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  #1  
Old 08-31-2012, 12:47 AM
scout989 scout989 is offline
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All right, so I suck at thread titles

I could use some advice or some new thoughts on my situation.

I apologize for the really long post, but I'm kinda talking this out to myself while I write it...

My wife, who is significantly more comfortable being poly than I am, has crossed boundaries that we set up multiple times in the last few years. Specifically, she has been physically involved with other men without discussing it with me first, which has always been a part of the different ways we have set up boundaries for poly in our relationship. Her reason is pretty much always the same: "Well, I just got caught up in the moment, feeling so loved, that the moment was so perfect..."

As I said, I am not all that comfortable with poly. I have been trying to become more comfortable, because I think that I would really love the polyamourous lifestyle once I find ways to deal with my jealousy issues.

Aha! Yep, I have jealousy issues. And she has repeatedly crossed that boundary, which in non-poly circles is typically called "cheating." Because of my past history, crossing that boundary is a pretty big deal to me. After the first time, we talked about that being a big deal to me- so it's not exactly like she didn't know the last few times.

This recurrent uprising of extremely negative feelings pretty much embodies what I don't like about poly. Though I am by no means laying all of this at my wife's door, because I haven't been in a good mental or emotional state to be able to do much work on myself, there is no doubt that what she has done has contributed to my lack of progress in becoming more comfortable in poly.

So, the current situation is this: After her most recent episode, I asked her to back off from being in active romantic relationships with anyone. She is willing to do that for a while, at least. If I were to make that a permanent thing- we are both trying to figure out what that would mean for us. She says that poly is part of who she is,and I don't know that we would be able to be together if I decide that I am not able/willing to be poly in my relationship with her. Meanwhile, I am trying to figure out if there is any way that we can set up poly in our relationship in such a way that I can feel sure that my boundaries will be respected. I don't even know what it would look like- a more workable set of boundaries, a better way of communicating with each other- I'm stuck. Nothing has occurred to me so far, so I'd love to hear anything from those who have a little (or a lot) more experience than me.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2012, 01:14 AM
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Hiya Scout,

Sorry to hear about the issues you're having. I'd certainly agree that the situation isn't doing you any favors in your work on jealousy or being comfy with poly life. It's probably a good idea for you two to kick back for a bit and see if you can can work together on things, starting with the most important. Trust and communication are essential keys to working through jealously, at least that is how I see it. So, that would be where I'd suggest you two start. In the longer term, you're going to have to rely on that trust, so make it nice and strong before entering the poly world again. From there, start again with baby steps, ones which can help you with the jealousy and maintain the trust. When you have that pretty well handled, you may find that you no longer need the boundaries you once did.
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  #3  
Old 08-31-2012, 01:16 AM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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How long have you two been poly?


Have you two been poly the entire relationship, or a part of it?


How did the first poly conversation happen?


What were ongoing conversations about it like?


What are the boundaries that you two agreed on?


How is she breaking them? I know you talked a little about this already. Go into more detail if there is more.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:30 AM
scout989 scout989 is offline
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@Avatar: That sounds like really good advice. I'm not sure if it will work for us- I'll have to think about it some more- but I appreciate the ideas!

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Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
How long have you two been poly?
Off and on for 4ish years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
Have you two been poly the entire relationship, or a part of it?
We first tried bringing poly into our relationship after we were married.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
How did the first poly conversation happen?
We had been hanging out with some poly people, and been introduced to the idea. Our marriage wasn't going really well then; I basically told her poly might be a good idea because it seemed I wasn't going tobe able to fulfill all her needs.


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Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
What were ongoing conversations about it like?
Subsequent conversations have been along steadily improving lines. We have worked hard to be healthier people, and worked on our marriage quite a lot. As we got better, our conversations shifted away from "I have to have someone else to be happy," to being more like "It's good to have more love in our lives."

Currently, my stance is that polyamory is a beautiful way of life and I really wish I could get healthy enough to have it. Her viewpoint is that she is poly, and that her life consists of sharing and spreading love.


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Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
What are the boundaries that you two agreed on?
We've had a few different versions of boundaries, ranging from a pretty strict "Everything has to be equal and reciprocal" (i.e. if you want to have sex with this other person, you have to okay me having sex with the person I want to) at the beginning, to our most recent- we tell each other if we're going to be dating/seeing/intimate with someone else, we tell each other if we have sex with someone else. In other words, there are two information checkpoints- beginning of a relationship and the point where STIs become a factor.


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Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
How is she breaking them? I know you talked a little about this already. Go into more detail if there is more.
I guess I don't know what you're asking for here. Details on what kind of physical intimacy? Not necessary, since- in the context of our relationship- the deal is that pretty much anything beyond kissing isn't going to go over much better than having sex. What other kind of details do you want?
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:39 AM
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Not to worry, not to worry. Not all advice is good or correctly applies to a given situation. :-)
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2012, 01:46 AM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout989 View Post
I guess I don't know what you're asking for here. Details on what kind of physical intimacy?
No. I'm looking for as much information as possible about how you two are talking. Trying to learn the history that leads up to the issue. The more information the people on this forum have about your situation, the more likely someone will be able to help.



You are pointing to some important information when you said the words below. Tell me more about your marriage not going well.
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Our marriage wasn't going really well then; I basically told her poly might be a good idea because it seemed I wasn't going to be able to fulfill all her needs

Last edited by snowmelt; 08-31-2012 at 01:49 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2012, 01:52 AM
scout989 scout989 is offline
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Oh, that's easy. I was an alcoholic (well, still am, obviously), and I wasn't taking care of anyone's needs- while she was taking care of everyone's. Until I figured out how to start breaking that codependent cycle, that was the best way I knew to help her get her needs met.

I'm happy to give the info you want, but it's hard to know what of the jumble of stuff in my head would actually be useful!
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:56 AM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout989 View Post
I'm happy to give the info you want, but it's hard to know what of the jumble of stuff in my head would actually be useful!
That's why I'm asking questions.


Quote:
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Until I figured out how to start breaking that codependent cycle, that was the best way I knew to help her get her needs met.
Tell me more about this.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2012, 02:18 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Breaking boundaries is cheating-even in poly circles.

Breaking boundaries breaks trust-which means having to re-EARN trust and that almost always comes with lost privileges for a period of time whilst re-earning them...
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2012, 02:21 AM
scout989 scout989 is offline
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Sure! But, since you seem to want a lot of info, this will be the long version

I was a budding alcoholic for a long time, but it didn't get to be serious until after I met my wife. I was working construction, and I hurt my back badly, at a time when I didn't have insurance. Since I couldn't afford an MRI and the PT or surgery that would then follow, I chose to self-medicate my pain with alcohol, in large amounts.

I dealt with chronic back pain for 4+ years, getting deeper into alcoholism the whole way. At the time when we first discussed poly, I had been pretty much a leech on the life of my wife and her kids for at least a year. I spent most of my time either drunk or hungover, and neither one of those states is conducive to meeting responsibilities- which I didn't. Meanwhile my wife worked 15-hour days, usually coming home to a house that was worse than how she left it, a drunk husband, and unhappy kids.

I think it is understandable that she wasn't exactly happy with this situation. She had needs- such as for a person to be a partner with her, someone who would make her life and home better by being there. I was not that person. She also needed people who were kind and loving, and I was also not that person.

Despite all that, I still loved my wife dearly. With the idea of poly fresh in my mind, I decided that it made perfect sense that she should look for her happiness wherever she could find it. I knew then (and know now) that her capacity for love is such that she can love whoever she chooses, without detracting from her love for me. So I told her so.

I am by no means a perfectly non-codependent person now, but I have done a lot of work since then. I am a partner to her, and I (at least try) to make her life and home better by being in it. There aren't the same unmet needs. Now, the reasons for poly are different.
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