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  #1  
Old 02-08-2014, 12:31 PM
seakinganswers seakinganswers is offline
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Default I am poly, spouse is not

I'm sure you get this statement a lot. I have always known that jealousy was never an issue for me. I regularly encourage my wife to flirt, have fun, explore her feelings. Pretty much whatever makes her happy. Of course this has never been tested because my wife believes like most people that marriage is between only 2 people. I readily admit, we could try it and I find I actually am more jealous than I thought. But I have this fantasy in my head of my wife and I being both lovers and best friends who both want to experience everything life has to offer in total honesty and complete transparency. I imagine myself sitting at home, waiting for my wife to come home with a big grin on her face because the guy she liked finally kissed her. And being so happy for her! And if course vice versa as well.

I could go on and on but I will jump to the point of my post. I have been married for 15 years. I love my wife, but we got married far too young and we both really pretended to be people we were not. Especially because we were stanch Christians and any ideas of the poly or swinging(I realize they are different but I would actually want both in a perfect world) lifestyle would have been sinful thoughts I shoved out if my mind. She had secrets of her own and we both had horrible communication skills.

We had a moment in our marriage when were at our lowest point and I began to question my marriage, religion, and who I really was. In some ways, I lost who I was entirely. I ended up cheating on her a few times and even had online relationships without her knowledge. I'm sort of a go big or go home kind of guy. I love big and I mess up big.

It took us a few years and to be honest we are still trying to recover from it. In the meantime, I feel like I have a stronger feeling of who I am than I ever have before. I'm on a new kick. I want total honesty between us. No more standard American white picket fence marriage. Over the past year I have opened up to her about my BDSM desires and fantasies, the fact that I fantasize and think about other women, I watch porn on occasion, and more importantly I no longer see those things as wrong. I'm comfortable with who I am. She has taken it all in stride until I finally dropped the bombshell. "I want an open relationship"

I've steered clear of using the words swinger or poly to stay away from all the preconceived notions involved. Besides, I wouldn't even go about trying to define what it would look like without her initial approval of the idea and discussing her comfort levels. My problem is even though I tell her in no uncertain terms that I am committed to her no matter what and ill stay monogamous for the rest of my life if it means staying with her. She still can't seem to get over the fact that I would have relationships and sleep with other women if she let me.

Since I have told her she has asked a lot if questions and I don't have all the answers but I try. But I feel like her jealousy has grown. She has gone back to watching my cell phone and Facebook and getting upset if I talk about a girl at work too much. I get the feeling that most of it is just her lack of understanding of the lifestyle. How can I convince her that she should trust me more now than she ever has before? That this honestly should make her trust me more not less. That by telling her these things we are creating an intimacy far superior to what most couples have.

Is there a good book or website for someone like her who comes from a very straight and narrow religious background to better understand the lifestyle? Or would it be a good idea to have her join a forum like this? I feel I'm not eloquent enough with my words to really explain it to her. I'm not trying to get her to let us explore the lifestyle. If that happens then fantastic! But more than anything I want her to better understand me so she can accept me and not see it as a major flaw in me, because I don't. I want her to see the beauty in this type of relationship even if she is never comfortable enough to try it. I want her to know she can trust me even more now than ever.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:02 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Congrats on coming so far in being honest about who you really are. If we can't be ourselves in this life, what is the point? Really.

I also lived a lie of monogamy for a long time, although I didn't even have religion as an excuse (being atheist with pagan leanings since my teens), but just traditional cultural programming.

You might check out our Spirituality board here, as well as get a copy of Opening Up.

Be patient with your wife. The concept of polyamory or polysexuality can be extremely difficult to accept for some. You might even need couples counseling with a poly-friendly therapist, especially since you have a history of cheating to overcome.
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  #3  
Old 02-08-2014, 08:46 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Originally Posted by seakinganswers View Post
I get the feeling that most of it is just her lack of understanding of the lifestyle. How can I convince her that she should trust me more now than she ever has before? That this honestly should make her trust me more not less.
Trust you to what? Tell the truth? Stop having feelings for other people? Trust you not to break her heart by announcing every time you meet a new hottie in the office?

Quote:
That by telling her these things we are creating an intimacy far superior to what most couples have.
That intimacy only comes if both people are on board. If one person is being dragged by their hair into an arrangement they're not comfortable with, it's guaranteed not to build any kind of intimacy.

Trust and intimacy aren't just about honesty and telling the truth. They're about feeling safe, having confidence that your partner won't do something that hurts you, that they'll honour the agreements and commitments they've made. Dropping the bomb that you're not monogamy-inclined breaks all of that, whether you intended it or not. It may be a burden off your shoulders to get that secret off your chest, but all you've done is thrown the burden onto her.

By the sounds of it, she will not agree to an open marriage. So you have two choices: suppress your poly inclinations and learn to be satisfied with monogamy, or end the marriage and begin a poly lifestyle. Staying married to her while remaining on the edge of poly is clearly hurting her and affecting her ability to trust you.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:26 PM
seakinganswers seakinganswers is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Trust you to what? Tell the truth? Stop having feelings for other people? Trust you not to break her heart by announcing every time you meet a new hottie in the office?
I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I don't tell myself about all the hotties I meet at the office or the women I have feelings for. I was saying I tell her simple things like, "Hey, Jenny at work today told me about this thing that might help our son with that problem." And her response is, "Who is Jenny, why is she talking about the personal details of our lives with you? Is she pretty? Do you want to sleep with her?" "Why is Mary telling inside jokes to you on facebook? She must like you. Stay away from that girl." It's the sort of treatment I got after I was unfaithful, which is understandable at the time. But this new revaluation about myself has put her back in that place even though I tell her I would never do it again, unless we had decided together to do it and had established boundaries.

She is extremely hurt that I would sleep with other women or have relationships with other women if she let me. She doesn't understand that someone could feel that way and still love her completely.

As for talking about the attractiveness of other women, I do on occasion tell her I think another woman is attractive. I don't think that has anything to do with being poly or swinging though. Everybody finds other people attractive. Most people at least occasionally fantasize about what it would like to be with another person. Our relationship used to be one that I looked down on the floor whenever I walked by a pretty girl for fear that she would become jealous or catch me looking. It's come a long way. She still doesn't want to hear that I fantasized about being with someone else, but she is OK with the fact that I do, and is OK with me saying I am attracted to someone. I have obviously given her the right to tell me if she has and I feel closer to her ever time she shares.

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post

That intimacy only comes if both people are on board. If one person is being dragged by their hair into an arrangement they're not comfortable with, it's guaranteed not to build any kind of intimacy.

Trust and intimacy aren't just about honesty and telling the truth. They're about feeling safe, having confidence that your partner won't do something that hurts you, that they'll honour the agreements and commitments they've made. Dropping the bomb that you're not monogamy-inclined breaks all of that, whether you intended it or not. It may be a burden off your shoulders to get that secret off your chest, but all you've done is thrown the burden onto her.

By the sounds of it, she will not agree to an open marriage. So you have two choices: suppress your poly inclinations and learn to be satisfied with monogamy, or end the marriage and begin a poly lifestyle. Staying married to her while remaining on the edge of poly is clearly hurting her and affecting her ability to trust you.
Suppressing who I am is no longer an option. I did that for far too long. I think it is what led us to the place we are in our marriage to begin with. I am however, content being monogamous. I just won't lie anymore about who I am. I am a poly person who is choosing to remain in a monogamous relationship out of love for the person I am with and my children.

And I don't think dropping a bomb that I am not monogamy inclined breaks any vows to her any more than saying I was gay would break a vow to her. When I cheated on her I broke our vows. I find a huge distinction there. But obviously y'all are more experienced at this stuff than I am. And I'm certainly understanding of the fact that this will all take time for her to process.

I think it's the sort of thing that would almost be easier for people if their spouse said, I'm gay, but I want to stay with you because I love you. At least being gay is more socially acceptable than being poly. Any movie you ever see about poly people or swingers and such in mainstream media makes it look like it's just a giant cautionary tale where people fell into "temptation" and paid the price for it at the end.

One movie I liked that didn't seem to have massive negative connotations for a semi poly type relationship was Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She chose at the end not to have that kind of relationship anymore, but seemed satisfied that she did experience it just once. Maybe you could guide me toward something else we could watch together that helps her understand where I am coming from more. At least something that helps her see my inclinations make me lover her no less than any other man could love her.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:34 PM
seakinganswers seakinganswers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Congrats on coming so far in being honest about who you really are. If we can't be ourselves in this life, what is the point? Really.

I also lived a lie of monogamy for a long time, although I didn't even have religion as an excuse (being atheist with pagan leanings since my teens), but just traditional cultural programming.

You might check out our Spirituality board here, as well as get a copy of Opening Up.

Be patient with your wife. The concept of polyamory or polysexuality can be extremely difficult to accept for some. You might even need couples counseling with a poly-friendly therapist, especially since you have a history of cheating to overcome.
How does one go about finding a "poly-friendly" counselor?

I get the feeling my wife would want a Christian counselor. I would be opposed to that on multiple levels.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:40 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Look in the Golden Nuggets forum for links to websites where you can find "poly-friendly" counselors and those experienced in alternative lifestyles.
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  #7  
Old 02-10-2014, 05:07 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Originally Posted by seakinganswers View Post
And I don't think dropping a bomb that I am not monogamy inclined breaks any vows to her any more than saying I was gay would break a vow to her. When I cheated on her I broke our vows. I find a huge distinction there. But obviously y'all are more experienced at this stuff than I am. And I'm certainly understanding of the fact that this will all take time for her to process.
I didn't mean it breaks the vows, I meant it affects the trust. She has a need to trust that you won't cheat on her. Telling her that you don't feel monogamous does not help build that trust. Again, trust isn't all about honesty.

Chances are, she never got over the cheating and never fully regained the trust. As long as she could believe it was a mistake and that you really have eyes only for her, she could tell herself that it wouldn't happen again. But now all of that disappears. You're asking her to trust that you won't cheat again, even though you're telling her outright that you'd like to have sex and relationships outside your marriage if you could.

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Originally Posted by seakinganswers View Post
How does one go about finding a "poly-friendly" counselor?
The simplest way is to get out the phone book or reviews webpage for your area, and start calling them. Ask specifically "Are you accepting and supportive of polyamorous lifestyles?" If they don't know what you're talking about, or if they express negativity, then cross them off the list. Some local poly groups also maintain lists of poly-friendly health practitioners, including doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, etc.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:44 PM
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Wyrdkiss Wyrdkiss is offline
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Originally Posted by seakinganswers View Post
How does one go about finding a "poly-friendly" counselor?

I get the feeling my wife would want a Christian counselor. I would be opposed to that on multiple levels.
That is a wise opposition, I would be as well.

Not able to google at the moment, but you can search and find databases on psych websites or someone on these forums should be able to provide you a link. If not, post here and I'll try the small but active local poly group or hunt one down when in front of a computer.

Don't be afraid to "screen" a licensed psychologist when you call for an appointment. My partner simply asked for to speak to them about their approach, and if it was specifically religious based. When they happily chirped up that it was indeed, she moved on the next on the list until she found a good fit -- an open minded and experienced PhD.
Also, where they went for graduate study is often avail online.

Good luck
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:05 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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That is a wise opposition, I would be as well.

Not able to google at the moment, but you can search and find databases on psych websites or someone on these forums should be able to provide you a link. If not, post here and I'll try the small but active local poly group or hunt one down when in front of a computer.

Don't be afraid to "screen" a licensed psychologist when you call for an appointment. My partner simply asked for to speak to them about their approach, and if it was specifically religious based. When they happily chirped up that it was indeed, she moved on the next on the list until she found a good fit -- an open minded and experienced PhD.
Also, where they went for graduate study is often avail online.

Good luck
And a friend of mine found that when a counselor says he can offer wither faith-based counseling or generic counseling, he got faith-based counseling despite stating that neither he nor his wife were Christian. The counselor had his PhD, but still viewed everything in simplistic right or wrong moralistic manner.
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:03 PM
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Wyrdkiss Wyrdkiss is offline
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And a friend of mine found that when a counselor says he can offer wither faith-based counseling or generic counseling, he got faith-based counseling despite stating that neither he nor his wife were Christian. The counselor had his PhD, but still viewed everything in simplistic right or wrong moralistic manner.
definitely happens.

Just read Nycindie's advice about resources in the nuggets section. Seems a great place to begin.
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