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Old 09-18-2011, 02:38 AM
IcySiren IcySiren is offline
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Unhappy Am I just being selfish?

After reading "Marriage Confidential" and an article about non-monogamy, I decided to bring up the topic with my husband. The conversation didn't go well. I was speaking hypothetically and he was speaking accusingly. He didn't understand why I would need to experience the feeling of a "new love" again or why the type of love we have isn't enough for me. Later that day he told me that he just wanted to be "normal" and that he thought I was way too liberal in my thinking about sex.
What to do now? Am I being selfish to want more in my life? I have been married for 11 years and just want to date other men. My life is great, otherwise. My husband is wonderful. We have a daughter and a life I love in a city I love. I don't want a divorce. I just want a connection with another man.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:17 AM
schtuff schtuff is offline
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not everyone is cut out for poly, not everyone is willing to "share" or play nice when another suitor shows up. we men can feel very inadequate, insecure, etc.... we also come wired by nature to provide, protect, defend, keep all the other males away mentality that can not be helped, some of us are more evolved.

the problem you are facing is this. when you marry, you take vows... and people tend to take vows as serious business, as we should. the promise to love, respect, honor, cherish, one another is important in that bond. in my opinion, and this is just my opinion, this is the kind of thing that must be agreed on by both, in order to proceed, into the world of poly, or non-monogamy. you may need to give him more time, but he simply may not be wired in such a way that he will ever be swayed. a marriage is a partnership, a team, a bond, and if this is something he does not agree with, then it will appear to him as a selfish act.

however.... yeah isnt there always a however? if this is something that you as a person feel that you absolutely need to be happy, then you have to evaluate that need, as there will typically be a price associated with it, and not a pleasant one.

please do not let me discourage you from searching for or discovering happiness, my philosophies, and beliefs in life center strongly around the respect, kindness, proper treatment, and adoration of women (ok worship). but i also believe strongly in fair treatment, and balance. i do wish you the best.

schtuff
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:02 AM
learner learner is offline
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Is there a chance that you've just completely thrown him for a loop, and he may be more open to discussing it after having some time to think about it? It is a very difficult conversation to have - I brought it up with my husband quite gently, and we discussed it for a couple of months before he finally gave the go-ahead (theoretical of course - it's 2.5 years later and not a lot has happened to speak of!). Even after he'd agreed I still wasn't sure he was on board, until I kissed a friend of ours, some other friends found out, and I found him justifying our lifestyle choice to them and why it made sense - it was a lovely moment and I appreciate him so much for being so understanding!
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:45 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcySiren View Post
I was speaking hypothetically and he was speaking accusingly. He didn't understand why I would need to experience the feeling of a "new love" again or why the type of love we have isn't enough for me.
I want you to listen to the gentleness in my voice when I say the following: Be honest with yourself. You were "speaking hypothetically", but it must have been obvious to him (as you have made clear in your opening post) that you're really interested, that you "just want to date other men". By "speaking hypothetically", do you mean that you have nobody in particular in your sights just yet?

I'm going to try to put myself in your husband's shoes. 2 alternative scenarios:

a) My wife of 11 years - the mother of my daughter - you come to me and (tearfully?) confess that you've fallen in love with another man... but that you think that I'm "wonderful. [You] don't want a divorce. [You] just want a connection with [this] other man." You wouldn't leave me or our daughter for ANYTHING or ANYONE. But...
I [your husband] think: "What's this other guy got that I haven't got? What's so special about him? Why am I not enough? What's wrong with me?" But - on the other hand - I remember what it's like to fall in love. I might even have fallen in love myself sometime in the last 11 years. But - for the sake of our marriage - I controlled my feelings. And I'm glad that that I did! Because you and our daughter mean the World to me. And now it's time for you to control your feelings for this other man...

b) The scenario is basically the same, only there's NO other man that you've fallen in love with... yet. But you want permission to be on the look-out. So remove the "What's this other guy got that I haven't got? What's so special about him?" But there still remains the "Why am I not enough? What's wrong with me?" And there's this really funny feeling of "Either she has found somebody else and she's hiding that from me... or (Heaven help me, even worse!) there is nobody else but she's decided that I'm not enough anyway..."

O.K., IcySiren, it's time to make clear that I'm committed to polyamory. I'm just trying to imagine what it must have been like for your husband.

This part is hard. Many on this board have been through this, and I don't think that you'll find half-a-dozen that assure you that "it's a cinch to get your long-term partner to accept the idea the first time that you talk about it". What you CAN take heart from is that many on this board have been through this. And that they did get through it. It takes patience. It takes work. It takes compassion. It takes carefully, lovingly convincing your husband that there ISN'T anything wrong with him.

Some people find the following analogy useful: "Apple pie is my favourite dessert. I am absolutely crazy about apple pie. I mean that I think that I'd GO crazy if I could never eat apple pie again. But now and then, I like to eat chocolate ice-cream. You know what I mean?" [Some - those into 3somes - take the analogy even further: "You know what would be heaven? Hot apple pie with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream on top!!!"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by IcySiren View Post
What to do now? Am I being selfish to want more in my life?
I have trouble with these words "selfish" and "childish". According to the on-line version of the Oxford Dictionary:
selfish (ˈsɛlfɪʃ) adjective: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

I personally believe that it's healthy to be "concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure"... as long as that "one's own personal profit" includes "one's own well-being". One SHOULD be deeply concerned about one's own well-being. But "selfish" is generally understood to mean "concerned excessively with one’s own personal profit or pleasure no matter how much others are affected".

Going by a definition of selfish as "looking out for Number 1", you could be classed as selfish. But if we specify "looking out for Number 1 no matter how much others get hurt", I'm sorry, but I don't think that you qualify. It's up to you to convince your husband of this...

As I've written, it's not going to be easy. Take heart from the 2nd quote in my signature.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson

Last edited by MrFarFromRight; 09-18-2011 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:47 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by learner View Post
Is there a chance that you've just completely thrown him for a loop, and he may be more open to discussing it after having some time to think about it? It is a very difficult conversation to have - I brought it up with my husband quite gently, and we discussed it for a couple of months before he finally gave the go-ahead (theoretical of course - it's 2.5 years later and not a lot has happened to speak of!). Even after he'd agreed I still wasn't sure he was on board, until I kissed a friend of ours, some other friends found out, and I found him justifying our lifestyle choice to them and why it made sense - it was a lovely moment and I appreciate him so much for being so understanding!
This is sweet! Thanks for sharing it.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:16 PM
IcySiren IcySiren is offline
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Default Thanks!

How surprisingly wonderful to read all of your responses! So thoughtful, intelligent, and encouraging. I am so glad to have found this community at a time when I feel like I am going crazy.
I think I will give my husband time, although, he made it clear that he felt monogamy was the only way for him during our last conversation. If that remains the case, then I will have to decide at some point what I can live with "For The Rest of My Life", which sounds like a life sentence right now.
As far as the "hypothetical" part, it is hypothetical right now, in that I do not currently have any man in mind. However, 2 years ago I had an online affair with a old flame of mine that tore up the foundations of our marriage when my husband found out. We have been floating around on new waters since then.
So, the ultimate fear is, if there were another man, and at this point it would only be online as intercourse is a BIG NO-NO, would I be able to sustain both relationships. Because the last time I had a relationship with someone I was ready to hop on a plane and consummate the thing already. This raises a bunch of new questions. Is an online affair real? Would it be enough to appease my need to connect? Without physical affection, I would probably always be left wanting. If there were a man in my life, that was not my husband, who I did experience physically, then what would stop me from believing that I should leave my husband to be with the new person?
Thanks again for your advice and concern. I appreciate being able to speak frankly without fear of judgment.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:37 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Some thoughts on what you just wrote. I don't think it makes sense to start an online relationship expecting it to never go farther than that. Love grows in its own ways in its own time, and has its own demands. That doesn't mean you have to go along with those demands, but you may well be setting yourself and another person up for a LOT of heartache if you say "we can be in love, but we can't be physical." It's sort of the opposite of the way some swingers go about things, "we can have sex but we can't fall in love." Either way, it just doesn't seem like a realistic mindset to me.

As for what would keep you from leaving your husband, well... love, right? The whole idea of poly is that you can love more than one person, and that a new relationship can actually make an old relationship stronger rather than weaker. Even if I didn't ever see Eric, I'd like to think that I'd make his relationship with Gia stronger because she'd be happier and when someone is happy they can give more of themselves. I would never, ever try to break them up, and hopefully any potential new flame of yours would come into things with a poly mindset of multiple-loves-are-good instead of the more traditional mindset of society at large which would have him say "she must love me and *only* me" and would be respectful of your marriage.
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Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:42 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Another thought, maybe after waiting a while to give him time to think you could tell your husband that poly's still been on your mind, and ask him if he would be willing to just do a little reading about it so that he can know more about what it's actually about. Check out the Golden Nuggets section of the boards and visit www.xeromag.com in particular for some excellent essays that *might* help him understand that poly doesn't have to be a threat to your marriage.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:24 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcySiren View Post
How surprisingly wonderful to read all of your responses! So thoughtful, intelligent, and encouraging. I am so glad to have found this community at a time when I feel like I am going crazy. [...] Thanks again for your advice and concern. I appreciate being able to speak frankly without fear of judgment.
Not the only ones, but two [not going crazy and being able speak frankly] of the important reasons for this site.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IcySiren View Post
I think I will give my husband time, although, he made it clear that he felt monogamy was the only way for him during our last conversation. If that remains the case, then I will have to decide at some point what I can live with "For The Rest of My Life", which sounds like a life sentence right now.
For what it's worth, a slice from my own past:
Before the word "polyamorous" existed, I had a polyamorous relationship with M. (I have never been interested in a relationship based only on sex, so there was strong emotional [call it love] input in each case.) After 6 years M - my "primary" - told me that she wanted to shift to monogamy.
[Intermission: We were friends with another couple, H & R, which had made the same shift some time earlier... and went on to both cheating on the other, while "officially" monogamous. ALL of our set knew what was going on - we'd all met H's other man and R's other woman - except for H & R themselves. (more detail here)]
Back to M and me: I told M that I was polyamorous [using other words] on principle: that if she wanted to restrict her sex life to me, that was her right, but that I would never ask for that, and wouldn't fault her if she chose to return to sleeping with others. (Ironically, at the time of this conversation, she did have another lover [whom she would have been willing to give up for me - or for the ideal of monogamy], and I didn't have anyone else.) On the other hand, I wasn't about to renounce my [polyamorous] principles (including the principles that we don't own anyone else and that we shouldn't restrict another person's freedom). I added that I didn't want to find myself in R's situation, cheating on H [in my case, M] because SHE wanted me to vow monogamy. But I also didn't want to deny potential (at this time, hypothetical) feelings for others... or deny my right to act on them as I saw fit.

Result of all this (with extenuating circumstances, such as the fact that we were both going through individual [each one their own load, that didn't necessarily have to do with the other person] heavy shit of other kinds): M decided a few months after this conversation to break it off with me.

I need to point out several important factors:

1) M and I had already been polyamorous for 6 years when she asked us both to take a step backwards (in my opinion) from freedom and total trust [trusting the other to love us even though they're bonking - and LOVING - somebody else]. You're not in the same situation. Your husband needs time to get used to the idea.*

2) I repeat: we were both going through other shit. I hoped that when we dealt with this other shit, our relationship would come out the other side even stronger. Maybe she didn't have that hope (or that patience).

3) It was probably some of that other shit that decided her to call it a day, rather than the poly/mono issue.

4) In our case, there were no children involved.

Having pointed those 3 aspects out (and I'm pretty sure that I've forgotten something important that I wanted to add: the Alzheimer's kicking in [Before anybody criticises me for being flippant here, Alzheimer's runs in my family and I HAVE noted early signs in myself.]), what I was getting towards in sharing my story is that I can very well relate to your statement:
Quote:
If that remains the case, then I will have to decide at some point what I can live with "For The Rest of My Life", which sounds like a life sentence right now.
At at least one point in my life, I faced choosing between a living human being (whom I deeply loved, even if the "in love" phase had faded away) and the principles of polyamory. And I chose polyamory. I remained friends with M for another 18 years (with hindsight, largely due to the energy that I was putting into maintaining this friendship - while she occasionally accused me of being stuck in the past) then the disdain she demonstrated towards me in an e-mail of 2 years ago convinced me that it was time to admit that there wasn't even friendship left... and also convinced me to shed any lingering doubts that the choice of 20 years earlier had been the right one.

----

* Your husband might never get used to the idea. And you may be faced with the choice: freedom or "fidelity" (classic, restrictive definition of fidelity). But give it (and him... and you) time. And please: don't go crazy.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:48 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
The whole idea of poly is that you can love more than one person, and that a new relationship can actually make an old relationship stronger rather than weaker.
IcySiren, pay attention to this woman: she is seriously on-track! (But then I suspect that I'm in love, and worship the thread that she walks on.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Even if I didn't ever see Eric, I'd like to think that I'd make his relationship with Gia stronger because she'd be happier and when someone is happy they can give more of themselves. I would never, ever try to break them up, and hopefully any potential new flame of yours would come into things with a poly mindset of multiple-loves-are-good instead of the more traditional mindset of society at large which would have him say "she must love me and *only* me" and would be respectful of your marriage.
While M and I were still in the relationship, but living over 1000km apart (LDR), whenever she wrote that she'd fallen in love, I'd feel happy. (Part of it was: "Well, if I can't be with her, at least there's somebody else making her feel good.")

I also back up that last piece of advice. And beware of cowboys! Cowboys are men (Cowgirls are women) who pretend to be poly-friendly in order to start a relationship with a poly person who's already in a relationship, when their real intention [sometimes not known to themselves at first?] is to steal that poly person all for themselves.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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