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Old 12-16-2011, 10:50 PM
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SoCalExile SoCalExile is offline
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Default Dropping the Polybomb

I used to lurk here a lot. Still do. Occasionally I made a comment or two on a thread. Never felt the need to post my own. NOW

<dramatic music>

ALL THAT CHANGES

<cymbal crash>

I came out to my wife last month.

Some history:

We've been married for 24 years. For 25 years, I'd also loved someone else with whom I had intermittent contact. At one point my wife and I separated, because I wanted to explore being with this other person. Due to baggage on her part, it went nowhere and after a year of frustration I went back to my marriage. I moved hundreds of miles away and my wife and I had kids, got on with life.

10 years ago, this other person contacted me out of the blue and it didn't take much to rekindle things. We began an LDR that was emotional for 7 years until it finally got physical. It got more and more emotionally intense, and as my desire built, so did my guilt and shame. I was a mess inside but kept wearing a happy face. Usually. I went into therapy.

I was torn between my love for The Other Woman and my wife- and then there were the kids to think of. Ultimately, I resolved that I had to be with this other person even though it was killing me to think of leaving my marriage and breaking my wife's heart. I agonized over it; I'd come to a decision but it just didn't feel right. Nonetheless I was close to ending my marriage.

But then I was dealt a wild card. My lover dumped me. It turned out she'd been seeing a mutual friend and had fallen for him, and I was now, regretfully, out of the picture, and that there could be no future chances for us, ever. The door was locked. I was devastated. I couldn't keep my pain and guilt bottled up any longer and spilled the beans to my wife.

To my amazement she didn't kick me out. We reconciled, but I continued to descend into depression. Deep, clinical, scare-your-shrink depression. The trigger was the end of the harrowing affair but it grew, and was fueled, by lusts and doubt. I was tormented by my desire to form intimate relationships with others and the "fact" acting on those feelings would mean I'd have to discard my marriage. I felt depressed because I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me; I had a loving wife, a house, two beautiful happy children, a home I loved to be in! What the fuck was my problem? Isn't that the prize? Why would any sane individual throw that away? My psychiatrist, my counselor, and my confidants all advised me that sometime the heart just wants what it wants and there's no rational explanation for its desires. I suppose that's true, to some degree, but I couldn't accept that explanation. I felt there had to be a reason I was broken. I had to find it or lose my mind. The reason remained elusive. I couldn't figure myself out.

That's where I was when the poly epiphany hit. I cried like a baby, out of joy. My depression lifted and I felt happy; it was almost scary because I realized I couldn't remember the last time I
felt that way, truly overflowing with happiness. I rode that wave for a month. I read Opening Up and The Ethical Slut and cried all over again; Easton's book pushed almost every button I had. It's like it was written for me. My wife couldn't help but notice. Understanding that I wanted to share myself with others actually let me share myself with my wife again. Things were great; "all I had to do" was come forward with it.

And so I slid back down into the pit. Things were largely better, because I'd figured myself out, but now I was keeping another secret. Until last month when I came out.

It hasn't been ugly, but it surely isn't pretty. At first I was met with an ultimatum: be poly and divorced, or mono and married. I caved in and chose the latter, being desperate not to lose this amazing woman I love so much, and break up our family, even though I felt I'd just given up on myself. We continued to talk, though- and my poly thoughts weren't going away anytime soon. She's decided to allow our marriage to open up; she has a deeply-ingrained philosophy that inhibiting the desires of others is bad, but there's also a huge sense of resignation. Compersion is not on the horizon. Not that I expected it to be.

She's happily hardwired mono. She's said as much and I believe her completely. We're still in bed together, with all that implies, and honestly our sex life has never been better; it's been on an upward curve since she took me back into her heart when we made up after the admission of the affair. But there's a hesitation, an awkwardness between us. I don't want to fuck our marriage up. I do not want a divorce. Though she might feel she's holding the door open for me, I don't want to go through it- or, rather, I'm afraid to. I've given her so, so much to think about in such a short time that I would rather we just continue talking for the forseeable future. It's something of a false option at this point, I feel.

So that's where I am. Hesitant, hopeful, and tremendously anxious.

Questions, comments, flames? Bring 'em on. I know there are gaps in my story and incomplete explanations- but then this post is already pretty huge and I didn't want to bloat it further.

Last edited by SoCalExile; 12-16-2011 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:36 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Are you still be treated for depression?

Are you still in therapy? Did you and your wife go as a couple? If so to either, has it helped you navigate this new path....how so?

Whats the downside if the door get slammed on you and your marriage?
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:13 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Heh, love the dramatic intro. Good on you for choosing honesty in the end and for getting help with the depression. You're right to give it time. Settle back into life with your wife, show her how much you love her. Then baby steps.
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:26 AM
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SoCalExile SoCalExile is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
Are you still be treated for depression?

Are you still in therapy? Did you and your wife go as a couple? If so to either, has it helped you navigate this new path....how so?

Whats the downside if the door get slammed on you and your marriage?
No, I'm no longer being treated for depression. I was before though, initially without, then with, medication.

I am seeing a poly-aware marriage therapist by myself, and want to turn those sessions into couples counseling- which was one of my initial stated goals when I first started seeing the therapist. My wife has agreed to go, but that agreement is only a few days old so there hasn't been any movement in that direction just yet.

I will say that the therapist in question helped me sort out... well, actually, helped me come to terms with being poly. I know what I'm experiencing doesn't hold a candle to the awful crap most queer folk go through, but I think I've gained a much deeper appreciation of their troubles- what it's like to not fit the mold, not even know why, feel terrible about it, and, once figured out, want to deny it, because it would just be so much easier if one didn't feel the way one does, and how hard it is to come out.

The downside? You mean if my wife says "HELL NO" to poly? I want to be sure I'm answering the exact question you're asking.
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:23 AM
OpenandCountry OpenandCountry is offline
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wow. I really enjoyed reading your story, and I'm so glad you've come to the realization that you have. Cheers!
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:04 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Heh, love the dramatic intro. Good on you for choosing honesty in the end and for getting help with the depression. You're right to give it time. Settle back into life with your wife, show her how much you love her. Then baby steps.
What Annabel says. You have been here long enough to know a shit load about poly. Why not share some of the theory with her in slow bits. She could do her own reading and researching, get support herself. We would love to meet her! Doing a tag search on "mono/poly" might be a good place for her to start reading. Good on you for your honesty and open communication! We shall be seeing around these here parts then.
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:15 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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You said she was holding the door open for you and you were afraid to go through it. It seems once people go through that door one or the other party can't or won't go back. Have those possible out comes been discussed.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:52 PM
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SoCalExile SoCalExile is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
Why not share some of the theory with her in slow bits. She could do her own reading and researching, get support herself. We would love to meet her!.
She's been doing reading on her own. Exactly what, I don't know, but she isn't coming back at me with arguments about why poly is evil or anything, so that's good. Hopefully she's found Xeromag. I was thinking about steering her there.

I don't think she'll be participating in discussions here. She's rather more private than I am. It's a possibility, but an extremely distant one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
You said she was holding the door open for you and you were afraid to go through it. It seems once people go through that door one or the other party can't or won't go back. Have those possible out comes been discussed.
No, we haven't talked about that. It sounds like you're asking "what happens if you start living poly and it simply won't work out, and going back to mono isn't an option." That sounds like divorce to me, and my goal right now is to avoid that if it's at all possible. Given that she is even willing to entertain the notion of opening our marriage instead of just kicking me in the crotch and throwing my clothes into the fireplace, I think we should just be exploring the concepts of polyamory and what that would mean to and for us, rather than talking about what might happen after we hypothetically open our marriage. Baby steps. I don't see the utility right now in talking about future states that would only emerge AFTER other future states we're only just starting to discuss.

Or did I misinterpret your post? I'm not sure we're on the same wavelength.
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalExile View Post
I don't think she'll be participating in discussions here. She's rather more private than I am. It's a possibility, but an extremely distant one.
She could also read here though. She doesn't have to have an account to do that.
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:13 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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I don't think you misinterpreted the general idea. I think I misinterpreted that this is at the discussion phase. I thought her holding the door open was a green light... horses leaving the starting gate type thing.

Baby step are a good idea.

Good luck to you both.
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