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Old 05-01-2013, 12:38 AM
Oly1 Oly1 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 28
Default Did I marry a serial monogamist?

Hi all,

I'm new in this forum, started reading here a lot lately as my (lesbian) relationship turned a new leaf from poly-in-theory to the actual thing.

The funny (and complicated) thing is, I'm not the one seeing someone else.

This is funny because I am very poly in my mindset, but my partner really isn't. In the last 8 years we were what I called "practicing non-believers" of monogamy (a singular "non-believer" may have been more accurate...) .

But I was always clear, with myself and with her, that this was not ideal for me. Partly due to personal inclination, and partly because of the specific circumstances: we met at a very young age (20,22), she is my first serious (and sexual) partner, and I wanted to experience different things in the future.

She was not in the same place. Though younger, she had more sexual experience, was a self-described "slut", and was looking to "settle down" into something serious when we met. Our "openness" was first discussed when she broke up with me, after about a year together, because she said she wanted to try sleeping with men. I was upset, and told her she was throwing away something amazing just for some sexual experimentation, and if she wants to have sex with other people I have absolutely no problem with it, as long as she knows where home is and comes back to me. As a result of this conversation, she wanted to get back together, which we did, and our relationship was defined as "open" ever since (somehow she forgot about wanting men...)

Despite this definition, nothing really happened. I had crushes (usually for unattainable persons) and she would occasionally flirt, and we talked about our attractions for other people openly, but there was little time for actual dating as we were both working students and were struggling to keep our one relationship alive in the time shortage we called life. Our agreement was- there would be no lies. We frequently talked about me wanting to some day have a relationship with someone else, and how she will handle it, but she maintained that although she excepted the fact I could one day have someone else in my life, she herself needed no one else and only had room in her heart for me. I think she could probably picture having a fling with someone else, but I don't think she ever imagined she would experience loving two people at once.

Until- she also had a crush on a co-worker, who turned out to want her too. They started meeting up and having sex, which I knew all about (supported even) though was not all that happy with, because my metamour (hope I'm using the lingo correctly...) is married and cheating, and I have serious ethical issues with that. But after much discussions I was convinced to leave this moral dilemma to the 2 people more directly involved (the cheater and my wife).

Thing is, as we're going through this uneasy transition from words to actions, I feel my wife is approaching the situation from a monogamous view point. She finds it very hard to see me suffering bad-emotions when she goes to see her, even when I clearly communicate that 95% of those are about past relationships and childhood experiences. She even decided to terminate the relationship (while still in NRE!) to avoid causing me any more pain (and also because it's complicated on the other side and she hates enabling cheating. But she sites my pain, and wanting to save our relationship, as the main reason). She also sees herself as someone who is victimizing me, has trouble initiating sex or receiving my love, is very very confused.

We communicate a lot, and I read up on polyamory to feel more secure in my lifestyle choice, but to my frustration she sounds (in some of our conversations) just like the straight+mono friends I came out to: urging me to acknowledge the fact that it does hurts me when she's having sex with someone else- so how can I be as "OK with it" as I claim to be?

She also claims when you love someone you should not cause her pain, and since i'm undeniably in pain for some of this process, then the entire thing is wrong.

This makes me very fearful. I worry that I am in (what I think of as) a poly relationship with someone who is essentially a serial-monogamist. And though she might not leave me for this one (who is unavailable), if she can't hold the concept of feeling romantic towards more than 1 person at once, the next time she falls in love and feels the need to choose, I might lose to NRE.

I really wish I could get her to find answers in polyamory, so she would get over the identity crisis this has created for her, and she would suffer less from shame and guilt, but I don't wanna push my beliefs on her too hard. It has to grow from her, I think. I've given her some things to read, but since it's all in English (which isn't our first language) and polyamory is scarce where we live, she says she can't relate to the experiences described in forums such as this one.

What do you think? anyone with similar experience/ who themselves transitioned from believing in monogamy to polyamory and can share some wisdom? How do I help her through this? And handle my fear that she is actually, and always will be, a serial-monogamist?
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:20 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,376

Hi and welcome,

Wow I just have to say you have a great command of the language..I'm envious ...because this is my first language.

The only thing you can control in this is you. You say your reactions caused her to react which is causing this reaction etc, etc.

You wanted this, it finally happened but from the other side. You then reacted badly which caused your partner to react and now you think she doesn't have the right mind set. Im not sure but could you have control issues?

What happened in this situation that she approached this with monogamous view. You state that in some of your conversations that points or questions make her sound like a straight and mono person. What are those things?
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:45 PM
Nox Nox is offline
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Location: Texas
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I'd guess it just takes more assurance. For years and years and years I kept trying to provide more than my wife wanted. I felt there was something I was doing wrong. If only I could discover what excited her she would love me more.

Eventually, after years of assurance and a little bit of counselling, I started trusting that what she was telling me was the full truth. I don't understand it. I don't have any idea how she can be happy with the limited attention I'm paying her, but I believe that she is, and it's taken a significant amount of pressure off.

Short version is keep assuring her, and give it time.
Me: 41 straight male in a V with
Wife: Kay - mono female - married 18 years
LDR ex? girlfriend: Susan - serial monogamist female - 4 year relationship ended? 9/29
Stakes - very intimate friend
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:43 PM
Oly1 Oly1 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 28
Default more on the subject

thank you both for your answers!

Yes, I do have some control issues. And I'm trying to work on that.

I guess when I said she was "acting straight and mono" I meant to address the fact that it is weird she is the one that, in a way, is practicing polyamory, but she still doesn't believe it. Which makes her, and me sometimes, feel like she's cheating. She expresses a need for me not to know, or not to care about things like the fact she's doing it with a cheater (which I find unethical). And this is hard for me to deal with. I feel like while I am asking "how can we make this work?", she is asking other questions, like "why can't I stop myself?" and "what does it say about me that I have these feelings?". And these are the things I would have liked to help her with, which is why I'm interested in the experiences of other people who sort of stummbled into this lifestyle first, and got OK with it later. If anyone like that is reading- it will really help me to know how it worked for you, what would (and would not) help her in this situation, and how you made your peace with it.

The other thing relates to the second reply- I know I should give it time, but I am finding it hard to give reassurances. If I was the one in an outside relationship I would feel like that maybe what it takes, but in the situation that developed I feel that I mostly need them myself, since I am the one left at home when she goes to be with another woman, and this is all new and hard to handle. And any reassurance I give as to believing this is the right choice for us, despite the current struggles, are met with disbelief.
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:59 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is online now
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One observation: if you need more reassurance from her (instead of having to be the one giving it all the time), why not ask? As for "falling into polyamory," I think that happens to many of us. We often don't plan to become polyamorous, we just find ourselves in love with someone already partnered and look for a better way to handle it than cheating.

I guess I was lucky in that my "fall into poly" proceeded changes in my general ideologies that allowed for much more liberal ways of people relating to each other. The hardest thing for me was waiting for permission from the husband (whose wife I had fallen in love with). I guess sometimes it just takes time and patience to revise one's monogamous mindset.

Sorry, nothing earthshaking here I know, just thought I'd give what observations I had. I hope you and your partner can work things out, and she can be more at peace with the idea of being polyamorous.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:01 AM
Oly1 Oly1 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 28
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Thanx for your input! I'm pretty isolated on this subject in my social environment and truly appreciate any comments I get.

I do ask for reassurances a lot, but then I find myself worrying that she is only telling me what I want to hear (and more importantly- not telling me what might hurt...), and that sort of defeats the purpose for me, since it creates trust issues.

The thing is- I'm not sure my wife wants to be "at peace with poly". At least not yet. She is talking about having a "dark side" and wanting to "break all the rules" (I think this has something to do with her taking on a lot of responsibility, work and money-wise, lately). She wants it to be forbidden, so she can feel she is feeding this "dark side" of her.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:08 AM
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leelee22 leelee22 is offline
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Location: Great white north
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Oly, this is a terrible thing to say, but I have a tiny gut feeling, reading your posts, that your wife is saying some of the things partners say when they are trying to leave a relationship without having to suffer the guilt of being the one who broke the relationship up.

I could be very far wrong... and my experience is very different from yours. For one thing, I've only ever been in one poly relationship, and it was brief. Second, I'm a straight female, and I've only ever seen this kind of "wriggling away" behaviour in men, and I've always thought of it as a male behaviour.

I hope I'm wrong. But be gentle with your OWN heart, not just hers (you sound very solicitous of her). Welcome to our board.
Leelee, all alone.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:54 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I'm sorry you hurt. BREATHE.. and then? Could deal with the problems one at a time.

Problem 1: Her Cheating

She also claims when you love someone you should not cause her pain, and since i'm undeniably in pain for some of this process, then the entire thing is wrong.
For the cheating affair -- YES. Tell her it DOES cause you pain as you struggle with the ethics and being disappointed in her and wish she would end it. It isn't her loving someone else -- it's the cheating-ness of it. It hurts you that she would choose to hurt people -- you, and the affair partner's spouse. That behavior doesn't become or flatter her. Ask her to stop it because YES... it hurts to love her knowing she can, will and does unethical things.

Ask her if SHE is after reassure that you value and love her when she asks you things like

"urging me to acknowledge the fact that it does hurts me when she's having sex with someone else- so how can I be as "OK with it" as I claim to be? "
For all you know she's struggling there and "trying to make you jealous" and when you are not somehow that "proves" that you don't love her. (And even that is weird ways of treating people. Note it's a possible reason, NOT an excuse.)

Problem 2: Your Fear

Have you told her your worries? That you are fearful? And that you worry that the next time she falls in love and feels the need to choose, you might lose to NRE?

Could talk about how to handle NRE in future so you get the reassure you need. How to cope with "trust and betrayal" when she's engaging in behavior that destroys trust in the cheating partner's life and other relationship. How are you supposed to feel about the safety of your OWN relationship with her since she's a party to shenanigans like that? This time you knew. Next time will she keep it in the dark from YOU to "feed her dark side?"

Can she get her "dark side" fed in other ways that don't compromise ethics?

Spill it out on the table and sort yourselves out. Holding back is NOT getting you what you need. And if it's going to suck either way? Maybe as well spill it then -- and try to arrive at something. Because holding back arrives at nothing.

When you Open a relationship, you pay full price of admission. There's no discounts.

Problem 3: Your relationship with yourself

Could soul search a bit here.

What is the fear of this relationship ending about? Do you know your dealbreakers with her? Could she engage in behavior that would lead to you walking out the door? Are you clear in your mind what those lines are? Have you made this known to her crystal clear?

Because there's two kinds of freedom -- freedom to and freedom from. Like... There's freedom TO have a polyship. There's also the other kind of freedom -- Freedom FROM crazyiness.

Know your own boundaries. Then YOU can make choices for yourself that serve your best healths. You are not "along for the ride" in polyship.

Could become more clear here with yourself and how you talk to yourself about this when you are thinking in your head. What you have here is NOT a polyship. It is you having a cheating partner helping her lover cheat on their spouse. Could not call it a "polyship" because that is what you hope/wish it were. WHY would you support her having sex with the other person?
They started meeting up and having sex, which I knew all about (supported even) though was not all that happy with, because my metamour (hope I'm using the lingo correctly...) is married and cheating, and I have serious ethical issues with that.
Did you know the other person was married BEFORE or AFTER they became lovers? That sentence to me makes it seem like you knew ahead of time. What happened there?

So... you could sort yourself (your relationship with you) out and then sort yourselves (the relationship with her) out.

Hang in there!

Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-06-2013 at 01:14 PM.
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