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Old 11-26-2011, 01:26 PM
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Default Internal Conflict

Greetings. My name is -M- (I use the first letter of my name for privacy). I am 35 and I have been in a poly for about a year now and I have come to a crossroads in that relationship and I am unsure about which way to go.

To explain the details of this relationship could take a page or two but here is a reduced morsel. In 2007 I met -A- (My wife and mother of our son) in college and immediately fell in love. We started dating casually and had maintained a fairly open relationship over the course of that first year. We kept ourselves free to other people and had a few tries bringing in a second. Some were okay some horrible but close to the end of that first year we tended to spend more time working on us instead.

Over the course of the next 2 years we became very very close. In fact I cannot recall any other relationship that sparked my emotions like being with -A- did. In the middle of her senior year in college she became pregnant with our son, and despite what the general consensus says about women dropping out of school -A- finished out that year and graduated in the top percent of her class. Needless to say I was so very proud of her.

During the first year of our relationship I was introduced to a long time friend named -J- and a rather unexpected intimate encounter that night with my wife and here. Well it didn't go that well and it was really just about the awkward feeling of it We lost contact with -J- for a period of time but when -A- became pregnant and rekindled their relationship as -J- had also became pregnant with her boyfriend. They were only about a month apart in due dates and the father had since abandoned -J-. Since she had no one else she spent a lot of time with my wife and I. After my son and her daughter was born they spent even more time together and I also began to have feelings for -J-.

At one point they both approached me and asked what I thought about having a emotional and physical relationship with the two of them. Since being in an open relationship of the course of the years I was with my wife I was not in any way against this idea. This was started in late 2009 and from then until were we are right now almost 2 years later we are still doing it. I had also developed affection for -J-'s daughter which I began to raise as my own child and that has brought us very close.

So now I am raising two families together under one roof. It is a beautiful thing to watch grow. Despite these happy times over the course of late 2010 to now I was stuck in a really bad rut. I was starting to have problems dealing with stress and anger. Now this is not normal for me. I am a veteran with 12 years of service, so stress actually is the one thing that never got it's paws on me. Needless to say my actions have caused several volatile arguments which has caused my wife and -J- to become distant. Despite that anger and stress -J- and I still were doing okay. But I have totally alienated my wife from me. I was unable to recognize my actions and get control of them and -A- sadly became my emotional punching bag.

BUT I started seeing a counselor in September and gradually over the past few months we have fallen back in love with each other. Now during the month of November my wife and another close friend of hers involved themselves with a project called NANOWRIMO, which is National Novel Writing Month. During a write in at the library -A- met a guy and began a dialogue with him. Nothing physical, just friendship. Now with the exception of me my wife does not attach emotion to sex. For her sex is simply a pleasurable act, nothing more. But we do have that emotion connection with sex.

A few weeks ago my wife informed me that she had a sexual interest with this friend she had met during this project. Lets just say the discussions about this topic have not been very good. While I have always approved of an open relationship something has happened. I have become terrified about her and this interest with this friend. I had considered that one reason could be that I feel so terrible about the emotional stress I put my wife under that I have begun to panic now that it is clear she wants to sleep with this fellow.

Because I have found my true self again my wife and I have begun to have a beautifully explosive romance again. So in regards to this sexual attraction to this friend of hers my wife has assured me that it is nothing more than a "I want to shag this guy and nothing more" feeling. I know she is sincere and she has also made it very very clear to him that she does not want any kind of romantic relationship with him. Just a friend with benefits. \

Now I truly believe her, and because we have returned to the wonderful relationship we had before I have told her that I am okay with this sexual desire she has for said friend. But deep down I am terrified. I want so badly for her to have this, because it truly benefits our relationship. They have done nothing more than make out at this point because one of our long time rules was that we meet each others person of interest before any kind of intercourse is initiated. And because she has been able to make out with him on a few different occasions she has become explosively sexual with me.

But deep down that terror is there. I am afraid she will leave me. Afraid she will lose interest, or that I will suddenly take a back seat to any feelings she has for me. I know these are silly thoughts because she has assured me that my son and I are her one and only, and with this guy it is just sex.

I need advice. I am desperate to get rid of these feelings of fear. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. How can I eradicate these negative emotions?
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:11 PM
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I think if all this would be for her is sex, and you need more time to feel safe in your relationship with her again (I mean, hell, it sounds like you were on the road to divorce!), it's perfectly reasonable to ask her to desist with this guy. Give it 6 months, see if you feel different then. Again, why push it if it's just a roll in the hay for her? It would be different, obviously, if she was in love or something.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:17 PM
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It strikes me that you need some time. It's not clear in your story what was at the root of your emotional crisis and lashing out, but it seems like an awefully short time since you've been getting the introspection and support you need.

There's no way around your fear and terror. That will come and you'l have to figure out what it's all about and why - after all these years - you all the sudden feel so vulnerable. What's changed?

So, the question you have to ask can you feel your fear and emotional turmoil and NOT act on it? Many people don't recognze and/or don't have the skills to experience strong emotions without acting out on them. If you cannot either, than it's best to ask for additional time or you risk getting into a bad spiral with your relationship with A.

If you can, it might actually be helpul to sit with your fear and learn to cope; gain a finer understanding of what's going on with you, etc. But, this is a high risk strategy without proper support (and self-control).

If I were you, I'd ask her to wait... give it 6 months with the option to extend. Take any extensions very, very carefully though.

Sounds like a hard time for you. I'm glad to see you're on a good road forward.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:37 AM
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Security is an illusion.

Reality is; at any moment, every day, anything and everything we hold most dear can and will be wrenched from us leaving us to suffer the misery of its loss. Nothing is permanent. Everything is transitory.

Live in the moment and fully appreciate all that you have, for tomorrow it may all be gone. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Live for today. Every day.

Its only when we radically accept the reality that loss is inevitable, that we take away the power of fear of loss.

Your reality is this. Someday you will lose your relationship with her. It will happen. It may happen today, it may happen next week, it may happen 6 months from now, it may happen 60 years from now. You may agree to let her have sex with this guy and you may lose your relationship with her, she may agree to wait 6 months and you may still lose your relationship with her. She could agree to be strictly monogamous with you and you could lose your relationship with her. What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter what you choose to do, you may lose your relationship with her, regardless. And that, ultimately, it will happen. One of you will eventually die.

Embrace the loss of your relationship now. It's already happened. You just don't know the timing. Every moment you share with her is a gift of providence or circumstance.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:51 AM
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On a more practical level, I suspect you may still feel guilty about treating her so poorly and have yet to forgive yourself. Examine your feelings. You may find that the issue is still unresolved within yourself.

Otherwise, explore what assurance you need from her to fully "believe" her when she tells you that her commitment to you hasn't changed. Sometimes, I need extra attention and affection in addition to the words.

Best wishes for you and your family.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGuy View Post
Security is an illusion.

Reality is; at any moment, every day, anything and everything we hold most dear can and will be wrenched from us leaving us to suffer the misery of its loss. Nothing is permanent. Everything is transitory.

Live in the moment and fully appreciate all that you have, for tomorrow it may all be gone. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Live for today. Every day.

Its only when we radically accept the reality that loss is inevitable, that we take away the power of fear of loss.

Your reality is this. Someday you will lose your relationship with her. It will happen. It may happen today, it may happen next week, it may happen 6 months from now, it may happen 60 years from now. You may agree to let her have sex with this guy and you may lose your relationship with her, she may agree to wait 6 months and you may still lose your relationship with her. She could agree to be strictly monogamous with you and you could lose your relationship with her. What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter what you choose to do, you may lose your relationship with her, regardless. And that, ultimately, it will happen. One of you will eventually die.

Embrace the loss of your relationship now. It's already happened. You just don't know the timing. Every moment you share with her is a gift of providence or circumstance.
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"To me this cup is already broken. Because I know its fate, I can enjoy it fully here and now. And when it's gone, it's gone."
-Ajahn Chah

Wisdom.
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“Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, learn to accept the present moment as if you had invited it. And work with it instead of against it. And making it your ally rather than your enemy.”
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:52 AM
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Avoidance of fear will only keep it hanging around and give that fear power over you. Facing it, feeling it, immersing yourself in it, exploring it, without letting fear make you hide out or dictate what you do, is the way to have it burn itself out and have no more power over you. The fear may never go away, but you can change your response to it.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGuy View Post
Security is an illusion.

Reality is; at any moment, every day, anything and everything we hold most dear can and will be wrenched from us leaving us to suffer the misery of its loss. Nothing is permanent. Everything is transitory.

Live in the moment and fully appreciate all that you have, for tomorrow it may all be gone. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Live for today. Every day.

Its only when we radically accept the reality that loss is inevitable, that we take away the power of fear of loss.

Your reality is this. Someday you will lose your relationship with her. It will happen. It may happen today, it may happen next week, it may happen 6 months from now, it may happen 60 years from now. You may agree to let her have sex with this guy and you may lose your relationship with her, she may agree to wait 6 months and you may still lose your relationship with her. She could agree to be strictly monogamous with you and you could lose your relationship with her. What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter what you choose to do, you may lose your relationship with her, regardless. And that, ultimately, it will happen. One of you will eventually die.

Embrace the loss of your relationship now. It's already happened. You just don't know the timing. Every moment you share with her is a gift of providence or circumstance.
After reading this on the way to London on the train this morning, I've been processing this all day. It makes sense logically, of course, but I'm exploring what it means for my emotions.

A very very profound statement indeed.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:14 PM
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I really appreciate the advice and replies from all of you. I notice that this go moved to the New to Poly section. Funny thing is that we are not quite that new, just took a small amount of time off. BUT I think that we have reached a comfortable plateau in this situation by sitting down and actually talking. Like I said we have been on this road before and I think my own insecure moment there was really getting in the way of the fact the we have a very strong bond and commitment to each other. Seeing that we still have this and always will pulled me back into the comfortable sphere of our life.

Bigguy you really had the statement there that pulled me around. I have always felt that life offers us beautiful things to experience and enjoy. The fact that I have been given this knowing that it could end the very next moment makes it that much sweeter. I needed that reminder thank you.

The rest of you thank you again for the replies and the advice. It is nice to know that there is support in this community. I hope my stay here is rewarding!
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