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Old 06-30-2012, 03:00 PM
truth2light truth2light is offline
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Default Is this poly...

I am a 40 yr old woman, in a relationship of 22 years, married 18 of those to my first love, boyfriend, and only sex partner.

I am very comfortable in a monogamous relationship. We have alot of fun together, we have great sex on a regular basis. My husband is my best friend, favorite playmate, and an amazing life partner.

However- over the years. He has expressed to me he is not wired for monogamy. That he has a need for other relationships. Not to replace me. Not to seek to replace me. But to have other experiences and to feel alive.

In the past I always shut that down, like it's ok babe- you are just going through a phase, or he will mature one day and this will go away. However, I am finally wrapping my brain around the idea that this may actually be who he is. Which has led me to this forum.
In the past after he has had this conversation with me- and I say no- he has had affairs. I found out. He is sad and tells me he has tried to get me to understand this aspect of him. That he would prefer to be honest with me. That he would like for me to accept this about him. And that these relationships somehow recharge him and then allow him to feel happy and fulfilled and want to be with me.

I love my husband dearly. I do want to see him happy and fulfilled.

A month ago- on my 40th b-day these talks of his alignment- of being able to be in more than one relationship simultaneously came up again. He says it does not make him love me less. Does not take away from how he feels for me. That the love we have is so huge and wonderful and warm and beautiful and he would never want to lose it.

I asked him if there was someone else. Point blank. He said no. Finally he came clean a week ago. He met someone out of town at work. He is really "into her". "Can't see it really ever lasting longterm." "He just wants to explore it."

Fast forward to today. My husband is across the country visiting this gf. He booked the tickets initially with the cover of- "going to a class reunion" but came clean a week ago with the revelation of this girlfriend. He genuinely seems conflicted over his interest/feelings for this girl and the fact that this is hurting me alot. He told me he would not go if I didn't want him too. I told him I didn't want him to go but I couldn't make that choice for him. He needs to be true to himself. He has told the other woman he loves me. Which seems to be causing some confusion/chaos in that space.

Sorry for the ramble. But I guess my position is this. I need to be in a relationship that is healthy. I don't want to worry about my physical health. I would like to be in a secure drama free zone.

He has promised me he will do what ever it takes to fix himself- marriage counseling etc when he comes back- but that he needs some alternatives. He has told me that while me knowing is less comfortable for him, he prefers honesty and hopes we can find a way to figure this out and not lose each other. He wants us to spend more time together enjoying each other and working to put time in our relationship- to try and offset any pain I am feeling from the other relationship- and to make us stronger and happier.

So many questions- but to start- does it sound like he is a confused coming out of the closet poly (for lack of a better analogy) -or just a downright mean serial cheater?

And if he is a poly- I will need to be able to accept that and embrace that part of him and still be true to myself if we are to go on. Where do we even begin?
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:21 PM
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Phy Phy is offline
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Welcome, I think you came to the right place to find some answers.

Honestly, this wouldn't be the way I define poly. He cheated on you several times, he pressures you to be OK with a purely sexual encounter (as he himself admitted that nothing will come out of this) while perfectly knowing that you are hurting and he isn't able to slow down, help you heal and rebuild the trust he misused and broke so many times? Sorry, definitely not poly in my book.

If he really wants to handles things openly from now on, he should stuff away all those other interests and wait for you to wrap your mind around this stuff. Slowly. Not saying: "Hey, I am poly, ah btw, there is this woman I want to lay, I told you I will be there for other reasons, but, as you now know that I am poly, that's what I really intended to do. That's alright, isn't it?" So wrong in so many ways ...

In your shoes I would demand of him to stop this mess and start concentrating on your relationship and your hurt. Because you have every right to feel hurt after this. He needs to do a lot of healing to make up for those times he breached your trust.
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2012, 03:36 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Welcome to the forum - thanks for coming here. I tend to find that folks here are quite realistic about what it is and what it isn't.

In my opinion, it may be that he wants to be poly - he is certainly saying the right things to indicate that he wants to be poly. However, what he is doing and has done isn't poly, it's cheating on your and your relationship.

If you were totally ok with this, and went along with it, then it is possible for this to turn into a poly relationship, but there has to be a lot of mending that goes on because of all the betrayal and lying. That doesn't mean that it's not possible, it just takes a ton of work.

The bottom line - as I understand your relationship, you both entered into this on a monogamous basis, and probably made promises and marriages vows along those lines (you know, the "forsaking all others" part). He, single-handedly, decided to change that, and expected you to just go along with it. When you didn't, he went ahead and lied and cheated to get what he wanted anyway. That is hurtful and disrespectful.

In order for you to stand a chance to make this work, the cheating and lying and concealment has to stop. He needs to regain your trust and the solidity of your relationship. Without that, I can't see anything being possible between the two of you, poly or not.
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:34 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I'm not sure from your post if he is polyamorous or just polysexual.
Either way, while I can relate to his feeling trapped when you didn't want to open the relationship, I don't condone the cheating.

Regardless, it seems to me that the situation for you is that he is not going to stop seeing other women. He hasn't been able to, and I doubt he is going to start. If you want to stay with him rather than break up, then I guess opening the relationship so that you know what he's doing, who he's doing it with, and you place your own terms and boundaries, etc... that could help.

But if what he likes is the thrill of cheating, he'll break your boundaries anyways.

Marriage counselling sounds like an option if you want to find an outlet that both of you can live with. If it ends up with him doing whatever he wants and you resigning yourself to letting him, I don't see you being happy that way, and I'm not sure how it's different from cheating except he's also rubbing your nose in it.
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:50 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Well, no, right now this isn't poly. But it could be. And if it evolves into a healthy poly relationship depends a great deal on you.

I have a great deal of sympathy for you and your husband. Yes, he has cheated repeatedly over the years. That is so hurtful. You have every right to be angry and distrustful.

But. And this is going to be hard to hear. He has apparently tried to tell you the truth about himself for many years. A truth that you did not or could not hear. One you denied and shut down. I understand why. Monogamy seems no normal, natural - and of course you have had no trouble being monogamous. It comes easily to you. And so it should be for everyone - not being monogamous is a sign of immaturity or lack of will power, and so on. Those are very common ideas in our culture.

Please understand that I am not condoning his cheating. That is not acceptable in any relationship that has a foundation of honesty. He should have tried harder to get you to understand. He should not have had affairs.

So now what? It is good that you came here, seeking information. You want to understand now. This is a hopeful for your marriage. However, now you have the difficult decision to decide if you can be in a poly or open relationship.

(The commonly accepted difference is that poly indicates that an non-monogamous person wants multiple loving relationships - including sex - while open indicates that the people in the open marriage are open to their partners having outside sexual partners - sometimes these evolve into relationships and thus poly but often not. There is also an overlap with swinging and open too. There is lots of conversations on the forum about the differences and overlap between poly, open and swinging.)

It is possible to have healthy, loving, honest relationships where one partner is poly and the other is monogamous. (Search on the forum for the tag 'mono/poly'.) It's possible but it's hard. Not everyone is suited for it, nor should they be expected to be. Take your time, learn and listen to your husband and your own heart. Ask questions, think about what you really want and what you can live with.

Your post reads that other than cheating, your life with your husband is good, fulfilling and loving. That is a strong foundation to build from, if you choose. It sounds like he wants to be honest with you, that he wants to stop cheating, and have open relationships with others, with your consent and knowledge. That is also, on the face of it, promising. It is possible to transition from cheating to honest, poly relationships. But again it is very hard and requires time and much long slogging to rebuild trust.

Cheating is obviously a moral failing. But it is also a pattern of behavior. Your husband might find it difficult to move away from those patterns - of not telling you the whole truth, of shading the information he tells, of outright lying and covering up what he is doing. And he is used to not being heard or accepted when he tells the truth. (Again, this is not to blame you or condoning his actions but it is a reality of the situation.) Honest relationships are hard and take work and can cause pain, unease, discomfort while getitng to a place of honesty and trust. It will be likely be easier in the short term for your husband to fall back on this usual ways of not telling you the truth when it's hard or when you are not hearing it right away. He is also going to have to do some serious shifting of entire behaviors and thoughts in order to make a honest, ethical poly relationship work with you.

Finally, marriage counseling is a good idea. However, I suggest you look for a counselor who is either poly friendly, open to the idea of ethical non-monogamy, or works with 'alternative' populations like LBGT folks. A therapist who is open to ethical non-monogamy will be better able to 'hear' your husband and maybe do some 'translating' back to you.

You have my best wishes.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:19 PM
truth2light truth2light is offline
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Default Thank you

Thank you all for your thoughts.

It seems I will have to wrestle with the question could I be happy, satisfied, content in a mono/poly relationship. My gut answer right now is maybe- and probably only with my current husband. We have so much history and a good friendship- I would weigh it to save the good and possibly make it stronger.

In a new relationship- it seems there are enough mono people out there to pick from it would just to be easier for an apple to date an apple.

But first- before I can even ponder the question- my husband and I need to deal with the betrayal and dishonesty and hurt he has sown in our relationship.

There is no way to consider and move forward into a realm that takes such care, trust, love and negotiation to care for both partners- if there is not honesty and respect to navigate the path together and honor each others boundaries.

I cannot completely understand the poly concept- as it is definitely not inherent to me. However- I do appreciate the honest and loving ways in which you try and conduct your relationships, and the courage and openness with which you seek your authenticity. That space definitely seems to be an honorable one.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:04 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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KUDOS! Your instincts are right on!

I can't answer if the apple that is you can be ok being with his orange and live in apple-orange harmony of some kind and what exactly that IS. Only you guys can solve that one. Asking yourselves things like...
  • Can you forgive the trespass?
  • Why did it happen that way? That he could not come to you? Who'se bag is that to work on?
  • How do you normally handle conflict? Communication?
  • And how will you choose to move forward?
  • How can you find the happy medium? What IS the happy medium?

If the goal is to stay strong together, then this is facing "tug-of-change" with grace. Not "tug-of-war."

Conflict doesn't have to be war. It's just two people not in agreement and an opportunity for better understanding and personal growth. But BOTH people have to agree that it is so. Can't grow with someone who wants to make it be war. What do you want it to be? How about him?

I'm not nuts about the cheating. It would have been better to come clean and go forward clean because then whatever growing pains of tug-of-change transition there may be? They were of BOTH your choosing. And you support each other through it.

But if you can forgive that and move it forward... then he has to be willing to move it forward too and keep it real.

We were just having this conversation today at mini golf. DH has long known I'm poly/overlappy. He isn't or hasn't been -- he's more mono in history. But he's open in mind. We're closed right now and we aren't anywhere close to opening up. But we talk a LOT about what we wish for, how we want to treat each other, how we want to be treated, if it has to end, how we want it to end. We certainly don't WANT end, but when you unfold a new thing and attempt new personal growth... you have to take on all possibilities. Keepin' it real means accepting you might grow together in one direction or you might grow apart.

Sharing emotional intimacy like that makes me feel loved, safe, secure, and if/when it comes to pass we've got some ground rules AND he's had plenty of mental time to adjust. It's not just SPRUNG on him.

I would begin by talking to your husband and making sure you are both on the same page in order to move forward. What is the mission?
  • The mission if you both choose to accept it: You both in a HEALTHY mono-poly married place with harmonious rship with the lover/meta(s)?
  • Maybe the mission is something else: You both in a healthy mono-poly divorced FRIENDSHIP with harmonious rship with whoever there comes next.
  • Maybe the mission is something else other than THAT that I cannot think of right now. YOU decide.

Get the broad stroke mission down. Then set another time to talk details for how to execute and who has what responsibilities/rights/expectations laid out. Start talking and defining what all that means for YOU guys. Are you down with one meta? Two? What's the comfort line there? Safe sex practices? Enduring the dating phase before stability phase? IS the goal a stable other partner? Or a series of flings? What animal do we have here exactly?

I don't know where you will take it or where it will unfold, but the cheating thing has to stop. And he's got to own that before you can strengthen your OWN relationship foundation before changing the dynamic by adding other loves and changing the configuration of your present relationship structure.

Strengthen you guys rship first before tacking on more variables.

"poly" (air quotes!) fuckery is NOT polyamory.

I'd suggest you explore this forum and websites like this and others together. Do some reading of books and other resources. TOGETHER.

http://www.morethantwo.com/

http://www.serolynne.com/polyamory.htm

HTH!

GalaGirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-30-2012 at 11:46 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-30-2012, 11:47 PM
truth2light truth2light is offline
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Unhappy My needs

So I think one of my challenges with poly is this.

I am generally an independent person, and love diverse things, and I do love my freedom and a person who holds me tightly when I'm near and let's me go freely as I please.

However- I am intense in my relationships. I form deep intimate friendships. And when it comes to my lover- I can be with them 24-7. Love physical touch and sex. Deep conversations. And just spending time.

The thought that I have to build time into my life for them to be with someone else frustrates me. I don't mind when my significant other does things with friends- until it seems that their free time is spent more often with friends than me. And I mean going out doing something time.

With my husband- we have a home and a family. 3 children. 17,13, and 9. This next year will be very busy with 2 in HS- one a senior and trying to manage their activities. Sometimes I feel little pangs of jealousy when my husband spends time with our own kids and I am wanting to be with him. Or make love to him. Or go out with him. I know that sounds crazy. And I push down the pang because it is OUR children that we made. And they need him. And they enrich him. (Our kids are awesome) But I still feel it sometimes. And often much of our time together is just home and family time.

So to imagine him having a relationship with another right now is hard. She would get more of like a quality time experience every time they are together.
While I would be at home washing his underwear and feeding our children.

Does this make sense? It is like I am performing some kind of altruistic act of sacrifice for some person I don't know, have no ties to.

I own this feeling- and know it is not a pretty one. But it is real for me.

Somehow I feel that his time with me would be majority family time.

And the little time we have now to fit in quality time or dates- would now be split with someone else. And our resources we have built together would be used for her pleasure.

Grrrr.
That doesn't sound very exciting to me.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:39 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truth2light View Post

I asked him if there was someone else. Point blank. He said no. Finally he came clean a week ago. He met someone out of town at work. He is really "into her". "Can't see it really ever lasting longterm." "He just wants to explore it."

Fast forward to today. My husband is across the country visiting this gf. He booked the tickets initially with the cover of- "going to a class reunion" but came clean a week ago with the revelation of this girlfriend. He genuinely seems conflicted over his interest/feelings for this girl and the fact that this is hurting me alot. He told me he would not go if I didn't want him too. I told him I didn't want him to go but I couldn't make that choice for him. He needs to be true to himself. He has told the other woman he loves me. Which seems to be causing some confusion/chaos in that space.

Sorry for the ramble. But I guess my position is this. I need to be in a relationship that is healthy. I don't want to worry about my physical health. I would like to be in a secure drama free zone.
I just want to specifically address a few things, starting with -
He told the other woman he loves you, which is causing confusion and chaos with her? I agree with the people who say that cheating is no good way to get to poly, and he's a lucky bastard to have you. It's a dick move for him to admit you found him out then force YOU to agree to allow him to go cheat on you or deny him... but it also sounds like he is choosing to cheat on you with people who also aren't poly/open/interested in poly, which is a very bad sign.

I feel there is something sick about people who want to be poly but make sure to hurt everybody else on each side of the equation as they "explore it".

I do suggest you two see a counselor ASAP, I don't really think he knows what poly means yet, or if he's brave enough to embrace the honesty and ethical requirements of being in a poly relationship and putting things other than his romantic/sexual desire first.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:44 AM
truth2light truth2light is offline
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I feel there is something sick about people who want to be poly but make sure to hurt everybody else on each side of the equation as they "explore it".

I do suggest you two see a counselor ASAP, I don't really think he knows what poly means yet, or if he's brave enough to embrace the honesty and ethical requirements of being in a poly relationship and putting things other than his romantic/sexual desire first.[/QUOTE]


So talking briefly with him- I am not sure he is "poly". He wants to be able to be in multiple love relationships yes. But he told me he looked at theis thread and some others and while "these poly people seem to have some interesting views" he is "not sure that it is quite what he is saying. he is not sure he can buy into such a rule based structure"

We had a brief talk about honesty, and he said when am I supposed to tell you these things? When I first talk to someone and I can see they are into me? And I know I feel an attraction and at some point something may happen? Right before- like hey I am going to work today- and this person- more than likely we may hook up?

He told me do you know how often and how crazy that would make you?

Not to say he is out there sleeping with everyone he comes into contact with. But he is very open and friendly(definitely does not vibe "married") and a very handsome man and has ample opportunities practically throw themselves at him all the time.

So now that I think about it- in our past conversations- whenever I have asked him how this having other partners looks- what rules boundaries etc- he always gives me a blank look- says I don't know. It would be how it looks.
And this in my mind is where the conversation has stalled. I will then say let me know what you are proposing- let me know how it looks. Then I often wont hear about this again for a long time until I hear "We need more friends." And then I need to be in multiple relationships. And I say how does that look? What are you asking? And he never pins it down. And then because I do not hear back- I assume the conversation has gone to a back burner and not an issue for now. I guess almost like I feel we are still at the negotiations table- and he it seems never really pulls up a chair.

I think he basically wants any and all relationships he chooses to have the potential to spontaneously develop very naturally- and he has told me if ever he reaches a point where he doesn't want to be with me and the family of course he will tell me as that seems right.

So as long as he is with me- he wants to be with me. And if that changes he will let me know.

When I ask for rules like- let's say you only can do this when out of town for work- he will ponder it and say I could be ok with that. But I get the feeling- it is not so much that he can agree to the rule- it is more like as long as the rule agrees with his current wants/desires it is ok. But if those needs/desires change- then the rule would probably be tossed and I would be sitting here saying what about the rule- and he would say yeah- it didn't work in this case. Not- hey babe- I think this needs to be talked about because I want to see this other person- but yeah I am seeing this other person- sorry the rule didn't work.

ESPECIALLY for me with a mono base- this does not sound like he is offering me anything. No rules that I could even begin to feel remotely safe, protected, or prioritized.

This does not only affect me. Our relationship alignment affects our children. It affects my emotional and financial stability and thus their lives.

-------------------------

So- husband- first- I apologize if you feel I have put you on blast somehow. I am not trying to do that. I am seeking perspective from people with a mindset of being able to love multiple partners simultaneously and how they have made that work. If you cannot give me an idea of what you are asking me for looks like- I have gone seeking for some examples- and am holding them up to say- is this it??

I know that others perspectives do not ultimately matter to you- as in the end you are doing you- and not trying to buy into conventions or others rule based philosophies but determining your own path.

Please- feel free to weigh in with subtleties. Please feel free and safe here to propose thoughts.

To me this is an anonymous forum- nothing personal- an exchange of ideas with people who have some experience down this kind of path. They may not be exactly what you are- but maybe they can help you figure out what you are and point us that way- so I can be better informed and able to see if that is something I can buy into.

I am trying to give our relationship the privacy to figure itself out. This conversation is a nonstarter with our friends. I am sorry if this feels to public to you. It is helping me see what I can and cannot be comfortable with.

Please do feel free to comment- because I think your input against the backdrop of their views may be able to give me at least some sort of picture or perspective on where you are coming from.

I love you and am trying to figure this out. I am trying to help us find a place where we can both meet and be happy.
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