know about this at this time. We expect to tell one of them fairly soon, the other could be years before we have that discussion.)
Other than the above, both RBR and I are free to develop any relationship that we desire.
This all came about when RBR and I took a road trip and had a really good, long talk (as we often do on road trips!) Itís amazing how much our relationship has grown in the last couple of months as weíve decided to do this. I can honestly say that the communication between us has never been better.
And with the help of many on this forum, weíve been reshaping our minds into poly thinking. Many of the thoughts expressed to our previous posts have been truly transformative. Itís not always easy to understand, and sometimes even more difficult to overcome 40 years of mono-training, but it is happening and things are changing for the better.
RBR began this journey with a man already in mind for her first relationship outside of the marriage. She has successfully contacted that individual and began her journey. I can honestly say that Iím happy for her, and as expected, the challenges had already begun.
When we started all this, I figured that her having physical relations with another man would be my biggest challenge. I was divorced before RBR and I began our relationship. That marriage ended when my ex had a boyfriend on the side (a friend of mine from work) that I didnít know about until she got pregnant by him. I was devastated and it took a long time to recover from all that. RBR has been a big part of that recovery. In the time, I felt like I needed to follow my Christian upbringing and attempt to reconcile the marriage, and that was what I did. However when I found out that they were sleeping together, that was too much for me to reconcile. Things are very different now. I figured that would be a challenge, but having given my approval of this lifestyle, I thought things would be very different.
As things are progressing in the relationship between RBR and her new friend (Iíll call him E here), Iím finding a couple of things jumping up as the first real challenges. They have been out on a couple of outings together, and I was really fine with it. He has kissed her passionately, and that wasnít too much of a problem so far. The first real problem for me has been the emotional relationship. Having her depend on someone else, feel those thoughts for someone else, if there is a ďthreatĒ to our relationship, I think it lies in the emotional relationship, not the physical relationship.
RBR tries to tell me how different things are from what we first thought, but I think itís not something Iím really going to be able to internalize until I find someone and begin my own journey.
The second issue is something that I just got a handle on today to where I can actually type about it. Our relationship was in a really good place before we started this journey. And I can say that it has honestly gotten much better since we started this. The awakening weíve had being totally honest with each other has been really good for us. We have progressed to telling each other things that I NEVER thought would ever be discussed. And to make things even better, weíve worked through things that I thought could be relationship ending if they were ever known. But that newfound honesty has created the next problem for me. I feel like we are totally open, 100% and there is nothing we canít talk about. BUT, now that she has this new relationship with E, itís created a barrier between us. I can ask her anything and she is pledged to answer truthfully. But, the thing is, Iím not part of that relationship. It should have privacy of itís own that doesnít involve me. This ďarea where I canít (or shouldnít) goĒ has created an enormous curiosity in me. I want to know how things are progressing, how is she feeling about things, what did she say, what did he say, etc. Itís hard to be excluded from parts of her life, especially now that weíve found all this new openness.
Weíve discussed the situation and both agree that our relationships outside the marriage deserve their own privacy, at least I agree with that in principle. Putting that principle into action is an entirely different thing for me at this moment. Itís absolutely NOT a trust issue. Iíve just become very used to being able to be partners with her in every part of life, so having areas where Iím not involved (and shouldnít be now) is hard.
I donít know how to better describe how Iím feeling, however she is progressing with the exciting part at this moment and I feel like Iím mostly working through the negative feeling stuff. I am definitely wanting to get to the stage where Iím progressing through some of the more positive aspects of poly relationships!
married, heterosexual male currently in an a newly opened relationship; married to RunBabyRun