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  #11  
Old 06-23-2012, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by nyjm View Post
4) I want to be able to pursue relationships with other women (sorry guys, I've looked, I've considered, it just ain't my thing.) It would be great if she wants to pursue these relationships with me.
Is your wife bisexual, or has she at least ever expressed interest in women at all? Or am I possibly misreading "with me?"

Asking your wife to get into three-way relationships with someone else, when she's not even interested in women, is a great way to shut down the whole topic before you even get started. Even if she is interested in women, you run the risk of making her feel like a piece of meat.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
She'll probably assume? Stop expecting her to mind reader you. Just spit it OUT.
Agreed. Even if she's intelligent, you're asking her to make a huge leap of understanding here. Even if she's heard of poly before, she probably hasn't considered it. It's one of those situations where people really don't want to hear something, so they'll go out of their way not to hear it even when you're explicit. So being implicit obviously makes that leap even more difficult. Plus, to me that would feel like a lack of sympathy, like you can't grow the balls to say it yourself, so you're making her ask...
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2012, 05:39 AM
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Hi nyjm,

The others have gave plenty of useful food for thought already, so I won't say too much. Just welcome you to our forum.

I would say it's okay to take it at an easy pace with the communication, but like the others said just don't expect your wife to know something (or connect the dots) until you spell it right out. Polyamory's too big of a topic to risk any potential unclarity.

As for how you "know you're poly," I'm more from the school of thought that most people are probably potentially monogamous to some extent, and potentially polyamorous to some extent. It's a slider type of a situation. So you know you're probably somewhat poly, but you don't know exactly how much. Mainly for now you know that you're poly-curious.

Since it's hard to be 100% certain about these things, you just have to be honest with your wife about what you do know, and admit that you're still in the process of figuring out the rest.

Hope I didn't actually add to the confusion ... Those are just my initial thoughts.

Anyway, glad to have you aboard.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2012, 12:43 PM
nyjm nyjm is offline
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So, first, thank you all for the advice and the welcome.

I took the plunge this morning, edited my long post into a letter, read it over several times and then handed it to my wife: "I want you to read this; it's hard for me to talk about, so I wrote it down."

She sat on the bed and I took a seat and patiently (but inside anxiously) waited. When she was done I asked if she wanted to talk or wanted to take some time. She started slowly asking questions.

...

Crash and burn. I won't recount the entire discussion because it meandered a lot, but by and large not a good reception. Here are some highlights

1) We've had a cogent discussion as two adults about our relationship. This is very good.

2) I've hurt her feelings, which is bad. I didn't intend to, but I completely understand. She's interpreted my desire to pursue relationships with other women as "Something is wrong (with me?). My husband doesn't love me; I'm not providing enough XYZ for him."

I tried to address this as directly as possible; I love her. A lot. More than anything. It's not about her not giving me something, it's about the possibility top bring more love into our life.

3) She does not not not understand polyamory no matter how many ways I try to describe it. She's barely receptive to reading more about it. She put it into internet terms, "I don't understand how you can have so much bandwidth." And this, I think, is the crux of the disconnect: she is a hardcore introvert. Relationships don't fuel her; quite the opposite, they drain her. She keeps her rapports to a minimum, friendship, family and otherwise. And with the possibility of a child, that's another relationship, which, in her mind, is another resource drain. Good relationships for her are about comfort and stability rather than energy and possibilities.

(In hindsight, I feel that should have exercised my empathy a little more to foresee this. I'm quite aware of my wife's introversion; it seems silly to think that she would see polyamorous romantic relationships any differently.)

There was lots of crying involved. :-( I feel a bizarre mixture of guilt and relief. (I hate hurting anyone's feelings, especially my wife's; but we finally had a good discussion, even if it was hard and a little painful). I did my best to reassure her that I love her, that she is the priority, that I wanted to talk and not issue ultimatums.

This is going to take some time. I think I've dropped a really big rock in the pond and the water may be choppy for a while.
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  #14  
Old 06-23-2012, 09:43 PM
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Congratulations on taking the plunge. Sorry it kinda hurt.

May I recommend the blog (on this site) of Jane Q Smythe? She is also an introvert. She started her blog at the beginning of her story, in childhood. It's most excellent reading, she's brilliant. And introverted. It's possible it could add to understanding.
And you may have to wait a while before offering it. But you could read it.

Know that we're all here, cheering you, and your lovely wife, on through the chop.
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  #15  
Old 06-23-2012, 09:45 PM
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Ah, here it is, The Journey of Jane Q Smythe
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20799
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and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
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  #16  
Old 06-23-2012, 11:52 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Look, hug wife and reassure.

Then see this current thread -- it's from the mono woman trying to understand the poly man's poly announcement. Kinda similar situation.

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24911

NOTHING has changed. You are still CLOSED relationship with HER -- your wife right?

Most of this stuff is just TALKING -- and that's the only thing really that you most wanted, right? To be able to talk more freely with your spouse about your feelings.

Most of the actual poly stuff is a "Does not even apply in this closed relationship situation." Reassure her on that. Be patient. She's having emotional weather. Standby. Tell her you aren't going anywhere, love her to pieces, will be right here with her to weather the storm together.

Quote:
(In hindsight, I feel that should have exercised my empathy a little more to foresee this. I'm quite aware of my wife's introversion; it seems silly to think that she would see polyamorous romantic relationships any differently.)
Nope. You cannot mind reader her any more than she can mind reader you.

You are trying to FIND OUT her views and actually have meaningful conversation here. Don't shoot the whole thing down and chicken out now just because you got brave and she had an emotional wind blow up. Hang in there.

I told you. People cannot help what they feel when they are in the middle of feeling it. They can choose how to react and how to act later when calmer.

She's feeling right now. Be patient. Support. Endure with her, reassure. But don't NOT discuss. Set appointment for discussion later. Right now apply first aid where needed and hold during the storm.

Clear communication is a skill. And ok, so it's a bit clonky uncomfortable right now because it got a bit awkward and it is windy.

But neither you or her are going to grow into good weather reporters or weatherman who study the weather, or a solid couple that weathers the Storms of Life if you don't both actually start opening mouths to talk to each other about windy weathery things without fear.

Avoiding all discussion ever because of fear is not "getting along great" or being "good communicators." It is avoiding.

But before moving forward any more on the mono-poly thing, get her buy in that she even WANTS to grow in better communication with you.

Something like --

"Hon, I don't do this to upset you or make you crazy. I am sorry. I was not the most graceful with it. I'm trying to learn.

Really? What I WANT is to be able to come to YOU when my head or heart are heavy. Who CARES what the topic of the day is? The point is that my head and heart are heavy and I want to reach out to my beloved wife.

I don't want to leave you, I don't want to upset our marriage, I don't want to upset you. I LOVE YOU.

But I just don't know how I can get better at coming to my wife with my thoughts and problems if this is how it always ends up. I want to do better by you, by us. Avoiding talking about deep heavy thoughts isn't the answer I want for us. What do you want for us?

How can we get better at our communication? How could I have brought this up better? How do you want to be treated or approached when I have heavy thoughts next time about some other thing? How can I better be that person for YOU when you have heavy thoughts? I want to be that person for you, I want to be a better husband. Basically I want to get to know you deeply and be able to share be deeply too. Is that something you want too? "

I hope she does. You seem to want this so bad.

Then go a lot slower. Baby steps. Maybe one of the things learned from this experience is that your wife can't deal with a double whammy.
  • Whammy 1: Whoa! Out of nowhere hubby now wants to be Mr Deep Communication, an area where I'm not good at.
  • Whammy 2: Whoa! And the sample topic he picks to practice our weak skill on is WHAT?!

Reassure MANY times you don't want to change the relationship in any way other than better communication.

So... watch the weather. Use the feelings lists. Print 2 -- she circles hers you do yours -- only if she's willing though. Don't FORCE this.

http://www.psychpage.com/learning/li.../feelings.html
http://www.cnvc.org/Training/feelings-inventory

What crazy feeling birds are flying out there in the emotional storm? Don't FIX any of them. Just learn to ID them with wife, if she's willing and feeling more reassured.

Baby steps. Circle. Date the pages. And that's enough for today. See? Nothing horrible!

Set pages aside to visit next week. Pause the Deep convo. Live normal life again for a week. Love, reassure, etc.

Next week? WHY are those the birds out there? No novels, here. Just go down the circles fast and why that bird may have popped out on that list. Now that heads are cooler. Yay. Put lists away. Live normal life again for a week. We can visit Deep Convo Growing later. Smooches.

Next week? Well, bird caca, man. P. U stinky! Now that we know the kinds of birds out there, and why they might be out there -- what can we do to have less of those pooping on our house? We could we try together? Jot some ideas down.

Live normal life again for a week. Just take it all in baby steps. Next time there's an emotional storm with those birds? Try on these new bird techniques. Did that work? Was there less caca? How was that for you, honey? You like the broom or the mop better? Do I have you back enough? Did you see any new birds?

My spouse was willing, but horrible at this. And you know what? Me not going anywhere, normal life going on every week? Baby step weather check ins? Over time he got lots better.

And now it's like "Dude! Possible Bird Sighting! Because! Stand By!" and he throws me the heads up and I get the binoculars on. Sometimes it doesn't even fly near us. When it does? He's no longer Mr Avoider. He's shouting "Incoming bird crap! Let's GO! Man up!" and he's throwing me a mop and we're off to shoo it away together.

I'm not going to say we are bird caca FREE. But certainly a lot less. If better communication skills is what you want, you have to practice the skills.

Have hope.

Hang in there!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-24-2012 at 12:26 AM.
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2012, 06:50 PM
nyjm nyjm is offline
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Update the second: we're writing letters to each other.

Which is far better than nothing. Gala girl, you should be proud, we're taking our baby steps on being better communicators. (On a side note, I appreciate these volumes of advice you're giving, but we're going to keep it simple with weekly "Okay, seriously, how are things going?" letters or talks over dinner. My wife sees any and all interpersonal relationships as a burden and a drain; we're going to make this as easy as we can. Like you said, baby steps.) In the mean time, we're going to work hard to live life as normal and to be kind, caring and supportive.

Anyway, as of right now her reply is "No." No, not interested in exploring "new age polygamy," no, not willing to let me explore this on my own ("Playing is not permitted.") Definitely no, not willing to think about this and kids. It's either/or there.

The one concession is the possibility of a threesome to spice up the bedroom, which really wasn't what I was looking for at all. (I won't say "no," we've done that before and had a fine time, but it's not the same.)

Le sigh. This will take time. A friend pointed out that I've had a year to think this through and read about it; my wife's had 48 hours. And like I said, even if all this rigmarole does is getting us communicating more and better about what we want and need from this relationship, then that's a win all on its own.

Thanks again, everyone.
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2012, 11:02 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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A friend pointed out that I've had a year to think this through and read about it; my wife's had 48 hours.
Exactly.

I'm not expecting you to do things my way or anything. I was explaining how we work to help give you ideas for what you and your wife could possible have for baby steps. A launchpad -- own that thing!

I'm glad to hear this -- Writing each other letters is AWESOME! You are trying to connect, communicate, in a way that both can deal with. And have the breather times you need.

So keep and it and hang in there! We're rooting for ya -- that you really do eventually get to the close place you want to be with your wife as better communicators.

GL!
GalaGirl
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