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Old 09-08-2012, 07:46 PM
theopol theopol is offline
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Default Theoretically polyamorous and married to a monogomist

So ...

I recently discovered the word Polyamory, and found myself to really identify with it. I am most straight but bi-curious, and ... married to a true monogomist.

Both of us recently had a few "poly experiences" with a couple of friends. They stayed over, spent the night in bed with us, and fooled around a bit ... nothing serious. It was, I think, the first poly experience for them as well.

It was so wonderful for me. For my wife, the fooling around part was ok ... but when afterwards I started having long conversations with the woman from the other couple ... my wife got jealous. The one reason that I allowed myself to check my romantic boundaries is that my wife and the man from the other couple had somewhat of a mutual crush a few years ago.

They both tried to contain it at the time, and I remember being jealous of her and disliking him. The thing is ... now, when I started talking to the woman, I thought it would be ok ... I even sent my wife a few links on Polyamory and Compersion, and thought she was accepting of it, given our playful bedtime experience.

Now ... my wife says it's too much, and wants me to cut all ties with them, or at least with her. We've had a good number of long talks on this, and I understand where she's coming from. She's really afraid of losing me, or losing my love for her. When I tell her that the feelings I feel towards the "new woman" (too soon to call it love ... let's say infatuation and excitement) are replacing feelings I have towards my wife. I disagree ... but this is how she feels. What is certain is that I devoted a lot of my time to talks with the new woman, and not so much time to my wife lately (who is super busy in her work anyway, and usually doesn't have time for me these days).

As much as it will pain my wife to read it ... I really miss the new woman. I want to keep both ... and I just know I can't. I would settle for keeping the new woman as a platonic friend ... only it's a bit difficult to define the borders, once they have been crossed. I know my wife will be in pain if I communicate with the new woman, so I don't ... I promised to my wife that I will respect her wishes on this, and I intend to keep my promise.

This is not a "what should I do now" post - I know what I should do, and that is keep my marriage. While the thought of divorcing my monogomist wife and "leading a truly polyamorous life" has crossed my mind, it is not what I want right now.

I just wanted to share my experience with you, and join in to talk about this issue and polyamory in general. I can't really talk about these issues a lot in real life ... my wife and I only talked to one or two other people about it, and so far we're keeping it this way. I'm sure many of you have experienced something similar. Anyone care to share their perspective?
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:45 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hello theopol,
Welcome to our forum.

You have a tough time to go through, and this other woman may have a tough time to go through as well. Maybe someday in the future your wife will be more willing to negotiate things?

Jealousy is not a predictable emotion. One can have it all figured out, and yet it crops up anyway. Likewise one can find that on one day, the jealousy is unbearable, but then on another day, it can be managed.

It is often useful to talk about the jealousy, in terms of trying to get to the root of the problem. What is causing your wife to fear losing your love? Perhaps there is something between just the two of you that needs worked on. You mentioned that your wife is super busy with work right now, and that you and she aren't spending as much time together as you and/or she would like. Is that something that can be discussed or negotiated?

Whatever you want to talk about, I (along with many others) am willing. Remember, mono/poly relationships can and often do work.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theopol View Post
Both of us recently had a few "poly experiences" with a couple of friends. They stayed over, spent the night in bed with us, and fooled around a bit ... nothing serious. It was, I think, the first poly experience for them as well.
I think you are confusing other types of non-monogamy with polyamory. What you've described is simply group sex. You and your partner participating in a few sexual encounters with several people isn't poly. I suggest you keep reading the forum, and perhaps look into one of the books in our recommended reading thread. Maybe poly is for you, but maybe not. It sounds like possibly swinging would fit what you and your wife are looking for much better.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:09 AM
LifeLongCpl LifeLongCpl is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I think you are confusing other types of non-monogamy with polyamory. What you've described is simply group sex. You and your partner participating in a few sexual encounters with several people isn't poly. I suggest you keep reading the forum, and perhaps look into one of the books in our recommended reading thread. Maybe poly is for you, but maybe not. It sounds like possibly swinging would fit what you and your wife are looking for much better.
I would have to agree with you Cindie.

I don't feel like the two of you have really had poly experiences, it just sounds like swinging. When it comes to the other woman, did you just start having these long conversations and your wife found out or did you ask her if it was okay first. I feel that everything that happens in poly or any marriage/relationship for that matter needs to start with you two talking it over first. If not, there's too much room for jealousy.

~N
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:15 AM
theopol theopol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I think you are confusing other types of non-monogamy with polyamory. What you've described is simply group sex. You and your partner participating in a few sexual encounters with several people isn't poly. I suggest you keep reading the forum, and perhaps look into one of the books in our recommended reading thread. Maybe poly is for you, but maybe not. It sounds like possibly swinging would fit what you and your wife are looking for much better.
I am saying our group encounter (not sex) was the trigger for me and the other woman to start talking afterwards ... and talking, and emailing, and chatting ...

For me, and I think for her, it's more than just sexual feelings.

My wife actually still says that swinging might fit her in the future ... but with anonymous people that we don't share romantic feelings with.

BTW, she says I'm not really poly, I "just have a crush on this one woman". I know I have felt similar feelings in the past towards other woman, but I've always blocked them because I thought it "wasn't right to feel these feelings". This time, I misinterperted my wife and thought "it's ok for me to feel these feelings". But now, after reading about polyamory, I find the concept very attractive ... if only it didn't cause my wife so much pain.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:18 AM
theopol theopol is offline
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Originally Posted by LifeLongCpl View Post
I would have to agree with you Cindie.

I feel that everything that happens in poly or any marriage/relationship for that matter needs to start with you two talking it over first. If not, there's too much room for jealousy.

~N

Well, yeah, it would have been much better if we talked about these boundaries beforehand. I thought that the only boundary my wife and I had was "we're 100% honest with each other", but it turns out we have other boundaries as well, and I crossed them.

If we had discussed things beforehand, then either I wouldn't have made this leap in the first place, or if I had, it would have been completely different. We were so vain my wife and I, thinking we have the perfect marriage
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:34 AM
theopol theopol is offline
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Hello theopol,
Welcome to our forum.

You have a tough time to go through, and this other woman may have a tough time to go through as well. Maybe someday in the future your wife will be more willing to negotiate things?
I know. My wife and I are not doing well at all ... we're trying to communicate and rebuild our trust, but it's a daily challenge. We were actually doing pretty well in the last few days until I posted this message ... she now accuses me of "over-exploring my poly side" instead of focusing on our marriage first. Maybe she's right, I dunno.

The thing is ... poly is now a curiosity with me. I find myself needing to learn about it, searching it, asking questions about it. I believe I can suppress it, over time, just like I blocked minor crushes I've had on other woman over the years. It's just so fresh now, so it's always on my mind.

Are any of you self-aware polys that have chosen, for whatever reason, to suppress this side of their personality, and succeeded?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Hello theopol,
It is often useful to talk about the jealousy, in terms of trying to get to the root of the problem. What is causing your wife to fear losing your love? Perhaps there is something between just the two of you that needs worked on. You mentioned that your wife is super busy with work right now, and that you and she aren't spending as much time together as you and/or she would like. Is that something that can be discussed or negotiated?
She claims she's not jealous, but rather is just making a rational choice to reduce her pain. She says she knows she will hurt a lot if I won't be monogamous ... the mere thought that I want something more than only her is sickening to her. And in order to protect herself, she closes up.

Today she told me again, within a four day period, that she wants a divorce ... because I kept picking on this subject and reading/writing about it. I am trying to convince her that she doesn't really want a divorce (we have a rule that if one side tells each other they want a divorce in the heat of the momeny, they need to stick with it for at least a few weeks for the other person to believe them). I know both of us will be a lot more miserable separate than together ... I believe this to be true long term, not just during the breakup.

I think she's afraid of losing my love for at least two reasons:
  1. She believe that romantic love is a fixed quantity, and when divided it's diminished. It doesn't help that I tell her it doesn't work like that for me ... this is what she feels to be true.
  2. She associates love with attention ... and I can't deny that new relationships have that "shiny new toy" effect, which causes more attention to be drawn towards the new people.

She's deeply afraid of what happens if we have children, and then I decide to act on my polyamorous feelings (we currently don't have kids). She knows I can't promise her a "forever after" - we both retain the right to change our minds ... this is how marriage works.

Sadly, we don't seem to have the time to just detach from work and spend it together. We always "knew", by reading various books etc... that it's essential to do this, but the routine we fall to is where we're both over-worked and not devoting enough attention to each other. We'll try to do better this time, but I don't know if it'll work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Hello theopol,
Whatever you want to talk about, I (along with many others) am willing. Remember, mono/poly relationships can and often do work.
Thanks ... I certainly hope that ours can indeed work out.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:12 AM
LifeLongCpl LifeLongCpl is offline
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The thing is ... poly is now a curiosity with me. I find myself needing to learn about it, searching it, asking questions about it. I believe I can suppress it, over time, just like I blocked minor crushes I've had on other woman over the years. It's just so fresh now, so it's always on my mind.

This is understandable, I think like with anything when it's a new idea it's hard to think of anything else. Unfortunately for you she doesn't feel the same so it hurts her.


She claims she's not jealous, but rather is just making a rational choice to reduce her pain. She says she knows she will hurt a lot if I won't be monogamous ... the mere thought that I want something more than only her is sickening to her. And in order to protect herself, she closes up.

At least she is honest with you and herself about this, changing your entire idea about how a relationship/marriage should work is hard. Maybe in time, if you give her some space and understanding on the issue, she will be able to open up and consider it.

Today she told me again, within a four day period, that she wants a divorce ... because I kept picking on this subject and reading/writing about it. I am trying to convince her that she doesn't really want a divorce (we have a rule that if one side tells each other they want a divorce in the heat of the momeny, they need to stick with it for at least a few weeks for the other person to believe them). I know both of us will be a lot more miserable separate than together ... I believe this to be true long term, not just during the breakup.

It's sad that divorce is being thrown out there because of this. If you are still faithful to her and you are expressing your feelings in a caring manner then I feel it's unfair. Now if you are going about this untruthful and against her wishes then that is your burden to carry.

I think she's afraid of losing my love for at least two reasons:
She believe that romantic love is a fixed quantity, and when divided it's diminished. It doesn't help that I tell her it doesn't work like that for me ... this is what she feels to be true.

This is a sad notion to me. I feel that it can be compared to having children, when you have your second your love does not then divide, it grows.

She associates love with attention ... and I can't deny that new relationships have that "shiny new toy" effect, which causes more attention to be drawn towards the new people.

This would be up to you to not let happen. Just because a new relationship might have that effect you can't let it take away from her. If anything you need to be more attentive to your wife to ensure she sees that you love is not being taken from her, only deepening.

She's deeply afraid of what happens if we have children, and then I decide to act on my polyamorous feelings (we currently don't have kids). She knows I can't promise her a "forever after" - we both retain the right to change our minds ... this is how marriage works.

I don't believe this is how marriage works, maybe other polys do but I just don't. I feel that once you commit to someone you are promising them a "forever after" and when you then have children that commitment should be even stronger. She should have no doubt about your commitment to her and your future children but with this mentality I don't see how she wouldn't.

Sadly, we don't seem to have the time to just detach from work and spend it together. We always "knew", by reading various books etc... that it's essential to do this, but the routine we fall to is where we're both over-worked and not devoting enough attention to each other. We'll try to do better this time, but I don't know if it'll work.

You have to go into this knowing without a doubt that you will make it work. You have to take the time to give her a massage before bed, run her a bath with candles before she gets home, simply pour her a glass of her favorite wine with a rose. Yes you also deserve nice gestures like this but someone has to start and most of the time the other will follow suit. Marriage is a job in itself and you have to put the work in for it to last and be blissful. I can honestly say that I feel like I have the best most honest marriage that I have ever seen. We communicate everything, we shower each other with love and because of those things neither of us feel that anything could divide us. And if we were not as strong as we are then we would never consider acting on our poly feelings. I honestly hope that the two of you can make it work, you need to start with taking divorce out of your vocabulary.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:00 PM
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It sounds like this is something your wife will definitely need some more time to process. I'm sorry that this situation is so difficult and painful for the two of you at this time.

In the meantime, the only thing that kind of worries me about your wife is that she seems to be very pushy in projecting her own feelings and limitations on you. Poly may not be for her, but she has no right to tell you that you "aren't really poly." She doesn't know how you feel or what you are capable of yet. Only you can really know something like that and it isn't her place to tell you that. I would perhaps express that you understand that this is a difficult time, but that you really need some time to chew on this concept and figure out what it means to you and that it isn't helpful that she just keeps trying to squash it out of hand. Perhaps you don't have to talk with her about it as much while you explore, but she shouldn't really be getting angry with you or trying to keep you from reading or writing about it while you explore your feelings about the idea.

Have you considered talking to your wife about the crush she had with the other guy? Perhaps this is something she could be opened up to exploring again if she were given enough time and caring and support from you. How does this guy feel about what has gone on between you and his wife?

Hopefully in time you will also be able to go back to being friends with this other woman. Obviously boundaries are hard to set right now because of infatuation, but if that is given time to wear off, it might not be as difficult.

If you and your wife keep coming to an impasse when discussing a topic like this, it might be time to seek out a counselor to help sift through some of these issues. Make sure to find a counselor that (ideally) has some experience with poly relationships and (at the very least) is open to the idea and willing to explore with that dynamic rather than telling you it is just "unnatural" or "wrong."
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:59 PM
theopol theopol is offline
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Damn, I wrote a long reply to both MusicalRose and LifeLongCpl 12 hours ago, I was sure it was posted, but I guess it got deleted somehow.

A lot of changed since then.

The gist: Up until a few hours ago, I was sure we were doing better. My wife was actually looking at poly stuff, in order to try & understand me better (she sent me this interesting study: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.c...ract_id=506242

We were having such a great couple of days. Then, today we got a MAJOR backlash:

First, I had the idea of asking my wife to do a simple couples exercise with me: I wanted each of us to try & picture their ideal spouse, and describe it (or describe how we would "improve" our current spouse, in their fantasy world). This is a hard exercise, because it usually implies judgement or expectation - if you don't like apples, and my "ideal spouse" likes apples, then perhaps I expect you to like apples ... or that is a possible impression this exercise can convey. I also wanted each of us to try & guess the ideal spouse of the other person.

Well, merely suggesting this exercise got me a cold shoulder. My wife assumed I would stick polyamory into my description of ideal spouse (while I actually planned to specifically stick to things not related to polyamory). She just didn't want to do this exercise at all, proclaiming it "futile" because "we already know the answers, and don't need to rub each other's nose in them". I was willing to drop this for now and perhaps try again in a few days.

...

and now for the bomb.

Remember, up until a week ago I was speaking to my crush on an almost daily basis. This stopped cold turkey a week ago. Today, I called the boyfriend of my crush (both of them are/were our friends), with two simple purposes to this call: I wanted to let them know that my wife and I are getting better, and I wanted to know how "they" were doing. Yes, I was more interested in how _she_ was doing, but I deliberately didn't want to focus on that, but just ask how they were doing this past week. I didn't get any chance to talk to him, but he told me this one sentance - "I don't understand what happened between you guys that ruined this years-long friendship the four of us had" (remember, the bf is fully aware of all the details ... he just does't think we should terminate our friendship).

So, after this 1 minute phone call, I tell my wife that the bf says hi. My wife then freaks.

She says I betrayed her again by talking to him (in reality, she didn't want me talking to her, and explicitally said that talking to her bf was "allowed"). She wants me to never talk to him again. She repeats how she especially NEVER wants me to TALK to my crush again. I refuse her demand about the crush's boyfriend ... while I understand where my wife is coming from, this is just too much for me.

She goes to sleep angry at me, despite my attempts to persuade her that it's not a good idea to go to sleep angry at each other (not the first time this has happened).

I am totally at a loss here.

My reality is this:
1. I want to be with my wife.
2. I will not have my wife control my actions to this extent.

I agree that not talking to my crush directly might be a good idea right now. I agree not to push the issue. I agree that it's possible, or even likely, that my wife and I will be monogomous together ... that I'll never be poly
(even though it's rather crushing for me to think like that ... but for my wife, I agree to this). But this one last straw, of not talking to her bf, is something that I can't tolerate.

On the surface of it, unless my wife budges, this seems like an imminent track to divorce. What am I missing here?

I am not blaming her. It's the logical thing to do, if you want to reinforce monogomy ... burning all ties. But I just can't become her puppet like this. This was never how our marriage worked, and it pains me to see what it has become. We're just now at the 7 year mark of being together. Perhaps our union has served its purpose and should now (painfully) end. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I can't see a way out of it.
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