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  #11  
Old 01-06-2012, 01:56 PM
Trimbat Trimbat is offline
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I will definitely check that out, DH, thanks! (I like martial arts; is that close enough to dancing?

I wanted to hop back in, as sort of a closer to this thread maybe, and say thank you one more time to everyone for the (in retrospect very gentle and thoughtful) prodding on what I didn't realize then, but do realize now, are several key issues for me.

One is sex, i.e. being hung up on sex, which I guess happens to a lot of formerly-abused people who wind up hiding from their own genitalia for years. You're absolutely right that there's a lot more to this than that, and when I started looking at it that way, a lot got clearer.

Another is polyamory itself, which I think I've been trying to avoid copping to, probably because I've known several people who used the term as a cover for being dishonest and irresponsible. I'm sure this community gets a lot of that, and I'm sorry, for what it's worth, that I was doing it too, albeit mostly subconsciously. Polyamory is nothing more (or less) than loving multiple people, and no matter what I've thought about it or called it, I've been wired to do that for as long as I can remember. I will work to be more appreciative of the groundwork so many other people have done in defining and understanding this mode of emotional expression.

And the final one is secondaries, which, yup, more reading and talking has made me realize I was definitely misunderstanding. Here's why I think I was doing that:
  • My CatholicBrain(tm) is more comfortable with the thought that any relationship outside the Sanctioned One(tm) must be a dirty animalistic rutting-thing focused on only sex
  • In my mind, "just sex" should be less threatening for my husband than an actual secondary relationship. However, my mind is wrong about this, it turns out. Neither is easy to talk about, but welcome to the Real World haha.
  • I'm afraid of hurting my secondary. Being the older, married one of us, I feel the pressure of keeping all my drama off his shoulders (which I do), and I worry about "leading him on" if I talk about relationships. Plus I'm subconsciously steeling myself for when he finds a primary of his own or otherwise gets "through with me" -- an insecure and not-useful way to think, even if it is likely to happen eventually. But none of these things are helped by hiding the fact that I care deeply for and about him, no matter how much easier it seems to just bluster and act cold and "sure it's just friends with benefits" about it. (Also, to be fair, he acted very much like that with me at first, and it took me a while to see it for what it was: a young person trying to shield himself from scary things. I've been there, and been the blustery "hmph I know what I'm doing and this isn't a relationship at all haha" one, and I can be more sympathetic of that and helpful than I have been. Honesty, for one thing, means not just letting him know that he's not in line to ever be a primary, but *also* letting him know that as a secondary, he's precious to me and will be treated well. I am sorry for being an idiot about that at first, but it didn't really hit me until yesterday, when my secondary said something that made me realize that for all the bluster, he really is just a young guy head over heels for a hot older woman...and it's very much on me to not be a jerk about that. And I certainly don't want to be a jerk or a bad experience, because whether I like to face it or not (see the next point), I *do* love him.)
  • The real definition of secondaries is SUCH a slap in the face to the status quo, it's actually intimidating -- and I say "actually" because I'm normally the sort of person to just punch the status quo in the trachea and keep walking. The status quo has room for "needing a little on the side", and will even forgive that if you promise that that's all it was, but society balks hard at "needing or wanting more than one *love relationship*". I didn't realize how uncomfortable taking that step, even mentally, was for me. Thank you again to the forum (both this thread and the rest I've read) for helping me see that the reality of multiple loves really is both true and OK.

Having just started to get all of this in order in my head after 7 years with my husband is certainly a tough hand to be dealt, but sticking with honesty and love as principles is fantastic advice and so far seems to be working great. Thank you again, Forum Folk!

-TB
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  #12  
Old 01-06-2012, 06:37 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimbat View Post
I'm normally the sort of person to just punch the status quo in the trachea and keep walking.
It's sounds like you've got a much better place to start from and I wish you luck. I don't really have anything else to contribute, but I just had to tell you how much I <3 this!
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  #13  
Old 01-06-2012, 07:51 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Yes it is. Bad news is that relationship just took a bad turn.

So you're Hot ...and you like to spar. Where exactly did you say you were?

All kidding aside good luck to you all.
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  #14  
Old 01-22-2012, 09:41 PM
thetasignmom thetasignmom is offline
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OK...I'm about to spout an extremely unpopular opinion so I want to make it clear that this is not a piece of advice or even a reccommended way of doing things, simply my experience...

In the very very beginning of my poly journey, my husband was just fine with me having a sexual relationship with a woman, but no romance and no kind of "sexy" relationship with a man even if no sex was involoved. I treasure my husband and know that my relationship with him is what I consider my "foundational relationship' (notice that I neatly avoid heirarchical terms). That relationship is the one that gives me a safe foundation to move out from as well as a safe place to return to. Your mention of PTSD is what compels me to post this because I truly believe that those of us with traumatic histories have to deal with all of our relationships, including poly ones, in a unique way. Anyway...

I developed a very intense love for another woman and my husband was terribly afraid that I was going to leave him for her. At the same time, she had a sttrong hatred for the word "secondary" and needed to know that she was as valuable to me as my husband is. That was all four years ago. We all agreed in the beginning not to use terms like "primary" and "secondary" because they seemed to undermine the importance of the relationships. However...

My relationship with my husband is my foundational relationship. If that relationship is threatened, it feels as though my ery survival is threatened (trauma history rears its ugly head and I get a bit crazed). My husband responds in much the same way. That means that regardless of the terms that we use in our family, my relationship with my husband is the highest priority for me. Over the last four years, the woman that I fell so hard for has moved in with us and now we are all living in a new place that is ours. My wife has increased in importance to me as I believe always happens in long term relationships. She is certainly not secondary and she is becoming more and more a part of my foundation. On the other hand, I have a brandd new lover who is most certainly secondary. That works for all of us. My new lover has never NOT understood that I could and would meet his needs only AFTER the needs of the rest of my family have been met (I have three kids that I homeschool who require time, energy, and attention as well as the people that I am in romantic relationships with). Does that mean that I don't love him? Not at all. Does that mean that if he has a crisis come up I will make him wait for my attention? Nope. It does mean that if my relationship with him begins to weaken or undermine my foundational relationship(s), something will have to change. For now, it gives my new lover a sense of security in knowing that he is free to pursue his own growth and his own change without having to be very concerned about trying to meet my needs. And my husband has come to see that no other relationship will EVER be more important than the one I have with him. He has learned to trust that all of the yummy goodness that I get from my other relationships will splash onto him and benefit him and our relationship. He has heard me say more than once that I will end other relationships if that is what he needs from me. I had to get to a place where I genuinely meant that and knew that I could be more content to have just my husband than I could be if I had several other relationships but lost him. That gives both of us a sense of security that makes it much easier and much safer for me to explore other relationship potentials as they come. Again, I never forget that the other loves in my life are people with wants and needs and I work very hard to satisfy all of the people that I love and treasure. But there is also never a question about which relationship I am most devoted to. Because of that, all of my relationships are thriving.
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  #15  
Old 01-24-2012, 11:39 AM
Trimbat Trimbat is offline
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My relationship with my husband is my foundational relationship.


That's crazy well-put, and thank you for posting your story; I found it very helpful!

I've been doing a lot (lot lot) more reading on this, as well as reaching out to some friends both online and off who have more experience with polyamory than I do, and it's been an instructive few weeks to say the least.

If I can say that I've learned anything *definitely*, it's that it takes work and a fanatical devotion to honesty and clarity to make sure that each person's needs in a relationship are being met -- whether those needs are attention and a feeling of security, or space and a feeling of freedom -- and the only proper way to go about it is to recognize and treat everyone involved as an individual, with feelings, agency, and the right to have a voice in things that affect them.

Thank you all again, very much. I'm definitely sticking around here to read, like, everything.

-TB
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  #16  
Old 01-28-2012, 10:56 PM
JohnnyDangerously JohnnyDangerously is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetasignmom View Post
OK...I'm about to spout an extremely unpopular opinion so I want to make it clear that this is not a piece of advice or even a reccommended way of doing things, simply my experience...

In the very very beginning of my poly journey, my husband was just fine with me having a sexual relationship with a woman, but no romance and no kind of "sexy" relationship with a man even if no sex was involoved. I treasure my husband and know that my relationship with him is what I consider my "foundational relationship' (notice that I neatly avoid heirarchical terms). That relationship is the one that gives me a safe foundation to move out from as well as a safe place to return to. Your mention of PTSD is what compels me to post this because I truly believe that those of us with traumatic histories have to deal with all of our relationships, including poly ones, in a unique way. Anyway...

I developed a very intense love for another woman and my husband was terribly afraid that I was going to leave him for her. At the same time, she had a sttrong hatred for the word "secondary" and needed to know that she was as valuable to me as my husband is. That was all four years ago. We all agreed in the beginning not to use terms like "primary" and "secondary" because they seemed to undermine the importance of the relationships. However...

My relationship with my husband is my foundational relationship. If that relationship is threatened, it feels as though my ery survival is threatened (trauma history rears its ugly head and I get a bit crazed). My husband responds in much the same way. That means that regardless of the terms that we use in our family, my relationship with my husband is the highest priority for me. Over the last four years, the woman that I fell so hard for has moved in with us and now we are all living in a new place that is ours. My wife has increased in importance to me as I believe always happens in long term relationships. She is certainly not secondary and she is becoming more and more a part of my foundation. On the other hand, I have a brandd new lover who is most certainly secondary. That works for all of us. My new lover has never NOT understood that I could and would meet his needs only AFTER the needs of the rest of my family have been met (I have three kids that I homeschool who require time, energy, and attention as well as the people that I am in romantic relationships with). Does that mean that I don't love him? Not at all. Does that mean that if he has a crisis come up I will make him wait for my attention? Nope. It does mean that if my relationship with him begins to weaken or undermine my foundational relationship(s), something will have to change. For now, it gives my new lover a sense of security in knowing that he is free to pursue his own growth and his own change without having to be very concerned about trying to meet my needs. And my husband has come to see that no other relationship will EVER be more important than the one I have with him. He has learned to trust that all of the yummy goodness that I get from my other relationships will splash onto him and benefit him and our relationship. He has heard me say more than once that I will end other relationships if that is what he needs from me. I had to get to a place where I genuinely meant that and knew that I could be more content to have just my husband than I could be if I had several other relationships but lost him. That gives both of us a sense of security that makes it much easier and much safer for me to explore other relationship potentials as they come. Again, I never forget that the other loves in my life are people with wants and needs and I work very hard to satisfy all of the people that I love and treasure. But there is also never a question about which relationship I am most devoted to. Because of that, all of my relationships are thriving.
This is a great bit, and I love your terminology. My only problem with what you have said is the bit about ending any relationship that your husband felt threatened by. I can't make that promise to my wife, personally. My girlfriends are very special people, and to me, it would be like trying to choose which of my children I love best (or least and able to severe ties with).
If one of my relationships causes fears and jealousy in another, then we need to address that feeling and its causes, but putting the others on the chopping block is not negotiable, IMO.

As far as to the OP: the only thing I haven't seen addressed is that her marriage, despite her husband's wild past, is really a Poly - Mono one, and he is the mono struggling with that concept. There are several great resources online you can look for on addressing this issue.
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