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Old 12-31-2011, 04:48 PM
Trimbat Trimbat is offline
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Default Sometimes I want to kick my own sheltered arse

Hi, everyone. I've avoided fora like this for far too long now, I think, and I'll appreciate any help/advice that ya'll can give me -- hopefully it's not too late.

Short story: I had abusive early experiences (including Catholicism, joke-only-half-intended) and have always been really sheltered & reserved about sex -- but also always hated that part of myself, always wanted there to be more eventually. I married a boy with a loooong history, lots of partners and experimentation, who, while he knew that I was thirsty to explore more, really just wanted to settle down himself.

Fast forward five years. Our marriage is AWESOME; we're family; we've raised a kid together and want desperately to grow old together. But seven years of stability gave me the guts to finally confront my persistent anxieties about sex, and once I did, I realized that holy cow am I poly and have always wanted to be poly and was just too scared to death to do anything about it.

This realization came in the form of a friend I made -- I always have several male friends whom I'm usually at least a little attracted to -- who was open with me about wanting to have sex, in a trusted-friends-with-benefits sense (this is what you call a secondary, yes? Though I gather that secondaries can be varying degrees of serious, and this one would have been someone I cared for and had fun with for however long it lasted; no expectation of a longer relationship). I've never cheated on anyone in my life, so I discussed it with my husband, who gave me permission to try it (and maybe I shouldn't have taken his permission, since if I hadn't been so eager I'd have seen how tough it was for him to give it). I tried it, I loved it, and I want to do it again, both with the current guy (who I've told for the time being that we have to just be platonic, and he's great with that, but I know he'd also be great with more sex if I were to offer) and eventually with others (though not a million others; I have to know and like people to want to sleep with them, and I don't think I could manage more than one "secondary" at a time just in sheer effort required).

But my husband HATED the experience of me doing it--he said it made him certain I was going to leave him, no matter how many times I said I wasn't-- and then when he went to try it himself, he had the common experience of not being able to find anyone, and anyway he doesn't really *want* anyone else, and has a hard time not taking it personally that I do. (IT'S NOT; can I say that here? I can't explain in ten words or less why I feel like I need other sex partners now and again, but it ISN'T because my husband is inadequate! I LOVE him and our sex life is AWESOME and yes, if I have to give up all other relationships to stay with him I will...but given my history and whatnot, he knows as well as I do that if I do that as a sacrifice, I will resent it and it could ruin us eventually, and we're quite desperate to avoid that.)

So I find myself in the position of having to (or how it feels, desperately needing to in order to save our relationship) figure out with him what our middle ground is, and how we can both get what we need. We've talked about "rules" and things but so far we can't reach an agreement that doesn't feel stifling to me or terrifying to him. We're still going strong with trying, which I take as a really good sign. But holy stars and garters, would I be thrilled with any advice that anyone had, or further reading for us (we've done some, but nothing's really been useful so far). We do know the basics -- we've talked about swinging and whatnot before, and we may yet try that, but it doesn't address the issue of my wanting secondary/ies and not being able to make/help him feel secure and wanted in the face of that. I also have to fight really hard not to feel like I'm just too broken to "do" marriage, and that makes me want to give up one way or the other (either give up on being married, or give up on being any kind of poly...which, considering my state of mind and personal growth, I'm really worried will lead to cheating and ruin my marriage anyway).

One sub-question for anybody who's brave enough to swing at it: How bad is "lying by agreement"? My husband finds hearing or knowing anything about my, um, activities really horribly uncomfortable -- even that I'm *thinking* about it bothers him. He brought up the possibility of us setting ground-rules up front, but then agreeing that I would lie to him about what I was doing "in realtime" so he wouldn't have to think about it. I don't like how that feels but I would do it for him if it was actually helpful. Is it, or is the need for any kind of lying a bad, bad sign?

Thanks ya'll,
TB
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:57 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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I see the problem your marriage is/was AWESOME but you feel the need to have other intimate relationships and those are not so awesome in thought or reality for hubby.

Perhaps join a poly group and help him find someone?

If he needs you to lie...sounds bad but what would be the problem. ...he asked for that.

Are you ready for the possible negative way he sees and act or react to you?
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:37 AM
bassman bassman is offline
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Welcome to the forum, and I really like your title for the thread !


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post

Short story: I had abusive early experiences (including Catholicism, joke-only-half-intended)
Yep, they are into abuse big time - they want to control and ruin our sex lives, and they are into genital mutilation. I would suggest you dont go near them again !



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post


always wanted there to be more eventuallt holy cow am I poly and have always wanted to be poly and was just too scared to death to do anything about it.
I'm reading "Sex at Dawn", (recommended reading, by the way), its about how much evidence there is, showing that our ancestors were promiscusous, its in our dna! (now we can overcome things in our dna, of course, but why suppress an activity thats healthy, and fun?)

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I've never cheated on anyone in my life, so I discussed it with my husband, who gave me permission to try it
Well done to you, for not cheating, and for speaking about it. Its the lying and getting caught that causes the damage in relationships, NOT from having sex with someone other than your spouse. ...and VERY well done to your husband. I think he may need a lot of time to process this now, and overcome his fear/s.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post
But my husband HATED the experience of me doing it--he said it made him certain I was going to leave him, no matter how many times I said I wasn't--


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Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post
(IT'S NOT; can I say that here? I can't explain in ten words or less why I feel like I need other sex partners now and again, but it ISN'T because my husband is inadequate! I LOVE him and our sex life is AWESOME and yes, if I have to give up all other relationships to stay with him I will...but given my history and whatnot, he knows as well as I do that if I do that as a sacrifice, I will resent it and it could ruin us eventually, and we're quite desperate to avoid that.)
"Like"

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Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post

But holy stars and garters, would I be thrilled with any advice that anyone had, or further reading for us (we've done some, but nothing's really been useful so far).
Did you check out "Ethical Slut" ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post

One sub-question for anybody who's brave enough to swing at it: How bad is "lying by agreement"? My husband finds hearing or knowing anything about my, um, activities really horribly uncomfortable -- even that I'm *thinking* about it bothers him. He brought up the possibility of us setting ground-rules up front, but then agreeing that I would lie to him about what I was doing "in realtime" so he wouldn't have to think about it. I don't like how that feels but I would do it for him if it was actually helpful. Is it, or is the need for any kind of lying a bad, bad sign?
Called "dont ask, dont tell" policy, search for it here, or even just DADT. If your prospective partner/s are told you have this policy, they might still think you are cheating on your husband. But maybe it can work in your case.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:27 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Hi there and welcome.

In reading your post, it seems you are focused on sex, or having multiple sexual partners. I am not seeing anything about relationships and emotional involvement, which is really what poly is all about (although there is room for casual sexual liaisons, too, but polyamory is more than that). So, maybe swinging or being open is actually what you want. Or slowing down the sex part and nurturing relationships, if that's preferable. Do you know what you want?

You also seem really attached to the term "secondary" (and also, therefore, "primary"). Is there a reason you wish to have a hierachy?

I am just asking these questions for you to get clear about what you're looking for, so we can help.

As far as a DADT policy, there are a few threads here you might find illuminating:
To Share or Not to Share?
Don't ask, Don't tell policies
Communication on date nights?

Just a start. Do a search and I'm sure you'll find more.
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:43 PM
Trimbat Trimbat is offline
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Thank you very much so far, everyone! Some really good points there, and good-looking reading recommendations that I'll definitely check out.

I don't know how I missed that "DADT" is actually (from skimming, it seems) pretty common...will definitely read more.

The Most Pertinent Question Award goes to "Do you know what you want?" ... umm, I'd say yes, but obviously this whole situation would have been avoided if I'd known what I wanted before I signed up for a lifelong relationship. All people change of course, and in my case the changes are new and very big and predicated upon having not known (or avoided looking at) some important self-data to begin with, so I guess the safest answer is "hell no I don't know what I want", other than that I know I want my husband to be with me through figuring it out. Obviously it's not JUST about sex (is anything?), but I would guess it's pretty normal for that to be the sticking point, especially with married couples.

Thanks again!
TB
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:51 PM
Trimbat Trimbat is offline
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Default on Secondaries

Oh, I forgot I did want to address nycindie's comment about heirarchies: YES there is a reason I want to have that. I have a life-partner already -- someone whom I want to be my closest confidant, my living companion, and my strongest supporter/responsibility (meaning he will go to the absolute wall for me, and I for him) until death do us part, for really. A lot of this recently is about me realizing and clarifying that some of my "boy friends" are really "boyfriends", and now that PTSD doesn't keep me from treating them as such, I'd like to at least to some degree. But my husband and I are very clear that no matter what other relationships either of us have, we want to stay the primary partner for each other. That's something we worked really, really hard to build.

Please do correct me if this means that I'm using "secondary" incorrectly -- my understanding of it is that it means you have a relationship (the ones I'm thinking of are very caring, trusting friendships, usually based on shared hobbies, with some degree of physicality involved), but you state up front to everyone involved that that relationship is not as important to you at the end of the day as your primary one, and that if it comes down to one or the other, you'll sacrifice the secondary relationship. If that's true, then as I've said, I already pretty much have them, only my husband has been relying (more than either of us knew until recently) on those relationships being purely non-physical, and I'd like to change that insofar as we can both be comfortable with it.

Thanks again!
TB
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:15 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post
Please do correct me if this means that I'm using "secondary" incorrectly -- my understanding of it is that it means you have a relationship (the ones I'm thinking of are very caring, trusting friendships, usually based on shared hobbies, with some degree of physicality involved), but you state up front to everyone involved that that relationship is not as important to you at the end of the day as your primary one, and that if it comes down to one or the other, you'll sacrifice the secondary relationship.
That could be a couple's understanding... but no, I don't think it's common. Secondaries can be just as important as primaries. They are people too! And it's possible to fall as deeply in love with a secondary as with your primary.

Letting them know you'll just dump them when push comes to shove is rather disrespectful, imo.

Usually people are secondary not in LOVE, but in living arrangements, financial arrangements, childcare.

It can take a while, months to years, for a formerly mono person to accept how multiple love relationships can add to the primary one, and not threaten it. How each lover brings something unique and good to the polyamorous person, and there is no need to choose or limit loving anyone, except for time and energy constraints.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:57 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Oh, it sounds like you just want "play partners" without emotional involvement. That's not exactly a secondary. There is a website with a very popular page called a Secondary's Bill of Rights" here, if you want to read about a Secondary's point of view: http://www.xeromag.com/fvsecondary.html

I don't think anyone would really want to enter into any meaningful relationship being told they are not as important as someone else, even if it is a spouse -- unless it's just primarily a sexual relationship where no emotions are involved and the secondary is okay with that. As Mags said, usually having a primary and secondary in polyamory means there is love and emotional investment, but that the primary is the one who shares more of the heavy-duty responsibilities like finances, real estate, parenting, etc., and a secondary may often be secondary simply because of scheduling/availability, ie., not being able to spend as much time together. But secondaries are loved and respected and shouldn't be considered expendable. It isn't cool to unceremoniously dump a secondary.

I really think that you are looking more for recreational, casual sex partners rather than polyamorous [love] relationships.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:31 PM
Trimbat Trimbat is offline
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Oo, fascinating article; thank you for that! Having read it, I think I can defend myself a bit here from accusations (and the judgment may be subconscious, but I'm definitely sensing it) that my desire is to use people or treat them badly, or that the fact that I want to explicitly identify my husband as my primary means that I'm somehow screwing (metaphorically) my secondary/ies or that my relationships with them wouldn't "count" as poly (though if that last one is true, I guess I don't care).

Nothing I'm looking to do violates any of the "Secondary's Bill of Rights", or the principles laid out in the preamble of it. I'm not being dishonest in any way, and the relationship I have is quite in line with what my secondary partner wants -- he's a young unattached man and not looking for a relationship in the progress-towards-cohabitation-etc. sense; he just wants a trusted sexual friend, like I do. He's aware that I'm married and that my sexual activity involves the veto power of my husband, and that for that or various other reasons, our sexual relationship if not our friendship may be short.

The only thing that article and I "disagree" (and mildly) about is whether it's super important for the primary partner to "want" the secondary partner. I say "mildly" because I think it comes down to definitions of want...my husband wants me to have people to date and be to some degree sexual with because it makes me happy, and we want each other to be happy. (Therefore also, I want my other relationships to happen inside the context of what my husband is comfortable with, for the same reasons.) There's no hatred between him and anybody I might date. But it is difficult for him sometimes, and it's easier for him if he doesn't have to interact with them regularly -- and I don't see why that shouldn't be something I'm willing to do, and my secondaries are/will know about and be fine with. (Wow, sorry for the grammar on that last sentence! Yikes.)

As an update, further conversations and stuff are going really well -- and thank you to everyone who mentioned sex in the "is this really what's important?" sense -- it turns out that while that's our sticking point right now, it isn't in fact the heart of the matter, and dealing with it that way has made things much easier for us. We've decided to abstain from outside-the-marriage penetrative sex for a while (as that's what really bothered my husband, it turns out; other sexual contact is fine with him) and let the now-conscious reality of my polyamory (or whatever you want to call it) settle. I'll keep seeing the people I'm seeing, most of whom are platonic anyway, and we'll keep working on the details of how to make it so that both of us can be comfortable and happy. I'll talk to my one recently-not-platonic secondary (who, by the way, is also a secondary in the sense that other obligations don't allow us to spend much time together -- we share some hobbies and see each other weekly or so, but neither of us has time for more than that) and see where he wants our relationship to fall on the spectrum of sexual contact; and if he doesn't want any, that's fine; I'll keep my eyes out for someone who does, and take it at a speed that my marriage can be comfortable with.

In short, I feel much better, and I definitely owe some of that to you, so thank you! I'll continue reading and talking and if I learn anything momentous, I'll be sure to share it.

Thanks!
TB
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:08 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Have you read the thread by anotherconfused because the parallels are amazing .....are heavily involved in dancing?. If haven't you need to check it out.
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